TpT Sale {Morning Work Repost}

We’re still in the midst of summer… or more accurately less than four weeks from the beginning of the school year. But, it sounds MUCH better to say it’s “summer” and not, “it’s almost time for school”. Are you cringing at every back to school commercial on TV? It just can’t be that time yet!

740 × 400But seeing as how the start of the school year is creeping up on us, I wanted to point out that starting tomorrow, August 1st, Teachers Pay Teachers is having an amazing sale. My whole store- First Grade Adventures- is on a 20% sale. This is the perfect time to stock up on everything you need for the start of the school year.

Looking for how to run successful guided reading groups? Click on the picture below to link to my best selling, 5 star rated Guided Reading Basics pack.

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Need new ideas for your writing center? Need to spice up your Daily 5 writing station? Click on the picture below to link to my Ultimate Writing Pack.

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Stuck on science? My Light Pack and Sound Pack are two of my BEST SELLING products. They are completely inclusive science units that are ready to go, with hands-on experiments, NGSS aligned, and wonderfully engaging!

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Another great product is my Reading Comprehension pack. I use them weekly in my student’s homework packets and they are differentiated so you can meet the needs of all the kids in your room!

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Lastly, if you’re just in the frame of mind to think about the first few days of school, check out my First Day of School Pack. There are lots of fun activities included, like Play-Doh sculpting, All About Me activities, and even interest inventories to get to know your new kiddos.

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There are TONS more products, so be sure to check out my store. Click on any of the pictures above or CLICK RIGHT HERE TO LINK TO MY TPT STORE- FIRST GRADE ADVENTURES

1200 × 628Don’t forget, my whole store is already on sale. But you can also add the code “BestYear” and get an additional 8% off. That works out to a 28% discount! This is really the time to stock up on what you need. Get a jump start on the school year!

Speaking of getting ready for the school year, are you still doing traditional morning work? If you are, you REALLY, REALLY, REALLY need to click on this link to read my blog post about why traditional morning work just doesn’t cut it.

I’ve moved away from the traditional “one page a day” method and you can read all about why at the link above. You should check out all of my month packets at my TpT store to replace your traditional morning work needs. At only $4.00 for the whole month, it’s SO worth it! {Side note- I’m still working on getting a couple of the months done, but this is the time to buy as many as you can of them while they are on sale!}

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Just click on the picture above for the September packet. Then, look at my store to find the rest of the months! I really recommend it, it’s something my kids use every single day.

Thank you so much for taking the time to read this post, check out my store, and consider some of these products. I really appreciate all of your support and reviews. Thank you!

Differentiation {A Lesson in Action!}

Hi all! Before our regularly scheduled programming, here’s a little #TBT, Throw Back Thursday!

Chicks!

Chicks!

Chicks!

Chicks!

Chicks!

Chicks!

Chicks!

Chicks!

A few weeks ago, the fourth graders in our school raised chicks. They invited us up one day to spend some time with them and their new arrivals! It was so much fun and the firsties just LOVED it! I haven’t gotten a chance to post about it because it’s been busy with testing, assemblies, meetings, more testing, field trips, activities, class work, more testing, agh!

But in the meantime, I wanted to post about something I am passionate about and something that is a huge part of my classroom. DIFFERENTIATION! Not only is it what I hold my Master’s degree in, but it’s what drives my classroom instruction.

I get asked a lot about how this really works in a classroom, specifically in a first grade classroom. Sometimes the idea of “differentiating” seems like too much “extra” work. In reality, that couldn’t be further from the truth. Here’s a simple way I differentiate in my classroom to meet the needs of all the learners in my room.

Reading text

Reading text

During our phonics block, we’ve been focusing more on putting our knowledge into play rather than direct instruction (focused solely on learning a new sound or blend). At this point in the year, we are putting that knowledge into action, working on reading fluency and identifying blends or sight words as we read.

To meet the needs of all the learners in my room, students were each given a book titled “Police Officers”, which were informational texts about police.

There were 3 different levels of this book. So while every child in the room was reading the same information, some were more complex than others.

Text

Text

Text

Text

In the above two pictures, you can see how both pages are giving the students similar information. But in the top picture, there is more information, words, and vocabulary. In the bottom picture, it’s presented in a simpler form. However- the content is still the same! Both students are reading AND comprehending at their own levels.

Grouping

Grouping

Grouping

Grouping

So how does this work? To begin, I put students into groups around the room with the kids who were reading the same level book as themselves. They started by just reading their text. Next, they worked on highlighting words with letter sounds we’ve been working on, such as “ch”, “sh”, “ar”, “oi/oy”, etc. They also worked on highlighting all the sight words we’ve learned that are on our word wall.

Highlighting

Highlighting

Highlighting

Highlighting

Highlighting

Highlighting

That was all on day 1. The next day, the students began by rereading their text. By doing this, they are practicing fluency and their comprehension skills. Then, they went back into their groups. Working as sets of partners within their leveled teams, they had to complete a Tree Map (a type of Thinking Map that helps them summarize) to state the topic of the text and supporting details.

What’s great about this is- 1. Students have a partner to support them 2. Not only do they have a partner, but they also have the support of their team sitting around them and 3. Because everyone at their table has the same level book, they can help each other with finding supporting details.

Groups around the room

Groups around the room

Finding details and putting them into a Tree Map

Finding details and putting them into a Tree Map

Finding details and putting them into a Tree Map

Finding details and putting them into a Tree Map

Finding details and putting them into a Tree Map

Finding details and putting them into a Tree Map

You’ll find that the kids are naturally differentiating themselves at this point. The students with the hardest text are going to be making the most complicated and detailed Tree Maps, because they have more text to work with. The students with a simplified text are going to be making a Tree Map using the details from their books, at their own level. Again, THEY ARE ALL LEARNING AND WORKING WITH THE SAME INFORMATION! This is the genius and key to a differentiated room.

Finding details and putting them into a Tree Map

Finding details and putting them into a Tree Map

Finding details and putting them into a Tree Map

Finding details and putting them into a Tree Map

Finding details and putting them into a Tree Map

Finding details and putting them into a Tree Map

Finding details and putting them into a Tree Map

Finding details and putting them into a Tree Map

Finding details and putting them into a Tree Map

Finding details and putting them into a Tree Map

Was this more work for me as a teacher? No.

Was this just giving some kids “more work” and other kids “less work”? No.

Was this hard to plan? No.

This was meaningful and tailored to the individualized needs of my learners. The students all felt accomplished and proud of their work because it was at their level. All of them were successful and completed the mission- to summarize an informational text.

I hope you can see just how simple, easy, and engaging a lesson like this is! The kids work hard and learn so much when they are given materials that meet their unique needs.

