A Five for Friday (and freebie) kind of day!

It is Friday, which means we are linking up with two of our favorites today... Teaching Blog Addict and Doodlebugs {First Grade Rocks!} for their wonderful weekly linkies!

1.  You still have a few more days to enter our "Blogiversary" Giveaway!  There are lots of fabulous prizes so make sure to check it out by clicking on one of the pictures below to enter.


2.  We are so excited because Aylin's non fiction freebie is the "featured freebie" today on Teaching Blog Addict!  There are so many fabulous freebies on this site each Friday so it is quite an honor to be picked.  Non Fiction is tricky for our little ones but thanks to Aylin they are making great strides on truly understanding their reading of non fiction text.   Check out Aylin's post on non fiction by clicking here!
3. We only had school on Monday and Tuesday this week.  During those two days, we were able to spend some time creating some fun "turkey" crafts that my kiddos just adored.  I am not one who often uses paint...but I gave it a try and I am glad that I did.  Look at these cute turkeys my first grade friends made!  I painted one hand on each child (each kid got to choose their "feather" colors.)  As I painted their palms and their fingers my kiddos kept saying, "that tickles!!!" which then gave them the giggles and seeing them laugh and giggle brought a big smile to my face as well!   

Hand painted and stamped down on the paper. 
After the paint dried, the kids added their own flare to each of their pictures.  We finished this project by putting a special poem on it to truly make this a keepsake for families and adding a googly eye for some extra fun!  This cute poem is floating around the web and I simply put my own touch on it by adding a border and some clip art.  To grab your free copy click here.
The finished product with a poem and the infamous googly eye!
4.  Thanksgiving was wonderful.  I am sad it is over as I love Thanksgiving and all that it stands for.  We have so much to be grateful for.  Yesterday, we went over to my in-laws house and my parents joined as well.  The hubby and I both have fairly small families so we are usually able to get everyone in one place...which is fabulous.  We ate tons of yummy food and I definitely went home stuffed (thinking I would never be able to look at food again...) but now this morning I am super happy that my Jeff's mom sent us home with some delightful leftovers.  In fact, the hubby and I just made turkey sandwiches with stuffing for an early lunch...delicious! The leftovers certainly won't last long in our home!

The hubby with our niece on Thanksgiving!
5.  Both Aylin and I will be participating in the TPT sale on Monday, December 2nd and Tuesday, December 3rd!  We have many things on our wish lists that we are excited to purchase and hope you are able to do some buying as well!  This sale is totally my kind of sale...I can do it in the comfort of my own home (no crowds or traffic and all while wearing sweats with my hair up and my glasses on!)   Get your wishlists ready...happy shopping! 

Thank you again to Doodlebugs {First Grade Rocks} and Teaching Blog Addict for hosting two of our favorite links...we look forward to them each and every week!


Happy Friday!

Using "Spider Legs" during Writing

Did you hear?!?!  We are celebrating our blogiversary this week!  Aylin and I are super excited and wanted to celebrate (and thank everyone) by having a giveaway.  If you haven't already seen this post please click here.  We will be picking two lucky winners on Sunday- so make sure to enter for your chance to win!


Today, I am also thrilled to be linking up with Holly at Fourth Grade Flipper to share an idea I tried recently and is just now taking off in my classroom.
  • CCSS.ELA-Literacy.W.1.3 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.
As I continue to follow Lucy Caulkins writing program I continue to see lots of growth from my young authors!  A few weeks ago I introduce "spider legs" to my first graders through a mini lesson.  Although I introduced this nearly a month ago, it took a while for my kids to really grasp onto this idea.  We came back to it a few times and I definitely used some of my student leaders to help model this concept during mini lessons and finally it clicked.  Once a few kids started using "spider legs" successfully...everyone wanted to give it a try!

