Tuesday, April 30, 2013

Remodeling and Research!

Remember this?

Not the prettiest of kitchens - right?

It's taken 2 1/2 months...

Gone from this...

to this...

to THIS!!!!!!!
(not the greatest of pics)

We don't have all of the things back on our walls yet, but we LOVE how it turned out!

A HUGE sigh of relief that it's done! (and yes, we did everything but the countertops!)

Here's a bit of wisdom for the rest of you - DON"T EVER do a kitchen remodel during the last semester of grad school, and the end of the school year.  Yes, I know - we are the only people crazy enough to try this!

On to research...
Working on our Bubble Maps:


and our Circle Maps:

We worked on our Can/Have/Are charts this morning and will finish our cover sheets tomorrow.  

We plan on starting the "actual" writing portion the end of this week and continuing throughout next week.  Our First Grade Writing Project Open House is the 14th.  
(more pics to come later!)

These pages and ideas came from my Woodland Animals Shared Research and Writing Project.  You can check it out by clicking on the picture below.

Have a great rest of the week!

Instagram Fun!

I'm on Instagram!  Yeah! I'm linking up with Natalie and Rachelle!
(if I can figure out how to do it all correctly!)

Check us out! 

Monday, April 29, 2013

Spring Activities and a little Confession!

So I'm very disappointed!  I totally had a post planned of all kinds of randomness with all kinds of pics but left my camera at school.  Oh man!  Well, I only had these 3 pics on my phone so this is what you get tonight.  :)

We finally had to take our plants home because they needed to be re-potted!  They all turned out so well!

Here are our "painted ladies".  They are finally all in their chrysalis.  My firsties CANNOT wait until they emerge!  Much anticipated excitement!

Oh - FUNNY STORY - so we found a caterpillar on my husband's truck and we kept him and brought him to school.  He was fat and very hairy.  My students instantly named him Hairy!  So I knew Hairy should be trying to change into his chrysalis soon and would need a way to be able to hang upside down.  So I try to "rig" a way for him to be able to get to the top of his little "bug catcher" we had him in.  I spent about 30 minutes after school one day last week working on it.  My daughter and I came to school and we could not see Hairy ANYWHERE in his little cage.  We finally spot what looks like a wad of silk inside a leaf on the bottom of the cage.  My students look up pics of cocoons/chrysalis's online and figure out he must be a moth instead of a butterfly.  So we are eagerly awaiting the arrival of a moth now.  Wow!  Who knew?

Ok - CONFESSION TIME!  I am a fairly organized person and fall a bit on the OCD side of neatness, but there is a corner of my room that I pile things up when I don't have time to take care of them.  Does anyone else have a corner that looks like this? 
Please tell me you do!  When I look at this mess my skin almost crawls but I can't seem to find the time to tackle it very often.  There always seem to be more "pressing" things to take care of.  I would love to hear of other teachers that keep a "corner" like this!  (Mainly because I want to feel better about myself! :) )

Hopefully I will remember my camera tomorrow and can add to the randomness of this post!  Happy Monday and have a great week of teaching!

Tuesday, April 23, 2013

...and more research!

I fully intended on posting yesterday but was painting most of the night.  We are soooo close to being done with our kitchen remodel.  It's has been very time-consuming and a LOT of hard work but we are so happy with the results (so far)!  I'll show you pics when we're done!
Now on to research!  
Let me just start by saying - my firsties are AbSoLuTeLy LOVING their research every day!  It is so awesome to see them diving into a book to try and find facts on their animal.  They are totally using each one of their text features and it just melts my little teacher heart!  Last week I showed you the baskets of books with all of their specific animals separated.  I also have a table with books that include multiple animals.  I put it in the center rotation this week and gave them a sheet to write more facts that they find.  My number one rule was that they cannot flip through the pages of each book to look and see if their animal is included.  They MUST use the Table of Contents or Index to see if their animal is listed.  If it is not there then they cannot look through that book.  I truly thought I would have to "redirect" several students to not look at all the pages but they really - truly are following my directions!  I am so proud of them.  They are getting more independent every day!  
Here is the table of random animal books:

Here are a couple of sweet kiddos looking for facts on their animal:

The pages you see in the pictures are from the AmAzInG Susan from T.G.I.F.  I am using a few pages from her Creating an All About Book unit.  You have to get this unit to add to your informative writing collection.  It is great and Susan always has amazing ideas!

I am using a few of her pages along with my Woodland Animals Shared Research and Writing Project.  It is Common Core Aligned and includes 8 different woodland animals to research and write an informative paper on.  I also have a Safari Animals Shared Research and Writing Project that follows the same format but with 8 safari animals.

The next few days we plan on using bubble maps, circle maps and can/have/are charts from my woodland animals unit.  I'll show examples and let you know how it went!  Thanks for stopping by and have a great Wednesday!

Saturday, April 20, 2013

Product Swap - Chunky Monkey Style!


Oh my goodness!  I am SUPER excited to be a part of The MaGiCal Product Swap for the first time!

I'm here to share a great "chunking" activity with you today.  It's from the every-so-lovely Jessica over at Hanging Out in First.  My firsties and I tried out her Chunky Monkey Decoding Strategy Unit.  We have used the chunky monkey strategy all year but this unit was a great review and practice activity for us.  

Here is the cute poster Jessica made to remind us to "chunk" the sounds.  We displayed this in our room when we worked through her practice pages.  Here are some of my sweeties practicing looking for small words inside of big words.  They used a highlighter for the bigger words and then used their pencil to circle and/or underline even smaller words inside those.  

(Monkeys have been inserted to protect the names of the innocent!  Ha! Ha!)

This product is great for the beginning of the year or even a review during the middle of the year.  My firsties really enjoyed it and I know your students will too!  Head on over to Jessica's store and check it out!

I would also love for you to check out her precious little blog.  Don't forget to be a follower when you get there!  You'll be glad you did!

Have a great Weekend!

Wednesday, April 17, 2013

Nonfiction Text Features!

Well, back today with more nonfiction text features!  Here's the anchor chart(s) we finished today:
This chart was inspired by Sarah over at Sarah's First Grade Snippet's!  I just ADORE her!

(closer look)

(click here to see post about the book I used for this)

We discussed each text feature one more time today before I let them "browse" through our animal books.  I spread each set of animal books around the room.  As we were reviewing the different features, I had them look through the books in their basket and find each feature.  I chose a few children to show the class what they found for each one.  Then we rotated every 5 minutes so they could get a "sneak peek" of each animal available for researching.  After visiting all 10 different sets I had them write down their 1st, 2nd, and 3rd choices.  I debated rather or not to let every child have their 1st choice  but I wanted to try and spread the children out and make sure that each animal was being researched by someone.  I also had several kiddos that don't need to be together and I didn't want them researching the same animal either.  I sorted through their choices this afternoon and plan on telling them their animal tomorrow.  I know they are excited to actually get started with the research!  Here is a pic for each animal we are researching from my Woodland Animals Shared Research Project:

I totally wiped out our school library and our public library of all their woodland animal books!  My firsties had SOOOO much fun looking through the different books today.  We only have one student computer in our classroom so we have asked our computer pull-out teacher to help us with our internet research of facts and pictures.  She was glad to help and sounds just as excited as us to get started.  (I hope she's ready because we are going to bombard her tomorrow! :) )

Here's the unit we are using for our research if you would like to download the preview!

 I'll try and keep you updated with our progress and more pictures!
Happy Wednesday!
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