Frankenstein, Bug Invasion, and some AMAZING Chicks! What A WeekinFirstGrade!

This week was a great week in first grade!  The kids did so much great work!  They really have the basics down and we are able to do so much more!  We are still working on the chatting though - this group starts talking during every transition.  I started to up the rewards with the star jar, so hopefully we can get that under control!  

With all the build up to Halloween next week, I can't believe I have made it!  Between the kiddos at school and the Little Lady, I don't know who is more hyped up!  I tried to keep the learning (and the fun) going in my room this week.  

Here's my 5 for Friday!

1.  Halloween Crazy!

I think we have gone a little over the top for Halloween at school this year!  We have a new principal and a totally new vibe.  We are doing a whole school costume parade (fun!) and a haunted hallway for the school party Saturday night.  In preparation for the party we decorated our doors for the occasion- THANKS for the ideas Pinterest!  Here is my door:

And my sweet teaching neighbor's (and bestie) door:

What do you think?  I feel like we should do this more often.  They weren't that much extra work, the kids are LOVING them and everyone is talking about them!  Smiles all around!

To connect (slightly by coincidence) we made these mini-Frankensteins (what do you call a girl Frankenstein??).  Again this is a craft from my favorite Cupcake for the Teacher!  You can find her pack HERE!

2.  Retelling A Story Using the Characters

We started reading Chicken Little last week and used it to talk about character.  We continued that into this week.  On Monday, we compared Chicken Little and Foxy Loxy.  I always try Venn Diagrams in my reading groups and kids have so much trouble, but this big Bubble map helped the kids understand it better.  And when I did a similar activity with 2 of my guided reading groups they carried over the learning!

Then we talked about how we could make connections with the characters in the story.  The kids all made a connection with Chicken Little (they have friends, they have made a mistake, they have been tricked).  They had to draw and write their connections and it really illustrated how much they have learned already!

Finally, we talked about the importance of retelling a story and including the characters.  We retold the story of Chicken Little and put the characters in order together.  The kids put the characters in order on their papers.  

Finally, we made these chicks out of toilet paper rolls.  The kids rolled up their character lists and placed them inside.  The kids were asked to bring them home and practice retelling the story to someone at home.  Hopefully they did!  Thanks to Kim Adsit's Digging Deeper Pack for these ideas!


In science we learned about living and nonliving things and have moved on to learn more about the habitats in our schoolyard.  To help with that (since its getting COLD!!) the district purchases materials for us to keep a sample schoolyard habitat in our room.  Yippee!  Can you hear the sarcasm!!  I don't like these bugs!  When they arrived yesterday I had to build the habitat for these creepy crawlies!  

Inside you will find pill bugs, millipedes, crickets, and bess bugs (which make noise and bite!).  Here is a close up of a cricket - They like to escape, so I'm guessing he won't be in the habitat by the time I get back on Monday!

Here is a peek at the millipede and the pill bugs getting comfy in their new home.  

Can't wait to dig through this with the kids next week ;)

4.  Sticky Notes Folder for Sharing Books With Partners

We have been working on what we can share with our partners during partner reading time (see last week's post for a picture of the poster.  This week we worked on how we can hold on to what we want to share from the time we read our books on our own to when we share with our partners.  Thanks to Kim Adsit's Powerful Partnerships pack I made these sticky notes folders.  Each kiddo has their own to keep in their book bag.  

Inside they have 4 icons (they match the things they can share) and 4 stickies.   Kids learned to draw sketches of the icon on the stickies to help them remember why they placed the stickies in the place that they chose.  They also learned where to get more stickies.  The kids LOVED placing them on their books and sharing what they noticed with their partners.  I am hoping that by the end of next week they will be ready to do all of this work independently while I run guided reading groups (right now I'm squeezing in partner reading lessons wherever I can!).

5.  Math Morning!

Every October my team invites families in to play some math games.  Our math program (mostly Everyday Math with some Kathy Richardson and CML sprinkled in) has LOTS and LOTS of games to help kiddos learn math!  What a better way to get families involved than to see their kids in action!  
Each family received one of these direction packs with all of the game directions. 

They also received a pack of materials to play these games at home too!

Here's one of the stations (before school started) that we available.

I hope you enjoyed the peek at our week!  How was your week?  What are you doing for Halloween?  We are out straight this weekend!  Family Pictures in the morning, town costume parade in the afternoon and (maybe) my school's Halloween party at night!  And that's only Saturday!

I may got to bed NOW to prepare ;)  Have a SPOOKTACULAR weekend!

Spelling Chart and Some Witch Cones!

I just feel like I haven't stopped since school started!  There is always one more thing to do!  We were ghosted Sunday night, which made the Little Lady's night.  However, that meant I needed to purchase things to ghost 2 more neighbors the next day!  Thank goodness for Target!  I come to you tonight with a cute Halloween craft that has been in the works for a week or so and anew product addition to the writing posters that I have been making to go along with the revised Lucy Calking units. 

