Wednesday, April 16, 2014

Workstation Wednesday! Word Wall

I love using the word wall as a center!  The best part of using the word wall is it's an ever changing center.  I am always adding words to the wall.  With the words always changing you can use activities over and over.  I love using sorts, sentences, and read the wall as the center.  I use a word wall pack from Carly Wizeman's TPT store.  She has some great ideas!

I have clipboards the students use at the centers to document the words according to the task.   One word wall center activity I made is to use a word in a sentence.  They write the word in the box, write a sentence, and use a colored pencil to outline the word wall word.  I love this activity because it's ever changing.  I am always adding words to the wall :)  five a week to be exact! 

Tuesday, April 8, 2014

Workstation Wednesdays- Fluency!

I find with small children to get them to read and practice fluency you have to be creative with the activity.  Using games and activities that can be paired with sight words, phrases, and phonics words is key.  I love using games that work like "oops"!  To name a few Crocodile Dentist, Don't Wake Daddy (just the alarm part), and a really gross but fun one is Gooey Louie booger game.  Each of these games can be used with any word/phrase cards, I have the students pick a card, read it, and push a tooth, clock, or pick! ;)

Also in fluency students have the option to read from their bag of independent books.  Paired with the books are "tools" they can use.  I have whisper phones, pointer fingers, finger flashlights, and magnifying glasses.  Having these items seems to help keep the students focused on reading.  Of course, I have the little stinkers that can not handle the tools.  

I run behavior management during station times and if you can't handle yourself you lose all games and tools and owe me recess.  The first few weeks a lot of my friends lost recess time.  Now later in the year the expectations and consequences are known and I have less interruptions.   I hope this gives you some ideas about stations!  Next week I will be covering word wall and posting a FREEBIE :) 

Blooming First Graders- A Community Garden

We are blooming in first grade!  My favorite unit of the year is plants.  I started the garden program two years ago.  As a class we grow lettuce, carrots, and radishes from seeds to plants.  I have the students keep observation journals.  The journals monitor growth and changes throughout the last two months of school.  As our lettuce and veggies grow we have a salad bar party!  The students loved looking at the seeds under magnifying glasses!  Click here to download a free plant observation journal!  These are the journals my students are using to document our plants life! 

Planting Day!

Stay tuned for updates on our garden! 

Saturday, April 5, 2014

Spring Teacher Blogger Meet-Up Blog Hop

One Amazing Weekend!

Two weekends ago I met up with a great bloggers and teachers from Indiana and beyond!  Over the weekend we had great fun with collaboration, a teacher swap, drinks, laughs, and much more! Take a look at the weekend below!

Teacher Tool Swap!
The tool swap had to be one of my favorite activities of the weekend!  I lucked out and won the mother load of all prizes!  A guided reading survival kit!  Take a look at all these fun items.  A big shout out to Adventures of Room 129.  Some of my favorite items in the basket are fun pointer fingers, guided reading question cards, essential question dice, spot the word flashlights, and these are just a few of my favorite things!  I must say after bringing the basket into my classroom my students begged to come to small groups and use one of those "awesome" reading tools!  Thanks Cierra!

Give Away Prizes and Sponsors
What is better than door prizes and give aways!?!?  I was lucky to win a Crystal Springs gift card!  After looking at the catalog a million times, I am going to go with the part, part, whole math cards!  This is a new way of teaching addition to me this year.  After teaching with Everyday Math our district switched to Envision math.  I was so excited to see this concept in an easy wipe off game!  Thank you Holly Ehle and all the sponsors for making our weekend so memorable. 

Leaving full :) 
Top three take aways from the weekend...

1.  I left French Lick feeling so full of excitement and renewed energy!  Just what I needed after a long overwhelming winter.  As teachers we know it gets overwhelming at times.  Not knowing if the light at the end is a train or the sun.  This weekend getaway reminded me how much I love teaching.  It was so nice to be around other inventive teachers who also love what they do.  Remember to take time to reflect and discuss with other what you love about what you do!

2. After listening to others discuss how they fit in blogging I realized I do have time and ideas. Gregg from the Kindergarten Smorgasboard inspired me to at least find time once a week to post.  This guy has amazing time management, posting once a day!! 

