Sunday, December 11, 2011

Gingerbread Glyph and Line Plots... {FREEBIE}

My kids are loving the month of December!  This past week, we focused on all things gingerbread.  We read oodles of gingerbread books and focused a lot on Jan Brett.  The kids were really into the videos on her website.  To kick off our gingerbread week, we made a gingerbread glyph for math.  The next day we analyzed our data and put it on a line plot.  For writing, we used our same gingerbread people to write a story.  Let me just tell you... my kids were sooooo into their gingerbread stories.  Even my struggling writers sat there and tried until they got something down on paper.  I was so proud!

You can get my gingerbread glyph and line plots for {FREE} in my TPT store! 

The gingerbread writing paper is from my "Christmas Writing Pack"

This week, we also tasted ginger items and graphed our favorite.  I've never had a class consume their ginger items like these kids... that ginger ale was gone in one big gulp!!  You can find this activity in my "All About Ginger" unit on TPT.

Switching gears.... you know those moments when you're teaching and a child you never thought would get it has that light bulb moment?!  We all have those moments in the classroom.  I had one on Friday.  I got all teary-eyed.  We were discussing different versions of gingerbread books and one of my students answered a question and then he said, "You know how I know that?  'Cuz I turned on my schema!"  Did you hear that... he used the word SCHEMA... correctly!  That's what teaching is all about for me.  :)

Saturday, December 3, 2011

Missing the Snow

I'm originally from Michigan... born and raised.  This is my fourth winter away from home and I am really missing the snow.  (I never thought I'd say that!)  When I teach about winter and snow down here in NC, I get some strange looks from my kids because they rarely experience a true northern winter.  Meanwhile, my Michigander friends (yes, Michigander is a real word!) have already gotten a snow day!!

Here are some snow inspired activities I've been working on.  They're all available in my TPT and TN stores!
This pack includes 5 stations (2 literacy & 3 math).
Click {HERE} to Download

Click {HERE} to Download

Click {HERE} to Download

I have also made a Short Vowel Winter Wonderland pack that I plan to upload soon... I'm having a few technical difficulties with the font.  Ugh!
I might be getting a little ahead of myself, but I'm trying to get ahead for January so I made this pack for Martin Luther King, Jr. Day.
Click {HERE} to Download

We also work on 3D shapes in January so I made this game for my kids:
Click {HERE} to Download

Thanks for stopping by my blog!  I hope you find something you can use in your classroom!  : )

--Mrs. Pollard

Monday, November 28, 2011

Reindeer Week!

Well, my reindeer week is off to a great start!  The kids are loving it... I can't wait to do more.

Before giving any new information this morning we activated our schema by writing on yellow post-its what we already knew about reindeer.  Most of my kids wrote that they have 4 legs.  After reading a non-fiction reindeer book titled "A Day in the Life: Polar Animals--Reindeer", we wrote our new learning on purple post-its.  Then, we labeled our own reindeer. 

Here's our labeled reindeer:

Click {HERE} to download your own reindeer labels for FREE!

By the way... do you know how hard it is to find a non-fiction reindeer book?!  I finally found this one on Amazon.  It said it would arrive Tuesday, which was too late, but it was a Christmas miracle that it arrived on Saturday!  I was so excited when I opened my door and there it sat like Santa himself dropped it off!  I was so worried that it wouldn't come that I actually ended up writing my own.  (It's included in my "The Wild Christmas Reindeer" pack on TPT and TN.)

Here's a question for you.... as I was planning all of my reindeer stuff for this week and doing the fiction and non-fiction I thought about how the kids will say reindeer can fly and some reindeer have red noses.  What do you do about that?  I kept going back and forth between just leaving it and telling them they're correct or telling them that only the special Santa reindeer can fly and have red noses.  Thoughts?

--Mrs. Pollard

Saturday, November 26, 2011

Cyber Monday SALE!!!

Hey y'all!  I will be participating in the Cyber Monday sale on TPT.  I'm offering 20% off everything in my store on top of the additional 10% off that TPT is offering!  Be sure to check it out... this is a great time to stock up!  :)

I've got lots of holiday items in my store, as well as everyday items such short vowel stations and math stations.  Don't miss out!

