Wednesday, October 7, 2015

Sentence Surgery: Naming & Telling Parts FREEBIE!

Hi Friends!
   Fall is definitely in the air, and we are busy, busy, busy!  Every year, I spend so much time (and effort!) trying to teach the naming and telling parts of sentences to my first graders.  I typically end up wanting to pull out my hair, and if you've ever tried to teach this particular skill, it can be nerve wracking for sure!

   This year, my fabulous student teacher and I decided to make this can-be-boring-but-have-to-teach-it standard into something fun....with Sentence Surgery!
  My student teacher made these awesome anchor charts to set the purpose for the lesson and to review naming and telling parts of sentences. 

We used the book The Duckling Gets a Cookie?!? by Mo Willems because it's such a fun book that the kids always love, and it is a great example of INcomplete sentences.

  While most of the phrases in the book are questions or commands, the students were encouraged to think of ways that the pigeon could have used complete sentences to talk to the duckling.  

The kids brainstormed for a while and gave suggestions.
Then, we told them that the pigeon's sentences needed help...they needed SURGERY to be complete and make sense!

Every student got a "surgery kit" (i.e. bandaids and a surgical mask), and then they got to work making sentences.
 Here are the sentences we used...a couple related to the book & a couple that would be familiar to them.
 The bandaids were a LITTLE sticky, but they finally got the hang of it!
(A lot of them tried to "glue" the sentences together using the bandaid, so I suggest having them use the bandaid to stick the sentence down to the construction paper)
 It's much neater that way!
 All you need is strips of construction paper, bandaids, surgical masks if you can find a sweet donor, scissors and glue!
 The kids absolutely LOVED this activity. They kept calling each other "Dr." and it was hilarious. Most of them even wrote their names as Dr on their papers!  Hilarious!

They all wanted to wear their masks home, and I got some strange looks from other teachers. Plus, a bus driver asked if there was some sort of "outbreak", so just FYI if you decide to do this!

I loved that the kids were so engaged, and this activity really made those awful naming and telling parts make sense!
To grab the sentences we used, as well the cover, just click the picture above.
I also included other sentences in case you don't read this book, and some with varying fonts to help you differentiate for your learners.

  In our literacy centers, we have been reviewing the naming and telling parts with a Make a Sentence Center.
The students are given 4 sets of naming & telling parts (color coded by using colored paper). They have to match the parts to create complete sentences and record them on our activity sheet.  

There are also different fonts used within each set to help assist lower learners in making sentences, and to help me differentiate for my students

You can check this center out in my TpT store by clicking the picture below.
I printed my own on colored paper to save ink, but there are color versions available in this pack, as well!

So, there you have it friends... Sentence Surgery.
I'm telling you, the kids absolutely ADORED this activity & they're still talking about it...and they still want to be called "Doctor"! 

As always, thanks for stopping by!!

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Thursday, September 10, 2015

Working with Plural Nouns & FREEBIES!

Hi Friends!
   It's been a busy week in first grade, but we are finally getting in the groove of everything.  This week, we have been working with plural nouns.  While our first grade standards don't explicitly state that children must learn suffix -s, -es, and -ies, these plurals are seen in so many of our assessments and first grade text. For that reason,we just jump right into using all three!

   We started by learning the difference between singular and plural - two GIANT words that can be confusing for firsties.  We practiced sorting examples, and then I passed out sticky notes for the kids to sort onto our charts. 

 I saw this idea on Pinterest but it went to a dead link. Please let me know the original source so I can give credit where it is due :)
The kids loved getting up & moving around & they did a great job sorting! 

When we finished with our sort, the kids cut & paste singular and plural nouns into their own little flapbook.
I had to walk the kids through the directions for cutting JUST on the dotted lines, but they did well with it.
*All of the cute clip art is from Ashley Hughes, Krista Wallden & the Worksheet Junkie.  Fonts by Kimberly Geswin (KG)*
Click the above picture to grab this flapbook for FREE!

Then, we moved into sorting words with specific suffixes. The kids had to determine if the word would need an -s, -es, or -ies to be made plural.  

They each had pockets and pencils to cut and paste.
Again, I had to walk through the directions.
We cut out the square pockets, then ONLY glued on the left, right & bottom....leaving the top open to make a pocket.  Children then cut out their pencils and sorted them into the correct pocket.

I folded a sheet of 11x17 construction paper in half "Hot Dog Style" and cut the strips for the kids.

When they were finished, I folded them into thirds to make a little book for each of them.

You can grab this activity by clicking {here} or the above picture. 

Later, I added our Pencil Pockets Sorting Activity to our center rotation & the kids have been practicing with plural nouns all week!  You can check this out in my TpT store {here}.

So, that's it for me! I hope you can use these freebies for practicing plurals in your room!

As always, thanks for stopping by!
Happy (early) Friday!

