Sparkling Sentences

We are enjoying a rare (half) snowday in the south. My kids were very hyped up this morning knowing that we were getting out at noon in order to get home before the weather moved in. I decided to pull out some winter activities I had been trying to get to all week to keep them occupied.

We have been talking a lot about using adjectives in our writing to describe things. Today I told them they would be writing sentences that sparkled! They were instantly intrigued ;)

On an anchor chart (which I of course didn't take any pictures of) I wrote some "boring" sentences about winter. "I like snow.  Look at the snowman.  I see a penguin.  It is winter" ect.

Then I showed them how I could add some "sparkle" to my sentences and brought in some adjectives. "Snow is cold and it is crunchy under my feet"  I wrote the adjectives in blue marker so they really stood out.

Then I told them they were going to write me some sentences about winter and add adjectives to really make their sentences sparkle.

I had them write their adjectives in blue crayon, and then we painted over them with white glue and added some clear glitter and *gasp* sparkling sentences!

It's kind of hard to see the sparkle in the picture, but it's there :)

This was so simple, but they kids absolutely loved it. And now I can tell them for the rest of the year that I want to see some "sparkly sentences" :)

If you want to grab the writing paper you can click here.

At the very end of the day we also had a snowball fight. This was

I got the original idea from this freebie pack from The Teacher's Clubhouse


I modified the activity slightly to use with my kiddos because they weren't ready for 3 digit numbers, and I made up my own pages.  We went over some ground rules, and then set off throwing snowballs and then running back to the white boards to decompose some 2 digit numbers.


After a few rounds of this, I had them use this same expanded form notation to match up with a partner and start adding their 2 numbers together. (This is an old pic - not from today, but it shows the method we use for beginning 2 digit addition)


The kids blew me away with their math talk and cooperative learning, and it was a really fun way to channel their snow excitement!!

I hope all my northern friends stay safe and warm in this weather!!

Turkey Tens Game (FREEBIE)

Happy Wednesday friends!! I just wanted to stop by real quick to share this fun game we played in my room today.

Turkey Tens!

All you need is the turkey board, some counters, and some dice. On their turn, a student rolls 4 dice (using FOUR dice was super exciting) and tries to put any combination of dice together to make 10.  If they can make 10, they put their counter on a turkey feather. If they can't make ten, their turn is over and the next player rolls the 4 dice. (If they could make 10 twice in one roll - like they roll 5, 5, 6, 4 I let them put 2 counters on!)

When they fill the turkey, the person who has the most turkey feathers covered wins!

If you want to grab a turkey board, you can click here.

Number bonds

We have been rockin and rollin in first grade math so far this year. One of the first things I do when we hit our addition chapter in our math book is pull out the number bonds. This is such a great way to see who has an understanding of part-part-whole from Kindergarten and also a great way to teach it if that foundation isn't already there.  We've been using the Guiding Firsties Math Units by Deanna Jump and Deedee Wills (which I absolutely LOVE) and they come along with some great math mats including these number bonds and related facts.

Please excuse the glare on these pictures, I was using my phone :)

The first thing I had them do was to give everyone a whole and have them show me different ways to break that whole into parts. We used 2 color counters to show different parts. (Somehow I didn't manage to get a picture of this step)

After they were comfortable with that, I gave everyone dice and we started rolling to make parts and wholes.  First I had them roll 2 dice to be the parts, and add them together to get their whole. Then they wrote a corresponding number sentence on the number bond.

Next I had them pick a whole, roll 1 dice to make 1 part, and use counters or count on to find the other part. This was a little more tricky, but these guys had such a great sense of numbers and comfort using number bonds from their Kindergarten classes that they breezed right through!

After a day of playing with our number bonds and exploring part part whole from a variety of different angles, we started talking about "related facts" and we moved onto this mat:

I love these mats because they tie in the different parts, number bonds, and related facts in one fell swoop.  

We are getting ready to start adding 3 numbers later this week and I'm going to pull out these mats. (You can read about how we used them last year in this post)

Classroom Must Haves

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I have finally stopped fighting my "back to school brain" from kicking into gear. I haven’t actually set foot in my classroom yet, but my brain is buzzing with that familiar hum of ideas and inspiration and motivation and excitement that usually starts coming around for me in the last part of July. Today I'm linking up with Freebielicous to talk about some of my "MUST HAVES" in the classroom. There are, of course, many more than this, but here’s a few of my favorites that truly make my life easier every day. 

I absolutely LOVED having these table drawers last year!!

They were kind of a last minute, right before school, crazy thought that I had and I am SO glad I implemented them. My day was so much more efficient. The storage situation in my room is less than ideal, and I spent WAY less time handing out and putting away materials.

