Thursday, June 30, 2011

Winners of My First Giveaway!!!

Congrats to the winners of my first giveaway!! There were a total of 15 comments and of those 15 there were 3 winners.  Emails to winners will be sent out shortly!

Winners of one of my TpT products
Comment #4 - Anash
Comment # 6 - Sunny Days

Winner of the Walmart Giftcard
Comment # 11 - Tanya (First grade is Fantabulous)

Thanks to all who participated and look forward to holding another giveaway at the beginning of the school year!!

Monday, June 27, 2011

DigiWebStudio $1 Sale!!

I get a lot of clip art from DigiWebStudio and they are having a $1 Sale on EVERYTHING!  Thought you might like to know as you create new products of your own or are in need of graphics for your classroom.

Sunday, June 26, 2011

My first Giveaway - 3 days left!

There are only 3 days left to become a follower on my blog and win 1 of 3 prizes including a Walmart gift card for your back to school needs!  To enter: Go to MY FIRST GIVEAWAY follow me and post a comment that you are a follower.  Happy following and good luck!

Thursday, June 23, 2011

If You Take Your Pet to School

Here is one example of a writing activity that is in my Fun With Our Pets unit.  I used the book "If You Take a Mouse to School" by Laura Numeroff to go along with it.  CLICK HERE and enjoy!.  Thanks for looking.

Wednesday, June 22, 2011

New Products!!

I just finished a few Thematic Units for my First Grade bunch next year.  After the first 2 weeks of learning the ropes with rules and assessments I will start teaching  Fun With Our Pets as it deals with all the "firsts" of what they learn in First Grade.  This unit has a fun theme to go along with Short Vowel A, Addition, Graphing, Pet Glyphs (How to take care of your pet), Writing books, Character, Setting, and Sequencing.  The 2 books I am using with this unit are "The Great Gracie Chase" by Cynthia Rylant and "If you take a mouse to school" by Laura Numeroff.  The second unit I will use is First Grade Farm Fun as it deals with Short Vowel I, Addition and Subtraction, Sentence structure and nouns, and Realism/Fantasy with a story I wrote.  Both these units have center activities and can be a great addition to what you are already teaching.  I hope this will be a helpful resource.  Thanks for looking!

Monday, June 20, 2011

Ziploc Project Quilt

This awesome quilt idea was introduced to me during a reading curriculum training I attended a few years ago and I wanted to share it with you.  It can be used anywhere in the classroom (windows, floor, and walls).  I have used it for hanging my student's projects and also word wall games in my word work center.  Stick your spelling words words in them and use a bean bag to toss-n-read.  A buddy tosses it on a word and reads it and the other partner with eyes closed spells it.  I am sure you can come up with more great ideas to use this with.  For direction on how to make it CLICK HERE and make sure you share this with other teacher you know!

Sunday, June 19, 2011

Back to School Fun!

I know many of you may be far from ready to think about the 2011-2012 school year, but I always have excitement when thinking of all the fun activities and all the things I will do different this next school year.  Reading and Writing are the biggest things on my brain right now and I try to incorporate both in my activities.  I am working on a few Thematic Units for back to school that will be based on the 6 pillars of character.  My  school begins August 9th so they should be ready for you by the end of July.  Until then here is another literacy center activity you can add to your collection.

Saturday, June 18, 2011

New Product: Sonoran Desert Ecosystem

I am excited to share one of my new products on Sonoran Desert Ecosystems.  This will be a great addition for 1st, 2nd, or 3rd grade lessons on animal classifications.  This product contains writing webs and T-charts, animal food chain and classifications, cause and effect, worksheets, bingo game, and a craft project.

Friday, June 17, 2011

Check out my new look!!

I am so excited about my new look!  Big thanks to Custom Blog Designs for a beautiful job!  Don't forget to enter my giveaway contest.  It will end July 1st!  Follow me, then go to the "My First Giveaway" post and comment that you are a follower!  Good Luck!

Literacy Center Game

I want to share a fun literacy game with short vowels and farm animals that I have used in my word work centers.  Hope you can find use for it in your classroom!  Click Here and enjoy!

