Sunday, July 31, 2011

Wake Up Work!

I am sooooo procrastinating cleaning my house right now! That is the BEST time to blog, right??!?! It is thundering here in Bama, so we are home from the pool and I am not quite up to being here I am! :)

Ok...confession! I think I forgot how to teach for like 2 minutes! I am starting a little summer school camp tomorrow! Yes, TOMORROW! My reading coach (who is a dear friend!) and I are teaching 12 presh first graders this week. We are doing phonics, reading, and writing. Y'all...I really had to *PAUSE* last week! I was like, okay, WHERE are the sharpened pencils??? HA! My room is all set up (or so I thought!), but not for actual KIDS! I had not put out paper, journals, pencils, crayons, markers, etc! REALITY time! We are all set now and ready to see their sweet faces bright and early! :)

I am going to take a *brief* pause from my Math Menu posts to chat about Wake Up Work...aka Morning Work! I tried something new last year that I loved and some of you have asked about it! :) I know some teachers aren't big fans of morning work and like to hit the ground running, but I HAVE to have it! I check their SAFARI books while they work, and I feel like I have to check these binders first thing...since there are absence notes, notes to the PE teacher, lunch money, etc and I like to deal with those things FIRST thing before the morning slips away! I also think it gives the kids a chance to wake up and warm up! :)

At the beginning of the year, I start off with Silly Sentences where I type a sentence with spelling and grammatical errors and the kiddos correct the errors, write the sentence correctly, and illustrate the sentence.


thu blak cat sat one thu matt

The kiddos will write the incorrect sentence in their journals. Then, using a highlighter (kind of like glitter, they can't get enough!!) they circle the errors in the sentence. After circling all of the errors, they rewrite the sentence, correcting all of the errors. Finally, they add an illustration! This is a great spring board for discussing editing our writing during The Daily Five.

I usually do Silly Sentences for at least the first month or two (depending on the group of firsties!) They like stability in the morning at the beginning of the year! :) Then...somewhere around October 14...just tossing a date out there :), Wake Up Work starts to become sort of STALE! So...I tried this:

Monday ~ Math Monday
After unpacking, my firsties know to grab their math journals! I type a Number Talk type prompt on the Promethean board. A sample prompt might be: Write all the ways to show the number 12. They can use numerals, number words, a clock, money, tally marks, dominoes, dice, pictures, etc. A few friends share during our Morning Meeting!

Tuesday ~ Tally Tuesday
Another math journal morning! Sample prompt for Double Venn diagram in November: Do you like pumpkin pie? apple pie? or both? The kiddos write the question and then answer the question in the form of a sentence and add an illustration. During our Morning Meeting on Tuesday, we fill out the Daily Data graph for the week. After the graph is completed, we do a quick show of the data with tally marks!

Wednesday ~ Wow Word Wednesday
We have 3 sight words each week. On Wednesday, the fab firsties write 3 sentences with the 3 sight words. After circling the sight words with a highlighter, they choose one sentence to illustrate.

Thursday ~ Theme Thursday
This is where I incorporate Social Studies and Science! Depending on the unit, they will either write facts in their journal about our unit for the week (Example: Write 3 facts about the life cycle of a frog) OR highlight sight words and illustrate a poem related to our unit.

Friday ~ Fun Friday
We have a Mystery Reader visit us on Friday mornings, so our Wake Up Work is short and sweet! I like to have a word search related to our thematic unit! :) They LOVE word searches...some of them take it soooo seriously!!! It CRACKS me up!

I ADORE this Wake Up Work rotation for several changes daily, but still follows a pattern, so it fresh and predictable all at the same time! I also HEART that it incorporates writing across the curriculum. One more reason...I do not have to make a lot of copies! Most weeks, the only copy I make for Morning Work for the week is a word search! :)

Do you do something similar??? I would love to hear about it!
Okay, okay...time to CLEAN! Enjoy the rest of your weekend!

Wednesday, July 27, 2011

Math Menu - Math Journals

Happy Hump Day! Thank you SOOOO much for helping me choose my binder name! I decided on S.A.F.A.R.I. I am in the process of designing the cover and will share it with you soon! I have been working in my room this week and it is starting to shape up! Isn't walking in on the first day the SCARIEST thing ever??? My hubs was SO sweet and helped me out big time last week! Now I am doing all the little stuff! I will post pics soon! :)

Next up in the Math Menu ~ the Daily Five equivalent of Work on Writing ~ math journals! My kiddos write in their math journals 4 times a week (once during Morning Work, and three times during math menu!) There are a BAJILLION different ways to do math journals!

