Thursday, September 1, 2011

Cause and Effect with Charles Tiger

For those of you who use the Houghton Mifflin Reading Series, Charles Tiger is coming up as the BIG Book story for week 3.   I don't know about your kiddos, but mine looooove this story (I think it's just because they get to "roar" at the end when Charles finds his roar.  I made a little thinking map (sort of an adaptation of a multi-flow map) to show cause and effect.  I don't have any kid samples as we have not actually done this yet.  I'm just trying to actually post something before we do it in our class.  Click {HERE} to download. 

Also, a bit of good great news came my way this week.  They have hired a new 1st grade teacher and I will be losing 7- yes, I said 7, kids next week.  I want to feel sad, but truthfully, with 35 in my room I can't feel anything but relieved right now.  Now we will actually be able to walk in the room and not just around the perimeter.  I hope to post some pics of my room next week.  Happy TGIalmostF!

Monday, August 22, 2011

1st Week "Goodies"

Well, we're back in full swing and it is definitely an adjustment.  In 13 years of teaching, this is the most students I have ever had- 35 to be precise.  It is a little overwhelming, but the kids seem to be adjusting a little better now that we are getting to our regular routine.  But truthfully, I think the only reason I'm surviving right now is because I have a tutor (this week only) and a student-teacher in my room ALL day.  They are truly life-savers!

We started our reading program this week (Houghton Mifflin).  I created some printables to go along with our first theme.  Each day my students do a page of seatwork and then they can go to their center for the day.  Each page reinforces the phonics skill for that week.
Here is an example of one of the phonics pages...

I hope everyone's school year is off to a great start and I can't wait to see all the fabulous ideas you all come up with this year!

Tuesday, August 9, 2011

ABC's of First Grade

So, I'm headed to work for the 1st time this school year and now that I'm officially in "school mode" again, I thought I would share something that a colleague shared with me.  I know this has probably been out there for ages and I apologize for not knowing the original source.
It's the ABC's of 1st grade- an alphabetical listing of classroom and school policies and procedures.  Just modify it to suit the needs of your own classroom and school.  My only concern is that I teach at a school with a large population of ESL learners and many families do not speak English in the home.  This is always a challenge when sending home information.  I hope to get this translated into Spanish, but that may take a little time.  I will review this at our Back-to-School night (which is actually the day before school starts.)
I wish all of you a great start of the new school year!

ABC's of First Grade

Thursday, August 4, 2011

Is it that Time Already?

It has been a long time since I have posted anything.  Just to bring you up to speed... the end of the year was a bit crazy.  Our district is changing from 2 K-4 schools to 4 K-6 schools.  This meant a lot of movement and just plain chaos- all while trying to wrap up the school year. 
My oldest just graduated high school and is preparing to go into the service (Air National Guard).
About a week after school ended, I taught a 3 week English Language Summer Academy (I only ended up having 12 kids, but it was still school).  Sooooo... by the time that was wrapped up, I was in desperate need for a break- mentally and physically.  I don't know how some of you gals do it.  It seems that some of you have school on the mind 24/7.  I am that way too sometimes, but this year I needed a little "time-out".
Anywhooo, the time has come and it can't be put off any longer.  I had to get my BTS letters sent out and that meant a trip to school.  It was good to see my room and get a "feel" for what needs to be done.  I will try to remember to take pics as I go. 
One of my favorite things (and worth every penny) is fadeless paper.

It really saves me time because it means I don't have to change every bulletin board at the start of every year.  I know at some schools you are required to take EVERYTHING down, but luckily, we are not.
Lastly, I know that this is not new to most of you, but I am loving Pinterest.  Warning! It is extremely addicting (thank goodness I'm still on vacation).
It is great to be able to browse great ideas and "pin" them without having to search the whole web.  It's *genius* really. 
Hope you're all a lot further along in your back-to-school chores than I am.  If not, stop reading these blogs and get busy. :)

Thursday, April 21, 2011

Telling Time with Prezi

It's Spring Break for us and I have to admit, I have a bit of spring fever and have not been real motivated to do "school things".  I had a few things I wanted to post last week and time just got away from me. 
Anywhoooo- a few weeks ago, Mrs. M over at The Techy Teacher posted about a free site called  It allows you to create presentations on the web (kind of like PowerPoint).  So, I created an account and started playing around with it.  It's pretty user friendly and really engaging for the kids.  There's also tons of presentations already made that you can show/use for free.
We were working on telling time at that time (sorry for the redundancy) and so I created a presentation about the parts of a clock and telling time to the hour and half hour.
You can view it here, but I strongly encourage you to go to their site and try one of your own.  If you want to use it in your classroom, it might be better to view it from their site.  Our school computers/ network has lots of filters that make it difficult for us to access blogs and such.  
  I even made a simple one with words spelled with "or" and "ore" just for extra decoding practice.  
Fun, fun, fun!

