Heart Boxes and I Love Learning Freebie!

We were inspired by sweet Cara over at The First Grade Parade 
last year and did a great word scramble activity.

 We grabbed these at the Dollar Tree ...

 We numbered each of the boxes with a permanent marker. 
These are just a few. 
We know they are not in order. We can count. Sometimes...
 We made 100 of these sweet things.
We told you...
We love February!

 We realized we had a TON of plastic letters from years ago. We have to admit, they were collecting dust...Only because they don't have magnets. Apparently, we have a magnet fetish we were unaware of...
These teeny tiny letters fit perfectly into our boxes, so we put the letters from words off our 100 High Frequency word list into each of the boxes.

 The kids choose a box...There are 100, but you know someone will claim they cannot find one.  
Or, "I want #3!" "Where is #8?" "I can't find #5!" We love that! 
They write the number of the box on their recording sheet 
(that way it doesn't matter which box they have), then write the answer inside the heart.

Watching this activity and seeing how much our kiddos LOVED it, gave us a ton of other ideas on what we wanted to fill these puppies with this year...

 You could do spelling words, vocabulary words, number counting, coin counting, number equations, etc. Anything that you can stuff into that little heart box will basically work.
Click {here} to grab your I Love Learning! Freebie.

AND there are just a few hours left to enter our Fact Power Giveaway! Click {here} to hop on the Rafflecopter and enter before the clock strikes midnight. Be sure to check back on Friday for our 5 Superhero Winners! Good luck, Everyone!

Show & Tell Tuesday Valentine Style...

We're linking up with Denise over at Sunny Days in Second Grade again this week for Show & Tell Tuesday!

This week's edition...Valentine's Day! 

Let's just say, we LOVE February!! 

All pun intended...

This was our Target dig run from the other day...
We are showing you, but we MUST ask you NOT to tell...These things have a way of not "making" it into the house...if you catch our drift...wink wink...elbow nudge...shhhhhh...They do not exist...

Our February Sharing Pages are loaded with love in our TpT shop. 
We cannot tell you how thrilled we are to hear how great these are going in your own classrooms! Our class is also loving them! They're writing is flourishing and their public speaking skills are getting better by the week.  If you're new to our blog, you can read all about our Sharing Page Program {here} or {here}
We adore reading the story "The Day It Rained Hearts" to our class in February.

It ties in nicely with our theme, and this is the time of year we teach all about weather too. Win - Win! 
We've centered our February Booktivities for the Common Core Classroom all around this story.
Our kiddos are ready for a little challenge, so we switched a couple of the activities to meet their needs. 

This month, they will be sorting Fact and Opinion sentences. 
Noun, Verb, and Adjective story vocabulary sort. 
And much more...
You can click the pic below to see it in our TpT Shop.
Thanks for stopping by! Oh, wait! While you're here, be sure to enter our 
(insert best Superhero announcer voice here) 
Winners will be announced on Friday, so don't delay! Scroll down or click {here} to enter today!

Then head on over to Sunny Days in Second Grade 
to show Denise some love and find other lovely link ups for Valentine's Day.

FACT POWER Giveaway!!!

     Look! Up in the Sky! ~             It's a Bird . . .           It's a Plane . . .
It's FACTMAN !!!
Friday happened to be "Superhero Spirit Day" at school. It was also the day our math lesson was titled, "Fact Power"...Sometimes we just cannot plan things better ourselves! 

We have given ample warning about needing to memorize our addition facts in first grade. Yes, it is developmental. And, no not every child is ready for the abstract world of numbers and symbols. But, exposure is important, and we've found with a little shove nudge to practice, practice, practice most kids are able to demonstrate their FACT POWER in no time!  We share this with parents at Back to School Night at the beginning of the school year, and even purchase them their own set of no excuses flashcards for home. You can read about it and grab free flashcard box labels for yourself {here}.

A few weeks ago, our So Cal Bloggy Buddy Kate over at Second Grade Sparkle shared a fabulous review game that she's used for years with her class. This little game can be used for anything! She explains it in great detail {here}
This week, we tried it with our class and they loved it!  Students were given flashcards with equations on them. They could walk fly around the room and tell a friend, "I am 2+5. I equal 7. Who are you?"  They continued flying from friend to friend, repeating their equation and answer at each stop. 

After a few rounds, we switched cards with a friend and got a new equation.  In true Super Villain Teacher fashion, we then switched it up and had them greet their fellow Factman or Factwoman with, "I am 2+5. Who am I? Their friend would have to Save the Day and supply them with the answer. We even threw our own capes on and had a card of our own for friends to come introduce themselves to us. We tried to destroy their superpowers by "accidentally" saying the wrong answer just to keep them on their tights toes. We were taken down...They HAVE the Power (He-man anyone?). 

