Wednesday, April 27, 2011

Yee Haw! Ow/Ou Cowboy Freebie

Howdy partners! Breaking 200 followers took me by surprise. LOVE.YOU.GUYS. I am honored to be part of this amazing community of teachers. You guys have inspired me, and my kiddos are reaping the reward. Okay, enough sappiness. On with the goodies. Here's a cute little ou/ow word  and picture match for ya! Happy Hump Day.

Saturday, April 23, 2011

The Elephants Have Been Watered

In honor of the Water for Elephants opening  this weekend (which I highly recommend  if you have not seen it) and my sudden fascination with all things circus lately, I created a circus themed ow/ou word sort for your downloading pleasure.  A recording sheet has been included.  I purchased the graphics from My Graphico, which is having an Easter sale. Go check it out.

Tuesday, April 19, 2011

Here It Is: Your Free Butterfly Mini-Unit

Whew. I've been hard at work on this baby, but don't feel too sorry for me because I enjoyed every minute. In fact, my blogging addiction has become somewhat of  family joke. Yesterday my 8 year old daughter broke into spontaneous song about my blogging habits.  "My blog and me, my blog and me. We're the best friends that we can be. You just create a profile. Then pick your style, and just type for awhile. It's like Facbook only better. You put your whole life on the computer. " That was all I could catch, because by that time couldn't hear her over my own laughter. On that note (pun intended), I hope you guys enjoy using this unit as much as I enjoyed making it. 

Happy Teaching,

Only 5 Followers to Go

We are ever-so-close to the 175 followers mark. I know that I will be posting the butterfly mini-unit super soon. Here is what's included: a butterfly schema chart, tree map, bubble map, fact sheet, life cycle chart, compound word center, and a story map ALL FOR FREE!  I think you're going to like it.

Monday, April 18, 2011

I am Declaring this Follow Me Week

Okay, so for all of you blog stalkers out there (you know who you are) I am giving a group incentive to follow me. I am working on a butterfly mini-unit that I will post when we reach 175 followers. We have 23 more to go. So if you like what you see, follow me! And if you have your own blog, spread the word. Can't wait to show you what I have been working on.

Heather, recovering blog stalker

Wednesday, April 13, 2011

The Early Bird Posts the Printable

Since this weekend is going to be super busy (egg hunts, birthday parties and my daughter's prom.) In typical Type A fashion,  I though I should go ahead and make my usual weekend post now. I always prefer to work ahead of schedule (not that it always hardly ever works out for me that way!) This week my second graders are working on identifying base words and affixes. I though this would be the perfect opportunity to use the super-cute frog graphics I have been holding on to. Just print, laminate and cut out. Students simply match the word to the affix and then record their work on the included recording sheet. Have a great weekend everybody!

Monday, April 11, 2011

Today Was a Good Day

So today was the best Monday ever. During my lunch/prep time (they bleed together because I ALWAYS work through lunch even though I know I shouldn't.) I glanced over at my desk to see two envelopes. "What could this be?" I wondered to myself. I quickly ripped open the first to find A LETTER FROM THE PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES OF AMERICA! Okay, so I know that he didn't really send it to me, but still it's pretty cool to get something from the White House.

You see, way back in February I had the kiddos write to the President in honor of Presidents Day. I wasn't sure if we would hear back from him, but it was worth a try. Not only did we get a response we received two full color photographs. One was of the President and one was of him with his family. If you guys haven't ever done this, I highly recommend it. I can't wait to show the kids tomorrow morning. They are going to go nuts!

So after carrying on for a good five minutes over my letter from the President I decide to finally open the second envelope on my desk. I ripped it open, and inside was a check for $93. In January I applied for a mini-grant for some read-alongs for my listening center. I had given up hope on the funding, so I am so totally psyched. 

Yes, today was a good day.  So to share the love I am posting my most recent word/picture match. You may have noticed that I REALLY like word/picture matches and you might wonder why. Well, my students are reluctant readers. Things like word sorts really do not require students to use their decoding skills. If I throw a recording sheet in there, I can easily tell my they are doing with the new phonics skills. Secondly, it takes a considerable amount of time for them to learn a new procedure or activity. They do well with routine. So if they know exactly what is expected of them (ie a familiar task) life in the room goes much smoother. So without further ado, I present Hot Popcorn (an or word and picture match).

