Tuesday, February 24, 2015

Making Improvements

This year I have really been focusing my time on updating some of my first products.  As teachers, I don't think we are ever able to just teach exactly what we did for years before.  We are always looking for ways to make things better.  I personally think this is a good thing, except that sometimes I feel like a dog chasing its tail.  Stuck in the never ending cycle.  Unfortunately it is who I am and I don't think I will ever be the kind of teacher who can do the same things every year.  Sometimes an activity or lesson is THAT good that you do it each year, but most of the time education is changing around us and we need to adapt as we go.  

So with that being said, here is my latest revision - my St. Patrick's Day pack.  

 

I love this unit because it includes a nonfiction reader where I can teach my students about what St. Patrick's Day is (without any religious specifics).  

AND it has some super fun activities centered around Leprechauns, which is always fun to read and write about.  Here are some of the books I like to read to my class to get us ready.


Then we will do a tree map about leprechauns so we can lead into how we are going to catch a leprechaun.  This is what I've used in the past and it is still in the pack.

But I've also added this flip book that I will be using this year.  Just a different way to present our writing.  

After we have decided how to catch a leprechaun I share with them an original poem I wrote called 3 Wishes.  It's about catching a leprechaun and then he gives you 3 wishes.  Students get to choose what their wishes will be and then make this cute craft to go with it.  
(I've added the pocket chart pieces to the pack for the poem)



Finally, I've added a couple printables to this pack - some writing prompts, story maps, and mixed-up sentences.  You never know when you're going to need an extra center, morning work, or time filler.  Here is what is included in this pack.  




If you already own it, please re-download to get the updated file.  If not, you can click on the pictures above to check it out in my store.  

And BY THE WAY.........

It's that time again!  Time for another AMAZING TEACHERS PAY TEACHERS SALE!!!!  These are my favorite sales because I can really stock up on what I need.  I hope you are getting your carts ready too!


And in case you are overwhelmed by all the wonderful things on TpT, here are a couple of my must-haves for the upcoming months that you might want to check out:





 Happy shopping!!!


Saturday, February 21, 2015

Favorite Books, FREEBIES, and a Giveaway

Hi friends! 

We're here again for another month's edition of Weekend Warriors.  

This month's theme is Favorite Books.  I think I could write a blog post every day of the school year about my favorite books.  There are just SO many great books out there!  I find new ones everyday it seems.  So here are just a few that I love and a couple freebies to go along with them around making connections to texts.  

These books are actually PERFECT for the beginning of the year and back to school time, but they  can really be used at any time because some classes (all classes, really) need some refreshers now and again about the importance of kindness.  

Before I get into the books, here is a mini anchor chart I put together to use when talking about the different ways to connect to a text. 


The first book I love to use is Chysanthemum by Kevin Henkes.  I LOVE using this book, at the beginning of the year especially.


This is the ideal book to discuss Text to Self Connections.  All students can connect with this cute little story about a mouse name Chrysanthemum.  She LOVES her name, until some of the other kids start making fun of her.  Not cool!  

This first idea I got from First Grade Wow to go along with this book.  She cuts out a large paper heart and passes it out to the students while she reads the book out loud.  She says everytime someone makes fun of Chrysanthemum to crumple up the heart a little more.  At the end she looks at the heart and talks about how Chrysanthemum felt when the other kids were making fun of her name.  Then they try to smooth out the heart, but it doesn't really smooth out completely.  She uses this poem to go on the heart and has the kids write their names on band-aids to put on the heart.  This is hung up all year long as a reminder that words can hurt and kind words are best!

Such a cute idea and a great classroom moment!  

After this activity I do some more activities with the students' names.   You can read this post from last year where I discuss this a little more.  I love to spend time where kids get to know each other, but it's also fun to just do some fun activities about something they know a lot about - their names!

Click on this picture to check out this pack in my store:

And here is a little poem I found that I also be using this year when we do these activities.  Just a cute reminder of how we should be proud of who we are!


The next book I like to use is A Bad Case of the Stripes by David Shannon.  



This book is about Camilla Cream who loves lima beans.  But her friends don't like them, so Camilla decides to stop eating them.  It is a great book about how you should be yourself no matter what other people think!  I love to tie this story in with the next book: Stand Tall Molly Lou Melon  by Patty Lovell.  