It’s not pictured, but the next day students went back with those same partners and used their Tree Maps to turn their ideas into writing. They wrote paragraphs that summarized their texts. Think first graders can’t write detailed and supportive paragraphs? Think again! :)

Thanks so much for checking in on our adventure! Be sure to subscribe and keep coming back!

Don’t Let The Pigeon!

 

Don't Let the Pigeon!

Don’t Let the Pigeon!

 

Hello first grade party people! I’m so glad that you decided to stop by today and see what we’ve been busy with in first grade. As the weather warms up and the school year winds down, we always have lots of  fun things to share. Here’s what’s been keeping us busy…

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By Mo Willems

During our writing block, we follow the “Be A Writer” program. It’s a scripted series that typically focuses on one anchor book each week. The anchor book is read several times, teacher models, and students independently write. The theme of the writing week is based on some aspect of the book.

At this point in the year, we always finish this program, but haven’t yet finished school! So, we try to follow the same format using books of our choosing.

This week, we’ve been reading the Mo Willem’s books about the Pigeon. We’ve laughed and giggled about the Pigeon trying to drive a bus, stay up late, and eat a hotdog.

Don't Let The Pigeon!

Don’t Let The Pigeon!

Then, the students created their own “don’t let the pigeon” stories. We told them to pick something the Pigeon wanted to ride or drive.

Don't Let The Pigeon!

Don’t Let The Pigeon!

There were lots of great ideas. For example, that poor Pigeon wasn’t allowed to ride a unicorn, fly a plane, drive a monster truck, or even ride a monkey!

Don't Let The Pigeon!

Don’t Let The Pigeon!

Don't Let The Pigeon!

Don’t Let The Pigeon!

What I really loved is how the kids used some of the phrases from the book. We talked a lot about why the author choose certain words and why some things were written IN ALL CAPITAL LETTERS! The kids incorporated that into their stories as well!

Don't Let The Pigeon!

Don’t Let The Pigeon!

Don't Let The Pigeon!

Don’t Let The Pigeon!

Don't Let The Pigeon!

Don’t Let The Pigeon!

We also studied the illustrations. Most of the year we’ve worked really hard on adding details to our pictures. This meant, drawing appropriate backgrounds and details to match our stories. But we looked closely at Mo Willems’ pictures. These were different. There was only the Pigeon in almost all the pictures. The details were different. For example, we needed details to show how the Pigeon was feeling or what he was thinking, rather than a background picture.

Don't Let The Pigeon!

Don’t Let The Pigeon!

 

Don't Let The Pigeon!

Don’t Let The Pigeon!

Don't Let The Pigeon!

Don’t Let The Pigeon!

We practiced together, but then they were off on their own! The books turned out unbelievably adorable! And the cutest part is that I’m finding little Pigeons on all their other work as the days go on :) He’s just so much fun to draw!

Thanks for checking into our adventure! Be sure to stop by soon AND subscribe to this blog by email along the upper right hand side!

Light {Shadow Puppet Theater}

 

It's spring!

It’s spring!

It’s been a LOOOOOONG time since I’ve last posted. This time of the school year just gets INSANE! With testing, breaks, report cards, etc- it’s just been busy! But we’ve also been doing a lot of exciting things. For starters, how fun is the above photo! We saw a similar picture on Pinterest and decided to tackle the project as a first grade team! Each of us picked a color and we did a handprint garden. It was pretty simple, actually! And how cool did they all turn out? We love them hanging in the hallway and how they all look a little different.

Speaking of our first grade team, today was pajama day…. and can you tell we’re on the same page?

Twins!

Twins!

Two of us were pajama twins today! Great minds think alike :) (this also reflects our shared loved of Target!)

But back to the topic of this post- LIGHT!

I’ve already made lots of posts about the NGSS standard of light waves. It’s a topic we cover each year and the kids really love it. It can seem overwhelming at first (you teach about light waves to first graders!?) but honestly- it’s a fun, engaging unit!

Light Pack

Light Pack

If you click on the picture, it will take you to my Light unit on TpT. It’s filled with everything you need to teach light to first graders.

Reflecting

Reflecting

One of the best things is watching kids discover how they can change the direction of light waves. Because of course, the first aspect we learn about is that light moves in straight lines. By using a mirror, we start to discover the meaning of “reflect” and how we can change lights direction.

Reflecting

Reflecting

Reflecting

Reflecting

It’s a fun process. Kids love a challenge, so have them point their flashlights a certain way and then have them use the mirror to get the light on something else. For example, have them all point their lights up towards the ceiling. Then, using the mirror and NOT moving the flashlight, have them reflect the light on the board. It’s really fun and the kids love challenging themselves in this way! Plus, it’s showing them how light moves and what reflect means.

Shadow Fables

Shadow Fables

This year, we also did something new at the end of our light unit. Because we’d learned about shadows and transparent objects, we put together all our knowledge to make a shadow puppet theater. To make it even more fun, we combined this idea with our last literacy unit- fables.

Shadow Fables

Shadow Fables

This idea came straight from the fabulous first grade teacher on our team, Ms. Rios! :)

Shadow Fables

Shadow Fables

We combined our classes and had pairs of students write their very own fable. Once they had a story, they used black construction paper and sticks to make shadow puppet characters. Finally, we constructed a “theater” using a box and white paper. When we shined a light from behind the box, the students presented their shadow fables!

Shadow Fables

Shadow Fables

Shadow Fables

Shadow Fables

I can’t even describe how amazing this was! Some of the morals they created included:

-Don’t disturb princes and princesses

-You shouldn’t eat children

-Real friends can’t be unfriended

….. just to name a few :)

 

Their stories were amazing, the morals were just perfect, and the shadow puppets added an awesome science connection and element to the whole thing. It was such a fun idea and the kids had a blast doing it! It was a great way to combine our two units, and end our light unit.

Thanks for checking into our adventure!

Happy 100th Day…. and…. Happy Valentine’s Day!

Whew! We had a busy, busy week in first grade. With the 100th day of school and Valentine’s day back-to-back, it made for a fun, crazy, and exciting last two days of the week :)

100th Day

100th Day

Up first… the 100th day of school! It’s such a great milestone in our year. It means that we are 100 days into our journey- 100 days smarter and 100 days bigger! The kids {and teachers} love this day. It’s just a lot of fun- the kids are so proud of being in school this long and are so excited to celebrate!

We have the kids decorate capes at home, with 100 things on them of course! We wear the caps all day long and as one kiddo told me, “We’re just like super heroes!” Yes, we were :)

Capes!

Capes!

Capes!

Capes!

100th Day

100th Day

100th Day

100th Day

Capes!

Capes!

