Five For Friday...On a Saturday

Oh my goodness.  It has really been too long.  I don't know about you but I have not gotten caught up from the beginning of the year craziness.  Couple the new ELA curriculum with SGO goals and PDPs due and a class full of little ones so jazzed about Halloween and you can get a small picture of my current situation.  My class and I are FINALLY getting into a groove but each day has been riddled with some sort of interruption that has been out of my control.  Assemblies, book fairs, picture name it, we've had it.  Halloween is quickly approaching and my philosophy is now, if you can't beat 'em, join 'em!  Stick around and see what my class has been up to this last week with Doodle Bugs Teaching's Five for Friday!

This week we introduced the reading strategy of compare and contrast to my firsties.  We started off the conversation with a simple sort for dog vs. cat.  We discussed each card from the sort and looked for key words such as both, different, alike, or not alike.  The kids did a great job with this.  Then, we took it a step further and continued to practice this skill all week.  We worked with a partner to compare and contrast two things in a pair share activity, we compared and contrasted ourselves using our Friend Venns, and we read Don't Let the Pigeon Drive the Bus! and Don't Let the Pigeon Stay Up Late! to compare and contrast the characters and then the two texts.  My students rocked the skill and even started to use it during math and writing!  I'm so proud of them!  If you're interested in any of these activities, you can check out my Compare and Contrast packet in my TpT store by clicking the image below.

Our word study block is fully up and running and my kids are doing a great job using their schedules and committing to their work each day.  Some of my high flyers are working on finishing up their mixed word family sorts before moving onto long vowels and I wanted to challenge their thinking a little bit.  This week, after we sorted their words by word families, we took a look at our words and sorted them by nouns and verbs.  This showed my students that you can sort their words for the week in so many different ways.  I can't wait to keep showing them how they can play with their words to discover new patterns! 
Something else that's working well, is reviewing our vowel sounds at the beginning of our small groups with my Try it Two Ways chart.  We sing it like a song, "A like alligator, A like acorn.  E like elephant, E like eagle.  I like insect, I like ice cream.  O like olive, O like oatmeal.  U like umbrella, U like unicorn."  I really want my students to try sounding their words out in two ways while trying to tackle those tricky words.  You can check this chart out for just $1 in my store.

I needed to quench my student's thirst for all things Halloween this week.  Some of my sweeties are struggling to segment their sounds when sounding out cvc words.  So, I used my new Trick or Treat nonsense word game to help them work on this.  I gave them each three Halloween themed erasers to place underneath each letter on their word card.  When they sounded the words out, they had to touch each eraser to make sure they were stretching their words out correctly.  It really seemed to help and I will definitely be continuing this practice with them!

This little one was working so hard on her game day during word study to complete these candy corn short vowel puzzles completely on her own.  When she asked me to take a picture of her with her finished work, I couldn't say no!  I love that these puzzles allow my students to practice sounding out short vowel words, matching words with pictures, and identifying the short vowel sound that is in each word.  If you're looking to practice short vowels leading up to Halloween, you can snag these activities in my Halloween Literacy Centers packet in TpT by clicking the image below.

When your curriculum director offers a raffle during a P.D. early morning meeting, you enter no questions asked.  Little did I know that I would be the winner of a TpT gift card!  Woohooo love that she gets what teachers want and need!  I can't wait to use this baby to fuel my clip art addiction!

Well, that about wraps up my week!  I hope you all have a wonderful weekend and are able to relax before this upcoming crazy week.  I hope it's full of more treats than tricks!  Thanks so much for stopping by!

Primary Punchbowl Fall Blog Hop

Wow!  I feel like I have been keeping a secret for the longest time.  If you want someone to keep a secret for you, I will try REALLY hard but I get way too excited and usually break and tell the person the good news before I'm supposed to.  I'm proud to say that I worked REALLY hard to make sure that didn't happen this time!  I am so excited to be sharing with all of you something so exciting coming your way!  I am honored to be announcing a BRAND NEW collaborative blog just launching that I am so proud to be a part of.  I have truly found my #tribe with these talented and dedicated bloggers and I can't wait to bring you endless bright ideas and new tips and tricks in the next few months! 

