Thursday, September 30, 2010

Apples, Apples, Everywhere!

My kids this year are SO very much into non-fiction stories. I LOVE IT!!! We started our week of apples with a KWL. I set out this little KWL and fill it out with the kids as we go along…
After reading a few short non-fiction books about apples, we filled out the “What You LEARNED” apple and had the kids complete their own KWL to keep in their Reader’s Response Journals. They LOVED this activity! I told them to choose 1 thing from each apple to write down.
KWL Printable: APPLE KWL

And we labeled the parts of an apple…
I also had the kids fill out their own version. I found it on Mrs. Nelson’s Apple Unit Page.

We also start out the week by adding new poems to our poetry folders. Since we were talking about apples and Johnny Appleseed this week, we added 3 new apple poems to our folders. I give the kids a week to take their poetry folders home and practice reading poetry to their families. The following Friday, I have a “Poetry Parent” come in and pull kids one-by-one into the hallway to recite their poems aloud. If the kids are able to recite their poems {from memory}, they get an Oscar! They also have the choice to opt out of poetry recitation, but they very RARELY do!
Click the link below to download the apple poems I created for our poetry folders.

I set out a few apple themed math tubs for the kids to work on this week, too.

Click the links to DOWNLOAD the math tub activities.
Odds & Evens Apple Trees
Apple Pie Addition
Just Ripe Math
3 Way Apple Math

POPCORN WORDS {aka: Sight Words, Words To Know, Wow Words}
Again, I forgot my camera to take pics of this one, but this is just a really simple high frequency word puzzle activity that the kids really enjoyed. I gave them a list of words to find, and they matched up the apple puzzles to make the words. They used the “I Know A Bunch Of Words” recording sheet to jot down the words they created. I placed the apple puzzles in a basket underneath our ficus tree :)
Click to download.
APPLE {High Frequency Word} PUZZLES

At the end of the week, we kicked off fall, and said “goodbye” to summer by making applesauce with the kids.
apples5 apples6
OMG…SO GOOD!!!! My class smelled like FALL all day!
After we started the applesauce making process, we followed up with a few different activities.
*Labeled the objects and ingredients we used to make the applesauce.
*Sequenced the steps to making applesauce. They colored, cut, and glued the pics in the correct order.
*Weighed, measured, graphed apples according to teacher direction.
apples4 apples3
We made stained glass apples for our windows, too! I used clear contact paper and tissue paper for this activity and the kids were LOVING every single second! I’ve got an artsy little group of girls that love stuff like this! They all “oooohed” and “aaaahhhhed” once they were hanging in the windows. I have to say that they really are pretty dang cute! I don’t wanna take ‘em down!
At the end of the day, we celebrated the end of another week with our special applesauce snack. My favorite part was when one of my sweet girls said, “I don’t like this applesauce, Mrs. Carroll. I LOOOOOOOOOOOVE IT! This is the best thing I’ve ever put in my mouth!” So dang cute! HA! As they were finishing up, I had the kids conduct a survey to find out who did and didn’t like the applesauce. They had to record and graph the data and then we talked about our results before we left to go home. Happy to say that only 1 little guy didn’t particularly enjoy the flavors.
After they ate their applesauce, I handed each student a recipe to take home to their parents. It was a FUN, apple filled week in First Grade!!!

You can download the applesauce recipe, apple measurment activity, applesauce labeling sheet, and apple sequencing activity by clicking HERE.

Word Helper Strategies

I originally saw these darling Word Helper strategy cards on the First Grader At Last blog and knew I had to have them!!! My kids are seriously OBSESSED with word strategies now! Every time they get stuck on a word, I’ll hear someone say, “think Stretchy Snake!” OR, “don’t forget Fly Eye!” I changed up a few little things to fit the needs of my kids and to go along with the clip art I had available :) I also created bookmarks that I laminated and cut out for each student to keep. They have a “keep at home” bookmark and one to keep at their desks. They love these little guys! I have the large charts posted by our whole group reading area and in my Red Carpet Reading Nook {where we have small guided reading groups}.



