Wednesday, April 30, 2014

Wordless Wednesday

I'm linking up with Sugar and Spice for another round of "Wordless Wednesday!"  I hope you'll hop on over and link up with us to share your "Wordless Wednesday" post!

We are required to post our learning objectives/essential questions in my district.

Do you post your learning objectives each day?  If so, how do you do it?  

One of those days....

Have you ever had one of those days where you feel like you are doing it all wrong?  Where you thought....these poor kids have the "worst teacher ever?"  That's just about how I felt today. 

I was all excited to start a new narrative writing prompt with my students. After seeing their writing afterwards I just felt disappointed.  Are my expectations too high?  Am I neglecting to teach them something?  Am I leaving out key writing components in my instruction?  Am I not instructing enough?

A little background here...

This is my second year teaching first grade and my second year in a public school.  I have been teaching for 17 years but all of that experience has been in kindergarten in private schools. Let me tell ya'll:  apples and oranges, I tell you.  Not the kindergarten and first grade part- the private school and public school part.  Not in a bad way at all.  In fact,  in a very good way.  I love my public school teaching job.  This has always been my dream and I love every minute of.  However, it was a huge adjustment to change from the private to the public sector.  In kindergarten, kiddos are just learning to write.  Our expectations on first graders and what they are expected to do nowadays has shifted dramatically from when I grew up.  Now I'm dating myself!

I shared the writing my students did with a colleage who has been teaching first grade for many years and asked her to look at my students writing.  Upon listening to her talk about how she teaches writing in her class I realized one very major step I am missing.  I realize I need to model more.  I've always been apprehensive about it.  I worried that my students would copy my work too much if I modeled for them and as a result, the creativity that they are capable of would be lost. However kids, and especially the younger ones, are so eager to please.  They really just want to do the right thing. These youngsters need to learn and have modeled for them the writing process.  I need to begin with modeling how to choose and write a topic sentence and closing sentence and how to incorporate transitional words in our writing.  If I don't model this and show this to them, who will?  First grade should be the opportunity they have to learn these important skills.

Today felt like a bit of setback.  Yet, now I have come to a realization.  I look forward to tomorrow and the days ahead.  I'm looking forward to modeling more and instructing writing more.  It's funny how we are always learning, always growing, and always wanting to learn and grow more.  I'm so blessed to be in a profession where learning and growing is fostered, encouraged and supported.  Through blogging, Pinterest, Instagram, Teachers Pay Teachers, and colleagues, I have learned that teachers are an amazing group of people committed to themselves and others in their own personal growth and the growth and support of others.

I'll continue to share my journey.  I know I'll have many days like this again.  I hope I always learn from them and take them for what they are- opportunities to learn and grow even more.

Sunday, April 27, 2014

Spring Break

It's Sunday!  Time to link up for the Sunday Funday Linky Party! it is....the last day of vacation. Sigh. I can't wait to go back my kids are driving me nuts to continue our learning.  I love this time of year!  There is so much growth!

 I took advantage of having the week of and with the extra time and I worked hard, creating some resources for my classroom and uploading them to my TPT store.  Click on the graphics if you are interested in checking them out.

This is my favorite resource I have made so far.  There are 12 pictured writing prompts with word banks.  I will use these as minilessons and I will also add them to my writing center.

I also needed something to help my kiddos with vowel teams. I created mini posters with a catchy phrases for each vowel team.  For example, "The letters /oa/ and /ow/ love to tell interesting stories and when they do they listen carefully and say "Ohhhhh."  Each vowel team has a Bingo game, word sort, cut and paste activity and a unique story that I created for students to read and highlight the vowel teams as they appear in each story.

Of course, the vacation did include some fun too!  I love to read and vacations are the only time I can have that luxury!

I fell in love with a beagle this week when I went with my father and his dog to dog agility training.  How could you not?  I mean really....look at this face!!  I wanted to stick him in my purse and take him home!

Now of course, this is all my husband is hearing about as I continue begging asking for a dog.'s time to get back on the wagon.  I need to get back on a schedule and stop eating these things!!!!

How was your week?

Thursday, April 24, 2014

Write on!

This is turning into a productive spring break!  I have added 2 new products to my store this week.

However, this is my favorite one yet!  

I can't wait to go back to school next week because my kids are driving me nuts to use these fun new resources with my firstie's!  If you are on break this week as well, I hope it has been an enjoyable one for you!

Wednesday, April 23, 2014

Organizing Reading Groups

It's Wordless Wednesday!  Head on over to Second Grade Sugar and Spice to link up.

Here is a pic of how I organize my reading groups.  I use the Daily 5 model in my classroom.  I have my groups organized ahead of time and I display the groups on my SMARTboard so that my students know which rotation of the Daily 5 they are doing.  I see about 3 reading groups a day for my one hour literacy block.  My district will be shifting to Balanced Literacy in the fall.   

How do you run and organize your literacy block?

