Tuesday, October 8, 2013

Math Expressions Art Connection

Math Expressions unit 2 lesson 1 has an art connection with it. The students used 2 shapes to make a math man. They then added their shapes together.  5 rectangles + 1 circle = 6 shapes. 6 rectangles + 1 circle= 7 shapes. Some students used triangles and squares in their pictures. This was a good way for students to use some creativity and still do math.

Sunday, August 25, 2013

Classroom progress...

Still waiting on a counter top to be ripped out and a bulletin board to be installed but hopefully that will be done soon so i can get all my morning meeting and calendar stuff put in. In the mean time I have put together my library, my closet, my shelves, and my word wall. 

Monday... It got worse before it got better. 

Front rug area for morning meeting and whole group. (To Do: rip out counter top, install bulletin board, and projector with  elmo,  also hoping for a round meeting rug)
My desk and listening center. The door goes into the classroom next-door.  

Class library. Books leveled by genre and DRA level. 

This is the opposite side of the shelf in the library but faces my desk. Weekly copies and lesson plans, office supplies and games and puzzles (some of  the games and puzzles might get moved to a kids area or the close) 

Large storage closet- multiple copies book sets, extra manipulatives and toys for choice time or indoor recess  
Front area and alpha line

Kidney table for guided reading and word wall 

Front white board. The shelf with the green tubs is two sided. Kids will use green tubs for  mailboxes.

kids tables 

I have PLC training and other meeting all next week but hopefully that will give them time to get some of the construction done. Crossing my fingers everything is ready by Thur for Open House!!

Friday, August 16, 2013

Made the News

News 8 recently did a story on a first year teacher (me) getting a classroom ready for the year. Checkout the links. News 8- First Year in the Classroom (video) News 8- Area teachers prep classrooms (article)

A Classroom All My Own

 Finally got into my classroom. Between vacation, someone else using my room for summer school and cleaning/construction it has been hard to find time to get in there. Here are a few of the before pictures...

There was a preschool summer school class in there so all the toys and things needed to be moved out.

Got a pretty good start on the class library. Books in white baskets are sorted by level, books in red baskets are series (judy b jones, little bear etc) books on tall shelf are sorted by theme. and behind the red curtain are all the books that have multiple copies that I will use for guided reading and I don't want lost in children's book boxes. 

My desk area, clearly still under construction, but I like where I have it placed. That door behind it leads into another classroom. Hopefully having my desk here will act as a barrier for sound and students going between rooms. 

View from the door my room is a large upside down L. From the door my desk and the library are on the leg of the L and the kids desks and carpet for whole group and morning meeting are on the stick part of the L .

Floor Plan (Check out my giant storage closet!! I do have to share it with the classroom next door but 1/2 of it is mine to hide all the classroom clutter and things we aren't using!) 

Clearly there is still a ton to get done! Every time I cross something off my list i seem to add 5 more things. One of which is to remember to take photos of the process! Stay posted! 

Monday, August 12, 2013

Math Expressions

Finally got my hands on the new Math Expressions manual for next year. The new version is aligned to the Common Core! It saves me a lot of work trying to align my lessons. Each day for math I have my students do 4 station rotations. These stations give the kids time to explore manipulatives and practice their skills. I try to work on  art projects, whole body kinesthetics activities, and lit connects when I can during station time. Some of the math stations I package up into a gallon ziplock (we call them math buckets) and put in a tote. In the past I have given my kids an occasional Free Friday and let them work in pairs and pick their own "math bucket" or fast finishers sometimes get some extra math bucket time. I have also sent home a math bucket and instruction card with a child who needed some extra practice.

Math expressions comes with 3 activities (intervention, on level, and challenge) for each unit. I have found that they can get repetitive. Some days I include one or two of the Math Expressions activities and a workbook page when available in my station rotation. Some of the stations also get repeated throughout the unit so my kids don't get hit with 4 news games everyday. There is usually one repeat or a slight variation on an old station each day. There is also the occasion "explore" station which is when I just give them time to play with a new manipulative. It is usually a manipulative that we are going to use as a whole group the following day and I want them to be able to get to play with it before we need to use it the next day.

