The World Didn't End, So Teach About It We Must...

Well, we feel like we've given the Mayans and Nostradamus ample response time to end the world and so far they've got nothing!

In the words of Tammy's 5 year old nephew...Phewf

So, since the world is sticking around for hopefully another billion zillion years or so, we'll have to continue learning about it in class.


Which is actually a good thing. 
Not only that the world is sticking around...
But, also because we adore teaching our class about Habitats!

It's tough though...
We know that hands-on, experiential learning is the best.
And honestly, if we could pack them all up and backpack around the world for a few months we totally would...But, for some reason our Field Trip Department has a hard time approving this one?!? 
So for now, we will bring the world to them...

Did you really think we could handle backpacking around the world with 22 first graders?!
You can see {here} how it all culminates in our classroom for Open House in May (Phewf), but our Habitats learning will just be kicking off when we return from our winter hibernation break in just a few short days! 

With the arrival of Winter, it seems only natural that our first stop is the Polar Habitat
 By immersing our class in academic vocabulary, they become Polar Pros in no time! 

Many ask how such young children can learn such high level vocabulary?
Our answer...
Because we teach them!
There really is no better feeling than hearing young ones sounding so scholarly...
"We're going to migrate to recess now."

"Can you please turn the AC down? It's like Antarctica in here!"
It warms our frosty hearts!

What's Included:
*List of Common Core Standards
*16 Polar Vocabulary Cards
*1 Blank Bingo Card Master
*5 Pre-made Bingo Cards
*Polar Vocabulary Definitions
*1 Polar Mini (8 page) Book
*Fact Finders Page
*1 Polar Definition Worksheet
*1 Polar Vocabulary Sentence Worksheet
*Snowy Sentences Activity
*Polar Scramble Worksheet
*Polar Writing Brainstorm Page
*Polar Writing Final Draft Page
*Polar Penguin Art Project

Next stop...The Pond!
Designed much like Polar, the kids hop in with two feet first because they know what to expect! 
Being that we have so much land to cover, we don't have a lot of time to spend teaching brand new activities. 
The kids feel super successful when they know how to do something before it's been introduced, and we love saying things like, 
"Remember how you did this in the Polar Habitat"...
They nod in compliance...
"Great! Go do it in the Pond!"...
Wait, that did not come out right...
You know what we mean!! Ahhh...

Like Polar, The Pond Habitat Includes:
*List of Common Core Standards 
*16 Pond Vocabulary Cards
*1 Blank Bingo Card Master
*5 Pre-made Bingo Cards
*Pond Vocabulary Definitions
*1 Pond Mini (8 page) Book
*Fact Finders Page
*1 Pond Definition Worksheet
*1 Pond Vocabulary Sentence Worksheet
*Levels of the Pond
*Levels of the Pond Worksheet
*Pond Brainstorm Page
*Pond Final Draft Page
*Pond Frog Art Project

After being cold and wet, we'll need to warm ourselves up a bit, so we'll make a complete polar shift and head to the Savanna!
This unit focuses on the Savanna Habitat of Africa, as we do a HUGE Social Studies African Adventure in the Spring!
You can read more about that one {here}.

The Savanna Safari Includes:
*List of Common Core Standards
*16 Savanna Vocabulary Cards
*1 Blank Bingo Card Master
*5 Pre-made Bingo Cards
*Savanna Vocabulary Definitions
*1 Savanna Mini (8 page) Book
*Fact Finders Page
*1 Savanna Definition Worksheet
*1 Savanna Vocabulary Sentence Worksheet
*Savanna Label Worksheet
*Savanna Brainstorm and Final Draft Pages
*Savanna Directed Draw Giraffe Art Project

As long as we're toasty warm, we'll stay that way as we dry up in the Desert Habitat
Like all the other habitats, our class will learn new academic vocabulary for the habitat, play games to reinforce the new words, read, write, and create a culminating art project for the habitat.