I use the Blank Writing Journals from Starfall! LOVE! It has 4 ruled writing lines and a blank space for a picture above the lines. My firsties glue the prompt at the bottom of the blank space and write their response on the lines. At $0.69 each, they are a great buy! I usually use 3 per student for the school year. You, of course, could use WHATEVER you have...composition notebooks, folders, or paper stapled together!

I store my journals in the Journal Storage Center from Lakeshore. I have tables in my room, so the journals are stored on a counter. This great storage center box prevents the kiddos from sorting (FOREVA) through a giant stack on journals to find theirs. They look for their color divider (4 colors) and quickly grab their journal!

Our journal prompts change to reflect each unit. As the year progresses, there is more of an emphasis on problem solving. I love to use names of our kiddos in the class...they get a KICK out of seeing their name in a journal prompt! I also love to add in seasonal details...pumpkins, reindeer, eggs, etc. to keep it fresh!


I type up all of the prompts for a unit on one page. I then use a black metal clip (I just saw some in zebra and I am SO getting those!) to clip that page to the inside cover of the journal. That way, the kiddo just grabs their journal and heads to a table. They choose which prompt they
want to complete, cut it out, and glue it onto their next blank page! No more Mrs. B cutting strips of journal prompts...I DESPISED doing this for some reason!!??!! No more random baskets of prompts! They will never re-do a prompt because they have their very own page!

Thanks for sticking around for this looong post! Love to answer any questions or comments! :)

Up next...where to find and how to store math games!

Monday, July 25, 2011

Help Me Pick!

Y'all...I am SERIOUSLY indecisive!!! I can never decide where to go out to eat, what paint color to choose, or what to name by take home binders!!!!! Please, please, please help me choose!

Here are the options:
J.U.N.G.L.E - Just an Ultimate Notebook to Get Learners Excited
L.I.O.N - Let's Include (or Instill...or Involve!) Organization Now
M.O.N.K.E.Y. - My Organization Notebook Keeps Everything Yearlong
S.A.F.A.R.I. - Students and Families Are Responsible & Informed

In case you can't figure it out...I have a jungle themed classroom! :) Click HERE to visit the website that I found these on. There are ENDLESS options for EVERY theme imaginable!!!

Please comment and HELP ME PICK! Thank you times ten :)

Sunday, July 24, 2011

Math Menu - Mountain Math

Hey hey! First up in the Math Menu series is the Daily Five equivalent of Read to Self...Independent Work - Mountain Math!

Mountain Math is a review program to supplement math instruction. Click HERE to visit their website! It helps the students review and retain previously taught concepts. It is displayed on a bulletin board in my classroom. It reviews everything from addition to subtraction, time to graphing, money to geometry! The bulletin board version is $75.95. My school opted to purchase Bulletin Board sets for K - 3rd grade.

There is also a web based version to be used with interactive white boards and projectors. The cost of the electronic version is $49.95 for a 12 month subscription. I chose to not use the e-version for 2 reasons: there is a cost every school year AND if it is displayed on the board during Math Menu, other students can't play interactive, web based games or look to the Promethean Board flipchart calendar as a reference for their activities.

Another option is the center version. It is on a big flip chart, which might come in handy for those without a lot of wall space! The center version costs $75.95.

There is a bit of initial investment up front, but you can use the bulletin board and center versions for YEARS!!! My team and I decided that we will change the cards every week in first grade. We figured it would take our firsties 2 - 12 minute sessions to finish the whole board.

There is a recording sheet included in the Bulletin Board version. When a student chooses Mountain Math as their station in Math Menu, they will get a recording sheet from the designated basket, grab a clipboard and find a comfy spot in the room from which they can see the Mountain Math board. My Mountain Math board is to come soon! my kiddos will be able to see it from everywhere in our room! If they do not finish it during their session, they will put it into their Math Menu folder (where they store unfinished work from Number Work or Mountain Math). If they finish, they will place it in the completed work basket.

Mountain Math is a FAB way to ensure that you spiral through your curriculum so that your firsties are retaining all mathematical concepts from the year!

Please ask questions, or make comments!
Coming soon...Math Journals!

Saturday, July 23, 2011

Giveaway Winners!

Yay for Kristin, Jennifer, and Karen! :) You will receive your goodies through email! :) Karen, please comment with your email address! Thank you so much for your support, blog buds!!!

Thursday, July 21, 2011

Intro to Math Menu

Thank you SO MUCH for all of your sweet support during the Daily Five posts! (Click HERE to read the D5 posts!) Many of you said that you were interested in Math Menu and I promised you Math Menu posts would be coming soon! :) So sorry to keep you waiting...I have been working in my room with my sweet hubs, who has been on vacation this week! I needed his muscles to paint, hang, and glue! Who WOULDN'T want to spend their vaca in a first grade classroom??!! :)

Since I adored the HECK out of D5 last year, my team and I sat down to brainstorm how we could make our math block look like our reading block and came up with Math Menu! I mean, D5 was going sooooo smoothly...why couldn't our math block look the same way???

