Wednesday, November 14, 2012

inflectional endings: ing!

So, I've been super bogged down at school lately...I know, hard to believe with the holidays approaching and all!  We have been working on lots and lots of skills and activities, but I sadly haven't had time to write about them :(
     I am going to break that trend of not blogging!  This week, we have been working on adding chunks to the end of words to make new words.  Tomorrow will be adding ing.  Mine always try to sound it out (which I am totally thankful for the effort--it just doesn't turn out so well with that particular chunk!)  So, this is what I have planned to tackle that skill:
     We're going to start with some practice with what ing sounds like.  I thought of a bell (ding ding!)  I am going to go over that sound annoyingly a bajillion times with them.  I made a bell graphic with the ing chunk to hang to remind them if they ever get stuck.   You can grab it here:
For my kinesthetic (sp) learners, I;m going to have them *pretend* to flick a bell as they say the sound ing!  ing! ing!  I even found an app for the's called "Bell for Christmas"  you can tap the belll & it dings--FREE!  We will ding-a-ling to our hearts content to start out with.
    Then, I have a Smartboard balloon pop game.  They click on the balloons to reveal a word.  Next, I'll have them write "ing" with the "rainbow" pen next to the word.  My other kiddos will be working on white boards or boogie boards writing their words + ing too.  I will probably have a quiet bell-dinger to remind us to add ing each time too.  lol, why waste a perfectly good free app?!  As soon as I figure out how to post Smart notebook files, I will post the pop game.  Until then, shoot me a message or comment with your email if you want it.
    After that, I made a little foldable for them.  They will think of 4 different words to neatly write on the flaps.  Then, they will add ing to make a new word.  On the inside of the flap, they will write and illustrate a sentence using that new word.  Click the pic to grab yours for free!
 And lastly, I found a cute Between the Lions video "without an ing" we can watch. I think we will be just about ing-ed out after all this!!

    Sorry this post is so short, but it's waaaaay past my bedtime & I gots to rest up for thparkly vampires tomorrow night!!!   

Sunday, November 4, 2012

Catching Up..Field Trip and a Rafflecopter Giveaway!!

This post is all about a field trip, and a freebie. The rafflecopter is at the end of this post.
First things first: Field trip.  I decided, instead of me being the only photographer in the group; I'd give my students that job too.  I armed each of my parent volunteers with a camera or an iPod, and talked to the kids about what type of pictures they were looking for.  They were on a scavenger hunt.  Looking for pictures of things they used their 5 senses for.  Things they saw, smelled, heard, tasted, and touched.  They came up with some fantabulous pics.  I printed them out & we debriefed the field trip by going through their photography.  We sorted them into a tree map in the hallway, and it was truly one of the most successful field trip projects I've tried.  If you'd like the tree map headers, I've posted the link below.  lol, I'll post it as soon as I figure out where I saved the file!

I also made a field trip survival kit for my team.  Basic supplies: bandaids, baby wipes, napkins, kleenex, plastic bags, advil, chocolate.  You know, the essentials!  I put these labels on the front & they saved the day more than a few on the pic to grab the labels.  Thanks to the 3am teacher for the cute background!

We had our first field trip of the year a few weeks ago, and I think it went smashingly far as field trips go!   We all know, the kids look forward to these for months, but I usually dread the organized chaos involved.

This time around, we went to the Oil Ranch located in Hockley, about 45 minutes outside of Houston.  It's a sprawling bajillion acre ranch with TONS of things for my little explorers inquirers (gotta use those IB words!)  They have trains, hay rides, animals, pony rides, petting zoos, indian villages, mazes, bouncy thing -a-ma-jigs, playgrounds, picnic areas, sno cones, pumpkin patches, lakes, and a  partridge in a pear tree.
I wish I could post pics of all the fun my little guys had, but y'all will have to settle for one of me and my counterpart in crime first grade, Miss French.  We had such a great day; the weather was beautiful and I had so many awesome parent volunteers.  Our day ended with the excitement of each of my students getting to pick their very own pumpkin--oh the excitement!!  I think our bus ride home explains it all....

