Winter Writing Freebie!

I hope everyone is having a wonderful break!  I have been really enjoying spending time with my family, friends and catching up on teaching blogs. I cannot even believe that it's only been just over a month since Amanda and I started our blog and truly joined this whole teaching blog world- all I can say is that we are both SO glad that we decided to go for it!

Common Core Alignment:

Use a combination of drawing, dictating, and writing to narrate a single event or several loosely linked events, tell about the events in the order in which they occurred, and provide a reaction to what happened.
Write narratives in which they recount two or more appropriately sequenced events, include some details regarding what happened, use temporal words to signal event order, and provide some sense of closure.

My freebie for this Friday is another writing one (you can grab it my clicking the picture above or here).  I'm really trying to get my little friends to expand on their writing rather than just writing one sentence and saying "I'm done, what's next?" So, I created a writing activity that is perfect for literacy centers or whole group writing time.  There are three different parts to it, so depending on how quick your friends are this may just be one lesson...or it may be three lessons (more likely for my classroom).  The first page is a graphic organizer your students can fill out to get their ideas flowing.  The overall topic is things they like to do in winter and on the graphic organizer they are going to get more specific by responding to: who, what, where, when and why questions.  Depending on your students' writing abilities, this graphic organizer can be filled out as a list, with phrases or actual sentences.  
Then your friends can draw a picture on the next page showing what they like to do in winter, including their details from the graphic organizer.  Last they will be writing an actual story/sentences with details. As I said, for my friends, I will most likely make this a three-step process so they don't rush through and just try to be done.  Which hopefully will help them understand the writing process a little more as well! This freebie is great for your 'back from winter break' writing lessons or you can just use it at some point over the next few, long winter months. 

Freebie Fridays

Have a great day!


Christmas Craft and New Year's Freebie

Common Core Alignment:  
CC.1.L.2 Conventions of Standard English: Demonstrate command of the conventions of standard English capitalization, punctuation, and spelling when writing.  

What a week!  It has been so much fun using all kinds of ideas I have found through blogs and Pinterest with my first graders. We have made snow globes,  ornaments, the *rinch and so much more this past week!  Here are some of the cute projects my first graders did throughout the week: 

This is our first grade *rinch that our very talented TA made for our team.  Each day in December the kids had a new "assignment" that was given to the grade level.  If the kids completed it we got to add an extra heart to our *rinch! 

I think it is fair to say that each one of my first graders is officially ready for Santa and the snow to come.  Today is the first day of winter and I am hoping for the sake of my kids that we have a least a little bit of snow (although I do prefer if the snow doesn't fall during commuting hours!!) because I know it will bring huge smiles to all of their little faces as they walk in the door in just a couple of hours!

With Christmas break quickly approaching (can you believe it is here?!?)  I decided to create a freebie I plan to use when we come back to school in January to help students reflect upon their New Year's Resolutions.  
Freebie Fridays


Happy Friday!

Questioning Reading Response Strategy with Prezi and ScreenChomp App

Common Core Alignment:

CCSS.ELA-Literacy.RI.1.1 Ask and answer questions about key details in a text.
CCSS.ELA-Literacy.RI.K.1 With prompting and support, ask and answer questions about key details in a text.
CCSS.ELA-Literacy.RL.1.1 Ask and answer questions about key details in a text
CCSS.ELA-Literacy.RL.K.1 With prompting and support, ask and answer questions about key details in a text.
(Literature and Informational Text)

I love trying new things with technology and one of my goals has been to figure out how my little 1st grade friends can actually create something on their MacBooks rather than just doing something I've created for them.  So, this week, we tried something new with our reading response strategy focus of questioning.  When I introduced the questioning strategy to my friends last week, it was a bit of a struggle for them to form questions before/during/after reading- they really just wanted to tell me what they were thinking in the form of a sentence! We tried again this week with the creation of a Prezi, which is an online presentation that you can create to get all your ideas organized in one spot and then share with others.  I did this with my small group of 1st graders and they each got an opportunity to share an idea and/or write their question on our Prezi.  Prezi is free- all you need to do is create an account. I find it to be very user friendly and fun to use! While one student was typing a question on the Prezi, the others were using Screenchomp on their iPads to show a response to one of our questions.  (I know I've written about this app recently- but it has saved our classroom lots of paper and been a super engaging reading response activity for my friends!) I have to say I will definitely be using Prezi again to have my students create something new as a reading response activity! 

