Monday, April 14, 2014

Product Swap Snapshot + Giveaway!

I'm excited to be participating in a product swap and giveaway with a couple of my blogging friends.
I was able to try out a unit from April over at Chalk Talk.
I'm always bored every year when I teach about rocks, so I was excited to check out April's Rock Unit
There are so many great things included in this unit.  April has included examples of read alouds, questions for discussion, sequencing charts, science labs and experiments, poems, writing projects, and so much more!  I know my rock unit will be ROCKIN' now!
Here are some pictures from April's blog.

Make sure to visit my friends below who will be snapshotting other great products!
Chalk Talk
Surfin' Through Second
A Teeny Tiny Teacher
Now it's time to enter a giveaway.
Enter the rafflecopter below.
a Rafflecopter giveaway

Sunday, March 30, 2014

Educating with Easter Eggs

Around this time every year, you start seeing plastic Easter eggs in every store!  Since I think novelty is key in keeping students interested in their learning (especially once Spring Fever hits), I always pick up a huge bag of these eggs.
There are just so many amazing things you can do with Easter eggs.
1. Letter Recognition
 2.  Word Families
3.  Rhyming Words
4.  Compound Words
5.  Synonyms and Antonyms
6. Addition and Subtraction
7.  Equivalent Equations
8.  Showing Ways to Make Numbers
9.  Fractions
10.  Sight Word Hunts
11.  Guess What's in my Egg?

I've created some printables to use for each of the ideas above in this packet below.
Two more of my favorite ideas for using Easter eggs is this "behavior management" idea from What the Teacher Wants and this writing activity from Inspire Me ASAP.
What are your favorite things to do with plastic eggs?

Tuesday, March 25, 2014

April NO PREP Games

Last weekend I finally got a chance to finish my April No Prep Math and Literacy Games. 
I absolutely love these packets.  I make copies of the games for the month and keep them at the corner of my desk.  Whenever we have an extra 10-15 minutes, I can grab one of the games.  They are also great for when you find that your students are starting to get restless {Can you say "Spring Fever?"} and they need to do something else.
As you probably already know, kids LOVE games.
So many times, students forget that they are even learning when they are playing a game.
This packet includes 5 Literacy and 5 Math Games as well as an April Bingo and a Shape Shuffle Game to be played in a small or whole group setting.
The best part of this packet is that the games are NO PREP.  Just print and play!
All of the games come in black and white versions, but some also come in a color version as well.  The color versions are great if you want to print and laminate in order to save these from year to year.

 This packet is jam packed with games to review important skills.
You can head on over to my TpT store to check it out.

Wednesday, March 19, 2014

Bringing Reading to Life

My absolute favorite thing about being a teacher is reading aloud to students!  I think if I found a job where I just moved from class to class throughout the school and read to them, I would be in heaven.  {My voice would probably be a different story.}
There are many times where you just want to read aloud for pure enjoyment, but most of the time reading aloud is used for teaching specific skills.  So, how do teachers make the most of read alouds?

1.  Whenever possible, preview the book prior to reading so you can give the students an introduction to the book.  For example,  "Boys and girls, I am so excited to read this book to you today because it is about my very favorite animal!"
2.  Previewing the book prior to reading will also give you the opportunity to introduce any new vocabulary that you think your students will need to understand before reading.
3.  Preview the book with the students.  Let them look at the pictures and make predictions about the book. 
4.  Explain to the students that while you are reading, they need to be active listeners.
 Let them know that you will be stopping every once in awhile to check their understanding.  Explain to them that good readers make pictures in their minds while listening to a story.

5. While reading, stop and ask questions to check for understanding.  Demonstrate to the students how to make text to self, text to text, and text to world connections.


6.  Make sure to keep the students attention by showing your enthusiasm for the book.  Change your voice to match the characters and really read with expression.
7.  After reading, let students share their thoughts about the story.  They can give their opinions and give their ideas for what they may have done the same or differently from the characters in the story.
8.  Most importantly, model for your students that reading means thinking!
I have way too many books to count that I LOVE to read aloud.  Topping my list would probably be The Polar Express, Tacky the Penguin, The Pout-Pout Fish, pretty much any Dr. Seuss book and Robert Munsch book....and I can go on and on!
What is your favorite book to read aloud?


Sunday, March 16, 2014

All About Weather

I love teaching a weather unit around this time every year.  At least in Indiana, March is perfect for teaching about weather because one day it will be in the 70's and the next day, it will be snowing.  You can pretty much guarantee that March in Indiana is going to bring sun, snow, rain, and thunderstorms, so we get some real life experience with it all.
We began on Monday by brainstorming a list of weather words. 
After creating our list, I passed out 2 raindrop shapes to each student and had them write a weather word and illustrate it for our Weather Vocabulary board that will stay up in our classroom while we are learning about weather.
The following day, we began learning all about wind.  We read our "Wind" informational sheet {from my All About Weather packet} and highlighted new vocabulary words. 
After we discussed our new vocabulary, we worked on going back into the text and using text evidence to find the answers to our comprehension questions.
When discussing wind, we talked a lot about helpful vs. harmful wind using these sheets included in my packet.
The students loved being able to look at "real" weather pictures.  It really helped with their understanding.
Through the week last week, I introduced a different weather topic each day.  We read about the topic, found new vocabulary, and went back into our text to answer questions about the passages. 
Each topic in my All About Weather packet also includes a poem and a simple writing assignment.

After discussing the types of precipitation, we created these flip charts to help explain the different types of precipitation that fall from the sky.

 We will continue our learning about weather over the next two weeks.  We will learn about clouds and make a cloud chart.
We will also learn all about the water cycle.  My first graders look forward to learning about the weather each day.
You can find my new All About Weather Unit at Teachers Pay Teachers.
The unit includes all of the informational passages with "real pictures" from above as well as comprehension questions, writing pages, vocabulary sheets, and more.  You will also find an "All About Clouds" booklet and a "Water Cycle" booklet as well as some other weather pages.
 I included picture vocabulary words that are great to post in your classroom.
I am really excited about this unit and everything that is included.
Head on over to my TpT store to check it out.

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