Sunday, October 28, 2012

Halloween Freebie

 Hi, Friends! How are ya? 

Bracing yourself for a week that includes Halloween right smack, dab in the middle? Yeah, me too! Well, rather than fight it…we’re gonna embrace it!


halloween freebie

…and I got to use Picasa to make another preview file, lol! I’m still LOVIN’ it!

Thanks to all my friends passing through and following A+ Firsties on Facebook. My little page reached 350+ LIKES this week!  I thought I’d share a little of what we’ll be up to this week as a way to say THANK YOU! Whew Hoo!!!!

Have a great week friends and enjoy the freebie!

Wednesday, October 24, 2012

Picasa Previews

This is going to be a quick post, but I am so excited that I won’t be able to sleep if I don’t share what I’ve just learned how to do!

Forgive me. Did I say hi? Hi, Friends!

Now, onto what I’m so excited about! I’ve really enjoyed creating materials to use with my class. Well, I always have, but blogging has definitely helped me to step it up a notch! Making products is fun, BUT holy cow! It can be a lot of work too! Enter a wonderful shortcut for sharing!

Do you create products for TPT or TN? If so, lean in close.  Do you use Picasa to organize your pictures? If not, you won’t want to miss this! (After reading it, you’ll want to!)


I was hanging out in the forums at TPT the other day and read through a thread where a sweet blogger bud suggested using Picasa to create product previews. Can I just go ahead and admit that I had been saving my Powerpoint presentations as jpeg files and then clicking, dragging, resizing, and positioning each one……one by one? Oh yeah,……THAT took!

Enter, the TPT angel with advice…


See that little button that says CREATE PHOTO COLLAGE?  CREATE.PHOTO.COLLAGE?!!! What!?! Presto! Clicko! And voila! You’ve got a photo collage!


No more clicking, dragging, resizing and repositioning one photo at a time! I had a collage in seconds! ANDDDD, the icing on the cake?  You can choose what type of collage you’d like to to use….pile, mosaic, frame…ANDDDDD you can edit it to add text, bring pictures forward or send them to the back.  Yep! It’s just fantastic!


Select the type of collage you want. Create the collage. Export to the folder you save preview files in. A copy will be saved in Picasa as well. Time and sanity saved!  Picasa is a free Google product download to edit and share photos.  I love it!

I love my TPT, bloggy bud for suggesting using it too! Thanks, Martha!

What program do you use to create your previews? Sharing is caring, lol! Ok, I can stop grinning now and head to bed! Have a great Thursday y’all!

Sunday, October 14, 2012

Enrichment & a WINNER

Hi, Friends! How are ya?

We’ve been busy, busy in Room 113. Do you have a set time in your schedule to address enrichment or tutoring? As part of our daily schedule we’re required to enrich the curriculum.  It’s generally when students who have special pull out programs leave the room, so you’re left with an incomplete class group.  Well, what do you do with them?

You can’t introduce anything new because the students who just left will miss it.  You can’t do graded work because then it becomes make up work for the students who’ve been pulled out.  Welllll? You have select students you want to see and make sure to “fill in the gaps”.

In the land of firsties, this time comes during our Math block, so insert Math station activities, HERE!

photo 2 Enjoying “Sum” Play Time

To keep it kid friendly, we simply call this time of day…Math Stations.  As teachers, its enrichment.  To them….it’s one of their favorite times of day because they get to learn through exploration and play.  As adults, we must remember that play IS the work of young children. Learning doesn’t always look like quiet mouths and bodies sitting perfectly at desks in neat rows or table groups.

Generally, after our whole group Math lesson is complete, we clear our desks and move to a Math Station.  We have 6 table groups in our room.  There are 5 activities each week + a station to play math games online.

photo 3 Sorting sums of  7, 8, 9, and 10

If Math runs a little long or the unexpected schedule hiccup occurs, we work in our Math journals or move stations to the next day (and double up), but on a day when everything falls into place, we visit one Math station each day.

The set of activities works for about 12 days.  The first six days, we explore, sort, discuss/use each activity.  For the second set of six days, we do the same activities AGAIN and THEN complete reflection sheets to solidify our learning!

photo 4 Snowman {his name} found an apple.  He got two more apples. 1+2=3

We make cross curricular connections by reading and writing during Math time as well. If the activity proves to be one that won’t take too long to complete, students also have Math related books in their tubs to read and discuss.

