Thursday, March 27, 2014

Five for Friday: IT'S SPRING BREAK!

This week is a much anticipated Five for Friday because this Friday begins my SPRING BREAK! Doing my happy dance! In celebration of spring break, everything in my TPT store is 10% off through Sunday! Enjoy!

Linking up with Doodlebugs... although I'm getting in the bad habit of posting my Five for Fridays on Thursday nights! Oh well, I will link up tomorrow morning!

As always, we have been working on comprehension. This week, my kiddos practiced asking and answering questions while doing Read to Someone. After reading a story, they rolled their comprehension dice and discussed the story. Grab your own FREE template for the dice here! Print on cardstock and tape together! Simple! Enjoy!
With this crazy winter and indoor recess, my students need to let out some energy sometimes! Adventure to Fitness is a great idea for indoor recess or movement breaks! Kids go on an adventure in different parts of the world, solving mysteries, and they are moving/exercising in place the whole time... and they LOVE it!! Adventure to Fitness currently has all of their videos for free... I recently got an email saying that they are changing their membership and will be charging for many of the videos, but there will always be 5 free ones! Check it out at!
Recently, I noticed that many of my students were struggling with this reading strategy. They were sounding out every single letter in words instead of looking for chunks or smaller words inside of bigger words. I created these "Chunk it up" cards and laminated them. To warm up for guided reading, students pick a word and find as many chunks, digraphs, blends, familiar vowel patterns, etc that they can. They circle them in dry erase marker and write the parts that they find underneath. They love it and I have noticed an improvement in their decoding in guided reading! Success! Check them out in my TPT store!! - CHUNK IT UP: BE A SOUND DETECTIVE -
I have been loving my math workshop structure the last few weeks! One thing that I found was that I needed an easy activity for kids to do while they were waiting for me to get started during their "teacher time" group. Perfect opportunity for some math fact practice!! I created 9 different fact fluency sets for math facts including plus one, plus two, plus three, minus one, minus two, minus three, doubles, making 10, and making 20 facts. When students go to the table for teacher time, they grab a set of fact fluency cards and practice while they wait for me to get the rest of the class settled. I found this old organizer... perfect for my fact fluency organization! Check them out on my TPT store! - FACT FLUENCY CARDS - (the pack also includes a set of numbers for sequencing activities)
I recently downloaded Cara Carroll's Rock Your Fluency packs from TPT... they are fabulous! Over break, I am planning to put together some AWESOME fluency folders with the materials in her packs. I'll post more once I am farther along... Here's a look at the lovely lamination that I have to cut out to get started... Now I need a trip to TARGET to pick up some fun colored folders!
So close to spring break! Looking forward to a relaxing week!

Saturday, March 22, 2014

TPT and Blog Promotion! Enjoy!

As a new blogger, it is so fun reading and connecting with other bloggers and teachers.
As a way to promote my blog,
I am offering a FREE product from my TPT store
for any new followers of my blog!
CHOOSE ANY PRODUCT and I will email it to you for free!
Here's how to participate:
1. Start following my Firstie Favorites blog on the right hand side of the page.
2. Check out my TPT store and find a product that you are interested in
3. Send me an email at with the product of your choice
4. I will email that product to you within 2 days. Enjoy!
Thank you for supporting my new blog!
Take a peek at some of my latest products below!
My most popular product! Recently updated!
One week until spring break! It has been a rough week... I completely lost my voice! Spring break cannot come soon enough! Take care!

Thursday, March 13, 2014


I cannot even begin to tell you how excited I am about the math workshop structure that I started in my classroom this week. I keep seeing all of these fabulous ideas on other teaching blogs and there is a fourth grade teacher at our school who is doing some really great things with math workshop. I just had to try it out for myself because I was feeling like I wasn't meeting the needs of all of my students during my more traditional math block. All I have to say is... WOW, after one week of a math workshop structure and meeting with my kiddos in math groups, I have learned so much about my students as math thinkers!
I am linking up with Doodle Bugs for this Math Workshop inspired Five for Friday! Although it is technically a Five for Thursday since I got a little overexcited and am posting it tonight! Oops!

