Plant and Animal Needs

We learned about the basic needs of plants and animals this week.  We first brainstormed and created graphic organizers for the true basic needs. 
Next, students used a little foldable to record and draw the 4 basic needs of plants.  It is still early in the school year so I found it very informative to see which students were able to follow the folding directions!

Finally, to wrap up the unit, I had each student choose an animal.  We listed them on the board as students made their decisions so there were no repeats!  Students had to scrap art the animal.  Scrap art is one of my favorite art activities - students must use only construction paper, scissors, and glue to make their creation.  No pencils allowed!  After creating the animals, I gave each student a large piece of white paper and told them to draw a background that included each of the animal's basic needs (air, water, space, shelter, and food).  I was amazed at the creativity from some of the children!

I just love the mice this little girl drew as food for the snake!
How cute is that baby turtle following the mama turtle?

The worms sticking out the ground made me smile!


Teaching Color Words

Each year, I normally spend some time on the color words in the first few weeks of school.  Most children come to first grade knowing all the colors but only being able to read  few acolor words.  I spend a lot of time having kids practice reading all the color words through a variety of activities.  Worksheets where the children color by color word is always a popular activity, and I like that everyone can be successful--even if you can't read the color word by yourself, you can look at the color word wall to help yourself!  
We read "Brown Bear, Brown Bear" by Bill Martin and then the children "scrap art" the animals.  This is the first time in the school year that I introduce "scrap art" and it can be very difficult for some children to get used to.  When you "scrap art", you are only allowed to use a scissors and glue-no pencils, crayons, markers, etc!  Students need to learn to visualize the final product to be able to cut it out without first drawing it.  After the animals have been created, we interactive write the color words and the animals as a class, paying attention to proper letter formation. 

You can purchase the chevron color words on TPT here: Chevron Color Words

How do you teach color words in your classroom?

Magic Play-Doh

On the first day of school, I love to give my first graders some "Magic Play-Doh".  It is a large ball (between the size of a golf ball and baseball) of Play-doh.  From the outside, it looks to be just one color--but there is a secret on the inside!  I flattened the Play-Doh last night and hid a small amount of an opposite color on the inside!  I tell the students that if they hold it and repeat the magic words after me, something amazing will happen!
The magic words are:
Magic Play-Doh, oh so bright,
I make this wish with all my might.
If another color should appear,
We're sure to have a great school year!
We then start to play with the Play-Doh.  I never get tired of all the excitement and the "Ooo's and Ahhh's" that come when they see the 2nd color of Play-Doh appear.  I encourage the students to spell their name and other words with the Play-Doh, and to just play!  This gives me about 15 minutes of independent time while the students play to get some school supplies put away on the 1st day of school!

Do you have any good first day activities that are independent to give yourself a little time to unpack supplies?


Back to School Nesting

If you've ever been pregnant, you know how intense that "nesting" feeling can be the last few weeks before the baby is due.  You will find yourself in your pantry, convinced that you won't be ready for baby to arrive unless all the canned food is organized by expiration date, then color.  I go through a similar "nesting" feeling at the beginning of each school year.  Does anyone else love organizing their classroom and making everyone super cute as much as I do?  I saw this eCard on Pinterest and I thought it described me perfectly...

Well, I finally feel (mostly) ready for my new batch of first graders to arrive tomorrow!  I decided to go with a new theme this year--chevron!  It makes me so happy to look at--and a happy teacher=happy students!! :)

My new 0-20 number line!  I love that each number is also represented by 10 frames.  I bought this from The Printable Princess.

I have been debating about taking the plunge and getting rid of my large teacher desk!  I always felt like it was such a waste of space and just collected junk.  I finally did it!  I still have a little "corner" of the room for my computer, filing cabinet, etc, but without the large table space.  I am hoping this forces me to take charge of all the paperwork!  (Also, don't you love that beautiful chevron lesson plan binder??  I found it at Target!)

My new alphabet.  I liked how the alphabet had the handwriting lines, as well as both sounds for all the vowels, as well as c and g!  I bought this from First Class Teacher Resources.

My class meeting area.  There will be plenty of room for my 19 students!

Classroom jobs display.  I use clothespins with student names to determine which student does each job for the week.  (I am working on getting these on TPT...I made them several years ago and don't remember where I saved them!)

The first day of school for me is tomorrow!  Good luck!

Getting to Know You Activities

The first few days of school need to be about setting routines and getting to know each other.  This packet includes three different "Getting to Know You" activities for those first few days.  The actual academics involved are very minimal, so even Kindergarteners could do these activities!  Click on the pictures to get your own copy!

What are some activities you do to get to know your students?

Walking the Red Carpet!

So I've been seeing the fun "end of year awards ceremony" pictures going around Pinterest, so I decided to go ahead and give it a try!  My first graders absolutely LOVED walking the red carpet as an end to our year!  I really wish I was able to show you their excited faces!  They cheered up a storm for each other and were so proud to receive the awards.  I'll be doing this next year for sure!


Producers and Consumers

My first grade class has been studying economics in Social Studies.  To culminate the unit, we had a "Trade Days" with the other first grade classes.  Each class broke into small groups, and planned at least 8 stations where the students would either produce a good to "sell" or provide a service to "sell" to the other classes using fake money.  Students had to make 30 items or keep track and provide a service 30 times before they could be considered "Sold Out".  Some of the services and goods sold in my classroom:
Necklaces made from yarn and beads.

This group of boys decorated plain pieces of paper, then provided a service by teaching classmates how to make paper airplanes!

Bracelets made from pipe cleaners.

"3-D Hearts" made with construction paper, cotton balls, and staples.

This little girl was so excited to be the first student to sell out of a product!