Now, Rafflecopter.  In honor of me being an absent blogger, I'm giving away an item for every week I slacked off and didn't blog.  Yay for you!  As of now, there will be four put your name in the hat, tell your firends, and blog about it!  I'll draw 4 winners on the 17th!  a Rafflecopter giveaway

Bad Blogger....baaaaaaadd! And November currently

It's November currently time with Farley.  Here goes...
So, this weekend has been a sports-filled schmorgesborg!  Started off with the Texas Tech/ TU game.  Wreck Em, they didn't, but it was still a great game!  I know, I'm supposed to loathe Texas Tech and Texas alike, but there is a special place in my heart for those Red Raiders.  My twin brother went there, so I root for the Tech-sters too...Guns Up!

Then, it was WFTDA National Championship weekend.  I got to watch some gret Roller Derby, but this afternoon, the Championship bout between Gotham and Oly, WOW!  I am definitely gonna have some new derby-crushes after this weekend...sorry Smarty Pants.

And the cherry on my sports coma weekend: ANOTHER win from my Houston Texans over Buffalo!!  7-1!

Lastly, there's the new Zac Brown Band album.  Newly burned off of I-Tunes...LOVES IT!

Oh yeah...I'm having a Rafflecopter giveaway...see the post here & enter to win.    

Saturday, October 13, 2012

BOOOOOO to you!

I love games!  Remember that October secret-santa-esque game we play at school....BOO?!  Well, Cynthia over at 2nd grade pad has created a bloggy-version.  Here's how to play.  Choose a fellow blogger that has MORE followers, another that has about the SAME number of followers, and last, someone that has LESS followers.

Highlight their blogs with links to encourage others to check them out.  Don't forget to let your fellow bloggers know that you shared about them. 

Lastly, leave them some love by offering them a goody from your store as their "treat."
Here is my list of "must-sees"
Lynda, over at Curls and a Smile.  She has a bajillion innovative ideas AND she is a dear friend of mine from high school....Go Mustangs!! 

Dede, you can find her at a Series of First Grade Events.  Love the blog name, but more importantly....her blog has thparkles!!

And last, but wickedly not least.....Kaitlyn at Wicked Fun in First!  She's new to the blogoshere, she's got some cute ideas AND she loves her some Tom's! 

Happy Boo-ing!!! 

Wednesday, October 3, 2012


So, my Farley blog-stalking has finally payed's the October version of currently. Check it out, and head on over to Farley's blog to see 'em all!  And when you're finished there, you should go see one of my lovely first grade teammates, Miss French over at Wicked Fun in First.  Why?  Why not?!  She's a new blogger, with a whole lotta wicked-great ideas to share :) Oh yeah, she likes to go bike.  And she loves her some Tom's...... 

Monday, October 1, 2012

A Bad Case of the "That's not fairs"

How many times a day do you hear that one?  Ever since I started my leveled reading takehome books; I seem to be hearing more and more of it!  The higher the level, the more awesome the duct tape on the binding becomes: ie, if you can get up to a level j or get super mario brothers duct tape or * justin beiber* duct tape.  Anyways, the "That's not fair" it's been a flying!  I decided to take a band aid to it.  Wha? 
  So, I started out by asking if anyone had a boo-boo on their arm.  Amazingly, we had someone with a cat scratch.  Miss Curtis had a fix for that....Angry birds band-aids!  I asked if anyone else had a boo-boo; someone had a paper cut on their finger.....WAIT, I have to be FAIR--band-aid on your arm.  Another one, cut on the knee.....WAIT, I have to be fair--band-aid on your arm.  ETC, etc, until we got through everyone; and Miss Curtis had to be fair, so everyone got a band-aid on their arm, no matter where their boo-boo was.  This fell into an awesome discussion about how silly it was for me to put a band-aid on someone's arm, who had a cut on their knee.  Does it make sense, NO!  This point was really driven home to my kiddos.  My point to this whole discussion was, in school, being fair doesn't always mean that everyone gets exactly the same thing.  I got them to see that being fair meant that everyone got what they needed to be successful.  We're not always going to get exactly the same materials, or learning method, but I will ALWAYS make sure you get what you need to be a better student. 
Like magic, I haven't heard a peep out of the "That's not fair" crowd today.  This was a really effective lesson, and I highly recommend it to anyone who is working with leveled groups of any kind. 
Happy Monday :)

