Tuesday, July 26, 2011

Syllable Sort Station

Here's another freebie for you!  It's a syllable sort.  Students will read the words and decide if they have one, two, or three syllables.  They will sort the words onto the sorting mats.  Also included is a page with syllable rules.  This is mostly for teacher reference, but you know there's always a few firsties who are very advanced and will read it themselves!

Enjoy!  :)

--Mrs. Pollard

Sunday, July 24, 2011

Silent E Freebie!

I've made a freebie for you all!  This station will help your students read CVC words and then add an e to the end to change the word.  In my classroom, we use the Secret Story called Mommy E... you may know it better as Silent E or Bossy E.  Whatever you call it, this activity will help to reinforce this concept for your students.

--Mrs. Pollard

Monday, July 18, 2011

Spray Paint- Part 3

Here is another update about my new love of a spray paint called Krylon Fusion.  I have posted twice before about spray paint.  Once asking all of you fellow bloggers about the possibilities of spray paint and another time updating you on my spray paint progress.

I started with a blue plastic 3 drawer unit.... seriously, it was blue like the one below.

(online picture)

(Sorry about the glare.)

The paint covered so nicely.  I don't mind at all that the drawers are transparent anymore.  It was quite a task to paint this bugger, but I'm very happy with how it turned out.  Now, just to see if it holds up.  I think it will.

Another project I've been working on is something I came across on Pinterest.  You've got to check out this ladies blog: Coley's Corner.  She blogs about her life as a mom and wife and includes lots of crafty ideas.  The post that caught my eye is her crafty caddy.  I like how mine turned out, but I think hers looks much more polished.  I like her color scheme, too, but I needed to stick with what will match my classroom decor.  I will either use this on my desk, at my small group table, or maybe by my group meeting area with dry erase markers, poster markers, name sticks, etc. (I like the last option the best.)

So, here's my caddy:

I loved her simple directions... very helpful for a non-crafty person like me.  Check her out: here.

--Mrs. Pollard

Friday, July 15, 2011

Spray Paint- Part 2

A week or so ago I blogged about the possibilities of spray paint.  I wanted to cover the blue of some plastic storage drawer units.  Many of you asked for pictures and updates so I have a partial update for you (my projects aren't all complete yet).

Let me introduce to you my new love... Krylon Fusion.  It is A.M.A.Z.I.N.G!!!!  I got black spray paint in a satin finish.  You'd think I bought these file boxes and drawer units like this!  I've gone through an entire can and need to run out and get a new one to finish my projects, but so far, so good.  I got mine at Walmart for $4.34.

Here's one of my projects that is complete...



It's so silky smooth-- like I bought it that way.  Now, I've just got to add my pretty zebra print label and pink file folders!

Seriously, I love this stuff!  Stay tuned... more to come!!!

--Mrs. Pollard

Zebra Print Goodies

I'm really trying to go all out with my zebra print theme this year, but I don't want to buy all of the premade stuff.... so I'm making my own and sharing it with you for free!

Click {here} to Download
I made these to fit into clear plastic name badges.  I'll use them for the first few days of school, for substitute and specials teachers, and for field trips.  (If using for field trips, you should put your school name and phone number on the back side.)

Click {here} to Download
I'll use these name tags on tables just for the first week or two of school.  I'll laminate, write names on them, and tape quickly on their tables.  Once I've gotten to know the kids a little I'll switch to their permanent name tags with resources (I use clear contact paper to put the whole tables on).

Click {here} to Download
This set includes numbers 1-31.  There is a green set, pink set, and white set.  I will use these for hook labels and lunch choices.

--Mrs. Pollard

Wednesday, July 13, 2011

Giveaway Winner

Congratulations to my winners!  Thanks to all who participated.  I just love sharing ideas and activities with all of you!  The winners were chosen using a random number generator on http://www.random.org/.

If you weren't a winner, be sure to check out my items at my TPT store!

--Mrs. Pollard

Tuesday, July 12, 2011

TPT Giveaway-- 3 winners!

