Wednesday, February 29, 2012

Measuring Sight Words

We've just started our measurement unit in math, and today's lesson was for students to measure indirect objects by comparing it to a 3rd object. While it went pretty well, some of my students could use some extra practice, perhaps in centers. Therefore, I thought that I would combine the math skill with some sight word practice, and that is how Measuring Sight Words was born. :-)

To do this activity, students will use a piece of string to compare and measure the sight words from end to end. They will then write the longer word in the third column. And that's all folks - the kiddos will be practicing their measuring skills, and they will practice writing sight words - a 2 in 1 activity! To download, just click the picture!

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Monday, February 27, 2012

KWL's and I Wonder/I Know Charts

Our next science/ss unit after timelines is weather, and I LOVE teaching weather for some reason. Anyway, we always do this little weather KWL chart on a sun/cloud/raindrop, and even though it's so simple, the kids love it. We all know that using KWL charts and I Wonder/I Know charts can be effective organizers in the classroom. However, my little weather unit is always a great reminder that I have the ability and power to turn something common into something fun and exciting! I love being creative, but apparently I need a reminder every now and then so that I don't get "stuck in a rut" of doing the same old. :-)

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Sunday, February 26, 2012

Estimation Stations

We are getting ready to teach measurement and estimation in math. Measurement is always a little bit difficult, for whatever reason, but it is fun to teach. Students need as much practice as they can get! We have our pretest tomorrow, so after the pretest, I will introduce the unit by having students participate in these estimation stations. These could easily be used in centers as well! For this activity, we are going to be measuring in non-standard units. If you don't have the same materials, you could easily switch the materials. Enjoy the free download, and I apologize, but I made these in black and white not color! Just click the link under the pictures to download the pdf file. Have a great start to your week tomorrow!

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Thursday, February 23, 2012

Springin' Into Adding and Subtracting 10's Game

I think I've said before that our new common core aligned math curriculum is a bit tough this year. Next year will be better, but this year has been slightly difficult due to the switch (our students just don't have the background knowledge needed yet). However, we're hanging in there, and I am impressed with some of the strategies my students have picked up. One of the strategies enVision teaches our students to use is to be able to use mental math to add and subtract 10's from a given 2-digit number. We've taught the kids how to do this by skip counting on/back by 10's, we've taught them using place value blocks/cube towers/ten frames, and we've taught them by using the hundreds chart. Students are realizing that this strategy makes computation easier and faster!

I created this game for students to practice this strategy in order to increase their computational fluency. It will be going in the math center after introducing and practicing with it! Students should be able to solve the problems using mental math (of course they can get manipulatives if they need/request), but I am also having them write the problems on scrap paper so I can see how they're doing with it. To play, students place their game markers on start. They will then flip a colored counter/chip. If it lands on red, they will move forward 1 spot. If it lands on yellow, they can move 2 spots. The students must solve the problems for whatever spaces they land on. The first one to the end is the winner! If a student lands on a space that has a ZOOM arrow, he/she can cross the arrow over to the space on the other side. Enjoy the free printable game, and if you have time, please leave me some bloggie love if you download (just click the picture)! :-)

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Wednesday, February 22, 2012

Magnifying Magic Sight Word Activity

Not only has it been a short week because of President's Day, but I was sick yesterday, so I had a sub. Then today, we actually had a K-3 sub day where we all had subs and we met for professional development (pretty amazing, huh??? - thanks so much to our awesome principal for giving us that gift) and implementation time. Anyway, I haven't even seen my darlings yet this week!! So crazy! However, today's professional development was so helpful, and we talked a lot about teaching vocabulary. My coworker and I will be explicitly teaching strategies for figuring out words and using vocabulary strategies as you read, and I'm super excited about it! More on that later! 

