Last Day Blues

This was it….. the last day of first grade! I was so happy to see so many of my first graders here on such a short day. I wanted to be sure to get big hugs and high-fives from each of my students before the long summer break. Before we get into today, let’s talk about yesterday- our class picnic! We were so lucky that it was a nice, sunny day for us to walk down the street to the park. We carried our lunches and marched down the sidewalk  with the other first grade classrooms. As soon as we got there, we found a nice shady spot in the grass to eat our lunch.



The students ate fast- and I mean fast! (It’s a little hard to eat when you know there is playground time in your future 😉 )

After we ate, we walked into the playground part of the park. The kids took off- running, laughing, skipping, and playing. It’s always such a fun day, and one I look forward to each year, because the kids have a blast playing with all their friends. I love being able to talk with the parents who came and watching the students be themselves. I made sure to snap a photo before we left:



And of course a silly one….

Funny faces!

Funny faces!

I am going to miss those faces so much!

Today was a very short day- only until 10:45. We came to school and did our calendar morning routine one last time. Then we packed up some last minute things before listening to a story. I like to end the year by reading the stories we read on the first day of school- mostly about starting first grade. As we read them, I tell them to think about starting second grade.

After a story, we started working on our “Movin’ on to Second Grade” memory books. (Found at my TpT store!) The kids cut out the pages, stapled them together, and worked on filling in their favorite things from the year.



As we worked, we listened to some of our favorite tunes.

Last work in first grade!

Last work in first grade!

It was a sad and happy day. We ended our time together by sitting in a circle and talking about our favorite memories. Before we all left, I got big hugs from them all! Have a great summer and I can’t wait to see you again next school year!

Movin' on to Second Grade!

Movin’ on to Second Grade!





Butterfly Life Cycle Noodle Project

We did this project a few weeks ago, but it was too cute not to mention! We had been learning all about butterflies and caterpillars- we even raised our own caterpillars to see the complete life cycle! It was a great learning experience and a truly engaging science unit for us. During this time, I had seen some examples on Pinterest of people using noodles to make the different stages of this cycle. They all looked so darn adorable so I wanted to try it ourselves.

First things first, I gave each student a piece of construction paper. We folded it in half 2 times, so that when we opened it, we had 4 boxes. The kids used a marker to draw on those lines and numbered each box 1,2,3, and 4. Next, I have them labels with each one of the stages written on it. (This was also a quick, easy assessment- did they know the order of the stages?) The answer was yes! All of them did a great job putting the stages in order.

Noodle cycle

Noodle cycle

Next came the fun part… I passed out green and brown paper and told the students to decorate each box with “branches” and “leaves”. Then, I passed out lentils (for the eggs). The students used their own white glue to attach the colored paper and the beans. But, I didn’t think their glue would hold the different shaped noodles too well, so I called groups back and attached their noodles with hot glue.



The process of calling back groups to hot glue went very fast and worked out well because while I was hot gluing, the students were busy decorating, cutting, and gluing at their seats.

A finished product!

A finished product!

It was also very fun to see how they all made theirs a little different. Some added flowers and trees into their project, some made lots of leaves, some added clouds- but they all looked wonderful!

All done!

All done!

This was  fun to visualize the butterfly life cycle in a new way and a great wrap-up activity. I’ve seen this type of project done on paper plates as well and that also looks very cute. However, I didn’t know if they would have enough room to decorate on a plate, so I used plain old construction paper. I was a little worried it wouldn’t hold up to the weight of the hot glue and noodles, but it turned out great!

I’ll be back later to recap our picnic and last day of school!



Paper bag Princess Activity

With only a few days left around here until the end of first grade (can you believe it????), we’ve been doing some activities that are both fun and engaging! At this point, it’s difficult to introduce new material with everyones brain on  sun, swimming, and summer vacation! So, we’ve been reviewing material in fun ways and creating interesting projects that keep us having fun!

For example, we’ve read the story The Paper Bag Princess by Robert Munsch a couple of times throughout the year.

Ronald, you're a bum!

Ronald, you’re a bum!

