Monday, January 30, 2017

Who's In the Family?

Hey everybody.....just stopping by with a quick little post tonight. I'm busy getting ready for a big week ahead and I'm sure you are too.  We are celebrating Groundhog's Day and our 100th Day of School this week.  We have big plans for both days! But we still have time to fit in our daily Math lessons and that's what I'm here to talk to you about.  Lately we have been learning about the relationship between addition and subtraction......specifically Fact Families.  I sort of love ❤️ fact families because the firsties just seem to catch on really easily.  And that's such a relief coming off of teaching them "add to subtract".......WHAT??? (yea, that's common core coming right 'atcha!)

I like to try to do as much hands on as possible with Math.  Often times, it's just so abstract for the kiddos and having those manipulatives in their hands just really seems to help.  So this week I made a simple little Fact Family House for each of the firsties. I laminated them with my personal Scotch Laminator (do you have one of these yet?? If not, I seriously recommend it! It's so easy to use and no cutting.) The kids worked with a partner to create some of their own fact families.  I gave each pair of firsties 20 unifix cubes....2 colors......10 of each color.  The kids took turns breaking them apart and coming up with 3 numbers that go together to make a fact family. They practiced lots of combinations.

The fab firsties also played another game called "Roll A Family".  This could be played alone or with a partner.  It's a simple game.....just roll the dice.  Write those two numbers in the roof of your house. Then add the two numbers together and write that number on your house.  Use those three numbers to create your fact family.  The kiddos had lots of fun working together this week and these two simple little games really helped them understand the Fact Family concept.  Now these games are ready to go into our Math Station! 

I'd love to share these two games with you as a thanks for following my blog.  You can pick up these freebies here

I wanted to let you know about a couple of new items in my TPT store.....i'm SUPER EXCITED to show you my two newest bundles.  My Winter Writing Mini Units Bundle has four great mini units that combine Science and Social Studies with writing!  Now you can finally fit those subjects into every day and you will truly see your students grow as writers!! You can read more about how I use these units on this blog post here. If you would like to take a closer look at these units,  head on over and check out the preview here

Another great new product that I'm so happy to offer to you is my Winter Crafts Bundle. Included in this set are four super cute craftivities that your kiddos will LOVE.  You can check out what's included in this set here.

Well friends......I'm off to relax and rest up before another big day tomorrow.  The weather forecast is calling for snow ❄️❄️.  Is it possible there could be a snow day in my future??? Crossing my fingers!  Hope to see you back here soon because there's always something fun happening in........

Firstieland 🍭

Saturday, January 21, 2017

Fitting Science into EVERY DAY....

I'm not sure where all my  FAB FOLLOWERS live, but here in Ohio our winters can get pretty chilly! We've been having a warm streak lately (I'm about to get out the suntan lotion!) but usually we have lots of snow and ice.  So that's the time to get out the "Frosty Winter Weather" unit and learn all about water changes!

I don't know about you, but I sure have a hard time fitting Science into my day.  There are so many other things to teach and sometimes Science and Social Studies are the first to go.  But I don't like that because, it's the most fun!!! So I have found a way to combine my Science with my Writing.....and now I teach it every day 💜 

I like to choose a Science topic relative to the season or holiday and combine it with my Writing units.  My fab firsties l❤️ve learning about real life and reading non fiction titles.  For this unit, I wrote my own book about "Frosty Winter Weather - How Water Changes in Winter".  It's one of our Science standards and what better time to teach this standard than when you are staring out the window at a bunch of frozen water!! 
After reading all about how water changes, we worked together to create a web, that we would later use to help us write our reports.  We shared the pen in "interactive writing" to create our web. 

The firsties got busy creating their own webs and then the children used this information to help them write a report about how water changes.  We have been working on reports for a while and my fab firsties are beginning to remember that all reports should have: Title, Opening Sentence, 1-3 Facts and a Closing Sentence.  I used my "Frosty Winter Weather" unit, which contains some great writing templates that are kid friendly, easy to use, differentiated and ......wait for it...... have a BUILT IN RUBRIC for easy grading!! Ahhhhh.....can you hear the angels singing? 😇  I mean, seriously,  these writing templates have changed my life.  You can read more about them here. 

What I love so much is that these templates are differentiated so every child can write a report, but they are working at their own level and my lesson is meeting their needs.  Plus, the grading rubric (which is SUPER KID FRIENDLY AND TEACHER FRIENDLY) is built right into the template.  

After writing their reports, we read the book "Snowflake Bentley" about the first man to photograph snowflakes.  I found some photos of real snowflakes online and the kids loved looking at them.  You can hear them "ooohing" and "ahhhing" in the video below.  We decided to make our own snowflakes. 

If you are a follower of my blog, you know I'm not a big fan of patterns (although I do use them on occasion) and so for this little project I gave my firsties a 9x9 square piece of blue construction paper and a small white hexagon.  We glued this to the middle of the paper and then glued 6 Q tips to the points of the hexagon.  After that, the kiddos went crazy making their own unique and individual snowflakes.  The only rule.....they needed to be symmetrical.....just like real snowflakes.  I gave them trays of all kinds of little silver and white crafty stuff (pipe cleaners, twist ties, foil, silver fabric, beads, etc.) THEY LOVED THIS PROJECT! And I think everything turned out quite beautiful.  


