Use the large road signs as gentle reminder posters for a wall.
Print double ones and hang them back-to-back with a piece of fish line and suspend from the ceiling.
Several “My students are out of this world” signs, hung from the ceiling, dangling down at various lengths in front of your back to school bulletin board, with your students’ first day photographs, would add interest.
Use the smaller ones for a bulletin board boarder, or make bookmarks, a magnet, or cut slits and make pencil toppers for your students.
Hang the “Danger” sign on your door, and suspend the “Quiet Zone Testing” one, on your doorknob when you are assessing.
Use the “Think” sign as a cover for a writing prompt for a “What are your thoughts today?” journal.
Whatever you decide to use the signs for, I hope you find them helpful.
Click on the link to view/download Student Road Signs
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“ I touch the future; I teach.” Ms. McAuliffe
Grammar Can Be FUN When You Make It A GAME!
Since the Goin On A Bear Hunt Punctuation and Capitalization activities were such a huge hit, as promised, I made cat, dinosaur, frog and pig, cards too.
They follow the same format. The beauty of this is, that it empowers students and builds their self-esteem.
Repetition of some activities is important, especially with young children, because they can’t read directions.
Once the teacher has read, explained and modeled an activity and students have done it, they are good to go the next time around.
This independence makes them feel great and the teacher is freed up to work one-on-one with struggling students or ESL children.
A definite win-win all around, and the big reason I set up my tabletop lessons and easy readers the way I do.
By sprinkling the cards around the room and having children search for them, you help get the wiggles out, add some variety into your students’ grammar routine, and make correcting sentences a lot more fun, than simply handing out a worksheet. + it only takes a few more minutes and your students are now excited and ready to “get down to business!”
Because of this, these cards and recording sheets make great Daily 5 or writing center activities and help students nail the Common Core State Standard: RF.1.1
Each set also includes a certificate of praise.
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Do you have a back to school idea or teaching grammar tip you could share with us?
Thanks in advance for taking the time to do that.
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“It’s possible we could teach kids anything. I get them to live the concepts. My job is to push them. I want 30 Rocky Balboas, 30 students who are thirsting to learn.” -Joseph Vicari
A Fun Way To Get To Know Your Students
Stamp of Approval Stamps make a great icebreaker for the first week of school and a terrific way to get to know your students + they are an instant back to school bulletin board showcasing your new students!
Send a copy in your Welcome to School - Summer Letter, or tuck them in your Open House packet, so that they can be completed ahead of time, and then shared on the first day of school.
You can also show your example on the first day, so that your students can learn a little bit about you, and then send the stamps home as an assignment for that first day.
How to fill in a stamp:
Students can write, type (using a fun(ky) font), or cut out letters (like a ransom note), or use stickers to make their name.
This goes on the wavy line portion of the cancelled stamp, in the top left-hand corner.
The PLACE where they were born, goes around the top of the circle.
The YEAR they were born, goes on the bottom-middle of the circle.
The MONTH and DAY they were born, goes in the center of the circle.
Months should be abbreviated, unless they are 4 or less letters long.
Places and dates appear on real cancelled stamps; making it personal, makes this assignment more relevant and fun!
Students draw a self-portrait of themselves. (Just a headshot) This needs to be colored. Hair and eye color etc. need to be appropriate, so students can possibly guess whose picture belongs to whom, if the teacher wants to add that activity before the “real” student comes up to share.
Students need to think of their favorite things to do, their hobbies, or sports or “stuff” they are involved in, or possibly what they want to be when they grow up. Basically, anything that represents them or will help us get to know them.
After they have thought up their “list” they need to find pictures, clip art, or stickers of those things and glue them around their self-portrait.
Students write or cut out 3-5 words that describe them. These should be scattered around on their stamp.
Challenge older students to include a word that begins with the same letter as their name. i.e. I chose driven (Diane) for mine.
Students share their stamp with their classmates. I always had my students clap for each person when they were through.
Hang them in the hallway or on a b. board, along with the “Stamp of approval star student” poster.
To add some 3D effects, suspend some glittery stars of various sizes, from fish line, just above the board, at various lengths.
Click on the link to view/download Stamp of Approval Stamp activity
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“Teaching is a lighting of sparks and setting minds aflame;
it’s a creative mind that knows what kind of gasoline to throw on to get it glowing and burning even brighter the next day and the next…” -Diane Henderson
A Rainbow Of Organization!
I LOVE being organized. I guess it’s the neat freak in me.
One of the things that was always a huge mess and really bugging me was my construction paper.
I’d stack it on the shelf and of course the color I wanted was on the bottom, which caused a tug of war to get it out, and piles often tipped over.
Children could not access it, doing something with scraps was a nightmare, and corners and edges were getting dog-eared and torn.
I had to do something! My organizing system actually came about because I had to haul all of it back and forth to the place with a huge collection of die cuts.
