Saturday, September 29, 2012

Nuts About Numbers Math Activities

Click here to check out my new math activities. Get them today for 15% off!

Sunday, September 23, 2012

Reading Street Whole Group/Centers

Here's how I teach Scott Foresman's Reading Street. I'm by no means an expert, but since I've had requests on how I do some of our center activities, I thought it might be easier to go through the whole morning routine. 
We have 2 hours for our morning reading block. We start at 8am and finish around 10am.  At the beginning of reading each morning, I start off with a 30 minute whole group lesson that covers what we will be doing during centers. Each center lasts around 15 minutes.
  Here's the whole group routine:
I make a "Reading Objectives" chart for every lesson. Time consuming? Yes! But it does help me tremendously with planning out the lesson. It also helps the kids know what we will be doing next. Here's an example of this chart.
I put an empty box next to each item and at the end of the whole group lesson, we go over the chart and put a check next to each item. That way it's easy to remember if we've left something out and it serves as a reminder for what we just learned.
See the skill words written on green post it stickies? These are 'tickets' to get to centers. I call on different kids each day to tell me what each word is. If they get it right, they get to go to their center. 

After we quickly go over the objectives chart, we dive right in with the first task: Question of the day. Here's where it is located in the TE
I tell my kids the question of the day, give them a second to think about it, and them tell them to turn and talk to their partner. Their partner is just whoever is sitting close by. While they are doing this, I'm walking around listening and encouraging some of my shy kids to talk. After about a minute, we share as a group what they've just talked about their partner. Sometimes if it's a good question of the day I like to chart their responses on the smartboard.

Next is the amazing words, which are here in the TE
This is something that I don't spend a lot of time on. We just quickly talk about them and move on. I'm trying to find a better way to incorporate these words into our daily lessons, but I feel like I should spend more time on the comprehension and phonics part. If you have any ideas on teaching amazing words, please comment below!!

Next is Building Background. I drill into my kids' head the word "schema" and they love to tell me what it means! We complete the chart that is located in the book and I display it in our classroom. Here's where it is in the book:
This page is for A Fox and A Kit, but here's the chart that we did for Sam, Come Back!

Next we do our comprehension read aloud. If I don't like the one in the book, I usually pull a picture book that fits in good for the comprehension skill and use it, but sometimes the read alouds in the book are good. Here's the page in the TE
During the comprehension read loud, I refer back to a chart that have I created for the skill. For example, when we did the read aloud for Pig in a Wig, we completed this realism and fantasy chart:
The pigs were made later :) 

Next comes the most important item (in my opinion anyways): the phonics skill. For the phonics skill, I use this page in the TE
I write a word on the smartboard, tell the kids to "hold it in their head" so everyone isn't blurting the word out, and then pick someone to tell me the word. We also model sounding out words here. 

On Mondays and Tuesdays we listen to the story after the phonics skill. The book does not have this part, but I feel like it is important for the kids to hear the story day one instead of waiting until Wednesday like the book says. If you wait 'til Wednesday, then the kids have to take the test the next day after hearing the story only once. This would work if everyone read their story at home at night, but we all know that is not the case. 

Now it is time for centers! I have four groups. In each group, each child has a color. Here's an example:
Group 1
Rachel: Blue
Quinn: Yellow 1
Finn: Yellow 2
Kurt: Green
***I am watching Glee while writing this, hence the names! :)
The colors refer to their level. When everyone first gets to a center, I call a color and those kids come and meet with me. This is how I differentiate my centers. It sounds confusing, but it isn't once the kids get use to it and it works out really well. It ends up that everyone misses one center, but they make it up during Tier II time.
I also have four centers: computers, comprehension, word work, and independent/buddy reading. Here's what activities are at comprehension and word work.
Each color has a different activity. This accounts for differentiate centers. Plus, it helps cut down on copying others papers! :) 

The graphic organizers are also the same every week so the kids understand how to fill them out. 

Word Work
There are four different activities at Word Work. By Thursday, everyone will have completed all the activities. They know to do a different one each day. Here are some of the activities that are at word work. These change every week, but here are some favorites.
Reading decodables with word buddies. I simply typed the decodable readers that we do at small group, put them in the binder and placed it at the center. The word buddies are easy to make too. Just print off your favorite clip art and cut out a square in the middle and laminate. 

I put a Stop! post it by the decodable that we haven't read yet so they know not to go past it.

These "Frame a Word" activities came from Babbling Abby's Word Work packets. They are fabulous!!!!! 

