Monday, January 30, 2012

Valentine's Day Bingo

I am hoping for a very low key Valentine's Day party this year. ;-) We will be passing out valentines, eating our snack, and playing a couple low key games. I created a bingo game to use with my 1st graders, so I am posting it here for you too if you want it! It is by no means fancy, but it will serve the purpose! It doesn't take a lot to entertain the kiddos. :-)
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Sunday, January 29, 2012


We are getting ready to teach timelines in a few weeks. Timelines can be kind of tricky to teach and introduce to 1st and 2nd graders, but they can be a lot of fun also. I normally teach timelines around Thanksgiving to go with our Native American unit, but we didn't have time this year, so we are doing it in the spring instead.

For this 1st grade unit, we will be doing a timeline of holidays around the year, we'll be making a class school year timeline all together (of important events that have happened this year), a timeline of the school day, and child's timeline of their past, present, and future (found on pinterest), and then students will be making timelines of their own lives to present to the class. We will also be reading different timelines and practicing how to use them and read them. I created a powerpoint presentation to introduce the concept. I am going to upload it on here, but it is not converting my cutesy fonts, so if you'd like a copy, just e-mail me! :-) Have a terrific week this week!

I also uploaded this as a pdf, so here is the link for the pdf: Pin It

Saturday, January 28, 2012

Tattles and Compliments

Confession time again: Tattles drive me insane. There just isn't enough time in the day for all the tattles that consume the lives of 6 year olds. Bless their sweet hearts, but there is just too much to do. So, this year I've started using a tattle jar/bucket. This has been an absolute sanity saver. After spending class meetings, counselor lessons, and social skills lessons on the difference between a tattle (which is a little problem) and a big problem, I put out a tattle jar with some scrap paper. I allow students to write down their tattles and put them in the bucket, and they're allowed to use it either during writer's workshop or during centers. Students now feel like they can tell me their "little problems" (which in a 6 year old's eyes is "the world"), and I can deal with them at separate times. It also allows the students some writing practice. Having only 2 times in the day for them to write their tattles down is also helpful, because I tell them that if they forget it by the time writing or centers comes around, it probably wasn't a huge deal.

To coincide with the tattle jar, we've also made a compliment jar. We've spent lots of time in our class reading the bucket filler book, talking about being bucket fillers and not bucket dippers, and talking about how to give/receive compliments. We have talked about how when you give a compliment or act like a good friend, not only are you filling the other person's bucket, but you are filling your own bucket. The compliment jar is intentionally larger than the tattle jar, because we talk about how we hope that there are more compliments than tattles. Students love writing compliments to each other, and they are so sweet about it. We always spend a few minutes at the end of the day reading and going over a few of the compliments. I read them out loud, and then the students practice saying thank you and practice accepting compliments appropriately. I then give them the compliment to take home. Because we've worked so much on sportsmanship, the students do not get upset if they haven't gotten one for the day. We then also talk about filling up everyone else's bucket, so students know to focus on other students for the next day. It's fun to see visiting adults and teachers come into our classroom and get involved with writing compliments to the students!

While neither one of these jars is super fancy, they definitely serve their purposes!!! :-) Maybe next year I will have some time to make some super cute ones to replace these ones!

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Thursday, January 26, 2012

Word Wall Management and Organization

How many people actually have the space for a full-on word wall that takes up an entire wall space? I certainly am not that lucky! While I do have one giant bulletin board in my clasroom, I use it to display student work. I am constantly running out of wall space, ceiling space, hanging space, and just about every other kind of space. While I am so lucky to have a whole wall of windows for all the natural light, they definitely take up room. I've been looking and thinking and playing for years with how to manage my word wall. I've done it countless ways, but I think I've at last found a system I'm ok with. It may not be the best, most beautiful thing ever, but it works, and I'll take that!!

First, I printed up giant 11 x 17 posters with big letters on them. I mounted them on 12 x 18 construction paper, laminated the letters, and cut them out. Then, I mounted velcro strips to the back, and "hung" the word wall letters from the marker trays/ledges of my two white boards. The letters hang down over that tiny amount of wall space underneath the white boards, but don't take up any wall space or bulletin boards now! When we are introducing new words, I just write the new word straight onto the letter poster, and students can see them or come look at them anytime they need to. Students can even take the letter card they need back to their special writing spots or to their desks if they have to, because they can easily be detached/reattached. It's a win-win!
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Wednesday, January 25, 2012

Transition Cards

I gave you all some EPR cards to hang on a hook yesterday. Continuing in that same direction, I've created some transition cards. These can also be cut, laminated, and hung on a hook. We all know that kids need to MOVE. Primary kids really crave and need an outlet for their pent up energy, and brain breaks and movement can help with that. It helps to keep them fresh, connected, and engaged, which in turn, allows us teachers some sanity. ;-) We do a lot of transitioning between our desks and the carpet. Most of our core instruction is done on the carpet, and we like to use all sorts of fun, engaging actions to help us as we move on over. It's such an easy way to make things fun while moving those muscles and bodies around. Enjoy these transition cards! At some point I will be creating voice cards also, so be on the lookout for those soon!