You can download my word helper charts below, but this isn’t my original idea!! Check out Sarah at First Grader at Last to see how she uses them in her room!



Wednesday, September 29, 2010

Reader’s Response ~ The Big Orange Splot

What a random little book find! Have you ever read The Big Orange Splot by D. Manus Pinkwater?! I never had until one of the girls on our team was telling us about it a few weeks ago. It’s a cute little story about people who live on a street where ALL the houses look EXACTLY the same until one day a guy spills orange paint on his roof. SO…he decides not to “fix” it, but paint the rest of his house instead. Everyone tries to get the guy to change his house back to being “normal”, but he encourage people to embrace the differences! SUCH a cute little message! After we read the story, I passed out a little house template and had the kids decorate their houses to reflect their likes and interests. Then we hung them up and turned them into our “Writer’s Block”. They loved it!!




Monday, September 27, 2010

Growing or Repeating?!

When we talk about skip counting with our kids, we explain how the numbers “grow”. Before we get too deep into “growing numbers”, we illustrate this concept by talking about growing patterns. Since my kids were having a little trouble understanding the difference between growing and repeating, we practiced the concept every morning {quickly} during our morning meeting and then completed this fun little activity the following week in their math tubs. I gave them a tub full of cardstock pattern blocks and instructed them to create two repeating patterns and two growing patterns. Then we hung them up in the classroom as a visual reinforcement!! This really helps my sweet babies who are still having difficulty understanding number patterns :)


Thursday, September 23, 2010

Brag Tags

I mentioned Brag Tags in an earlier post and received a few questions asking about them. The Brag Tags are sponsored by our AWESOME PTA and organized by our school counselor. Every student in the school gets brag tags. They all start the year out with a grade level tag. Here’s First Grade’s first brag tag…


Darling, right?! I write their names on the back of each tag so that we know which tags belong to each kiddo. As the year goes on, they can earn lots of different tags. There are some for reading, honor roll, attendance, field day, variety show, summer reading, birthday, etc. TONS! And the kids LOVE to collect! Here are just a few…


The brag tags stay on the wall until we have assemblies and then the kids get to wear them on special assembly days. You know, bragging rights :) At the end of the year, they get to take their brag tags home to keep! Such a fun little way to praise our kids efforts!!


Friday, September 17, 2010

Draft Book Publishing

My kids write in their draft books almost every day during our Writer’s Workshop block. Every Tuesday, I have publishing moms that come in and take the kids one-by-one to help them publish one of their writing pieces into a little book they can keep in their book baskets to read at different times. Hopefully by the end of the year the kids will have quite a collection of published books to take home and read to their families. The kids look forward to Tuesday because they absolutely LOVE having their hard work published!

publishingbasket3 publishingbasket4


The publishing basket contains pencils, markers, a stapler, plain white paper {cut}, construction paper {prefolded}, and a class list. My publishing moms are responsible for keeping the publishing basket stocked full of materials. After publishing a kiddo’s writing, the publishing moms write the date of publication next to the kiddos name on the class list so that everyone has a turn to publish before starting over. This really encourages the kids to write great stories…and they do!! Click on the link to download my publishing instruction letter for my volunteers!!

publishingbasket1 publishingbasket2

click to download


Tuesday, September 14, 2010

Reader’s Response – The Napping House

We’ve been talking about families this week one of our favorite books to read is The Napping House, by Audrey Wood. After reading the story, we talked about different things that we like to sleep with. CLEARLY, we’re not sleeping with a snoozing granny and a wakeful flea…well, I hope we’re not…so we talked about different things that we take to bed, or things we took to bed with us when we were "little”. I told them how my son sleeps with 5 Mickey Mouse dolls and they thought that was the funniest thing! HA! Here’s a little peek at their entry.


One of the teacher’s on our team had this cute little bed template. We cut those out and had the kids draw themselves in bed with whatever it is they sleep with…or used to sleep with…and then they wrote about it :)

Monday, September 13, 2010

Goodbye Poems


My kids have fallen in love with our goodbye poems. The kids have actually taken charge now and request to have a “leader” recite them every day as they all repeat! Depending on the day, I’ll ask the kids to give me a set of rhyming words before they can leave to go home. I still have some sweet friends who are having trouble understanding the concept, so it’s great reinforcement for those babies and fun for the whole group!

