Thursday, March 29, 2012


I LOVE Pinterest. I can spend HOURS upon HOURS searching and browsing through the amazing home ideas, recipes, clothing ensembles, diy projects, teacher resources, workout programs, funny quotes, etc... You get the point.... :-) Anyway, there is a newish website called Pinerly, and it's going to make Pinterest EVEN BETTER (can you believe that???)!!! Pinerly will help make your pinning more efficient and even better. If you'd like to sign up and are a Pinterest addict like I am, click HERE HERE - PINERLY to go to their website! Have fun! Pin It

Wednesday, March 28, 2012

2 Dice Adding and Graphing Game

We just started our graphig unit with EnVision this week, and I created a game that students can use for practice (I threw in some addition practice as well, because goodness knows they can always improve). This does print on big 11 x 17 paper. To play, each student gets a gameboard and recording sheet. Students take turns rolling 2 dice. They will then record the addition sentence for the dice rolled below the correct sum on the graph below (2 + 2 under the 4, etc). Students continue until one of their columns is full. Whoever can reach the finish line, or the bottom of one of the columns first, is the winner! Students then work on graphing their results and answering questions about their graph. Enjoy if you can use this activity! Just click on either picture below, or you can click HERE to download from TpT. Happy Hump Day! I'm feeling a little bit of spring fever with this beautiful weather we're having, and it took everything in me today to not stare longingly out the window all afternoon. :-)

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Tuesday, March 27, 2012

Swag Bucks

Have you guys heard of or used Swag Bucks yet? Swag Bucks is awesome, and if you haven't been using it, simply put, you should! :-) Swag Bucks is a search engine that is used just like Yahoo or Google, but you can earn "swag bucks" that can be traded in for gift cards or other things that are listed in their "Swag Bucks store". It is the greatest thing ever, because you earn free things while working just as you normally would online. I installed the toolbar on all my computers, and that has helped me remember to use their search engine for everything. Anytime I get on the computer, I type the website I'm looking for in the toolbar. For instance, instead of coming straight to, I type "" in my search bar. It doesn't give you points/swag bucks everytime you search, but the more you search, the more you earn. There are other ways to earn swag bucks through their website, but I mainly use it for searching for things on the web. I think you can earn points by finding codes, shopping through their site, filling out polls and watching videos, and filling out surveys, but you'll just have to check it out for yourself. My favorite thing to redeem my bucks for are gift cards, such as, but they have a ton of things you can peruse through. This is such a great way to earn cool, free things for the classroom, your home, or just a treat for yourself! Check it out sometime. If you'd like to join and set up an account, click the picture below or click HERE!!!

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Monday, March 26, 2012

1st Grade Story Elements

We are working on story elements for instructional focus this week. For the tutorial group (our sweethearts who just need an extra boost and support), we started out by making and going over our anchor chart (you will notice we aren't focusing on plot or story events just yet for this week - we hit that more in sequencing or during shared reading/guided reading).

 Next, we split up into 2 small groups, and we went over this fairy tale sorting activity as a small group (just the characters, problem, and solution for this activity). We took some popular fairy tales the kids knew, and I read the cards aloud and had the students help me sort them into the correct column. This was a nice introductory activity where we could kind of work all together. If you'd like a copy of this activity, just either picture, and it will direct you to where you can download it, or you can click HERE. To prepare, all you have to do is download, copy, paste the boards on large construction paper, laminate, and cut out the cards. For older kids I would let them do this sorting activity in pairs, trios, or small groups, but for the younger kids or kids who need extra help, you can just do it all together.

