Friday, September 27, 2013

Cloudy With a Chance of Learning

About ten minutes before the end of school bell tolled today, they starting buzzing...

Our first graders have BIG plans this weekend, and too bad for us hopeful teachers they have nothing to do with school or learning.

Apparently anybody who's anybody knows the movie Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs 2 comes out today, right?

Well apparently, that is BIG plans in a first grader's world. 

"I'm seeing Meatballs today!"
"Oh! Me too! I loved the first one and cannot wait for number two!"
"I LOVE raining food. I wish it could rain salami right now." 

Salami?!? 
Really?!? We would've wished for chocolate, or wine rain, but that's what makes us special...We're all different. :) 

They have no idea...
 {Source}

"Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs" has been one of our all time favorite read aloud books since 
Teaching Day 1. 
It lends itself to so many fun activities and discussions.
It's a great story and the kids find it absolutely mesmerizing.
 
It's a really good thing their teachers are one step ahead of them...

Sometimes the motto, "If you can't beat them, join them" works incredibly well in the younger grades.

So on Monday, we'll play a little game called,
There's a BOOK to go with that movie!
We think they'll play along...
 We usually save this story to go along with our Wonderful Weather unit, but sometimes timing is everything. We have also come to learn in this tech saturated world we real life teachers won't hold a candle to the BIG screen, so why not just give them what they want?

We'll do a lot of these activities whole group in our Pocket Chart next week, then move them into our Workshop {aka Centers, Daily 5, whatever you call it}and add the recording pages.
Meatball Mash Up might be our favorite. 
We have BIG plans to get them reading.
Click {here} to take a closer look at our 
Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs
Booktivities for the Common Core Classroom. Download our free preview and 
enjoy a helping of our Meatballs Build a Word FREE!

So, do you have BIG plans this weekend?
We may eat spaghetti and meatballs, but we teacher moms know better than to tackle the movies on opening day.  The only way we do that is when we purchase tickets in the 21 and over balcony seats...Where it actually does rain wine. Well, they deliver it to your seats. If it rains, it's just because the person behind us had a few too many wine deliveries...but that's what makes us special...We're all different. :) 

Want to win one?
Follow our blog, then leave a comment with your 
BIG weekend plans.
We'll pick 3 delicious winners on Sunday!

Have a fabulous weekend!

Tuesday, September 24, 2013

Winners, Winners! Plus, a Quick Fall Freebie!

What a perfect way to channel our inner Vanna White's debut our new, AMAZING Melonheadz by having us them announce our Centers Through the Seasons Bundle Winners!

Draw the curtain.
Dim the Lights.
May we have the envelopes please?

You're our Centers Through the Seasons Bundle Winners! Congratulations.
Check your email for your prizes.

Behind Door #1...
And, Behind Door #2...
And, Last But Not Least Door #3...


Don't fall over if you're not a winner.
We're all winners here. :)
We've got a little prize for each of you from our Fall into First Grade pack. 
Head over to our TpT Shop and Download our 


You'll find a treat...No tricks. Now included in our Preview is our "Fall is Here" Little Book plus a set of 6 Fall Fluency Building Bookmarks from our Fall into First Grade Common Core Math and Literacy Activities Through the Season. 

Here's What to Do:

~Copy, collate and staple one book for each student
~Brainstorm a list of Fall words for your students to write and illustrate in their little books.
~Copy and cut the Fall Fluency Building Bookmarks
~Give each student a bookmark and have them read their "Fall is Here" Little Book to 5 different people. This can be done in class, at home, or both!

You can learn more about our full Fluency Building Bookmarks product {here} or by searching our blog.


If you're in the market for all things apples, be sure to head over to The Primary Chalkboard all this week
Many of us 1st and 2nd grade bloggers are sharing our apple favorites. 
*Teaser Alert*
We'll be fluttering over there on Saturday with a new juicy freebie too!

Speaking of Teasers...
Have you entered this month's Mystery Box Giveaway yet?
You don't want to miss it.
Click {here} to enter now. 
Good luck!
Sorry...
We know we already posted us them.
But, we are a little head over heels in clip art love with ourselves them.





