Saturday, February 28, 2015

Math, Writing, & P/T Interview FREEBIES!

Phew! This pregnant person is popped! We had another busy week that seemed to just fly by.

All the schools in our area headed to the arena for school vs. school skating races. 
The kids raced by age group and then there was a hockey game in the afternoon. It was so fun watching some of my firsties participate in the races! 
I won't lie, the wipeouts were my favourite part...what a terrible teacher!

And those who didn't race, happily cheered our school on:
It was fun, but definitely *way* too much chaos for this Type A teacher. I was so happy to get back to our classroom!!

So anyways, amid the rush of the week, I didn't get around to documenting our activities much. The good news is, that means this post will just feature some random FREEBIES for y'all! 

Let's start with writing! We have been working on opinion writing and I created this graphic organizer to help my firsties organize their ideas:

We originally started out just writing our opinion pieces on standard lined paper (following the same structure: a statement of their opinion and three reasons for their opinion) but I have found this organizer to be SO helpful to my firsties. Their writing is so much clearer and has actually improved quite drastically as a result. 

If you read last week's post, you already know that we have been working on balancing equations. We finished up this unit with some more simple skip counting & balancing equations math centres:
*Click HERE to download the above activity as well as the activity featured in THIS POST*

The kids loved making their own little cut & paste skip counting books. Once they were done, I stapled them on the indicated staple lines (as seen on the left side of the booklet) and then they coloured their book if they had extra time. 

One of the other math centres was a balancing equations partner activity, where my firsties worked in pairs to complete a booklet:
Title Page:
Interior Pages:
*Click HERE or either pic above to download!*
Each partner got their own booklet with one title page and 4 interior pages. They completed one side of each pan balance on their own by either writing a number, addition sentence or subtraction sentence, or by drawing any number of objects. Once half of each page was filled out, they switched booklets with their partner and their partner had to complete each page by balancing the pan balance in a different way (e.g. If one partner wrote the number "4" on the left side, then the other partner might draw 4 stars on the right side).

Last but not least, Term 1 report cards went home last week which meant Parent/Teacher interviews this week! I tried something new and created this printout to help guide each interview:
*Click HERE to download this FREEBIE!*

I found it much more helpful (and efficient) to write my thoughts on this page as opposed to a little sticky note. Plus it was nice to be able to provide a copy for each parent to take home at the end of the conference.

I hope you find some (or all!) of those freebies useful! Have a wonderful weekend :)

Saturday, February 21, 2015

Balancing Equations

I don't know about you, but my four-day week FLEW by! Between Shrove Tuesday, Flag Day (this year marks the 50th anniversary of our Canadian Flag!), & Ash Wednesday mass, I feel like we barely had time to get anything accomplished this week. Except for in math...

My firsties absolutely with how well they grasped balancing equations in such a short time. In the past I have found that this is a *very* challenging concept for most kids to catch on to but this bunch had it going on! I first introduced the concept with this very simple SMARTboard activity:
I made a blank pan balance template with 4 shape choices for us to manipulate. I started off very simple with just pictures and numbers (such as the example pictured above; a number of objects on one side, and a numeral on the other). Because they picked this up so quickly, I moved on to include addition sentences, subtraction sentences, and other combinations for them to come up and balance in any way (i.e. using pictures, numbers or equations)

We used this same file in so many ways all throughout the week: from the students balancing an example that I had provided, to them identifying whether or not my scale was balanced, to figuring out what we needed to change in order to make it balanced.
(FYI: The shapes are infinitely cloned so all you have to do is tap and drag the shape you want to either side of the pan balance. To delete a shape off the pan balance simply select & delete. The 4 shapes will always remain at the bottom.)

Click HERE or the picture above to download the SMARTboard file (for FREE!)

By the end of the week, my firsties were such pros that we played a little "game" where I invited pairs of students to come up and make up their own balanced equations. One student would would begin by either placing objects, writing an addition or subtraction equation, or writing a numeral on one side of the pan balance. Then the other student would decide how to balance the equation on the other side. The rest of us had to give thumbs up or thumbs down to determine whether or not the scale was balanced. It's amazing how much fun they have when they get to use the never gets old!

To practice our new skill independently, I put together this little Balancing Equations pack that approaches the concept from a variety of angles. I also ended up using one of the pages as a final assessment piece:
This pack is available in my little store.

I know many of my friends south of the border had a short week as well but for different reasons. I hope you're all keeping warm...just keep thinking: only 27 more days until SPRING! 

Sunday, February 15, 2015

Valentine's & a Skip Counting FREEBIE

Hi everyone! I hope you all had a great weekend and a lovely Valentine's Day on Saturday.

My firsties and I celebrated Vday all week with themed literacy centres from my "Bless Your Heart" activity pack. The writing centre was a particular hit:
The above postcard template is from the Bless Your Heart Valentine Literacy Center Pack

I brought in a mailbox for the kids to "mail" postcards to their friends when they visited the writing centre. On Friday, I delivered each postcard by stuffing them in the bags that the kiddies made for their Valentines (you can kind of see their love bug bags along the back counter in the pic below)...but I secretly read each one first ;) Some of them were super cute: from the traditional "you ar a rili nis frend" and "I like you," to "my favourite culr is blue. Do you like tacos?" haha!

In math, we dove a bit deeper into skip counting and practiced our skills with this super simple cut-and-paste skip counting book:
I snapped this pic of their in-progress books when my firsties took a break to go to gym. The mess gave me serious anxiety but it was the result of little minds hard at work so I managed to pull myself together and resist the urge to clean!

To make the books I just cut 4 long strips of construction paper for each student. The 4 pages featured a cover page (where they just wrote the title "My Skip Counting Book" and decorated it), a skip counting by 2s page, a 5s page, and then a 10s page. 
I had my firsties work on one page at a time. They cut out everything first, mixed up the number cards, and then put them in the correct order in their book.
Click HERE to download all three pages of cut-and-paste skip counting for FREE! 
(which also includes another skip counting activity that was featured in THIS POST)

I hope you enjoy this activity with your littles :)

Tuesday, February 10, 2015

The 100th Day of School!

Well it's official, my firsties are 100 days smarter!!
We spent yesterday celebrating our brilliance with tons of fun activities and a few treats too :)

We started off with a 100 Day classic:
We made our usual 100 Day hats with 100 things on them (10 strips with 10 stickers/drawings on each). Check out how adorable:

Next we finger-painted 100 dots in groups of 10:
I've seriously never seen them work so quietly:
Their dot art turned out super cute: this FREEBIE by clicking the pic below ;)

In addition to repeating another 100 Day classic (making 100 fruit loop necklaces), we also tried something new and built the number 100 with some delicious treats:

Last but not least, I didn't get a snapshot of the kiddies working away, but we also wrote a list of 5 things we want to accomplish before we turn 100 (you can grab this freebie below too!):
Click the pic above to download this FREE worksheet!

And that about wraps up our fun-filled day! I hope you enjoy the rest of your week :)
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