Look for more story element activities later this week! :-)
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Thursday, March 22, 2012

Common Core App

I found the coolest thing ever when I joined Deb's blog at Fabulously First. She had a great tip for downloading the Common Core Standards App to your blog. I LOVE this, as it makes it so super easy to quickly find a standard to correlate with whatever you are needing. If you look at the right hand side of my blog, you will see a little pullout bar. Click it and you will have quick access to all the Common Core Standards! Woo-hoo!!! To add this cool app to your own blog, go HERE - Mastery Connect to get your HTML code and to watch a short video on how to install if you aren't sure. What a great find!!! Thanks again to Deb for the tip - be sure to stop by her blog sometime by clicking her button below!:
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Wednesday, March 21, 2012

Spin-a-Sight-Word Game

Here is a new sight word game I've created for partners to use. I'll be putting this in my sight word center, so if you can use it, enjoy! To play this game, each pair of students gets a game board. Each student chooses 1 side of the game board (left or right) and gets 6 counters or game markers. Students take
turns spinning the spinner (on top of the recording sheets). If they spin one of the shapes,
they must then read a sight word on their side of the game board that is on a
corresponding shape. They can then cover that word/shape with one of their game
markers. If a student spins the “You Pick” option, he/she may choose any of his/her
words to read and mark. If all of the shapes are already marked when a student spins
it, he/she just loses his/her turn. Students may also fill out their recording sheets by
writing the name of the shape they spun and the sight word they read (any chance to combine math and ELA is always a plus)! :-) 

Instructions are also included, and you can either click either one of the pictures below to download, or you can download from my TpT store for free HERE

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Sunday, March 18, 2012

Fluency Mini-Cards for Guided Reading (or anytime)

Fluency is so important for readers to learn and practice. Fluency is one of the many keys to comprehension. A student should be able to read with meaning, and being fluent aids that. I created these mini-cards to use during guided reading, but of course they could be used anytime. They are just little reminders of what it means to read fluently. We've discussed with our students many times, but these will maybe just be that extra support they need to remember what to focus on. Reading for fluency gives our students some purpose to rereads, and while there are obviously other reasons to reread a story, students want to know that what they are doing is relevant and purposeful. Click the picture to download or go to my TpT store to download for free! :-) Enjoy! To use, just copy on card stock, laminate, and cut apart!

 or download from TpT HERE
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Saturday, March 17, 2012

New TpT Product - Spring Butterfly Math Pack

I just posted a new product on TpT - come visit my store to see it! This math pack is $2.50 and includes Catching Butterflies (using double 10-frames - this game is also available for free both on my website and on TpT), Basic Butterfly Addition and Subtraction (game board with basic facts), Subtraction Butterfly Bump, and Addition Butterfly Memory. Directions are included on the activities, but they are pretty standard and straight forward. Enjoy and click the link to preview it: Spring Butterfly Math Pack

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Another Award and TPT

A big thank you to Stacy at Mrs. Johnson's First Grade for the Top Ten blog award! I am going to have to think about who to pass this one on to, so I will post that later. Thanks so much to everyone who has joined my blog - it is growing every single day, and I just love it! Sharing ideas and finding fellow blogs to stalk read has been so enjoyable, and I feel like a better teacher with all the awesome ideas out there! :-)
Thank you also to Michelle at The 3AM Teacher for creating the Giver Award! What a cute award. This can also be passed along to other blogs!

On another note, I have finally gotten my Teachers Pay Teacher store up and running. I've transferred all my free files over there, and every freebie I post on my blog I will put on my TpT store as well. That way everything will be in one place! I will also be working on some units and fun things to post in the future on TpT. Stop by and visit and become a fan! :-) If you'd like to sign up for TpT and haven't yet, click this link:

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Thursday, March 15, 2012

Catching Butterflies

I haven't posted much this week with it being Spring Break! Anyway, I just wanted to let you all know that I haven't forgotten you - I'm just taking a bit of a break. :-) Here is a free math game/center I created to help my students practice using ten-frames and making numbers. To prep this activity, I will be putting butterfly (bow tie) pasta in baggies. I will be making quite a few baggies of mixed, random amounts between 1-20 (you could extend this by adding more pasta and having students use 2 or more mats). Students will then choose a baggie, place the "butterflies" on their ten-frame mats, and record the number on the recording sheet. I set up the recording sheet so they have practice writing the number of butterflies in 4 different ways. The students can then just keep repeating this. If you can use this, feel free to download, and leave some feedback if possible!! Just click the link below the pictures to download. Happy Thursday! I can feel Spring upon us, and it feels great!
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Tuesday, March 13, 2012

Kinder-2nd Linky Party

I know, double post. However, I had to do this now before I forgot. I love linky parties, and I found one that is just awesome. Jeannie over at Kindergarten Lifestyle had the BRILLIANT idea to link up all the wonderful K-2 blogs that are out there in bloggy universe. I just LOVE finding new blogs, as everyone seems to have great ideas, resources, and tips. Go now and check it out and be sure to start following some of the fabulous new blogs out there!!! Click the picture below to go the direct page and sign up!