Thursday, August 27, 2015

Make a Ten: Low Prep, High Engagement

Hi Friends!
   We are getting into the swing of things in first grade, and my sweet little friends are just the best!  I love when the first couple of weeks are under our belt, and we can really dive into the curriculum.

    In math, we have been working on "making a ten", and number combinations to ten using ten frames and number bonds.  We started with some anchor charts and hands-on activities to build numbers, and this little low prep activity really had the kids engaged...and learning! 
We started with some standard two-sided counters. I have a gazillion of these, but any manipulative that you can use two colors of will work....counting bears, unifix cubes, etc...  

I passed out clear cups and gave each child 10 counters.  We were working on Making Ten, but you could use any number of counters to build a number.   The kids got their counters, put their little hands on top, and I told them to SHAKE IT UP!!
Shake it up...shake it up!! The kids spontaneously started singing some Taylor Swift here, which just cracked me up! 

The children then spilled out their counters & drew a number bond on their desk to represent their "spill".  Here are some examples of three kids working on making a ten, and one little friend who was still building to 8! 

When they finished creating their number bonds, they had to write an equation to match it.  They just LOVE writing on their desks, and I love that it keeps them engaged!

We continued shaking and dumping for a while.  They were having so much fun, and the concept was really starting to click. How could I say no?! :)

When everyone had moved on up to making a ten, I had them record their "spills" on a sheet.
Some filled in the whole squares, while others drew the circles to mimic the counters.
While writing equations, we have been working with the commutative property and representing number combinations in two ways.  The children had to write the two equations that represented their counter spills.
They did such a great job AND they were able to identify so many ways to make ten!

Later, we made Rekrenrek bracelets so the kids could practice making combinations of ten, and create story problems to go along with their bracelets.
 This friend told me 6 monkeys were jumping on HER bed, and 4 more came along!

Just a quick, low prep,and easy way to practice building to ten! My kids loved it so much, they've asked to play it again and again.  Can't beat that!  If you would like a copy of the activity sheet, click the picture above or grab it {here}.  

I hope you can use this simple idea!  As always, thanks for stopping by! :)

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Thursday, August 20, 2015

Classroom Reveal: Sweet New Year!

Hi Friends! 
   We started back to school on August 5th, and it has been a whirlwind of rules, procedures, hugs, funnies, and learning ever since. I'm usually a night owl, and I've been to bed before 8:00 several times already!

   I have the absolute SWEETEST group of kiddos this year. They honestly make every day so much better, and are a reminder of exactly why I chose this profession.  I just love, love, love them, and can't wait to share all the great things we do together this year :)

   Anyway, I love looking into everyone's classrooms with their blog posts, and pictures on Instagram, so I thought I'd share this year's room with all of you! But, before I do, I want to say something.

    I have seen a lot of amazing classrooms online, and I have also read comments that are both positive and negative about "cutesy" classrooms.  A cute classroom DOES NOT equal a great teacher. It doesn't make anyone better, or anything like that at all. For me, it's my "home away from home". In reality, I spend more time in this space than I do at my house. I want it to feel good when I'm there, and I want it to feel good for my kids, too.  I decorate my room for me and my students, and I share this with you because it's part of who I am.  Just getting that out there... Anyhooooo......

  Welcome to my First Grade! 
My supply cubbies...obviously.  I traded out the old buckets that came with the unit, and upgraded to some matching tubs from Target. One of the best investments I've made. Love the color, the fact that they match, and they don't even need labels!

This is the view from the door for my 20 sweet firsties!

Front of the room where we work with our Promethean Board, display our anchor charts, and hang out with cozy cushions and crate seats. The kids love sitting here...and I love the storage!  One of my favorite Pinterest projects, ever.... whoever thought of this is a GENIUS!

Our reading area/book center. I have seen this rug in so many classrooms, so I guess great minds really do think alike. I clearly have a little love for polka dots, chevron and patterns, so this little area just makes me happy.  My sweet daddy built me these bookshelves, and they are so great for keeping my books organized.

Join me on the rug! We have our morning meetings,whole group lessons, and read alouds here. My sweet momma recovered my chair & I just love it! 

These are my kids' work cubbies. These binder clips with labels have been a lifesaver for me. No more scratching off old crusty labels from year to year, or when adding a new student. I have been to war with some Goo-Gone, and I did not win that battle. Thank you, Pinterest...again!

Where all (well,most) of my "stuff" is stored. Books, binders,and well....stuff!
That chair doesn't live there all the time, but I had been using it as a ladder early that day.Yep, I'm short...and I have T-Rex arms, too!

Can you tell I love some patterns?  Contact paper is definitely my friend!
The clouds are for our Sky High Behavior!  

This is our Standards Board....We call it "I Can Central"!
I also have sharpened and un-sharpened pencils in those cute straw dispensers.