It’s one of my favorites and always makes the kids laugh! (By the way, it also connects to many other books we’ve read as well. The kids noticed that it is very similiar to The Little Mouse, the Red Ripe Strawberry, and the Big Hungry Bear  and Stone Soup because these are all books where someone is tricking someone else- ah, what smart first graders I have!)

This time after we read it, I told the kids we would be making our OWN paper bag princesses (or princes for the fellas) 😉

We got all the supplies we needed: paper bags (of course), cut outs of crowns, dresses, and pants, scissors, and glue.

Then we got to work! The students started coloring in all the pieces they needed and cutting them out.



Busy working!

Busy working!

As you can see, they were all very involved in this and loved showing each other the different ways they were coloring in the clothes and crowns.



You can see them starting to come together. The “princesses” had on skirts and the “princes” had on shorts. We made sure to glue the faces onto the flappy (very technical word) part of the bag so it would be like  a real puppet and move.

Finished product!

Finished product!

They turned out so cute! This was an easy project to plan- I just printed out clip art- and the kids loved it! For those who finished early, I printed out a “Paper Bag Princess” word search for them to work on- found here:

Finished early and looking for words!

Finished early and looking for words!

It was a very fun afternoon and kept us working hard! The countdown continues: only 6 more days!!!!






End of the Year Round-Up

For starters, here is a wonderful quote from a student yesterday. As I was reading the class a story about rocks and minerals, a student’s hand went into the sky.

Me: “Yes? Do you have a question about the book?” (sometimes it’s best to ask this first, because we often have a problem staying on topic 😉 )

Student: “No, but Ms. Tasch, my mom is going to have another baby. But I just don’t understand because we already have one of those things at home!”

This made me laugh- poor guy, he just didn’t understand and was genuinely upset! Ah, the problems of a first grader!


Back to business, it’s been (more than) a few days since I’ve posted last- the end of the year is SO BUSY! I always thought the end of the year would be a nice, quiet time that is slowly wrapping up the school year….. NOT! It’s jam packed with assemblies, picnics, field trips, award presentations, reward days, and projects- and that’s  just for the kids! Behind the scenes, the teachers are running around making class list, filling out forms, cleaning the room, finishing report cards, planning lessons, turning in assessments, whew! It’s definitely a race that’s happening here, and the finish line is in sight! 🙂

Today is another rainy, cold day around here. This is great for the temperature in our room, but sad for field day! Another end of the year activity canceled- yuck! 🙁 However, as a replacement, the students get to go into the gym and watch a movie all togehter. It’s not as exciting as field day, but they will love it just to the same!

Anyways, A LOT has happened around here! Our butterflies all hatched:



The kids were so excited (me too!) to come in last Monday morning and see the butterflies! At first they were  very quiet and didn’t move around much(the butterflies, not the students- the students were moving around just as much as normal!). But soon they were flapping their wings and fluttering about their cage!

Wings open

Wings open

It was hard to get a good picture through the mesh, but you can see the beautiful wings and their orange color.

Our butterflies!

Our butterflies!

The flower that Jordan brought in was such a great addition to the cage as well! We added sugar water to the flower and the butterflies had a wonderful meal. 😉

On Wednesday of that week, it was time to say good-bye to our flying friends. We had many discussions about how this was happy and sad- happy to see them fly away and sad to let them leave. We picked up the cage and headed outside. We sat down in a grassy circle and I opened the top of the cage. (I wish I would have brought my camera for this, but I was so nervous about dropping the butterflies/opening the cage/watching the students, that I didn’t take any pictures!) One by one, the butterflies flew away. It was a really special, exciting moment for us all- and one we will always remember!

Another thing we did in the week was write about “What we liked best about writing this year”. The student’s answers and illustrations were so adorable, so I thought I’d share a few..




This student’s writing was about the time we switched rooms with another first grade teacher to make “observations”. Then, we went back to our room and wrote about what we saw. That was a very fun writing day and the student’s loved being able to see another first grade room!

