Monday, December 4, 2017

Hello Everyone!!
Welcome back!  We have been busy in our little classroom! We had a blast coming up with ideas to help get Santa "unstuck" from the chimney. The kids are getting so creative with their lit. responses!!And to add some flair, we of course needed to do a hands on visual to go with the fun ideas!  I have been doing this little activity for about 10 years now and each year they turn out cuter than the year before!  I posted the unit that includes the details to this last week. Look for Santa's Stuck on the sidebar.

We also worked very hard on adjectives, using "Must Be Santa" (also in the Santa's Stuck unit). That song has over 30 adjectives in it!!  After really enjoying the song and the special words included, we created these cute little Santas and wrote the sentence to go with it! The patterns are included in the unit, too!

We have a lot of fun learning opportunities coming up over the next 3 weeks! Keeping the kids focused on learning is always a challenge this time of year.  Literature-wise, next week we will enjoy "If You Take a Mouse to the Movies." The kids absolutely love Laura Numeroff's books. I have shared this unit before, CLICK here if you need to download it again!
It is packed with ELA, math and science activities!

I do want to share what we have coming up before winter break in math.  We will be working on personal finance including needs and wants, spending, saving, giving, etc.  We used to cover this objective in the spring, close to summer break, but this year we are hitting it this winter. Last year I created a personal finance unit with a lot of fun summery lemonade components and decided that wouldn't work for this year, so I transformed it into a unit with a wintery feel. Some of the learning opportunities use the books "If You Take a Mouse the the Movies" and "Ox-Cart Man." 

These are just a few examples of the many that are included.  If you think you might be able to use it, you know the drill...
 Let me know how this unit goes for you! I'm kind of excited about it!

Now, finally, I've had a ton of e-mail questions about updating my New Year Unit!  Thank you to all those who are keeping me on my toes and are planning ahead!!  WOW!! You guys rock!! 
Here's a peek at my 2018 New Year Unit!

Well, there you go, friends!  I hope this post has helped you organize for the next few weeks! Don't forget to take time out to enjoy those sweet little faces. Their joy and anticipation is so abundant! Have fun with that!!
Let me know if you need anything else.

Joy to all!!

Sunday, November 26, 2017

Santa's Stuck and Grinch Stuff!!

Hello Everyone!
I hope you all had a wonder-filled Thanksgiving!  I am so grateful for this time with my family.  We were able to go up to Cleveland to help my oldest son move into his new home.  He has taken a new investigative reporter position at the ABC affiliate there!!  I know all of you in Indiana are going to miss him, but this is an amazing opportunity for him! Yes, he is now further from his TEXAS home, but…whatever it takes, right?!  We did have a little time to visit downtown, and I have to say…It is beautiful!!!  There is so much to do in this vibrant city. I think he is going to love it!
Thanks for letting me brag about him a little!  We are very proud of him.
But now it’s time to think about school again. These next few weeks are my favorite times of year to teach first graders. The wonder and innocence they bring to the season is such a beautiful reminder of the joy and love that comes with this time of giving.  One of my favorite books to enjoy with the kids is Santa’s Stuck by Rhonda Gowler Greene (readily available on Amazon). I have shared my unit packed with ELA, Math, and Science, but I have added some more to fit with what we are working on right now as our curriculum continues to evolve.  If you have used this unit before, please download again to get the new activities.

And the season would not be complete without some time spent on that iconic GREEN GUY!! You know who I’m talking about! I’ve added more to this unit too!! Download again, friends!!  

These are just a few pieces to the unit! There is so much more!

Thanks for stopping by for this quick update!  I hope you have a great week back and you can enjoy these next few weeks with your kids!! Keep doing what you're doing, and don't forget to find the joy in this journey!!  

Sunday, November 12, 2017

Dictionary Skills? What?

Dictionary Skills? What?
You might think that students working in dictionaries is an obsolete idea.  With the advancement of technology, students can find information, check spelling, grammar, sentence structure, even get help writing complete papers.  But learning how to use a dictionary will help students later on when they are researching or trying to find information.  Once they discover how a dictionary is laid out, they will be able to gather information from other resources.
Our youngest students should learn that
*words in a dictionary are organized alphabetically.
*Each word is called an entry.
*You can find correct spelling, pronunciation, the parts of speech, and definition.
*Guide words on the top of dictionary pages give clues about what words are included on each page.

This ultra mini unit introduces kids to the wonderful word world of dictionaries. Once hooked, kids will love being Dictionary Detectives!

So after organizing our thinking about dictionaries, I let the kids pick a word from the given list. In pairs they set off to be Dictionary Detectives. They had to look up the word, write the definition, and then write a sentence on the recording page.  Then they got to share their detective work by making a little paint chip pumpkin!  They turned out great!!!  A wonderful hand to heart action!!!
But what happened next is what made me say "What??"  I keep our little basket of dictionaries back by our classroom library.  During DEAR time kids can pick any book from our library to read.  For the past week, more kids pick a dictionary to read! I know, I know...they aren't able to practice fluency, story structure, fiction, nonfiction characteristics, etc. But wow!! They are having a blast looking up words!!!  I see them using their detective skills along with the alphabet layout, and the guide words! When they finally spy the word they are looking for...TAH DAH!!! You can hear the joy in their voices, little screams, and wiggles! They can't wait to share!!!  I love it so much!  I hope their excitement for discovering wonderful words never falters!! 

If you need a quick mini unit to help you get started on this detective journey,

I hope your kids love being Dictionary Detectives as much as mine have!  
Let me know how it goes!
Till then, have a wonder-filled week!!
Love to all!