Video segment about me, by the school district

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!

Tuesday, January 26, 2016

Snow Days & A Freebie

Happy snow days, everybody!

We have had a pretty big snow storm here in Maryland. My husband took a time-lapse video of the snow falling in our back yard. He has described it to me and it sounds pretty cool. Here it is:

That took about 28 hours for those 28 seconds. That's a lot of snow, isn't it? Our county has closed schools all week so far. 

Here is the view from our front porch:

When we finally do go back, I plan to read this book:

Snowmen at Night

I love connecting the children's experiences to learning. I really want to find out what they did over their long break and how they played in the snow. Of course we are going to write about it and draw illustrations to match our writing. This book is especially wonderful at capturing children's imaginations with the beautiful illustrations and rhyming text. When I was little, I often thought snowmen had their own secret life at night, just like in this story. A few years ago, I read this story to my kids and they were really interested in how the snowmen did all these secret games when nobody was looking. Then I had the cutest little girl raise her hand after we finished. When I called on her, she said "Wait a minute... Snowmen don't HAVE feet!" It was funny to me that out of all the things that the snowmen were doing, that she focused on that one element. I still use that phrase today with my husband whenever something is strange.

I also just made these winter vocabulary cards. I plan to put them in the writing center so children can make their own little stories and books. You can download it for free with the down arrow link. Enjoy!

Vocabulary Words - Winter by Sharon A Blachowicz Dudley

Stay safe and warm!