Tuesday, July 30, 2013

Eye Spy amazing writing!

Hello Everyone!
I'm back again with another little tidbit I gleaned from Carol Avery's book, "...And With a Light Touch."  Writing in our draft/craft books during writer's workshop is such a joyful part of our day as first graders.  Along with allowing students to have choice in topics, Carol also suggests that pencils without erasers be used.  I know that is not a new concept, but I never hopped on that bandwagon.  I will this year! While reading this, my thoughts bring me back to watching one of my kiddos erase an entire page of their own writing.  She was not happy with how it was turning out. She then proceeded  to write over the top of all her smudges, which made her new thoughts "unreadable." Carol suggests using pencils without erasers "makes it easy for children to learn to line out rather than erase--a procedure that facilitates revision."  In my classroom, I try to model my own draft on large chart paper using a marker every day. Of course I can't erase. But I can show the kids how to line out words I don't want, or underline words of which I am unsure. Having the kids do the same in their own draft/craft book will help them have a positive focus on their personal expressions. It will also allow for observing/tracking the whole editing/revising piece.  Working on a draft should not be scary. It should be joyfilled! 
So, now the problem with "pencils without erasers" exists. Some teachers I know use golf pencils,  others use pens, and still others special order them. Just pushing off the eraser can be fine, but then you have that sharp metal end that will undoubtedly get chewed. Youch! My solution to this problem was inspired by the Expo dry erase markers that come with a little fuzzy on the end to erase. I know you've seen them.  Well, I got busy with that same idea and in about 10 minutes I had a class set of "Eye Spy" pencils.  I simply removed the eraser, hot glued a little fuzzy in its place and then added a little wiggly eye.  Voila!  


Our "Eye Spy" pencils ready to go!

I can't wait to help my kids be more confident writers!! I'd love to hear from you about your thoughts on using pencils without erasers.  

As always, thanks for stopping by!  Have a great rest of the week!! I am off to the Rangers game tonight with my three favorite guys!! 

Saturday, July 27, 2013

Beginning of the year Quick Forms

Hello Everyone!!
I am so excited!! Our oldest son is coming home for a visit!!  It seems like forever since we've seen him!! And he's bringing his puppy!!  YAY!! Three ring circus, here we come!!  (We already have 2 dogs and 2 cats!)  Anyway, that's why this post is veeeeeeeery short!  I freshened up my beginning of school quick forms and combined them into a packet.  This packet contains a parent questionnaire, snack info, schedule, behavior chart, wish list and a couple of other things!  Here are a few pics of the 11 page free packet.

Have a great rest of the weekend!!
As always, if you grab the unit, please let me know if there is something I can fix or update. 

Thursday, July 25, 2013

Science Notebook Set Up!!

Hello Everyone!
A couple of weeks ago we had the opportunity to go to a little science workshop. Thanks to our science instructional specialist, we learned some ways to "fit it all in." An emphasis was made to incorporate and organize vocabulary into our science/reading lessons.  We also learned a fun way to store science items.  Well, I got busy and reorganized my science notebook pages, beginning of the year set up lessons, and vocabulary. I also took the storage idea and made it fit with the notebooks. I can't wait to share with the kiddos!
Here are a few pics from the 60+ page unit!

Student science notebook cover

Science Saver- to store vocabulary cards and other treasures!

Over 100 vocabulary words included

If you are at all interested in this little set up unit for science notebooks, you simple need to click here!! :)

I hope this helps you in your quest to organize your science curriculum and student notebooks.  Let me know what you think, or if there is something I need to fix. I do read all the comments, and try hard (not always successful) to get back to you if you have questions. 
I hope you're having a great week!  
Thanks for stopping by for a peek!

Saturday, July 20, 2013

Writer's Draft/Craft Toolbox Unit

Hello Everyone!
I love helping my little firsties grow their writing. After reading Carol Avery's book, ...And With a Light Touch, this summer, I was motivated to improve my "Writer's Toolbox." I am so excited to share this with my kiddos in a few weeks. The unit includes some pages to print off, punch holes, and store in a folder with fasteners. I've included some samples of draft book paper for the different stages, some alphabet pages, some pages for kids to brainstorm and save all their ideas and words, and some target skill pages.   I have also included some writing mini lesson ideas based on both Lucy Calkins and Carol Avery, and the roving writer's conference short sheets.
Here are pics of a few of the 32 page unit.

