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Monday, January 31, 2011

Monday News & Place Value Marshmallow Activity {first grade}

{Scroll Down!  Printables posted below!}

Happy Monday, sweet friends!  It's been a *dang* good day, and I'm certainly glad that Monday is out of the way.  I'm mildly tuning into The Bachelor while I type tonight.  {Sidenote: Does Brad get Botox?  I'm not judging, he just looks a little...hmmm...tight-ish in the face??  Also, Chantelle just said "orifices."  Shoooo, buddy.} 

Anyway, thank you so much for your sweet comments about the new blog!  I'm working with my amazing blog designer on the finishing touches and it should be up and running soon.  But, until then, those of you who are here to read about un-teaching related topics will just have to persevere. 

So, this weekend.  I'm failing miserably at NOT working on the weekend.  Of course, I'm spending every Sunday naptime up at school, despite my accountability partners (mom and Dr. B) calling to tell me I need to be at home.  I can't help it.  As I'm sure many of you can relate, sometimes teaching is so much more of a hobby for me than a chore.  I get a lot out of organizing, planning, and creating.

Speaking of organizing.  I bought a bunch of paper trays at Goodwill on Friday night and couldn't wait to attack my filing cabinet, which was ridiculously overloaded with stuff.  And I came to one conclusion: I am a Paper Hoarder. Hi, I'm Abby and there's nothing that does it for me like a fresh stack of colored paper. Except maybe a new package of Flair pens...  Apparently, I have enough pink and purple construction paper to last for many Valentines Days to come.  And then some. 

All while I was doing this, Becks was running around terrorizing playing with all the goodies in my room.  My kiddos kept coming up to me this morning asking why they found an odd item in their desk or out of place.  The culprit?  This lollipop eatin' chickadee.  He was in to everything.  I'm still scraping play-doh particles off his shoe soles. 

A couple of quick teaching ideas...

In an effort to send off the snow with a bang, we completed our gobzillionth snow activity last week, and I announced to my class that I would not be discussing snow anymore during the remainder of their first grade year.  SO. OVER. IT.  {And, of course, we're supposed to get iced tomorrow.  Lovely.}

How precious is this sign?!  I had a few students volunteer to make it so pokey fingers wouldn't be tempted to touch our VERY touchable creations!  I love that it says "are" instead of "our."  Only in first grade :)

We made super fluff snowmen with a combination of shaving cream and white Elmer's glue. If you're looking to make them, I have no scientific method for mixing the two, but err on the side of more shaving cream for a fluffier mix. No one likes a runny snowman.
Sorry for the pic overload, but I just LOVE how cute they turned out!  A VERY tactile activity, too!

Today, I taught an introductory lesson to place value, and it went surprisingly well!  I found this idea online somewhere, and then adapted it for my classroom, plus created a printable for my students to use with it.  First they assembled place value holders with marshmallows and toothpicks.  I made a little hundreds, tens, and ones mat for them to sit their marshmallows on.  Then, I called out 1-, 2-, and 3-digit numbers for them to create using o-shaped cereal on the toothpicks.  Afterwards, they used the worksheet to recreate the marshmallow activity and write the numbers they were making.  {This is a good lesson to do before introducing cubes, longs, and flats.}  I hope the pictures below help you make more sense of this activity.


And, if you want a free download of the corresponding recording sheet and sorting mat, click HERE. Let me know if you have any questions :) 

Have a super Tuesday, y'all!!!

Sunday, January 30, 2011

Coming Soon...

Just a little teaser pic :)

Saturday, January 29, 2011

Weekend Mish Mash

Becks and I just returned from grocery shopping.  I don't know about you, but I do not get prettied up to hit up Kroger on a Saturday morning.  I do brush my teeth, but I totally rock my bedhead ponytail and yoga pants PJs.  If I really want to gussy up, I might throw in some faux pearl studs - ya know, just in case I run into that hot guy from high school  that I used to date.

Oh, wait.  I'm married to that hot guy ;)

Anyway, Becks has been my date this weekend, accompanying me everywhere from Goodwill {yup, I'm thrifting again!}, to Baskin Robbins {bribery}, to the grocery story {we're out of milk.  again.}.  I love taking him along and getting to spend some one-on-one time with him. 

