Monday, February 28, 2011

Spelling Menus

About two years ago I started giving Spelling Menus for homework. The kids LOVED them. It gave them ownership to choose what activity THEY wanted to do to practice their spelling words. I have added many activities that I’m sure most of you already do. I am posting a few menus that I use both in the classroom and for homework.

Download the menus here, here, here and over here 
Sorry each menu is a different download...messed up on that bad!!!
Enjoy and let me know what you think.

What do you assign as homework for spelling practice?
The whole homework conversation is a totally different story that will be it's very own post...hopefully soon!

Saturday, February 26, 2011

Wonderful website for resources!

Happy Weekend friends!! I just want to share with you a website that I use ALL the time. It is especially good for display banners or signs for around the room. I love the word mats as well. 

The site is from the UK so some spellings might be a little different (S instead of Zs). They have recently added a U.S version of most things so make sure to click on the American Flag if it is offered.  

Check out Sparklebox and let me know what you think! What sites do you use for teaching resources?

Thursday, February 24, 2011

Notes to Self...

If you are like me you constantly have a “to do” list running either in your head or on random post- it notes. I’d like to think I am organized (cough, cough), but my lists need to get done and I want to set myself up for success. Soooo I created this cute little Notes to Self paper that I plan to have on my handy dandy clip board (BTW I’d die without my bright pink clip board!) 

Download your own copy of Notes to Self here.

Wednesday, February 23, 2011

Science Journal: All About Animals

My wonderful team and I are switching up our animal unit that we have done for years. It was done well before I was even on the grade and it needed some re-vamping. First graders go crazy for animals so this unit is A LOT of fun to teach.

We have decided to do a sort of science journal focusing on animals. This will be the first year implementing this type of research, study skills and summative assessment. I like the journal idea because it allows for everything to be in one place. This way as a teacher I can look over all of the work the child does along the way (formative assessment) as well as the end result. For the students I am hoping the journal makes it neatly organized and allows for all of their work material to be in one place rather than a folder here and a paper there etc. 

Take a look and let me know what you think. I will definitely continue to post more resources for this unit. This is just a little taste…haha! 

Click to download the files! 

Does anyone teach an animal unit? How do you teach this topic to your little people?! 
On another note...B and I will be catching up on Glee tonight -- WOOHOO! Have a lovely evening everyone!  

Tuesday, February 22, 2011

Stylish Blogger Award!!!

Thank you so much Claire over at First Grade Smarties for letting me know you think I'm stylish. You totally made my night...haha! Like you said, it really is awesome to know that people are actually reading what I have to say AND like it so thank you from the bottom of my heart! 

So, here are the rules for receiving this award:
1. Thank and link back to the person who awarded you this award.
2. Share 7 things about yourself.
3. Award 5 recently discovered great bloggers.
4. Contact these bloggers and tell them about this award
    I was born and raised in New York. I grew up on Long Island and have been living in NYC for the past few years. I currently live in the East Village with my BF. I LOVE my neighborhood more than anything, but I do still love going to L.I during the summers to relax on the beach. I grew up on the water and my mom always says I am part mermaid…she’s a character! 

2.      I have been with my boyfriend for close to SEVEN years!!! Yes, I know. We started dating when I was 19 and he was 20. It was the typical story…boy likes girl, girl drags boy along for a LONNGGG time then wakes up and realizes she has what she was looking for right in front of her. So glad I finally woke up and smelled the roses...haha! He is my best friend, biggest supporter and ultimate snuggling partner. I am so lucky to have him. Love you B! 

3.     I am certified with childhood ed and students with disabilities. I originally thought that I would end up teaching special ed….and still plan on it sometime in the future. I am currently teaching at an international school here in NYC. I have children in my class from all over the world. I am the luckiest teacher ever.

