Saturday, October 29, 2011

Hodge Podge of Activities

I LOVE to watch the fun the kiddos have dressing up for Halloween. I LOVE to watch their faces during the school parade as the variety of costumes come dancing into the room. I LOVE the laughs and giggles at the class party. But I am certainly glad when Halloween is OVER!!! I need to get down to some serious teaching! This is going to be a hodge podge of activities we've done this week or will do next week. Click on the picture for a PDF.
We've been working on the seasons in science so this is a great time to do this graph.
We are reviewing the l-blends this week and I needed a little paper and pencil activity to see how they are doing.
Here's a little partner game for practicing the -ake and -ail word families we'll be playing this week.

I have had a dice game forever called 'Phase 10'. I thought I could make into a math game and the idea finally hit me. There are 2 different dice. One has 1,2,3,4,W,W on it. The other one is 5-10. The kiddos roll both dice together and write a number sentence for the numbers they roll. If they happen to get a W, they make a tally mark in the box. When they get 5 tally marks the game is over. The two partners compare their number sentences and the one with the most wins. I put this in my math stations and the kids love it. You can buy the dice at Wal-Mart or Click on the picture for a link to Amazon.

I hope you find something you can use in your classroom! Have a fun Halloween!

Thursday, October 27, 2011

Math Stations

Yeah! My math stations are up and running! The kiddos absolutely LOVE them and so do I. It took some time to get everything ready and to train the firsties (still doing that one) but it was well worth the work. I love what I see and hear the kids doing. Right now we are only doing one round and I haven't started working with groups yet. I look forward to being able to do that. Here are some pictures.
 Here are my boxes. I have 30 students so I have 15 stations. I got my boxes from Wal-Mart. I bought 2 sizes because some of the activities didn't fit in the small ones.
Here are my charts. I found a cute clipart from Scrappin' Doodles and the numbers from Lettering Delights!
 I put my "Aarrgh We Equal" (from a previous post) activity in the stations so the kiddos could try out the number sentences on the number balance. It was cool to see them explore other problems as well.
 This activity is from Debbie Diller's book (Math Work Stations, also from a previous post) called 'Grab and Graph'. I made my own recording sheets to go with it.
 I've had these 100's boards from Learning Resources but I only had 2 of them and couldn't figure out how to let everyone have a turn with them. They love playing 'SWIPER' when they finish putting the chart together. One person is 'SWIPER' and covers 5 numbers while the other person isn't looking. Then has to guess what the numbers are.
 I wanted a counting activity so I made this one called 'Grab and Count'. They grab a handful of items from a bag and count them, then record it on a sheet I made. They do it several times. Another activity is called 'Grab, Count and Add' where they grab two handfuls, count the items and add them together. They also record on a recording sheet.
 This is 'School House Order' an activity I got off of Cara's blog on The First Grade Parade .
 This one is the most LOVED! I took it from Debbie Diller's book and used dot cards. They play teacher and student and match the numbers to the dot cards. Then they can make their own with the bingo markers to take home. Can I tell you how much I LOVE the bingo markers!!! Where have I been? How come I didn't know about these before now? I had a hard time finding them. Ended up getting them at Actually, they are called 'Do-A-Dot Rainbow Art Set. Click on the picture for a link to Amazon.

If you see anything you like and want a copy just shoot me an email and I can send it to you or add to a future post. Did I already say WE LOVE MATH STATIONS? Because if I didn't let me tell you- WE LOVE MATH STATIONS! Thanks blogging world for introducing me to this great math management/enrichment tool!
P.S. Thanks Fredia for collaborating with me!

