Grand Slam Year: End of the Year Student Gift

Our school year is winding down.. only 21 more days! I know a lot of you have already finished up, and we are EXTREMELY jealous!  For our end of the year gifts I went to dollar tree and stocked up in their bats and balls.  For $1 a set you really couldn't beat it! 

You can download the gift tags here.

I also always give my Firsties a Memory Book... (the unfinished product below, I still have about 10 more events to add)
The first year I made the book it was quite time consuming, but now I just inset pictures ever year and I am set to go..
It takes a toll on the printers, but they adore them.

You've Got The WRITE Stuff, Baby...

A little throwback title to NKOTB =) ....
This month we've been focusing on informational writing, which is a daunting task... well, that was until I found THIS post from Sugar and Spice in Second  .... she made it all seem so easy, I knew I had to try it...
To prepare my students, for the past month, they have been writing "micro-essays" EVERYDAY in their journals... Underlining the topic, three details, and closing sentences has become second nature to them.
Since we were in the midst of our Frog Unit I knew that it was now or never ... It was my chance to push my students to their limits .. It was "Genius Essay" time.  As we gathered on the carpet I told them that they would be writing a 3 paragraph essay.  Needless to say, they looked at me as if I was crazy.  One of my Firsties even raised his hand to tell me that his 5th grade brother is writing a 5 paragraph essay, and that we were only in First Grade and we couldn't possible do that....  I told him to let his brother know that he has a little competition coming his way =)  Once my students were fully motivated we went over our anchor chart.  I COMPLETELY copied Christina's... nothing fancy, just straight to the point...
As a class, we discussed topics that we could include in our essays.  We agreed on; the life cycle of a frog, predators, and the different species of frogs.  Once our topics were chosen, we wrote our "triple whammy sentence,"  and underlined each topic with orange, pink and purple. 
Below are some pictures of my students' final piece... I forgot to take pictures of their rough drafts with the underlining (eeeekkk sorry!) I'll add them tomorrow .. It took 3 days to write the first draft of their "Genius Essay."  I broke each paragraph into a different day, so they were not overwhelmed.  I have to say, they did an amazing job!

My students were so proud that they were able to write a 3 paragraph essay. Below are their final pieces.  
How cute did their little frogs come out!?!? I'm LOVING them! 

To get our Froggy Fun, creativity and printables unit click HERE

The Best for the Best Blog Hop!

Thanks for hopping on over =) ....We are joining Amy from Teaching Blue Jeans and 106 other amazing bloggers for the Best for the Best Teacher appreciation Blog Hop!
Our Best for the Best is a little throwback to one of our first posts. Our Non-Fiction Text Feature Unit was one of our favorite activities from this past school year, and it also just happens to be our best selling products on TPT!  We thought it would be fun to rewind back to November and share with everyone how we incorporate this unit in our classrooms. 
I know Nonfiction Text features does not sound like the most exciting topic, but I kid you not, my Firsties LOVED doing these activities.
I kicked the week off by taking out a boat load of nonfiction books.  My students were then given free range to browse through the books.  I introduced each feature by using the anchor charts in the unit. Following this, we dissected texts and identified the various nonfiction text features.  The following day, students were given a SUPER cool magnifying glass, along with a reader and together we went on a nonfiction text feature scavenger hunt.
When I felt my students had an understand of text features I broke them up into cooperative learning groups.  Together, as a group, they had to define each text feature. Following this, they were told they would be making a poster to present their knowledge the class.  They took this assignment VERY seriously, and got straight to work.   
All contributing and engaged.. A..MAZ..ING
Not going to lie, they were ecstatic when they were told they were going to be able to make a poster. Prior to the creating, students were given a rubric so they knew what was expected of them. Students knew that each poster had to include the 6 text features that were taught throughout the week, and that they would present their posters to the class.  
After 3 days of cutting, gluing, coloring, glittering their master pieces were complete.

DISCLAIMER:  If you give First Graders free range of stickers, glitter and font choices the end product is inevitably going to be a tad tacky, but I love it even more because of that first grade touch.
Below is the freebie to help students define each text feature before making their posters.  
Click Here for your freebie 
Thanks so much for hopping over!  To continue on The Best for the Best Teacher Appreciation Blog Hop by clicking the picture below.

Manic Mother
Don't forget to join the raffle for this AMAZING giveaway!

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