Spelling Lists and Spelling Homework for the WHOLE Year AND BIG Bloggy News!

Hi Friends, 

This weekend has been great.  We took the little lady apple picking at one of our favorite spots today.  We got  there as they opened and hoped to beat the crowds, but there was already a backup to get and they weren't even open yet.  However, all the waiting was forgotten once the Hubs and the Little Lady got their hands on some of their FAVORITE apple cider donuts!  YUM - Makes me miss the gluten (but not the sickness!)

Spelling Lists and Homework - For the Whole Year!!

In other news, I FINALLY (mostly) finished my spelling units and uploaded them to Teachers Pay Teachers!  When our phonics program, Fundations, was revised over the summer, my team and I decided to revise our spelling lists and homework to better match the pacing and the skill acquisition of the students. This summer, I spent LOTS of time planning and organizing the new spelling lists and we are ready to start using them next week.  I have made them available to you HERE.  I linked you to my store (which has 6 products now!!), so you can see all of the spelling packs.  If you are interested in purchasing all of the sets (4) as a bundle let me know and I will bundle them at a reduced price!  Check out below for a sample of the first week's list and matching work!  

In Other Bloggy News...

I have decided to hire a blog designer (it's way cheaper than I expected) and get a different design on my blog!  It's under construction for now, but should be installed in the near future. Are you ready?  I am excited for a less generic look!  Any ideas for what I should choose?  

Have a great week friends!  Happy almost October!

A Teacher Mom :)

It's been a L-O-N-G week! But now its 5 For Friday!

TGIF!!  That is almost all I can say.  This week has been SUPER busy at school and at home and I am so THANKFUL that the Hubs is picking the little lady and I up some Gluten-Free Chinese goodness as I start this post!  

1.  Narrative Writing - Watermelon/Tiny Seed Stories and Storytelling With Partners  (A NEW PRODUCT!)

This week I taught a lesson on Zooming In on a narrative story to help focus my student's writing.  So many students end up writing a list of their day (I drove to the apple orchard.  I picked apples.  I went home) rather than zooming in on picking one juicy apple or climbing a big tree to get an apple.  I have taught the lesson for many years, but this year (with the inspiration by Lucy Calkins and crew) I made my own watermelon (see below) labeled with my watermelon story (our family trip to Storyland) and many tiny seed stories that will be the stories I write during my mini-lessons for the next few weeks.  While conferring with students, I found SO many kids were writing watermelon stories, but most of them understood what I was getting at and through the conference, they were open to zooming in on just one part.  LOVE when lessons show success so readily!

Today, I started working with my firsties on storytelling with a partner during writing time.  I shared this whole class chart and modeled this with my messenger for the week.  He was a great helper and even came up with a great question to help me add more details to my story.  

Then, using our elbow partners from last week, partners went through the steps with each other while I was listening in.  For the first time having to listen and ask questions, I thought the kids did great!  I had to sit with one pair, but ONLY one!  And best of all everyone was off to work as soon as I sent them to write!  I have made a mini-version of my storytelling with partners chart to place in kiddos writing folders.  It is in my TPT store HERE!  It's only $1 (since I'm just starting out, I need to price it at $1, so I make a 30 cent profit for each one-sorry!).  Please check it out, and maybe follow me on TPT, so you can see all of my products!  

2.  3 Ways To Read A Book and "Just Right" Book Choices

This week the library was opened in our classroom.  We spent two days learning how to choose a book (looking at the cover, the words, the picture, thinking about if you like what the book is about and if you can read the words).  Finally, each kiddo had 4 books they liked to last them for the week.  Then we needed to talk about how they can read a book.  Again, I used Kim Adist's Blasting Off with Reader's Workshop pack and LOVED it!  I took 3 days to roll out the 3 ways to read and they kids got it!  First, kids could retell a story they knew.  I planned to use The Three Little Pigs, but couldn't find the original version, so I ended up using There Was An Old Lady Who Swallowed A Fly and A Very Hungry Caterpillar.  Kids knew one or both of the books, so it worked well to practice retelling the books with their elbow partners.  The next day we practiced how to use the pictures of a book to tell the story even if they have never seen the book before.  I used Cookie's Week to illustrate this strategy and the kids had so much fun telling their elbow partners what Cookie was up to!  Finally, today we learned the third way to read a book...READ THE WORDS!  This was one they all already knew and they were off to read on their own for 15 minutes!  Literacy stations and Guided Reading groups start on Monday.  Fingers crossed that we are ready for that independence!!

