Wednesday, February 25, 2015

A Big Move

Awhile ago I switched from teaching first grade to teaching K-5. When I changed positions I changed my brand name to "Grade School Giggles" and opened a new Blogger blog. Since then, I have decided to consolidate both blogs and moved to a WordPress site in order to be able to organize my posts and resources better. I am working hard to get things transitioned over and make it a great user friendly resource for everyone. Please come over and join me at Grade School Giggles.

Saturday, June 23, 2012

Recent Freebies

I am missing some of you over at my new blog. So, I thought I would post a reminder that I've moved over to my new blog and I'd really love to see you there. The picture below shows some of the recent freebies I've been sharing. Please come check it out and make my day! Thanks!

Sunday, June 10, 2012

Superb Writer's Blogathon

I am sharing my love of the written word as a part of the Superb Writers’ Blogathon. In partnership with Grammarly grammar checker, this post aims to bring helpful hints to aspiring young writers. 

Superb writers write for a purpose. Many of our students love to talk. What they often fail to realize and what we often fail to convey is that writing is all about communication.

I’ve seen students tear up at the thought of writing. Why are these students so overwhelmed by writing? Often it’s because they know good writers write correctly and they are not sure how to spell the words they want to share, where the capitals go, or what punctuation to use. These students get so caught up in writing correctly that they refuse to take risks and fail to share the wonderful ideas they have.

That’s a shame because being a superb writer requires taking risks. I think it is essential to teach students to use the writing process. Drawing or talking about a subject can serve as a great brainstorming activity. Students can then label their drawings or complete a graphic organizer. Next, students need to write a first draft. At this point students should not be worried about their spelling. I tell my young students to circle words they can’t spell or even to draw a small picture and circle it if they need to. I do not want my students stopping to look up words or ask me during their first draft. The goal of this draft is to get their ideas down. Students can’t do that if they have to stop writing whenever they get stuck.

After my students get their draft done, we revise it and eventually edit it. I encourage them to read it aloud or get someone to read it to them. Giving students sticky notes to add sentences in the middle can help encourage them to add more details. So can asking them questions about their writing. I like to do a final edit with my students. Since I teach first grade some of my students are able to edit best when I say things like, “find two mistakes in this sentence.” Doing the editing with them (as much as possible) helps scaffold the process.

When we get to the final draft, I want them to have some fun and take pride in their writing. By this point in the process, I think they’ve earned a little fun. Some students like to type their final copy. Other students like to use special paper or write in ink. “Craftivities” are also very motivating for my students.

Finally, I find my students do their best on work they know will be shared. Many of my students enjoy reading their writing aloud to the class. Others prefer that I read it and respond to them. Most of them love to see their work in the hall or on display in the classroom. Authors write to communicate to an audience and my students love to know that someone is reading the writing too!

Friday, June 8, 2012

Dinosaur Unit Is Finally Done!


The end of the school year wore me out. In our house May has been filled with anniversaries, birthday parties, recitals, and a preschool graduation. It's been crazy and I haven't had a chance to blog. I've missed it. I've missed interacting with ya'll! Thank goodness it's summer and I can get  back to blogging!

I started working on a dinosaur unit way back, but I only just finished it. Yikes! It took me forever. It ended up being over 100 pages. It includes a big book for reading aloud, four levels of student readers, a graphic organizer, multiple versions of dinosaur stationary, vocabulary word word cards for a word wall or puzzle, three literacy centers, and four math centers. Multiple worksheets/recording sheets are included as well.

The centers focus on contractions,synonyms, inflectional endings, addition, comparing numbers, and place value. Most centers include resources or directions for differentiation. The exceptions are the I Have, Who Has game for synonyms and the Bump game for addition. 







Wednesday, May 2, 2012

Compare, Contrast, & a Playground

 Last year I put hula-hoops on my classroom wish list. My co-workers wondered why, but I use them for several different things. They can be used as a way to keep centers from spreading out. The kids can sit on the outside and keep the materials inside. They can be used as bubbles around kiddos that tend to touch their friends at rug time. They work for recess, even when it's inside. However, my favorite way to use them is to create an instant Venn Diagram.

I broke out my hula-hoops, had the kids sit around the edge of the rug, and used them to model comparing and contrasting. We used the books Chewy Louie and Harry Hungry! They were perfect for this lesson.

