Teacher Action

Vowels and Consonants
We started first grade about 5 weeks ago. Ah! Time flies when you are having fun! We reviewed vowels and consonants for a few days and I needed to see where my kids were. I also needed to keep my back to school sanity. We headed outside with chalk (and clipboard) in hand for a little formative. Students wrote their names and marked the vowels and consonants. We did it with a few other words, too. They love marking words, playing with chalk, and being outside. I loved collecting data, not grading a worksheet, and being outside. :)

Punctuation Turkey
I am sure you have seen this cute turkey body floating around Pinterest! I wanted to keep the look but add a writing flair, so we turned him into a punctuation turkey. We are working on the different types of ending punctuation and actually putting that punctuation at the end of sentences. (Surely we aren't the only ones!!) Each child received a feather and directions to write one telling sentence, one excited sentence, and one question. Then they partner checked. I also expected first grade sentences, not "I like it." (Again, surely we aren't the only ones!!) 
We needed the practice and the turkey turned out great!  

Center Change Up
My friend and amazing colleague, C, changed up the way she did her parent centers last month and encouraged us all to try it. We usually rotate every 10-15 minutes and the parents repeat the directions, etc.  I should mention we only do this on holidays or at the end of big units. To spice things up a little, C made a list of centers and put in on each student's back. She explained each center thoroughly and had them move freely between centers. Parent helpers check off the center as each student finishes. I was a little skeptical, but I went for it during our fall centers!
Huge success friends and a lot less stress! My centers were craft and fine motor based and it was perfect! The kids were so serious about having everything checked off and finishing so they would have time to do each. Did they all want to do the same thing first? There were two popular ones but I just limited the number of kids who could start there. How did the spooky snack go? I had them all create their spider and ghost snack at the end. Smart decision I think!  Would it work with centers requiring a lot of academics/directions? I probably will not do it this way for centers requiring lots of support. 

I have thanked C several times and will absolutely be doing it this way again! 

Make 10+ App
We have a new favorite math app in first grade! It is Make 10+. I first read about it on Math Coach's Corner and my friend S reminded me about it because I sometimes forget things. Ha! (Thank goodness for great colleagues!) This app is perfect for 1st graders (and others) working on ways to make 10. To play, mathematicians must decide what number to put with the middle number to make a 10. So if 8 comes up, they click on the 2 because 8+2=10. My students LOVE this FREE app. It gets harder as you play and they like that, too! I'm calling this a must have app for first grade! 

Happy Birthday David Shannon!
David Shannon is one of my favorite authors!!  I know some people might not like the David series, but I LOVE it. I really do! No David! is the first book I read on the first day of school. The books just speak to me! (Not sure what this says about me!!) To celebrate his birthday, we had book buddies with our 3rd grade friends and drew our favorite main character. Mr. C. showed the class step by step how to draw David using oil pastels. We then used water color to add details. The kids loved it! It was a great lesson in celebrating authors, following directions, and living a little! Literature+art=smiles! 
*Scholastic has a list of author's birthdays for each month! 

Saving Fred!
Sorry for not posting more this year! I'll do better....I promise! Every Wednesday, we take a curriculum break (though everything we do supports our curriculum) and have "maker time" also known as genius hour. My class LOVES it! We've made parachutes and compared their speed. We've observed bugs and recorded our observations. We've created animals using only paper and glue. This week we saved Fred! Have you seen this lesson? We did not use this actual one, but I knew you would want the little story! 

You only need a few supplies per pairing~cup, 4 paper clips, one gummy worm, and one gummy saver. Their challenge is to save Fred using only paper clips as the tool, no fingers! They recorded their plans and what they did. They talked, they overcame challenges, and they did not give up. It was a great day in first grade! 

April is Poetry Month!
We just launched our poetry unit in Reader's and Writer's Workshop and my first graders are all over it! Had to share our door! The kids made the pockets and are adding their favorite poems (sometimes the title, sometimes the whole poem) to their pockets. The whole thing makes me smile!

Fraction Fundamentals
The CCSS asks first graders to...
Partition circles and rectangles into two and four equal shares, describe the shares using the words halvesfourths, and quarters, and use the phrases half offourth of, and quarter of. Describe the whole as two of, or four of the shares. Understand for these examples that decomposing into more equal shares creates smaller shares.
In the past, we've pushed them into the numeric representations like 1/2, 1/4, etc and skipped over the basics. I like this much better! We've spent time with half and fourth and they really get it. In fact, when we started time, several students immediately noticed the relationship between the circle clock and fractions (a la one quarter!) I'm so happy! 

My super mathematician colleague S came up with this great lesson and my kids rocked it! She said I could pass it along! After you talk whole and half for a while, this less is perfect!

You need: circles, squares, and rectangles. You could die cuts or this FREEBIE for the kids to cut and use.
First, have the students trace (or glue if you use two sets) the shapes on the top half of large construction paper.
Then, have students decide if they will fold and cut their shapes into halves or fourths/quarters (we use those terms interchangeably.) 
Their next step is to cut them into those pieces, make a design and then label the fraction parts. With partners they shared their work using math talk to explain how their pieces are part of a larger shape. It was authentic and fun!
 Check out these math masterpieces! 