It's my 3rd wedding anniversary today!  3 years ago I married my amazing husband and we've been living happily ever after since!

To celebrate this happy day, I'm having a giveaway!  And what better than to have 3 winners for my 3rd anniversary?!

There are two ways to enter:
1. Leave one comment saying you follow my blog.
2. Leave one comment saying my blog is on your blog roll.
(Be sure to leave your blog link in the comment!)

That's it... easy as pie!

The first winner will win.... all 5 of my short vowel word family sorts!

The second winner will win my 1 More and 1 Less Math Station!

And the third winner will win my Number Matching Math Games!

You can check out all of these items now at my TPT store.  The giveaway will end Wednesday at 9:00PM and winners will be announced shortly after!

--Mrs. Pollard 

Monday, July 11, 2011

1 More and 1 Less Math Station

One skill that my students struggled with last year was fully understanding a 100 board.  I just made this activity to help practice that skill and strengthen their ability to order numbers.

Check it out!
Click here to download the
"1 More and 1 Less" activity.

--Mrs. Pollard

Back to School Resources

The summer is passing quickly.  Before you know it, those new little faces will be walking through your classroom door.  Be sure to check out my TPT store for a few great back to school activities for Math and Literacy to get your year started right!

Click here to download the Number Matching Math Activities.
It includes three basic number sense activities.

Click here to download the Short A Word Family Sort.
Click here to download the Short E Word Family Sort.
Click here to download the Short I Word Family Sort.

Click here to download the Short O Word Family Sort.
Click here to download the Short U Word Family Sort.

Be sure to leave feedback if you like what you see!
Keep an eye out for more activities to be posted!

--Mrs. Pollard

Picture This!

When I was browsing TJ Maxx the other day, I spotted this adorable zebra picture frame to match my classroom theme.  As the year progresses, I'll have some student pictures to put in it.  For now, this will do....

--Mrs. Pollard

Sunday, July 10, 2011

DIY Lamp

I have been scouring my town for anything to fit my new classroom theme-- zebra print with pink and green.  I already have a couple of lamps in my classroom, but I thought one to match my color scheme would be fun so I headed out to Goodwill.  I found this lamp for $5.

I think this was someone else's project before me because the base has been spray painted black (previously silver) and has wire and bead decoration.  Not quite my style.

So, after some ribbon and hot glue.... I present to you my new lamp!  I am in LOVE with it!!  :)

Also in the works... a palm tree (like Deanna Jump's) and transforming my plastic drawer units.  More to come on that!

--Mrs. Pollard

Saturday, July 9, 2011

Spray Paint Possibilities?

Alright, crafty teacher bloggers... this is a question for you!  I want to know if I can use spray paint to change the color of some classroom items to match my new color scheme.

Here's what I want to transform:
I have 3 different blue plastic drawer organizers.
The blue doesn't match my new color scheme.
Can I spray paint this?  (If so, will it look ok or will it look messy?)

On this one, I want to spray paint the lid part.
What do you think, would it be successful?

I've never really used spray paint, but I see so many people using it for such creative projects.  I just don't know if the spray paint will really stay well on the plastic.  Or, do you have any other ways I could disguise this blue in my new green and pink classroom?  Thanks!

--Mrs. Pollard

Wednesday, July 6, 2011

Short Vowel Word Family Sorts

Every fall when my new batch of kiddos comes to my room, I have to remind myself how much hand holding they need in the beginning.  With those precious little ones in mind, I have made literacy work stations focused on short vowel word families.  I used almost all CVC words so students will gain confidence in their reading skills as they sound out the words and sort them where they belong.  (I also included a few words with blends for a challenge.)

Check them out at my TPT store!
Short vowels A, E, I, O, U
Click here to download the Short A Word Family Sort.

Click here to download the Short E Word Family Sort.

Click here to download the Short I Word Family Sort.

Click here to download the Short O Word Family Sort.

Click here to download the Short U Word Family Sort.