They all looked so awesome! We had stickers, pictures, stars, and pom pons! They all reflected the kid’s personalities and all looked so cool. They are the perfect thing to help us celebrate this important day.

We spent the day doing lots of exciting 100th day themed things, including…..

writing 100 words….

100th Day

100th Day

100th Day

100th Day

…..singing 100th day songs…..

100th Day

100th Day

….dancing to 100th day songs….

100th Day

100th Day

100th Day

100th Day

….finding, coloring, and graphing 100 pictures in the number 100…..

100th Day

100th Day

100th Day

100th Day

100th Day

100th Day

100th Day

100th Day

100th Day

100th Day

….rolling dice and coloring pictures up to 100…..

100th Day

100th Day

100th Day

100th Day

100th Day

100th Day

100th Day

100th Day

…..and seeing what weighed more than 100 coins!

100th Day

100th Day

100th Day

100th Day

100th Day

100th Day

It was a blast! Everything we did revolved around the number 100. It was a really great day and one we will all remember.

 

As if that wasn’t enough fun….. the next day was our Valentine’s Day celebration!

Valentine's Day!

Valentine’s Day!

We used candy hearts to sort, count, and graph in math.

Valentine's Day!

Valentine’s Day!

Valentine's Day!

Valentine’s Day!

Valentine's Day!

Valentine’s Day!

Of course, we also made these ADORABLE bags to hold all of our Valentine’s day cards.

Valentine's Day!

Valentine’s Day!

Valentine's Day!

Valentine’s Day!

Valentine's Day!

Valentine’s Day!

They were so easy to make. The white heart was cut out for the kids and they had to cut up pieces of red and pink to make a mosaic. After, we just glued on their name and stapled to a brown lunch bag. It made for the perfect place to pass out and store our cards to each other!

Valentine's Day!

Valentine’s Day!

Valentine's Day!

Valentine’s Day!

Valentine's Day!

Valentine’s Day!

I didn’t get any other pictures because we were too busy celebrating! But the rest of our day included lots of Valentine’s day stories, Valentine’s day cards, and Valentine’s day snacks. We had a great celebration!

Overall, it was a great two days. They were filled with smiles, laughs, and lots of hugs! This is a great bunch of kiddo’s and I really enjoyed celebrating with them!

Thanks for checking out our first grade adventure!

MLK Jr. Research {& some math!}

Our current literacy unit is informational text. The kids are reading about real people, real places, and real things. With all of this, we are summarizing! The kids are turning into real pro’s. They identify the topic of the text and then find details about that topic.

For the past couple of weeks, we have been focusing on Martin Luther King Jr. We’ve been reading, researching and learning all about him.

When we started this topic, the first thing we did was make a Circle Map. A Circle Map is a wonderful way to gather student’s knowledge before you start a topic. It gives the teacher insight into what they already know and what ideas they might not understand. The kiddo’s initial ideas were so great!

They worked in their table teams (teams of 4) to write one fact they already knew about Martin Luther King Jr.

 

Post it's

Post it’s

 

Post it's

Post it’s

Post it's

Post it’s

{As a first grade teacher, this is easy for me to read. But for others, let me translate- Martin wanted everyone to be together} :)

Aren’t these the best? We put them together on a Circle Map.

Pre Knowledge Circle Map

Pre Knowledge Circle Map

The cool thing about doing it on post-it’s is that as our unit progressed, we kept adding more post-it’s. We used different colors each time we added more, so that by the end of the unit, we had a wonderful map that showed everything we’d learned!

Another fun way that we learned more about MLK Jr. was by researching him using the kid-safe search engine KidRex. If you haven’t heard of it, you should really check it out!

KidRex

KidRex

Just go to www.kidrex.org. It’s a filtered search engine for kids. KEEP IN MIND- You should always monitor kids searching anything on-line, but I’ve only had great experiences using this with my kids.

KidRex

KidRex

KidRex

KidRex

KidRex

KidRex

I love allowing my kids to learn more by researching and reading things themselves. The more we do this type of research, the better my kids get at it.

The first times you have first graders search something, they are mostly just clicking pages and looking at pictures. But by now, my kids are really reading some of the facts they see and sharing what they find with the others around them. It’s really awesome to see them start this journey in their education, it’s such a skill they will need as they get older!

And going back to the Circle Map, as they found new facts, we wrote them on post-it’s to add to our knowledge!

Subtraction Games

I just wanted to mention a SIMPLE, QUICK game to practice subtraction. I’m always looking for fun and simple ways for my kids to have hands-on ways to practice the skills we are learning. Sometimes you just don’t have the time to get together a bunch of materials when you only have 20 minutes to play something.

I was looking at the materials I had ready and came up with an easy game that helped reinforce the idea that subtraction means to take something away. After six years of teaching first grade, I’ve always found that some of my kids still struggle with the difference between addition and subtraction. I wanted them to really understand that when we subtract, we take things away.

Subtraction Game

Subtraction Game

All you need for this game is a cup with counters inside and dice. My kids worked in partners, each pair getting a cup with 20 counters and a die.

To start the game, each kid takes 10 counters {this number could be adjusted up to as high as you’d like}. They take turns rolling the die. Whatever number they roll, they have to put that many back inside the cup.

Subtraction Game

Subtraction Game

In essence, each roll is a “subtraction”. They have to take away from their own counters and put them in the cup. Their pile is getting smaller- the main idea of what it means to subtract.

The kids play until one of them runs out of counters. Then, they start over.

And do you want to know something? THEY. LOVED. THIS. GAME.

We played it for 3 days in a row {using larger amounts of counter chips} because they were BEGGING to play.

Subtraction Game

Subtraction Game

Subtraction Game

Subtraction Game

We only played in small time segments, but a great way to kick this game up a notch would be to have them write the subtraction sentence each time they roll. So if they start with 10 counters and roll a 3, they could write 10 – 3 = 7.

Subtraction Game

Subtraction Game

Subtraction Game

Subtraction Game

I just wanted to share because it was an amazing game. Not only was it simple to set up, but the kids loved it and it truly enforced the idea of subtraction!

Thanks for checking into our adventure! Be sure to come back soon!

Why Traditional “Morning Work” Doesn’t Work!

Slide1

 

 

Let’s set the scene. You come into your classroom on a Monday morning. You plan to get a lot done in the time before your students come in for the day. It’s quiet in your room. You have your coffee, you take a deep breathe, and smile. You’re going to have a  great day!

And then your phone rings. It’s the office informing you you’re getting a new student that morning. Ok, you can handle that! After all, you got in early today. You start getting things ready for the new kid. Right as your digging through your supplies for a new folder, a teacher stops by your room. You talk for ten minutes about the post-test the kids took last week. Did you grade yours yet? Nope, you think, but I will this morning! When she leaves, you go back to gathering things for the new student,  as over the intercom your principal asks you to turn in the notes you took for the meeting last week. You grab your binder, make a copy, and hurry to the office. While there, you see a parent who urgently needs to talk to you. When you finally make it back to your room, you glance at the clock. It’s now ten minutes until the kids come in.

