Thursday, June 28, 2012

First Grade Common Core Math Assessment

After quite a bit of intensive labor, my First Grade Common Core Math Assessment is complete! Phew! Our district is focusing on implementing reading and writing CCSS this year, and will move to focus on math as this year progresses. However, I wanted to have an assessment that I could use to group students into guided math groups and for monitoring my students for RtI.

It includes:
*Instructions and materials needed (just some basic classroom materials like counters and a whiteboard)
*A comprehensive assessment tool with ALL first grade math standards, and space to use the assessment five times per year (beginning of year, then after each quarter or trimester)
*Areas for notes about misconceptions and strengths
*Class Assessment Data tables to gather data across the class to aid in forming guided math and/or intervention groups

Get your copy (for just $3.00!) by clicking the picture below!

Monday, June 25, 2012

{FREEBIE!} Polka Dot Clip Chart

Slowly but surely, I'm revamping things for my classroom this summer. On that {extremely long!] to-do list? Redoing my clip chart!

Last year I used a vinyl clip chart I made using VistaPrint (a freebie banner with the file uploaded and custom printed), but it just didn't hold up as well as I hoped. So this year, I have a new set of polka dot clip chart signs and a colorful header. I'll be gluing these to black posterboard (and leaving a small border - it makes things stand out so well!) then laminating that bad boy at Lakeshore. I'll hang it from Command hooks and book rings (thanks to Cara at The First Grade Parade for that idea!), and attach my clothespins on. I like to put my students' numbers on the clothespins instead of their names... It keeps the color a student is on a bit more private. When my kiddos reach pink (the highest color), they get a little rhinestone on their clothespin. Five rhinestones and the student gets to keep his/her clothespin, and they get a RED one instead! (I continue on like this... Five rhinestones, new color clothespin, and so on...)

I'll be making a calendar for marking where the student ends up on to keep in their homework folder... Last year I just noted it on the Friday folder (if they did very well or not so great), but I'd like to have a daily "note" to parents this year with behavior codes. I'll post it when it's ready!

If you'd like to snag this little freebie, go to my TpT page HERE.

Friday, June 22, 2012

Daily 5 for Firsties!

I've used Daily 5 in my first grade classroom for the past four and a half years, and I must say I absolutely LOVE how it really encourages independence among my kiddos. It takes quite a while to establish (usually about 5-6 weeks), but once it is up and running, it sustains itself. (Okay, so there's usually a few times a year - particularly after breaks - when we need to review expectations, but hey, that's to be expected with six and seven year olds!)

If you have not yet read The Daily 5 book, I would HIGHLY recommend it! It's a quick and easy read. I'll be posting some documents this summer to help with planning and implementing D5 in your classroom, including a guide to the first few weeks of school and corresponding books that work well to teach CAFE strategies (if you choose to integrate CAFE and D5).

Anywho, I thought I'd post a file you might find helpful - a Daily 5 choice recording sheet!

Click {HERE} to download!

Before each round of Daily 5, I call the kiddos to the rug, tell them which reading group I'm meeting with during that round (I use color groups - red group, orange group, etc.), and I quickly mark a "T" in the square for that round for the kids in my reading group (a T for TEACHER since I'm meeting with those students). I then alternate between starting at the top, middle, and bottom of the list of students. I list the students in alpha order by last name, so starting at different points in the list allows students the opportunity to have a chance to choose earlier in the selection process, increasing the likelihood they'll get their top choice.

It takes a bit of practice, but the students get VERY good at calling out their choice - I can typically get through the class of 30 students in less than two minutes. As I'm calling names and writing choices, I keep track mentally of how many listening students there are (since we have a limited number of computers and Tag Readers). I also track if we have an even or odd number of students doing Read to Someone. After I've called all students to pick their first choice, I call students who are doing Listening to move to their choice (this clears some kids off the rug and allows time for students to make sure they can log into the computer and get started before I start meeting with a reading group). Then I call all students who chose Read to Someone, then the remaining three choices. 

As I'm finishing my reading group, I clap to signal time to clean up that activity, we meet back at the rug, and we repeat making our D5 choices. I don't allow students to choose the same choice two days in a row, which means that every other day, students are doing ALL the choices. (This year, I only did two rounds, but next year, with a longer school day, I'll have the chance to take three groups and thus three rounds of D5. So my most proficient students, who I meet with less, will probably repeat one choice every other day. Not too bad.)

