Five for Friday, a freebie & a Close Reading Pin it to Win it!

Oh my, am I ever happy it is Friday! I'm not sure what's happening by you, but I feel like for at least half this week my little friends seem to have forgotten a whole lot of how to listen! But next week will be a fresh new week again...take a look at what we were up to this week. :)

1. I think the weather may have something to do with my little friends being a little nutty...we are back to the deep cold here in Chicagoland and it's not looking like it's going to be warming up anytime soon...come on spring!

2. Well even if it doesn't feel like spring, tomorrow is officially March 1st, which means I am cracking out some of my spring books anyway. Excited to start thinking "spring" through our bookshelf!

3. We've been busy practicing long vowel words in our classroom and one way we've been reviewing a whole lot is through long vowel word families. Our Word Family Journals have been a huge help in helping me identify quickly who is understanding silent e words. This is a great weekly activity to get my little friends to apply their knowledge of long vowel sounds within words that all fit in the same word family!

They especially love the chance to color in the little crayons at the end after we've written all our words- I choose a word they wrote and they color the crayon next to that word.

My little friends also love our word family long vowel centers- how cute are these little barns that we use to read and sort words by word family?

They also did a super job reading long vowel words and matching them up with the right pictures.

Check this pack out here or by clicking the pic below!

4. Here's a long vowel word family freebie for you all! I did this with short vowels too (you can grab that version here) and had to create a long vowel version as well since my little friends enjoy it! Basically, they read each word on each sidewalk to help the kid get to their friend's house. The goal is to get them reading the words fluently and not sounding out the entire word each time! You can download your own copy here!

5. Last, but certainly not least, we have been BUSY working on Close Reading in our room! I keep telling Amanda just how much I love doing these lessons with my little friends- they continue to impress me with their ability to comprehend our passages AND their willingness to listen to the stories for the 1st, 2nd and 3rd read! It's awesome! Here's a peek at our Ocean Animals edition of close reading:

Check out more about this pack here or by clicking the pic below! If you're looking for more information on how exactly I break down close reading for kindergarten and 1st grade, please check out my other two posts here and here!

Pin it to win it!

Ok...and since i'm still rambling about my week, how about a Pin it to Win it to finish off this month of February!? Choose a pic from the Close Reading part of this post, pin it and then comment below with your pin and email. I'll choose a winner Sunday night who can also enjoy this pack with your little friends!

Thanks to TBA and Doodlebugs 1st Grade for hosting!

Freebie Fridays 

Have a great weekend!


We love sales!

So excited for the big TPT sale coming up tomorrow and Friday- what a great end to the school week!

Everything in both of our stores will be 20% off tomorrow and Friday, so please head on over and grab some great deals! Don't forget to add the promo code: TPT3 to get your extra 10% off for a total of 28% off- woohoo! We know what we will be doing tomorrow and Friday... :)

Thanks to Krista Wallden for the cute sale image!
Click the pics below for links directly to some of our newest items!

Go check out other awesome sellers who are throwing sales as well by clicking on the two images below! Thanks Blog Hoppin' and Pinkadots Elementary for hosting the linkies!


Tried It Tuesday: Using Photo Booth in the Classroom

Last year I blogged about how I used GarageBand in my first grade classroom.  You can read about more about it by clicking here.  We still use GarageBand; however, I am finding myself using Photo Booth in many ways this year as well.  Photo Booth is a free application that is on Macs.  It is also available on iPads (starting with the iPad 2.)

This year I have more English Language Learners in my classroom and I have found PhotoBooth to be extremely beneficial for those students to be able to watch my mouth as I actually say the words.  Just like GarageBand my students can listen to specific words or directions as many times as they need which is also beneficial for all of my first graders!

3 quick and easy ways I am using Photo Booth this school year are...

Spelling Tests and Word Study Assessments: 
This year I am using Words their Way in my first grade classroom.  I currently have 5 word study groups in my room.  When students take a spelling test or are assessed on their word study words I use PhotoBooth.  This allows all of my students to take the test at their own pace (listening and rewinding as much as necessary.)  It also allows my students to take their test during independent centers which is also great because I can still pull my small groups each and every day as opposed to spending time testing them. 

I will say it did take me some time to get used to looking up and seeing my big, old face on the laptops (especially when students pause and my face looks so goofy!) but my kiddos and I are used to it now! :)    And sometimes if I see my face paused at a really silly angle I can't help but to point it out to the kids and laugh!!!

Reading Stories:
Students use PhotoBooth to (unknowingly) practice their fluency.  My kids love reading into Photo Booth.  We do this as a reading center as well as students gladly do it on their own at home to share with the class.  Since we eat breakfast in the classroom, the morning is a perfect time for kids to share their stories.  So we put them on the SmartBoard for all to hear!  Since my first graders want to sound perfect for their classmates they will read the story over and over again until it is just right.  Which makes for great fluency practice as well!

