January 2012 - Queen of the First Grade Jungle

Singapore Math

So I don't know if you all know this, but you guys in the blogging world are my favorite resource. We had a meeting today to discuss a new math program we are considering-- yes Math in Focus-- and my teaching partner (the lovely Mrs. Smith) requested I ask for your all's advice. Actually she said- "Katie- put it on your blog!" Our questions are as follows:

1. What Must Haves do we need? (Manipulatives, online resources, textbook, etc)
2. How does your day look with Singapore Math (How much time do I need to be successful?)?
3. What about the vocabulary-- I hear there is a ton of new terms for the kids to pick up- are they successful?
4. Do you do Math Work Stations with Singapore Math-do they fit together well?
5. Last BUT definitely not least, how do you like it?

Thank you so much in advance for your time!


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Fast Facts Freebie and More

This last week was a Big week.  We hit contractions hard all week during Skills!  I purchased Christie's adorable Contraction Surgery Center/Activity Packet. Best $2.50 ever spent. I had seen the idea all over Pinterest, but I loved having Christie's packet and Center to go along with the activity! Click on the picture to buy your own!

Here is a picture of our Operating Room:

One of my parents brought in gloves and surgical masks to make it more complete!

We also celebrated the 100th day of school by dressing like 100 year olds! In my opinion these two boys stole the show!!!
Does he not look just like the little old man in Up??
So sweet!

I also have started giving weekly timed addition tests. We have already completed +0s, +1s, Doubles, and now +2s.  I give the "pretest" Monday morning first thing so my students know what they are in for and then I give the "real" test on Friday.  I tell my kids that the First Grade goal in 25 in 2 minutes. I also made the following sheet to include in my homework packet for the week:
I hope you are enjoying your weekend as much as I am! 

P.S. We are starting our Geometry Unit next week. I would LOVE some pointers on units available that are linked to Common Core Standards if anyone is using any!

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*Number Detectives Freebie*

I had a whole different post planned, but I had one of those major brainstorms and came home and have been creating at my computer for some time with this big idea.  I have been trying and trying to find ways to challenge my high math kids this year and I think might have finally figured it out today during Math Work Stations.  These kids are Math Brainiacs I tell you, and I want to find ways to keep them excited without just passing them on to a 2nd grade teacher for Math.  Selfishly I also think this idea will keep me from having to search constantly for different materials. I was inspired by the other Mrs. King's  post :) about her Morning Meeting. If you haven't visited Second Grade Shenanigans, you are missing out. Her stuff is fabulous.

Sorry back to my idea- I love the idea of showing numbers different ways. Look I even took a picture with my phone so I wouldn't forgot my idea. Anybody else ever done that???

Well I thought this could be made into a  great little printable that could be used for morning work, math work stations, or even homework. So without further adieu here is my Number Detectives Printable!

Now I can go back to obsessing over whether or not we will be in school tomorrow as there is snow a-blowing outside my window!


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Meet Furball and **Freebie**

Meet Furball. Mrs. King's Class Pet.  And yes, my students named him. We have Jungle Explorers of the Week (star students) and this little guy gets to spend the whole week at the home of the *Explorer.*
A while back I saw where Abby posted about her son bringing home a "class pet." I knew I wanted to do this in my classroom because as a parent myself, I would eat this up. I think it offers a great opportunity for my kids to journal about an experience. I wasn't sure if all my parents would be on board, but they have been all for it!  My students take home a simple journal, a book called The Lion Hunt, and Mr. Furball.  I asked them to take a few pictures and write about their journey with our friend.  Here are some of my favorites:
 Reading to our Sweet Friend (or two :)) 
 Catching some zzzz's.

Constructing Gingerbread Houses

Attending Church
And absolute FAVORITE- playingConnect Four with an Elf on the Shelf :)

Next on the agenda... working on our Number Sense. All we hear from the older teachers--- number sense, number sense, number sense. They can perform operations or steps that we give them, but they can't talk about numbers well.  This complaint is one reason I pushed for Work Stations this year (And I def think it is paying off!).  If you have read any of my math posts, you know I love Everyday math and often refer back to it.  I remember doing missing number puzzles and 10 more, 10 less, 1 more, 1 less all the time. I tried to create something for my kids reminiscent of that! The best thing about this activity is it can be used over and over again, since the students choose the numbers. You all are getting the updated version since my kids proved to me that they definitely shouldn't be getting into negative numbers in that top row (I LOVE to challenge my kids, but I am not going near negative numbers with a ten foot pole).

You should be able to click on the picture to get the activity and a number chart to 120 (Yay Common Core).

Last but not least, remember how I really, really like Teacher Tipster. Well I really, really like this idea!

