Wednesday, May 25, 2011

Describing Shapes

So, I've been wanting to revise my shape assessment to have students write about shape attributes. It is a first grade math standard to be able to describe shape attributes. Here is a little worksheet that I made. Shape Attributes

Thursday, May 19, 2011

Kindergarten Writing Journal Covers - Printable

I'm gearing up for next year's Kindergarten teaching adventure. I made these cute journal cover pages that I copied onto colored cardstock for student writing journals. I put newsprint story paper for the pages inside. In the way I teach Kindergarten, I believe that there should be a large amount of room for students to illustrate their stories. I also believe in giving students lines to write on, although at first it's more for "exposure" not "precision." I have downloaded fun fonts from 1001 free fonts and love that on a Mac all you do is open up your font book and drag/drop them over and hit install. I haven't worked on journals besides the first two months of school because I might switch to another form of writing books. I do love monthly books. I usually will choose one or 2 copies of student's work and either tear it out or photocopy it for my file as their writing sample and send the monthly journal home.

My September Journal
My October Journal

Daily 5 Word Work Printables

It's the time of the year that I feel the need to add some new word work choices for my students to use during our daily 5 literacy time. You can allow students to get out of their seats and truly search the room on a phonics/word hunt or they can search through their book boxes. Enjoy!
Word Work or OrewordworkirurerwordworkarWord Work 5 LettersWord Work 4 Letters

Saturday, May 14, 2011

Number Formation Songs

A fun way to introduce writing numbers is through rhymes. Here are some little sayings I chant/sing to my students as I teach students how to correctly form numbers.
Number Formation Songs

Sunday, May 8, 2011

Manage Transitions with Music

We all know that transition times can be a challenge for behavior. I have found that call and response types of songs help keep students occupied and busy. If they are not "ready" they can't participate - so boys and girls will hurry to get ready, whether you want them seated, working, or in line.

Grab this freebie here!

Grab this freebie here!

Saturday, May 7, 2011

3D Shapes ~ Signs & Matching Game

My geometry unit is in full gear. I cut and laminate these small signs. Then I attach them to table groups. Students place daily work on their table's 3D shape sign. It makes collecting work and passing it out so much easier and organized. I make a few sets of them and post them on the board beside my table points, on rubbermaid drawers where I store math workplaces, to rubbermaid drawers that store writing or science folders. Everything that is "stored" is organized by table group signs. I hang large double-sided signs (print 2 of each) mounted to construction paper above each table group. My students hear me call out 3D shapes all day long as I excuse tables to line up, be seated, etc. Now my students are very proficient at naming all of their 3D shapes! At the bottom you will find a shape matching game I send home so students can study with parents. 3Dtablesignssmall

Friday, May 6, 2011

Animal Research Report Writing

The past two weeks my first graders have been working on Research Report Writing. We are working on making flip books with the headers: Description, Habitat, Life Cycle, and Diagram. I added lines to each page of the flip book. Our goal is to meet the writing goal below.
Oregon Standard EL.01. WR.19 Research Report Writing: Investigate topics of interest and importance across the subject areas, selecting appropriate media sources, using effective research processes, and demonstrating ethical use of resources and materials. With guidance gather information about a topic and sort it into major categories.
Teacher prep: To start out I gathered a basket of my non-fiction books on animals. I purchased most of them over time from Title Wave, a book store in Portland, OR that sells used library books. Each book cost around a quarter each. If you don't have them, check your school or local library.
Day 1: I let students choose a book on an animal that was interesting to them. I tried to pair my struggling writers with a partner so there was peer support. Students took about 15-20 minutes to read their book. After that they began filling out a graphic organizer to compartmentalize their research findings.
Day 2: Students wrote their animal description and illustrated it. We worked on making sure we had 2 complete sentences. I gave students the sentence frame: My animal is a ___. It has ___ ___. (example: My animal is a shark. It has gray skin.) After turning in their work at the end of writer's workshop, I noticed that many of my students who are ELLs wrote, "My animal is a (sharks, snails, butterflies)." I had to do a reteaching lesson on Day 3 to address the issue of using a singular noun.
Day 3: Students wrote and illustrated the habitat page. I had them include the food that the animal eats here too.
Day 4: Students wrote and illustrated about the animal's life cycle. Make sure you monitor their writing because Apes do not come from eggs as one student tried to write.
Day 5: Diagram - students drew their animal and labeled the parts.
Day 6: Fix up/Edit writing, check for capitals, periods, any words left out, spelling.
Day 7: Partner edit. I modeled how to trade papers with a student and read each others papers one page at a time. We discussed how to add more information and to make our writing easier to read.
Day 8 & 9: Author sharing - students took turns reading their report in front of the class and were very proud of their completed projects.

I had students type a title page to their report in computer lab and add clip art to the cover. I helped out some students by making their title pages if it was too hard for them. We are continuing to work on this standard. Now that the process is more real, they are going to try it again with less teacher support.
Graphic Animal Report

Mother's Day Handprints

This year I had my first grade students make handprints out of wonder-white clay. After the first firing, the students glazed them in the color of their choice. I sent these home in white paper lunch sacks that my students decorated with beautiful crayon designs. In addition we made a card that included a handprint-related poem. We also made long stemmed flowers for children to present to their mothers. Handprint Flowers

They had so much fun. I hope each mother out there feels truly loved this Mother's Day!

I don't have any student examples, but I had my 7 month old make a keepsake for me - it is my first official Mother's Day this weekend! :-) I hope every mother out there feels truly loved this Mother's Day!

Thursday, May 5, 2011

Symmetry City

Today my first graders had a blast with our math lesson. It was originally called Mirror City, but I changed it to Symmetry City. Students had to work in table groups to build a pretend city that was symmetrical across the street. They used pattern blocks, polydrons, paper shapes, scrap paper streets and parks, and wooden cubes. You can see their creativity was great. I let students build for about 5 minutes. One table group really took off so I invited other table groups to view their work and see how it was truly symmetrical. After students observed the model table, they had about 20 minutes to work on their cities. Students loved working together and "playing" while really hitting math standards. Students were saying amazing things about how they were composing shapes like, "teacher...I ran out of trapezoids so I just made one with three triangles." Yippee!

At lunch I was equally impressed with these 6 year olds. One child broke his graham cracker down the middle and exclaimed, "look it has a vertical line of symmetry!" Another child happily chomped away on his little meatball spheres. Geometry is so fun when we take time to notice it all around us!

Wednesday, May 4, 2011


I had the opportunity to visit Russell School in Portland. I saw an idea to have students write lists as a Daily 5 option. I thought, wow, what a fun and different way to practice writing. It gives students another format for practicing their writing. Today, I provided some new "lists" which are just half sheets of paper with lines on them topped with a line-drawing I took off of the internet. The students loved writing all sorts of things on their fancy shmancy paper. The art on top is purely decoration as students can write lists of sight words, rhyming words, or be inspired by the image and generate words that have to do with the picture. I honestly don't care what the students are writing as long as they are practicing the skill. I have to say they were a hit!
Lists 1

Sunday, May 1, 2011

Problem Solving with Kelso the Frog

Our wonderful counselors use Kelso the frog to teach our students to self-manage problem solving. Students try using two "Kelso choices" before reporting to an adult. These choices are for small problems that students can solve on their own such as sharing, someone bothering them, taking cuts, etc. We have colorful posters of these choices in our rooms and they really help with supporting students. If you've never heard of Kelso, I encourage you to check it out!Kelso Choices Sheet