Thursday, March 31, 2011


I'm bopping in {really late!} to let you know that I've uploaded a new unit to TpT about astronauts.  More to come {with pics, of course!}. 

Click HERE to purchase :)

Tuesday, March 29, 2011

You Know You're a Teacher When... { + MckLinky}

You Know You Teach First Grade When...

- Your once neatest handwriters are suddenly writing their names illegibly.  Because they're attempting to write in cursive with no formal instruction.

- You've been through no less than 762 glue sticks.

- You've considered changing your name for the day just so you don't have to respond to Ms._______ seventy-eight times in an hour.

-  You're fairly certain that a select few  students will never recognize the written difference between a "b" and a "d" no matter how many times you correct them.

-  You get just as excited as the kids do when the Scholastic book order comes in.

-  You welcome inventive spelling if only to have something entertaining to read. 

-  You wish you got a dollar every time you told your class to "be a level zero in the hallway" or to "get on the line" when walking down the hall.

-  You have at least one Dr. Jean album on your iPod.

-  Calendar activities exhaust you.  {Maybe that's just me... I'm hoping that doing it on the SmartBoard next year will alleviate some of my pain!}

- You love your students' goofy smiles due to their jack-o-lantern-like assortment of *missing* teeth.

- On that same note, you are driven *12 kinds of crazy* when students repeatedly get up from whole group time to get a tissue to wiggle a loose tooth.

-  Your heart goes pitter patter when hear your firsties read, smiling at the fact that you are the one responsible for that.

Your turn!  I'd love for you to link up and tell us what things make your grade level special!

Thursday, March 24, 2011

Color Word Adjective Activity {first, second, third grade}

Through our reading series we have been studying color words as adjectives this week.  Again, I don't really have anything against Treasures, but I really feel like first graders need a lot more than pencil and paper work to understand something!  {PS.  Anyone else with 1st Grade Treasures please tell me why they do inventors/inventions TWICE...and a month apart from each other?!  Grrrrrr!}

Okay, so I started by explaining that there are many shades of colors, as evidenced by a box of 96 count crayons and how much more exciting we can make our writing when we use awesome color adjectives as opposed to plain old "red," "blue," "yellow," etc. 

I pre-made a whole group graphic organizer and labeled the 6 main colors on it.  I then asked the students to help me sort some of the color names I found inside the big box of crayons.  {Ahead of time, I'd already chosen the shades I wanted to use and set those crayons aside, along with a set of stickers to name each color.}  As I called out the color name (i.e. cornflower, wisteria, mango tango, etc.), the students had to guess what color it was a shade of.  Then, the student who guessed correctly stuck the sticker on the chart and colored in the sticker with the crayon. 

Afterwards we completed a writing activity - the students colored in the crayon in the picture box and then labeled it (with stickers I'd made), drew a picture using that color, and then wrote a sentence using the color name.  {I will admit, this was a little difficult even after modeling it.  When I do it again next year, I might have them do it as I model it on my document projector step-by-step.}  However, they still turned out pretty cute!

Looooove this one!  If you can't read it, it says, I laid in the sun and my skin turned atomic tangerine!  Ha!
If you're interested in the worksheet, click the picture below :)

You'll have to download the stickers separately HERE and HERE.  The larger stickers I used on the big chart were geared for my specific lessons using the 18 colors I chose.  The smaller stickers I used for the worksheet are the colors I chose, plus many other unique colors from the box of 96.  {Also, you don't have to use them as stickers!  You could always just print them out on regular old paper and glue them on :)}

* * * * *

In other news, our school's Energy Team put on an "energy" week and each class was to come up with a project made from recycled materials.  I gave my kididdles complete control of our project (with the exception of assisting them with some hot glue gunning) and they made a "futuristic space car."  My favorite part is the flag, complete with a Diet Coke - because one of my students thought that represented me best!  Ha! 

There were many super cutie projects around school.  Here are some of them...

And, lastly, if you saw sweet Cara's recent post, then you fell in love with her large dice made from recycled tissue boxes!  How cute are they?!  Well, I just so happened to find some perfectly square mini-tissue boxes for sale in the Target Dollar Spot tonight perfect for Cara's idea!

Just to show you the size difference.

TGIalmostF!!!!  {That is one of my FAVORITE things to type since it means the weekend is one school day away!!!!}

PS.  How stinkin' cute was The Office proposal tonight?!  Not gonna lie - I was crying!  Totally pumped for Will Ferrell as the new boss though!!!

