Friday, September 30, 2011

Common Core "I Can" Statements for 1st Grade Units 2 and 3

Awhile back we posted the "I Can" statements for the first unit in the Common Core.  You can find those here.  Our district developed these so we definitely aren't taking credit for them, just making them cuter.  We are headed into our last week of Unit 1, so we thought we should post the next "I Can" statements.  Life as a teacher can be crazy, so for good measure, here is Units 2 and 3.  We've really found that it has helped to read through our districts suggested Common Core Units to better understand the "I Can" statements.  Here are the links for those, Unit 2 and Unit 3.  We've felt like first year teachers quite often this year, with all of the planning and thinking and DREAMING that comes with a new core.  It's fun though, feeling that sense of excitement that comes with new learning.  What is that saying? "When 1 person teaches 2 people learn"...or 18-20 depending on your class size!
Keep on, teachin' on!

Monday, September 19, 2011

Common Core Writing

The new common core has added new writing curriculum to first grade and I really like it! I like how it outlines the different genres that we will be teaching to our students (argument/opinion, informative/explanatory and narrative). I also really like how each grade will build on what the previous grade has taught. I think this will help our students become great writers as they go through school. For our first few lessons we have been working on opinion writing. We started out by writing about our favorite fruit and vegetable and then we move on to statements like "I prefer_________ because___________." This will guide them through stating their opinion and having a supporting reason behind it. This format works great for our beginning writers whether they are talking about fruits and vegetables, books, holidays, seasons, etc. Even if you aren't following the common core, I hope you still find these templates useful!

Tuesday, September 13, 2011

Bathroom Passes

I finally have a bathroom pass situation that totally works for me.  Take the printables below (or create your own) and tape them to GIANT bottles of hand sanitizer.  When they have permission to use the restroom, they put the sanitizer on their desk.  This serves two purposes; I can quickly look at their desks and see that they're in the bathroom and they get a squirt of hand sanitizer when they come back.  We need all the germ fighting weapons we can find!!! 


 * Ericka has her kids use the bathroom sign to ask to use the restroom.  Works great for times like guided reading when you do NOT want to be interrupted. 

Here are the handy dandy printables



Friday, September 9, 2011

Stand Tall

Stand Tall Molly Lou Melon 
by Patty Lovell
illustrated by David Catrow

Molly, Molly, Molly.  Have you read Stand Tall Molly Lou Melon?  If you have not, do it soon.  She is AMAZING.  She is definitely one of my favorite characters!  Molly has many flaws.  The thing about her flaws that is so great is that with the advice of her grandma, she turns them in to strengths.  Seriously, this kiddo has got it going on.  She has a bucky tooth beaver smile, that just so happens to aid her in her penny balancing skills.  She is the shortest girl in first grade, but she doesn't let that stop her from being awesome!  Molly ends up dealing with a bully in a positive and confident way, while remaining true to herself.  David Catrow's (think "I Wanna Iguana" and "I Ain't Gonna Paint No More") illustrations are so endearing, the kiddos pick this story as a reread over and over again.  
I love to introduce characters with little Molly Lou. Pre-reading I talk about how she is the main character in our book and that the author is going to give us a lot of information about her because of this. After we read, I tell my kiddos we are going to do a small character study.  First, we brainstorm all of the things we know about Molly Lou Melon:

Then we identify all the "Molly Lou Can" ideas (highlighted in red):

The kiddos decided that "People like her" and "She went to a new school" were 'I can' statements
for Molly Lou, because she was a good friend and was brave when
she started her new school.
Then I have my kiddos tell about all the things they can do.  This becomes our shared/reading writing for the week our chart says:
I can _________________. (student's name)
For example, when it was my turn I might write something like:
I can swim far. (Mrs. Andersen)
When we do our shared reading of our "I can" statements, I cover the names and see if my class can remember who can do what. I love focusing on their abilities, just like Molly Lou Melon's grandma does with her.  I love the look on their faces when their "I can" statement is read.  A little confidence builder goes a long way with these first graders!  So go, enjoy a little Stand Tall Molly Lou Melon with your class.  Find out what they can do!
A side note: Last year I came across Cara Caroll's blog, The First Grade Parade.  Their first grade theme was "Stand Tall Molly Lou Melon".  Head over there to see the cute idea they used to decorate their hall Molly style at the the beginning of the year.

Wednesday, September 7, 2011

Fall Dough

Okay, I admit it.  I am a sucker for fall.  I may be a teensy bit ahead here, but fall will be coming  to my classroom tomorrow.  How?  In the form of fall playdough.
Let's admit it, a good majority of first graders are tactile learners.  I think it is because it's what they know.  They use their bodies to learn, explore, search, discover and hopefully comprehend new (and old) ideas.  I have a few students who are struggling with making some of the lower case letters.  Almost to tears struggling, sigh.  So tomorrow we will try "pencils away!" and  add some fun, tactile, alphabet shape making with fall playdough. My secret to fall?  One heaping tablespoon of pumpkin spice. Mmmmmm, it smells so good! Want to join the fun?  
Here is my favorite dough recipe:
 3 cups flour
3 cups warm water
3/4 cup salt
3 teaspoons vegetable oil
6 teaspoons Cream of Tarter
1 heaping tablespoon of Pumpkin Pie Spice
 Dump all of your ingredients in a big pot.  Set your stove on
medium/high and get stirring!
 Still more stirring needed.  Keep stirring until your dough turns into one big ball.  I haven't quite got the height to keep stirring mine as long as is needed so I pull mine off the heat and let it cool for a just a few minutes.

Then I finish off my playdough by kneading it for awhile.
This picture is pre-kneading, it ends up looking so smooth and lovely.
Like bread.  
I am smiling away because I'm pretty tactile myself.
I love first grade.
Heart 3 Clip Art
Apparently I am in the mood for giving away all my secrets tonight.
Here is another one.  You know that tight, stressed, feeling we all start getting in a throat at some point during the year?  Well mine arrived early. Yesterday to be exact.  
A sore throat may be on the horizon.
BUT WAIT!!  My favorite 'teacher throat' remedy to the rescue!
One giant spoonful of honey, ALL of the juice from half a lemon and a mug full of water. Combine it all and microwave it.  Make it hot! (Yes folks, we are serious about our honey in this house!  Look at the size of that jar!  We are on our 3rd one since Christmas. Yum!)

Now drink and enjoy a little pinterest.
I promise, you will be feeling better soon!
Happy teaching!

Friday, September 2, 2011

Bubbling Over

I wasn't the only one in our house who went back to school this week.  My 2nd grader and 3rd grader also headed back to friends, teachers and new school year jitters.  They both wanted to give a little gift to their new teachers.  After a little searching and pondering we decided on a little saying tied around some Bath and Body soap.  Because really, who doesn't like Bath and Body soap?  I figured I'm not the only teaching momma out there so I thought I would share the love.

When you click on the printable tag, choose "file" and then "download original"
for the cute DJ inkers boarder to show up.
I've tried several times to rectify this, but don't know how.  
Sorry about the extra step!