Here is an up-close view of our I Can statements. I just peeled the labels off old soup cans, and taped some new paper ones on the front.  They're perfect for storing our statements.  
{If you want to see these in my store, click HERE.  There are editable cards for your own science and social studies standards)

This is where I do our "centers".  We actually call them stations, and the centers are just one of the stations the kids go to each day. I will post more about this later, but it is honestly one of the best systems I have ever found. Life-changing!

And back to the other side of the room.  I didn't get a picture of this other wall, but it's a full length wall of kid cubbies for bookbags, coats, etc..with my own storage on top & a closest. Nothing too exciting. :)

So, that's it!!  I love my little room, and my little learners, too!
As always, thanks for stopping by & taking this little tour with me. I hope you are off to a GREAT new year,or well on your way if you haven't started yet!!

Happy Back to School!!

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Sunday, July 26, 2015

Sight Word Solution! {And a FREEBIE!}

Sight words.  For years, teaching sight words has been an uphill battle with so many of my first graders.  I hear from other teachers (and parents!) all the time & they’re asking “Why does learning sight words have to be so hard?”  Kids ask this, too!  Assigning children a list of words that have no logical connection to one another has always seemed a little “off” to me, but it was the way everyone did it, so it was the way I did it. 

As teachers of sight words, most of us are used to teaching the words as they are listed on the original Dolche or Fry lists. Sometimes this can be frustrating for small children because there is no logical pattern to the words they are learning. 

Even parents are confused by sight words because many of them never learned them when they were in school. I have the solution!

When I was working with my lower babies & doing a lot of work with RTI groups, I had students put their assigned sight words into groups that made sense to them. I noticed that the kids were grouping their word cards by the phonics and spelling patterns they were familiar with.  

That’s how their little brains worked, and I found that my kids are able to master words more quickly if they follow a logical pattern or “make sense”. 

That’s when these lists made their way into my classroom instruction & it’s been the best thing I’ve ever done with sight words. In my district, first graders are asked to master 600 words by the end of the year.  That’s a lot, I know!

This system takes all of the 600+ sight words and groups them by spelling or phonics pattern

For instance, in List 1, children are only learning 2-letter words with long vowel e.
And in List 32, students are only focusing on the r-controlled vowel /ar/.  Breaking words down into manageable parts provides learners with that logical pattern they are often seeking when mastering sight words. 

Sure, there are words that don’t fit a specific pattern, and those are included, as well. They are marked in BOLD in each list.

I’ve made charts that show how each of these lists are correlated with the original Dolche & Fry lists. This is how I made it all work in my head. I had to know that all of the words I was teaching my children were the ones they really needed to know.
 When students have mastered all of the words that can be learned through spelling & phonics patterns, they move onto the challenge words. These challenge words are based on the Fry lists of the most frequently used words in the English language.  

 For these words, each child gets a list to study, as well as a Fluency Passage that includes ALL of the words for practice.  These passages are included because research shows that learning words in isolation is not the best way to master them, but rather embedding them in text has a more positive and long-lasting result.

As children learn their words, we celebrate our success with Sight Word Superstars!!!  In my room, each child has a command hook under their name. There are stars for each 5 lists, and for every list mastered, I punch a hole or put a sticker over the number. When they have learned all 5 lists for that star, they get to hang their star under their name. 
You can choose to cut out each individual star, or just cut out the squares.

You can also just hang them on a binder ring or key ring like you would Brag Tags. Kids love to hang these off their backpacks, or keep them in their cubbies. This is a great way to celebrate without taking up too much classroom space, or if you prefer not to have a public display in your room.

The kids love earning their stars!!

Now, do you have to teach your kids all 600 words? Absolutely not! I know the requirements for sight word mastery varies from district to district, so there is a set for the most common groups – 50, 100, 220, 450, and 600 (the challenge words).

If you’re interested in trying it out, the first set is a Starter Set for the first 50+ words, and it’s FREE for you to download and try. Just click the picture to check it out.

 If you want to check out the other sets, there are previews for each listing that will show you everything included. Just click the picture of each set to check it out! :)

***** EACH SET IS CUMULATIVE! That means, if you teach 220 words, only download the 220 set because it includes everything in the 50 & 100 set, as well as everything you will need to teach 220. YOU ONLY NEED TO PURCHASE ONE SET...the set that is based on how many words you want to teach your students. 

If you only teach 100 words, you only need that one set. However, if you want to teach all 600 words to your kiddos, you can get that, too. It’s 278 pages of EVERYTHING you’ll need to teach that Sight Word Solution!

This has seriously changed the way I teach sight words, and the level of mastery in my classroom. I have seen some of my kids just thrive with this program.  Check out the FREEBIE & let me know what you think!! :)

As always, thanks for stopping by!!
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