Once they felt totally invincible, we introduced them to our Big Fish Math program. 
You know the Villain never really goes down the first time...
We give timed addition tests to our class twice a week. This is about all we can handle for grading purposes...We're weak in that superpower...
We've created a class set of folders for use year after year. 

Though everyone starts off at +0, they work at their own pace through the facts from there. This is where the folders maintain their privacy. Nobody needs to reveal their own Fact Power. 
We set the folders up on our desks and give one minute to complete their quiz for the day. If they pass, they earn a "Bubble" on their "Big Fish Math Board". 
If they do not pass, they continue to practice and retake the test until they do. We send home another set of flashcards for extra home practice, and provide opportunities for learning in class by providing them with manipulatives, number grids or whatever other superpower they need to be successful. 
If they really struggle, we modify the tests for them by cutting or folding them in half. 
There's lots of different ways to stay organized, but this little box has worked great for us. We created tabs for each set of tests. There are both A and B versions for kids who sit next to each other and may have X-Ray vision during their facts quiz.

The orange dots are placed on every 5th tab. This indicates that they earn a little incentive!

 It absolutely doesn't have to be food, but we find something thematic keeps them motivated to learn their facts! We let them eat during class. They really feel like they HAVE the power! 

We're using Big Fish Math in our class this year because it goes with our ocean theme, but we've also created thematic Timed Math Programs for Baseball, Circus, Pirate and Bubble Gum Themes. 
Once your kiddos have mastered addition, we have subtraction and multiplication programs too!
*Click on the picture below to check them out* 
Enter our Rafflecopter Giveaway below at a chance to win your very own "FACTMAN TRAINING GUIDE" 
(aka your choice of one of our Timed Math Units from our TpT Store) 
Choose from Addition, Subtraction or Multiplication.

We will pick 5 winners.
Giveaway Ends Thursday at Midnight- Cali time. 
That's when us "Wonder Twins" will activate the winners! 
Be sure to fly by on Friday to check your Super Hero Status.

Good Luck Friends!


100th Day of School Hoopla!

The kids cheer,  
"IT'S THE 100TH DAY!!!"

The teachers cheer,  
'TIL SUMMER!!!!!!!!!!"

It is absolute cause for class celebration! 

The 100th Day really comes and goes with a POOF in our class! 
Or, we're just getting too old to keep up!
Whatever the case, we like to stretch the learning out a bit beyond the 100th Day and keep things as status quo as possible around this time of year.  We may have our sights on summer, but we can't lose them just yet!!

We've actually learned a lot as teachers about the 100th Day of School...
Some years we've learned the hard way...
We've learned... 
Some kids can handle building with 100 Legos.
Some kids cannot.
Some kids can build 100 cup towers.
Some kids cannot.
Some kids can look at a friend's giant brownie with 100 chocolate chips on it without "accidentally" touching the frosting.
Some teachers kids cannot.

But, rather than focus on what we cannot do, we've spent many years finding ways to celebrate the 100th Day of school the safe and sane way. In an effort to curb their excitement over coming to school for 100 whole days, and our EXCITEMENT that the last day is officially closer than the first day over being their teachers for 100 whole days (Yes, insert harp music...and swans...it's fitting...), we will spend a whole week in wild celebration deep 100 learning.
We've created, tweaked, re-created, and re-tweaked many activities over the years for the 100th Day of School.
For us, the activities have to be ones that keep our time very structured and of course meet standards too. :)
These are the ones that have stood the test of time...

Here's the Hoopla 
-100 Days Song Poster
-100 Days Song Fill-In
-100 Words Workmats
-100th Day Creation Home Project Letter
-100th Day Creation "Table Tent"
-100th Day Creation Writing Project
-4 Color 100 Grid Puzzles
-4 Black and White 100 Grid Puzzles
-1 Blank 100 Grid Puzzle (Make your own!)
-100 Days of Learning Class Book Cover/Bulletin Board Poster
-100 Days of Learning Writing Reflection with Primary Writing Lines
-100 Days of Learning Writing Reflection with Upper Grade Lines
-My Book of 100
-Word Building with One Hundred worksheet
-4 Sets of Color Word Building Cards
-2 Sets of Black and White Word Building Cards
We will be working through our 100th Day Hoopla!! before, during and after the 100th Day of School in our class. 
Click {here} to see it in or TpT Shop.

As part of our hoopla, we assign each student a
 100th Day Creation Project.
We give them 2 weeks at home to create anything out of 100 objects, then bring it back to present in front of the class. 
Only rule...They have to be able to hold it! 
Don't ask...

