Monday, September 3, 2012

Sight Word Dictionary

Our first grade team decided to incorporate a list of Dolch basic sight words per day.  Each child has a sight word "dictionary" in which to record the new list of words.  I've made A-Z tabs throughout the composition books.  The children record their sight words on the correct beginning letter page.  This way we begin to work on ABC order and very beginning dictionary skills as we learn and review sight words.

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

Math Meeting Area

My first graders love "math meeting time".  We spend the first 15-20 minutes of math instruction on the rug in front of our math board.  Each day we cover day, month, number sequence, tens/ones, and money.  As the year continues we'll add telling time and skip counting.  The children have fun and it's a great way to review before the day's new math lesson. Below are some features of our math board.  You can "tweak" it to suit your grade and/or curriculum.

Monday, January 18, 2010

Winter Wonderland of Ideas's snowy and cold in many parts of the country, but you can warm your students' imaginations with these fun ideas.
Snowmen are a great way to start.  You can use 3-ball snowmen to review common nouns.  Use the template below to have the students cut out the snowman parts.  Each child thinks of a person, place, and a thing.  Glue the snowmen on to blue backgrounds and use chalk to create a snowy scene.  Make a cute noun bulletin board.  As an extension, have the children pick a different snowman and write sentences about the nouns on that snowman.
noun snowman

Of course there are lots of wonderful wintery books out there that can be used for reading and language arts.  Two of my favorites are The Mitten and The Hat by Jan Brett.  Jan Brett's website is full of fantastic activities and printables for teachers.  Check out her website below:
The Mitten by Jan Brett
The Hat by Jan Brett

Have your students make a Venn Diagram to compare the two books.  For my first graders I make it cute-sy by having having them overlap a mitten shape with a hat shape.  Compare and contrast the two stories.
Comparing The Hat & The Mitten Stories

Another fun activity is to practice story sequence by having your students cut out 3 mittens (or hats) and write or draw what happened at the beginning, middle and end of the story.

Tuesday, December 8, 2009

Who is the Grinch Anyway?

Each day this week, I have picked a Christmas book to read aloud to my first graders.  After reading the book we follow with an activity correlated to language arts.
Today I read that old classic How The Grinch Stole Christmas by Dr. Seuss.
Each child drew their version of the Grinch on a 9x12 piece of green construction paper.
Next I gave each child a set of strips to cut apart.

Character Map Strips

Step by step we placed the strips on "our own" grinch, then wrote a response under each strip. The children loved this activity and were so proud to hang up their details about this Grinch. It was a fun way to explore a main character of a book.

Here is a picture of an example:

Sunday, December 6, 2009

Fabulous First Grade Websites

There are so many wonderful websites out there and so many creative teachers among us. Spend some time visiting a few. Even after all of these years teaching first grade I am always finding something new and exciting. Sometimes another teacher's ideas or blog will reinforce a thought I had. Sometimes these ideas and blogs will help me try something new and fresh. Many times I just am looking for a new way to present material.

Remember, most teachers share ideas freely but, always check for permissions and copyrights before using another person's information!

Here are links to a few of my favorite first grade sites on the web

Mrs. Sterczek's First Grade
I like her parent information page.

Mrs. Zider's First Grade
She has a very nice tour of her classroom through photos.

Mrs. McGowan's First Grade
She has a wealth of information, including lots and lots of great websites to check out.

Mrs. Antoine's Access to Academics
You'll find great teacher resources, as well as examples of classroom management tips.

Mrs. Dennis' First Grade
Here you can find links to first grade skill builder activities for students to use at school and at home.

Ms. Oakes' Fantastic First Grade
Check out her "sweet" behavior guidelines using her classroom rules.

Mrs. Golubic's First Grade
I love her wonderful collection of links that are divided by subject areas.

Mrs. Short's First Grade
Awesome ideas for internet projects. There are also some great printables and downloads.

Mrs. Harper's First Grade
Wow, what a nice "parent's toolbox" link. There are tips and ways for parents to help their children be the best they can be!

Mrs. Houpe's First Grade
Colorful! That's what her list of rainbow words are for sure! She has created color-coded flash cards for the parent to utilize at home. They are listed by week of study. You could take this idea and adapt it to your reading series.

Mrs. Weyant's First Grade
Love the idea to post "Study" Guides for parents. This way parents can stay connected to what's being taught in the classroom.

My First Grade Site

Calendar Time

Each day we spend about fifteen minutes together having calendar time. We take a look at the calendar and say the month and date together. On my calendar I post birthdays, trips, etc. We count up to see how many days until that event.

I also have a section where we complete the sentences:

Today is ______________.

Yesterday was __________.

Tomorrow will be ________.

This is an excellent review of the sequence of the days of the week! I have the days of the week laminated with a magnetic strip behind each one. That way they can easily be changed each day.

Next we have a chart that we continue to count the number of days we've been in school. This reinforces counting up to 100.

Then we count coins that match how many days we've been in school. For example, if we have been in school for sixty-two days, then we count coins that add up to sixty-two cents. I have a set of plastic coins with velco behind them. Our money chart has strips of velcro, too. I like this because you can change them quickly, yet the coins stay fast and tight until you remove them. When we accumulate five pennies we exchange them for a nickel. When we get two nickels we exchange them for a dime. You get the picture!

Speaking of are some of my calendar area.

Labels, Labels, Labels

Self sticking labels for the computer have become one of my favorite new ways to be well organized and efficent in my classroom.

I print sheets of labels with each child's name. The first day of school, I put parent volunteers to work right away. They attach the student-name labels to consumable workbooks, journals, take-home folders, etc.

At our school we change classes for reading, so I have a label that attaches to the take-home folder also. It has my name, our room number, and the reading teacher's name. This helps the parents, teachers, and students quickly identify a folder. Here is the template I use and you are welcome to change it to suit your needs.

Take Home Folder Labels

I use labels for field trips. I make a label with our school name and phone number, my name etc. I then stick them to one of the cute sets of cut-outs available, laminate them, punch a hole in them. Then I tie a string through it and tah dah you have cute field trip necklaces.

Another use for labels is to print your own customized message for parents. I can quickly peel these labels and attach them to the child's daily agenda that goes home each night.

Here's just one example: I use return address labels. Each one states: Just a reminder that you've signed up for a conference on_________________ at __________________.

I'd love to hear about ways you have used printable labels in your classroom!