3.  3 Types of Clouds

To start off our year in science we teach kids the basics about weather.  Types of weather, what a meteorologist does, thermometers/temperature zones, and clouds.  Clouds are my favorite part!  We learn about cirrus, cumulus, and stratus clouds.  We then head outside to do the observation.  Which type day does my cloud observation ALWAYS fall on???  Usually its a rainy day, so we can't get outside.  This year...a day without a SINGLE cloud to view.  We improvised and decided to draw all 3 types of clouds to share what we may have seen outside :)  Then we spent two lessons making these beauties.  I found the idea for these flap books on Pinterest, but my team modified them last year to this.  The kids LOVED them and were excited to take them home!  (of course a few friends went a little crazy with the watercolors and had a still wet paper to carry home - Oops!)

4.  NOUNS - Freebie (not mine, but a great one!)

I love Kelly Dolling from The Teacher Idea Factory.  I use her Good Morning Work everyday!  Last weekend she posted this NOUN FREEBIE.  I knew I needed to introduce the concept of nouns soon, and this was the perfect way.  I did a short mini-lesson with the kids and we made this chart as we talked about how nouns can be people, places, or things. 

Then had the kids work in groups of 2 or 3 to sort the words and then used the recording sheet to record their answers.    The kiddos did a great job and thought the cards were pretty cool!  Next year, when I do this station again I will make headings for the sorts (People, Places, Things).  I think that will be more clear for the kiddos who are new to this kind of activity.

5.  Apple Rhyming Pairs

I found this apple literacy and math pack from Made For 1st Grade last year, but I never made this center until this week.  We have reviewed all of the letter sounds and will start tapping out CVC words on Monday (they did this in Kindergarten too!), so I wanted to see what they remembered.  Kids worked in groups of 2 or 3 to tap and read the words and decide if they rhymed or not.  Here's a picture of the rhyming words.  I wanted to get the whole sort, but they kids were so great at this, by the time I got everyone settled and recording they were already putting away the non-rhymers.  

I hope you all had a great week and that you are planning on a fabulous weekend!  The little lady has a playdate with a set of triplets who were born the day before she was tomorrow after ballet and we are hoping to head out to pick some apples on Sunday (since the PATS aren't on until 8!)

Please check out my new product and leave some comment love!

A Teacher Mom :)

Five for Friday... On Sunday :)

I hope everyone is enjoying this great weekend!!  The weather is beautiful up north where we are. The Hubs, little lady, and I headed to cape cod for the weekend!  Which was AMAZING except for not having wi-fi!  Hence I wrote this blog on my phone and will link up and post once we return on Sunday!  

In any event read on to see what was happening in 1B this week!!

1.  Elbow partners

I have always used the turn and talk strategy in my teaching, but I don't think I ever did a great job and teaching exactly what I was expecting while kids were turning and talking. We spent most of our focus lesson time learning how to work with our elbow partners. I assigned everyone an elbow partner ( the person who sits next to them on the carpet. I then talk about lean and tell which I tell kids is for questions with short answers such as how old are you? Or what is your favorite color?  Then I taught kids how to turn and talk which means kids need to turn their bodies to face each other to facilitate conversation. This is for longer talking times such as why is this your favorite book or what can we do to make my story better. I used this chart from this KIm Adsit unit to help us practice. 

After two days of practice, I review with students important parts of a book ( title page, cover, back cover) and the author and illustrators jobs. We continued to practice lean and tell and turn and talk as we were reviewing these concepts about print!  This is the poster I made again from this Kim Adsit pack!