* I have had several readers ask about the dot cards and where I got them. I did not make them. But here are some links to websites where you can find some for FREE!
Math Coach's Corner

Friday, October 21, 2011

Halloween Books & Spooks

We've been on Fall break the past 2 days and it has been wonderful! I went to the beautiful mountains 4-wheeling with my hubby and had lots of fun. Then I went to school to try and get caught up. It's really nice at school when no one is there. I can get tons done! I've got my math stations all set up and ready to go. Now I just need to do some intense training to make it all work. I'm excited for Monday!
Here's a peek at the fun writing activity we did on Tuesday-"If Spooks Could Talk". We read a fun book called "A Very Brave Witch" by Alison McGhee. The whole story is told with talking and thinking bubbles. Then we talked about some of the Halloween spooks and what they might want to say if they could talk. We did a few together. Then I had the kiddos pick a spook and write in the talking bubble what they thought it might say. Some of them were pretty funny. We put them in the hall for all to read. Here's a picture, one of the spooks and a link to the book.

We have also been reading lots of great Halloween books and doing great comprehension studies with them. If you click on the picture of the book it will link you to where you can find the price and info for each book.

We used these books "Halloween Pie" by Michael O. Tunnell and "Big Pumpkin" by Erica Silverman to study problem and solution. We also practiced retelling with "Big Pumpkin".

"Bony Legs" by Joanna Cole is one of our favorites to study characters.

For rhyming words and text to text connections we LOVE, LOVE, LOVE "Shake dem Halloween Bones" by W. Nikola-Lisa!
Hope you have a great weekend!

(Note: This post contains my Amazon Associates link.)

Monday, October 17, 2011

Aarrgh We Equal?

I taught a lesson last week in math about equal or not equal. It was called "Aarrgh We Equal". I had two kids come up and put on a pirate's eye patch. I gave them several number sentences. Some were equal, some were not. They had to decide how to sort them into 2 groups. One of the kiddos figured it out and explained it to the class. I purposely picked her because I had a feeling she would be able to figure it out and she did! Then we discussed what the equals sign means. I had my number balance and we tested the number sentences out on the scale. Click on the picture and it will take you to where you can find the price and more information on the number balance.

They really thought that was cool! Then we did a class sort together in the pocket chart. Some of the sentences we had to test on the number balance. The next day the firsties did a sort on their own in there sort book. Now the exciting part- Next Monday I am starting my Math Work Stations and I'm putting this activity in one of the stations! The kids will be able to sort on their own and test on the number balance. Then I also made a game to go along with it. Click on the picture if you'd like a copy of the sort or game. I hope you're having a great Monday!

Thursday, October 13, 2011

Teacher Flattens Student!

A funny, embarrassing thing happened to me today. It will go down as one of those teaching moments I will never forget. I smashed a student today! Yeah, smashed, crushed, flattened- whatever you want to call it. The fire department came today for our annual surprise fire drill. After the drill instead of going directly into class and back to work, I thought it would be a great learning experience to let my class walk around the fire truck. They got all excited and thought it was great. I got out the camera and started taking picture of the class in front of the the fire truck. Just as we were finishing, the six firefighters and the principal came walking out of the school. The kids were in awe to see real firemen!! They were giving them high fives and really getting into it so I saw a Kodak moment. I stepped back to get a better shot and didn't see the smallest firstie in my class behind me. I tripped and came crashing down right on top of her. She started crying! Her cute little frilly skirt was slipping off and I couldn't tell if she was hurt or embarrassed by losing her skit. I asked her if she was all right and she wailed, "NOOO!" Needless to say, I felt terrible, horrible, and awful!! After a few hugs from me and the principal she stopped crying. The poor girl is probably scarred for life. She won't be able to look at a fire truck again without having nightmares of her teacher smashing her flat as a pancake!

Anyhow, here are some fun but educational activities we've been doing this week with a little touch of the Halloween spirit thrown in. Notice- they are educational and not just fluff :) Click on the picture for a PDF.
This is just a fun little sight word practice page. I put the six sight words on my huge die and the kids took turns rolling it, reading the words and coloring in a space.
This is a graph we did to get the kiddos thinking about Halloween spooks. Next week we are doing a writing activity with the spooks so hopefully they will know which one they want to write about.

