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Monday, November 30, 2015

Fractions for First Graders

We've been tackling ~FRACTIONS~ the last two weeks in first grade!  I used to dread teaching fractions to 6 year old littles, but thanks to some extra CGI training on fractions...I love it!  

The biggest ah-ha I've learned over the years is that fractions and shapes go together.  They are all under the umbrella of "geometry."  Having math talks about shapes bleeds over into conversations about fractions and vice versa!

We spent the first week talking about the difference between "whole" and "half."  

The first day, I posed a CGI problem...

"Mrs. Shaddock has 1 cookie to give to 2 first graders.  How much cookie can each friend have to get a fair share?"

I love starting with this problem because it sets kids up for a problem....what are they going to call that part of the cookie?  In my experience, most firsties can tell, show or act out the fact that it's a half of a cookie...but not as many know how to label it.   I got a wide variety of answers once again this year...

*1
*1 piece
*1 cookie
*2 cookies
*half

We shared many of these and talked about the fact that if I just say "1" or "1 piece" I don't know how much that is.  When I just say "1" I'm assuming a whole cookie...If I told you I would give you one cookie, but I only gave you one small piece, you would be upset because you assumed I would give you the WHOLE cookie! 

Then, we start our whole/part anchor chart...
Of course, we didn't add the fourths until the second week.  Also, notice the emphasis on this anchor chart on "whole" and "part."  We worked on fraction CGI problems these weeks, but also some part part whole CGI problems and we were able to make some really great connections between these problems and fractions during our share time that made fractions easier to understand!

The next day, we did a few math talks about which shapes were divided in half using the math talk slides from my geometry packet...Then, the next morning, the kids did this sort for morning work (halves/not halves the first week and fourths/not fourths the next week)....

On the last "math skill" day of the week, we played "Pass the Pen," which happens to be the simplest game and one of my first graders' favorites....

Get this:
*Share the paper between your table group and choose a "pen" (or pencil or crayon) to share between your table group.
*One person starts and divides a shape in half/fourth.
*Then, they....wait for it...pass the pen...to the next person at the table who has to divide another shape in half/fourths a different or new way.
*They keep passing the pen until they cannot think of any more new ways.

It's definitely not rocket science, but they love it!  And this game is so good to use in pretty much any subject area!

If a kid doesn't know what to do, they other friends at the table can help him/her and tell her what to do, but can't do it for him....

We did one round of the squares and then shared pictures and talked about if they were halves/fourths and why or why not.  We talked a lot about being precise and how that affects the partitioning.  And for whatever reason, squiggly lines were quite popular this year, so we had to talk about that too!

Once we discussed the squares they flipped their paper to the other side and played the same game with circles.

At the end of the activity, I had them pass the pen to assess the squares together and then self-assess the circles as a group.  Love these smiley face grades! :)

Fractions came after all of our 2D and 3D shape exploration in geometry, and our next step will be symmetry...but that will probably be after Christmas break!  We are about to be in full on assessment mode in my world! #keepinitreal

Grab these activities and more in my complete geometry packet!



Sunday, November 29, 2015

Sunday Open House: Christmas

If you are just catching up with my Sunday Open House Series, then here are the links for the other posts:
1. Kitchen
2. Curb Appeal & Landscaping
3. Dining Room
4. Fireworks (4th of July)
5. Blueprints
6. Back-To-School Decor
7. Cooper's Bedroom
8. Football Season Decor
9. Fall Decor

It's after Thanksgiving and I can finally decorate for Christmas!  I love decorating for the holidays, but I'm a stickler about waiting until after Thanksgiving!  Here's a tour of most of our new decorations for the season...


Two years ago, I started changing up Christmas...I had a very "glitzy" tree which my dad called a "Dr. Seuss" tree (for good reason).  And I loved it.  Until, I didn't love it anymore and it was just too shiny for me.  So I started going a little more "natural" looking.

Last year, we had Christmas in the apartment so it was much MUCH different!

This year, I pulled out all of my Christmas stuff and still just wanted more of that natural look....so I started selling the rest of my glitz, and this is what we ended up with!

I love the look and think it's a good compromise so far for our farmhouse look!
Ribbon: Walmart, current
Burlap Ribbon: Hobby Lobby, current
Berry picks: Hobby Lobby, 2 years ago
Tree Topper: floral bunches from Hobby Lobby, 2 years ago
Red Snowflake: Walmart, many moons ago

The stick garland was left over from Justin's old tree so his mom gave me that!  I love it!!



I sure hate that my mom bought this sign above my fireplace for her house and ended up unhappy with it.... *wink*

The stockings are from Ballard Designs and we've had those for the 10 years we've been married!

I bought nice garland at Hobby Lobby and added it to some cheap Walmart garland to tie ornaments and ribbon to...added lights and I love this garland!!



Isn't Rudolph the cutest???  This is from my husband's family...his grandfather made it and my mother in law found it stored away and so graciously let us have it this year!  A new bow and he's just adorable!