I thought writing addition stories might’ve been a little tough BUT they loved it! I walked over to one group last week that visited this station and each of the 4 friends were sitting there scratching their heads, so I asked how I could help.  Then they’re little rep spoke up and said, “We have a problem!”……. Oh, NO!

Surely, this activity wasn’t a mistake?! {Insert BIG SMILE} and then she went on to say that the their problem was how to choose a picture to write about because they were all SOOOO CUTE! Ha! Yep! I love my firsties! THAT was a problem easily solved!

photo 1 Modeling and Sorting Sums of 4, 5, and 6

We  moved this activity to a pocket chart because it was hard to see against the white tile floor.

photo 2 Sorting by number:  Place Value(10-Longs, Units of 1), Standard Form and Word Form

Did you know that even firsties begin learning about the expanded form of numbers? So you can guess what will be included in the next set of activities! And how do I choose what activities we’ll do, you ask?

I monitor what skills we need extended practice on through assessments and observation.  I look at what’s been taught, what’s getting ready to be taught and what in particular they’ve enjoyed learning about.  You’d be surprised at just how vocal firsties can be about their learning!  They like having a say in what they will get to do too. We also have a Math inventory that we must administer at the beginning, middle and end of year that guides choices for this time as well.

And just how does the class feel about their enrichment time?  Well, check out this letter that I found on my desk Friday morning. It’s from one of my former students. I’m a big old softy when it comes to my students and this letter nearly drove me right to tears first thing Friday morning!


Well, if you’ll excuse me, I’ve got a letter to go write! You can check out this little set of activities in my TPT store by clicking the picture below.


Thank you to all of my friends who entered my little Giveaway as part of The Magical Product Swap! Congratulations, Sandra! There’s an email headed your way! Get to shopping, girl! Any two items that you like from my little shop are all YOURS!


Thanks, again! Enjoy your SONday!

Saturday, October 6, 2012

Another GREAT Swapportunity

Hi, Friends! How are ya?! Well, today’s THE day! Another great chance to swap and share! That’s right…the wonderful Mrs. Jessica Stanford is hosting the 2nd Product Swap  and I’m happily joining in the fun!  


Through a wonderful stroke of luck I was paired with the sweet Laura from Peace, Love & First Grade this time.  Her blog is just the cutest and she’s been teaching for 21 years, mostly in first grade!!

Peace, Love, & First Grade

Her products are fun and colorful.  Simple to put together, include great directions, and are easy to use! I loved the product that she shared with me and it was very timely as we’re currently working on addition in the classroom.  It’s perfect for my little classroom of Texans too!  Can you tell why? =)

photo 1

As I prepared this activity for the classroom, I used my own little Texans to help demonstrate its use! Poor teacher’s kids…do they ever really get a day off?

Laura provided two options for this little Add Em’ Up packet.  One was to post the cards throughout the room for students to find and record their answers.  The other was for them to complete it as a sort {and record activity}.  I’ve got 2 kiddos at home, so each chose a different option to demonstrate for you!

The first one pictured is sums of 8 and 9.  My daughter chose to sort them and record her answers.  If I were using this in the classroom, I might provide a pocket chart or tape off a grid using the floor tiles.

photo 3

She created two piles, one for sums of 8 and the other for sums of 9.

photo 4

Sorted by sum…

photo 5

Then recorded her answers, neatly…

My son, chose to “Read to the Room”. So, I posted the cards in different places throughout his bedroom.  It’s not as big as a classroom, by any means, but you’ll get the gist. (And this happy mama snuck in some math facts practice!)

photo 2

He worked with sums of 6 and 7.  There are several differentiated options for recording learning included in this packet as well.

photo 5 
He searched his room to find each math fact. 
photo 1

…and recorded them as he found them! I can just imagine the delight on my firsties faces when we do this in the classroom.  Letting them get up and move works wonders for when its time to sit and settle down some too!

photo 2

And…that’s it! Sweet, simple and to the point! *LOVE*.  Before you go, don’t forget to head over to Laura’s blog to check out the little goodie from my TPT shop that’s she’s reviewing.

To add in all the swapportunity fun….if you like what you saw here or at her blog, consider becoming a follower! Following is a REALLY good thing when it comes to blogging, so that you don’t miss out on any freebies, fun or sharing!

There’s a freebie in it for ya! Choose either or both of the options below and I’ll pick a winner to post on next Saturday.  The prize?  Any two items you’d like from my little TPT shop! Whoo hooo!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Thanks for stopping by and happy blog hopping!


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