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Tuesday, April 15, 2014

Compare and Contrast with beginning readers! *Freebie

My first graders have been working on comparing and contrast. They aren't quite fluently reading and in order to work on the skill without them being hindered by their reading skills we started out small! We created an anchor chart together going over what compare and contrast are telling how things are alike and different. We went over some key words that help us describe things that are the same and different. Then we compared a shoe and a boot together.
Students wrote ways that the shoe and the boot were the same on their sticky notes, we read them out load and decided if we agreed or disagreed. Once we agreed something was the same we placed the sticky note in the middle of our Venn Diagram.
Then everyone went back and brainstormed ways that the shoe and the boot were different. We went through the same process and placed our sticky notes in the respective circles on the diagram.
They did such a great job, and I quickly realized that the visual of the shoe and boot were very helpful for them. So I quickly looked up some images and created some Venn Diagrams for them using two simple pictures.
They worked in pairs to fill in the circles. We always start with how they are the same and work out! They were so excited and got right to work! I was super excited to see them getting this skill down and working together so well!!
Comparing a chair and a couch, these two did a fabulous job! They were excited to share with the rest of the group!
 Great thinking going on all around the room!  I'm loving it!
 Teams shared their results with one other team and they helped each other change anything that needed to be changes, or add things they had not seen!
Amazing work! I was so excited by there progress. We have done this with several pictures now and are moving on to reading short passages to compare and contrast. I just love it when you find something that really works for your students and the light bulbs just start turning on. It's such a great reward to see them grow like that!

Because this worked so well for my students I decided to create a little freebie to share here on my blog! You can click on the picture below to get this mini-unit. It includes the basic anchor chart, seven different Venn Diagrams with pictures and a paragraph writing template.
I hope you can use this and I'd love to hear your feedback if you do! Thanks for reading!

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Thursday, March 27, 2014

It's Time to Clean out Those Wishlists!

Anyone else ready for spring break??? I am soooo ready! Maybe you've already had some time off and your ready to head back to the classroom!  Either way it's the perfect time for a little spring cleaning!!

Clean out those TPT wishlists with a sale! You can get my latest products for 20% off this weekend!
You might want to pick up a game or to like these......


or a fluency practice pack perfect for celebrating the season...

Many other amazing sellers are also joining in the cleaning fun, come on over to TPT and find some great deals!
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Sunday, March 9, 2014

A Bright Idea For Using Sticky Notes!

I am back to share another Bright Idea with you!

What teacher does not like collecting all the fun sticky notes they see in stores these day?. You can get them in so many shapes and sizes, different seasons and holidays, and some are just too fun to pass up!! Here's a few of the sticky notes I have on hand right now....
See, so many cute designs!! My students love recording their thinking on these adorable notes, I love adding new ones during different seasons, they just get so happy to see them.

I started thinking of other ways I could use them because they are so cute and seasonal. I found that they work great for making simple activities and games. So here's how I've used them in my classroom....

I write sight words on them, then add a few with a different phrase such as "snowball fight" or "Ho, ho, ho". I laminate them, put them in a container, and students take turns drawing them out. If they get a word they read it and keep it, if they can't read it the card goes back in the container. If they draw the special phrase they get to do an activity - "snowball fight" meant they got to have a small paper snowball fight, it only lasts a few seconds then they are back to work - "Ho, ho, ho" just meant they were the winner, they got a small treat and everyone returned the cards to start again. You can make the special phrases mean anything you like. I have some that just say "wiggle" and it means everyone stands up and wiggles for ten seconds then they sit down and start again! My kids love these games, and they are soooo simple to make for every season!

I've used some of the sticky notes to write math problems on placed them around the room. Students travel around looking for them and solve them as they go! I do laminate them and they last a long time! Again, super easy and fun!!

They also work great for adding and subtracting. I've found these notes that match my manipulatives perfectly. I simple wrote problems on them, laminated and put them in the math center. Students can use the cards and manipulative to solve the problems!

Looking for more Bright Ideas! You are in luck!!  Head on over to Jana's Blog Thinking Out Loud for a great idea about using KWL plus charts in preschool through third grades.

Thinking Out Loud

If you are looking for even more great ideas you can find many more in the linky below!

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Thursday, March 6, 2014

Fab Find Makes Fab Impromptu Center today!

Last night as my husband and I were in Dollar General picking up a few things that we were out of at home, I noticed they had a little section of teacher materials that were all marked 50% off. They had these sequencing puzzles for just 50 cents each!
 I thought theses would make great story starters so today I made a quick center for my first graders!
 They each chose a puzzle, put it together, then wrote a three sentence paragraph using the transition words, first, next, then.

 They really loved it and I was so excited by the writing they did!
 First put it in the washer, next dry it, next fold it.
 This was cracked me up!! Then mix the muffins. Then it was ready. Then it was a muffin. So funny!!
 First you put seeds on it and then you water next the sun comes out and then the flower comes out! Great writing from my little ones!!
 The caterpillar eats green leaves.  Then he gets in the bag and then he turns into a butterfly! Love it!!
First take the toothbrush then he put toothpaste then he brushes his teeth.

