Adventures in First Grade

Saturday, December 31, 2011

Happy New Year's Eve

Happy New Year!

To celebrate ringing in 2012, EVERYTHING in my TPT store is 20% off!!

The sale begins today and ends on January 4, 2012.

CLICK HERE to go to my store.

Happy NewYear's Eve!!

Wednesday, December 28, 2011

11 in 11

I LOVE a good linky party!  When I saw Kristen (A Teeny Tiny Teacher) and Hadar (Miss Kindergarten) were hosting, I knew I had to join in.

11.  Favorite movie you watched
The Help.  Loved the book and loved the movie!

10.  Favorite TV series
I really like any of the Real Housewives.  Also, and I know this is going to sound strange, but....I really like Deadliest Catch!  I don't know why, I just do.  Please don't judge!

9.  Favorite restaurant
Abuelo's.  They have a pasta and shrimp dish that is FABULOUS!

8.  Favorite new thing you tried
It would have to be blogging.  I was so afraid in the beginning that there wouldn't be anyone who cared what I had to say.  But it has been the total opposite.  Thank you everyone in bloggy world for being so nice and inviting!

7.  Favorite gift you received
My husband got me a Nook Color for Christmas and I LOVE it.  I was always one of those people who said, "But I want to be able to HOLD my book."  Boy was I stupid misinformed.

6.  Favorite thing you pinned
I found this really cool fall porch decoration:
I have loved this for quite awhile!  I made my own tonight!

I made my own, and while they didn't turn out quite as nice as these, I still really liked them.

5.  Favorite blog post
It would probably have to be Glitter Confession, even though I still cringe when I think about it!

4.  Favorite accomplishment
Well, this isn't really MY accomplishment, it belongs to my oldest.  He is in Kindergarten, and one day when I was typing away on this blog, he was standing over my shoulder and would point to words and say, "Mommy that says...."  I can remember about falling out of my chair.  I knew that he could read about 50 of his sight words in isolation, but the fact that he picked them up in my writing was a very exciting, proud moment for me as a mommy.

3.  Favorite picture
On Christmas day, we took a picture with my granddaddy (who is 92) and all of the great-grandchildren, or as many of them that would sit still long enough!

That would be me trying to keep my youngest in his chair until after the pictures had been snapped....let's just say that didn't work out to well!

2.  Favorite memory
Getting our boys their new puppy, Tucker.  Oh the screams of excitement!  And the boys were excited, too!

1.  Goal for 2012
I recently bought and read the Daily Five and Cafe from The Sisters.  My goal is to try to implement them into our language arts time.  If you have any advice, please share!

Happy Wednesday!

Tuesday, December 27, 2011

My Top 3 of 2011

Fern over at Fern Smith's Classroom Ideas is having a really neat linky party!  The idea is to share the top three post views of 2011.

Drum roll please......

With 1,075 views - The School Bag
Coming in at 222 views - Small Groups
And totaling 178 views - Yippeeee!!

Join the fun by heading over to Fern Smith's Classroom Ideas and link up!

Happy Tuesday!

Wednesday, December 21, 2011

Holiday Treats

Tammy over at Klinger Cafe is having a sweet linky party.  Really, it is sweet...Holiday sweets!!

This recipe is one of my favorites.

Heath Bars

1  12oz package of chocolate chips
1  cup of brown sugar
2  sticks of butter
Saltine Crackers

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

Line a 10 x 15 jellyroll pan with foil.  Place a single layer of Saltines in the pan. 

Combine the butter and sugar.  Boil and stir for three minutes.  Pour over the cracker layer.  Bake for 15 minutes at 350 degrees. 

Immediately sprinkle and spread the chocolate chips over the crackers, butter, and sugar.    Place pan in the freezer to cool.

Once cooled, break into pieces. 

I store mine in the fridge in an airtight container.


Happy Wednesday!

Monday, December 19, 2011

The Snowy Days of January



Do you hear it? 

The sound of breaking glass resulting from me singing the "Hallelujah Chorus" (I can't carry a tune in a bucket).  I'm FINALLY finished with my "The Snowy Days of January Math and Language Arts Station Activities" pack on TPT!!  My poor fingers can barely type anymore!

January can be such a LONNGG month, what with snow days, that I decided to create a packet to go along with this time of the year.

Here is a glimpse of what you will find.

There are five math station activities including:
     -Measure the Room.  Non-standard measurement practice.
     -Money Snowball Fight.  Counting money.
     -Snowman Subtraction.  Differences less than twenty.
     -Shape Shifters.  Shape riddles and sorting.
     -Snowy Story Problems.  Solving story problems with addition and subtraction.

