Video segment about me, by the school district

Wednesday, August 23, 2017

Back to School with Beanbags

So, with about a week-and-a-half left before I have to go back to school, I've been thinking about the first day.  It's definitely true that we have to do rules and routines, as well as explain procedures for how we want our students to do different things in the classroom.  But I think it's also crucial that our students have brain breaks that first day, and something really fun and enjoyable to make them excited to get up for school the next day.  Therefore I thought I'd share a post about beanbag activities!

I love teaching position words with beanbags.  I teach position words such as "over", "under", "on top of", "between" "behind", and "in front".  Some really great songs for this are:

"Beanbag Balance" by Kimbo Educational
"Beanbag Boogie" by Greg & Steve.
"Beanbag Bop" by Jack Hartmann

I also like to play with alphabet beanbags.  I have the children march in a circle, using the song "Freeze Dance", and have them pick up a beanbag with a letter on it when the music stops.  You simply point to a child, and they say the letter they have.  If they don't know it, you can give clues to help them out.

Lakeshore Learning has some great beanbags, such as:

Number beanbags are really cool as well.  Using any kind of music, sort of in the same ideas a "Freeze Dance" where when you stop the music, the children pick up a number.  They have to identify the number and do something (such as hop, clap hands, or blink) that many times.  The beanbags can also be put in sequential order.  Or if you have a few sets, kids can look around for their partners with the same number.

I'd love to hear what you do in your class with beanbags!  Write a comment below if you'd like to share.

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!