Sunday, September 28, 2014

Small Group Staples: Phonemic Awareness for Guided Reading and RTI

It was a new school year.  I was teaching first grade for the first time.  And, there I was on the floor with six little firsties, eagerly staring back at me as we began our guided reading lesson.  They had little mini-readers in front of them and my basal shouted loudly from its throne, Thou shall follow me implicitly and never stray from my ways! and I decided I would obey because I was clueless about what else I should be doing.  

Fast forward five years and experience, knowledge, and conversations with my best teacher friends have changed my mind about what small group time should look like in the primary classroom.  In fact, it was several months ago that texts between me and my friend, Rebecca, led me to believe I wasn't alone in the What can/should I do during small group time?!  

We began brainstorming, and the idea for Small Group Staples was born.  We wanted to make a resource that was detailed, comprehensive, all-inclusive, and perfect for small group gatherings (like Guided Reading and RTI).  And, we *hope* we've accomplished just that with our first resource in this series!

Here's a little preview of what's inside...

Truly, we tried to include EVERYTHING you would need to have a successful small group experience, whether you use this resource for Guided Reading or RTI.  Hopefully, it will make your life a little easier and your small group time a little more meaningful, too :)

For the rest of the weekend, you can snatch it up on sale!  Go >>> HERE <<<< to check it out! 

Well, I'm off to get my lesson plans done, finish start the laundry that's been taunting me all week, and enjoy the GORGEOUS Kentucky weather!

Happy Sunday!

Sunday, September 21, 2014

Peek at My {Last} Week: Apple Week 2104!

True story: I plan better on the fly.  Frequently, I'm inspired in the moment, while I'm teaching.  This didn't fly so well in the traditional classroom, but there were many times I was teaching in front of my students and completely threw my lesson plans out the window (shhhhh, don't tell!), so that I could teach a more meaningful lesson with an activity I thought of spur-of-the-moment.   Creativity doesn't always fit tidily into lesson plans.  But, that's the beauty of it.  

All of that to say, that if I had posted my weekly lesson plans that I initially laid out last weekend, they would look drastically different from what we actually did.  So, here's my plans from Apple Week 2014.   

You can view and download my lesson plans by clicking the plans below!
 Click on the product covers for more information!

And, you can read about each day and activity in more detail in the posts below:

We're doing Johnny Appleseed this coming week, so check back for more fun activities and ideas for incorporating this thematic study into your own classroom!

Have a great Sunday!

Friday, September 19, 2014

Five for Friday!

So excited to link up with Kacey today!  Click the graphic above to join in!

Apple Week concluded today!  It was such a fun week, but I'm grateful for the weekend and a little space from all things apples ;)  After our weekly spelling test and a quick apple diagram activity from Rachelle at What the Teacher Wants, we ran some errands and went on an apple field trip.  Gotta love Fridays!
Let's talk about how Becks insisted he use tape instead of glue.  ??????  #whatevs


I love these two.  A whole lot.  I cannot even tell you how grateful I am to be their mama and to be spending some extra time with them these days.  I'm so content.  

Many of you asked for a compilation of my apple activities.  They're now in resource form and...if you're an Inspired Apple Facebook know that there's a little something special if you purchase by tomorrow at 11:59pm.  Just sayin'.

Product Found >>> HERE. 
This is my view right now.  Except it's night now and all the open cabinets are kind of freaking me out.  Also, we have too much stuff.  #noted  Though we love a good DIY, we actually hired out for this project after a few friends said that if we wanted to stay married we shouldn't attempt it ourselves.  #alsonoted
I am doing a *phenomenal* Bible study with She Reads Truth.  If you're a female follower or seeking Him in your life, I highly suggest you download this free app to your phone and start one of their studies.  I'm doing the Open Your Bible one, currently, and am learning so much about just how much God wants to be a part of my everything.  I need reminders ALL. THE. TIME.  I'm weak, I'm a sinner, and I am terrible Bible reader.  This study is really helping me with that last one.  

I'm planning to do the next one, too, which is 1 Peter and 2 Peter.  If anyone else is interested in doing it, too, holla and we can keep each other accountable!

Happy Friday!

Thursday, September 18, 2014

Apple Week Activities for the First Grade Classroom: Day 4

Okay, so, since I've had so many inquiries about my apple activities, I'm going to try my best to make a little mini-unit with them.  It will be random, but I'd love to share!

ETA 9/19/14 : All activities up to this point are uploaded in the resource pictured below.  Click the pic to check it out!

Here's what we did today...

We started off getting our applesauce ready to go!  Fortunately, B didn't have to go into work until later, so he peeled all the apples for me!  #lovethatguy  While he was doing that, Becks and I read Apple Picking Time by Michele Slawson.  I loooooooove this book.  It tells a great story and the pictures are so sweet.  A great read-aloud.  

Then, it was time to make applesauce!  Becks read the recipe and measured out the ingredients before mixing everything together.  {Our recipe came from The First Grade Parade >>> HERE}

We turned the crock pot on and went about our day.

Today we were thrilled to do some science, starting with Cara's The Great Apple Investigation.  Becks LOVED this, and while he was doing it, he looked at me and asked if I would home school him again.  Melt. My. Heart.  I sure hope to continue!

The investigation included tons of opportunities for observation and collecting information about his apple.  Afterwards, we used his cut up apple (plus another) to do apple prints with paint.  
It didn't take him long to pretend each apple was a member of Lego Ninjago, and then this resulted from all the spinjitsu stunts they do...


