Monday, January 31, 2011

Sticker Search

I made up a new game last week that the kids just love so I thought I would share. Every morning we read our sight words of the week from a small pocket chart. We used to read them in different voices (underwater, robot, etc) but even that wasn't keeping their attention too well anymore. So, I started hiding a sticker behind one of the words. I pull sticks and that student gets to read a word. I slowly lift up the word to see if they get a sticker. We all say, "Good try" if they don't get it. I then turn the card over and pick another stick. The kids told me they thought 2 words needed stickers :-) so I obliged them. A small price to pay for their rapt attention. I hope it works as well for you as it does for me!


Sunday, January 30, 2011

Meet our ducks...

Introduced Candy Land Sight Word Edition to the kids this week. They loved it of course! A big thanks for the idea goes to Sarah Cooley at First Last!

In other news, Mr. and Mrs. Mallard have returned to our outdoor classroom to nest as they do every season. The whole school is very careful to observe quietly so they won't scare them away. It is SO adorable if you happen to be around when Mrs. Mallard leads her brood out the gate and traffic stops as she crosses the street!

Working at an environmental science magnet is super cool!!!


Saturday, January 29, 2011

Snowboarding Superstar

For those with high readers (I have a bunch) I made another Book Club packet. You can grab a copy in my TPT store.


Friday, January 28, 2011

Valentine's Day Making Words

Here is my latest making words worksheet. The squares at the bottom can be be cut out and manipulated. I had a student get 24 words on the penguins sheet this week!
Click in the top right corner below to download.


Wednesday, January 26, 2011

Groundhog Contraction Coloring

I should be grading or cleaning up my house but instead I am on the computer instead...big surprise! My students need more practice with contractions so I made this so they won't even know they are reviewing! Click the top right corner below to download.


Tuesday, January 25, 2011

No Name Papers No More

Are no name papers the bane of your existence? Then I have the tip for you. The trick is.......................

Before my students turn in ANYTHING they highlight under their name. I simply keep a cup of highlighters and pencils next to the turn in bin. When they go to highlight, they realize, "Oh, there is no name to highlight" and have to write it before they can highlight.

So simple but it works. I have had 0, you heard me Z-E-R-O no names so far this year!! 

I will have to admit I had to make a few rules around them.
1. No using every color to make a rainbow. Pretty but time consuming.
2. No coloring over your name. They sometimes did it so much I could hardly read the name.
3. Your name must be in pencil. "But I wrote it right there in yellow highlighter."

And that is my first Teacher Tip Tuesday!


Monday, January 24, 2011

Student funny

So we're reviewing the water cycle (been awhile) and I have students volunteer precipitation and evaporation but for a minute they can't come up with the third. Then a cutie raises his hand proudly and announces, "I know Mrs. B, it's constipation!" It was all I could do to not burst out laughing.


Sunday, January 23, 2011


I reached 100 followers today and I am thrilled!!! I know many of you wonderful bloggers I stalk have way over 100 but I only started blogging 2 months ago so I am pretty happy. I love how blogging helps us share ideas that make us better teachers.

So THANK YOU followers, you made my day!


Saturday, January 22, 2011

The Snowy Day

This week we read The Snowy Day by Ezra Jack Keats.

The kids all had clipboards and I stopped and asked them to predict/ infer at certain points. We had a great discussion on how their schema helps them. We live in CA but I was still surprised how many kids have never played in snow!

You can download the worksheet I used  HERE. I realized as we were reading that you also use inferring when you figure out Peter lives in an apartment. We worked on that one whole group and it was interesting how many kids didn't pick up on it. Only 4 live in apartments so I guess they didn't have the schema!! :-)

Then I asked the students to predict what they think Peter and his friend would do when they went out in the deep, deep snow. They wrote about it and made a picture to go with it. 

You can download the writing page HERE
I got the template for Peter and his friend from Chalk Talk a great Kindergarten blog at


Thursday, January 20, 2011

Models v Maps

In social studies we are learning about maps. To illustrate the difference between maps and models the kids made them! First, partners made a model of a playground with play dough.
Then the student made a map of their playground and wrote a sentence describing how models and maps are alike or different.
The kids loved it of course! 


Wednesday, January 19, 2011

MLK lessons

First, we read Martin's Big Words. The kids were outraged at the unfairness! Being a former history teacher, I of course added a little more background...

Then, we watched a clip of The I Have A Dream speech from Youtube. It was hard for the kids to understand but I thought it was worth them hearing him speak and seeing the huge crowd that attended.

