Thursday, January 31, 2013

Balancing Common Core & FREEBIES :)

Well, folks, it's Thursday night which, for me, means lesson planning...printing...laminating...and all that good stuff.  Our lesson plans are due to administration on Monday morning, but I like to have mine done before Friday so I can get everything prepped for the new week.

In case you didn't already know, I am NOT a morning person, so I like to roll in (screech in on two wheels) and have it all waiting for me :)

Anyway, next week, we are jumping feet first into the new common core standard of balancing equations and determining whether equations are true of false.  I think the kids will catch on to the true/false of basic equations pretty quickly, but the thought of having them balance them makes my head want to explode!!  

Have any of y'all already taught this ??  I found this awesome idea on Pinterest & can't wait to try it next week...
Susan at Thank God It's First Grade (T.G.I.F) had this amazing idea of using a balance & unifix cubes to give students a visual of how to balance numbers and equations. Love! Love! Love!

 I made some sheets to go along with our study of equations & wanted to share them with you. They're FREE!

Just click <HERE> to grab them ! The cut apart cards will be used in two ways..

First, I will pass them out, put an equation in the pocket chart & have the student with the matching problem come put it in the chart.

Then, we will pass them all out & the kiddies will have to find their equation partner...

Thanks to for the precious Valentine's monsters...have you been to this site?  Super cute FREE clip art. I'm all about the free :)

Keepin' it short tonight - time for some Grey's & finishing up the laundry. Tomorrow is a "free" jeans day, which means we get to wear jeans to school without donning a super cool sticker that says we have earned a pass for the day.  And, I have to admit, I'm super happy about it. 

You know you're a teacher when a free jeans day is almost like hitting the least at my school.

Seriously, folks.. I'm pumped !

Do you get to wear jeans? How often?

Anyway, hoping you have a great weekend & leaving you with a cute little funny :)

Thanks for stopping by!

Tuesday, January 29, 2013

Daily Schedule Linky

Has anyone ever spent the entire day thinking it was another day... like another day LATER in the week...only to realize it's only Tuesday?? I've thought it was Thursday all day, which means the rest of this week is going to poke on by! haha.

Anyway, today I'm linking up with Falling Into First for their Schedule Linky! :)
I'm always fascinated with other teacher's schedules & thought I'd link up to share & see what's out there..

At my old school, we started at 7:25 and ended at 2:15, so 7 years ago when I moved to my new district, I was THRILLED to learn the kids didn't come in until 7:45.  Now, I'm reading that some people don't even start til 9 . WOW! Talk about jealous. I am so not a morning person & that would make me so happy. is my daily schedule:
7:45 - 8:30  Morning Work/Announcements
     The kids write in their journals every morning when they come in. They don't have to be there until 8, so I have to be flexible in the morning. We also complete our Good Morning Work each day...which is my FAVORITE FIND as of late.  Have you seen these?
They are daily morning work sheets from Kelley Dolling at The Teacher Idea Factory. There is one sheet for every single day in the month....AND she has one packet for math & one for reading/ELA.  I cannot tell you how much I love these activities. They are also great for that little extra time I need in the morning to catch up, clean up, RTI, test sight words, etc... They are Common Core aligned & I can't say enough about them. Go check it out at her TpT store <HERE>.

8:30- 9:30 Calendar & Math 
 We are supposed to do 90 minutes of math, so we schedule in 60 here, and the remaining 30 are done during morning work and centers.  Math is whole group on Mondays, and a combination of whole and small group throughout the week.  When we do small group, it's the same rotation and plan as my Guided Reading centers. 

9:30 - 10:00 Language Arts
This is our time for ELA skill focus - nouns, pronouns, possessives, etc... That kind of stuff.  We integrate it throughout our reading and centers time, but my team and I decided we needed a specific "isolated" time for language arts direct instruction.

10:00 - 10:45 Specials
We rotate where we go each day of the week - Mondays: Music, Tuesday: PE, Wednesday: Art, Thursdays: P.E. and Fridays: We rotate through all four of our special areas each Friday.