Last week sometime I mentioned a sight word activity using magnifying glasses. I actually got the idea for this activity from my old teaching partner who had heard of a similar activity using spelling words. I have used this activity for both spelling and sight words, and either way, the kiddos LOVE it! To play, students use a magnifying glass (either the little science ones that I'm sure your schools have, or anytime I can, I look for magnifying glasses in the $1 bins at Target - they sometimes have some super cute ones) to find the "secret word". They then write the word and use in a sentence/draw a quick pic. To make this activity, I just type the words in super small font - so simple! Feel free to download this 1st grade sight word magnifying magic activity below. I think I've got it to where you can just click the picture to download it - BIG thanks to Deb over at for helping me figure out how to link my images!!! :-)

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Monday, February 20, 2012

Happy President's Day: Presidential Probability Freebie

Happy Day Off! :-) Here is a free printable probability game in honor of President's Day. I will be putting this in my math center this week. To prep, just create a few bags or cups of coins that are mixed between quarters and pennies. Super easy and quick! To play, students will first count how many pennies and how many quarters. Then, the students will make a prediction about which coin they will choose most often. Next, they will actually do the experiment 10 times and will record which coin they got each time. Last, the students will address whether or not their predictions were correct. And that's all folks! To download, click the link below the picture.

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Sunday, February 19, 2012

Snowman Technical Writing

I am pretty lucky in that my school district has so many resources for teachers. For writing, they actually have mini-lessons that you can use/refer to/modify if you want. How cool is that??!! Anyway, one of the lessons I love using each year is Snowman Technical Writing. To start, we talk about what technical writing is, when we would see/use it, and we then make an anchor chart (which I forgot to take a picture of). I collect examples of technical writing, and the students spend some time making observations and discussing what they notice. We talk about how technical writing can include time order words. Then, we read the book, The Biggest, Best Snowman by Margery Cuyler. We made connections and discussed if we'd ever built a snowman before. Then, we talked about the steps that the girl took to build a snowman. Students orally sequenced the steps to each other. Next, students wrote their steps on white pieces of paper that I'd cut up. After revising/editing their writing, students then went over their writing in marker and created their snowmen! They turned out super cute and fitting for winter (it's too bad the sweet snowmen pictures didn't bring a relaxing snow day with them, ha)! Enjoy!

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Saturday, February 18, 2012

A Nice Quiet Saturday

Whew! I survived a super long week at school, and I told myself I would NOT go into school to work over the weekend. I deserve a weekend off! :-) Anyway, I've had a wonderful day today just doing nothing. The hubby and I ran some errands together, and we've just spent the day hanging out at home. I got to surf around Pinterest this afternoon while he watched sports, I baked some yummy chocolate chip cookies, I made some potato soup, and we made waffles for dinner together. What a relaxing day! Anyway, I wanted to post my recipe for potato soup. My father-in-law gave me this recipe over the phone one day when I told him I wanted to try making my own potato soup. He looked it up and found it in Betty Crocker's cookbook, and I made a few minor tweaks.. It is super simple, and it is super easy to make! I always make sure to double or even triple the recipe so I have leftovers.

Here is the recipe. I will post both a picture of it and the link for the recipe. Enjoy! Pin It

Thursday, February 16, 2012

Rainbow Tracing Sight Words

Spring break is still 3 and a half weeks away, but I am all planned and prepped through that time. I am currently working on my plans for the rest of March and April, and because we have a short week after spring break (amen to the district head people who decided a couple years ago to give us a PD day after spring break - easing us back into it makes a world of difference), we are not doing a shared reading story. We're instead going to use that time that particular week for some sight word testing and sight word activities.

One of the activities I created for that week was Rainbow Tracing Sight Words. Because we're going to be doing some testing, I needed to come up with some slightly more independent activities, and I won't be able to do as many of my cooperative learning activities and group games that I normally mix in (i.e. find someone who, snowball mix n' match, quiz quiz trade, go fish, shaving cream, etc...).