Power of Anchor Charts
Check out my guest post on Hameray this week! It is all about the power of anchor charts! There is even a short video of some brilliant first graders talking about anchor charts!

App Lovin'!
Have you seen these FREE math apps? We have them on the iPads at school (and I put them on my own for my guy!) The kids love them! We've used the Rekenrek app for addition, subtraction, place value, and representing numbers. We've used the geoboards for all things shape AND addition! The math talk is so meaningful! Of course, I prefer the hands on type more, but these are great for changing it up a bit! Click the words below to download! hAPPy Sunday! 

Thankful Teacher!
I am so thankful for my wonderful class, the fab teachers who read my blog, and for free clipart! :) Check out my latest FREEBIE! 
I give each student in my class a special Thanksgiving note before the break. It is a special little happy to let them know how thankful I am to have them in our class! Click the pic or HERE to download your own page in Google Docs!
Thanks Homemade-Preschool and Lindsey Jarvis for the clipart!

RL.K.6 and RL.1.6
Or as my friend calls them, "What? That's a standard now?" Yes, yes it is! Check out the freebie I posted on Hameray's page as guest blogger! It is all about identifying who is telling the story!

I'd love it if you would leave a comment while you are there! 

We are all about STEM in Georgia! Check out these great, FREE resources for the primary grades! Click the pictures and off you go! Share with your teacher friends, too!

Inventory Time!
While practicing place value (which by the way, they are really rocking!) we did an inventory of our classroom library. How real world is that? 
 Here's how we did it.
1. With partners, they chose a basket of books.
2. Counted the books into piles of 10, and the left overs.
3. Counted them for the class, "10, 20, 30, 40, 41, 42, 43. We have 43 books in the sealife basket." 
4. Represented the number in expanded form, on tens frames, and tens and ones rods. 
5. They did it again!

Fun, right?

To be Frank....
How fun is this? We assigned differentiated numbers and used this as a formative assessment for place value. The Frankenstein was just for fun! (A parent came in and did the handprints for us!)
Want it? Click here! It's a Halloween Freebie! 

More Word Problems
You can't go wrong with  3 addend word problems. I followed a similar pattern and created this set for missing number/relationship between addition and subtraction. These involve quite a bit of thinking and my son loved them! Here is his work sample!
I mean, I'm working with a genius here!

Adding 3 Numbers
As we work on addition to 10, we are being sure to include 3 addend problems. Here is a set of these problems to project on the screen and solve together or print for math journals or both! Happy adding!

Making 10
Spending time on making 10 last school year was one of the best things I did! I'm repeating it this year! We are breaking it apart, putting it back together, etc! ALL THINGS 10! I'm sharing this video with parents who might be wondering what in the world we are talking about, and I thought I would pass it along to you, too! It is a BrainPop Jr. freebie! 

Tricky Teens
We are working on place value in the teens. Specifically-

I was super excited when I stumbled upon this picture on Pinterest. Unfortunately, there was not a blog for it. :( If it is yours, let me know! 
So here is our final product and what we did to get there!

We built teen numbers on tens frames with counters, made tens towers of one color and added different color cubes, and acted them numbers out with children. We really want them to see the 10 and then some more. We did word problems and acted them act, too. (Joe had 15 cars. He placed them all on ten frames. What would his ten frames look like? Ann has some candy. She had enough to fill one ten frame and have 8 left over. How many pieces of candy does she have?) We then buddied up the mathematicians and had them count and create the number chains to represent the teen numbers. When they finished, we put them in order and wrote the number sentences together, saying what we know. For example, "16 is a 10 and 6 more." Happy to report......they've got it. I mean, they've really got it! :)

Eat Your Domino! 
We are composing and decomposing like crazy! My friend S shared a great idea for having students find dominoes that have the same total, but different parts (1 and 5 is the same as or = to 4 and 2.) I did that with my kids and they loved it. Some of them only wanted to find pairs at first (which was great for flip flop facts!) so we practiced with those friends a bit more. Today we took it to the next level. We made our own edible dominos as we worked through a few together. Then they were on their own! Of course, they especially loved eating the pips! 
I changed the workmat a bit to scaffold the process and remind them that it does not matter where the "blank is."  Click HERE or on the pic to get your copy for FREE! Happy long weekend!
Students build a domino with the same total, but different parts on this side. The other side has blank dominos so they can do their own version! They were super excited when they found multiple ways!
*We used graham crackers and chocolate chips.

How old are you?
Well, I'm 21, but who's counting? :) I just created this fun homework that is all about numbers to 100. Kids take this home, return it to school, and class uses the data to create a personal and fabulous family number line from 0-100 in the hallway or on the floor. So fun, so meaningful, so real world. I mean, what's more important to a first grader than how old they are? AND if mom and dad lie, who cares? I said I'm 21. :)

Meet and Greet
We had Meet and Greet today and it was great! Loving the new class and excited about the school year! My co-teacher and I put these out as a little happy for our students. They were a big hit!
We attached the tag "You are going to shine in 1st grade!" to a little flashlight. 
Easy, cute, and FUN!
Want the tags? Get them HERE for FREE! 
Have a great school year and follow on FB for more freebies!