Desert Digs:
*List of Common Core Standards
*16 Desert Vocabulary Cards
*1 Blank Bingo Card Master
*5 Pre-made Bingo Cards
*Desert Vocabulary Definitions
*1 Desert Mini (8 page) Book
*Fact Finders Page
*1 Desert Definition Worksheet
*1 Desert Vocabulary Sentence Worksheet
*Desert Label Worksheet
*Desert Brainstorm and Final Draft Pages
*Desert Snake Art Project

So, pack your bags folks and let's hit the world because...
It's still here!

Click the shopping cart below to check out our Habitat Units or any of our other units in our TpT Shop.
Enjoy 20% off our entire store until tomorrow,
December 31st!
 Happy New Year Friends! 


SNOW Close and a Frosty Giveaway!

We are SNOW close to Winter Break! Tomorrow, our winter wishes will come true!! Two whole weeks of sleeping in holiday bliss! Squeal!

This week, we've really spent time just enjoying our time together. The events of last week have reminded us to really take every moment, beyond standards and test scores, to enjoy them...Our heart still aches, and we know it will for a very long time to come, but as teachers we feel we owe it to our own students and those precious angels who lost their lives to keep going. To do what we know to do. To teach. To inspire. To move forward. For the kids. For the teachers. Kids have an incredible way of making the world feel right again, even when it is not. They keep us smiling. Keep us laughing. Keep us moving forward. They help our hearts, and we needed that more than ever from them this week.

So, while savoring every moment, we've been like a regular 'ol Santa's Workshop cranking out the Winter Wares! 

We put the finishing touches on our family gifts...Shhh...Don't tell them...
Here's How We Did It...
They designed their own wrapping paper on an 11x17 piece of white copy paper. We discussed options for small repeated pictures on the paper, but really it's their wrapping paper, so have at it! Some drew candy canes, hearts, snowflakes, swirls, dots, get the picture. Sooo wish we had pics, but our camera decided it was on Winter Break a day early... 

Tomorrow, they will walk in to find a gift of their own from their teachers. 
Yes, it's B.Y.O.B in our class...
Build Your Own Bag!
Check out the modest snowman on the right. :) 
The same day we painted our finger, we whipped out our own gift bags too!

We fill them with a bunch of goodies like little books, new crayons, pencils, erasers, 
and our personal favorite Snowman Playing Cards!
These make us SNOW happy!!!
We got them {HERE}
We print out game cards for their gift bags with directions to play "Snowman Top-It" (basically "War", but you know, we can't use the "W" word at school), then we make them all pinkie promise they will love these at least half as much as their Christmas presents. Some agree...One says one quarter as much! This one keeps us on our toes.
We do enjoy them...

Now that we've shared our class Winter Wares, we wanted to share something frosty with you too!
It's time for a GIVEAWAY!! Squeal!!

Enter for a chance to win our "Frosty in First Grade: Common Core Math and Literacy Activities for the Season" Unit and kick up your feet all Winter Break long!! 

This Megapack includes centers for the entire winter season and will keep your class busy well past the New Year!  We'll be using them during our Workshop (centers) time when we return.
We'll be giving this unit away to 5 Frosty Friends, so head down to the Rafflecopter below and enter now! 

Giveaway ends Sunday at midnight, Pacific time...unless there's a polar shift tomorrow as the Mayans have that case, please check back after the end of the World...

Winners will be announced here on the blog and on Facebook this coming Monday
**We'll also have a surprise for you, so be sure to check back!** 
Good luck!


Our Thoughts and Prayers are With You...

Our thoughts and prayers go out to the teachers, students, and families of Sandy Hook Elementary...

A Frosty Freebie!

 We're bringing you our latest frosty freebie today!

Counting By 2's, 5's and 10's is a very practical skill we build in class all year long. 
Count your steps by 2's.
Clap by 5's.
Turn to your partner and slap hands together by 10's.
Touch the sky.
Touch the ground.
Turn around.
Simon Says...
Pretty please!?!?

For many of our kiddos, this skill is still a little tough...
Now that we've introduced counting nickels and dimes, things just got a whole lot tougher!

So, this fine December (December!?!?!?) we're giving them some extra practice with our 
Skipping Through Winter ~ Skip Counting By 2's, 5's and 10's

Three skip counting activities and worksheets to boot!

