Monday, December 31, 2012

Tackylocks, An Emperor Penguin in Disguise

I took a break from all school related "stuff" to enjoy my family and loved every minute!  Now, it's to time to get back to reality. :0)  I finished a fun, meaningful and student engaging unit on Penguins.  I can't wait to use it with my firsties! 
This unit has three components:
* A penguin glyph:
patterns and pictures included with a bulletin board and anchor chart ideas

* An Emperor penguin scrapbook created by the students based on research:

Scrapbook Unit Plan
 Day 1: Read aloud nonfiction book about emperor penguins. Create Scrapbook cover.
 Day 2: The Emperor Penguin Family
 Day 3: Our Extended Family
 Day 4: Mom Penguin
 Day 5: Dad Penguin
 Day 6: Baby Penguin
 Day 7: Family Dinner
 Day 8: Home Sweet Home
 Day 9: The Family Trip
 Day 10: Our Colony.
 Day 11: Brrr…It’s Cold
Common Core Alignment: W 1.7, W 1.8, RI 1.1
Internet Resources to help teach about emperor penguins.

* A book study based on Tackylocks and the Three Bears:
 Multiple Meaning Words L 1.4
 Higher Order Thinking L1.4a
 Author’s Purpose
 Retell RL 1.2 Extension: If you have the Screen Chomp app students can take a picture of their paper and record their retelling
 Compare & Contrast RL 1.9
 Character Description RL 1.3
 Context Clues RL 1.4 & L 1.5c
 Setting RL 1.7
 Write the Room RF 1.3f
 Craftivity
 Writing 
  The study incorporates tons of student engaging activities.  One of my favorite activities in this study is the Tackylocks craftivity.

Go HERE or HERE to get this freebie.

To purchase the whole unit go to Teachers Notebook or to Teachers Pay Teachers.
I'll be posting more pictures as I complete this unit with my own class.

Tuesday, December 18, 2012

Wrapping it Up!

Three more days until our break....lots of wrapping it up going on at home and school!!!  I'm literally wrapping gifts every night and at school I'm wrapping up three different units!   Tis the season!!!!  We have loved working on There Was an Old Lady Who Swallowed a Bell.  We finished it last week and began If You Take a Mouse to the Movies.  Trimming the tree with nouns was a big hit and they loved making their mouse craftivity!  For the past month they have seen the little mouse and have been begging to make him.  And last but not least we are still travelling the world to see how other countries celebrate Christmas.  Today we learned all about Old Befana from the book written by Tomie Depaola.  Here are some pictures of all our activity!  :0)

I thought this was so cute! It is one of the writing activities included in the unit.

Trimming the tree with nouns, an activity with the book study for If You Take a Mouse to the movies.

These scrapbooks are adorable!  I am very proud of how hard my firsties are working!  

Monday, December 17, 2012

I Believe

I have tried to write this post several times over the weekend but could not find any words to express how I felt.  Numbness seemed to be prevalent, but as I was leaving for school today the news started to scroll the pictures of those precious babies.  I left for my classroom with tears streaming down my face.  How do I answer my precious first graders' questions, Father?  How do I keep my composure?  How do I calm their fears?  BELIEVE!  I believe that I did not have the answers but God provided.  I believe that I was called to be their teacher. I believe that 19 children needed to see me as much as I needed to see them.  I believe that my 19 babies left school today feeling loved and safe.  Being a family is ALL that mattered today!  

Tuesday, December 11, 2012

The Old Lady and the Daily Five

Quick post tonight....a little worn out!  Yesterday we worked on our craftivity for The Old Lady Who Swallowed a Bell.  It turned out so cute!!!! Take a peak...

I have also been tweaking the Daily Five in my classroom.  I am all about decreasing management and allowing my firsties to become independent learners.  I am a newbie with this Daily Five thing. :0)  I admit I tried to control where they went and I was still managing stations until recently.  I finally let go and am in love with this system.  I posted a picture of the Daily Five on my Smart Board and then had my firsties take a pic with their ipad.  Yes, each child has their own ipad and it is making a huge difference in my classroom!!!!  Anyway,  we then make this pic their background in Doodle Buddy and they mark each Daily Five they have been to.  It is so simple and holds them accountable.  Here is a screenshot of one of the ipads. 