Wednesday, March 23, 2011

Teaching R-Controlled Vowels: /ar/ {First Grade Activities} & Tee-Shirt Tutorial

Ahoy, mateys!  Today we learned the /ar/ sound with Pirate Mark!

We started off reading about Pirate Mark and his love of chocolate bars.  And I can take zero credit for the sweet story about this little character.  Honestly, I was having a major brain fart {sorry, just had to throw in that ar word that surprisingly *none* of my students have mentioned this week!} and recruited my little sister, Aubrea, to help me out.  Literally, I called her at 9:30pm one night and said, Aubs, I need to come up with a poem about a pirate named Mark, incorporate the word chocolate bar, and lots of "ar" words.  Also, I need it in about 20 minutes.  And, bless her heart, she pulled through for me! 

Afterwards, I introduced the "ar" word treasure hunt activity.  Before the students arrived at school, I hid 16 word "ar" word cards throughout the building in places that the students frequent (i.e. hallway and classroom).  I directed the students' attention to the large treasure map I made, and told the students that it was their job to find the hidden words, read them to me, and then add them to the dots on the treasure map.  Of course, they immediately found the ones hidden in the room and couldn't wait to line up for restroom break so they could look for more!  The students found all but the very last word, which I'd given to our assistant principal earlier in the morning.  She came in with the last word {to much applause} and then chose a student to guess where the treasure was hidden in our room.  The treasure?  Candy bars!  In a real treasure chest!  {Forgot to take a pic! Darn!}

We also practiced writing /ar/ar words and completed this little pirate art project.  I LOVE the way they turned out! 

Arcitits, anyone? Ha!  It's supposed to say "architect!"

There are other activities included in the 30+ page printable you can purchase at TpT for $5.00! Click HERE to purchase :) 

And, to add to the pirate effect and give my kids an all-day visual of the /ar/ sound, I made a shirt to wear as part of my pirate garb. 

Mrs. H, my fab friend and the special edu. teacher who works with my room, also took one for the team and dressed up in the most hilarious pirate costume!  Love it!
This isn't the first shirt I've made for a school-related theme, but they are easy-peasy-lemon-squeezy to make! 

First, you need buy a tee and iron-on transfer printer paper.  I bought my tees in the men's section - 3 for $6.50 (or $4.00 if you find an already opened package like I did!} and the iron-on paper is from Michaels for about 8 bucks.

Next, design your image.  I like using Word, so I made my image there.  Make sure it is big enough for your tee.  {If you'd like to make an "aaargh!" shirt, click HERE for the design I used.}  Then, load up your transfer paper in your printer and follow the directions on the package of transfer paper for printing.  *Make sure your print using the "mirror image" option so that when you iron it, it will print the right direction!*

Then, cut your image down to size, fit on your tee, and iron on the side you did not print on.  Again, just follow the directions on the package of transfer paper.

Wait a few minutes, peel the backing away, and voila! you've made a personalized tee :)

Do you like where I wrote my personal notes for the day?

This was the best "aaargh!" post I could come up with!  Also, it was class picture day.  And I totally rocked the pigtails.  Oops!
Happy Hump Day, me mateys!

Tuesday, March 22, 2011

Aaargh, me hearties!

Ahoy, sweet friends!  We're setting sail with Pirate Mark  to reinforce the /ar/ sound in our reading and writing.  I'll be back with more details tomorrow, but you can preview some of our activities at Teachers Pay Teachers

And, oh yes, I am totally teaching in costume tomorrow.  Aaargh!

{Click HERE to purchase.}

Thursday, March 17, 2011

These are a few of my favorite things...

If you follow me at Babbling Abby, you probably know that I love me some thrift.  I love shopping Goodwill, consignment shops, yard sales {the season's getting ready to start! yay!}, and even, you know, my neighbor's garbage.  *ain't no shame in my game* In fact, the nightstand and dresser/cabinet in our bedroom were plucked out of my neighbor's trash when I was 9 months preggo - all by myself! 

But, I must tell you, I totally come by it honestly.  My dad has finds the best stuff in the garbage!  He's an early morning runner and often scopes out the best curbside treasures at his 5am runs before the other garbage scavengers find them (i.e. Little Tike's picnic table, various furniture, a red-rider tricycle, etc).

Anyway, about 3 years ago, my dad found a random shelf thingy that was on wheels in his neighbor's garbage and snagged it for me thinking I'd use it in my classroom somewhere.  We determined that it was probably used as a display shelf in a store at some point.  He saved it in his garage for me fo-eva and I kept rolling my eyes at it, telling him to store it a little longer.  Truth be told: I couldn't come up with a good use for it. It's awkward shape was doing nothing for me. Fast forward to this year, and it is by far my favorite piece of furniture in my classroom. 

