Thursday, December 30, 2010

New Concept Question Board

Black Friday, my mom and I were one of those crazy people who were at Walmart at midnight. I returned home with a, love love it! I've found so many ways to use it in my classroom. I decided to spruce up my concept question board for our reading series.

I also made new months and other calendar pieces for our math board.

Does anyone else use a Cricut to make things for their classroom?

Tuesday, December 28, 2010

Google Earth

Has anyone used Google Earth in their classroom to create a virtual field trip? I've been reading about teachers that have done this and it sounds really neat. I've downloaded the program onto my computer but I'm having a really hard time understanding it all.
My plan is to create a tour about dinosaurs that will go along with our lesson in reading in a couple of months when we talk about Barnum Brown and the discovery of the first T-Rex.
Any helpful info would be GREATLY appreciated! Leave a comment or email me :)

Sunday, December 26, 2010

Christmas Fun!

Wow! It's been a looong time since my last post. I am revamping my classroom, so I've been busy with that. I hope to post some pics of my new boards once I get them finished. I bought a Cricut on Black Friday, so I've been making lots of things for my classroom and my new boards. I'm happy with them so far! :)
The last week of school we had a few snow days so my class didn't get to do a lot of the Christmas activities that I had planned. We were able to have Gingerbread Day and we stayed at school long enough one day to watch How the Grinch Stole Christmas (school let out 1/2 day on Grinch day so we weren't able to make the cute Grinches that I found on Deanna Jump's website!)but our Polar Express day didn't happen. :(
I finally finished the Christmas glogs for our class wiki. Check them out! They are on the Ho, Ho, Ho! page or you can click this link which will directly take you there. (I think!)
Ms. Leslie Ann's Class Wiki: Ho, Ho, Ho!

Sunday, December 5, 2010

Alabama v. Auburn...Roll Tide!

Around here, the annual Alabama/Auburn game is a pretty big deal. It was held the day after Thanksgiving and since we were out of school the whole week of Thanksgiving, we celebrated this day the last day that we were in school. All the kids wore either Alabama or Auburn colors. We divided the desks into two groups and all the Auburn fans sat together and all the Alabama fans sat together (Roll Tide!) We did many fun activities that day and I thought I'd share some with everyone. I have lots of pics from this day on my class wiki, so be sure and check it out! :) The link below will take you directly to the page.
* We did cause and effect sentences about the game. This is a hard skill for some of my kids and doing this activity helped. I had them tell why they thought their team would win the game. For example: I think Alabama will win the Iron Bowl because ______. When they finished, they had to tell me the cause and the effect. Here are some of their sentences...

We also made Team Color "A's":

During snack, we had a cookie decorating contest. The kids used red/white and orange/blue sprinkles and icing to decorate their cookies. We had 3 winners. Here's the link for pictures. This was the kids favorite activity!

My favorite part of the day was the Reading Iron Bowl. A team member from each team was asked questions about skills that we had covered in reading and math. Alabama won 4 to 2. I just wish the real iron bowl had gone that way!!

Sunday, November 28, 2010

Magic Reading Glasses...They Really Work!

I have to share these cute pics of some of my kids using "Magic Reading Glasses" at the buddy reading center. I buy a ton of reading glasses at the Dollar Tree ($1 each...can't beat that!)and pop the lenses out. I told my kids that these special glasses help you read and understand what you read better. The first day that we started using them this year, one of my little boys came to me and said, "Ms. Leslie Ann, these really do work!" I love seeing them sitting with a book while wearing them...they are concentrating so hard! :) :)

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

2010 EduBlog Awards...Go Vote!

It's time for the 2010 EduBlog Awards! This is my first time voting for these awards and I encourage everyone to go vote! Here's the link that provides instructions for voting:
Here are my nominations for the following categories:
Best teacher blog: First Grader At Last! by Sarah Cooley
If you are a follower of my blog or have read some of my previous post, you'll know how much I love this blog. It's filled with creative ideas and inspiring pictures that are sure to get your creative juices flowing! Check it out..
Best educational Wiki: B-7 Bobcats I don't think I've ever mentioned this wiki on my blog before, but you HAVE to visit it! I found it this past summer and after spending hours looking at all the projects the teacher, Traci Blazosky, has done with her class, I created my wiki. She is beyond talented!

