Sunday, February 27, 2011

Charlotte's Web

This is my first attempt of making a teeny-tiny mini unit. I'm thinking I really need to invest in some cute clipart, but hopefully this will be helpful and connect other subjects to this amazing book. I've done a lot of the activities with my students and they were pretty excited about matching Wilbur with his Charlotte.

Anywhoo, click above the pictures to download the unit (it's in two parts).

Part one - Click HERE

Part two - Click HERE

Sorry the second document is so huge. I'm not sure how to fix it.


Friday, February 25, 2011

Musical Giveaway

You're probably thinking, "Don't people usually wait until they have over 100 followers to have a giveaway? This girl's only has 17!" You're right, I'm nowhere near 100 followers, but you know what? I love my 17 followers and I have something awesome to give away so why not give it to someone that I love?

Let me back up a minute though. Have you seen my friend, Mrs. Ward's, blog? She is so super cute and I adore her. We taught summer school together last year and it was by far the most fun you can have at summer school. Well, Mrs. Ward and I decided to do this giveaway together so, in order to have a better chance of winning you need to go check her out.

My first grade team does a musical together every spring. It is the cutest thing we do all year. The students LOVE it and the parents do too. The musical is perfect for 2-4 classes to do together (it can be done with one, but it might be a little overwhelming). I have a packet that includes EVERYTHING from the sheet music, speaking parts, a CD with and without the vocals, and ideas for costumes.

I have three so you may choose the one you'd like. Please click on the picture to get more info.

You have two chances to enter.
1. Be a follower of this blog
2. Be a follower of Mrs. Ward's blog
Leave me a comment to let me know.
It's that simple. Oh, make sure you include which musical you'd like and leave me your email. Also, if you want to leave a comment on Mrs. Ward's blog that would be super-duper too (no extra entries for that though, sorry)
The winner will be announced Wednesday around 8-ish.
Best of luck!

Tuesday, February 22, 2011

That Toad is Mine!

For those of you HM users I quickly made this worksheet to go with the story That Toad is Mine! It teaches the students how to identify the problem, make a list of possible solutions, and then find the best solutions. Click here or on the picture to download the worksheet.

Anyone else super tired? Yeah, it 9:00 and I'm ready for bed. G'night!

Monday, February 21, 2011

Upcoming unit

I've spent the last few hours working on a mini unit (my first one ever for this blog!) and I'm pretty excited to share it with everyone. I had no idea these mini units took so long! It makes me REALLY appreciate all the hard work you teachers put into making and then sharing them.

Want to know what it's about? I'll give you four clues: it's some unit, terrific, radiant, and humble.

Did that give it away? I'm sure my teacher friends will know what I'm talking about! Hopefully it'll be done and posted later on this week.

Sunday, February 20, 2011

Don't Eat the Leprechaun!

You know the game 'Don't Eat Pete' ? Well, this is my St. Patty's Day version of it.

Click here or on the picture to download.

Never heard of 'Don't Eat Pete' ? No worries, here's the directions for a good ol' time!

Send the first player away from the game board or into another room, then have the remaining players choose which one of the nine people on the game board will be "Pete" for the round. Place one M&M in each square of the game board. Have the first player come back and begin picking and eating M&M's from the game board. As soon as the player tries to pick "Pete" everyone yells "Don't Eat Pete!" The player keeps all the M&M's picked up before trying to get Pete. Refill the game board and play again with the next player.

You can use cereal or other small snack foods as well as any type of small candy for this game.

Also, to involve the whole class I copy this game board onto a transparency sheet and use my overhead.

What are some of your fun St. Patty's Day games?

Friday, February 18, 2011

Positive notes home

This year my school has become a PBIS school (Positive Behavior Interventions & Supports) and part of that involves focusing an maximizing achievement for all students by building a strong rapport with each child. My principal put it this way "You want each and every child to feel as though they are the teacher's pet." I love that. So one of the things I'm doing is every week or so I send home a note to a student telling them something that I appreciate about them or how they've improved in a certain area.

Now I know that so many of you GREAT teachers already do notes like this. A teacher at my school had this idea and I thought it was so smart. You get a picture and then use a photo editing site (I love and write a positive message on it. Then you handwrite your note to the child on the back. It's fun because they have a picture of themselves (I use the pictures I took on the first day of school) and it helps you keep track of the kids who've already received their note.

How cute is this stud?!? BTW This is not one of my firsties (b/c I don't use their faces in my posts) this is my very handsome nephew Matt who is already a 6th grader!