There are five language arts station activities:
     -Read the Snow Room.  Words with /sn/, /ow/, and /an/.
     -Snowy Words.  Creating words using a phrase.
     -Sledding Synonyms.  Matching words that are synonyms.
     -Cocoa Compound Words.  Creating Compound Words.
     -Fact or Opinion?  Sorting sentences as Fact or Opinion.

Snowy Extras:
     -Snowy Adjectives.  Coloring a boy or girl in winter clothing based on descriptions on cards.
     -Snow Day Short Story.  Reading an original short story and then answering questions about the setting, characters, and decorating a snowman based on the story.
     -The Snow Game.  One game board, two fun games!  A math game where the children roll two dice and move the number of spaces as the sum.  A language arts game where the children determine the number of syllables in a word to know how many spaces to move.

CLICK HERE to check out The Snowy Days of January.

Okay.  Now, I need a nap.

Happy Monday!

Saturday, December 17, 2011

The Power of Giving and Thank You!

I would like to thank Kimberly over at First in Maine for the Liebster Award!  She has an awesome blog with really neat ideas...head on over and check it out!

To see who I passed on the award to, CLICK HERE!

At our school, there has been a rule for as long as I can remember around the holiday season.  Instead of the children exchanging gifts with each other, each grade level participates in a special service project to help others.

This year, first grade decided to focus on the American Cancer Society.  We came up with the idea to Deck the First Grade Hall.  The children could bring in donations and for every dollar, we would add a link to a paper chain in the hallway.  The students were VERY excited about our special project.

There are about 100 kids in the first grade, so we thought if every kiddo brings a dollar, we would have $100.  Well, we blew by that goal in the first two days!  Then we started thinking, maybe we can get $200.  By the end of the first week we had it! 

The generosity was overwhelming, and yesterday our grand total came to:


The sight of 400 chain links looping down our hall was amazing...I wish I had remembered to take a picture, but yesterday was about ten kinds of crazy!

Do your schools do service projects?  I'd love to hear other ideas!

Happy Saturday!

Wednesday, December 14, 2011

Holiday Wreath

After the Great Glitter Fiasco yesterday, I surprised myself by taking on another crafty activity. 

We made wreaths today!  They are quite simple.  Each child gets four sheets of green construction paper.  Fold the paper in half, and in half again so there are four equal sections.  The kiddos then trace their hands and cut them out.  Once they finish with the green, give each child a half sheet of red, fold it in half, and have them trace and cut again.

To create the wreath, each child needs a paper know the super cheap ones that you can get about 200 for $2.00.  Show them how to cut out the center circle.  All you need is the outer ring.  Have your kids glue their green hands overlapping around the paper plate ring.  Then they glue on the two red hands:  the bow.

Here are a few examples of the finished creations:

Just like the Rudolph craft, I love how each one is different!  You can see that some decided to add some holly berries, some left them plain. 

One warning.  They will wear them on their heads.  This happens every year.  One of my little guys even went as far to say that he was going to wear his to the beach this summer to protect his face from the sun!  Ahh, first graders.  They say the cutest things!!

Happy Wednesday!

Tuesday, December 13, 2011

Glitter Confession

Why is it, every time I do something embarrassing, I always have an audience?  Today we made ornaments out of a cinnamon, applesauce, glue and glitter mixture.  It was going so well.  I had enough dough, no tears were shed, everyone was happy!  Plus, my classroom smelled so yummy!

Then.  It happened.

After school, our secretary popped her head in wondering what smelled so wonderful.  I had her come see the ornaments, and she was oohing and ahhing.  One of my fellow first grade teachers, her daughter, and my son were also in the room.  The ornaments were drying on the heating unit, which wasn't on, because I can't hear over it. 

You aren't going to believe what I did.  I flipped on the switch of the heater, thinking that the ornaments were heavy enough to keep the paper that they were drying on from flying away.  I was wrong.  So VERY wrong. 

Every ornament flew into the air as all five of stood transfixed in horror.  Perhaps I should add, that after each child made his ornament with the cookie cutters, he or she got to add glitter to the top.  Some of them added a LOT of glitter.  Along with every ornament flying into the air, so did a beautiful shower of gold and silver.

Here is a picture of what it looked like when I had sort of gotten it back to normal.  Okay it doesn't look anything like it did before the Great Heater Incident of 2011.  I'm just trying to make myself feel a little less dopey.