Thursday, June 16, 2011

Blog Makeover

My blog is getting ready for a major makeover in the next few days!  So excited!!  Check back soon!!

Wednesday, June 15, 2011

Independent Readers Workshop or Guided Reading?

The biggest question I have heard primary teachers ask is about Independent Reading Workshops and Guided Reading.  They want to know which is better.  I guess it depends on your results.  I have had experience with both and I currently use both.  I think what gets forgotten is that Literacy is a huge component that needs balance…thus the Balanced Literacy approach.
I began my teaching experience in 2nd grade and I did teach Independent Readers Workshop but with a balanced approach.  My 2 favorite books that became my inspiration when teaching reading to my students are Growing Readers by Kathy Collins and Reading with Meaning by Debbie Miller. 

If you haven’t already, I would encourage you all to read these over the summer if you are looking for a little change in your teaching style next year.
My day with first graders starts with Mini Lessons to teach reading strategies.  Then they break off into centers (Daily 5) and I work one-on-one with students.  I sit with them on the floor with a spiral notebook in hand.  I have them choose a book from their book box that we have been reading or one they shopped for in our library.  I take notes as they read so I can track progress or look for areas to improve in.  As struggling readers are getting ready to move on to a new or more difficult book I usually will meet as a small group (Guided Reading) to go over word work and reading strategies to use.
I highly encourage Writers Workshop and Math Workshops in this same manner.  About 7 years ago, a parent bought me the Lucy Calkins Writers Workshop book set for primary readers.  I LOVE IT!!  It helps in all areas of writing and gives you a few ideas for mini lessons too!  I still refer back to it occasionally as it NEVER gets old!  Okay I know I am rambling.  What are your thoughts?

More About My Giveaway

I am still new at this blogging thing and appologize for not mentioning that  to enter my giveaway contest, you need to leave me a comment in the "My First Giveaway" post even if you are already a follower.  Thanks for your patience and enjoy your summer!!

Tuesday, June 14, 2011


I want to send a big thanks to all my followers who have joined my  new blog this month!  I would like to grow my followers even bigger this month so if you are already a follower or choose to become a follower during the remainder of June, you will be entered to win 1 of 3 prizes.  The first 2 prizes will be one item from my TpT store.  The 3rd prize will be a $20 gift card to Walmart to help with your back to school purchases.  Happy following!!!

Thursday, June 9, 2011

First Grade and Ecosystems

I am teaching summer school with 11 first graders and it is such a relaxed setting.  I love the small classes.  We are teaching from a National Geographic series and I just love being able to teach science!  Reading, Writing and Math are such the focal point during the school year that we miss some great opportunities to include some really interesting and fun things.  I am finishing up a weeks’ worth of lessons on the Ecosystem, primarily the Sonoran Desert since that is where we Arizonans live.  I am looking for some more additional ideas that I can purchase from TPT to use during the school year next year.  If anyone knows of teachers who have good ideas, let me know!  I have made up a lot to add as additional resources but could always use more!  Some of my additions include food chains  and habitats.  
My dad happened to send me this picture a few days ago.  It is a Gecko that was stung by a scorpion just before he had a chance to eat it.  Both are dead!  Talk about a rare moment! 

Monday, June 6, 2011

Fact Family Fun!

It is very hard to find some fun games for first graders to play while learning their math facts so I made a few to liven up my math centers.  Another teacher I work with has introduced me to the Debbie Diller Math and I am planning to use some of her ideas next year.  The Daily 5 is part of our routine during our Reading Workshops and I am planning to work an extra center to make it my Daily 6.  It is so hard to get everything in during the school day and anything extra unfortunately ends up in the corner.  I love Melissa's enthusiasm for the same thing on her blog F is for first grade.
I would love to use a few of her ideas to map out my time so that my first graders can make use of all the time we have in our very busy day.  Thank you Melissa for sharing!!

Here are a few more math center games I would like to share that my students have really enjoyed this year!

I will try to continue posting more ideas throughout the summer.  I think I will have more time since I may need to stay indoors for a while until they get a handle on the wildfires burning near my home.  I feel for the firefighters camped out at our high school!