September 29, 2012

First Grade Common Core

Common Core is the new buzz word in United States Education. Students and teachers alike are being held to higher standards. Since it is a relatively new concept, it is sometimes hard to find support or resources. Two weeks ago, I posted about a review about a resource for Kindergarten*. This week I wanted to post about a resource for First Grade Common Core teachers and parents.

This book is full of worksheets and activities for all First Grade Common Core Math and English standards. My favorite part is the table of contents. It lists each standard with page numbers for a unique activity. I downloaded the free preview (Click on the free preview link. Look for the orange link at the end of the description.) It had a lot of cute, kid friendly ideas and worksheets similar to what you might find on Teachers Pay Teachers. (Another great resource for those tackling the CC.)  I also saw worksheets that would be challenging for First Grade students.

The book costs $39.99. While I realize that is a bit steep for someone on a teacher's budget I think it might be helpful for those of you who want to learn more and need some guidance.  You will have to look for yourself and decide if purchasing this book is right for you.

Are you a blogger? Want to receive the book for free? Write a review of your own. Check out this link TODAY!

*In full disclosure: By blogging about the Kindergarten resource two weeks ago, and this resource today I am receiving a free copy.

September 28, 2012

Happy Fall Ya'll - Giveaway

I love Fall! I have to say it is my favorite season. I get to wear jeans and warm sweaters as I watch the leaves change on the few trees that resist the California message that it is summer all year. (I admit Utah does do fall better, but it's winter is not my favorite.) I love pumpkin bread, pumpkin steamers, and pumpkin pie. (Do you sense a theme here?) I love soup season and cold nights snuggled down in a blanket. I wish that fall started sooner and lasted longer.

How do you prepare for fall? This last week I bought a decorative pumpkin and turkey at Target. Best $5 I spent this week! They make me smile every time I look at them. This week I also started breaking out my tried and true soup recipes. Mom's Homemade Chowder, White Bean Chicken Chili, and Lionhouse Creamy Chicken Noodle Soup will be staples in my home for the next couple of months.

I have been racking my brain for a good couples costume idea for Halloween. Anyone already know what they will dress up as? I'm struggling. Any ideas for a someone who will be almost 9 months pregnant? No? Yeah. Me either.

In case you missed the subtle hint above, I love Fall and all that comes with it. I love sharing this excitement with my friends, family, and the children in my life.  Because I love you all so much, I decided to share some free fun fall ideas. Let me know if you have some that you would like to add to the list.

You Have Been Booed! by Life with Mrs. L - Start a secret treat chain reaction with this free sign. You can do it personally, as a class, or with your kids at home.
October Behavior Chart by Busy Bees
Pumpkin Ordinals by Sea Bear's Kindergarten
Pumpkin Symmetry by Mrs. Lee's Kindergarten - In the middle of the post.
Pumpkin Data by Sailing Through 1st Grade
Developing Fine Motor Skills with Golf Tees and a Pumpkin by I Can Teach My Child
Fall Mini Pack by All Students Can Shine

Odd and Even Sort by Learning Ideas K-8
Ghost Hunt A Writing Activity with Prepositional Phrases by Lesson Plan SOS
Ghost Linky Party hosted by Graphics From the Pond - Not all of these are free, but there are over 30 links! Check it out.
Ghost Fact Families by Buggy for Second Grade

Monster Party Fractions by Oh My Little Classity Class
I Need My Monster Writing by 3rd Grade Gridiron
Monster Adjective Word Bank by Sailing Through 1st Grade
Monster Sentences by Pitner's Potpourri
Monster Mash Compare and Contrast by Crazy for First Grade
(I think Monster Adjectives and Compare and Contrast would work perfectly together. Have your students complete the compare and the contrast, then draw a monster of their own to compare and contrast with a friend's monster.)

Playdough Mats by Teaching Heart
20 Fall Fun Fast Finisher Task Cards by Rachel Lynette

And because I really like you all, I decided to share my Halloween Howls: Classroom Management Using Jokes and my Spooky Behavior Management Coloring Mini-Pack. This is my first attempt at using Rafflecopter, so I really hope I didn't mess it up somehow.

Click below to enter:

a Rafflecopter giveaway

September 26, 2012

Finding Peace and Quiet

Recently a couple of friends recommended this book to me:


Quiet: The Power of Introverts in a World That Can't Stop Talking

I put it on hold at the library and waited until I got an email telling me it had arrived. Am I the only one who anxiously waits for new books? New books and book shopping are better than clothes in my opinion. I am a little "unique" and I understand that.