She sits in my whole group meeting area between my easel/dry-erase board combo and my chair and rolling whiteboard.  And the girl holds everything - from my crazy supply of writing utensils, to books, to my mini pocket chart, to large tablets of writing paper.  She also houses materials and tools for my small group reading activities.  I'm telling you, she's my secret to organizational success.

Another one of my favorite things is also pictured above.  I LOVE my mini folding pocket chart.  I use it during whole group working with words activities and small group reading activities.  It's sooooo convenient - I usually just sit it right on my lap with the letters facing me and the blank pockets facing my students where I build the words.  When a student gets stuck on a letter in a word, I usually hum a super-hero like tune and peek the tricky letter over the top to give them a hint.  The kids get a kick out of it!  Also, it was a sweet freebie from Highlights! for passing out subscription forms to my students at the beginning of the year.  Gotta love free!

Lastly, this is something I love but it also drives me crazy on occasion (just promise me you won't tell my students!).  It's my student-made drawings.  You know, the ones they give you every morning when they get to school?  Then, the same student(s) bring you about 12 more drawings throughout the day? 
This is only a fraction of the work!  The wall to the right is covered, too!
 Don't get me wrong, I LOOOOOVE kid art.  Love it.  But I just don't know what to do with it all!  I've dedicated the walls above my desk to display their work, but it is taking over!!!!  {Teachers Only Secret: I try to regularly rotate what's on the wall, but am often fast friends with the recycling bin at the end of the day!}

{PS.  I had no idea how much drama these little feet would cause...

Lucky the Leprechaun left about a dozen sets of these throughout our room and my kididdles became OBSESSED with tracking him!  They wrote him notes, debated his existence, planned traps, and couldn't wait to return to our room after specials/restroom break/lunch to see what mischief he'd gotten into while they were away!  So cute!  Thanks for the great idea, Cara!}

TGIalmostF!  We have a three-day weekend, so I'm off tomorrow!  Wahoo!!!!

Tuesday, March 15, 2011

St. Pat's Day Math Journal Activities {for primary}

First off, here's an eensy weensy St. Pat's Day printable for daily math journals... 

{Click on pic for free download!}

We are all into math journals right now - and I have appointed "Math Leaders" that pass them out, along with glue and each day's prompt.  They pretty much think they are *kind of* a big deal.  And they are.  I love that they rush back from lunch to pass them out :)  So. Cute. 

{Admittedly, math journals are new addition to my math curriculum.  We've only been doing them for about a month! And I truly notice a difference in their ability to problem solve already!}

In other news, it looks like we're adopting Math in Focus (Singapore Math).  I REALLY like the sample set that was left with us.  I know there was a lot of discussion about math programs a couple of post backs, but I'd love to know how you like this specific program if you're in primary or intermediate.  My principal stated that *everyone* in the building must be on board when choosing the new series - so it's between Math in Focus and Envisions. 

And lastly - the best academic news EVER...

I'm getting one of these in my room over the summer!  Ahhhh!!!!  *12 kinds of excited*

Happy Tuesday, sweet friends!

Monday, March 14, 2011

Thirst for First Giveaway!

Hey, y'all!  I don't have much time to post as Brad is gettin' ready to choose him a bride.  And though I'm a fair weather Bachelor fan, I do want to see him pick 'im a girl!  And - stop the world -  my husband is poppin' out a bottle of wine to celebrate our hardwood floors!  Wahoo!

Anyway, I've made a new bloggy friend - she's Takara over at Thirst for First!

And, by golly, she's generously offered to team up for a Let's Get Poppin' with Adjectives *giveaway* that includes - stop the world - an actual AIR POPPER to pop the popcorn with!  Loves it!

Go visit her by clicking the picture below :)

Happy Monday and I'll be back tomorrow with a blog with more substance!

Wednesday, March 9, 2011

Let's Get Poppin' with Adjectives {First Grade Adjective Activity}

First of all, y'all are crackin' me right up with all the pencil commentary.  I'm just glad I'm not alone!  Thanks for commiserating ;)

Secondly, let's discuss teaching my kididdles adjectives.  I decided we needed something a little more substantial than the totally un-fun and completely un-engaging pencil-and-paper activities in my reading series (which is Treasures, btw).  Don't get me wrong, I really like some things about our reading series, but worksheets alone aren't going to teach my pumpkins about descriptive words.

They really need concrete experiences to learn - especially at six- and seven-years-old.  Right?!