Tower Race
As a HUGE fan of Daily 5 Math, I am always looking for fun, easy (on me) ways to practice facts. I created this game called Tower Race. I will be placing it in a page protector for them to play during FAST FACTS. Rules are simple and they can play over and over and over. My mathematicians will also record the number sentences on dry erase boards. :) 

Set includes the doubles version, 3 addend version, black and white versions of both, and a MAKE YOUR OWN version. Can't wait to see what the kids do with that one! 

Math Facts
My latest TPT product is up and on sale! I love chevron (like so many others right now!) and made an addition and subtraction sorting game. Instead of only solving, students will solve, then sort their answer by less than 5, greater than 5, or equal to 5. I do this all year with different amounts and they love it. I also like to throw in tougher problems along the way. Maybe I'll make that next! 
I included blanks of everything, too. After all, you might have an even better idea!
Happy Summer!

Countdown to Summer!
Ah! Scholastic published one of my ideas in this month's Instructor Magazine. <geeky happiness> Go check it out and feel free to comment! The lesson featured is a countdown to summer that reviews what students have learned in each subject! You can do it lots of ways in K-5! I created a little activity page to go along with it! Click HERE to get your FREE copy! Click here to follow My Mommy Reads for more goodies to come! 
Economics and First Grade!
We wrap up each year with a study of economics. I love it. I think the sooner we start discussing these topics, the better off our future will be! I came across this super cute idea at Hooked On Teaching. As much as I loved it, I needed a bit more Common Core, so here is what I came up with-
Part One: Using scraps, they create a town with a goods road and a services road. Each road has coordinating buildings on it. For example, a grocery store would be on Goods Ave and a nail salon would be on Service Lane. Some businesses fit on either and there were some amazing conversations about that! 
Part Two: Choose one of your business that focuses on goods and one that focuses on service, and complete the activity page. Again, talking in groups makes this project even better! 
Want a copy? Click HERE or on the pic below to get it for FREE! Have a great week! 
Click HERE to follow on FB! Thank you!

First Grade Research
Tackling research with the Common Core standards has been work....for me! The kids get it. In fact, they love it! I had to figure it out and I still I am. I've got to tell you though-I'm proud. I didn't buy or make an organizer. I didn't tell the writers what to put on each page, or even what headings to use. I guided them into using what they have learned this year, practiced in writing and science, noticed in mentor texts, etc. They did it. Their pieces are not perfect, neither is the spelling or the punctuation. The books ARE perfect though. Perfect. I have a class of real, first grade writers and they have one proud teacher. 
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FREE Facts! Take One!
I love, love, love the expectation that first graders know facts to 10! This is way better than pre-CCSS when they had to (reeeediculous) know them to 18. I still want to keep it fun though, so I created these take a fact pages. 

I wanted there to be something for everyone, so I made 14 ready to go add/sub, templates for whatever you want (even multiplication/division,) and color and black and white templates. Check it out and see how we are using these in our classroom! I'll let you know how people react when they see them hanging randomly around the school. :) 

True or False Quickie
Our year is winding down (ah!) and we are reviewing a little each day. My class has totally rocked with solving equations and word problems. Having fewer standards thanks to the Common Core has REALLY made a difference in what my kids understand. Love that! Here is a quickie review that could even be used for an attendance check in. We did it one time together and the next time, they just grab a sticky (either on their desk to differentiate or along the board,) solve, and then decide if it is true or false. Please note that one little smartie even did the < sign. I may keep this class forever! 

Spring Break Freebie
We make a Spring Break Memories class book every year. Each kid draws and writes about their favorite spring break memory. I do a page, too! We then put the pages together to make a super cute book. At the end of the year, we auction off our class books. They love it!! Here is your FREE copy of our spring break memory page! If you do not have Google Docs, email me at mymommyreads@yahoo.com and I'll send it your way! Feel free to pass this along! Happy Spring Break to you! 

fonts by Amanda, pic by Mycutegraphics
Biography Poem
Fiction and Non-fiction fun!! Celebrate Poetry Month with this Bio Poem Kit! We wrote bio poems about the heroes we learned about this year, and wrapped it up with one about ourselves! We published these by drawing a selfie and gluing the poem and pic on a large piece of construction paper. We then read them to the class!

Get your kit here! It includes the format for boys and girls, an example, and this cool frame! Let me know how it goes by posting on FB!! 

April Fool's Day
Generally speaking, not a big fan of April 1st, but I do play one prank on my class each year. This was shared with me a hundred years ago and I do not know who came up with it-but thank you! 
Pass out paper for a spelling test. Tell them you were just told you needed to do a quick sight word test and it won't take long. Be very serious! Have them number the paper 1-10. If your class is anything like mine, remind them there is no talking. Call out each word and then use it in a completely random sentence. Ex. "this. This book is my favorite." Here is the list.
After number 10, have the whole class start with word one and read their list aloud. It is hilarious! The kids crack up and no one gets their feelings hurt, etc. Just plain fun. :)

It's Quotable!
A friend asked me for a few of my favorite quotes to do a presentation for first grade's Social Studies standards  (Georgia.) I decided to put a few together in a fReEbIe! Click here or on the pic to download your own copy!
While you're here, like My Mommy Reads on FB!