Chewy Louie is about a puppy that eats everything from toys to part of the house. Harry Hungry is about a baby with an insatiable appetite. The adults in both books try to stop the destruction. Chewy Louie is teething and outgrows it. Hungry Harry is just very hungry until he falls asleep. The books paired perfectly and made this lesson very obvious for my students. They really got it and I will definitely be pulling these books out again for this same skill next year.

On another note, today was big day at my house. We are getting ready for my little one's 5th birthday and today her birthday present arrived. Check out the new playground. She's in love. I think know she would move in if I'd let her.

Thanks for stopping by and taking the time to read my post. I love comments. Remember, I am participating in the Teacher Appreciation Jackpot and will be reading your comments to help pick out what product from my TPT store (normally priced between $3-$8) I will be posting for free for one day only on Sunday May 8th. You can my post about the jackpot here.

Tuesday, May 1, 2012

Teacher Appreciation Jackpot

As a mother and teacher I realize how hard teachers work each day. I'm thankful for all of the teachers I work with, my daughter's teachers, and all of the teachers I've gotten to know online.

Let's celebrate the hard work we all put into our classrooms with a party. Like any great party, this ones got gobs of goodies. There might not be cake, but it's got something even better. Freebies!

So, for today only (May 6th) you can download my Sweet Tweet Spring Centers for free. They are normally $5. Just click on the picture.

Don't forget to check out all of the other awesome freebies. With over 130 participants there are a lot of freebies to download, but remember they are  free for one day only!

Check out the linky party below. Everyone's free product is listed there. Let the party begin!
With so many bloggers participating, the event has been broken down into groups. Here they are.

PK-2 Products: Teacher Appreciation Jackpot

3rd-5th Products: Teacher Appreciation Jackpot

7th-12th Products: Teacher Appreciation Jackpot

Wednesday, April 18, 2012

Dinosaur (Place Value) Freebie

We've had testing this week. Yuck! Today was the last day for students in kindergarten, first, and second grades. So, we are done. Yeah! I can get back to my blog.
While I don't enjoy testing, it does make me reflect on my teaching and that's always a good thing. Testing makes me think about what areas to review and enrich throughout the last few weeks of school.
The kids are bouncing off the walls energetic after testing. So, learning needs to be especially engaging to hold their attention. Games are perfect for this time of year. I'm working on making a few for my kiddos. I'll share some of them with you too.
Here is a free matching activity that reviews place value. It's done in a dinosaur theme. You can set it up as an independent activity or play it like concentration or memory. Students would pick one of each type of card. You can grab the freebie by clicking on any of the pictures.

The graphics I used for this freebie come from Just So Scrappy Too and The 3AM Teacher.
Oh, I want to be sure you know about the fabulous linky party going on at Little Minds at Work. It's dinosaur themed. You could put together a mini unit just from this linky party full of dinosaur themed stuff.


Thursday, April 12, 2012

Games & Tag

So, today I did something I don't usually do and it caused a stir in my classroom. All, and I do mean all, of my students stopped playing in the middle of recess and started screaming at eachother to look. Why? Well, I snuck on to the jungle gym with them while they were busy playing. I went down the slide, played chase, and climbed right along with them. They were so excited! The rest of the day kids kept walking by me and hugging me as I passed. One kid declared that first grade was more fun than kindergarten. Today we worked hard and we played hard. We even played tag.

Speaking of tag, I got tagged by Ms. Jessica at A Turn To Learn. Just like any good game this one comes with a set of rules. 1) Post the rules. 2) Answer the 10 questions that the tagger posted for you. 3) Create 10 questions of your own to ask the people that you're about to tag. 4) Tag 10 people and link them with your post (and let them know they've been tagged!)