We talk about them, write about them, then set them up on their desks and invite other classes to come visit our 
"100th Day Creations Museum".  
Here's a few from over the years...We won't tell you how far back...
 Let's just say...We've eaten a few too many 100th Day brownies at recess celebrated a few 100th Days of School in our time.
Which basically means nothing more than...We're old. 
It's fine. 
We're okay with it. 
I mean we can't all be young forever.

In fact, our friend Vicky over at Traditions, Laughter and Happily Ever After made us feel better about this whole aging thing... 
She has her class dress up like they are 100 years old!
We nearly ROTFL when we saw it and we're giving it a try ourselves this year...because we're old... 
did you catch the Rolled On The Floor Laughing?!? 
That's young...

You don't need to answer that...

Instead, head on over to Sunny Days in Second Grade for Show & Tell Tuesday to see other 100th Day Activities!

Fabulous Finds for the New Year Linky

By now, we're thinking 2013 is here to stay...Twenty days into the Big 1-3 and we've finally turned the page on 2012, had to void a few checks that our pencils just refused to write the new number on, and we're cruising towards 2014 for one reason and one reason only...13 is an unlucky number!

But, we're bound and determined to turn that little superstition around this year because we cannot go around throwing salt over our shoulders for 365 days we're just "glass half full" kinda gals...

So, to avoid walking under ladders, crossing paths with black cats, or knocking on wood until our knuckles hurt, we set out to find all things fabulous so far in 2013. And, by "set out" we mean shop...But, you might have already figured that out...

One of our favorite finds so far are these lil' insulated mugs from Costco. Have you seen these? They are spill free and we love them because they come in a Job Share pack of 2 for $20 bucks. You can't go wrong. 

Christy's been going the tea route lately, so she boils the water and brews the tea right inside the mug. Then, she seals it up and treks to school.  By the time recess rolls around at 10:00, she's ready for a spot a tea (typed in our best English accent) and it's still piping hot! Seriously people...this is BIG! Bigger than 1-3. We cannot remember the last time we actually had a full cup of anything hot. A sip, sure. A half a mug, maybe. But a full cup?!?!
And, they come in so many cute colors that you could literally coordinate the mug with your outfit.
Not that we would...That's a little odd...BUT, we totally could.

The next fab find of 2013 is for school...of course...

Our classroom walls were built to hold absolutely NOTHING! 
It is a total enigma...
They built a school. 
For kids. 
Who do work. 
Work they expect us to display.
On walls.
Walls of a classroom. 
Walls of a classroom that refuse to be friends with staples, tape, glue, or anything that remotely signals 
"Hey Wall...I wanna stick to you!"

But, that all changed when we discovered Stikki Clips. 
They have wax on the back and a little plastic clip on the front and we are new Besties. 
These little guys are all over our classroom. We even use them on the ceiling! 
Seriously, just squish them on whichever surface and slide anything thin into the clips. Voila! 
Our unlucky streak is a changing.
Take us to VEGAS. 

They are a little pricey, but you can use them over and over again. The wax just keeps sticking! 

So, there you have it.
Just a few of our Fab Finds for 2013. 

How about you?
Got anything super fabulous you've been using this fine new year?

Bloggy Buddies link up below and let us know! 

All we ask is that you grab the button below and link from your own Fabulous Finds blog post directly back to this post so us Shopaholics can unite we can share our Fab Finds before our 1-3 luck runs out. 

Thanks for linking up. 

Five for Friday

We have linked up with Kacey at Doodle Bugs Teaching for her Five for Friday!

Here's a quick look at our week...

1. We hung up our Directed Draw Snowmen from our "Snow-tastic Snowmen Unit". Love these guys. They crack us up how each one of them has their own personality (much like the artists).

2. We started our "Polar Unit" (since it's a chilly 50 degrees in Cali we figured it's pretty much like The Arctic)!

3. This next one needs some explaining...

We were inspired by Teeny Tiny Teacher and First Grade Parade's idea of "Snowball Fight". We came up with our own version and wrote some numbers on plain papers and crumpled them up to create 'snowballs'. We allowed our students to chuck them as hard as they could gently toss a snowball to a friend. The friend would open up the snowball and record what coins could be used to make that number. 

We are also thinking about doing this with spelling words, number equations, etc. 
The possibilities are endless! If you are brave enough want to try this in your class, grab the freebie below.

4. We also plugged our "Frosty in First Grade" activities into workshop and let them have at it.

5. Just finished up our "100th Day of School Unit". You can see it by clicking on the image below.

Go Link Up with Kacey and share your Five!

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