This is the extent of Becks' character clothing.  You know how I feel about it.  Of course, it's like his favorite shirt.
While Goodwilling produced some ah-mazing finds last night, I do have to tell you the absolutely unbelievable conversation I had with some 20-year-old chick.  Let's just say my Momma Bear claws about came out.  And I rarely feel the need to bar those. 

Anyway, Becks and I were both wearing our Ugg boots.  Fairly typical since we can't escape the snow around these parts.  This girl immediately came over and started gushing over how cute he was wearing "those" boots.  Then, she went over and told her co-worker she'd never seen a little boy wearing "girl" boots.  Whatever.  I continued to shop and blew her off. 
I think these are not girly look at all.  If you think so, don't tell me!
She happened to be the one checking me out and continued to go on about the boots and how she can't believe he's wearing them.  Then, and I am not exaggerating, this is what she says to me:

"You do know those are G-I-R-L boots, don't you?"  {Yup, she even spelled out the word!}

Um, no, they are not GIRL boots.  THE NERVE. They're grey, he's two, and they're snow boots.  I told her they were totally unisex and she seriously frowned and shook her head and whispered, "No, they're not..."  My blood was a-boilin', y'all.  Girl's lucky I'm very non-confrontational, paid for my purchases, and then went on to call every member in my family to relay the story so I didn't wring her little neck.  Shooooo, buddy.

So, on to the great find of the night...

A pair of Genetic Denim Cigarette Skinny Jeans in Silver that retail for - stop the world - $188!!!!

I only wish my butt looked that good in them!

And the best part?  Besides the fact that they're like brand new, it was 50% off clothes last night, so they were regularly $6.99 and I got them for $3.50!  Ah!  Loooooove and loooooooove.  {PS.  I live in the suburb of a biggish city, which is why I have pretty good luck finding designer duds.}  And what are the odds they were my size in the waist and length?  Had to be fate :) 

Have you found anything good thrifting lately?

Happy Saturday, y'all! 

Friday, January 28, 2011

Inferencing Activity {First Grade}

We learned about inferencing this week in First Grade and I was determined to find a better way to teach it than complete the ridiculously ineffective {and booooooring} graphic organizer that my reading series issues for this unit.  It was totally BLAH.  Anyway, with snow being so prevalent in our lives right now, it only seemed fitting to find a way to connect inferencing to the ever-present white stuff that is driving me batty.  {This was actually the lesson I taught for my observation.}
So, I decided my students were going to Inference Investigators

 After activating prior knowledge with Snow Day by Barbara Joose, we completed a whole group graphic organizer about snow day activities. 

Next, I read a cute mini-story that I wrote about "Tim", who is at home on a snow day with his grandmother.  When his mom arrives home from work, she has no idea where either Tim or his grandmother are or what they did all day.  So she starts searching the house in search of "Snow Day Evidence."  After reading this story to my students, I told them that their assignment was to be an "Inference Investigator" and to work with their group members to sort through the evidence Tim's mom collected to figure out a) what they did all day and b) where they were when she got home.

I presented the evidence in Snow Day Case Files (laminated manila envelopes) that contained four "pieces of evidence."  They were oh so excited!  I looooove to see my kids get pumped up about learning! I gave them a recording sheet so that they could make inferences based on the objects in their case file.

Here is what one group found...

Thus, they could infer that Tim and his grandma might have eaten at McDonalds and drank hot cocoa. 

Each group had a different set of evidence, and some of the evidence connected to other group's evidence.  For instance, one group had a muffin tin and inferred that they made cupcakes.  However, another group had a recipe for blueberry muffins.  So, at the end of the lesson when we reconvened as a whole group to sort through all of the evidence together, the two groups were able to conclude that they must have made blueberry muffins (though cupcakes was a great inference, too!). 

To finish the lesson, students responded to some questions that I wrote out.  We then extended the lesson by creating a whole-group timeline of what we thought their day might have been like; then, the students chose a time and illustrated Tim and grandma's activity.