Has anyone else read this? I loved it! It did take me a while to finish because it has tons of references to studies and research that take a little more concentration to understand. (And my pregnant brain struggles staying on task. Having to visit the ladies room all the time might have something to do with that.)

I am an introvert. I do best in small settings of people I know and recharge with quiet evenings at home reading and blogging. I struggle with new things or disagreements. I listen and tend to analyze interactions and relationships. (Often when my husband and I are out together I have to explain why I am giggling. You see and hear the silliest things when you people watch. Please tell me I am not the only one. Am I?) Sometimes I feel like a mouse in a world full of beautiful and talkative birds.

Upon finishing the book, I thought Cain's insights were intelligent and relevant to me as a person and as an educator. Our modern society places a strong emphasis on extroverts. This can be seen in business, society, and even in our classrooms. Think about terms like "class participation, cooperative learning, group work, presentations, defending your argument, and tables." Right now in education there is a huge emphasis on cooperative learning. This can be a good thing, as long as it is used in moderation. (Remember you have introvert students too!) I got so frustrated with my last year of college, because it seemed that every assignment in my major was a group project. People have different time frames, ideas, and plans for a final product. It made me want to pull out my hair. I felt I could have learned more, finished faster, and been less frustrated if I had been able to work on my own at least part of the time. I'm not the only one who felt that way. This is an article from a current junior about her feelings on "cooperative learning."

Source: via Siska on Pinterest

Remember your introverts and your extroverts as you plan lessons and assessments. As I read Quiet: The Power of Introverts in a World That Can't Stop Talking I took notes. What good reader doesn't stop to make connections and highlight important ideas? (Don't worry I didn't use a real highlighter in a library book, just post-its.)

Here are somethings I learned that I want to remember in my classroom:
  • Encourage natural passions. It is the little boy who loves reading about marine animals who will be a great scientist. Get books on all kinds of subjects. (National Geographic, Gail Gibbons, Time for Kids, etc.)
  • Teach children that it is ok to be different. (I'm Gonna Like Me, I Like Myself, Stand Tall Molly Lou Melon, etc.)
  • Teach children how to communicate in small groups, in front of people, and one on one. These are skills they need to pick up before they head off to the business world.
  • Give and teach students roles in group projects. Keep groups small in number. (2-3) Maintain a good balance between independent and group work.
  • Teach children that a lot of people are terrified of new things. (First Day Jitters, Wemberly Worried, Something Might Happen, etc.) Take it slowly. Build up to bigger problems.
  • Teach them it is ok to pretend to be bold. But to remember what makes you comfortable and find a balance in your life.

What do you think?

Do you consider yourself an introvert or an extrovert? 

What are your thoughts on introverts and extroverts in the classroom? 

September 18, 2012

Secret News

Yesterday I promised if you checked my blog today I would share some of my progress on my pirate unit. You're going to have to wait another day or two. Life has a way of happening fast. To make it up to you I am giving away a copy of my Pirate Puns: Classroom Management Using Jokes. Just in time for Talk Like a Pirate Day tomorrow. If you still need some resources don't forget to check out my two earlier posts HERE and HERE.

It's a lighting giveaway. All you have to do is leave me a comment telling me your favorite thing about following my blog. Please make sure you include your email. I will pick a winner later tonight and send it off. Check your email tomorrow to see if you won. Thanks for stopping by. Have a fantastic evening!

This giveaway is now over. Feel free to pick up your own copy of Pirate Puns: Classroom Management Using Jokes in my TpT or TN store.

September 17, 2012

Constitution Day and Good News

Happy Constitution Day!

I'm keeping it simple today. Schoolhouse Rock will always be a favorite of mine. (I may have two copies of it on DVD in case one gets scratched. Because, stuff like that does happen. And I would be so sad.)

I crossed so many things off my to do list today I feel incredibly productive. And I get to cross a couple more off tonight once hubby get home. :) I love feeling like I am moving forward. Tomorrow I am sharing some of the progress I have made on my pirate creations. Make sure you stop by, I promise you will be glad you did.

In other good news, we survived another Monday! Congratulations! Want to celebrate? Make sure you drop by Taming My Flock of Firsties to enter her birthday giveaway. She's giving away a lot of great things, including my Short O Cops and Robbers packet. Hurry her giveaway ends in 6 days!

September 16, 2012

Pirate Books

My husband is out of town, which means I have a little bit more free time than I usually do. That means that I got to explore my local bookstore yesterday. One of my favorite things to do in a bookstore is peruse new titles and find new books to add to my collection. Yesterday I focused on pirate books.

