Wednesday, January 28, 2015

Number Sense 101

Hey friends! I wanted to take a moment to catch up what my firsts have been up to! Our curriculum is big on spiral review. We touch on number sense at the beginning of the year but really dive deep in Jan/Feb. Our math benchmark test ALWAYS hits on number sense, so I feel like my kids are ALWAYS doing number sense activities! 

We started working on Place Value right away. This is a skill we will continue to work on the rest of the school year. The kids loved making these little books

These little books are perfect for homework or center work! After I taught the kiddos how to use them, they were able to complete them independently! 

The books focus on expanded form, word form and recognizing numerals. Once we made a one together, my firsts were able to do these for morning work or during guided math.
This activity for a whole group lesson or a review! 

We typically do a whole group lesson on Monday with Guided Math the rest of the week. Our guided math routine looks like this. I have four tables. Instead of the kiddos rotating, the baskets rotate. I pick a helper at the beginning of every two week period. The helpers are responsible for overlooking the baskets to make sure everything is in it's place. Then, the helpers rotate the baskets upon my command. This runs like a well oiled machine. The kids know EXACTLY what to do. The centers are a great way to prepare for our end of the year assessment because they cover skills taught all year long!

The students work with each math tub for 15-20 minutes a day..depending on my schedule that day. I plan all of my centers out for the week using my Guided Math Binder

I try to include as many hands on things as I can. However, sometimes, real world sets in. I use math word searches to minimize prep work. I use these as printable. I've also ran a set that is laminated and the kids use as wipe on/off mats. For differentiation, some students will use each word in a meaningful sentence. This can be challenging, but I encourage my students to try to demonstrate that they understand the meaning of each word.

This is how my math tubs look prior to rotating.  This is counting center where students have to correctly count the number of objects. 

One of my kids favorite activities is Skip Counting Puzzles! I created this little FREEBIE for you!

Just click HERE to get your FREEBIE!

The centers shown come from my  Number Sense BUNDLE! This bundle includes SO many activities to help get your kiddos ready for benchmarks or number sense assessments!

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Thursday, January 15, 2015

Teaching Time in the Primary Grades

Can we say whoa?? It's been a while since I have paid attention to this little ole blog! Life has been crazy and now that we are out of the holiday period, it's time to get back to business. After my break, I'm starting to get a tad jealous of my friends on a year round calendar!

We went back on the 5th and it's been full force 

We started working on time right away. First graders often struggle with this skill, so I wanted to come up with a few different ways to introduce this skill. My anchor charts are usually so ugly, but I feel like they are productive and accomplish the overall goal. I like to complete them with my students and have them fill it certain parts so it's not just something hanging on the wall. I find when they participate in creating the charts,  they take ownership and it sinks it a little bit better. So I created this premade anchor charts that we could fill in together. The kids really enjoyed the graphics and seeing the information in a different way than the typically parker-yellow paper format.  This little packet includes a variety of charts. I used the poster printing function to print and then I just laminated it and boom! DONE! I used a few of the other pages as well and also used them as interactive notebook pages! Kids LOVED them! 

Of course, my filled out version picture is on my other camera at school--I'll post it to my instagram tomorrow! I know I've said this before, but I love using read aloud to introduce my lessons. I started with this time read aloud. It's great for introducing key vocabulary and it's very kid friendly!

Then we started with our math centers. You can check those out here.

We used centers from my time bundle. The kids LOVED the variety of activities and they are so easy to prep!

This activity was fun to do at my teacher table first. We did a few problems together and then the kiddos completed the rest during math centers. They really loved them. They were engaged in the entire time they were working. They actually asked me to create a second set, so I did! I was shocked! 

ALL of these activities and MORE can be found in my Time Bundle and it's on SALE! Just click the image below!

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Thursday, November 27, 2014

Black Friday STEALS

Hey friends! I hope you had one heck of a Thanksgiving! My family was fighting sickness,but we still made it to our family gathering! I was worried for a second that we might miss it. 

I am seriously addicted to crafting! I finally got a Silhouette Portrait and I am seriously in love! This machine is SO great for the classroom! I love all of the things I was able to make! If you follow me on Instagram , you can check out all of the great things this little machine will do!!!  

If you are like me, you LOVE a good deal! The Black Friday deals going on are UNREAL! 

My sweet friends over at Silhouette America are getting you squared  away! Just click here to check them out! Use the code TREASURE to get your Saaaawwweettttt discounts! 


Portrait Bundle
-          Portrait machine & 1 free year to Club Silhouette for $179.99

CAMEO Bundle #1
-          CAMEO machine, Designer Edition software upgrade, Dust Cover, 4 Tools and $25 Download card to the Silhouette Design Store for $269.99

CAMEO Bundle #2
-          CAMEO machine, Design Edition software upgrade and 1 free year to Club Silhouette for $299.99

CAMEO & Portrait Bundle (One for you, one for a friend!)
-          CAMEO machine, Portrait machine and 2, $25 Download cards to the Silhouette Design Store for $299.99

Already a Silhouette user? 
Use my code to receive 40% off at (*excluding machines, design downloads, download cards, subscriptions and gift cards) PLUS Free Shipping on orders over $25 for the lower 48 states
50% off all designs at – no code needed!

This is one heck of a sale and I can't wait go snatch up some goodies! Thanks for stopping by friends and Happy Thanksgiving! 
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Sunday, November 23, 2014

All About Maps

Hey friends. We are gearing up for Thanksgiving around our house tonight, but I thought I'd take a second to share with you some of the fun we've had in my first grade class!

