Winter Mentor Text

I hope everyone has been enjoying their winter break! This week flew by with lots of family and friends time which has been wonderful. Today I'm linking up with the girls over at Collaboration Cuties for their Must Read Mentor Text with a winter theme. I have a whole lot of winter books in my classroom library- probably because winter in Chicago lasts for months on end- so this is a little tough for me to narrow down, but I'm going to share a book called Bear Feels Scared by Karma Wilson.  

This author has several books about Bear and they are all adorable! This story is all about Bear getting lost in the woods and how he searches and searches for his cave. His friends thankfully put out a search party for him and they end up finding him and they all get back home together. This book could be used for teaching a lesson on friendship and helping others, but I actually used it to concentrate on setting.

Common Core Alignment:
CCSS.ELA-Literacy.RL.K.3 With prompting and support, identify characters, settings, and major events in a story.
CCSS.ELA-Literacy.RL.1.3 Describe characters, settings, and major events in a story, using key details.

I want to make sure that my little friends are able to cite the text for evidence as we read together to meet the rigor of the Common Core Standards. So, this book worked perfectly as a way to concentrate specifically on setting because the characters spend so much time in the woods. While reading the story, we stopped and wrote words/sentences to describe the setting and included the page where the description was found (citing evidence!). My little friends also included a picture to match their describing words. Just by having the addition of "page #" on this graphic organizer, it makes my little friends go back and find exactly where the information was in the text. I think their pictures turned out almost as cute as the pictures in the actual story! You can check out this Identifying the Setting- Using Key Details pack here

Off to find other great books for winter! 

Have a great day!


Winter break has arrived!

It's here!!!!! It's officially winter break and I am so excited! I truly adore each one of my little friends but I am also truly going to enjoy each minute of these next 2 weeks off! Here's my Five for Friday for this week:

1. I posted this on Instagram this week- how cute is this friend's little drawing of the person with legs attached to her head?

 2. My little friends had fun with penguins with warm cups of cocoa and Santa and his reindeer while reading and sorting CVC words by vowels and word families!

3. We worked on identifying beginning sounds in words and sorting pictures and words by category (person, animal or thing) with fun winter themed pictures.

4. After reading There Was An Old Lady Who Swallowed a Bell, my little friends worked on sequencing and practiced their knowledge of letter sounds by making a list on the board in order of the things the old lady swallowed.  My students LOVE any chance they get to write on 'the teacher board,' so they definitely enjoyed having their chance to add words to the board!

5. I know Amanda wrote about this last Friday, but I have to share again about our pen pals. We love having our blogging buddies Sarah and Tamra from First Grade Buddies as our pen pals! My students were in love with their bracelets and cards they got from their buddies.  My little friends were shouting "thank you" to their buddies as if they could hear them- they were just so happy!

Thanks to Doodlebugs Teaching for hosting!

Have a great start to your break!


Five for Saturday with 2 Holiday Freebies!

Small Acts of Kindness: Hot Chocolate on Wheels
Each Wednesday of December the first graders have been delivering hot chocolate, cookies, and a compliment to each of the teachers in our building.  We have 3 first grades so a different first grade class has delivered this warm cup of deliciousness each Wednesday.  It has been a really nice treat and teachers seem to genuinely appreciate it.

This quote is on the front of our "Kindness Cart!"  
Christmas Math Centers
We have been busy in first grade the last couple of weeks!  We have incorporated the holidays into our centers.  Students are loving working with Santa, gingerbread men, presents and stockings!  Students are enjoying learning, getting big smiles on their faces and sometimes even thinking that they are playing games as they work with each skill.  
Fact Families: students are looking for the matching stockings by find fact families and the numbers that make them up!
Missing addend work: students are helping Santa find the missing to complete his equation.  
Counting: students practicing counting by 2s, 5s, and 10s using presents!
Base 10 Block Work: students work on number sense as they match gingerbread men to the base 10 blocks.

You can grab these math centers and activities by clicking on any of the pictures above or to read a more detailed description of the products click on the pictures below.  

Fun, easy door/bulletin/craft board idea
A class set of these snowmen first went up across the hall in one of the other first grade classrooms.  Each day my kids continued to ask, "Can we make snowmen too?!?"  Eventually, I gave in and we did...and I am so glad that we did because they were incredibly easy to do and they turned out super cute!

Freebies:  Winter Holiday Poem and Addition/Subtraction Mice
This week we also worked on some poems.  We used our five senses to help describe the winter.  With our first snow last weekend and it being bitterly cold all week-students were able to get fully into the "winter writing!"  To grab a copy of this winter poem freebie click here or on the pictures below.

Here is another quick Christmas time freebie to help students practice addition and subtraction facts.  Students will match the mice to the Christmas tree with the correct sum/difference.  