Ok, you say, I just need to prioritize! I can still get things done in ten minutes! You grab a few papers to make copies of as a teacher comes around with a class list. One of the other teachers is sick and they can’t find a sub. They inform you you’re going to have 8 additional students in your room for the day. Good luck and may the odds be ever in your favor 

When you run back from the copy machine {after spending 5 minutes unjamming it}, you look at your calendar and realize that on top of all of this, you have mandatory district testing that morning, a team meeting during your plan time, and a math team meeting after school.

As the bell rings and students fill the hallways, you’ve gotten nothing done, your coffee is cold, AND YOU HAVE NOTHING READY FOR MORNING WORK!

Does this sound familiar? :)

Not every day is quite so hectic, but as a sixth year teacher, I can tell you that more often than not, you’re quiet morning before school can quickly spiral into a marathon, and all this before you have a single kiddo in your room!

I start with this story because the woes of traditional “morning work” fit right in to the above saga. When I first started teaching, I did traditional morning work. Meaning, each morning the kids had some type of worksheet on their desk to do as they came in to the class. It might have been a review worksheet, something they didn’t finish the day before, or a “fun” worksheet, like coloring.

{As a set-up to the story, here’s some background. At our school, the kids have ten minutes to enter the class, put away their things, and settle into their desks before announcements come on. This ten minutes is my “morning work” time. I don’t let the kids work during the announcements and I don’t like extending morning work past that time. We’ve got so much to cover that I need every minute possible. So, from the time they enter until announcements, they have to work. }

Let’s go back to the original scenario. My crazy, busy Monday morning, but let’s continue it as the kids come into the class.

As my 26 first graders come into the room, about 5 of them quickly and efficiently take off their backpacks, put away their binders, hang up their coats and sit down to work. It takes them about 2 minutes. They get their pencils out and are working fast on that morning worksheet! They run up to me holding it, completely finished before some of the other students have even unzipped their coats. Great, I tell them, color it in. That takes them more time, right?

Meanwhile, two kids are pulling on my sweater because they have notes from their parents. I try to read them and take in the necessary information as the office calls to say a student’s parent is here with birthday treats. I’m juggling all of this as those fast finishers come back up to me. We finished coloring! they exclaim. Great, I say, turn it in and take out a book. 

There are still kids entering the room as this point, coming late from breakfast or from home. Half the class is still unpacking. Maybe ten more kids have just started the morning worksheet. An older student comes down with their brother’s homework, which he forgot at home. A teacher comes in to tell me that there is a conflict with my testing time this morning, so can I please rearrange my afternoon and come then instead. In the midst of this, I take attendance and 3 students are asking me questions about the morning worksheet. They don’t understand what to do. Ask a neighbor, I tell them. They come back about 20 seconds later. We asked a neighbor, they say, and they didn’t know either. 

Just as you go to help them, the announcements come on, which signals the end of morning work time. At this point, half of your students are just finishing the worksheet, a handful have been done for the past five minutes, some of the kids just sat down from unpacking, and 3 more just walk into the classroom. This leaves almost half your class with unfinished worksheets. 

No problem, you’re probably thinking as you read this. I’ve already solved that problem! I have “working folders”. My kids just put their morning worksheets into a folder in their desk when they don’t finish them. Then, when they have free time, they work on things in that folder!

Genius!

Except…. if I’m being honest, what those folders turn into, is just a place to store a mountain of papers. And one day you notice their “working folder” has about 30 crumpled, folder, ripped, and tore papers. None of which have been looked at since being put in the folder in the first place. You watch as that child throws those papers away, and can you blame them? What significance do they have?

THIS IS MY PROBLEM WITH TRADITIONAL MORNING WORK!

Before I really get into it, I want to say, I’m not here to knock what you might be doing in your classroom. For some people, traditional morning work is great! I firmly believe that whatever works for you is best. So if you love your morning work, keep on keepin’ on! Good for you!

But…. you’re probably reading this because you don’t love the way “morning work” time goes in your room or you’re thinking about ways to make it more efficient.

 

 

So, let’s start with what people see as the pro’s of this traditional, one-worksheet-a-day kind of morning work:

1. It gives the kids something to do in the morning when they come in

2. It allows them to practice or review a skill

3. It gives me time to do things I have to do in the morning {collect things, read parent notes, take attendance, etc}

 

All of those are great reasons and I agree with them! In fact, with my modified morning work {which I’ll get to!}, I love it because of all of those listed reasons.  But if you apply them to a REAL classroom, the traditional model of morning work just doesn’t work out like that. Let’s break it down.

 

1. It gives the kids something to do in the morning when they come in

Yes, it does. It is something for the kids to do so they aren’t just talking and walking around in the morning. It gives them a focus. But as in the story above, some kids are going to finish that worksheet in 1 minute flat. Some kids are not even going to start it. Just a few students will finish it on time. So then you have to find additional things for the fast finishers to do, have to help the kids who don’t understand it, and somehow find a way to balance all of this within the first ten minutes of your day.

2. It allows them to practice or review a skill

Sure, it does. But unless you are making a variety of differentiated worksheets, you’re going to run into the problem of the worksheet being WAY too easy for some students, WAY too hard for others, and only just right for a slim handful of kids. You could make tiered worksheets, but this goes back to the issue of time- not only time finding the worksheets, but perhaps having to make them, copy them, and pass them out to the appropriate kid. 

3. It gives me time to do things I have to do in the morning {collect things, read parent notes, take attendance, etc}

In the moment, it gives you time to do the necessary morning things. BUT IT’S MAKING MORE WORK FOR YOU IN THE LONG RUN! Aren’t you collecting these papers and looking them over? This means that on top of what you’re already grading for reading, writing, grammar, phonics, math, science, and social studies, you’re adding an additional DAILY worksheet to look over? And if you aren’t reviewing them, then why are you even giving them a worksheet to begin with? Shouldn’t we be giving them meaningful sheets that are meant to practice or review skills? If you aren’t going to review them yourself or with the kids, then what’s the point? And if you are reviewing them daily with the kiddos, that is taking even more time away from your instructional day. PLUS- from my experience, I ran into kids asking me questions all the time with these worksheets {because they finished early or didn’t understand them} and then I didn’t have time to do my morning things anyways!

 

I think I’ve done enough complaining :)

Let’s get to what I do and what I have found WORKS BEST!

 

https://www.teacherspayteachers.com/Product/January-Packet-First-Grade-Morning-Work-for-ALL-of-January-2283679

Morning Work Packet!