Teaching maps in the primary setting can be challenging. In my experience, it's a harder concept for the little gals and guys to grasp. This year I tried a few new things to really give my lesson that balanced literacy tie.

We have been learning about Maps for three.whole. weeks. There is only so much I feel like we can teach little firsties about maps haha! We started our unit with a Poem and interactive read aloud.  Both of these have the vocabulary that our standards require firsties to know. 

I created this little packet that includes a poem, interactive read aloud, a booklet for shared reading, vocabulary cards, ABC order center, vocabulary printables,  and interactive notebook pages. My kiddos really enjoyed the foldable booklet during shared reading. The booklet is written on a level that they could read. 

I bundled my newest maps packet with my older one. You can check out the bundle!

In math, we are practicing addition and subtraction centers. As a school, we are all working on our math fluency. My kids were not really into the whole flash card routine, so I had to think outside of the box to practice fluency.

I created these little slider cards. The kids LOVED them. I have student a pull the "ladder" up and call out the facts to student b. You could do SO many things with this. I also laminated them and the kiddos used a wipe off marker to record their own answers. 

I also made a little "Lightning Math Center". The kiddos have to try and answer as many questions as FAST as they can using the sand timer. It's amazing what a sand timer does for group of first graders!

The thing I love about this packet is it's super low prep! I printed everything on bright card stock, sent it for lamination and boom! It's done!

I'm typically not a big fan of "task cards" in first grade. But this year I have a group  that can handle them and needs something a little more challenging than what my curriculum currently calls for. I created a few little sets of task cards just for them! They are working well and are easy for them to follow but still give them that challenge that they need.

Thanks for stopping by! I hope everyone has a family filled Thanksgiving! 

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Friday, November 21, 2014

Thanksgiving Freebies

I don't know about y'all but I'm counting down the hours until Thanksgiving Break! We go until Wednesday afternoon! ekkk!! I was looking for some free activities to get us through and thought I'd put them all here for you to grab! 

I created this little word search for morning work! My kiddos ask for word searches all the time and I figured morning work would be a great place for it!

Just click the picture to grab your freebie :)

Here are a few other freebies I found!

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Saturday, November 8, 2014

Burned Out Teachers

As I sit here in the Atlanta airport I'm thinking about how many conversations I've had with teachers lately about how to "fix" education. What is the answer to funding, overcrowded classrooms, lack of support and the sinking feeling like we are not doing enough?

I wish I had the answer to that question friends. I wish I could sit here and give you 1,000 reasons why educators should continue to fight.   I'm a everyday classroom teacher just like all of you. I'm a mother, a wife, active member in my church and (sometimes) a gym rat. 
I struggle just like everyone else to find the balance. How to be the best mom, wife, teacher, church member and keep myself in shape. While I haven't figured out the perfect equation to doing that..I have had my own "ah ha" moment. I've experienced a lot in this last year in my personal life. It has drawn me closer to Jesus and I've realized that most cliche thing ever. Seriously. It's just this: Life is too short. We aren't guaranteed tomorrow. You'd think I would have learned that by now in my old age of 29.  And even though I've had tragic experiences in my life...I'm just now finally, believing these silly cliches...."Life is too short." "Everything can change in an instant". "Live life to the fullest"

We have to remember that we are humans. We have a life outside of our classroom. Our family deserves our attention and we should not get so caught up in the our work that we forget that. Our job is not like others. We can't "punch out" and come back the next day and have everything run smoothly. It's the downfall to our job. Every job has them....

Which brings me to my next point.. So if we know that we have to have a life outside of our classrooms, and that may hinder us from being able to accomplish everything we want to accomplish.....

We have to learn that we will never be able to give 200%, 200% of the time. It's just not realistic. We should strive to do our best and give each lesson all we can. But we can't expect that everything will always go perfect. Because it won't. No matter how much planning you put into it or what the lesson plans say....sometimes we have to....

Yes, I just did that. I know. And I'm sorry. Couldn't help it. Seriously. Haha!

I know this is an odd blog post...but with all the heartache and stress in my everyday classroom life, I felt like I should share so we can know that we are not alone in this career. Blogging has brought so many wonderful educators into my life and I am so thankful for that. I'm a better educator because of the virtual collaboration that goes on. Tonight I'm remembering why I became a teacher, and why I want to remain a teacher...probably the same reason you do...the KIDS! 

Here's to a stress free week and to remembering why we became educators!

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Saturday, November 1, 2014

Election Day

Last weekend I spent some time in NYC with some of my blogging buddies and my sister! We had such a blast! I can't wait to go back!
It was so great to meet these people "in person". 

This week we dove into elections. This skill can be kind of boring for firsties so I tried to make it as fun as I could! We started off with using a few election poems.  I used the poems for part of my shared reading in my balanced literacy routine. The kids loved them poems and they are full of sight words so it was a win win!!! 

My handwriting is horrible so I whipped up these little anchor charts to give the students that visual aide that they need so much. 

We used my pocket chart vocabulary cards to present the material in another aspect. I love watching the kids refer to these materials when we are discussing the skill. It shows me that they really do need the extra reinforcement. 

We also used my ABC Order center during guided reading groups. I love this because it only has  a few words so they can really understand how the concept of ABC order works. This is a skill we will work on ALL year long. I can't wait to see the progress they make with this. Research shows how learning ABC order tremendously helps the literacy development. I couldn't agree more. The students really focus on the letters and the sounds they make in order to put the words in ABC order. 

You can get all of the activities that I talked about plus much more in my Election Unit!

Here's a few other little previews for you :) 

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