Adventures in First Grade

Friday, March 30, 2012

How Does Your Garden Grow...Without Soil?!

I think that is it so important for my kiddos to see the life cycle of a plant.   So, we planted seeds in a couple of different ways.

First, we "planted" lima bean seeds on a wet paper towel.  I told my firsties that the seeds that they were planting had been in a bag in my file cabinet for ten years (They were impressed, I felt old).  We decided that they had not sprouted because they had never had any water.  Some of my teaching buddies put their baggies of seeds in their classroom windows.  In my entire teaching career, I've never had a window, but the seeds always sprout.  I put the bags of seeds on the bulletin board closest to natural light.

The second way I show how seeds sprout I learned from my cooperative teacher when I did my student teaching in a first grade classroom.  Take a clear punch style cup and line it with a paper towel. Then fill the paper towel with soil.  Finally, put several popcorn seeds on the OUTSIDE of the paper towel (between the paper towel and cup).  The nutrients from the soil will soak through the paper towel.

When I taught third grade, I would have one cup with potting soil, one with clay soil, and one with sandy soil.  We would make predictions about which type of soil would grow the strongest, healthiest plants.

A week or so ago, I POSTED about my root viewer that I bought from Bass Pro Shop.  Check out our green thumbs!

On a personal note, I plan on planting lettuce, onion, and garlic in my own garden this weekend.  I can't wait!

Happy, happy Friday!

Thursday, March 29, 2012

Money Freebie

We are still FIVE days away from our Spring Break.  Five.  I'm not sure if I'm going to make it! 

I'm trying to wrap up money so I created a little assessment.  The students have to match the word to the coin and then write the value of each coin.  The coin clip art is courtesy of The 3AM Teacher.  Her graphics are awesome!

CLICK HERE if you are interested!

I'm going to go enjoy this beautiful evening!

Happy Thursday!

Monday, March 26, 2012

Money, Money, Money

We've been working on money for the last week or so in math.  The kids are doing quite well with identifying the coins and their values, but we're having some trouble counting mixed coins.

I decided to turn one of my literacy stations into a math station to give extra practice.

Let me take you on the ten cent tour....

I have included some of my money books.  If you haven't read it, Alexander Who Used to Be Rich Last Sunday is really cute.

I got the penny and hundred dollar bill puzzles from Target's dollar aisle a few years ago.  They are quite a challenge.  Especially the penny because the puzzle is round!

In this basket are some counting coins wipe-off books.

This tub contains a hodgepodge of money "stuff."  There are flashcards, puzzles, piggy banks with amounts written on them and the kids have to make the same amount, etc.

I have a question for you.  Do you think, what with our society being one of debit/credit cards, that our students are sometimes lacking in money knowledge?  I know that I am guilty of just using my debit card - I rarely carry actual money.  I am anxious to hear your thoughts.

Happy Monday!

Sunday, March 25, 2012

How Does Your Garden Grow?

I love all of the seasons, but I especially enjoy spring.  Working in my garden, flowers in bloom, warm temperatures - I love it all.

Teaching about plants is one of my favorite units.  When I did my student teaching in a first grade classroom ten or so years ago, I made a big book that shows the parts of a plant, what plants need to survive, etc.  It is showing it's age, but I still enjoy using it:

The yellow parts of a plant signs are on Velcro.  Each child will have the opportunity to match the vocabulary word with the picture.  I also have one with a tree where the students have to identify the roots, trunk, branches, and leaves.

This past summer, I found the neatest thing at the kids section in Bass Pro Shop.  I have found LOTS of neat science things there.  This is a great way to help students understand the plant parts:

This kit contains three plastic tubes, peat pellets, and a package each of carrots, onions, and radishes.  We planted the seeds and borrowed some space on one of my neighbor teacher's window ledge to put our "garden," since, as many of you know, I don't have a window in my classroom.

We can't wait to watch our garden grow!

We will be planting some other seeds, which I will blog about later in the week.

Happy Sunday!

Saturday, March 17, 2012

You've Got Mail

My bloggy block has broken!  Shew...I was worried there for a little bit!

In Writer's Workshop this week we have been working on writing postcards.  On Monday, I read this book to my class: 

I modeled writing a postcard for them by writing to my sister.  On chart paper, I drew a "postcard" showing where to put the address and the place to write the short note.

