Video segment about me, by the school district

Sunday, June 11, 2017

Tick, Tock, Telling Time

"Grouchy Ladybug" by Eric Carle

First Grade is finally finished!  I feel both sad and happy at the same time: sad because I've had some of the same kids for two years and I'll miss them very much, happy because I think I did pretty well.  I am going back to kindergarten, though, next year.  I have more things for kindergarten, and I'm very excited to be going back.  I made some things for first grade that my seven-year-olds really enjoyed.

Ladybug clock with moving hands

These ladybug clocks were a big hit.  They worked really well with the story Grouchy Ladybug by Eric Carle, which is one of my favorites.  I also found Time for Tom: A Veggiecational Book About Time by Phil Vischer and Train Leaves the Station by Eve Merriam.  I had my husband make CD's of all of these books being read aloud, and I placed them in the Listening Center.  Here's the paper that my kids complete when they're in that center:


My core beliefs about using music in the classroom held true for first grade.  My students loved singing and dancing to these time-related songs:

"Clock Rock" by Dr. Jean
"Match My Clock" by Jack Hartmann
"Hip-Hop Around The Clock" by Jack Hartmann
"Counting Time" by Jack Hartmann

The kids' favorite was "Match My Clock" by Jack Hartmann.  He has one version to match clocks to the hour, and another for half-hour.

I pulled math groups a lot and found some excellent games on TeachersPayTeachers, such as:

I Have, Who Has Time Game  from Friendly Frog on TPT
Bunny Time Matching Game  from Positively Learning on TPT

Both of these games were free and they worked like magic for the kids!  I used to be scared of using "I Have, Who Has" games with my kids, but this seller cured me of my fears.

I made a Time Bundle of my own for TPT as well that includes worksheets, games, and two PowerPoint slideshows.  The kids really liked the slideshows because they could see them, and I made it so that the numbers fly in.  That way, you can ask the kids what the time is and they can see if they're correct.  I also made an Alice-In-Wonderland-inspired time board game where the students roll a die, move a manipulative around the board, and say the digital time aloud based on the analog clock they landed on.


See you next time!  😄

Monday, May 1, 2017

Great Graphing



Happy May Day, everyone!  I found some really wonderful books about graphing for first grade that I wanted to share with all of you.

Lemonade For Sale by Stuart Murphy is a really nice book that explains bar graphs in a fun and interesting manner.  Four kids and their pet parrot sell lemonade Monday through Friday.  The bar graph shows highs and lows, and the group finds out there's a juggler on another block who is making their sales go down.  After some problem-solving, they get the juggler to join them and their sales go back up again.  I love the plot of this book, how the children are raising money to get their clubhouse into shape.  The story is understandable for first-graders and even kindergartners.  I think this is an excellent way to introduce graphing!

Bar Graphs (Making Graphs) by Vijaya Khisty Bodach and Bar Graphs by Sherra Edgar are also very cool for teaching graphing.

As I was searching for more books about graphing I found this treasure: The Great Graph Contest by Loreen Leedy.  This book is really phenomenal because it shows a wide variety of ways to represent data (picture graphs, pie charts, tally charts, Venn diagrams, etc.).  I was really impressed how my students started using all kinds of new graphing vocabulary.  The book was also lively and funny!

I also made a new Graphing Package on TPT that focuses on bar graphs but also contains picture graphs and tally charts.  There are PowerPoints, games, and worksheets that your first-graders or kindergartners will love.  If you have time, check it out!


Monday, December 26, 2016

Place Value

Merry Christmas everyone!  I hope you all had a beautiful holiday.  Since moving to first grade, I've spent a lot of time researching curriculum and getting to know my lovely new class.  That's why I haven't blogged for a while.

I think one of the hardest things to teach is explaining tens and ones to first-graders who sometimes don't know how to read larger numbers.  As always, I think games, music, and books really help the kids to explore and understand the concept.  Some cool songs I found that delve into this concept are:

Climbing Up This Mountain (Counting by 10's up to 100) by Harry Kindergarten
Count By 10's to 120 by Jack Hartmann
"Grouping by Tens" by Mar Harman
"Counting by Tens" by Mar Harman

I also found a video for teaching place value:

Introduction to Place Value from Khan Academy

It was really funny.  A high school teacher friend of mine told me about Khan Academy.  I had never heard of it before.  I guess the story is that this man started making videos for his niece to explain mathematical concepts.  He's really thorough.  My kids were spellbound when they watched the video.

