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!


Sunday, November 4, 2012

Welcome to My Classroom

Welcome!  We are going to begin this journey together.  I have just recently become addicted to first grade blogs.  I LOVE them!!!! Each one has inspired me to become a better teacher!  Thus,  my endeavor into the blog world is just to inspire those who need a little inspiration.  This is my 17th year in the classroom and I love that I am still learning.  I think all teachers are truly lifelong learners.  My goal is to share the activities that my firsties and I do throughout the schoolyear.  To start us off I want to give you a little tour of my classroom.  It is always a work in progress. 

Above is my Word Work area and Writing Center. I used chalkboard paint on the wall and framed it.  The kids love it!  The centers on the counter focus on phonic skills and sight words.  At word work they make words on the "chalkboard," with foam letters, "fancy schmancy" writing, and their iPads.  In Writing Center each student has a journal.  The board provides ideas and reminders for writing. A lot of the posters I found on Pinterest!!! I also keep cards and envelopes in the center.  Firsties love to write and deliver mail to one another! 

For those of us who teach Reading Street these are my Amazing Words.  My firsties love learning these new words everyday.  We are keeping count of how many new "amazing" words we have learned.  So far we have 73 new words to add to our vocabulary. 

I dressed up my Smartboard with a frame!  It was quite simple.   The polka dots are vinyl circles I cut with my cricut.  My color scheme is pink and black with a little zebra.  However, my comfy reading chair that I have had forever is red.....thus the zebra throw you see thrown over it.  I can't get rid of my reading rocker!!! I just tried to dress it up a little. 

I don't have a lot of wall space in my classroom so I have to be creative!  I use my closet door to post my learning targets and birthdays. The titles are written in chalk on chalkboard vinyl.   That 57 in the middle is our Amazing Word count.  :0) 

This is our Listening Center.  My "stools"  are two milk crates zip tied together with a chair cushion on the top. My  Firsties love these and they were easy to make.  I give them a choice of five books or they may choose to go to on their iPad.   
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