I discovered this book and I read it to my class on Tuesday:

The family goes to the beach and every page has a postcard that they write to their grandmother telling her about their trip.

On Wednesday and Thursday, the children worked on creating their own postcard in their writer's notebooks.  When they finished, the student and I would have a writing conference and edit the note together.

Since we were learning about writing postcards, I thought it would be neat to do the final copy on a real one.  I bought a bunch of different postcards and each student was able to choose their favorite.  Total excitement.  I was surprised at how enthusiastic they were about their writing!  Here's a picture of one of my kiddos hard at work:

After they had finished their postcards and I had checked them, I told the students that they could keep the cards.  One of my firsties raised her hand and said with the most serious expression, "Forever?"

This was such a fun and cheap writing assignment.  I think it cost me $8 and change for twenty postcards and it was something that they talked about for the rest of the day. 

I am going to go enjoy this beautiful spring-like day!

Happy Saturday!

Wednesday, March 14, 2012

Linky Party: K-2

This is such a neat idea! 


I'm sorry it has been awhile since I last posted, but I have a little bloggy block.  I hope to work through it soon!

Happy Wednesday!

Saturday, March 10, 2012

Dear Mrs. Nunley,

In Writer's Workshop, we have been working on writing forms.  This past week, we've been focusing on letter writing. 

On Monday, I introduced letter writing with this awesome book:

This book is really neat because it has fairy tale characters writing different kinds of letters to each other.  For example, the first letter is an apology note from Goldilocks to the Three Bears!  Each letter is in a page that is made to look like an envelope.  My kiddos thought it was the neatest book!

Throughout the week, we read books with letters and then practiced writing our own. 

One of the books that we read was:

We then pretended that we were our pets (or our favorite animal) and wrote to our owners.  Here is mine (I took a picture, but I left my camera at school):

                                                 March 8

Dear Mrs. Nunley,

I miss you when you are at school.
Can we play fetch this afternoon when
you get home?

Iron Man

(I know what you are thinking....Iron Man?!  We got Iron Man when my oldest was four and we let him name the puppy.  That crazy name has worked well when telling stories to my firsties.)

My students were so excited about work on writing time.  They had so much fun with the assignment!

Does anyone have any other great books that you use in your classroom that focus on the characters writing letters?

Happy Saturday!

Thursday, March 8, 2012

Schoolhouse Rocks

Tonight was our first grade PTA program.  Oh, it was too cute! 

Our amazing music teacher taught them the songs and the motions.  Our grand finale was singing Fireflies by Owl City.  We turned out the lights in the gym, and then out came the surprise.  They sang and did the motions using...glow sticks.  It was breathtaking!  I wish that I had been able to take a picture to share how great it was.

I'm off to has been a long day!

Happy Almost Friday!

Wednesday, March 7, 2012

Drumroll please....

I just want to preface this with the fact that I have never used the random generator before, and I can't get it to look like it does on other blogs.  If you can tell  me what I'm doing wrong, I'd appreciate it!


Here we go.

Drumroll please.

The winner of my first ever giveaway is:

True Random Number Generator 13 Powered by RANDOM.ORG

Comment number 13:  Laura over at Peace, Love, and First Grade!!


Thank you to everyone who entered.  This was fun!! 

Happy Wednesday!

Tuesday, March 6, 2012

Giveaway Reminder

Just a quick reminder that your chance to enter my very first giveaway for a $25 Amazon Gift Card ends tomorrow evening!

If you would like to enter, CLICK HERE to take you to the original post.

I can't wait to see who the winner will be!

Happy Tuesday!

Monday, March 5, 2012

Lovely Awards

There is a beautiful award floating around the blogs.  Thank you to Barbara over at The Corner on Character for giving this little blog of mine the One Lovely Blog Award.  I don't know how you knew that I needed some encouragement this week, but your award came at the perfect time.

Here are the rules:

1.  Link back to the one who gave you this award.
2.  Pass the award on to 15 other lovely bloggers.
3.  Follow the person who sent it to you.