IMG_1287I loved this for the writing, but also the illustration! He was writing about the time in writing that we interviewed our writing partner and wrote facts about them. This was a great project and the students had a blast. And how cute is his picture? I love that he drew a picture of his writing paper- adorable!

IMG_1288And lastly, here is a response about the time we brought in objects from home to write about. This student brought in her turtle doll to write about and here is her writing about that time. Obviously her turtle was so happy she wrote so much! I love it!


And the best for last…

IMG_1367Yesterday we wrote about things we do to help out at home. Most students wrote about helping do the dishes, picking up their toys, helping their parents clean, etc. But the one above made me laugh out loud! Oh brothers, sometimes they do have smelly rooms!

Have a great day!


Guided Reading: How it works in our classroom!

Hi all! For starters, HAPPY FRIDAY! Today was a whirlwind- we had our field trip to the bowling alley today! Thankfully the rain gods had pity on us and we got to walk there with no down pours! (We were crossing and double crossing our fingers all day- we didn’t want to have to cancel like last Friday!) The kids had a blast and did a good job walking there and back. A HUGE thanks goes out to the parent volunteers who went with us. We couldn’t have done it without you! 🙂

This week I took some pictures of one of my guided reading groups. What is guided reading? It’s a time to listen to the student’s read and discuss books that are at (or slightly above) their reading level in a small group. The student’s practice their fluency skills and reading strategies and I  keep track of how they are reading, their level of understanding of reading strategies, etc. Here’s how I set my things up:

Folders and books

I divide my student’s into 5 groups: my Monday group, Tuesday group, Wednesday group, Thursday group, Friday group. I just call them by the day of the week I see them. I only see 1 group each day. These groups are flexible and officially change each quarter based on their reading levels (but often small changes are made every couple of weeks based on what the student’s needs are). Back to the picture! I have a folder for each group and behind my folders, I have leveled books. Our school has a library we can pick from that are leveled and come in bags with 6 books inside. So convenient!

When I meet with a group, the first thing we do is look at our objective.


What's our job today?

What’s our job today?

We read the objective together so the student’s know what we are focusing on today (it seems like a lot of reading strategies, but since we’ve already learned all of these during shared reading, we move them to guided to continue to practice them).

Next, I pass out the text to the students. The students point to the title, the author, and the illustrator. From here, we decide if it will be fiction or non-fiction. Then, we preview the text to make our predictions.

Prediction board and author’s purpose

The students discuss their predictions with a partner and then we write down a group prediction on the board. (Under the prediction you see the sentence starter “This text was about…”. We use that at the end to help us summarize based off of our prediction. After we predict, we look at vocabulary words from the text. I write the page number and the word and the student’s find the word in the book. This is when we practice using context clues to figure out a new word. The students have to read the sentence the word is in, look at the illustration/photographs, and use the words around it to figure out what it means.

After we do all of this, I remind them that when they’re done, I will ask them “What was the author’s purpose for writing this text?” We use the P.I.E. (persaude, information, entertain) poster to remind us.

It’s as easy as P.I.E.!

Then, the student’s are off! I hand them their whisper phones,

Reading to themselves

and they read!

(Side note: Don’t waste your money on actual whisper phones. I had my step- dad make me my whisper phones. He used PVC pipe, put them together with adhesive, and boom! Whisper phones! I think when you buy a set of real whisper phones at the store, they’re like $40.00 for 10 of them. I think I spent less than $10.00 on 6 of them. Also- I jazzed them up by adding some fun duct tape around the handles 🙂 ) I keep them in a basket at the guided reading table.

Homemade whisper phones!

Anyways, the kids read the whole text to themselves. Because they are using the “phones”, they hear themselves read. This helps practice fluency and voice inflection.

(You might be wondering what the rest of the class is doing at this point. This is during our Daily 5 time and all the rest of my students are doing “Read to Self”. They are sitting around the room with their book bins, reading silently to themselves. Since we’ve practiced this since day 1, they are reading in one spot for 20 minutes straight. It’s amazing!)

Reading to Self


As my guided group starts, I open up the group’s folder. Inside is…

Side 1

a list of the books we’ve read in this group, the level the book was, and a post-it with who is in this group, and….

