Thursday, April 17, 2014

Notes of Encouragement

If you read my BRIGHT IDEAS post, you know my firsties have fifth grade reading buddies and we are so thankful for all their reading support this year.  My students are blessed by the friendships they have made with their reading buddy. 

It is our turn to give back a little.  Our buddies took the FCAT test Monday-Thursday this week and then have two more days next week. 

We thought it was super important to build on the connection so our class gave out buddies a handwritten note this week with a little pick me up snack!

Take a bite out of FCAT!
Just keep swimming:)

Don't clown around!  Do your best:)
Off to the teacher supply store tomorrow for two more themed pads.  I would love to hear any suggestions that have a coordinating snack.   PLEASE SHARE!

Sunday, April 13, 2014

Firstie Friends Product Swap & a Giveaway

I am linking up with my Firstie Friends in a super fun Product Swap.  These teachers are super talented and are my go to place when looking for top notch first grade products!


I was partnered with the super sweet Haley from My Silly Firsties and knew exactly what I wanted to try out!
My Silly Firsties
It was Animal Antics of course!! This product is AMAZING.  It was aligned with standards that we are currently working on with an animal theme!  What firstie doesn't LOVE animals?  I also appreciate the theme can be used at ANY time of the year so ALL teachers can utilize this product based on their students' needs! 
Animal Antics! Literacy and Math Stations
The Math skills included place value, greater and less than, money, time, number order, less and more, and fact families.  The ELA activities included beginning and ending sounds, scrambled sentences, sight word practice, parts of speech and an animal match.  That's a lot of options!
 Word Safari was the perfect addition to our word work center this week!  The students reviewed nouns, verbs and adjectives and then picked a card from a pile and decided how to categorize it.  I had my firties explain why they put it where they did to their partners.  As I listened, I heard one student coach another, "Well, is it a person, place or thing?"  So sweet:)

We used Wild Order to follow up greater and less than and order groups of numbers.  I had my students underline the tens place of each number and then compare greater, least and in between.  I used this as part of my formal observation and my administrator LOVED it. I also put the recording sheets in plastic sleeves to be used with dry erase markers that could be erased after they were checked. 
And last but not least...Less and More!   I love all the colorful graphics of these activities, but I am super excited to share that each and every activity in this unit comes in COLOR and BLACK and WHITE!  That in itself is worth its weight in GOLD!  I can't tell you how many times I went to print something only to find out I am out of a particular color.  Just pull out some colored cardstock and you are good to go!  We will be playing Less and More net week and I can't wait.
This linky was opportunity to partner up, select a product from a partner and then use it in your classroom over a two week span.  So many amazing products to "TEST DRIVE"!
If you would like a chance to WIN each of these amazing products, follow up through Rafflecoptor and a lucky winner will be selected!  fabulous products:)
A  shout out goes to Cassie from Adventures in Teaching for setting up this product swap!  We appreciate all your time and hard work behind the scene:)  Don't forget to check out the blogs below to read all about these fabulous products.
Adventures in Teaching

Saturday, April 12, 2014

Reading Buddies

Welcome to the Bright Ideas Blog Hop.  I love the simplicity of this hop as I can share a little and then  hop along to hear so many new strategies and ideas that are easy to implement. Collaboration among teachers is one of the reasons I started my blog.

Throughout my 17 years of teaching in the primary grades, I have paired up with a intermediate teacher and implemented Reading Buddies. This experience is a win-win for so many reasons. 

1.  My first graders are paired up with a stronger reader who is able to help them read and decode words with books on their level.  We meet once a week for 20 minutes.  This is such an amazing way to build fluency with my firsties!

2.  Our school uses the Accelerated Reader program where children are able to read leveled books and take comprehension tests on the computer.  We are able to utilize this program that much sooner because our reading buddies are able to show the first graders how to find the program on the computer, how to log in and then help with any unknown words.  The reading buddies ARE NOT allowed to help with the answers.

3. Our Reading Buddies take the FCAT, a standardized test here in Florida.  We are able to write notes of encouragement and send little snacks and pick me ups during their two weeks of testing.  All of our school is matched up with FCAT buddies, but I believe it means even more now as friendships have been made through the year and the kids have a connection to each other.  They know we are rooting for them!  We  are sending over a basket of apples on Monday with our notes of encouragement.

I would love to hear if YOU have reading buddies!  If you enjoyed this Bright Idea, please consider  following me on Facebook, Teachers Pay Teachers and Bloglovin.

For more bright ideas from 150 different bloggers, please browse through the link up below and choose a topic or grade level that interests you. Thanks for visiting!


Friday, April 11, 2014

Five for Friday {4/11} Math Center Fun

I am linking up today with Kasey at Doodlebugs Teaching.  After trial and error on and off for two years, I FINALLY have my math centers up and running.  OK, truth be told, it is going smoothly with the help of my super sweet intern, Michelle!

Math with Teacher
My intern works with students on the math concept that follows a lesson and our weekly standards.  We work in small group at a table or on the carpet depending on the activity.

Math at the Computer
This week our students took the Star Math Test during their rotation to the computer center.  It is an easy way to see what standards we still need to work on as well as what they are retaining!
Skill Building
Students work in a group  on something previously taught.  They are generally  engaged in hands on activities and games.  Here is my group practicing with tens and ones from this super cute place value unit by Tamara Russell from Mrs. Russell's Room.
Ipads are a super fun way to build in practice while having fun.  This year I have the inclusion room so I have 4 Ipads in my classroom.  I have them on little tables close to the ground.  Splash into Math for first grade is a go to app right now.
Integrated Science
I have integrated Science and Social Studies into our reading and math blocks to maximize our time and to help our students make the connections across content area.  We might do an experiment, work in our workbooks, write about something we learned or read the leveled books that come with our series.  My  intern is currently working on a nonfiction unit with my students.  More to come on that:)
Wow!  It has been a super busy week! I will be posting soon about the ins and outs of our math centers.  Let me know if you have any questions and I will try to address them.

Tuesday, April 1, 2014

April Currently

I can't believe spring break has come and gone and we are back in the swing of things:).  Where does the time go?

Goodbye March...Hello April!

I am linking up with Farley's Currently to share a little about me and learn lots about other fabulous bloggers.  If you haven't joined in yet, head on over to Oh' Boy 4th Grade and check out Farley's post!

I have been thinking about my final observation.  I scheduled it for next week.  We have two informals where administration comes in unannounced and two formals that are scheduled.  

How are you evaluated?  Please do tell!