So, Math Menu was born! Now, there are lots of Math Menus out there! I am DEF not claiming to have created this! We called it a "menu" because the kiddos get to CHOOSE their station, just like in Daily Five. All WE did was sit down with The Daily Five book and list ALL of the things that our firsties were expected to complete at some point during the math block. Math journals, IXL, spiral review, OH MY! So much to fit in, such little time! BUT...Math Menu makes it all better! :)

I will give a quick overview (like I did with Daily Five) and then I will go in to detail about each "station" in my next 5 posts!

Our Math menu takes about 45 minutes. We do Calendar, Daily Data, and Number Talks for 15 minutes before Specials, and then start Math Menu when we get back!
Mini Lesson - 15 minutes
Work Session -12 minutes
Check in (choose choice for second session) - 5 minutes
Work Session - 12 minutes
By the end of the week, the students have been to each station at least 2 times! :)

Here's the scoop ~
5 Parts of The Daily Five (loosely!) translated to math:

Read to Self (Independent Work) ~ MOUNTAIN MATH
This is where the spiral review comes in! Last year, we did ADD Math.

This is a great spiral review, BUT a lot of our kiddos finished QUICKLY! Sooo....I am going to use ADD Math in my small groups and we are using Mountain Math this year! I will post more about this tomorrow!

Work on Writing ~ MATH JOURNALS
Students will solve word problems and write about Daily Data in their journals!

Read to Someone ~ MATH GAMES
Instead of reading a book with a partner, they will play a math game!

This is where our traditional "center activities" fit in! The best way to describe what we put in this station is basically a game or activity with manipulatives with a recording sheet!

Listen to Reading ~ COMPUTERS (IXL) and iPAD (Math apps)

SO, there you have it! What do you think???? I will explain Math Menu more in detail in my next 5 posts! STAY TUNED!

Today is the LAST DAY to enter the giveaway for my 3 TpT activities! PS - The Pizza! Pizza! mini unit has a Pizza Parts fraction game that would be PERFECT for Math Menu! :) I will choose the winners tonight!

Up next...Mountain Math (spiral review station in Math Menu!)

Monday, July 18, 2011

300 Follower Giveaway

WHAT?!? I CANNOT believe that there are 300+ followers in less than 3 weeks! That is some serious blog love and I could not be more blessed to have all of you reading my little 'ol blog! THANK YOU, THANK YOU, THANK YOU to the moon and back!

Now, let's talk giveaway! I will give away my 3 TpT items to 3 people! 3 friends will receive the following 3 activities via email:

You have 3 days to enter! I will pick the winners on Thursday, July 21.

There are 4 ways to enter:
1. Follow my blog (leave a comment) - 1 entry
2. Add my blog to your blog roll (leave a comment) - 1 entry
3. Follow my TpT store (leave a comment) - 1 entry
4. Blog about this entry (leave a comment) - 1 entry

Of course, if you are one of the AMAZING followers, just leave a comment telling me you already follow! :)


Saturday, July 16, 2011

Blog Mixer Linky Party

I LOVE a good party! Especially since it's the weekend! :)

Yearn to Learn is hosting a Blog Mixer linky party! Oh, mixer reminds of the good 'ole college days! :)

A blogger who is new on the block (200 followers or less) ~
Under the Alphabet Tree ~ Jessica is such a sweetie! Check out her presh blog...she is a Kindergarten teacher in Tennessee!

A blogger in my same grade level (First grade is FAB!) ~
F is for First Grade ~ Melissa is a fellow Birmingham blogger! Check out her fab blog...I especially HEART her Vocabulary with Picture Books unit on TpT!

A blogger in a different grade level ~
Miss Kindergarten ~ Hadar has some CUTE ideas for Kinders!

A cute blog button ~
Erin and Leslie at First Grade Fanatics just made it to 400 followers!
First Grade Fanatics

Ready, set, GO BLOG STALK!!!! Have a WONDERFUL weekend! :)

Friday, July 15, 2011

Listen to Reading - The Daily Five

Happy Friday, blog buddies!
Woo hoo...we are up to the last component of the Daily Five...Listen to Reading! You can see the light at the end of tunnel...the pot of the gold at the end of the rainbow, or my personal fave, DESSERT at the end of dinner! :)

This is the easiest part of D5 to implement...the kiddos do not need a lot of modeling and they definitely do not need to build up stamina...they LOVE to listen to audio books!

