Tuesday, September 27, 2011

New Game!

FILL THE BAG GAME -ill word family 
I have several students this year that are just below or barely at grade level in reading. So they need a lot of practice with the word families. Here's a fast, new game I made last night to practice reading the -ill family words for this week. I also printed it on white cardstock and there are 2 on the page. Click on the picture for a PDF.

Saturday, September 24, 2011

More Math

We are working on several things in math from ten frames to comparing numbers to one more one less to subitizing and graphs. Sometimes it feels like I'm going in a million different directions. I'm sure none of you EVER feel that way. Our district is big on differentiation and teaching to every student's level. So I've taken an idea from Math Investigations and made it for 2 levels in my classroom. It's called Ordering Numbers. Investigations has the kids pick number cards from 1-10 and put in order from least to greatest. All my kids can do it. So I've created new cards 1-30 and 1-99 and a new recording sheet. Some of mine firsties are stuck in the 1-30 spot and some are beyond that. Hopefully, these new cards will help the low ones move up and challenge the high kiddos. Click on the picture for a PDF if you'd like to try it with your kids.

 Here is my graph for this week. The kids are really doing well with graphing and they really seem to enjoy learning about each other through the graph questions.

Thursday, September 22, 2011


We have been working on visualizing. I love finding books that help teach this. Here are a few of my favorites. If you click on the picture of the book it will link you to Amazon.com where you can find more information.

I like to introduce the concept by reading the first part of "The Gruffalo" by Julia Donaldson. I don't show the book to the kids and stop in the middle and have them draw a picture of what they think a gruffalo looks like. The book gives a great description and it's fun to see what the kiddos are visualizing.

There is also a sequel called "The Gruffalo's Child" that is just as fun and you can carry on the theme of visualizing.

Another favorite book is "Just Another Ordinary Day" by Rod Clement. I also hide the cover of this book from the students. I read through the book and we talk about what they are visualizing. Then I read the book again and show them the pictures. They LOVE it because it is not anything like they had visualized!
Next we read, Shark in the Park by Nick Sharratt. A little boy named Timothy Pope goes to the park with his new telescope. It's a fun book because the pages have a die-cut hole that zeros in on what he thinks is shark's fin but a turn of the page gives the big picture.

I share the book "Max's Words" by Kate Banks with my kids. It's a fun book for visualizing because it shows some visualizing by the characters as they begin to make up a story. I also like this book when I begin my Writer's Workshop. It teaches the importance of letters, words, and sentences and how together they can create a story for others to read.

One of my favorites is "Gooney Bird Greene" by Lois Lowery. I start this chapter book the middle of September because I like to use it for several teaching purposes. One is for visualizing. Ms. Lowery describes the feisty, friendly character Gooney Bird and the fun outfits she wears to school. It's fun to have the firsties talk about what they think she looks like before you show them the picture. I also use this book to launch my Writer's Workshop. Gooney Bird teaches her second grade class where they can get ideas for their own stories. It's a great way to get kids thinking about where they can find their own stories and what they can write about.
I'd love to hear what good books you use to teach visualizing. Happy Reading!

(Note: This post contains my Amazon Associates link)

Sunday, September 18, 2011


Last night my football team got creamed by our arch rival. It was terrible to watch so I turned to my computer and did a little creating. But I still love my BYU Cougars even if they did have a terrible, horrible, no good, very bad, game! Anyhow, I made three things last night I want to share. I have a dear friend Fredia, (you can check  out her blog at Frogs in First) she told me about a cool font called ABC Print. I searched the web and found it for FREE! I love free! There are a few versions of it. One is with the numbered directions, another with dotted lines on lines and another dotted lines without lines. That probably didn't make any sense, you'll just have to check it out. Anyhow, I have a student who needs help with her handwriting. I can barely read her name when she writes it. So I made her a practice sheet with this cool new font. I'm going to have my aide work with her. There are so many possibilities with this cool font. You could do sight words, spelling words, word families and so on. Our aides would love it for their EMK kits. Here is my practice sheet to give you an example.

Also, I'm getting ready to launch my Writer's Workshop. I made these labels to put in their folders. I printed them on Avery labels 5163. I have 3 pronged folders with pockets in the front and back. I place the GO label on the front pocket. This is where they put the writing pieces they are working on. I place the STOP label on the back pocket. This is where the pieces go that they have finished. Hopefully, this will work better than just a red and green dot.

I will also give my kids a copy of "What Can I Write About" to put in the folder so they can look at it for ideas. Most of the clipart it from DJ Inkers.

Saturday, September 17, 2011


Getting ready for Johnny Appleseed Day this Friday. I've really toned it down from years past . We were asked by our district and principals to get rid of a lot of the fluff in our curriculum so I don't do all I used to. I can't give up making 1st grade applesauce though. It's a tradition. My own children still ask for it. I ask all the kiddos to bring an apple from home that is washed, peeled, and sliced in a baggie. And of course I re-wash them before making the applesauce. They all feel like they are contributing and the different varieties of apples make it that much better. I use my great big crock pot and we get to smell it cooking all day. It's generally ready to eat in the afternoon after recess. I make a BIG deal about the secret ingredient. I let them all watch me put it in and we ohhh and ahhh as it turns reddish pink. Then I let them all have a little piece. It's cinnamon candy hearts! Here's my recipe:

1st Grade Applesauce
16-20 apples- any kind
1/2 to 3/4 cup cinnamon heart candies (the SECRET ingredient)
Wash, peel, and slice apples. Slice into small chunks. Place in a 5-6 qt. slow cooker. Cook on high for 5-6 hours. Stir occasionally. The last 30 minutes, mash with a potato masher. Then add candy. Stir and let cook 30 more minutes. Serve hot or cold. ENJOY! 