And here is the floor:

Here are the lessons that I have learned today:

a.  when making ornaments, don't put them on the heater to dry.
b.  if ornaments are placed on the before mentioned heater, do not...I repeat, DO NOT turn the thing on!

I'm going to be getting glitter out of my hair for a week!

Happy Glittery Tuesday!

Sunday, December 11, 2011

Hobby Lobby Heaven

I have read on many blogs about this amazing store:  Hobby Lobby.  I have always been very sad, because I didn't think there was a Hobby Lobby close to where we live. 

This weekend my husband and I went on an out of town shopping trip (necessary since there were only 16 days until Christmas and this chickadee had not bought ONE SINGLE gift).  There was a wonderful shopping center and Mr. Nunley was reading off the names of the stores on his side, and I was telling him the ones on mine.  I'm sure that you can guess one of the names he said:  HOBBY LOBBY.

He was quite taken aback when I shouted for him to stop the car....stop it NOW!  You could just see the deer in the headlight look as he attempted to calculate what this excitement was going to cost.

I wisely sent him to an electronics store and I headed to the famed Hobby Lobby.  I walked in the doors and just stopped, jaw dropped to the floor, as I gazed around in wonder. 

About an hour later, I happened to look up to see Mr. Nunley strolling down the aisle toward me.  I was nervous that he was going to be annoyed, but no.  HE had found something that HE wanted!

When I got home from our shopping trip, I went online to the Hobby Lobby store finder search.  I discovered that a new Hobby Lobby store has opened in a city not that far away.  What a marvelous holiday surprise!


Happy Sunday!

Tuesday, December 6, 2011

Warm and Fuzzy!

Thank you so much to Amy over at  The Resource(ful) Room for her kind words and an award!  Thank you, thank you!!

We have recently discovered each others blogs, and she has TONS of great ideas!! 

The rules of this award are:

1.  Copy and past the award on your blog.
2.  Thank the giver and link back to them.
3.  Reveal your top five picks and let them know by leaving a comment on their blog.
4.  Hope that your followers will spread the love to other bloggers!!!

I have so many blogs that I LOVE and it is hard to narrow it down to just five. 

Stop by and check out these blogs.  You won't be disappointed!

Happy Tuesday!

Monday, December 5, 2011

Holiday Reading Incentive

Our school uses the Accelerated Reader program (AR) as a supplement to our Language Arts curriculum.  My first grade team and I have been brainstorming ideas to get our kids excited about least as excited as they are about the holidays!!

We decided for the last two weeks before winter break, our classes would work to build a paper chain to go on our holiday trees that we have in our rooms.  Every time a child gets 100% on an AR test, they get to add a link to our chain.

We started today, and check out our little tree:

The kids are all kinds of excited about decorating the tree!  I hope to see a jump in their reading enthusiasm.

What do you do to motivate your students to read?

Happy Monday!

Sunday, December 4, 2011

Holiday Math Manipulatives

Recently I was shopping with my family in Walmart for holiday decorations.  I found something amazing.  And CHEAP.  The name on the package says confetti.  I don't consider it to be confetti, but I did think that it would be great to use in math tubs as manipulatives.

Check it out:

I thought they were so cute!  I know that it is kind of hard to tell, but they are little gift packages.  There are 36 in a bag, and I am pretty sure they were only 97 cents!!  I found them in the holiday section that is in the Garden Center area of the store. 

Does anyone else have suggestions for fun and inexpensive holiday manipulatives?  Or manipulatives for any time of year?

Happy Sunday!

Thursday, December 1, 2011

Dangerous Game and ARR Freebie

I learned a very important lesson today.  It can be really dangerous to have a small group of first graders work on thinking of words with the /or/ sound.  It was going great!  We had or, more, cord, Ford, for, corn. happened.  One of my darlings said something.  It rhymes with corn and begins with a p. 

I quickly moved on, and I don't think any of the others even realized what was said.  But a few minutes later, she said it AGAIN!

It is really making me think twice about brainstorming words with certain sounds!

Along with the /or/ sound, we have been working on the r-controlled vowel sound of /ar/.  When I think of /ar/, I think of pirates.  I created a little book to go along with this sound. 
This little book is ten pages long, but it has two of each page on one sheet of paper.  The children read the story about Charlie.  On each page, they write the /ar/ words on the line provided.  The last page has them think of and write as many /ar/ words as they can.

The cute pirate themed images are from KPM Doodles.  The font is courtesy of Kevin and Amanda Free Scrapbooking Fonts.
To get your free copy, CLICK HERE.  I hope that you enjoy! 

Happy Thursday!