Click on the picture or click here to go to my TpT store to see what I do for morning work. I call it a month packet, based on the month it is. So in the month of January, we call it our “January Packet”.

When my kids come in in the morning, they pull their January packet out of their desk. It’s 50 pages of first grade review skills- reading, writing, and math based. It includes writing, sounds, numbers, letters, patterns, adding, subtracting, etc. It has some coloring, connecting the dots, and word searches. It’s everything you’d need for a fun, practice, morning review- BUT IT’S ALL TOGETHER IN A PACKET! NO more running around last minute to make a copy, NO more struggling to find something you’ve done to review, NO more working folders full of crumpled papers!

My love for this type of morning work is whole and lasting! :) Let’s go back to those three reasons and I’ll explain how this version fits better than traditional morning work.

1. It gives the kids something to do in the morning when they come in

Yes! My kids know the routine. They unpack and take out their month packet to work on. But the glory here is this- the kids who unpack quickly, can work for as much time as they have. They aren’t going to finish and tell you they are done. They aren’t going to ask you what they can do next. They have plenty to complete! The kids who have less time for morning work just complete whatever they have time for. It might not even be a full page and that’s ok! It will be in a safe, complete place for them tomorrow. And if a student is absent or late, they didn’t miss anything because it’s all there for them the next day. 

2. It allows them to practice or review a skill

Yes! The packet contains a wide range of practice skills {FIRST GRADE LEVEL} on reading, writing, and math skills. Almost each page connects to one of the first grade CCSS. I say almost because there are some fun pages too- they are only six and seven year old’s after all :) There are some connect the dots, some word searches, and a few color pages. I mentioned earlier that traditional morning work is hard because it isn’t differentiated. Are there leveled versions of each of these worksheets? No, you got me there! BUT- because of the variety of worksheets, kids can start with one they understand instead of being stuck the whole time. If you’re busy, they can do one they know how to complete while waiting for you to clarify. With a traditional worksheet, that’s all they have to do, so if they don’t understand it, they are out of luck. With a packet approach, they always have something they can be practicing while they wait for assistance. 

3. It gives me time to do things I have to do in the morning {collect things, read parent notes, take attendance, etc}

Yes, yes, and yes! The kids love their month packets. It gives them something to do that’s fun, meaningful, and varied. I get that morning work time to take attendance, write back a parent a note, and answer the office’s questions. Plus, because it’s a month packet, I don’t have anything to look over until the end of the month! That means instead of a daily worksheet, I only need to check one packet per student once a month. I always collect them and look over what they’ve done. If I notice a student doesn’t understand a skill, it’s a good way for me to make a note of it. Really, unless you’re checking their traditional morning worksheet each day and providing immediate feedback for each student, this isn’t a big set-back. 

January Packet

January Packet

So there you have it! I know it isn’t a radical idea, in fact, it’s just a tweaked version of traditional morning work. But for me, it’s a miracle. It’s given me back my “morning work” time and allows me to have a less stressful morning. I love it and I hope you do to!

If you love the January packet, check back to  my TpT store, First Grade Adventure, to find all the other months as I upload them.

Comment below on how you do morning work and I hope some of you give this way a try- it’s WORTH IT!

 

Comparing Numbers {Using Cards!}

 

Elfie!

Elfie!

 

I mean…. this might be the best sweater I’ve ever seen. We have a spirit week coming up and one of the day is “Holiday Sweater Day”. I found this sweater at JC Penney’s and I  dragged  had my husband go check it out with me. I LOVE it and can’t wait to wear it next week!

Cards for Comparing Numbers

Cards for Comparing Numbers

A few weeks ago, one of our WONDERFUL class volunteers donated a bunch of playing card packs to our classroom. There are so many things you can do with cards, but since we are working on comparing numbers, I thought of a simple {and fun} game to help us practice this skill!

Cards for Comparing Numbers

Cards for Comparing Numbers

The game was simple. The kids put the deck of cards in the middle of them and then took turns pulling two cards each. They used the cards to form a two digit number. In the above picture, you can see he pulled a 6 and a 4, making the numbers 64.

Cards for Comparing Numbers

Cards for Comparing Numbers

After they’ve both made a number, they compared them. The student who had the GREATER number got to take all 4 cards. The student who had the most cards when the deck ran out was the winner!

Cards for Comparing Numbers

Cards for Comparing Numbers

We didn’t use any of the face cards, or the 10 card. You could use the ten to make larger numbers and you could give the face cards a value.

There are lots of ways to differentiate this game. On Monday, we will play this again, but this time, they will win if they had the “less than” number. You could also have the kids pull two cards and arrange them either way to try to win.  I had my kids put their cards in the order they pulled them. So if they pulled a 6 first and then a 4, they made 64. But you could have them decide where to put each number to form a number that would win. {i.e. They could form 64 or 46 with their cards to try to win the game}

It was really fun for them, simple to play, and helped them practice the skill of comparing numbers!

 

 

What Melts In The Sun? {Experiment!}

 

What melts in the sun?

What melts in the sun?

Do your kiddlets love science experiments as much as mine do? Because we focus so much on the “scientific process” in the beginning of the year, my kids know what whenever we start a new science unit, they are in for some FUN experiments! When I announced we were doing a science experiment Friday, the kids started saying, “We’re going to ask questions!”, “We’re going to do experiments!”, “We’re going to be scientists!”. It sounds like I’m making that up, but really- my kids LOVE science and all that comes along with it!

We’re right in the middle of our science unit about the Sun. Why are we doing a unit about the Sun? Because our NGSS {our national science standards} ask the kids to understand the patterns they see in the sky. This is why our last unit was on the seasons and why this one is about the Sun! For the kids to understand the pattern of the Sun, they first need to learn about the Sun!

Sun circle map

Sun circle map

My favorite way to start any unit is with a circle map. When I introduced this unit last week, I wrote the word “Sun” in the middle of the map and had the kids tell me things they knew…. or thought they knew…. about the Sun. This is all the writing you see in green. Some of it is right on- “hot”, “bigger than Earth”, “very far away”. Those are great! Some showed misconceptions- “flashing lines” {meaning it has wiggling lines coming off it like we draw in pictures}, “fire”, “tilts”. While I loved that the kids brought in their knowledge from the last unit {i.e. The Earth is titled}, this isn’t true for the Sun.

BUT –  WRITE IT ON THE MAP ANYWAY! It’s WAY more meaningful for the kids to discover this on their own, than for me to correct them in the moment.

