Hispanic Heritage Month

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This week, our class celebrated Hispanic Heritage Month with a little "trip" to some Hispanic countries. I found this fabulous resource from First Grade A to Z to guide our studies.

We started by setting up our passports, then heading to Mexico. 

There, we made the Mexican flag with torn paper. 

Then, we headed to Peru to make ruins out of marshmallows.

After lunch, we took off to Brazil and crafted our own Carnival floats out of milk cartons. I gave them construction paper, toilet paper rolls, Easter grass, and pipe cleaners and said go for it. They were busy (and quiet!) for a solid hour.

This is a fire breathing dragon. Can you tell?

At the end of the day, we went to Argentina and learned about gauchos (Argentinian cowboys). I gave them the choice of coloring the cowboy or sugar skulls. I didn't get a picture of any of this :( but they were loving every minute of it.

If you're needing a resource for Hispanic Heritage month, check this one out. It's fabulous!

Five for Friday (9/25/15)


This was week 2 of science stations and the kids and I are LOVING IT! If you missed my first post about stations, you can get the scoop here. Basically, the kids had so much energy during science time that they HAD to get up and move. Rather than fighting them on it, I rearranged my lessons to meet their needs. It's not a traditional setup, but it does allow them to do a few traditional lessons mixed in with a few explorations. 

The rotations are set up so that no pencil and paper stations back up to each other. So, there might be a mini experiment, a cut and paste, a sensory activity with vocabulary, a draw what you know about the topic, a teacher assisted experiment, and an emergent reader about it. It's the same kind of thing I would do throughout the week, it's just setup so that they go quickly from station to station. And I have to say, it has made our afternoons SO. MUCH. BETTER!

We worked on balancing equations this week. They are already pretty good at finding sums, but are still working on breaking it into parts. So…we used these plates I found at Target to break up our whole number into parts using fall table scatter (also from Target). It's such a simple setup, but a wonderful visual for my littles.

We've been DRA and TPRI testing for the last couple weeks. My class seems to ALWAYS need to tell me something as soon as I sit down to test. So…I made these:

Each student has their own card with their name written on it. Whenever he or she needs to tell me something while I'm testing or working with a small group, they can drop the card on the table, go back to their work, and know I will come check on them as soon as I can.

It has worked WONDERS and they are FREE in my store. You pick up your own here.

Mr. Manners (aka Ron Clark) is being introduced to our class today through a daily social skills/ manners lesson. I did this last year with my kinders, and this year's firsties need support in this area, too. Basically, we discuss one of his 55 Essential Rules. The rule may stay up for one day or several days, depending on how much practice they need in this skill. Sometimes, additional wording is added. For instance, Ron Clark's rule might say "Zero talking in the hallway," and I might add, "our arms stay down to our sides and off the walls." We have come a long way since the first week of school, but there is always room for improvement. 

We found the Peanutizeme.com website the other day and we just HAD to peanutize ourselves. I think they turned out pretty cute. The one with the wavy hair is me. All my teens have straight hair. We're quite a big bunch, aren't we?

Stop by Doodle Bugs Teaching for more Five for Friday fun.

Five for Friday (9/18/15)


We had several big events this week. First, we started using our center management necklaces for reading and math centers. I adapted the idea from Sharing Kindergarten's Daily 5 necklaces and it worked like a charm! 

We're still working on matching the color on their tag to the color of the center, but we're getting there. 
Open house was last night. It was a much smaller turnout than I would have liked, but it did give me a chance to answer some specific questions parents had. 

My class is insanely wiggly after lunchtime which makes whole group instruction nearly impossible for more than 5 minutes at a time. (And even then, it's pushing it.) SO…I tried out a new science setup.

It was AMAZING! I was able to work with a small group on an experiment while the rest of the class went to two stations a day.
We worked on sorting matter into solids, liquids, and gasses this week in our newly formed science centers. They caught on quick and I can't wait for next week's science centers. :)

(I love invented spelling, don't you?)

Today, we celebrated Talk Like a Pirate Day. We reviewed the sight word "are" by doing a torn paper activity, we read a bazillion piratey type books, made treasure maps, played pirate math games, wrote about being a pirate, and created our own pirate boats. The kids had to count how many "pirates" (pennies) could fit in their boat without sinking. Our best boat held over 70 pennies!

Stop by Doodle Bugs Teaching for more Five for Friday fun!

Five for Friday (9/11/15)

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It's FRIDAY!!! And that means time for our weekly Five for Friday linky with Doodle Bugs Teaching! Y'all this week was hard. Real teacher moment here: going into school today was hard. It's the third week of school and I've already had three subs—two for district training and one for a sick kid. Procedures and expectations are still a work in progress and yesterday was rough. Finding my sunshine this morning was a struggle. But then today happened...

I was concerned about academics after talking to my kids' previous teacher. Like really concerned. But one had a breakthrough today. I video taped it and shared it with the office staff who gave him all kinds of kudos. It completely warmed my heart and I had to fight back tears in front of him. We started Camp Number Sense this week, reviewing foundational skills and building on them with some bigger numbers. They are ALL doing great! We started with one more/one less this week and we'll move into 10 more/10 less by next week. Thanks Reagan Tunstall!

I found superhero masks at Target for $3 for 10 in the party section last night. I rewarded superhero work and behavior today with masks. Y'all, these guys would jump through hoops for mask. I waited till the end of the day to give one little guy a mask for awesome hallway behavior (we've been working HARD on this). When mom picked him up, he told her why he got, then told me, very quietly, "I'm so proud of me." MELT. MY. HEART.  I said, "You should be. I am so proud of you, too." 

We've started literacy centers and DRA testing this week. I adapted Sharing Kindergarten's Great 8 management necklaces to fit our class, and today we got to pick the colors for our lanyards. They are stoked for Monday!

In social studies, we have been working on community and constitution day stuff. We learned about why we were off for Labor Day, jobs people do in the community, and jobs we can do in the classroom. We read A is for America and began our own US Alphabet book (FREE in my store). Are these not the coolest drawings?! We also made a class constitution that we all signed and posted in our room.

We use Mr. Potato Head for classroom rewards—each time the kids are doing something awesome, they get another piece to potato head. Yesterday was our first reward day and they chose stinky feet. They were a little excited super, flying-off-the-walls excited.

That's my week. Stop by Doodle Bugs Teaching for more Five for Friday Fun.

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