I'll start with the questions I was asked and my answers.
1) What was the best thing that happened in your classroom this week?
I've got to cheat here and pick two things because I can't pick between hearing my students beg me to let them read to me and seeing my students' joy when I played with them.
2) When did you first know that you wanted to be a teacher?
I wanted to become a teacher when I was a child. Then I went into child psychology and finally I got my head screwed on right and went into teaching.
3) What is your favorite subject and/or topic to teach?
My favorite subjects are writing and science. I love experiments and I love to do projects with writing.
4) When did you first know that you wanted to be a teacher?
I am not sure when I first knew I wanted to be a teacher, but I've wanted to work in a job that let me help children since before I can remember.
5) What is your favorite teacher program that you use either with your kids or to create things?
I love Power Point to make things with and I've used it with my students before too.
6) What is your favorite book to use as a read aloud?
I love to use any book by Mo Williams. They are great fun!
7) What is your favorite book to read yourself (a teacher book or a book for fun)?
I read alot of profession development books, but I don't have a favorite. When I am reading for fun I like to read historical fiction, Harry Potter, or fiction.
8) What is the best piece of advice anyone has ever given you?
Don't wait for someone to show you how. Ask for help when you need it.
9) How do you balance blogging with teaching and with family?
Let me know if you've got this one figured out. Please, tell me the secret. My husband got me a laptop and that has helped alot. I can work on a blog post or product on my laptop while I am waiting for my daughter's activities to end. I also blog while she is watching television or while I wait for her to fall asleep. Mostly, I sneak it in when I can find a few minutes.
10) If you had won that 640 million dollar mega millions jackpot, would you still teach?
I think I would, but I might take some time off while my daughter is little to just be her mommy. I don't think I could stay out of the classroom for long though because I really do love it.

Now, here are my tags.
1) LMN Tree
2) Teach123
3) Hopkins' Hoppin Happenings
4) First Grade Teaching Tales
5) One Teacher's Take
6) Teaching With Style
7) Lessons With Laughter
8) The Teacher's Cauldrin
9) Erica Bohrer's First Grade
10) Live Love Laugh Everyday In Kindergarten

Here are my questions for the fabulous bloggers I've tagged.
1) What is your one best organizational tip?
2) Do you have a favorite lesson or classroom activity?
3) How do you manage indoor recess?
4) What is your favorite classroom product you've found this year?
5) Why do you blog?
6) When is your last day this year?
7) Do you have any plans for the summer?
8) Has your district started Common Core yet? If so, what do you think of it?
9) Do you have any pets?
10) What is your favorite way to relax after work?

Wow! This turned out to be a long post. As always, thanks for taking the time to read my blog. I love followers and I love comments. Please make my day & let me know you stopped by!

Wednesday, April 11, 2012

Earth Day Freebies

Earth Day is April 22. I am hoping to have some fun with it and I'm starting to plan activities. We are going to start with this word search I made for our morning work. We don't do a lot of word searches, but my students love it when we do.

Later, we will probably do a read aloud and plant seeds. I went to the bookstore yesterday to look for a book to that would be good to read. Amazingly, my bookstore had nothing at all that would work. If you have any suggestions for a read aloud please leave a comment. We are also going to do this writing "craftivity" on how each child can help the Earth. I've noticed my students are much more into their writing when we pair it with a "craftivity." They even write neater than usual.

You can grab a copy of the word search and the writing "craftivity" by clicking on the pictures. The download includes complete directions for assembling the "craftivity."

In math, we're going to incorporate some graphing with one of the Earth Day themed graphs from my Graphing Through The Month of April unit. You can get the recycling freebie for Earth Day from my unit by clicking here or check the whole unit out on TPT by clicking the picture.


 If you're looking for even more ideas for celebrating Earth Day in your classroom hop on over to the Earth Day Linky Party at Sunny Days in Second Grade.
Thanks for stopping by! It would make my day if you would follow my blog or leave a comment. Stop by again soon. 

Saturday, April 7, 2012

Linky Party, Graphing, & A Freebie

Ever wake up on the wrong side of the bed? I must have today, because I'm grouchy.
It could be that my daughter found my blush and put it all over her babydoll that was sitting on my couch. Hmm....between that and her oobleck making attempt earlier this week...I may be getting back out the childproof locks.

Anyway, I could use an attitude adjustment today. So, when I saw the "What Went Right Today?" linky party going on, I decided to join in and try and get back my good mood. The linky party is going on at Confessions of a Teaching Junkie. You can check it out here.

My car is finally clean inside and out. That has been on my to-do list for an embarassingly long time and I am so happy it is finally done. I also got an early birthday/aniversary present from my husband. Yeah! Now, I can blog on the go or on the couch!

My final thing that went right today is that I finally got my daily graphing unit finished. It is the first one I've made and it is 97 pages long. So, it took me forever all of Spring Break to make. Since, ya'll are awesome and reading my blog, you can grab a freebie from the unit that would work for Earth Day by clicking on the pictures below. Of course, if you want to check out the complete unit at TPT that would rock!

I'll also email it to the first person to leave a comment with their email address below. As always, thanks for taking the time to read my blog. It makes my day!