Thursday, December 16, 2010

I don't know about you guys, but I'm continually trying to find ways to get everything worked in during a day, much less a week! So I created a little word wall weekly activity sheet which sits in the table bucket for the kids to work on as they have extra minutes here and there. I also included a couple of word wall games that the kids really love, but that I sometimes forget to do in the middle of everything else going on.

Word Search: I use to create the word search at the top of page one.

Mind Reader Game: The teacher thinks of a word from the word wall words from the week. (Mine are in the "parking lot.") The teacher give three clues. The first clue is always "The word I'm thinking of is in the parking lot." The students write guess 1. Then the teacher gives a second clue (number of letters, beginning sound, etc.) and the students may keep the guess the same or change their guess and record on guess 2. The third clue should make the word obvious.

Wordo Game: Students write words from the parking lot in the spaces first, then adds any words from the word wall in the remaining blanks. I keep the words on index cards and draw them out. Students who get Wordo (like Bingo) get a sticker. Easy and fun.

Here's a really great Christmas ornament that my good friend Beth Randall shared with me before she left the classroom. It's puzzle pieces spray painted green on a poster board circle. The ribbon is hot glued on the back. The berries are red puff paint. The kids really love making these fun wreaths for their parents.

Thursday, December 2, 2010

As part of our calendar time for December, we made Christmas Countdown Chains (an oldie but a goodie!) The kids took theirs home to hang on their closet doors, but we have one at school hanging by our calendar and will take one loop off each day until break.

To help us learn our doubles facts, we are building a tree map of sorts. As you can see by all the space at the bottom, our chart is a work in progress but eventually will include pictures of dominoes for each double fact, the matching subtraction fact and any other pictures and words we can think of. The pictures were taken from

For a little added fun to practice skip counting, we read Hands Down by Michael Dahl and labeled the reindeer antlers in a skip counting by 5's pattern, 0 - 95. I always begin with zero to give the kids a frame of reference for the beginning of every skip counting pattern.

Thursday, November 11, 2010

Public Officials - Putting it All Together

Getting the first grade kiddos to begin to formulate an understanding of public officials and who leads what can be challenging to say the least! I decided this year to have my students put it all together on a tree-map. I passed out a photo or label to each student and challenged the students to put the cards in the correct places. It went relatively quickly, and it was interesting listening to the conversations as the kids made decisions about where to place the cards.

Creative & Cute Clocks

My kiddos began learning about telling time today. After asking why learning to tell time is important and listing some of their responses, we viewed a United Streaming video that was an excellent introduction called Tick Tock All About the Clock. The video not only talked about the history of clocks and how they worked, but also showed many different kinds of clocks. My students finished the sentence "I need to learn to tell time so..." and created some very cute clocks!

Thanksgiving Parts of a Whole Dinner

After studying parts of a whole my first grade students pulled two "math language" cards from the center of the table and drew lines to divide food pictures into equal parts based on the cards they pulled. We discussed how dividing circles and triangles into equal parts is "trickier" than dividing rectangles and squares into equal parts. We glued the foods onto a picture of a plate and colored the silverware. It would also be super cute to use a paper place-mat with a paper plate, napkin and plastic forks, knives and spoons glued on. (The picture of the plate comes from

Monday, November 8, 2010


I LoVe for my students to keep a journal and write in it every day. Every year I get away from doing this because there is just so much to teach, but I always end up coming back to it. This year, in an effort to keep more in line with our writing curriculum, I began by having the kids draw a picture and write a few sentences about a past event in their lives. The kids were not showing any enthusiasm towards journaling, and I quickly realized this just wasn't hitting what I believe journaling is all about. So...this past Friday I reverted to my "old" ways and talked with the kids about using their classroom journal as a place to write down whatever they would like to write about any given day. One of my students immediately looked excited and said, "You mean like a diary?" I said that was exactly what I meant and got a chorus of cheers! I was quite taken aback to discover my students couldn't wait to begin writing and were even more excited when I told them they didn't have to draw pictures!
We brainstormed as a class things we could write about - the kids' ideas were amazing. We listed things such as: our dreams, things we hope for, things we are happy/sad/mad about, places we'd like to go, what we'd like to do with our friends, our family, our favorite books plus many more. It was decided that we would date and draw a line after each entry so that we could write about more than one thing each day if we want to.
I am so happy that my students look forward to journal time and don't want to stop writing. They are taking out their journals to begin our day and any time they can after that. They are writing about things that matter to them. Some share out loud, some don't... and that's ok. Some just want to share with me. The best part is that the kids have an outlet for their feelings and thoughts, and I get to see wonderful, heartfelt authentic writing.