Five For Friday

It's the best time of the week...Friday and Doodle Bugs Teaching linky party!  I'm so excited to share my week with all of you, especially what I've been up to just today!

We are moving right along with our long vowel focus during phonics.  We did a lot of practice with building, blending, and writing long i words through different activities.  Even with the snow day, we were able to write our long i words like pros towards the middle of the week!  I'm trying to have my first graders work more independently so they were able to build their words with partners this week instead of as a whole group.  They are growing up before my eyes!  So proud of these little tadpoles.

Wow was skip counting a difficult skill this week!  We moved and grooved to this song on School Tube that I mentioned on the blog earlier this week.  We also found Koo Koo Kangaroo's Skip Counting song to help us count by those tricky 2's!  I don't know what I'd do without those brilliant minds!  We used a lot of connecting cubes, counters, and student volunteers to act out skip counting for us.  By the end of the week we could skip count in our sleep!  Wahoo!

This week we spent a lot of time studying informational texts, specifically text and graphic features.  This little cutie did an amazing job creating a diagram of a turtle.  She added her own labels and completed it without any help.  I was even more proud when I saw her informational chapter book in writing workshop had a diagram page for her "All About Soccer," book!  We are crushing those cross curricular connections in Room 11!  Score!

 I am so honored to be a part of the Teacher-Leader group through Teacher's College Reading and Writing Project.  I met my group today for the first time and it was such a wonderful experience!  I am so excited to be able to share my experience as a writing workshop teacher with other educators who also love this way of instruction!  It's so inspiring to meet with fellow educators from across the state and find amazing ideas amongst each other!  My favorite time was during our share where we each presented a little "literary gift" with each other that we use in our classrooms.   Here are a few examples of what some people brought.  I'll go more in depth about these meetings in a later post.  

 (Beanie Baby Reading Strategy bookmarks)

Independent reading mats for sorting books based on the Elephant and Piggy book, "We are in a book!"  Students sort their books from their book baggies that they want to plan on reading for the first time during independent reading or ones that they have already read and want to reread.  Rereading is SO important in the primary grades!  This was a great tool for students to do this rereading work with.

This one blew. my. mind.  It's a conferring app that you can download to your iPad.  Teachers can use this to organize ANY notes taken during conferences, small groups, strategy groups, what have you!  Not only does it organize your notes by student, but it saves your previous notes so you can go back to see what you have conferred with any student on in the past.  NO MORE shuffling through papers!  Once you upload your class list and pick your conferring note template you're done and done!  Immediately downloading!  

It was so much fun to be around such impressive and passionate educators.  It really made me excited to be back in the classroom on Monday.  I can't thank them enough for helping me reignite my teaching spark!

This is me EVERY Friday night!  I'm going to try to break my cycle tonight.  Can you say coffee, coffee, coffee??!!  Do you stay up late on a Friday after a long work week?  I give you so much credit if you can!

Enjoy your weekend everyone!

Wordless Wednesday

I'm so excited to link up with Miss DeCarbo at Second Grade Sugar and Spice for Wordless Wednesday!  It's my first time and I love the idea behind it!  One picture can say a thousand words. 

My kids this year LOVE to sing and dance.  I knew today in math would be a difficult concept for them.  Skip counting isn't easy and today was just the introduction.  So we jammed along to this tune from School Tube to get our brains warmed up and ready for the day ahead.  They sang it all day!  I always gravitate towards music when I'm starting something new with the kids, it sticks with them so much more!

My question for Wordless Wednesday is, what do you use to get your kids excited about a new concept?  

I can't wait to hear your ideas!

Compare and Contrast in First Grade

How do you introduce the concept of compare and contrast to your little learners?  This was the question that kept creeping up as I was planning for this week's reading instruction.  I have been trying to work with my students this year on speaking and listening to each other by using partner talk much more.  I wanted less pencil and paper work and more discussion.  So far, my students have been doing a nice job with this switch and I'm so proud!  That's why when it came time to think about lesson planning for reading this week, I didn't want to introduce compare and contrast without activities that would enhance my students' discussions.  Enter this new packet of activities! 