Sunday, September 30, 2012

Place Value and Patterning fun!

Well, it has been quite the busy week in first grade!  We had some visitors from St. Thomas University who came to observe some of the fun things we do at Herrera.  We finished up our TPRI testing, yay!   We continued with place value, and moved onto everyone's favorite--patterns!  We had our first fundraiser, a cotton candy sale--huge success!  

Here are a couple of things we did with place value.  I found this activity from Babbling abby....LOVES her!  Basically, each kiddoodle got 2 jumbo marshmallows, 2 rounded toothpicks, some froot loops, and a recording sheet.  We also started out writing our numbers with white boards; this gave us a little more practice before we got to the recording sheet.  Who doesn't love practice when food is involved?!  I called outnumbers, "3 tens, and 2 ones."  They had to build the number on their marshmallow-toothpick creation using froot loops.  If that was my number, they would stack 3 FL on the "tens" marshmallow, and 2 on their "ones" marshmallow.  Then, they wrote the number.  Pretty simple, and they were all successful!  The next day, we moved onto hundreds-tens-and ones.....BIG TIME(and it meant THREE marshmallows!) *gasp*

For patterns, this was pretty much review from kindergarten.  We got into growing patterns, and a few more complicated patterns.  Then, I let them build using some spooky halloweenie things from the dollar store.  I let them use the ipods to take pictures of their patterns--that's how we recorded them.  Who'd have thought that plastic cockroaches and eyeballs could be so entertaining?!

Lastly, a workstation makeover for any magnet type station you might have.  I used my build a word and sorting centers.  Usually, I have them working on cookie sheets--either hung on the wall, or at thier desk.  Today, I taped them underneath their desks (which are metal) and they were able to sort upsidedown.  I would make sure you go over proper behavior, but mine didn't have any issues--they just thought it was the best time ever!!

have a great week!  Oh yeah, is it wrong that I'm blog-stalking Farley....waiting for her October currently?

Tuesday, September 25, 2012

Workstation Idea!

So, here is my Made it Monday, er, Tuesday idea.  It's a workstation for my kids to practice those mystical high frequency words.  In my district, our first graders have to know 100 sight words by the end of the year.  So that means practice, practice, practice!!
     I thought of this as I was wandering through Target this afternoon.  Basically, I pimped out everyones favorite childhood game. I bought a Chutes & Ladders game ($10) , took my trusty sharpie, and sight word list to simply write one word in each numbered space.  I'm going to have the kids play it by saying each word as they move up and down the board--not just the one they land on.  Hopefully, this new game will bring some quality practice time and a little fun to workstations this week! Sure to be a classroom favorite :)

     If you've been wondering where I've been.  I have been up to my eyeballs in the Hurculean task  of putting together my leveled take home book library.  (Pictures and story to follow soon)

What about you, so you have any fun games to practice high frequency words that your kids love?!


