Saturday, March 12, 2016

What's Going on in Room 107?! (Five for Fraturday)

 Ahhhhhh.  I just finished report cards.  What a great feeling!  Now I am moving on to something I actually WANT to do...blog!  :)



We take time for Morning Meeting every day in our classroom.  It is my way of ensuring that each child in Room 107 has been positively acknowledged every single day.  This time always includes a greeting, which changes every week.

Throughout this past week, we did a greeting that I called "The Double Ball Roll."  This.kids.LOVED.it!  I loved it too because they all really had to pay attention, which cut down on any potential side conversations.

Anyway, this is how it worked.  (Oh, I should mention each child in our classroom is assigned a number all year long.)  Student #1 started with a soccer ball.  He greeted Student #2, Student #2 greeted him back, then he rolled the ball to Student #2.  This procedure continued with Student #3 and so on.

At the same time, we had the same procedure going with a second ball - the basketball - but this one was going in the opposite direction.  Student #23 started with the basketball, greeted Student #22, Student #22 greeted her back, and then she rolled the ball to Student #22.  Does that make sense the way I explained it!?  I hope so!

I would love to hear how it goes in your classroom, if you decide to try it out!



One of our school-wide character traits is responsibility, so we built upon the idea this week.  First, we read the book, Horton Hatches the Egg, by Dr. Seuss.


Then, we talked about how Horton showed responsibility.  Next, the students decorated their own plastic eggs and were told that their task was to be responsible for it for 24 hours.  They had to take it home, keep it safe, and bring it back to school the next day.  (Let's just say about 50% of my class is responsible, according to this activity, LOL.)  Finally, we did an independent writing activity in which the students explained again (this time through writing) how Horton demonstrated responsibility in the story.  We used this free writing template from Jenn Bates.



Have you ever heard of the Naked Egg Experiment?  I could not resist trying it out with my students!  If you are not familiar, check out this article and video for an easy-to-understand explanation.  Oh, and using some green food coloring allowed me to tie it into our Dr. Seuss Day when we read the book, Green Eggs and Ham.




Are you looking to engage your students, yet you need to focus your very limited instructional time on your required content?  Yeah, me too.  But I have one word for you:  Kahoot!

I learned about this amazing, free website and app during the Wisconsin Teacher Blogger Meet-Up back in August, but finally got around to using it.  I have no clue why I waited so long because it is EASY-PEASEY to get started!!  There are literally thousands of public Kahoot games out there that you can use (instead of re-creating the wheel) and they are simple to find using their search feature.  I even experimented with making my own Kahoot game this week that aligns with our Math curriculum and it was sooooo easy!  

Seriously - check it out.  My kids have literally begged me to play again.  They are going to do backflips at the end of our current Math unit when they find out we are going to review the content via Kahoot.  :)  (Oh, I should mention that your kiddos need a device to play.  Even if you do not have enough devices for every child, they can play in teams.  My students played in partners on tablets.)





Our school district (and my amazing administrator in particular) is huge into character education.  So he brought in the NED Show for a school-wide assembly.  When I heard the NED Show was coming to our school, I was thrilled!  My previous school district always did this, too, and it is such an awesome experience for all every time.


Anyway, out of the hundreds of children that attend our school, one of my own kiddos was chosen to answer a question and receive some awesome prizes from the presenter.  Lucky (and excited) boy!

Thanks for stopping by!  :)  Be sure to swing by Kacey's amazing linky party to see what other cool teachers have been up to in their classrooms!




Tuesday, March 8, 2016

Featured Teacher Tuesday - Week 20

NOOO!  It has come to an end!  This is the last blog post (at least for now) of the weekly linky party, Featured Teacher Tuesdays, hosted by Heidi Martin.

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Our last, but certainly not least, featured teacher is... Heidi Neels!

Heidi Neels, from Flipping for First, is a spunky and organized first grade teacher!  Years of tumbling and cheerleading as well as a passion for teaching made her blog name come to life.  She has been teaching for 9 years, 6 of those being in first grade.  Heidi has truly found her teaching niche!

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Heidi has been married for 15 years (yep, he is tied up in the basement) and has two beautiful girls, ages 15 (do not do the math) and 10!  Faith brings joy in her life each and every day.  God has blessed her family and teaching career.  She is a middle child (typical middle child syndrome) and requires lots of attention from those around her.


Organization fuels Heidi through first grade.  (It may be a disease!)  Check out her blog for some amazing tips on how to organize Words Their Way, Listening Stations, Behavior Management, Erin Condren Planner, Common Core Assessments, Classroom tips and so much more!