Sunday, February 13, 2011

Accessory Swap Party

How fun does this seem? Go check out Miss Elisabeth's blog here and join in on the accessory swap.

I've never done anything like this before, but I love the idea. You sign up at her blog and she'll pair you with a partner that you'll spend $15-$20 on buying great accessories and then they buy YOU cute accessories too. Then you swap! I'm excited because a store in town that I love has really cute jewelry and I'm all for supporting local businesses.

I'm also just really excited to get a fun, surprise package in the mail. I can't wait!

Saturday, February 12, 2011


The title says it all doesn't it? Yesterday was our 100th day of school and it was party central. If you could've seen my kids you would've thought it was Christmas or something. They were totally off the walls excited. I do love their enthusiasm about just about everything. Our 100th day celebration wasn't until the afternoon and they tried their hardest to sit still through the morning.

My first grade team (which is awesome, by the way) always rotates the students through our classrooms so we only have to prepare one great lesson and then teach it to every class. I've done my activity every year and I totally love doing it - it's so dang easy and the kiddos really enjoy it.

Here's what I do: I write the numbers 1 - 100 on those Avery Color-Coding Dot Labels (the primary colors) and then hide them ALL OVER my room. When the students come in I give them a paper with the 100 chart on it, three primary colored crayons, and I tell them they are to go on a number hunt. When they find a dot they color that number square on their paper the same color as the dot (see below pictures it that's unclear). I make sure I also tell them not to remove the dots as they find them so others can find the dots too. They have around 15 minutes in my classroom and they spend the whole time searching. Too fun!

In another classroom they made these cute headbands...

... and art out of the numbers 1 0 0

Monster truck?

If you haven't celebrated yet - have a happy 100th day!

Tuesday, February 8, 2011

Flat Stanley - Part One

I know making and sending out Flat Stanley's is definitely not an original idea, but I'm still going to share what we've been working on. This post's title is a little deceiving, because it took a few weeks to actually get to this point. So here are the actual steps in our Flat Stanley adventure.

Part One: Read the book Flat Stanley. Sounds easy enough, right? Totally. It's a really cute book by Jeff Brown.
Part Two: Using the Cricut make 7" paper dolls (you could do 6" or smaller, but 7" felt right to me)
Part Two 1/2: Get really distracted by best friend's wedding next fall and spend 15 minutes making this cute bridal doll. Then get mad at yourself because you are now late to pick up your baby from the sitter (I do not recommend this step!)
Part Three: Send a letter home to the parents asking for an address of a family member or friend that lives outside of the state to send the Flat Stanley's to.

Part Four: Using construction paper, fabric, wall paper samples, or any other crafts have the students dress their Flat Stanleys. We make ours to look like the students themselves.
Part Five: Write a letter to the people who will be getting the Flat Stanley and tell them to take pictures, document, and then send the Flat Stanley back to your school by a specific date.

Part Six: Have the students share their letters and pictures when their Flat Stanley returns and then add to bulletin board (this part hasn't happened just yet in our classroom)

What do you do with your Flat Stanley dolls?

Saturday, February 5, 2011

Hand washing Lesson

I don't know about your students, but mine need several reminders throughout the year on the importance and proper procedure of hand washing. I'm sure you all remember last year's swine flu scare, so that's when I came up with this fun lesson. First of all, I read the story Germs Make me Sick! by Melvin Berger where we talk about the different kinds of germs.

We then talk about the correct way to wash your hands (warm water and soap, 20 seconds of scrubbing, etc.) then we do an experiment (just the word experiment gets the kids so excited!). I put the students into four groups and I tell them they're going to represent the four ways my students typically wash their hands. One group will use soap and water and do the correct way to wash, the second group will do a "quick wash" where they run their hands under the water for 2 seconds and then quickly wipe off their hands, the third group will do the "jeans wipe" where they just quickly wipe their hands on a paper towel, and the fourth group doesn't get to do anything to clean their hands.

Now comes the fun part. I have the students come over in the groups and I put some lotion and glitter on their hands. The glitter is the germs. They think it's so cool to have glitter all over them (I do set ground rules before hand saying they have to keep their hands to themselves and sit quietly after they've gotten their hands germy). I then have the groups go wash (or not wash) their hands as we've discussed and we compare how effective our methods were. Here's a picture of the students who got to properly wash their hands and the students who didn't get to do anything. See the awesome difference?!?

Once that's done I do let them ALL go wash their hands the correct way and pass out these coloring sheets for the kids to work on while we're waiting for everyone to be done. You could always extend the lesson by doing a venn diagram or a graph, but because of a block schedule, that's usually where we end the lesson.

