February 26, 2013

Where are my TEXAS friends?!

You know what they say, everything is bigger in Texas...the hair, the BBQ, the rodeo, and the units we teach about our state. Can I get a yee-haw?? We normally spend a week or so on a science or social studies topic/unit...but not for Texas!  We dive in deep for 2 whole weeks. The kids l-o-v-e learning all about their state.

Last year, we put together an All About Texas book and let's just say...it was "old school".  Nothing really cutsey about it.  Knowing myself, I had to revamp it and give it some "new" flair! Since Go Texan day was last Friday, the rodeo parade Saturday, and opening night of the rodeo started yesterday (in Houston that is), I think there is no better time to introduce to you my new Texas baby:

Yeehaw! A Texas Rodeo Unit

This is an integrated language arts and social studies unit.  It's so easy to use: print, copy, and teach! The only thing needed to accompany this unit is a few non-fiction books.
Here is what is included:
*All About Texas Book--each symbol has its own page (flag, flower, bird, tree, animal, motto)
*Let's Locate Texas--a map skills activity using the US map to locate Texas & its surrounding states
*Fixin' Those Mistakes--students will read the sentences and rewrite them with no grammatical errors
*Texan Style ABC Order--students will put Texas words in alphabetical order
*Rodeo Roundup--students will sort the words into the correct parts of speech category (noun, verb, adjective)
*I'm a Texas Star poem
All About Texas book: I like to cover one page (or symbol) per day.  We start off by talking about our state flag.  This book does not include a cover so my plan is to make one out of construction paper and staple it on top. Each page has a place for students to write down 3 facts about the symbol. On the back, I'm going to have them illustrate the symbol.
There are lots of other things we do in the classroom to celebrate our great state of Texas.  I will be back to share those ideas with you sometime this and next week {one of them includes food!!!}. Until then, this unit is for sale in my TpT shop!


February 24, 2013

A HUGE Giveaway

As I am edging closer to 100 followers (so exciting), Tonya over at Tonya's Treats for Teachers has totally surpassed my climbing number and has reached 700 followers! I am part of her HUGE giveaway along with 25 other great bloggers. There will be 2 winners chosen from this giveaway.

Head on over to her blog {by clicking on the picture below} to enter her giveaway! Good luck!


February 19, 2013

Hall Pass Linky!

I'm linking up with one of my favorite Texas teachers for a linky party to share ideas on great products, favorite classroom areas, signals, and strategies for keeping our sanity! In 1st grade, this time of year is great! The kiddos know what they should be doing, and most need little guidance when doing classroom activities....how nice would it be to have a "hall pass" during this time to get a little relaxation in....and then there are those who will always need your attention, so back to reality!

Product- My favorite product I have made is my 'How-to Writing Prompts and Templates'.  So here is the low-down...I {use} to hate teaching writing, that is until I found my own groove and through a few ideas together and viola! Now, I don't struggle teaching writing or just pass it up because I didn't have time (horrible, I know).
Teaching writing step-by-step works best for me and this is exactly how this product is laid out. Plus, it has 11 different writing templates to choose from! Catch up on my posts about my recent successes in writing below:
Area-This year especially, I have grown to love meeting with my small reading groups.  My kids love the attention they get, we laugh while we learn, and it's a great way to get to know your sweeties better! I have my reading table in the back corner of my room so I am able to still keep an eye on all the others while they are at centers during this time.

Take a tour of my room {here}!
Signal-I would LOVE to have some new signals to get kids attention at important times. The ones I use are ok...but recently I have noticed they aren't working like they use to. I have a bell on my desk I ring if I have something important to share. The students are supposed to freeze, look at me, and listen. They can't move again until I say "Thank you for freezing." It just doesn't have the same effect this time of year. Sitting here, I came up with this...teacher says "Can I get a...." students reply "ooooo ooooo"  (better known as the annoying squeaking sound). Thoughts? Maybe I will try it and let ya know how it goes!
Sanity-  Need I say more? I LOVE me some chocolate. I have a bag of Hershey's kisses on my desk and my candy jar (supposed to be for the kids) always finds itself dwindling down as time goes by. My kids are always asking 'Why do you always get to eat candy?' Guess I should take the hint...

Can't wait to read up on and get some new ideas! Click on the hall pass above to find Reagan's original post! Happy linky!


February 18, 2013

The Day After Valentine's=more sugar!