Tuesday, April 5, 2011

Transportation Lesson for SmartBoard

Transportation Then and Now
I used this lesson a couple weeks ago during our social studies unit on comparing the past and today.  While I like to create things, I don't often like to recreate the wheel if there's something out there that will meet my needs.  This just wasn't the case when it came to transportation.  So, I made a short little SmartBoard lesson to help illustrate how transportation has changed over the years.  It includes a timeline and sequencing activity, a couple of thinking maps, a sorting activity and a graph at the end.
Here's a couple of pics.  I will upload this lesson to TpT (it's free), just as soon as I finish typing this post.
Click here for the link.

Saturday, March 26, 2011

Adding a Signature to your Blog

For all of you newbie bloggers like me, I found a really easy way to add a "signature" to the end of your post.  It literally took me about 2 minutes and couldn't have been easier.  It's a few more steps if you want your actual signature because it has to be scanned and all that.  But for right now, I'm pleased.  Just go to My Live Signature and create your own.  It guides you step by step and then just copy the HTML code.  In Blogger, go to "settings", then "formatting" and "Post Template" and copy the code there.  Then just type your regular post above your signature.  Easy, peasy, lemon squeezy!

10 Things I've Learned from Teaching

10 Things I've Learned

Jennifer from Rowdy in First is having a linky party.  It's been wonderful to read these posts from so many teachers and be able to nod your head and think, "I knew I wasn't the only one".  I've taught for 12 years and I know I've learned a lot along the way.  Here are just a few (or 10 to be exact):

1.  No child named "Angel" is ever an angel.  In general, teaching can ruin a lot of perfectly good names.

2.  If anyone deserves Happy Hour on Friday, it's a teacher!

3.  No matter how ready you are for the school year to be over, you will be the same kind of excited for it to begin again in August.

4.  Back-to-School ads create just about the same amount of excitement in me as the Black-Friday ones.

5.  Before-school yard duty is 10 times worse than recess yard duty, even though it's the same amount of time.  I don't know why, it just is.

6.  I've heard/read this many times, but it is one truth I try to remind myself of all the time.  Kids will not remember all the "things" you taught them (in first grade or any other), but they will remember how they felt in your class.  Make it fun!

7.  As much as technology has changed the way we teach, kids still enjoy the simple things like a good picture book and a song.

8.  Your expectations are never as clear as you think they are- kids need LOTS of examples.

9.  Nothing is greater than knowing you've helped give a child the gift of reading.

10.  Teachers will NEVER get paid what they're worth.  Get over it and move on.  Complain about it over a margarita (or two), but then let it go and be the best you can be!

Enjoy your weekend!

Monday, March 21, 2011

SmartBoard Lesson for Sounds of Y

Sounds for Y
click here for the download
Thank you Mrs. M at for your suggestion to post this on TpT.  While I'm happy to email any and all of you, it's probably easier to just download it yourself.  I've never posted anything there before, so I hope it all went well.  Please let me know if you are not able to download it and I will happily email the file to you.  I apologize if the pages do not fit your screen.  I've never understood why files created on one computer come up looking different on another computer.  If you know of a way to make the pages a little more universal, I'd love to know.  Thanks for your interest in my lesson.


Sunday, March 20, 2011

SmartBoard Lesson for Sounds of Y

SmartBoard Lesson

I created a short lesson for the SmartBoard for the vowel sounds of "y".  I am not quite sure how to share these via my blog.  In the meantime, while I try to find a hosting site for this and other files I have for SmartBoard, I am more than happy to email you the file.  The picture shown is just a couple of the pages from this lesson.  I also created a word sort for the pocket chart or small word work center to use for this skill as well.
Hope you have a great Monday.