To do this activity, students will read the sight words that are in the top boxes. They will then find the words in the text boxes below and rainbow trace them in the color shown. This is such a simple activity, but my students LOVE anything that has to do with crayons, markers, tracing/coloring, etc... I may even extend the activity and have the students then write the words out or write sentences using the given sight words (just on the back of their paper or in their writing to learn binders). The possibilities are endless, and this activity could easily be converted for spelling too! Here is an example of what it will look like when finished:

To download a pdf of this activity, just click the link!

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Wednesday, February 15, 2012

Making Tracks

Were anyone else's kiddos sugared up from the V-Day parties yesterday??? Class parties in the middle of the week should be outlawed. ;-) Anyway, I hope everyone had a great V-Day. The hubby was so sweet and actually made dinner for me last night (a very welcome present I assure you). He even set the dining room table and put out our wedding china. Steak, green beans, baked potato, and homemade cheese garlic bread for dinner and a yellow cake from a box for dessert. It was the cutest thing!

Anyway, one of the bright points of today was shared reading. I love teaching children how to make tracks and show their thinking as they read. We've been doing lots of modeling throughout the school year with making tracks, and we'd done a couple introductory lessons; however, we hadn't quite gotten as far as having the kids try writing their thoughts out yet. Today, as we were reading our shared reading story, At Home Around the World, the students got to share some of their thoughts and tracks (this is a nonfiction informational text about different kinds of homes around the world).

As we started to read the story, the kiddos had so many tracks that they were sharing aloud, that I decided to let them try writing them out. We'd made our anchor chart in a previous lesson and I had it up front for students to reference. I was curious how my students would do with writing out their tracks, and I was pretty impressed for their first time! The students loved this activity, and even though this was their first time recording their tracks, there was definitely significant pre-teaching involved in the week before through mini-lessons, creating an anchor chart, making connections, and heavy modeling. Here is our anchor chart. I found myself wishing I'd taken a picture of the one I'd made with my class last year, but alas, I didn't, and I couldn't remember exactly what I'd included, but this seemed to suffice.
While the students were reading, they then made tracks on post-it notes (do you love that I just happened to have house shaped post-is that went perfectly with the story???). Then, instead of having the kids stick their tracks in their books, we put them all up on chart paper so we could read over them together when we were done. I had the students put the page number of the page that "inspired" them, write their track, and put their initials - as you can see, most of them did that, but there were  few that "modified" the directions, haha. ;-)
The students were so enthusiastic about sharing their thoughts, and it was super cute to read aloud their tracks. Like I said, I was pretty impressed at the quality of the majority of the tracks, especially as this was their first time independently doing this for the year! As you can see from the writing, I've got quite the range of students in my class.... ;-)

Some of the tracks above: "I learned that some people's houses are made of snow." "This reminds me of my home." "I saw a wide house." "I didn't know that people can stay warm in an igloo."

"I didn't know that houses have wheels on them." "I know that houses go underground." "I didn't know that people can live in igloos.

"I made a tipi in school." "I wonder if they're cold."

As is the case every year, this was a great lesson to help the students "dig deeper"and really think about the text they were reading. I love that all of my students, including my ELL kids were able to share their thoughts through words and pictures and be proactive in their reading!
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Tuesday, February 14, 2012

Happy Valentine's Day!

Happy Valentine's Day! I hope you are having a wonderful day! The hubby and I are going to have dinner at home and just relax and enjoy the evening. After surviving the class party this afternoon, I am ready for some calm and quiet time. :-) New post tomorrow!
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Monday, February 13, 2012

Mirror Sight Words

So I was perusing around Pinterest one day, and I saw this super cool sight word idea using mirrors. I think I've said in previous posts that kids LOVE anything "different" and "out of the norm". Activities where students get to use things like highlighters, mirrors, and magnifying glasses (I have a cool magnifying glass sight word and spelling word activity also that I'll post sometime) are fascinating to the students. Anyway, I loved the idea, because it was different, so I borrowed the idea and modified it, and I came up with this sight word activity.