This is a game from Math Investigations called "On and Off". The kids are given a target number. They get that many chips and drop them on a sheet of paper. How boring is a plain sheet of paper? So I have them drop the chips on the sheet of paper with the weird-looking pumpkin on it! Then they record how many counters are on and off the paper. It reinforces number combinations.
OH, we played the Jack-o-Lantern sorting and my kids are crazy about it! It was in a previous post. Check it out. It was a big time hit with the kiddos!

Monday, October 10, 2011

Wyatt's Fight

Six years ago I got to teach an incredible little boy in first grade. His name is Wyatt. He was a fun, energetic, hard-working six year. At the time, he and his family were just learning about a very horrible disease that he has called Neurofibromatosis or NF. It causes hundreds of small tumors in his body and as he grows so do the tumors. They can affect any muscle or organ and can be very painful and life threatening. Wyatt is now a fun, energetic, hard-working 11 year old in the 6th grade. Life is not easy for him but he always has a smile on his face and you'll never hear him complain. He just received his wish from "The Make-a-Wish Foundation" to go with his family to Disney World. If you want to read a truly inspiring story about Wyatt, you'll want to check out his mom's blog. She is a fantastic mother and has such a great attitude about life. She tells of their amazing trip to Florida and the incredible man behind the gift. It's heart-warming to know there is such wonderful people in this world that care so much for others in need. When I see Wyatt in the halls of school I marvel at his tenacity and strong will. He truly is my hero!!

Saturday, October 8, 2011

Jack-O-Lanterns, Spider Webs, Graph

I just saw a very cute idea over on The First Grade Parade. Last year Cara did a sorting activity with small plastic pumpkins. I just happened to be in Wal-Mart and found some. So I bought them and came home and made the game. I can't wait to play it with my firsties. We've been working hard on our number combination and this will be the perfect game. Thanks Cara for another great idea. Here is a picture of her idea.
You write addition and/or subtraction facts on popsicle sticks, about 6 per pumpkin. Then you write a different number on each Jack-O-Lantern. The kiddos sort the math facts into the right Jack-O-Lantern. They record their sorts onto a die-cut pumpkin.

I just finished making a word family game for -ell and -est. We are working on those two families this week and I needed something fun. I'm also trying to get into the Halloween spirit. I printed it on card stock in Halloween colors. Also, we are graphing our bikes and scooters this week. The kids love graphing and are really getting good at it. Click on the pictures for a PDF.

Friday, October 7, 2011

New Books and Cheaper File Folders!

I'm excited! I ordered some new books from Amazon and I got them yesterday! Now I've just got to find the time to READ! Since joining the 'blogging world' I've heard and read a lot about "Daily Five" and "Math Workshops". I really like what I've seen so far. So I bought the books and I can't wait to get started. My awesome and wonderful friend Fredia over at Frogs in First is going to collaborate with me and help me get started! Love you Fredia! And thanks to all the blogging world for all your great ideas! Here's what I bought- If you click on the picture of the book it will link you to where you can find the price and more information.

I know I'm taking a BIG bite trying to start both things after the school year has already started but I'm just going to take baby steps and a lot of the things I'm already doing. Wish me luck! I WOULD LOVE ANY ADVICE, TIPS, HELP ETC. FROM ANY OF YOU THAT WOULD MAKE THIS TRANSITION GO SMOOTHLY!

I also made a great find on Amazon again! I love to organize all my games in expanded file folders. Smead has 3 sizes: 1 inch, 1 1/2 inch, and 2 inches. I like the 1 inch the best but around here I can only find them at one office supply store for $32 for a box of 50. But yesterday I found them at Amazon for $22 with no tax or shipping if you order $25 or more. Which of course, is not hard to do for me. I just buy one of the books on my wish list! I love saving money on my favorite teaching things. Here is a link to Amazon and a picture of a few of my files. The files are handy to store all the bags of card and game boards. I copy the directions and tape on the front and write how many copies of the game I have. I color code the units with colored dots.

Click on the picture below. It will link you to Amazon for more information.
(Note: This post contains my Amazon Associates link,)