--Mrs. Pollard

"The Book Whisperer" Chapter 2

Lots of teaching blogs are participating in "The Book Whisperer" discussions right now.  I'm a little late to the game since my book didn't arrive from Amazon until this weekend.  Since it arrived, however, I've been reading and following along with the discussions on all of the amazing teaching blogs. I must admit, I've read ahead. I L.O.V.E. this book! I can't wait to put all of her words of wisdom to use in the fall!!

Here are my responses to the discussion questions for Chapter 2:

1) Would you start the year off with a book frenzy similar to Miller's or would you adapt it?

Being a first grade teacher, the thought of letting the kids have a free for all with my classroom library on the first day of school is the scariest thing in the world! I like the idea of letting the kids have access to the books right away, but I would have to do it in a more controlled way. Someone else had posted about having baskets of books to rotate around to different groups. I like that idea. In the past, I've passed out a book to each student during the first few days, but I can see that maybe it didn't interest them so of course they wouldn't sit quietly to look at it. If they have a basket to choose from they're more likely to find something of interest.

2) What were your impressions of Miller's more positive descriptions of the three types of readers?

I love her descriptions of the three types of readers.  Way more positive!  It made me think back to my previous students and how maybe I could have responded differently to those kids who she classifies as developing readers. I think the positive labels will make a difference in how I think of those students as readers.

3) 40 books!!! What do you think of that??

That's awesome!  I love Miller's positive attitude about her students reaching the goal.  Students are (almost) always looking to please you and impress you.  I completely agree that goals and expectations must be set high... they will work hard to reach it.  I'm going a little ahead here, but I love what she says on the bottom of page 77, "Failure is not an option, so why talk about it."

I'm about halfway through chapter 4 now and can't wait to pick it up again (once I'm done blog stalking for the morning).  Be sure to check out my previous post with a Student Interest Survey freebie!

--Mrs. Pollard


This whole Wordle thing is very fun.  I just did my first one.... with our list of sight words for first grade!

I'm thinking this would be super cool to do for each child in my classroom after completing an all about me activity.  It's so easy, I'm sure they could do it themselves a little later into the school year, too.
If you haven't tried Wordle, you should!  It's fun!

--Mrs. Pollard

Tuesday, July 5, 2011

Student Interest Survey-- Freebie!

On Friday, my copy of The Book Whisperer arrived from Amazon.  I can't put it down!!!  One thing that she writes about at the end of chapter 2 is surveys.  I teach first grade so I can't really put out a survey for my kids to complete on the first day, but I can have their parents fill one out on their behalf.

I created this survey to have my parents fill out at the beginning of the year.  I will use the information to quickly get to know my students and continue to utilize the information as I plan throughout the year.

Check it out for FREE at my TPT store!  Be sure to follow my new TPT store and leave feedback if you like what you see!

While you're checking out my freebie, be sure to look at my Number Matching Math Activities.  It includes three basic number sense activities for only $2.

--Mrs. Pollard

Font Fun

Fun fonts are the greatest thing... they're free and they can jazz up any plain document.  Mrs. Bates at Finally in First is hosting a font linky party.

Here are some of my favorites. (I really don't keep track of where I download them from, but you can type them into Google and they'll come up.)

If you love fonts, too, join the linky party and share your favorites!  :)

--Mrs. Pollard

Monday, July 4, 2011

I Heart Target

Surprise, surprise... another teacher blog post about the Target Dollar Spot!  I was out of town today and visited their Target.  I had my husband with me so I demonstrated very good self-control.  I only spent $4, but that means I got 4 really fun things!

I think I may have seen someone else blog about these animal cards, too.  One pack is animal actions-- great for teaching verbs.  The other pack is animal sounds-- can we say onomatopoeia lesson?!!  The other item in the picture is a little set of alphabet stamps-- great for a word work station.

How cute is this bag!?!!  They had a pretty good selection of pirate stuff-- perfect to go with all of the awesome pirate units out there.  I'm not quite sure what to use this little bag for.  Maybe station storage for pirate themed activities.

