Tuesday, November 14, 2017

Chattering About Chipmunks

Here's a peek at what we've been working on this week....I love this time of the year to delve into my sciences standards. I think fall really lends itself to woodland creatures, habitats, how they prepare for winter and hibernation.
This week we did a little mini unit on these animals and focused on those pesky little critters, chipmunks! 🐿

I always like to begin with a read aloud and this time I read "Chipmunk at Hollow Tree Lane".  Have you seen this book?  It's part of a great series called "Smithsonian Backyard" which focuses on lots of different woodland animals.  It's fiction, but written in a way that really gives a lot of great information on the animal, it's habitat, it's habits, etc.  The illustrations are beautiful,  very well written and keeps the firsties engaged in the story.  You can pick it up here

I'm also lucky enough to have a subscription to Scholastic News magazine....which if you don't have this great resource, you should really hit up your principal for a subscription!! It's great for Science and Social Studies standards, has a super online component with games and videos that go along with each magazine and all of the past issues are available to you as well!  We used this resource to view several magazines about woodland animals and how they prepare for winter.  

Next we were ready to begin our web about chipmunks.  We always do a shared writing before we begin any independent writing.  It's really important at this age to give lots of guidance and modeling if you really want to pull that great writing out of your firsties. We made a class web with some of the things we learned about chipmunks and then the students helped me compose my report about chipmunks.  We made sure to use our "opening" and "closing" to make it a good report.  

After this, the firsties were ready to begin their own reports.  They used our classroom web as a guide to create their own web.  They chose four things to include in their web and then they wrote their reports using their web.  I never leave my report on the board for the children to copy from.  They must always create their own.  They are encouraged to use our word wall or mini word wall dictionaries to help spell words correctly and they are also encouraged to used "kid writing" and spell things as they sound.  


I think my fab firsties did a GREAT job on their reports, don't you?? We finished the week by making a picture of the chipmunks habitat and a couple of cute crafts to go along with our reports.  


So that's the chatter this week in our class.....how do you teach this science standard in your room?  Please feel free to post your ideas so we can learn from you as well!! Thanks for stopping by and come on back next week, cause there's always something fun happening in ......



Tuesday, October 31, 2017

Learning about The First Thanksgiving

The story of the first Thanksgiving is always popular during the month of November and this lesson is always a big in my classroom with the interactive activities and crafts.  This non-fiction lesson is sure to fit in with your history and social studies standards this month!

We make an interactive book about the first Thanksgiving and spend 5 days teaching my Fab Firsties about the holiday.  I begin each lesson with a read aloud. These are some of my favorites. They are simple, kid friendly and really teach your students about the holiday of Thanksgiving.

Start your week on Monday with the book  "The Pilgrims First Thanksgiving" by Ann McGovern. This book describes the voyage of the Mayflower and the difficulties encountered by the Pilgrims during their first year in the New World and recounts how they celebrated their first harvest. After your read aloud, begin a T Chart comparing Thanksgiving Long Ago / Today.

If you are lucky enough to have a subscription to Scholastic News Magazine, be sure to check out the back issues.  They have some great short videos about the first Thanksgiving and the Wampanoag people. (Insert Shout out to Scholastic here!!!) Seriously, the Scholastic News Magazine is the best. Run to your principals office right now and beg them to get you a subscription to this little gem.

Here's the first page of our interactive book: 

On day two, it's time to watch a video about the Mayflower on the Scholastic website called The First Thanksgiving.  Have you visited this site??? It's a treasure trove of information on Thanksgiving and perfect for your K-2 students!! It has virtual tours of Plymouth Plantation, the Mayflower replica and a Wampanoag Village.   It's a great little site....just right for young students and they will learn so much about the Pilgrims voyage on the Mayflower.  On day two, make the second page of the interactive book:

On day 3, a great book to read is "Sarah Morton's Day".  It describes the life of a Pilgrim child.   You can also go back on the Scholastic website and learn all about the Pilgrim's housing and way of life. The third page of the interactive book is perfect for this lesson!

Day 4 is all about the Wampanoag Native American people.  Another cute book to read is  "The Pilgrims are Marching".  This is a rhyming book with the mischievous little Pilgrim boy, Johnny B, who causes all sorts of problems as they set sail to America and prepare for their first Thanksgiving.  There's a great comparison of daily life on the Scholastic site about the Wampanoag tribe and the Pilgrims. . Day four of our interactive book is a great way to end the lesson on the Native Americans. 


