Adventures in First Grade

Friday, January 18, 2013

Snow Day!

Do any of you have little rituals that you do when they are calling for snow?  My boys and I always sleep with our pjs inside out.  Don't ask me why, I have no idea.  It works though (okay sometimes).  It worked yesterday!  We got out of school three hours early and by 7:00 last night we had about five inches of snow!!

Needless to say, there was no school today between the snow and layer of ice under the snow.  I have taken this time to finish up a little pack that I call The Penguin Puzzler.

You know how you give your students an assignment, and inevitably there is a student who completes their work before you have even finished handing out the task?  Or you have a student who finished their seat work during station time and then just sits there, even though they know they are supposed to read?  Well, I created this pack specifically for that reason.

This pack is penguin themed (since it is winter, and we have been studying penguins) but has more elements then just science.  First, you will find a word search.   The words are penguin based.

The second element is a crossword puzzle.  My kiddos go CRAZY for these!  I taught them how to work them and now it is all they want.  The clues for this puzzle are about penguins:

Next up is a math activity that has the children find the sums of addition sentences to answer the question of what is the smallest penguin.

The final activity has the kiddos finding the sums to addition problems to help the penguin find her way to her iceberg.

My firsties have really enjoyed these activities and I hope that yours do too.  If this is something that you might be interested in, CLICK HERE.

Happy Friday!!

Wednesday, January 16, 2013

Pinterest Find

Hello, Bloggy Land!  We don't have school today due to flooding.  The weather here is pretty crazy:  we're in a flood warning, flash flood watch, and winter storm watch all at the same time!  I told my mom on the phone this morning that it is pretty bad when you live on a large hill and STILL have flooding in the yard!

Earlier this week, our Instructional Technologist held a Pinterest Workshop after school.  She does this every now and then and we really learn some neat things.  While doing a social studies search, I discovered this:

This neat pack was developed by Katie author of the Teacher to the Core blog.  It is a TPT product and looks amazing.  I am going to head over there right now to make my purchase!

What are some neat finds that you have discovered recently?

Happy (Rainy) Wednesday!!

Monday, January 7, 2013


Thank you so much to all of my bloggy friends who left such kind words for me.  I appreciate you more than you can know.

A lot of people don't like the month of January.  The holidays are over, nothing to look forward to.  I happen to like January, because I think that it is the perfect time of year to teach about different polar animals.  This week we are learning all about PENGUINS!!  Here is a picture of my science workstation...Penguin Style.

We have been reading different books that are about penguins.  The kiddos have to decide if the book needs to go in the fiction or non-fiction basket.  In the fiction basket, we have Tacky books.  I don't know if you are familiar with Tacky Penguin, but he is HYSTERICAL!  There are several Tacky books, but this is the one you should get first:

Along with the fiction and non-fiction books, the big book about penguins, and the penguin puzzle, you might have noticed the green notebook.  It is our classroom observation journal.

When the kids are in the science station and learn something new, or discover some neat piece of information about penguins, they share it in the journal.

Here is my entry:

Here is Faith's entry:

I got the idea for observation journals at a Debbie Diller conference this fall.  (More about that in another post.)

I have also created a Penguin Assessment Tool:

In this pack, there is a quiz that includes a multiple choice portion, true or false, fill-in-the-blank, and label the penguin.  It comes with an answer key and a non-fiction/fiction penguin book list.  If this is something you might be interested in, CLICK HERE.

I hope that everyone had a great day back at school, especially if you are just starting back after the holiday break.  We started back last Wednesday, so the thought of facing a full week is a little intimidating!

Happy Monday!

Saturday, January 5, 2013

On Thin Ice

As of Wednesday, I have officially been teaching for TEN years!  But this has been the hardest year for me.  I know that I haven't posted in a LONG time....I have not been able to get my school (or personal life, for that matter) to keep from spinning out of control.  I feel like I have been skating on thin ice.

A few months ago, I posted about the new evaluation system that my county has implemented.  Oh.  My.  Goodness.  I am supposed to have three formal evaluations completed this year.  My first one back in the fall lasted for two hours!!!  It was one of the most stressful things I have ever been through professionally.  I am sure the next one will be soon, and I am feeling such anxiety.

Sometimes I feel that in an attempt to keep educators "honest" in their teaching and the need to hold people accountable is going to make teachers burn out.  I truly believe that is one of the reasons that it has been so long since I last posted.  I have been too overwhelmed.

I have also had a hard time in my personal life.  My Granddaddy was diagnosed with prostate cancer a few years ago.  He began a steady decline this past fall, and on November 17, he lost his battle.  My mom, Aunt, and I were with him when he very peacefully passed.  He was 94 and just an amazing person.  He was my last living grandparent, and it has just been very hard on me.  I think of and miss him daily.  I know that he is in a better place, and that does give me a lot of comfort.

It is a new year.  I want (read NEED) a fresh start.

Thank you for hanging with me through this post.  I had forgotten how therapeutic blogging can be!

Happy Saturday!