To begin with, I was really struggling with trying to figure out how to "flip" and mirror image text within Microsoft Word. After playing around with it for a while, I decided to use my noggin' and google free backwards fonts. There actually is a font called "backwards". I downloaded it, and to make the cards, I just typed the sight words backwards (i.e. last letter, middle letter, first letter) using the backwards font. The result was exactly as I wanted! To play, students will draw/choose a sight word card. I will be giving them the little mirrors we use in math class for symmetry, and they can hold the mirror up to the card. The students will then read the word out loud, write the word on the recording sheet, use it in a sentence, and draw a quick pic. I'm sure the sweet little munchkins will love this activity, but we'll see! :-) The pictures below are just for you to see what the activity looks like. To download, click the link below the pictures!

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Sunday, February 12, 2012

Sunday Funday = No School Related Talk: Card Making Instead

In addition to devouring books in one sitting and an unhealthy obsession with Pinterest, I love making cards! While scrapbooking can be fun, I have the attention span of some of my 1st and 2nd graders. Making cards is a much better hobby for me, because it's something I can actually do and finish. I wish I had more time to cultivate this passion, but alas, I will take what little time I can get for it. :-) I'm certainly not the best at making cards, but I do enjoy it, and it allows me a creative outlet!

Here is a card I made last summer. A friend of mine saw it and wanted something similar for a wedding. I love these colors together, but you could easily change the color scheme. This is very simple to make. Take a piece of sparkly/pretty scrapbook paper and layer on top of your base card stock for your background. Take a black piece of scrap cardstock or ribbon to glue to the upper third of the page (see next step - I used a strip from the textured paper). Then, find a sweet quote to either glue or mount on top of a black piece of card stock (I used textured black paper). Use crystal embellishments for the corners. Place your quote centered over the ribbon layer on your card. Add some kind of lovey-dovey embellishments at the bottom of your card, and you're done! Enjoy! Pin It

Thursday, February 9, 2012

Play-Doh Center - Sight Words

I always use a Play-Doh center in 1st grade. I start the year having students use cookie cutters and play-doh to make other students' names in our class. That helps with both class name recognition and spelling (which is helpful for both the tattle and compliment jar - see previous post). However, after the 1st or 2nd quarter, I switch over to sight words. After a LOT of training on how to use this center appropriately, :-), students are able to use this center during guided reading. The kiddos LOVE it, and it's so easy. I just change out the words every week or couple weeks. The students take the Play-Doh center to a set spot, and they use cookie cutters to cut out the letters for the words. Then, after making the sight words with play-doh, they write the word in the box, and then they either write a sentence or draw a "quick pic" (a super quick, not too detailed picture). It's such a fun, tactile way for students to practice their words!! Feel free to download the recording sheet for free (the link is under the picture)!

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Tuesday, February 7, 2012

Treasure Trash

Do you ever have that feeling at the end of the day where you look around the classroom and you feel your blood pressure rising at the amount of trash on the floor? Treasure Trash is a game I play with my class every now and then. Sometimes, especially when my classroom is especially messy, we play this game, and the kiddos are always super excited. To play, I tell the students I have a secret piece of trash on the floor. I don't tell the students which piece it is, but I choose it and keep it secret. The students then go around and pick up as many pieces of trash as they can. 1 rule I use is that have to do this super silently, or they will be disqualified. After a few minutes, after someone has picked up the secret trash, I gather the kids around and reveal what the secret trash was and who found it. That person then gets to get some kind of treasure for picking up the secret trash! We, of course, then cheer for that student and practice our good sportsmanship! This is such an awesome game to use on occasion, because my floors look spotless afterwards, and the kids are so quiet playing, that it's a nice, quiet, calm way to end the day. :-)
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Monday, February 6, 2012

Using Double 10 Frames Game

This will be a super short posting tonight, as I'm exhausted! :-) This game is called Using Double 10-Frames. To play this math game, each student gets a recording sheet. The students roll either a 6 or 9 sided die two times and create a number sentence. They draw chips or dots on the 10 frames, and whoever has the higher sum is the winner! I created this game as an extension game for our math series, and I also used it for centers. Click the link below the picture to download!

