Friday, January 30, 2015

Five for Friday (and getting back in the swing of things)

It's been a minute since I've linked up with Doodle Bugs for Five for Friday!  
We've been back to school for only three days and we have been working HARD!  It's almost as if we haven't been out of school for 5 whole weeks!

First of all, I have to share this AMAZE-Balls product from Firstie Favorites!
I always MODELED the chunking reading strategy but I never had a way for my students to actually PRACTICE it.  Enter: Chunk it up!
 Some of the words I was rather apprehensive about my students figuring out...
 I was AMAZED at the words they could read after showing them the chunking strategy.  Some of the words in this pack were really hard!  But they figured them out!  It was incredible!
I ended up liking this so much that I used it during whole group as a mini-lesson!  All I had to do was put it under the document camera. 
One of my students asked if I had made it and I said "No, my new friend Miss. O'Connor made it."  He said, "She did a good job.  She made it fun."
If you are looking for a way for your students to PRACTICE this reading strategy, I would definitely check out Nicole's Chunking Activity!  Like I said, I even used it as a mini-lesson!

 We started graphing!  I love graphing and I don't know why.  
A sweet buyer told me she was going to use it as morning work and I thought, "Why didn't I think of that???"  
We only have 15 minutes by the time the bell rings till the time we have to go to specials so this is perfect for the morning.  I put the title at the top of the chart paper...
 And I put the little response pieces in a bucket underneath with the tape.  By the time everyone has answered, we have just enough time to complete the graph.
 I updated it this year to make the graphing pages into a book so I didn't have to deal with papers every day.
 They find the page we are working on and complete the graph.
 This year I actually pick a student to put their book under the document camera and lead the rest of the class like the "teacher."  They stankin' love it.

Work on Writing is a HUGE hit!
Of course I had to completely redecorate to match the upcoming month!
I put up all new words and activities!  To get the words for Free CLICK HERE!
The letter writing is the absolute favorite out of the pack.  
(Maybe it's because they get to make an envelope for the letter...)

Since my students have been on VA-CAY for 5 weeks, we needed a SOLID review of long vowels.  And because of all the wintery weather, these phonics activities were perfect!

I also wanted to incorporate a little Valentine fun so I put just a few activities from this pack.

Anything with a teeny tiny mailbox is sure to be a hit, right?  I found the mailboxes at Target (and they are back this year too!)  And yes, these tiny envelopes are included in the pack :)

I also knew that "time was of the essence" (see what I did there?) and that when my friends got back they were going to need some practice with time.  Oh, boy, was I right.  

When I pulled these activities out, I heard a lot of silent "Yes!"  I said, "What?  You guys like these activities?"  One student said, "We just feel so free.  No papers."
Um.  Okay.

So crazy as it sounds, ALL THIS took place in a matter of 3 days.
I'm ready for the weekend!

Saturday, January 24, 2015

February Work on Writing (and FREEBIES!)


I can't even begin to tell you how obsessed I am with this little corner of heaven in my classroom!  My students are beginning to love writing center more and more and I intend on keeping it that way!  No, I'm not back in school yet (hehe) but I did go into my classroom to get all this set up for when they return.
I always hang seasonal words up with cutesie little clothespins.  I always find them at Michael's.  
You can get these word wall words HERE for free!
I am looking at these pictures and they are awful!  I keep telling my husband I need a new camera for my classroom but the answer is always no...hhhmmmm...I need to find a way to sweet talk him.
Anywho, let's move on!
 My students love making little booklets.  Kristen Smith from A Day in First Grade gave me the original idea for these word wall books.  Students just choose a word from the wall!
You can get the books HERE FOR FREE!
I keep all the little books in this little basket.
I also keep stacks of sticker books for Sticker Stories.  My students can get pretty creative.
At the bottom of my peg board are all the writing prompts that my students can choose from.
Some of the prompts the students have to use their imagination!  There isn't a lot of room at the writing center for all the students to sit so these cards on the ring make it easy for them to grab what they want to write and find a place to sit.
I wanted pages that were "one size fits all."  So students just take the matching page and respond.
Everything is stored neatly in these clear file holders from Staples.
Some of my students still like to map their ideas.  I created these think sheets to help them do that but I didn't want to run all those copies.  So what I did was run the think sheets on colored card stock and laminated them.  They map their ideas with wipe off marker and then record their ideas on paper.
Behind the think sheets are the response pages.  I chose the ones where the students can start off with a little illustration.
 And I ran them front to back for the "over achievers."
This is the letter template I chose because many of my students don't know how to correctly write a letter just yet.
And there are even little envelopes for the letters once they are done!
There are a TON a writing activities that I know my firsties are gonna LOVE with they get back from this long break!  The best thing about this center?  It's done for the whole month!

Have a great weekend!