Witch Cones

I saw a version of this on Pinterest, but of course the link was broken, so I improvised.  I new I wanted traffic cones.  The HUBS works with these, so I thought it would be easy, but no such luck. He was unwilling to take any ;), so even though some nice person left some on our doorstep Sunday morning (The HUBS returned those!), we went to Home Depot and gave in and bought them!  We got 4 - a compromise since I wanted 6!  HUBS spray painted them (they dried but stayed tacky) 

and I used yellow permanent paint for the stripe.

I want to place them on the stairs - HUBS disagrees, so it's up for debate.  Where do you think we should put them??

Ways To Spell Words

You may have seen the other writing mini-posters that I have created to go along with the REVISED Lucy Calking writing program.  This is the 4th poster in the series.  Today, I finished lesson #12 where we continued to talk about strategies to help us spell words.   It's on sale in my TPT store NOW for only 50 cents!  

Take a look!

I'll be back Friday with a peek at out week!  Come back!  (

(and let me know what you think about the cones!)  

5 For FRIDAY - This week felt L-O-N-G, even though it was short...

I started a post before a fabulous girl's dinner with some friends and planned to finish it when I got home...Well you can see where that got me!  Anyway after a short week that felt very L-O-N-G, I am ready to share 5 GREAT things about my week.  Then I am off to a "dinner party".  At least that what the Little Lady is calling it.  Actually the neighborhood kids are having a pizza dinner, but she's excited, so I'll take it!

But first...

1.  Lowercase Handwriting Pack - MATCHES FUNDATIONS UNIT 1

I have been LUCKY beyond words to have been working with my AMAZING team mate for all 11 years I have been at my school.  We have both been teaching firsties since I started!  She's not only a great teacher, but one of my best friends!  AND... I am lucky enough to be teaming up with her to create a year's worth of phonics packs that supplement the Fundations Phonics program.  We started with unit 1, which you probably already did, but it could even be used with kids who need more practice or if you teach Kinders this would be perfect as the year goes on.  Here are some sneak peeks!

Find the first pack HERE!

2.  Story Mapping - Characters!

I LOVED the first 2 Kim Adsit units I bought that I went out and bought the third unit called Digging Deeper.  This unit focused on character this week and on the book Chicken Little.  We spent the first day reading the book and identifying the characters.  We also defined the word character.  The second day we learned that characters talk and when we read what character say our voice changes.  We used a play of Chicken Little I found along with the character bibs that came with the pack!  We then moved on to talk about the rest of this chart.  

Finally we talked about character traits.  I started the discussion with this bubble map with me in the middle.  I had filled in the items in red and the kids added the ones in purple.  

We then filled out this BIG bubble map for Chicken Little.  

The kids then filled out their own bubble map during their reader's response station.  Here is an example:

2.  RTI Time (Power Block)

We have always know that the goal of RTI is to switch all of the kids at our grade level around based on the skills we are looking at.  However, until this year we grouped our most struggling kids to get extra during RTI and did small groups work with the rest of the kids.  This year we took the leap and we started this week switching the kids around for our 2 math power blocks!  Day 1 was a breeze.  I was ready for day 2....until 2 providers didn't come and I ended up with 7 extra kids - EEK!!  Luckily I had some other games that they could play and our math coach helped me out by taking a few friends too. My group is working on math facts to 10 and explaining the changes (ex:  start at 9, change it to 7, what did you do?  I took away 2.).  Here are some pictures of our activities!

Here are kids solving and sorting addition number models by sum.  They recorded their answers at the end.  

The next group using Fix It Strips.  These help with explaining the changes.  Kids are using cubes to help for now, but the goal will be to remove those over time.  The pic I took showed to much face, so I'm not going to put it up. 

This activity is another from Kim Adsit.  These are counting boards and I gave them acorns and leaves to make 8 different ways to make 7 using the manipulatives.  

The kids then recorded the ways in this cute mini-book!

Finally, the "extra" group played 10 Frame Memory, which asks kids to match ten frame cards into compliments of 10 (ex 6+4, 5+5, 3+7).  

4.  Columbus Day

Better late than never. Right?  So Columbus Day was Monday and we had time for the craft Friday - oops!  We were busy busy all week, so even though we talked about Columbus earlier in the week we didn't get to make this boat until the end.  I got the craft from Cupcake for the Teacher and even though it may be too late for Columbus, she has a ton of Halloween goodies for sale (her bats project is a freebie too!).  

5.  Partner Reading

I have been using the second Kim Adsit unit whenever I can fit it in.  I can't do it during my focus lesson time anymore because we have moved on to story mapping, but I still feel it is important to tech kids how to read with a partner and how to talk about books.  This week we focused on what we could talk about with our partners and tried out one item from this chart each day.