2. Writer's Workshop

So I mentioned last week that my district has decided to use the revised Lucy Calkins writing program this year. And while I am really liking the lessons and the work my kids are doing, it is A LOT of work!!  All new charts, mentor texts, lesson plans, etc!!  In the hopes of making even one teacher's life a little easier, I have made a FREEBIE for you all. It connects to the first chart that Lucy creates during lessons 1-3. I made a whole class chart which is hanging in the room. 

And I have this FREEBIE to share with you!  Here's a preview pic!  If you download it PRETTY PLEASE rate me and give FEEDBACK!  

Revising has been tough for my kiddos. Many of them think their stories are all done with nothing to add. However, though my writing conferences, I am beginning to convince some of my hesitant revisers to take a second look and add more to their writing!

3.  Tally Marks

Every year is a little different when teacher ( but you know that).  A lesson that took 3 days last year may only take 1 this year or the opposite could be true. That's how tally marks were this year!  Many kids knew about them and those that didn't, got it FAST!  I only had 2 kids have trouble and they understood the concept, they just made 5 tallies and 1 across (6) each time. I work with them one-on-one and it seemed to have worked!!
We made this chart together during the whole class lesson.  

I used this FREEBIE (not mine, but a goodie) to have this kids practice. It was clear and sat of all fun for the kids. ( who doesn't love a monster game??!!??). It was a great assessment tool for me too!  

4.  Core values- R-E-S-P-E-C-T

Our school has 5 core values we hope kids follow. My team created some fun beginning of the year lessons that help kids explore these core values. This week we talked about respect. We read Respect by Lucia Raymond.  This book gives clear examples of what respect looks like and sounds like. As a class we made a ( not pretty) chart of what respect sounds like. 

I am SO Embarrassed that this chart looks this bad. I almost want to make it again before we complete the looks like column on Monday!!  
After completing the chart, each child chose one respect statement or "sparkle statement" to write on a shooting star and decorate for our doors. Here's what some looked like...

I'm looking forward to seeing more of what respect sounds like in our classroom this year!

5.  Compliment Jar

Every year I use one incentive program or other. I tried bees in a hive last year. Where kids earned bees for good behavior, but the kids didn't but into it. Then I tried a bingo incentive but the results were mixed. This year I found this craft from on of my favorite sellers, cupcake for the teacher. This star jar is located on my white board and will be filled with star before we know it!  

In the hopes of parent support and encouragement I also had each kiddo make their own star jar to explain to someone at home what we are doing. Here's what one looks like!  

Have a great week friends!  I hope to be back soon with some fun fall crafts the little last and I are making, we have just been so busy lately!!  I will def be back with another 5 for Friday next week. And hopefully it will actually be done on Friday;). 

A Teacher Mom ;)

Ready To Learn

Happy Monday!  Here's a quick (kind of scattered) look at some of the learning we did today!

We Are Ready To Learn

When the new year starts, I always forget all of the "little" lessons that you do at the beginning of the year really pay off by the end of the year.  We do a lot with WHOLE BODY LISTENING at our school and I do really like the posters that go with it, they are a little busy for everyday (sometimes every minute!) reference.  So, when I saw Kim Adsit's Blasting Off WIth Reader's Workshop unit on TPT, I jumped on it!  She has some amazing posters and lessons!!  Today I introduced the idea of Reader's Workshop and spent time teaching (and practicing) how kids can be ready to learn.  Take a look at the poster below and see if you can figure out our rules...

Eyes on the speaker
Listening Ears on
Quiet As a Mouse
Sit Like A Pretzel

After lots of practice, the kids were able to glue a copy of the anchor chart into their notebook and draw a picture of themselves following the rules.  A SUCCESS!!


We are a Responsive Classroom School (which is a program that promotes positive learning and behavior habits).  As a part of our first 6 weeks of school and our classroom rule making, each child thinks of one hope or dream for this school year.  Once we do this, students write and decorate their hope and dream.  We then base our rules on how we will achieve our hopes and dreams.  Here's a sneak peak at my Hope and Dream for this year!

