Monday, November 10, 2014

Quick, Easy Prep Synonym and Antonym Activity

It was a great day in first grade! So great, in fact, that I decided I might dust off this ol' blog and write about some of the fun we've been having!

This week is our "off" week from the Journeys reading series. Every 5 weeks we have a unit test, so we take the week to review skills from the unit. I love this week because I have a lot more flexibility with what we do during our reading time! 

Today I needed a quick activity to review synonyms and antonyms. I wanted an activity to get the kids up and working on something other than a worksheet.

I had everyone choose a word from a brown paper bag. Then, they got up around the room and found the antonym for their word. 

I LOVE how engaged they are when we do things like this, even something as simple as this, and they get so into it. 

The antonym pairs then became partners and they were given a piece of copy paper and a slip of paper with a synonym pair. Told ya' this was easy prep!

The partners folded the paper in half and each kiddo took a word. They wrote the word at the top and then illustrated it. It was a fun review! I hung these up in the room, but I forgot to take a picture of them all together. Really, I'm pretty impressed with myself for even taking a picture at all, so we'll go with this for now! 

If you'd like to try this with your class I'll make it even easier for you, click here and you can download my word pairs! 

Before I go I have one more thing to share. Have you downloaded this FREE game from Teacher Tam? It's a Gobble card game and my kids are loving it! 

Happy teaching, friends! 

Wednesday, August 27, 2014

First Grade is Like a Roller Coaster

Several times this week on the drive home from school I've thought about how first grade is like a roller coaster. There are so many highs and lows in any given day that it can be dizzying at times. 

It is the most fun I've ever had at school and it is terrifying at the same time. I don't know if I'm doing it right and in the end I'm responsible for teaching these little kiddos how to read. Everybody put your hands up and scream!!! 

My sweet little first graders ride an emotional roller coaster. 

I love first grade. You are an awesome teacher. I want to stay in first grade forever. 

I need to be home. I want to go home. Is it time for snack? 

This is so much fun. Is it almost time to go home? Glue is so fun!

And it goes on and on. This has been my first experience with all these fluctuating emotions. I've just been soaking it all in and trying to help my firsties along the way! 

I ride an emotional roller coaster. 

I think I can do this, I've got this covered. 

I get up to teach and I realize that, even though I'm teaching number sense, I really didn't think this one through all the way and the lesson is a flop. Great. Need to rethink this one. Then I hear, "Mrs. Slemp, you're an awesome teacher." Maybe I can do this! 

Then there are those students who make bad choices. There are tears and hurt feelings. I hate that part. 

On the other hand, some make great choices that make me so proud of them! 

One day I am a focused planning machine. 

The next day my desk looks like this. Just like it did last Friday after school 

And I can't put together two coherent thoughts and I'm checking my email, looking on pinterest for ideas, and browsing TPT, all while juggling my teacher's edition in my lap and a sweet tea in my hand. This is my way of coping when I don't know what to it all! haha 

This new experience has essentially put back in the place of a brand new teacher. Even though I've been at this for going on 9 years now, I'm in a new world now.

That's scary at times, but mostly exciting. I love that I'm in a profession where change, a drastic change, is possible. 

I am thankful that I am getting a chance to ride the first grade roller coaster with 21 awesome little people! I know I'm going to learn just as much as they are this year. 

Friday, August 22, 2014

Getting in the First Grade Groove {Five for Friday}

Fri-DAY!! Don't ya just love Fridays? Of course this one was busy, busy because I've been back to my over planning ways and we were trying to finish up everything this afternoon! 

I'm linking up with Doodle Bugs Teaching to share some randomness from our week! 

Did you shop any this week during the TPT Boost sale? I did a little too much shopping! Don't tell my husband...sshhh! 

I bought this Math Journal set from Jessica Hursh - The Teacher Talk. I was a little apprehensive about interactive notebooks in first grade, but after trying a few of these activities I'm sold and the kids are too. I wish I could've recorded all those sweet little voices counting away! 

We added some marshmallows just for fun. Mini marshmallows make math better! My kiddos aren't so happy about math, so I'm working on playing it up and hoping to change those ideas. 

Here is one of my favorite TPT finds for first grade - Daily Quick Math from my VA girl, Alisa at FirstGradeFunTimes. We started using them this week and my kids loved them!! The foldable style was very appealing to my kiddos and when we finished them today everyone wanted to know if we'd have another one next week! 

Alisa also has Daily Quick Writes made in this style and those were just right for our morning warm up! Check 'em out! 

These pictures are actually from last that cheating on Five for Friday? They are so fun I just had to share! 

We did a study on Fairy Tales and for these masterpieces we talked about the setting of the story, then drew it, and added in the characters. 

Cheater, cheater, pumpkin eater! I'm doing it again! 