I was so excited about all the writing they did! My fifty cents was very well spent!

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Wednesday, March 5, 2014

Fun Math Games!

I hope you are all having a fabulous first week of march! I'm gearing up for state testing next week, and trying to find some fun ways to practice math facts with my kids who I know will be all worked out after the test! I've created these two games to give them a little change of pace, and keep them learning.

These are simple dice games, just roll the dice - draw a card - do the math! The person to collect the most cards win! I think my students will enjoy these. If your students could use the practice you can click on either picture to go to my shop and purchase these games for just $2.00 each!
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Saturday, March 1, 2014

What Did you Buy during the Big Sale?

I love finding great resources on TPT for my classroom and creations! I"m linking up with Blog Hoppin' to show you what I bought.

Here's a look at what I picked up during this fabulous sale!
 I just love these adorable kids!! Can't wait to use this clip art from Kari Bolt and Mealonheadz to make some new products!!

If you haven't checked out Michael Friermood's Reader's Notebooks you should, they are amazing! I already had the literature notebook and couldn't wait to get this one for informational text! It's already printed and ready for us to start using next week!

Jennifer Runde has been a life saver for me this year! I love all of her products!! These two are great, I can't wait to use them with my students! Check out her store for a TON of great upper grade resources!

I could have bought so much more, but I had to control myself!! I am looking forward to seeing all the great resources everyone else got so I can add them to my ever growing wishlist!

Head on over to Blog Hoppin and link up with your sale purchases, and see what everyone else got too!
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Friday, February 28, 2014

Two New Resources, Get them While They Are on Sale!

 I've added a new fluency pack to my store this week, all the activities are about reading!
My students love the roll-a-phrase game in these sets so much I decided to create a roll-a-sight word game for my first graders! I think they are going to love it!
Both of these sets are on sale Through midnight, and I'm going to give two copies away to my readers! Leave a comment below and I'll choose two winner randomly tomorrow morning! Thanks for stopping by!
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Wednesday, February 26, 2014

Fluency Pack Update, A Freebie, and a HUGE sale!

I've been working on another update to a fluency pack! Here's the new improved St. Patrick's day set, with activities to accompany the poems as well as new fluency passages and reader's theaters in color and black and white!
I am just loving the improvements to these packs and hope you all will too! Click on the picture to head to my store!
Here's The Freebie! I loved the Valentine's set so much I created a St. Patrick's day set too! Click the picture to pick it up and please leave your feedback, I would really appreciate it!!

I am sure some of you have heard the big news over at Teachers Pay Teachers! We are now 3 million teacher's strong and we are having a big sale to help everyone celebrate!
Thursday and Friday you can get 28% off in my store and many others, don't forget to use the Code!!

Hope everyone's having a great week! Also don't forget to enter the giveaway for a special edition tote and board book HERE!
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Tuesday, February 25, 2014

The Very Hungry Caterpillar is 45!

Few books create a memory that last a lifetime, those books that do never leave us! The Very Hungry Caterpillar is a book that for many has made it to the top of the unforgettable list.

I remember sitting in a neat little circle as my kindergarten teacher read the book aloud to our class. We all chimed it to help her read after the first few pages, and we waited anxiously to see what would happen to the little caterpillar who ate too much! I went home and "read" the book to my little sister that night, and then I read it to my baby dolls and stuffed animals, I read it to my parents, and anyone who would let me read it to them. It struck me then, and it continues to be a favorite in my classroom!

My students have enjoyed the book so much over the years! I always give it a big introduction and tell them it was one of my favorites when I was a kid. I watch as they pick up the book later and "read" it to their selves or their friends. I let them borrow one of many copies from the classroom library because I imagine the same excitement that I felt when I was 6 is what they are feeling. I can just see them reading to their little sisters, brothers, parents, and stuffed animals.

This month the Very Hungry Caterpillar is celebrating it's 45th anniversary. The anniversary will be officially celebrated on the annual “Very Hungry Caterpillar Day” which takes place every year on the first day of spring (March 20th).

Since its publication in 1969, 36 million copies of the book have sold worldwide and it has been published in 55 languages. That year the book was also named one of the best children’s books of the year by The New York Times, and it has since become a beloved, must-own classic. Today, every 30 seconds, somewhere in the world, a copy of The Very Hungry Caterpillar is sold. 

Eric Carle (www.eric-carle.com) is acclaimed and beloved as the creator of brilliantly illustrated and innovatively designed picture books for very young children. He has illustrated more than seventy books, many best sellers, and more than 100 million copies of his books have sold around the world. In 2002, Eric and his wife Barbara opened The Eric Carle Museum of Picture Book Art (www.carlemuseum.org) in Amherst, MA, a 40,000 square foot space dedicated to inspiring a love of art among children by introducing them to picture book art by renowned artists from around the world.

You can read more about this milestone and download some freebies at this official website!

One lucky reader will win a fabulous prize pack to help celebrate this very special anniversary! This limited edition tote and board-book copy of  The Very Hungry Caterpillar can be yours! AND if you win, you get an extra set to give to a friend!

Enter using the rafflecopter below. 
A winner will be chosen on Saturday March 1st! 
Good luck, thanks for reading!
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