Interest Chart for Writer's Workshop

For homework this week, we ask each family to help us fill out an interest chart that will help the firsties think of small moment writing ideas when we begin Writer's Workshop later this week.  Coming up with ideas is always tricky, especially after your churn out your first couple of stories.  I just wanted to share my FAVORITE book to read when talking about how to choose an idea for a story.  

IT"S SO CUTE!  And it reminds kids to write about what they know!  

That's all for now...It's been a long day of work, taking the little lady to swimming lessons, back-to-school picnic, tubby, bed, back-to-school night folders - AHHHH!!!!! I will be back soon with more great things we are up to this week!

Have a great week!

The Teacher Mom :)

First week of first grade... DONE!

This week may have only been 3 work days, but it seemed like more. I always forget how much time it takes to teach routines so that kids can be independent. My new kiddos are great. They are all so sweet and eager to please. It's nice to see smiles all day.  Even while I give directions 15 times ;) !

I'm going to make this short because I'm EXHAUSTED!!  Bedtime will come early for me tonight. But I did want to share with you my favorite back to school activity. It comes from Babbling Abby's TPT shop. Her website is called the inspired apple and worth a look. She has some great RTI resources in addition to the fun with firsties pack I got this from!


First we read FIRST GRADE JITTERS by Robert Quackenbush. 

We read the poem on the chart paper next!  Then I made the juice. I usually use Hawaiian punch with some seltzer. However yesterday I went to the grocery store and left with everything except the Hawaiian punch!  After a last minute trip to CVS literally as their first customer, I had some Arizona fruit punch which did the trick. The kids colored their hitter juice label and we attached it to a cup and had a drink. 
Sorry this is sideways!  We then added the jitter juice poems to our poetry notebooks and then we made a graph illustrating how many friends liked or didn't like the jitter juice. 13 likes 6 dislikes this year!


So I know I told you I'm loving owls right now and the theme in my room is owls. Well one AMAZING mom was so thoughtful and observant, she brought in these super cute owl clothespins. They are attached to a picture of the little lady just for the photo op!
Love them!!!!!!!!

Ok that's it from me for now. The little lady starts ballet and tap in the morning and the hubs will be working OT so I need some me time!  Have a great weekend!!

The teacher mom :)

Currently... and All About Me Bags

Welcome Back!

I cannot believe tomorrow is my first day back at school!  This year I am all alone (which for those of you who know me is BIG because I had a troupe of helpers last year)!  So I'm a little nervous about what is coming in tomorrow, but I am also really excited to meet these new kiddos!


I have been seeing these all over the teacher blogs the last few months and I never knew how they worked!  I am excited to say- IT IS SUPER EASY!!  Check out Oh Boy Fourth Grade to see how she made hers and link up to see what other teachers are doing!
Once you go to her blog, save the blank version of the Currently board.  Open it in PowerPoint.  Fill it out and take a screen shot.  The you can upload it wherever you want!


Tomorrow is the first day of school and it's a half day, so there is not too much that I can get through (especially since we really start slowly to teach the kids classroom routines).  However, I really what the kiddos to get to know each other right away, so I am trying these ALL ABOUT ME BAGS I found on Pinterest!  Best of all - Its a Teachers Pay Teachers FREEBIE!!  Check it out HERE!

I will be sharing my bag with the kiddos tomorrow!  I will share them with you tonight!  

Here is my family!  The HUBS and the LITTLE LADY having a BLAST on the Merry-Go-Round at Santa's Village!

Here is me as a baby.  I am on my Noni's lap with my aunt and cousin in the background!  I miss her kitchen!

I love to decorate cakes.  Ever since my sister-in-law got me a cake decorating class at AC Moore, we have been hooked!!

My LITTLE LADY is SUPER Special to me!  Here she is on the tea cups at Storyland!

Finally...My favorite food isn't cake, but I don't have a lot of food pictures, so this is what they are getting!

What are you doing to help your kids get to know each other?  Are you going to try the bags?  I would LOVE to see what you are sharing!

I'll be back later this week with more we are learning and doing in my room!

Please leave a comment and tell me what you think!

The Teacher Mom :)