Plus, we've included this number grid and teacher direction cards for extra support!
Give them marshmallows or another fun winter manipulative, and have them mark their skip counts on the grid. 

Click {here} to grab your own copy!

 If you're looking for a new program to start in the New Year, check out our Timed Math Tests with incentives. We have Addition, Subtraction, and Multiplication and have 5 different themes. They're a great way to get kids motivated to learn their facts!
While you're there, you might want to check out our latest winter Megapack...
We are firm believers in the motto, "Work smarter, not harder".
Creating and preparing centers activities each week takes a ton of our time!
You know you work too long when your car is the only one left in the school parking lot and you need your flashlight app to navigate your way back to it!

In an effort to GO HOME  check centers prep off our lists, we've created enough activities to carry us through the entire Winter Season! 
Three months of centers prepped...

is a follow up to our Top Seller
This time around, we wanted to keep the activities similar enough to keep them working independently (Have we told you how much we love the I word in first grade? We do!), but different enough to challenge them in the middle of first grade and keep carrying them through the Common Core Standards.
So, we've kicked things up a notch!
{Channeling our inner Emerils}

We're diving right in this fine first week of December with a few of our favorites...
We prep each activity, with lots of recording sheets and keep them in their own gallon size plastic bag.
We keep all of them in a tub, easily accessible all season.
We grab from it all winter and fire up our cars long before Daylight Savings kicks in! 
The gift that keeps on giving!

Click the pick below to see it in our TpT Shop. 
Happy Winter Friends! 

Phew! We were not trampled!!...Now a Sale!

We've never actually been Black Friday shopping. Well, the trampling kind at least. Thank Goodness! Did you go Black Friday shopping? Get anything fabulous? Have you ever been trampled? OH! 
We hope not!!

Whether it be our fear of being trampled or our sheer desire to remain in our pajamas as much as possible this Thanksgiving weekend, we will not be heading out to any stores near us any time soon this fine holiday weekend. But, we will be shopping with TpT in our cleanest coziest pair of PJ's work clothes on Monday and Tuesday for their BIG Cyber Monday and Tuesday Sale!
Ashley Hughes is one of our new favorite TpT clip art artists! 
She made the cute button above. Thanks Ashley!
Be sure to check out her adorable stuff!!

Everything in our TpT Shop along with many other TpT Shops will be 20% off this coming Monday and Tuesday!

Plus, be sure to enter code "cmt12" at checkout and save an additional 8% off your entire purchase!

No trampling! Yay! 

Just added to our TpT Shop...

Our sequel to our Top Seller "Fall into First Grade" 
Just a wee bit of time left to enter our Sharing is Caring Giveaway {here}!  
Be sure to check back here tomorrow to see the 5 winners and for a new freebie!! 

Sharing is Caring! Giveaway

Happy Thanksgiving Friends! 

Our list of things to be thankful for grew just a bit this year...From our Facebook Page, Pinterest Boards, TpT, to this bitty Blog of ours, this sharing community of educators we have found picks us up when we're down, humbles us when we're up, and just keeps us putting one foot in front of the other each day. 

We are so thankful for each and every one of you! 

Thank you for challenging us to be better teachers after 15 years of teaching. 
Thank you for making us laugh instead of cry. 
Thank you for keeping it fun instead of boring. 
Thank you for reminding us why we've always wanted to be teachers and how even in the face of budget cuts, teacher layoffs, etc., etc., we can find a silver lining. 
We can persevere and keep providing our students with the highest level of education despite the yuck challenges. 
Thank you. Thank you. 
Thank you from the bottom of our hearts!

In the words of our Mothers...
 Ohhh, we just quoted our Mothers...EEEK! Well, they do say we all turn into our Mothers, eventually...Right? But, in the World of Teacher Blogging and First Grade, Mom was right...Yes, we said it...MOM WAS RIGHT! We are so thankful she was...

We have that little poster up there hanging in our classroom. It just makes us feel better...when we "forget" to share. Or care... Click {here} if you'd like to grab a copy for your own class. 
See...Sharing IS caring!

