Saturday, March 31, 2012

Two Facts and a Fib

Teaching fact and fiction has never been more amusing and meaningful! In this activity, the children learn the difference between the two and learn lots of fun facts (and fibs!) about their classmates. Students write down two facts and one fib about themselves and then share this information with the class. Then, the class tries to figure out which of the 3 statements is the fib. How much fun is that? If you are interested in purchasing this activity, please click the picture below.  

Friday, March 30, 2012

Who loves to write?

Children love to write, right?  I know my students do!  They love to write stories and lists and words and sentences.  It doesn't always make sense and I can't always read it, but as long as they can read it to me, I'm happy!  This past week, I asked my students what they would like for me to make for them.  They know I create many of their activities myself and I love to get their input.  They told me to make some write the room activities.  They wanted to write words and be able to draw pictures to go along with them.  They wanted to write a shopping list and practice writing number words.  Ask and you shall receive! I put together a packet of 8 different writing activities.  Some of the activities have been around the block, some are new ideas.  All of them are really cute, though!  Cute fonts, cute clip art, cute borders.  Please check it out if you are tired of your own write the room activities.  If you like it, please let me know.  I LOVE feedback!  Thanks for looking!

Don't forget to download my freebie, Do You Like? It is also a great writing activity.  My students cannot get enough of this one!

One more thing!  I'm trying REALLY hard to reach my selling goal for this quarter.  I'm just a wee bit short! If you were thinking of purchasing something from my store but haven't yet, may I please beg you to do so before the quarter ends? Yes, that is tomorrow!  I know! But, I thought I'd give it a try!  If you read my last post, there's something in it for you if do!  Thanks so very much!

Friday, March 23, 2012

Does Your Story Answer These Questions?

Do your students often leave you wondering who their story is about? Or when or where it takes place? Or what is happening? Are you looking for a way for them to include more details and action in their stories? 

These 6 posters will help remind your writers to include this information in their stories so you are not left confused and wanting more. With large lettering and eye-catching clip art, these colorful posters will not only look beautiful in your classroom, but will serve a real purpose.  

Click on the picture below to check them out. If you like them, please let me know! Thank you so much!

Thursday, March 22, 2012

Spring Stations

Spring has sprung in my classroom this week!  Actually, I live in Florida, so it's always spring or summer! There is winter, but only for a day or two out of the school year. Here's a little peek at what my students are doing in my writing classroom.

Here are two first graders working on writing a story about a butterfly.  First, we filled in a graphic organizer that I got from Heather over at Differentiation Station.  The graphic organizer has a topic sentence and sentence starters for four other sentences. Once they are done filling it in and copying it onto the butterfly shape book, they have a nicely written 5 sentence paragraph.

This is a game that I have for sale on TpT.  The children read a sentence and choose whether it is a statement or a question. This skill continues to be a challenging one, so I try to have the children practice it as often as possible. You can click on any picture to purchase the game from my store.

These children are using The Very Hungry Caterpillar Writing Center from Kerri over at Teacher Bits and Bobs to write their own stories.  I also made my own with garden words for them to use. The last picture is a kindergartner doing the same thing, but using a different booklet to write her story.

I also teach second grade.  Here is a very excited second grader, playing sight word memory. He was the first to go in the game and he turned over a match (without cheating...really!) Boy was he excited!

This game is for sale at my TpT store.  I just updated it and changed the font and made the cards a little bigger.  The picture above shows the smaller cards and different font. You can check it out by clicking the link below. It contains words for kindergarten, first grade, second grade, and words that are frequently used in writing.  It also has a recording sheet. This game is always a hit in my classroom!

Well, that's all I have for now.  I hope you enjoyed this little peek inside my classroom.  Talk to you soon!

First Grade Sight Word Packets

Teaching sight words to young children is so important to help ensure reading and writing success.  I love using the Dolch words, but I do add several words to this list.  For my students, I created 15 reproducible sight word packets that teach the first grade Dolch words plus several other words that are frequently found in books and used in writing. The packets are so much fun and easy to use that most of my students are able to complete them independently. They are perfect for whole-class learning, individual station work, homework, or as an early morning arrival activity. The packets contain activities such as: word configuration, fill in the blanks, ABC order, writing sentences, rhyming, missing letters, word searches, and more. Each of the 15 lists contain six engaging activities for the children to complete.  I use one packet every two weeks, so they cover 30 weeks of school.  The activities increase in difficulty as the children work their way through the lists. There are a few more activities in the packet that are not included in the preview. Please click on the image below to check out these packets.

I have similar packets for my second graders, as well.

Sunday, March 18, 2012

Your students can blog, too!