Thursday, September 13, 2012

The Scoot

Notice my little man here is wearing a tie..LOVES IT!
No, that's not what I'm talking about.  It's a game, silly!
This week, on top of  TPRI testing (yay for them putting the app on our iPads); we're covering beginning place value  in math. It's the first big concept we've learned, and I think my kiddos are doing a bang up job on comprehending this topic.  We started out with counting cubes, just making sets of 10s and ones on a sorting mat.  Once they grasped that, up went the counting cubes and out came the food!  Pretzel rods and mini marshmallows to be exact.  I gave each one their baggie of "tens and ones" and we figured out which would be the 10 and which had to be the ones.   I would call out a number of 10s and then ones; they had to build it on their sorting mat, and then skip count to figure out my number.  They got lightning quick at this near the  end of the game, and even began to connect that they really don't even have to skip count.  My favorite quote from one of mine "Geez Miss Curtis, why can't I just tell you I have 4 pretzels and 3 marshmallows,,,it makes 4-3,  instead of skip counting--that's way too much work!"   
click to download the freebie packet! 

Another game we've played is the place value scoot.....the STAR of this post!  This is a game I'll play with all sorts of topics.  Place value was just the first to pop up!  First, we move all the desks into 2 long tables, that way I'll have 2 groups moving around an easily identifiable path.  I've tried playing it without moving the desks & it was not pretty!  Basically, I print out and post a problem on each students desk.  I give everyone a recording sheet, and they start working the problem that is posted at their desk; making sure to record the answer in the corresponding number on their recording sheet.  Then, I say "on your mark, get set, SCOOT!"  They take their papers with them, and scoot one desk to their right (we prefer to move in the derby direction in my room!)  They work through that problem, and record the answer in the appropriate space; waiting for the next scoot direction to move again.  I love it cause it gets them practicing those math skills, and they love it cause they get to get up and move around every few's a win-win!     

Saturday, September 8, 2012

First Linky Party: What's your favorite reward or Incentive to use?

thanks to the 3am teacher for the frame!!

With first graders, it's all about motivation.  While I really try to instill that intrinsic need to do your best; there are always a few who will benefit with a little outside motivation.  I have a few that I use...I try to mix it up so no one gets bored. 

click picture to claim your freebie!
  My favorite right now is actually one that a colleague of mine learned about in a training, thanks Mrs. Garcia!  It's called "My Personal  Best."  It's played similarly to the superbowl square game.  You decide what behaviors you're looking for, and to reward the students that step up to the challenge; they get to write their name on a mini post-it & choose whichever square they like to stick it to.  On Friday, or whenever we fill it up; I have them draw a number and a letter & whoever's name is in that square....DING DING DING...they're the big winner!  I usually choose 5-6 students, but this is a great lesson on being a good sport AND probability.   So far, it's worked really well.  The kids would do anything for a sticky note (provided by the school,) and I'm not buying a million prizes! Assembling is easy, I created the board & it's a freebie in my TPT store.  Just print out and glue together.  I included blank squares to piece together, but I'm way to impatient for that--I actually bought a blank calendar and cut off one column to make it 6x6 squares.  It's an instant grid!  Then, just laminate & you're ready for the kids to show you their best!!

Now for the PAR-TAY.  What's your favorite way to reward  your kiddos?  I can't wait to see and hear about all y'alls  great ideas!   And if you're still reading....the first 3 people to link up can have their choice of ANY 1 item from my TPT store!  Just leave me a comment with your choice :)

TBA's Ultimate Linky Party

Friday, September 7, 2012

TBA Open House Week Ketch-up!

So....I know this is hard to believe, but I'm kinda behind on Open House Week.  Oh the Horror!  I'm going to post some bulletin boards, AND a freebie for freebie Friday!
Thursday: Bulletin Boards
I got this!  Here are a few of my current boards.....
 The owls are for my helpers and behavior clip chart.  The snapshots board is to display those lovely IB Learner Profiles.  We're going to add poloroids of us displaying these traits later on, as they are introduced.

And here's our Husky, Hector welcoming all my Firsties to a brand new year!!

Now Friday.  Freebies?! bout a Pete the Cat letter-word-sentence sort?  My kids love love love Pete; so I've been creating all sorts of Pete-like products to use in class here's one of the latest ones. Just click the pics to rock your way all the way to my Pete sort. 
And now, you've stuck around long enough.  Here's one of our activities this week.  The kids really loved it.  It was a read and write the room with the HFW from our Reading street Story, Sam.  They feel so grown up when they get to grab a clipboard, and wander (with a  purpose) around the room. You can find the original here.