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One Lovely Blog Award

Wow! So spring break is upon us in my school district right now, and the hubby and I went out of town for the weekend for some much needed R&R. When I got back, I was surprised by a couple of sweet fellow bloggers who had given me my first blog award! What a great thing to come home to! :-) I feel so excited and honored - thank you so very much to Brittany at Sweet Seconds and Erika at The Honey Bunch!!! These 2 ladies both have super cute blogs of their own, so please go and check them out!!! I just love finding new blogs, and I am just so impressed with the way blogging teachers share their ideas and resources.

I now get to pass this lovely award on to some other deserving blogs, and I will be including some new discoveries as well as some old favorites. Here are the rules for the award:

1. Link back to the blogger(s) who gave you the award.
2. Pass the award on to 5 other lovely bloggers.
3. Follow the person who sent it to you.

Soooooo..... Drumroll please! Here are the blogs I am passing this award along to:

 Michelle at The 3AM Teacher - love love love her graphics, clip arts, and tutorials!

Deb at Oh My Little Classity Class - shares so many free resources and has great common core math activities, she has been so helpful to me as I've started my blogging journey!

Lori at Conversations in Literacy - Lori has tons of great literacy ideas, and she shares them so selflessly!

Krista at The Second Grade Superkids - I just discovered this blog recently, and I'm excited to see what else she has in store. She is a teacher in a dual language classroom, especially as I have a high ELL population in my classroom.

Jill at Mrs. T's First Grade Class - This is another fairly new blog to me, and I'm really enjoying reading about her class (she teaches at an arts centered school - very cool!) and seeing her ideas, pictures, and resources.

Thanks again to Brittany at Sweet Seconds and Erika at The Honey Bunch for thinking of me, and to the blogs I passed the award on to, come and get it! :-)
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Friday, March 9, 2012

3 Leaf Clover Shamrock Fun - Adding 3 Numbers

My kiddos can always use practice with basic skills, and adding 3 numbers (really adding in general) is one of those basic skills that they could use practice with. This game will give my students the chance to not only practice adding, but also the chance to use the strategies they've learned. AND, it's seasonal as St. Patrick's Day is next weekend. These days we'll take it however we can get it. ;-)

To play, students will face a partner. He/she will roll a die 3 times and record the numbers rolled on the shamrock leaves. He/she will use the addition strategies we've learned to find the sum. The student will write the sum on the clover's leaves, and he/she will fill out the number sentence below. Whoever has the greater sum can put a star/smiley face next to his/her clover. If you can use the game, feel free to click the picture to download, and if you are able to, please leave me some bloggy love. :-)  Happy Friday!!!

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Wednesday, March 7, 2012

Vowel Ladder Game

Here is a free game I created for my students to practice reading and identifying words with short and long vowels. To play, students share a game board, and each student chooses a ladder (1 will take the short vowel ladder and 1 will take the long vowel ladder) and places his/her marker at the bottom. The kids then shuffle the word cards (or picture cards for your lower kids) and take turns choosing a card and reading the word aloud. Then, if the word has a short vowel sound in the middle, the person with the short vowel ladder gets to move his/her marker up one rung. If the word has a long vowel sound, the person with the long vowel ladder gets to move his/her marker up a rung. The partner who makes it to the top first is the winner! You could also have the students write the word on the ladder rungs or on a separate piece of paper if you want your students to have the writing practice too. Click the link below the pictures to download, and let me know if you have any questions! If you are able to use this activity, feel free to leave me some feedback - thanks so much! :-) Pin It

