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First with Franklin

Friday, November 9, 2012

Second Grade Common Core

I have taught first grade for several years and I feel fairly comfortable implementing the CCSS into our curriculum.  However, many of you know that this year I'm teaching a split first and second grade classroom.  I have never taught second grade so I sometimes having a hard time aligning our current curriculum with the new CCSS.
I found this cool giveaway (ends Sunday if you're interested!) and I would love to try out this new resource.  This workbook has almost 600 pages full of common core worksheets, activities and posters.  This means when I feel like I need a little extra reinforcement on a skill I won't have to create something on my own.  Yesss!
I can't wait to try it out - I might even order the first grade version, too.  Who doesn't need additional resources, right?  You should definitely check out the Second Grade Common Core Workbook.  

We're getting ready to start an all-new curriculum map including Common Core standards.  Oh, what fun! Has your school/state adopted the new standards?  

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Tuesday, November 6, 2012

Student Blogs

A couple of weeks ago, I started blogs with my students.  I took a day just to let my students pick out a blog design and add a picture to it.  Then, I let students write things on paper and I scanned them in and let them record themselves reading on Audioboo.  This was pretty time consuming for me because I was doing most of the work (besides their actually writing).  Well, yesterday, I got smart.  (Finally!)
The classroom website that I use is by Weebly.  Since I signed up for the educator website, it came with the option to set up websites for students.  They also have a handy app that students can use to easily upload new posts.

Now, students are able to use our iPods and iPads to easily take pictures of their writing, type new posts, and record themselves reading their writing and tons of other ideas.
This guy hated writing with a passion at the beginning of the year.  I noticed that he loved reading Super Diaper Baby comic books, so one day I mentioned to him that he should write a comic book.  He looked at like I was crazy and asked if I was serious.  When I told him yes, he got right to work... and worked everyday for 2 weeks on this.  Now, it maybe be very hard to understand what is going on in this picture, but he can explain every detail to me.  The sequencing was beautiful and best of all he feels like a writer now.  Sweet success!
Yesterday, my first graders were practicing measuring with non-standard units.  After they measured several items around the room, I let each child choose one item to measure and then make a blog post about it.  Look at what one of my kids wrote:
In case you can't see it, it says "Your pone was six subs tall."  My kids love my poor, busted up phone. haha  Another teacher asked what happened to it one day in the hallway and a student answered, "She just drops it a lot."  So. Very. True.  

Here is a glance of his writing in the app:

I let them write things for their blogs during our Daily 5 writing time.  I am trying to use one Daily 5 session a day as a writing conference time.  They love writing time soooo much now!  It's fun and who wouldn't love getting great comments from parents, friends, and classmate on their blog?  I know that I love it!

How do you incorporate technology into your classroom?

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Sunday, October 28, 2012

Bead Spelling

I blogged about Word Work activities a week or so ago.  I mentioned our Bead Spelling and the fact that my kiddos love it.  I wanted to find a better way to store our beads for the activity so that students could find beads more quickly and be able to complete more words.  Here was my solution:
First, I bought four of these containers.  Each one has 12 compartments.  I was originally thinking that I would use two of them so that almost every letter could have its own compartment.  I changed my mind and decided I would consolidate letters so that more students would be able to do this activity.  They will be happy. (Walmart did have bigger organizers that would easily fit all of the letters, but they were $9/each and these were only $2.  Cheap wins.)
Then, I bought some letter stickers- only $1!
Then I sorted and sorted... and.... 
Voila! Bead Spelling is ready to go!
I got both sets of beads at the 'ol Walmarts- I like the top set better, but they didn't have any when I went back to get more, so I got the wood bead set. (below)

I have another fun Word Word idea to share soon- stay tuned.

Here is something else I'm going to be working on.  This scary area is getting a makeover (I hope!).  
Share some pics of your Daily 5 organization- I need some inspiration!!!
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Thursday, October 25, 2012

Tech Tips!

I attended a great technology seminar today with Meg Ormiston.  If you get a chance to attend a conference with her- go!  I have been to two of them now and learned lots of new info both times.  If you can't get to a seminar with her, then check out her book:

I'm going to share a few quick things with you right now.

