Wednesday, February 29, 2012

Scholastic News GIVEAWAY & free sneak peek for my readers!!!!

Do you get Scholastic News? I was asked to do an honest review and I have to say, I'm impressed. Clearly real teachers are involved in the creation of these materials. {I wish I always felt that way about a certain math and basal series...}

I am a visual learner so I hope you'll appreciate a review through pictures.
I'll be honest, I probably don't read as much nonfiction as I should with my students. It is sometimes difficult to find text that is first grade appropriate and not too time consuming to read.  These issues do a terrific job practicing skills like text features, finding the main idea, vocabulary, map skills, etc.  I was also presently surprised at how cross-curricular they are. I didn't expect ABC order in the Seuss issue but that works for me!
A peek at the student copies of the March issues. Correlates great to my plans for Seuss, St. Pat's, spring, etc
As we all know, we are in the digital age and Scholastic is keeping up. With your subscription you get some cool new features and the nice people at Scholastic have made some of these links available as a special treat for my readers!

For every issue of Scholastic News, there is a video that introduces the topic and provides background knowledge for the students. It is available in English and Spanish. Here is a video we watched today about the life of Dr. Seuss.  Click on the picture to go watch it.

There is also a game for every single issue of Scholastic News. Many of them are like this one—reading comprehension—and others use the theme of the issue to test another skill, such as synonyms or ending sounds or math skills. The game below is meant to be played after reading the March issue “Peek at Plants.” The class can play it in teams if you have a projector or as individuals in your computer center. Click on the image below to go check it out.

There is also a Words to Know section on the website where you can project the vocabulary with the definition and picture.

The Teacher's Edition includes lesson plans, correlating worksheets, and reminders of the feature video and game for this issue. A planning calendar lists the topics covered for the whole year so you can plan ahead. Each issue is correlated to the Common Core Standards.
 A Big Book version is provided for your instruction and I put mine in the Big Book Reading station.
 I also really like the posters that are included. They are like anchor charts {see, I told you they have a team who knows how we actually teach!}

I am pleased to announce that one lucky follower of my blog will win a year subscription to Scholastic News (any grade!)

To enter:
1.  Check that you follow my blog (I swear Blogger has unfollowed me before) AND my TpT store  and then leave me ONE comment with your email.

2. You can earn a bonus entry by blogging {or tweeting, pinning, posting on facebook} about this giveaway. Provide the link to the post in your comment please. This could be some traffic back for you, too!

If you can't wait and want to subscribe now go  here.

The winner will be chosen one week from today on March 7th. GOOD LUCK!


Monday, February 27, 2012

Shop 'til You Drop

Are you as excited about the HUGE Leap Day sale at TpT as I am? My wishlist is getting pretty full in anticipation.  I will be offering 20% off and then you get to add the extra 10% off from TpT! Use promo code: L2P9Y.

If you have been thinking of buying something of mine, now is the time! Here are some ideas...
Sight Word Superstars: Building Fry List Fluency is my best seller!
Another very popular item! This week all the word problems are about Seuss characters! 

My math games are FUN so the students beg to play and forget they are practicing essential skills!
Need to keep your above-level readers challenged? My packets might be just the thing!
Click HERE to go to my store. Don't forget to download my FREE Lucky ABC order while you are there! Happy Shopping!


Saturday, February 25, 2012

Any Nate the Great fans?

I have been getting a lot of requests for more book club packets. I am so glad you guys like them! Here is a 2 pack I used with my 2nd grade readers recently. I love Nate the Great. It could be because I have fond memories of getting my first son hooked on reading with them. He went thru a huge detective phase, carrying a notebook around, constantly scribbling down clues. ADORABLE!  It could be because I love how Nate is always stopping to eat pancakes and never forgets to leave a note for his mother when he goes out on a case. :-)

This packet challenges them to use context clues to determine the meaning of a word.
I meet the group on Monday, going over the book and packet to make sure they understand what to do. During Daily 5, they read to self, read with a Book Club member, or work on their packet.

