We Are Back!

Sorry, we have been missing for a while.  Between school and the holidays we have been super busy. We figured we would take this time to introduce ourselves! We've been blogging for about 2 months now, but have never really told you who we are, or how this little journey began.  Well, my friends... here is our story...

This is us...
Dana & Lauren... Dana's the brunette and Lauren's the blonde

This inevitable connection started 12 years ago at the University of Rhode Island.  You know that quote, “Every brunette needs a blond best friend”, well that’s us!  We are the peanut butter to each other’s jelly, the macaroni to each other’s cheese and of course the thrill to the others frills.   
We are…Jersey’s Firsties…best friends, sidekicks, sisters, and teachers of 1st grade! 
We both have a strong passion for education, and as fate would have it, both became 1st grade teacher in NJ (Dana's originally from NY).  No matter where we are, our conversations always lead to stories only teachers would have, and understand. 
To be honest, this whole idea really started in a car ride up to Connecticut to visit one of our besties.  The traffic was unbearable, yet the foliage was glorious LOL. (but seriously, Lauren wouldn't stop commenting on it)  Regardless of where we are, Jersey, NYC, CT or our favorite vacation spot MIAMI,  our conversations naturally circulate around our silly students, hunky husband, or our fabulous friends.  On that car ride, we were discussing our newest creative crafts that we were working on in our classrooms, some new and exciting purchases that we made on teacher-pay-teachers, and joking about how we should totally get online and share our ideas... when suddenly there was a shift in the universe, haha…
I think it was a combination of the car horns blarring, the brakes slamming, and the horrendous traffic, but there is was… the adverbial light bulb over both our heads…. It was at that moment when we turned to each other in slow motion and shouted in the words of Rob Schnieder “YOU CAN DO IT!”… and that my friends is where this all began. Our little sprout has flourished into our blog, our Instagram obsession and our TPT store.  
  We are so excited to begin this new journey in our lives and can’t wait to share it with all of you! 
We hope you enjoy our materials, humor, and discussions!

Cheers! Lauren and Dana



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Tis' The Season


This week has been exhausting... When I woke up on Tuesday and looked outside, this was my reaction.. 
 

Why? you may ask... well because it was SNOWING and we HAD school...WORST.FEELING.IN. THE.WORLD ...After being in school for an hour I took a picture outside my classroom window.. Yes, it is beautiful and all, but I would of much rather of been on the couch, eating cereal in my PJs....
 
Anyways..  can you believe Christmas is only 12 days away?!?!? This week we have been busy finishing up our persuasive letters to Santa, which is part of our Winter Writing Unit.  I was so impressed with how well they turned out.  


We also just happen to stumble across a newspaper classified ad from Mr. Chris Kringle himself, (weekly paper and a little photoshop does the trick).  Apparently, he is in need of elves and had an online application.  My students nearly died when they heard that they could apply to be an elf.  They took the application VERY seriously.  (This is NOT my original idea, I am not sure who it originally came from, but I had to alter it a bit to fit my needs) Below is the Elf application Freebie 


Click HERE to get this freebie


Recently, I've seen a bunch of posts about presents for students, and it reminded me to share with all of you what my students give as presents to their parents.  I have been doing this since I taught preschool 7 years ago.  The parents absolutely love it.  I first hot glue 5 popsicle sticks together, and two on the sides.  Once the glue cools, I have the students paint it brown.  The following day I take a picture of each student, in full winter gear, sitting with their legs straight in front of them and their hands in the air.  Following this, I, not the students, carefully cut it out and glue it onto the sleigh.  Some years I hang a little ribbon from it so it could be an ornament.  I get a huge kick out of how they turn out every year.  
Below is a sample from 2010. 



We have been working on our In-School Snow Day Unit and just finished. We are so excited to tell you all about it, but first we will need to get through Christmas =)
If you want to browse though the In-School Snow Day Unit click HERE


 
Next week we have another fun-filled week. Grinch Day and our holiday breakfast.  Making pancakes in the classroom = GOOD TIMES! 