1.  Reflection app
This is not free, but it is going to be well worth the money I spent on it.  With this app you can mirror your iPad or iPhone to your computer screen (or SMARTboard, etc) so that all students will be able to see it.  It is also possible to record with it.  You actually put the app on your computer instead of the iPad (weird, huh?).  Then, it magically (I'm sure it really does make sense, but I choose to believe it's magic) displays your iPad on your computer screen- I can't wait to use it with my SMARTBoard.  The kids will love it!  You seriously have to check this out if you have an iPad in your classroom.

2.  Symbaloo
Symbaloo is a great way to arrange and save bookmarks.  I love the looks of it because it reminds me of an iPad screen with the little tiles for each webpage.  You can make different web mixes (or tabs) to keep different collections together.  This will be great for the classroom because I can easily keep links for students in one spot.  The ability to have more than one webmix will enable me to have a page for each class (because I teach two grades this year).  I love that I will be able to easily add/change the website available for students.  You can use some pre-made tiles or use your own pictures and create custom tiles.  Here is a shot of a quick page I made for my students to start with.  I made tiles for our class website, school website, AR, SpellingCity, and TumbleBooks.  Pretty empty now, but I'm sure that we'll quickly fill it up!  I'm planning on making it my homepage so that students won't have any problems accessing it.

3.  Today's Meet
This is a fun (and useful) way for students to communicate with you and each other.  Very much like Twitter in that you can only use 140 characters at a time.  (Great way to practice summarizing!)  Click here to join my page and chat.  Leave a comment on how you think you could use this in your classroom! :)

We covered so much more than just these 3 things, but these three are things that I had never heard of before today.  I love learned new things and Meg is such an energetic and fun presenter.  Have you learned any cool technology tools lately?  Please share!
I almost forgot to update you- I survived my three 5K's in October and I have two scheduled for November.  I have decided that I don't really love running, but I love to run races.  I guess my competitive side is stronger than I thought.  I would much rather run a 5K race than to run by myself.  Good thing I have plenty of them to keep me busy!  
I got a new pair of earbuds today (thanks, Ab!) and I'm in love!!!!  I have never been able to run without my earbuds constantly falling out.  I now have an answer- yurbuds!  They. Are. Awesome.  Seriously.  
If you have a hard time with earbuds, you should definitely check them out.  

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Wednesday, October 17, 2012

Booed x 2!

Two sweet bloggers have visited my blog and "Boo-ed" me.  This super cute linky party is from Tori at Tori's Teacher Tips.  So fun- and such a great way to get many awesome October ideas!  Thanks so much to Kelly at Teacher Idea Factory & Growing Firsties.  
If you've been Boo-ed here are the rules:

If you've been booed, copy and paste the above pic and these "rules" into your post.
1.  Give a shout out to the blogger who booed you and link back to their site!
2. Share 3-5 October activities, books, products (yours or someone else),
or freebie(s) that you love!
3.  Share the Boo love with 5 bloggers- make sure you check this link to make sure you don't boo someone again:
And don't forget to tell them that they have been BOOED!
4.  Link up {here} so that others can find you and read about your October ideas!  And while you are there... check out the other great blogs!

Here are the October activities that I love!
1. So, I don't own this one yet, but it's on sale right now, so I'm heading there soon!  
The Candy Corn Bandit is from Abby at the Inspired Apple.   It looks so cute and I think my kids would have tons of fun with it!  What a great way to practice making predictions!

2. Halloween Pack Freebie- I love this freebie because we are just starting to work on fact families in class and this has a cute candy corn fact family section.  There is also a trick-or-treat making words activity. 