Last weekend, I really started to map out how I would structure my math workshop with the 60 minutes of math that I have in my day. I have seen a lot of great ideas on other blogs, but it seems as though other people have a longer math block which allows for more flexibility. Since we only have about 65 minutes for math in the morning, here is the schedule that I decided upon for my math structure. Our district uses the Everyday Math series so my whole group math and math workshop centers are structured around that curriculum.
10:30-10:35 Daily whiteboard check and CGI strategy work (whole group)
10:35-10:45 Mini Lesson to introduce a new skill
                     or expand on previously learned skill (whole group)
 10:45- 10:55 Everyday Math workbooks (whole group)
 10:55-11:00 Explanation of Workshop Tubs for the day
 11:00-11:15 Round 1 of Math Workshop
 11:15-11:30 Round 2 of Math Workshop
 11:30-11:35 Wrap up of skills learned/ check-in
I divided my students into 4 groups based on math ability level. Students participate in 2 math workshop rounds a day and I meet with two groups each day. Therefore, I get to all of my groups twice a week. I decided not to meet with groups on Fridays to leave room for introducing new games/activities, giving formal assessments from Everyday Math, and other things that may come up.
There are six math center tubs that kiddos complete throughout the week. I can put all of the supplies in the tubs on Mondays and then we are ready to go! I also created a Math Workshop Organization Poster so that kiddos can see what tubs they are supposed to do that day. The center labels are Velcro so that I can switch out their rotation cards each day.

If you are interested in a copy of my labels and schedule for you to use, please leave a comment with your email address and I will send you a copy!
One of my math tub activities this week comes from my Monster Math Pack. Students roll a fun monster dice and solve an addition problem in that column. Great for fact fluency and perfect for an independent math workshop center! Check it out my MONSTER MATH PACK in my TPT store.
The way that my math workshop structure worked out, my two low groups end up doing Math Tub 3 and my two high groups end up doing Math Tub 4. Therefore, I made Tub 3 an intervention tub and Tub 4 is an enrichment tub.
This week, my intervention tub was building two and three digit number with number mats and base-ten block pieces. Grab a freebie of this center here! --Base-Ten Intervention Freebie--
This week, my enrichment tub was some extra time for my higher kiddos to work on their advanced math boxes that I have been creating this year. They take the concepts that we are learning in Everyday Math and make them more challenging. Chapters 4-6 are available right now, FOR FREE, in my TPT store. I plan to make more chapters as the year goes on. Here is a link to Chapter 4 to get you started!

One of our tubs for math workshop each week will always be a page to add to our interactive math journals. Students cut and paste an activity into their notebooks. I always have my "sample" math journal available with a few problems solved to help kiddos get started, since I am working with my small group at the back table and am NOT available for help during this time. This intervention kiddo ROCKED his before and after number practice today. I purchased these March-themed interactive math journal pages from Reagan Tunstall's TPT Store. Love them!
With our Everyday Math geometry unit coming up, we completed some geometry-themed math tubs this week! The kids all love geometry since it is naturally so HANDS ON!
TanZen Free app on ipad for some great Tangram spatial reasoning! So fun and colorful!
Pattern blocks with shape templates... kids have to figure out which shapes to use to complete the template!
Well, that is a look at my math workshop and I am loving it already!
Please leave comments with your own math workshop tricks and ideas! Can't wait to dive back into it next week!

Saturday, March 8, 2014

Long Vowels, Oh My!

Oh. My. Gosh! I was actually able to wear my favorite flats, WITHOUT SOCKS, on Friday! With that said, it was still only about 40 degrees, but I was celebrating! So ready for winter to be over and the snow to be melted!