Retelling the Three Billy Goats Gruff was by far my kiddos favorite activity! I had so much fun with it too because I got to eaves drop on all those cuties trip trapping with their partners! 

The Dollar Tree is my new best friend. I'd shopped it before for supplies, but now I dig through all the cards and supplies there searching for things I can add to my arsenal. I turned this Pooh card game into a whole class number match up - a nice fix for the Friday afternoon wiggles! 

What are some of your favorite Dollar Tree finds? What do I need to put on my shopping list? 

Monday, August 18, 2014

No Sew Curtains, Class Brochure, and Work Display {Monday Made It}

This post has been a long time coming! I wanted to back up a show you three very last minute projects I put together the weekend before school started.

I'm linking up with Tara over at Fourth Grade Frolics for her fabulous Monday Made It linky.

The weekend before school started I decided I need to jazz up the curtains in my room. Not the best idea, let me just tell you! BUT I am really happy with the end result! 

The pennant banner on the left came from my old classroom and I felt like it didn't quite fit in on these smaller windows, so I needed a change. 

I love how this has almost a stained glass look at certain times in the day. It really boosted the color in my room. 

So how did I do it? 

I cut strips of fabric 2.5" wide and 21" long and just tied them onto a tension rod. My windows are about 50" and I have 39 strips of fabric on each one, just to give you a little idea. 

It was a quick and easy project that really made a big impact on the look of my room. 

I made brochures for parents to pick up at Open House. 

My next project was super easy and inspired by this pin

It's hard to see it in these pictures, but the yard sticks are spray painted purple to match my rock chair and the clothes pins are black. This is going to make displaying student work so easy! 

How do you display student work? 

Friday, August 15, 2014

Five Favorite Activities for the First Days of First Grade {Five for Friday}

We finished our eighth day of school today! I dreaded going back so early, but now that we are in the swing of things I'm glad we've already got those first few days under our belts. Did I mention I'm in love with my little first graders? Oh my, I can't remember when I've had so much fun at work!

I wanted to give you a look at some of my favorite activities we've done over the past few days and what better way to do that thank linking up with Doodle Bugs Teaching?

I'd read so many blog posts about having play dough on students' desks the first morning and it sounded like so much fun so I just had to try it. It was a HUGE success! The kids were so engaged and didn't mind at all to let go of mommy and daddy and start playing. I still have a little guy who asks if we can play with play dough! 

We read First Day Jitters and did some of the activities from Abby's Fun with Firsties pack.

I used this adorable pitcher a student gave me last year for our Jitter Juice. Yes, it was pink because I procrastinated! I didn't pick up the ingredients until the night before school started and it was late and the small grocery store I stopped at didn't have Hawaiian Punch, so Kool Aid works just as well...ya know, in case you ever need that little bit of info!

We had so much fun with Pete the Cat!! I'd never really "met" Pete until this Summer and I was so excited to share him with my new firsties! We read the book, sang the song maaanny times, and drew ourselves in our school shoes for a class book. 

That adorable coloring sheet and a class book cover were FREE at TPT! Click here if you want to pick it up. 

We read this book and used it as a springboard for a talk about making new friends and keeping old ones, too! 

A few days before school started I stumbled upon this fantastic little book about the beginning of the year. Each child in this class makes a wish about the school year. Just like in the book we all sat in a circle and told about our wishes for first grade and then they all drew a picture to illustrate their wish. After that we all sat back down in a circle again and we all spent some time sharing and getting to know one another. 

If you'd like to do this activity with your class just click the picture above for a freebie. I created sheets for K-4. 

Thanks for stopping by and I hope you have a blessed weekend! 

Wednesday, August 13, 2014

Come On In and Visit My Classroom

I've officially made it through a week of First Grade! Last week before Open House I snapped a few pictures of my new classroom and I'm so excited to get to share them with you all!

The calendar has already changed, twice, but this is my favorite corner of the room because it is so colorful! 

My room isn't complete without my bouquet of freshly sharpened pencils from my sister! 

One of the windows and our brick wall view, but I am so thankful to have two windows..I'll take it! 

Keepin' it real here. These are all the trade books I have in my classroom! Remember I came from 4th grade and I had a nice size 4th grade library, but I had almost nothing for 1st grade! I'm already working on my first Scholastic order of the year. This area needs some work....labels on the book bins and a little more sorting will help things. 

The guided reading area and shared classroom supplies on the blue shelf. 

Brag Tag board! 

I promise you when I stand in my room and look at my desk it just doesn't hit me as being such a hot mess as it does in this picture. I don't know what's going on here...oh well! That huge cabinet can't be moved and it's the only place I hd to store my teacher materials so it was the logical choice for my desk. 

Our coat closet that opens up toward the car rug. The kiddos keep their lunch boxes on the blue cabinet on the other side and the mailboxes are on the yellow counter. 

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