Monday, April 30, 2012

More Looking for Long Vowels...Digraphs!

Here is the latest addition to my long vowel activities.  This activity can be completed independently or with other students.  There is a separate worksheet for each long vowel sound and digraphs, which makes differentiation fairly easy.  I designed the activity to meet the needs of my first grade students in the Words Their Way middle vowels category; however the activity also lends itself to enhancing and supporting the skill sets introduced in our class reading curriculum.  My goal with these activities is to make my students more aware of what they are reading, and to help them practice both the silent 'e' and digraph spelling patterns.  My next step is to design another level of activities that requires the students to apply what they have learned in both reading and writing.  Let me know what you think, and if anyone might try using these with their students.
Here is a sample~

You can download all 5 vowel sheets here

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Thursday, April 26, 2012

Great Pyramids Spelling

Here is another spelling activity that my students have been doing most of the year.  I had heard of spelling pyramid activities before, but my first graders needed a visual in order to complete the activity correctly.  This double sided worksheet has worked great.  Since using this, they are also able to spell in other shapes as well; such as a diamond and reverse pyramid. 

You can download the Great Pyramids worksheet here .

I am still working on some more long vowel search activities, as well as another word building and changing activity.  As soon as I pull something together, I will post it for download.  If anyone has an ideas for improvements, I would love to hear them!

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Tuesday, April 24, 2012

Spelling Tests!

So many spelling tests and so little time!  As I continue to work through the Words Their Way methods, I wanted a way for both my students and I to get the most out of our weekly spelling tests.  I first tried basic writing paper, but found that I needed something that was easier to look at and grade.  I then tried a few different spelling test forms I found online, but none of them seemed to give me everything I wanted.  I decided I wanted something that would be easy to correct, provide students with additional practice space when needed, and a parent/guardian component.  Since I couldn't find what I needed, I made one!  So far, I love this form.  I have even had the form printed on different colors for each group of kids and their sort.  Doing this has helped me so much to stay organized.  The best part is, I know if parents & guardians are seeing the test each week.

You can download the Spelling Test herePin It

Monday, April 23, 2012

Looking for Long Vowels

This is an activity I designed to help my first graders recognize and decode long vowel/silent 'e' words when reading.  The students either use their current guided reading text or decodable book.  As they read, they search for words, and as they find them they write them down under the correct vowel.  I have found that the students pay more attention to what they are reading, rather than quickly skimming over difficult or unfamiliar words.  Since the long vowel/silent 'e' is an important element in first grade, this has proved to be an excellent activity for extra practice.

You can download the Looking for Long Vowels worksheet here
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Sunday, April 22, 2012

United States Symbols Book Cover

Earlier this year, my first and second grade students completed a Social Studies unit on United States symbols and landmarks.  The students completed projects and graphic organizers for the various places and things, and then compiled all of their work into a book.  I wanted the cover to be different from those of other classes, so I asked the students to help come up with an idea.  We came up with several ideas, and then voted as a class.  (Of course I turned the vote into a Social Studies lesson and a math/graphing lesson - wouldn't want to miss a potential teaching moment!).  The cover isn't overly flashy, but it was student created, which makes it so much more important to the kids. 

Each student traced 3 stars and layered them on the front of the cover.  I printed off title and name labels, and the kids cut and pasted them into place.  That was it!  It turned out so clean and patriotic!Pin It

Saturday, April 21, 2012

Flip, Slide, Turn! (again)

My second grade mathematicians have been working on some tricky geometric concepts: flip, slide, and turn.  This is not an original idea, but I'm sharing it because it truly worked for my 2nd grade students.  One of my team members did this activity, and I liked it so much I wanted to give it a try.  I'm so glad that I did, because the kids enjoyed completing the activity.  I had the students start by cutting out six hands.  We then practiced each of the concepts a few times as a whole group before I set them loose to glue and label.  Good luck!

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Friday, April 20, 2012

Easy Words Their Way Idea

As I've become more familiar with the Words Their Way program, I've discovered the need to become more efficient.  With students working in numerous different word sorts, I wanted to find a way to limit the amount of copies I was making.  I decided to make permanent copies of my word lists, so that I wasn't being wasteful, and so that the students could easily find their materials.  I made 10 copies of each sort and had them laminated.  Each sort has its own file folder, which helps with the organization piece, and the students' responsibility in caring for our materials.  These sorts are stored in a file crate, along with countless folders of spelling activities.  When I assign an activity to a particular student, they go to the file and get it themselves, which has saved me on set up time and space.  So far, this has worked great!  I have reusable materials that both the students and I can locate when needed.

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Saturday, April 14, 2012

Plants and Animals in the Springtime ...

I have been away from the blog for a bit, but I'm fired up and ready to get back to work!  So much has been going on in our classroom and at home, the blogging had to take the back seat for a short time. 

Our class has been studying Plants and Animals in science, and we follow the 2nd grade Foss Science curriculum.  The kids have been so excited about every aspect of the unit!  We have grown grass, alfalfa, wheat, oats, and plant cuttings, and just this past Thursday, we planted terrariums.  By the second day, we had sprouts!  It has been a good time for all of us, especially since we have worked hard to incorporate parts of the science unit into literacy and math as well.  As an extension activity the week we focused on the parts of a plant and their jobs, the kids made potted plants out of construction paper.  The front is a beautiful plant, while the back is a diagram.  At the end of the activity, the students were given labels.  They then had to label the various parts of the plant.  Since we hang all of our projects from the ceiling, this double sided project worked great.  Here is an example:

I used online coloring pages to create tracers.  The students came up with the idea to make it a "double flower" on top.  They each cut out 2 petal pieces, and then glued the stem between them.  When they attached the petals, they did not line them up perfectly, but "in the spaces", which made the flowers quite attractive. 

Here is a pic of the first plants the kids planted.  We "mow" the grass once a week, and take measurements.  We also make predictions for how much the plants will grow.  We have even gone outside of the curriculum and started experimenting with different locations and amounts of water to see what happens.  Their enthusiasm for this unit inspires me! 

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