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Saturday, March 31, 2012

Bugs! Bugs! Bugs!

We jumped right into spring this week in first grade!  We started a unit on bugs that we will continue throughout Spring with ladybugs and butterflies.  The kids were super excited to learn about bugs with some non-fiction bug books.  We did a KWL chart on insects and I left a big stack of post-it notes out for them to record any facts they learned during the week.   They couldn’t wait to go out to our school’s nature center and catch their own bug to observe.  

We came inside and made some observations and drew a picture of bugs that we caught.  I have to say I was pretty impressed with how down and dirty my kids got catching the bugs and holding them. 

  We only kept our bugs for a little while before we set them free outside.  You can download our observation forms by clicking here.

 Endless Possibilities, 

Thursday, March 29, 2012

Transportation Home FREEBIE!

My youngest son, Reed, has been sick recently.  He is such a tough little guy, but needed mommy to be with him while he was sick.  As I was going through sub plans, I realized I needed a more convenient way to track how my students go home.  I have several students who ride a bus and many who either walk or go to after-school daycare.  I decided to create a Transportation Home sheet that I could leave with a sub and feel confident that my students arrived home safely.  Just click the picture below for a FREE download.
Transportation Home 

I also stumbled on this wonderful FREEBIE for April workstations.  It is full of many math and reading activities for math workstations and literacy centers.
April Reading and Math 

Endless Possibilities,

Nonsense Words FREEBIE!

If you do DIBELS, then you are familiar with nonsense words!  I am always looking for different, quick activities do with my small groups.  Sometimes they aren't easy to find, so I began making them.  Here is my newest activity that I have made. 

You can download it HERE for FREE!  Happy teaching:)

Tuesday, March 27, 2012

Literacy Workstations

Last summer, I got the book “Literacy Work Stations” and after going to a few trainings on how to implement the 90-minute reading block I decided I had to implement this into my classroom in some way.  This year as part of professional development we studied the “Daily Five” in our study groups.  My 90-Minute block is a combination of the two that works for my classroom.
Rotation Chart

Literacy Work Station Tubs

We have four rotations: Seatwork, Table Work, Reading, and Stations.  Seatwork includes everything from journal writing, worksheets, graphic organizers, to partner work.  Table work with me is a guided reading group with leveled readers.  During the reading rotation they can read by themselves or with a buddy.  The fourth rotation are the station tubs. You can find the labels for the tubs here for free. They go to one of these tubs each day and after all of the students have rotated through them (which usually takes about 2 weeks), I switch out the materials.  The skills of the tubs stay the same but the materials and manipulatives change.  This works for us because the students know what is expected but they don’t get bored with what’s in the tub.  They take the tubs and go to the location in the room that’s on the chart.  Before I started this I wasn’t convinced that first graders could follow all of rotation movements in the room but they picked it up quickly.  

Station Location 2
Station Location 4

Station Location 3

Ezra Jack Keats Author Study


This week first grade read "Whistle for Willie" by Ezra Jack Keats in our basal reader.  We also read "Snowy Days" which is Keats' most well-known book and winner of the Caldecott Award.  We used a Venn Diagram to compare the two stories.  My kiddos are "Venn Masters" at this point and can compare/contrast just about anything. 

 My students loved the illustration in these books.  They made their own "Ezra Jack Keats Illustrations" using crayon and watercolors.  We talked about texture and patterns in the pictures and they used this in their own settings.  I used this activity to reinforce what an illustrator does and how setting is important in a story. 

I think their illustrations all turned out really cute.  They loved the layering of paint on the crayon and making their own patterns and textures.

Monday, March 26, 2012


Recently, I missed a week of work teaching precious little kiddos.  My husband and I took our very first trip without kids.  Those who know me, know that this was NOT an easy thing for me to do.  But my husband dragged me on the plane and once we landed in Mexico, I was saying "What kids? ;)" 
Knowing in advance that I was going to be gone I made up several activities for my first grade groups to work on while I was away. Since I do not get a sub when I am gone, I had to create activities that my first graders could do independently or with minimal supervision.  I then decided to take all of these activities and put them together to make a packet of math & literacy activities.  Only a few first graders in each class used these activities, so the first grade teachers are going to use them in their literacy stations.  I love getting to help the awesome first grade teachers :)  Here are a few of the activities:


You can find the packet HERE and please email me if there is an activity you would like to have included.  When you click on the link you will get a complete list of ALL activities included...Happy Teaching!!
Endless Possibilities,

Yearly Goals

How do you display your yearly classroom goals?