Tuesday, March 6, 2012

Measurement Find Someone Who

I love infusing cooperative learning and movement type activities into the classroom. Cooperative learning helps keep students engaged and accountable, and it gives them ownership in their learning. Anyway, one activity I use is Find Someone Who. You have probably used this before, but to "play", students walk around and find someone who can follow whatever directions are on the board or in the boxes. The other person does whatever the box says and signs his/her initials. As with all cooperative learning structures, this will take time at first to set up your expectations, but that is kind of a given. The Find Someone Who structure can be used for literally, any subject! I've used it for sight words, phonics, math problems, reading comprehension, vocabulary, social studies, team building/beginning/end of year, and science. I've even used it for professional development! The possibilities are endless. :-)

Anyway, we are wrapping up our measurement unit in math, and I created this FSW (Find Someone Who) activity for review. The graphics are from a free download at Big thanks to her for her hard work and willingness to share her graphics! Feel free to download the FSW activity if you can use it. :-) The image is linked!
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Monday, March 5, 2012

Instructional Focus - Sequencing

We do something called Instructional Focus each day at our school. I'm sure a lot of schools/districts do this, as my old district did this also. Anyway, I absolutely LOVE Instructional Focus, and I really think it's a super beneficial part of our school day. Each day, we start our day with IF. We are lucky enough at my school to have IF partners, as this is a school wide program. The specialists, classified staff, and other non-classroom teachers are pushed in to partner classrooms. The whole school is involved and engaged, and that sets a great precedence for learning. We love it because we get to focus on skills that are weaker, the specialists/partners love it because they get to see what we're working on in the classrooms (and some can carry it over and integrate it into other areas), and the kids love it because they get to work on engaging and relevant activities first thing in the morning. 

Each week we alternate between a math or a reading goal, and we set a Smart Goal for each week during PLC time (professional learning communities). Because we have partner teachers come in, my previous coworker and I started our current format for IF, and my current coworker and I are continuing to follow it. Basically, our push-in partner teachers are the library and PE teacher. So, my coworker and I split up the students based on flexible grouping (based on pre/post test data), and we have an "enrichment" and a "tutorial" group. The students may move between groups at any time due to data, anecdotal records, or informal observation. The library and PE teacher take the enrichment group and extend the lessons to meet the students' needs. My coworker and I take the tutorial group to go deeper and more intense with whatever skill/indicator we are working on. We provide all lesson plans/materials/explanations to our helper teachers for the enrichment group, and even though it is a lot of work, it is 100% completely worth it. Our helpers are amazing, and it gives us a chance to really focus and zone in on the kiddos that need extra help.

Anyway, our skill last week was sequencing. Last week I planned the tutorial group, and my coworker planned the enrichment group plans for IF. She focused on beginning, middle, and end flow maps and sequencing within stories. I focused on first what sequencing was, and then easing into sequencing within stories. First, in the tutorial group, we made an anchor chart that explained what sequencing was and when students would see it.
 Then, we started the week we just practicing sequencing in the context of technical writing (connecting to our snowman writing). We had the students write the steps for making toast, something even my ELL students could connect to, and then the students were able to make an example.
 Next, we took it a step further and started talking about sequencing in context of reading stories. I read the story Duck on a Bike, and we gave each student a card that had the story event already listed (the students drew a quick pic to match the event). When I read the story a 2nd time, the students listened carefully for their event, and the placed it in order up on the ledge. We then taped the events down in order.

On Wednesday, the Tutorial group got to read the story The Very Hungry Caterpillar and sequence the events on their own on sentence strips (I didn't have a chance to take pictures the rest of the week). Then, on Thursday, we read The Three Silly Girls Grubb, and the students filled out sequencing flow charts all together. And last, on Friday, we read short story called The Toss. I copied pictures of the story events, and the kiddos had to sequence the pictures and orally retell the story to their partner. Then, they 4 squared the events using time order words (literally take a piece of copy paper, fold it into fourths, and the students write 1 sentence per box using time order words, then they draw a picture). I wish I'd taken a pic of the 4 square, because they turned out pretty well! I was impressed with how well the students did with sequencing, and of course, we will continue to work on the skill in both shared reading and guided reading (and read aloud). Both the tutorial and the enrichment groups did well with this skill, and it was a very highly productive week for us! :-) Pin It
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