I put together a document with the lesson title (I used to reference the CCS but now i don't have to because it's in the new teacher manual!!!), a few whole group ideas, some of the Math Expressions daily routine (the 100s chart counting part of the Math Expression routine I generally include as part of our morning meeting and calendar time), and 4 station ideas for the day.

Clearly some of the stations may change. Sometimes we combine two easy lessons or we might need to spend more than one day on a difficult lesson and do a station  two days in a row if it is a difficult concept but this at least provides me with a daily outline and stations ideas to pull from.

This document is still a work in progress but I hope to be done with Unit 3 this week which will at least get me a good jump start on the year!

Math Expressions Unit Breakdown and Station Activities

Thursday, June 6, 2013

Summer Project

My summer project is to get all my books leveled using the DRA leveling system. I have a few sets of books from Rigby, Kaeden, The Wright Group and Creative Teaching Press.

Here are a few sites I found helpful!

Wright Group


creative teaching press


alpha kids

Kaeden (you can also use their search bar for specific books and then click details to get the levels)

Scott Foresman- Little Celebrations

Thursday, March 28, 2013

Math Bowling

My first graders love to play this. I used it as a math station. I used foam pins and a foam ball (borrowed from PE)  but you could also use something smaller like plastic cups and make it a table top game. I liked that it was large motor. The more i can keep my kids moving and involved the better they do. I taped 10 X's on the floor so they would know where to reset up the pins after they knocked them down.  Students had to bowl once and then do the math and complete the picture on their "score card" For example if they knocked down 3 pins they would color in 3 of the circles and write 10-3=7. I provided the 10 to get them started but later on the sheet I had them write the whole equation.

Score Card TpT

* Addition- You could also use the back side,
change the minus to plus and also play this as

 __+ __ = __

Wednesday, March 27, 2013

Common Core Widget!

Just watched the video that shows how to add the Common Core Widget to my blog. Super Easy! During student teaching I had to write out all my lessons and align them to Common Core and cite the standards my lessons met. This would have been helpful as a quick reference.

How To Add The Widget

Check out the new widget --------------------------------->

Link to the Common Core web page

Money Book Bags

There are 19 Money book bags- I only used 10 of them as part of my lesson however the extras were available to students during math stations or for fast finishers.

We completed a Math Expressions unit a few days early so we took some time to do a mini social studies unit on Money. Math Expressions uses coins A LOT in first grade. The book bags were a way to continue to explore money from a social studies point of view. We all began with a venn diagram comparing pennies, nickels and dimes. We looked at color, value, president, the year the coin was minted, shape and size. Students then worked in pairs to complete the book bags. After reading we regrouped and brain stormed a list of money vocabulary - value, cost, mint, coin, dollar, penny, nickel, dime, quarter, spend, save, buy, cash, bill, sell, bank and price.

Students also had the opportunity to create their own coins or dollars. Originally this was only for specific books but I ended up having all students do this during a Math Station. We talked about what we see on coins and dollars- a year, a president, a building or other symbol.

Book Bags TpT

Book List 
A Dollar for Penny - Julie Glass
A Dollar = $1.00 - Carey Molter
A Penny= 1¢ -  Carey Molter
A Nickel = 5¢ -  Carey Molter
A Dime = 10¢ -  Carey Molter
A Quarter = 25¢ -  Carey Molter
The Penny Pot - Stuart Murphy
Benny's Pennies - Pat Brisson
All About Coins-Pennies
All About Coins- Nickels
All About Coins- Dimes
All About Coins -Quarters
Ice Cream Money-Sharon L. Young
The Class Store- Sharon L. Young
Twenty-Five Cents- Sharon L. Young
The Shopping Trip-Sharon L. Young
Dollars- Mary Hill
Quarter- Mary Hill
Making Money- Sharon Holm

Sunday, March 24, 2013

Fantastic Scholastic!!

