Saturday, January 28, 2012

Dialogue Journals and a FREEBIE

One of my amazing co-workers introduced me to both of these ideas for this post, and they are just too good not to share! The first is using a Dialogue Journal to enhance and making writing more meaningful. For this activity I just got those spiral bound notebooks (I used college ruled because they're dirt cheap!) and then took them to get cut in half. Then I tell the students that these are used to have conversations with other students through writing.

The only rules are:
1. No talking
2. You can't write to the same person each time
3. While you're waiting for a response you need to be reading at your seat

We just started these this past week and I'm going to show them to their parents during Parent-Teacher Conferences (next week!). Soon I'll let the students take these home on the weekend to use with family members.

The kiddos have LOVED this so far!

Finally, here's a quick way for the parents to let me know their concerns and questions ahead of their conference time so I can have some materials ready for them (that's for another post!).
Click on the picture below to get your copy!

Friday, January 20, 2012

Groundhog Contraction

We have less than two weeks until Groundhog's Day so I created a quick contraction activity. Click on the picture of the groundhog to get yours!

Thursday, January 19, 2012

And The Award Goes To....

...this bulletin board for being the cutest thing EVER! We have some amazingly creative people at my school. I laugh every time I see it!

Wednesday, January 18, 2012

McTeacher Night and a Winner!

Tonight our school had a fundraiser at McDonalds called McTeacher Night. It was the first time we've done this and it was a two hour time period where we were able to get a portion of the proceeds the evening. All the teachers signed up to help out. Some cleaned tables, some helped put food out, some gave out prizes to the kids, and some passed out free smoothie samples. I got to have a really fun job and passed out stickers to all the kids. It was so busy and packed the whole time! About half of my students came with their parents and everyone said they had such a great time.

I encourage you to see if your school can do something similar. It was by far the easiest fundraiser we've ever done. So our school library got money, McDonalds got money, AND each teacher who worked got a coupon for a free value meal. Win-win-win!

I'm also happy to announce a winner from my giveaway! Congrats to Jennifer from Keys4Education. Thank you to those who entered and gave me some ideas for my upcoming Family Reading Night. I appreciate all your help!

Tuesday, January 17, 2012

Parent-Teacher Conferences

It's almost that time again! I feel like we just had Parent-Teacher Conference, too. Anywhoo - here's a really simple self evaluation I have the students fill out to discuss with their parents. It's really surprising how hard they can be on themselves. Breaks my heart!

Click on the picture to get your copy.

Also my friend, Nicole, did a post last year about some of her cute ideas for PTC. My favorite that I'll be using this year are the packets of hot chocolate for the parents. It'll be perfect for this extra cold weather! Click on the picture to go to her blog and find the downloads for these.

Finally, don't forget to enter my GIVEAWAY {here!}

Monday, January 16, 2012

Texture Art and an AWESOME gift idea!

Since we don't have an art teacher at our school or district (for elementary at least) our PTO asks for Art Moms (or Dads) to come teach a lesson once a month to the students. This year I totally lucked out and got two fantastic Art Moms.

Last week they taught the kids about using different textures in their art (think Starry Night) and they combined lots of different things into each color of tempera paint. Here are some of the examples. Then they talked about how some paints would be smooth (Dawn, Oil) and some would be rough (Salt, Glitter, Potato Flakes). Then they had the kids do a loopy pencil sketch and paint in each section with a different color.

Don't these just look great?!? I didn't know how they would look on the black paper, but the colors all dried so bright and beautiful!

Today was my husband's birthday and like most men, he's pretty difficult to shop for. So I starting thinking about his gift way back in November. I came across this really cool shop in Etsy and I was able to message Amanda, the owner, and she designed this awesome Darth Vader pattern just for my husband (she now makes them for her shop). Needless to say, my husband LOVED his gift and he's going to hang it in his classroom (he teaches English at the high school).

I highly recommend you stop by and check out Amanda's shop (click on the picture below) and tell her Rachel sent you - who knows - maybe one day in the future we can do a giveaway (please Amanda!). You can also stop by her art blog {HERE}.

P.S. Please check out my post below and leave me some ideas for my upcoming Dr. Seuss Family Reading Night!

Saturday, January 14, 2012

Is a BRIBE worth your time?

Have you ever volunteered to be in charge of something and then wondered why you did, right after? Well, the last week of February / first of March is our Dr. Seuss Spirit Week and I signed up to take charge. We've haven't done this before the my "co-captain" AKA the person who is normally in charge or this sorta stuff isn't excited at all about it. So I basically volunteered because I want the students to have a blast celebrating Dr. Seuss. Thankfully I have you guys to help me out! I'm using a lot of our fun activities from Rachelle's Dr. Seuss unit. {Thanks, Girl!}

I do have a favor to ask of you guys though...That week we're supposed to have a "Family Reading Night" and I need some great ideas. One room will be a "Royal Reader" reading some classic Dr. Seuss and another room will have some parents doing face painting. I need around three other rooms where parents and their children can join in on some fun, easy Dr. Seuss based activities that would be fun for K-4. I'd appreciate ANY and ALL ideas!

As my way of saying thanks for you help I'm also throwing in a GIVEAWAY! I bought this great Dr. Jean CD a few months ago just to be used for a giveaway, but I was waiting for the right moment and this just feels right :o)

You have 3 ways to enter! { with 3 separate entries }

1. Follow this blog (or let me know that you already do!)
2. Put Ed Link - First Grade on your blogroll
3. Leave your idea for the Dr. Seuss Family Reading Night

That's it! I'll choose a winner next Wednesday-ish.

Sunday, January 8, 2012

Final Endings of nd, ng, & nk {freebie!}

Here's just a quick worksheet to review one of our new concepts being taught this week (for Houghton Mifflin). Click on the picture to grab your copy.

Friday, January 6, 2012

Spelling City

Spelling City ( is such a great interactive site for making spelling practice fun. Incase you're not familiar with Spelling City I've included a how-to.

Once you've created your lists you'll see a screen like this:

One feature that took me a year to notice is the 'print' button next to several games. It's great for whole group since my classroom only has three computers.

I know this was a really quick run down, but I hope it has helped some.