Thursday, November 24, 2011

The Wild Christmas Reindeer

Don't get me wrong... I am L.O.V.I.N.G. my break from school, but I am very excited about my reindeer week at school starting Monday.  I've worked hard to come up with meaningful lessons tied to our curriculum, but fun enough to keep my kids focused during December.  (It's always so hard to keep them focused with Christmas just around the corner!)

I've just posted my 44 page unit about reindeer stemming from Jan Brett's "The Wild Christmas Reindeer".  The unit includes a week's worth of reading lessons, math lessons, and writing lessons, as well as everything you'll need to go with it!  I am so excited!  :)

Check it out at my TPT store or Teachers Notebook store.

I'll be offering 20% off everything in my TPT store for Cyber Monday, plus another 10% off from TPT-- that's 30% off!  Check it out on Monday, November 28.

--Mrs. Pollard

Thursday, November 17, 2011

Writing Paper Pack... Freebie

I find that my students write the best on copy paper rather than the store bought writing paper... they're always ripping through the paper when they try to erase.  I've created a variety of writing paper pages with illustration space-- prompts, no prompts, regular lines, handwriting lines, and more!  Enjoy!  :)

Click {Here} to Download Writing Paper Freebie

--Mrs. Pollard

Sunday, November 13, 2011

Christmas Goodies... TPT

It's hard to avoid the holiday spirit when the stores are fully decorated for Christmas and playing Christmas music overhead (even though we're still weeks away from Thanksgiving).  I got sucked in this weekend when my husband and I headed out to do some holiday shopping... then, I got excited and started creating lessons and stations for my classroom this Christmas!

Check out all of my Christmas goodies at my TPT store!

I also have everything for sale in my Teachers Notebook store.

Studying different versions of The Gingerbread Man is probably my favorite thing to do with my students in December.  They get so excited about the Gingerbread Man and it can so easily be tied across the curriculum.  What is your favorite thing to do with your students in December?

--Mrs. Pollard

Tuesday, November 8, 2011

Resources Galore for Teaching Greater Than & Less Than

It's almost time to get out.... Mr. Alligator!!  A few years ago I came upon an awesome song about a number eating alligator.  This little tune, along with a stick puppet and other manipulatives, is the best way I've found to teach greater than and less than.

I start the week by reading an informational book about alligators.  This helps the kids activate their schema and make connections to our math activities using an alligator.  Here are some book titles for this:

Next, I introduce Mr. Alligator.  (A double-sided paper alligator puppet enlarged from student version.)  Mr. Alligator is not like the alligators in the book... he only eats numbers!  Then, I play the "Number Eating Alligator" song.  The kids L.O.V.E. this!  I continue to play this song multiple times while the students make their own Mr. Alligator puppets.

Click {Here} for the Number Eating Alligator Song

Click {Here} for the Number Eating Alligator Puppet

Once the puppets are made, I teach a chant.  (The chant is on the first page of the presentation link below.)  On the second day of the unit, we use a work mat on legal size paper to practice the skill of identifying greater than and less than.  The work mat has a fish bowl outline on the left side and one on the right side.  The students also have their own Mr. Alligator puppet on a stick and a small cup of goldfish crackers.  Once they have all of their materials, I use this presentation on my Promethean board for the activity:

Click {Here} to Download the Activity Presentation

Throughout the unit, the kids like to play these online greater than and less than games:

If you're still with me after all of this..... are two practice sheets to also use throughout your greater than and less than math unit:

Click {Here} to Download Practice Sheet #1

Click {Here} to Download Practice Sheet #2

(Please don't judge me... both of these sheets were made a few years ago.  I know I need to work on making them cute!)

Phew, that's all I have for this.  I'd love to hear any ideas that you have to teach the concept of greater than and less than!

--Mrs. Pollard

Sunday, November 6, 2011

All About Writing! (Files NOW shared)

Last weekend I blogged about help with my writing.  (This came after a very frustrating writing assessment.)  One comment that I got was to use "5 Star Writing".  I loved this idea so I put it to use right away.  (THANK YOU for the idea!)  My students are now completely obsessed with writing 5 star papers!

To introduce the 5 star writing, I created this presentation.  The kids had white boards, markers, and erasers.  They read the sentences, decided if it was 5 star or not, and wrote it so that it was 5 star.