My classroom yearly goals are large enough for my students to view so that we may have a constant visual of our goals.  It is also in kid-friendly language for students to understand.
Students know how many have met the goal by looking at the cars in the front of the classroom.  I do not put names on the people in the cars; however, students know if they have met the goal because we also track data in individual data folders.
The popcorn box on the car symbolizes that students have earned a popcorn party for the particular goal.  I write the date on the large popcorn of when our class met the goal.
We would like to know how you display your yearly classroom goals.  Send a comment and/or link to us of how you keep track of data in your classroom.
Endless Possibilities, Stephanie

Sunday, March 25, 2012

Classroom Jobs

When I was setting up my classroom this summer, I just could not find a jobs bulletin board that worked for my classroom.  With all of the data, goals, standards, vocabulary, and objectives we have to post in our classrooms there just wasn’t room for a big job display board like you find in the teacher stores.  Also, they all seemed to not have the right “mix” of jobs for my classroom.  I decided to make up my own jobs board using the library pockets you can buy at the teacher store in a variety of colors and patterns.  They fit perfectly right on the side of one of my shelves. I use Popsicle sticks with the kids’ names on them.  You can put as many sticks in the pockets as you like.  This gives you a lot of flexibility for how you want your jobs to work.  Best of all, I can reprint these each year to replace them as they become worn and torn without costing me hardly anything!  You can find the job labels HERE and of course if you think of any jobs to add send an email with your suggestions!

Endless Possibilities,

FREEBIE! Organization: Supplies

If you’re anything like me, you are always trying to find ways to organize your classroom to save time. I made the following labels for my supply and craft lockers. I haven’t got them organized quite yet but they are on my summer “To-do” list. When I get my lockers organized with the labels, I will post some “before” and “after” pictures because who doesn’t love those. Especially the before pictures which are usually pretty embarrassing! I tried to include supplies and crafts that could be placed in containers. I made these labels free but I plan on including them in a packet I am making of all sorts of labels for the classroom. If you have any suggestions to add to these labels, I would be happy to add them, just send an e-mail! Below is a sample of just a couple of the pages of labels. Click HERE to download them. 

Happy Organizing!


Friday, March 23, 2012

Kindergarten Classroom

I like visiting other blogs to see how primary teachers display student work in their classrooms.  I have included some pictures of my classroom in this post.  The palm tree in the picture was inspired from Mrs. Jump's Blog.  Click here to view the directions from her site.  I use the palm tree to display student vocabulary.  You may notice the Frayer model chart next to the tree.  The Frayer model is used to introduce vocabulary.

The rainbow behavior chart was inspired from Mrs. Lee's Kindergarten.  Click here to see how she uses it in her classroom.  I use it with our school-wide PBIS system.  It is a positive visual for my kiddos to view behavior.  When students complete their rainbow, they get to visit the "pot of gold".  The pot of gold is what I call the prize box.
Learning Objectives

I created this posterboard to display my daily learning objectives.  The sentence strips are dry-erase.  It makes it easy to change daily.

The "Neato-Cheeto" board is used to display student work.  Before I begin, I tell my kiddos, "This paper is for a Neato-Cheeto".  If a student does his/her best work, I stamp it with a NEATO.  (I had the stamp custom made.)  The student then gets to display his/her work on the Neato board.  Lastly, the student gets to visit the Cheeto canister to get 2 Cheetos to eat!  What child wouldn't be motivated for Cheetos?
Endless Possibilities, Stephanie


In kindergarten, we teach Saxon Phonics.  Last week was letter V week.  In the past, we have planted vegetables and studied plants.  This year, I decided to teach a unit on volcanoes.  The kids were so excited.  We created an explosion with Diet Coke and Mentos.  We also made a volcano erupt with baking soda and vinegar.  After creating the two eruptions, students created a Venn diagram comparing the two eruptions.  I have included a few photos from our volcano week.  If you are interested you can find the unit here.

Label a Volcano
Venn Diagram Comparing Experiments
Explosive Explicit Vocabulary

If you purchase this unit, be sure to leave feedback and a comment.
Endless Possibilities, Stephanie