Revised Math Game using Jing

I have been dying to know how to show an image on my blog of something I've created without having to embed a Scribd or GoogleDocs window.  I like the look of this because it shows up on your sidebar and looks more inviting to people checking out your blog.  A teacher friend from school (who really introduced the blogworld to me) told me about a free download called Jing.  (You can visit her blog, My First Year in First Grade, for more great ideas.)  You can take a screenshot of something on your computer and save it as a picture file and then link it to GoogleDocs or wherever you have your file uploaded.  So here is my first try at this.  I thought I would use a file that I already had.  I posted this game and then later realized it had a mistake.  Here is the corrected version.

My kids really liked this game and it was challenging at the same time.  I gave them a small cup of Honeycomb cereal to use for their "markers" while they played.

Thursday, March 17, 2011

Money Songs

I LOVE TO SING!  Now, I'm no Kelly Clarkson (not a die-hard fan, but the girl can sing!), but I can carry a tune.  Although, I was once told by one of my kindergarten students that I would not make it Hollywood (on American Idol, of course).  Nevertheless, we sing all day long.  I especially love songs that teach!  Soooo.... I thought I would write a few of my own.  While getting ready to teach money to my kiddos, I was pulling out some money songs and found that I was missing my song for "nickels" and that I didn't much care for the "quarter" song.  Hence, my own collection of money songs written to familiar lyrics, was born.  I typed them big so we can add them to our poem/song folder.  We add to it throughout the year and it provides great practice for fluency as well.

By the way, I desperately want to know how to embed this link without it being so big.  I was hoping for just the picture of the document to show up.  I would love any pointers, if you have them.


Wednesday, March 16, 2011

So Many Giveaways!

I just found a new blog today, and what do you know! She's doing a giveaway.  Mrs. Thiessen at the First Grade Sweet Life is giving away a $20 gift certificate to Scrappin' Doodles.  Don't you just love all the stuff you can get for just a buck- so $20 can go a loooong way!  Head on over today and enter.

And.... if $20 isn't enough, you can enter another great giveaway for a$25 to Scrappin' Doodles. 
This one is being hosted by the ladies at Burst of First and Fantastic First. 

I hope the the luck of the Irish is with me (and you too, of course)!

Sunday, March 13, 2011

Sounds of Y Word Sort

This week we are going to be reading words that end with "y".  Students will learn that the letter y can make 2 different vowel sounds when it comes at the end of the word.  I made this word sort activity to help them practice this skill during seatwork/center time.  It includes a sorting mat, the words and a recording page.  Jen Bates also posted a link for a cute little poster about "Tricky Y the robber guy"... too cute. 
Y Word Sort

Have a great week!

Thursday, March 10, 2011

Tall Tales and Paul Bunyan

This week the main story in our anthology was about Johnny Appleseed, but our read-aloud on Monday/Tuesday was about Paul Bunyan.  I have a lot of EL learners and it took some time explaining what a "tall tale" is and the expression, "stretching the truth".  Nonetheless, they really enjoyed it (the Disney video on American folk heros didn't hurt either) and they wrote some great tall tales of their own. 

I used 12x18 paper and cut it lengthwise.  We did a directed drawing with a black crayon and then colored.  The paper was folded in half so it made it easier for them to keep the top and bottom in proportion.  I told them to make his shirt stop at the middle and make his pants go all the way to the bottom.  They turned out sooo cute!

I had a parent draw lines with a Sharpie for the kids to write their stories so it really would be a "tall" tale.  I gave them some sentence starters to get them going.  Some of the ones we used were, "Did you ever hear about...", "He was so strong..." and their favorite, "When he was a baby..."

Hopefully I'll have the bulletin board up by tomorrow and I'll take another picture of the whole thing.

Happy TGIF(eve)!


Sunday, March 6, 2011

Pets Linky Party

Ladybug's Teacher Files is hosting a Linky party just for pets.  Right now, it seems like I have more pictures of my dogs than I do of my kids (not to worry, I have lots of pics of them too.)  I never thought I was a dog/pet person before as I did not grow up with any pets (except for a hermit crab, if you can call that a pet).  About a year ago we got a yellow lab puppy, Bailey, and that changed everything.
She obviously doesn't look like this now, but who doesn't love a cute puppy? 
She's a lab (retriever) so her FAVORITE thing to do is play fetch- in the house, in the backyard, wherever!  She's super smart and follows quite a few commands.  She makes me a proud mama!
This is what she looks like now...