Grab your 5 star presentation {here}.

The next day, we wrote about our favorite thing to do at school.  After I modeled, I introduced the 5 star writing rubric.  The kids wrote their sentences and then filled out their rubric.  The goal was for them to really look at their own writing to see if it was their best-- of course, they all gave themselves 5 stars.  Then, I came behind them and we went over the rubric together.  If they earned a star, I gave them a star stamp on their rubric.  They were very into this!

Grab your 5 star writing rubric {here}.

Finally, I've created a Writer's Tool Kit for my kids to use while writing.  Having this resource available to them makes them more independent and confident in their writing.  You can check it out at my TPT store!
Click {Here} to Download from TPT

Happy writing!  :)

--Mrs. Pollard

Friday, October 28, 2011

HELP with writing!

Ok, I need your help!  My students are not understanding what makes a complete sentence.  They are either not using any punctuation at all, putting a period after every word, or putting a period at the end of every line.  WHAT?!  (It might help you to know that 16 of my 24 firsties are ESL students.)

Everyone always has such wonderful ideas in the teacher blogging world so I'd love to hear any lesson/activity ideas or tricks that you can offer!  Thank you!!

--Mrs. Pollard

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

Skip Counting-- Freebies!

In a few weeks, we'll be starting our math unit on skip counting.  We've been verbally skip counting since school started, but we haven't really stopped to look in-depth at the pattern of counting by 2s, 5s, and 10s. 

To verbally skip count, we do a little rhyme called "Ringo Rango".  (Here's a link to check it out: Ringo Rango.)

A fun way to emphasize skip counting by 5s is doing painted handprints!  In the past, I've used a long strip of bulletin board paper and divided it into squares.  I paint the students' hands and they put it down on the paper.  Then, we go back and label the numbers under each handprint.  I hung this up along the top of my wall and the kids referred back to it all year.

For skip counting by 10s I tell the kids that crabs have 10 legs.  You can open by reading a book about crabs to grab the kids' attention.  I've uploaded a freebie presentation for you to go with crabs and 10s.

I use this cut and paste activity as a quick assessment at the end of the skip counting lessons.

What do you do to teach skip counting??

--Mrs. Pollard

Friday, October 14, 2011

CVC Spelling Mats

I have a large ESL population in my class this year and they are really struggling with medial short vowel sounds.  I made this station to give a little more practice with this skill-- it is also helpful for vocabulary for my students.  Check it out in my TPT store!

Monday, October 10, 2011

Thanksgiving Number Order

I just uploaded a math station for November-- Thanksgiving Number Order.  Click {here} to check it out!

Saturday, October 8, 2011

Welcome to Noun Town!

This past week, we have been learning about nouns.  We started by labeling items in the room-- this was a huge success because I let each student choose an item (AKA: noun) to label.  Now they are all very aware of this print in our classroom.  We read sentences and identified the nouns and wrote our own sentences using nouns.  The biggest success of all was definitely Nown Town.  I found the idea on Pinterest.  I gave each student a blank piece of paper and they could draw any noun they wanted for our town.  They also had to make a label for it.  They have not stopped creating things-- every scrap of paper and free minute is used creating something for Noun Town.  I even have some students creating their own Noun Town at home!  Awesome!

Here's our Noun Town:
*I love that our town has 2 Walmarts and that all of the cars are driving to McDonalds.  :)

And a little freebie for you....
Click {HERE} to download the sign
"Welcome to Noun Town".

--Mrs. Pollard

Tuesday, October 4, 2011

Thanksgiving Writing Pack

I just uploaded my newest item to TPT.  Check it out on TPT for a full item description!

--Mrs. Pollard

Saturday, September 24, 2011

My Calendar Wall

I realized that I posted all of my classroom pictures, but not my calendar!!  So, here it is:

I must say, this calendar is working out pretty well.  I know it takes time for the kids to grasp these concepts, but they're really getting into it.  The actual calendar is dry erase so it allows for us to quickly add things to the calendar and notes at the bottom.  Just yesterday we talked about when field trip money was due and added it to the calendar and then we put a note at the bottom about when our field trip would be in the upcoming month.  The coloring coding of the hundreds, tens, and ones has also been very helpful.

