January 30, 2014

Writing SUPER Sized Sentences

Do you ever feel like you've practiced
and practiced
and practiced
writing detailed sentences with your students?
So what did we do last week, we practiced some more.
But...I introduced it in a different way that they had heard before.
By the end of the week, some of them were pro's at writing super-sized sentences.
Here's how I explained it to them in "kid terms":
"Ice cream is one of my favorite things to eat and I'm sure you love it too.
 But think about eating ice cream this way.  If you had a bowl of plain chocolate ice cream it would be good right? But what if you got to add a scoop of vanilla, a scoop of strawberry, some chocolate syrup, sprinkles, whip cream, and a cherry. Now that would be delicious to eat! Writing sentences is kind of like eating ice cream. Who wants to read a book with a bunch of plain and boring sentences. This is like the chocolate ice cream, plain and boring.  I know I like to read books where the author writes detailed sentences that paint pictures in my brain as I read. These are like the bowl of ice cream with everything on it. We want the sentences we write to be super-sized ice cream sentences instead of boring chocolate ice cream sentences."
Yeah, after that they totally got the picture I was wanting them to have.
So there's where our journey began.
Here's a printable you can show to get their brains thinking in the right direction or hang in your writing center once you have talked about writing super-sized sentences.
Together we practiced taking a boring chocolate ice cream sentence like,
"The child played".
We turned it into a super-sized ice cream sentence by adding adjectives, verbs, and other details.
We would brainstorm a list of adjectives to describe our noun...which in this case was child.
Next, we would brainstorm where the sentence would take place.
Then, we would put our super-sized sentence together.
"The nasty child played outside in the mud."
Pick this up as a freebie from Swamp Frog First Graders
We practiced for 3 days stretching out our sentences to make them super-sized by adding adjectives and verbs before we came up with our own super-sized sentences.
Here is some great work my firsties produced by the end of the week.

"A cute baby dog took its very first steps at the doctor and the doctor said it was amazing."
"My pretty cute dog takes a bath with me in my bath tub."
I am hoping (fingers tightly crossed) that next week when I let them choose which type of writing they want to do...we've learned books, stories, and letters...that they remember to include super-sized sentences in their writing!

January 27, 2014

Phonics: Teaching the 3 Sound of "ED"

I may be a nerd, but phonics is by far one of my favorite things to teach my firsties.
The program our school uses teaches students the "why".
We normally start out a sound study by learning the rule or pattern.
We use that rule/pattern to spell words for a few days then we move on to hands-on phonics.
My kids LOVE to look through book to find words that follow the rule we are learning.
So that's exactly what we did last week.
Using their book boxes, they had to search for a word that ended in 'ed' but the catch was that it had to make the sound for which we were talking about that day.

Once they found a word, they had to bring it to me and I provided them with a small index card to record their word on.

We met together each day to share our words.
We added them to the chart and by the end of the week we had 3 lists of words for each sound that 'ed' makes.
Such a perfect tool for them to refer back to.
Pick up these posters made by What the Teacher Wants
Here are some book suggestions to use when searching for 'ed' words.

January 25, 2014

Flash Blizzard=Flash February Freebies!

There is nothing more crazy than Texas weather!
Yesterday we had snow and ice and today we have highs in the 60's.
**Talk about a flash blizzard**
{Picture from my backyard}
This was just enough damage to declare a "snow day" and cancel school. 
I can't even begin to recall a time when this happened...so I figured we should celebrate!
I'm hoping you follow me on Instagram.
If not, check me out at:
A few weeks ago I gave away a flash freebie and had a great response to it.
 So I've decided to try it again with all....yes ALL of my February units!
Here's how to play:
1. Follow me on Instagram (see above)
2. Be on the lookout for the freebie announcement
3. Follow the link provided to download the freebie.
4. Be quick!
5. Leave feedback
Here's what to be on the lookout for.


 The fun will start later today and continue over the next few days.
Hope you are able to snag something!

January 17, 2014

Five for Friday!

A full moon always calls for a crazy day...
My Friday/end of the week sanity was saved by a professional development day.

Let's play catch up on some of the "wintery" things we did this week!

I ventured out to introduce pronouns this week.
I generated a list of pronouns (inside the bubble) that could essentially take the place of my list of nouns. I had my kiddos tell me which pronoun would work best and we recorded it on the chart.
After discussing how interchangeable the two were, we chose one noun and wrote a sentence about it.
We turned that noun into a proper noun using the same sentence.
From there we chose a pronoun to replace the proper noun.
This was a great way to show word choice in writing also.
Making fact family  houses was a great and easy way to assess my students without them even realizing it!
I gave each a sticky note with 3 different numbers on it and they had to create a fact family using those numbers. Who would have guessed it would have got the reaction it did....
"This is SO much fun!"

We also made snowmen out of our fact family numbers.
Another hit!
If you haven't read the book The Snowglobe Family, it is a must!

