May 27, 2017

First Grade Memories



The end of the year is a happy, yet sad time.  My students have become a family.  It’s amazing when I look back and see how they have grown academically as well as socially.  You learn their personalities, likes and dislikes, and anything else that makes them tick.


I wanted to start our memory books earlier but we just didn't have the time.  I wanted to do something different this year.  I usually have the students complete a paper memory book, but I don’t think they last very long.  To be honest, they really don't hold any memories.  I think the students need to see pictures to truly remember our first grade moments.  We do have yearbooks but many of my students don’t purchase yearbooks.  Even with the yearbook, there are only two pages dedicated to showcasing our class for an entire year! 


I take LOTS of pictures during the 180 days I have my kiddos.  I print at least four pictures out each month that shows a certain activity that we worked on.  I display them on a closet door. 

I also take pics of the students when they master a sight word list. 


I have an area in my room where the sight words pictures are displayed. I also like to send that picture through ClassDojo to parents.  

This year I let the students pick between 8-10 pictures to include in their memory book.  They shopped for pictures first. 




I would put more pictures out as each desk became empty.  I had almost 400 pictures available for the students to choose from!  I didn’t print these all at once.  I would print some each month and keep them in a file.  Thank goodness for the HP Instantink program.  Printing in color is now inexpensive because I don’t have to worry about running out of ink and the cost of the cartridge!

After my students picked out their pictures they taped them onto paper, using washi tape. 




I had a ton of washi tape that I ordered from Naeir.   The washi tape was easy for them to rip.  



We completed these in one day.  I would laminate the book as each student finished.  It took some time but I was able to complete all the laminating and hole punching in one day.  I used the smaller laminating sheets which I also purchased from Naeir.  The smaller sheets are thicker which made for a sturdy book. It was a great activity for the last few days of school when you want to keep as much structure as possible. The final project looked great!

I put the memory books inside their end of the year gift bag.  


My students were so proud of their memory books.  They really took their time in picking out the pictures and creating the books! 

Did you notice the ribbons?   I LOVED how they turned out!  My friend had ribbons from a dog show and she shared a set with me.  I ripped off the front and hot glued the cute classroom awards printout from Allyson Sutton Going Strong in Second Grade They fit perfectly after shrinking the awards a little. 

My students got a kick out of the awards! 
What type of memory books do you have your students make at the end of the year?


May 26, 2017

Camp-Out in First Grade


Well, we made it!  Or should I say my class made it!  They earned 5,000 ClassDojo points and the reward was a Classroom Camp-Out!  We were all excited and eager to participate.  It’s amazing how well classroom behavior will improve when there is a class goal set in place.  This was truly an example of cooperation.  Friends would remind each other about how many points we had and not to lose any.  Everyone worked hard to earn extra points throughout the day.  It was a miracle, especially since we were in the month of May.  Any teacher knows what happens to the class in May.


We started off the day making our fishing hats using a glyph my co-worker found.  



We made our binoculars a few days before the Camp-Out.  We used two toilet paper rolls and wrapped them in tape.  We tried green duct tape first and that was a fail.  The washi and masking tape were much easier for the students to manipulate. 

I incorporated fun activities that also assessed different learning targets.  The kids just thought everything was a game!  
They played Math Jenga using wooden towers I purchased from The Dollar Tree. 
I even had the students paint the ends of the blocks.  They had to answer questions before moving the block.  If they wanted to move a red block, they had to answer a red question.  I copied the problem sheets front to back to give them different choices.  



You could really use any subject for this.  Have your class play Math Jenga and let me know if they like it.  I’m hoping to make a large Jenga this summer to use in the classroom!

I set up an area where my students had to go fishing.  I printed a reading passage and questions on the fish.  The passages came straight from Readworks.org.  



I put magnets on the fish in the ‘pond’ and made rods out of paint sticks.  I stapled fishing line to the paint stick and tied a washer around the other end. 



Thanks to Chelsea’s Creations for the creative pond!



