Saturday, September 29, 2012

Proper Noun Pizzas & a FREEBIE!

Yay for Saturdays!  I've been busy planning for our last week before our fall break (yay!), and it's going to be full of craft activities (craftivities??) & lots of learning. I can't wait to share some with you - we are doing Angry Bird Verbs, Pete the Cat verbs & dressing up like "robbers" in our study of sneaky e!  Fun stuff.

Anyway, I wanted to share a quick idea with you & a FREEBIE.

This week, we studied proper nouns and make proper noun pizzas!  I got the idea from Christie at Teaching in Flip Flops & she made pronoun pizzas.  Because I just couldn't wait 'til we got to pronouns, I decided to alter it a little and do it for proper nouns.  Doing anything food related (even without ACTUAL food) makes the kids happy, so they loved this :)

So, I created a FREEBIE for all of you! 

For the record, I created this AFTER we made our pizzas, so yours will look a little different *and cuter, I think* than ours.  Also, the little stars are where your kids will put their glue so their little pepperonis will flap up.  This was interesting, to say the least, but we used bottle glue (YIKES!) and they did really well with it.

You can get the freebie at my TpT store HERE !!   The fonts are by Kevin & Amanda. Love them :)

You can also use these for pronouns (like Christie did!), plural nouns, etc... I would LOVE to hear your ideas, so please let me know if you use it.

Enjoy & have a GREAT weekend :)

Wednesday, September 26, 2012

Pool Noodles, Wonka Bars & Place Value!

Happy Hump Day! I am so excited to share what we have been doing with place value. This concept is always a killer for my little first graders, so I was so happy to find some new resources and even MORE happy that they have been a super success!

See, my kids always get the "rote memorization" part of place value in knowing the tens and ones place, etc.. but the truth that they don't actually GET it always rears its ugly head.  With such a huge emphasis on place value with the common core, I wanted to try some fun and new things & it was awesome! :)

First, I came across this fabulous & fun idea from Mr. Smith at  If you have never watched his videos, he is HILARIOUS & I just wish I had him as my first grade teacher . . . or any grade level teacher for that matter.  Truthfully, I just wish we were friends ~ he makes me laugh in every video.

Anyway, I tend to get distracted . . . sorry!  Here is the video that started it all :
So, I went to the Dollar Tree & bought TEN pool noodles.  The green ones were cut in 1/2 for "tens" and the blue ones were cut into pieces to make the "ones".

I called the class to the carpet for whole group & we sat in a circle. Each kid picked a number & I wrote it on a white board. Then, they had to make the # using the noodle tens & ones.  They went NUTS!!  Seriously, the kids had a blast.

And not one single kid turned their noodle into a light saber, sword, or stick. SUCCESS!

Then, another from Teacher Tipster, I came in one morning wearing a soldier's hat & we "did" this song :)
I have to admit, Mr. Smith does it WAY better than I did, but you know first graders, they ate it up!  It's amazing how funny they think you are when you act so silly.

We have to use the Learning Focused E.A.T.S format for our lessons, so this was the A - Activator :)

Then, we cut up straws to be kinda like our pool noodle game & the kids had to make their own numbers and glue them down.

Throughout the week, we used a lot of different manipulatives to build numbers & reinforce the concept.

Then, the last thing we did was Willy Wonka Bar Place Value.  When I say the kids LOVED this, I promise you it's an understatement.  I got this idea from Katie at I Want to be a Super Teacher. She teaches 3rd grade ( I think?) so I had to level it down just a bit. 

I told the kids that today they were going to be working in a candy factory just like Willy Wonka's. Each table was given a stack of brown "ones" or chocolate candies.  Because they work in a factory, they had to stamp each candy with a "W" for Wonka (or my last name . . . they liked that part). I played the Oompa Loompa music (on repeat for about 10 minutes) and the kids had to stamp (write) on each candy.  When the time was up, they had all their candies (ones) on their desk & each kid had a different amount. YouTube has just the song on their website.

(yay for my Promethean Board!)

Then, I explained that our job at the factory was to make candy bars.  Each bar was made up of TEN candies.

I put sentence strips on each table & of different colors .  Orange  = peanut butter & chocolate bars. Green = mint chocolate chip.  Yellow = lemon chocolate (eww! their idea). And, pink = strawberry chocolate bars (again, eww).

They knew they could only put TEN candies on each bar because all the candy bars have to be the same size, just like the ones we buy at the store.  When they had used up all their candies, the "ones" we have left couldn't be glued down, but would be sold as "candies".  I put the song back on ( they were so cute singing "Oompa loompa...dippity dooooo....") & they went to work!