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Tuesday, January 24, 2012

EPR Cards - Bonus Post!

Special bonus post! The hubby is saying it's time to stop working on school work and close up shop for the night, but I thought I'd quickly post this last thing for the day. Earlier in the summer I posted about active EPR (every pupil response) that I use in my classroom. I made some EPR cards to go along with some of the actions I use. These cards can be printed, laminated, cut, put on a ring, and hung on a hook for easy classroom reference. I use EPR to have students either show me they're done with something or to show me their choice or response when asking a question. This is a great way to get every student involved, and it is a small activity they can do to keep moving! Let me know if you have any questions. Here is the link to download (or you can click the pictures below):

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Flip it Down - Doubles

Here's a confession for you. It's only Tuesday, and I'm exhausted. Super surprising, I know, that teaching 1st grade can be tiring at times, haha. ;-) Anyway, I am already thinking about parent-teacher conferences. They are already coming right up, here in a couple weeks! Our district does student-led conferences for the February ones, and in 1st grade, we do "centers style" conferences. I set out a few different activities that are similar to centers, and after spending 5-10 minutes speaking with the families, the students take their parents around to the different "centers" to show them what we've been working on and learning about in school. I am simplifying it this year, and I am only going to do 3 different choices. I will have one center where the student reads an instructional level book to his/her mom/dad/adult, one sight word center where I will have a few different sight word games, and a math center that will also have a few different games to choose from. One of the games I am going to put in the math conference center will be Flip it Down for doubles. Flip it Down is one of those easy peasy game templates that can be changed to fit whatever you are currently working on. I've used Flip it Down templates for sight words, math problem (addition, subtraction, time, money, patterns, etc), vocabulary words/sentences, and even science and social studies. I created this particular one for doubles.
To prepare Flip it Down, cut the horizontal left hand lines between each problem, and stop at the middle vertical line. This creates "flaps" that can be flipped over. When I teach 2nd grade, my students are able to handle doing this on their own after I model it. 1st graders just take a little bit longer than I prefer, so I usually just go ahead and cut the flaps ahead of time. To play, students take turns rolling a 12 sided die. The student must solve whatever problem corresponds with the number on the die. He/she writes the answer in the blank space to the right of the problem, then he/she can "flip it down" by folding the flap over. He/she then writes his/her initials or name on the top of the flap. Whoever has the most flaps is the winner. If a student rolls a number that has already been solved, he/she just loses his/her turn and it is the next player's turn. Super simple concept, but the kiddies love it - I'm sure because of the flaps!!! Click this link for a copy of the doubles flip it down (or you can click the picture)!
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Monday, January 23, 2012

Past and Present Tense Verb Memory

One of my favorite websites that I've been using for ideas forever now is This website has tons of ideas on different sight word and language arts games to make. I've used her templates numerous times to make various games. As we are going to be studying past and present tense verbs in instructional focus for the next few weeks, I used one of Kelly's cute sight word templates to create a memory game for instructional focus and to put in a center. Students have to match the past and the present tense forms of the verbs featured in the game. Enjoy this free printable, and feel free to edit it however you like to meet your classroom needs! :-) As always, feel free to e-mail if you wany any documents e-mailed directly to you.
Click the link or the picture above to download the file - it is 4 pages, so make sure you got all 4 pages!
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Sunday, January 22, 2012

Spin Sort and Spell

Here is a phonics sorting activity I created. I originally made this activity for our phonics skill in shared reading, but I have modified it a few times to fit whatever phonics skill I am focusing on in my guided reading groups. To play, each person gets a sheet. Players take turns spinning the spinner with a paperclip. They then think of a word with that phonics pattern, and then they write it in the correct column. The first player to fill up one of their columns is the winner! Enjoy and feel free to edit and modify it however you like! Go to this link to download, or I think you can click the picture.
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Friday, January 20, 2012

Roll a Sight Word

I obviously have not been diligent in updating this blog, considering I haven't posted since basically school started. What a year this has been - busy, challenging, and crazy! In spite of the hectic nature, I'm continually finding ideas and making new games and activities. I couldn't figure out how to post any over the summer, but I'm going to try my first one today! This game is called Roll a Sight Word, and to play, you have the student roll a die. Whatever number he/she lands on is the word he/she will read from the game board. The student will use the word in a sentence, and then he/she can write the word in the blank. If the student is playing against another student, then whoever fills up one of their columns first is the winner. You can obviously edit this to fit whatever needs your child or student has. I like this game for not only sight words, but also for learning blends, digaphs, vowel combinations, etc... The possibilities are endless! Click the picture below to download! Visit my TPT store for the free download, or you can download a copy with all 1st grade sight words for a small fee. Happy Friday!


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