Saturday, October 27, 2012

Halloween is Coming!

Oh boy...Halloween is coming. This Wednesday will really put my teaching skills patience to the test! If I can handle kids pumped full of sugar I'm pretty sure I can do anything!!! Okay, my personal pep talk is over. Now for a few of the things we've been up to this week...

Our school held its annual pumpkin decorating contest this week. The theme was twins or pairs. It is a bit of an understatement to say that I have a passion *obsession* for animated films (I may or may not have watched The Lorax three times this weekend as I was working...) and so I immediately made the executive decision that our class would make a pair of Minions from Despicable Me. Of course it wasn't too hard convincing my kiddies that this was a *brilliant* idea after showing them this clip:
ahahaha I've watched that about a zillion times and it still makes me laugh. I love minions. 
SO ANYWAYS, here are our finished products:
I think they are all kinds of adorable <3 
They ^ are all pretty darn cute too :P

Next up, we completed a Nam in a Ten Frame culminating activity to show our new knowledge of five and ten frames:
The kids really enjoyed this activity and I loved it, too! It's great because it is an easy way to assess who understands how to correctly use a ten frame (filling up each square one at a time from left to right and then from left to right again, just like we read a book). Not only that but I can see who grasps the concept of basic addition that the ten frame introduces (by answering "I need ___ more letters to make 10"). And, of course, it's always great to throw in some language arts (talking about which letters need capitals or lowercase) and fine motor (having them cut out the small circle counters to write their names as opposed to simply having them write their names directly in the ten frame).
You can pick up this activity--complete with ten frame printable, counters printable, and "Name Frames" worksheet--FOR FREE in my little TpT store by clicking the pic below:

 In our Daily & Seasonal Changes unit in Science, we were learning about the seasons as a cycle that has no beginning or end (with an emphasis on visualizing "cycle" as a circle). I created this simple worksheet to see if the kiddies were able to show the seasons in the correct order:
The could start at any circle with any season they wanted. They also had to pay close attention to the arrows in the diagram so that they completed the activity in a clockwise circle (as opposed to completing the top two circles left to right and the bottom two circles left to right). The purpose of that is to emphasize the cyclical nature of the seasons.
 There is an updated version of this activity in my Daily & Seasonal Changes Science Focus pack but you can download this alternative sample for *FREE* by clicking the pic below:
And finally, we continued some pumpkin themed centres with this writing centre activity:
The kiddies had 5 different sets of scrambled pumpkin sentences that they had to group, unscramble, and copy. To prep this centre, alls I did was print out a bunch of copies of the last page from THIS freebie, cut out the blank pumpkins, laminate them, and write words and numbers on them with permanent marker (I chose to write on the pumpkins AFTER laminating them just in case I change my mind down the road and want to erase and change the sentences I have chosen). If you would like a FREE copy of my worksheet, you can click on the pic below:

That's it for now! Have a fun and relaxing weekend everyone :)

Tuesday, October 23, 2012

TpT and a Freebie!

Hi everyone! I'm so excited to announce that I have officially opened my TpT storefront

Fellow teachers: if you have not heard of or been on the Teachers Pay Teachers website Go.There.Now!!! There are so many talented teachers and great products on there...and not to mention lots of FREE stuff which I totally take advantage of :) 
I have posted a couple of my worksheets as freebies and I will be posting a bunch more when I have a spare minute. I have also uploaded my first mini-pack:
CLICK HERE to check it out :)

The above "Shake and Spill" pack features a worksheet for numbers 5 to 10 (similar to my FREE Shake and Spill worksheet for the number 10 but, of course, with a fun variation in graphics for those students--and teachers--who appreciate aesthetic appeal haha). The pack also includes a slightly modified version of each worksheet (the last number in each statement is traceable) for your kiddies that could benefit from some extra practice in correct numeral formation. 

And, since I love my freebies, here's a fun freebie I made for ya'll:

I printed and laminated this poster and it is currently featured on my writing samples display wall (which I will post about at a later date)

Have a great week! :)

Saturday, October 20, 2012

Pumpkin Party!

More pumpkins! All week we have been learning about these things and yet I still have this strange obsession with pumpkins...and so I'm going to keep up the pumpkin theme next week, too! After all, we haven't even tried pumpkin seeds yet! So here's some of the things we've been up to all week:

During our shared reading, we were learning about the pumpkin life cycle. The kiddies really enjoyed talking about how a pumpkin seed becomes a big, round pumpkin so I jumped at the opportunity to complete a sequencing activity that reiterates writing our numerals and also requires some good ol' fine motor: 
(click the picture above for a copy of the sequencing cards)

 During math, I cut a hole in the top of our class pumpkin so the kids could first estimate and then count how many seeds were in the pumpkin. In Number Sense and Numeration we are working on counting by 10s so this was a perfect activity for that:
 Some kidlets estimated 6 seeds and some estimated 10000! In the end, our pumpkin had 258 seeds.

Next came math centres. Our first math centre was pumpkin number order. The kids had to write the missing numbers. Anytime they get to use whiteboard markers they are ALL.ABOUT IT.
Click HERE for your FREE copy of this activity (I coloured the pumpkins in and laminated them)

Next centre was number matching. First they just match up the numeral and dot puzzles and then they could play it as a memory game:
Grab a FREE copy of this activity HERE.  

At calendar time we have been working on saying the date using ordinal numbers (i.e. first, second, third, fourth, fifth, etc.) so this next centre focused on practice identifying and matching ordinal numbers with their corresponding numeral. I even took it one more level for my smarty-pants and had them write the number word as extra practice. 
You can download the FREE pumpkin cards HERE (if you go to you can grab the pumpkin cards from 11 to 20) and my FREE WORKSHEET HERE.