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Friday, February 3, 2012

Voice Cards as Promised

Here are the voice cards I said I would be making at some point. I finally sat down and made them! I use voices when I'm having the students read, chorally answer, or share with a partner. It's such an easy way for them to be entertained while learning/practicing skills, and they love it! It is another strategy to keep the kiddos engaged, and honestly, a teacher can never have too many of those tucked away. Again, cut these out, laminate them, and keep them on a ring for easy reference! Enjoy, and I hope you find these useful!

What a nice Friday it's been, and yet I'm still glad it's over! I'm not sure if I will be blogging this weekend or not. Parent-teacher conferences are upon us next week in my district, and I'm going to need to store up my strength this weekend! ;-)

Click the link below the pictures to download the voice cards.

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Thursday, February 2, 2012

Toss and Write - Comparing Numbers

Happy Thursday! Today was a special day in my blogging world. I've made it past 1000 page views! Wow! Thank you all so much for stopping by to visit! I've really enjoyed sharing ideas with everyone. :-)

Boy howdy, does anyone else feel the burn of the new mathematics common core?? Next year will be much better, but this year has been tough! I will say, I'm impressed with some of the new strategies my students are developing, even though the curriculum is "tougher" and more rigorous.

Anyway, enough of that. We are in the middle of a unit on comparing and ordering numbers. This game is a game I created for students to use at centers to practice comparing numbers. Players take turns tossing a bean or chip onto the gameboard. They each write their numbers on the recording sheet and decide together which comparing symbol to write. Whoever has the greater number is the winner! Easy peasy. I have one board that has only 1 or 2 digit numbers, and then 1 board that goes into the hundreds. Enjoy either one! Click the links below the pictures for the boards, the recording sheet, and the directions.

Board #1 - 1 and 2 digit numbers:

Board #2 - 1-3 digit numbers:

Toss and Write Recording Sheet:

Toss and Write Directions:

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Wednesday, February 1, 2012

Highlight-a-Word: /ow/ and /ou/

Speaking of highlighting in my last post, I just created this highlight-a-word activity for one of our shared reading stories, so feel free to use it if you like! We are going to be working on vowel pattern /ou/ and /ow/. To use this activity, students read the words in the box. They then get to highlight the words with the spelling patterns, and they "X" out the other ones. Then, they write and sort the words they highlighted. Finally, they get to use one of the words to write a sentence! Pin It

Lightning Words - Sight Word Game

It doesn't take much to amuse primary age children! Make a game out of learning, and the kids are all in. Give them a highlighter, and they think they are on top of the world.

Lightning Words is a game that my students absolutely love. I use this game for both sight words and new vocabulary words that we are learning in shared reading. To play this game, each student gets a "gameboard" and a highlighter (after, of course, a very serious discussion about using the highlighter as a tool, not a toy). ;-) The teacher then either says the sight word, says a sentence using the word, or, if you are doing vocabulary, says the definition of the word. The students have to try to search for the word that the teacher reads. If they find the word, they get to highlight the word. If they find the word in 3 seconds or less (I usually just count aloud slowly), they get to color in the lightning bolt in addition to highlighting the word. I also have a big discussion about honesty and how it doesn't matter if you don't get to color the bolt in yet, because that means you get to practice it some more. I also make a huge deal out of students who are honest, and then they all want to proudly tell me that they were honest. :-)

Let me know if you have any questions, but this is literally such an easy game, and the kids absolutely love it! Also, feel free to e-mail me if you'd like a Word copy so you can change and modify the words! Click the link below to download the pdf. Pin It
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