This is also my planning time. On Tuesdays, we have meetings, but I am SO fortunate that the rest of the week is my own planning time. We typically spend this time meeting as a team, but I love the freedom of it :)

10:45 - 11:30 Science/Social Studies (Integrated with Reading Unit)
This is our time to focus on science and social studies (we alternate between the two) & because of our tight schedule, we integrate it in with our reading.  Science and social studies have to be taught within reading so we can address all of our standards. There are just SO MANY!!!

11:35 - 12:05 Lunch
This equates to about 15 minutes to eat, but we do have "duty free" lunch, which is such a blessing!

12:05 - 12:30 Phonics and/or Read Aloud

12:30 - 12:45 Recess
We are allotted 15 minutes a day...NO MORE! So, we head outside just as quickly as we can & get some play time.  In my opinion, this time is EQUALLY as necessary as the rest of our day.  What happened to the understanding that children learn through play??  Sometimes, I wonder if some of the "powers that be" need to pick up a child development book! :)

12:45 - 2:15 Guided Reading
 I do four rotations of 20-25 minutes for each of my 4 groups.  I have tried only meeting with certain groups on certain days, but it drives me crazy. I feel better when I  meet with all my groups every single day.  I posted about my centers and how I do it <HERE>.

You can read all about it & there's also a link to how I do it in math centers, too :)

2:15 - 2:30 Read Aloud, Catch up, Clean Up, Pack Up

2:30 Pack Up & Daily Standard Review

2:40 Dismiss :)  Yay!!!

 So...what does YOUR day look like???  The linky closes TONIGHT, so head on over there, link up, and share your scheduling ideas... I'm always looking for a new one to get more stuff in my day, so let me know if you do link up.

Hope you've had a great Tuesday...and you KNOW it's Tuesday, right?! :)

Thanks for stopping by....

Monday, January 28, 2013

100th Day Re-Cap in Pictures !

I  have been such a bad blogger... and honestly, I have no excuses other than laziness and being just plain overwhelmed. We have been testing with AIMSweb, which is similar to DIBELS but it has a math component. So, as I'm sure you know, that means pulling each individual to me & the computer for 8 tests.  All the while trying to keep the other children quiet and engaged in SOMETHING.  With first graders, it's truly like herding cats.  But, with only one more day of testing, I think we just might survive!

That being said, I'm exhausted.  How bad is it to go to bed at like 7:00??  I'm definitely a night owl, and typically stay up for the news, but tonight, I don't even think I'll make it to prime time :)  

Anyway, just wanted to share how our 100th day celebration went.... We had so much fun & the all-day centers went off without a hitch!!  Yay! 

For the original post about these centers...and the links to the original sources for these ideas.. .click  <HERE>.

Just a few things we did to show off how much smarter we are after 100 days!

We created  structure using 100 cups:
 We painted 100 dots:
We read this amazingly sweet book & wrote about what we would look like in 100 years... warning: this book is a tearjerker, but so wonderful :)
We searched through numbered Hershey Kisses & filled in our hundreds chart... our "Kiss Your Brain" center :) This was the definite favorite!

We put together our 100 piece puzzle...
The kids loved making pictures of the number 100...
They're glasses if you can't tell...

The kids also had to write their numbers to 100...
And we had snack....ahh, the snack!  It was so much fun, but I had to stay as far away as I could from that chocolate ! (Down 6.5 lbs in 2 weeks but my willpower is no match for chocolate goodness!)

We also took 100 steps down the hall to see how far we could get...

completed our 100 day books...

made hats & glasses...

and did 100 exercises!!!

WOW! What a day! 

I am so appreciative of all the teacher bloggers out there who came up with these great ideas so I could use them in my classroom.  Being part of the blogging community is awesome & I just love it. 

Anyway, that was it for the end of last week. Now, we are working on making mental pictures/visualizing and our fun weather unit. I can't wait to share it all with you, so I hope you'll stop by again soon!

