Adventures in First Grade

Friday, June 29, 2012

Gems of Discovery

Thanks to everyone for the sweet comments about my new classroom theme.  So many of you also use a theme, and you have given me some great ideas for years to come.

Like so many of you, I have been thinking about the start of the new school year.  It is so important to have a smooth, structured beginning to set the tone for the rest of the year.  I made some awesome bloggy discoveries yesterday that I would like to share with you.

1.  Holly over at Crisscross Applesauce in First Grade has created an awesome TPT pack that has labels for folders, bins,'s just a great resource to help kick of the school year in an organized way.  CLICK HERE to head to Holly's TPT store.

2.  A Cupcake for the Teacher has created an amazingly cute "I can" display for her writing center.  It is colorful, kid friendly, and informative!  I can't wait to display it in my classroom!  CLICK HERE to head over to her TPT store and check it out!

3.  Traci over at Dragonflies in First has created something really wonderful.  When she first posted about it several months back, it was my goal to create one for myself this summer.  Well, thankfully, she has made it a lot easier and offered it on TPT.

There are no words to explain just how fantastic this is.  Our county has pacing guides for each subject for each grade.  Each subject's guide is about 7-10 pages long.  Well, that is a lot of paper to keep up with!  I took the info on all those pacing guides, plugged it into Traci's template, and now I have the whole year on ONE page at my fingertips!!  CLICK HERE to go to Traci's TPT store!!

4.  My next neat find is from First Grade Giggles and Glitter.  She has created an Owl Writing Process Pack.  Since owls are my thing for this year, I couldn't pass it up.  The graphics are really cute!  She also has some great graphic organizers, checklists, and photos showing how she used this in her classroom!  CLICK HERE to head to her TPT store.

I hope that you will check out these great resources.

I leave you with a something that I created yesterday.  To go along with my owl classroom theme, and to help manage an efficient classroom, I made a student job assignment bulletin board pack.

Here are a few images of what you will find:

If you would like to check it out, CLICK HERE to head to my TPT store.

Happy Friday!!

Thursday, June 28, 2012

New Classroom Theme

Typically, I don't really have a theme in my classroom.  I normally try to pull everything together with color.  I've decided to try a theme this year, and it is going to be owls.

I started working on the cover of my O.W.L. books (think Bee book, Moose book, etc.).  I've created one for the boys and one for the girls:

The graphics are from Print Candee and DigitalBakeShop.

I have a lot of ideas swirling about my owl theme, which I will be working on posting!

Do you have a theme?  I'd love to hear about it!

Happy Thursday!

Wednesday, June 27, 2012

New Blog!!

I wanted to share a new blog with you.

Meghan and I used to teach third grade together, but she moved several years ago.  She is an awesome teacher, and I was so excited to hear that she had started a teaching blog AND that she is now a first grade teacher too!

If you have a chance, stop by and give her some bloggy love!

Happy Wednesday!

Tuesday, June 26, 2012


I have been enjoying my time off with my family so much that I have let my blogging kind of slide.  I hope everyone else is enjoying their summer time too.

I am starting to think about next school year, and I have been thinking about how I "do" math.  We have the enVision series, which is okay, but I feel like I have to supplement it a lot.  I want to add a structured math station time to my day.  What I am trying to figure out now is if I want to use Debbie Diller, Math Daily Five, or a combo of both.

Any ideas or suggestions?  Do you do something else that you like even better?

I can't wait to hear your awesome ideas!

Happy Tuesday!

Saturday, June 2, 2012


While we were packing up our classrooms for summer, one of my fellow first grade teachers made an amazing discovery.  She found a couple of books that she had forgotten about.  They are called Connecting Reading and Writing with Vocabulary.

This book is published by Curriculum Associates, Inc.  Their website is

The reason that I like this book so much is that it not only incorporates vocabulary and writing, but also different genres of reading:  poems, tall tales, folktales, book reviews, etc.  Each story contains specific skill building activities.

I think that vocabulary is very hard to teach.  Background knowledge, in my opinion, is key.  In the area where I live, there are children who have done extensive travelling and students who have rarely left the county.  It is important to be able to anchor new vocabulary with an image or experience that they already possess.

How do you introduce/teach vocabulary?  Do you follow a specific program?

Happy Saturday!

Friday, June 1, 2012

Social Studies Adoption

Our county is adopting a new language arts and social studies series for next year.  We have already received the new history materials and I am in love!

Typically in the past, our social studies materials have not been very useful because they did not cover Virginia's Standard of Learning criteria.  We rarely used them.

Our new series is published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt and is geared specifically to Virginia!  The full title is Virginia Social Studies:  My Country, Yesterday and Today.  The book is consumable, colorful, and kid friendly.  It really reminds me of a Weekly Reader feel.

Have you had similar experiences in the past with your social studies books?  Does anyone now use the Houghton Mifflin Harcourt series for your particular state?

Happy Friday!