Monday, September 23, 2013

Secret Sticks and Shhh...I'm Talking With My Pencil {Freebie}

They will learn to work quietly.
They will learn to work quietly.
They will learn to work quietly.
We have the cutest, most adorable, sweetest, MOST talkative class ever.
For the past 12 days, there has been only one way to get them to be quiet.
Don't take a teacher breath! 
Ever!
It was making us light headed...
So, we've been putting our tired brains together, and today we started something that we hope will stick!
We use the old popsicle stick trick for tons of activities throughout the year.
Picking partners, cooperative learning groups, Q & A time...just to name a few.
But today, we transformed our dull and boring sticks into
"Super Secret Silent Sticks"
Say that 5 times fast!
HA! 
Sometimes these names just slip out of our mouths 
mid introduction.
Everything has to have a name with us.
They can't just be "Name Sticks" or "Popsicle Stick Selectors".
Nope.
Where's the fun in that? 
It must have a snazzy name that's fun to say and catches the kids' attention.
Like rhyming.
It's a first grade teacher curse.
So the "4S Game" is what we tried to shorten it to by the end of the day, but they weren't buying it. 
Here's what we did...
We picked 3 Super Secret Silent Sticks at the beginning of each time period.
For our class, this was an entire 10 minutes.
No, sorry.
That's no typo.
T-e-n. 
It's a magic number. 
We kept our stick picks super secret in an effort to keep them silent.
We told them we were watching. 
If they worked quietly and refrained from chatting with their friends, they would earn 3 stickers to add to their Sticker Boards.

You can read more about our Sticker Board Classroom Management trick here.
They were listening.
We told them that if they didn't do it, we would secretly return their stick to the can (That needs a name... "Can" doesn't cut it.), and secretly select a new player.
They were still listening.

At the end of the time period, we revealed the names one letter at a time. We asked them to make predictions as to who it could be based on the letters we revealed.
They added a drum roll on their laps.
It was fun.
They were quiet.
We actually breathed for more than 2 seconds for the first time in 12 days.
We must keep things truthful though...
It's not all unicorns, glitter and fairy dust in First Grade Land just yet.
Namely in our seats.
It starts as a few low whispers...
We say,
"Whispering is still talking Boys and Girls. It's just a lower volume."
They hush.
Momentarily.

Then, it begins again.
Only this time, it's accompanied by a hummer.
As in, a child humming. 
Or snapping. 
Or singing. 
Or, well...We could go on depending on how long you have?

Our teacher ears are normally sonar trained for this sort of noise.
We can spot them within moments.
It's a Superpower. You have it too.
But, this group?
Ohhh...
They're good.
We think there are a few of them who throw signals to each other trying to allude us. Like Ninjas...
It's working.
Momentarily.

But, that's all about to end for our Noise Throwing Ninjas...
We're trying going to stay two steps ahead of them and rely on peer pressure our quiet, rule following folks to help us out. 
We are making our point with these "Shhh I'm Talking with My Pencil" friendly table tent reminders. Sometimes a visual reminder helps them remember as well as politely remind their neighbor. Or, gives us something to point to and raise our eyebrows at...Either way, sometimes they work wonders in our first grade classroom. 

We talk often in our lessons about how writing is talking with our pencils. 
It helps ease the "fear" of writing that so many of our students have at the beginning of the year.
We tell them...
"We don't really need our mouths when we are talking with our pencils.
Our pencils are polite, you see...
They understand that perhaps our lips need a break every once in a while.
I mean, they've been moving an awful lot lately...You know?
And, lips get tired...We think.
So, Mr. Pencil wants to help by talking for you sometimes.
Only, you see...One teensy, tiny, itty, bitty thing...
Mr. Pencil can only talk Brain to Brain."

Has anyone ever heard of telepathy? 
{No, just kidding...We added that part. We only cover the 5 senses...Not, the 6th one.}
Back to the "Story"...
"He never uses his mouth. 
Because, well...
Come close...
Can you keep a secret?
Okay, good because if Mr. Pencil ever found out that we told you he would be shocked.

