Sunday, November 25, 2012

It's Beginning to Look a Lot Like Christmas!

The snow has officially arrived! It started off peacefully enough on Friday morning and then it really hit on Saturday...although I'm told I ain't seen nothin' yet! Anyways, here's a quick peek at a couple of our centre activities this past week...

First up is our Word Work Centre. This week, rather than having the kiddies produce a piece of work to practice an isolated skill, I had them working together to sort vowel sounds. This is the last week that we will be talking explicitly about long and short vowel sounds. I'm so proud of how well most of my kiddies grasped their vowel sounds! They really enjoyed sorting the words and pictures all week:
You can find the differentiated sorting activity below (along with my vowel reference posters)  HERE:

At our Writing Centre, I was excited to start our very first creative writing journal entry! Last week at this centre, I had the kiddies simply create a title page for the writing journal that we began this week, and will continue for the rest of the year. I have been waiting to introduce these journals because they will be such a great tool (and keepsake for families!) to watch the growth in each kiddie's writing from the beginning to the end of grade one. Grade one is SUCH a developmental year, so it will be beyond exciting to have a compilation of that growth! I waited "this long" to begin Writing Centre Journals because I wanted to make sure my kiddies had all the resources and knowledge they needed in order to write without frustration (basic writing rules and confidence, for the most part). Our first journal entry was "If I lived in space..."

This week, I used my Oral Language Centre/Investigation Station primarily as oral language practice. My firsties go all kinds of crazy for the I Spy books I have in my room...partly because the books are reserved for indoor recesses only. So when I brought them out for one of our centres this week, I swear they almost fell off their chairs! Rather than having them read and search for the clues given in the books, they were to take turns giving each other clues for an object in any given picture. This way, they had to use descriptive language, problem solving skills, and basically just positive oral language interaction. The kids were totally engaged and I was thrilled at the language I was hearing them use:

In Science, we finished off our Daily & Seasonal Changes unit and began our Energy unit. So far the kiddies seem to be enjoying this unit. We built upon this anchor chart all week to talk about the sun, and energy chains:

Okay. Now for the fun stuff! I'm an artsy person and I was slightly devastated when I found out that I would not be teaching my own visual arts this year (it is my super prep coverage). BUT, as is obvious from this blog, I often squeeze art into many of our other activities. So anyways, there were 5 of my 14 students away on Friday and, because of that, I did not want to get in to something that I felt was important for every student to be present for. I always have a bunch of meaningful art activities on hand, so I took the last block of the day to do some of our first Holiday Artwork!
The art teacher will be continuing texture with the kiddies next week, so I decided to build upon that concept. We made wintery scenes using ripped up construction paper:
 That's one of my favourite things about art; you can really see a child's individuality come through their artwork. All of the winter scenes were SO different. I LOVE howadorable they look altogether!

 Next up, we cut coffee filters and used watercolour paints to make beautiful snowflakes!
I have to admit, this was somewhat of a selfish activity on my part: I can't afford to spend money on Christmas decorations for my class, so I thought it would be adorable to have my kiddies produce the decorations! They *lovedddddd* painting their snowflakes and seeing them hung on the window. We rarely get the opportunity to use paint so this activity was definitely worth the mess!
Aren't they amazing?!

 Last but not least, we did a name activity--Christmas style! I love name activities because they reinforce so many basic skills. For this particular one, I had my kiddies figure out how many Christmas lights they needed in order to write their name:
They had to cut out their lights, write their name, and hang them on the string (using spatial sense!). Then, I hung them in our room:
(I was going to correct the backwards "E"s but I stopped myself because art is the one subject were the KIDS have creative control; it's the one subject where they can really just let loose. This, to me, is a symbol that grade one's are still just babies...They will grow SO much this year, and it's crazy to think that I get to play a big part in that growth!)

Okay, enough of my sentimental gushing! I hope you all enjoy the rest of your weekend!

Saturday, November 17, 2012

WATCH Me Tell Time!

PHEW! I started working at 8:30 this morning and now, at 5:00, I am FINALLY done! A solid 8.5 hour booklet that my kiddies will probably whip through in no time. But that's okay because now I'm going to share it with all of you! 

This product is all about time to the hour and half hour. Originally I *did not* want to spend all day making a time booklet so I spent about an hour last night searching for worksheets and activities to use with my kiddies. I was surprised at how little I found on time to the hour and half hour! Of what I could find, every worksheet was the same; boring old clock after clock after clock. "What time does this clock show?" BORING. 