I'm 10 followers away from 300, and planning a big giveaway..
1 - a $25 gift card
2 - one of those AWESOME pencil sharpers 
3 - a set of my favorite books

That's 3 winners & 3 great prizes.... Coming soon.....!

Happy Monday, folks... Thanks for stopping by! :)

Sunday, January 20, 2013

"Owl" About Punctuation Flash Freebie

Well, it's a sad day here in the peach state as our Falcons just lost their chance at the Super Bowl. :( What a game, though & a great season, nonetheless.  For those of you 49er fans - congrats to you!!

So, while watching football, I decided I HAD to grade papers. Do you hate that as much as I do??  I remember, as a kid,I loved it. I always volunteered to help my teachers grade (when we used to be able to do that) and thought it was the most fun. Now??  I think I'd rather be hit in the face with a shovel than grade papers. My stack was so high, I thought "I'm never going to get this done", but 4 quarters later, I only have one more set left.  Yippee! 

Now, to record the grades in my gradebook, and collate the papers to go home. Will the fun EVER end??  If any of you have a tip to share about how to ease the pain of this process, PLEASE, I'm begging you, share with me!

Anyway, while grading, I learned that, despite my most valiant efforts, my kiddies just don't get punctuation. I graded our District Assessments (we give these for each unit, and they are uniform across the county) & my kids did great . . . except with punctuation and capitalization.  Ugh. 

I have to come up with a way to make this stick.

It happens every year.  But, every time, I'm like "how can I make this work?"  There's got to be a way!

I know, I know . . . even kids in middle school still struggle with this, but it's just so frustrating when we do it ALL THE TIME!

So, I have been working on this punctuation center, and am definitely going to put it into the rotation this week. I thought I'd share with you.  Until tomorrow night . . . Monday night.. MLK's FREE, so hop over there and pick it up if you need some extra punctuation help like me! :) Just click <HERE>! After that, it's just $2.00!!!

Hope you enjoy it ! And, if you have ANY tips of punctuation/capitalization , let 'em fly! I need all the help I can get :)

Have a great day off tomorrow !

Thursday, January 17, 2013

100 Days Smarter...and a FREEBIE!

Is it really possible that the 100th day of school is just right around the corner??  Ours is next Thursday, the 24th, and it seems hard to believe.

Well, I say that, but it's been raining non-stop for 4 full days, which means no recess...which means crazy kiddos...which means I may or may not have a slight case of the grumps.  I know these babies just need to get outside and play but WOW, have they been wide open this week.  So, to tell the truth, it DOES feel like the 100th day of school should be here...or maybe the 180th??  If it wasn't so cold, I'd swear it was the end of the year! Right now, we're under a Winter Storm Watch here in GA, but I have yet to see one little white flake. :(

Anyway, the past few years, this day has come & gone with a few fun activities, but this year, I decided to make a week out of it and plan the 100th day to be full of fun stuff to do.

I've been doing a lot of research (or, more specifically, I've been spending countless hours on Pinterest) trying to come up with some stuff, and I thought I'd share the best things out there with YOU! :)

Teachers are so creative & I just love reading and seeing what everyone comes up with!  Here are some of my favorites. Click the pictures to take you to the post.

Joyful Learning in KC had this great idea of having the kids build something using 100 cups. How much fun! My kids will go crazy over this!

Cindy @ For the Love of Kindergarten did this last year & I love the way it turned out.  Also, loved how it makes kids group into tens to make 100.

Another great way to group tens into 100 from Miss Stec's Kindergarten Kollections & what kid isn't thrilled about some goodies?!

Cuteness!!!  This comes from Little Miss Glamour Goes to Kindergarten. :)

She also made these. I'm in LOVE with how precious these are !
I really hope I can fit these into this year's activities :)

Miss Renee' made this for the doorway to her class. What a cool way to start the day !

Kinder Kim's nephew made these for the 100th day & I think they are awesome. So much better than the plain ole' 100 hats I've been making...

