Happy Friday!

Oh my- it's already Friday! I've been up to a lot this week...check it out:

1. Spring Break 
Well I have to say that this week has been quite wonderful- I've gotten lots done on my to do list each day, including reading and relaxing! The weather did not feel like spring this week, but I'm not even worried about that because I was at home all week! This might be wishful thinking, but summer doesn't seem too far away knowing that spring break is basically over.

2. Mini ICE Presentation
Amanda and I have been so lucky to be doing lots of presentations in February and March for other teachers at various conferences. This time we hooked up with our favorite blogging buddy, Kristin, over at iTeach1:1 for a small conference held by ICE (Illinois Computing Educators). We presented all about how we use technology to engage our students in small group learning.  It was a blast and we had a very engaged, kind audience who was just as excited as us to implement technology into their classrooms!

Of course we had to bring some of our QR code packs as giveaways during the presentation because we know us teachers sure love anything free! 

3. Phonemic Awareness Fun
This is more from last week, but I didn't share about it yet, so...I like to switch up our daily warm of phonemic awareness activities often because really to keep that kinda stuff exciting, it needs to be changed regularly! Recently I added in mini basketballs and soccer balls as well as our race cars that I pulled out from my phonemic awareness basket.

My little friends were very excited about  using these new materials while saying the sounds in words. All they do is roll the ball or scoot the car along the squares as they are saying the sounds. So fun!

4. Spring Time Centers!
As I said I've been busy checking things off my to do list this week, which included getting going on what I want to cover in the near future with my little friends. We'll be busy reviewing digraphs, rhyming words, sight words, compound words, syllables and more! Hope my little friends will be so excited for the spring themed centers they won't even notice they are practicing all these skills. :)

Whew- we definitely will need to take some time practicing contractions. Lots of our stories now just have them built right in and let's just say it's been a struggle to figure out the long version of each contraction, so we'll be spending some time with this center next week, for sure!  

You can check out all this pack has to offer here!

5. Freebie!
One of my favorite things to do on Sunday mornings is check my email and read through the TPT newsletter- there's just always so much amazing stuff in there! Last Sunday I was thrilled to see my Spring Writing with Blends pack show up in there.  You can grab it here!

There are blend cards with visuals included (perfect for ELLs) and then a writing page where your friends can practice writing sentences using these beginning blends spring words! 

I'm linking up with Doodle Bugs Teaching and Teaching Blog Addict for their awesome Friday linkies!

Freebie Fridays
Have a great weekend!


Trade and Grade Blog Hop!

We are so excited to be joining in on the fun Trade and Grade blog hop today with our favorite blogging team, Sarah and Tamra over at First Grade Buddies! We had the pleasure of reviewing a literacy and math product of theirs and are now providing a review of the products and some freebies for you to sample it as well! We absolutely LOVE these girls- they are our pen pals for our students and everything they do is just totally great- if only we actually lived in the same state where we could actually hang out. :) We tried out one literacy pack and one math pack of theirs and absolutely loved both! 

Here's a peek at the literacy pack:

There were so many different options within the literacy pack- all with a focus on writing responses with detailed explanations. I truly loved each version and can't even pick a favorite because all of them had the same results for my students- they wrote more than they normally do! 

I loved that we were able to cut one version out and glue it write into student journals- and look at the great explanations my little friends came up with for each "which is best" question!

Having several different versions allows you to easily differentiate for all your students based on ability- so amazing! Regardless of which version you choose to use with your students, I know you'll be happy with the results.

This last version was a lot of fun for my little friends because they each got a chance to make their choice for what they'd rather do- this is great for a quick check in during morning meeting that will lead to a longer discussion, for taking attendance or simply for a fun quick activity!

And here's a look at the amazing math pack:

I was super lucky to get this awesome goodie for my trade and grade.  This 1st Grade Mighty Math has been a life-savor in so many different ways!  This math pack has been fabulous because it is so easy to use and the skills that kids are practicing are all common core aligned. It is a constant spiral review of all of the different domains and is a predictable format which makes it super easy for my first graders to do independently.  It gets students thinking and practicing common core standards each and every day in a fun and meaningful way! 

As you can see from the examples above, the Mighty Math asks many questions over a wide variety of skills.  I love the my kiddos are seeing questions in each domain in several ways which causes them to really think about the wording of each question!

The Top 3 ways I am using these math sheets in my room: 
1. Early Finishers
2. Center Work to review specific skills with students 
3. Homework

My kiddos are super proud of their Mighty Math work! They especially love the measurement and data questions and get so proud when they answer these questions correctly!  

You can try these super packs out with the freebies by clicking the pics below. We know your little friends will love these as much as ours did!

Click the pics below to check out the entire packs...we highly recommend these packs- they were both outstanding! 


It's Friday!

It's here! Check out what we've been up to this week:

1.  Hm, well, Chicago weather has been very interesting this week! 50 degrees on Monday- I was so excited to be outside on a run with my ankles exposed and not freeze...and then came a snowstorm on Wednesday...and we're back to 50 degrees today! Definitely hoping the 50 degrees stick around and keep the snow away for a looooong time! This little friend's response to "Do you like winter? Why or why not?" this week pretty much sums it up for me after this never-ending winter!