You see Boys and Girls...Mr. Pencil doesn't have a...Doesn't have a...He doesn't have a mouth."

Gasps fill the air. Shock and awe. {wink, wink}
Then, empathy.
Poor Mr. Pencil. 

"So, you see Brain to Brain is really the best way for Mr. Pencil and you to talk.
So, if you ever need to remind anyone around you that the reason your lips aren't moving is because you and Mr. Pencil are talking Brain to Brain, go ahead and silently put this table sign up on your desk.
  We'll understand why you might be ignoring us.
You're just being polite to Mr. Pencil.
What a good, good friend you are."

The End...
If your Noise Throwing Ninjas need a little visual reminder to work quietly too, click below to grab yourself a copy. There are three per page, and black and white too. Print or copy, laminate and chop, chop, chop...Teacher Ninja Style!!!

Sunday, September 22, 2013

Call It Fall Y'all!

Did you feel that?
We did.
3.3 seconds of Southern California Fall.
Yep.
It happened.
Barely, but we're calling it.
The temperature dipped below 90 degrees the other day.
Yes, it was during the daylight...
So, it's official.
We're kicking summer to the curb.
Sunglasses out, scarves in.
 To help us ring in the new season, we're excited to pull out our 
Fall into First Grade
Common Core Math and Literacy Activities for the Season
 We created these activities last year to make our lives easier. 
Truth be told, preparing centers each week takes us forever!
We couldn't do it anymore.
We needed activities at our fingertips.
We chose 15 skills and standards to get us through the season.
 Many of these activities are first trimester benchmarks for our students, so emerging them in daily practice ensures we are covering the skills through our independent work time leading up to report card assessments...Excuse the foul language. We really try to keep this blog clean. ;)


Click below to see it in our TpT Shop

If you too are looking to make your teacher life easier this year, we've now bundled our  
 
 Grab them all. 
Save money. 
And, be DONE with centers for the year.
Win. Win. Check!
We'd love to give a few of our
Leave a comment below with your favorite thing about fall.
We'll choose 3 winners at random on Tuesday to win the entire bundle!
Good Luck!!

Saturday, September 21, 2013

MyStErY BoX is BaCk!!

It's that time again! You know, the time when some awesomeness leaves our homes and enters one of yours? 

Last months winner, Melinda, has received the goods so it is time for the big reveal!


Last month's box was filled with the Maniac's favorite things and lots of COLOR!!!



Included in the August Box: 
16 Magnets
10 Handmade Notecards
10 Ticonderoga Pencils
5 Flair Pens

4 EXPO Markers
4 Mini Post-Its
3 Handmade Bookmarks
1 Handmade Notepad
1 Polka-Dot Notebook
1 Bottle of Exotic Coconut from B&BW
1 Lip Gloss from EOS

Wow! I know! You are so jealous right? (To tell you the truth it was really hard to ship this box! Everything looked so nice in MY house!) 

Melinda ALSO received $30 worth of goods from our stores!

Last month's box was lovingly shipped by:



This month's box will be hosted by someone special
Check it out NOW!

September Mystery box :)


It's that time again!!! WOOT WOOT!!! The mystery box give-a-way is back! 
Who wouldn't LoVe to get a box full of prizes delivered to their front door?
What's in it you ask? Ha!!!! I can't tell you,
shhhhhh it's a surprise!
I CAN tell you that it is full of over $60.00 worth of prizes, including TPT digital files from each of us!!! And gifts as well!
How cool is this????
Here's where I've been shopping: 
Rod Works
Office Max
Peppermint Place
Pioneer Party

How do you enter you say????
**Please stop by each of our blogs and leave a little love:) We can't wait to hear from you!
**For shipping purposes, please be a US resident.
Good luck everyone!!!!


Friday, September 13, 2013

5 for Friday!!


We feared this Friday would never come.
This was our first full week of school.
We made it.
Phewf!

We're excited to link up with Doodle Bugs Teaching to share some of this past week's first grade fun!