Monday, September 3, 2012

Long weekend, 1st week recap, and Sept currently.....

Can we do this every week, please?!  I know, everyone hates  to hear teachers whine, because "you have 3 months off in the summer."  If they understood the half of what we did, and what little we got paid....I think there'd be a whole lot more holidays :)

Anyways.  Last week.  Whoa.  I have a very "active" bunch.  25 kiddos to be exact.  We did all sorts of get-to-know you, diagnostic tests (yuck,) and learning routines and procedures.  Next week, we're gonna dive into that curriculum; and also start the Daily 5--I'm soooo excited!!  But here's a Cliff Notes version of last week.
We read a whole lotta back to school stories.  My kiddos favorite: Pete the Cat (of course!)  They love, love, love Pete!  We went to the authors website, and read our book along with the online version.  They were singing that song all week!  I was going to save the other Pete books for sequencing activities, but I might have to sneak-preview them next hopefully prevent a complete mutiny on the bounty.

We completed the Kissing Hand scavenger hunt, with QR codes.  LOVED IT!  I set them up in groups, and gave each group and iPod or iPad, and we all went together around the school looking for clues.  I can't stress enough how easy these QRcodes are, and how engaging they make activities.  Once we found the clue, they would take turns scanning the code, and once every group had the page open--I would help them read it & we searched for the next one.  One stop was our principals office.  We were all pretty calm, but he has rockstar status in our school--everyone needed a hi-five.  AND as we were using our "sneaky feet" to move quietly out of the office; he brought out the light saber.  WOW--instant hype!  That was all I heard about for the rest of the afternoon--"Did you know Mr. Principal has a light saber?!"  "But Miss Curtis--it lights up AND makes noise....can we get one?!"  All in all, QR code hunt.....huge hit!

We also needed practice with identifying letters and sounds.  I decided to help them get some wiggles out in the process. We went outside and sat on the curb of our basketball court.  I brought my big magnetic letters out, along with an alphabet go fish game.  I put the letters about 20 feet away, and gave each one a word.  They had to decide what letter that word started with & race to go find it.  LOVED IT!  They'd get back & share with us what they found, and go put it back for the next person.  Clean up was a breeze too.  I just gave everyone a word at once & told them to find the letter & put it back in the letter drawer. I have a feeling I'm going to be looking for alot of these more active games this year!

It was a long week, and I'm glad I have this long weekend to catch up on sleep.  What fun activities did y'all do on your first week back?
and of course....sept. Currently with Farley:

Sunday, September 2, 2012

First grade Through the Looking Glass

Yeah, no first week reflections here.  Well, maybe tomorrow. 

I've been super busy with this new clip art I'm OBSESSED with....Alice in Wonderland!!  I put together a unit to go with our first reading street & envision objectives.  I only did 4 centers, because we're just introducing the concept of workstations to my lovelies next week.  You know how that steps.  Anyways, our main focus next week with our story, Sam, is letter recognition--M, S, and T, beginning sounds, and the dreaded high frequency words.  Envision takes us into the world of simple addition to 10 and number sense.  So, my workstations will focus on those objectives.
click on picture to take you through the looking glass and into my TPT store :)

 For letter recognition, I put  together a picture sort.  I am going to put the sorting mat on a cookie sheet & put little magnets on the back of all the pictures for my kiddos to sort the beginning sounds.  Then, HFW they will unscramble some very simple sentences, and record their findings next to the picture on their recording sheet.
Math is matching number sentences with pictures that correspond to those numbers.  That way they are counting and working on that one-to-one correspondence. I thought they could write the number sentence on a recording sheet, and then draw their own picture to illustrate the problem.  And lastly, number order to 30.  Put the cards in order, and record your findings!

Check em out....I hope you love Wonderland as much as I do!