The top drawer was filled with various math manipulatives that we used on a regular basis. The middle drawer housed our clip boards and folders for reading centers and the bottom drawer held our reading series readers and workbooks. 

Even though I didn't use a drawer to hold these supply caddies I thought it was good to know that they fit inside perfectly.

I had colored dots on the desks at each table which made it  easy for me to just call out "Red dots take out the dice."  "Blue dots put the counters away." ect. The kids really took ownership of those little mini jobs and for the most part transitions and material distribution worked like a dream in my room. 

Along with the table drawers another must have for efficiency during the day is my colored table baskets.

We use these baskets for so many things....for turning papers in, for papers or materials I want to distribute but I don't want actually in the students hands just yet, for math maniputlatives during centers or games, and for holding craft pieces.

The baskets work perfectly with the table drawers in the middle of my tables because the materials can be very easily accessible to the students without taking up valuable desk space from anyone. I found a set of 6 colors in the Target dollar spot a few years ago and they have held up great!

Another invaluable supply for me in the last few years have been plastic sheet protectors.  

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Our laminating allowances at school are somewhat strict so we have to get creative when using papers and materials that we want to protect. At the start of the year I grabbed a few big packs of sheet protectors from Sam’s and we used them for all sorts of things. 

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We used Sarah Paul’s AMAZING reading passages. Many times, for morning work, I would give my students these passages to read and respond to. Rather than printing 28 copies, I just printed 5 of each story, threw them in the sheet protectors, and then just rotated the stories through the different table baskets in the morning until it was time for a new set.

We also use them for math mats, games, and centers. Sometimes it’s so easy to just print and throw in the protectors rather than printing on card stock and laminating. 

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As much as I enjoy using sheet protectors for all kinds of things I absolutely LOVE having my own personal laminator set up in my classroom. There are times that I just need a page or two (or five) laminated quickly and it’s so great to be able to just run them through and have the materials right there and ready to go.   I bought this one from amazon a few years ago and it has never failed me.

My last favorite tool(s) to share with you today are these circle punches.  I started collecting them a few years ago and I end up using these ALL the time for different craft projects. The circles make super cute eye balls on crafts but I’ve used them for snowballs, buttons, apples, pumpkins, counters….you get the picture. 
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Click on the pics below to grab them on Amazon.


Go check out the link up over at Freebielicious to read about more teacher favorites! Have a great day!!

Mystery Number Files


I wanted to share a favorite math warmup activity in my room!  My first graders love these "number mysteries".  They can't get enough of them. The concept is simple. I give the students "clues" about the math mystery and they need to fill in the grid to "solve the mystery". 


The numbers in each row/column need to add up to the clues on the notebooks at the end of that row/column. Generally I only give them the clues on the outside of the grid, but occasionally I give them a few numbers on the inside as well (as either an added challenge, or as an extra support - it could go either way). After a student has solved a number mystery, they partner up with a friend to check each other. Obviously there was a little bit of fact checking to be done on this one :)

We often share out different solutions whole group as well. After the students get comfortable with one level of mat, we move on to more complex grids, or larger numbers. The possibilities are endless.

After a while of doing these, the students always want to make up their own mysteries to give to their friends. I teach them to fill in the grid first, add up the rows and columns to get the clues on the outside of the grid, and then erase the numbers inside the grid and have a friend solve. They get such a kick out of making the mysteries themselves!!

In the number mysteries pack I have given you 3 levels of mats student and teacher mats, and for each level I started you off with 18 sample mysteries (but you can easily make your own up-- just be sure not to make an addition error and accidentally give your entire class an unsolvable mystery!! Been there, done that!)

You can grab this pack in my store by clicking on the picture below.

TPT Seller Challenge Week 1: Makeover Maddness!!

Happy Tuesday friends!!

I popping in to take part in the TPT Seller challenge for the week. I have a long list of old products that I have been wanting to "spruce up" with some new clip art and especially with some new covers! This week's "Makeover Maddness" challenge was the perfect motivation to get that ball rolling. First up was one of my oldest (and favorite) products.  I made these Roll & Write pages when I was teaching Kindergarten and needed some quick, engaging ways to practice letter and number formation.  As you can see, the cover was in desperate need of some TLC :)

This product is so simple to use, just print the pages you want and send your kiddos off with some dice.  You can also slide the pages into a sheet protector and use expo markers (I'm ALL about saving some copy "clicks").  Here are a few examples of the pages in this pack:



I'm going to put this product on sale this week to celebrate the "new look".  Click on the picture below to go find it in my TPT store.

Go check out Sparkling in Second's post to see lots of other bloggers who are participating in this week's challenge and find some other products getting a face lift this week :)