3. Witch Crash Craftivity- This is so cute!  This set also includes several printable activities that go along with the craft.  It's only $3 in Valerie Young's TpT store.  
Here are the people that I've BOO-ed:
1. Teaching Little Miracles
2. Second Grade Math Maniac
3.  First Graders From Outer Space
4.  Forever in First
5.  Marvelous Multiagers

Hope everyone is having tons of fun with the Linky.  I think I might go broke from all of the cute ideas I now want to purchase!  haha

Congrats to Cassandra from Adventures in Room 5 for winning my Roll and Cover Sandwich Pack!
Wish me luck this weekend- I'm running my 3rd 5K this month!  It's also the first one that I'm doing with my sister, so it should be fun.  (Plus we're wearing some ladybug costumes that my mom made us when we were about 8 and 5 years old... bahaha!)  My darling husband is dressing up like the 90's Andre Agassi... his outfit is scarily similar to this (complete with the mullet wig):
I'm not sure I'll be able to run because I might pee my pants from laughing so hard.  Looking forward to the weekend!  :)
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Sunday, October 14, 2012

Roll a Sandwich Giveaway

I've had a cute sandwich clipart set from the 3AM Teacher for awhile and haven't gotten around to using it for anything yet.  I have been wanting to create something that will give my students some practice in adding three numbers.  This is something that I know my first grade math curriculum doesn't cover very well, so I knew I would need to supplement it.  I think using dice is a great way for student to beginning adding numbers since those little dots are so handy for counting.
So, this is what I made:

 Here is a sample page:

Would like to have this set for your littles?  Well, you can!  Just visit my TpT store and grab it up for just $2 or you can enter to win it!  That's right... just for following my blog and Facebook page you can enter to win this set.  (Extra entries for leaving a comment or blogging about it)  :)  Love y'all!  

Hurry!  The giveaway ends tonight!!!
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Saturday, October 13, 2012

Dollar Tree Finds

I finished my 2nd 5k of the month (one more to go) this morning and then decided to run by the Dollar Tree.  I was on that side of town and who really needs an excuse to buy classroom stuff, right?  I went in thinking I don't really need anything at all.  I came out spending $25... isn't that how it always works?
Look at the first thing I found:
My kids love using these with our SMARTboard!  The last couple that I bought were $4 each, so these are a steal!

Then, I grabbed a package of sentence strips because that's what I do every time I'm there.  It's a sickness, I think.

Then I found these:

There are several different sets, so I'm planning on using them in a few different ways.  They are much smaller than a regular cookie sheet, so I will be able to easily store them on my shelves.  Yay!  They had several different shapes/styles.  (Note:  I got them out to play with them and I maybe needed one size bigger.  I decided to store magnets in bins instead of the on the trays so that kids will have time to create on the pans.)

I liked this pack because I think students will be able to use it to create sentences. There weren't any end marks or capitals which is a problem because I really need those skills reinforced.
So, enter my idea:  I am going to laminate some tiny band aides (or maybe even the circle ones) so that students can put them over the letter at the beginning of the sentence or at the end where the end marks belong.  Hopefully, they will be excited to do this and remember those capitals and end marks!

I also had to get a few other things- a new stamp pad, some cute bookmarks, Halloween stickers, and... tattoos!  These are probably going to be used for really special occasions.  So, all in all, a productive Dollar Store trip.

be watching for this post...

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Monday, October 8, 2012


I am finally getting around to posting my Currently for this month.  If you haven't done it yet, head over to Farley's blog and join the fun!
Here is what is going on in my crazy head this week:
Listening: I know I should be ashamed, but I'm not.  I like trashy TV every now and then.
Loving: After it rained all last week, it's finally sunny out.  High 50's outside, so it feels great with the windows open.  I even rode my bicycle to the school to work in my classroom today.
Thinking:  I made my Currently this morning.  I did go back to the school.  That's right... several hours later and I feel ready for the week!
Wanting: He works 12 hour shifts, which means I'm home alone most of the day. Boo... plus he's going to spin class after work, so it will be even longer. 
Needing: I decided to go for a bike instead.  Hopefully, I can get a run in tomorrow.  I have a 5k every weekend this month, which is crazy!  At the one this past weekend, I had my personal best time of 28:12.  By the end of the month, it will either be faster because I'm getting better or way slower because I'm exhausted! haha
I was wearing my "Go Team Jo" shirt in honor of my cousin's daughter who was diagnosed with cancer at only 7 weeks old.  She is now a cancer survivor!  

