Tuesday, February 24, 2015

Teachers are Heroes TpT Sale!

It's a bird...It's a plane...It's a Super Teacher Sale. 
Save 20% off our entire Fluttering Through First Grade Teachers Pay Teachers shop. Plus, enter code HEROES at checkout to save even more! 

It's a great time to stock up and save on a few Flutter Girl Faves!




Click the Shop Now button below to save BIG! 
Thanks for being a hero!

Wednesday, February 4, 2015

Interactive Spelling Dictionaries & Spelling Styles Freebie

Spelling is a skill that develops with time, teaching and practice. We work hard all school year to build solid spelling foundations in our little learners. To do this, we provide our students with engaging tools that assist and challenge them to be responsible for their own learning. 
Now's the time for us to up the ante a bit when it comes to their spelling. “My Writing Words Interactive Spelling Dictionary for Primary Writers” empowers our students to take a dive into their dictionary and look up the words they need! It's a great next step from our Letter Sound Dictionaries which has transitioned into a totally independent activity in our class.
 Prepping "My Writing Words" dictionaries is quick and easy. We just use construction paper or cardstock for the cover and 10 pieces of copy paper per dictionary. This booklet works best when copied back to back and fed through a top slot document feeder copier. Just print and go!
 Once quickly prepped, we're ready to give! We bring a big basket into class and tell them we have a present for them. Their little faces light up! We've learned there are two ways to light up a first grader's face...Tell them it's a present, or tell them it comes with candy...Done. :)
We gift each student with their own dictionary and let them color the cover.  Anyway they chose to color...ahem.
Then it becomes their BDF (Best Friend Dictionary Forever) as they quickly fall in love with their new word pal! 
The inside contains a page for each letter with frequently used words and lines for adding some new ones too. Plus, we've filled a few pages in with specialty words...
*Animal Words
*Beginning Blends
*Color Words
*Compound Words
*Contraction Words
*Family Words
*Days of the Week
*Months of the Year
*Shapes Words
We have a few rules in our classroom when it comes to our dictionaries.

1. If the word is in your dictionary (or on the class word wall), you may not ask how to spell it. 
*You may find it and highlight it, so it's easier for you to find next time.

2. If the word is not in your dictionary (or on our class word wall), you may ask how to spell it ONE time. 
*We will either print it in their dictionary for them, or tell them how to spell it and ask them to write it on a blank line. 

3. Once a word is in your dictionary, you own it. It's yours forever and ever and there's never a time when you can ask how to spell it ever again. 
Once we give them their presents, we tell them we have presents for their presents! Huh? 
We created 9 interactive activities that can be used anytime, anywhere and with any words from their spelling dictionaries. 
1. Dictionary Dive
2. Shopping for Words
3. ABC Line Up
4. Super Sentences
5. Word Search
6. Rainbow Write
7. Reds and Blues
8. Fancy Schmancy
9. Pyramid Words
 When we first introduced them, we gave the entire class a choice of all 9 activities to gauge which ones they were interested in most. This helped us choose the activities for centers time in the coming weeks. 
"Fancy Schmancy" for the win! Duh...

 Dictionary Dive was a close second choice. For this one, they just flip to any word, write and illustrate it to show their comprehension. 
 Pyramid words are fun too! 
 We had one student who is always up for the challenge choose to make his own word search. He was so proud of himself when it was done! We ended up copying it and offering it as a Workshop job the following week. He was beaming! 
In the coming weeks, we'll be giving them motivational mats for the week to allow them choice and to keep them on track with their word practice. 

What's Included...
-Detailed Directions for Assembly and Use
-3 Booklet Cover Options 
-Full Color
-Ink Friendy
-Black and White (can be copied onto colored paper or students can color if copied onto white paper) 
-Sound Spelling Reference Chart 
-A to Z Dictionary printable pages 
-Categorized Word Pages 
*Animal Words
*Beginning Blends
*Color Words
*Compound Words
*Contraction Words
*Family Words
*Days of the Week
*Months of the Year
*Shapes Words
-9 Interactive Spelling Activities
1. Dictionary Dive
2. Shopping for Words
3. ABC Line Up
4. Super Sentences
5. Word Search
6. Rainbow Write
7. Reds and Blues
8. Fancy Schmancy
9. Pyramid Words
-4 Motivational Mats
Here's a little bonus! We love practicing our spelling words in funky ways. 
We never ever have trouble getting kids to practice their spelling words when they can choose their own spelling style! 
Dolphin = Just say, "eek" "eek" after each word or letter
Sad = Sob your way through your spelling word
Rock Star = Bang your head and play your air guitar as you spell
Skywrite = Write it with your imaginary sky writer (pointer finger) high in the air
Shark = Use your fingers and hands to make Jaws and chomp, chomp as you spell
Jumprope = Grab your pretend jumprope and jump out the word
Table Tap = Tap your table with each letter
Robot = Use your best robot voice
Baby = Waaaah
Stomp = Stomp the spelling word
Dog = Bark, bark as you go
Pirate = ARGH!
Hula Hoop = Be the best imaginary hula hooper around!
Surfer = Catch those waves Dude
Opera = Belt it out!
Kitty Cat = Meow, meow
Movie Star = Act famous as you spell
Hippity Hop = Hop on 1 foot and don't fall over
Back 2 Back = Spell with your pointer finger on a friend's back
Mousy = Let's hear those itty bitty, mouse voices

We copy and cut apart the Spelling Style cards and keep them handy when we're needing to practice our "out loud" spelling. We pick a card and act out our words. Some of the ideas have come from the kids over the years and they just stick. Bottom line, the kids think they're being silly, but their teachers know they are spelling all the way! 