My students receive Scholastic News but even if your school doesn't get a subscription for each student you can still read them online or by projecting them on the smartboard. There are even ways to interact with the online version and the site will also read the text aloud.

Here is the link to the first grade magazine but there are magazines for grades Pre K to 6th as well as subject specific magazines for middle schoolers.
Scholastic News Online 
All the issues back to Sept 2010 are archived. If you are looking for a group read for a themed unit this is a great place to check out!
Archived Issues

Free book downloads from Scholastic and the Institute of Medicine. Victors Garden focuses on healthy eating. 

Animal in Winter- Book Bags

 I used these book bags this fall with my first graders to accompany my "Animals getting Ready for Winter" unit. 11 books and one weekly reader. Students partner read, tally "no excuse words" or site words, and created a picture of an animal from their book and classify it as a hibernator, migrator, sleeper, or active.

Book Bags TpT


Migration (non-fiction) Robin Nelson
Squirrels (non-fiction) Melvin and Gilda Berger
Bears (non-fiction) 
Melvin and Gilda Berger

Robins (non-fiction)
Melvin and Gilda Berger

Whose Forest Is It? (non-fiction) Rozanne William
When Winter Comes  (non-fiction) Pearl Neuman
Under the Snow (non-fiction) Melissa Stewart---------------- Beautiful pictures would work well for a read aloud.
Melvin and Gilda Berger 
--------------- Beautiful pictures would work well for a read aloud.
Busy Animals (non- fiction) Lisa Bullard
Animals in Winter (non-fiction)  Henrietta Bancroft

Animals in the Woods  (non-fiction, weekly reader)

The Migration (non-fiction) Sandra Iverson

Sunday, February 17, 2013

Dr. Seuss Bulletin Board

Upper Left- One Fish Two Fish Red Fish Blue Fish - Fishing For Compliments. Students earned fish for random acts of kindness. Students also had the opportunity to estimate how many fish they though were in the fish bowl.

Upper Right- Dr. Seuss ABC- Hip Hip Hooray For Hamilton Seuss Day! all "H's" in red for Hamilton.

Lower Left- The Lorax- Truffula Tree with magnetic letters to make CVC words

Lower Right- The Cat in the Hat- Different color hats to work on color word identification.

Maps & Globes

Here are the book bags for my Maps & Globes unit. There are 8 book bags each containing a list of guided reading questions (pre reading, during reading, and post reading) and a culminating activity. The books range in level from about a level D to a level M . I use these book bags as partner work but you could use them in small groups, or pick one to use for a whole group lesson.

Titles and Authors (levels if found on scholastic leveler)

Reading Maps by David Rhys
A Birds Eye View by Marcia Freeman
Find Your Way (author unknown)
Looking at Maps and Globes by Carmen Bredeson (K)
Types of Maps by Mary Wade (I)
Map Keys by Rebecca Aberg (I)
Maps by Joellyn Cicciarelli
Mapping Pennies World by Loreen Leedy (M)

There is also a formal lesson plan included that is aligned to the Common Core Standards for 1st Grade. I taught this as a two day project. Day one was read and pull out key terms and answer basic understanding questions. Day two was re read, map project, and present new information to classmates.

Monday, January 7, 2013

Germs Germs Germs

With each unit I teach I have created a group of 2-10 book bags to help guide students through the text and learn more about the social studies or science theme. The guide asks students to look at the the pictures, find vocabulary and answer some comprehension questions. These 3 book bags are on germs.

*Goal for the next month is to get all my books bags on TpT and posted here.

Germs Germs Germs students could choral read. Germs Make Me Sick is a harder text (2.8) and will be used as a read aloud in my room. The Germ Busters is also a harder text and will be used a a read aloud in my room.

Germs Book Bags (TpT)