Sunday, October 28, 2012

Dia de los muertos

This Thursday and Friday, November 1st and 2nd, is when "El Dia de los Muertos" is celebrated in Mexico.  I love exposing my students to cultural celebrations from around the world, and for some students in the dual language program this holiday is not celebrated in their families.  Here is a link to some info about the holiday.

Last year, my students made this skeleton craft and it turned out super cute.  I look forward to doing it again this year!

I also found this amazing blog with many great ideas of activities to do in your classroom related to "El dia de los muertos".  How do you plan on celebrating it with your students?
Wednesday, October 24, 2012

Fairy Tales: Happily Ever After :)

I have been collecting photos over the last few weeks in preparation for this post about fairy tales.  In first grade this year, we did a fairy tales unit and focused on Little Red Riding Hood, The Three Little Pigs, and Cinderella.  We had a blast!  Many of the activities came from my fairy tales unit, which is available in both English and Spanish on my TpT store.  Here are just a few of the activities:

Comparing & Contrasting the 3 little pigs' houses

Matching subject & predicate:  The 3 little pigs
{This looks way cuter in color except that my color printing is being monitored by big brother} 

Comparing & Contrasting two versions of Cinderella:

We did lots with Little Red Riding Hood too, especially related to adjectives, except I didn't get any good pictures of that.  My student teacher is in her full teach now, so I am not doing a good job of taking pictures of the kids' work... slacking, I know.

I have some incredibly talented teachers on my team, and they decorated their walls for the fairy tale unit.  A.M.A.Z.I.N.G.  {Shout out to Ms. Kallead & Ms. Rodriguez}  Here are some pics for you:

One activity that they did is that the kids used wordle to describe little red riding hood with adjectives.  Love!  These teachers are seriously creative, are they not?

Anyway, I hope you'll check out my fairy tale unit!  Until then, let's all live happily ever after :)
Saturday, October 20, 2012

Small Groups: Reading

In first grade, reading is a huge push.  I spend between 45 minutes to an hour every day doing reading groups with my students.  I love my kidney table for groups, and especially appreciate my comfy teacher chair :).  A couple of summers ago, I saw the idea on pinterest for crate seats and made some for my classroom.  I have started really using them to store materials for use with my small group and it has made group time go so much smoother!  Here are some items I have stored in my crate seats:  letter magnets, sight word bingo, syllable bingo, white boards, dry erase markers, and foam syllable blocks.  I am doing a lot of word work with my strugglers, so I am using materials from my crate almost daily.  Here is a picture of my reading table:

I also started using a little teacher caddy this year.  I have items such as pens, scissors, index cards, stickers, guided reading prompting questions, my teacher white board & marker, my small group planning binder, books to use with my groups, and of course-- my tiara!  I put on the tiara during groups so the other students know not to come and ask me questions.  In my small group planning binder, I have a sheet that helps me to stay on track with which students are in which groups and what groups I am meeting with each day.  I have already changed my small group plan 3 or 4 times this year to meet the needs of my kids.  My plan at the moment is to meet with 2 groups a day so I can spend 20-30 minutes with each group.  Normally, though, I like to do 3 groups a day for 15-20 minutes.

Teaching reading small groups is definitely challenging.  Even after 6 years in first grade, I am still learning new things about how to make my group time better.  Do you have any suggestions?
Tuesday, October 16, 2012

Halloween Interactive Problem Solving {Freebie}

Problem solving is a big push on our campus this year and my kids really need some practice with it.  I decided to create an interactive problem solving area in my classroom where they can come to manipulate the numbers, words, and objects to solve problems.  I plan on leaving it up all year and just switching out the objects and words based on the time of the year.

For now, the theme is Halloween, of course :).  This would be great for a bulletin board, but I don't have any that the kids can reach so I put it on my classroom door.  I laminated butcher paper and put a cute border around it to make it stand out.   You can grab your own copy of the numbers, words, and objects in English or Spanish at my TpT store.  I used velcro for the numbers, words, and objects so that the kids can easily switch them out to create a problem.   To store them, I am using envelopes and half of a gift sack.  {Resourcefulness is my middle name... ha}  Here are some samples of the problem solving in Spanish:



candy corn

I hope you find this useful with your own kiddos!
Sunday, October 14, 2012

American Idol & Writer's Workshop Conferencing

Well hello again blog world!  This week has been very busy because yesterday my husband had his second american idol audition.  He made it through the first round, and we were notified Monday that his second audition would be yesterday.  All that to say, I had to be sure and get a hair appointment, pick a cute outfit to wear, buy confetti etc., and of course spend ALL day yesterday at the audition.  Unfortunately he didn't make it any farther, but even still it was a fun experience!  It did make for a busy week, though.