You can grab our Spelling Style cards by downloading the My Writing Words Interactive Spelling Dictionary PREVIEW (pages 4 and 5) in our TpT Shop. Click the butterfly below, then open the preview in our TpT Shop...

Friday, January 9, 2015

Fine Motor Matters

First grade fine motor skills can always use a tune up now and again. We like to keep things in the class circulation that are disguised as fun, but double as fine motor practice. Here's a few of our favorite tricks of the fine motor trade that have become popular with the little fingers in our classroom. 
Given a box of beads and some pipe cleaners, these kids would rule the world. We pulled these out in December and the kids loved making wreathes, candy canes, bracelets, necklaces, headbands...You name it, they were bedazzled. 

This could easily be done any time of year, with any color pipe cleaners and beads. The kids loved it and we loved how they were using their fine motor madness.
Once we get over the initial shocking (and teacher depressing) question, "What is that?!", we relive our 80's Glory Days by schooling our little ones on the amazing Lite Brite. It's great practice for patterns, pictures, build a letter, build a number, spell a high frequency word...But, above all else, it works those little fingers!
We've got a few of these bendy bands for the kids to manipulate. We don't actually know the name of them, but bendy bands sounded good to us...Did you buy it? ;)
Legos in the classroom may look like uneducational play to some, but we beg to differ. We offer these up during choice time sometimes and they are great for working their little fingers. 
Lacing activities hit the Dollar Tree every once in awhile. They can be found on Aisle Impulse Buy...Next to the containers, stickers, and seasonal decor we don't necessarily need. :D But, these ended up being a great find! The kids love the colors and have fun tying on what they've coined the "Giant Shoe". 
A few more Dollar Tree finds, but these we meant to buy. Pom Poms, tweezers and ice trays. Done! The kids pinch the poms into the tray and if they had it their way, they'd do it all day. 
{Yes, we realize that totally rhymes...As we've said before, it's a curse.}
Printing development continues through first grade. Sometimes our first graders need a little extra support with printing and this trick has worked wonders for us for many years...
We truly want them to learn how to print their letters, not just repeatedly make the same mistakes, so at times we model for them by grabbing a highlighter and helping them out. They dictate the words, including spelling, and we print it with a highlighter on their paper. This can be done for journals, workbooks, worksheets, and even homework. We've shared this tip with a few parents over the years and they've implemented it at home too! Then, they print on top of the highlighter words with a pencil for printing practice. 

Though we don't do this for a long period of time, we have seen repeated success and allowed a sense of pride and accomplishment in an area that our students need support and confidence in. As they grow more comfortable with the highlighter, we wean them off by only highlighting some of their words, each time decreasing the amount. Or, we have them write the sentence twice...Once with the highlighter and pencil on top and one underneath on their own. 

Every little bit helps when it comes to fine motor skills. What activities do you love for practicing fine motor?  

Tuesday, January 6, 2015

Snowmen, Snowflakes and Snowballs...Oh My!

Winter is one of our favorite seasons in the classroom
From snowmen to snowflakes, snowballs to snow days...
We love winter! :)

Some of the first activities of the new year come from our Snowtastic Snowman unit.

Here's What's Included:
Step by Step lesson for Snowman Directed Draw
How to Build a Snowman Brainstorming Page
How to Build a Snowman Rough Draft Page
How to Build a Snowman Final Copy Page
Snowman Cards 1-99
Snowman Pile Up Game
Base-10 Blizzard Game
Snowman Before and After

We also focus our winter Workshops around the story Snowmen at Night. This is one of our all time favorite children's books, so of course we had to create Booktivities to go along with the story.
Our class had a blast with Shape Elf before winter break, so we're reviewing our 2-dimensional shapes learning with Shape Snowman in January.
Post winter break, it's an addition avalanche in our class. They need to learn their math facts! So, we'll also be working on our Add-a-Snowman activity from our Frosty in First Grade Centers for the Season pack. 

Who doesn't love a snowball fight? You can see {here} how us 
So Cal Gals do it and grab a freebie to go along for your own indoor snowball fight.
Snow disguised as shaving cream (Dollar Store) is an all time favorite class activity this time of year. It is the perfect medium for spelling, practicing addition and subtraction equations, free doodling...Just about anything you can think of for them to do! Oh, and it cleans the tables too.

We found this snowman science activity the other day from Mom to 2 Posh Lil Divas and are excited to try it this year in our class.
It fits perfectly into our science curriculum for changing states of matter. We will predict, perform, and process a class experiment to see how long it takes for the solid to change to a liquid...AKA for Frosty to melt away. Do you want to build melt a snowman? 

We whipped up these experiment pages to go along with our own snowman melt in class. Ideally,we would run the experiment for 5 days, but of course that depends upon where the snowman sits and how fast it takes him or her to melt...But, for the 5 day goal, we created this experiment worksheet. They will observe, draw and write each day as our snowman changes. 
But, we like to give ourselves options for differentiation...
Sooo in case you can't swing the 5 day melt away, we've simplified it to before, during and after the experiment is conducted. Take your pick. :)
You can grab these Snowman Melt science worksheets for free by clicking the butterfly below. Enjoy!

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