April 2011 - Queen of the First Grade Jungle

Testing Time!

At our school (as I am sure most of your schools do) we are buddied up with older grades to be cheerleaders. We give cute motivational notes, candies,and banners. I decided to make this little bookmark for our buddies. On my version I put the child's name and Love, Mrs. King's Class. I thought I would put up 2 versions that you all could use and write in their names and your last name as well! Hope some of you can use one of these bookmark!

Enjoy your weekend!

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Wonderful picture books for a unit on plants/flowers

We began a unit on plants this week. As we have begun to do with all our units, we have completely integrated our Reading with our Science or Social Studies. So I hit up my arsenal of flower picture books (excuse me- I mean my fabulous teaching partner's arsenal). Miss Rumphius is a super sweet book and allows you to talk about how seeds travel.
Another great book for seeds from Sir Eric Carle himself-- I mean really, did he write a bad book?!?
Honestly I feel like I am 8 years old again when I read this one! Imagine the Text-to-self connections!

Hilarious book for talking about sequencing and character traits (oh yay and roots, stems, and flowers!)

Great for vocabulary!

We just finished a unit on Nutrition so this will tie in nicely!

And last but not least!

If I left any good ones out-- Please share! I plan on putting our whole Plant Unit up later this week- complete with Learning Log,so be on the look-out!


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Easter Paper and Chicks

Looking for some cute Easter paper...

On another note... just in time for Easter- we hatched two of our eggs today. All 80 first graders watched the first chick pull his head out of the egg together! We were trying to quiet our kids down and squealing at the same time we were so excited--- Truly my best teaching moment to date!
Here are two of our chickies below!

If you ever get the chance to incubate chicken eggs--take it!

p.s. approaching 200 followers means giveaway on Monday!!!

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Spring has definitely Sprung

One of our vocabulary words this week is seasonal. What is more seasonal to Spring than life cycles! Well we have life cycles out the wazoo in First Grade! One of my students brought in some tadpoles from her pond!

I have Robin eggs in my bedroom window!

And our chick eggs are starting to hatch!!!!

Here is the form I plan on using for my kids to make observations about our frogs... if you would like to download!

How do you study life cycles??? Please share through comments or links! I am always looking to learn from you all!


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Last Minute Ideas for Easter Eggs

If you are anything like me-- you grabbed a bag of eggs when you were at the store and got really excited about coming up with ideas and then--life hit. Between dinner, laundry, and other normal day life stuff, I hadn't gotten around to coming up with centers or games to do with my eggs. And they are some darn cute eggs too-
1. First idea- Cut up sentences and put them in an egg. Have students unscramble the sentences and record them on the sheet below.

2. When I saw these guys,I just couldn't resist. We have spent so much time talking about creative adjectives that I am sure my kids can come up with something good. If you can't find eggs with faces on them, try drawing goofy faces on their shells! Use the sheet below to record the creative writing!

3. My last idea is for a review Math center. I used some adorable buggy eggs and filled them with a set amount of coins. I numbered the eggs so the students can check their answers against the answer key independently.

Quick run to your nearest Dollar Tree, Target, or Big Lots and snatch up those eggs!


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2 monumental things have happened in the last 24 hours...

1. I won my first giveaway on the day that I awarded my blog's first winner of a giveaway! Tamara of Teaching with TLC emailed me to say I won her Easter giveaway valued at 85 dollars! Wahoo! I can't wait to use this book with my class!
2. I made a button! I can't believe it...okay I give directions all day long, but following them is a whole different story! I was able to use Click here <--- a tutorial from this site. The motivation to create a button was due to the fact that I will be contributing to the site Teaching Blog Addict and a button is a must! I am pretty happy with it... but more just proud of myself for doing it all on my own! So if you would like to add my button to your blog, please do and leave me a comment telling me you did!

Enjoy your weekend!

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Winner of Giveaway!

I am so sorry I have not been able to post the winner...I have been having major technical difficulties and my computer would not let me publish a post until this morning! The winner of the Meet the Planets and Sarah Cooley's Astronaut journal is #81 Amber! Amber please email me at Katie.king@boyle.kyschools.us. I will set you up with Sarah and mail the book to you! Please keep checking in I have 4 more of these fantastic books to be giving away! Thanks to Sarah and Sylvan Dell for offering such a great giveaway!


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Pirates, Chickens, and One more day for a giveaway

First- Don't forget to sign up for my giveaway with Sarah Cooley HERE!!!

So when I started doing this blogging thing, I wasn't convinced on buying units, but after seeing the high-quality stuff that many teachers are putting out there, I just couldn't resist. We are using Babbling Abby's Pirate Unit this week and my kids are having a ball! We went on our treasure hunt today for -ar words around the school building.. which we loved!!! Don't worry they did get chocolate bars after they found all the words! I can't wait to use the rest of the unit! Here are a couple finds from Spring Break that I am using with the unit as well.

Here is an adorable finger puppet pirate that I got at a teacher store on Spring Break... yes he is lying in a bed of chocolate bars :) My kids will retell the story full of -ar words tomorrow during Centers using this little guy.
I already had this book, but it was a fun read-aloud for after lunch to go along with our theme.

I also found these little post-its and will have my kids use these during Independent Reading to record -ar words that they find in their books. Isn't greatto find ways to keep them from running up with their finds!!

To switch gears a little bit... as I said yesterday we are also studying the chicken life cycle. We love to do non-fiction and fiction books together for our science topics to inundate our kids with as much information as we can. I used this adorable book today for my Reading Mini-lesson. Although it is so stinkin' cute, it is also packed with teachable moments for comparing and contrasting owls with chickens. Here is the printable we used during Centers after we read.