Who would want candy the day after the biggest candy holiday all year?  Well, besides me....my 21 firsties! Not all of them actually, I had a few out (probably with tummy aches).  So...being the chocolate lover that I am, I decided to have a taste testing experiment with Hershey kisses and hugs.

I gave each student one hug and one kiss (candy of course).  All together, we taste tested one at a time.  We then took a vote of which we liked better. I passed out their choice cards and we graphed our class results.
We recorded our data on our own graph.

 I then read the story Froggy's First Kiss to the class. In the book, Frogilina kisses Froggy.  So we did a little reader's response.  The question was this: Do you like getting hugs or kisses from your family? We added a little craft to the reader's response and viola...a cute post-valentine's activity!
{This idea came from Cara Carroll' blog The First Grade Parade.  Head on over *HERE* to get all the free printables to go along with this activity. Kudos to Cara for sharing! My kiddos ate this up....literally and figuratively of course!}
What do you do with your class the day after Valentine's to re-coop??


February 17, 2013

*No Prep* President's Unit on SALE!

If you are looking for some last minute President's Day activities for tomorrow (yes, it's tomorrow!) and the rest of this week look no further. Similar to my MLK packet, A Day With the President is a no prep packet. Just print, and copy!

 This mini-unit is the perfect way to teach all about Washington, Lincoln, and President's Day in just a few days! All you need is a non-fiction book to accompany the pages in this unit and you are set!
Here is what the unit includes:
*Who Was Washington? {describing graphic organizer}
*Washington was/had/wanted facts organizer
*Washington 3 facts and a fib {students produce & record 3 facts and a fib)
*Who Was Lincoln? {describing graphic organizer}
*Lincoln was/had/wanted facts organizer
*Lincoln 3 facts and a fib {students produce & record 3 facts and a fib)
*Comparing Washington and Lincoln! {Venn diagram}
*The President's: Fact or Not so Much {cut and paste fact activity}
*If I Were President... {creative writing prompt}
*President's Day ABC order
If you head over to my TpT store, you will find it on sale today and tomorrow ONLY!


February 14, 2013

How Did I Survive Valentine's Day?!

I'm not quite sure I know how to answer that question (in blog title)! Today was one CR-A-ZZZY day. To start it all off, we had our Valentine's party this morning at a brutal 9:45...talk about insane. It made for a very long day.

We had an ice cream sundae bar, opened our Valentine's from our friends, dance , sang, and acted like kids on a complete sugar high!


I was brave and got out the paint. They painted a heart, decorated it, and had to describe their heart.

Earlier this week, we read Love Splat and wrote about when we feel loved.


Hope your Valentine's Day (more like evening) was relaxing and you felt loved!

February 11, 2013

Spread some L-O-V-E

I am officially back from my week long blog hiatus...no it wasn't intentional but kind of needed.  I had been feeling overwhelmed lately and well, just needed some "me" time if you know what I mean!  This week we are rockin' out some cute and *much needed* FUN activities! My little firsties have been working so hard since we have been back that I think they deserve some "them" time too!

I love the spirit of Valentine's and having the kids show their love and compassion for others.  Today we did just that! We had a brainstorm first of words that are associated with Valentine's Day or just love in general. Here is what my smarties came up with.

We then read Somebody Loves You Mr. Hatch (so cute btw) and added more lovin' words to our heart chart. 

Next, I had them visualize someone in their lives that they truly love and I handed them this:

Inside, they had to write 4 reasons why they loved the person they chose and part of their homework was to deliver it to that person (if possible) and read it to them. This question melted my heart, "Mrs. Griffith, how will I get this book to Jesus?"  I LOVE moments like that!!

I have uploaded the book to my TpT store for free so race on over and grab it up! Just click on the picture below.

Hope your week is full of love!

February 3, 2013

Currenty in February

Better late than never! I'm linking up with Farley at Oh' Boy 4th Grade for this month's currently!

Listening: I grew up on Destiny's Child (they opened for a Christina Aguliera concert I went to in 6th grade) and absolutely *loved* the halftime performance this year! Must be the {TEXAS} in her <3

Loving: I use the clip system in my classroom for behavior and I can't recall having to move any clips last week...let's hope I have angels again this week!

Thinking: Hubs and I go on a vacation every summer. The past 3 summers we have been on a cruise. We normally have everything planned by now and are counting down the days....BUT, no such luck yet.  Here are our choices: Grand Cayman, St. John, or a cruise out of Puerto Rico that goes to USVI. Thoughts??