All the while, little sis watched on.  I can't tell you how much these two love each other.  They both light up when they're together.  She can't wait to run around with him, I just know it!
In the spirit of exploration, Becks was curious if he'd be able to clean the paint off the apple.   It was a good effort ;)

Then, we had a lunch break and it was time for a little Sad Apple Science.  You all.  Isn't he the most pitiful thing?!  I kinda want to hug him... 
When I explained what we were going to do to the apple, Beck wasn't very amused at first.  I don't want to hurt the apple, mom!!!!!  But, alas, it was for the sake of science, so with a little encouragement, he was game.  And, if it makes you feel any better, there was no harm done to the apple pictured above.

First, Becks had to fill out his little observation sheet to hypothesize what he thought would happen when the apple was dropped.  Naturally, he thought it would EXPLODE.  Because he is a six-year-old boy and all.  Then, it was time to drop the apple.  FUN. TIMES. 
I love how he wrote "squishy part" and "bruise."  Invented spelling at its best ;)

But, we didn't stop there.  The last part of the experiment was to see what happens when a bruised apple is exposed to banana!  Pictured above, you see the banana and apple on one set of shelves and the apple all by itself on the other set of shelves.  And, I assure you Becks made sure that both apples were substantially bruised.  {According to science, the banana will expedite the chemical process by emitting a gas that will produce a more pronounced bruise on an already bruised apple!  Cool, huh?!}  We'll keep you posted on our results!

Lastly, we continued our study of facts and opinions and ate a big ol' caramel apple.  First, we used our 5 senses to observe the caramel apple.  Then, of course, he ate it to see how it sounded and tasted.  Afterwards, we did a shared pen activity and wrote sentences about our caramel apple.  We reread the sentences and underlined the facts and opinions in different colors...
Not gonna lie, it was about this point that I lost him!  It was a struggle to finish the activity!!!

By the time we were finished, the applesauce was ready for eatin'!  And, the moment Becks went outside, I poured a steaming hot helping over top of Graeter's Salted Caramel ice cream and called it a day :)
Happy Thursday!  I'll try my best to get the unit uploaded by tomorrow!

Wednesday, September 17, 2014

Apple Week Activities for the First Grade Classroom: Day 3

You all.  I have my GROOOOOOOOOVE back. 

! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! 

Seriously, teaching Beckham this week has been an absolutely joy.  And, as you know, it's kind of an epiphanic moment for a teacher when you have that little kick in your step and are excited to make your way into your classroom.  I've even caught myself thinking: My firsties would LOVE this!  Now, I use the term "firsties" in reference to a future class of kiddos I will have in the not-so-near-future (God-willing).  But, it has been noted, the I do see myself returning to the classroom.  Someday-ish.


While Becks completed his spelling work at the kitchen table, I was busy putting the finishing touches on some Mystery Box fun.  I washi-taped the clues around our home school room and instructed him to STAY OUT until he was given further direction.  That, alone, was enough to elicit an exciting start to our day.  He couldn't wait to see what I was up to.  

First, I presented him with the box and encouraged him to guess what was inside.  He needed no prompting to shake and sniff the box.  Smells like GLUE! he exclaimed, as if he'd uncovered the big mystery.  I explained that he was smelling the glue from the pieces glued to the outside of the box (which is from Target, btw...I've also seen them at Hobby Lobby).  Next up, I explained that he would be searching for 'clues' around the room and would have to write the clues down and formulate a guess for what was inside the box based on them and his own observations.  

Watching him hunt the room was fun!  He's such a nut!
After he'd located all four clues, he went to write them on the recording sheet and draw/write his guess.  
The clues were:

1.  It looks like the sun.
2.  It can cut fruit.
3.  It is metal.
4.  You find it in the kitchen.

Immediately, he said KNIFE! but quickly said that a knife wasn't shaped like the sun.  {My teacher heart was thrilled to listen to him talk through his guesses!}  Since it was his best guess, I told him it was okay to write it down anyway.  

Finally, the moment of apple slicer!
It's funny how something so simple was so interesting and fun to him.  We actually don't own the slicer (I borrowed it from my mom), and he hadn't seen or used one before.  The hands-on exploration following was priceless - and a perfect time for another apple snack, too!

{You can find the Mystery Box Activity >>> HERE}

Next up was reading where we've been focusing on fact and opinion this week.  We read another non-fiction book about apples, discussed the facts within, and completed a little graphic organizer I made to distinguish between facts and opinions about apples.  I thought using washi-tape for the stems turned out so cute!  {Can you tell I'm a little obssessed with all the washi goodness?! #iloveallthingspretty}  Then, I gave him a practice sheet where he used different colored bingo dotters to dot facts and opinions.  

Afterwards, he added another page to his All About Apples fact book.  {Sidenote: Yesterday, he was thrilled to present me with the first page: I like apples!  Needless to say, we had to do a little re-teaching ;)  }

His first {remade} page says: An apple is a fruit.  Then, he drew and labeled a Granny Smith apple.

Today's page says: These are the pips of an apple.  Then, he drew an apple showing the pips, or seeds, inside.  
We concluded with math where he started with the center of Cara's I mentioned in yesterday's post.  He needed more practice and wanted to beat his time! Then, it was all things apple cereal!  He sorted it, counted it,  graphed it, made patterns with it, and completed all the equations for making 10.  Then, of course, he ate it :)

So, that's it!  Apple Week Day 3 is complete!

I already can't wait for tomorrow!  Happy Wednesday!

{PS.  For those of you who've inquired, I will put my Peek at My Week up on Friday or Saturday from this past week.  Would it surprise you to know that I plan better on the fly?! }