Showing posts with label Valentine's Day. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Valentine's Day. Show all posts

Today was Valentine's party day and, well, there was just 50 shades of crazy up in my room today...and basically just this week! :)

I'm exhausted and over it and ready for spring....and...thank God for a week off next week for February Break!  Yes, the good Lord knew I would need that break! *wink*

Here's a 5 for Friday look at some of our February happenings from the last two weeks!

1.  "Show What You Know"
Our team has decided to start giving a short "show what you know" kind of math quiz each Friday to see how our kids are getting our math skill focus for the week.

And I REALLY love that we are doing this.  I think this has been a big missing piece for me the last few years in my CGI journey and I am glad to bring back a few more assessments with evidence to show parents how their kids are doing.  With CGI, it can be difficult to help parents know how to help their kids, but I've found that sending home these skill checks is great feedback for parents and gives them something a little more tangible to work on at home in math!

I also am able to keep a running spreadsheet on who isn't getting which skill so I can pull intervention groups during our Counting Collections or Fact Fluency times {read more about RTI math ideas HERE}.

I have some of these "show what you knows" already in my store and will be adding all of them to my math assessments packet over my February break next week!

2. Presidents' Day Craft
One of my favorite crafts of the year happens in February.  I just love looking at Abe and George hanging out in our hallway each year!

This fun craft plus a bunch more presidents' activities you can read about here are in my Presidents' Day Packet.

3. Tic-Tac-Toe Valentines
Cooper just loved making these for his friends and family!  And he even liked playing tic-tac-toe with me!  He got to sign his name to each one, but his favorite part was tearing the tape and putting the washi tape on!

4. Piece of Cake Valentines
These were a HUGE hit today with my firsties.  They loved the cake and I think they turned out so fun.  And they were super cheap and easy too!  Also, snack bags are just the absolute best! #teacherobsessions

Working on all of our Valentines this year, reminded me just how much I love washi tape.  Like ***LOVE*** it.  I really don't know what I did before washi tape.

BUT the one downfall with washi tape and kids (as I discovered in December when I made Grinch-Doh), is it's not all that sticky.  And once you put a bunch in a bag altogether, they just start coming off!

So, this time around, I stapled first and then covered up the staple with the washi tape.  SUCCESS!  I'm sure I'm not the first one to discover this, but when this idea came to me this week it was like angelic choruses playing in my head!  It doesn't take much to make this teacher happy! :)

5. Mommy's King of Hearts
I'd be breaking tradition if I let February get by without sharing some more pics from my awesome father-in-law photographer of my little valentine.

So glad I stumbled upon this adorable shirt from because it made taking pics super simple...and thank goodness for that!  My February was just too crazy to make things difficult with pictures!

And because I'm biased and it's just too hard to pick a favorite, here are a few lot of pictures of the king of our hearts!

I've decided to start a blog series on my favorites for each month: favorite books, favorite activities, just anything I love about that month for teaching!  Here's a look at February Fav's!

February Must Reads:

Here are the links for purchasing these awesome books!
>>Guess How Much I Love You
This is a favorite all year long at my house with my preschooler, but we definitely read it a few extra times around Valentine's Day!

>>Pete the Cat's Groovy Guide to Love
Anything Pete the Cat is a winner in the classroom, so of course my firsties love this one too!

>>Clifford First Valentine's Day
My 3 year old is AHHHHbsessed with Clifford right now.  Last weekend, we read 5 Clifford stories in a row including the Christmas one and the Valentine's Day one! ;)  And Clifford is a winner with elementary kiddos too!

>>Happy Valentine's Day, Mouse
I love reading this story before making Valentine's with kids because it's so good for brainstorming who to give Valentine's to and what kind of Valentine each person might appreciate!

>>The Day it Rained Hearts
When I teach our weather unit around Valentine's Day, this book is the perfect tie in.  I even have some creative writing prompts and crafts with this story in my weather unit.

>>I Love You, Snugglesaurus
My Cooper is in LOVE with this book.  It's seriously one of his fav's.  And it's so simple that he could "read" it on his own when he was 2 and a half.  It's a great bedtime story all year long, but especially in February!  And I love displaying it in his play room in February too!

>>Groundhog Day
This is a must read for Groundhog Day.  Gail Gibbons is one of my very favorite authors for non-fiction because she gives so much information that's ENGAGING to young kids.  Find activities and crafts to go with Groundhog Day here.

>>Martin's Big Words
Yes, MLK day is in January, but black history month is in February.  Either way, this is a must have book for your classroom.  The firsties really get this book.  I used this in my MLK packet which is also part of my American Contributors unit.