Now, I'll admit that telling time is pretty straight forward and there is not all that much differentiation available when it comes to teaching it, but I figure if *I* thought the worksheets were boring, I can't even IMAGINE what my kiddies would think. So that's why I made this package! 
(click the pic to view in detail)

Even though the bones of it are similar to any other worksheet out there (identifying times on analogue and digital clocks), in my opinion it offers way more appeal that what I have seen:
(above worksheets do not reflect updates)

As you can see, this package features way more than just the traditional "write the time on the clock" activities. The activities you see range from having students identify the time on both analogue and digital clocks by not just writing, but matching, cutting and pasting, and drawing. Each worksheet is engaging and meaningful, thus the repetition needed in order to master this skill is far from tedious and boring. 

I can't wait to introduce this booklet to my kiddies on Monday. If you would like to download WATCH Me Tell Time head on over to my TpT store. I hope you find it helpful :)

Friday, November 16, 2012

November 11th, etc.!

TGIF!!! Actually, TGIMMF to be exact (Midnight Madness!). Which means after this post I will be heading out with my lovely sister to spend way too much money downtown. Anywho, here's a quick little update on some of the things my firsties have been up to this week (I apologize in advance for the mini post: I kind of slacked off in my picture-taking this week. I promise to get back on track next week!)

Of course we had Remembrance Day not too long ago so my kiddies did a little activity to honour the day:
We talked about Remembrance Day, read some stories, and I tried to help them understand what it means to THEM. November 11th is a tough day for young children to understand so I connected it with our "special" O Canada song that we sing only on Fridays, "God Bless You Canada" (you can listen to the song on YouTube HERE). Boy, oh, boy do my kiddies LOVE this song. They sing SO loud whenever I play it. 
Tangent: At the end of the song on Friday last week, one of my little darlings got down on both knees, arms spread wide, eyes closed, and head to the sky (it's a very dramatic ending), and I swear it took all of my might not to burst out in hysterics. BEYOND adorable, I'm laughing just thinking about it.

ANYWAYS, I had my kiddies write about why they were proud to live in Canada, and then we did a little poppy craftivity with crunched up tissue paper:
"I'm proud to be in Canada because the flag stands for freedom..." *precious*

Next up we did yet another activity to practice our understanding of Daily & Seasonal Changes. The kiddos had to  draw a picture of each season and include a picture of what they would wear. Then they had to put the seasons in the correct order and we made a little film strip and TV box to bring it all together. They turned out super cute:

Last but not least, I have one of our centre activities to share: During our "investigation station" (often my oral language centre), I had my firsties use old book orders to cut out and sort book covers into the category of fiction or non-fiction. They had to talk about each book and help each other judge which category the book fell into based on what we have talked about in the past. If they finished early, I gave them the added challenge of looking through our classroom library and writing the titles of books that could be sorted into either category:

That's all for now! Have a fantabulous weekend everyone :)

Thursday, November 15, 2012

Vowel Sounds

Hi everyone, hope your week is going's almost FRIDAY!!! Just a quick update to let you know that I have posted a NEW product in my beloved TpT store ;)

All this and last week my kiddies have been learning about long and short vowel sounds during literacy centres. To start bringing all those sounds together, I spent my night making two posters to hang in my room for fast and easy reference throughout the year:

I have also included a centre activity to this package that includes variations of a sorting activity in order to allow for easy differentiation:
Those are two examples of the different sorting "mats" available: the first mat is meant to sort long and short vowel sounds in general, and the second "mat" is the more challenging option that requires students to sort not only the long and short sounds, but also the independent vowel sounds within those two main categories. 

Also included in this package are the pictures and words (not pictured) for sorting, as well as extension worksheets (1 of 3 pictured below):
Above is one example of pictures to sort. You can choose to have students sort vowel sounds using just pictures (have students say each picture word out loud to add some oral practice!), they can sort just words, or you can challenge students by having them sort both pictures and words together.

You can pick up my new Vowel Sounds Poster and Activity Package by clicking on any of the pics above or right HERE

That's it for now. I'll be back (hopefully tomorrow night!) with an update of some of our week's activities! Brace yourself for a very cheesy "long vowels" sign-off: 
SlEEp tIght!

Sunday, November 11, 2012

Behaviour Management Freebie

Just a quick little post because I have been asked about what I do for behaviour management. Aside from my individual behaviour management clip chart to encourage self-management, I also use a group points system. Displayed at the front of my class, I have a little board where each table group has a ziplock baggie assigned to their group number. I use two sided math counters as my point tokens. At any time during the day I can award or take away a group's token based on behaviour. 
The great thing about groups points is that it takes a group effort (teamwork and collaboration) to earn or lose a point. The whole group must be working extra hard, or doing something kind, etc., to earn a point. 

I also use my group points as incentive to get to class on time. I have a SMARTboard timer that I set on a countdown from 6 minutes and 30 seconds the moment the bell rings (morning bell or recess bell). In order to earn a "freebie point," the entire group must be sitting at their desk reading a book by the time the timer buzzes at 0. This means that the kiddies have to get undressed, change shoes, use the washroom, get a drink, etc. QUICKLY without wasting time talking (*arguing*) with peers, or simply fooling around in the hallways for some. I may have to increase the time slightly as the weather gets colder and the layers get thicker but it certainly minimizes a lot of wasted learning time! 