Next, we spent that day exploring things about the Sun. We looked at a diagram of the solar system, we looked at photographs online, we watched a Brainpop video, and we read a short informational text. By the end of that day, we could go back to the Circle Map and add/change things we’d written {that’s the pink writing}. Now, the kids could tell me that the sun wasn’t just yellow, but a mix of yellow, red, and orange. They knew it wasn’t made of fire, but burning gases. They knew it didn’t tilt, but didn’t move in the middle {**** I realize the Sun rotates in a circle, and we did get to this at another day. For that day, we just discovered it stayed in the middle of our solar system. There’s only so much knowledge we can cover in a day} :)

Anyways, I wanted to share this method for introducing a topic. The kids love it, I can see misconceptions, and it’s so great for the kids to discover things on their own. The map is still up in our room and we add to it as we learn new things.

Experiment

Experiment

After a week of learning more about the Sun, we had a great experiment, with the driving question- “What melts in the Sun?”

I saw the idea from Pinterest {Here!} and copied the idea in my room. The gist is, you put objects in a muffin tray and have the kids predict what will melt and what won’t melt.

Objects

Objects

We used ice, butter, a wood block, a crayon, a lego, a bell, chocolate, and cheese. You can obviously mix up what you use, but these worked for me!

Predictions

Predictions

Because we are good little scientists, the first thing we did was write down our essential question and our hypothesis. What did we think would melt? We talked a lot about how we were pretending our light was the “Sun”.

{In the experiment link, they put their tray outside in the sunlight. But, it’s December here….gray….cloudy…..cold….. So being the wonderful wife that I am, had my husband go out into our frozen, snowy yard and bring in our outside flood light to use as the Sun substitute. And of course I remembered to ask him to do this well in advance and not five minutes before I had to leave the house Friday morning :) }

The kids got to take an up-close look at all the items before they made their predictions and before anything started melting.

What will melt?

What will melt?

What will melt?

What will melt?

What melts in the sun?

What melts in the sun?

At their seats, they drew what the experiment looked like.

Experiments

Experiments

Experiments

Experiments

Experiments

Experiments

Experiments

Experiments

Sooooo, we had to give our “Sun” some time to melt our objects. What did we do in the meantime? We enjoyed watching The Magic School Bus “Gets Lost in Space”, of course! Although, it did make me feel old when the video referenced 1998 as the next year coming up. Sigh.

Magic School Bus

Magic School Bus

The 20 minute video gave our experiment plenty of time to work! When the movie was over, we went back over to see what had happened!

Melted!

Melted!

The ice cubes look gone- but the water is there! The butter and chocolate also melted!

Wow!

Wow!

It led to a fun conversation about objects having different melting points. For example, ALL these things would have melted if they were on the REAL sun. The cheese and crayon would have melted if our “Sun” was a little hotter. But none the less, it was so much fun and helped them further develop the idea that the Sun is very hot, affects us, and affects objects around us. 

My little scientists wrote down the results of the experiment.

Results!

Results!

Thanks so much for checking in to our adventure! Be sure to come back soon!

 

 

 

Book Character Day!

 

Happy fall!

Happy fall!

 

The puppies have been enjoying the fall weather, as well as our break the past few days. I hope everyone had a great Thanksgiving and enjoyed time to eat, relax, and maybe even do some school work fun activities!

Book Character Day

A couple of weeks ago, it was National Reading week. We did a lot of fun things at our school to celebrate, like our Fall Reading & Family night. It was a blast! Families came back to school and rotated through different stations, which included story time, fall games, and even a guest singer who led the crowd in reading songs!

Another way we celebrated was our Book Character dress-up day. Our entire school picked their favorite character from a book. On our special day, everyone came to school dressed up as that character!

Book Character Day!

Book Character Day!

Here are some of the first grade teachers (myself included!) dressed as someone you might recognize :)

Emily Elizabeth!

Emily Elizabeth!

Here’s a second grade teacher as Emily Elizabeth from Clifford- isn’t it just perfect!?

The kids came to school as a character they got to choose themselves. They all looked SO AWESOME and we had so much fun.

We had some Elsa’s….

Frozen

Frozen

some Pete the Cat’s…..

Pete!

Pete!

a Rudolph, Woody, Darth Vader, a Ninja Turtle, a vampire, a Minion, and another Cat in the Hat!

Characters!

Characters!

Plus, some Tin men {from Wizard of Oz!}- which we just finished reading!

Tin men (and woman!)

Tin men (and woman!)

It was a really fun day, filled with lots of reading activities.

Book Mapping

Book Mapping

Since I was the Cat in the Hat, we read that story and worked in partners to map it. The kids drew the characters, the setting, the problem, and solution of the story.

Mapping

Mapping

We also worked on rhyming words, using lots that we found in the story. The kids used their iPads and the Doceri app to write words that rhymed with a given word.

Rhyming Words

Rhyming Words

Rhyming Words

Rhyming Words

During writing time, the kids wrote about who they were. Since we’ve been working on describing things using details and adjectives, this fit right in! The kids drew themselves as their character and told all about themselves!

Character Writing

Character Writing

Character Writing

Character Writing

Character Writing

Character Writing

Character Writing

Character Writing

Character Writing

Character Writing

Speaking of adjectives, the kids also got to do a fun activity in grammar. We started by drawing ourselves in the middle of a bubble map. Then, the kids used adjectives, or describing words, to tell more about themselves (or really, about their character)

Describing their Character

Describing their Character

Describing their Character

Describing their Character

Describing their Character

Describing their Character

Describing their Character

Describing their Character

Describing their Character

Describing their Character

Next, we used our iPads and the Popplet app to take this and digitalize it! Basically, we made the exact same map, just on our iPads. But this time, we took a selfie and used that as the middle picture!

My example

My example

You can see my example above. It always amazes me how quickly the kids learn new apps. This was probably only the second or third time we’ve used this app, but the kids were already pro’s!

Describing their Character

Describing their Character

Describing their Character

Describing their Character

Describing their Character

Describing their Character

By the way, you didn’t think our class pet Spot would miss out on the fun, did you? Of course he was Thing 2, matching with my Cat in the Hat theme :)

Spot!

Spot!

It was such a fun day! Thanks for checking in to our adventure!

All Smiles

All Smiles

Quizizz

Quizizz….. it’s a fun word to say. It’s also a fun way to quiz your kiddos!

Quizizz

Quizizz

It’s a fun, engaging way for kids to review. The multi-player format allows kids to play together and you have the option for kids to play against each other for points. Your kids can take the quiz on a computer, an iPad, or any device that connects to the internet. The multiple choice format makes for quick, fun, and easy quizzes!

Quizizz

Quizizz

Quizizz

Quizizz

It’s really simple to do {and to set up, from a teacher’s standpoint}. When you login, you can create your own quizzes by writing questions and answers. You can use a picture as a question, write your own question, or select pre-made questions/quizzes.

