Monday, July 28, 2014

Bringing NonFiction to the classroom in a fun way! GIVEAWAY!!!!

Over the past few years, there's been a big push towards more nonfiction in the classroom. This has been a struggle for me. I'm not one to pick a "real" book over a good story. I've made a conscious effort to bring more to my classroom this past year, but I feel like it was easier for me in a higher grade. When Learning Resources sent me their Wild About Animals Snap Shot Cards to review and give away, I thought it would be a great way to see how this could work for younger grades. 

***Please don't be confused about the "Life in Fifth Grade" stamp on each picture. I was working on another post for my other blog and accidentally stamped these pictures with the same stamp. This product is meant for younger grades, not upper!

First of all, the pictures are GORGEOUS. Simply gorgeous. 40 cards are included...all featuring amazing shots of all different types of animals.  

On the back of each card, there are several critical thinking questions. These would work great in small groups for k-1 and could also be great as independent activities for 2-3 and even struggling 4th graders! ***
There are lots more ways to use these amazing cards. They would serve as great writing topics. You could create questioning charts using individual pictures..Tons of ways! 

I'm giving away this set to one lucky reader! Here's how to enter:

"Like" Learning Resources on Facebook
Follow Learning Resources on Twitter
Follow Learning Resources on Pinterest
Follow Learning Resources on Instagram
Follow me on Instagram (msleslieann01)
"Like" Life in First Grade on Facebook


Giveaway ends Thursday and I'll announce the winner Thursday night! Good Luck!! :) 

Saturday, July 19, 2014

Book Bins Giveaway and Some News!

Hi friends! I'm been absent from the blog all week because I've been busy putting my new house together! 
I've got just three weeks before school starts back, so I'm rushing around like a mad woman! The porches have already been painted a nice crisp white, so the house already looks different than it did when I closed on Wednesday. I'll be blogging about my decorating process over at Southern Belle Inspired if you want to read about it :)

Winners of the Steps to Literacy Book Bins are in! Congrats! :)
I'll be contacting y'all shortly! Didn't win but still want these adorable bins?
Grab yours here!

Tuesday, July 15, 2014

It's Beginning to Look A Lot Like Christmas...

Well, maybe not. But it IS beginning to look a lot like Christmas in July! My TpT store will be on sale over the next few days. Here's the items that you can grab for 20% off today (7/14). These products are some of my new favorite resources that I've created lately! :)

*Click each link below to shop!*

Saturday, July 12, 2014

Book Bins GIVEAWAY and a *FREEBIE*

Hi friends! I'm am so excited about today's post. I've been in the market for book bins since forever and I've never found the right ones. They either weren't my color, or they were way too expensive. And then I discovered Steps to Literacy. Y'all, they seriously have THE best book bins. I am in love! 
Let me explain how I've used these fantastic bins in my classroom. Since I teach 5th grade, the majority of our classroom library is filled with novels. I actually separate my picture books and store them in another bookshelf. My kids are always allowed to read them. Some of the higher picture books are actually 3-5th AR level, so they can even take AR tests on them. I still love having lower level books in the room though. Sometimes those books help my reluctant readers rediscover their love of books and they are also helpful for teaching skills. 
When I'm trying to get my kids to understand a certain skill like making inferences or drawing conclusions, I've found that it works a lot better when you use a book that's slightly below level. That way the students can concentrate on understanding the skill, rather than comprehending the text. 
When I need to teach a certain skill and I'm trying to create a lesson, I also find my way to our picture books to try and pick an anchor text. I decided this year to sort some of the books by the skills that they lend themselves to. These Steps to Literacy bins worked perfectly! 

Want to know the BEST part?? Steps to Literacy has given me 2 sets of bins to giveaway! If you are the lucky winner, you'll receive a set of 8 bins. The first winner will have the choice of primary colors or the bright colors. 

