March 30, 2013

Fairy Tale Fun & Freebies

April is right around the corner and I absolutely cannot believe it!   We still have so much to do and only about seven weeks to do it!  One thing on our agenda this time of year is Fairy Tales.  This is the time of year when we step away from our Scott Foresman Reading Series to teach Fairy Tales. I absolutely LOVE, LOVE, LOVE teaching Fairy Tales because there are so many fun activities you can do with them, let’s face it some of those basal stories are B-O-R-I-N-G, sorry basal lovers. So here's a peek into our week where we  had nine kinds of fun with Goldilocks and the Three Bears. We read
                                                                    and a few others.

We compared and contrasted the original “Goldilocks” to “Beware or the Bears”
, this is one of my favorite fractured fairy tales.
We also read Goldie and the Three Hares which was a great selection since it was the week of Easter.

We worked on retelling the story.

A Pocket Chart/Station Activity-Sorting the Sounds of "ed"

We made porridge.........
and graphed who liked it and who didn't. Boy  was I amazed at how many students liked it! I guarantee if their moms would have given them oatmeal they would have said, YUCK NO WAY! ( I hear it all the time from my kids)   but call it porridge and Viola!!! (  I did throw in a little extra brown sugar. One of my students said "Mrs. Funk this reminds me of "OAKMEAL" and my TASTEBUGS like it.
Finally students used adjectives to describe their PORRIDGE. This is only a portion of the fun we had with Fairy Tales this week.  Check back next week for more fun and freebies. 

You can download a copy of the graph and describing porridge activity by clicking on the picture.

You can also check out more Fairy Tale Activities in my Fairy Tale Units on TPT. I have one for literacy that includes retelling cards for popular stories and one for math with 10 math stations.


I hope you all have a fantabulous Easter! I am looking forward to lots of fun with all kinds of family. I am sure my house will be busier than a first grade classroom this weekend and I'll love every minute of it!

March 22, 2013

Do You Need a Reminder? And a Easter Bunny

Are you familiar with Remind 101? If not you need to check it out !!!

Remind 101 is a free online communication tool that allows you to text parents reminders via your computer. This allows you to keep your phone # private while sending helpful reminders to parents . As a working mom I wish this would have been around when my boys were little , my daughter (I call her the informer) always makes it home with her notes and such but my boys not so much . I started using this program in the fall because several of my students didn't have the Internet and therefore were not receiving the messages I was sending via email ; all of my kiddos parents have cell phones so I thought I'd give it a try. Remind 101 is awesome and simple . I have sent messages this year for the usual but also such things as an early out day due to weather , picture day , parent teacher conferences, etc. If you would like to give it a try here's how it works :

Log on to
Set up an account(be sure to read how 101 got started , it's a fun story )
Print out parent directions ( the parents will be instructed to text a code to enroll them in your class )
Once parents are enrolled you can start sending messages. * You can even schedule messages to be sent at a specific time . I schedule mine for the evening when everyone is hopefully off work . 

In other news......Here's a cute little Bunny Rabbit we made this week.  I found this idea on Pinterest and tried to follow the link but it seems to be broken.  :(   The kids had loads of fun making them!! FYI it took three sessions to finish this  project but it was so worth it. 
Hoppy Friday !

March 19, 2013

Can You Help Me with 1.NBT.4????

Our first grade team is working on interpreting the place value section of the common core and adjusting our curriculum and resources.  Most of the standards are pretty straight forward but there are a few that are a little wordy; 1.NBT.4 is one of them.  Here’s what it says just in case you have walked away from your CC binder for a moment, ha! 

1.NBT.4   Add within 100, including adding a two-digit number and a one digit number, and adding a two digit number and a multiple of 10, using concrete modles or drawings and strategies based on place value, properties of operations, and/or relationship between addition and subtraction; relate the strategy to a written method and explain the reasoning used.  Understand that in adding two-digit numbers, one adds tens and tens, ones and ones; and sometimes it is necessary to compose a ten. 
I spoke with Miss Cosby over at You Might Be a First Grader and she said they also struggled with this one. 
This is the question……
Does this mean we teach first graders how to add a two digit number and carry over? 
What are you doing????


March 17, 2013

Caught In the Middle of Pay It Forward & A Giveaway

I have to say right now my heart is overwhelmed!!!   I have been caught smack dab in the middle of an episode of Pay it Forward. Last night my family and I took a little road trip to the city to take in a St. Louis Blues hockey game . We absolutely love our Blues hockey and can I say we are so glad the strike is
O-V-E-R!  It was already a great night, we were sitting two rows off the ice directly behind the goal enjoying all the excitement and entertainment that comes during intermission when I felt a gentle tap on my shoulder. When I turned around I was greeted with a  sweet smile and a bag from the lady  behind me, as  she handed me the bag  she said "this is for your little girl and there is a note inside to explain." I was so excited for my daughter but at the same time nervous to read the note . Here's what the note said .....
So simple but it so brought tears to my eyes .   Was this really happening? Had what I have been teaching my kids to do come back full circle?  Is one of them personally feeling the awesomeness of giving just because?  YES, YES, YES!!!!  I'm sure paying it forward and random acts of kindness  are now much easier to understand for my nine year old . Oh and what accompanied the note ....,
                                     Not a Great Picture but look at that SMILE!!!!
What else ..... A St Louis Blues T-shirt!  Just  a little something to make a nine year olds day and a momma feel very excited and proud!
Here's my installment of paying it forward for today. Teachers spend so much out of pocket for their classrooms one of the reasons I started blogging is to join in on the giveaway fun.   I have a new item in my store, a management system for Literacy Stations.   I will give away 3 of these items.  The rules are as follows:
You must be a new follower
Leave your e-mail address
                             Center and Station Signs are both included
 And the icing on the cake..... The Blues won in over time ! Win, Win !!

March 5, 2013

Reading Strategies Freebie

I can't believe that spring break is only 2 1/2 days away.  I don't know about you but I have two thoughts here, number one I am more than ready for a break and number two I can't believe we are already heading into the last quarter! Where on earth does the time go? 
This week we are spending time DRA testing our students.  DRA testing brings on so many feelings for me; it  is super exciting to see the amazing progress some students have made but also frustrating and sad to see that some students are still struggling to become readers.   But that is A OK because we have sailed into, as I call it ...........

While testing students can be stressful, my many years of teaching first grade has taught me that even though there are only nine weeks left..... amazing things can happen in just four.  Honestly, it does seem like some of those kiddos can barely read a level 4 one day and the next day they are tearing up a level 24!  Believe in the Magic of First Grade
Here's an updated version of my reading strategies posters to help get your kiddos through the Magic of March! 


March 3, 2013

Place Value Common Core Freebies Short and Sweet post

Do you ever feel like  you are at the top of your game in reading but  falling behind in math, writing, social studies, science, etc?   Balancing all of the requirement of first grade is not an easy job.  Well I am sure I am not the only one that answered yes to that question; right now I feel like my brain is programed to math in a big way.  This year the focus of our PLC team is math common core goals.  What we have found is that our 600 page math book often does not give enough practice on the skills that are required by Common Core  BUT it does give us a few that aren't required, HARD TO BELIEVE I KNOW.  So, what's a teacher to do you say?  BEG, BORROW, AND MAKE!  Here are a few practice pages I made for our unit on Place Value.  That's it SHORT AND SWEET!