Sunday, April 27, 2014

Quick Math Freebie!

So excited to use this new math center this week during math workshop.
All you need to do is write #s 0-10 on popsicle sticks and make a +, - , and = stick.
I did the numbers on one color and the symbols on another, but you wouldn't need to use colored sticks.
Students put sticks together to make addition and subtraction problems!
I don't know about you... but my kids love ANYTHING to do with popsicle sticks.

Saturday, April 26, 2014

We LOVE Poetry!

What a beautiful Saturday morning... up early working on my Poetry unit, which I just posted to TPT... whew, relief!!!
Doing a little shopping this afternoon with my sister and my cousin... It's going to be a great day! Love these girlies! 
So during the month of April, we have been writing poetry for National Poetry Month... as I'm sure many of you are! When I first told the kiddos about our poetry unit, I was met with several groans... but they have all realized that poetry is fun, creative, different, silly, exciting! They LOVE it!!
We jumped head first into the unit by doing a really creative project that I blogged about last week.... It got the kids' creative juices flowing and was a great start to the unit. The project incorporated writing a poem about spring and doing a great Kandinsky-inspired art project. Click this link for my previous post, We Welcome Spring with Kandinsky.
During our unit, we wrote the following types of poetry and as we went along, I created/recreated my previous poetry writing paper, planning sheets, examples.... ALL OF IT!
Shape Poems
Acrostic Poems
Color Poems
Word Poems
Here's a peek at our Shape Poems and our Word Poems... the writing paper has been updated since I did this a few weeks ago! Check out the FREEBIES for these poems!
Students had to write a poem creatively to represent its meaning. The writing paper has been updated in this FREEBIE for WORD POEMS.
Students wrote about a shape... where they see it, what they like about it, etc. Then they write their poem around that shape. Here's a link to the FREEBIE of the SHAPE POEMS.
For the rest of my poetry pack, click the LINK to go to my TPT store!
Wow, it feels so great to have this all organized... Next year, I will be GOOD TO GO! :)

Friday, April 25, 2014

Five for Friday: What's for Word Work?

I can say that I am so HAPPY that this stressful week is over. My husband and I are in the process of buying our first home, which we LOVE, but there have been a few hiccups with water in the basement after a spring rain.... but TODAY... all is settled and great! Whew!
I am linking up with Doodlebugs in the special WORD WORK themed Five for Friday.

One of my biggest challenges this year is my management of the Daily 5 structure in my classroom. I struggle between giving the kiddos too much freedom (last year) and not enough freedom and variety (this past fall). I finally feel like I've hit my stride and it comes with the introduction with my word work organization in January. I try to keep the Word Work activities fun and hands-on!!

I love when my kiddos come in at the beginning of the week and ask "WHAT'S FOR WORD WORK?" They used to ask this same question in the form of, "What's for lunch?" I figure if word work is ranking above lunch now, I MUST be doing something right!

Here is a peek at my word work organization board, Across the top are the 5 word work centers for the week. Each student is in a color group (based on their guided reading group... that way I can differentiate the centers based on reading abilities). When we are ready to start word work, students look at what their group is doing that day, they get their supplies, and they can sit anywhere in the classroom. THEY LOVE IT! (and because they love it... I have very few behavior/redirection problems, which frees me up for my reading groups)
I take pictures of the word work materials to make the center labels. You can see from the photo that I don't always have time to make the new labels after I introduce the new center... I write on a blank laminated card with a Vis-à-vis marker. The backs of the word work labels have Velcro so that I can switch the centers each week!
The word work supplies are always organized on the top of our classroom library book shelves. My "teacher's helper" make sure that everything is ready to go in the morning and that is it all put back nicely when we are finished!
Every week, student focus on 7 phonics related words (based on a common spelling pattern) and they have 5 sight words (from the pre-primer and primer dolch word lists). As we go this year, I have been making laminated cards with the words on them. This allows students to easily complete their work anywhere in the room... they just bring their little word card with them. Last year, I would write the words on the board, but then students couldn't always see them from the spot that they chose to work in.
One of our favorite centers is stringing letter beads on pipe cleaners to spell our words. EASY!! Just a little prep to put the bins together... I initially had the beads organized into the above organizer... but it was too hard for the kids to get the beads out of them.
I recently switched to putting the beads in old pencil boxes and it works great!! I also have a choice of big or small beads!
I recently used Cara Carroll's Rock Your Fluency packs to put together Fluency Folders... I posted about this about a month ago... Check out this LINK to see my previous post about fluency folders... I do have to say that these are a class favorite (and totally worth the cost!)
 Students sort word family words into categories and record. I put the word cards and the word family heading cards into a tub. Students spread out on the floor and sort the cards. If they finish early, they write sentences with the words on the back of the paper!