 I walked around and acted like their boss, which they thought was funny. One kid said "keep working! We don't wanna get fired!".  Which is funny, but maybe not?! Hmm. . . Anyway . . .
Then, the kids had to make a "poster" that would go in a window of the store to show what they had to sell. It's not much, but I made it on the fly & it worked for this.  I stapled their candy bars & their candies to their poster & we hung them in the hallway under our "Wonka Store" front :)

The kids had so much fun & I just loved all the ideas I found on the blogs.  I hope you enjoyed our unit & you check out Teacher Tipster & I Want to be a Super Teacher.  :)

I'm almost to 200 followers, so I'm trying to come up with an October (fingers crossed!) giveaway. Keep on the lookout & as always, thanks for stopping by!!! :)

Sunday, September 23, 2012

Halloween Picture Book Linky

Happy Fall Y'all !!!  I can't tell you how excited I am that fall is actually here.  And (knock on wood!) it actually FEELS like it here in GA.  I am just hoping it stays that way, because fall is my most favorite season. 

The leaves . . . the smells . . . the pumpkins . . . the breeze . . . the football.  . . . the festivals & fairs . . . OH, and the books! :)

Today, I am linking up with Chrissy at First Grade Found Me for her Halloween Picture Book Linky Party.

 I have chosen my top five because, seriously, I could be here all day. Holiday books tend to be my favorite & the kids love them, too.

#1 The Halloweiner
 The cutest & funniest little story about a weiner dog whose mom always dresses him up like a hot dog every Halloween. The other animals laugh and make fun of him all the time, but in the end, he reigns as the hero!  A great story about how to treat others and being a good friend.

2.  Room on the Broom
This book is ALWAYS a classroom favorite.  I swear, every year, this is the book the kids yell "Read it again! Read it again!". And, of course, I do!  It's the most cleverly written rhyming book and it's a building story, too.  If you don't have this one, you really need to find it this year.  So cute!

3.  Shake Dem Halloween Bones
Another favorite of my kiddies because they love to sing/rhyme along with it.  They end up dancing around the room singing "Shake . . Shake. . . Shake dem Halloween Bones!".  I got the CD from Scholastic, too, so that just adds to the fun!

4.  The Little Old Lady Who Was Not Afraid of Anything
 A classic & perfect for sequencing.  I do a felt board/magnet board activity where the kids have to sequence the story, and we also do a Reader's Theater with it.  It's fairly simple text, so it makes for a good Reader's Theater this early in the year. Plus, the kids just love all the motions and sounds they get to make!

5. Lastly, The Legend of Spookley the Square Pumpkin
 This one is just GREAT for October in general.  A great book about how being different is an awesome thing & how we can celebrate our differences.    I love to use this one to compare and contrast Spookley and Halloweiner! :)

   Also, a cute activity I do with this book is to have the kids make a Spookley out of their milk cartons.  We just cover all the sides with orange paper, squish down the top, and stick a green construction paper leaf to the top.  Then, they write on all four sides the four narrative elements - character(s), setting, problem, and solution. They love it :)

 Head on over to First Grade Found Me & have a great week!!!!!

Thursday, September 20, 2012

Great Giveaway News & Help Needed

Hi friends!!!  Keeping it short today, but I just had to share a great giveaway going on & as for a little help.

As for the giveaway,  Heather is so sweet & such an inspiration to all of us teachers. Her blog just makes me smile!  So, hop on over to Heather's Heart for a GREAT giveaway. 
Seriously, she's giving away ...
* A $25 Lakeshore gift card (woo hoo!!!)

* A $25 TpT gift card ( you know your wish list is soooooo. . . . . long!)

 * A $50 Target gift card ( just think of how much Dollar Spot stuff you could grab up!)

Head on over there & enter to win.  :)

So, as we speak, my Promethean Board is being installed. . . . I AM SO EXCITED!!!  But, I'll be honest - I don't even now how to turn it on.  If you have any suggestions, tips, links or resources, they would be GREATLY appreciated ! :) There's not enough money in the budget for training for all teachers, so we have a few people in our school to assist us, and the rest is up to us. I am super pumped about my new friend, but I'm a little scared, too.  Thanks for any help!

Wednesday, September 19, 2012

Oh, How Pinteresting!!

Do you love Pinterest??  I'll admit it, I'm a wee bit addicted!  There are just so  many great ideas out there & Pinterest lets me decorate my dream home, lust over yummy recipes ( I might or might not ever make), fawn over clothes I only wish were in my closet and, of course, grab up all these awesome teaching resources, ideas, and activities.  Can you tell I'm in L.O.V.E?

Today, I'm linking up with The Vintage Apple for her Wednesday "Oh How Pinteresting" link to show some of my favorite things I've pinned lately :) Thanks to Tammy at 1, 2, 3 ... Teach with Me for the inspiration!  Just click on the pictures if you want to see the original post!

For the home . . . 
I love rosettes & am all about the vintage look these days, so how cute is this?!

I can't wait to make this for spring. I also thought I could do it this fall with mums. Yay cuteness!

