Monday, April 28, 2014

Free Bookmarks

     At the end of each school year, I loved giving a little something to my students. Most of these small gifts were bookmarks. I'd print them out on cardstock, and then I'd cut each bookmark out. I would then write a small good-bye letter on the back of each one. The kids loved getting these from me, and their parents always complimented me for giving their students something thoughtful.
     If you're looking for something sweet to give to your students, bookmarks are it. I have created 4 bookmarks that I think your kids would like to have. Feel free to click on the image below to download them for free. (Credits are provided within the download).
     To find more freebies like this, please visit me at Mommy & Me Creations. Thanks!

 Mommy and Me Creations

Sunday, April 27, 2014

Slate Games!

I feel like in 1st grade, I'm constantly spiraling skills that my kids have learned throughout the year.  Prior to every Math lesson, I do some sort of review activity of old schools.  This is done daily and only takes about 5 minutes.  Sometimes it's a worksheet, sometimes it's an oral review/discussion, and sometimes it's a quick game.  One game that both my kids and I love playing is "The Slate Game."  This is SUPER-EASY to set up and can be done on the fly if you are in a pinch.  This game can take as much or as little time as you'd like.  It's a fabulous way to get an assessment of skills from kids without them knowing.  Here's how we play:

Divide the class into rows of 4 or 5.  Give a slate, marker, and eraser to the person at the front of each row. I have these answer boards from Learning Resources and love them!   

Write the team numbers/names on the board so you can keep score.  I keep score with tally marks.  Tell students which skill you'll be working on first.  It's important to really model this because they may get mixed up while writing.   I usually do one on my board first to show them.  Call out a problem and they will solve it and write it.  For Math races, I always put up the number grid for them.  Once every team has an answer, I check the boards and we go over the answer.  Each team that has the answer correct gets a point.  This is important to me, because that way the students who process things slower still get a chance to win!  The person in the front passes the slate, marker, and eraser to the person behind him and the game continues.  

This is always a great time!  It can be used to review virtually any skill!  We use it for Phonics, Sight Words, Math, and more!  

For more ideas, freebies, and products for use in your classroom, please visit my blog, Mrs. Wheeler's First Grade, by clicking the picture below!


Friday, April 25, 2014

Spread a little sunshine my way... (Freebie)

One of my favourite things to do as a teacher is to send home a good note...something I call a sunshine note. I think we too often communicate with home only about the negative things or situations that concern us so it's important to recognize when students are doing good things are praise them for those achievements loudly and enthusiastically.

I've created a new product to help you do just that.

My plan to create a whole series of Sunshine Notes that you can use through out the school year and I've started with some cheery Spring notes.

These cards will help you send home a little sunshine to your students and their parents. 

Each card has a spring illustration and plenty of room to write a personalized note about the student's great behaviour, academic success or general kindness to others. 

There are 16 cards that include a small motivational praise and 8 cards that are completely blank. All 24 cards have a cute spring graphic to help spread a little more cheer!

But that's not all...

I'm sure many of you ...
(probably all of you...because, 
c'mon we're teachers and LOVE office supplies) 
already have a great stash of cute papers for sending home sunshine notes. Well, if that's the case I still hope you will check out my sunshine notes AND download my free Sunshine Notes Tracker!!

Use this organizational tool to help you track which students have received a “sunshine note”. Check off a box or write in the date each time you send home a note praising a student. Over the course of the term you will be able to see which students are working hard to receive a sunshine note, who needs to try a little harder, or whose efforts haven’t been recognized often enough.

Makes a great reference for when the end of the term arrives and you are writing report card comments! 

How do you spread a little sunshine?
I'd love to hear about other great ideas.

Friday, April 18, 2014

A New Book Study and a Giveaway!!

Hello all!!

I'm Beth from Thinking of Teaching and I am very excited to tell you about my upcoming book study, 100 Minutes: Making Every Minute Count in the Literacy Block.

I am very excited to get reading, posting and discussing this book. All the fun starts on May 23rd!

Thinking of Teaching

But first...

I'm looking for people that are interested in co-hosting the book study with me on their blog. Head on over to Thinking of Teaching to read more about the book, where you can purchase it, how you can become a co-host AND...

Enter to win a copy!! That's right, the great people at Pembroke Publishers have given me a copy of 100 Minutes by Lisa Donohue for a giveaway to celebrate the book study. There are 2 other great prizes as well but I'll let you discover that for yourself when you visit my blog

Thursday, April 17, 2014

What Can You Do With a Plastic Egg?

How many ways can you use a plastic egg? I'm glad you asked... ;)

Sight word Scrambler: Place the letters of a sight word in an egg. Have your students put the letters together to make the sight word. You could have them try to unscramble it on their own or have them look at the word to build and rebuild. 
You can write the word inside the egg or put a small piece of paper with the correct spelling inside.

Sight Word Game: 
You can also write the sight words on the outside of the eggs. 

Place a colored dot on a cube. 


Roll the cube. If you land on blue, read a blue egg. Continue until all eggs are out of the basket. 

Going on a sight word egg hunt:

Hide your eggs all around your house or classroom. When they find the egg, they will read the word on the egg. If they cannot read the egg, hide it again. If they can, they get to put it in their basket.