Laughing is important to Heidi!  Mo Willems, first grade quotes, and National Lampoon movies can put a smile on her face.  Just like Wimberly, Heidi can worry a lot!  Therefore, Heidi clings to
Psalm 46:10 - “Be still, and know I am God!


Heidi’s best seller is her "Editable Daily Behavior Chart."  This is an amazing product that every teacher who has a student with challenging behavior needs.  Heidi loves to hear success stories about teachers using this in their classrooms!

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"Fry’s First 100 Sight Words" came about when Heidi had 30% of her students struggling with sight words!  Yikes!  To overcome this obstacle, Heidi created a product that focuses on teaching the words in context using pictures, repetition, and motor skills.  She ended that year with 100% of her students knowing all first grade sight words!  Love it!

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Heidi’s "First Grade Common Core Math Assessments" are a full year’s worth of assessments!  She even has a blog post with a yearly calendar to help you plan.

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Check out one of Heidi’s freebies!

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Don’t forget to join me in following Heidi!


As always, thanks for stopping by!  :)


Tuesday, March 1, 2016

Featured Teacher Tuesday - Week 19


Meet Karen Wasdin from Silly Sam Productions!


Karen is a baseball mom from New Jersey who loves to watch her son play for the high school team and his travel teams. Her husband is a videographer / photographer and she enjoys assisting him in producing sports and educational videos in his business, MoonGate Video Productions. Karen's family enjoys taking trips to MLB stadiums in different cities as well as finding beautiful places to capture animals in their natural habitats - with cameras ready at all times.

Karen has been teaching for 30 years in New York and New Jersey. She has experience ranging from preschool to high school. She has spent most of her career teaching firsties and 2nd grade basic skills students.

MAKE LEARNING FUN! That is her philosophy and the key to keeping learners engaged, participating, and remembering all their awesome educational experiences. "Good Happy Morning" is how she greets her first graders on each new school day!

“A classroom is an amazing place," Karen says, "Actually watching the learning process in action is incredible!” She also loves writing curriculum and studying Brain-Based Learning. Her specialties include cooperative learning, behavior management, motivation, and differentiation. Inspiring learners and making learning fun is her life's journey.

Finding ways to help her young learners understand the trickiest concepts has driven her to create multi-sensory approaches and engaging lessons that MAKE LEARNING FUN! These techniques can be found in her products at TpT.

Color-Coded Mental Math Addition and Subtraction Posters use the color-coding technique to help learners make connections to math strategies.



Point of View is an integrated Reader’s and Writer’s Workshop unit that has students look at the story of the Three Little Pigs through the eyes of different characters. Then they do the same with their own personal narrative about their first day of school. This helps them truly discover and empathize with others and recognize feelings other than their own.



Short and Long Vowel Super Bundle Package is an extensive unit covering the heart of the first grade phonics curriculum. Word Houses use patterning chunks and vowel sounds to help students become stronger readers and writers. Creating their own vowel books helps students celebrate all that they have learned.


You can find and follow Silly Sam Productions here:
Twitter:  @sillysamprod


Thanks for stopping by!  :)

Saturday, February 27, 2016

Growth Mindset in Action, Linky Party, and Freebie!

Okay, here is a "sharing" blog post for you!


In our first grade classroom, we have focused a lot of our character education time on growth mindset.  I had previously read (on other teacher blogs) that the book, Rosie Revere, Engineer, is great for reinforcing the idea of growth mindset...and boy, were those teachers right!


I wanted to do more than just read and discuss this fabulous book, so I went on a Teachers Pay Teachers hunt and found a fabulous product created by Kirsten Tulsian.  All the activities align nicely with the book.

I created a simple packet cover to stick on the front of the activity sheets because I really wanted the focus to remain on GROWTH MINDSET.  Whenever we come back to this project, it is a reminder to open up the discussion and/or reflection in a way that focuses on how we are keeping a growth mindset throughout the process.  You can pick it up for free by visiting my TPT store.

My favorite part about Kirsten's product is that she includes two S.T.E.M. activities.  Instead of picking one or the other, I gave my students a container with all of the gadgets and gizmos (just like Rosie in the book) for both of the S.T.E.M. projects and instead of specifying a certain product, I just told them their task was to make something that "goes in the air" (again, just like Rosie in the book).

Here are some "in action" photos of my students hard at work.  Just look at that partner collaboration!  :)








Do you have neat ideas for teaching the idea of growth mindset in your classroom?  I would love to hear them!

As a matter of fact, if you have ANY great ideas to share, I would love to hear those, too!  Please consider joining my linky party.


You can read specific details here if you wish, but the general idea behind the linky party is that we share great teaching ideas.  You can include any of the linky party images in your blog post.




Feel free to grab the linky party button below and...


...link up right below!

As always, thanks for stopping by!  :)