Sunday, February 22, 2015

A Spark of Inspiration Blog Hop!

My *SPARK* peeps and I are so excited about this blog hop! We are in love with our new design, and we're pumped to share some of that love with you! :) We're giving away a ton of freebies, a $100 Visa gift card, AND a $50 gift card to TpT! 

Now you probably have just come over from Megan's blog.  Isn't she a sweetheart!  If you are visiting here first time, WELCOME!  I would love for you to hit the "follow" button and become a new friend here at my blog.
You can grab my freebie below!

Now your ready to hop on over to Abby at Third Grade Book Worm for your next freebie!
This HUGE giveaway is so exciting!  Two lucky winners will win $100 Visa Gift Card AND a $50 TPT Gift Card!
 Before you leave, click on the Rafflecopter link below for your chance to win!!
Good Luck!

Monday, February 16, 2015

Celebrating HEROES in the Classroom!

I must say, this has been a heartfelt week for me as a teacher.
Growing up, I had three role models that really inspired me.
Christa McAuliffe, 
the science teacher that was on the Challenger Mission in 1986.
 At 10 years old, I wanted to be an astronaut and live in outerspace!
At that exact moment when the Challenger exploded, I was glaring at the television, thinking, "Where did she go?"  Through all the smoke and clouds, and hours of video footage later, my tears were slowing  and my mom consoled me saying, "She's so brave to chase her dreams all the way into outerspace."  It was at that very moment I realized that Christa was exactly where she wanted to be that day. She was a wife, mother, and teacher.....But she needed something more in her life. She became an ASTRONAUT!  That is so amazing to me and I truly believe she was meant to be a HERO to us all.  Her legacy: teach passionately and dream the impossible dream!

In college, I fell in love with the poems written by the late
Emily Dickinson-
 Emily's poems touched my heart and inspired me to organize my thoughts & feelings and get them down on paper! Poetry was no longer reading words that rhymed but developing an appreciation for the ability to translate words into a heartbeat of complex emotions..... Emily's ability to take great risks to mirror the many layers of human complexity before audiences of strangers truly makes her a hero before her time.

I saved my favorite hero for last. 
At seven years old, her first grade experience ignited a flame that still burns bright today.....  Let me introduce you to Ruby Bridges.
Studying about famous Americans in History is something that we do all the time in our classrooms.  But.....Learning how one child impacted the nation in such an incredibly brave way...Well that to me is worth a week-long study on this national icon!
Ruby has been such an inspiration to me that I created this 
Close Reading Unit to use with my first graders last week.
Ruby Bridges: A Non-Fiction Close Reading Resource
I made a short video on how I incorporate pages from the unit into a "reading packet" for the week.  Take a look!

On our first day, we anchored our new learning about Ruby to our Focus Wall. 

On the second day of our Ruby studies, we practiced using our new vocabulary words in complete sentences with a partner.
We discovered the purpose of a Glossary this week!

The kids really enjoyed this timeline activity too!

These text-dependent questions trigger some serious thought....
I love the conversations that stem from great questions!
When it was time to write about Ruby, the kids knew exactly what are title should be......
First graders can use all their resources during writing time to help them develop their writing and spell new words.

Students are also encouraged to go back and use the yellow-highlighted vocabulary in their writing to "spice up" any drabby words.
Authentic Writing Sample 1:

Authentic Writing Sample 2:

I don't know about you, but I am feeling pretty inspired at the moment!!!
Thank you Ruby Bridges! 
From our hearts, to yours!
We all have a hand in making the world a better place....
One small step at a time!
For more details on this Ruby Bridges unit click here.
Have a fabulous week friends!

Friday, February 6, 2015

Polar Bears, MLK Jr., and Penguins: 5 for Friday Style!