In celebration of our new collaborative blog; The Primary Punchbowl, the punch bunch has put together a fantastic Fall Blog Hop full of sales, freebies, and giveaways for you to enjoy!  Make sure to hop on over to every punch bunch member's blog for your chance to win some fantastic prizes and snag some series deals and steals! You will NOT want to miss this!  

I won't keep you away from the excitement for much longer, in this post you will find information on some of my favorite Fall activities, a new Fall themed freebie that I have created especially for this celebration, details on some of my favorite goodies on sale, and a giveaway!  Yup, can you tell how excited I am through the computer?!  We have been working so hard to get this together for you and I can't wait any longer.  Thanks so much for stopping by!

Who doesn't love Fall?!  I have expressed my love for this season before but if you are a new reader then you may not know my affinity for all things September, October, and November (we can throw December in there for a little bit too).  Put pumpkin spice in front of ANYTHING and you will get me hook.line.sinker.  The same goes for activities in my classroom.  My excitement for the season definitely shows through to my students and with our activities in the classroom.   Just this week, we were working on adjectives and I couldn't resist throwing some pumpkin flavored something into the mix.

After discussing different kinds of adjectives and how they can be used to describe nouns, I introduced this song to the students.  The idea, originally from Deanna Jump, was the perfect way to get my students involved in the activity and engaged in the lesson.  We sang this song together several times, each time we wrote new adjectives on post-its to describe the pumpkins.  This was such a simple yet authentic way to practice adjectives and mix in some serious Fall fun!

My first graders are knee deep in subtraction right now and we can ALWAYS use extra practice.  I hit the jackpot with Fall and Halloween themed manipulatives at the Target Dollar Spot today and couldn't help creating a subtraction math game to go along with them.  

This week, my students will be practicing finding the missing part with my brand new Find the Missing Ghosts center activity!  We have been trying to embrace a guided math approach in my classroom and so far it's working out great.  I think this new activity will be the perfect addition to our game rotation.  My students will flip for the Halloween themed game and won't even know they're learning #teacherwin.  

To use this game, all you would need to do is print out the haunted house workmat, whole number cards, ghost counters, and response sheet.  Laminate the haunted hosue, whole number cards, and ghost counters and cut the cards out for the students.  Students will put the whole number cards face down in a pile and flip one over at a time.  They should place the whole number in the box at the top of the haunted house and then spin the spinner to find the part they know. They will then use the ghost counters to help them find the missing part while filling in the subtraction sentence with a white board marker.  Once they have found the missing ghosts they can fill in the subtraction sentence on their response sheets.  Laminate for repeated use!  Easy peasy lemon squeezey as my students like to say!  If you're interested in playing this game with your students, you can find it in my TpT store here!

Oh don't go anywhere just yet!  Not only am I offering a new freebie for the blog hop but all of my featured products in my TpT store are 50% off for the next few days!  What products are on sale Jayme!  Well take a little look here...

My Reading Tic-Tac-Toe weekly menus which have been a lifesaver for homework for my entire first grade team is on sale for the occasion!

My EDITABLE Class Jobs (Handy Helpers) display that my kids absolutely love!

My Editable Objectives Display cards with matching I Can posters.  Did I mention that these are so simple to use?  Just print, laminate and hang for easy reference!

Here they are in action!  I just love how easy they are to use!
And my best selling Compare and Contrast packet!

My kids last year loved this introductory activity for comparing and contrasting dogs and cats.  This packet offers great activities to get your kids engaged in this difficult reading concept and hands-on practice to use throughout the year!

All four of these featured products will be listed for 50% off in celebration of the Primary Punchbowl blog launch!  Grab them at this huge discount while you still can!

Did you think that was all we had in store for you?  Nope, it  just keeps on getting better!  Besides the countless freebies and great deals and steals we're sharing, EACH of us are offering a chance to win a TpT gift card for you to use as you see fit!  Just follow the directions listed in the Rafflecopter below for your chance to win a $25 gift card to TpT!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

I am so grateful for the opportunity to blog alongside these amazing women who I am lucky enough to now call my friends.  Don't waste another minute and hop on over to the other Punch Bunch members' blogs to check out their freebies, Fall activities, and chances to win some other great prizes!  Don't forget to follow along with the Primary Punchbowl for great teacher tips, lesson ideas, and new TpT products coming your way!