Y'all know the drill....make an anchor chart for Listen to Reading!
Step 1 - Brainstorm what Listen to Reading should look like and sound like
Step 2 - Make an anchor chart (Students will listen to books quietly...teachers will work with students)
Step 3 - Discuss where materials are stored and how to use them (add to anchor chart)
Step 4 - Discuss where to sit in the room (add to anchor chart)
Step 5 - Have students model the correct and INCORRECT way to get materials, where to sit in the room, and how to clean up materials
Step 6 - Build stamina ~ Firsties do not really need to build stamina to listen to a book...they are usually ready to go...especially at this point in the D5 process! :)

There are so many fab techy tools to use during Listen to Reading! I currently have 6 kiddos "Listening to Reading" during each session. Anything that has headphones is considered Listen to Reading in my room! 2 kiddos are listening to books on individual CD players, 2 kiddos are using Raz-Kids at desktop computers, and 2 kiddos are playing spelling and sight word games on the iPad.

Our school purchased the individual CD players from Best Buy and they worked great last year! We got them in November and they were still working wonderfully at the end of the year! I purchase most of my books and CD's from Scholastic. Eventually, I would like to load all of CD's into iTunes and use iPods...but the CD players are a SUPER solution in the mean time! :)

Raz - Kids is fabulous!!! Of course, like most things in life, there is a cost! I think it worth every penny, though! I am blessed that my school purchases this for us every year. It is a levelized reading library online! The kiddos can access it from home too, which is great for homework!

Of course, the kiddos ADORE the iPads! There are so many awesome apps out there!

As always, feel free to ask questions or make comments!
Up next...a giveaway to celebrate 300 followers! I JUST can't believe it! :)

Thursday, July 14, 2011

Word Work - The Daily Five

Thanks for all of your positive feedback about the D5 posts! I hope you will all LOVE Daily Five as much as I do! :)

Now...let's dish about my favorite part of D5...Word Work!

Word Work is quite simply that, working with words! Kinders might work on sight words, and firsties might work on spelling words. A quote from the book: "Creating and maintaining a time during each literacy block to focus on words is critical to developing readers, writers, and communicators." (Gail Boushey and Joan Moser - The Daily Five, page 85)

The last two stations introduced (Word Work and Listen to Reading) are a little different than the other parts of D5. I find that I do not need to model AS MUCH in first grade because they don't need to build up stamina to do Word Work and Listen to Reading! These choices are FUN and they keep the kiddos ENGAGED!

Follow the familiar :) 6 steps:
Step 1 - Brainstorm what Word Work should look like and sound like (They might need a little help with this...using soft voices, etc)
Step 2 - Make an anchor chart (students will work quietly...teachers will work with students)
Step 3 - Discuss where materials are stored and how to use them (add to anchor chart)
Step 4 - Discuss where to sit in the room (add to anchor chart)
Step 5 - Have students model the correct AND incorrect procedures to get materials, where to sit in the room, and how to clean up the materials. Don't skip this important step! :)
Step 6 - I find that the kiddos have a lot of stamina with Word Work...they can usually work longer than 2 minutes the first day!

Now on to the good stuff!!! There are endless materials for Word Work! This is where you can get creative! :) To start the year, the kiddos practice making our spelling words with all kinds of manipulatives ~ magnetic letters, Wikki Stix, letter beads, shaving cream, play dough, painted beans, and sand boxes!

As the year progresses, I introduce Rainbow Spelling (writing spelling words - each letter is a different color), Word Work games, Making Words activities, and Word Sorts. SO MUCH FUN!

Click on the pie to head over to TpT to check out my Cherry Pie long vowel /i/ -ie, -igh Word Work activity! :) It includes a Word Sort, and Making words activity, as well as read aloud suggestions!

I will give away my Cherry Pie long vowel /i/ -ie, -igh Word Work activity for FREE to the first two people that comment on this post! :)

Monday, July 11, 2011

Read to Someone - The Daily Five

Hope you all had a marvelous Monday! I met with some teacher friends to watch The Bachelorette tonight...LOVED seeing the girls (and chowing on some YUM dips!) Anyone else LOVE Bachelorette??? L.O.V.E. JP...and I am almost positive he will be engaged to Ashley! :)

Next up in The Daily Five ...Read to Someone.