Enjoy the rest of your evening and rest up!   Christmas is one day closer and we all know that means a little more excitement in the classroom.  ;0)

Sunday, December 9, 2012

Christmas in the Classroom

We have been so busy this week!  We started our trip around the world to find out how countries celebrate Christmas.  My firsties are loving it.  The question of the day:  "Where are we going today????"  Love it!!!  So far we haven't journeyed too far from home.  We have made stops in America and Mexico.  This upcoming week we will visit Israel, Italy and Sweden.  They can't wait.  We are making a scrapbook so we can remember our trip.  Here is a picture of our page for America. 
Our covers are suitcases and we get a flag stamp for each country that we visit.  I found the scrapbook pages HERE.  I love these pages.  My firsties draw the country's flag, create something they might see ( for this page we drew Rudolph), draw a pic of something they might eat, and write about a holiday tradition. 

We are also having a great time with our book study on There Was an Old Lady Who Swallowed a Bell.  In the picture above they cut out and glued -ed words inside her mouth.  Tomorrow we have a craftivity waiting on us!  They love these books.  You can get a copy of the book study HERE  or  HERE.

Finally,  HERE is a free copy of the amazing words for the story, Honey Bees. Enjoy your week and your firsties!!

Thursday, December 6, 2012

Class Dojo and My Firsties

If you haven't heard about Class Dojo go immediately and check it out!  I LOVE IT!!!!!! Class Dojo is a digital behavior system for the classroom.  Each child has his or her own avatar and parents can log in to their child's acccount to check on behavior.  You can also email reports to parents.  I am all about streamlining in the classroom and this is incredibly easy to use.  Best of all I didn't have to create anything!  Points are given for positive behaviors.  Love, love, love this feature!!!! We reward those babies that absolutely deserve it!  Points can be taken for negative behaviors.  :0(    I reward my kiddos with these  classroom coupons.  You can get it HERE for free.

I always have the Dojo window up on my smart board.  If we are working on something I downsize but it is always just a click away.  I even have the app on my ipad so when we travel outside of the classroom I have access.  :0)

Sunday, December 2, 2012

Amazing Words Life in the Forest

If you teach from Reading Street then you know that each week we learn several new "Amazing Words."  My kids love learning these new words and I have noticed that they are much more "word" aware when reading something else.  Currently we are posting these words up on our wall after learning them and keeping count.  If you would like a copy of the Life in the Forest amazing words click the link under the picture.  :0)

Teacher's Notebook Store

I just recently discovered and I love it.  So....I decided to open a shop on this website along with teachers pay teachers.  You can find all of my units on both sites.  Take a look at my new shop. 


Wednesday, November 28, 2012

Gingerbread Friends

I finished my next book study.  In this study we will be reading Gingerbread Friends by Jan Brett.  It is an adorable book that extends Gingerbread Baby's story.  You can get a freebie from the unit.  Click on the link under the picture.

If you like the freebie you can get the whole unit by clicking the link under these pictures.

Dinosaurs and Christmas Trees

It was quite the combination of activities today!  We started our mini unit on dinosaurs this week.  We are reading The Big Circle in reading so it naturally lends itself to a dinosaur study.  We read two books, Dinosaur Babies and Dinosaurs.  Let's just say these kiddos love dinos.  I think they know more about them then I do.  We created a t-rex anchor chart and started to make a t-rex craftivity that I got from Life in First Grade HERE.  About a minute into creating we had a tornado drill, then PE and then about 20 minutes to work before it was time to go home.  So.....I will have pictures of the craftivity tomorrow.  I do, however, have a pic of the finished anchor chart. :0)

We also put the finishing touches onto our painting that will be auctioned off at our school Winter Festival.  I have to give a huge shout out to my BFF, Sayward Lowery.  She created our Christmas tree for us with our handprints.  Best co-teacher ever!!!!!!! 

I just love this painting!  Each red ornament has the child's name written on it.  What a keepsake for the auction winner!  

Sunday, November 25, 2012

Cyber Monday Sale

Monday and Tuesday my products on TPT will be 20% off. For additional savings use code cmt12.
Go HERE to see all of my units! Happy Shopping!  I know I will be buying some things on my wish list!

Monday, November 19, 2012

If You Take a Mouse to the Movies

Whew!  One more day and it's Thanksgiving break for my firsties and me!!!!!!!  I've been working hard on common core book studies that will keep the kiddos engaged.  Christmas is coming!  My next unit focuses on the book, If You Take a Mouse to the Movies. Some of the activities include author's purpose, character description, text to self writing, opinion writing, context clues and an adorable craftivity.  It is common core aligned so it will work perfectly for lesson plans.
Get a free copy of the character description page (HERE).

If you like the freebie please consider purchasing the whole unit Teachers Pay Teachers  or Teachers Notebook

  Here is a picture of the adorable craftivity that comes with the unit.

Friday, November 16, 2012

Pilgrims, Pilgrims, Everywhere!