I wanted to hang these in a pocket chart, but the space around my door is limited, so I stapled these to the wall. They’re the perfect size. I created them to fit in a scheduling pocket chart, but the chart was still too big for the wall. Click the link below to download your set of Goodbye Poem Cards :)


Sunday, September 12, 2010

Have You Filled A Bucket?

I started bucket filling in my class last year and my kids loved it! It was such a success that I decided to keep at it this year and it goes PERFECTLY with the schoolwide kindness initiative that’s being put into effect this year…Rachel’s Challenge. The first thing we do is read the book Have You Filled A Bucket Today? by Carol McCloud.

fill a bucket If you haven’t read this book, it’s a story that encourages positive behavior and it illustrates how rewarding it is to show kindness, appreciation, and love toward others. The story talks about how we each carry around an invisible bucket and when we use kind words and actions, we become bucket fillers {filling other people’s buckets}. But when we say and do things that aren’t kind and compassionate, we’re bucket dippers…emptying all the good feelings out of everyone else’s buckets. The book is well written in terms that kids can really relate to and they really got into this idea of bucket filling & dipping!

I introduced my class to our bucket filler board and had each of them decorate a bucket cut-out that would become their very own bucket that others can fill. I decorated a bucket, too! I found the downloadable templates on Mrs. Walker’s Website {scroll down to the bottom}.


I also printed out her “Filling a Bucket” forms, cut them out, and put them in a bucket next to the Bucket Filling Board. The kids can fill a bucket ANY time they want to!! We talked about filling everyone’s bucket, not just our friend’s. Every Friday, we check our buckets to find the kind words others have left for us. Here are a few of my kids…


You are a nice friend to me.”

And here’s one for me! I find it HIGHLY amusing that this sweet little love called me “Cara” instead of “Mrs. Carroll”. I know I’ve told them my first name a million times, it’s just funny to see that one of them actually uses it in her writing! HA!


One of my moms caught up with me after her little girl brought home her first round of bucket fillers. She had tears in her eyes and said that her daughter was so excited that so many friends “filled her bucket”. She said, “Wow, Mom. My friends really do care about me.” Gush. I had tears, too! I love these bucket fillers and think it’s great that the kids have something tangible to keep and encourage them to fill other’s buckets, too!

Sunday, September 5, 2010

Estimation Station

My kids visit the estimation station once a week. For the first 6-8 weeks, I fill the jar with various objects. Once we start our “Celebrity of the Week” {star student}, I let the kids bring in their own items to add to the estimation jar. I’ll send the estimation jar home with my Celebrity of the Week with instructions to fill the estimation jar with their choice of items WITHOUT counting what they put inside. The jar stays in the estimation station for the week and each day a different set of kids visits it to make their guesses. When they visit the estimation station, they write their name on a post it note along with the number of their estimation and stick it on the estimation station poster. On Friday morning, we take all of the post its and sort them into groups {based on the number of their estimation}. We count the objects in the estimation jar together and then we use the post its to graph the results in various ways…who estimated greater than/less than/same as the actual number; how many boys vs. girls estimated greater/less/same as the actual number; etc. The post its are perfect because they can be easily moved around for quick graphing and the kids LOVE it! Here’s a little peek at our estimation station…

estimationstation1 estimationstation2

Thursday, September 2, 2010

Reader’s Response Journal ~ All About Me

Today we read the story, I Like ME!, by Nancy Carlson. I’ve had this little “all about me” template for years and knew it would be perfect for today’s reader’s response journal entry.

Here’s a little peek…


Wednesday, September 1, 2010

Reader’s Response Journals ~ Chrysanthemum

Today we read Chrysanthemum, by Kevin Henkes. For our Reader’s Response, we did a little compare/contrast activity using our names and Chrysanthemum’s name.

Here’s a little peek…


The kids compared their names to Chrysanthemum’s name, writing both along with the number of letters in each name.

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