ANYWAYS, at the end of the week, the group with the most points gets a certificate indicating their "prize". I am a big believer in non-traditional rewards, and the kids actually really enjoy the awards such as getting to bring in a show and tell item, getting to wear a crown for a day, etc.
You can download the FREE certificates and 2 pages of prizes by clicking the ABOVE PICS or HERE. I just cut out the sheet of prizes and keep them in a container. When it comes time to award the winning group their prize, I just pick one of the folded papers and read them their prize. The paper goes back in the container for next week's top group to potentially win, and the certificate goes home with each of the winning group members. Quick, easy, and fun- that's why I love it!

Halloween in November...and some other stuff

Hi everyone! So this post is certainly long overdue, sorry for the wait...I will make up for that now, starting with: HALLOWEEN! Wow. Halloween seems like forever ago now. I canNOT believe it is already November. Time is flying by. Before we know it, it will be Christmas!!! I was out of town all weekend and was instantly launched into the holiday spirit by the fantastic amount of snow in Winnipeg. Despite the effect it had on the roads, the weather was so awesome that I just HAD to come straight home and decorate the house.

ANYWAYS, with my Christmas lights festively glowing, I can now update you all on the past two weeks!
There's my darling firsties and I on Halloween. I was super duper dreading that day but we actually had a blast! I tried to keep the day a little more low-key, yet they kiddies seemed to really enjoy our themed activities. In the morning (after the annual Halloween costume parade) we did some Halloween writing (sorry, I can't remember where I got this worksheet!):
I loved that writing activity because it's a simple way to get the kiddies writing in complete sentences and including details in a piece of writing. We did the top page first and, from there, they had to pick one idea from each column (I can, I see, I have) and write them in a mini paragraph using complete sentences. 

After recess we had Halloween math centres, which I forgot to take pictures of :( The centres were basically a review of some of the key things we have learned in math so far this year but with a holiday twist. During math centres, I did some good 'ole bribing with candy corn. If they were working hard I gave each child a couple of candy corns each time we switched centres. I HATE candy corn but they of course thought this was the bees knees!

At the end of a long day, I sent my little monsters away with a silly treat:
All I did was put marshmallows in a ziplock bag, and cut, fold, and staple on the label.
To download your FREE editable labels, click the pic above or HERE.

The next day, I realized we never really did an official Halloween craft so I used this next craft as an opportunity to incorporate Halloween and word work. During our language arts block, one of the things we have been focusing on is word families and long/short vowel sounds. So I had them pick any three different families/vowel sounds and write two words each that fit those categories. Then we made this sweet little monster craft inspired by Babbling Abby (I don't know what I would do without all these inspiring teacher bloggers!!!):
(The craftivity below our monsters is a writing activity we did a couple weeks ago in science. After learning all about the seasons they had to pick their favourite season and write about it)
 This monster made me much detail! The little thing was working away on it for about half an hour:

 In math, we have begun a new unit, "Time and Temperature." So I changed a couple of our math tubs (the kiddies usually do one math tub every day after whole group, small group, and independent practice in math):
Click the pic or HERE to get your FREE copy!
In this centre, the kiddies simply have to put the months of the year, days of the week, seasons, and holidays in the correct order. It's super cute walking by and listening to them singing the months of the year/days of the week songs to help them out :P 

Next is a matching centre focused on seasons. Get it free HERE. With all cards face down, they have to flip two cards at a time and determine whether or not the pictures or words match up:
(the picture is a snowy scene and the word says winter so the two cards are a match)
(Here, the Christmas tree tells us that the season must be winter, and the boy playing in the leaves indicates fall so those two cards are not a match). The kiddies LOVE this game.

I have a total of 8 math centres since I like to keep the kids in partners for math (they are much more focused and time-effective this way) Here's a quick look at two of the math tubs that I like to keep the same as a great review:
(A beading station to practice patterning)
(In this tub, the kids get extra practice with the early addition concepts of showing more and less)

Speaking of math, I also added two more products to my TpT store:
I used this FREE booklet as a review/assessment of the important concepts taught in the last Number Sense and Numeration unit we just finished. The kids loved working through this booklet and it acted as an AWESOME assessment tool for me.

We just finished off this ordinal numbers booklet at the end of last week. The math unit we are currently working on introduces ordinal numbers yet does not provide much practice material for the kiddies, so I made up this booklet as extra practice. They totally loved this one as well. All they wanted to do was colour the cupcakes and train graphics that I used (seriously, make a worksheet "pretty" and the kids are magically more engaged...who knew?!)
Click the pics above if you would like to download/purchase your own copy! 

And that officially concludes my long update! Have a great week everyone :)
Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...