I haven't found a lot of books that talk about place value, but here are some books that I used this year:

The Cheerios Counting Book by Barbara McGarth
Chicka Chicka 1, 2, 3 by Bill Martin, Jr.
A Collection for Kate by Barbara deRubertis

Because I'm extremely new at teaching first grade, I thought it would be good to go to TPT and see what other first-grade teachers have made for this concept.  I found this terrific "I Have, Who Has" game that worked great for my kids:

I Have, Who Has Tens and Ones Blocks Game by Math Minds

I also made a clip card game for greater than and less than with numbers up to 100:

Greater Than and Less Than Clip Cards to 100

I hope this helps.  If any of you have ideas for teaching tens and ones, please leave a comment below.  Or just leave a comment say say hello!  I miss talking to all of you.

Monday, October 3, 2016

Moved to First Grade

Hello, bloggy friends!  I have recently been moved to first grade due to changing enrollment numbers at our school.  I was wondering if any of you could give me names of good first-grade blogs, songs that are great for first grade, and TPT products that you have found to be useful for teaching a diverse group of first-graders.

Thank you in advance!  Please leave me a comment below.  :)

Wednesday, July 27, 2016

My Four-Legged, Furry Friend



Hi everyone!  I never understood, before, the joy of owning a dog.  Ava is the new addition to our home.  She is such a sweet girl!  I'm planning to make a book about her and share it with the students once I get back to school.  It will be very simple, sort of along the lines of "Ava is eating," "Ava is sleeping," "Ava is running," etc.  Since the beginning of the year is a time when we talk about ourselves and our hopes, likes, and dreams, I thought it would be a great time to talk about Ava.

Does anybody know of some really good dog books to read to kindergartners?  Please leave me a comment below.

Thursday, April 21, 2016

Rhyme Time



Hi all!  I've been doing some cool rhyming songs for my classroom and wanted to share what I'm doing with all of you.

When I was a little girl, I loved doing Patty-Cake-style songs.  I did them at school.  I did them at home.  I did them in the car.  I just love them!  Dr. Jean has a very awesome version of "Miss Mary Mack" on her CD Totally Reading.  The neat thing about this song is, beside the fact that your children are learning how to rhyme, they're also crossing the mid-line (which is great for building synapses in the brain) and they're learning how to cooperate.  There's a song by Raffi called "Willoughby Wallaby Woo" which is basically a name rhyme song that I did a lot at the beginning of the school year.  I thought about it, and figured why not do it in April?  The kids went nuts for it and were singing "Willoughby Wallby Wennifer, an elephant sat on Jennifer," substituting all their names, when they were at centers.  Talk about magical!  I love hearing them sing when they're at centers.  Another song that I do a couple times a week is "Make a Rhyme, Make a Move" by Jack Hartmann, where the students are singing and dancing.  It's on the CD Hip-Hop Alphabop 2.  I've seen Jack Hartmann do this at conferences and he mixes it with a little rap flair.

I don't know if I've ever mentioned how much teaching stuff I have.  I've been teaching for over 20 years, so I have over 4 rooms filled with teaching stuff.  A couple months ago I was going through my stuff and found these unusual-size big books that are the best treasures!  They're the "Pat the Cat and Friends" series by Colin and Jacqui Hawkins, published by DK.  They're not available new anymore, but you can get them used on Amazon and from other sources.  They're really great for teaching rhyming!  I like them so much because they tell little stories about characters in whatever particular word family you're learning about.  These books led me to thinking more about word families and how I could help my kids learn certain patterns.  I decided to make Word Family Half-Size Guided Reading Books where the kids could color, write sentences, and highlight or circle the rhyming words.  Check them out if you want on TPT!

I really love it when people leave me messages, so feel free to comment about rhyming or  current projects that you're working on.

Monday, February 8, 2016

Valentine's Week Freebies

In pre-k or kindergarten, have you ever noticed that your kids have problems telling you the number that comes before another number?  It's so weird!  9 out of 10 times, my kids can tell me a number that comes after, but you should hear the answers for what number comes before.  Today I tried these heart number lines with the kids:



I just cut them and laminated them.  They worked really well, and not only for more/less but also for helping the kids understand which way you go on a number line when you're talking about a number that's less than or greater than a given number.

I made a worksheet to go with it, for independent practice and for assessment purposes:



Later this week, I'm going to have the kids read this book, which takes them step-by-step through the process of making a Valentine's Day card:





I also have a Valentine's Writing Folder on TPT.  I think this folder is really sweet because it saves me from having to spell Valentine words many times around the classroom, and it helps the students to be self-reliant.

I hope you have a lovely week!