These two books are PERFECT for a little Text to Text connection.  


Molly Lou Melon is a GREAT character!  She does not care what the other kids think of her because she is proud of who she is!  What an awesome message!  I especially love Molly's grandma in this book because a lot of the confidence that Molly has is because the things her grandma says to her - like this quote: 



I think it's important for students to reflect on why they are special.  I spend lots of time sharing these altogether and celebrating what makes us all special people.



 At the end of all of these books, I try to bring it all back to a very important topic - bullying.  In each of these books there are kids who are being bullies.  Text to World connections come in here.  We discuss what a bully is and how they make us feel.  We also talk about how we can get rid of bullies and one way to help is to stand up to bullies.  Here is a quick little activity we do where we talk about about what we can do if we see bullying or if it happens to us.

I make an anchor chart for ideas of what we can do and then the students complete this sheet.  Since I'm not in school yet I don't have a picture of the anchor chart but some ideas we come up with are: tell an adult, tell them to stop, walk away, avoid the bully, be nice to the bully (make friends with the bully).  I think it's important to give students ways to deal with these problems because we all know they will encounter this at some point in their lives - probably many times.  

So wraps it up for me today.  If you are interested in any of the activities I shared in this post you can get them for FREE by clicking below.  I hope you like them and can use them!


Now don't leave yet!  Now you can enter to win a Teachers Pay Teachers $10 Gift Card and then move on to the other amazing blogs below to read more and enter more giveaways.  




Saturday, January 31, 2015

Lovey Dovey Valentine's Day



Hello, hello!  We're back with some fun ideas for this month.  We decided to share some LOVE for Valentine's Day this month for I {heart} January!


Here are a few things I've done for Valentine's Day over the years.  First up, of course we must focus on the academics as we lead up to Valentine's Day.  It can't ALL be candy and games, right?

We do a little How-To writing on How to Make a Valentine and put it together in this fun flip book.


We also do some reading, of course.  Here are some of the cute books that I love to read aloud around Valentine's Day.  


We do a variety of activities with these books, but sometimes we just read for fun.  Imagine that in the common core days.  That's right - I'm a rebel.  Haha!!!  

This is a little writing and craft that goes with The Day it Rained Hearts.  I love tapping into the kids imagination and asking what they would do if things from books happened to them.  It's that great way of modeling for our kids that reading is all about getting lost in a book and becoming part of the story. So we put them into the story as often as we can.  For this quick writing I have the kids think of "the most amazing thing" that could happen after it rains hearts.  They always come up with some fun ideas!


Around Valentine's Day, it's fun for kids to talk and share about all the different things they LOVE.  I mean, really, any time of year 1st graders want to talk about themselves.  Am I right?  So here is a cute heart shaped book that we make and they love sharing with their friends.  The pages have People I love, Things I love, People who love me, and How I show my love.


The next thing we love to do is make valentines and cards for the people we LOVE.  Here is a cute card we have made for parents and other loved ones.  


On Valentine's Day we love to play games at our classroom party.  I compiled a quick little list of some of the simple games we've played.  Maybe you will be able to use a couple of these at your next party. 


Here is a little Valentine Bingo freebie if you'd like to use it.  The kids create their own bingo boards.  Click the picture to grab it.  


Side note: Years ago when I started creating these bingo boards I would have my students generate the words we would use.  One of my favorite little boys wanted to use the words: Lovey Dovey.  The whole class erupted in giggles!  I will never forget it!!  So in honor of him I titled this post Lovey Dovey and of course included it in the bingo board.  :)

I can't forget to mention that throughout the week/weeks before Valentine's Day we also do a variety of themed literacy and math centers and activities.  


All of what I mentioned above and much more is included in my NEWLY UPDATED Valentine's Day pack.  If you already have it, you will want to re-download it - I added over 50 pages!!!  If you don't already have, it's on sale for the weekend so go grab it.  


Here's some more of what's included in the pack.



Thanks for stopping by for this edition of Weekend Warriors.  My friends below have more amazing ideas to share with you so check them out!

Have a great weekend!!! :)



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