Stay tuned because the kids will be putting these skills to good use next week!  

So clearly, I didn't finish the post before the pizza party and this morning was crazy!  But at least I finished before Sunday! ;)  I hope you all have a great weekend - and a wonderful next week!  One week until the sugar high hits!

Halloween Fun!


Halloween is in the air here!  I don't remember Halloween being quite as big of a deal when I was a kid as it seems to be now.  Our lives will be overtaken by the holiday beginning at the end of next week.  I'm a little overwhelmed about it, but I know that once it gets going we will have SO much fun!  

For now I'm checking in with a mom post!  We decorated last weekend and have a few decorations to share.  Stay tuned next week for some Halloween treats and goodies for the kiddies!

Frankenstein Door

I saw this SUPER CUTE door decoration last fall HERE.  I made it last year using foam.

This year I used felt (cheaper).  I love how it came out!  Would only work though if we keep the door green!

Glitter Pumpkins

So i saw this on Pinterest HERE.  Clearly the directions are to use glue and actual glitter, but  when I was at AC Moore I decided if I was going to try this with a 3 year old we were going to use glitter glue.  She LOVED it and even though it's not quite as vibrant as it may have been with real glitter it still sparkles.  The little lady really got into the painting groove and took out her other paints and painted her pumpkin (repeatedly as she kept wiping off paint until it was perfect ;)  Take a look!

That's all for tonight!  But I will be back next week with some presents and yummies for the kiddies - just add to all that sugar next week right! ;)

Another Busy Week!

I made it through another BUSY week!  This week was the start of my new online ipad class, a flu clinic at work ( for the kids and us too!),  2 professional developments on our new writing curriculum, and finished my Friday with the longest ride to my parents summer house EVER!  Thank goodness there is a long weekend here and now!  Read on to see what we were up to this week...

1.  Partner Reading

Now that we have finished learning Horton read books independently I wanted to teach the kids how to read books with a partner.  I like kids to either read to themselves or to a partner during one of their literacy stations each day. However partner reading can be tough to manage if kids are not sure of the expectations- especially since I am working with small guided reading groups  during this time. I am using the second pack from Kim Adsit called Powerful Partnerships. This week we focused on how to look at books with a partner. Each day we practiced one item on the chart. 
I made this chart to help kids know who their  reading buddy is. I took the pictures off to be able to put it online, but you get the idea. I used Velcro to attach the pictures so I can switch the partners easily. 
Next week we are going to be learning how to talk to our partners about books! They are loving this so far!!

2.  Lucy's Writing - personal narrative bend 2

We only had three days of writing this week due to two professional development afternoons ( but the training a were on scoring our kiddos writing so that was helpful!). During those lessons we continued to work on bringing our stories to life. The kids did great with a second day talking about making the characters talk and move. Speech bubbles are invading our writing!!  At the end of the week we sang "the itsy bitsy spider" and talked about how the song tells us every little thing the spider did. We then tried to do this with our stories. It was hard, but we are working on it!  

Next week brings 2 more lessons with strategies to bring our stories to life, but because for once I'm ahead!!, I have the mini poster up now in my store. I plan to bundle them once I have all the narrative posters done!

Take a look!  Find it HERE

3.  Fire Safety

This week was fire safety week. The firsties at my school don't have a visit from the firemen, but I tried to mix in some friendly fire safety reminders. We did fire safety themed abc order practice and sentence scramble. Then on Friday the kiddos made cupcake for a teacher's fire safety craft. They were SUPER easy for the kids to make and they loved them!  

4.  Complements of 10

As you all know the Common Core expects first graders to be fluent with math facts to 10 (that means no fingers to help!) by the end of the year.  We did assess the kiddos to see who knows their facts to 5 (Kindergarten standard) and are starting RTI groups with the results next week.  In the meantime, we are moving on to find all the ways to make 10!  Here are two activities we did this week to kick it off (More to games to come next week!)

This picture shows a rainbow that when colored (any color) will help kids see the combinations of 10.  This helped some kids, but some just really enjoyed the coloring :).  

Then all my students got 10 Unifix cubes in a stick.  Their job was to break the cubes into 2 piles and figure out what the two numbers that made 10 were.  The recording sheets were differentiated to make the activity accessible for all learners.  

5.  Phonics Packs - Coming Soon!

I was away for the last 2 days, so I had wanted to be able to share my first phonics pack as #5, but it's not QUITE done yet.  Hopefully by tomorrow night, but definitely by Wednesday!  I will have 3 packs coming out this week with ready-to-use phonics practice pages - pack #1:  lowercase handwriting pack #2:  CVC words and pack #3:  words with digraphs (ch, th, wh, sh, and ck).

Have a great week teachers!  

A Teacher Mom!