Most of the firsties love it but you will always have your picky ones. I serve it in insulated cups with spoons as we watch the movie Johnny Appleseed. Here's a picture from last year. Don't you just love the missing teeth?

I'll also be doing my graph of the week which just happens to be about APPLES. Click on the picture for a PDF. 

Thursday, September 15, 2011

Sorting Book

When I first starting doing sorts with my kids I HATED IT!!! I knew how valuable they were but it drove me crazy. I tried cutting lots of little cards, which took forever. Then I found them all over my room. So I had the kids start cutting their own. That was good but if I wanted them to remember the sort we did 2 weeks ago we didn't have it. Then I came up with the idea of a sorting book. I wanted the kids to have a book that they made so they could refer to if they wanted to remember how to spell a word or review some of the word families or even use it for extra reading practice. I print the sort I want them to do on half sheets of paper. Then they cut out the words and glue them on the appropriate sorting page. I have 3 different pages- 2 columns, 3 columns, and 4 columns. Each is printed on a different color. So all I have to say is turn to the pink section. When they are finished, I can easily have them read the words back to me and check it. They keep the sorting book in their desk all year and take them home at the end of the year. I use them for word families, wordwork, science, social studies, and math sorts. Now I do a sort every week. The kids LOVE it and so do I. Here's a picture and the PDF files. I've included the one I'm doing next week- the -ot and -op family. Click HERE to grab a copy.

Wednesday, September 14, 2011

Number Bracelets

Last week I found a great idea from Tunstall's Teaching Tidbits blogspot called Number Bracelets. Reagan made these cute bracelets out of pipe cleaners and plastic pony beads for each number 1-10. Each child gets a bracelet for the number they are working on. They use the beads to find all the different ways to make that number and record them in a booklet. I started with 4 and went to 10. I tried the 4 bracelet last week and the 5 this week. The kids LOVE them! I'm doing a number a week with lots of other activities for each and I'm using the bracelets to  introduce the number of the week. My kids refer back to the bracelet and/or their recording booklet on other days to check themselves when doing other activities for that number. We did it together at first but most of them can do it alone now. I have some students that are pretty low in math and this has really helped.  It's so concrete and visual. The kids are begging to keep the bracelets so I think I'll let them take the 10 one home and I'll keep the rest for next year so I don't have to buy all the beads and re-make them again.

Sunday, September 11, 2011


Having 30 students this year is killing me!!! I've taught 28 for the last few years but for some reason just 2 more is putting me over the edge. I really shouldn't complain because two of the teachers on my team have 32. Budget cuts are to blame. We have a saying in UTAH "Stack em' deep and teach em' cheap". Anyway, I've had a hard time remembering who's turn it is to share at the end of my reader's workshop. I used to just pick who I really wanted or felt I needed to hear from by putting a "share bear" (beany baby bears) on their desk at the beginning of reading. But a few years ago, I had an autistic child in my room and she would have a 'melt down' if she didn't get to share EVERY DAY. So I started writing on the board who got to share that day and she started to understand if her name wasn't there she had to wait and take her turn. This year with so many kids, I want to make sure I hear from every kid every week. So I made  little charts. Each child is assigned a day, that way I can schedule the kids that are gone to speech a day they are here for sharing time and not miss them. It is working great. I even added journal share time. So the kiddos know they will share their journal during writing time and a book during reading. Yeah!

Here are my little charts. The clipart, of course, is from DJ Inkers, my favorite! Click on the picture for a PDF.

Saturday, September 10, 2011

Eye Color Graph, Color Matching Game & Song

Here is the graph for this week. This should be fun getting 1st graders to figure out what color eyes they have!
We are also working on learning to read the color words. Simple is my middle name! Here is a VERY SIMPLE matching game. I've posted the color word cards before with the apple game board. You can use them for both games. Just print on card stock, laminate, cut, bag and you're ready to play. My kids love singing this color song too. We make up more verses for other colors.
Click the picture for a PDF.

Wednesday, September 7, 2011


I did a great sight word/spelling practice with my kids today called evaporate. I got a small chalkboard (about 6x8) at the craft store. Then I wet a small sponge with water. My kids had their whiteboards and markers ready. I had them write the first word in the middle of their board and then put their markers in the air. I wrote the same word on the chalkboard with the wet sponge. Then I said "go". They had to write the word as many times as they could before my word evaporated. They LOVED it! I said "stop" when it had evaporated and then had them count how many times they had written the word. Then they had to show the number on their fingers and look around the room and wink at someone with the same number. We did it all silently, well almost! They thought it was a blast. Here is a picture of my chalkboard and sponge.

Tuesday, September 6, 2011

Apple Game Board

Here's a fun, versatile apple game board. You can use any cards you want. I have the kids draw a card, then answer the card, if they get it right, they can roll a die and move. If they get it wrong, they stay where they are. I've used addition or subtraction cards, sight word cards, spelling words, read the number or color words. I've included some color word cards. Click on the picture for a PDF.