Sunday, 29 September 2013

My New Favourite Word Wall!

How is it already Sunday? I've slept most of the weekend due to this awful cold. Hopefully I'll start to feel better soon or this will be a looong week!

What are your feelings on word walls? I think they can be a fantastic resource as long they are used. Most classrooms have to make the most of every square inch of space, so to have something up on the walls and not make use of it, I feel is absolutely wasted space.

I also think students have to take responsibility for the word wall too. They have to know that it is a resource that they are to use. Have them put the words up and whenever possible, direct them to the word wall when they need to spell a word.

I was thinking about the word walls I've created and I decided I wanted to do a little update to make sure it was as user-friendly as possible. To the headers, I added colour pictures (great for younger students who are still learning their letter sounds), red vowels and primary dotted lines to show proper word formation.

So far I've updated my black & white chevron, black & white polka, rainbow chevron and rainbow polka dot word walls. Click {HERE} or the pictures to check them out. You can also find the old versions{HERE}.

Let me know what you think!

Saturday, 28 September 2013

A Little Freebie!

Well I'm going to make this quick because the first back to school cold has hit and it is a doozy.

I've finished another addition to my Place Value Mystery Cards series - Decimals! The free packet comes with 36 mystery cards. The first half go up to the hundredths place, and the second half go up to the thousandths place. Click {HERE} or the pictures to check out the freebie:

Hope you enjoy!

Now I'm off to drink my weight in orange juice!

Tuesday, 24 September 2013

Go Away Big Green Monster! (& the benefits of computers in the classroom)

Well this will be quick because I am exhausted (is it really only Tuesday?). We've continued our colour studies this week. Yesterday was green day so of course, I had to read Go Away, Big Green Monster! by Ed Emberley. This book is fantastic for teaching colours and also story retelling.

So yesterday I kind of assumed this book was in the school library, but upon further inspection I couldn't find it (no, I'm not a last minute prepper at all). Lucky for me, I was able to find a Youtube version.

I read the story to the students, then as I read it a second time, I had them draw the big green monster. I got this idea from Carolyn at Kindergarten: Holding Hands and Sticking Together. Let's just say I was a little worried about this. I have a few, uh "free spirits" so I though I might get a few orange monkeys or blue elephants but I got 20 fantastic green monsters. We then watched the video and it was so fun seeing the kids' reactions when they first saw the big green monster!

So happy to have a computer and SMARTBoard in the classroom!

Saturday, 21 September 2013

Daily Math Update & Some Classroom Happenings

Yay - it's Saturday! Before I know it, it will be Monday again. So what did the week look like? We spent the week practicing our names with a bunch of fun activities. We did a name sort - unscrambling the letters in our names and then counting how many letters we each had in our name. The students then sorted our names into groups, according to how many letters, and completed a class graph.

I know of a few fun books for talking about names:



But, I'm always looking for more books to add to my library. Do you know of any other fun name books?

We also started talking about colours. For blue day, we made adorable (if I do say so myself) Pete the Cats, with each student choosing the colour for the shoes. We also added a little bit of writing - Pete loves his             shoes.

For yellow day, we made school buses and drew the bus driver and riders. Wouldn't you know? A few Petes showed up driving the buses (yes, we are apparently still Pete-obsessed!).

Some of our favourite colour books this week:

We'll continue colours next week and I would love to hear some more suggestions for colour books. A few more I still plan on using:

On a completely unrelated note, I have been swamped since school started but I did manage to finish the next packet in my Daily Math for first grade students:

Click on the pictures or {HERE} to check it out. I also updated my Daily Math First Grade Bundle to include this pack:

Click on the pictures or {HERE} to check it out.
Well now I'm off to enjoy the rest of the weekend!

Saturday, 14 September 2013

A Few Lessons with David Shannon

Well I think the Pete the Cat saga has calmed down, though some kids are asking if Pete will come visit us again, and others are still seeing him all over the school.

Friday was a day that consisted of some work and a lot of play. We met our big buddies for the first time and I have to say the kiddos were great listeners as the big buddies read to them. We have been working on our quiet book time and our stamina is now up to 9 minutes - about which we (most of us!) are really excited.

After practicing using our white glue we were ready for our first craft. We started our Rainbow Names - inspired by the fantastic Deanna Jump - on Thursday. And I do mean started. I think I completely underestimated how sore their poor little hands would get from all that tearing and gluing. So we continued that work on Friday and now I think most of the names are finished and ready to display and we're just waiting on two especially careful workers!