They know if they come to a difficult question to confer quietly with a Book Club member since I am busy conducting guided reading groups.

There are 3 thinking maps in this packet. A double bubble to compare/contrast two characters, a double bubble to compare/contrast the two books, and a tree map cut and paste to sort words from the story into the parts of speech. 

When they finish the book, they take an AR test before moving on to regular Daily 5 choices.  I added some fun to this packet by asking them to read words backwards like Nate did in the book. Their favorite activity by far though was when I mixed up a secret formula for invisible ink and let them write a secret message. When it was dry, they switched papers with a Book Club member and painted with grape juice to reveal the message! Directions are included in the download.

I love when the Book Club meets again to discuss the book. Reading "real" books gets the students much more engaged and I get better insight into where their comprehension skills are.

This 2 pack is now available in my TpT store. Don't forget to pick up the Lucky ABC Order freebie while you are there.


Friday, February 24, 2012

St. Patrick's Day FREEBIE and math gold!

I was lucky to have a week off this week when I know many of you didn't.  To share my good luck I made you a Lucky ABC order center.

You can download it for FREE by clicking on the picture below.

I have been getting so many positive comments about my math games, I was inspired to make another one with my time off this week.  Pot O' Gold focuses on students verbalizing the strategies they use to solve addition problems. I focused on the strategies of doubles, near doubles, and making ten.
{Topic 16.1 Envision users!} I will use "gold" as the cover up pieces but you could use counters.

Partner 1 picks a card and tells his partner not only the answer but what strategy he used to solve the addition problem. The included math talk cards provide sentence frames to aid your students in practicing this skill.
 I also included a double ten-frame so students who need the extra scaffolding can use counters to help them make ten.
Only $2 in my TpT store right now. Click on the preview below to go check it out.


Thursday, February 23, 2012


Have you been following my blog for a whole year? If not, I thought you may be interested in some FREE Seuss things I made last year as you prep for next week. Maybe you oldsters forgot you had these? Don't tell me I'm the only one who downloads so much I sometimes forget what I have?

We will make green eggs and ham again and then graph if students liked them or not.
Need a few more center ideas?

You can download all of the above here.
Here is a syllable sort
Seuss Syllable Sort

And a verb worksheet

Seuss Verbs
I love when I find freebies I can use so I hope you found (or remembered)  something today. Thanks for following and commenting. Comments make my day so I am really trying to do the same and make more comments on your blogs. I follow ALL of you :-) so know you are APPRECIATED, even if you don't hear from me. I love this blog community we have going and I KNOW my teaching is the better for it!


Tuesday, February 21, 2012

I goofed big time!

So I thought it was kind of weird that I did not get one comment on my Valentine's post, especially after I shared about my sweet hubbie, and I just figured out why....I posted it on my class blog! OOPS!
I have NOT been myself this year. Anyway, here is the post  I made on V-Day....

I was kind of dreading today.  My class gets riled up at the SLIGHTEST bit of excitement and I caught that annoying cold that has been going around so I'm not 100%.

But my day started off nicely with a delicious dijon mustard quiche courtesy of the PTA. Our moms bring us a nice treat spread once a month. Aren't they sweet?

We made these adorable Splats from the amazing Cara and wrote about when we felt loved.
We graphed conversation hearts, made patterns,
and played battleship. These printables are from the wonderful Rachelle.

We played pin the lips on the teacher. Idea and lips from the terrific  Teacher Wife. Not sure why I have blue hair? All the gray hairs I have gotten from this class are missing, that is for certain!

My room mom found these next two ideas. The object of this game is to see how many M&Ms you can move from one cup to the other by straw suction.
For this relay the kids stepped on a big heart, moving the one behind them in front for each next step. My boys thought it was fun to throw the heart which made for quite a challenging next step!

We had had various art tables. I had this pattern from last year but I saw Christina posted a template you can grab if you want to put it away for next year. It is challenging for firsties. Here you see one of my crafty girls helping a friend.