"Spider legs" help students to go back and add to their writing without having to go back and erase or adding "carrot" which only allows for so much room.   We keep our "spider legs" in a red bin where kids have easy access to them.  "Spider legs" are simply cut up strips of notebook paper.
Example of "Spider Legs"
We are currently using "spider legs" when...
1.  The author is reading his/her own writing and realizes he/she forgot something/wants to add a detail.
2.  A student's writing buddy listens to his/her story and has another question/needs clarification.
3. After a student shares in our author's chair, someone asks a question that the student did not already have answered in his/her writing.  

I am pretty sure my kids like "spider legs" because of the fun name and they can stick out of their notebook. I like LOVE "spider legs" because they encourage my kiddos to go back and reread their writing and it encourages them to write more!  

Below are some examples of how my firsties are using their spider legs:   
This student wrote lots about her dog but forgot to tell us what her dog's name is...she was able to add that detail to the beginning of her writing using the "spider leg."
This student forgot to answer "where."  He quickly added it to his writing by using a "spider leg." 
Thank you again Holly for hosting a fabulous linky and encouraging teachers to try new things in their classrooms!

Happy Tuesday!

Time to Celebrate- It's Our Big Blogiversary Giveaway!

We are SO excited to have been officially blogging for just over a year. We have truly loved every minute of it and have loved getting to know our followers and other bloggers. The teaching blog world is just such a happy place that we love! We wanted to thank all of you with a little celebration by throwing a big Blogiversary Giveaway-- please join in on the fun by entering the Rafflecopter below. There are so many great bloggers that have graciously donated to our giveaway and you do not want to miss out! There will be 2 winners chosen, so enter away!

Thank you so very much to all the bloggers who donated and to Collaboration Cuties for their adorable chevron background!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Have a great day!


Knowledgeable about Non Fiction!

Thanksgiving break is SO close (we have school Mon & Tues next week), but my little friends have been busy working in our classroom still! I've been doing a ton of activities to help my students tackle non fiction texts due to the increased need for this with Common Core. Take a peek at what we've been up to in the world of non fiction.

1. I waited a good long while to really dive into non fiction where I was actually explicitly using it to teach because I wanted my little friends to get a firm grasp on reading in general before really analyzing what we were reading. To introduce non fiction, I just grabbed a few books that we had been reading and used them to discuss the differences between the two types of books. I then had my students explore the non fiction text themselves.

2. We then moved on to actually sorting the books by type: fiction or non fiction. This is a great activity that I will be repeating again soon because it is quick and meaningful!

3. One thing I've been loving about non fiction is that I can expose my struggling readers to some on level text and get them to interact with such text with my assistance.  We have been busy learning lots about non fiction:

Literacy Center- Sorting mini passages under fiction or non fiction.

Comparing and Contrasting fiction vs non fiction text.

Ready to Retell! Journals- reading text, finding key details and answering questions.

 Identifying the main topic and key details of text.

Comparing & Contrasting two non fiction text on the same topic.

Connecting the Dots between key details in a text. 

4. After going over non fiction text features, we added post it labels to non fiction books, identifying the features with actual text. We did this together first, using the posters as our reference guide. My students seem to love everything about non fiction text features now!

 After doing this together, my students got their own non fiction text and filled out a graphic organizer identifying where each feature was located in their book.

You can check out all these and a ton more in my Knowledgeable about Non Fiction pack here! (The entire pack is aligned to all K/1 CCSS for Informational Text.)

5. Freebie time! I wanted my students to keep a log of books they've been reading in our room, so I created this book log as a way to track fiction and non fiction books. My students are adding their titles of their non fiction and fiction books to this log and then after they have a few listed, they choose one title from each side (fiction/non fiction) and explain why they would recommend the book to someone else.

My one issue with this is that it is VERY time consuming for my little friends to even just copy the title of a book, so for my Kinder-friends, I resorted to writing the titles for them to save some of our precious time together! I hope as they continue to advance throughout the year the process will take less time. You can grab this freebie here!

Oh and one more thing....it was our blogiversary this week (yay!!!)- so please come back on Sunday to check out our amazing giveaway!

Thanks TBA and Doodlebugs for hosting, as always!

Freebie Fridays 

Have a great weekend!

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