Word Problems Galore!

One of the most difficult things for many kids to grasp in math are word problems!  Students need to actually think about the problem and how to solve it.  I have students independently complete a word problem every day as practice (I will read the problem out loud) and then we check the work together, with students correcting as needed.  So there is no pressure to not take a risk to solve the problem!  I think this really helps students learn HOW to solve the problem-not just a formula!
This product on TpT has 60 word problems of varying types (addition, subtraction, missing addend, and comparison) and difficulty (some within 10, some within 20) to help you teach word problems to your first grade students!


American Symbols

I love teaching American Symbols in February!  President's Day is a natural start, but another reason I love doing this unit in February is that Bald Eagles lay their eggs in February!  I show a live stream of the Decorah Eagles on the TV in my room from February through the end of the year.  We watch the eggs get laid, we watch the parents sit on the eggs, then we watch as the babies hatch and grow!  It really inspires the students to learn so much about this important American Symbol!
First graders always get so excited to learn about American Symbols.  We spend at least one day on each symbol, reading a variety of nonfiction texts about each symbol and writing down important facts as a class.
To finish the unit, students choose their favorite American Symbol then work in groups of 2-4 to create a large poster that must include the name of the symbol, what the symbol represents, a large picture of the symbol, and at least 4 facts about the symbol.  Students then practice presenting the poster to their classmates, then to other first grade classes, and our 3rd grade buddy class!


The Mitten - Venn Diagram

Burr!  It's been so cold the past few days!  We've been reading books by Jan Brett in my classroom lately.  I love the details in her drawings! 
We read The Mitten by Jan Brett, then we read The Mitten by Alvin Tresselt. 

I love how these books are both based on the same folk tale but have some differences.  After the reading, students worked together in small groups to create Venn Diagrams comparing and contrasting these two books.


Winter Olympics

My first graders are in love with the Sochi Winter Olympics!  I assigned groups of students various countries (the top 10 medal winning countries from Vancouver to be exact!) and the students had to find an image of the flag online then scrap-art the flag with construction paper.  Throughout the Olympics, each group would take a little time every day to visit the sochi.ru website to add the correct amount of new medals won for their specific country.  My class graphed them using paper medals (see below).
The class next door to us graphed their medals by updating the post-it notes each day with the new medal count amounts for each country.
Since we spent so much time researching and learning about the flags of the various countries, we decided to have the students create their own "flags" to represent themselves and then write about them.  Some of the work was amazing and very well thought out!


The Snowy Day Part 2

I am very fortunate in that I have a teacher whose first grade classroom is right beside mine who is a great inspiration to me.  I love her teaching style and she has some of the most fantastic ideas. She also did The Snowy Day in her classroom.  I am in love with her hallway display and they are listed below.  I will need to "steal" some of her ideas for next year! :)
She had her students write a retelling of The Snowy Day.  This is always a challenge for kids to learn how to write things in their own words. 

I am in love with these!  She had students dress themselves in a snowsuit just like Peter and then taught them how to create speech bubbles about what they like to do in the winter.

Do you have a teacher in your building that you think of as an inspiration?