Here's a freebie of the Long U Word Sort!
Stumbled across this great set of word work printables last year and THEY ARE FREE!!
Click the link to check them out on Mrs. Mabe's TPT Store!

Sunday, April 20, 2014

We Welcome Spring with Kandinsky!!

This past week, we completed one of my FAVORITE writing/art projects!!! We have been studying and writing poetry in celebration of Poetry Month and we took this week to focus on colors and how different colors make us feel.

I began the mini-unit by reading "I Love You the Purplest" by Barbara Joosse. The book has GREAT description and helped us to start a conversation about how seeing different colors makes us feel.

Then students wrote a poem about how spring tastes, smells, feels, sounds, and tastes. We talked about using describing words like those that the author used in the story.  Here's a copy of the poem template if you are interested. I had students to a "sloppy" copy on the top box and then re-write their poem to put on their artwork.

Then we did a little more exploring into colors and sound and our senses. We started by talking about artist, Wassily Kandinsky, who believed that you could see music and hear colors. This is a very abstract concept for my firsties and I was met with many confused faces or "what's weird" comments! Little did they know... they would soon understand and experience this for themselves!! Below is an example of Kandinsky's Concentric Circles which inspired our projects!
Then, we talked about how different colors make us feel... many said that yellow made them feel happy or black made them feel scared. Red made them feel mad. I played an instrumental song on my ipod... we talked about how that song made us feel. This particular song sounded happy so we might choose a color like yellow or pink to express our feelings about the song.

On the kid's desk groups, I had a set of crayons and large white paper for each student. I had eight different songs queued up on my ipod. As I played each song, students experienced the music and used colors for their circles that reflected their mood and feelings.
It is important to have a variety of different instrumental songs... we had some Vivaldi, Disney soundtrack songs, Caribbean inspired songs, country, and Broadway musical songs. As we moved from each song to the next, students began a new circle and switched colors based on their feelings.
After our day of experiencing color and music, we cut out our circles and turned them into blooming spring trees. Take a peek at some of their artwork! I LOVE this project because it really gets the kids thinking about how music and art and writing are all interrelated and they make such great connections to color and feelings and description.


Tuesday, April 8, 2014

Beautiful Spring Weather = Pure Bliss!

I don't know about you... but I am LOVING this gorgeous spring weather that we are having in Wisconsin this week. It totally makes all of the difference in my patience and my motivation!! (and it does the same for my kiddos too!) Posted this photo on Facebook this morning. I knew it was going to be a great day! I could just FEEL IT! :)

"Sun is shining, Starbucks in hand, and cute new tubs for my math centers.
It's going to be a good day!"

Now for a quick post with a few FREEBIES!
Since coming back from winter break, we have been focusing on long vowel spelling patterns for our phonics work. LONG E can be so tricky because of the different patterns so I put together this Long E printables pack... including { rainbow writing - nice & neat handwriting practice - ABC ordering - word sorts - sentence writing - connect 4 games } all focusing on LONG E patterns of EE and EA. The thing that I am enjoying about using these is that they are truly "print and go" with the exception of the connect four games (in which you need to cut out the cards-- still, that's easy!).
For the full pack of LONG E PRINTABLES, visit my TPT store! It's only $2.00!

One skill that we really work on in first grade is telling time to the five minute mark. Common Core requires first graders to tell time to the hour and half hour, but our Everyday Math series expects students to tell time to the 5 minutes. This is a skill that first graders need lots of practice with and I am always trying to think of new ways to practice!!
I saw this idea on Pinterest last year... I can't track down the pin anymore, but I made these cardstock dice. One dice has the "hour" time and the other dice has the "minutes." Students roll the dice and then make it on their clock. Perfect for partner practice or individual practice during math workshop! Grab a FREE COPY OF THE TELLING TIME DICE here. Enjoy!
A few other fun practice tools... Click the links to visit my TPT store!
Telling Time Bingo (whole class set)
Enjoy these fun freebies! Now I need to get out and enjoy this fabulous weather!

