My First "Back to School" Purchases for My New First Graders!

About Me

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Welcome! I hope to use this blog to share some of the amazing things my class and school does to make learning fun! I have been teaching for 15 years already! I started teaching 3rd grade in a Parochial School, then I was hired to teach 1st grade for three years, was moved to 5th grade for 2 years, and then came back to 1st grade in the district where I attended school. I love that I'm able to give back the the school district that guided me to become the teacher I am today! I have a Bachelor of Science in Elementary Education, certified 1-8; a Master's Degree in Curriculum and Instruction; and my Administrator License Pre-K-12.

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Sunday, October 23, 2011

Fancy Nancy Hat Day and More!

We haven't celebrated Halloween at our school in the true sense for several years now but thankfully our principal has allowed us to kind of celebrate in a different way.  For three years now, we have had a Fancy Nancy Hat Day in our school.  A few weeks ago all of the teachers sent a note home to each child in their class asking them to design a hat based on a word or letter assigned to them.  Our first and second graders use the basic sight and vocabulary words from the reading series, our kindergarteners use letters of the alphabet, and our Little Pirates (pre-kindergarteners) use color words to design their hats.  I am always amazed at how awesome the hats turn out!  We have some amazingly creative families.  Here are a few pictures from last year...
Robyn's word was change.

Bradley's word was floating.  Love the bubbles!

Billy's word was architecture.

Elly's word was nutritious.

We'll be having our hat parade this Friday, October 28.  My class lines up and we travel to each classroom to pick up the next class and we end up having a huge parade throughout our entire building.  It's pretty cool and the children love seeing everyone else's hats!  This year I also made up a simple activity for the children to complete using the their word.  During the week I'll kind of get a feel for who may not be working on their hat at home.  If someone doesn't bring in their hat by Thursday, we quickly create one during the afternoon so that no one is left out of the fun.  I've attached all of the handouts we use to help organize yourself!

Fancy Nancy Hat Day Note
Fancy Nancy Hat Day Reminder Note
Hat Day Activity

On another note...I was at Target yesterday and found a box of their Halloween Fruit Snacks and made up an activity to go along with them!  There's a skull, a bat, a cat, a pumpkin, a witch, and a spider in the packages.  I'm a little worried about the witch and the skull...but they're fruit snacks!  I think I should be okay with there's no milk or whey in them so my little pumpkins with allergies can participate in this activity too!  :)
Halloween Fruit Snack Math Activity

We're going to be doing some estimating, weighing, and counting with pumpkins on Friday too!  I'll post more about that when I have my ideas more planned out!

It's going to be another crazy busy week!

Tuesday, October 11, 2011

Columbus Day!

From what I read a lot of people had Columbus Day off...not us!  We were in school learning all about Christopher Columbus!

We sang songs like this one, sung to the tune of "All Around the Mulberry Bush":
All around the great wide world,
Columbus sailed the ocean.
To prove the world was big and round,
That's real devotion!

And this one, sung to the tune of "Oh, Suzanna":
Oh, Columbus.
Oh, Columbus.
Sailed the ocean wide and blue.
He landed in America, 
In 1492.

We read several books:
I love this book because it rhymes!

We then made these fun art projects from TLC Lessons.  TLC has a collection of directed art lessons for just about every season, theme, etc.  My teacher pal, Mrs. Kania came across them a few years ago and I'm hooked!  Each project has directions that the children need to follow.  You need to pre-cut the paper...but it's so worth it!  The projects turn out so cute and it's a great listening and fine motor activity!  Check out our Santa Maria...or Nina...or Pinta!  :) 

It's Fire Prevention Week too!  I'll post what we're doing for that later in the week!
Happy Fall!

Saturday, October 8, 2011

You might want to sit down for this one...

Are you sitting down?  You're really going to want to if you are a lover of children's literature like I am!  I am so excited about this...I'll be heading the Mazza Museum on November 10-12!  What's Mazza you ask?'s a museum of illustrator's art from all over the world!   I'm totally excited about this weekend!  Here's who is going to be there...Jan Brett, Anna Dewdney, Jerry Pinkney, Jim Arnosky, Vincent Di Nguyen, David Wiesner, Kevin Henkes, and Steven Kellogg! AND...Anthony Edwards!  I're like...WHAT??  Anthony Edwards...aka Goose and Dr. Mark Greene?  What does he have to do with illustrator's art in the children's book world?  Well...apparently he gifted Mazza with $350,000 to acquire 2,700 pieces of original artwork by Steven Kellogg!  AWESOME!!!  And what makes  even more awesome is it's going to be a girl's weekend with my closest friends on the face of the earth which is so needed!
Hope everyone had a great week!  Next week is Christopher Columbus Day on Monday and Fire Prevention Week!
Take Care!

Saturday, October 1, 2011

Busy Week!

I'm feeling really guilty about not being able to post all of the fun we're having on a daily basis but I'm finding that if I could have a few more hours in the day...during the daytime when the sun is shining and a little more energy at the end of a day with six and seven year olds...I just might be able to do everything I really want to do!  ;)'s what we've been up to...
TA-DA!!!  My Brag Tags arrived!!!

Once the package was delivered to my classroom, I just couldn't NOT open with my kiddos gathered around me, I opened them and explained to them how we are going to collect and earn them.  It was like stinkin' Christmas morning!!  We were all so excited!  We chose our first brag tag for just being our amazing selves and I gave those who have already celebrated their birthdays their birthday tag!  The chains in the set are the smallest size and since we're head over heels about them, I jumped back online and ordered longer chains so that the children can wear them as well as a few more tags!  We're horribly addicted!  I also purchased a few beads from Pat Catan's to add to our collection when we celebrate major we had our Homecoming Game on Friday night so everyone now has a football bead to add to their chains.  Thanks so much to Cara Carroll over at The First Grade Parade for sharing how she uses her Brag Tags from Image Stuff!  I LOVE THEM and they were so worth the money!

Speaking of Homecoming, we celebrated on Friday by making shakers to take to the football game.  We usually have a parade before the football game but due to the rain and high winds it was canceled.  The kiddos were so bummed but at least we had a Pep Rally at our school to help us show our Pirate Pride!  Here's a picture of the shakers we made!  

We also had fun celebrating Johnny Appleseed Day with the usual applicious flair!  Here are some pictures of the cute Johnny Appleseed hats we made!

We've been learning about past, present, and future and as a culminating activity, all of our first graders take a field trip to Historic Lyme Village.  This field trip is always a hit with the kiddos.  They get to sit in a one room school house, visit log cabins, do some work in an old barn, visit a general store and visit a hardware store that is full of antiques.  We spent the morning there, ate lunch, and returned back to our classroom!  Here are a few pictures of our trip back in time... (I used the sepia effect in iPhoto to make them look authentic.)

So that's what we've been up to this past week!  Whew!

This week we'll be starting our reading series...which I'm not overly thrilled about because I've been loving doing all of these fun seasonal activities with my little friends...but it's time to get moving into the "real" meat of first grade!  :)  We use the Treasures Reading Series from Macmillan/McGraw Hill.  I've found so many amazing language based ideas from the wonderful blogs I stalk so I'm using their ideas and adapting them to work with our series!  

Anyone out there using Treasures and have fun activities to spice it up a bit?  :)

Hope all is well with everyone!  Northern Ohio just got a feel of fall this weekend...lots of rain, wind and much cooler temps!  
Take care!