Quizizz

Quizizz

Like you see in the above picture, it’s simple! You just type a question, type answers, and select which answer is the correct one. You can add as many questions as you’d like.

Once the quiz is made, you simply select the “Play Live” option.

There are tons of settings you can pick from, allowing kids to play against each other, set timers, add funny Memes, and jumbling the questions.

Quizizz

Quizizz

Quizizz

Quizizz

When you select the options you want and the quiz is ready to be played, it gives you a code for the kids to enter so they can join.

Quizizz

Quizizz

The kids just have to go to join.quizizz.com and enter the code for the quiz. {NOTE: The above code is simply for a quiz I found online. It’s just there for a visual reference) :)

For me, I put the link to “join.quizizz.com” on our Google Classroom page. The way, the kids just have to click on the link which takes them to the joining page and enter the code. It’s so quick and the kids LOVE it!

Quizizz

Quizizz

Quizizz

Quizizz

When the kids put in their code and first names, it gives them a “character”. This makes their day! When the teachers ready, they just press go and the quiz starts for all the kids on their devices. And let me tell you- THEY. LOVE. THIS.

It’s seriously the best quiz tool I’ve found that the kids just love. They have so much fun when we take these quizzes and love playing against each other.

I love that they have fun, but what I love more is this….

Quizizz

Quizizz

When they finish, you can see all the questions the kids got right and wrong. In this way, you can tell the questions your kids are struggling with and the ones they understand. You can pinpoint the specific students who need more help and the ones you need to enrich. It’s really a wonderful tool that the kids love!

Check it out in your room and see how it goes! Thanks for checking in to our adventure!

Text Features

Smiles!

Smiles!

I have such a wonderful group of kids this year, and really by extension, such a wonderful group of families! Earlier this week, a boy gave me this awesome present. It was so sweet of him and I just loved it. His explanation was perfect too-

Student: “Do you know why I gave this to you today and not a few days ago?”

Me: “No, tell me why.”

Student: “Because it took a really long time to make.”

:) Well that explains it!

Honestly, getting something like this just makes me remember why I do what I do. Being shown this kind of sweet appreciation is just so kind and made me smile all day!

Text Features

We are reading informational/non-fiction text and working on summarizing. This means, we are learning how to find the topic of the text, as well as supporting details. All of this ties into the idea of text features, those special parts that informational text have.

When planning this unit, we came across this organizer for a text feature hunt.

Organizer

Organizer

We knew that text features were something we totally needed to cover for this unit.

But…. it’s also REALLY hard and LOTS, LOTS, LOTS of information for our little kiddlets. There are so many aspects to text features, not to mention all the various ways the kids see them. Take for example a table of contents. Sometimes in a book it’s called “Table of Contents”, sometimes just “contents”, and sometimes there isn’t a title to it or there isn’t one at all. That alone takes lots of explanation!

Well, the only way to tackle all of this new information is to do little by little.

So, we took one of our Scholastic New magazines….

Scholastic

Scholastic

and began the hunt!

Searching for text features

Searching for text features

Searching

Searching

Searching

Searching

First, we talked about some of the features informational text has, such as bold words, headings, titles, and captions. After going over all of this, we looked for examples in the Scholastic Magazine.

Searching for text features

Searching for text features

Searching for text features

Searching for text features

Searching for text features

Searching for text features

I think this was a great way for the kids to see text features in a real way. Sometimes we talk about things, but they don’t get to see them in a practical example. But, this was a super fun way for the kids to explore and discover! Plus, it helped clear misconceptions about what makes titles and headings different, as well as captions.

Searching for text features

Searching for text features

They turned out really cute and the kids loved them!

Text feature hunt

Text feature hunt

Text feature hunt

Text feature hunt

Text feature hunt

Text feature hunt

Thanks for checking in to our adventure! We are also on the hunt for text features and so happy to see you here looking at our “hunts”!

Nature Walk {NGSS Patterns in the Sky}

 

Nature Walk

Nature Walk

It’s fall around these parts! That means a lot of scarves, a lot of leaves, and a lot of fun! :)

We’ve fallen right into our new science unit, which is about patterns in the sky. It’s really stated as “Make observations at different times of the year to relate the amount of daylight to the time of year”.  Additionally, students should be able to observe, predict, and describe the amount of sunlight and patterns of sunshine/sunset.

What does this look like in first grade?

We have a driving question in this unit, which is “How does the sun affect the seasons?” Since we’ve been talking about what makes us scientists, this is what is our question. So now, we’ve been collecting data to help us answer this question. (This relates to the NGSS standard because once we know about the seasons, we will be able to describe how the seasons are driven by the sun and tilting of the Earth. Each season has a different amount of sunlight, relating back to the standard)

To start, we took a nature walk around the school, to learn more about the season we’re in {fall} and to talk about how the changes we are seeing are being fueled by the sun.

Garden

Garden

First stop, our school garden. We noticed changed in the plants and flowers there. Why are they dying? What’s causing these changes?

Tree changes

Tree changes

We stopped to look at the trees. What changes were happening to the trees? Why are the leaves falling off?

11012109_10101222888703723_6555458497716129327_n

Dandelions

 

 

As we walked, we saw dandelion plants that were all white and fluffy. Weren’t these yellow a few weeks ago? How are they changing? What’s making them change?

Leaves

Leaves

Leaves

Leaves

As long as we were outside, we made a detour to the playground field to pick out a leaf. In math we are doing measuring, so we each picked a leaf that we would measure back inside. I’ve blogged about this before, so more details on this activity can be found HERE!

Class Mural

Class Mural

The next day, we used what we are seen yesterday on our walk and made a collaborative class mural. Each table group was assigned one of the things we’d observed outside yesterday (grass, rocks, leaves, plants, trees). We talked about making this mural as a team, showing the things we saw and that shows our current season.

Cutting paper

Cutting paper

Making our mural

Making our mural

Honestly, those were the only two pictures I took because the rest of the time I was helping groups with ideas, arranging things, and helping glue. But take a look at how it turned out….

Our Fall Mural!

Our Fall Mural!

I mean, it’s is just amazing!? I love it so much! As we worked, the kids would stand back and say, “Wow, this looks really good!” And they are right!

As they worked, I also asked kids to make labels. Their inventive spelling was just awesome and right on! I think this really turned out to be a wonderful group project, showed our knowledge so far, and helps us see the season of fall.

We will of course relate all of this knowledge back to our essential question- how is the sun affecting these changes we see in fall?

Mural

Mural

Thanks so much for checking in to our adventure!