We read No, David! and worked on our Eagle Eye strategy. On Friday, we read David Goes to School then created an anchor chart of what we do and don't do at school. The kids were coming up with some great ideas and even mentioned eating healthy food!

By Friday I was EXHAUSTED. Now I'm off to make sure I'm all ready for next week which will be full of colours!

On a total side-note, I just pinned a pin on Pinterest about heating a pan with water vanilla and cinnamon on the stove to make the house smell yummy. I decided to actually try it (unlike with 99% of my pins) and it smells delicious and totally reminds me of fall. Now I've got pumpkin spice lattes, cool weather and Halloween on the brain!

Thursday, 12 September 2013

Pete the Cat (continued)

Well, the Pete the Cat school tour was such a hit that it continued into the next day . . . and then the day after that (today). Yesterday we read Pete the Cat and His Four Groovy Buttons

The kids were so excited to search for his four groovy buttons that he had lost while playing in the classroom. Of course, we then had to write him another note, returning his buttons and thanking him for visiting our classroom again. We then had to ask Pete a few questions, such as "Where do you live?" and "What is your address so we can write you a letter everyday?" Pete kindly responded this morning and I think I was able to sidestep any other requests about writing everyday letters to good old Pete. I think he may make a return at Christmastime (if I'm up for the challenge) though a few students still seem to see him all over the school; they hear him singing in the halls, mewing in the vents, and see his tail in the gym. Ahhh childhood innocence.

It really has been fun having Pete visit the classroom, though I'm exhausted! Can't wait for Friday!

Tuesday, 10 September 2013

A Look at My Day (It's Filled with Pete the Cat!)

Well I have wanted to link up with Deedee Wills' Peek at my Week linky but let's be honest, 1) I haven't gotten my act together & 2) the whole visual plans with links to the units - yeah, I'm not that tech savvy. So I'm here today not to link up with my visual plans for the week, but a look into today.

It's the second week and I hope the kids are getting into the school routine. Today was filled with good old Pete the Cat. I cannot talk about these books enough. The catchy words, the colourful pictures and the great messages plus colours, counting, and school? That equals a perfect recipe for primary books.

So today we did a little Pete the Cat school tour, inspired by Michelle over at Inspired by Kindergarten. The kiddos LOVED it! So much so that they wanted to write a letter for Pete (great collaborative writing exercise). Tomorrow they will come in and find another note from Pete as well as Pete the Cat and his Four Groovy Buttons.

We'll then search for Pete's four buttons (an idea another teacher gave me) that he left in our classroom. In theory this is a fantastic idea. In reality, I am sooo nervous the kids are going to tear apart the classroom. They almost did that today. When we finished the tour, they were so excited about notes from Pete that they wanted to search in all the classroom books, their lunch kits and the playground, in the hopes of finding another note.

After all this Pete excitement, I opened up my Scholastic order, and what did I see? Oh, just Pete and Cat: The Wheels on the Bus.

This is definitely going to have to be a must buy!

Have a great week and remember - It's all good!

Saturday, 7 September 2013

A Little Blog Makeover and the First Week

So I've decided to try a little blog makeover. I'm sure I'll change it again soon, but with the start of the school year, I thought "Why not try a new blog look?" Not that I've been keeping up on this blogging thing regularly - oops - but maybe getting back into the school swing of things will help me get back into the blogging swing of things.

So, the first week. In my school district, the students stay in their old classes until ~Friday, and then they switch into their new classes. So this week was three days of having the old students, which to be honest is kind of full of activities to ease the students back into the regular school activity.

First up - the sunglasses activity I blogged about {HERE}. I found a free sunglasses template through A Love for Teaching, click {HERE} to check it out. Of course I never have a camera in the classroom, so I don't have pictures, but it was definitely nice to get some art and writing up on the walls to brighten up the classroom on the first day.

We also tried Hadar's fun "School is Cool" craftivity and writing that you can find for free {HERE}. Another great way to brighten up the classroom.

Looking back on the week, I sure planned a lot, but the kids were definitely not ready for full work days! Half an hour after the first bell rang I heard cries of "I'm hungry!" and ten minutes after centers were finished I was asked "When are we going to play?" Between outside recess and inside play centers, the days zoomed past. Next week sure is going to be a long one, I'd better enjoy this weekend because I'm sure it will be over fast!

How's the year going for you?