3.  I love posting pictures and many times look at other bloggers and wonder how do they make those pics look so cute?!?!  After the tips and tricks session I left with an app that is super helpful!  Best part..... IT'S FREE :)  To write on a picture, edit, and create designs you must download Phonto.  When blogging I struggle with formatting the text, pictures, fonts, and links. Another blogger shared the program Microsoft Live Writer.  In Live Writer you can write your blog post, edit, arrange pictures, edit pictures, and use your own font!  The one problem I found is I have a MacBook and its not compatible.  Even with that... It has not stopped me from trying to find a comparable program! I found a few but not with all the bells and whistles of Live Writer.

Farewell From French Lick :)

Overall what a great weekend and experience! I can easily say I can't wait for the next meet up.  I made so many new friends, learned new tricks, and left ready to teach!  Thanks to Holly Ehle who set the whole weekend up!  

Stuckey in Second

Prizes to WIN!!

Be sure to keep hopping to enter to win some great prizes at the end!!!! 

Wednesday, April 2, 2014

Workstation Wednesdays :)

I am so excited to team up with Stuckey in Second for a weekly workstation blog post! Checkout this weeks post for an overview of my weekly literacy stations!

First Grade Workstations! 

My favorite subject to teach is reading small groups.  Along with small groups goes workstations.  Developing a workstation plan that works for both me and my students has taken me a few years to perfect.  Workstations I love are the kind you teach once and just change the skill not the game.   In total I have 9 centers with a mix of our district guide lines and Daily 5.  I found these work great for my students.  

Station- Fluency

This station is divided up into three groups 1, 2, & 3 by ability level.  I found this alligator tooth game.  The students take turns reading a word, phrase, or nonsense word (whatever the skill of the week)  and push a tooth.  If the mouth shuts, all the students give their cards back and play again.  The alligator keeps the game exciting while the words change week to week, the game does not.  I also found the same style of game on Amazon as a shark and lion.  I interchange the animal monthly.

Station- Listening Center

We use our iPads at this station.  Our local public library has a membership to Tumble books.  Tumble books is an amazing site that read students books with animation.  The site can we arranged by title, author, and reading level.  Students listen to a book and fill out a graphic organizer for the skill of the week, such as characters, setting, main idea, details, and sequence. 

Station- Buddy Reading

I have three leveled baskets with books based on student TRC levels.  I have them grouped by red/yellow, green, and blue.  This station is my favorite because it requires no WORK!  I just add the small group books in from the week before and change the books out monthly.  

Station- iPads

Students work on Wonders apps, Word Avalanche, and Eggy Words.  My high group of students make book reviews using both Keynote and iMovie.  

Station-Word Building

I love using boggle at word building.  All groups of students excel at the activity.  My low kids find two or three letter words, while my higher kids find 5 and more letter words!  Its a great easy activity.  I also use my phonics puzzles that I make for my Wonders Resources. 

Station- Word Wall

I love using the word wall as a station!  Words are always being added to the wall so the activities you can teach once are endless.  At the word wall students use a word from the wall to create sentences.  They can also play a high frequency roll and read game from by Wonders Resources pack.  I also have high frequency word pages for students to complete at this station.

Station- Comprehension

Most of the activities at the comprehension station are found in my weekly Wonders Resources pack.  We always have the story from the week before with a comprehension board game.  I usually have the skill for the week activity too.  I love using the Animal A-Z nonfiction reads from Meet Miss Parker for my high ability students.  They love these reads!  After reading about X-Ray fish they had to know more, which sparked a research project.  How fun!

Station- Vocabulary

Most of the activities at the vocabulary station are from my weekly Wonders Resource pack.  Every week they have a sentence unscramble to complete.  The students complete the weekly grammar station.  The high students have a vocabulary book they complete over the words for the week. 

Station- Computers

Our district bought a subscription to Starfall this year.  My students love the fairytales and folktale stories.  I use the website to help with sight word practice as well.

I hope you found some ideas you can use in your own classroom!  Stay tuned next week, I will be going over the word wall center in more detail!  Be sure to checkout Allison's stations at Stuckey in Second.