M is for Measure

 

Sunny Days

Sunny Days

Happy Saturday! We’ve made it through another week {we’re almost at 40 days of school…. can you believe that? I feel like school just started!}

Right now, we’re in the middle of our measurement unit {1.MD.1 & 1.MD.2}, which focuses on measuring with non-standard units, basically we are measuring objects with things other than rulers. This leads us into the second standard, which is about comparing things based on their lengths. We are putting objects in order from longest to shortest OR from shortest to longest.

Here is a couple ways we are doing this in class!

Comparing Sizes

Comparing Sizes

Comparing Sizes

Comparing Sizes

Last year I bought this pack from TpT on measurement, which is based on the fairy tale Jack and the Beanstalk. We started off by reading the story together and discussing some of the things in the story that were long and some things that were short.

As pack of that pack, there is an awesome activity where the kids take the “giant’s shoe” and look for things around the room that are shorter than the shoe, longer than the shoe, and the same length as the shoe.

So the kiddos took their “giant shoe” and were off searching the room!

https://www.teacherspayteachers.com/Product/Jack-and-the-Beanstalk-A-Nonstandard-Measurement-Unit-for-Common-Core-351371

Comparing Sizes

Comparing Sizes

Comparing Sizes

Comparing Sizes

Comparing Sizes

Comparing Sizes

Comparing Sizes

Spot! Of course the kids wanted to compare him to their shoes :)

Comparing Sizes

Comparing Sizes

As the kids were comparing things around the room, they used the simple organizer {that comes in that pack} to record the things they found. They wrote down the things they found that were longer than their shoe, shorter than their shoe, and the same length as their shoe.

Recording their Objects

Recording their Objects

Recording their Objects

Recording their Objects

Recording their Objects

Recording their Objects

Recording their Objects

Recording their Objects

Recording their Objects

Recording their Objects

Have younger students or kids who can’t quite write yet? This can be simply differentiated by having the kids draw pictures of the objects they find instead of writing them down. I encouraged my firsties to write what they found, sounding it out. Not only did this activity help us practice comparing lengths, but it also was a great way to talk about vocabulary. As they were exploring around the room, they asked each other {and me!} “What’s this called?” when they found an object. It opened up their eyes to different words and how to describe things!

Another non-standard measurement activity we did was “measure the teacher“. Another first grade teacher and I spent our planning time on the floor of the staff lounge {much to the laughs of our fellow teachers and ourselves!} tracing each other on butcher paper.

Measure the teacher!

Measure the teacher!

The kids were seriously EXCITED to see their “teacher” papers to measure. The kids had a recording paper and had to measure their teacher with a unit of their choosing.

Measure the teacher!

Measure the teacher!

Measure the teacher!

Measure the teacher!

This is also a great way for you as a teacher to see how they are measuring. We have been talking a lot about the correct ways to measure, with no gaps or overlaps between units. As I walked around, I heard a lot of them saying to each other “Don’t put a gap there!” :)

It’s also a great way to point out to kids that we measure in a straight line. Some groups might want to measure along the shape outline. It’s a simple chance to remind them to measure from one end to the other in a straight line.

Measure the teacher!

Measure the teacher!

Measure the teacher!

Measure the teacher!

Each group had to use four different units to measure their teacher. To manage this  {in a non-crazy way} I assigned one student in each group as the “unit picker”. That student was the only one who picked the groups unit and also the only one to put that unit away. This worked out really well and ensured that the groups weren’t fighting about what unit to pick. I just put a bunch of units out of the table and they were ready to go!

Measure the teacher!

Measure the teacher!

Measure the teacher!

Measure the teacher!

Measure the teacher!

Measure the teacher!

After, this led to a great discussion about why they got different numbers for their measurement of their “teacher”, based on the unit. {i.e. because the units are different sizes, when they use them to measure the teacher, they get different answers}

The kids had so much fun doing this and as an added bonus, I had them decorate their “teacher” when they were done. I must say, I really should have taken pictures of that because some of them were just hilarious! One group made me in a Halloween costume and another dressed me for winter {because it might get cold soon, they told me} :)

It’s been a great unit so far! Thanks for checking in to our adventure!

 

iPad Updates AND QR Codes!

Doceri

Doceri

Welcome back to our adventure!

A couple of weeks ago I blogged about us starting our 1:1 iPad adventure this year! {If you missed that post, CHECK IT OUT HERE!}

This post will show a glimpse into us using our iPads during phonics time, as well as how I’ve been using QR codes!

Writing

Writing

Sometimes we use iPads as a basic white board substitution. For those of you who are all things “SAMR“, I’m talking about the “substitution” level of the continuum. Those of you who need a refresher, check out my post about SAMR here 😉

Doceri

Doceri

One of our most used/loved app is Doceri. I’ve posted about it TONS (just search Doceri along the right hand side of this blog, and you’ll find so many posts!)

dOCERI

Doceri

I love that the kids are already exploring all the inner-workings of the app, including changing the colors by using the color palette.

Doceri

Doceri

Doceri can be applied in MANY different ways, taking it anywhere along the SAMR continuum, but for the first few weeks of school, we are reviewing the letters and sounds of the alphabet. On this day, we were practicing “Q”. You can see in the first few pictures the students using the iPad to write the letter. It’s simple, quick, and motivating :)

QR stands for quick response. QR codes are on anything and everything  They can link to websites, QR voice, videos, pictures, words, etc. QR codes are really one of the easiest things to make yourself or use in the classroom with kids.

You really only need: a QR code reader (there are a variety of free apps) and some type of device to use the app on!

QR Codes

QR Codes

One way we use QR codes in our classroom are to review our sight words. Big shout out to the TpT seller Alma Almazan, who makes this product QR Codes (Scan it, Read it, Find it, Write it). I. JUST. LOVE. IT.

It comes in English and Spanish. One page is filled with QR codes, the only gives the kids writing lines. They scan QR code number one.

QR Codes

QR Codes

QR Codes

QR Codes

And the QR code links them to a page that shows a sight word. They write that word down on line number one.

QR Codes

QR Codes

QR Codes

QR Codes

QR Codes

QR Codes

It’s so much fun! It’s an awesome review for the kids and so much fun for them to complete!

We’ve been doing this on Fridays as an engaging review. After, the kids have been picking up a QR code story to listen to.

QR Code stories

QR Code stories

This comes right from ANOTHER TpT seller, “TECHing it up”, who makes this product which links kids to the Storyline Online stories. These are stories you can play from a computer or device that are books read by famous actors/actress’.

QR Codes stories

QR Codes stories

QR Codes stories

QR Codes stories

It’s another great way we use QR codes in the room.

It’s also a great thing for your early finishers to do while the other kids are finishing up their work {SIDE NOTE- This is ALSO what my kids use for Listen to Reading during our Daily 5 time}

Thank you for checking out all the ways we we’ve been using QR codes so far. We are having such a fun adventure in first grade :)