Wanting: Chris Tomlin is #1 in my book of best music artists and he is coming to Houston in March. Dilemma=I can't find anyone to go with me.  I went to his concert last year and it was A-MAY-ZING!!!!

Needing: I've been going to a chiropractor for a few months now.  I still have my good days and bad. Spent time with my nieces today (swinging, playing bean bag toss, riding scooters) and now my back hurts!!! Doesn't help that hubby left me to go to Louisiana for a few days....waaaah!

Pet Peeves: I definitely have more than 1...but I think my main one is when people drink everything that is in their cup and then start to eat/chew on the ice that is left.  I have to sit on my hands and lock up my mouth. Nuff' said!

Happy February!

February 2, 2013

A *Super-Duper* Sunday

For any girl who LOVES to shop, the word 'sale' is music to her ears. I know it brings joy to my heart! And to celebrate I am linking up with Keepin' It Kool in Kinderland for a linky party where all you fabulous teachers out there can feature their products that will be on sale this weekend for TpT's 'Super Sunday Sale'!

Here are a few new creations and best sellers from my shop!
1. A Day With the President {A Social Studies Mini-Unit}
February is in full-swing now and President's Day will be here before you know it! This is a 2-4 day unit that focuses on Washington and Lincoln along with a few President' Day activities.

2. How-To Writing Prompts and Templates
A great way to teach writing.  Comes with 11 different writing prompts (general and seasonal) and 4 different graphic organizers for each prompt.

 3. My Heart Skips a 'Bee't Valentine Math Centers
This packet includes 7 math centers for the month of February. Included are centers for the following skills: skip counting, even/odd numbers, graphing, fractions, fact families, patterning, and a game. These are also sold individually for those of you who only need a center or 2 to add to your collection.


These 3 featured products along with my whole TpT store will be on sale this Sunday! Everything (over $2.00) will be up to 28% off. Just use the code SCORE at checkout!
Happy Shopping!

February 1, 2013

Writing for Dummies {Part 2}

If you read my last blog post about writing {Writing for Dummies...AKA Me} you would know that...
A) I despise teaching it 
 B) It was one of my resolutions this year to become better at teaching it 

Well after my first successful go around teaching stories, and my students second successful attempt at writing their own independent stories, I can say that statement A has changed!  My outlook on teaching writing is changing day by day.  I am actually looking forward to it and am making it a priority in my classroom. (I notice I sound proud...and I am!)

This six weeks we are focusing on writing 'how-to' papers. I was so caught up in my new found 'writing teacher' inside me that I went how-to crazy and made a whole packet devoted to writing them (in hopes of keeping up this new writing trend!). 

In this packet there are 11 different writing prompts (general and seasonal) and 4 graphic organizers/templates for each prompt.
It is on sale now in my TPT store! Just click on the picture above.

This week we put the wheels into motion.  I tried to pick the easiest and most relate-able idea I could think of in order for my firsties to get a "grip" on this new writing process.  So, we went with "How-to Make a PB&J Sandwich."

We spent 1 day on each of the 4 different templates for this prompt.

Day 1: We brainstormed the things we would need to make the sandwich.
Day 2: We drew picture of the steps we would take to make the sandwich.
Day 3: I actually brought the ingredients and had them  walk me through the steps.

This really helped them to see that they had to add details and specifically write out the steps. For example, they told me to put the peanut butter and jelly on the bread. So I did just that...put a scoop of each and plopped it on the bread.  As, I went to put the slices together all I hear is "NOOOO! You have to spread it out first!"  I then went on to tell them...all they told me to do was "put" it on the bread....blah, blah, blah, you get the point.

Day 4:  We added an opening sentence and closing sentence to our steps and copied them all onto the lined template.
Day 5: Another teacher on my team came up with this cutsie idea to make a book shaped like a sandwich with purple and tan paper....I was SOLD!

Our final product!

This system was so easy for them to work with as it walked them through the motions step by step. I can't wait to let them be a little more independent next week when we tackle our next how-to writing!

Let me know what you think! Is there a way of teaching writing that you just couldn't do without?? If so, I would love to hear about it!

Since you have listen to me ramble on...I am giving away 2 of my How-to Writing pack to the first 2 people to leave me some love. Ready....GO!