Some of the ones that I fell in love with:

I think A Pirate's Guide to First Gradeis my favorite. It is full of fun pirate phrases. It is perfect for introducing the concept of context clues. Don't worry. There is a glossary in the back for all you land lubbers. ;)

My favorite non-fiction book was You Wouldn't Want to Be a Pirate's Prisoner!: Horrible Things You'd Rather Not Know . It had a lot of great tips and some fun illustrations. I highly recommend it for older grades.

Some others that I still want to check out:
Look Out for Litter (Cloverleaf Books: Planet Protectors)
Shiver Me Letters: A Pirate ABC
Do Pirates Take Baths?
Pirates Go to School
The Pirates Next Door
There Was an Old Pirate Who Swallowed a Fish
Pirates by Gail Gibbons
Pirates by Mary Pope Osborne
The Pirate of Kindergarten (Richard Jackson Books (Atheneum Hardcover))

What about you? Any favorite pirate books?

September 15, 2012

Kindergarten Common Core

The Common Core is being implemented across the United States. It is an exciting and scary time for teachers every where. Teachers are revamping lessons, finding new resources online, and creating a better learning environment for their students.  Whenever I find an amazing resource for teaching Common Core I try to share it with others. You may have seen this one taking bloggers by storm recently:

This book is an amazing resource with worksheets and activities for all Kindergarten Common Core Math and English standards. It only costs $39.99! That is a steal for all the information and time saving activities inside. Make sure you check it out. You won't be disappointed.

Are you a blogger? Want to receive the book for free? Check out this link TODAY! Thanks Cheryl from Crayons and Curls for sharing the great news.

September 14, 2012

Arrr you getting excited?

International Speak Like a Pirate Day is September 19th. Are you getting excited? I am! I love any excuse to bring more fun into the classroom. And what is more fun than pirates? In preparation for Speak Like a Pirate Day I am working on creating some fun pirate resources. Today I finished Pirate Puns - Classroom Management Using Jokes and updated Text Features Treasure Hunt. I plan to work on some more this weekend. Hubby is out of town for a race, so I am keeping myself busy.

I wanted to do all I could to help you get ready. Look at some of the fun FREE resources I have found:

Pirate Math Fast Finishers by yours truly - sudoku, and simple +/- regrouping
Pirate Adventures from Mrs. Freshwater's Class - CVC creation, 1 more 1 less
Pirate Color Charts from Mrs. Jump's Class - Click on the picture of the colored bears. Perfect for team posters.
Pirates Positional Words Interactive Book from Sped-ventures - Link in the middle of the post.
Pirate Classroom Dubloons from Sailing Through 1st Grade - Link at the bottom of the post.
I would love to know what you are doing to celebrate. Anyone have any fun plans or resources?

September 13, 2012

Star Author - Roald Dahl

One of my favorite things to do in my classroom is Star Author. Our study of an author will often last a week. Other times our study will last a couple of weeks. It all depends on who we are studying, the amount of time we have, and the number of books and resources I am able to round up. How busy we are or how much I like an author also tends to have a small impact. :)

Star Author

I pick Star Authors by thinking of the following questions:
  • What are we reading this week?
    • When I used the reading series Treasures I often tried to match our star author to the author of that weeks story.
    • What book are we currently reading aloud as a class?
  • What is on the calendar?
    • Whose birthday is this month?
    • What holidays are we celebrating?
  • What theme are we covering?
    • Some books and people naturally tie in together.
We learn about the author in different ways:
  • Autobiographies
  • Youtube videos
  • Author's websites
  • Brain Pop Jr. Videos - If your school does not have access to these, I highly recommend them
  • Comparing and contrasting the author's books
  • Wikepedia
I love to help my students find new favorite authors, make connections, and sneak in some history, math, writing, and science. I'm so devious. :) 

The reason I bring all this up? Books are my passion! Just ask my husband who recently helped me unpack all my book boxes. (Poor guy. Not only does he have to deal with a hormonal pregnant wife he has to deal with all her books too.) I love reading new books and I love sharing them with other people. Children love to learn about things they find interesting. If I want them to love books as much as I do I need to show them books can be fun, interesting, and worth their time. [Has anyone else read the article What the Kardashians Taught Me About Reading Instruction (No, For Real) ? I really liked it and think it is worth 4 minutes of your time.]

Roald Dahl is one of my all time favorite authors. I went through a stage when I read anything of his I could get my hands on. (I went through a lot of stages and you will probably hear about most of them.) He was funny, different, and I consumed his stories. A boy who created a Marvelous Medicine? A girl who loved books and had amazing powers? A fox who wrecked havoc among the local farmers? Yes. Give it to me. I want to read it.