They also had a lot of baskets, bins, and storage, but I'm really trying to stick with my new color scheme for next year-- zebra print, hot pink, bright green.  Let me know if anyone finds anything fabulous I could use to go with it!  :)

--Mrs. Pollard

Classroom Music

This year, I wanted to have a playlist of frequently used classroom songs ready to use daily instead of fumbling through multiple files and cds to find what I'm looking for.  For now, I'm going to burn it onto a cd.  In the future, however, I'd like to upgrade to an iPod for my classroom.

I'm super pumped because I made a little discovery on my own... you can turn a YouTube video into an MP3 file!  Did you know that?!?  There are some awesome songs out there on YouTube and you can download them for FREE and burn them onto an audio cd!  So, now I can show the YouTube video with the song on my Promethean board or just play the audio on a cd player.  I think it's the greatest!

Here's how to do it:
**You need to have RealPlayer installed on your computer.  It's quick & easy... just go to http://www.real.com/.**
1. When your video is playing on YouTube there should be a little RealPlayer tab at the top right of your video.
2. Click the RealPlayer button that says "Download this Video".
3. A little RealPlayer window should then pop up showing the video being downloaded.
4. Once the file is downloaded, hover over the file with your mouse.  Click "Convert".
5. Select "MP3 Audio Only" and then click the green "Start" button.
6. Ta-da!  That's it!!

Here's what my classroom playlist looks like so far:
1. Good Morning by Greg & Steve-- already had this song
2. Good Morning (from WeeSing)-- already had this song
3. 12 Months are in a Year (from HarryKindergarten)
4. Day-O/Days of the Week by Rhonda Crigger (from HarryKindergarten)
5. Days of the Week Rap by Jack Hartmann (from HarryKindergarten)
**I also just found a lot of the super Leap Frog songs!!

I'll be adding more songs to my playlist, but I was so excited I wanted to share right now!  I want to have options for our daily songs because by day 180 they are like little robots not even paying attention to what they're singing.  This way, they'll never know which one it's going to be... hopefully keeping them on their toes!


--Mrs. Pollard

Saturday, July 2, 2011

Back to School Station

Here's a simple station for back to school time.  Check it out!  :)

Check it out at my TPT !

--Mrs. Pollard

Friday, July 1, 2011

Communication Between Home & School

I just got back from my wonderful vacation and have been busy running errands, going to appointments, and getting settled back into my everyday life.  It was an amazing two weeks full of relaxation and visiting with family and friends.  Since it's summer, I'll continue to relax and move at a slower pace, but I can't help myself and must work on school stuff along the way.

Among my long school to-do list is figuring out what I plan to use for communication between home and school.  I've tried a variety of things in the past, but haven't fallen in love with anything.  My first year I used regular folders that went home and back everyday.  News flash... those folders don't hold up all year!  (Hey, it was my first year. lol)  My second year I used hard binders (BEE Books) that had a pouch for money, notebook paper for notes, and a few important papers in page protectors.  Again, these binders were destroyed!  Last year was the best option thus far... plastic folders.  I put notebook paper in the prongs for notes and a few important papers in page protectors.  For the most part, these folders held up going back and forth daily.  What I found with all of these methods was that the notebook paper wasn't used for communication (it was torn out or scribbled on by siblings) and the page protectors went missing.

One factor that will play into my decision of what to use for communication is how I do my homework.  I think this year I am going to do a monthly homework calendar and have the kids turn it in every Friday and return it to them on Monday.  For this, I will use a regular folder with prongs and replace it quarterly so it's always fresh and neat.  (I found a great site with monthly homework calendars: here.)

So, what do I do about daily communication needs?  What if a student needs to bring lunch money or has a note from home?  What do I use to send home corrected work or other papers?  This is where I'm stuck.  I can't figure out what to do.  I need them to have something to put their stuff in, but don't think it's necessary for them to take something home and back everyday.  I suppose I could use regular folders for this, too, and replace them quarterly like the homework folders.  I just hate having to waste my time looking through mostly empty folders everyday.

I would LOVE, LOVE, LOVE your thoughts and ideas on this topic.  Please share!