I am passing the One Lovely Blog Award to:

A Cupcake for the Teacher
Apples and Papers
Crisscross Applesauce in First Grade
First Grade and Fabulous
First Grade at Klinger Cafe
First Grade Blue Skies
First Grade Delight
First in Maine
Following Optimism
Grade Onderful
Ms. Rachel's Room
Ms. Solano's Kindergarten Class
Tattling to the Teacher
The Resource(ful) Room

Congratulations, ladies! 

Happy Monday!

Sunday, March 4, 2012


Weather is weird.  Terrible thunderstorms one day with 50 degree temperatures, and two days later, snow!  I guess that's March.

Speaking of March, I have created a March picture word wall.

CLICK HERE to check it out!

Don't forget about my giveaway!  CLICK HERE to enter for a chance to win a $25 Amazon Gift Card!  The winner will be announced on Wednesday evening, March 7.  Good luck!

Happy Sunday!

Saturday, March 3, 2012

All is Well and 100 Followers!

Good morning!  We were lucky that we survived the storms with very minimal damage.
The worst thing that happened was our patio furniture blew away.

Thank you for all of your kind comments and words of encouragement throughout yesterday.

Now, onto the really exciting part of the post.....A GIVEAWAY!!!!

I have reached 100 followers, so it is giveaway time!  To one lucky person, I will be giving away a $25 Amazon gift card!  Here are the ways to enter:

1.  Follow my blog and leave me a comment.
2.  Follow my TPT store and leave a comment.
3.  Blog about it on your blog and leave a comment.

Pretty easy!  I will announce the winner Wednesday evening, March 7.  Good luck!!

Happy Saturday!

Friday, March 2, 2012


Happy Dr. Seuss Day!

This morning first grade received a package.  In it were the personal dictionaries that our principal said we could get for our kiddos!  It was perfect timing because we acted like it was a gift for them on Dr. Seuss' birthday.

During Writer's Workshop, I let them look through their dictionaries:

In the back of the dictionary, there are pages for the kids to add the names of their friends, family members, and pets.  Some of them immediately began to work on filling in those pages:

Our morning was great!  But then, the day turned scary.

At lunch, we found out that we were getting out of school two hours early.  We were under another tornado warning and a line of strong storms was heading our way.

This type of weather is very odd because of where we are located.  We are in southwest Virginia which is quite mountainous.  I have lived here for almost ten years, and this last year has had the craziest weather I have experienced here.

Back to my day:  When we got back to the classroom I told my kids that we were getting out early, and of course they were nervous and had LOTS of questions.  I tried to answer them as carefully as I could because I didn't want to scare them. 

As you might imagine, MANY of the students throughout the school were picked up early.  We got our first bus load kids on the bus and the car riders were picked up. 

At 1:45, a different tornado warning was issued.  There were two buses that had to come back to get their second load students.  We had to get the middle and high school students off those last two buses and keep them in the school until 2:15 when the warning was lifted. 

My son, was of course, still at school and I had him sitting out in the hall with the other teachers' kids and the middle and high school students that we were monitoring.  He got very overwhelmed and scared.  He heard the older kids talking about a tornado and got teary, even though he was trying really hard to be tough.

Finally, the warning was lifted, the kids were loaded back onto their buses, and we were finally able to go home.  So, I have been sitting here watching the weather loop on Intellicast, hoping that I don't have to head to the basement.

Stay safe everybody!

Thursday, March 1, 2012

Ms. Viola Swamp and Dr. Seuss?

I know that it has been forever since I last posted.  Viola is still reigning and her life is exhausting!!  We also have had several tornado warnings recently, and since my computer is in my office up in our bonus room, and I don't want to get blown away, I have been staying in the basement...a LOT. 

Tomorrow is Read Across America Day!  FINALLY I can start putting all of the really cute Dr. Seuss inspired activities that I have found to use!

I wanted to quickly share a bulletin board that I put up each March.

The hat is actually a cake.  This is the poem that is written on the side:

We've made you a cake,
Our cake is just fake.
It's shaped like a hat,
But it's not for your cat.
The candles number ten,
On that you can depend.
So multiply or add,
And have a happy hundradd!

I first used this when we celebrated what would have been Dr. Seuss' 100th birthday.  Now, after the "hundradd" part, I'll add what year it would have been.  Like this year I will have "...hundradd eight."

On a very exciting note, I have almost reached 100 followers!  Once I do, be on the lookout for a first ever!

Happy Thursday!