She's been to puppy kinder and puppy 1st grade.  She graduated at the top of her class.

We have another dog, Lexie, who's kind of a rescue of sorts.  She is about 8 years old and just loves to be pet and take short slow walks.  She just loves attention of any kind., but is very camera shy.  I must say she has been quite patient with a rowdy puppy around.

I never thought I would be the type to have dogs (big ones at that) in my house, but there you have it.  They are part of the family and we love them to pieces!

Saturday, March 5, 2011

Fun with Dr. Seuss

This week was a blast celebrating Dr. Seuss' birthday.  Our school has a door decorating contest each year- the theme of course being a favorite Dr. Seuss book.  We took our classes on a tour around campus to view all the doors.  Here are some pictures of some really cute ones (any of these could be adapted to a bulletin board in your class of course).

 These directed drawings were done by Kinders- super cute!
 This door won for Kinder.
 This door won for 4th grade.
 I had never even heard of this book before.

 This door won for 1st grade.

And of course, last but not least, my door.  You know how sometimes you're in it to win it and other times, you're just trying to get it done?  Well, this year was the latter for me.
To top it off, when we got back after looking at all the other doors (I had my ELD group, not my regular class) a little girl asked, "Ms. Asprec, what are those?"  I replied, "They're pockets."  Then she said, "That's what I told her (pointing to girl #2).  She said they were underwear."  LOL! 
I hadn't seen it before, but I see why they would think that.

And.... it wouldn't be a celebration with a little green eggs and ham...
I went with deviled eggs because I thought they were cute and my personal kids LOVE, LOVE, LOVE these things.  My class wasn't too sure.  Here are the results on our picture graph (title and eggs came from Jenn Bates at Finally in First.)
There were soooo many great ideas out there on all the blogs that I think the Seuss celebration is going to have to continue into next week a little. More pictures to come!

Thursday, March 3, 2011

Double Delicious Math Game

I made this game closer to Valentine's Day, but not really for that particular holiday.  It took me a little longer than expected to get it laminated and cut and ready to go.  Alas, the kids are playing this week during math centers and are having a blast.  I have tons of wood cubes (old, old math manips that I kept in my room just for making dice) that I used to make 2 dice.  One is for numbers 1-6 and the other is for numbers 7-12.  The kids have to decide which dice they want or need to use to cover one of the numbers on their board.  I have sat with a couple of groups as they played and it's exciting to see how quickly they start to remember the doubles facts during the game.  Hope your kids enjoy it as much as mine!
Double Delicious Game Board

Monday, February 28, 2011

Things I Love

Sooo, you probably know Jodi at Fun in First Grade is hosting a linky party for Favorite Things.
Ok.  Here it goes.  I'm going to try and keep this short and sweet because one of my favorite things is about to begin in about 7 minutes. 
1. Reality TV. 
In particular, Jersey Shore, The Bachelor and American Idol.  If I start watching any reality show, I can be hooked after about 5 minutes.
(this is an edit from my original post, because I was embarassed that it looked liked like I loved the bachelor himself- LOL!  I admit, he's a handsome man, but it's the show that entertains me (really) :)
2.  DVR. 
 This is good and bad as it results in me watching WAAAAY too much TV!

3.  Watching my kids play sports
Right now that only involves my youngest play indoor soccer and baseball.  My oldest is a senior in high school and all done with his sports days for now.

4.  A Really Good Book
The last really good one I read was Water for Elephants - FABULOUS!

5.  Gadgets for my kitchen
I love to cook and I love Food Network.  So even though I will never host my own cooking show, I feel like I have to have all the stuff that the fancy peeps use.  Including, but not limited to...

6.  UGG Boots
I was gonna stop at 5, but I couldn't leave this one out.  Ok,  I live in California and it doesn't get that cold here.  Nothing like you gals with all your snow days, but when it drops below 50, that's pretty darn cold.  These are not the most feminine of shoes, but they are the warmest and most comfortable.  A must on Wednesdays (my yard duty day).
There's way more, like post-its and some other silly things, but looking for and adding pictures is driving me a little nuts because I have some TV to go watch!