As I assess students for our 2nd trimester report cards, I have students read a word list that consists of word families, blends, and digraphs that we have worked on this school year. Most of my kiddos rocked the ALL of the short vowel words (even the more challenging ones), most of the blends and digraphs, but WOW, did they struggle with the long vowel words!! They are so tricky and there are so many different rules and anomalies! My students obviously need more work on these so I created a set of word sorts (with recording sheets) that we will work on over the next few weeks! This is going into my Daily 5 word work centers!
Grabbed these little tubs for the word sort cards at The Family Dollar!!
Here is a peek at my Long U Word Sort and Recording Sheet... click here for a FREEBIE of it! If you like the Long U Word Sort, you can pick up 5 more long vowel word sorts (1 for each vowel, with an extra for Long E) from my TPT store! Click the photo below!

Tuesday, March 4, 2014

Intervention... Ready, Set, GO!

Wow, what a great week it has been so far! I may be getting ahead of myself since it is only Tuesday, but my kiddos have been so on top of things the past two days! They are such busy bees! Right now, I am sitting here enjoying my cappuccino, listening to Gladys Knight/Ella Fitzgerald Pandora Radio (LOVE), and I am totally ready to blog about my adventures in intervention that I have going on this week!

Let's start with MATH!!

So this year as we put RTI in place, the first grade classrooms switch kids for about 25 minutes a day for "intervention time." I have the small group of math intervention students in my room and the support of an aide, which is FABULOUS! Even within the math intervention group, I have one student who needs more significant one-on-one math intervention and luckily, this is one of my own students so I know his needs pretty well. I always start the intervention time with a mini lesson for the whole group, about 5 minutes or less. The majority of the intervention group then completes an independent activity or a partner game as my support staff monitors their progress and helps out. I pull my student who is in need of more significant intervention separately and we are still working on some basic number sense skills. I keep racking my brains for more ways of practicing skills to keep him motivated and engaged... and this week, I am really happy with what we are trying.

Intervention #1:
Identifying, ordering, before/after numbers in the TEENS.
I saw a picture of this idea on Pinterest, but I cannot track down the exact pin. I wrote numbers 9-21 on small plastic SOLO cups. I began this intervention by having my student put the cups in order.
After we had the cups in order, we practiced turning some of the cups backwards and figuring out what number was on it by looking at the numbers that we COULD see. We practiced before and after numbers in the teens.
This kiddo loved using the cups to practice numbers and it really got him up and moving. I think he stood next to the table during the whole intervention, moving around, flipping cups around as fast as he could... It was so fun and he was using such great number sense skills without even realizing it!!

Intervention #2:
Crossing the Decade
One of the skills that my intervention kiddos struggle with is crossing the decade when counting, especially when you get up into the higher two-digits numbers. For example, during a progress monitoring assessment where students have to just rote count to 100, one of my kiddos started counting 67, 68, 69, 30, 31, 32... Yikes! I realized that there are a few other kids in my intervention group that need to work on that skill as well. Tomorrow, we are going to play "Crossing the Decade Concentration."
Students have to find "matches" with the crossing the decade numbers. Therefore, 19 and 20 would be a match. We are going to use laminated number grids with the cards so that students can figure out what numbers they need to make a match.
I'm hoping that this game is a fun way to make those connections between decades when counting! Grab your freebie of the game cards here!!

Finally, one quick FLUENCY INTERVENTION!
I recently downloaded Cara Carroll's Rock Your Fluency Pack and it is fabulous! I am currently using it with my firsties who are in Title 1 reading intervention for extra sight word and fluency practice with their Dolch words!! Got my basket of fluency rings ready to go! Everyday, they grab a new ring of fluency phrases to practice during Read to Self. When they are finished they can choose to grab another set or they can go on to reading other independent books in their book bins. LOVE these cute little cards... and so do my intervention friends!

That's all for tonight! Time to catch up on the Real Housewives (I know I shouldn't be, but I'm addicted). Oops!