Student Draft/Craft  Toolbox Cover

Sample Target Skills Page

Sample Draft Page

Things to write about
Map of the heart page

Mini Reminder Poster

If you want a printable, you can get it here! Click Away!! :)

I love having time to work on school stuff over the summer.  You should see my living room. Piles and piles of books, papers, and ideas!!  I love it!!  I'll be back soon with some science notebook ideas!!
Trying hard to get it all together!!
Till next time, thanks for stopping by and have a great weekend!!

Tuesday, July 16, 2013

Lilly's Purple Plastic Purse mini unit

Hello Everyone!
Thanks for stopping by this little "Window On Wonder."  A first grade classroom is wonder-filled place to be and first graders are simply amazing little learners . I love starting off the year with Kevin Henke's books as they are so relevant to the lives of our little cuties.  Chrysanthemum and Lilly's Purple Plastic Purse are perfect to teach classroom behaviors.  Last year I shared my Chrysanthemum unit. You can get it HERE!! :)
This year I want to share a little Lilly mini unit with you.  The unit is an integration of ELA and SS. At the beginning of the year, we include lessons on rules and leaders in our community as well as laying the foundation for beginning reading strategies.  
Here's a quick peek into my Lilly's Purple Plastic Purse unit.

A little picture/word matching game

Make a little purse to store your game pieces
HOV (Hands On Visual) connection

Thinking map

To get your free 20 page Lilly unit, click here!! :)

The unit includes patterns to make Lilly's Purple Paper Purse and a little Lilly.

Hope you can use even a little part of this unit!  I can't wait to introduce Lilly to my new little ones!!
Don't forget to leave a little comment if you have time.  I learn so much from you!!
Till next time!
Have a joy-filled day!!

Thursday, July 11, 2013

Good Morning!!

Hello Everyone!
Just a quick post today, then off to some science training!!  One of my most popular post is the one I did on my morning warm ups. I thought I'd rework and create a little pack.  I am not a fan of just a pencil/paper activity every day for the kids to do as soon as they get to school, but I do want them reading and/or writing and/or talking! :)  Every morning while I'm taking lunch count, attendance, organizing notes from parents, etc., the kids follow our Morning Warm up schedule. Most days there is an independent, hands on, pair, share activity. Here's the schedule:

The mini unit describes each of the warm ups!! They warm up brains for about 10-15 minutes.  
The next thing we do is our morning meeting.  The pack includes this little rap, a little song, and some morning meeting rules. Morning meeting is a time where we grow together as a class community.  The pack gives a little more information about morning meeting. 

Hope you can use some of this to make your mornings bright!!

Have a good morning!!

Monday, July 8, 2013

Hot Air Balloon Unit!

Hello Everyone!
I know it's been a few days since my last post, but I've been busy finishing up my newest unit.  I think it would be fun to start the new year off with a unit on hot air balloons. Kids (and adults) are fascinated with hot air balloons! They are so colorful, almost magical, and so interesting!! This 78 page unit includes some beginning of the year poems and books the kids can make, some goal setting, some alphabet and phoneme practice, some math ten frame practice, strategy games, and math tub activities, some information on hot air balloons and science experiments, and much more!  Oh! I can't forget! It also includes patterns for a "Hands On Visual" connection (formerly known as a "craft" connection).
Here are a few pics!

Make a mini hot air balloon science activity with recording sheet
hot air balloon 10 frames with a matching game
goal setting

A Class Graphing Activity with recording and observation sheets

counting phonemes partner game, word cards included

For your free 78 page cross curricular hot air balloon unit, click here!

I would love to hear from you, if you think this is something you can use! I know I can't wait to share it with my new kids!!  Please leave me a comment!  I love reading your responses!! If you would like to see anything else added to this unit, don't hesitate to ask!!  
As always, thanks for stopping by for a peek!! I appreciate you! Till next time, have a wonder-filled week! Keep soaring!!