Ghosts, Goblins, Witches Oh My!

HAPPY HALLOWEEN! At this moment I am sitting on my couch with my feet up, computer on my lap, and looking at pictures from all the great events and activities that took place today.  Halloween is hands-down, my favorite holiday of the year and I wanted to share some of my fun festivities with all of you.  I always begin my day by getting into school early and decorating the classroom with all the different knick-knacks I have collected over the year.  I love the kids reaction's as they walk in the room first thing in the morning.  It takes us a good 15 minutes to actually make it to our morning meeting, but I get a kick out of watching them walk around the room "ooing "and "ahhing" at all the decorations and finding all the hidden surprises. The motion-censored spiders are my favorite.  As the kids go to hang up their book bags three mechanical spiders drop from the ceiling!  Mwwwhahahahaha!

This week we bring our unit on spiders to a close, and we kick of the closing celebration with a final assessment based on our understanding of main idea/details.  To help us do some serious thinking, we hang up our thinking caps, and replace them with our spidie caps.


Today we read Arachnid Attack!, and worked with a partner to generate the main idea using details from the text.  For the independent assessment we completed a main idea/detail spider craft.  The students have a ball with this project and at the same time do a superb job of demonstrating their understanding.  We do this by creating main idea/detail spiders.

We add all of these creepy crawlers to our classroom decor.  During our Halloween Party, the parents love to see how their kiddies have contributed to the Halloween ambiance!

Click HERE for our Spider Maid Idea and Detail freebie.

For more freebies visit our TPT site here!

Freebie Friday Linky Party

Freebie Fridays

It's our first linky party!!! Yay!!!  I hope you all enjoy our freebies and our NEW blog! 

Like most teachers, I have a freak obsession with books! I L.O.V.E. them! I just can't have enough.  I buy them from libraries, garage sales, goodwill, scholastic.. pretty much anywhere that will sell me one, I'll buy it.  So you could imagine my excitement when we had our Scholastic Book Fair at school this month... a room full of shiny, new books, doesn't get much better than that.  I got some really cute ones, and randomly, without really previewing it, I decided to pick up "The Monster Who Lost His Mean".  I guess the little green guy caught my attention, and good thing, because this may be one of the cutest books I've read in a long time! 

It's about a cute little monster who lost his M, so he was just an Onster.  He could no longer do mean monster things.  He soon realized that his name didn't really matter, but it's what's on the inside that counts. ( I know too cute!) Well, besides me being in love with this little guy, my firsties L.O.V.E.D him also! 

Throughout reading we spoke about character traits.  We talked about how a monster would typically act, and how Onster was different. After finishing the story, we completed the following activity.

Click HERE for the character trait activity

The book also had a few onomatopoeias in it, which my students are currently obsessed with.  Whenever they hear one in a story, they start yelling "onomatopoeia."  I made the following craft (we will be making it on Monday, we didn't have enough time for it today).  You can do this craft with pretty much any monster book.

The students will be given the prompt "__________ went the _________ monster."  They will have to fill in the first blank with an onomatopoeia and the following one with an adjective.  I will post their final work this week.

Click HERE for the monster patterns.  There are two choices, a square and circle monster, and I also included dots that they can put on their monster. 

Thanks for stopping by and checking out our freebies! If you like what you see be sure to follow us! Hope everyone has a great weekend!

Project-Based Learning!

So picture’s Friday afternoon, and our thinking caps have been on high all week.  My kids have spent the morning working through spelling and vocabulary assessments and I could see that they were close to their wit’s end.  However, I wanted to make sure that the students had a clear understanding of our comprehension skill for the week  (which was character/setting/plot), but when I announced that we had one more assessment, I heard a cry from the peanut gallery “oh momma mia!”  I couldn’t help but break out into laughter.  So we decide to put those privacy folders back on the shelf and move into some project-based learning.  I allowed my kiddies to select a book from my “teacher favorites” book bin… and what do you know… they chose David Goes to School by David Shannon (a clear favorite every year). 

We gathered on our reader’s rug and I read them the story.  From there, students were placed into cooperative learning groups and asked to work with their group to plan and design their project.  Below is the project based learning worksheet I used from Jeremie Tharp called First Grade ELA Common Core Assessments Part One.  The driving question behind this assignment was, “How do we, as first graders, show that we understand the characters, setting, and plot in a book to others?”

Students were given a few tasks… first, they choose their project type (poster, model, or writing)…second, they discuss the materials they will need for this project…and third, (with my guidance) they determine group member’s roles and responsibilities.  However, I must say their favorite part was choosing the materials.  From around the room I could hear cries of excitement “smelly markers”, “googly eyes”, “pompoms”, “glitter, glitter and more glitter!”

The assessment ended with the students presenting their projects to their classmates.  

I must say... you know you've had a successful week when all your students thrive and soar while participating in the task.  Not to mention you will definitely receive more hugs too!  I have added a freebie for those who are interested.  It is my Student Self Assessment rubric for projects and presentations. Enjoy! Check out our TPT site here for more freebies this month. 

Quick Noun Freebie

This past week my firsties have been learning about nouns, and with Halloween right around the corner, (9 days, is that for real?) So, I made a few Halloween themed noun activities to complete with my kiddos.  Included in the pack is a group picture sort, and a few individualized activities to reinforce the skill.  Hope you can use them! Click below to get the freebie.

Get them at our TPT store HERE

Get them at our TPT store HERE

Now it's time for The Voice! 

October Fun

I absolutely love teaching in October, there are so many fun thematic activities that you can do in the classroom. Last week we were working on descriptive writing. In years past, I L.O.V.E.D using Abby's Pop Rocks Descriptive Writing Activity, but we are no longer allowed food in the classroom... womp, womp... So since it is October, I figured what's more fun than carving a pumpkin?? My kiddos were beyond excited when they walked into the classroom and saw all of the supplies on my table. They absolutely loved it, and their faces and reactions were priceless while removing the insides and seeds.  I am NOT an expert at carving, it was actually only the 2nd time I carved a pumpkin with out any help, so he is a tad unique looking.  I accidently cut off one of his teeth, but one of cuties said that he now really looks like he belongs in First Grade because he has missing a tooth!Below is a pic of my anchor chart (Inspired from The First Grade Parade), along with the activity the class completed.

Like most First Grade classes, we also began our unit on spiders. I am actually petrified of spiders, and of most insects and animals. I tried to avoid them at all costs, except when it comes to teaching.  I L.O.V.E. teaching about them, they are all just so interesting, and my kiddos always love learning about them.

I began the unit by putting plastic spiders in my Mystery Box, and had my kiddos ask Yes/No questions in order to guess what was in the box.  I let each of them keep a spider when they tell me a fact to add to our spider anchor chart. 

We also spoke a bunch about Schema, New Learning and Misconceptions.  For the most part, they already knew a lot about these creepy little crawlers.

Below are some freebies that we completed during the past week.

This week we will continue to learn more about spiders, and we will begin writing an informative/explanatory piece on spiders. 

One last thing.... I love BOOing people, but I could not for the life of me find a Boo-ing sign that was in black and white, so it was easy to photocopy, so I created my own.  I also adjusted the rules a tad because we are a fairly small school. I had everyone only boo one person.  The best way to start it going, is to have another teacher boo someone else at the same time, this way there are two different trails going on.  Below is a copy. 
Hope you enjoy it!

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