Tuesday, April 22, 2014

Vacation and Vowels

I have been absolutely spoiled by the gorgeous spring weather this week in Massachusetts while on spring break.  Each day has been sunny and warm.  Usually, the husband and I get away for the spring vacation but this year with the new addition on our house, we are staying home.

So thus far this week I have split my time between wine and a good book on the deck and getting my newest resource completed and uploaded to TPT.  I'm really pleased with how it turned out.  You can find it for sale in my Teachers Pay Teachers store here.

  I began by creating a little "ditty" to help the kiddos remember the vowel teams (or in the above case, I do have one trigraph).  Then, I created little stories to accompany each of the vowel teams such as this one:


Also included are word sports, onset/rime spinner games, Bingo games (4 per vowel team), and a cut and paste activity.

This packet is 79 pages long and sure to be a great resource for teaching vowel teams in your classroom! Click here to check it out.  I'll be blogging about how we used it in my classroom when we return from break.

In the meantime, I have a glass of vino poured and a book that's calling my name!

Friday, April 18, 2014

Fractions and Fun

I'm later posting to the party than I want to be but I had parent conferences until 8 PM and then a full day professional development day today.  But I don't want to miss out on the fun!  Head on over to Doodle Bugs Teaching to join in!

 We have been learning about fractions this week.  We loved making these super cute kites!

  Since April is National Poetry Month we have been learning about poems.  We made acrostic and color poems this week.  I love, love, love how they came out!  The kiddos did an awesome job!  One student wrote "pink, is the sister color of red."  Wow!  I may have a poet in my class.

We reviewed the different sounds of /ed/ with this cute spring activity in the pocket chart as a whole class lessons.


We used geoboards to make shapes that could be divided into equal parts and a partner helped us to divide the shapes into equal parts.

  Last but not least...I ended the week with full day professional development.  And's vacation time!!!

Wednesday, April 16, 2014

Wordless Wednesday

I'm linking up with Miss DeCarbo at Sugar and Spice for today's linky!

 Whew!  Made it halfway through the week.  2 more to go until vacation!

Here is this week's picture and question:

How do you store your anchor charts?

Happy Hump Day!

Friday, April 11, 2014

Five for Friday

It's that time again! Whew!  Let me tell ya'll it has been a looooong week!  But....I'm counting down the days though until Spring Break which begins next Friday.  Care to know how many hours too?

     We had great fun using this center on contractions for our word work this week.  This adorableness is from Learning Lessons with Mrs. Labrasciano.  Amy and I swapped products to try out in our classroom (she used my Parts of Speech sort with her class).  

First off, my kiddos were so excited to hear about how I was sharing materials with another first grade class.  They wanted to know it all:  Have we met?  Is she nice?  What does she look like?  Too funny, I tell ya!

 Prior to using Amy's center activity on contractions, we began by identifying contraction words in our morning message and then discussing what contractions are and how/why we used them.

     We then used Amy's center as a whole class lesson and then it was added to our word work bin as a choice during our Daily 5 rotations.

We also used used this adorable synonyms sort which also comes from Amy's Bunny ELA centers.

      We began a mini unit on folktales this week. We have learned that folktales usually have a setting from long ago, they often have repeated words or events to make them easier to retell, and they usually have good characters who solve a problem that is usually caused by another character.  To help the kiddos understand the concept that folktales are stories that have been told and retold from long ago, we played a game of good old-fashioned "telephone".  We talked about how the story got distorted, or changed a bit from how we original began telling it. Much the same thing has happened with folktales.  Using the Classic Folktales Bundle II from 2nd Grade Snickerdoodles, we begun our unit with the story....

     Students completed a character map to use 5 words to describe Little Red Riding Hood, tell about her problem, and the solution in the story, and how she is different at the end of the story.

     We also used a story elements lift and flap activity to show our understanding of the folktales characters, setting, and plot.

     We are learning about habitats. We began by using my Happenin' Habitats unit.

      We talked about what a habitat is. After reading my description that is included in the unit on what a desert habitat looks like and feels like, we brainstormed some words and characteristics of this habitat and completed a web.

We also discussed the types of animals that live in a desert and we identified them with this animal classification activity.

   Monetary value and counting coins continue to be a large part of our focus in math.  We played "One-Dollar Exhange" this week by using a place-value mat to count coins, trading in coins as we could, for a one dollar bill.

     If you have never read The Great Fuzz Frenzy then run- do not walk to go get it!  It is laugh out loud funny!  The kiddos loved it!  Actually, I don't know who enjoyed it more- them or I.

     After reading the story, we wrote the story from the perspective of different character.  However, you could also have your students write the ending to the story, as it does end with a bit of a cliffhanger.

 It was a busy week for sure and next week is promising to be even busier with parent/teacher conferences and a full day professional development day but....Spring Break is one the horizon and I am counting the days!

Hoping you have had a terrific week as well. Have you blogged about it?  Join us at Doodle Bugs Teaching   to tell us about your week!