January 2015 - Queen of the First Grade Jungle

Time Tutor Unit in Action

I was able to assess my students on Time yesterday and I thought I would write/reflect about how the unit went.

My students loved the posters above because they were able to refer to them throughout our unit!

The first time that I taught a.m. and p.m. I was shocked how difficult of a concept those middle of the "night" or early "morning" hours were to grasp.

We used the above center as a whole group activity to clear up any confusions about he difficult concept!

My cuties LOVE anything hands on.  Our analog clocks stayed on our desks for two weeks straight.  Lots of times throughout the day we stopped, dropped, and showed the time! :)

We also found that quarter after/quarter until was VERY hard when we first encountered it. 

Lots and LOTS of practice helped us get ahold of this tricky one!

Crack me up! I also discovered that a student struggling with any time concept was more than happy to  try once they were able to use the Judy Clock! Apparently it has magical powers!

Last year when I put this unit together, I included a review booklet to use the day before our assessment.  My kids always love a good mini-book! 

And just for giggles- check out this illustration! I LOVE that she understands how her mother portions her dinners.   ***Just in case you can't tell that last one says "carbohydrates."  What a smartie!

If you follow me on instagram (queenof1stjungle) or fb, then you know that I had an INCREDIBLE weekend in Atlanta at the Ron Clark Academy.  I will be blogging about my experience this weekend.  My thinking on the delay is that I want to make sure to highlight the impact that the experience is already having on my classroom.  

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My Secret Weapon and a Teacher Hack

It was time to bring in the BIG guns.  My kids were proving to be less than thrilled about having to use text evidence to answer questions post-passage-reading. 

Meet highlighters.  I am sure most of you have highlighters out in your room or let your kids use them.  I didn't intentionally leave them out of my supplies this year...I think it just slipped my mind.  BUT it worked out for the best, because today when I let them choose an oober special bright neon highlighter...oh my goodness you would have thought I told them they could eat a mountain of brownies. 

They were SO excited. Excited but calm and focused at the same time!

Now that I have their attention and we are super focused on reading closely and finding text evidence... here is how it worked in my room today!

1.  We read the passage as a class on the SmartBoard.  We discussed the passage and what we noticed.

Then I released them to read the passage a 2nd time without picking up a pencil or highlighter at all!

After the 2nd time reading, they read the questions and FINALLY went back in with their precious highlighters to find their answers. 

My kids LOVED this and couldn't wait for me to see their answers!

And y'all it worked!  Their answers were SO on point.  P.S. I know I am not a genius for doing this.  I am just so proud to get over the reluctant hump!

I decided to separate these Winter Fluency Passages into their own packet.  You can find them by clicking on the picture below.  I will be adding several more passages by February 1st, BUT the price will go up too.  So if you like to save and want these, buy now :)

We also have been using the rest of ELA portion of my Winter Fun packet (which the passages are already a part of).  I have really bumped up my expectations at my centers, and my 2nd graders are definitely rising to the occasion!

Now this Synonym/Antonym Center is a beast. I will admit it.  BUT I also think we need to push our students so they GROW.  This "Teacher Hack" is super simple and one I learned from a veteran years ago.

When you are prepping the centers, make your students completely independent by coding the correct answers using matching letters on the back of the cards. 

Will you have kids that cheat--- ABSOLUTELY.  Will they still be exposed to the higher level skill on the front- YES.  They are still learning.   Once again, I know this isn't rocket science either, but if a veteran teacher hadn't taught me... I might not have ever figured it out! 

Have a wonderful evening friends!

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Gearing up for February, a New Product, and a Winter Freebie

 I spent a lot of time last week talking to my students about the life and legacy of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.  This is one of my favorite quotes.  Someone commented on my Instagram that they put this quote over their behavior chart--what a fabulous idea!  I think I will put it up on my SmartBoard tomorrow as an extra reminder! 
I have spent the whole long weekend with my cuties and loved every minute of it.  This little girl is taking after her mom- she loves a big ole' scoop of peanut butter!

Yesterday I was able to complete this fun project I have been thinking about for quite a while. I wanted to come up with some games with ZERO explanation on my part, but with fun themes that would keep them engaged and playing.  My 2nd graders ALWAYS need more practice with addition with regrouping.

Here are the six themes for the game(s).

I will come back with more pictures later this week!

Last night I decided to wash and fold Nash's baby clothes sizes newborn to 3 months.  It was super comforting to me to realize how much we had and in what great condition it was! I cannot wait to meet my baby boy in May (yes, I know it is crazy early to be washing clothes- but that is just me!). 

Today was a day filled with a play date, lunch outside, and lots of playing!

I am working on my 2nd grade February as soon as I press publish on this blog post, but I thought I would remind you of a few more February goodies I have!

Here is a close up look at my 1st grade February Centers (Click on each pic to go to my store):

I showed an extra close at this one center because there are several ways to use these picture cards.  One of my favorite ways (that I will be using with my 2nd graders) is the commas in a series idea!

The Busy Teacher's Best Friend (Kinder):

The Busy Teacher's Best Friend (1st Grade) WITH  freebie hidden in the preview:

and last but not least my Busy Teacher's Best Friend (2nd Grade):

If you have stuck with me through this lengthy post, then you can run over and grab my Winter Games freebie in my store!  Yes, yes I know there are not any Olympics this winter, but I know there is a lot in here that can still be fun and applicable!

PHEW! I hope you got at least one valuable thing from this post!


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Where I've Been...

Every other year all my mom's side of the family meets up in a small town in Kentucky for Christmas. I absolutely adore my cousins (who are almost all in their 20s now) and so do Nash and Emmie! 

We love going to Mass together at my grandparents' church! 

And of course their was some present opening! 

As soon as we got back to Charleston, we packed up our townhouse and moved into our new home! We are SO in love with it! We've been living in limbo for a year and a half now. The kids are enjoying their space and so are Mommy and Daddy! 

I hit the 20 week mark in my pregnancy this week as well... Which of course means gender reveal for many! 

I went into the appointment thinking we were having a girl and left shocked AND thrilled to be having a little boy!!!! Emmie cried during the ultrasound- she was 100% positive she was getting a baby sister, but as you can see from the picture below, she got over it! She told everyone all day that she was going to have a baby brother! 

My class has gotten really excited about the baby too, especially as my belly has gotten substantially larger! Today my class mom brought in these precious cake pops! Inside there was blue cake of course! 

As you can see life is crazy, beautiful, and just plain blessed at the King house lately!!! 

I hope to be back this weekend with an academic post... If only we could get some internet at the new house! 


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