Adventures in First Grade

Monday, August 19, 2013

Thank You and Classroom Pics

I am shocked at the fact the last few weeks have sped by so quickly! 

To begin, I want to say a HUGE thank you to Mai Huynh, my first day of school blogger exchange friend!  Look at the sweet goodies that she sent:

I have already used one of the cards to write a note to my son's teacher thanking her for a great first day.  I am using a new color pen each day.  The colors make me so happy!

Please head over to Mai's blog, Diary of a Grumpy Teacher.  It is great!

If you have read any of my posts from earlier this summer, you may know that I decided to change my color scheme.  Here are some pictures showing the end results.

First view from my door.  Thank you Pinterest!

My whole group area and son!

Math Focus Boards

Writing Station and Word Wall.  Again, thank you Pinterest!!
Another Writing Station View
Author Spotlight in the Classroom Library
My Organizational Board
Classroom Rules

I hope that you have enjoyed this little mini tour.  Stay tuned for pictures from the first day of school.

Happy Monday!

Tuesday, July 23, 2013

The Great Crayon Project

Today, I heard those two dreaded words come out of my seven-year-old's mouth:  "I'm bored." 


Well, I just hopped over to my pinterest boards and found some things for us to do.  We did a couple of experiments.  The first one was the standard baking soda and vinegar.  Both boys thought that was pretty neat.

Next, we did an experiment using white vinegar and pennies.  It's supposed to turn them green after a few hours/days. Here's a pic:

Lastly we did what I am calling the Great Crayon Project.

You start by getting crayons, you know the odds and end broken pieces that you have laying around.  Peel the paper off each one.

Next step:  Line a cookie sheet with aluminum foil.  Cut a piece of cardboard to fit in the cookie sheet.  Arrange the crayons on the cardboard.

Here is Luke's:

 Here's mine:

After you have arranged the crayons, put the cookie sheets in the oven at 250 degrees for about ten minutes.  When the time is up use a craft stick and swirl around the melted wax.

The final product:

Luke's Crayon Creation

My Crayon Creation

Once the wax has cooled, I am going to cut away the excess cardboard so our art can be displayed.

What are some fun projects that you have created this summer?

Happy Tuesday!

Monday, July 22, 2013

Book Boxes....Round 3

 When I first started Daily Five and using book boxes, I used these that I got from Walmart.

They worked okay, but they really weren't that sturdy.

So, last year, I ordered these to use as my book boxes.

I bought them from Classroom Direct.  I really liked them and thought that they would be durable.  Little did I know that I would have a class that was quite rough on our supplies.  Let's just say I had several students who did not realize their own strength.

I knew that I was going to have to do something different this year.  Earlier this summer, I saw this from Really Good Stuff:

I was/am in LOVE.  It is $169 and it's not just the frame....the plastic bins come with it!  With their EZ pay option, I could convince myself that I wasn't spending as much money (stupid, I know).

After being back ordered for little over a month, it FINALLY arrived.  It took me less than a half an hour to put it together!

It also came with labels and plastic covers:

The boxes come in a variety of color choices.  Click HERE if you would like to go to check it out for yourself!

Happy Monday!

Saturday, July 20, 2013

Ten Pin Linky: Writing

Boy am I late to the party!  This week, Ashley is having her Ten Pin Linky with a writing theme.

In no particular order....

1.  I am in LOVE with this writing station.  In fact, I have already created my own version using my colors for this year.

2.  I really like the idea of students rating their own writing.  This is a great, kid-friendly rubric for them to begin to see what good writing should look like.

3.  The idea of using props as hooks is really helpful.  Here is one for sifting through ideas.
4.  Another prop for remembering to use great handwriting.  I actually had a silver platter last year...I got it for about 3.00 at Olde Time Pottery.

5.  The last prop is another that I have used and blogged about.  It is relating writing and building a house.  You have to have a plan.

6.  So many times when firsties are beginning to learn how to write, everything is connected by the dreaded "and."  This pin should help that...problem.

7.  The next few pins are to make writing more fun.  Something to make it seem different then just using pencil and paper.


9.  Even in first grade, we can start teaching about using words other than he said, she said, I get the picture.

10.  The final pin, and believe me I could go on and on, is one that I am going to try to implement this year in my classroom.  The idea of writing goals.

If you would like to head over to Pinterest and see other ideas that I have, just click HERE.

Don't forget to link up with Just Reed!

Happy Saturday!