Insert the old standby - popcornFreshly popped right in front of them popcorn. 

{And, btw, it was oh-so-cool to use an air-popper to pop it!  Most of them had only ever used a microwave and using an air-popper was pretty much *12 kinds* of fun!  Especially watching the popcorn waterfall dump into our big silver bowl!  It was like MAGIC!}

After encouraging them to truly experience the popcorn - it's smell, texture, appearance, and taste - we met to discuss the many adjectives that could describe this yummy afternoon treat. 

Afterwards, of course, we like totally had to do a fun little art project.  They turned out super cutie!

{If you're interested in this activity, you can check it out in my TpT store.  It includes the activity sheet my students completed after we met to discuss popcorn adjectives, writing paper, a literacy center (+ corresponding recording sheet), a sample lesson plan, and some templates for the whole-group graphic organizer I made. Read the description for more detail.  Click HERE to go see!}

Tuesday, March 8, 2011

Teaching "oa" & Adjectives!

Hey, y'all!  Long time, no talk to!

It's taken me a couple of days to get back in my teaching groove, so I only have a few things to post!  It's amazing how being sick can just knock the life right out of you and set you back days.  My creativity has even suffered!

Anyway, this week we're studying long /o/o, oa, and ow {again} and adjectives.

I combined both and read the book Boats by Gail Gibbons to my students.

We then described the boats we saw in the book and organized our thoughts into a whole-group graphic organizer.

Then, I had my kididdles make boats and write adjectives to describe them.  Nothing super cutie, but effective nonethless :)

Here are pics of our There's A Wocket in my Pocket activities.  Thanks again, Rachelle!!!  Her Seuss Unit was FULL of amazing things.  Hopefully, next year I'll be present for the whole week!
There's something very sweet about this unassuming cockit.  He he he.
And this Schmrocket is a leeeeetle bit scary...

Also, please tell me I am not the only teacher who could cry over the amount of these babies that I go through in a week...


Despite my relentless efforts to help them Practice Safe Sharpening they still sharpen them down to the nubs all. the. time.  Or lose them.  Or eat them.  {No, really, I have erasers chewed off daily.} Charging them tickets every time then need a new pencil has proved ineffective.  How on earth do you keep your students supplied with these fatties?  SOS!

Thursday, March 3, 2011

Happy Thursday :)

Hi, friends!

Unless you wanted to read my hastily thrown together sub-plans or my review of the the NetiPot, I don't have anything significant to post this week :(  Not even something cute for Dr. Seuss.  Figures I'd be sick during one of the most celebratory weeks for elementary kiddos during the school year. 

Here are some cuties things I found while blogstalking during my sick days, and some other odds and ends...
1.  If I had been well for Dr. Seuss' birthday, you bet your britches I would have been doing Seussical stuff that Rachelle oh-so-generously posted.  In fact, I did make a big pocket graphic organizer for There's a Wocket in my Pocket, but never got to do it as I was out the following day :(  Maybe I'll do some Seuss-themed stuff next week...

2.  I mentioned it already, but it requires another shout-out: I LOVE these homophone matches at Primary Graffiti!  They go great with my Wizard of Oz Literacy and Match Unit.
3.  Suzanne at Diary of a First Grade Teacher posted this adorable Smilebox slideshow of how she used the Mystery Box in her classroom!  I love it!

Click to play this Smilebox slideshow
Create your own slideshow - Powered by Smilebox
This slideshow design personalized with Smilebox
4.  I love Finally in First's great idea for morning work that combines reading, grammar, and math all in one!  Thanks, Jenn!

5.  Of course, Michelle is always inspiring with her great ideas.  Read HERE about how she organizes reading in her room.  I'm up for anything with a Rainbow theme :)  {Another great idea, Michelle: let's organize our trip to Christmas Tree Shops!!!!!}

6.  April posted the cuuuuutest Zoo Unit with adorable art projects!  Filing this away for May!

7.  And you can't go wrong with anything from my sweet friend at First Grade Parade.  Cara's March Madness bundle is loaded {and I mean loaded} with great stuff for this month. 

8.  I finally got my scanner working {temporarily, I'm sure!} so here are the Contraction Kid Cut-Outs and the nametags that go with the activity.  Click on the pic to download :)

9.  Today is the last day of my 20% off *sale* on Teacher's Pay Teachers.  Check it out HERE

10.  I'm in the process of completing my IRB application to have my research project approved by the university I attend.  What a tedious process!  Has anyone else had to do this?  {I'm studying literacy and looping, btw, to see if students who loop perform better on literacy-related assessments than their non-looping counterparts.}