Saturday, January 29, 2011

Give away on First Grade Fun

Ms. Van Orman is having a Leap Frog DVD giveaway on her blog. Personaly I didn't know Leap Frog made DVD's. Ms. Van Orman says that these DVD's have been helping her ELL kids, which mean that these might be perfect for my students. My students just recently learned to use a Leap Pad and they are likeing it a lot. There are a couple of DVD's, The Letter Factory, The Talking Word Factory 1 & 2 and The Math Circus. Personaly I think I'll like The Talking Words Factory 2: Code Word Caper, the best because it talks about silent letters. Although I think my little ones might like all the videos.

If your interested in them head overto her blog to enter the giveaway.

We don't watch movies often in my class but I am going to look into how much the whole set costs. It would be a nice edition to my class. At the moment we only watch Charlie Brown DVD's, which the kids LOVE by the way.

Do you watch DVD's/ movies with your class?

Friday, January 28, 2011

Said is Dead!

Part of our Writing curriculum has students think of more precise words, aka WOW words. The lessons included have always fallen short, at least for my ELL students. They just sit there with a puzzled look, starting at me like "I" am crazy. So for some time now I have been looking for other ways to teach this concept. So my students do like the catch phrase "Said is Dead", but that is as far as it goes. They don't transfer what they learned to other words. Now I know that part of my job as an ELL teacher is to teach them about synonyms & antonyms, but I don't really get to that until later in the year. Basicly I've been stuck. I've hated teaching these lessons because I feel like I fail my students as a teacher.

On Monday I was trying to catch up on all the blogs I follow when I found Ms. During's blog, Second Grade is Splendid! In her post she has, on her door, Fancy Nancy's Fancy Words. I fell in love with this idea. Now if you've read my post about my classroom, you know I don't have a lot of room. So I had to tweaked it a bit and here is what I got.
I just adore it.
I wanted to make it portable so that if I have to move it around, and / or put it away I can. Which I will most likely do because I don't want my kinder kids to get their curious little hands on it. Here is how I made it.

First, I got a project board & cut it in half.
 Next, I covered it in black paper, to make the color pop.

Then, I got out my pre-laminated library pockets, (I LOVE to have things handy), printed up labels for our tired words & labeled each one.

Here is an important note. Lay your pockets on the board before you start pasting &/ or taping them on. You don't want to have to rip up your paper & start over if you don't leave enough room.
Next, you make a fancy sign, with a cute font & clipart. Then you can paste &/ or tape everything down.
Click here for Fancy Sign
I am working on the words to go in each pocket. I want to make sure they stick out enough that my students don't have to jam their little fingers in the pockets and tear them off. Once I get them done I think I will post them for you all to use, if you like.
Edit: Done!
Click here for tired words.
 I can't wait to try it with my students. As I was making it, the kids kept asking me what it was. I told them it was a surprise. I did give them a clue, I told them that it would make them better writers. On Monday I will introduce the board. We will sort the words in to the corresponding pocket. We will also talk about words that mean the same thing & words that mean the opposite, synonyms & antonyms! I feel like my life just got a little bit easier.

If you try this in your room, could you let me know. I would love to see how yours turns out.


Tuesday, January 25, 2011

More Homes

Back in November I posted about teaching the names of the rooms in a house & the furniture that goes in them. Since then I have had several requests for the clip-art that goes with my activity. I have shared but felt that you all might like it if I just posted it on here. :)

Furniture pg 1 click here.
Furniture pg 2 click here.

For those teachers that I sent the clip-art to but not the house, I am sorry I lost the copy. However, because it bugged me that I lost it & couldn't send it to you I made a BETTER one!


Monday, January 24, 2011

Heart Alphabet strip.

So I gave you a Penguin alphabet strip for your ABC order activities. 
Here are some pictures of it in use in my room.

So I thought you all might like a heart one for Valentines. I hope that you all are getting to use these. I haven't gotten any feedback on them so I am not sure if you like them or not.


Saturday, January 22, 2011

An easy, quick & fun pointer

There have been several posting about pointers. They are so wonderful it made me want to share what I use in my class.

I found these 'wiggly-eye on a stick pointer" on What the Teacher Wants that I am in the process of copying & some great "highlighter stick pointer" that Hadar posted on her blog OUTfitted & INspired. I am still looking for some kind of colored transparent material to make mine out of.