Side 2

their guided reading monitoring logs. Each child has these monitoring logs stapled together. I pick one of these out, ask a student to put down their whisper phone, and listen to them read to me.

Reading to me

As you can see, he is reading out loud to me and I’m listening for many things: is he skipping words he doesn’t know, how’s his inflection, how’s his fluency, does he reread when we makes a mistake, etc? I mark down on the log the level of proficiency he has for each strategy. This way, I can see his progress from week to week. (P.s. That was a very difficult photo to take!) I listen to each child read for about 2-3 minutes. Then, I repeat the process with all the students in the group. It’s important to listen to each one of them every time I meet with the group so I can accurately see their level and progress.

After I’ve listened to each student in the group, I collect the whisper phones. Then, I ask them questions about what they just read. (Since Common Core reading asks the students to read “closely”, we always make sure to go back and point to the answers to prove it).

Proving an answer in the text!

Then, we review our prediction. Was it on track? If not, we adjust it. We use the prediction to help us summarize as well! Then, we make some connections, make a few inferences, and ask each other questions about the text. They love being able to discuss what they read with a partner.

Discussing the text

Finally, I ask them the author’s purpose for writing this text. They point to the reason they think using the poster…

What’s the purpose?

and we discuss WHY. When we’re all done, we look back at our objectives and see if we did our job for the day. After a quick celebration on a job well done, I ring the bell…

Ring! Ring!

and everyone cleans up and sits on the carpet. Because this is part of our Daily 5 time, everyone sits with their thumb over their heart ready to reflect on how they did either reading to themselves or reading in the guided reading group.


(After I snapped this, someone said, “Hey I think she took a picture of us…. sneaky!” 😉 )

And how long did that whole process take? 20 minutes! Once the kids know the routine, it’s nice and fast and a great way to hear them read to me each week! In my guided reading pack, you’ll see all of this again (in much more detail!), get all the worksheets I use to record and collect data, the P.I.E. poster, and reading strategy posters. Check it out here: Guided Reading Basics Pack


Can You Use Conceptual Images in First Grade!?

The answer to that question is: OF COURSE! I’ve found through these 3 years of teaching first grade that my students are always capable of doing whatever activity/task/assignment I throw at them. At first, I might be slightly nervous they won’t understand a concept, but they always surprise me with their creative thinking and answers!

Take for example, conceptual imaging (which means making images or pictures to represent a story or a text that you hear). The images are quick symbols, shapes, or drawings that represent the characters, what happened, the process, the solution, etc. of a story. You can use conceptual images for both fiction and non-fiction stories. These images help us visualize things and also help us summarize information or summarize the plot of a story.

When I introduced this concept to my first graders this year, I started by sharing a book called “If I was a Subtraction Sign” during my read-aloud time. (During our lit block, I daily read a story to model reading strategies, my “read aloud”. Then during shared reading time, we practice that same reading strategy, but all together). The story was a cute way to understand subtraction through take-away math problems. This was a great way to start conceptual images because MATH IS ALL CONCEPTUAL IMAGES! I began by drawing a minus sign on the board and asked the students what that was.

Student: “Ms. Tasch, that’s a minus sign.”

Me: “How do you know? It doesn’t say the words- Minus sign.”

Students: “Because I just know it’s a minus sign.” (I like the logic) 🙂

We repeated the process with the plus sign and the equal sign. We talked about how we know what these things mean even though there are no words! We call these “symbols” because they represent something else!

As I read the subtraction book, I stopped to draw images of the problems presented in the story. When the book was over, we could summarize the WHOLE story by simply using the images to guide us.

Today, we did the same process with a fiction book called “Mouse Paint”, a first grade favorite!

Mouse Paint!

As soon as my students saw the cover they all had to tell me that they’ve seen this book before! (Which is perfect and why I picked the book- I wanted them to make images about something slightly familiar)

I read the first half of the book for a read-aloud and as I read, I stopped to make conceptual images.

