Friday, December 20, 2013

Merry Christmas!

School is officially OUT for Christmas break!!! 
Here's a peek at some of the festivities from the last 2 weeks:

For our parent gifts this year, I picked up dollar-a-glass wine glasses and a set of paint markers from Walmart to personalize gifts for moms and dads:

To go along with our glasses, we made these adorable little thumbprint ornaments cards:

All of our literacy centres were of course holiday-themed. At Word Work 1 we played this editable sight word board game:

At Word Work 2 we played a simple sight word Memory game:

At Pocket Chart, the kids sorted sight words by the number of letters:

We are working on descriptive writing right now, so I decided to do a fun descriptive guessing game with the kids. First we decorated a christmas tree template (which I found HERE by googling) and then we described our trees using lots of "5W" details:
After that, I hung up all of the trees and read the descriptions out loud one by one. The kids got to guess which tree I was describing by matching the description to the correct tree. They were totally engaged. This was actually a great activity to help the kids understand how a great description can really help us to understand a writer's vision:
(6 drawings weren't hung up yet...if only I had just 14 kids in my class! hehe)
(Click the pic above to download your FREE copy of the writing paper and tree template!)

We also did this adorable dot art craft:
Their artwork turned out JOYfully ;)

On the last day of school, we had a PJ and Polar Express-themed day. We obviously read this book:
And, after reading the book, we made our very own Polar Express trains with chalk:
(I wish I took more pictures because they all turned out SUPER cute!)

At the end of the very end of this insanely chaotic month, we took a moment to watch the Polar Express and enjoy way too much popcorn and sweets. What a fun day! 
And now for a much-needed 2 weeks of relaxation. Bring it on!!!

Merry Christmas, everyone!

Wednesday, December 04, 2013

Hello! I'm still here!

Hey'all! I'm back after a little blogging vacation!! (yes, that is what I'm going to refer to as my temporary "life-is-crazy-and-it's-kicking-my-butt" leave!). So without further adieu, let's jump right in to some fun!

I'll start off with a quick little reading comprehension FREEBIE!
I use these cubes often during whole group after reading any story (the actual cubes are from a teacher supply store...maybe Lakeshore Learning?? I can't remember). I also use them in small group/guided reading, and am now planning a centre activity for next week where the kiddies can use the cubes on their own:
Here is a screenshot of one of the worksheets for our centre activity (I have included 3 different versions: one for just writing, one for writing and a picture, and one for just a picture)
Click HERE (or the pic above) to download the FREE cube inserts & extension worksheet!

Next I thought I'd share the reading program I run in my classroom. Our school has a school-wide reading program called "Reading Rocks." Each student gets one of these bags to take home for a week and bring back to school each Monday. At the beginning of the week, the kids choose 3 new books to take home (one levelled reader, one guided reading book, and one general book from our classroom library--does not have to be a book they can read. I also send their sight word rings home every once in a while)
In my classroom, I have an added reading incentive to get them reading, reading, reading; Also in their Reading Rocks bags are their reading log duotangs, where parents record any books read with their child:
Click HERE to download my FREE reading log!

For every 10 books read at home, the student gets to choose one bead to add to their necklace:
This is the reading bulletin board, displaying our necklaces.
Like I said, for every 10 books read a student gets 1 "regular" bead (seed beads). AND for every 50 books read, the student gets to pick out a "special" bead. I have a massive collection of beads from my childhood and a "special bead" is one from my collection:
The beads on the left are regular beads and on the right are the special beads:
The kids are SO excited when they have read 10 books and I usually hear about it first thing in the morning and throughout the day...they are *obsessed* with putting beads on their necklaces! Love it. At the end of the year, the kiddies get to keep their reading necklaces as a token of how much progress they made in first grade!

And, since I haven't blogged since LAST MONTH!!! I figured I should throw in a festive activity to welcome December:
This little writing craftivity was inspired by one that we did last year. Rather than just using red and green, I had my kiddies choose from brightly coloured paper...I love the final product so much more!!
First we read this book:
and discussed how getting toys and lots of other presents is not at all the true meaning of Christmas. 
(click the pics to enlarge)
Their answers were so sweet!

That's all for now. I will hopefully be back at the end of this week for another update. Have a great week, everyone!

Monday, November 18, 2013

Snow Day Activities & Holiday Hoopla

If you follow me on Instagram (@funwithfirsties) you may have seen this picture yesterday:
Yes...That is what happened over the course of ONE day. Needless to say, today was a "snow day" since busses were cancelled...I had 5 little firsties show up today. Lucky for them because we had loads of fun! 

Now normally, being an incredibly anal obsessive compulsive control freak slightly organized individual, I am hesitant to whip out paint and other "messy" art supplies in a room full of 21 squirrely 5 and 6-year-olds, and yet with only 5 little humans in my classroom today I was having dreams of twinkling glitterized craft possibilities...then this quickly popped into my head:
Soooooooo we stuck to paint. 

If you have never tried this art activity yourself, you've probably seen it before. It's one of my favs because there are so many possibilities and the finished products look so professional!!
All you do is tape off whatever design you want on a piece of art paper using painters tape (I used masking tape because I didn't have painters tape at the time...the only difference is that painters tape is much easier to peel off later on). You can tape off random lines like I did here, or you can make a specific picture, or even spell your name! Then, all you do is "fill in the blanks" by painting all of the empty spaces:
Wait for the paint to dry and then gently peel off the tape to reveal your masterpiece!
LOVE them!!!

Next, we read a bunch of my beloved pigeon books:
(click HERE if you're interested in knowing what those Sight Word Sentences are all about!)

Then we made our own pigeon storybooks! I originally posted the details about this activity HERE.
It was cute to read their storybooks. I had "Don't Let the Pigeon Eat a Cupcake," "Don't Let the Pigeon Drive the Four Wheeler," and other cute creations.

Last but not least, for all of my Instagram buddies who helped me out with my anchor chart debacle (yes, it WAS a debacle!), I finally constructed a solution!!!

You can read about the original issue by clicking the pic below:

With full intensions of dressing in black and busting into the school at midnight with hooks and a power drill, one of my brilliant coworkers suggested I try Command hooks. DUH!!!! Those things are seriously a teacher's best friend.

So off to Walmart I went and constructed this:

It's not exactly attractive but it works and I like it!

I stuck two Command hooks on the metal frame of my bulletin board and hung a $3.00 rod between the two:
Then I put my charts on binder rings and slid them on the rod.
Problem. Freaking. SOLVED. Woohoo!!! 

With the new addition of all this snow, it's official that I'm feeling some serious holiday spirit; Our Christmas tree is up, and the house is decorated from top to bottom, inside and out!
So it's perfect timing that I launched my first holiday unit on TpT! 
*UPDATED 2016: There are two covers above as the product has since been updated*

I seriously cannot WAIT to bust out these activities with my firsties. 
They're all *completely* editable; meaning, if you're in pre-K or even Grade 2 you can customize this pack by adding ANY words you'd like. Check it out:
(If you're interested, hop on over to TpT to check it out!)

Now I'm off to pray that tomorrow is a snow day, too ;)
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