In first grade, students are responsible for comparing and contrasting character's activities and experiences within a story.  Wonderful, sounds great and easily attainable within one week...NOT.  I thought how can my littles compare and contrast character's experiences when they haven't done that work with their own lives yet?  That's what I hoped to accomplish this week, set the foundation for comparing and contrasting things that students can relate to and THEN move onto characters in stories.  So far so good!

We started today by introducing the terms compare and contrast with these posters and focusing on their key words.  

Then, we discussed as a whole group how we could compare and contrast cats and dogs using these key words.  The ideas were fantastic, they both have four paws, they both play with toys, they both have fur, they eat different food.  I was really excited to continue! We kept the momentum going and started a compare and contrast pocket chart activity. Students chose a card and sorted if the statement compared cats and dogs or contrasted them.

Discussing the statements with their classmates really helped them to sort and finding the key words did also.  After finishing up this pocket chart activity as a group, the kids were ready to start the next activity: pair and share.  I paired my students up with their reading buddies (like-ability reading partners) and passed out cards with two similar things on them.   The students were only asked to discuss ways to compare and contrast these two things first.  Here are some examples:


It was so nice to see my kids sitting with their partners and discussing these two things in a respectful and appropriate way.  I felt so proud that all of our practice was paying off!  After a few minutes of discussion, we reviewed a Venn Diagram and how we could use it to organize our thoughts.  The pairs were then given one and asked to complete it for their things on their cards.  The kids went to town with very little further instruction...#teachersuccess!

 (Yes, those are adorable pink Hunter boots from our resident "Princess Peach" for the day.  She had a tiara on and everything!)

We will continue to work with compare and contrast all week, finally getting to some character comparisons towards the end of the week with our Journeys' anthology and guided reading books.  But first, some more real life application through these activities...



I can't wait to see how the "Friend Venn" activities turn out!  

If you're interested in these activities please visit my tpt store and check it out! Okay, ready to curl up and watch the Bachelor in snowy "Snowboken, NJ"  with this bat dog!  Stay safe and warm everyone!

Five for Friday

Excited to link up with Doodle Bugs Teaching today for some five for Friday fun!  

Why is it that short weeks always seem the craziest?! Anyone else feel that way? Well, I was dreading the week ahead on Tuesday morning until this little cutie walked through the door.  She has me figured out and brought me a little pick me up present so we could be "twinsies!" (Please excuse the HUGE microphone pack sticking out of my side and all my fancy "jewelry" around my neck). I love my Minnie Mouse ears and this little ray of sunshine.  On Tuesday, she dressed as Minnie and then on Wednesday I turned around during indoor recess and she was in a full Ariel costume equipped with matching doll!  Sigh...girl after my own Disney loving heart!

(This word building activity is from Teaching with Love and Laughter)

We started studying long vowels this week with a focus on Long A cvce pattern.  My kids LOVE all of the Electric Company songs and were huge fans of this magic e tune.  If you're not familiar with their letter songs youtube electric company immediately!  It's a teacher's dream and makes phonics lessons so much more fun!  The kids seemed to get it with a LOT of hands on practice!  Monday we start with Long I, bring it on!

 We are in the middle of our Informational Chapter Books unit in writing workshop and this little cutie spent her recess time designing her own "How Can I Teach My Reader?" chart. She made my teacher heart so happy!

We spent a lot of time learning about Martin Luther King Jr. this week and the kids' were fascinated by him, as they should be.  We capped off our study with these adorable directed drawings from Mrs Miners Monkey Business.  It was free on TPT and I love how they all came out so differently!  The kids really view themselves as artists when they do directed drawings.  It's great!

I know that I'm biased but he may be the cutest little pup I've ever seen!  I found this little love-bug passed out after being at the puppy hotel for a weekend stay while my husband and I were on a mini vaca.  He played so hard all weekend with his new friends that he couldn't manage to keep his head up when he got home.  #rufflife 

 I will be curling up on the couch working on my mid-course check in report for my SGO's this weekend.  Anyone else in the same boat at this time of the year?  I can't look at anymore things like this...bleh! 
Anyway, have a great weekend everyone!