Tuesday, May 3, 2016

May the Fourth Be With You!

We are excitedly preparing for May the fourth!  Our first grade boys LOVE Star Wars, so it seemed that celebrating May the Fourth is a must!  We have several things planned!

First, I knew I needed a reason to make these!

Pool noodles and duct tape from the dollar tree!  $4 for 4 light sabers!  The pool noodles cut easily with a bread knife.  My kids and I put the duct tape on however we thought they might look.  Making 4 took me and my 2 "helpers" about 15 min.  (I could have done it on my own in 10! LOL)  

I tried my center today, I wanted a controlled way for our students to be able to use them without hitting each other, so I bought a package of black balloons as well.  I decided to write words on the balloons that went with our word study lists and hung them from the ceiling.  The students had to find the words that  matched their word pattern they were studying and when they read it they could hit it.  The rules were that they couldn't knock the balloons down, or they had to just write the words instead.  Not one balloon was knocked from the ceiling!  YAY! Tomorrow they will get another chance-  they were so excited!

I knew I also wanted a couple of math practice and a writing prompt.  I can't wait to have my students write describing their favorite character!  They will love having their friends guess who they are writing about!  I have printed each of the characters they get to choose from for the kids who might not be as familiar!

And who wouldn't want to practice math facts with Droids and Yoda!

You can download the writing and math here!      It is going to be such a fun day!

I am also pulling some things from my "In a Galaxy Far Away" unit fr my lowest students,  I wrote this for my son when he was in Kindergarten!  Kids love the reader and games!

Thanks for stopping in!

Sunday, April 3, 2016

Three tips for making the most of the last months!

It is the last day of Spring Break!  If your district is like ours, this was the last break we have before the end of the year.  In the last months we have so much to get done, so it is so important to keep them engaged and learning till the end!  Here are 3 of my strategies that I use to keep them learning until that last day!

I live by this all year for first grade, but even more so the last couple of months!  Spring around here means kids starting baseball, soccer, and playing outside The only thing worse for a child to be stuck inside all day, is to be stuck sitting inside all day!  These last few months, we do some kind of 5 minute movement at least every 45 minutes.  It might seem like a lot of time wasted, but it helps students stay focused and more engaged during instructional time. We use GoNoodle! The students love the variety of the fun activities they can do!  We love it because we know there will not be commercials like YouTube or anything inappropriate popping up!
GoNoodleWarning: they have many songs tend to continually go through your head! #kittyhighfive
 The last months we make sure that we pick themes that are engaging and fun too!  We get to explore the world of frogs and toads while we read the books from the Frog and Toad series, we have a 2 week LEGO unit complete with LEGO robotics, and the last 2 weeks we do some camping and picnicking!  Integrating our learning into these themes helps students get excited about being in school and keeps them engaged until the end! 
Who doesn't love to have choices!  To keep my students engaged, I try to provide lots of choices so that they have no choice but to learn!  My students get choices of if they sit, where they sit, and who they want to sit by.  They know as long as they are working, they can do it however they want!  I have flexible seating in my room, so my students can stand, sit on the futon, in a bean bag, on a wobble stool, on a cushion, at a low table on the floor, or even at a regular table.  I also make sure to provide activities for practice that accommodate any learning style.  Hands on learners may be using manipulatives,  social learners might be playing a game, and kids who just need to move might be doing a write the room activity all at the same time.  It takes a little more time, but it sure makes a difference in classroom engagement and management.  Kids are almost always 100% engaged when they have activities that fit their learning style!

I am so excited for these next couple of months because we have so much yet to accomplish, yet so sad because I just ADORE this group of kids and I really don't want to pass them along to someone else!  (occupational hazard!)   Hope your week is full of sunshine and fun!
Thursday, January 28, 2016

Winter Goal Setting

In our school, teachers work hard to teach our students how to set and achieve a goal.  So this week we worked on goal setting in math.  All of my math students have a math fluency goal that they are working to complete.  Our standard is 1.OA.6 Fluently Add and Subtract within 10.   My students  have their goal setting sheet in their math folder, but I wanted a fun, meaningful way to display them as well.  So we wrote our goals on snowflakes, decorated them (using glitter of course!), and hung them on our goal bulletin board.  As the students accomplish their goals, we will take them off the board.  I reminded them that I didn't want to see any snow after February! :)  Hopefully, the visual reminder of their goals and the promise of taking their glittered snowflake home will be an extra motivator to practice, practice, practice their math fluency!
You can download a copy of math and reading are snowflake goal setting by clicking the image above!  Happy goal setting!  Send me some warm thoughts!  We could use them in Northern Illinois!
Friday, January 1, 2016

New Year, New Goals!

I have been on a little bloggy break!  December was so insanely busy (I had one week with a meeting after school EVERY day!)  and once break started I decided that my Christmas present to myself was to put everything aside and enjoy just being a mom. The first 2 days I had off, but my children didn't. So my first mommy activities involved helping in classrooms and some cutie lunch dates, getting some shopping out of the way, and cleaning my very neglected home.  What a great start to a week!
After a fun 2 weeks of Christmas, New Year's, XBOX game nights, play doh, painting, and playing it is time to get back to real life.  I am rested and ready to roll!  :) 

I have spent the last couple of days planning my first couple weeks back.  We are going to start back strong with some goal setting by my students.  If your students are like mine, they are at all different levels in math and reading.  I am going to find some time on Monday morning to discuss setting goals and how to reach them and then quickly conference with each student to help them come up with a good goal.  I give them a watered down version of how to make a SMART goal.   They have to make it specific, measurable, achievable, results-focused, and time-bound.  My students have to choose an ELA or Math goal, we usually choose a math fluency, reading fluency, sight word, or reading goal.  We base our math fluency goals on Xtra math data and there is district data for the ELA goals.  I conference with them to help them come up with a measure that is achievable and results-focused.  The time limit is the month of January.  The students are not expected to know they are making a SMART goal, I just want them to get in the habit of making goals this way.  I also want them to think and write about how to get to their goals, so they know that they have to do something for their goal to be met.  I had my kids make them at home too.  #teacherkidproblems 

I also wanted to have them do a little writing on what they are hoping to do in 2016!
You can click on either printable by clicking on the picture!
Happy New Year!
I am linking up with my friends at I Teach First Grade!  Check out their links and sign up to win a $25 TpT gift card!