Saturday, September 20, 2014

Homework Club-A Bright Idea

Hi everyone and welcome to yet another "Bright Ideas Blog Hop!"  My post today is about "The Homework Club."  I started this because I wanted to make my kids more accountable for turning in their homework.

To make my "Homework Club,"  I purchased a set of popcorn themed cutouts.  I laminated them and put magnet strip pieces on the backs of them.  I put the set on the front of my desk {I'm all about utilizing every inch of the room!}.  I chose popcorn because I have a circus theme in my classroom. Each day, I quickly check in the kids' homework.  I let them know who didn't turn it in and they give me the reason why.  I check in homework with a simple checklist and check marks.  If a student doesn't bring their homework, I put a circle in the box.  I also remove their magnet from the front of my desk.  They are then out of the homework club until the next quarter.  I reset it each quarter to give everyone an opportunity to earn the club rewards.  At the end of the quarter, the remaining kids will vote on a reward and we'll celebrate together during lunch time.  They typically choose a treat of some sort, or eating lunch in my room.

The kids had a week to practice returning their homework before it "counted" as part of the Homework Club.  I sent a little note home about how the Homework Club works.  We began this past week.  I already have a few who are "out" for this quarter, but I bet not many more will forget their homework!

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Friday, September 19, 2014

Apple Fun!

TGIF!!!!!!!!!!!!  I'm whipped, how about you!?  Next Friday is Johnny Appleseed Day, so true to form, we will be doing some fun activities to learn about him!  I don't do a whole lot since I don't teach in "themes," but we'll still have fun, nonetheless!  I just finished up my apple centers last night. They are simple for beginning of the year first graders.  There are 8 centers included {4 Math and 4 Literacy}.  Not a lot of prep!  It's on sale through the weekend!  Below are a few of my favorites!

I also have all of my centers bundled {the apple set is now included} for a discounted price!  Many first grade teachers have loved having this resource!

Click below for a free skip-counting center/activity!

Next week, we'll begin "Daily Sentence Editing."  Sentence editing is an important skill for young writers.  My pack is very appropriate for first graders.  It includes: capitalization, sight words, and commas.  We'll start with September.

*These are also available in a bundle for a discount.*

On Friday, we will be learning about Johnny with my little "Hooray for Johnny Appleseed Day!" pack.  It includes a few literacy activities.  I especially like the mini-book, coloring sheets, and sentence sort.

Happy weekend!

Wednesday, September 17, 2014

Math Games on the Fly

Hi everyone!  Happy Hump Day!  I hope your week is off to a great start!  We're halfway there!  On Monday, I posted about how I work to help my students develop a good number sense at the beginning of the year.  One way I do that is through number games.  I use my Math Games on the Fly games pack throughout the year, but a lot of it gets used at the beginning of the year.  The games are simple and engaging and don't require prep other than copying/placing in plastic sleeves.

I keep the table of contents laminated {3 pages long} and hang on a ring by my desk so I can refer to which games I have for each skill.  This helps speed up my planning time!

I keep my games organized in hanging file folders like the ones shown below.  I can quickly find what I need.

Below are a few games from the pack.  My kids have been LOVING these!!

The games are differentiated {easy and on-level} so you can help accommodate your struggling students.  Each game is marked with an "O" or "E" in the corner for quick reference.

I am so glad to have these games on hand!  Hope you love them, too!  Take a closer look below.


Monday, September 15, 2014

Number Sense

Ahhhh, the beginning of the year.  Time to review all skills.  ASAP.   So much to do, so little time to do it in!  I find that if I don't spend the first month or so of school reviewing all things numbers with my kids, Math will be a big, fat, epic fail.  I like to ensure that my kids...

1. know their numbers
2. know number order
3. can compare two numbers

Here are some things I've been doing to help my kiddos be successful with these skills:

Teen Numbers Poems-We all know how tricky those teen numbers can be!  I made these posters a few years ago.  The kids and I both love singing these!

Videos-We love Harry Kindergarten Music number videos on Youtube.  The teen numbers one is great and also the big numbers song is, too!

Number Line-We've been counting up and back on my new velcro number line from Lakeshore Learning.  I love the little frogs that came with it--perfect for "hopping" up and back!

Slate Review-Practicing number writing on our dry erase slates...always fun and interesting to see number formation!  I love how one child was helping another child who was struggling!!!

Quick Checks-We took a few quick check assessment quizzes {from my volume 1 set} to monitor progress.

New Games-One addition to help with number sense that I've been really excited about is my "Math Games on the Fly" pack!  This has tons of great review games for beginning first graders as well as games for later in the year!  These are handy for in class review, supplementing your curriculum, sending home for extra practice, or using for early finishers/center work.  We've been playing some of these games and they are a HIT!

Take Home Games-I've just started sending home games from my "Math Take Home Game Bags" pack!  The kids and their families enjoyed their first game!  This set is a great way to make school-to-home connections.

Books-I tie in literature whenever I can!  We've read lots of good number books.  Below are some of my favorites:

  • Mouse Count
  • Who Stole the Cookies
  • City Numbers
  • 10 Black Dots
  • Anno's Counting Book
  • Fish Eyes 
  • Boom Chicka Rock
Although we haven't yet started Math Tubs, we will soon!  Baby steps!

I'll be back later in the week to share what we're up to now in Math!  Happy weekend, friends!


Saturday, September 13, 2014

September 11

We spent some time talking about 9/11 last Thursday.  I don't like to go into great detail but I do like to teach my kids that something bad happened to America that day.  We reflect on our freedom and what it means to be an American.  We remember those whose lives were lost and those families and friends who lost someone.

I usually read The Peace Book by Tod Parr and we talk about what it means to be peaceful.  I show a PPT of some photos of the Twin Towers {one of my besties' husbands went to NYU} and I explain a bit about what happened.  Then we watch a Brain Pop Jr. {typically the US symbols or the Statue of Liberty one}.  We make an art project to remember September 11.  This year, we made flags with the twin towers on them.  Thank you to Tammy Sivley for this craft!  The kids enjoyed making them and they will be a nice keepsake to take home.

As the kids finished up their flags, they could color a 9/11 coloring page.  I found this from Mel over at Seusstastic Classroom Inspirations.

The next day, we read September 12 We Knew Everything Would Be Alright.  The kids like seeing the pictures that other students had drawn.  We also read The Man Who Walked Between the Towers.  The kids LOVE this story every year.

September 11 is definitely a day we will never forget...

Have a nice weekend, everyone!