Saturday, November 13, 2010

Dino Facts

In reading this week, we read a story called "The Big Circle". It was about a herd of triceratops protecting their baby from a T-Rex. My kids, especially my little boys, really enjoyed this story and loved learning about dinosaurs. I checked out some nonfiction books from our library and put them in the buddy reading center for the week. We read about T-Rex, Triceratops, and Long Neck dinosaurs, which we learned were also called Ultrasaurus. Here are the dinosaurs we made and displayed the facts we learned on.

We have one more story about dinosaurs in the next unit of our reading series called Mr. Bones and it's a biography about Barnum Brown who was a paleontologist. I would love to do some neat projects or activities about paleontologists and more dinosaur activities. Any ideas??

Nouns All Around

We've been talking about nouns in first grade. To help my kids better understand these naming words, we made a noun board. I did this last year and I would like to do something liked it when we start learning about verbs. They really like doing it and they love showing everyone which nouns they made.

Tuesday, November 2, 2010

Building Background...Fishing Trip!

As part of our reading series, we complete building background charts with the students. The charts have something to do with the story or topic for the week. It is suppose to build background and allow the students to think about what they already know about the topic. This year I decided to make a bulletin board to showcase these charts so the kids could look back and remember what all they filled out. It has really helped them understand WHY we are doing these charts and they love seeing their work on the wall. I usually have them make something that goes along with the chart.
A couple of weeks ago we read a story called Max and Ruby: A Big Fish for Max. We had to fill out a bubble chart about what we would take along if we went on a fishing trip. The kids really got into this, especially my little boys! They made sure they told me EVERYTHING that we would need, right down to fishing wire, scissors to cut it, and a bucket for any fish that we might catch! It really made them stop and think about what they already knew about that subject.
Afterwards, I had them make their own fish. I thought they turned out really cute!

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

Focus Board

This is something new that I tried in my classroom this year and I love it! I found the idea from Mrs. Langston's site:
If you teach Scott Foresman reading street, it has ALL the printables you need for each weekly story. Each morning, I bring my kids back to the rug and we go over the focus board. It really helps them see what we are working on for the week. It also does a great job reinforcing the unit theme and story genre. Just thought I'd share with everyone! :)

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

Center Activities

Here are some new activities that I am going to use in my reading centers. Most of them deal with nonsense words. A friend shared the idea with me and I spent the weekend making them.

This one is called "Which witch is which? I downloaded clip art of a witch and typed real words and nonsense words on them. The kids have to sort the witches into the correct haunted house. Here is a close up of the witch. I thought they turned out really cute!

The next game is my take on the Sorry! game. There are different boards for different vowel sounds. This one deals with Short A. Two kids can play. The first player picks a card from the stack. Each card has a word written on it. If the word has the short a sound, the player gets to roll the dice and move so many spaces. There are also cards that have Sorry! on them. When a player pulls on of those cards, he or she has to move back spaces (the card says how many). First one to reach the end wins!

The last is Nonsense Tic Tac Toe. I haven't used it yet, but a teacher friend says it works really well in her classroom. The child begins by sorting vowels and constants into two piles. The child then picks one vowel and put it in the middle. Then another child puts two constants on a diffferent square and says the nonsense word.

Saturday, October 9, 2010

Pete the Cat

A couple of weeks ago I won the teacher's guide for a picture book called Pete the Cat from April Larremore's Chalktalk blog. This week my class read the book and fell in love with it! They love the song and all day long I heard my kids singing "I love my white shoes". It's definitely a catchy song! Yesterday we decided to recreate the story in a video. The kids had a ball with this! Check it out on my class wiki! The video is on the bottom of the page.

Ms. Leslie Ann's Class Wiki

Wednesday, October 6, 2010


Today was an EXTREMELY busy day, so when we came back in from snack, I got a nice little surprise email telling me about this award. This is my first blog award and I'm so excited! :) :)

Sunday, October 3, 2010

Story Chatter

I just wanted to share one of my favorite centers that I use in my classroom. I call it 'Story Chatter' and it has worked really well in my classroom this year. It's more of a follow up to my small group reading center that my kids do with me each morning. After I meet with my group for 15 minutes, that group goes to Story Chatter. Here, they talk about the decodable reader that we read in small group. Each week the new comprehension skill is added and they must discuss it. For example, the first week, the group just had to talk about the characters that were in the story since that was the only skill we had discussed. As the weeks go on, they have more to talk about. Right now, each group chats about the characters, setting, if the story was real or fantasy, and the main idea of the story.