That Sneaky Little Elf

This week we got a special package straight from the NORTH POLE! My students were beyond excited when they saw this box sitting in our classroom.  
Together we opened it and out popped our new friend.  To be honest this guy is a tad scary, something about those eyes freak me out!

  Once we calmed down from our sheer excitement we had to name this little guy.  Since we are a democratic school society, we said the best way to name him would be to take a vote.  Children were allowed to make up names and then we voted on which one we liked best.  Majority ruled, so our new sneaky guy is named JINGLES...which I am very happy with, because honestly if the elf was named Patrick or Steve I would feel a little cheated. 

Well, he may seem innocent, but this little guy has been causing CHAOS in my classroom, I told my class that I may have to send him back to the North Pole if he keeps it up. =) Below are some of the ways we found him.....
Using out garland as a swing
Stealing from our treasure chest 
Sitting in one of our desks and wrote us a little note

My students have been trying their hardest to impress this little guy, so he will give Santa a good report.  

Since we were on the topic of Santa, we began our letters to the big guy today.  To begin this activity I read " My Pen Pal, Santa" to the class.  The book is about a little girl named Ava who writes a letter a month to Santa.  Following this, together we brainstormed what we want for Christmas, and each student thought of different reasons why they deserved the present.


  This one student said shoes, because last week his shoe broke...

We then began our rough drafts for our letters to Santa. This week we will finish our letters.
 To get our winter writing unit click HERE

Reindeer Games


As the holiday season kicks off, my Santa sack is filled to the brim with holiday treats, crafts, and activities.  During this season I am OBSESSED with finding ways to link the spirit of the holidays to the lessons we learn in the classroom.  I start this month by transforming my hallway into a winter wonderland.

(This is still only phase one!)

Right before the holiday break we read and watch the Polar Express and do some heavy duty comparing and contrasting, retelling, generating questions and making predictions.  The best part is that we do all this while wearing our favorite pajamas and drinking hot coco.

To provide the students with some background knowledge about all the holidays and celebrations during this holiday season, the students will participate in 7 days of holiday mini-lessons. There are 7 teachers on my 1st grade team, and over these next two weeks our kids rotate from teacher to teacher to learn about different holidays and celebrations around the world. Each teacher sees a different class everyday for the last 45 minutes of the day.  From Hanukkah to Kwanza, Christmas to New Years, our students have the opportunity to learn and explore a variety of different beliefs, religions, and celebrations. My classroom is designated for American Christmas traditions, symbols, and celebrations.  Today we read a few Christmas stories, one of them being my FAV Olive, The Other Reindeer.  To end our lesson we made some reindeer food, which I found purchased here from Step into 2nd Grade,and some reindeer cookies.



Since I am feeling filled with the holiday spirit, here is a freebie for all!  I use these in my class to practice addition and subtraction fluency with numbers within 20.  Each week my students work to pass their minute math test and move on to the next challenge.  Enjoy!  


Blog Hoppin Linky.. We have a shopping problem

We are linking up with Blog Hoppin to show the a-maz-ing things we purchased today.  We may have to go back and add more after seeing what others have purchased. When it comes to sales I just can't help myself... but lets be honest, who can resist a good deal...




Don't forget to stop by our store to pick up our new units...

This writing unit has everything to get you through the winter season.  This unit includes a "How To Make Hot Chocolate" Sequential writing and with craftivity, a persuasive letter to Santa activity and labeling activities for your writing center.
To read more about our Non- Fiction Unit click HERE

This is an all inclusive winter unit for your Math tubs.  Topics are all Common Core Aligned. I can't wait to start these in my room.

Click HERE to go to our store

Currently.. Craftivity...SALE

Is it Sunday already?? Back to reality tomorrow...

This is the first time we are joining Farley's Currently Linky Party ....





We also just uploaded our new writing unit, WRITING IS SNOW MUCH FUN... just in time for the TPT sale.  The unit includes 3 different types of writing activities. 
A How to Make Hot Chocolate writing craftivity, a persuasive letter to Santa writing project and  Label Me writing center activities. 





Don't forget to stop by our store on Monday & Tuesday to get 28% all our units.
 Click HERE to go to our store.