Conceptual Images for “Mouse Paint”

Can you tell what this story was about from my images? I made my circles (with tails 🙂 ) to represent my 3 mice. The mice found 3 jars of painted, yellow, red, and blue (represented by the letters). The arrow shows that they went into the jars of paint. The yellow mouse went into some blue paint and turned green (you can see this with the letters and arrows at the bottom). You can see the colors the other mice went into as well. After reading this part, I stopped. I told the students that we would finish the book during shared reading and the STUDENTS would be making their own conceptual images.

I passed out index cards to each student (nice and easy to prepare), told them to listen to the rest of the story, and afterwards, they would be making images for what they heard. (The next pages were about the mice painting the walls yellow, red, and blue and then mixing paint and coloring the walls orange, purple, and green. Then, the mice left some wall white so the cat wouldn’t see them.)

You wouldn’t believe how AWESOME all the student’s images turned out! We all got the chance to share our images with each other and the student’s could all fully explain what their images were and what happened in the story. Check some of them out:

A student’s images

I mean, how good is that? You can see his mice, that they were painting, and the letters show what colors they made. The box shows the white space they left because of the cat. Here’s another one:

Awesome images!

Along the top, you can see the images of the mice painting walls different colors. At the bottom, you see the white wall and the 3 (triangle) mice who are hiding from the cat (the circle).

The first time I ever tried conceptual images with my first graders, I was just so nervous they wouldn’t “get it”. But each year, they do amazing things with this strategy! It’s such a great way for them to show their understanding and really process what they heard. It also works great with my ESL class because it focuses more on showing their knowledge through pictures rather than words. And ultimately, it’s such a great way for them to summarize what they remember.

Try it with your class or at home with your child. The student’s love doing this and it’s great practice for them!

Butterflies Update (plus some yoga!)

First, I’d like to share an adorable picture one of my students gave me the other morning:

How funny!

I seriously love (and crack up at) all of the pictures and drawings my students give me. They are too adorable and totally reflect their personalities. (Can you tell my class is currently obsessed with Gangnam Style?)

Back to the point of this post: butterflies! You saw last week that we made those fun butterfly simile crafts. They were very easy to put together and combined what we were learning about in science (butterflies) with what we were doing in writing (similes). I always feel very productive when I managed to create lessons like that. 🙂

A few weeks ago we got our caterpillar cup in the mail.


I ordered them through Lakeshore Learning, and once I sent away for the caterpillars they were here within a week. At first, the caterpillars are so tiny and barely moved. To be honest, I was a little worried that maybe this was a bad bunch! But from reading the instructions, it said this was normal. After breathing a sigh of relief, we began observing them!

One of the first questions, “Ms. Tasch, what’s all that brown stuff on the bottom?” That would be their food! Since they normally eat plants and leaves, this was a little confusing to the students. But, we learned this is “special” food for them since they’re not outside and can’t get to greenery.

After a few days, we were SO excited to see the caterpillars moving to the top of their house and forming a “J” shape- which of course means they are getting ready to form into a chrysalis!


This required some close observation…

Checking it out….

And closer observation…

Checking it out!

I think they think that the closer they got to the jar, the better they could make their observations 😉

Well, today we moved our chrysalis’ into their big cage! (Side note: It was terrifying moving them from their cup into the big house. I was not aware that if you touched one of the chrysalis’, that it’s natural defense is to start shaking and bouncing until it’s not being touched anymore. Well during the process of me removing them from the cup into the big house, the silk strands got caught on the chrysalis’ and made two of them touch. SO SCARY! I nearly panicked when they both started bumping and shaking all around- I’m very glad the kids were at lunch at this point! But have no fear, using a trusty pen, I managed to break apart the silk and instantly they quieted down. But geez, these things should have come with some kind of warning!) 🙂

From the butterfly house, we’ll be able to watch them come out of the shells and be butterflies!

We can’t wait!

Speaking of butterflies, we all had a good laugh today during yoga time. Everyday after recess, the students come into our room for yoga time. The lights are off and I put on classical music as the students find their spot in the room to stand. The students begin by taking deep breathes in and out, using their arms to help them. This is what they do as everyone is putting coats away, asking me questions, or telling me stories from recess (of course, there is no tattling happening at this time 😉 )

During one of our yoga moves today, butterfly, we all laughed as we realized it’s just like what we’re studying!