My calendar was inspired by my desire to make it more meaningful to my students and this picture on Pinterest:

Then, a few weeks ago, I saw this picture on The Inspired Apple.  I really like how interactive it is so I'm thinking about making this on poster board and using it as a math tub that the kids will complete with their group.

--Mrs. Pollard

Sunday, September 18, 2011

Picture Syllable Sort & Sticky CVC Words

I just posted two new activities to my TPT store!  Great for whole group and small group practice!

Check them out:
Click {Here} to Download

Click {Here} to Download

--Mrs. Pollard

Sunday, September 11, 2011

Where do readers read?

I was planning a reading mini-lesson about where readers read when I saw this on Pinterest:

It's from A Place Called Kindergarten.
She has the download available for free on her blog!

So, I used her idea to read "I Can Read with My Eyes Shut" by Dr. Seuss and have the students illustrate themselves reading somewhere special.  It was a great lesson and I love how creative some of my kiddos got with the assignment!  Here's what it looks like in my room:

--Mrs. Pollard

Monday, September 5, 2011

Top 10 Award & My Top 10

Thanks to Miss J at Smiles, Crayons, and Endless Stories for adding me to her Top 10 Blog list!  What an honor!

Here are my top 10 blogs:

Made for 1st Grade

The First Grade Parade

The Inspired Apple

Crazy for First Grade

The Inspired Apple

The First Grade Sweet Life

Finally in First

Ladybug's Teacher Files


Thursday, September 1, 2011

Number Sense Math Unit

I've just posted a new number sense unit to my TPT store!

Click {here} to check it out!

--Mrs. Pollard

Tuesday, August 23, 2011

More Classroom Pictures

Here are some more classroom pictures.  I still need to take some pictures and update a few things, but you'll get the idea.  Many of my bulletin boards are empty because I like to fill them with the kids.

This is the front of my desk.  The students make their lunch choice here.  I have all of the lunch choices for the year typed on cards that are in a magnetic pencil holder on the lower right corder of my desk.  The choices are clipped along the top and students use the number circles to move under their choice.

I hung my hanging organizer over the back of my filing cabinet.  Then, I covered the side of the filing cabinet with paper and border.  In the corner behind my desk is where I have my binders with all of my master copies.

On the pink board I now have "Writer's Toolbox".  This is where I will put things about punctuation, capital/lowercase letters, and finger spaces.  I will put it up as I teach it to the kids.  I'm not sure what will go on the left side... probably anchor charts.

This is my Promethean board.  It fits two wide drawer units very nicely underneath.  There are math and literacy station supplies stored in the drawers.

The green baskets will house my literacy stations.  (I'm using the awesome center stuff from Made for 1st Grade for my labels and rotation schedule.)  Again, I don't know what will go on this board, but I'll put up stuff as I create it with the kids.  On the right are two drawer units stacked up.  The drawers are labeled, but I want to put scrapbook paper in the front of the drawers to block all my "stuff".

I got the bar and containers from IKEA this summer.  The pink cup is for sharpened pencils, white is for extra erasers, and the black cup is for dull pencils.

Ta-da!  Here's my tree!!  I L.O.V.E. it!  (Thanks, Mrs. Jump, for your directions!)  The directions said to use a golf umbrella, but I just didn't have the space for something that big so mine is a regular size umbrella.

This is the back of my room.  The white tub is where they'll turn in their homework folders.  The green board is still empty.  On the front of the silver cabinet I now have month cards where I will put their pictures for their birthdays... I'll post a picture when it's done.

This is my back bulletin board.  I borrowed someone's idea for my schema board, but can't remember whose right now (let me know if it was you!).

These are my student mailboxes.  On top is a 3 tray unit to hold blank copy paper, masters that have already been copied, and items that need to be sent home in upcoming weeks.

This filing cabinet is directly inside of my door.  The hooks are for the students' lunch tags.

These are my classroom expectations.  (Thanks Mrs. Herring for making the cute bow!)

My Word Wall (underneath are my math tub baskets).

For some reason, I took pictures of my entire classroom, but not my calendar that I'm so excited about!  The kids come on Thursday!  I'll probably post more pictures this weekend.  :)