And when I came home, excited to get in my jammies after a crazy day, look what was waiting for me...
I mentioned the other day that I wish we could afford a trip to Red Lobster because I was craving cheddar bay biscuits. So my sweet husband made surf and turf (bacon-wrapped no less) and stopped by Red Lobster to buy the biscuits.  He also bought red roses which he was NOT supposed to do. If you are wondering why the card has a G, he has called me his Guinevere since we were dating and read that Jennifer is the modern name for it. Isn't he romantic?

I hope your day was just as sweet.


Friday, February 17, 2012

Fact Family Freebie

I forgot how much I hate the Envision 15.2 worksheet on Fact Families. Let's not see if they can actually understand how to write all 4 related facts with the larger numbers before asking them to write them ALL with the answer FIRST. Addition is no problem but understanding that the whole has to go in the middle for the subtraction sentences is tough. Oh, and then on the assessment there are none in that format. Huh?

I taught the part-part-whole method which I like but I also wanted my firsties to connect better with the vocabulary of fact family and related facts. I was explaining how you are related to your family and one of my smarties piped up, "Yea, that's why they are called relatives." So I know HE got it but for the rest, I made a more concrete fact family. I got this idea from Gladys at  Teaching in High Heels.
I hung these characters on the white board and we moved them around, making all 4 related facts. The numbers are sticky notes so I could easily change the numbers. My students wrote their answers on white boards and held them up. I love this because I can easily see who gets it quickly and who looks around in confusion.  Gladys had another good tip about telling the kids that only the 3 family numbers belonged in the house and they didn't let in strange numbers. This TOTALLY worked. During white board practice I heard one of my girls say, "Johnny, you let strangers in your house! 10 and 5 aren't part of the family!"

Here is the worksheet I made for independent practice.  Leave me a comment if you like this or are just glad it is FRIDAY!! I am SOOO ready for vacation. Do you have the week off like we do?
Fact Families


Thursday, February 9, 2012

The Principal Gestapo

Today the Superintendent was scheduled to visit from 10:30-11. I figured that left 1 minute per classroom max and it was during my Daily 5/Guided Reading time so as long as I had my objectives posted I was good to go. That isn't quite how it went down...

A few minutes before school starts I hear through the grapevine that the Sup has cancelled BUT now we have 9 principals from other schools coming through and they are here NOW!

5 suits come in as I am transitioning from our Daily Editing Word Problems to my sequencing lesson using a flow map. They stay 10 minutes which feels like FOREVER as they are scribbling on their notepads and scrutinizing my room.  I breathe a sigh of relief as they silently file out the door. My kids have been shockingly good UNTIL....

The mom of my quietest girl comes in, handing me a late slip, (by 40 minutes) explaining that her daughter is outside crying and won't come in. I realize I had heard someone wailing outside but we are close to the preschool special ed so those sounds don't really register anymore.  I step outside (leaving my door open) and see her clinging to a pole.  I have had this before and usually if I can get them in the room and mom leaves they calm down in a few minutes. I try to bring her in but she is physically resisting. Suddenly she starts SCREAMING bloody murder and falls to the ground.  I look over and who is just down the hall, yep the Principal Gestapo.  One of them comes to my rescue since I CLEARLY can't handle her and the other 29 bambinos waiting for me. I have no idea how they got her down to the office but my principal delivered her back over AN HOUR LATER!

I felt pretty inept until my principal told me the angel threw a total tantrum on the floor of her office and refused to cooperate with her either. Apparently she tried to negotiate how long she would have to stay at school.

Turns out the pumpkin was upset because:
a) she was late (mom accidentally took Dad's car keys and had to leave work to come back home)
b) she missed her cousin who had been visiting

This one is absent and tardy quite a bit and maybe now I am getting a glimpse into why.

I SO wish wine didn't give me a migraine because a bottle sounds in order about now. Hey Kristin, got any Math Pills you can share? Do you think they work for Major Meltdowns?? 67 days and counting....


Wednesday, February 8, 2012

Plastic Heart FREEBIE

Did you snag yourself a set of heart containers from the Dollar Tree? Have you decided what you will do with them yet? I made mine into the math tub below but Cara and Abby also have some great ideas you should check out.