We are so grateful to be pen pals with Tamra and Sarah from First Grade Buddies!  Our first graders are loving their new friends and enjoy finding out a little bit more about them each month!  When our kids get something new from their buddies they simply have the the biggest smiles on their faces.   They get so excited! Our first graders were ecstatic to finally gett to see their pen pals for the very first time!  They were thrilled and couldn't get over the fact their pen pals were actual first graders too (even though we have told them many, many times!)  

Thank you very much to Teaching Blog Addict and Doodlebugs {First Grade Rocks!} for letting us link up and find a so many other teaching ideas all in one place!  

Hope you are staying warm and enjoying your weekend!


Tuesday Tried It: Informative Writing in First Grade

Today, I am linking up with Holly from Fourth Grade Flipper!  Since we recently started a new unit in our writing curriculum this is the perfect time to link up!

Students are now becoming teachers as they inform writers about the different topics they are already experts on.  I know I say it each time I post about writing but I continue to be impressed by my first graders as they continue to grow as writers.  Still lots of work to go but these kids are writers!

CCSS.ELA-Literacy.W.1.2 Write informative/explanatory texts in which they name a topic, supply some facts about the topic, and provide some sense of closure.

Since starting this unit last week I have already seen my young authors write about a variety of topics.  Some of the topics include: dogs, sharks, teachers, pets, cookies, Skylanders, flag football, Chicago sports, Christmas and even the list goes on and on.  Students are loving sharing their knowledge about topics they enjoy.

We have lots to work on but with only a couple days under their belts I am proud of my kids for jumping into this new kind of writing!

Here is one of my young writers pieces about sharks:

"I know a lot about sharks. They have bad vision.  They think people are sea lions.  They have enemies.  They have sharp teeth.  They have fins."  I don't know that all of these are "facts;" however, I am impressed with this little boy's creativity!! 

Here is another quick example of one of my student's writing which I simply thought was too cute!  This little girl's dad is a teacher and she is one of those kids who just knows that she will be a teacher one day too (and she will definitely be a FANTASTIC one!)   When we were talking about things we were "experts" on she immediately said, "I'm an expert on teachers. I know ALL about them!"  
"You need to make sure that kids are listening. They work in a school."
"You need to make sure that they learn."  

In order to help get my students to stretch out their writing to inform others we are using a few simple steps.  To grab your copy of this poster please click the image below!

A special thanks to Holly from Fourth Grade Flipper for always encouraging teachers to try new things (in school and at home!)  Head on over to check out what other teachers are trying and to get some fabulous new ideas for your classroom!

Happy Tuesday!


Math Mentor Text: Repeated Addition Word Problems

I am excited to link up with Amanda and Stacia from Collaboration Cuties for their weekly mentor text linky!  Today, we are talking math mentor texts which I must say is one of my favorite weeks in their weekly linky!  
In my classroom, I  have a book basket for all of my math read alouds.  Anytime I find a book I can use as a math mentor text I simply put it in that basket.  Some of the books have specific lessons that I have created to extend the learning.  Other books I read to help expose and talk my students through specific concepts.  

This year when sorting through my books I saw this gem mixed in “Each Orange had 8 Slices: a Counting Book” by Paul Giganti, Jr.  I began reading it to my students and quickly realized this is an awesome book that I didn’t want to just read through but that I wanted to really talk about and discuss. 
Each page in this story is filled with beautiful pictures that illustrate the questions posed.   What I like LOVE about this book is each of the questions posed have students dig deeper into story problems.  They can not simply add the numbers they see below (which many of my first graders love to do.)  They either have to use repeated addition or multiplication to solve.  Now, multiplication for my little friends is a bit advanced but I do have one student who is practicing it because he as mastered both his addition and subtraction facts.  This book will be a great connection and lead to a wonderful discussion about how multiplication can be looked at as repeated addition.  
To make the most of this fabulous mentor text, I plan on reading one problem each day this week (instead of doing the entire book in one day) as a quick math warm-up.   When reading this page to my first graders tomorrow I know many will shout out, "11"  because students immediately take the numbers (3, 6 and 2) and add them together without truly thinking about the question that is being asked.  However,  my hope is by the end of this week students will know that I am trying to "trick" them and they will take their time-draw a picture and truly solve the problem!  

To continue this activity up to Winter Break I made a quick freebie to use the following week with my first graders.  Click on either of the pictures below to grab your copy.  Enjoy!
Thank you again to Amanda and Stacia for hosting this linky!  I always find so many great mentor texts to use in my classroom.  If you haven't already, make sure you hop on over to Collaboration Cuties for some great math mentor texts!  
Happy Sunday!


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