Butterfly pose!

Graceful like a butterfly! We hold each pose for about 20-40 seconds, breathing in our nose and out our nose as we go. Here are some more poses we do:




Yoga has been the best way for us to transition from recess back into the classroom. We do our yoga moves silently for about 10 minutes each day after recess and it’s always a great, relaxing, refocusing time. Here is the poster we base our moves off of: Yoga Poster

Check back to see our butterflies progress!


Rain, Rain, Go Away!

Today we were scheduled to go to a local forest preserve to learn more about seeds and plants. The kids were so excited since we’ve spend a lot of time in here learning about seeds and all the parts of a plant (parents- did they sing you the “Parts of a Plant” song at home? How cute was that? 🙂 )

Unfortunately as I walked into work this morning, the forest preserve was on the phone letting us know that they would be canceling our trip. With the cold weather and the rain forecasted all day, it wouldn’t have been a very pleasant experience. I knew it would be equally unpleasant breaking this news to my first graders. Want to see the saddest sight possible? Tell a group of 24 six and seven year olds that we won’t be going on a planned field trip 🙁

But, I have a very flexible and resilient little bunch and I promised them a day of fun! (at least as much fun as someone can have when they were suppose to go on a field trip, and now can’t). In the morning, I was thinking of things that would make them excited, things we don’t get to do a lot of so it would be extra special today. After looking through my closet of supplies, I spied with my little eye the finger paint! Usually we don’t have time to do many art projects, but today, paint seemed like just the thing to erase the rainy blues away!

Now… what could we do with this paint? Well, in writing we’re learning how to compare two objects (like a simile). And in science, we’re learning about butterfly life cycles  (I promise pictures of this coming up!) I decided to combine all 3 things (paint, butterflies, and similes to be exact) and make a very fun project!

Say the word “project” to my class and their eyes light up like Christmas morning! The first part of the project was simple: the students came to the table and picked out a color of construction paper. Then, they picked out the paint color they wanted to use. They spread out their fingers and pushed it into the paint…


and onto their papers…

Paint makes rainy days all better!

two times of course (our butterflies need 2 wings!)…and away the papers went to our desks for drying. During this drying time, we took a break next door with our fifth grade buddies. They were doing a room hunt for things that were different angles. It’s always fun to watch the first graders learning from the “big kids”. And the big kids take their responsibility very seriously!

Back in our room, it was lunch time. Since we would have eaten our lunch picnic style on the field trip, it was only right to eat our lunch the same way in our classroom. I spread out 2 large sheets I brought from home- makes it feel more “picnic-y”(if that’s a word)- and we all gathered on!


There were a lot of little bodies on those sheets, but somehow, we only had one spill! I’d say that’s a major success! 🙂

After recess, we were back to work! We brainstormed some similes together, using the starter, “A butterfly is like a __________ because…”. We’ve been working on these types of sentences all week, so the kids knew just what to do. We came up with many ideas, like a plane, a bird, a scarf, and a parachute. I love hearing the students reasons for their ideas; often they are so creative and on-point, I never would have thought of it myself! We wrote down our own ideas and sentences on writing paper. Then, the “craft” making got down to buisness!

We cut out around our hands and glued them to a brown piece of paper (for the body). Of course any respectable butterfly needs antennas. We used smaller pieces of brown paper and rolled them around our pencils to look nice and curly. After gluing those on and drawing a face, voila! The butterfly part of the project was ready!

Cute, huh?

All unique and special!

With that part done, we glued our similes onto another piece of paper. Finally, we glued down the butterfly craft…

Almost done…

and we had ourselves a completed project!


Very nice!

Projects are always fun!

I know we started the day sad, but it turned out to be very fun! Check back next week for some pictures and updates about our caterpillars. Have a fun weekend!

Chirp Chirp Chirp!