PHEW! Okay, that was an unnecessarily wordy explanation. I'll post more soon with more files, including the calendar/organizer for the first few weeks of school!

Wednesday, June 20, 2012

We All Scream for Ice Cream! {A Back to School Craftivity}

Well, I thought I would have posted by now, but things have been a bit more than busy! My sweeties have both been sick, and sleep in this household has been scarce at best!

Anywho... I have a new little craftivity I've been working on for my firsties to do the first week of school!

This ice cream-themed craftivity integrates writing (two different prompts - what the students did this summer and what students expect to do during the new school year) and math (graphing favorite ice cream flavors). If you're interested in snagging this fun little craftivity, click the picture below!

Saturday, June 9, 2012

What I'm Reading This Summer

This summer, I am hoping to catch up with a lot of reading! I got a Kindle for Christmas (just the cheapie version), but I L-O-V-E it! Anywho, this is what I plan on reading as my "fun read":

I LOVED The Hunger Games series, and I read Divergent (the first in this series). It's along the same lines as THG, but the characters in it have to choose which personality trait they'll have. It takes place in sweet home Chicago, so that makes it even more interesting (to me, anyways)!

For professional reading, I plan to reread Comprehension and Collaboration.

I've had the chance to see both Stephanie Harvey and Harvey Daniels speak, and they are AMAZING! We used this book in a study group at my school, and now that our school day is being extended, I'm hoping to have an inquiry workshop during the day in which students work on inquiry projects. So I'll be rereading this for inspiration!

What are you reading this summer???

Friday, June 8, 2012


So I've been working on my newest project... My Sub Tub Binder!

I was out of the classroom several times this year for professional development, doctor's appointments, and now my maternity leave. Typing out the same routine procedures over and over each time I was out got old. FAST. Now, all my sub materials can be in one easy place!

This file has information for your sub about classroom and school procedures and routines. Mine is in a 1" binder along with emergency lesson plans for three days of being out. All the copies I need for a sub in an emergency are in hanging folders in a small, open-top file box, along with this handy little binder.

(I'll post pictures once I'm back at work!)

You can get this file by clicking the picture above. But it can be your lucky day! The first FIVE followers who ALSO comment on this post will receive my Sub Tub Substitute Binder FREE! Make sure you follow this blog AND comment (with your email address so I can send you the file)!

Happy Friday!

Thursday, June 7, 2012

Where have I been???

It has definitely been a LONG time since posting! I told myself I'd be better about posting to this new blog, but things have been CUH-RAZY here!

In addition to trying to prep for the end of the year (the students are at school through next week), cleaning my room up, completing assessments of kiddos and all that jazz... THIS new little guy has kept me busy!

Declan came about 2.5 weeks early... And he's a little sweetie! I forgot how much newborns sleep, so I've actually been able to get some stuff done while my toddler, Avery, is at school. She got to spend time at Nana and Papa's house while I was in the hospital, so she was in heaven. :)

Needless to say, I won't be back at school through the end of the year! SO.... I know this is late but here's what we had been working on:

First of all, I LOVE (yes, all caps!) the Fraction Action unit by Cara Carroll of The First Grade Parade! In the past my kiddos have struggled with the concept of fractions, but with many of the activities in this unit, they've really done quite well! Here is a fractionpillar made by one of my sweeties:

Excuse the really bad iPhone photo!
I tried using Do-A-Dot stampers to make each of the body parts, but I tell you, those kids got a bit overzealous and went very stamp-happy! AGH! So when I was at Target, I saw they had THREE colors of those little dot stickers you might use to price things at a garage sale. VOILA! The kids could do this much more independently, they weren't too dot crazy, and there was zero mess. I'll definitely remember this for next year!

In science, we wrapped up our plant unit. We read Flip, Float, Fly: Seeds on the Move and did written responses about what the students would do if they were seeds.

We also observed seeds in avocados, kiwis, apples, lemons, and limes (which ended up having the teeniest seeds ever...).

These activities and more are available {HERE}.

What's on my to do list for this summer?
  • RELAX with my own kiddos! :)
  • Reorganize my sub tub materials - that would have made my sudden maternity leave a lot easier!
  • Get together my beginning of the school year materials to post on TpT
  • Try some Pinterest recipes (cookie dough dip... yummmm....)
What's on your to do list for your break??
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