Common Core Games BY STANDARD!
Genius, pure genius. My pal over at Haywood's Happenings shared this site and I am THRILLED to share it with you!! The site is PARCC Games and they have listed online (free) games by grade and by common core standard. AWESOME! What a great resource for teachers AND parents! Check it out, tell your friends, then head over and like us on FB!
PARCC Games 
(I do not think it is affiliated with PARCC officially-I could be wrong though!)


Grade, subject, link to game, link to Common Core site 
I clicked on base 10 (1.NBT.B.2b) and wala! 

George Washington Carver Freebie!
I LoVe teaching about George Washington Carver-the peanut man, plant doctor, Alabama lover, oh I could go on and on! He is one of first grade's Social Studies heroes and my kids love learning about him! I created a 3D beaker as the show what you know for this guy! Check it out and download your copy here for FREE
To create, you write/draw, cut out beakers, fold in half, glue the backs together. Click here to follow My Mommy Reads on FB AND tell me how much you love this! Ha! :)

Do You Do The Koo?
No typo there! Do you jam with the guys at Koo Koo Kangaroo like we do in first grade? If not, it's time! 
Koo Koo Kangaroo is a group with several, FREE YouTube videos that are 2-3 minutes of dance-a-long FUN. They are perfect for brain breaks and gross motor. They model  the moves and the pace is perfect for our little friends! Come see! 

You can like Koo Koo Kangaroo on FB for updates! While you're there, like My Mommy Reads, too! :)

Decomposing Numbers
Have I mentioned I love the people I work with each day? I do! My friend S shared this big news with me! I am long time fan of Greg Tang and his fab books, but had not been to his new and improved website. WOWIE WOW! You can subscribe (and I recommend you do,) but there are LoTs of freebies! When I say freebies, I'm talking 40 page packets of practice/assessments of decomposing numbers. I'm talking pages of KaKooma-a problem solving game. I'm talking FREE interactive games for making 10! I'm talking Common Core friends! So excited! Pass it on! 

Place Value, Yes, AGAIN! 
Have to share these fun place value activities because A. we teach place value over and over and over and over in first grade and B. they are super fun! 
My pal E attended training in our district and she shared the idea to have the students cut tens strips and ones cubes from grid paper to create a picture-then write about it. FUN! I decided this time to let them draw a picture and then figure out how many tens/ones they used AND what 10 more/less would be. They LoVeD it and it was different. We needed different! 
As if that wasn't enough! Taking an idea from Debbie Diller's Math Stations, we chose an administrator and wrote about how old we think they are using tens and ones, then wrote it in expanded form. Place value? WE GOT THIS!
Both of these are easily adaptable for K and 2nd grade! Click here to get your FREE grid paper! 

Reread, Edit, Revise
My firsties are (prepared to be shocked) working on rereading their writing. They are also working on (again-shocking) revising and editing their writing. In an effort to spotlight what's going right, I asked them to each find a place in their writing where they did one of these things. This SUPER encouraged those who had not done it, to do so. I then copied them at a reduced size and PROUDLY displayed them in the classroom. They are loving it! We will continue to add to this special anchor chart for the rest of the year!! 

Pipe Cleaner Plurals
I showed several examples of words today and had the kids discover what plural means. They were super excited to realize it means more than one! In small groups, we then made an e and s with pipe cleaners cut into 1/4 pieces. I wrote a word on the board and they held up s or es to make it plural. They made the sound, too. We drew pictures to match each word. I then gave them the plural page and had them read the word, add the pipe cleaner ending and partner check. When done, they recorded the endings and illustrated. It was a great launch for this CCSS skill! They loved it!! Tomorrow we sort! Get your freebie here! 

Classroom Freebies Manic Monday

Place Value and Math Journals
Word problems are the thing with Common Core standards. I like that, I really do. Thing is, making them up for each strand is not fun. So I'd like to share a few of mine in hopes of making your life a little easier! Here's a little packet (11 pages) of ready to go math journal problems for a big chunk of our place value standards. 
a sneak peak of the problems! :)
Please share the link with your friends!

100th Day Goldfish Fun
So, the 100th day of school is tomorrow. I am usually (not really) more prepared than I am this year. We just had T's birthday. I had company. I have a cold. I also have at least 10 more excuses. :) Anyway, I ended up at Publix pondering what I could do for the 100th day snack. I usually (for real) have a parent make or send a snack.  So walking the aisles, sniffling, tired, weak and weary, I see a beacon in the night....buy one get one Goldfish crackers! The 100th Day Goldfish Fun page was born! 
I am going to pour all billion goldfish crackers in a big bowl and give each kid a dixie cup. They will count (in groups of 10) until they get to 100. They will then color them to match the cracker and eat or save them. I think it will be a quick and I think it will be a hit! 
Get your free copy here or click the pic! 
 Click here to like MyMommyReads on FB! Thanks for spreading the word!