I am going to repeat myself for the THIRD time (just in case someone reads this post that hasn't read the others before) and remind you that all of the introductory D5 lessons follow the same format:

Step 1 - Brainstorm what Read to Someone should look like and sound like
Step 2 - Make an anchor chart (students will read quietly...teachers will work with students)
Step 3 - Discuss where materials are stored and how to use them
Step 4 - Discuss where and HOW (EEKK) to sit in the room (add to anchor chart)
Step 5 - Have students model the correct AND incorrect procedures to get materials, where to sit, how to clean up). This is SUCH an important and powerful step!
Step 6 - Add a few minutes to stamina each day.

I think that Read to Someone requires the MOST modeling and practice of all of the D5 stations! It is so important to have students (who may have an issue doing this correctly in the future) model the WRONG way to Read to Someone. It is so powerful for the kiddos to SEE the correct and incorrect procedures. This station has a little more temptation since they are with a friend! :) We practice how to sit EEKK - elbow to elbow, knee to knee! I also teach my kiddos how to partner read a page, I read a page. I DO NOT teach my firsties how to read different books...this is their chance to read together and learn from each other! :)

The first day, students will Read to Someone for about 1- 2 minutes. Every day, add 1 to 2 minutes to their stamina.

My kiddos actually Read to Someone during 2 different parts of D5. After our whole group phonemic awareness and explicit phonics lesson, my kiddos split into 2 groups. One group stays with me on the carpet and we use the I Do, We Do, You Do model to read, spell, and write words and sentences in our phonics notebooks. The other group reads decodable books (with our phonics focus for the week) with a buddy. Then we switch! :) This allows me to give each student a little more attention! :) I differentiate the words, so that my higher students are extended and my lower kiddos get the reinforcement they need! :) All of my kiddos Read to Someone during our phonics block.

Then, after PE we begin our mini lessons and work sessions for D5. During these sessions, the students may choose Read to Someone. During this time, the kiddos may choose to read big books or from our poetry binder (we add one new poem each week and I add a copy of the poem to our class binder)! I switch out the pointers they can use at this station...candy canes at Christmas, feathers at Thanksgiving, to keep it fresh!

Please ask questions or make comments! :)

Up fave...WORD WORK!

Sunday, July 10, 2011

Work on Writing - The Daily Five

Happy weekend! I am back with the next independent activity introduced in The Daily Five - Work on Writing.

You might remember from my last post that all of the introductory D5 lessons follow the same format:
Step 1 - Brainstorm what Work on Writing should look like and sound like
Step 2 - Make an anchor chart (students will write quietly...teachers will work with students)
Step 3 - Discuss where materials are stored and how to use them
Step 4 - Discuss where to sit in the room (add to anchor chart)
Step 5 - Have students model the correct AND incorrect procedures to get materials, where to sit, how to clean up). This is SUCH an important and powerful step!
Step 6 - Add a few minutes to stamina each day

We discuss that Work on Writing should sound like whisper voices and quiet writing and look like students staying in one spot and writing the whole time.
We talk about how Work on Writing should NOT sound like talking to other friends and singing and should NOT look like students playing musical chairs and scribbling on paper, etc.

Students then model the correct way to get materials, where to sit, and how to clean up. It is also so important to have students (who may have an issue doing this correctly in the future) model the WRONG way to Work on Writing. It is so powerful for the kiddos to SEE the correct and incorrect procedures.

The first day, students will Work on Writing for about 1- 2 minutes. Every day, add 1 to 2 minutes to their stamina.

During Work on Writing, my students pick up their writing folder and paper. They can then choose a spot at table, or pick up a clipboard and get settled on a rug. Students must finish any unfinished writing in their writing folders before they start a new piece of writing.

Their writing folders are simply a three prong folder with two pockets on the inside. The left pocket is for finished writing and the right pocket is for unfinished writing. I include a Blend and Digraph chart, hole punched and placed in the prongs in the middle of the folder. Kinder friends, you could add an Alphabet Chart. I also place a frequently used word list in the middle.

I organize all of the paper for Work on Writing in 3 sets of these plastic drawers.

I introduce each paper as we use it in our writing units throughout the year. By March, students are allowed to choose from any of the 9 drawers ~
1. Plain paper (for illustrations or cards)
2. List paper (a half sheet of paper with lines for students to make a list)
3. Lined paper
5. 4 square paper (the students pick a topic (example - fall) and then draw and write about 4 things related to fall (football, apple, leaves, and pumpkins)
6. Stationery (I am sad I can't share these with you guys...I purchased the graphics from PC Crafter and you can only use their graphics for personal use)
7. Booklets
9. Sticker Stories (students choose 3 stickers, draw a picture using the stickers, and then write about their picture

Thanks for sticking around for this loooong post! PLEASE ask questions, or make comments! I hope this is helpful to those of you starting D5 this year! :)

Coming soon...all about Read to Someone!
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