Matching up parts of the egg:

You can match up onset and rime or lowercase and uppercase letters. 

Last, I have a little freebie for you! :) 

This is an initial sound sort activity:

Put a picture card in each egg.  Set out two baskets and the bunny/rabbit cards. Students will find the eggs and look at the picture inside. Then, they will decide if the word begins with b or r and place it in the correct basket. You can download these picture cards here. 

If I'm missing anything, please comment! I'd love to hear what you do with these little plastic eggs. :)

The Quiet Game

In our classroom, we like to play "The Quiet Game."  It's a very simple, yet engaging game that keeps kids accountable for their own actions and behavior.  We play during whole-group lessons, during centers, and during seat work time.  We try to play 2-3 times per day.  Here's how we play:  divide your class into groups; you decide how many you want in a group.  When we play during whole-group lessons, I have the kids sit in rows on the rug.  When we play during seat work time, they play in their tables, which are made up of groups of 4-5.  Keep track of the teams on your board or a sticky note.  For example, if you are playing on the rug in 3 rows, you would have this on your board:


Set the kids up for success.  Talk about what things you should see them doing during the game/lesson. Talk about what things you shouldn't see during the game/lesson.  You will decide what you want the negative behaviors to be.  I do talking, shouting out, getting up without permission, and touching someone/something. Tell students that each time you see one of the above behaviors, you will mark a tally next to their team. Tell them they need to get __ or less tally marks during the game/lesson to win a fun activity.  I do 3 or less but you can do more if you are just trying want them to win the first few times to get them excited!

As you teach your lesson, any time that your students do any of the above behaviors, mark a tally mark.  At the end, whichever teams have __or less tally marks win a prize!  Select a prize from your prize bucket and have the kids enjoy!  The prizes are mostly free, simple activities that take 5 minutes or less.

For a free copy of the quiet game directions and prize cards, click below!


Monday, April 14, 2014

Building Sentences while Practicing Sight Words

How do you practice sight words for those beginning readers? This year I was asking myself that same question. I wanted to give my students opportunities to practice reading these words in context without being overwhelmed by too much text. My students were at this in between place. Ready and wanting to read something, but not quite ready for a book (even a simple beginner sight word book). So, I introduced Build a Sentence. This was meant to be a kindergarten center originally, but then I found it was actually perfect for my reading groups. Even with just a few sight words, we could make several different sentences. 

The sentence building mat helps them to easily build their own sentences. I started with just 5 sight words: I, We, see, my and the. I had about 10 different picture word cards to go with those words. Together, we'd build our sentences. They loved it! They could read sentences and feel successful. When they were ready, we added in the words you and am, and then my and like. What I loved about this is that I had control about when to introduce the next word. 

Slowly, I continued to add more words. I added two at a time, but you could add based on your students' ability. 

I introduced questions too:

I made an entire pack of sight words and picture cards, along with a guide for the teacher. If you'd like to see more, head on over to my blog:

Wednesday, April 9, 2014

Growth and Changes in Plants! And a Sale that Starts Today!!

Hello all!
It's me, Beth, from Thinking of Teaching.

I posted my newest product on TPT this week and I'm super excited. I've been blogging for over three years now but only recently opened a store on TPT so every time I upload a product I get a little giddy!

This product is correlated to the Ontario Science curriculum but I have a deal for all you non-Ontario teachers!

First, my set will be on sale (15% off) from Wednesday, April 9th to 11th this week to celebrate my newest product.
Second, if you want to know if your science curriculum is represented in the learning goal contact me and I'll let you know....but the best part? If you would like a certain expectation/learning goal added then I will make you a card free of charge to go along with this set!

How's that sound??

Click on the image below to see a list of the contents included in this set. 

Here is a sample of the Big Idea cards.

And the individual Learning Goal cards!
You will notice that each card has a Specific Expectation number on the bottom. These correspond to the Ontario curriculum and if you are not an Ontario teacher and would like them removed, please contact me and I will start working on a set without the numbers. 

Individual Learning Goal cards that can be glued into your students' notebooks, journals or on assessment tasks and activities.

Best of all, I have included three different self-assessment tasks that can be used with this curriculum and the individual  Learning Goal cards or with any Science curriculum you may teach!

Click on the image below to head to my TPT store to check out this great product and all my others too...remember, I'm new at this so my store is small!

And don't forget about the sale, 15% off everything from Wednesday, April 9th (today) to 11th!

Monday, April 7, 2014

Going on an Easter Sight Word Hunt

Happy Monday everyone! I hope you are starting your week off well. As you know, Easter is right around the corner. I blogged a few weeks ago about some Easter activities. I have two more for you! (And both are freebies.) I love a good sight word hunt. I use these sight word hunts in my literacy center packs for kindergarten, but I didn't include one in my April pack. So... I thought I'd make one to share with you all today.

My students LOVE these sight word hunts, and so does my son. It's a great way to practice those tricky words! Cut out these cards and put them around the room.

When your students find them, they read them and write them on  their student sheet.
Click on any picture to download.

The other freebie is an oldie but a goodie. It's actually meant to be an at-home activity. It's a scavenger hunt for Easter morning. Kids will read the clues that lead them to their special Easter surprise (a book).
Click on the picture to go to the old blog post with this freebie.

I hope you all have a great week!