Cooper's tree is basically the same this year...and I still love it!
 I mod podged fabric on a wooden letter C for the topper and we made yarn ornaments by wrapping glue drenched yarn around a balloon!  They seemed feeble at the time--and still are--but they've lasted 3 Christmases and going so far!

And I'm still in love with the wooden block ornaments we made from vintage blocks! I also love all of his "home made" ornaments on this tree...
 Look at that teeny tiny handprint!

New to the tree this year is the wooden train.  Cooper has been begging for a train to go around his tree so we grabbed this one from his play room.  It's a tight fit, but he loves it and I think it matches perfectly!

This isn't new either, but I love that he found the perfect spot to "hang" this tree this year (in Daddy's office!)  He loves decorating the tree and then stepping back to make sure everything looks right...just like Mommy does!

On to the kitchen!  Here's are table box....

Nothing new bought here...just repurposed some pine floral stems and put some "unused" ornaments and pine cones in the box too!

I wanted to use the same "Merry Christmas" ribbon from my other trees and garland that I got from Walmart, but I ran out!  And late last night when I was finishing, I didn't want to go back to Walmart to get more....so I found some of this ribbon left over from a while back that I used for 4th of July and I think it looks great and still goes for now!


I used the same materials in the lantern and topped it off with a  burlap ribbon!




Love this piece from Hobby Lobby and cute tree for $3 {!!!!!!} at Walmart! And I love how they look on my kitchen  counter!

This candle ring from Hobby Lobby made the perfect "wreath" for above my stove!

And, finally, my favorite new item: the kitchen tree....
So, I have a kitchen tree already that was a 5 foot pencil tree.  And I loved it.  But one day in early November I saw this $30 flocked 6 foot tree at Walmart and I just fell in love.  Like love at first sight.  I knew I had to have it for my farmhouse kitchen.  The tree is decorated very similar (with new ribbon), but it just changes it so much to be on a flocked tree!

Have I mentioned how much I love this new ribbon I found??  It looks perfect with the wooden spoons and gingerbread toppers (from Hobby Lobby many years ago...but I've seen them currently too!)

This year, since the flocked tree was a little bigger, I decided to mix the gingerbread and mint ornaments with some of mine and Justin's old ornaments.  We didn't use all of them, but I think this tree will be the perfect place for some of Cooper's future "hand made" ornaments as well!  I'm loving the mix of all of this!

Check out the sandpaper gingerbread man I made when I was in first grade...circa 1990!  How perfect is he???

You can find the recipe for the yummy smelling gingerbread ornaments HERE

Merry Christmas from our family to yours!


Monday, November 23, 2015

The Little Red Hen & Economics

One of my favorite units to teach is fables.  My Common Core Unit I use for this is Life Lessons.  I love teaching kids to read and learn from characters' mistakes!  Plus, let's face it: fables are just some of the best stories to read...that's why they've been around so long!

I especially love when fables or other stories make it easy to weave in some economics into first grade because that means I can "kill 2 birds with 1 stone."

Last year, I blogged about how I use The Little Red Hen during Thanksgiving season.  But I love this book...and I just didn't have time to blog about everything I do with this book...so I'm back again this year blogging about more of the economics I tie in with this fable.  {Read last year's blog for more of the Thanksgiving stuff!}


We spent all last week reading this book...with a new purpose each day!

Day 1:
We read The Little Red Hen with the purpose of deciding if it was a fable or not.  We had already discussed the elements of a fiction story and how even though this story was about animals, it was not a non-fiction animals book like we were used to from our previous animals unit.

{Grab these fiction anchor chart cards along with non-fiction anchor chart cards here.}

Then, we discussed and charted what a fable was and how it was a special genre of fiction...

After we read the story, we used our fables anchor chart to decide if it was a fable or not.

Day 2:
The next day, we reread the story with the purpose of deciding what the life lesson or moral of the story was.  Then, we added our moral to our group sign....{each of my table groups are named for a fable from this unit}

These covers and moral cut outs are included in the Life Lessons Unit.

Day 3:
On day 3, we reread the story and listened for goods and services the hen used to make her cake.  We charted them, and then they sorted in partners.  Then, we sorted and checked together on the anchor chart.

Day 4:
Day 4 was a repeat of day 3 except with resources instead of goods/services.

Here's some partner work....

Our big idea board is already filling up with anchor charts after only a week into this unit!

Day 5:
On the last day of the week, we reread the book and wrote about the characters, setting, beginning, middle and end and the life lesson of this fable.  We did this graphic organizer as a guided writing activity where they copied everything we wrote together...but by the end of the unit, they will be able to do this independently!  It's so fun to see the transformation!

Yes...this was a drawn out process for this book, but I've learned over the years that slower is better sometimes with fables.  My first year with this unit, I tried to cram in as many fables as possible and it just wasn't as effective as picking a few good ones and doing them well...this process will speed up to about 2 fables each week (or a new fable every 3 days) once we get better at the routine though!

Grab all of the materials for this fable HERE.


Or get the whole Life Lessons Unit with all 8 fables and SAVE!