Want to enter? Here's what to do! 
* Like Life in First Grade on Facebook here
* Follow me on Pinterest here
* Follow me on Instagram by searching for my username, msleslieann01
* Follow Steps to Literacy on Facebook here
*Follow Steps to Literacy on Pinterest here
*Follow Steps to Literacy on Instagram by searching for their username, stepstoliteracy

Got it? Great! Now start entering! :) Contest ends next Friday (7/18) and the winners will be announced Saturday (7/19)

a Rafflecopter giveaway
Now for the freebie! Click the pic below to snag a copy of my book bin labels :) 

Friday, July 11, 2014

Five for Friday

I'm linking up with Kacey over at Doodle Bugs and sharing my 5 for Friday. :)

Want to link up too? Head over to Doodle Bugs!

Thursday, July 10, 2014

Showing Evidence Freebies

Hi y'all! I got an early start on working in the classroom this morning and I finished my evidence board. We are constantly working on ways to show evidence to back up a response or answer, so I wanted to have some reference cards somewhere in the room for the kids to refer to. I love how it turned out! Simple, but it works! I found and copied this amazing chart here. I think it will really help my kids this year. Be sure and download your free copy of the colored term posters here. :)

***I'll be back tomorrow with a FABULOUS giveaway!!! Don't miss it y'all!

Tuesday, July 8, 2014

Classroom Design Progress Update

Hi friends! I spent a good part of the day working my classroom and got a ton done, so I thought I'd share! :)
Aren't these Peanuts characters adorable?? They are suppose to go around a door, but I think they spice up this plain easel stand :)

This entire corner is done! :) 

I am just thrilled with this paper organizer from target. It was only $8, y'all! Go out and get yours now! They were in the back to school section. 

Sunday, July 6, 2014

A Trait A Day: Character Traits

Teaching character traits is one of the first skills we cover in reading and it's also one of my favorite things to teach! When I taught this lesson last year, it went great except for one tiny detail. While my kids could identify traits and assign them to certain characters based on actions, dialogue, interactions, etc., they didn't know the meaning of a lot of the traits. That's when I realized that I needed to expose my kids to more vocabulary and increase their knowledge of these words. Thus, A Trait A Day was born.

I can't wait to use this next year! I made this into a mini bulletin board that will hang in my classroom. The display pieces are included in the pack.
I'll change the trait sheets each day and we will study a new trait. I may have them do something with it or include a task in their warm ups. I haven't decided yet. The traits correlate with my Character Comprehension unit and accompany this chart.

Click here to grab a copy! :)

Saturday, July 5, 2014

Oh, Snap!

Okay, so if you've been on Instagram, Facebook, or any blogs today, chances are you've noticed something about a scavenger hunt. If you haven't yet, go check out Blog Hoppin' right now! Seriously, y'all this is SOOO fun! :) Hop over to Blog Hoppin' and read all about it! :) I can't wait to start snapping pics...follow me on Instagram and play along! My username is msleslieann01 :)

Friday, July 4, 2014

5 for Friday

{1}Happy 4th of July, y'all! 

{2} Organizing my Pinterest boards...follow me! msleslieann01

{3} Planning out blog posts for here and Southern Belle Inspired :)

{4} Tried the new Ginger Ale drink from Starbucks. Oh my goodness! So good! 

{5} Spending the remainder of the day shopping on store (along with lots others!) are on SALE! Click here to shop!

4th of July SALE!

Happy 4th of July, y'all! Before you hit the water, why not shop? I know I will be! My entire store is 20% off today and tomorrow! :) :) Click here to shop
I'll be back later today to link up with Doodle Bugs for 5 for Friday. 

Thursday, July 3, 2014

Throwback Thursday: Classroom Design from 2011

It's Throwback Thursday! Let's go back to August 2011 and revisit one of my favorite classroom designs :) Maybe you'll see something that you could use in your classroom! :)

I've posted most of these pics already, but for the sake of formality, I'm going to post them all together in one nice and neat entry :) I'm loving seeing everyone else's classroom pictures! I love getting ideas! :)

Meeting area/ Buddy Reading Center

Writing Center

Concept Question Board

Math Focus Board

Front of the room

Sounds Board


Back corner

Job Chart

Cubbies and Student Work Display

Small group meeting area/word wall/ focus board

part of my desk and the beloved Elmo

Behavior Chart