7 Continents and 5 Oceans
I seriously look forward to teaching this each year. Since the Southern Ocean is relatively new, parents are shocked and the kids LOVE teaching their parents something! I am also a geography geek and think it is super important that kids know where we are in this big world. Here are a few of our highlights:

Pull down map for singing along with Dr. Jean,  placemats for our desks-used these for transition time "Find South America and then join me on the carpet," Smartboard background-one for continents and one for oceans, map puzzle-they put it together, painted it, and labeled it, too, and a map for homework practice! 
By far, the firsties loved the puzzle map the most! Click here and bookmark this free "print your own map" page! 

Anchors Away!
Here are a few of our current/recent/forgot to post them anchor charts.
The original idea for this one is from Hello Literacy (love!) I changed it to 1, 2, and 3 to match our report card. 
Informational anchor a la TC.  They added their own stickies with the voices they used.
Parts of a friendly letter. I wrote them a thank you for my holiday gifts. I'll post part two of this one next week. I like it better! 
A word problem "rave chart." Copy and glue student responses to chart. They think it is the coolest!
Estimation Jar from Educational Insights. Kids look at 10 of the item, estimate how many are inside, write the number AND a way to make that number. We LOVE this thing!

100th Day Fun!
 I can't believe our 100th Day is right around the corner! Here are four, super fun activities perfect for K-2. I love the create your own 100 with a link to HUNDREDS of cool designs! I love the critical thinking where you compare different kinds of 100! Check it out! Maybe you will be newest follower? I'd love to have...10. :)

Join us at My Mommy Reads on FB for freebies and fun!

Writing on Desks?!?
Scandalous! We write on our desks and the kids feel so sneaky doing it! We write sight words (shown here,) solve math problems, and write notes to friends. We call it graffiti. It is easily removed with a wipie and totally worth the smiles!

Geometry and Addition
I love geometry (at the primary level anyway!) The thing is, with the CCSS, geometry has kind of taken a backseat. I am ok with that to a point, but I do love me some shapes people! While thinking of ways to combine shapes and addition, I came up with this. Compose shapes to create a new shape! I mean, that is addition! Click here to get your packet from my TPT store! 

Happy Holidays and Happy Common Core! 
Tens and Ones!
Dear sweet Common Core Standards, I love you and I hate you all at once!  :)
Here is a super fun and EASY on the teacher game for place value-CC1.NBT.1,2,3,4,5, and 6. It is perfect for differentiating and assessment! My firsties love it! All you need is popsicle sticks, a marker, and a smile. You might also want this activity page! Click the pic to learn more!

Follow on FB for great ideas and some awesome FREEBIES!

Domino Action!

"Boys and girls, put these in order and tell me what you notice." WOW! The conversations/observations were amazing! 

Holiday Build a Word!
My first graders love these! I decided to kick it up a notch though. They will build, record, pick their favorite and use it in a sentence. Want a copy? Here it is.....FREE!  Not on TPT? Send me a message on FB and I'll send it your way! 
Mac and Cheese Math
Kraft once again has there holiday mac and cheese at Target! I couldn't resist! I made a sort, tally graph center to go with it! Get your copy here and please share!

Veterans Day
Do you have big plans for Veterans Day? I do! My dad is a vet and this day is close to my heart. We will be writing letters and sending them to Veterans (including my dad.) Check this download for templates, a free Brainpop link, AND the address for sending them out!

Save the Date!
We are working on writing the date with a capital letter and the comma in the correct spot. Oh yes, this is common core action~homework or classwork, you decide!
 Download your copy here!

Ed Emberley
I'm a fan! I love his super fun thumbprint art and I love reading Go Away Big Green Monster every year. Well, I stumbled onto Ed's site and made a few discoveries! He has the book online for FREE along with tutorials on creating your own thumb art! Love, love, and triple love!

Visiting? Like us on FB! 

Election Freebie!
Kids write who they would nominate, why, and how much he/she should make! Love it! 
Click the picture to download!

Hello TeachersPayTeachers!
Don't worry! It is a freebie! Go download the extension homework menu for those kids who want a little something more! 
Meets Georgia Performance Standards and Common Core! 

Literary/Informational, Fiction/Nonfiction, Potato/Potato!
Have you seen this on Pinterest? My firsties did it and LOVED IT! I also used it as a little formative assessment, too!

Materials: Scholastic book order, paper
Idea: Look through orders first, cut out books you like, sort by any of the above categories (according to your lesson.) Share WHY you put them there. 

Give it a try! Let Scholastic know I sent you! Like us on FB, too! 

Cloud Experiment
Have you seen this experiment on Pinterest? We did it this week during weather centers! So fun!
Click pic of printable for freebie! 
 We predicted what we thought would happen when we added the food coloring. We then wrote what we observed. This was a BIG hit! Check us on on FB, too!