I used to buy dowels & Michael's shapes. The were super cute and my students loved them. However, I moved and now live in a state where the nearest Michael's is too far for me. So I had to come up with something else. It took me a little while but I eventually solved my problem.

Creative Teaching Press has these wonderful mini designer cutouts. They come in all kinds of designs. All I did was just glue the mini designer cut out to a Popsicle stick and done!

Sorry about that last awful picture. 

I used school glue because I did not laminate the shapes. If you would like for them to last longer, you can laminate and used hot glue.

I make a new set for every season. The kiddo's just adore this. I use them for one-to-one correspondence in Guided Reading, the students use them for reading charts, poems, & big books. They are small and if they bend and break they are easily replaced because you get 150 in each pack, with 6 different designs!

I had a Fall set, that are kind of battered now (see below) so I am switching them out. 
The best part of these pointers is that they are replaced so easily. Each mini designer cut out pack comes with 150 pieces. So when the corn goes missing or ripped off, like it did above I just glue a new one on.
Here are the new ones I just made.
I think I will keep these small ones for Guided Reading & use the large ones below at the students centers/ workstations.

I think I will use these fun shapes in the Spring.

Enjoy, & stay warm.

Tuesday, January 18, 2011

They are here...

Today is the day, it arrived. What arrived? Well, the 2011 new products Creative Teaching Press catolog arrived.

Soon the Carson Delosa catolog will arrive and then an avalance of xatologs will arrive too. I love catalogs, but I have to say that the CTP catalog is my favorite. They just have so many cute items I can use in my class! I would go broke if I did not have a spending limit. Even with a spending limit I go over.

This past August I finally caved in a bought the Poppin Patterns Calendar set.

I had waited several years before I sprung for it because my old calendar set was in near perfect condition. I just could not wait any longer. So I donated my near perfect calendar set to another teacher and I am LOVING my new one. My favorite part is that everything is coordinated and all the components come together in one set. I have days of the week, weather, calendar & the months. I think it is pretty reasonably priced too. Anyway, right after I bought it they came out with a Dots on Chocolate set that I began to drool over.

I just adore it! However, although I love it and would gladly spring for it and justify it later, it doesn't really go with my classroom decor. I do however have some Dots on Chocolate items like the jumbo and mini designer cutouts. I use them for various things in my room. (I'll have to blog about them another time.) So where does that leave me now??? I am still contemplating buying the calendar days, and using them in my room for some sort of counting activity. Oh and the Month headers, I can use them at a center or post them by my door, I don't know. Again it leaves me buying them and justifying it later.

Well, it gets worse. As I went through the NEW catalog, I saw they have a new set, Dots on Turquoise. And while again it does not match AT ALL with my room, I love some components. Now I don't think I will jump on these just yet, but I may get a border or chart.

Here is another item I might pick up.

I currently use DJ Inkers Weather Bears, but mine need replacing and when I saw this one I really began to struggle about which one to buy.

I can go on forever, but I will stop here. I do recommend going to their website and having a look around. Do you think I have an addiction? I feel like I have a problem. Is that my first step to recovery, knowing I have a problem. :P

Sunday, January 16, 2011

Littlest Learners/ Clutter Free Classroom

I had another post planned for tonight but things change right? Tonight I want to tell you about the blog that started it all for me. (Sorry my links aren't working I'm posting from my iPhone and not all of bloggers features are compatible.)

I used to troll the Internet for pictures of other teachers classrooms for inspiration. You see I have a VERY small room and so I am always looking for new and innovative ways to organize my room. This is how I also found Mrs. Jump's website, I digress. So one night I came across this wonderful website Well, I was hooked, I spent several days reading her website and then blog!

Blog? I didn't know teachers blogged. I thought that was for people with too much time on their hands. No self repecting teacher would have a minute to sit down let alone blog. However, this one did. Then I found out LOTS, scrach that,TONS of teachers blog. After cyber stalking several blogs I thought hey I want to try this! So I did and here I am several months later with my own blog.

The best part is all the inspiration I get from you all. All the creative activities you guys make and I copy are a blast. My studets love all of them. I can't begin to tell you how much time I save by not having to reinvent the wheel.

So I want to say a BIG thank you to you all. Oh and if you haven't already checked it out head over to and checkout some great organizational tips.

