Wednesday, October 7, 2015

Global Read Aloud–#GRA15

I am SO incredibly excited to be participating in the Global Read Aloud this year! What is the Global Read Aloud? Watch the founder, Pernille Ripp, explain it below:

There are selected chapter books for intermediate and middle/high school students, and picture books for younger students. (BUT – these can also be used with older kids as well!)

In our first grade classroom, we will be studying the work of Amy Krause Rosenthal with a 6 week author study.

We kicked off the GRA this week with the book Chopsticks.  If you don’t have this book you MUST add it to your bookshelf!  You may be familiar with this book:

Chopsticks follows the same lovable characters and has another great message.



Meet Chopsticks! They've been best friends forever. But one day, this inseparable pair comes to a fork in the road. And for the very first time, they have to figure out how to function apart. From New York Times best-selling author Amy Krouse Rosenthal and rising artistic talent Scott Magoon, this witty and inventive tale celebrates both independence and the unbreakable bonds of friendship. Disney Hyperion, 2012

What’s so neat about the Global Read Aloud is that it connects readers from all over the world!  I am connected with a classroom in Virginia, but if you’re participating I would love to connect with you as well!  We can connect via skype, twitter, or e-mail.  Just send an e-mail to

Here are some things we are doing with the book this week:

*We are charting things that go together like:

-peanut butter and jelly
-salt and pepper
-eggs and bacon
-left shoe right shoe
-ketchup mustard
-cookies and milk
-Mickey and Minnie

*We are watching this You Tube Video for demonstrating the use of Chopsticks and practice eating with our chopsticks!

*Of course we MUST watch this Chopsticks Video for the Piano

*And if we still need to practice more will take a look at this Wiki.

And to top if all off we are going to have a fun relay race with our chopsticks! We will be playing “minute to win it” style and move items from one table to another ONLY using our chopsticks!

Finally, we have been recording some of our thinking on these sheets that we will glue into our readers’ notebooks:

001 (1)001




If you would like to use these in your classroom, you can download there {here}.

Week 2 of the GRA is this book:


Comment below with what your plans are for the Amy Krause Rosenthal books! I would love to collaborate on ideas to connect!

Happy Global Read Aloud 2015!

Sunday, September 27, 2015

My Favorite Apple Activities

I LOVE fall.  We are having an exceptionally warm fall this year, and I am LOVING it!  The trees are slowly changing to beautiful shades of orange, yellow, and red.  The mums are blooming beautifully, and the nights are cool and crisp. 

When I taught Kindergarten, I always loved kicking off the year with an apple study.  Our science curriculum in first grade is a bit more heavy, so I’m not able to do as much as I like.  We focus heavily on the life cycles of insects through inquiry, but I still love to review the life cycles of pumpkins and apples with the kiddos. 

Here are some of my favorite books to read during our apple unit:





I loved making this class art activity after we read The Season’s of Arnold’s Apple Tree.  Kim Adsit shared this activity during on of her sessions and I do it in one way or another every year.

Here are a couple of charts that we did when learning about the life cycle and parts of an apple:

The pictures are on velcro, so the kids can mix them up and sequence them in the correct order.


Again, the parts are on velcro!



I also loved to fill my center drawers with fun apple themed centers! Here are some of my favorites:










Most of these apple activities can be found in these two packs.  I’ve put them on sale for today only (Sunday, 9/27) if you’re interested!

Apples! Math and Literacy Centers It's Fall Y'all! {Seasonal Math and Literacy Activities}

On Friday, we also did a fun directed drawing of Johnny Appleseed! The children are not quite finished with these, but when they are I will snap a picture! I followed the directions from this amazing pack:

Directed Drawings for the Entire School Year: A Growing Bundle

What are your favorite apple activities?  I would love to hear – leave a comment below!

Wednesday, September 16, 2015

It’s Calendar Time {First Grade Edition}

calendar notebook

So these little diddy has been a work in progress.  I dabbled with it over the past year teaching first grade, but I didn’t feel confident releasing it until I had spent a whole year in first grade so I could truly get a feel of the scope and sequence of first grade math skills.

This summer, I sat down and polished it off.  I think I sat on my duff for a solid week while I got it done.  But I am SO incredibly happy with the results.

Let me give you a glimpse into what our morning calendar routine looks like in September:


We start out with our monthly calendar song that I wrote a few years back.  The kids love them, and they learn how to spell the months of the year.  It’s a great way to start calendar!


Next we move on to calendar skills.  I do this with the children with my Interactive Projector, using my Promethean flipchart.  I really would like to offer this calendar flipchart to you all, but I need to figure out a way I can secure graphics.  If and when I can figure that out, I will offer it to you all once the year is completed.


Next we check the weather and add it to our weather trackers.  This is one of the core skills in our first grade math curriculum.


When the month is over, we will analyze the data and record which temperature was the highest and lowest.


Next we document the type of weather we are having.  This recording sheet will change throughout the year.  Next month we will use tally marks to record the data.


The children have a pencil pocket at the front of their calendar binders that hold a pencil, a dry erase marker, and a small eraser (just fleece squares).  We call these our calendar tools.  They know when they come to the carpet, they take these three things out right away.

The first part of our calendar starts out using the pencil, and then they switch to their dry erase marker.  I added this option to the calendar binders, because I wanted another option that would use less paper.  There are two other options included in the calendar journal.

The all in one journal page:

To use this page, I copied enough for each day that we were in school for that month.  The children would fill in one page per day.  I have also used a page protector with these pages.


And the single skill pages.  In the past I have copied these on construction paper or cardstock.  You would fill in one section each day, and could choose the skills that you want to focus on for the month.  You could also use these pages for additional skill practice.


This time, I am using multiple page protectors and have just enlarged the skills that are focused on each month. We do the pages together, and the children just “erase their board” and go to the next page.  This makes it easier to skip some skills if time is short.


After we have completed the skills with our dry erase markers, we “switch tools” and go back to our pencils.  We add a  number to our 120s chart and a dot to our ten frames.


And that’s it! If there is a birthday, we add it to our birthday graph.  Throughout the calendar, we are singing the days of the week, months of the year, and counting and chanting numbers.  Each month, I will add additional skills to the calendar.  Right now, it takes us about 15 minutes to get through everything, and the children are LOVING it!

Here is the sequence of the skills in the calendar:

Slide7  Slide8Slide9  Slide10Slide11  Slide12Slide13  Slide14Slide15  Slide16Slide17  Slide18

*Note: I have also included these pages are programmable pages – you can’t edit the skills for each page, but you can edit the month.  So if you feel like your children need a little extra practice with the skills covered in January, you can just type in February on the January page.

As a little bonus, I’ve also included all of my original month songs!


Please let me know if you have any questions – I would be more than happy to answer them for you!

You can find the whole unit {here}


If you are a Kindergarten teacher, I also have a Kindergarten calendar journal:

calendar book15

I have written many blog posts about using the calendar journal in Kindergarten.  Just click on calendar on the right side of my blog!

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