As a little bonus, we decided to do a little science project (not included in the mini unit) to see what makes water melt the fastest - salt, flour, hot water or cold water......which do you think did the job???

We had a great couple of days learning about water changes.  If you'd like to use this little mini unit in your classroom, you can take a closer look at it here.

Well friends....that's about it for tonight.  I have a couple of shows on my dvr that are calling my name ("This Is Us" anyone???).  I'd love to know if you are following me here at Firstieland or on TPT.  So it's time for a follower exclusive.  Send me an email letting me know that you follow me and I'll send you a FREE product!! Yes, you heard that right.  You get a free product just for following me. It's my way of saying thanks for helping me build my blog and business.  Please send your email to:

Hope everyone has a great week ahead and check back often because there's always something fun happening in....

Firstieland 🍭

Monday, January 16, 2017

Who Says Evergreens Are Only For Christmas?

So last week we decided to make evergreen trees.......yep, that's right in January! I had a great mini unit that I really wanted to do during December but I just ran out of time.  Too many fun things to do! So I decided....why did I have to do this unit in December?  Evergreens are green all year right???? LOL So we did a new take on the old Christmas tree!

We started this mini unit, like we do every unit, with a read aloud.  We read our monthly Scholastic News and learned all about evergreen trees.

We worked together in our interactive writing to make a class web about evergreen trees:

We have been working on writing informational reports.  My firsties are learning that a good report will have a title, an opening sentence, 2-3 facts about your topic and a closing sentence. We worked together in shared writing to create a class report on evergreen trees.  We underlined our opening and closing sentence:

Now that the firsties had a good background, they went to work creating their own webs and reports. How fabulous are these firsties??



Finally we made a super cute evergreen craft.  If you are familiar with my blog you will know that I am not a huge fan of patterns.  I use them on occasion, but I really like to let my firsties use their imaginations and see what they come up with.  And, as usual, they didn't let me down!!  For this project, I gave the kids three pieces of green paper...three different shades.  They folded it in half, vertically, and drew the zigzag lines like a Christmas tree on the fold side of the paper.  They cut them out and voila!......evergreen trees!!  🌲 We used half a sheet of blue construction paper and a small piece of torn white paper for snow.  The kids glued their 3 evergreens to the blue paper, added the torn white paper snow and then splatter painted the evergreen trees with white paint.  And there you have - Evergreens in The Snow!! ❤️

I took a little video of one of my fab firsties in action!!

We ended our mini unit by reading a quick and simple LEVELED mini book with comprehension sheet:


I absolutely LOVED this unit and so did the firsties!  Who says evergreens are only for Christmas?  i thought this was a perfect compliment to winter in cold and blustery Ohio, where we see plenty of evergreen trees!!! I found many of these activities in this great unit by my good friend can pick it up here or pop over to her blog for more great ideas!

I also used my super quick, easy and KID FRIENDLY rubrics to grade these wonderful writing samples.  You can pick them up in my TPT store for under $3 here.

I absolutely LOVE combining my writing with Science and Social Studies.  The kids enjoy learning about life around them and it's a great way to get those fabulous little minds flowing with creative writing ideas! I just added two new writing mini units that are a perfect compliment to your winter lessons.....and they include those elusive science standards that are so difficult to fit into your day! Easy peasy when you combine it with writing!! You can pick them up here and here.  

Be sure to check back later this week to see how I use these mini units in my classroom.  And until then, thanks for stopping by! Be sure to come back soon cause there's always something fun happening in.......

Firstieland 🍭

Sunday, January 8, 2017

And....We're Back.....with Contractions!

Hi everyone.....sorry it's been so long since my last post!  I took a much needed break from all things teaching related over my holiday break.  My son ❤️ came home for a visit from Texas (YEA!!!) and I focused on family during the month of December.  And may I was wonderful!

But now we are back to school with all of the firsties and we are hard at work.  This week I introduced contractions to my kids.  I'm glad to say it was a pretty easy concept for them.  We follow the Journeys reading series, so if you are a fellow Journeys user, we are on Lesson 13.  I love all of the fun things I see on Pinterest and from time to time I delve in....but sometimes easy and simple is better.  This week we were learning the contractions for "not" and "is" so I made some simple word cards to match in a pocket chart:

After matching the cards, we worked on a chart together.  I had different firsties help out and they highlighted the letter that we "kicked out" and then wrote the contraction.  As we learn more contractions, we will add those charts to our bulletin board for reference. We also reviewed our Contraction anchor chart:

We also do our  Journeys daily word study on our interactive board.  This week our lesson included contractions. You can pick up these word study lessons on my TPT store here. Here's one of my firsties leading our word study lesson:

Stay tuned for more lessons on contractions......including the much anticipated "Contraction Surgery"!!! Have a great week everybody and be sure to check back cause there's always something fun happening in.......

Firstieland 🍭