Skip Counting
Man, I love teaching skip counting. (I don't. Not really. Seriously, not at all.) Here are a few of my favorite and least painful activities. 
*Body Counting! Skip count shoes by two's. We post these by the door and count on our way out. A parent paints hands-one hand is 5's and two hands are 10's. We count and label all of these together and use them as anchors all year.

*Have Fun Teaching Songs and Videos. LoVe them!
*We like to MOVE IT! We put moves with our skip counting in room 118! We do knee bends for 10's, elbow to knees (crossing midline) for 5's and patty cake for 2's. They love it and they need it! This also comes in handy for brain breaks and those "Mrs. S. is wrestling the Smartboard and needs the kids to be engaged while I do it" moments. :)
What do you do? Share on FB

Happy Birthday!
I think I change my birthday celebration plans each year. New for 2012 will be the birthday book. The original idea came from J Meacham's site. (love her!) 
On birthdays (or the closest day to it) the morning assignment for everyone will be a page in the birthday book. The birthday kid will design the balloon page while the rest of the class chooses either the gift or cake page. 
(Click images or here to download this freebie in Google Docs!)
When all pages are complete, I will staple a cardstock cover and back to the pages and bind them with staples and super cool duct tape. (See duct tape books below!) I will write "Happy Birthday ____!" and the date on the cover. My message will go on the back of the book. We will share the pages during morning meeting or before we wrap up the day. The kids will take it home, along with their big smile!

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Puzzles~Numbers to 120!
More Common Core prep is happening in our room! I made a few puzzles for numbers to 120. We are becoming quite familiar with the 120 chart! Click the puzzles to download! (Be sure to download the original-the pic will look a little crazy until you do!) Be sure to like My Mommy Reads on FB! 

How Big Is Your Mouth?
It is measurement time in first grade! We have been working on non-standard units for measuring length and are now throwing in a little ruler time! Here is one of our fun projects-How big is your mouth? I hold up yarn (about 12 inches) and have each student come point to where they want me to cut the yarn. I warn them...you don't what you are using this for later, so choose wisely. They think that is sooo cool!
Once they look at their strings and compare them, I tell them it is going to be their mouth. So funny! They usually range anywhere from 2 inches to a foot.
We then measure our mouth with cubes, little marshmallows, and a ruler. We also compare our mouths to others. They LoVe it! Click on the pic or here to download! Be sure to find My Mommy Reads on FB! (Link is under First Grade Fashion!)

First Grade Fashion Freebie!
(Possessive Nouns)
(Click pics to download.) 
We are prepping for possessive nouns in our classroom! We're going to read the Grammar Tales about apostrophes, watch the Brainpop Jr about possessives, use sticky notes to label things in our room "Tom's pencil, Jane's water bottle, etc) and more! We will wrap it up with this First Grade Fashion Booklet. Directions and a word bank are on page one. Enjoy! Follow us on FB by clicking here

120 Charts
Is your school implementing Common Core Standards in the fall? We are! I decided to test the waters with my current firsties by having them explore with the 120 chart and then fill in the missing numbers. Would you like a copy...for free? Click the pics to download! 
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Dandelion Wishes....
Good news: I found a GREAT idea for poetry!
Bad news: I can't find the original source. If you know, please let me know-mymommyreads@yahoo.com-so I can give full credit where credit is due!
IdEa: Have kids write a poem about wishes. Take their picture "blowing." Make dandelions out of yarn and glue next to their mouths, above their poem.
118 version: (We are wrapping up a fab unit on poetry!) Think about wish times- the times when you close your eyes and make a special wish...blowing out candles, wishing on a star, and of course-dandelions!  Write a poem about your special wishes. Take pictures "blowing." Have kids tape real dandelions next to their mouths and blow! Staple poems to the bottom of the page! 
But how...how did you get those dandelions to stay?
I sprayed the dandelions with white hairspray (think Halloween,) plucked them, and placed them on a tray! The hairspray held the dandelions in place for easy transfer to school and they dried nicely! I also pulled another set without hairspray. We taped the white dandelions and used the other one to blow on the paper. They loved it! To make it stick without glue, we sprayed spray adhesive on the black paper before we blew the dandelion. Needless to say-big hit!

Duct Tape Books
We all know duct tape is a must have, but did you know it also is the perfect, strongest, easiest book binder in the whole wide world? It's true! Just look! 
These are our "How To" books, so here is 
How To Make a Duct Tape Book:
1. Buy fabulous colored duct tape.
2. Count out your pages.
3. Fold a large piece of construction paper in half.
4. Put the lined paper inside the construction paper. 
5. Staple 3 times down the side.
6. Cover with tape. Snip ends and press together.
7. Ta daa!
You could also use this for class books, organizing by genre, etc. We love duct tape in first grade! Click here to like My Mommy Reads on FB!

Leap Day 2012!
I know you do not need one more thing this week, but Leap Day only comes around every four years! My smarties will each be receiving this special Leap Day love note! Thought I would share! I hope it downloads in this cute font (I love it even though some letters are capital!) 
Ex. I am leaping for joy because....Zoe wrote a bold beginning today!
(Click to download using Google Docs.)

