29 April 2012

Chair Pockets

I absolutely LOVE chair pockets!  Between textbooks, spirals, folders, library books, and all the other supplies-there is just not enough room for everything in the desks.  I don't know what I would do without them.  But, I'm thinking it's time for this set to finally retire.  Making new chair pockets is going to be this summer's project.  They really do last a long time, and mine are made of ordinary fabric.  This was my eighth year using the same set.  Replacing them every 8 years really isn't too bad!

24 April 2012

Retelling Rope

I finally made a retelling rope for my classroom!  I had seen different versions of them them years ago on other blogs and just recently saw one on Pinterest from First Grade Wow's Blog.  She has her students make their own retelling ropes using string.  Check it out here.  I wanted a larger version to use whole group at the carpet during read alouds.  For each story, we discuss the characters, setting, beginning, problem (knot)-middle, end-solution (bow that ties up the story).   My students connected it to a knot in their shoelaces (problem) and how when they finally undo the knot and create a neat bow, the problem is solved and they're good to go!  When they are retelling a story independently, they use my Story Street printable.  This is generally one of their literacy stations.  They can either use the story we are reading for the week or their library book.  You can get a free copy of the Story Street printable at my Teachers Pay Teachers store.

Click the images above to get the freebie at my TPT store.

21 April 2012

Earth Day Mosaic

For Earth Day, we are making Earth Day mosaics using torn construction paper.  They learned this technique when we did our Leo Lionni author study.  They created the covers of their Leo Lionni stories using mosaic. They love using this technique, and I thought it would give our Earth Day art a special touch.  To give it a 3 dimensional appearance, I used the large heavy duty Dixie paper plates.  The Earth fits perfectly in the center.

Click the image below to get the FREEBIE.

17 April 2012

Writers' Workshop

We are finishing our Small Moment stories this week.  Some of my students are adding to their pictures. Others are still adding to their words.  And others are revising and editing.  Everyone should be ready to publish by Friday.  I use a really simplistic chart in my classroom as a visual for the writing process. It reminds them of a stoplight.  Writing is red- stop everything else and write! Revising and Editing is yellow- cautiously check over your writing.  Publishing is green- It's almost time to let their writing go into the world for others to enjoy. I use the Status of the Class form below to keep a log of where students are in the writing process.

15 April 2012

Weather Quilt

While we were studying weather, my students made quilt squares for different weather words.  Well time got away from me and I'm finally getting our quilt put together this week.  They are still working on weather powerpoints in Technology, so luckily it's still fresh in their minds. Below are some their quilt squares along with the template I used.  In the squares, they could either write weather facts or make connections to the weather word in the center of their quilt square.   The weather cards in the middle, I got from PreKinders.com.  A great site for additional weather activities.

Click the image above to get the FREEBIE.

10 April 2012


We started our plant unit today.  We started a bit later than I had originally planned, but they were just so excited about our moon study that I just went with it.  Today, we talked about the parts of a flower and labeled the parts.  They noticed that the flower on my anchor chart was a diagram which of course is a great connection to our nonfiction conventions that they learned at the very beginning of the school year.  You can see our anchor chart below.  I used paint strip samples to label the parts.  I'm totally obsessed with these things.   Pretty soon they're going to start charging me for them at the store. I better give it a rest!  My students made their own flowers and labeled the parts.  The petals were made with scrapbook paper.

Writing Internal Story

My students are blossoming into wonderful writers.  We are having a blast learning about small moment stories.  Some of them are eagerly writing their 3rd or 4th story.  Today, we talked about how we can make our stories even better by adding internal story.  We brainstormed a list of sentence starters to help us add internal thoughts and feelings to the stories we are writing.  You can see our anchor chart below.   


07 April 2012

Small Moment Booklets

We are continuing to write Small Moment stories.  Before they were ready to begin writing their Small Moment stories, they had to choose a topic and plan their stories in  their watermelon booklet. The watermelon reminds them to take a large topic and pull out a tiny moment (seed) from that larger topic.  Each page is labeled B,M, and E for beginning, middle, and end.  The beginning should introduce their characters and setting.  The middle should have a problem, and the end should be the solution to the problem.  They simply jotted down a couple sentences for each part in their booklet.  Then, they were ready to begin their stories.  They are currently writing their stories, and elaborating on what they wrote in their watermelon booklet.

 Click on the image below for a free copy of the booklet

05 April 2012

The Moon

We just wrapped up our study of the sun and moon. We learned all about the moon and kept track of the moon phases in our moon journals. Then, we culminated our study with an art project. I found this great activity at another blog- I Heart Crafty Things, and just had to do it with my students. I used her technique of mixing water and white paint for the stars in the background. We only included the sun, Earth, and moon, and of course we had to add the astronaut. They turned out great!

Click the image below for the patterns.
A bit of Moon Writing to go with our craft.

Bunny Craft

Wow, am I ever ready for the 3 day holiday weekend! We had a fun-filled day of Easter read alouds, crafts, cupcakes, and ended the day with a walk-a-thon.   Anyone selling over $100 got to throw a pie at a staff member.  Yikes, I just narrowly escaped getting a pie in the face :)

For our bunny craft, we created Easter eggs using an idea I found on Pinterest.  It's so simple- you just need paper towels, washable markers and a little water to make the colors bleed together. Click here to see where the idea came from originally.  Then, we just added a rabbit to go with our colorful eggs.  My class had a blast and it was really easy to do.


Bunny Template