November 29, 2015

Lighting Up for the Holiday Season {a FREE craft}

We are ready to light up the next 3 weeks of fun and learning!
There are so many fun activities planned BUT we still have a LOT of learning to do in first grade.

One of my favorite things to do at home and in my classroom is decorate!
These lights add the perfect touch of "Hello Holiday Season"!
You can call them 'Christmas Lights' or 'Holiday Lights' depending on what your district allows ; )
They will add the perfect touch of holiday cheer to your classroom!

This craft is so versatile and can be made to fit any subject matter.
Here is an example of what I have done with my classes in the past.

Other Examples Include:
singular/plural nouns
noun/adjective to describe
numeral/expanded form
numeral/draw tens and ones

Stop by my TpT store to grab this craft for FREE or click on the cover photo below!


November 14, 2015

Turkey Trouble

Turkey Trouble is a favorite in my room each year around Thanksgiving. 
It's funny and clever AND the kids love it!

 I use it to teach problem and solution.
Problem: Turkey is going to be eaten for Thanksgiving by Farmer Jake.
Solution: He dresses up as a pizza delivery "man" to disguise himself.
(This is after trying to disguise himself as many other farm animals, but failing miserably.)

My students complete the reader's response problem/solution page and illustrate each.
We put together the cutest turkey and definitely hang them in the hall proudly!

Here's a close up of the craft:

You can catch this in my TpT store now!

November 8, 2015

November in a Nutshell

Good grief...when did November get here? I feel like I was just getting excited about it being October!
 After reminiscing through all my November activities, I've decided to put them altogether in one post to help ease your planning needs! 

Below you will find all the fun things we do with turkeys, Pilgrims, and Thanksgiving galore--all grouped by subject. Here is my November in a nutshell!

I came across this template several years ago from The First Grade Parade.
We add feathers each year to our turkey depending upon which phonetic skill we are working with.
The past 2 years they have been 'blend turkeys' and 'digraph turkeys'.

I just love running across cute ideas from other teacher bloggers.
This one comes from Reagan.
We've been talking about verbs so this activity fit perfect into our week.
We read Run Turkey Run and recorded turkey verbs.
Student then chose a verb and created a sentence to mirror that of the title.
"Fly Turkey Fly"
"Snap Turkey Snap"

We always review our knowledge of fact families by making fact family turkeys.
Some years I give my kids the 3 numbers to work with and others I let them generate their own.
It depends on my group from year to year.
I have them write the 3 numbers on the turkey head and the feathers are the facts.

This precious idea comes from Around the Kampfire.
What kid doesn't love THE Pigeon!?!?
Students have to try to persuade others why they should eat hot dogs instead of turkey for Thanksgiving! 

Alliterations are SO much fun! 
What we do is brainstorm words that start with the letter 'T' and record them on our 'turkey words' chart.
Then I have students make their turkey and name him/her.
They pick 4 words from our chart and write an alliteration sentence about their turkey!

Using my It's Thanksgiving Unit (see below), we study pilgrims.
We compare how they lived to how we live.
Students complete a rip art pilgrim and respond to the following:
"If I were a pilgrim boy/girl......"

Last but not least I'm sharing my It's Thanksgiving unit with you. It's packed full of Thanksgiving goodness.
It's a literacy and social studies unit that can be accompanied by any fiction or non-fiction books.
It includes:
-Turkey can/have/are organizer
-Children then and now venn diagram
-Describing Pilgrims bubble map
-Describing Native Americans bubble map
-If You Give A Pilgrim A Pumpkin Pie... writing activity
-Making words with 'Pilgrims'
-Making words with 'Turkeys'
-Thanksgiving ABC order
-Making singular nouns plural with Thanksgiving words

**Grab it on sale for the next 2 days**

Hoping my nutshell of a post gave you some ideas for this month!

November 5, 2015

Verbs in the Fall

The month of November is here an we've officially made it 50 days in first grade!
And the closer we get to the holiday season, the antsier we get in the classroom.
So it was time to break out and teach verbs. 

I came across the cutest lesson to supplement my teaching on verbs. 
It's from who else but Cara

We read the book When the Leaf Blew In
Each page has an animal doing some sort of action.
I read it once and had them listen for the action words.