Ms. M

Friday, January 14, 2011

What we've been doing in January

I'm a bit late with some of the activities we've been creating in my class. I've been forgetting to take pictures of all the wonderful activities my students have made. So today I made myself stop, before I left school, and take pictures of all the great work my students have been making. Here are a few.

Have I told you about The Jacket I Wear in the snow?
I usually read this book right after Christmas break. It helps me to teach my ELL students about the clothing we wear during the Winter months. It also ties into our Writing curriculum, because that is when we are covering pattern books. One of the activities I love having my students do is to label an image of themselves with all their Winter gear on. See below. It helps me to assess if they learned the names of their Winter clothes. I also have them trace the sentence "These are the clothes we wear in the snow."

Remember when I told you about Snowmen At Night? Here's how it turned out.

Here are pictures of my students New Years resolutions.

For my 2nd graders that I only see for Writing, I borrowed an idea from Deanna Jump's blog. I had my students write what their life would be like if they lived in a snow globe. It turned out really cute and they LOVED it. I may have to do more of these activities with them. I think they are starting to feel left out.

Finally, here is just some snowman fun we had. I got them from the member section of Thistle Girl.

My kiddos had a lot of fun with all these activities. Next week we will study MLK and I hope to get those pictures up soon. Until then stay warm.
Ms. M

Monday, January 10, 2011


Thought I'd share the view of my backyard.


I'm glad I don't have to be out in that today. Stay warm everybody.

Sunday, January 9, 2011



Looks like we got our first snowday of the year. Not a big surprise. I anticipated it. However, I am annoyed that my already cramed, 4 day week (Friday is a planday for me) is now a 3 day week. I am very happy that I brought home some work to do.


I am still looking forward to making a snowman with my students this week. I am also EXTREMLY greatful that I don't have to get up at 6:00am to shovel snow in 15 degrees tomorrow. So I guess I shouldn't complain and enjoy. :)


Porter's Poka Dots

Let me tell you about a wonderful new blog & boutique. I heard about it through First Grade Teaching. If you haven't already read Mrs. Walksy's post on her blog, First Grade Teahers, you have to check it out. She is giving out some great goodies from Porter's Poka Dots.

Which leads me back to Porter's Polka Dots. As I said if you haven't yet visited this boutique put it on your to do list. She makes the cutesy custom goodies. Key chains, signs, sanitizer bottles & pails. Plus if there is something you want and she doesn't have you can ask and she'll try to make it for you. So head on over there.

There is also a blog @ Porter's Polka Dots Blog

She's even has a classroom blog too. As you can see I have her button on the right. It should take you straight there. Everything with Poka Dots. I love it!
The Polka Dot Patch

Friday, January 7, 2011


There has been a lot of talk about Alphabetical order and penguins, so I decided to combine them and make an penguin alphabet strip! Unfortunetly I don't have pictures because mine is still waiting to be cut out, but basicly you laminate it and tape the edges together. You can print up your words and have the students put them in order under the strip or just post the strip somewhere in your room. The posibilities are endless. When you want to put it away you can just fold it up like an acordian. Easy and compact.

I will get pictures up as soon as I get it ready. I just wanted to get it out to you guys to go with your artic animal units.


Tuesday, January 4, 2011

New Years Hats!

Yesterday was our first day back and it went WAY better than I expected. My students weren't unruly, or even chatty. I was in shock for most of the morning. It was wonderful!

I began by talking about how the calendar had changed from December to January. Then talked about how we change the year from 2010 to 2011. At that point I shared my New Years Eve celebration with them and had them share theirs IF they had one. That led to my reading of The Night Before New Years. Then we got to make some New Years hats!

Orignaly I wanted to buy some on sale but I did not like them and found this alternative better. I started by making this printable, which you can download here.

I had my students color it in and cut it out.

While they were coloring I cut out the center of a paper plate, without actually cutting it all out. You want to leave the center piece so that you can glue your New Years sheet. Then fold it up. You might want to have these done ahead of time. They are easy and quick but if you have 20 to do it can take a bit.

Here is the back view.

Last, you glue your New Years sheet to the center piece of your hat. Here are some examples. They loved it. That was day #1 of my New Years activities. Tomorrow we make a mini-book from Reading A to Z about celebrating the new year. I hope to get to resolutions on Wednesday.