Thanks as always for stopping by!  Enjoy the rest of your weekend!

Word Study Parent Letters

Happy Weekend everyone!  I'm popping in quickly tonight to share a parent communication tool that I just started using this week.  As my team and I implement Words Their Way, we continue finding new things that we need to create in order to launch this program successfully.  One thing that has become evident from the start, was how to communicate with families.  Since every child will no longer be receiving the same spelling words on the same day, we struggled to figure out how to best communicate to families the skills that children would be working on.

In the past, I have always posted our spelling pattern of the week on our website, typed up our weekly spelling words and placed them into our B.I.R.D. books, and included them with our spelling tic-tac-toe homework.  But, this year things are completely different.  Groups of students do not all get their new sorts on the same day anymore and this presented us with a problem.  We needed to keep the lines of communication open with our parents and wanted to give them a guide to help them practice with their children at home. With the help of my teammates, we finally came up with a solution to our problem; word study parent letters.

When creating our word study groups, my team realized that regardless of where our students needed to start, they would all begin with a sort included in the Letter Name book.  So, I decided to type up these parent letters for EACH sort used in the Letter Name book.  Each time a group meets with the teacher and receives a new sort, they will also be given these letters to take home to their families.  

Each letter is written the same format but outlines the current spelling pattern that the student will be working on.  The letters also include example words that follow the pattern our students are currently working on in order to help guide families' at home practice.

  Since my team has decided to not give traditional spelling tests with this program, we don't want to just give parents a list of words to study with their children.  By giving example words and guidelines, we're hoping that families keep in mind the pattern that their child is currently working on  in school and will assist them in practicing these patterns by hunting for words around the house, in books that they are reading at home, and by creating other opportunities for additional review.

If you're interested in sending these letters home with your students for a simple and consistent way to keep the lines of communication open, you can check them out in my TpT store here!  This packet will be on sale throughout the weekend!  I hope you can find it useful!

If you're just getting WTW up and running in your classroom like me, make sure to check out my Word Study Starter Pack for student schedules, extension activities, and planning sheets by clicking the image below.  It has really been a life-saver so far this year!

Thank you so much for stopping by!  I hope you enjoy the rest of your weekend!

October Currently

The beginning of a new month can only mean one's time for Farley at Oh Boy 4th Grade's monthly currently linky party!

Listening: Bridget Jones's Diary has been a favorite of mine for years.  It may have started my obsession with all things British.  This combined with Jane Austin is a deadly (yet embarrassing?!) obsession.  I recently found it on TV and immediately DVR'ed it.  Now I can play it whenever I need a Bridget fix.

Loving: My favorite month of the entire year is October!  I love the quote from a childhood favorite of mine, Anne of Green Gables, " I'm so glad I live in a world where there are Octobers."  I second that Anne.  Bring on the colored leaves, crisp weather, pumpkin EVERYTHING, and ABC Family's 13 nights of Halloween.  Yes, I am a fan.

Thinking: Unfortunately, my math block is my weakest area of instruction.  I have been trying to get comfortable with Envisions for two years now and every year I try and tweak it and make it work for my current students.  I have always strived to teach math in a more small group setting and I am determined this year to try and make it work.  It's definitely a work in progress, so any suggestions would be greatly appreciated!

Wanting: It's Fall.  I need new boots.  I want new boots.  Need I say more?  Every woman deserves a new pair when the weather turns cooler.

Needing: I love to read. It's my escape and I love to get lost in a good book.  Sadly, I haven't found one that I have been able to get hooked on since reading Girl On The Train over the summer.  I would love for some interesting but enjoyable book suggestions!

Boo-tiful: I have recently been getting back into a routine with spin classes and I have to say there's nothing better than finishing (surviving) a 50 minute intense spin class and feeling like you rocked it.  I feel absolutely boo-tiful and powerful after I finish.  Now that I'm talking about it, I must sign up for one this weekend!

Thank you so much for stopping by and reading about what I'm currently up to!  Make sure to link back to Farley's blog to catch up on other fabulous blogger's current activities!  Happy Friday!!