4.    When I was 21 I backpacked for a few weeks across Europe with my best friend (Hi Deanna!) It was without a doubt one of the best life experiences ever. You really learn a lot about yourself and friendships while living out of a backpack for a summer. Things come up that you would never imagine such as having to climb DOWN the Swiss Alps which brings me to my next point…. I am DEATHLY afraid of heights and rodents….ewwwwww. I want to live aboard one day…particularly Barcelona, Spain. Let’s see what the future has in store…

5.    I have been friends with my best friends since we were in 7th grade. I moved around a lot as a little kid (usually about 3 miles away from one another, but it was always another school district) one would think that this made it hard for me to make friends. Except it didn’t. I was used to being the new girl and actually enjoyed observing new people and places (I love people watching now to this day….I know, I’m a weirdo) People always think it’s strange that we have stayed best friends as adults. When we moved to the city I even lived with three of them for a while. I am so lucky to have each and every one of them in my life. Childhood friends know you in a way no one else ever could. I love you guys. 

6.    My dad died when I was four. My mom is the strongest lady I know...for real. I have one sister named Laura Jean who is the best big sister anyone could ask for. My mom re-married when I was 8. My step dad Davis is a giant teddy bear who thinks he is tough…haha. He raised me and I love him to the moon and back. With our step-dad came two brothers…Michael and David. I have a total of 7 nieces and nephews. They are my world. They are some of the coolest little people I know! I love my family more than anything in the world. They may be crazy, but they’re MINE!!!

7. I have a rare blood disorder called ITP. Most of the time it’s not a big deal. However, when things get bad…they can get really bad. I try to not take my good days for granted and am VERY lucky to have my amazing friends, family and B to help me out when I need it. Thank you to all of you especially recently. :)

Here are 5 blogs that I would like to give the stylish blogger award to..check them out -- they are brilliant! 

  Spreading JAM AWESOME tech stuff and very interesting thoughts from a kindergarten teacher’s point of view. Love it Paula! 

    Life in First Grade adorable!

First Grade at Last I love how creative you are Sarah! 

The Joy of First Grade A perfect example of how YouTube can be used in the classroom. THANK YOU for your inspiration! 

 Fabulous First Grade and Other Shenanigans such wonderful ideas! 

Monday, February 21, 2011

Self Esteem Wall

In my classroom I have something called the Self Esteem Wall. Thank you Ms. Ager for this idea years ago...I always love your ideas! It is very similar to the Bucket Filling idea, but I had this up LONGGG before I even knew of the  Buckets --  BTW I am constantly thinking if I should  switch to Bucket Filling next year?  

Basically the kids each have a pocket pouch with their picture on it (SUPER CUTE) and in the beginning of the year I explain that everyone loves getting pick me up notes.

  • I encourage them to write their classmates notes if they notice that they did something on their own initiative, for example if they saw a table mate clean up a mess that wasn’t theirs. 

  • I also encourage them to write notes if they want to thank someone for something they did, for example if someone took them to the nurse and was extra sweet while they were hurt. 

  • It is also really important to remind them to always try to find the best in their peers… so I encourage them to write compliment notes when they see someone trying extra hard…. 

You HAVE to see the notes that come out of these 6 and 7 year olds…it brings tears to my eyes!! 

*I must admit it definitely promotes note writing, but if they are reflecting on school, friendship and themselves then I’ll take it!! 

How many of you use Bucket Filling in your classrooms?!

Anyway….I don’t have pics at home (will take some on Weds. Promise), but the kiddies absolutely LOVE writing each other little notes to let one another know how much they appreciate their friends.  

These are just some little note cards I made to make the whole process more fun…!

You can download the note cards here.

Sunday, February 20, 2011

ipad lovin'....

After a long and hard fight to get the funds my amazing principal has gotten 4 ipads per grade (k-4) to rotate throughout the days/weeks. We have been slowly but surely using the ipads at small centers where the children use a variety of applications to reinforce their skills and develop ideas that have been part of our curriculum. 

THIS IS AN ABSOLUTE AMAZING OPPORTUNITY!!! I am so happy my students and I are able to incorporate this type of technology into our daily learning! Can you tell I'm excited?! :)

As a school we have created a blog to share thoughts, ideas and apps. I am so lucky to work with such dedicated teachers. I wanted to share some of the wonderful resources we have come across to help us in our effort to integrate technology more...