Ladies and Gentlemen, 
Grab that Friday Beverage, 
Sit back,
and Relax!
I have a TON of catching up to do this month,
so let's get started.... Five for Friday style!
Did you know that I won this fabulous gem from Lyndsey?
Polar Bears {A Complete Nonfiction Resource!}
My other Firstie Friend, Deb, shared this with me too!
Polar Bears: Creatures of the Arctic
I put both units together for a POLARIFIC WEEK of learning in Room 102.
We are studying about the Arctic and all the amazing creatures that roam across the tundra!  We added a ton of new arctic feature books to our library and the kids just love reading about Arctic Hares, Arctic Foxes, Seals, Walruses, and the class favorite-
We couldn't wait to get our ART on and conjure up some fabulous Polar Bears to decorate the hallway!
Check out these little artists at work!

How stinkin' cute are these!!

Don't forget to grab this fabulous Science Experiment Freebie! Polar Bear Science Learning Center, Observation & Experime
Do you..."Doublet?"
How do we remember WHEN to use those double consonants?
With ALOT of practice!
Students added their new learning on "doublets" to their Phonics Notebooks!  These little notebooks keep track of all the Phonics learning we have been doing in first grade so far.
In Social Studies, we featured the honorable Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. and his life's work to end segregation in our country.
To better demonstrate "color" and "segregation"
I used this little apple experiment to help relay Dr. King's message  "Not by the color of our skin, but the content of our character!"
We did some CLOSE reading on Dr. King and dug deep to determine the significance of his life's work.
Did you know that MLK Jr. won the NOBEL Prize in 1964?
Ask your child to tell you more about it!
We partnered up for our follow-up read alouds and practiced new and exciting words we found in the text.  We always highlight those interesting words in yellow so they stand out!  That also helps us find the words again when we add them to our writing.

The next day, we completed this awesome inferring activity on 
Dr. King.  I was so excited to see how quickly the kids caught on to the inferences!  HOORAY!

After we arranged each inference in the correct order,
students paired up with their elbow-buddy and practiced reciting each one.
The kids were so engaged with our diversity conversations,
it was time to put pencils in those little hands and get them writing about it!
Can you tell why this teacher is so proud?
My happy little writers did this all by themselves! 
 Independent Writing at it's best!
Now you should know by now that NO unit is complete without a fabulous little art project to go with it!!  
The kids formed our assembly line,
Picked up all the necessary pieces, and began cutting away!!!

End result- A first grade hallway tribute to the late Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.

Nancy V. over at First Grade WOW has some of the greatest ideas EVER!  BIG HUGS to her for sharing her crafty diversity lessons with me! 

Click on any image below for some awesome source details!
Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Literacy Unit
Martin Luther King, Jr. Day Writing Center for Primary Writers

Martin Luther King Jr. {No Prep Practice}

Winter isn't complete without a funtastic little unit on Penguins!!!
We introduced a new CAFE critter this week.
 Beanie Baby Reading Strategy Posters for the Common Core C
Picture-it Penguin is a comprehension critter teaching us how to visualize, and make a picture in our minds of what we a reading.
Now this teacher is crazy-happy with building THEME units in the classroom so take a wild guess to what our Reading Topic was for the week.......
With some awesome help from Teacher Pay Teachers, I was able to collect a ton of great Penguin resources to use this week.

After reading CLOSELY about Penguins, 
we shared our favorite new vocabulary terms,
and dug deep into the text to answer this penguin questions.
I bought some new Penguin books on CD and the kids were excited to listen along.....
Picture-it Penguin was SO NICE!  He brought some Visualizing activities to do along with our story!!!
These stories are so funny!!!  Ask your child to tell you more!

Pinterest Inspired this lovely penguin art project!

The painted backgrounds dried overnight....

The next day, we cut out the penguin pieces and glued them on the rainbow backgrounds.

Take a peek at our Pretty Penguins!

Next week, I am planning to use my newest little creation on  
Ruby Bridges!
Ruby Bridges: A Non-Fiction Close Reading Resource
For more details on this unit, click here or on the image above.
Thanks so much for letting me share my month with you!
Have a WARM and WONDERFUL Weekend Friends!
Pin It button on image hover