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Chicks and Giveaway!

Meet the cutest graphic organizers I have ever made! We began our unit on the chicken life cycle today. We also have eggs hatching in my teaching partner's room- at least we hope they hatch in about a week! Here is what we will use to organize our New Learning-- isn't he a doll!!
During one of their Centers today, my students wrote facts that they knew about chickens on cute little chick post-its I found.

Then we sorted their facts based on whether they were accurate or not... we only had one "cracked thinking!" Kids were already talking about the embryo and the yolk! Yay! Check in soon for more chick action. Also don't forget to comment here: Meet the Planets to enter my giveaway with Sarah Cooley!


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Way Late 100 followers Giveaway

I have been wanting to do a giveaway for awhile, but it has taken me some time to get it together- so a couple weeks late here is my 100+ follower giveaway... and watch out, it's a good one. My sister works for an amazing publishing company called Sylvan Dell Publishing. If you haven't heard of them, you have have to check them out. We have about 15 different books at our house and LOVE reading them, but I have just started sneaking them out of my kids' bookshelves and into my classroom ( in other words I think they are fantastic for all ages and I am a sneaky mommy). I emailed my sister and suggested that we could use a giveaway on my blog for a little more publicity and they agreed! The first book is one of my favorites-- Meet the Planets. The book is set up as a Favorite Planet Competition hosted by Pluto. The book is adorable and extremely informative. The book goes into how each planet got its name and interesting facts that distinguish it from the other planets! The whole time I was reading the book I kept thinking of Sarah Cooley's Adventures in Space Unit.

I couldn't have come up with a better learning log to go with the book if I tried! When I emailed Sarah she so sweetly agreed to offer one of her units to a winner!

So let me run over the details:
What you would win:
1. a copy of Meet the Planets
2. Sarah Cooley's Unit Adventures in Space
How to enter
1. Blog about this giveaway and become a follower!
2. Add me to your sidebar!
3. Follow First Grader at last
4. Become a follower on Sarah's TPT store
5. Like Sylvan Dell's Facebook page.

Please leave a comment for each entry that you make (or have already done)! This give-away is open until Wednesday at 10:00 pm! I hope you all will play along!


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Target Find turned into Behavior Management Tool

Unfortunately(my husband may say otherwise), I live in a small enough town that we don't have a Target... so while I was on Spring Break in Charleston--I went 5 times. Oops! I think some other people have posted about these adorable little trashcans (at least that is what I think it was intended for)...but on the LONG drive home yesterday I decided I would use it as a behavior management tool. I decided that I would make little slips of paper that say No Monkey Business Here! that I will hand out to students when I catch them behaving really well. Once they receive the slip they can put it in the monkey. At the end of the week I will draw a name out of the monkey to see who will get to keep this adorable little monkey on his/her desk for the day.

Click here for the container label ---> Bananas for Good Behavior

Google docs is fighting with me right now. It won't show the previews of the documents-- I need your help Queen of all things techy :) Ladybug!

Hope that you can use this in your classroom!

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Post Spring Break Anxiety

I have officially begun the trek back home to the Bluegrass state. I am stopped in Aiken, SC visiting my grandparents, but tomorrow will be full of driving, snacks, potty breaks, snacks, and anything else that will keep my 2-year-old and 3-year-old happy on the LONG drive home--without my husband. So here is my list of concerns going into the week after Spring Break:

1. How many of my kids went 10 straight days without picking up a book?
2. Will we act like wild animals throughout most of the day?
3. Which one of my kids will act like money is a word used on another planet (the unit I taught the two weeks before Spring Break!)
4. Will I be able to get my kids ready for our PTO "Spotlight on Me" night in 4 days (yes...four days after Spring Break)?
5. How many times on Monday will I wish I was still on the beach reading a good book and watching my kids splash in the water???

Now- your turn! What are your anxieties returning from a much deserved break to a classroom full of kiddos! OH- and keep an eye out- I will have my very FIRST giveaway very soon!

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Poetry Night

I have been promising a post about our poetry night so here it is-- unfortunately I was so pumped/nervous/overwhelmed on the night of that I didn't take pictures. I did have a dad videotape the whole thing, but no pictures. Let me set the stage for you.

Our kids had been working on poetry for about a month. I would love to say that all the ideas were ours, but we purchased Amanda Nickerson's fantastic Writer's Coffeehouse Starter Kit. <----Click here The kids and their parents (all but 3 of mine came- 2 were sick and one no-show) came into the room where we had moved all the desks out of the way. I hung butcher paper on the wall as a back drop. I also had cookies and all our hot chocolate (ahem- I mean coffee sitting out on a table). The students were so excited. They all wore black and some wore cute Poet-style hats as well. We started out with 2 Reader's Theaters--Click, Clack, Moo and The Three Little Javelinas (The book that we used in our Desert Unit). Since we were studying the African Savanna I had some boys read some interesting facts about animals from Africa. After a coffee and cookie break, we turned the lights off and used our projector light as a spotlight. The kids also got to use a real microphone so everyone could hear their amazing poetry. After each poem the parents and kids snapped for each other (they felt so cool :) ). Overall the night went off without a hitch. I even had some teary-eyed moms due to some heart-wrenching poems! I have to admit that this tops my list of teaching experiences to this point... but stay tuned we just purchased Babbling Abby's Wizard of Oz Unit <---- Click here...to be used in May... and I am SOOO excited!

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