My kids love Babbling Abby's Highlight a Word activities, also found in her Word Work packets, so I decided to try the idea using a past decodable. 

There is usually a word sorting pack of mine or a word scramble at Word Work too.

That's all! I hope I didn't make it too confusing to follow along. Please, if you have any more questions, feel free to comment or email and I will do my best to answer them! :)

Don't forget my TpT Sale! It ends tomorrow!! :)

Saturday, September 22, 2012

Christopher Columbus Unit

I've just uploaded my Christopher Columbus mini unit onto my TpT Store. Click the pic to get it on SALE!! And remember: my entire store is 20% off thru Monday!

First three commenters get a free copy! Just be sure and leave your email address :)

A Thank You TpT Sale!

I can't believe Life in First Grade just celebrated its 3rd birthday and I just completed my third year of teaching 1st grade. In honor of these events, I wanted to throw a little 20% off sale in my TpT sale as a way of thanking everyone for their support. :) Click here to visit my store. Sale ends Monday! 
***Right now I'm working on my Christopher Columbus Day Unit and it will hopefully be uploaded tonight. If you've emailed me about my Inferring with Frank activity from last year, you can find it as a freebie in my store. :) 

Wednesday, September 19, 2012

Pigs in Wigs and Johnny Appleseed Centers in Action!

Last week our story was Pig in Wig. I *love* this story and it's always a hit with my kids too. On Friday we made our own Pigs in wigs and completed our Realism and Fantasy chart.

It's almost Johnny Appleseed time! I love this time of year and celebrating Johnny Appleseed's birthday is one of my favorite celebrations in first grade. I thought I'd share some of the centers *in action* so you could see how they are done. I'm a visual person and I always like to see centers being done. :)

Apple Addition: Students will write the complete addition sentence after they have matched up the addition picture to the sum.

 Sorting Odd and Even numbers

 Sorting CVC words by short vowel sounds

 ABC Order

 Number/Number Word Match Up

 Rhyming words 

 Sight word graphing

 What's the Missing Number? This targets which numbers come before after  and in between.

 Number Word/Dice Match Up

 Which Number is Less? This can also be done as Which Number is Greater?

 Syllable Sort

All 12 centers are included in my Johnny Appleseed Unit, which you can find here

*****Check back later in the week for a big thank you gift!! 

Monday, September 10, 2012

Last Week/This Week in Pictures

So sorry I've been absent for the past week y'all. It's been CRAZY BUSY! Here's some of the things we did that I managed to capture. 
We are settling into a routine of our reading block. I started off my 30 min whole group reading by going over Daily Objectives so the kids will know what we are going to be doing. Kinda like an agenda. If you want to know how I do our 2 hour reading block, let me know and I'll do a post about it.  I *promise* an explanation of centers and how I rotate and squeeze it all in is coming soon! I just haven't had time to sit and plan out the post yet. :)

We did our first labeling activity last week with our story, Sam, Come Back! 

We were introduced to schema Susie and talked about responsibilities that pet owners have.

 Now let me talk about math for a minute, y'all. We switched to a new series this year and oh my word is it hard! We started addition the very first day! We usually don't start addition until October and now we are doing it day 1. My poor babies were almost as overwhelmed as I was. The lesson was wanting us to add 6 and 4 and some didn't even remember what a 6 looked like! We definitely needed some number review. We've decided to take a week off from the series and do an "All About Numbers" review. I'm using the fabulous Kim Adsit's All About Numbers unit to teach with this week. I'm also taking this time to introduce our calendar routine by using Cara Caroll's Calendar Companion, which by the way is my FAVORITE TpT purchase of all time. 
I made these anchor chart posters, inspired by Kim's Adsit's, for each number. I'm just displaying numbers 1-5 right now.

 I'm also using this week to review some of the concepts and addition strategies that we struggled with in Chapter 1. For example, lots of my kids had problems identifying the addends in an addition problem, so I created this chart to help. I walked around with it and had individual students come up and circle the addends in each problem. It really helped. Tomorrow we will identify the sum.

Since our sound skill for the week was short a we read a book called That Fat Cat by Katie Schultz.
This is not a well known book. It won a read aloud award from Books Million, but what I love about it is that fact that the author, Katie Shultz, wrote the story when she was still in high school and she is from Tuscaloosa, which is about 2 and 1/2 hours away from where I live. The story is made up almost entirely of short a words so this was a perfect read for us. 

We charted how many short a words were in the story.

That's all for now! Happy week y'all! :)