Monday, April 30, 2012

Writing Center

Hi Friends!
Do you have a writing center in your classroom? 
I do and it's been a class favorite every year.
I would have to say that the girls like it a little more than the boys.
There's lots to do at the writing center, so I made an "I Can..." sign to remind my
kids what they can do.  I also have lots of supplies available like crayons,
markers, pencils, notepads, envelopes, blank books, word banks,
picture dictionaries, a stapler, tape and lots & lots of paper.
 There's also a picture of each student with his/her name posted
as a reference.  My picture is also posted with my name. 
I have a large, heavy duty mailbox for the kids to put their mail into
and a separate mailbox for me.  I love getting mail from my kids. 
I try really hard to reply to each and every letter.
The mail is delivered at the end of the day by the mail carrier who
wears a homemade mail bag and postal hat that my mother
made for my class many years ago.  The mail carrier takes his/her job very seriously.
If a students writes a book, I try to find time during the day to have him/her share it.
This encourages other kids to write stories.  I could go on and on about the wonderful
writing opportunities at the writing center, but I'm sure many of you already know.
Here are some pictures from my writing center.
Two kids can sit on each side of this table.

I Can...

 Kids love to use envelopes!

I have a cute Winnie the Pooh stamp for the envelopes.

Blank books with a "Written & Illustrated by" stamp.

Lots of scratch paper for notes.

 Small notepads from the Dollar Store.

 Word Banks

I love this heavy duty mailbox.

Mail for Mrs. Anderson:)

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Sunday, April 29, 2012

Blurt Alert!

Hi Friends!
It's a cold, rainy day here in Moline, Illinois.  It's a perfect day to stay inside and read blogs.
I have a fire going in my woodburning stove and my three dogs curled up
around me.  They don't like it much when I'm on the computer. 
So, this post will be short.
I was on Pinterest recently and saw a short video about a blurt alert light.
The idea was to put a small Sylvania Dot-It light in your classroom
that can be turned on as a blurt alert to remind your kids to raise their hands when
they have something to say rather than blurting it out. 
I wasn't able to find the exact type of light the woman in the video
shared, but I did find two different kinds that worked for me.
I put one light on my easel where my class gathers several times a day.
I put the other one on my table where I meet with small groups.
I wasn't sure how this would work, but I thought I would give it a try.
After using it for a week,  I can tell you that my first graders love it!
  They always remind me to turn the Blurt Alert on
before we begin our lessons.  It really does work!
Here's a couple of pictures of the Blurt Alert lights in my classroom.


Friday, April 27, 2012

Pickles Anyone?

Hi Friends!
I recently purchased a great unit on TPT called Picklicious by Randi.  It has lots
of fun activites for reading, writing, and math.  I used it to introduce cinquains as part of my
poetry unit.  Of course, we had to eat pickles before we could write about them.
 I was surprised to find out that most of my kids like pickles. 
We had so much fun with this unit.  I highly recommend it. 
Randi shared a couple of books that work well with this unit, so I purchased those
on Amazon.  While looking for these books, I spotted a Pass the Pickle
musical game and picked that up, too.  It was a bit hit with my class.
I took a few pictures to share with you.


Pass the Pickle!

Wednesday, April 25, 2012

Mother's Day Gift

Hi Friends!
Mother's Day is just around the corner.  The kindergarten and first grade teachers at my
school have a special Mother's Day Celebration every year. 
We invite everyone's mom or special someone to come to this wonderful gathering
where their kids sing, dance, and recite poems.  After the performances are over,
the kids give their moms a fresh flower and a gift. 
Then we all have cookies and juice together.
It's always a bit hit every year.
Here's a look at the gift my first graders are giving to their mothers.

The materials I used for this are listed below.
1.  black frame from the Dollar Store
2.  computer paper with hearts from the Dollar Store
3.  student handprint: blank ink pad & purple construction paper
4.  student picture with pink background paper
5.  1"x1" green squares with letter stamps for name
6.  Love You stamp on pink heart
7.  Date written on orange heart

What do you do for Mother's Day at school?

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Monday, April 23, 2012

Earth Day

Hi Friends!
My first graders made these cute Earth Day posters after
we read and discussed a few of my favorite Earth Day books. 

We added a bandaid on the Earth to show that we are "taking care" of it.

The pictures above the writing were downloaded from

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Sunday, April 22, 2012

Writing Trait: Organization

Hi Friends!
Just had to share this writing activity that my good friend and coworker did with her class.
Her name is Miss Hutchins and she teaches kindergarten.  She is an AWESOME teacher!
We incorportate the 6 +1 Traits into our writing program.  This lesson was 
a "tasty" way to teach organization.

The kindergarteners had to follow the steps in order to make the pizza.

I want to be in Miss Hutchins' class!

Friday, April 20, 2012

Hailstones & Halibut Bones

Hi Friends!
My first grade class has been learning, reading & writing about poetry
for the past two weeks.  I shared one of my all time favorite
poetry books with them called Hailstones & Halibut Bones
by Mary O'Neil.  It has beautiful poems about colors.  My class just loved it!
After reading it, I asked my kids to think about their favorite color and write
a poem about it.  I thought they did a great job!  Here's the book and a few of their poems.

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Thursday, April 19, 2012

Bucket Filler Display

Hi Friends!
I'm out of wall space!!  What's a teacher to do? 
I decided to hang some things from my ceiling.

I hung our Bucket Filler buckets from a chain.

The chains I used are for hanging plants. 

The white clips to hold the buckets are from the Dollar Store.

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Wednesday, April 18, 2012

A Message from the President

Hi Friends!
Do your students know who the President is right now?  My students get
updated messages from President Obama every week.
Well, kind of...take a look at this picture of President Obama I
have hanging in my room.  There's a speech bubble for me to write
down the message from the President. 
He knows exactly what to say to my class every week.

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Tuesday, April 17, 2012

Team Anderson

Hi Friends!
My class is known as Team Anderson.  We work together as a team for some challenges, but for
others we work cooperatively in groups.   These groups are formed by the way students' desks are arranged in my classroom.  Currently, the desks are set up in quads.  At the beginning of the
 school year, each group works together to come up with a name for their group. 
 Everyone must agree on the name.  Once the names are selected, I make a sign for
each group using foamboard, letters and stickers.  I hang the signs
above each group.  I also use the signs to hold monkeys as rewards for
working well together as a group.  Once a group earns five monkeys,
they get to pick out of my prize box.  The kids really like working in groups.
( I've seen this monkey idea in several places including Pinterest and blogs. 
If it is your original idea, please let me know & I will give you credit.)
Here are some pictures of my current group names.

Do you use group names in your classroom?