Book:  I love Junie B. Jones "Boo... and I Mean It!"  I read it to my class every year and I have seriously considered coming to school dressed as Squirty the Clown... LOL

Now I'm off to check out what others have posted for Currently. 
 If you do join, don't forget the Rule of 3!  

I'm thinking of having a giveaway soon.  I'm trying to decide what I want to do... any suggestions?

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Sunday, October 7, 2012

Word Work- we're rockin' it!

As many of you know, this is my first year using Daily 5 in my classroom.  I was really nervous about it at first, but after about a week of building stamina I was completely convinced it was perfect for my classroom.  My kids are more excited than ever to read and write.  I love the opportunity it gives me to work with small groups and individual students.  I'm in love with D5!
We have been working on building our stamina for awhile and maybe a little more slowly than we needed to, but by doing it this way I am positive my students have really built their stamina.  I just introduced Word Work last week and the students were so, so excited to start it.  I started with these activities:

 Scrabble spelling- One of my co-workers generously donated Scrabble tiles to our classroom.  :)
You could also just use the worksheet on the left if you don't have the tiles.   Here is a link to the recording pages I made.

Bendaroo Spelling- My awesome mother bought me 5 boxes of Bendaroos that she found on clearance.  Score!  My kids are loving them.  These are also a pretty good deal.  I separated them into separate plastic baggies so that students can just grab a bag and get started working quickly.  They also know that they can grab a clipboard if they're wanting to sit on the floor.

Stamper Spelling- This is just what it sounds like.  Kids use rubber letter stamps (like these) to spell words.  I have the stamps, stamp pad and plain paper stored in a plastic bin.

Rainbow Spelling- This is an idea that I found on Pinterest.  You can find the original item from Gracehopper Learning here on TpT.  To give my students easy access to this activity, I shrank the original file down to 1/4 page and printed four per page.  I was then able to glue it down on some card stock and laminate it so that it would be durable.  In a quart-sized bag, I put it in the instruction sheet, 6 markers and one die.  I found some awesome eraser "dot cubes" aka dice at the Dollar Tree.  I love them because they are quiet when students roll them on desks.  ;)  All of the materials that students need are stored inside one plastic bag, so they can just grab and go.

Bead Spelling- For this activity, I found a bag of letter beads on clearance at Walmart.  I just love a good bargain.  Then, I bought some plasticy string stuff (think Boondoggle keychains) at the Dollar Tree for student to use.  This stuff is great because it won't ravel or fray when students are using it.  It was also really cheap.  Plus, every time I see it it makes me giggle because this is all I can think of:
I'm still working on the perfect way to store this center.  Right now all of the beads are just dumped into a plastic storage bin, but I'm thinking I want a way to separate letters so that the student can quickly make words...hmmm.  Any ideas on storage containers?

Foam Letter Spelling-  This is pretty self explanatory.  My wonderful mother also bought some foam letter puzzles for me and I popped out all the letters so that students can spelling with them.  

Mixed-Up Sentences- The final Word Work activity that I've introduced so far to my students is from The School Supply Addict's blog.  To find out more about this cool activity, see her blog post.  My students really enjoyed this activity.  I only have two sets right now, but I'm going to make more since they loved it so much.   Here is the link to get the freebie recording sheets.  

To go along with our Word Work activities, I also made a supply request sheet.  This will (hopefully) prevent students from interrupting me when I'm working with small groups.  I hope it works!  

Click here if you would like a copy.

Once we get some more stamina added to our graph, I plan on adding more activities that my students can choose.  I have found lots of great ideas on Pinterest.  What are your students' favorite Word Work activities?  

Here is a cute pic of my littles doing Word Work this week.  The two that appear to be looking at me were actually checking out our spelling word list on the wall.  Isn't it great to see completely engaged students?  I love it!  (I also love the new panoramic feature on the iPhone.)

I also just posted some cute little Chevron Writing Prompt Cards on my TpT store.  Over 60 fun writing prompts for students.  Go grab them for just $2.00!  