Blogging should not be for adults only! Of course, children do not need another excuse to use the computer, so their blogging will be in notebooks. In my classroom, I labeled marble notebooks with titles such as, Ouch, Vacations, Pets, etc. and the children can work on their writing by writing about and/or responding to what others have written. We call them our shared journals. For example, in the ouch book, a child can write about a time he/she got hurt. Then, other children can read it and respond to it. It's just like blogging, but not on the computer. The children can choose any shared journal that interests them!

I wrote the one below so my students would have a good example of how to use the shared journals.

 Other topics include vacations, sports, friends, pets, awards, toys and games, school, what's on your mind, and more! I bet your students will never complain about writing in one of these books!

 If you are interested in doing this in your classroom, please go check them out.  And, if you purchase my shared journal labels, please leave me some feedback.  I LOVE feedback.  As a matter of fact, today, when I purchased $15.00 worth of goodies from TpT, I saved $5.00 because of all the positive feedback I have written. That's a BIG savings! 

Here is another example from one of our books. I write in them, too!  My students LOVE when I respond to what they have written. Thanks for looking!

Wednesday, March 14, 2012

Butterfly Facts Freebie

Here is a Butterfly Facts Sheet that I use with my kindergartners.  After discussing facts about butterflies, we complete this fact sheet.  The children draw butterflies in the frame and then write 3 things they learned about butterflies.  If you download it, can you please let me know if the butterfly font worked for you?  I'm experimenting with embedding fonts and I would love to know if it worked or not.  Thanks!

Sunday, March 11, 2012

Butterfly Themed Statement or Question Game

My students, especially first grade, have such a tough time deciding if a sentence is a statement or a question.  I guess that's why they always say to me, "Can I tell you something?  Are we going to lunch soon?"  LOL! They just cannot practice this skill enough.  Since I'll be doing an Eric Carle / Butterfly theme when I go back to school after spring break, I made this game to help them practice this skill.  Please check it out if your students are having difficulty with this, too.

Teachers Taking Care of Teachers

A sweet blogstalker, Anne, emailed Teaching Blog Addict this week with hopes that we would reach out and help with the recent devastation in our country. She was not alone in her idea or passion to lend a helping hand. Many teachers felt the same way so what are we going to do about it?

On March 2nd, several towns across the U.S. were devastated by the destruction of at least 44 tornadoes across 5 different states. At least 27 people died and there were thousands left without homes and even schools. I think the heart of a teacher is that of a giving spirit. It is our job to love all children even when it is sometimes hard, to work more hours than most professions, and give even when we feel like we have nothing left. This catastrophe is an opportunity for us to do what we do best, lend a helping hand, caring heart, and teach a lesson of love. My heart is that each of you will adopt a teacher in a school affected by the tornadoes. It could be as simple as writing letters of encouragement or having your team clean out your closets and ship out everything you can live without to a teacher in your grade level. I couldn't imagine losing my school! I have thousands of dollars of materials that I have purchased for my class not to mention the hundreds of hours I have spent making materials for my students. If you would like to participate, please leave me the grade you teach and your email address. I am on Spring Break this next week and will be contacting schools, getting names and addresses of teachers. Maybe you sell on TPT or TN and want to donate everything in your store. That would be great! I plan on doing that too! If you don’t have tangible items to donate, no biggy! We have all suffered through some sort of loss. It means just as much to receive a letter of encouragement and we are born encouragers!! I will send out an email with the school information that you will be assigned to.

How else can you help? Spread the word! Link up! I think with all of the negative buzz about education, the strikes, the stress we are facing with job losses and budget cuts, this could be a good distraction and also a way to show people that we are here, united and strong! We care about teachers and education. We have chosen to be in a profession that most say “I could never do that all day!” but unfortunately if feels has become the least valued. So, I am choosing to not be sad about the way things are changing because there are teachers that are hurting and we need to help them! Who’s with me??

I will definitely do what I can to help out these teachers.  Can you, just for a second, imagine if you were in their shoes...

Friday, March 9, 2012

Our Promise to Each Other...Freebie

Help build a strong classroom community by having your children recite "Our Promise to Each Other" every morning. This cute display will help your children learn the promise in no time!  My students say this promise out loud each morning and refer to it several times a day.  So do I!  Especially the part about doing the right thing...even when no one is watching!  Here is a picture of how I hang the posters in my classroom. 

Please note that the posters have been updated, and look a bit different from the ones on the door.

Click the image below to get your free posters. If you like them, please leave a comment. I love to read all my comments. Thank you very much!

Thursday, March 8, 2012

My first blog post!

I finally decided it was time to join all of the wonderful teachers out there who so generously share their time and talents with the rest of us.  Although I know absolutely nothing about blogging, I hope to learn fast.  I look forward to joining in on all the fun!

Scholastic Teacher Book Wizard