Wednesday, September 28, 2011

We're Still Plugging Away at ABC Order...

Well, I tried the School ABC Order worksheet with my first graders today and they did pretty well. I made another one, which I'm uploading here for you, that we're going to do tomorrow. It''s slow, but we're getting it! Yay! As always, I hope you'll find this helpful. What do you do to help your first graders learn the concept of ABC order? We've sung songs, we've hopped an ABC chart, chanting the alphabet, we've done a center on ABC order, and of course, we've done worksheets. I'd love a new, fun idea to help my kiddos. Have a great evening, all!

Fall ABC Order PDF

ABC Order

Is your class struggling with the concept of ABC order? Mine sure is! We've done it so many times, I dream about it! I created a quick little ABC order worksheet that I'm sharing here. As always, I hope you'll find it helpful.. The graphics are from Lettering Delights and the font is called Cherry Cream Soda, which I (think) was from
School ABC Order PDF

Monday, September 26, 2011

Tools Readers Use

My students have been busy learning during writer’s workshop. Today, we made an anchor chart similar to Kimberly’s at Funky First Grade Fun on “Tools Writers Use”. My children came up with all sorts of good ideas and then it naturally lent itself to a discussion about Tools that Readers Use. This actually wasn’t my intention: I was happy that they were able to discuss the tools that writers use. However, as they started to talk, I pulled out another chart paper and began to chart their ideas.
Here are some of their ideas:
Tools That Readers Use
Book marks
Pencils (I asked why – and was told, “To write our names in our book!”)
The internet
Our moms and dads (to read to and be read to)
Our teacher (to read to and be read to and to teach us to read)
Our ears
Our brains
Our mouths to sound words out

I was so impressed with their thinking, especially as this is a very young, diverse, active group. I have children ranging in age from 5 to 8, several ELL students, one with a learning disability, and three with a diagnosis of ADHD. Although we’ve only been in school 30 days, this is a huge leap for them: in the beginning of the school year, creating anchor charts like this was difficult. Now, it’s an expectation and they are all meeting the challenge. Aren’t you proud of them? I know I sure am!

Sunday, September 25, 2011


Ashleigh, at Education Journey, is having a giveaway to celebrate 500 followers. You can win a gift card to Amazon! I just love Amazon, don't you? Check it out by clicking on the link here:
Ashleigh's Education Journey

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

Spotlight on Kindergarten Giveaway

Hi everyone! Sorry I've been MIA - we're painting the house (yes, unfortunately, I'm helping my husband) and this has just sucked every little bit of free time I have. Add to that my schoolwork, and it's a "perfect storm" of having no extra time to blog!

Spotlight on Kindergarten is a bit stuck - she's been at 199 followers forever and she'd love to see 200 - so she's hosting a giveaway. Check out her site and help her out so she can see 200. She's giving away a gift card to Barnes and Noble, one of my favorite places in the world. :)

Wednesday, September 14, 2011

Pete the Cat

My class is in LOVE with Pete the Cat! We've read both books, we sung the songs, and I've found several really cute activities from the darling kindergarten and first grade blogs. We even made a cute Pete the Cat art project, which I'd be happy to show you except my camera battery is dead. Another day! I found the cutest little Pete book at the Kindergarten Crayons blog; however, I wanted it a little beefier for first graders. I used her little book but in the back, I put in pages that had the first graders add their own ideas to the Pete book, using a sentence frame, "I love _____________." Each page takes away a word, until the last page is a blank line. I'm uploading here. It's nothing fancy but the first graders drew the cutest pictures to go with their ideas. As always, I hope you'll find this useful.
Pete First Grade Adaption PDF

Monday, September 12, 2011

The Versatile Blogger

I was so amazed to receive the Versatile Blogger Award from Amanda at Frolicking at First! Thank you so much, Amanda! I'm speechless!

I'm supposed to share 7 things about myself. Oh goodness, I'm not sure I can come up with seven interesting things. Let's see...
1. I am a quilter. I've shared some of my classroom quilts online but I also have made many quilts for fun, for warmth, and for friends. I tend to go towards older pieced patterns, rather than the applique that I make with my class.
2. I love to read. I even have a Kindle, that I'm enjoying. I still read "real" books though, because there's nothing like the feel of a book in your hands.
3. My favorite guilty pleasure is watching True Blood (what a cliffhanger! I can't wait until next summer!) and reading the Sookie books that inspired this series.
4. I love coffee! I'll  even stop after school occasionally, after a tough day, and buy a cup of iced coffee. Coffee makes even the worst days better!
5. I love to blog stalk! You all have the best ideas and I honestly think my teaching has become better because of you!
6. I've been married since dirt (well, 31 years) to a great guy, who is really sweet and understanding. I honestly don't know how I got so lucky!
7. I've been teaching for 25 years, mostly in first grade, and it's just so much fun! I love it.

I would award the Versatile Blogger Award to the following wonderful blogs:
The Bubbly Blonde
First Grade is Fantabulous

On a side note, I'm so sorry it took me so long to post this: I got the flu (ALREADY!) Friday and it totally has wiped me out. I'm on antibiotics now and starting to feel better. Has your school been hit with the flu already? Ours has in a big way!

Wednesday, September 7, 2011

What Teachers Really Want To Tell Parents

CNN published an article called, "What Teachers Really Want to Tell Parents", written by Ron Clark. Lessons Learned blog shared it and I'm so happy she did! I really believe that every parent should have to read this! I have had wonderful experiences with parents, who truly believe I'm a partner in their child's life and a professional. They value my expertise and experience. On the flip side, I've had parents who have made life miserable the entire school year. I'm sure you've all had the same experiences.

This year, I have many families who come from different countries. They respect me and go out of their way to make the school year a fruitful one for both their child AND me! (In fact, here's a great story! My husband and I are in the process of scraping the eaves of our house. One of my parents from Pakistan asked me about my weekend and I told them about the scraping project. They offered to come over and help! I, of course, politely refused, but how kind! They told me that in their country, teachers are respected and revered and that they would do anything they could to help me. Wow!)

This current climate of "education bashing" is disheartening. Mark my words: If this country continues it's current disparagement of teachers, we will not be around to be a doormat. More and more teachers will leave in droves. I am within 10 years of retirement. I LOVE my job and I love making a difference but when I retire, my experience and skill will go with me. This is happening all over the country.

Link up at to give your point of view on this article. She is hosting an informal linky party on the subject. What do you think? Leave a comment on my blog and tell me your opinion of this article.

Tuesday, September 6, 2011

K-5 Teaching Resources

Hey, all you blogging friends! Have you heard about the website, K-5 Teaching Resources? It is full of math related resources, including some cute counting poems. I use this website frequently. In fact, I was there today, looking for poetry to help my firsties. Nicola, who runs K-5 Teaching Resources, even included a link to put on my (and your) blog to help you find her site easily. Click on the link below and check it out - you'll be happy you did! There are a huge amount of resources on this website! As always, I hope you find this useful!

Monday, September 5, 2011

Happy Labor Day!

I hope you are all enjoying the day off! I know many of you are going back to school tomorrow and I'll be thinking of you! This weekend has been aptly named for my family: We've been scraping the house, to prepare for painting. I keep telling myself it will be beautiful when it's done.. . We're  taking a break to have a barbeque with friends today, which I'm looking forward to. What are you doing on this lovely day off?