How do you remind your students to wash their hands?

Thursday, February 3, 2011

Groundhog's Day (+1)

Yesterday was Groundhog's Day and I had all these activities ready for my first graders to do. Then they went and called a snow day (not that I'm complaining!) and I was pretty bummed that we wouldn't get to celebrate this very important holiday (to 6 year olds). Luckily I'm married to a very smart man who reminded me I could simply tell me students, "Guess what yesterday was? We're so lucky that we get to celebrate for an extra day." Man, I'm glad he's around!

So today during our centers time the students worked on couple different fun projects. This first one was actually pretty hard for them. They had to put together this puzzle, but only about half of them were able to finish in 15 minutes. I'll have to tweak if for next year.

I can't remember where I found this cute paper with the grass border, but we used this for our journal writing today. The students wrote how they felt about Phil the Groundhog not seeing his shadow. Then they got to color their own Phil and glue him behind the paper so it looks like he's popping up from his hole.

What did your students do for Groundhog's Day?

Wednesday, February 2, 2011

Meet the Teacher!

I noticed on a few of the other teacher blogs that I read, there is a linky party going on and I'm always up for a party. This is perfect for me since I'm new to the teaching blog world (I've had my family blog going for a few years now) so most of you probably don't know me. Please feel free to join in and visit
the First Grade Parade!

This is me, Rachel. I'm a wife, teacher, mother, and dancer (just a few of my titles in no special order). I'm also a non-cook. I've tried and failed many, many times. Luckily I'm married to a wonderful man who loves to cook and he's great at it! He's also a English and Spanish teacher at a nearby high school, so today we're both enjoying a day off due to extremely cold weather (-18!). Oh, I've this is my fifth year teaching first grade and I definitely think first graders are the cutest kids!

We've been married for 7 years and have this little man. Isn't he adorable? His laugh melts my heart.

I graduated from BYU-Idaho, but I'm originally from Ohio so by nature I'm a Buckeye's fan! I LOVE going home to visit my parents, my four siblings, three nieces, and four nephews. Our family's so big and fun that it's always a party. That's only MY side of the family. My husband is from California, right by the coast, and his hometown is basically my dream town. So picturesque and beautiful. My little guy was grand-baby #4 born in one year, so it's just as crazy and fun when we visit there.

Okay here's some Q & A:

Q: What would you be doing if you weren’t a teacher?
A: I'd stay at home all day with Little Boy

Q: What are your hobbies?
A: Right now I'm loving Zumba. I also love to read, dance, and spend time with my family.

Q: When you were little, what did you want to be when you grew up?
A: I've wanted to be a teacher ever since I was seven. I'd teach my dolls whenever my mom would mop and floor (because she'd line up all the chairs in the family room). I also
really wanted to be one of those dancers in the Disneyland parade. I'm still a little sad that never happened.

Q: What are your guilty pleasures?
A: Anything that combines mint and chocolate, Teen Mom, People magazine, Coke, napping, people watching, and shopping at stores that I have no business shopping at like F21.

Q: What is your biggest fear?!
A: Heights. Ugh, just thinking about it makes me dizzy. I seriously have dreams that I'm stuck on top of some kind of structure and can't get down
all the time!

Q: When you’re on vacation, where do you like to go?
A: Usually our vacation time is spent either in Ohio or California visiting family, but we'd love to travel to Europe and visit Paris or Italy (some place romantic and full of history). I also have spent my best vacations in New York City.

Q: What’s the best advice you’ve ever received?
A: "Smoke 'em if you got 'em. What am I the police?"
From a SNL skit Okay so that's not really any kind of advice that I've got, but I do try to just live life the best I can and try not to judge how other's live theres.

Q: What do you value most in others?
A: Honesty and being true to yourself. Usually those two things make for a great friend.

Q: If you could choose one of your personality traits to pass down to your kids, what would it be?
A: I'm a hard worker so I'd want my kids to have that trait. I'm often told I'm a sweet person so I think that combined with their Daddy's dry sense of humor would be a good balance.

Q: If you could have lunch with anyone in the world….living or dead…who would it be?
A: I'd actually just love to have lunch with my parents and sister in Ohio since that hardly ever gets to happen.

Now tell us one random thing about yourself:

Okay this is totally random, but when I was in high school I lived across the street from Bizzy Bone of the rap group Bone Thugs n Harmony. That was pretty crazy and I have lots of stories about him. That's for another time though. Be sure to visit First Grade Parade to link up!