>>A Weed is a Flower: The Life of George Washington Carver
You can read about all of the people in black history I cover in first grade in another blog, but George Washington Carver is always a crowd pleaser, because...let's face it: who doesn't love peanut butter?? :)

>>A Picture Book of George Washington
>>Abraham Lincoln
There are SO many books about these 2 awesome presidents that it's sometimes hard to choose, but I just love the picture book series during our American Contributors unit (they cover many other great inventors and contributors!).  And I came across this book on Abraham Lincoln a couple of years ago and it is HANDS DOWN my favorite.  So much information and lots of fun facts and trivia for the kiddos.  The love this one!

...and, of course, my poetry packet has plenty of February poems for students to read in shared reading, practice independently, or order poem lines in a literacy station...

February Activities:
Here are a few of my favorite mini-units for February...

I loved teaching this Sunday School unit to my preschool babies last year {Read more HERE}!  And I even steal a few of these crafts and lessons for my firsties from time to time!

And I love this mini-packet for President's Day!  We are now in the middle of our American Contributors unit and will be starting our research on George and Abe next week!  See more of this packet in action on another blog post!

What are your favorites for February?

I've had a bit of writer's block the last week or so.  So here's a hodge podge of #allthethings in the world of first grade lately!

Hurt Hearts

Usually, I do this lesson at the beginning of the year, but for some reason I didn't.  And now, 2 weeks after Valentine's Day, this lesson was necessary.  My firsties have gotten a bad case of the meanies!  This truly is one of the sweetest classes I've ever had and they really love each other dearly.  But I think they last few weeks we've graduated to a brother/sister relationship between my firsties.  Ya know, cat fighting, name calling, I love you, I hate you kinda stuff???

We sat in our class meeting circle on the carpet and read Chrysanthemum.  I had made a beautiful clean red heart....and forgot to take a picture....because this was not a preplanned activity.  This was a "Okay, everybody stop what you're doing and come to the carpet right now" kinda lesson.  You know the kind.

Every time one of Chrysanthemum's classmates laughed or said mean things to Chrysanthemum we crushed her heart.  The heart got passed around in our circle so everyone had a chance.  There is actually not enough for all 25 of my firsties to squish the heart.  So when we finished the book, we talked about other things friends or siblings have said that crush our hearts.  Therapy session 101!

At the end, our heart looked like this...

Usually, when this is a preplanned activity, I use butcher paper to make a large heart and we each sign bandaids promising to be caring and to help repair our friends' hearts when they are hurt.  But I didn't have room on my impromptu construction paper heart!  However, I use this same lesson with my preschool Sunday Schoolers at church and this is what their response page looks like after the lesson.

You can find this lesson and other love & Valentine's lessons in my Love One Another packet.  Perfect all year long!

Math Games

I've super pumped about my newest pack because it is WAAAAAAAY overdue!  I've been using these tried and true number sense games for the last 9 years, and it was about time I updated the Comic Sans versions I had from my first year...*wince!*

Here's the Game of Double Compare from this packet from a few weeks still the less exciting version of handouts... It's basically double war.  Each partner draws 2 cards, adds the numbers and then they compare the sums.  The partner with the greatest sum, keeps the card.

And for my low babies, they just played Compare with me in a small group while the others played Double Compare with partners.  We used cubes to build the numbers to make it easier to compare!  The packet has cards with ten frames and without for differentiation as well!

9 games, 20 total differentiated version.  Posters, I can cards, instruction posters, playing cards, and student recording sheets!  The only thing it doesn't have ready for you are dice!  Print and play.  It's that simple!

Seasons Writing

After a short break to research and write about presidents for President's Day, we are back to trucking along in our Weather Unit!  This week we started researching seasons.  We researched Winter and Summer this week and 2 next week.

Unlike last year, I decided to chart the details for each season within categories.  And this actually was for a more important reason other than my OCD...

We've been doing informative writing for a while. And while most of my firsties could write an informative paragraph in their sleep, their detail sentences are quite random.

Like this...

So, we've been focusing on grouping related detail sentences together instead of randomly writing whatever about a large topic.  Having a "categorized" anchor chart REALLY helped.  We were able to easily see during share time who had facts from all over the place versus kids who wrote all of their details about weather together and animals together, and so on...

During share time, we highlighted and color coded the related details.  
And while my lower writers didn't quite get this independently, my on and higher kiddos did really, really well.  And now I can totally see how much easier the transition to writing multi-paragraphs will be for these kiddos!

Dr. Seuss

Next week is Dr. Seuss' birthday and I can't wait to celebrate with some old and new activities!

Follow me on Facebook to see all of the literacy activities we use from this mini-unit!  My firsties love becoming poets like Dr. Seuss!
A few weeks ago, Cooper started answering the question, "How much do you love me?" by saying, "50 pounds!"  We aren't really sure where he got that from, but I knew when he started saying it, that it just had to be his Valentine's card this year! {and it does not go unnoticed how blessed we are to have such a talented photographer as Cooper's Pops!}

So from our little lovable stinker to you...

Time to "visit..."

 Let's See...

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