Every summer I spent 2 entire days cutting out all the adorable little pieces of whatever, that I needed through out the year, for various projects.
I put the construction paper in 2 plastic files, so I could easily tote them and see at a glance what colors I had.
The first file had the colors of the rainbow. The second, pink, brown, white, buff, black, gray, and multi-speckled.
I separate the colors with green hanging file folders.
I include the various shades as well, and go from darkest to lightest (i.e. see the shades of blue.)
The hanging files are also perfect for putting large scraps of that same color in.
If I get too many scraps, I put the scraps in a separate crate and fold over a piece of that colored paper into a tab and tape it to the top of the file, so that I know what color is inside the files.
I do the same thing for my colored and fancy printed copy paper.
These files come with lids so you can stack them to save on storage space.
The plastic protects the paper, so no more ripped and dog-eared corners. The paper doesn't get dusty nor faded either, and I can see at a glance what colors I need more of.
Another big + is they are portable! When I need construction paper for my students, I simply take out a file and put it where the students can access it.
I explain to them how hard I’ve worked to make this neat and to please help me keep it that way.
We have “Scrap Patrol” to help pick up and put away scraps to teach conservation and responsibility.
I feel teaching life skills and showing students how to be neat and organized is valuable and extremely important.
Children are eager to please, and I praise their efforts. As long as you make clean up fun and give students an easy system they can work with, you are good to go.
If you don't have these files, but have a lot of plastic crates, they would also work and store easily under a desk. Crates also have the little ledges needed to hang a file folder, and can be stacked.
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“To teach is to be full of HOPE!” –Larry Cuban
Picture Clues Help Students Read
How Do You Go To School? Is a fun easy reader for your students to do the first week of school.
It’s a great way to reinforce the end of the day routine and who should line up where, because of how they will get home.
Graphing how everyone does that, will help children get to know the different means of transportation available, plus get to know their new friends better.
Children read the simple sentences using picture clues, trace and write the mode of transportation word, and then cut and glue the matching numbered picture to the page.
When everyone has completed their booklet, read it together as a whole group activity to reinforce concepts of print.
This will also enable students to share it with their families at home.
Click on the link to view/download the How Do You Go To School? easy reader.
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“Spoon feeding in the long run teaches us nothing but the shape of the spoon.” -E.M. Forster
Teaching Beginning Word Capitalization and Ending Punctuation Common Core Standards, By Hunting For Sentences And Fixing Them!
I’ve been trying to think of some fun activities to go with Common Core State Standards and thought sprinkling sentence cards around the room for students to find would be something different.
My Y5’s LOVED Goin' on a bear hunt during our hibernation studies, so I dreamed up sentences that would go with the adorable clip art bears of Laura Strickland.
I made up 12 bear sentence cards, that are missing a capital letter and end punctuation, so you can work on the Common Core State Standard: RF.1.1
Here students need to demonstrate an understanding of the organization and basic features of print, by recognizing the distinguishing features of a sentence. i.e. first word capitalization, and ending punctuation.
Here’s how to Go On A Bear Hunt:
Print and Laminate the cards.
Decide which 10 you want to use for the bear hunt and number them with a dry erase marker.
If you use a permanent marker, a Mr. Clean Eraser will wipe off the numbers.
Put a magnet on the back, so students can put them on your white board, or use a pocket chart.
The one pictured I just bought at Target. They were in their Dollar Deal section. They also had red and green.
This pocket chart only has 8 pockets so you’ll need 2, or you can put a magnet strip on the pocket chart and a magnet on card number 1 and card number 10. Students place the cards in the pockets and put card #1 above the chart and card #10 under the chart.
Sprinkle the cards around the room. Students find them and put them on the white board or in your pocket chart in 1-10 order so that they can rewrite the sentences on their recording sheet,.
When students write their sentences they put a beginning capital letter, and the appropriate end punctuation on their sentences, circling both for easy identification.
Before students take their seats and work on their own papers, read the cards as a whole group, adding inflection so that students can determine where an exclamation mark goes,
You may want to give students an FYI that the Oh no! The bear sees me. and Help! I see a bear. cards are made up of two sentences.
Have students gather in front of the board and have them take turns filling in the correct answers with a red dry erase marker.
A nice "get the wiggles out" activity to do afterwards, is to play "Goin On A Bear Hunt." and have students go through the motions.
One of my favorite versions of this is from Greg and Steve's Kid's In Action CD. It's on YouTube. Click on the link to have a listen. My Y5's begged to do this all the time.
Later, you can use different sentences and use the recording sheets as an assessment.
This packet also includes a certificate of praise.
Click on the link to view/download Goin On A Bear Hunt Sentence Punctuation Packet
If you like this way of working on capitalization and punctuation, be sure to watch for my up coming Piggy Punctuation, Kitty Capitalization, Hop To It Frog Capitalization and Punctuation, and I’m Dino-mite At Doing Capitalization and Punctuation.