Friday, April 8, 2011

Geometric Solids and Money Honey

Teaching multiple grade levels can get a little tricky. This week I dove into the world of geometric solids AND counting money. I was a tad concerned with the geometric solids. I had never covered this topic before as our previous adoption didn't touch it. Here is what we did.

Monday I introduced the solids. We talked about the types of surfaces (such as curved, flat, points, etc.) I passed around the solids so they could touch them having say the name of the solid as they did so. Then we sorted pictures by the type of solid they were. I remembered this activity from my days in a Montessori classroom. I downloaded this activity from Montessori for Everyone for $5. I knew it would take me a long time to create, and I wanted high quality real world photographs.

We later played a game with the cards. Students would draw a card and then say the solid name . I may turn the photographs into a Smartboard file for sorting that way as well. These cards are now in the math center for independent practice.

The next day we made the solids out of Playdough.

 We also made a chart about the solids.  Finally we went on a shape hunt around the building. They really enjoyed this and got very creative in their finds. The kiddos held up their geometric solids in from of their finds and I took pictures with out classroom iPod Touch.

In my other groups we played several money games that I purchased from Cara Carrol on TPT called The Great Coin Collection. I highly recommend. To reinforce, I made this little center to practice counting coins. Setup is super simple. I put actual money into eight different baggies. I like to use actual money when possible. Plastic coins can be inconsistent in their appearance and can confuse my little learners. I tell the kids that I know how much money is in the baggies, so I have not had any problems with kids taking it. I labeled the baggies 1-8. The kiddos count the amount in each baggie and record their answer on the correct pig. They thought it was so cool that they were counting actual money (and so did I).

Tuesday, April 5, 2011

Let Me Show You Around Part 1

I am such a nester. I adore HGTV. There is nothing better than a good makeover. I love to organize (but cleaning, not so much). I have spent a great deal of time arranging and organizing my classroom. Over the summer I moved classrooms. This was good for two reasons. 1. I am now in the new wing of the building with a whole wall of shelving. 2. I am closer to the students that I serve. I am sincerely hoping that I don't have to switch again. I spent at least a week (probably closer to 2) setting up my classroom. Let me show you around.

This is the view of my reading center. This is where we meet as a whole group for read alouds. Most of my instruction is done in small groups.

This is the view from the back of my classroom. To the left is my assistant's table. I have groups of students make six rotations around the room for instruction. One rotation is with me, one is with my assistant and one is independent work (centers or spelling.) They make two full circles. My table is on the other side of the shelves. This gives a sound and visual barrier between the two tables. Both my assistant and I can monitor students working independently from our tables.

This is the the view from my table. These are the beloved choice shelves. I keep these shelves stocked with manipulatives and activities for students to do during choice time. I changed my behavior policy this year after reading the book Tools for Teaching. At the end of each morning students who have their work complete may choose something off of the shelf.  If a student needs extra help with an assignment, requires extra time or simply didn't use their time wisely they complete it during choice time.  This is a huge motivator and keeps me from taking away recess. I'm not a fan of taking recess.
 This is my Smartboard I purchased it for $400 on eBay and mounted it to a rolling bulletin board. Where there's a will...

I have much much more to show you, but my husband just turned on Eat, Pray, Love. Out little tour will have to convene later. See you soon.

Monday, April 4, 2011

Splish Splash

Some of my firsties were working on three letter blends (spr, str, scr, spl to be exact.)  I created a word/picture match with a recording sheet to reinforce.  Click the image below to download the activity. Simply print, laminate for durability and cut out. Have students match the blend word to the correct picture.When finished, have students complete the corresponding recording sheet.

Saturday, April 2, 2011

Ar Pirate Center

I whipped up this simple center to reinforce the ar sound. Student match the ar word to the ar picture. I always tell my students that ar is the pirate sound, so these adorable graphics seemed like the perfect companion. A recording sheet is included.