As you finish up your week on Day 5, read the story "Friendship's First Thanksgiving".  This adorable book tells about the first Thanksgiving....from a dog's point of view.  My students always love this book.  The last page of the interactive book is all about the feast!

These interactive books always turn out adorable and make a nice little Thanksgiving gift for someone at home! Click here if you want to take a closer look at The First Thanksgiving Interactive Book. 

Wednesday, October 25, 2017

Halloween Writing with Room On The Broom!

If you are looking for a quick and easy lesson this week, take a look at this cute little writing activity that we did with the book Room On The Broom.

If you haven't read it, Room On The Broom, is a super cute rhyming book about a little witch and her cat who are happily flying through the air until her hat blows away, then her bow and her wand! Luckily, three helpful animals find the missing items, and all they want in return is a ride on the broom. It's a funny little book and my Fab Firsties loved it!

Plus....it lends itself perfectly for a writing lesson.  Before starting your lesson (a day or so in advance) take some photos of your students pretending to ride a broom.  I had my kids actually use the broom from my classroom.  Cut the photos out and then have your students glue themselves riding the broom in their picture.  I just cut a simple strip of brown construction paper and a small yellow piece that we used for the straw.  Cut the end of the yellow to fringe it up a bit and it will give your picture a 3D effect.

The students drew 2-3 people or animals riding on their broom and wrote about who they would take with them on their broom and where they would go.  I think they turned out adorable!  If you want to do this same lesson with your kiddos, you can grab your freebie here! Have fun!

Friday, October 13, 2017

Monsterously Good Adjectives!

Here is a great way to get your students excited about adjectives using the book Go Away Big Green Monster.  Check out our anchor chart and adorable monster crafts that we made in this fun halloween writing lesson!

Lately we have been working on different parts of speech.....we started with nouns and verbs and the last couple of weeks we've been focusing on adjectives.  I really love adjectives....the kids seem to really get into it and love finding different ways to use describing words in their sentences.
We created this anchor chart over the course of about 2 weeks and the students have been referring to is in their writing.

This week I had the kids make monsters and we described them using adjectives.  I read them the book "Go Away Big Green Monster" by Ed Emberly. This book is super cute....sort of a "lift the flap" kind of book and the kids love it.  It's full of adjectives with sentences like "big green face" and "purple squiggly hair".  You can pick it up here

After reading the book we made an anchor chart full of adjectives that describe monsters:

I made my own monster and my firsties and I worked together on a "shared writing" to describe my monster.  Shared writing is a technique where the students and the teacher compose a text together, with both contributing their thoughts and ideas to the process, while the teacher acts as the scribe and writes the text as it is composed.  We worked to use plenty of adjectives in our description: 

After working together on our shared writing, my firsties got busy making their own monsters! They didn't have a pattern to work with.....just their own imaginations.  I really love when kids create their own stuff, rather than copying from a pattern.  The only direction was to use their imagination and include lots of colors and parts to their monster so that they would have lots to describe.  When their monster was complete, they wrote their own description using our anchor charts as reference.  I think they did a great job in their writing and their monsters turned out super cute!!


Bone Soup Math and Literacy Unit

Are you looking for a new Halloween activity for your classroom? This cute October unit is based on the book Bone Soup and includes games and writing activities that are sure to scare up some great writing with your students! 

Last weekend my son came into town to visit for a few days from Texas (I only get to see him a few times a year because he lives across the country so YAY for the visit!) and we went shopping together.  He likes to shop just about as much as I do, lucky me, and so we stopped at one of our favorites - Barnes and Noble.  Ahhhh....every teacher loves a good bookstore.

Of course I had to take a look at the children's book section and found the cutest book!! Have you seen it?  It's called Bone Soup.  You can pick it up here.

This adorable story is about a little goblin who comes into town and tricks everyone into giving up all their goodies (eyeballs, toenail clippings, bones, etc💀👻) to make his soup.  It's a great book for sequence of events and also creative writing!  What kid doesn't like a book about eyeballs and toenail clippings????? Soooo, I donned my best witches hat and creepiest voice and read the story aloud to them.  To make it more enticing I made a little table and a cauldron full of creepiness....

We started off with a Shared Writing.  If you read my blog regularly, you know I ❤️ Shared Writing. I told my firsties that I wanted to make Bone Soup and asked them what I should put in it. Since we have been studying about adjectives lately, we used our best describing words to make it more interesting. 

Next, I told them that I needed to create a recipe from all of these ingredients.  I told them that a good recipe always includes the amount needed, so we used number words in our recipe (more adjectives....Yay!!)