They all follow the same format as Goin’ On A Bear Hunt and will be completed this week. To find them click on the reading apple on my home page and then click on capitalization or punctuation in the list under grammar.
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“Everyone who remembers his own educational experience, remembers the teacher, not methods and techniques.” -Sidney Hook
Common Core State Standard Letter Perfect Activity Poster
Here is a simple, easy, and relatively quick activity that you can plug in, to nail quite a few Common Core State Standards with one fell swoop!
Laminate this poster and use it during your calendar or reading block time.
Take a letter each day and fill in the appropriate boxes.
Using a dry erase marker demonstrate to your students how you write an uppercase and lowercase letter.
Students can practice on a dry erase board, or you can make a copy of the Letter Perfect sheets for them.
You can keep these as individual sheets or run off a set of 26 and collate them into an alphabet booklet for each child that they will take out and use during Daily 5 for the writing portion or word work.
If you don’t do Daily 5 this can be an independent writing center, or as in the example above, you can do these as whole group skill sheets.
Have students listen to the sound the letter makes as you say it.
Have students repeat the sound.
Ask them if they can think of any words that make that sound.
By demonstrating basic knowledge of letter-sound correspondence by producing the primary or most frequent sound for each consonant, they are working on Common Core State Standard: RF:K.3a
If the letter is a vowel, have students tell you what other letters are vowels.
I have my students sing the vowel song to the tune of B-I-N-G-O
There was a class who learned their vowels
And this is what they sang Oh
They were so very smart! Oh!
Differentiate between long and short vowels and fill in the appropriate boxes on the chart with words that they can think of.
By associating the long and short sounds with the common spellings for these 5 major vowel sounds, students are working on Common Core State Standard: RF: K. 3b.
By distinguishing long from short vowel sounds in any spoken single syllable words they come up with, they are working on Common Core State Standard: RF.1. 2a.
Have them become ABCDe-tectives and look around the room for words on their Word Wall or Read The Room signs that begin with that letter and then as they say them aloud, ask them to what box/category they should put the word in.
If the letter is a consonant decide if it is a hard or soft consonant and do the same thing as above.
Ask the children if there are any students who have a first or last name that begins with the letter of the day and have them come up and write it on the chart.
Finally, choose a quiet child to find and circle the letter of the day in the alphabet.
You can end by giving someone a pointer (I turned out the lights and used a laser light) to point to each letter of the alphabet on our border and we sang the ABC song.
By consistently reviewing all of the letters, you are helping students to recognize and name all of the upper and lowercase letters of the alphabet which is Common Core State Standard: RF:K.1d and L.1.1a
If you are also going to do these as a skill sheet for your students, they can record at the same time as you do, or after the group modeling, can return to their seats and fill in their own paper.
In order to cover the Common Core State Standard RF: K. 1b make sure that you:
Explain to children each day that “Spoken words are represented in written language by specific sequences of letters.”
As you can see, quite a few standards are covered in one simple and fun poster activity, which can also double as a skill sheet for your students!
Click on the link to view/download Common Core State Standard Letter Activity Poster
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“The Constitution only gives people the right to pursue happiness. You have to catch it yourself.” –Benjamin Franklin
Double Your Pleasure-Double Your Fun, With These Doubler Math Activities
Looking for something to make learning “doubles” fun?
I’ve got several ideas for you!
Hang up the Doubles Poster and use it as an anchor chart.
Remember to take it down, or cover it, when you are testing.
Make extra copies for your students to use.
For an entertaining “craftivity” print off extra apple blackboard answer cards.
Put them in a container. Have each student pick a number out of the basket or whatever.
That is the number that they will have to make a collection/collage or group of sets of things of.
i.e. If they choose the number 2 they will find things that come in pairs like shoes, eyes, ears, dice, etc.
They can use numbers, pictures cut from magazines and catalogs, clip art, stickers, real drawings, photographs etc.
Students also need to put the equation for their number. i.e 1 + 1 = 2
After students have shared their “math-erpiece”, hang them up on a hallway wall with the caption:
Our Math-erpieces! “We are doubling our pleasure with numbers as we learn about doubles.
Afterwards, follow this activity up with My Doubles Addition Booklet.
This is an activity that will help with the addition portion of the Common Core State Math Standard for first grade: 1.OA.8 (Determining the unknown whole number in an addition equation relating three whole numbers. i.e. 2 + 2 = ).
After completing their math-erpiece and booklet ask students: "Did you think of the same items that were in the booklet?"
Children trace the numbers and solve the equations.
I wrote the equations horizontally as well as vertically, because some standardized tests do both, so students should learn both, so they are not unfamiliar with either version and thrown for a loop.