 Last but not least was a Halloween-y dice game. I LOVE dice games for one-to-one correspondence practice. All the kids had to do here was take turns rolling the die and moving their piece along the monsters. First one to get to the candy wins. SO SIMPLE but they loved it, which means I loved it, too! (I can't remember where I got this one from. Let me know if it was you so I can give you credit!)
Grab it HERE 

 If it isn't already obvious I am *all about* centres!!! Whether it's math, literacy, science, whatever, I think centres are SO important for practicing key skills taught in whole and small group. Grade one is SUCH a developmental year and centres are a great way to consistently practice those keys skills along with accountability, independence, problem solving, social interactions, and about a zillion other things.
Okay, I will stop blabbering on now. Have a fantastic week everyone!!!

Pumpkins and More

To get our pumpkin unit rolling (pun intended!), we started off with a quick little art activity. I put only yellow and red paint on each table group and told the kids to paint an orange pumpkin. They were totally confused haha Then we talked about mixing colours and I showed them how mixing yellow and red will make orange. You'd think I had told them Justin Bieber was coming to visit. They were off-their-rockers blown away each time they smushed the two colours together and made a whole other colour haha Adorable!!!

Of course all of our morning literacy centre activities were all pumpkin themed:

We read the poem "5 Little Pumpkins" all week. I love tracing activities for my kiddos who need fine motor and letter formation/direction practice. 
(click the pics below to grab those worksheets)
(more examples of our pumpkin literacy centres to come next week!)

In science, our current focus is on how daily and seasonal changes affect people and other living things. We started with looking at how trees change throughout the seasons and so, after a couple days of investigation, I had the kiddos draw a summer tree, fall tree, winter tree, and spring tree:
(I'm still missing a couple})

Well that's it for now...short and sweet! Enjoy the weekend everyone :)

Friday, October 12, 2012

Spider Celebration!

Well, despite the fact that this week was only a 4-day week, boy was it BUSY! We had such a great time learning about spiders. Early in the week we did a fun little craftivity after learning about spider webs. The kids used glue and sparkles (BTW, we did this activity on Tuesday and I am STILL covered in sparkles even as I write this post here at home) to make their own webs, and used construction paper to make a spider...
(oops...I forgot to take a picture of the final products!)

On Thursday, one of my kidlets brought in this little beast for our "Exploration Station" literacy centre:
*BLEGHHH!!!* I strongly dislike absolutely loathe spiders and this one lived on my desk for two days. No thank you. 
The kids named her "Webby" and were totally fascinated by her. Although I told the kiddies we could keep all of the spider decorations until Halloween, Webby has to go!!! 

Anyways, back to what we have been up to all week! One thing we did to reinforce our new spider knowledge is make our own nonfiction book all about spiders. 
(I particularly love this activity because I will have the kids keep this book in their book boxes for a couple weeks for them to read. It is simple enough for my little ones who need some extra confidence, and will help build fluency for my confident readers)

And today was our Spider Celebration! In the morning we made "Arachnid Hats" with one spider fact on each of the 8 legs. They turned out to be all kinds of adorable and the kids wore them all day....and so did I of course!

During math, we rotated through spider-themed math centres. The first centre was a patterning centre:
Although we finished our patterning unit a couple weeks ago, I like keeping one of my centres as a patterning centre for occasional review.

In our Number Sense and Numeration unit right now, we are focusing on basic addition:

Here's a bunch of worksheets I've created to practice this skill:
(click the pics to download your FREE copies)

So the next math centre reinforces this very important skill:
(Grab the above web mat HERE)
 In the pic above, the kiddies use mini spiders (from the dollar store) to solve problems of 1 more, 1 less, 2 more, and 2 less. 
At the beginning of this week I had a couple firsties who were just not grasping the concept. And now, only a couple days later, I am seeing lightbulbs go off all over the place! That is just too exciting to me!!! 

Then we had a survey centre. In a couple of weeks we will be learning about data management and graphing so I thought this would be a sweet and simple introduction to all that great stuff!
The kids walked around the class with clipboards and surveyed their classmates to find out who was afraid of spiders and who was not...
And I just HAD to include this next picture. I told them to show me what their scariest spider was going to look like and, oh, the faces I got...

 The next centre was a Colour by Number worksheet. A super simple activity, but it reinforces key concepts we have been working on (numeral recognition and formation, and reading and working with colour words)...

 Last, but not least, we had a Memory Game centre. There were 5 pairs of different spider pictures and the kiddies had to take turns--#ProblemSolvingSkills--matching pairs of the upside-down cards (image recognition, attention, and memory*)...
 And, of course, I had to show them and episode of the Magic School Bus <3 "The Magic School Bus Spins a Web" As you can tell, they were glued...
 It was so awesome hearing them whisper during the show: "Look! There are the spinnerets!" "I bet you that's a trap door spider...I was right!" etc.etc.etc Too cute.

Oh yes! I almost forgot to mention one last activity we did earlier in the week. I have been introducing the kiddies to basic letter writing so I thought it would be perfect to have them write a letter to either our principal or vice principal, telling them all about what we have been learning (the kids are SO proud of their new spider knowledge and I wanted them to have the opportunity to share that). And, of course, any form of writing is always perfect for reinforcing all of the writing rules we are striving to perfect by the end of grade one (punctuation, capitals, complete ideas, letter formation, spelling, etc.)

Then we wrote a "cover letter" altogether to slip in the envelope (*modelled writing!*)

Alrighty, I think that about wraps up the longest post ever...And I hear a glass of wine calling my name. Have a great weekend everyone!
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