Did someone say SALE?!?!?

Who doesn't love a sale?!?! It's almost time! The Cyber Monday and Tuesday Sale is only a few days away! So before the tryptophan from the turkey settles in, fill your cart with all the goodies you've been eyeing... 

 We are offering 20% off all of our products and TpT will give you another 10% if you use the checkout code CYBER. This makes for a total of 28%. ( 20 +10 = 28?? a teacher apparently didn't do the math for TPT)

Need an idea of something to add to your wishlist? If you still haven't purchased our Walking In A Winter Wonderland Math unit or our Non-Fiction Text Feature Unit, we suggest doing so! If you want more detail about the Non-Fiction Text feature unit, click HERE to go to that post.

CLICK HERE TO PICK UP YOUR UNIT.... Non-Fiction Text Feature Unit

CLICK HERE TO PICK UP YOUR UNIT....Walking In A Winter Wonderland Math


 Now, some things that are on our Wish List... This is just a sample of the things we have in our cart.

We hope you all have a wonderful Turkey Day! 









What? No Turkey?


WARNING!!! TURKEYS ARE NOWHERE TO BE FOUND!  
Looks like turkey is off the menu for this years Thanksgiving feast!!!  Yup, you heard right, thanks to the hard work of my little first grade kidets, there will be no turkey for supper this year.  Why you ask?  Well… that’s because my super students have help to disguise all the turkeys and save them from being this years turkey dinner!



Last week, my students and their families worked on a turkey disguise project.  As a class we read Turkey Trouble by Wendi Silvano.  In class, my students worked on a turkey disguise writing project, while at home they worked to disguise their turkey.  The end results were hilarious.





Check out our TPT site for this Thanksgiving writing project and more fall writing activities.

~Sacagawea~


For most of you educators out there, the week leading up to Thanksgiving is a whirlwind. I have conferences, report cards, portfolios, and of course, our Thanksgiving Play!  However, I find the strength to crank up the energy and end this Thanksgiving season with a bang!  We started this week by learning about yet another important historical Native American, Sacagawea.  

Now, I’m sure you will hear me mention this over and over again, but we have a partnership with the J.F.K. Performing Arts Center and work hard to integrate art into our curriculum.  So … I like to always begin a Social Studies/LAL lesson with a portrait study.  My kidets have been trained in the art of studying portraits using 9 elements (facial expression, focal point, gestures, clothing, setting, objects, size, quantity and last but not least, color).  At this moment, you might be thinking….WHAT??? First graders studying portrait elements?  I kid you not my friends, my students are experts!  I begin S.S. lessons by having the students sit in a circle and in the middle of the circle I place a number of different portraits (all of the same historical figure) in front of them.  We play a pass the portrait game, where students work in pairs to study a portrait of Sacagawea and discuss the 9 elements together.  When they hear me say… “Pass The Portrait” they switch and begin the same process with a different portrait of Sacagawea.  When this game is over we come together and make a list of what we can infer about Sacagawea just by studying her portraits.  YOU WILL BE AMAZED at how much information a 6 year old can produce just through this activity alone.  For example, one of my little kidets stated, “Well, I see that her gesture in this picture is that she is pointing over the mountains and the two men with her, well their focal point is in the same direction so maybe she is showing them something really important.”  KAPOW!  Yup, that was my mind blowing! 

Click here for this freebie!


From here I read a few different stories with the students and we work on some LAL skills.  The background knowledge they bring to the following activities is heightened from these art integration lessons.  My CCSS for the activity was for the students to compare and contrast two different non-fiction texts.  Each student was able to choose their own type of graphic organizer, and my lower level students completed hands on comparing with hula-hoops.







Hope you can use this freebie in your classroom.  Happy Thanksgiving!

***Congratulations to Nancy from First Grade WOW and Kelly from First Grade Fairytales! You were the winners of our very first giveaway! We hope you enjoy the materials.  We will e-mail you the Walking in a Winter Wonderland Math Unit.***




If you would like to pick up copy of our 
Walking in a Winter Wonderland Math Unit click HERE



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