We've had an awesomely, exhausting week...
How about you?
 We always begin the school year with the good old How Full is Your Bucket? book. 
You can check it out {here}.
We wanted to take it a step further this year, and have learned when you find something great on TpT do NOT reinvent the wheel...
We absolutely adored this Bucket Filler Cuties Craftivity that we nabbed from Christie over at First Grade Fever. 
You can check it out {here}.
Our class adored making them and their construction paper kids are to die for!
We had to modify it just slightly because, well...See below
We have the cutest, most adorable, sweetest, MOST talkative class in the world ever.
Lessons are running over and having to be modified (see above).
For the past 12 days, there has been only one way to get them to be quiet.
Don't take a teacher breath! 
Ever!

It was making us light headed...
So, we've been putting our tired brains together, and today we started something that we hope will stick!
We use the old popsicle stick trick for tons of activities throughout the year.
Picking partners, cooperative learning groups, Q & A time...just to name a few.

But today, we transformed our dull and boring sticks into
"Super Secret Silent Sticks"
Say that 5 times fast!
HA! 
Sometimes these names just slip out of our mouths 
mid introduction.
Everything has to have a name with us.
They can't just be "Name Sticks". Or, "Popsicle Stick Selectors".
Nope.
Where's the fun in that? 
It must have a snazzy name that's fun to say and catches the kids' attention.
Like rhyming.
It's a first grade teacher curse.
So the "4S Game" is what we tried to shorten it to by the end of the day, but they weren't buying it. 

Here's what we did...
We picked 3 Super Secret Silent Sticks at the beginning of each time period.
For our class, this was an entire 10 minutes.
No, sorry.
That's no typo.
T-e-n. 
It's a magic number. 
We kept our stick picks super secret in an effort to keep them silent.
We told them we were watching. 
If they worked quietly and refrained from chatting with their friends, they would earn 3 stickers to add to their Sticker Boards.
They were listening.
We told them that if they didn't do it, we would secretly return their stick to the can (that needs a name. "Can" doesn't cut it), and secretly select a new player.
They were listening.
At the end of the time period, we revealed the names one letter at a time. We asked them to make predictions as to who it could be based on the letters we revealed.
They added a drum roll on their laps.
It was fun.
They were quiet.
We actually breathed for more than 2 seconds for the first time in 13 days. 
The "winners" got to select 3 stickers from our Sticker Station and add them to their class Sticker Boards or take them home. 
Most of them added it to their sticker boards because they are dying to open our class treasure chest.
As you can see...It's a kid Heaven and a parent...well we'll just leave it at that. 
Here's how we know it worked.
We didn't put a single stick back in the container (still need new name) today!
It was amazing.
They ate it up.
Fingers crossed for Monday...
We believe this may be how we handle stress right now.
We organize.
We used to just throw a big bucket of extra crayons out for the kids who needed a replacement color. The kids would dig and dig and dig and dig and dig...and dig.
So, we are loving this stress induced organization because it alleviates digging issues that we teachers were not digging at all.
Then, we found this.
One of our friends thought it would be a good idea to "organize" our rhyming clips for today's Workshop. 
We sure hope they aren't stressed...
 Last night was Back to School Night. 
It's the night we meet with all our parents.
It's an Adults Only event.
Only, it has nothing really to do with only adults.
It's all about first grade.
And, there aren't even cocktails or cover charges...
We leave blank cards on each of our students' desks and ask their parents to leave them an encouraging note. If they feel like coloring, we let them dig in.
As you can see, they did!
When the kids arrived this morning, they were so excited to find letters from their parents at school!
We put them in our Message Center mailboxes for them, which played double duty as we introduced this area of our classroom.
For those kids whose parents weren't able to attend, they get a card from their teachers.
We write~

Dear Student,
We are very proud of all the hard work you have done so far in first grade.
We know your parents are too.
Keep up the great work!
Love,
Your Teachers 

We spend time helping to read their love notes to them before they take them home,
It's special and helps build a sense of community between teachers, students, and parents. 
We had a great, busy, crazy week, but we made it
thanks to one parent who totally gets it was so kind to leave us a present...
  
Be sure to head back over to Doodle Bugs Teaching to check out more 


Happy Friday!



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