We went back and read it a second time and this time recorded our verbs on the leaf chart.

You can find her original post on it {here}.

Now that tomorrow is's time to act out those action verbs with a game of verb charades!

October 25, 2015

Pumpkin Week is in the Books!

Pumpkin week...always one of my favorite weeks of the year to plan!
I always forget how awesome things turn out when you integrate. 

 We recently learned about non-fiction text and schema.
So we started off the week talking about what kind of pumpkin schema we had.
Before I taught anything about pumpkins, we recorded our schema on pumpkin seeds & put it on our chart.

The next day, we read a non-fiction book about pumpkins. We learned lots of new information and also recorded it on a pumpkin seed. 
{Anchor chart inspiration from The First Grade Parade}

Our poem this week was I'm a Little Pumpkin. Perfect for the occasion!
It goes to the tune of I'm a Little Teapot.

We also read about the life cycle of a pumpkin and put the cycle in order using these cards from The First Grade Parade.  You can also watch this song...beware your kids will LOVE it!

Throughout the week the kiddos brought in mini pumpkins for a grammar activity.

The room began to look like a pumpkin patch!

We used our senses to describe our class pumpkin.
Each student wrote their descriptive words on their mini pumpkin.
What!? We get to write on our pumpkin!?!?

Total hit! Talk about could hear a pumpkin drop!

We read the cutest book, The Littlest Pumpkin. It's a great book for making connections so we did just that.

We had a quick art activity too. Funny face pumpkins turned out adorable! 

Then it was time for our GREAT pumpkin investigation.
We headed down to the Science Lab.
First we labeled the parts of a pumpkin. 

Next up, will it sink or float.
Out of 42 kids...about 5 thought it would float!

Boy were they surprised!
We recorded our data on our Pumpkin Investigation log.

We cut into the pumpkin so that we could count the seeds.
I put butcher paper down over their desks and gave each student a handfull.
They had to put them into groups of 10 for us to count.

Their predictions were anywhere from 20 to 101. But we actually had....408!!! They were shocked!

We also measured how tall our pumpkin was with cubes.

Everything that we did during the investigation we recorded as a class on this chart:
It's very similar to their personal ones that we glued in their science journals. 

At the end of the day I love hearing..."Mrs. Griffith, today was the best day ever!"
Totally makes all the hard work and planning I put into a moment like this worth it.

October 14, 2015

5 Wardrobe Staples Every Teacher Should Own

This post isn't going to offer you any great lessons.
But I do hope that you find some of my fashion tips useful!

By NO means am I a fashionista of any sort.
I like to look cute.
I like everything to coordinate.
But most importantly, I like to be comfy.

So here I am sharing some of those cute, coordinating and comfy duds with you!
All the items I've picked are not only what I mentioned above, but they are very versatile and can pair with pretty much every item in my closet. Who doesn't love that!?

Below are the links where you can find each of these staple wardrobe pieces:

What about you? Is there anything you love or adore that you think I should add to my list...or closet?

October 11, 2015

Focusing on Non-Fiction

It seems as though this year lends itself for the PERFECT time to teach Non-Fiction!
 To this point in the year we have read plenty of fiction books. 
So when introducing a new "genre" of books, the kiddos are enthralled!

To kick off our unit we watch a Brainpop on fiction vs. nonfiction.
We create these anchor charts together. 

And then we take a look at a few books from our class library and sort them to go with our charts.

Each day over the past week we learned one or two new features that we see in non-fiction books.
We created this chart with each feature, an example and its purpose.

It will hang in our room all year long.

I was thinking of a way to have my kiddos kind of show me what they learned when I came across the perfect idea from Smitten with First! It's like my friend just read my mind and gave me just what I needed.

So using her idea, I wrote the name of each feature on a different color paper and hung them around the room while the students hunted through their Kids Time Magazine to hunt for the features.

Once they found a feature, they wrote that page number on a sticky note and went to place it on the paper.

It was a great way to get my little firsties working while getting up and moving at the same time!

This is definitely an activity I will be incorporating into our non-fiction study every year.

Check back shortly for more ideas in our non-fiction study!