Saturday, March 30, 2013

How do you fit it all in? ~Math Stations

I get asked this question a LOT! How do you find the time to fit it all in? So, I thought I’d create a few posts to share parts of our day. I love my firsties and am quite positive I have developed the attention span of a 6/7 year old over the past 4 years, so our activities are attention-grabbing, fun, appropriately paced, and engaging!

We begin math each day with music and movement. Usually, its a song that fits the skill we’re working on or a song to practice counting or skip counting patterns. Jack Hartmann and Ron Brown are our class’ faves!

BUT, then……after our whole group lesson is completed, we move to enrichment or math station time. This is another part of the day that they absolutely crave! During this time, they work in small groups to practice various skills that have been previously taught. I really enjoy being able to bounce from group to group and work more closely with students too.


Math stations are housed on their own little shelf. This is a little different from how I housed them last year. And you’ll also notice, I’m kind of obsessed with color coding. I love myself some ROY G. BIV!

The bucket numbers coincide with our table numbers. We have 6 table groups. 6 stations. The number 3 is taped to the shelf because it is for the computer station, which does not need a bucket. Each week {for computers}, or through each station rotation, students are given a particular website on their 'I CAN…' list to choose a math game from. In each bin is a bucket that contains all the supplies they will need to complete the activity to minimize movement throughout the room.

My I Can lists are formatted to the size of a page, to fit inside the bucket and cover the activity. I also hate clutter and quite frankly, it hides everything out of sight so I don’t have to see it!


We use stations for just a little over two weeks at a time, depending on our schedule. I usually change them out on Tuesdays. Starting the rotation on Tuesday allows for them to work through the activities one at a time each day (2 on Friday), Tuesday through the following Monday (and me time to spend with my family on weekends). It allows me to prep new ones over the weekend and prepare them on Monday. The first week, students only do the activity and discuss it. The second week, they do the same activities with accompanying reflection sheets. When/if an activity is completed before its time to clean up and prepare for lunch, there are books available in each bin for students to read.


Each station has a specific place in the room for students to work that is marked by a simple red number that matches the buckets. Again….I love color coding! =)


We began using this little activity this week to review shapes and Whooooa, Nelly!!! We quickly figured out this was too many cards to use at one time so we changed it up to look a little more like this….


….and after a review in whole group of attributes, we took out the word cards and used just the pictures during our second week in order to reflect, draw, and label. Their drawings were so cute!


We are definitely not tied to desks in our classroom!


And we love to make connections by incorporating story problems and writing too!

The little numbers that you see inside each bin is the table group that visits that station for the day. As part of our clean up routine, one student stands holding up the table number. I grab it and rotate it to the next bucket. The stations are in order from 1 to 6 in what is basically a big circle around the 4 walls of our classroom.

You can find the activities we had so much fun with this week in my TPT store. AND, just for this weekend they {and a few other spring things} will be on sale……so go grab ‘em! Have a great weekend and Happy Easter!  

THAT’s how we fit it all in for Math! How do you use Math stations in your classroom? Do you do math stations? =)


Saturday, March 23, 2013

Five for Friday~Author Study

TGIF, Friends!  How was your week?

This was our first week back following spring break and it was a busy one! Having had a week to relax really made it feel like a long one, but enjoying every single second of our literacy block made it a  little easier to get through!


Our story for the week was Whistle for Willie by Ezra Jack Keats. Peter’s such a fun little guy that reading just one story simply would not do! Enter our first author study…..=)  In room 113, we *LOVE* ourselves some Daily 5 and this week, we had five days jammed packed, full of Ezra Jack Keats! We also used materials from The Paisley Primer’s TPT shop to interact with the stories each day. You can check out her fun packet by clicking here.


We read and responded to the stories in a BIG way! Hehee! Toward the end of the week, after having a chance to read a few stories, students worked in small groups of their choice to respond to a story. 

After reading and discussing the book, students completed one of 5 BIG reading response sheets and then presented it to the class as a group. Talk about huge smiles! They were so proud of their work!

Each group did a fantastic job and listening to them retell the sequence of events for each story helped to practice our comprehension skill for this week a number of times in a number of different ways! {Sneaky teacher, getting in all that EXTRA learning….} I know this pic may be a little hard to see in detail. Come back by soon, I’m working on a post to describe the flow of our literacy block that will include a closer view. =)


Thanks to one of my fab parents, we also began using our brand spankin’ new phonics phones during guided reading! Can you say, YAHOOOOOOOO!!! Things just got a little quieter!

Well, folks…that’s the gist of what went down in our room this week. Check out the letters below to see why you might want to read a few of Ezra Jack Keat’s books for yourself!


Sunday, March 17, 2013

High FIVE!

Hi, Friends!

I’m so excited about all the giveaway fun! My phone has been going crazy with notifications and I’ve been loving every minute of it. YOU ALL are simply the best!  There’s still time left to enter so tell a friend, BUT before you all the excitement, I’ve had to get ready to return to work this week too.  Yes, sadly, spring break has come and gone far too quickly!

Math Stations Mixed Review-001

My kiddos REALLY look forward to our enrichment time (math stations), so I had to whip up a few new activities to review when we return. I’ve just added them to my TPT and TN shops and would LOVE to share! In the spirit of things ‘500’…..I’ll share with 5 friends. If you’re interested, just leave your email below and I’ll email it to the first five!

{Pin away} & have a great day! =)

Friday, March 15, 2013

Happy Bloggy Birthday Giveaway


Have you ever been so busy that you forgot your OWN birthday? Has it really been a year already?!!! I looked at the calendar and realized, my little slice of bloggy pie indeed, has turned 1 year old! How could I have missed that?!

