Monday, February 29, 2016

Pirate Learning Fun!

Hi! It's Robin here from Class of Kinders.
There are not many things more appealing to a First Grader than a pirate! Boy or girl…doesn't matter, their ears perk right up at the mere mention of the word pirate! So, I sort of used that to my advantage last week when our spelling words had the /ar/ digraph pattern in them. We made pirate hats and use our best pirate voices to read, work with, and study our spelling words like arm, art, cart, yarn, barn, harm, etc.
Here is our completed pirate hat! Arrrrr….
 (Be sure to read to the bottom of this post so you can download this little freebie!)
First, I drew a rough sketch of two pirate hat shapes out of the large black construction paper and asked my students to cut them out:
Then I gave them one of these pirate print outs:
Then, they glued the pirate to the middle of one of the black papers:
Next, they wrote as many /ar/ words as they could. Yes, even fart came out of the discussion…I wouldn't have expected anything less, LOL: 
 Finally, I walked around and stapled the hat (once on each side) while sort of measuring their heads so it fit. It was a quick little pirate learning fun, but let me tell you - they will not forget that digraph pattern!
We also used this "Carl the Shark" poem for the week! Sharks are another word that generates lots of attention and discussion... and it sort of went with pirates, right?
As promised, here is the freebie so you can do this activity with your students!
Click here download from my store.
I hope your students will have a little bit of pirate learning fun too, arrrrr!

Monday, February 22, 2016

TPT Sand Dollars

 Welcome to our very first SURPRISE gift card giveaway!

We are so excited about our new blog that we are giving away a $50 gift certificate to TpT. We will be having these surprise giveaways often so make sure to follow us over there on the right so you don't miss out! In the future, be sure to look out for posts titled "TpT Sand Dollars" for more opportunities to win! 
For today's giveaway, all you have to do is enter the Rafflecopter below. Good Luck!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Monday, February 15, 2016

Eight Great Quotes

I love inspirational quotes! A few carefully placed words have the power to impact thoughts and change lives. Recently, my fourth grade students began writing their own words of wisdom to post in a class collection called, Wonderful Words. If you enjoy these quotes, you will find details about the process and a link to free templates at the end of this post. Here are some of my favorite student written quotations. Enjoy!









 The perfect follow up to Wonder the award winning book by Patricia Palacio, is 365 Days of Wonder (Mr Bowne’s Book of Precepts also written by Palcio. This gem has a precept for each day of the year. The quote, or precepts contained within are words from the ages. The quotations range from Seneca, Archimedes, Shakespeare, and Dickens, to Lewis, Dahl, Taylor Swift, and everything in between! Some of words of wisdom are even written by students.

Each day, my fourth graders meet in our “Focus Area”, and we read the quotation of the day. Students think about the words and then practice paraphrasing the quote with their partner. Recently, we’ve added an elaboration step using these stems:

•This means...
•This shows that...
•This relates to...
•This quote is important because...
•This quote shows...
•Based on these words, I can infer...

Last week I asked my students if they would like to write their own words of wisdom for a class collection. The response was overwhelmingly positive and everyone began crafting their words. As students shared their sage thoughts, spontaneous applause confirmed their efforts. The edited and revised student quotations are now a part of the class collection called, Wonderful Words.


So, as you can see, I love inspirational quotes, especially the wonderful words of students.


Sunday, February 7, 2016


I love to draw.  I'm not good at it, but I like it anyway.  And when you teach first grade, you're generally a little better at it than the mini-artists around you, so you tend to feel like Michelangelo... and suddenly you're an artistic superhero. Your students think so, too.

I always make time for drawing in my classroom.  It appeals to so many kids (not all, I know, but many).  And when I can connect opportunities to draw with the standards I need to teach, I think I've done something good.  These little leprechauns were made from a directed drawing lesson.  I love how cute they are and they're as different and unique as the kids who drew them, but directed drawing lessons have educational benefits as well.  They can help strengthen many skills including:

• listening and following directions
• understanding logical sequence
• improving hand-eye coordination and fine motor development
• developing spatial awareness and perspective

Some teachers get nervous though.  It kind of goes like this, "What if someone comes into the classroom and thinks we're just drawing?"  Been there.  (Heaven forbid we might just be doing art.)  So make it standards-based.  Done.  Now it's a glyph that I can use to practice collecting, graphing, and analyzing data with the kids.

And anybody can walk in without making me sweat.

The last few steps of this particular directed drawing lesson are glyph-dependent, so although we're all drawing basically the same picture, a few of the features (the stripes, the location of the clover, and the number of pockets) depend on each child.  I've included a key in the set I made, but you could easily make a similar one on a chart, too.  (This one is a condensed version of the one in the set... less text for the little ones.)  

Once the drawings are finished, we begin collecting data using tally marks.  A bar graph has been included so the children can record the results.  And in the end, we analyze the data we collected... so much math work!  (No sweating here.)

I'd love to give some of these away to our readers.  Be one of the first TEN to leave a comment below and I'll send you the set, Lucky Leprechauns: A GLYPH & GRAPH Math Activity for St. Patrick's Day.  Don't forget to leave your email address so I know where to send it.

Happy teaching!

Monday, February 1, 2016

The Cafeteria is the HEART of the School

You have heard the saying that the kitchen is the heart of the home?  I believe this to be true.  No matter the style or size of your kitchen it is a place where memories are made and shared with loved ones.

Well that is true for our school cafeteria.  It’s a place where bodies and minds are nurioushed not only with breakfast and lunch but with all the other multipurpose actvities that the cafeteria has to offer.  From smelling the fresh baked bread, eating with your friends, to watching performaces from the stage.   I feel that the cafeteria is the heart of our school.

Next week we will be celebrating the school cafeteria staff.  Each grade level will adore them with banners, cards, pictures and special treats.  These small tokens of appreciation could never show how much we value our cafeteria staff.  

Our cafeteria staff consists of 7 ladies who work long hours and take care of us all.  On average they serve 400 free breakfast meals and then turn around and serve 720 hot lunches.  And they have also made a few special requests just for us!! These ladies are magical when they recite the names of our nearly 1200 students and they can even tell you who their teacher is!  They trully are sugar and spice and everthing nice and I’m so thankful to call them my friends. 

To show our appreciation to the cafeteria staff my class will be making a cookbook to help with some of the future meal planning.  It’s a tresure for sure and has something for everyone!  In our writing center we are also using some food list writing sheets.  These sheets are a perfect and fun way for your students to spell simple words phonetically, reviewing sound-letter relationships as well as a vocabulary review. They are all in the theme of food and cooking so they are a perfect fit. 
                                   Here is a copy of the Cooking List Writing Center!  Enjoy!

Did you

lunch lady today?