It was only recently that I learned more about the man himself, which I think is a shame. I wish someone had recognized my enthusiasm and helped me learn more about him as a person. His birthday is today, September 13th. If he were still alive he would be 96 years old. Isn't that amazing?


This last week I have been reading D Is for Dahl: A gloriumptious A-Z guide to the world of Roald Dahl a book compiled by Wendy Cooling. I love this book because it is full of random facts about the man himself. It covers each letter of the alphabet with entries from Aardvark to Zoo. Each snippet covers a small part of his life and there are random facts sprinkled throughout.

In an effort to help more people discover this book I made a Roald Dahl Star Author Packet. It contains an alphabet chart to fill in facts, two venn diagrams, a page of helpful links, and the following wordle. Feel free to download it and tell me what you think. I am thinking of adding more to it later and placing a small price on it. So make sure you grab your free copy today.

I love Matilda! I even love the movie almost as much as I love the book. Which is saying something, because most movies come no where near the books when it comes to quality.

What is your favorite Dahl Story?

September 12, 2012

Books for Our Children

I love to read. A value that was instilled in me by my librarian mother and countless others as I grew up. In the summer time we would spend hours visiting the local library, perusing shelves, and reading stacks of books. I worry that my son will not have that experience. Budgets are tight and libraries are seen as expendable in a digital world.  I love my iPad and spend a lot of time online, but there is something completely different about reading with a real book.

Some schools no longer have librarians. I think this is an outrage! If you take away a child's access to literature how will they learn important research skills or develop a love of life long learning? Students are not responsible enough to care for a library alone and thousands of amazing books are locked away. This is a crime.

Source: via Madison on Pinterest

Today I found the following video online. I love it! I wish there were more people out there willing to make a small sacrifice for good books.

Troy Library from Jennie Hochthanner on Vimeo.

(I apologize if this is too political for you.) Is anyone else out there a California voter? Can you see the similarities between this video and Prop 30? How are libraries being treated in your hometown?

September 4, 2012

Currently September

I love Farley's monthly Currently Parties! I always get so excited to join in on the fun. Look at the fun colors she used this month. I love it! (I think my husband's preference for bright colors is wearing off on me.)

I started Teaching Blog Traffic School a couple of months ago and have been so busy that I haven't done as many of the amazing tutorials as I wanted to this summer. But I made a goal to have it all finished before my baby arrives. There are 30 amazing lessons. So far I have only watched 21 of them. Which is a lot of progress from the start of this summer. :) I still need to watch nine lessons but I have seen such a difference in my blog and in my media awareness. If you are a new blogger or even a blogger who wants to expand their influence/audience I highly recommend looking into TBTS. You won't regret it. If you are interested check it out here.

I love my hometown. The weather is amazing 97% of the time. I need to take advantage of it more and spend some time outside walking and sun tanning. I am perhaps one of the whitest people you will ever meet. And Farley has inspired me to do better with my Nike Plus app. She totally has me beat. And I am not pushing a stroller or walking a dog. Power to you girl!

My son is due early November which means I have a lot of things on my to do list to get done before then. You know the little things like finish the nursery, finish unpacking, finish TBTS, and set up my food storage and meal plans. 

I have found a cute crib on sale at Target this week and am seriously contemplating getting it. If I have it set up maybe I would worry less about being ready for the baby. Probably not, because I am a natural worrier, but maybe. My sister has volunteered to make his comforter. I am super excited because we found some cuter than cute space fabric when we were on vacation this summer.

I need to update some of my newest creations to my shops. I still need to tweak a few things but I hope to have at least one new thing up by the end of the week. After all the more items in my shop, the more options for people to buy, which means more money in the cute baby crib fund. I think I suddenly found my motivation. Maybe I will even get it done tomorrow. :)

I hated on Owl City for the longest time. Like forever. Which is unfortunate because it is one of my husband's favorite bands. Well after their newest CD I had to take back my words. I love it. And have listened to each of the songs at least 10 times more than my husband. Which is impressive, because I don't always have music playing. In fact, I rarely have music playing.

I also love road trips to see family. Since moving we are 7 hours closer to my family, 12 hours closer to his family, and an hour away from two sets of grandparents.  This means that we spend a lot of time in the car visiting said families. Which is nice. Except with my tiny pregnant bladder and the cost of gas. I think it is the cost of gas that makes me wince most.

My husband got me a jewelry box for my birthday. It is gorgeous and sits on top of our dresser. I think my husband didn't realize how much jewelry I had until I had to compile it from the four different places I was storing it. :) Now I know where everything is it makes it so much easier to accessorize  I feel so girly. It was the perfect gift. Speaking of gifts, last week I shared all kinds of freebies  to celebrate my birthday. I hope you check them out.