In this theme of sharing, we just wanted to share a few highlights of our own class Sharing Page Program, some tips, freebies and a quick GIVEAWAY too! Yay!! 

And, that's before stuffing ourselves silly with turkey, turkducken, or tofurky...Whatever your pleasure. :)

Our Sharing Page Program is a monthly writing a public speaking program for kids. In our humble opinion, speaking in front of a group is a skill that is necessary, but kinda scary. The sooner we start, the better! Starting them young has proven in our own class to get them comfortable out the gates. It also builds their writing and illustrating skills quickly. 
Our Monthly Writing Pages for Class Share time each provide 8 writing page topics to choose from, class book covers in full color and print friendly options, parent letters, sharing schedule options, and a full explanation on how to implement it in your own classroom. You can read more about it in our intro post {here} perhaps between turkey and pumpkin pie, apple cobbler, or chocolate cake? Whatever your pleasure. :)

We use our sharing pages as part of our weekly homework, assigning each student a permanent "Sharing Day" for the year. Sharing Pages go home in their Homework Folders on Monday. We share Tuesday through Friday, with 4-5 kids sharing per day. The whole thing takes about 10 minutes a day, and they remind us if we forget!

Our favorite challenge is the "shy" kid...We use quotes because by now, we are seeing them flourish-They are not so "shy" anymore {And the teachers, snap, snap, snap and wag their heads!}. Of course we support them along the way...In fact, we came up with the poster below to hang in our classroom for them to share like Pros.
 For us, it is not just about reading a paper in front of the class. Presentation and comfort ability are important too! 

Plus, we cannot exactly teach them the, "Pretend everyone is sitting there in their birthday suit" trick just yet, so these steps help them prepare their little bodies and minds for successful share time. 
We've added this Sharing Pros Poster to our TpT Store. 
 Grab one for yourself {here}

Lots of you are using our Sharing Pages in your own ways too! We love that! Thank you for sharing...cuz we are caring! 

As our students share each day throughout the week, we have them turn their papers into our "Sharing Basket". We print and mount the covers on and 18" x 12" piece of construction, laminate, and chop in half to make a front and back book cover. At the end of the week, we gather all the pages and bind them together to make a class book. 
We've just finished up January. But, before we add it to our TpT Shop, we're giving them away along with November and December to 5 Lucky Friends!
Stuff yourself with turkey, then stuff your chances to win! 

Visit the Rafflecopter below to enter! 
This is a quickie, so enter today!
 Winners will be announced here on the blog on Sunday, November 25th, so be sure to check back when the turkey Tryptophan wears off!

The Story of Thanksgiving Bracelet

As we get closer to turkey time, we've been busy reading books about the first Thanksgiving, reading and writing about what we are thankful for, and discussing our plans for stuffing ourselves silly spending time with family.
We also discovered this sweet little story bracelet reading comprehension activity from Dr. Jean.
We have an abundance of pony beads that we let the kids pick through for this activity. All they need is a pipe cleaner and the called for colored beads to build their own Thanksgiving story bracelet. 

We passed out pipe cleaners and a little tub with beads for them to pick through at each table. You may think us having them pick through a giant tub of disorganized beads is teacher lazy...We call it embedded fine motor practice. 

Have your students follow along as you read the poem, adding beads as the story unfolds.
We also created a little fill in worksheet to do as a follow up with our class to go along with the poem. We did not write this, but created a Read Aloud Poster for our class. To practice our first grade reading comprehension skills, we retold the story again and had our friends touch each bead as we colored in our squares on the activity sheet.
 When it was complete, we had them mad dash around the room to find the perfect partner share the story with a friend and retell the events, using the bracelet for help. We allowed them to work with their November Fluency Building Bookmarks to keep their buddy reading on track and help them practice their stamina while reading around the room.
We even had friends who sported the bracelet for the entire week. Hey, it's jewelry. We totally understand Bling!
You can download our Thanksgiving Story Bracelet for free.
Enjoy friends and Happy Thanksgiving to you all!
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