Read Across America
We are prepping for Read Across America Day-March 2nd! We will have Seuss centers, Seuss snack, an author visit, a special Seuss show performed by my fab team and so much more! Seuss books will be the star of the show! We will also be reading the "Reader's Oath." These bookmarks feature the oath and an activity at the bottom. They can find the differences, color, etc. I will be printing these on cardstock for my smarties! Enjoy!
Click on pic to download using Google Docs.

Who Loves Pigeon? WE DO!
When I say "we love Pigeon" (from Mo Willems' Pigeon series) I mean we LOVE Pigeon! My first graders fight over all Mo Willems' books-Knufflebunny, Elephant and Piggie, and of course-Pigeon! They become the characters, they write their own stories, we have done our speech bubbles to go with the pictures....well I think you get the idea! 

We are currently working on quotation marks and informational writing. As it turns out, Pigeon is PERFECT for this! We followed the directions (informational writing) from Mo's site and made our own Pigeons!!! Aaaah! They are AdOrAbLe!!
We then read through the Pigeon books and chose our favorite lines. The Mo site is one of our favorites! The kids added the quotation marks and read it as though we were him! Here is the finished product:
If you are Mo Willems (I am sure he follows the blog!) and you happen to be reading this-thank you for sharing your talent! We love your stories and your art! Come see us anytime! Room 118!  
If you are not Mo Willems, and you use this idea, please follow the blog or email and let me know how it goes! Mymommyreads@yahoo.com!

Valentine's and Presidents' Day
We will be writing friendly letters in coming weeks. This just so happens to run neck and neck with Valentine's Day and President's Day. (Yay for that!) We will be using the first paper to write a love letter to our parents and the second for our letter to the President. 
Click the picture to download using Google Docs!
As for V Day, here is another cool lesson-heart spelling and probability! I love MathWire!
Click the picture to download using Google Docs!
Last year, we actually received a reply package from the White House. The kids were THRILLED! Click here for info on how to write a letter to the President Obama! 

Black History Month
February is Black History Month, though I know you are like me and celebrate all famous Americans all year! If you are looking for resources, check out Scholastic! These FREE resources are perfect year round and help across grade levels!

    A Scholastic.com “Everything You Need” package for the classroom includes ideas for student activities, videos, teaching strategies for teachers, and articles about the iconic figures whose stories are part of the African American experience.
    A package of lessons and activities offers insight into Rosa Parks life. Students can read about the famous day when Rosa Parks refused to give up her bus seat, the  successful boycott of the Montgomery, AL, city bus system, and the eventual Supreme Court ruling against segregation.
    Students will learn about Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., and his nonviolent struggle for civil rights through photos and by creating a timeline. With the “Martin Luther King Jr. Timeline,” students can sequence the important events in the Civil Rights Movement and the life of Dr. King. 
    A classroom unit called “Integrating Central High: The Melba Pattillo Story” provides tools and activities to help students relive Melba's historic experience integrating Central High in Little Rock, AK. Students can even write about how they would feel in her situation and publish it on Scholastic.com.
    An Underground Railroad online activity follows a runaway slave as he takes a terrifying journey from slavery to freedom. Each of the four "stops" on this journey explores a different curriculum theme in American History.

Math Fact Fun
I don't know about you, but practicing facts to 20 gets old quick! We do all kinds of things to make it more fun, but let's face it-first graders need to know their math facts (to 10 in my humble opinion) and practicing is the only way to make that happen. We don't overdo the flashcards, but I think they come in handy now and again.

Thought I would share our latest sort. I passed out cards (based on kids' levels) and put down three sorting cards-greater than 10, less than 10, equal to 10. No directions, just those three cards and a big smile! :) 

They loved it and so did I! We had a great chat about the facts in each row. As a ticket out the door, each firstie wrote the categories and a fact in their math journal to go in each.

Common Core
The Common Core standards for first grade are all about noticing attributes and comparing them. With this lesson, students can compare 2D or 3D or a 2D with a 3D. Try saying that three times fast! Read The Greedy Triangle by Marilyn Burns and compare away! Feel free to share!
(Click picture to download using Google docs.)

Pronoun Friends
We are preparing to enter the world of pronouns. Here is a little activity for building relationships and pronoun skills!  I will have them get up and talk to their friends to fill in the response. I know they will love it!
Be sure to follow this fabulous blog! 
(Click picture to download in Google Docs.)

Creating Thinkers~Math

I am always looking for ways to increase thinking. I feel certain I am not alone in this! First graders (like the rest of us) want the answer immediately. To help build thinking skills, we play "What's the question?" across all subjects. I might say, "The answer is evaporation. So what is the question?" Student responses might include, "What is it called when water going up gets hot and gassy?" (actual response :) 
I created this math page to accompany our after break review. I hope you can use it! 
(Click picture to download using Google Docs.) 