{This may seem like a complex activity - and it is detailed - but it isn't easy to teach 6- and 7-year-olds about inferences.   So, this is VERY hands-on, and my students really "got it" when all was said and done.  I heard lots of Aww, now it I get it!  or It all makes sense now!  as they sorted through the evidence - making them detectives was key!} 

I have created a printable of this entire activity that includes the detailed lesson plan, story, case file front/back, graphic organizers (not pictured), and activity sheets (not pictured) - plus, as a bonus, 2 inferencing definition posters, and 5 inferencing pictures and text posters to supplement your reading series or to use with a mini-lesson.  You can buy it at Teachers Pay Teachers by clicking HERE. 

If you click on the picture below, you can download a free printable of one the inferencing pictures/text posters.  The picture of the one in my classroom seen beneath has copyrighted clip art, so I couldn't upload it to TpT.  However, the clip art I used for the printable was much, much, much cuter!  I'm going to reprint them for my room.  Enjoy :)

{FYI: You need the latest download of Adobe Acrobat to clearly view/print the download. MAC users need a special Adobe application.}

What are your ideas for teaching inferencing? 
I'd love, love, love to hear them - and happy Friday!

{PS.  For those of you that asked, I create all the printables in a Word document that I then convert to a PDF.  I share them via Google docs. Would you like a more detailed explanation?  I could write another post about it if you do!  Let me know :)}

Wednesday, January 26, 2011

Dollar Tree Deal for Teachers!

Stop what you're doing right now, get out your favorite colored Flair pen, and add "Go to Dollar Tree" on your to-do list tomorrow because you're just going to die over these little Dollar Tree darlings...

Stop the world.  Aren't they precious?!  I'm sure tons of your have "Word Munchers" in your rooms, but I didn't have one and when I saw these little guys I just had to snatch them up!  They're actually gift bags. Maybe this isn't a novel idea, but I am just smitten with this trio! 

I put them on my window ledge by my whole group meeting spot, and think they're going to work perfectly for sorting long /o/ words tomorrow and other words in the future.  Obviously, you could use them for many other sorting purposes, and they fold which is a major bonus for storing purposes or if you're limited on space.  And, THEY'RE ONLY A BUCK a piece!  Love. It.

{I attached the rimes with sticky tack so I could easily remove them.}

I made this printable to go with it.  There are blank spaces on the worksheet where you can fill in your own word family, rime, blend, diagraph, ending, whatever!  Click on the picture below to download.

Have a great day, y'all! 

Tuesday, January 25, 2011

12 Kinds of Exhausted

Tonight, I am - you guessed it - 12 kinds of exhausted.  I had the second of two yearly-observations this morning, a necessary evil of being an untenured teacher.  In all honesty, it's not the observation that I mind.  It's the planning and preparation and pressure of the lesson that really takes it out of me.  I'm slightly a type-A personality, so everything has to be, in a word: perfect.  And while I had the idea for my observation lesson in mind all along, it wasn't until last night that my creativity really started kicking in and I was up until 1am polishing off my activities and resources.  Combine that with MAP testing for an hour, plus a conference with a parent, and all the bribes I had to bestow upon my firsties to get them through the day without turning into whackadoos and you've got ONE TIRED TEACHER.  And if it gives you any idea just how tired I am, I'm probably going to have to DVR Teen Mom 2.  That's tired, you all.

Becks and B are at the Depot, buying who knows what.  I'm kind of just enjoying the quiet, and another episode of House Hunters.  Happy Wednesday, ya'll :)

{If I magically get a second wind, I'll be posting a super fun activity!  If not tonight, then hopefully tomorrow! }

Monday, January 24, 2011

R to the andom

1.  Is there anyone else who could watch Househunters all day long?  Really, we usually fall asleep on the couch watching it every. single. night. 

2.  I get really disappointed when the forecast includes snow at only a 20% chance.  I either want a 0% chance or a 100% chance.  Flurries are just annoying.  Unless its Christmas.  Then, they're enchanting.