We are in full blown Thanksgiving mode!  Yesterday we read Sarah Morton: A Day in the Life of a Pilgrim and Samuel Eaton:  A Day in the Life of a Pilgrim.  Then we had to make an anchor chart that told all about pilgrim kids.  My firsties love to create anchor charts. When we finished the chart they got busy making pilgrim kids.  You can get my pilgrim craftivity and lap book HERE.

My kids are home from Auburn so....I'm going to enjoy some family time.  You guys have a great LONG weekend!

Wednesday, November 14, 2012

Thankful for Soldiers Part 2

Yay!  We finished our soldiers.  They were a labor of love and they are precious!!!!  I can't wait to send them off to the soldiers.  I think they will brighten some days!

It's the Simple Things in Life

 We have been playing in the dirt this week and loving it!!  I got this fabulous idea (HERE).  Today we added water to our dirt and created mud.  I know that sounds insane for a first grade classroom but it was so much fun!  I gave each firstie a snack bag filled with soil and then I added a small amount of water.  It worked like a charm.  They used a magnifying glass to examine and could squish as much as they wanted without creating a mess.  So simple and yet so engaging.  After observing our mud we wrote about.  Take a peek into our class....

Tuesday, November 13, 2012

Being Thankful for Soldiers

Today we tied Veteran's Day and Thanksgiving together.  We read a quick book on Veteran's Day and added it to our Inform portion of our Author's Purpose interactive tree map.  Then we created an anchor chart.  I love it and my firsties came up with some great adjectives to describe a soldier. Take a peek....

We are now in the process of creating some precious boy and girl soldiers. As usual we ran out of time so.....we will finish them up first thing in the morning.  Each soldier will be holding a thank you to our soldiers.  Here is where Thanksgiving comes in to play.  We are sending these creations to soldiers that are currently deployed.  I can't wait to see how they turn out!  I'll post pictures tomorrow.  :0)

UPDATE:  I created a soldier craftivity and lap book project to extend this activity.  

Sunday, November 11, 2012

There Was an Old Lady Who Swallowed a Bell Book Study

I am trying to get a jump start on lessons for Christmas.  I am  going to do a lit study on several different books the week before Christmas. I'm hoping this will keep my firsties engaged!  The first book we will be reading is There Was an Old Lady Who Swallowed a Bell.   I have created a book study unit and I am sharing one of the pages below. It is common core aligned so it will work perfectly in my lesson plans.  Check it out!
Grab your freebie HERE 
Graphics provided by

If you like this page you will love the whole unit. Click the link under the  picture of the cover to take a look at the book study.  :0)

Graphics provided by

Saturday, November 10, 2012

Author's Purpose

This upcoming week I am introducing Author's Purpose to my firsties.  I always put up an anchor chart that corresponds with the new strategy.  I created an anchor chart for Author's Purpose and wanted to share it with you guys.  Here is a picture:

If you want a copy you can get it (HERE).

Then I decided that I wanted an interactive tree map for author's purpose.  My classroom does not have a lot of wall space so I have to be creative with where I place thing.  My tree map has found a home on my cabinet doors.  I placed it in a spot where my students can write on it. I want them to interact with it!  After we read a story we will write the title in the area where it belongs.  Here is a picture of the "blank canvas."

Friday, November 9, 2012

American Symbols and Camilla Cream

Whew!!! What a week!  We finished up our unit on American Symbols.  I purchased Deanna Jump's American Symbol unit and loved it.  You can take a look at her unit (HERE) . I love to get ideas from other teachers.  The kiddos had a great time learning all about the American Flag, the bald eagle, and the Statue of Liberty. We began the unit with the flag and I found a great app that we used to find all kinds of facts.  We made an Anchor Chart together about the flag, wrote about it in our Social Studies journal and finally made a "torn" paper flag.  Here is a picture of our finished products.
Next, we learned all about the Statue of Liberty.  I downloaded the kindle e-book The Statue of Liberty (Step Into Reading.)  It was the perfect book to teach firsties about her.  After reading the book the real fun began.  We made our anchor chart and then we drew the Statue of Liberty.  It was a blast and I am so proud of what they produced.  They were proud too.  Here is a picture of some of the pictures hanging in the hall. 

Last in our unit was the bald eagle.  We read a book from our school library that taught us all kinds of things about our national bird.  Then, we made our anchor chart and our bald eagles.  They were so cute that they our now hanging in our school office. 

On a sidenote our Reading skill this week was Cause and Effect.  I embedded the video of Sean Astin reading A Bad Case of Stripes into our reading flipchart. You can find the video (HERE) . It's always a favorite.  We then created a Cause and Effect T-chart.  On the chart we listed the causes and effects that we found in the story.  The firsties then created Camilla Cream and made their own t-chart.  I found the pattern for Camilla here: (HERE).  These turned out fabulous.  Take a look!

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