Here are my cuties working on those addition facts!!!
Hope you found an idea that you like!

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More New Years and Exciting News

We took the opportunity to start off the New Year with some reflective writing. I introduced the concept of resolutions and of course they all spilled the beans about their parents' resolutions to lose ten pounds or start going to the gym (I wonder if their parents REALLY know how much dirt they spill to us!). We also brainstormed a list of more appropriate resolutions for kids... keeping room clean, following directions, getting along with siblings.
*These little guys are all over pinterest and blog land, but I just added one detail. I felt it was important for the kids to recognize how much growth they have already made this year, so we made a separate paper for celebrations in the shape of a balloon. I talked myself blue in the face about this kind of celebration as opposed to birthday celebrations, but I still got some misconceptions. For the most part my kids talked about their reading and writing skills or a new athletic achievement. I very impressed with their final products!

 I hope that this will be helpful for you lucky dogs who haven't gone back to school yet :). If you would like these templates, click on the picture below!

Goodness-- I almost forgot my exciting news.  A while back I got an email from a company called Booksource. They asked if they could share a link to my blog in their newsletter that is emailed out once a month because they liked the pictures of my classroom library. Holy Cow, I was excited so of course I said they could (apparently they also tweeted it but I'm going to sound like a grandma here and say that I am not really all that sure what that means :) ). Well I got another email a few days ago asking me to write an article for their February issue! Of course I will share the link with you all, along with all my family members, when it comes out. If you haven't ever checked them out, you definitely should head over to Booksource right now.  Have a great evening and thanks for listening to me babble!

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Holding on to 2012 Memories

My "at home" New Years resolution is to be and most importantly STAY organized. Simple enough right? Well, if you think about how many parts of the home need to be organized-it's kind of a monstrous goal. Since I have tackled all the closets and the playroom, I have moved on to trying to organize our pictures/memory tokens.

I saw 2 fantastic ideas that are going to help me (a non-scrapbooking mommy) hold on to some precious memories this year. The first time I heard of a memory jar was from Farley at Oh Boy Fourth Grade! I love everything about this idea. I get to save the stuff that I can't put in a photo album, but I don't have to spend hours bent over cutesy paper and baby books that I am years behind on (please don't tell my kids they don't have these said baby books :) ).
So I pulled up my favorite border that I use for almost everything and made this label really quickly-- click on the picture to download it yourself. Then I glued the label on the inside of the huge glass jar (that I found at Walmart for 7 dollars!) using some Mod Podge. And finally-- no craft of mine would be complete without a cute little bow and... Ta-Da! Yes it is still empty but don't worry- I think our first addition to the jar will be the monster truck ticket stubs after my husband takes Nash to a show in a week or so (I can't believe I am letting my son go to one of those, but nothing would make him happier!)

The second idea is part of my newest blogging obsession. Some of you may have noticed the addition of non-teaching blogs to my sidebar over here ...
I have become equally obsessed with crafty/home organizational blogs as I am with teaching ones. I found my next idea at Clean & Scentible . It is so simple but so brillant at the same time.  Jenn uses photo albums and then journals the cute important part and puts it in one of the photo holders. 

So CUTE right? Now if I am the last person on the planet to hear of this idea, please just let me keep believing this is mind blowing :)

Side note- Even though I am using these ideas at home. They would both be perfect for the classroom as well! Alright off to my little preschoolers in church school, but I will be back tomorrow with pictures of my students' New Years Resolutions and freebies.


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That pesky little number 110

Right before the break I had my kids do a number spree. I am very happy to report that we did VERY well, but some of us got snagged up on that little fellow number 110.  Many of my students left in their zeros so we ended up in the thousands. So in order to help them out I created a couple of documents.

The above document will also help with sequencing those large numbers too!

I love the game Race to 100 so I thought why not make it go all the way to 200 as well. I think my kids will really enjoy this game and will make a great Math Work Station too!

I hope that one of these documents is helpful for you! I also want to thank Hadar at Miss Kindergarten for her post on embedding google docs. I have been having so much trouble with that lately and her tutorial was perfect!


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Confession Time

I am one of those teachers that LOVES the precious time that we are blessed with in the summer. I truly can say I RARELY wish for a snow day...until now. Man oh man, would it be nice to tackle a couple more closets in my home and spend a little while in my classroom getting ready for my kiddos. So when I came out from the gym to covered roads, I got a little excited! Plus I need to get some good before pictures to participate in Jodi's new projectHer organizational posts are right up my alley and SO needed! Until then... here is a picture of my hubby. He is Oh so dedicated to his grill :)
Am I the only one that feels a little bit guilty wishing for a snow day? :)

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