I listen to the group as they discuss and I am amazed at how well they do at this center. It really helps them practice the comprehension skill and review what we have just read. It also gives me a chance to walk around the room and make sure the other centers are on task before we switch.

Thursday, September 30, 2010

Apples Apples!

Last Friday, we celebrated Johnny Appleseed Day. This is one of my favorite holidays, so I wanted to plan a lot of fun things for this day. It was jam packed with apple tasting, book making, and a special snack with some of the parents. The kids had a great time! During the weekend, I moved the apple trees that were in my classroom out into the hall and hung some of our Johnny Appleseed book pages on them. On the door, I put some of the pictures that we took on Johnny Appleseed Day. The kids have loved looking at the pictures. :)

Mo Willems Author Study

For my September author study, I picked Mo Willems. I have never done an author study that my kids have enjoyed as much as this one. They have loved all Mo Willems' books so much that I have decided to extend the author study into October. There are so many neat ideas and activities to go along with his books. If you go to his website and click on the grown ups link, you can download the teacher's guide and event kits for some of his stories. They are full of ideas to use in the classroom. My kids love reading about the pigeon! Here is one of the boards that I used to display their letters to the bus driver from Don't Let the Pigeon Drive the Bus.

Here are some of their letters. I asked them to tell if they would or wouldn't let the pigeon drive the bus and then they had to give a reason why they decided that. It worked out really well since our comprehension skill in reading this week was cause and effect!

Sunday, September 12, 2010

Fun at the Zoo! (How I spent my Sunday)

Next week we will be talking about zookeepers in reading. For all you Reading Street teachers out there, our weekly story is A Fox and a Kit. To me, this story can be a bit bland, so to spice it up a little I created some zoo friends.

My plans also include having the kids make their own zoo animals. The story talks about a mother fox and her baby, so I was thinking about incorporating baby animals into the art project. I was also so inspired by First Grader at Last blogger Sarah Cooley and her adorable poster of 'Pete the Paleontologist'. I created 'Zack the Zookeeper'.

The animals are just clip art that I printed from the Internet. I will take them off Zack once the kids have made their zoo animals. I just put them on to give the kids some ideas of the types of animals they would find in a zoo and to give them an idea of what the animals looked like.

Saturday, September 4, 2010

My Classroom

At the end of last year after I found out that I was going to be teaching first grade again, I decided I wanted to paint my classroom. All the rooms are painted a drabby gray, but you can choose to paint it if you want. After pouring over paint samples, researching hundreds of pictures of classrooms, and digitally painting the classroom online, I decided on the color yellow. Nothing too bright, just a pretty yellow. I should have thought about picking a light color like that....
A few of the other teachers in my building decided to paint too and they only needed 2 gallons. My mom and I went to the store and purchased 2 gallons, thinking that was more than enough.
We were wrong.
After 3 more trips to the store and 5 gallons of paint (about a gallon of it on me...I'm a messy, messy painter!), it was finished. It turned out pretty, I think; but if I had it to do over, I would have chosen a different color. It was way too hard to match up bulletin board paper and borders. It was definitely a challenge!

Friday, September 3, 2010

Class Magazines

Oh, how I love classroom magazines like these...there's just one problem: I don't have a great plan for incorporating them in my classroom. There is SO MUCH great info packed into these magazines that my kids love, yet I find myself sticking them up on a bookshelf. At the end of last year, I purchased 10 copies of Scholastic News and a few days ago, I got the first issue. I'm really excited about them, but have no idea where they can fit into my lesson plans. Should I put them at a center? Have them for free reading? Any ideas???

Tuesday, August 31, 2010

First Blog Post Ever!

I have always wondered what in the world a blog was. I had heard people talk about reading them and writing their own, but I never really thought about it that much until recently when a friend told me about this first grade teacher's blog. The teacher's name is Sarah Cooley and her blog is called 'First Grader At Last'. Wow! It blew me away. What a wonderful way to share and find new ideas from other teachers! I have now become addicted to her blog and all the other teaching blogs out there.Who knew there were so many?? It made me want to start my own blog, so here it is! After playing around with it and changing the layout over and over, I finally decided on the look (which I'm still not entirely set on, but was determined to start blogging!)I hope to share ideas that I use in my classroom and find creative ideas to use. :)

To see my fabulous first grade class...check out our class wiki!