Friday, July 19, 2013

Oh' Boy Fourth Grade's BIG Giveaway

How would you like $100 to spend at School Outfitters?  I know that I do.  Head over and check out Farley's awesome giveaway!

Actually, DON'T head over there.  Forget I said anything about it!  Just kidding.  Sorta.

Good Luck!

Happy Friday!

Wednesday, July 17, 2013

Ag in the Classroom and FREE Resources for YOU!

Yesterday, I had another professional development workshop.  This one was for Ag in the Classroom (AITC).  I think I have posted about this before, but yesterday's workshop was fantastic. 

A little background: AITC is a nonprofit organization that gives teachers resources to incorporate science across the curriculum.  The workshops are fun, informative, have a make-and-take section, and always end with getting a bag of goodies!

This year, AITC's theme is Jump Start Your School Garden. 

The booklet we got was full of fantastic ideas.  Some of my favorites are:

Butterfly Life Cycle
Pizza Garden Fractions
During the make-it-take-it portion of the day, I made two crafts.

The first one was a plant parts flip book.  Please excuse my terrible artistic skills!

The second craft, and I'm using the term loosely simply because it is WAY more than just a craft, is a math flower.  It is actually for upper grades because it shows prime and composite numbers.  However, I turned it into a way for my firsties to think about all the ways to add to a number.  Here is my example, excuse my lopsided flower:

Every teacher in the workshop was also given a bag of FREE resources:

I already have this book, and it is great for showing kids how their bread gets to the table.
A class set of maps
This poster, What's Really Happening on the Farm, has 4 numbers.  There is a lesson plan that corresponds with each number on the back.
Are you interested?  AITC has a website with TONS of free resources for teachers.  There are so many lesson plans aligned with the S.O.L.s.  Yes, this is a Virginia organization, however, our standards are pretty much in line with Common Core.

Click the picture to take you to AITC's website.
Let me know what you think!

Happy Wednesday!

Monday, July 15, 2013

Foul Ball...and Other Stuff

Hello everyone!  I know that it has been awhile since I last posted, but my family and I were on a camping trip.  One of the things that we did was go to a minor league baseball game.  It was one of the highlights of the trip.  We had great seats behind home plate, but then the sun moved and it got HOT!  So we moved to some bleacher seats right behind the visiting team's relief pitchers. 

It was Dog Day at the game, and everything was quite casual.  My youngest was climbing up and down the steps and on one of is trips, he noticed the players.  There is not a shy bone in that child's body, so he started talking to the players.  You can imagine my husband and my surprise when one of the guys rolled him a baseball!

My oldest was happy for his brother, but jealous too.  My husband told him we would try to catch a foul ball.  No other balls came our way, and Luke was pretty sad.  As we were leaving, I heard this rolling sound and the man walking in front of us turned around and asked if either of the boys wanted the foul ball that just rolled in front of him!  We thanked him profusely and both boys have a new treasure!!

 Today, the real world smacked me because I had a professional development conference.  The presenter was Shannon Samulski from Michigan.  She has developed what she calls Intervention Kits for math, reading, and writing. 

There were several points that she made that really resonated with me.  The first was reaching the child's instructional match.  She had us read a passage with many made up words so we could see how struggling students feel when being asked to read something on their frustration level.  She said that we spend way more time then we think teaching above their instructional level. 

A second tip that she talked about was the necessity of repetition.  A child with an IQ of 120 needs to practice 25 times.  IQ of 100, 35 times.  An IQ of 80?  55 times!  We talked a lot about how with pacing guides, and mandated curriculum, it is really difficult to get enough repetitions for our struggling students.  She gave us a LOT to think about.

If you would like to check out her ideas, this is her website:  
She also has a blog:
She offers freebies on both!!

I have a couple of questions for you:

1.  Have you ever heard Shannon's presentations?
2.  Have you worked in a school where she has coached the teachers?
3.  Have you used her intervention kits?

Happy Monday!

Saturday, July 6, 2013

Back-To-School Mini Word Wall

I hope everyone had a safe and happy 4th of July!  We watched some fireworks.  However it was a toss-up as to who disliked them more:  Parker, our youngest, or the dog!  Let me tell's hard to have a four year old AND a black lab trying to get on your lap!!

On to the post.  Along with a regular word wall, I use mini word posters in my writing station that are themed by month.  I have created one for Back to School.

The first three people to comment will receive this word wall for......FREE!  Make sure that you leave me your e-mail in your comment!  If anyone else is interested, click the picture and it will take you to my TPT store.

Happy Saturday!