I created the Prezi first by choosing a pre-made template that worked perfectly for this reading response activity because it shows a person with thought bubbles! I then pulled in a picture of our Questioning strategy poster that we refer to in class and made a title page.  

I showed the students the book we were using and asked them if they had any questions about the story before we read it.  The students then typed in their questions.  I followed this same format for during and after reading questions as well.  It was a great way to stop & think about our story!

The other students were busy  filling out their graphic organizer with an answer to the questions we came up with on their iPads.  They took a picture of the graphic organizer and then drew their response with the virtual markers.


This page comes after the title page and then as you view the Prezi when it is finished you just click on the various thought bubbles (or arrows) and it takes you through your created presentation! (You can check it out below.) The students (and I) were definitely WOWed by our creation! 

Our Before Reading Questions: Who are the characters? Is it real? Where does it take place?

Our During Reading Questions: Are they scared? What will happen?

Our After Reading Questions: Were they tired?

You can view our creation here!

When I first introduced the Questioning Strategy, I did not use technology, but rather each child filled out their own graphic organizer with both their questions and answers. I had some students checking boxes of questions they had, some writing their questions and others completing questions that were already started for them.  This can be a difficult strategy for students to grasp since they are supposed to asking questions vs telling you something, but after a little prompting, my students were successful! You can check out my Reading Response Strategy: Questioning Literacy Center Pack in my TPT store!

Have a great day!


Silence for Sandy Hook Elementary


Noise Management App and 2 Freebies!

In a classroom full of 28 first graders, centers are big part of our day. Students are on so many different academic levels I have found it easiest to reach the needs of my students by doing a majority of my teaching in small groups while the other children are at their centers. With all of the technology in our classrooms-centers are great!  Students are incredibly engaged and completing meaningful lessons.

Once students are settled in the center they do a great job working quietly to complete the given task.  My struggle this year has been getting our transitions down.  They are still not perfect-but we have made a lot of improvement and hopefully that will only continue.

The noise level of our transitions from center to center was simply too loud until one of my coworkers found this amazing FREE App: Too Noisy

 We keep this app on during our centers too as a reminder of our volume. This app is great for first graders because it is incredibly visual for students.  They can easily understand this app by simply looking at the colors and the smiley face.  The BEST part is the kids look at it as a game to try and keep the smiley face happy.This app is definitely worth a try to help students self monitor their own volume!


It is getting so close to the official start of winter (although it already feels like winter!) and Christmas-it is all our students can talk about! As a result we have created many winter activities for our classrooms.   It is so fun to see their little faces as we pull out something that has a anything winter related on it (if you are 6 and you see a snowman and/or a Christmas makes that center that much MORE fun!) 

 Check out these freebies  by clicking on the images below.  

Enjoy your Friday!
Amanda and Aylin

"It's almost winter break" TPT Sale

We are so excited to have a sale in our TPT stores to hopefully make your lives easier for these last few days of school before break.  Come check out our fun winter-themed sale items by clicking on the images below!

Hooray for winter break being right around the corner!
Amanda & Aylin


December Currently

We are so excited to join our first December Currently! We are learning so much about other bloggers just by reading their December Currently's, so we couldn't resist jumping on board!

We also linked up with Molly at Classroom Confections for her Happy Holidays Dollar Daze Linky! You can link up too or just check out all the great items that are currently linked up- everything is for $1.99 or less!

Hope you are having a great start to your week!
Amanda & Aylin

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