Partners each pick a heart out of a Valentine's gift bag. Each partner counts their coins and writes it on their line. Then the partners decide if a greater than or less than sign should go in the circle. The player with the larger amount wins that round. After putting the coins back in their heart and putting it aside, they each draw another heart out of the bag and follow the same procedure for the second round. After 5 rounds, the player who won the most rounds is the winner! Just make sure when you put the coins in the hearts that you make them all different amounts. You don't need numbers on the hearts unless you want to make an answer key. 
Sorry for the glare. I try to conserve paper whenever possible (I do work at an environmental science magnet after all) so my students use these dry erase sleeves. Click below to get your copy. And remember, comments make my day! :-)

I was contacted by and I've been given a premium membership to for a candid, personal, online review. helps students study word lists using 25 different learning activities such as MatchIt Sentences, HangMan, and Word-O-Rama.  Parents can create their own spelling lists, find published lists already available on the site, or use any of dozens of  free teaching resources on topics such as analogies and compound words.

Be sure to come back in three weeks to read about my experience. There might be more free memberships available for bloggers.  If you're interested, find out how you can review


Tuesday, February 7, 2012

"Hearty" Word Work

I am getting into all thing hearts lately. Here is a quick word work activity I made around our word pattern for the week.
The student places a tile on the heart and determines if it makes a real or nonsense word. I challenged them to see if they could make a couple with two tiles.

oo words

We are also working on compound word this week so we are making these "door books."
Fold the paper hotdog style, cut the top paper up the middle to make two doors.
A little catching up from last week:
I'm glad to see some of you were able to use the groundhog pattern I shared last week. Here are two of my favorites from my class. I think the ears being lower might actually be the way to go. I felt my sample looked a little to bearish..
Check out those crazy eyes!

We were also working on proper nouns last week so I leave you with another thinking map. I had the words posted without capitalization and then the students told me where to put them.
Not beautiful. Just keeping it real.
Thanks for the tags from Rebecca at Teaching First, Mrs. Nunley at First Grade Magic, Latricia fromWild about Second Grade, and Tricia from Quenn With Class. I wish I had time to answer that many questions but my life is INSANELY busy. I am always jealous when I read other posts about watching reality TV in your jammies. I watched no TV last night and wasn't in my jammies until midnight. {Insert pouty lips here.} I know those of you with kids can relate! I can't even keep up with my blogging like I'd like. So if you don't get a comment from me, know that I am trying to read you on my phone at basketball, baseball, cub scouts, etc. Wish I could comment on Google Reader!

I am now late so I have to run! I will leave you with this question:
Do you know how many school days you have left?

Yep, that kind of year here and my answer is 70!! I think I can make it!


Wednesday, February 1, 2012

100th Day Fun!

My favorite part of 100th day is the old people art. This year we used wallpaper instead of fabric for the shirts.We made a circle map of what we might be like when we were 100 and then wrote about it.
I love how she piled the hair on top like a bun!

This guy told me he purposefully took most of the cotton off so it would look the fuzz he has on his head and it does!

I do it TLC style so I don't have templates to share.  I just precut the rectangles and the kids follow my oral directions to trim it into a head, etc.

We made crowns and glasses again this year.  You can click here to get links for these.
 We read 100th Day books.
The student favorite by far though was the Fruit Loop necklaces. It is always interesting to see who strings by color, who creates a pattern, or those that don't give a hoot and just want to be able to eat them!

 They had to count out the 100 pieces by tens first.You can get the sorting sheet here.
I got smart this year and taped one end of their string to the desk so no one had their loops fall off halfway through!
Last, but not least,  Wildlife Associates brought amazing animals for us to meet. I didn't get pictures but here is one from their site.

We were visited by a
  • Canada Lynx
  • Snowy Owl
  • Coatimundi
  • Coendou (Prehensile tailed porcupine)
  • White Tailed Kite 
It was so cool! This was a perfect lead in to our animal adaptations unit coming up and a great way to end a special day.