They really enjoyed this activity.  
Their recording sheet was located in their Camp-Out packet

Crack the Egg was an activity that covered correct capitalization and end punctuation marks.  I don’t have the electronic copy of this activity and can’t remember who it is from.  Students had to clip on the correct capital letter and/or ending punctuation mark before writing the sentence correctly in their Camp-Out Journal.                                          
                                                                          
The computers were placed around the campfire.  Yes, we had computers during our Camp Out! 


I also put an interactive math game on the Promethean board courtesy of OCD in Elementary Shanon Juneau. The games were on money and ten more/ten less. If they picked the wrong answer, the PPT would direct them to try again.  The kids loved working as a team to figure out the answers.  I must admit that I was a little surprised that they worked so well together! 




Toothy also made an appearance at the Camp-Out thanks to Lucky Little Learners.  If you’re not familiar with Toothy, check out Angie Olsen’s blog to learn more.   



There was a craft area setup for students to make their own butterfly using watercolor paint.  I didn't paint that much this year with my class so this was extra special!


My favorite game was HeadBandz!  It was fun to listen to the students try to explain the concept that was on the card.  I was pleasantly surprised to hear the vocabulary that they used.  I used concept words from every subject we talked about during the school year.  Some students asked why we had not played the game before.  I will definitely bring it out earlier in the year!


Headbandz FREEBIE

 It could be used as an Exit Ticket/Ticket Out The Door resource. I bought the handbands to use for the game but the students didn't really use them.  They just held the card up to their heads!  You have to play if you have never played before.  Check it out and let me know if your students like it.  

The tent area was set up solely for reading.  It’s a three person tent but I was able to have four students fit comfortably.  I also placed two stadium chairs outside the tent for kids who wanted to read. 








We had a few sweet treats for the day as well!  
Labels from Lucky Little Learners Camp-Out TPT product 

Smores Cake!
All in all it was a good day!  

Well, actually we extended the Camp-Out another day.  Every student did not get a chance to rotate throughout because of other activities that were scheduled outside the classroom.  


We ALL had a great time! 


April 15, 2017

1,2,3,4....10!

Top Ten
My students love completing the Top Ten topic of the week.  They can’t wait to see what the next topic is for the week.  I let them choose their own topics every now and then. Top Ten can be used across the curriculum.  There really is no limit to what you can use it for. 
How we use Top Ten in the class
A new topic is introduced each week.  I like to pick topics that we are currently studying or may have previously studied.  I do have a collage of pictures and words to help with those writers who have a hard time coming up with ideas. 
My students must show me the list first before moving on to the other activities.  I may correct some of the spelling if a student cannot read the word. I don’t want to take the pleasure away from the writing by correcting spelling errors. Approximations are welcomed and celebrated!
They are allowed to complete the remaining activities in any order they wish.  They have to put the list in alphabetical order, illustrate each word, and write a sentence using the word. 



I may keep a set of activities for each student and put it in their Writing Binder to show at conferences. I allow some students to work together to complete their lists.
 We have create Top Ten list on the following topics:
  • ·      Things that are green, yellow, pink
  • ·      Weather words
  • ·      Things you see in Spring, Fall, Winter, Summer
  • ·      Insects
  • ·      Animals
  • ·      Things we love
  • ·      Places to take a vacation
  • ·      Landforms
  • ·      Favorite movies or TV shows
  • ·      Favorite songs
  • ·      Healthy foods
  • ·      Christmas words
  • Things that produce light

 Students who are hesitant to write enjoy completing the Top Ten activity.  I work with students who have a hard time completing the sentences or coming up with ideas.  We take it a step further and work with one sentence each day.  They write the sentence, read it to a friend, then put the sentence in order.     

                       










I also have some students work with word cards to help with putting the words in alphabetical order.  
Two words, same letter?  What to do?

Checking out the alphabet chart
Success!
ideas are endless with what you can do with this activity.  Have you used Top Ten in your classroom?  Let me know how your students enjoy it!!