Sunday, February 27, 2011

Word Attack Game

There is nothing more frustrating than a child who continually "guesses" at a word when you KNOW they could read it correctly if they would just "sound it out".  We spend so much time giving them the skills then need to decode words and for some reason there's always those few (or several, as is the case for me this year) who just look at the firs letter or two and take a wild guess.  During a particularly challenging session with one of my guided reading groups this week, I told them they have to "attack" the word.  Like, really attack it and "break it apart" into all the parts they know.  This particular group was mostly boys and the idea of "attacking" a word held HUGE appeal.  They started decoding all kinds of words and I could see their confidence building and building.  Hence, this game was born.  This week we worked on words with inflectional endings, "s, ed and ing".  In addition to all the vowel patterns we have introduced, the words and stories just keep getting harder and harder.  I made the game to be adaptalble for various skill levels.  You just need to make your own set of word labels to attach to the game cards.  I hope your kids can have fun with this.

Another Great Giveaway

Amanda at One Extra Degree is doing a fabulous giveaway  for 2 units by .....

One of these days, I hope to win one of these things.  It's still fun to "play" even when you don't.  I'm pretty sure that anyone checking out my little ol' blog has probably checked out Deanna Jump and Amanda.  If not...YOU HAVE TO!

To Enter:
Follow both of their blogs (you can use the links above).
Follow Deanna's TpT store.
Follow Amanda's TpT store.
Leave a comment at One Extra Degree for each.
Repost to your blog for an extra entry.

Best of luck to me, I mean us!

Saturday, February 26, 2011

Great Giveaway!

You can enter a great giveaway for a Dr. Seuss packet by Donna at Kinderglynn.  To enter you need to check out another fabulous blog at Erika Bohrer's First Grade.  All you have to do is follow both of their blogs and their TpT stores.  It looks like a great resource.  I hope I win, but if not, I plan to buy it.  Good luck to all of us.

Friday, February 25, 2011

Doubles Plus One Math Game

It's my goal to try and begin math centers next week.  I have been putting it off because of our hectic afternoon schedule with kids in and out of the room for various intervention programs.  I made this game a couple of weeks ago and haven't had the chance to introduce it to the kids.  At this point, it will be a skill review for them, but that's ok.  Just print the number of game boards you need for a group.I bought Honeycomb cereal for them to use as their "markers" and then they can munch when they are done playing (I also have some double-sided foam counters that could be used as well.)  I'll try to snap a picture of them playing next week. 
double plus 1 game

Tuesday, February 22, 2011

Compound Words

This has been quite a learning experience for me.  I am trying to not let my addictive personality completely take over.  I could be here all night trying to figure new things out.  I have finally figured out how to share my document (so you can actually see it) using Scribd.  For some reason, GoogleDocs does not work for me.  I can't upload my documents.  I would like for the Scribd box to appear smaller, but I'm going to try and "squelch" the perfectionist in me and just let it go for now. 
The following is an activity that I created to help my students practice making and reading compound words.  I laminated and cut them out (cutting the words apart) and placed them on a cookie sheet with a spatula.  The kids are totally having a blast using the spatula to find two cookie halves to make a compound word.  Then they record their findings on the recording sheet.  I'll try to snap a shot of them working on this activity during seatwork/center time.
Compound Word Cookies

Monday, February 21, 2011

A Little Something for Dr. Seuss

The whole reason I started this blog was to "give back" a little of all the wonderful ideas and resources I've come across in Blogland.  I love to create things also and hope that some of what I make might be useful to someone other than just me and my kiddos.  I just started this blog tonight, so I am going to do my best to share this wordwork game with you.  Keep your fingers crossed.

Cat in the Hat Word Sort

Just Getting Started

This is my first (well, really 2nd) attempt to start a blog.  I was a little intimidated the first time and I deleted it before someone stumbled upon it and realized I hadn't a clue what I was doing.  I still don't- but I'm giving it another go.  I work with some pretty fabulous people who got me totally hooked on "blog stalking".  It started out with just teacher related blogs, but quickly spread to other interests.  It's amazing I get anything done in my own classroom or home.  I learn so much from everyone on here and it's inspired me to reconnect to what I loved most about teaching 12 years ago- creating and making learning fun for little ones.