I like to include writing and reading along with math, so students trace the number word, and then write it.
I’ve also included some simple sentences that discuss what groups of things are found in that number.
The picture clues will help students with the words.
I believe that if a child can latch onto a picture, to go along with a numerical equation and answer, it will often help students whose light bulbs don’t turn on from mere rote memorization.
By associating groups of things, that students are familiar with, that are often grouped by that specific number, you help children bring their real world into the classroom and make their studies more relevant.
Challenge them to try and think of other things that are often grouped with “that many” in it.
Because I discuss Lifesavers and Smarties for the number 14, you may want to have several packs, so that your students can actually count and see if this is true.
Reward their efforts by giving each one a piece.
This is also a great time to review colors. Whenever I did colors with my Y5’s we also said the words in Spanish and Sign Language.
For the last page, as a silly activity, have everyone take off their shoes and socks and count up to 20 using their fingers and toes!
Students can make their own Itty Bitty booklet out of the blackboard equation and answer cards.
Make extra sets and laminate them. Play “I Have; Who Has?” Someone will have 1 + 1 and ask who has the answer 2 card?
Play Memory Match Concentration. Run off the answer cards on ivory and the equation cards on white. Students play with a partner. The person with the most pairs when the timer rings is the winner.
Toss the equation cards in a basket. Students draw a card out and give the answer. If they can’t, they are out of the game.
There’s a praise certificate as well as mini “I know my doubles” cards, to pass out when children have achieved this standard.
Click on the link to view/download the Doubles Packet.
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“Out of clutter, find simplicity. From discord, find harmony. In the middle of difficulty lies opportunity.” – Albert Einstein
Nailing Common Core State Standards With Fun Vocabulary Building Word Books!
Dictionaries are a great way to practice the skill of alphabetizing.
They help students become aware of new words, and by writing them down, defining and categorizing them, students are building their vocabularies.
At the end of the year students have a great keepsake and are truly amazed at all the words they have learned and can now read, spell and use!
Choose one dictionary for your students to work on, or pick several; there are 8 to choose from, including several generic ones.
The cute cover designs are the artwork of Laura Strickland and Phil Martin.
Use the common ABC page template for all of the dictionaries.
Students write their name on the cover and then jot down the word on the appropriate letter page, and define it.
It would also be a good idea to have students trace the upper and lowercase letters for extra alphabet practice.
Run off more pages if students find more words that begin with a certain letter, such as T, S, M etc.
Run off and collate these booklets at the beginning of the year.
Students can keep them in a folder, file, portfolio or their cubby for easy access.
So that my students are empowered and can find their booklets quickly, each child has a number at the beginning of the year.
This is far easier than alphabetizing things. I quickly collect booklets etc. and put them in numerical order.
The dictionaries make a perfect addition to your “Word Work” for Daily 5.
If you don’t do Daily 5 they are terrific as independent work for your writing center.
If you do a sight word or the Dolch word dictionary you will be helping to fulfill the Common Core State Standard: RF:K.3c
I've also included a tip sheet of how to guide 1st graders so that you can also incorporate Common Core State Reading Standards: L.1.4a, L.1.5b, L.1.5c
Click on the link to view/download Student-Made Dictionaries.
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"Anyone can be cool, but awesome takes practice!" - Unknown
The Very Hungry Student is a fun way for students to write down what they have learned each month.
Because it records their accomplishments, it’s a terrific way to build self-esteem.
Because students write in it each month, you will see improvement in their handwriting, as well as their writing abilities, so the booklet is a good addition to a portfolio, if you have them, or tuck into a student folder, to take out and share with parents during conferences.
Practice reading the simple rhyming sentences, after students complete their page, so that at the end of the year, children are able to read their booklet when they take it home to share with their families!
I have a cute caterpillar with a face for one cover, but you can make this even more special, by having students glue their photo over his face for a “student caterpillar” instead.
Because this is a quick and easy writing assignment, that students can do independently, it makes a nice Daily 5 activity too.
If you don't do Daily 5, keep the booklets for your writing center.
They make a great writing prompt for the first day of school, as there is a page specifically for that.
Because there is a page for each month, you could start out September and each month, with The Very Hungry Student's page as your writing prompt for the month.
For an activity that helps students with verbal acuity, gather children in a circle and have them share that day’s page by reading it to their classmates.
At the end of the year, you can discuss what everyone’s favorite thing was that they learned, or their favorite month of activities. If they overlap, graph them.
A little bit of science is covered, as the very hungry caterpillar is "bursting with knowledge" and turns into a butterfly, flying into the next grade.
In June, (s)he is once again a fat little caterpillar, promising to slim down over the summer, so they are ready to fatten up and gobble down more knowledge, in their new grade!
Click on the link to view/download The Very Hungry Student booklet.
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"Stop trying to fit in, when you were born to stand out!" - Dr. Seuss