Tuesday, April 21, 2015

Showing Not Telling and a Quick Printable Earth Day Unit

Hello Everyone!
I loooooove this time of year. I  (OH! And the kids, too!) can really start seeing all the work we've put into our written express come to fruition!  The last couple of weeks we've been working on "showing, not just telling" our stories.  I am so happy with how they are taking those ideas and running with them!  We started off writing about what made us happy. We brainstormed how happy looks on a face, on a body, and what our voices do. Then the kids wrote a rough draft of their happiness. We revised, edited, and rewrote.  I love hearing the voices in these pieces!

Next we moved on to writing about a place. We had the opportunity to go to the zoo last week so we used that as our springboard!  This time we worked on the setting's sights, sounds, smells, and how it felt.

Way to go, Kids!!!  If you would like a printable copy of the steps and templates for the kids,

I can't wait to see how far we can go with our writing.  My first graders believe they are authors!!!

On another note, tomorrow is Earth Day.  I put together an ultra mini unit to help kids understand its importance and relevance to their lives.  During this time of year we are learning about our natural resources and conservation, so Earth Day fits!!

I am looking forward to using some of this tomorrow!! 

I hope you're having a good week!  To my friends in Australia, please be safe!  I am hearing about some crazy storms down there!!  To my friends around here, be safe as well.  We are in the start of tornado season!
Til next time, thanks for stopping by for a peek!!

Saturday, April 18, 2015

Natural Resources

Hello Everyone!
Another quick share today.  I am working on 2 huge events that are consuming my extra time---but are both so worth while.  I'm on a hunt today for about a hundred old rusty horseshoes!!  Ha Ha!  I think I can! I think I can!! :)  Wish me luck!
I wanted to share an updated version of my Natural Resources unit.  I have added a section inspired by "The Giving Tree" by Shel Silverstein, one of my all time favorite books to use this time of year.  I've also added 5 new math tub activities focused on comparing numbers up to 120, adding single digits to multiples of 10.   Here are a few pics.

A Reader's Theater for Kids

Unscramble the sentences

A written expression opportunity

A Mystery Picture Opportunity

Some math problem solving stories in mini book form.

3 different "Sunny Sums" games for math tubs

If You want it...CLICK HERE!! :)

These are a few of the 50 pages of print and go learning opportunities you'll get in this little pack!  I can't wait to get started!

Have an awesome weekend!! 

Monday, April 13, 2015

OUCH! A Study on ou and ow!

Hello Everyone!
Just a super quick share tonight!  We are coming up on the tricky word work study of the diphthongs ou and ow.  The exceptions to the common rule that ou (as in ouch) is usually found at the beginning or middle of a word and ow is found at the end of a syllable or word are numerous! I put together a mini unit to help kids practice. And OH!! Since it is poetry month, I've also included a way to integrate the word work with Shel Silverstein and a written expression, OUCH! Here are a few pics!

A fun word work game for a little extra practice!

Hope you can use it!!  Or even just parts of it!  thanks for stopping by!! I hope you're having a great week!!

Sunday, April 12, 2015

Thinking Outside The Box

Hello Everyone!
I hope you are having a great weekend! We got to go to the Texas Rangers Opening Weekend game last night and had a blast!  What a great game!!  It really got me thinking about the talents of some of the players and I was wondering how they did in school.  I do know that my family's all time fav baseball player is pitcher, Nolan Ryan. What you may not know is that Nolan Ryan is dyslexic.  When you think about it, dyslexia did not get in the way of his dreams.  Someone, somewhere along the way, nurtured his talent and with hard work and dedication he was able to overcome his learning difference to become one of the best pitchers the world has ever seen.  
As a teacher of young learners, I have a passion for trying to reach ever kind of learner. We all have learners who process information differently. One way to nurture those differences is through fostering their creative energy.  I get  tons of e-mail questions about how I fit in all the opportunities for creative expression that I show on this blog.  In all honesty, sometimes it is a challenge, but I think it is important to strike a balance and give those kids who shine best through creative expression a fair chance to do so.  I have posted about my morning routine before and the fact that every Thursday's morning work is a "Think Outside the Box" opportunity.  This is one way to add a tiny bit of self expression and creativity into your students' day.  I simply give the kids a page with a random figure on it and give them the chance to create anything they want. They can turn their paper any direction they want.  I encourage them to try to think of something no one else would think of.  I also encourage them to use their whole space, and then write about their creation on the back.  This week, because we are studying landforms, I gave them a page with a little island on it.  I want to show you this example of what can happen when you open the door to creative thinking and let the different processes flow

This little creative artist turned her paper upside down and went to town!
Her little creation is simple, and yet very expressive. What I also want to share with you is that this little artist is dyslexic! I fell in love with her creation and loved it even more when I flipped it over and read the back! Her written expression is even more revealing!! I believe this little chick will fly and so will this little first grader!!!

So, if you think you don't have time to do anything creative with your little ones, you can start with one little fifteen minute opportunity once a week.  I promise you will be amazed at how some of your little ones will absolutely shine during this time.  Hands, to Head, to Heart! And Heart, to Head, to Hands!!   It's that proverbial win, win, win!!!

Providing opportunity to use and nurture the different thinking processes is foundational  to some of our students' success.  Sometimes we have to think outside the box!! Let me know your thoughts!