For my belly . . . 
Made this the other night & it was  HUGE hit.  Sinful? Yes.  Fattening?  Absolutely!  Healthy?  Umm..negative.  Delicious?  OH yeah !

 With the weather FINALLY cooling off, this just looks so yummy to me.  Baked Potato Soup - Yes, please!
For goodness sake . . . these are great ideas!
I can't find the original source for this one but shower rings on a hanger for scarves. What a great space saver!!!

 How to print on sticky notes. What????  I am SO excited about this !!!

For my classroom . . . 
I could post a gazillion things here but I'll try to keep it short.
Ms. Leslie Ann at Life in First Grade has this great center I can't wait to try !

Aren't these great????  I think these would be awesome for writer's workshop & there are also sticks to help with Guided Reading.

And lastly. . .
   For my sanity...
You know I love my funnies !!
Go on & link up! What have you found Pinteresting lately???  :)

Monday, September 17, 2012

Apple Goodness, a Freebie & a little vent!

Happy Monday, Folks!
I want to share some of my apple unit with you, but first, can I have a minute to vent??

I don't usually take up blog space to do this, but I am sure most of you can relate just a little bit.

So, I come back to school today after being gone a whole week. Of course my kids had a sub.  Now, usually, I am a HUGE supporter of subs & really appreciate all they do for the little money they make. But, today, when I walked in my room .  .  .I about lost it.
This was me.

The sub  had rearranged my furniture. . . yes, moved desks around so she could put my rocking chair in the middle of the room and hang out (I guess??)

She did not do ANY of the lessons left for her, but instead . . .
     went through my filing cabinet where I keep some old sets of worksheets that I had made copies of in the past & never got to ( I keep these "Just in case") She pulled stuff out, stapled them together & made a packet.

A packet full of stuff my kids had never even done before. They had NO clue!

Then, she went to my book center (where I am a WEE bit anal retentive about its organization) and just passed out stacks of books for the kids to look through & just laid them on top of the other books . . . NOT back where they went.  Argggghhh!!!

Add on top of that the comments from specials teachers & even the lunch ladies like "Wow, your kids were awful last week" and " Your kids were so loud in the lunch line, we had to come out here and monitor them!".  Embarrassed :(

Now, I was a little perturbed with my kiddies but they are such sweet children . . . and they are CHILDREN, so I couldn't really blame them. Especially, 5 weeks into school. Ugh . . . anyway, had to vent. Thanks for listening.  I feel better now.  Breathe.  Breathe.

NOW . . . on to APPLES!!! 
  I absolutely LOVE doing our Johnny Appleseed unit every  year. It's one of my very favorites. This year, I took to Pinterest & came up with some great things to do. I wanted to share them with you! Plus, the cutest thing I've seen in a LONG time is at the end of this post :)

  So, we started the week with a poem and some read alouds
Then, we worked on describing words for Johnny.  Our standard tell us that the kids should be able to explain what contributions Johnny made to our country, so we start with coming up with words that describe him & make Pot Hats with describing apples on them :)
Oh handwriting isn't so great. How do some teachers write perfectly when writing from the side without blocking the chart?! 

They loved their hats . . . wore them everywhere we went ! :)

Then, we graphed apples, which the kids always love. :)

 My apples kinda look like hineys...whoops!  And I can't get this picture to rotate.. awesome.

Then, we hung them up in the classroom. Thanks to Alycia at for the display idea !!!  It's 3M hooks & sheet protectors so the work can be changed out all the time. Love it!
We also worked on features of nonfiction text by starting with labels.  This idea comes from The First Grade Parade & her drawing is MUCH better than mine, but I tried :)
The parts of an apple were done last week with the sub (kind of ..... ugh) so I don't have any pictures, but I loved this idea. It comes from Kathleen at Growing Kinders.

Okay, and then the VERY BEST idea I have seen in the longest time . . . the APPLE RICE KRISPIE TREATS!!!!! :)
Oh my gosh - are these not the cutest things you've EVER seen???

Again, since I was out, I didn't actually get to do them (yet!!) so I don't have a picture of ours, but we will do them this Friday just for snack since the kiddos didn't get to make them last week.I just had to put it on here because I was so super excited about them :)

I just love them & can't wait to make them, so I'm figuring out a way to put them in the plans.  We're continuing our focus on tall tales & folktales, so it kinda fits right?!

This picture and recipe come from Mandy at Gourmet Mom on-the-go.  Just add red jello or food coloring, a tootsie roll and an Airhead (I'm not awesome at icing . . . ) and VOILA! Cuteness :)

Lastly, we made number lines from apples. You can pick up my freebie here

Okay, so thanks for listening to my rant & for stopping by for some apple goodness.  I will be back later in the week for what we've done with tens and ones. Yay!  I'm just ready to get back into the swing of things :) Tomorrow is a half day conference day, so maybe Wednesday it will all start falling back into place. Fingers crossed !! :)