3.  I have totally had it with my semi-not-blonde-but-not-brunette-either hair.  OVER. IT.  I'm going back to blonde. 

4.  Sometimes I wonder if I'm really 80-years-old in a 28-year-old body.  Mainly because I sit with a heating pad behind my back and wrapped up in fleece blankets every night just to keep warm while I blogstalk.

5.  Totally loving The Secret Life of Cee Cee Wilkes.  I'm probably the last one to jump on this book club favorite, but I seriously read a non-school-related book like twice a year.  It's something I need to work on.

6.  There is a lot of nudity in our home lately.  Beck would be clothesless all day, every day if we would let him. 

7.  Did you know that one of the top ten phrases that turns up my blog when Googled is "J Woww hair?"  That is a little disconcerting.  {I hope "nudity in our home" doesn't start sending people here, too...}

8.  I have the baby bug something awful.  I am doodling baby names again...

9.  The environment hates me right now.  We have gone through a ridiculous amount of plastic, styrofoam, and paper plates, cups, and bowls since we are sinkless and dishwasherless.  Not to mention the sweet 360 piece set of plastic forks, spoons, and knives my mom picked up for me at Sam's. 

10.  I've fallen off The Bachelor bandwagon.  Brad just wasn't doing anything for me.  And they had a VAMPIRE on there.  I mean, I like Twilight just as much as the next girl, but not in real life.  Really, ABC?  REALLY?!

Sunday, January 23, 2011

Busy, busy!

Oh mah word, we have had a busy weekend.  The kitchen isn't complete, so don't get excited.  We're working on a DIY schedule, which means that progress is regularly interrupted by we-don't-know-what-the-heck-we're-doing moments.  So, we have to call on the experts.  The experts being B's dad and Matt, my brother-in-law, and of course Google.  {Please note: My husband is also an expert and is single-handedly attacking this kitchen with more know-how than I could even imagine having.  He's kind of awesome like that.}

When it finally stopped snowing, our super sweet built-in electrician {i.e. Matt} came over to move and add new outlets to the kitchen, and B and his dad made it out to Lowes to exchange half of what we bought last Monday.  Measurements were a wee bit off.  The drywalling is almost complete, with one more round of joint-compound to go on  tomorrow (it takes fo-eva).  I'm going to quit saying we're going to paint and do the floors because every time I think it's going to happen, it doesn't. 


In other news, my son has created a new dance that we've coined the Booty-Shaker.  It looks a little something like this: 

Kid's got moves.  Probably from watching his momma belt it out to Britney into a hairbrush.

I, too, was doing the Booty-Shaker when I saw how many of you have ordered my Clipboard Classroom Activities at TpT.  THANK YOU!!!!  I mean, I was 12 kinds of excited to sell one, but y'all made me more like 1200 kinds of excited!  Again: thank you, thank you, thank you!

We also celebrated my nephew Sutton's birthday this weekend.  As if it weren't enough to have one crazy two-year-old boy in our family, now we have two!  And boy do those boys keep us busy.  My sister and I already talk about the crazy shananigans we're going to get calls about in a few years. 

I hope y'all had a great weekend!  Have a super week :)

Friday, January 21, 2011

New Literacy Printables!

Hello, friends!

I've uploaded a new product at Teachers Pay Teachers called Clipboard Classroom Activities!
I was inspired to create these activities to use in my literacy centers after I spent FAR TOO LONG trying to make new activities for every week.  While I love to add new things in every now and then, these activities are reusable every week all year long and keep students engaged and focused.

Furthermore, my students *love* using a clipboard!  It's like they're "in charge" of something important while they're working :) 

{Now, of course you don't have to use a clipboard with these activities, but it's certainly adds a little somethin' extra!}

There are 18 usable pages that can be purchased at TpT that include reading response logs, read/write the room activities, sticker story templates, and more!

You can download a free printable of one of the pages by clicking the picture below.  You can purchase the whole packet by clicking HERE

Have a great Friday!

Thursday, January 20, 2011

What I Love...