How can you tell it’s spring time? When you can hear the “chirp chirp chirp” of the 4th grader’s chicks hatching! In fourth grade at our school, students raise chicken eggs. They learn about the life cycle and watch them hatch. It’s such a cool experience for them! One of the fourth grade teachers was nice enough to invite us upstairs to spend some time with the chicks.

When we got upstairs, the fourth graders and first graders buddied up. The fourth graders greeted us with adorable chick projects that had the first graders names on them and a book about the life cycle of a chick. It was really cute watching the fourth graders read to the little ones- they were all so interested and engaged!

Reading together!

Learning about chicks!

Learning about chicks!

After reading together, the students got up and made a circle (which, by the way, was amazing to me! As a first grade teacher, it’s so fantastic to see older kids who can follow directions so fast! 🙂 ) Once in a circle, we began to dance. What dance you may ask? Why, the chicken dance of course! It was adorable and so funny to see the kids dance together. They thought it was so much fun and got to practice the dance several times. After that, it was time for the main event: the chicks!

The students sat on the floor and next to their buddies. The 4th grade teacher and I put 3 chicks in a bin and gave them to each group. At first, many of the little guys (my students, not the chicks) were kinda nervous. But, they jumped right in and soon couldn’t stop petting the fluffy little friends (the chicks, not the other students) 😉

Aw, so cute!

So fluffy!

My rough and tumble class did such a nice job handling the chicks gently. And, there were so many GREAT connections during this time (things that make me say to myself, “They get it!!”) For example, “Ms. Tasch, we learned all about living and nonliving things in science! And these chicks are living because they will grow, they move, and they eat!” Also, “Hey Ms. Tasch, I see a poster about a chick’s life cycle. And we’re learning about butterfly life cycles!” Don’t forget, “I can make a connection to these chicks because I’ve been to a farm and seen chickens before!” And of COURSE, there was no, “Ms. Tasch, the chicks pooped all over!”  Ok well, that’s not true. I did hear a lot of that last phrase, but mostly the chatter was very educational 🙂

Having a great time!

It was a great time and we loved visiting! These first graders have some very cool things to look forward to when they get to 4th grade!

Good bye little chicks!

Daily 5 Word Work Idea: Hidden Words

Why do we read? Ask any student in my classroom and you’ll hear the shout, “To become better readers!” My students know why we read each and every day- we have fun when we read, we learn when we read, and it makes us better readers. One of the ways Daily 5 supports us to become better readers is by “word work”- a component of our choice time where students get to work with letters and works. Playing and manipulating words and letters help students practice sounds, sight words, and reading! Here is another idea we do in our classroom for Daily 5 Word Work. It’s called “Hidden Words”. First, how I store it in my classroom:

Hidden Words storage box

I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again: I love storing Word Work activities in these boxes! The boxes most things come in are so cute, but once they’ve been used a few times, they start to fall apart. I store all my Word Work ideas in clear, plastic boxes that are durable and easy to grab. Here is a look inside the box:

Under the lid

I always make sure to put everything into the box that the students will need to do the activity. (If they are going around the room to find paper, markers, crayons, pencils, etc. it would take way too long- not to mention distracting!) Inside this box are the worksheets- which can be found for FREE here: Hidden Words worksheets. Also in the box is white crayons and markers. Here’s how it works- the students use the white crayon to write a word wall word in the box. Then, they use a marker to color over the word. When you color over the word, it magically appears in the color! The example I made for my students show it:

The hidden words appear!

When I showed this to my class, their response was, “Ooooooooooo!” It’s totally engaging and everyone wanted this to be their choice for Daily 5. I love this choice because it’s great practice for them writing words and reading word wall words. They want to show their friends, which means meaningful discussions about their words and what the words say.

Students finding their hidden words

I made my worksheets double sided so that the fast workers had more words to do. In the free packet of these worksheets, you’ll find more ways to use these in your class. For example, students can write “hidden” compound words, “hidden” rhyming words, and “hidden” sentences.

Thanks for taking a look into our classroom and I hope it helps you and your students during Daily 5!

Hidden Words

Stay cool and have fun on this wonderful weather day!