Finally it was time for the Fab Firsties to create their own Bone Soup recipe.  They each had a turn at reaching into my cauldron and choosing five creepy ingredients! They made a cauldron craft and completed their own recipe, making sure to use adjectives in their recipe.  

I put their recipes on display in our hallway and made it into a mini station for the rest of the week.  My class and the other first grades can visit it during center time and create Magic Potions and write in our potion book! 

If you'd like to do this activity and so much more with your kiddos, click here to see my complete "Bone Soup Literacy and Math Unit".  Your students are sure to have a spook-tacular time with all of these fun activities! 


Thursday, October 12, 2017

October Learning Centers

Are you ready to get your October Learning Centers started?  Well I have a bunch of cute ideas for you this month! Take a look.....

Spelling Center

Adding a few props to your centers will make them so much more fun and engaging for your students.  You would be surprised at how excited they get with a fancy pen or silly hat! Something new at Spelling this month is "Spooky Spelling" - my firsties write their words in white crayon and then paint over them with watercolors.  And just like MAGIC they appear!! This activity is differentiated into three levels - this picture shows the "on level" activity.

Another fun activity is Spin A Word....spin the spinner and follow the directions for writing your spelling words - in all capital letters, fancy letters, rainbow writing, etc.  You never know where the spinner will land!

Math Center

If you need some cute Math ideas, you students will love these! This month, in math, we are working on addition skills.  My struggling firsties are still working on some number recognition so they have a counting activity. Are you brave enough to reach inside and count the spooky spiders and eyeballs??

My on level firsties are working on addition.  I found the cutest little drink holders at Dollar Tree...removed the straws and filled them with different halloween goodies that we are using for the counters.  Spider rings, halloween erasers, mini pumpkins, etc all make great manipulatives for this type of activity!

For a challenge, I made another worksheet where the kids use the same monster drink holders and they make an addition fact and also the related fact, by changing the order of the addends.

We are also working on matching our addition sentences to ten frames with these cute games!

Finally we're feeding hungry monsters at the Math Center! Kids have to solve the addition sentence "cookie" and feed it to the correct monster! 

Library Center

My firsties ❤️ to sit and read in our cozy library!  Add a few new Halloween books, a witches hat and witches fingers for pointers and you MAGICALLY have some engaged kiddos reading books! When they are finished, they can complete a report about they book they read - 3 levels to meet the needs of all your kids!

Big Book Center

We have been learning about adjectives and I found the cutest poem on Pinterest to use for this activity!  I added it to our big book station along with some great October books, a monster hat and a fuzzy monster hand to use as a pointer! 

Word Work Center

This month my firsties are building their sight words with letter tiles and working on the "ck" ending. I found these cute little plastic pumpkins at Dollar Tree.  Each pumpkin has the letter tiles to build one of our sight words.  The kiddos have to dump them out and arrange the letters in the right order, then write it on the worksheet.  

Do you have kiddos working on higher level word families?   These haunted houses and ghosts are a huge hit with my firsties!  Match the ghost to his correct haunted house. 

And of course, an all time favorite is "Write the Room".  This month we are searching for Halloween words! 

Another fun game is "Pickin' Pumpkins in the Pumpkin Patch".  The kids are working on sight words in this game.  It's great fun....but don't land on the rotten pumpkin or you'll have to go back to start! 

Art Center

A great way to keep your kids engaged at the art center is an easy craft.  I keep it simple so that my firsties can finish it in about 15-20 minutes, the time I spend with each reading group during guided reading. This week they are making "candy corn".  If they finish the task early they can use some of the other materials at the art station like play dough, markers, fancy scissors, etc.  

Some of our other projects this month will be witches, ghosts and a pumpkin man.  These are all super simple, with just 2 or 3 patterns, and easy for the kids to do on their own with no help from me.  

Writing Center

Finally, a few simple tasks at the Writing Center will round things out in your room.  This month, we are working on labeling and making lists.  I've added some cute, colorful mini word walls to spark their imagination along with story starters for "Witches Brew", "Favorite Halloween Candy" and "If I Were a Ghost...".  

So that's what is happening at our centers during the month of October.  If you would like to check these centers out a little closer, they are available on my TPT store here.  

I'd love to hear what you are doing in your room during the month of October! Do you use centers?? Leave a comment and let me know! Hope you have a great October  🎃 and be sure to come on back for a visit next week, because there's always something fun happening in......