Buzzing About Second Grade made these super cute creations with the number 100 using die-cuts. How creative!!!

And lastly, everyone loves a good snack (even if Weight Watchers is keeping me from the ones I really love...arrghhh!).  The Pixie Chicks have come up with this great idea & letter to send home for the supplies. Plus, there's many more fabulous ideas on their site.
I sent home my version of this letter to the kids today & they are already excited :)

So, for those of you that don't Pin (what??!?!), I wanted to share all these great ideas that are out there.  I've been making my plans for next week, and can't wait to include these in there. 

On the 100th day, I'm doing a full day (almost) of centers. 10 centers, plus a snack time, that the kids will rotate freely through. They can do them at their own pace & in whatever order they choose, but they have to do all of them. I hope it will be a big hit. After all these days inside, I think the deserve a fun day.

Here's my center check list if you would like it :)
The "Find all 100 numbers and color to match activity" is one my team & I have been doing for years. You make 100 circles and write the numbers 1-100 on them.  Then, you "hide" them throughout the classroom. The kids have to find each number and color in a hundreds chart (or gumball machine, etc...) to match the colors of numbers they have found in the room. It's time consuming, but fun. AND, it helps me identify the kids who are still struggling with those higher numbers.

Also, we'll be making the 100 Things Book (something I've done for years & the kids really enjoy) & if you want a copy of that, here you go! Nothing too fancy, but a good go-to for an easy activity.
So, that's about it for me tonight. I am super excited about the 100th day, and I can't wait to see all the cool stuff you come up with.

I have no clue how to make a "linky", but if you are posting some of your ideas, please leave your link in the comments for us all to see :)

Happy Friday (almost!).  OH!  I forgot - those of you that asked about my Weight Watchers stuff. I weighed in for the first time tonight and lost FOUR LBS! Woo hoo!  I would love to celebrate with a brownie or something, but that's how I got here, so looks like an apple for me :)

Tuesday, January 15, 2013

Mitten Measurement & a FREEBIE

Rain, Rain, Go Away....

  I shouldn't be so anti-rain. I know we need it, but wow, it makes it hard to get up in the morning AND the kiddos REALLY need to get outside. Recess in the rain??  Let me know tell how how much I'm considering it right now.

   Anyway, I'm sure a lot of you use The Mitten by Jan Brett in your winter unit. I have been reading that book for years and the kids always love it. It's a great book and even better with Reader's Theater. But, I have never thought to expand it into math. Until now... until I had to create an activity that would keep the kids interested, entertained AND engaged while it rained buckets on our playground.

So, we've been studying measurement and focusing on the use of nonstandard measurement, specifically.  Today, we took that focus and combined that with our unit on The Mitten :)

I gave each kid four mittens of different sizes, had them cut them out, and label them A, B, C, D...

Then, we used four nonstandard units to measure each mitten - counters, unifix cubes, cotton balls and.... ANIMAL CRACKERS!

OH, before I go on... the kids made mittens earlier in the day. Two sides of the same mitten shape... glued all the way around EXCEPT the bottom.

The kids decorated their mittens any way they wanted. Then, they had to ESTIMATE how many animal crackers would fit in their mitten (connection to the story..yay!).  The children wrote that number on the back of their mitten.

Then, after they measured the other mittens with all the nonstandard units, they tested their estimates with the cookies.
And ate them! :)

It was so much fun!!

If you would like to do this in the classroom, here's the sheet for you :)

This is my first time with directly linking a freebie into a post, so please let me know if it doesn't work.

Hope you enjoy & have fun with all your winter units!! I am LOVE reading all your posts.  Right now, I'm planning for next week's focus on the 100th Day. There are so many fun things to do & I've decided to make it a whole week plan. Good times!

Oh, and for you coupon and sales lovers (and for those who live near a Kroger), the animal crackers are 10 for $10. We used 4 bags for the whole class . . .  and that was extra just for snacking! 

As always, thanks for stopping by!!