It goes great paired with the snowglobe activity below or as you've probably seen on Instagram or Pinterest.

We also read Snowmen at Night and revisited verbs with all the action the snowmen have going on in the book.
They had to write what they would do if they were a snowman an night using one verb of their choice.
Enjoy your extra long weekend!
Don't forget to head over to Doodlebugs Teaching and link up.

January 11, 2014

Another Day with MLK: A SS mini-unit {on sale}

It seems like January starts the beginning of the never.ending holiday celebrations. First, there is Martin Luther King Jr. day, followed by Groundhog's day, the 100th day of school, and Valentine's Day.
 {Holy holidays!} 
 Uhhh, can anyone say PTL for Spring Break!

Since there are SO many things SO close together to touch on, I figured a day or 2 for each would just have to do. Therefore, I made a MLK mini-unit to kick things off!

This mini-unit is the perfect way to teach MLK in a day (or two)! 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 MLK? {describing graphic organizer}
*MLK was/had/wanted facts organizer
*MLK 3 facts and a fib {students produce & record 3 facts and a fib)
*Comparing MLK and Me! {Venn diagram}
*MLK: Fact or Not so Much {cut and paste fact activity}
*I Have a Dream, Too! {creative writing prompt}
*I Have a Dream {writing paper}
*MLK ABC order

It's now available in my TpT shop .
It's on sale this weekend only!!
I also saw this amazing idea on Cara's blog to show kiddos the difference between races, good ol' equality as MLK would call it. You need 2 eggs (1 white and 1 brown). Talk about how the eggs are different, the only big difference being color. Then, break the two eggs (removing the shell from sight) and ask the kids if they know which egg came from which shell.
Hopefully this is what they get from it “So…the eggs are like people. Dr. King knew that everybody was really alike and the only thing that was different was the color of our skin, so that’s why he thought that things were unfair.”  TOTALLY GENIUS, right!?!?  Such a great way to show the concept for those visual learners!

January 7, 2014

A New Year Back

No Snowpocalypse here...just a mere freezing day, well to us Texans at least!
We definitely didn't have recess today but we did have a fun first day of the new year back after our long winter break.

We don't often see ANY temperatures below freezing, mind you 23 degrees!!!!
That big word resolution always gets me, maybe it's because I really never make any.
But it also seems to stump my firsties too.
This book does a great job at explaining what a resolution is in first grade "terms".
We read it today and made our own resolutions after learning how and why we make them.
Together, we made two class resolutions or goals. We also made a personal goal we could keep during this new year.
We like to get artsy so we created our first craftivity of the new year with our new goal!
This year my goal is to promise to take care of others.
To reach my goal I am going to giving them more medicine.
This year my goal is to promise to exercise.
To reach my goal I am going to play football.
I love to get their little brains thinking by giving them letters to manipulate to make new words. This making words freebie from Anna Brantley was just a perfect activity!
Find it HERE.
Wish us luck tomorrow. It's supposed to be even colder with lows in the teens.

January 6, 2014

Plenty of Penguin Ideas and Printables

In January, we love, Love, LOVE to teach about penguins. They aren't icky or gross like the spiders we study, creepy or spooky like the bats...so it is much more enjoyable to teach! Who doesn't love to learn about cute, cuddly penguins and watch them waddle!

 I've been working on {my} perfect penguin packet that I know my firsties will just swoon over!
This full unit is jam packed with first grade skill work for phonics, reading, poetry, writing, grammar, social studies, and some fun activities as well!

ELA Printables:
 Penguin Pals ABC Order
 Playful Penguin Punctuation
 What Can Penguins Do? (verb practice)
 Iceberg Noun and Verb sort
 Cocoa Contractions
 Assorted Penguin Long Vowel practice
Story Elements (made to go with any fiction book about penguins)




 Social Studies Printables:
Penguins can/have/are chart
 Label that Penguin
 Where Do Penguins Live?  (world map)
 Penguin fact/opinion writing craftivity
All About Penguins book
   Penguin Trivia (facts about penguins recording sheet)
   3 facts and a fib (recording sheet)
   Penguin types (fact recording sheet) {4 types} 
 And my favorite part of all:
Throughout the 2 weeks that we study penguins, we put together this book piece by piece.
It includes a penguin trivia page, 3 facts and a fib, and 3 informational pages to record facts about the different types of penguins (Emperor, Chinstrap, and Rockhopper...and a blank one).
 Writing Printables:
How to Make a Snowman creative writing
 If I Was a Penguin (creative writing prompt) {2 choices}

Fun Activities:
Penguin Pie (ice cream activity)
 Word Search

 Enjoying our Penguin Pie!
We have such FUN with this unit that I would love to share the fun with one lucky person!
Leave a comment sharing your favorite part of January AND your email address.
Thanks to all of you for playing along. I actually chose 6 lucky winners! I appreciate you all!
If you don't win, check it out on sale in my TpT store!