Compound Words
Compound words are on our to do list! We will be tying in dictionary skills while we practice those base words we see so often! My firsties will look up the base word and find the compound words. For example, snow--snowball, snowman, snowmobile, snowflake. They will write each word in a snowball. Fun! This activity can be done with partners and the words may be switched to meet your needs. Here is a link to lots of compound words! 

(Click picture to download in Google Docs.)

Just Right Reminder
I am not being a pessimist, but I am pretty sure my firsties will need a "just right" book reminder when we return in January! I am going to copy these on color cardstock and laminate. We will use them as bookmarks, then send them home to remind our parents, too. I hope you can use them!
(Click pic to download using Google Docs.)

Writing Grants
Check out my guest post on Educate My Alabama. It is all about writing and receiving grants! We had fun! 


Proper Nouns
We are working hard on proper nouns in first grade. We made an anchor chart with the types of nouns that need capital letters. They had some good ones! 
We went on proper noun hunts, made proper noun crowns, corrected sentences, etc. Then we wrote short paragraphs and buddy checked them for correct capitalization. For our formative assessment, I pulled out a story from "last year" with all kinds of mistakes. The smarties then correct the capitalization AND the bonus-which for some reason they truly love. There is just something about the word bonus! :) 
Click the picture to download using Google Docs. :)

One of my favorite, and dare I say most important, comprehension strategies is visualization. While teaching metacognition and the supporting factors (Keene) I use books, poems, and songs. Here is a class favorite that Amy Cardwell and I created! 

We listen to Katalina Matalina 
from Dr. Jean's Silly Songs cd. Find the words and cd here. First, we just listen. Then, we listen and dance. Then we listen again. I set the purpose of listening to the details and painting a picture in our minds. What does Katalina look like? How do we know? Then we complete this page independently and come back and share our images. We discuss how they are alike and different. They are then proudly displayed. A  great follow up is Dr. Jean's song about Katalina's brother-same tune, different words. :) Click picture to download in Google Docs

When all is said and done, you might want to share this book by Tedd Arnold (author of Parts and so many more.) The pictures are great and one show another perspective (based on schema.) Love it! 
Product Details
Want to hear the song for yourself? Click here! If you do not have the cd, go see a kindergarten teacher! WARNING: This song will get stuck in your head!

Tally Marks
Tired of the same ol' same ol' with tally marks? Buy yourself a couple of sets of Pick Up Sticks! Have the kids make sets of 5, saying ""One two three four standing tall. Tired man five goes across them all."  as they go. Sure, you can use popsicle sticks, too, but Pick Up Sticks are great fine motor tools. It's another win-win!

American Heroes-Harriet Tubman

In Georgia, our first graders study several American heroes. One of those is a personal favorite-Harriet Tubman. We do several super fun things to celebrate her life and contributions. This is the general outline of our events, each including read aloud, after read aloud:

1. Role play inequality to intro unit.
2. Create timeline of her life. (see below)
3. Watch Brainpop Jr. video and take quiz. No Brainpop subscription? Visit TVO for these two, 6 minutes clips!
4. Design a stamp after viewing stamp powerpoint. (If you would like this-email me. I am not sure how to attach it!) OR make quilt squares and put them together to make a class quilt.
5. Trace footprint and write fact about Harriet. Display on Footsteps to Freedom poster (blank butcher paper.)
6. Record a time we were brave, just like Harriet.
7. Reenact escape to freedom in our classroom.
8. Toward the end of the unit, we watch the Harriet Tubman clip on United Streaming. It is about 25 minutes and totally worth your time! It is very moving. I recommend previewing it first so you will know what to expect! While we view the video, we complete this organizer with things we see, hear, feel, etc in the video. Powerful stuff!
9. We read the book (which I LoVe!) Harriet and the Promised Land by Jacob Lawrence. He is a magnificent artist and this book is beautiful! We listen to jazzish music and paint a Jacob Lawrencesque picture using dark colors. They are amazing!

10. Finally, we complete an "I Am" poem using the 5 senses organizer as our guide. (Here is one from the web that you could use for any hero!) They are quite moving. We glue these to our poems and share them with our friends. 

Freebie! Would you like our Tubman poem template? Click here!
Another freebie! Would you like our (Tarantino/Sahadevan) Tubman timeline? Click here!
*If you download, please follow blog/comment. Thanks!



  1. I appreciate all the ideas and freebies!

  2. I love these ideas. Thanks for sharing!

  3. Hey, I know you. Thanks for the great ideas. And thanks for being such a great teacher!

  4. Love the ideas, thank you!!

  5. these are some really cute ideas

  6. This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

  7. I couldn't download the visualization poem you have. Could you help me please or just send it to me.

  8. Excellent blog, so many great ideas and teaching tools. Your class is very blessed to have you as a Teacher, you truly must love what you do!

    1. I do indeed! Thanks for the comment! Means a lot!

  9. Thanks so much for sharing your wonderful ideas! You are very generous!

  10. Love this Harriet Tubman poem! Thanks!

  11. Thank you! Love both templates. Plan to use these with our firsties.

  12. Thank You... I love all these ideas....

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Thank you for your comments. Words matter. :)


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