2. A few weeks ago I wrote about the big letter cubes we use in our room, but this week we got to the "you do" stage of "I do, we do, you do" and each of my little friends had their own ridiculously adorable mini letter cubes. We were all working with the same word family (-ip) but I varied some of the other letter cubes they got based on what they needed most help with- digraphs, blends or just letters.  Each little friend rolled their extra letter cube and then decided if it was real or nonsense and recorded it on their iPads. They loved the cute little cubes as much as I do!

3. My friends were also busy responding to their texts in guided reading. I'm so proud of how far they have come with writing responses to their reading. We are still working on spelling sight words correctly in sentences and actually writing more than one sentence in response, but they are getting there!

Check out these response pages and more here!

4. I have one group that is super motivated by the stuffed animal basket in our room- as in, every day they ask if they can take them out...so once a week I try to actually make sure we get them out for a few minutes of either reading a book to their furry little buddy or this week we used them to practice reading our sight words. Whatever gets them excited about reading works for me!

5. Oh.my.word- I cannot tell you how excited my little friends who are quite obsessed with dinosaurs were for this next one. Our blogging buddy Matt over at Digital Divide & Conquer has these amazing QR code packs that link to themed stories that are read to the student (dinosaurs, spring, cats, etc.) and let me tell you- my little friends love QR codes always, but boy did they go nuts over these dinosaur themed ones! It was like 'must drop everything I'm doing this second and go scan that QR code to choose my dinosaur book!' I was so excited that my little friends were so in love with these stories and am so happy Matt makes all these great themed packs because I know my little friends will just want to scan those QR codes over and over...and again, whatever makes them excited about reading is a win in my book! This will definitely be something I'll be using every Friday with my little friends. Matt also has awesome posts on technology and other great teacher stuff that almost always get me to laugh out loud- go check out his blog and TPT store to snag up some of these QR code packs for your own classroom, if you haven't yet. :)

Thanks Doodlebugs 1st Grade for the fun Five for Friday linky!

Have a great weekend!


Five for Friday with Fact Families and the Start of St. Patrick's Day Centers

I love linking up with Teaching Blog Addict and Doodle Bugs {First Grade Rocks}-the only problem is I rarely get to finishing my post on Fridays for I am usually a day late!  So, here is yet another "Five for Friday" and "Freebie Friday" on a Saturday, thanks for understanding!!!

This week my first graders worked on making fact families in centers.  We have talked about this strategy to help with subtraction and now my first graders are working on them with partners and independently to solidify this strategy. We practiced fact families with and without missing addends.  My kiddos are getting really good finding the missing addend and then putting all of the numbers into a fact family.  

Using the free app KidsDoodle to practice!
We also worked on fact families with QR Codes.  QR Codes are a favorite of my kiddos because they get to scan the code and check their work immediately which they just love!  If you haven't tried QR Codes yet-it is worth giving it a try...your students will love them!  

Students were also able to practice fact families on their computers at school and at home.  Click on the pictures below to go directly to the links of these websites.  

The "Garfield Math Games" are a classroom favorite.  There are a lot of different fun options for kids to practice many important common core skills such as fact families, quickly recognizing groups of numbers, pushing to make numbers in the least amount of moves, and practicing making combinations of numbers up to twenty.  This website gives you the options to practice these skills at a kindergarten, first, or second grade level which is wonderful!

The website below is another quick and easy way for students to continue practicing fact families.  Students really have to think about the numbers and combinations to get all of these correct.  This too has been great practice for my first graders!
This week I introduced some St. Patrick's Day centers.  In kindergarten the leprechauns came to visit their classrooms-so starting on March 1st my kiddos started asking if that is going to happen in first grade too...I keep responding by saying "we will have to wait and see!"  Anyway, my first graders are super excited to be working with leprechauns, clovers, and spring things!

How cute is this? My favorite part of this little girl's  writing is that her first wish is for her  "brother and sister to be nicer." When I asked her more about it she had the biggest smile on her face as she said, "well, I am not very nice to them either! "
Practicing counting and ordering numbers up to 120.  I love that this center forces students to start on random numbers and build up to 120 in a random order.
Matching the gold coins to their correct pots of gold- working 2 and 3 addends.  
Find the pot for each clover-addition and subtraction doubles!  

What would a Friday (or in this case Saturday) be without a freebie?  Here is a St. Patrick's Day freebie working with contractions for your little friends.  Just click on the picture below!

The products my first graders were using in this post for centers were Missing Addend Fact Cards and Activity Pack, QR Code Math Centers and Activities: Fact Families, and my St. Patrick's Day Activity Pack.  You can click on any of the pictures above or below to get to see more activities included in these products!  


Thanks Doodle Bugs {First Grade Rocks!} and Teaching Blog Addict for hosting you wonderful Friday Linky Parties and still letting my link up on Saturday! 

Happy Saturday!


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