On a different note, I wanted to show my writer's workshop conferencing bag.  I am loving doing writer's workshop in the classroom and will blog more about it in the future, but today I wanted to focus on conferencing.  My goal is to meet with 3-4 students each day while the other students are working on their writing.  I meet with them at their desks so other students around can listen and get ideas of how to improve their writing as well.  In my conferencing bag I keep a journal, prompting questions to help me with the conferences, a mentor text, some stickers, and a pen.  In the journal I write each students name and divide the page into two sections with a line down the middle.  I write the date each time I conference with the student, and on one side I write what they are doing well in their writing and on the other side I write their writing goals.  I make sure to praise the student before telling them what they should work on for next time.  This info is very helpful to use in parent teacher conferences as well.  I have the mentor text to show as an example of what good writers do.  For example:  "Do you see how this writers ends every sentence with punctuation?  Can you try to do that in your writing too?"  The kids are really embracing writer's workshop so far and I think it is off to a good start.  Do you have any conferencing tips to share?

Wednesday, October 10, 2012

Swat a Sight Word

I had seen this idea floating around the internet and decided to try it out with my emerging readers in small group today. It was a success for sure; they loved it!

I laid out some sight words on the table and gave each student a fly swatter.  {I got them for $1 a piece at H-E-B}  To play the game, I said a word and the first student to swat it won a point.  Then, they had to write the word on their white boards.  These kiddos are just at the point of beginning to form words with sounds and syllables, so this was great practice for them.  I highly recommend using it in your classroom!
Sunday, October 7, 2012

Reading Folders: Practice at Home

I have several kids who are needing a little push in reading this year, and wanted to send their parents some resources to use with them at home.  I ended up coming up with a reading folder in Spanish to use, and wanted to share it with my fellow bilingual teacher friends in blog world!

I started with a file folder.  On the inside of the folder, I glued a resource I found for free here on the Teachers pay Teachers store.  It has the Spanish syllables, alphabet with pictures, days of the week, months of the year, numbers, counting by 2s, 5s, and 10s, etc.

I had a parent laminate and cut a set of high frequency word cards for each folder as well.  {Houston ISD has them for download on their site, just click above}.  I am so thankful for her help!

On the front of the folder I put a cute cover and on the back, I have suggestions of activities that parents can do with their kids using the syllables and high frequency word cards.  Click here for a link to the google doc with both of these pages included.

And Ta-da!  Reading folder complete.  I love finding free resources on the web that make my life easier-- hopefully this info will help you out too :).
Friday, October 5, 2012

Giveaway Winner & Business Cards

And the winner is... Teacher Kirra!!  Congrats-- I'll be emailing your word work center pack ASAP.  Thanks to everyone for entering :)

On a totally separate note, my business cards came in the mail today and they are super cute.  I bought a groupon for vistaprint {$17 for $70 worth of stuff;  this groupon comes around alot} and was able to get my business cards through them.  Between my husband and I, we ordered 750 business cards total plus a shirt for his business and came in right at the $70.  Now that's a good deal.  I am looking forward to passing out my cards when I present at the Dual Language conference for Region 20 at the beginning of November.  If you need business cards, vistaprint is the way to go!

Thursday, October 4, 2012

Giveaway: One more day!

Don't forget to enter the giveaway for a free word work center pack in English or Spanish.  The giveaway ends tomorrow!

And can I just say... I feel like I've been running around like a chicken with my head cut off this week.  Can anyone else relate?  I've been slightly MIA in blog-world, but I'll be back in full swing soon :)
Monday, October 1, 2012

Word Work Centers Giveaway {Insert happy dance}

I am wrapping up my series of posts on word work centers by giving away my word work centers pack in English or Spanish to one lucky winner!  The winner will be chosen on Friday-- cross your fingers and toes for good luck :)