Apps can get very expensive and although some of them look great online...when we put them to use it can sometimes be a very different story. My colleague and friend, a 2nd grade teacher thought she had found a super math app...she paid for it, only to find out the child speaking had a terrible lisp and the kids couldn't understand what they were being asked to do. Not to mention it was driving her nuts-o! haha! That is why it is always a good idea to research any reviews before purchasing any app. 

This is an excellent app review site where teachers and techies alike give their two cents. 

This is also a helpful site.  

Here is a list of apps worth checking out:


Intro to letters
Montessori Crosswords
Word Magic
Spell Blocks
Build a Word
Alpha Writer
Alphabet Fun
Phonics Made Easy
Spelling 1-2


Sight Words HD
Speedy Reader
Timed Reading


Grammar prep: subject and verbs
Grammar prep: using commas, pronouns, apostrophes


Story Kit
Puppet Pals HD
Glow Writer
Story Builder
Story Buddy
Sentence Maker


Intro to Math
Math Magic
Math Series
Animals Counting
Approach to Montessori Numbers HD
Colors, Shapes and more flash action
Pattern Recognition
Fun Felt (shapes)
Learning to Tell time is Fun
My first Tangrams HD
My first Weighing exercises HD
Time, Money and Fractions On Track
Mad Math 2.0
Make Change (money counting game)
Math Flashcards
A Montessori approach to Math - Hundred Board Times Tables

Letters and Numbers:

Alphabet and Numbers 1-100


Geo Walk HD
Earth Flags HD
A Life Cycle app
Wonders of the World
Fotopedia Heritage
Surf the Ages (I think it is for middle school)
International Diplomacy World Leaders for iPad
Google Earth

Kids Books:

The Penguins of Madagascar
Miss Spider's Bedtime Story
Green Eggs and Han

Productivity (projects):

Sonic Pics
Sundry notes
Dragon Dictation
Drawing Pad

Are you using ipads in your classroom or school? What do you use them for? What is your favorite way of using technology with your kiddies?!

Animal Fun!

We will be starting our Animal Unit right after our short two day break. I have created a little booklet for the kids to record new vocabulary words they learn. My kids LOVE finding new WOW! words as they like to call them.

Click here to download...enjoy!

Sunday, February 6, 2011

Boys and their success in school...

This is a topic I find extremely interesting. Over the past few years I have thought about the way boys typically behave in the classroom and on the playground. A colleague (and good friend) has done a lot of research on the topic and really got me thinking. What are teachers, administrators and parents doing to ensure boys succeed in school?

One of my students' parents recently shared this short talk with me. Watch it and  let me know what you think...

Flip the letters...!

Classroom management is a BIG part of first grade. I am always looking for new and fun ideas to keep my little ones motivated and on task. Just found this WONDERFUL idea from What the Teacher Wants ( if you haven't been over there to check it out-- you really should!)

  • Mystery Motivator: Cut out the letters of words that spell out a prize for good behavior. Flip them over and hang them up in your classroom. Every time your students get caught having good behavior, they get to flip a letter over. Once all the letters have been flipped, they earn the 'prize' that has been spelled out. Ideas for prizes include: extra recess, quiet free time, Popsicle party, movie and popcorn, etc.
 I can totally imagine my kids (and me - haha) getting really into this idea! It will be like Wheel of Fortune and we will be like Vanna White!!!

How do you keep your students engaged, happy and in check?

Hello and Welcome!!

I've been teaching for a few years now...time is flying by!! I am constantly looking for new and creative ideas to grab AND keep my six and seven year old students' attention. If you are like me I feel like my brain is constantly thinking and planning about school. Teaching is not just a job for me, but a giant part of my life. I have found such wonderful websites and blogs and want to start my own. I hope to share my creations, both successes and failures while being able to continue learning from others as well!
Blog Template by Delicious Design Studio