Star of the Week Book:
We do Star of the Week in our classroom.  On Fridays, my students make a "Star of the Week" book for their classmates.  Students have the option of using paper or doing it on the computer but I must say the majority would rather do it on the computer because they love being able to take an actual picture with their friends!  They take their picture in Photo Booth and then simply drag it into their document and complete the rest of the assignment.   

Thanks Holly at Fourth Grade Flipper for hosting Tried It Tuesday! I love seeing what other teachers are up to in their classrooms.  If you haven't already hop on over to Holly's blog for lots more fabulous ideas!  Also, if you are looking for more technology ideas head on over to Technology Tailgate for their Tuesday link up as well!  


Happy Tuesday!


What If You Had Animal Hair?! with a Freebie!

Oh how I love children's books! I always get so very excited to use new read alouds with my little friends and with the Common Core emphasizing the need for more non fiction, it is so great when I find a really wonderful text. What if you had Animal Hair!? by Sandra Markle is exactly that. Her stories are so engaging and full of facts that students just love. The illustrations are outstanding and the comparison to a kid having the same kind of hair really gets my students thinking about what is different from their own hair. 

 While we read the story, we made a list on the board of some of the different animals and facts about those animals.

Common Core Alignment:
CCSS.ELA-Literacy.RI.K.2 With prompting and support, identify the main topic and retell key details of a text.
CCSS.ELA-Literacy.RI.1.2 Identify the main topic and retell key details of a text.

Then each of my friends chose an animal to focus on and filled out this page about their animal. They drew a picture of themselves and added hair to match the animal. Then they wrote three facts about each animal. After everyone was finished, they shared their pictures and facts with the group.  Their illustrations were so cute and matched right up with the text! 

If you have this book in your classroom, feel free to download this page and use it with your friends too...grab the freebie here!

Last year I posted about another book by Sandra Markle following the same theme: What if you had Animal Teeth!? I seriously love these stories and so do my little friends! My little friends used pictures of themselves and added their own animal teeth to their faces. They then wrote three facts about the animal they chose. I love both of these stories because they are very entertaining, non fiction text that are full of new facts!  You can read more about what I did with this text here.
Thanks to Erin at I'm Lovin' Lit for the background!
Thanks to Amanda over at Teaching Maddeness for hosting her Must Read Monday linky and Charity over at Classroom Freebies Too for her Manic Monday linky!
Must-Read Monday Linky
Classroom Freebies Manic Monday

Have a great day!


Five for Friday with a freebie and our first ever "Facebook Free-for-all!"

Earlier in the week Aylin and I presented at the NCLB Conference in Chicago!  After presenting we were able to go to some other great conferences on guided math, creating common assessments, blogging with primary students, and many more!  We love being able to go and learn from other educators so it was certainly a fun experience!  

Valentine's Day quickly came and quickly left this year.  We didn't have much time but we were able to sneak in a few fun Valentine's Day centers.  Two of my first graders' favorites were: monster fact families and counting with our love-bug turtles!

For more Valentine's Day centers and activities aligned to the common core standards please click here or the picture below.
CCSS.Math.Content.1.NBT.B.2 Understand that the two digits of a two-digit number represent amounts of tens and ones. 

We are working on expanding numbers in first grade.  My students have all learned how to "stretch-out" or expand a number to see how many tens and ones each digit is worth. Students are now also able to both decompose and compose two digit numbers which is pretty impressive for my little guys!    

My first graders started to "stretch-out" numbers first making the them using base 10 blocks, then gathering the tens on one side and the ones on the other.  Students then wrote addition sentences using their "stretched-out" numbers.  After practicing this skill many of my first graders are now able to look at a number, expand it, and be able to tell how many tens/ones are in that number simply by looking at the two digits!  

After  working together my students were off to independently practice these skills on their own through several activities.  Some of the independent centers we worked on are below- each of these centers helped to reinforce our standard.  

QR Codes are a great way for my kiddos to work independently and be able to get immediate feedback on their work.

Click on any of the pictures below to see more centers, games and activities on expanded form and base 10 blocks!  


Here are some websites that were helpful with reinforcing expanded numbers as well.  One of the things that I love about so many websites is that I can direct students to do different levels depending on their needs.  Click on any of the pictures below to get directly to the websites! 

Fridays are simply not complete without a freebie!  Here is a quick one that can be used in your classroom to help students continue to expand numbers and see the place value with each digit.  Click here or on the picture below to grab a copy!

Aylin and I are super excited to be participating in our first ever "Facebook Free-for-all!" What is a "Facebook Free-for-all" you might ask?!?  It is an awesome way to grab lots of freebies from countless bloggers!  All you have to do is click here or on the picture below.  You will then be taken to our Facebook page.  Once on our page you be able to grab freebies from both of us AND be able to find the spot that will take you to many other K-6 bloggers that have all joined this fun Facebook event!

Thanks Doodle Bugs {First Grade Rocks!} and Teaching Blog Addict for hosting you wonderful Friday Linky Parties! 

Happy Friday!


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