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Sunday, September 30, 2012

Student-Led Conferences

I have decided that this year I am taking a different approach to Parent/Teacher Conferences.  I have decided (if you didn't already guess from the post title) that I am going to facilitate student-led conferences this year.  Our school has adopted a new evaluation system this year (based on the Danielson model) and I believe that student-led conferences are the direction we should be heading.
I also believe that if parents hear goals and reflections from their child, they might take it to heart more than when I say it.  I hope this is true!

I decided that I wanted to make some forms to lead my students in their planning for our conferences.  They love our puppy dog clipart on our Daily 5 posters, so I decided to use the same clipart for our conference pack.  Since I used this, I do have to charge for the pack.  It's only $3 and I think it is well worth it!
Here is sneak peek:
It contains 11 pages of goodies to help with your planning.  As always, I'm happy to edit/add to the product for you.  Just send me a quick message with what you need changed.  Hope you like it.  I would like for two people to proofread it for me, so head over to Facebook and comment on my status if you're interested.  The first two people to comment will get the pack for free!  

Have you done student-led conferences before?  Have any great advice for a first-timer?  :)

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Sunday, September 23, 2012

What's better than a cute font? A FREE cute font (or 5!)

So, last time I posted I was saying how I was back from being MIA.  I lied.  Don't call the blog police on me... please!
This teaching two grades at once is kicking my behind.  Majorly.  Today, I spent 4 hours at school working and a couple more hours at home.  Just when I think I have the hang of it, I have to add something else to mix.  Ahhh!  Hopefully next year when I just teach one grade it will seem like a breeze.
Daily 5 is going really well for us so far- this is my first year implementing it.  We've made our Read to Self goal and we're almost to our Writing goal.  We're working on Read to Someone, but I haven't yet introduced Listening or Word Work.  I hope to add them in the next two weeks.  My kiddos are amazing me at what they are able to do so far!
Last week, I saw Rowdy is Room 300's post about iFontMaker for iPad.  I had been wanting to download this app forever, but I was hesitant because it was $7.  I'm cheap when it comes to apps, but since she gave it such a good review I decided I needed to check it out.
Here is what I have so far.  I've started another really fun one, but it's taking awhile.  I will post it when I'm finished.

You can click on the words under each picture to download them for free.  If you use it for anything, please link it back to me.  You can use it for free items, personal use, or commercial.  Hope you like them!

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Tuesday, September 11, 2012

Free Mystery Pictures & Shabby Sale!

Happy Tuesday, everyone!  It feels like a great time for a new, Freebie, don't you think?  I had a couple of these types of mystery pictures from my student teaching days (thanks, Becky!) and my students love to work on them.  It's a great way for them to practice number recognition, as well as other Common Core standards.  (Hello, adding ten and place value!)  Here is a peak at what the packet looks like:  Go here to download the entire thing for FREE!

I have included the basic set of directions, but I like to give the students other hints while we do these in class.  Here are some ways that I give hints.  
  • Color the number that comes after ____.
  • Color the number that is one less than ____.
  • Color the number that is 10 more/less than ____.
  • Color the number that is between ____ and ____.
  • ____+_____= the number you should color. (especially with facts we're working on at the time)
  • Color the number that has a ___ in the tens place, and ____ in the ones place.
I hope to make the packet bigger later on and include some of these ways of giving hints.  I always do these as a whole group activity and normally I pull up a blank 120 sheet and we color along on the SmartBoard.  This really helps the visual learners.  
I like to make the students fill out a blank 120 chart the day before we do this activity- it's a great way to kill two birds, so to speak.  Let me know if you enjoy them!  


Also, if you enjoy the Shabby Apple I have a great coupon code for you- 10% off any purchase!  Yay! If you haven't heard of them, you should check them out!  Just look at these adorable styles- I want them all.  
I especially love the beachcomber and the Harlem Moves necklace.  You can save with this code: favorite10.  

But hurry... it's only good until September 14.  Happy shopping.  If you purchase anything be sure to share pictures with me- I can't wait to get some stuff!  
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