What I Love... {Thursday Edition}

I love that Beckham came downstairs today, proudly announcing that he was wearing "boxers." He had no diaper on, the "boxers" were on backwards, and were hiked up in all the wrong places. LOVE. HIM

I love the sound of Rick's voice. He's the guy who records our snow delays and closings and then all-calls everyone in the county. Every time the number comes up on my phone, I tell B that my boyfriend is calling ;) {Off again tomorrow - it will be the first day we have to make up at the end of the year. Boo.}

I love Snooki's faceplant into the sand {"Where's the beach?!}. Bwah ha ha ha! If you need a little happy in your life, please youtube it.

I love Michelle from Fantastic First Grade for creating THIS amazing resource. If you teacher K or 1st you MUST download it!

I love Kroger's new flavors of CarbMaster yogurts. Not because they're low-carb {I could seriously care less}, but because of the *FUN* flavors! Strawberry Colada, Vanilla Chai, & Carrot Cake = YUM. Particularly when frozen.

I love the delicious pumpkin-devilsfood muffins that my lovely neighbor brought over. Especially because I've been cah-raving chocolate ANYTHING. I miss my oven and its ability to bake chocolate chip cookies :(

I love that Teacher Week is going to come back in the very near future! This time with a co-host and special contributors {you'll have to wait to see who they are}! Right now, I'm looking at late February or early March. It was so fun in August, and I think we could all use a winter pick-me-up. Get excited!

I love Diet Coke. I know you already probably know that about me, but its tastiness and ability to calm my nerves and/or recharge my battery can always be reiterated.

I love that my husband doesn't think its completely abnormal that Becks and I were dancing, remote-control microphones in hand to old school Britney Spears today. I mean, I was breaking. it. down. Kicking and punching the air with my super-sweet dance moves, swinging my hair around, and basically channelling my inner popstar. B knows me and knows this is totally normal.

I love the new white cabinets staring at me from the dining room. Now if they could just find their way onto the walls of the kitchen...


Wednesday, January 19, 2011

Contraction Activities {First Grade}

You're never going to believe it: MORE SNOW is coming my way.  I would like to act like it bothers me that I'm going to spend the first part of June in a school building, but let's be honest - the last week of school is always fluff anyway, so I'm okay with a few extra days at the end of the year.  My motto: embrace the snow. I can't control the weather, so why complain about it?


We've been working on the not-contractions the past few days in language arts, and as nerdy as it sounds, I've really liked teaching it!  

I started with the chart pictured below.  I wrote the little poem at the top, which we've been reciting each day as reminder about what a contraction is.  I showed them how you can substitute the 'o' with an apostrophe for every one except "cannot."  We used green painters tape to eliminate the 'o' and then the students volunteered to write the contraction to complete the "contraction equation."

We also played Contraction Kid Match-Up.  I gave each student a pre-printed name tag with either a contraction on it or the two words that make the contraction (if you want the Word doc, email me!).  Then, they had to search the room for their partner.  Once they matched up, the students returned to me and I gave them a paper "contraction kid" to decorate and to put their name tag on.  We hung them up on our cubbies as a visual reminder of the not-contractions.  The kids LOVED finding their match and it was a great physical reminder {for those kinesthetic learners!} that 2 words make up a single contraction.  I thought they turned out pretty stinkin' cute :)

Of course, we're also doing contraction activities in one of our literacy centers.  I stole this idea from the amazingly creative Sarah Cooley of First Last!.  I purchased the cupcakes from our local school supply store.  I also made a recording sheet for my students to use.  You can download it by clicking the picture below.

I also made a contraction memory game.  You can also download it by clicking the picture below. 

Lastly, to ensure their learning, the students completed a quick contraction quiz.  You can download it by clicking the picture below.

* * * * *

Some other exciting things going on in first grade lately have included:

More of Deanna Jumps' Snow Unit & timelines in math. {Does anyone dislike Everyday Math as much as I do?!  It bounces around so much it drives me bananas!!!}

Deanna, if you're reading: EVERYONE has complimented this activity!  They are DARLING!
{As always, please let me know if a link isn't working!  You can always email me for a document, too!!  I'd also love to hear if you have any great contraction activities!!!!!}

Happy Wednesday and, if you're in the midwest: Let it snow, let it snow, let it snow!!!