Next, we brainstormed a list of dreams for the future the students had.
Then, each student wrote their dream in a speech bubble and glued on their picture. They didn't ask why it was black and white, maybe because we had discussed why the video was in black and white! :-) This idea was inspired by Natalie at What the Teacher Wants.

Later, we made this TLC directed art. My kids LOVE TLC art. I think it has really helped their cutting and listening skills!

Finally, we read the sound effects story from Heidi Butkus. If you've never tried a sound effects story you are missing some fun! You can get a copy of her story at Heidi is a teacher I really admire, so if you aren't familiar with her I highly suggest you check her out. My kids beg to dance to her Sight Word dvds. Well worth the money. OK, I sound like a commercial!

One of my parents told me they had a terrific family discussion at dinner because of my lessons which made me happy!  :-)


Monday, January 17, 2011

Water cycle and weather

We have been studying the water cycle and weather. We made up a water cycle chant complete with motions. Wish I had been smart enough to take a video for you.
 We made our own rain gauges.
Then we put them in an empty flower bed in our outdoor classroom.
After 2 weeks, we went back out to check our rain gauges. Boy, were they full!
Finally, we practiced using other weather tools like a wind vane
and a  thermometer
 and recorded our findings like a meteorologist!

Mr. Keedy, our awesome science teacher, demonstrated an anemometer
and then the kids got to make their own anemometer: a pinwheel! (OK, maybe that is a stretch because it doesn't measure the wind speed exactly but the kids liked it!)


Sunday, January 16, 2011

Groundhog making words

Here is a Groundhog making words activity I made. I usually put these out as an early finisher activity and challenge the students to see who can fill it. Occasionally I'll announce, "Oh, WOW, I see Caden has 12 already..." and that really spurs them on. ;-) The letters on the bottom can be cut out and manipulated. Click on the top right corner below to download.


Saturday, January 15, 2011

The Chalk Box Kid

I have some really high readers this year that I want to keep challenged. I started Book Clubs for them. I pick a chapter book and introduce it on Monday. I assign a certain number of chapters to read and packet pages to complete before our Book Club meeting on Friday. Since they are only in 1st grade I check in with them briefly every day in between to see how they are doing.
Chalk Box


Getting organized!

I don't know about you but after the kids go to bed I am usually on one end of the couch grading or creating things for school (or on the computer) and my husband is on the other. Since we have our assigned spots we both tend to take over our respective end tables. His is covered in guitar music, baseball line-ups and cub scout leader paraphanalia. Mine, of course, is mostly teacher-related. I decided the other night to organize myself and this is what I came up with. We happen to have this organizer in the garage. It isn't very pretty, I may add some scrapbook paper or stickers, but for now it is making me happy just to have what I need at my fingertips.

It barely closes with the scissors but I'll probably leave it open most of the time anyway.

What organizational tips can you share?


Friday, January 14, 2011

Pics I have been meaning to post...

If you haven't made your power towers yet, go out and buy your Dixie cups tonight because this is the HOT game in my room right now!!

My students LOVED making Noun Town this week. A few students even brought their parents in after school to check it out!
I know I already posted a pic of our Tacky penguins but I couldn't resist this one I took after they were all up on the bulletin board.


Tuesday, January 11, 2011

Penguins Making Words

I made this making words activity to go with my penguin unit. The letters on the bottom can be cut apart and manipulated. Click HERE to download.


Tacky the Penguin

I have to say it. I ROCK at reading aloud. I even sing off key obnoxiously when necessary. "How many toes does a fish have? How many wings on a cow? I wonder, yup I wonder."

I think I did too good a job because my students begged to read Tacky the Penguin again today and broke into the above song at various intervals throughout the day. Hee hee!
We made a bubble map describing Tacky. Then each student wrote about what they liked best about Tacky.

We made directed art penguins and then added tacky shirts and bow ties!
I can't wait to get them up on my bulletin board tomorrow!


Saturday, January 8, 2011

EEK! There's a Mouse in the House

My students enjoyed retelling our basal story with puppets so much last week that I made some for this week's story with DJ Inkers clipart. If you use HM maybe you can use these EEK! There's a Mouse in the House puppets. I cut, laminate, and then glue to craft sticks. You can download them HERE
Clipart by DJ Inkers


Thursday, January 6, 2011

Puppet Power

We used story props for the first time this year and my kids LOVED it! We read The Sleeping Pig in our basal. I had the characters colored, laminated, and glued to craft sticks. I even made a quick watermelon patch background.
We completed a story structure tree map and discussed the difference between a summary and retelling. I then picked a narrator to retell the story while a few students re-enacted the action.
Here is a video. I think it is precious but I am biased! :-)


 When we finished one girl said, "Can we do this for EVERY story?" It was a good day.