Saturday, April 5, 2014

Five for Friday: Spring Break Recap!

Wow! What a great spring break! Got so much accomplished for school... but in bigger news, my husband and I started HOUSE HUNTING! (and we found a home that we LOVE!) More on that subject to come... I don't want to get too far ahead of myself!

Here's my Five for Friday (Saturday... oops!) recap of my spring break! Wishing that I had more time off, but also ready to get back to my kiddos!

One great thing about spring break is spending a little extra time CREATING resources instead of scrambling to get ready for each week on Sundays... am I right?
First of all, I finished Chapters 7 and 8 of my ADVANCED MATH BOXES for Everyday Math series for first grade... I have posted about these before, but what I was noticing with Everyday Math was that the extra practice math boxes were too easy for a solid group of my students. This year, I have been creating math boxes that challenge those higher math students... and the best part is, they are FREE and will always be FREE in my TPT store! I do ask that if you take advantage of this great FREEBIE, please leave feedback in my store as appreciation for the time that I've put into them! If you are feeling SUPER APPRECIATIVE, you could even start following me on TPT! Click the snapshots to check them out now!!
Secondly, I have been spending LOTS of time cutting out lamination to get some of my MONSTER MATH games and activities ready to go for next week! In honor of my excitement to use these, I decided to offer my favorite activity from my monster math set as a FREEBIE... Monster Roll and Add!! Check out the picture below and click -this link- for your own free copy of the dice and printable! Enjoy!
If you like my Monster Roll and Add freebie, check out my MONSTER MATH CENTERS FOR NUMBER SENSE in my TPT store! Six different monster-themed math centers ($2.50).
I cannot even begin to tell you how excited I am about my new fluency folders!! I recently downloaded ALL of Cara Carroll's Rock Your Fluency packs from her TPT store and I LOVE THEM!! I am using her materials to put together fluency folders for students to use during our Daily 5 word work centers because they focus on the Dolch sight words... which we work on heavily in first grade!!
All of my supplies and materials!
Take a peek at my folders that I put together and a huge THANK YOU to Cara Carroll for creating these fabulous resources!
Here's an example of one fluency folder for the Pre-Primer Dolch words. I have 5 folders for each Dolch list so that I can differentiate for each student's reading level (25 folders in total!). The folders are color coded: Pre-Primer(Blue), Primer (Lime), First Grade (Purple), Second Grade (Yellow), and Third Grade (Red).
Here's what I included in each folder:
2 rings of fluency phrases in each folder!
1 Roll, Read, & Highlight page! Students roll a dice and read a phrase! LOVE THESE!
5 fluency stories for kids to read!
Fluency is something that I have really been diving into this year!! I love Cara Carroll's fluency packs... they are a great way to supplement our Dolch sight word practice. Check out a few of my own creations to practice sight words!
This week, a speech teacher at my school contacted me and another teacher who are sellers on TPT. One of her friends is battling cancer and they are having a fundraiser for her in another school district in our area. Our speech teacher was wondering if we each could create a basket with some of our TPT products to raffle off as part of the fundraiser. I ran out today and picked up this adorable basket and some fun teacher goodies at Michael's Craft Store... still need to put everything together!
Now I'm in the process of printing out and laminating a class set of my Telling Time Bingo game and a few of my other favorite products!!
Love the feeling of giving back!! Totally brightened my day when my colleague asked me to be a contributor to a special cause!
Loving this spring break weather... other than the snow flurries that I saw yesterday afternoon. It felt great to get out for a refreshing spring run!!
Found this gem at Kohl's... couldn't resist!
Flashback to my freshman year in college!
AAAAAAAND, I feel a special connection to this team because two of the players, Frank Kaminsky and Ben Brust, came to my classroom last spring and read to my students!!!
Ben Brust reading a Franklin story!
Whew... that turned into a very long post! I hope that you find it useful! Enjoy the rest of your weekend!!