This past year, I’ve been incredibly blessed to have gotten to know and befriended a number of talented teachers that have truly helped me to “step up my game” as a teacher. Within a year’s time, I went from asking “What is a blog?”, to following some really GREAT ones, to starting one of my own! It took 4 blog designs to finally get to the ONE that captures the essence of my classroom. I started out with 2 fantastic followers, Amanda and Krysti, and am simply amazed that there are REAL people out there willing to join in the fun of teaching firsties with me……to just shy of 500 now!  You ALL totally rock!

You can read one of my very first blog posts here. It’s from the day Krysti and I met Jack Hartmann! Looking back helped me to see how far my posts have come! Ha! By far, my post popular post has been about………click here to read it!

My most popular TPT product has been one that I was completely hesitant to make! It helped me to realize to follow my gut and only include items in my store that I would actually use in my classroom. It takes me FOR.EVVVVVER it seems to complete a product, BUT knowing they’re all items that are kid-tested and approved makes it all worth the while! My personal favorite so far is my little fraction unit. We’ll be pulling that one out next week and I can’t wait! We had a total ball with it last year!

              Syllables Slide1


Soooo, in the spirit of all things bloggy goodness…let’s celebrate with a little giveaway fun, shall we?! Now, BOTH the blog and the FB page are just shy of 500 friends, so let’s see if we can tip those numbers right on over the 500 mark! I’ve come to learn that bloggers like nice round numbers {and surpassing them too}, heheee!
I’ll choose 3 winners sometime Sunday afternoon. My fingers and toes are crossed that the 500 mark will be crossed by then!

Winner #1 will receive a $25.00 gift certificate to TeacherspayTeachers.
Winner #2 will receive their choice of any 3 items from my TPT store.
Winner # 3 will receive any 1 item of their choice from my TPT store and a custom decorated clipboard created by one of my very first blog followers, Amanda!
photo 2
Enter to win below!
a Rafflecopter giveaway
So that EVERYONE feels the birthday love, here’s a little goodie for ya that my students *LOVED*! Do you have dice in dice? If not, go get some! They’re fun and reduce the need for two dice to play math games. It’s always good to mix up the manipulatives a bit!    

photo 1
photo 2

Give each student one di to shake and roll. They look down into the di and use the two “tops” to write an addition sentence, then a related subtraction sentence next to it, using the recording sheet below. Shake, rattle and rolllll!

diceindice addition

Thanks for following along, friends! It’s been a fantastic year!

Sunday, March 10, 2013

Let’s Get Acquainted Linky Fun

‘Twas the night before spring break and all through the house, no kids are sleeping. They’re so loud, I’m sure they’d scare a mouse! I shrug my shoulders and do not care because I’m joining a fun linky and tomorrow we’re going NO WHERE! Hahaaaa! =)


Latoya’s been thinking of a linky so I thought I’d join in and help her get started. Linky parties are always fun ways to meet and get to know new friends. This one came with one fun rule…

Share 3 things about yourself that you like or like to do using your initials.
…so here we go! My initials are TSD.
T.......I was sitting next to my sister and asked what the T should stand for and she blurted out TALK before I could even finish my sentence! Grrrr……So, I guess I’ve kinda got the gift of gab, lol! I like to talk, chit chat away, converse, …..=)…..with people I trust. I’m pretty quiet around people that I don’t know well, but once I open up….I’m very talkative, super silly, and *LOVE* to laugh. After a dose of Benadryl, I’m REALLY talkative and so I’ve been told (Pre-TTY darn funny}, lol!
S…….say cheese! I *LOVE* snapping pictures even more than I love talking! Snapshots capture our memories. They’re a permanent record of times we’ve shared, important things we’ve created…the capturing of a moment in time that we’ll never experience again.  If there’s a camera around, count me in!
D……doodle. I *LOVE* to draw.
We use directed drawings, graphic organizers, and anchor charts in the classroom a lot. My two best friends or handy dandy “go-to” things are a blank sheet of paper with a pencil or sharpie. If I can’t find what I’m looking for, I whip one out and draw it or we collectively use drawing to reflect on our learning.  In math, 3D shapes. Reading, graphic organizers. Science, minibook foldables….and the list goes on and on!


Stop by Latoya’s blog to get to know a few bloggers a little better! Happy spring break y’all! =)

Friday, March 8, 2013

Five For Friday

Hi~ya friends! TGIF! Guess what?! I bought a camera! A real camera! I’ve been using my iphone’s camera for the last few years and took a lot of ALL of my blog’s pics with it too. Well, if you’ve visited A+ Firsties in the last few weeks, you know my phone has been pitching fits and refusing to cooperate any longer, sooooo I bought an actual camera. It’s nothing big or fancy, but I can already tell the difference between it and my phone’s pics.


Today we wrapped up our focus on geometric shapes. We’ve had a lot of fun with them. As my friends were wrapping up the calendar routine, I shopped around our classroom for a few real-world examples to play a guessing game. One student was selected to come forward and stick their hand in the bag without looking. They then had to give the class clues for them to guess the figure they were touching. It kinda went a little something like….“It has 5 faces and a point at the top.  What figure is it?”

After a few rounds of guess my figure and dancing to Jack Hartmann’s Shake Your Shape, we created a grid using our carpet. Want to know the funniest thing about our shapes discussion? When I asked my students what the difference between a 2D shape and 3D figure was….their immediate response? A 2D shape is flat, Jack! Lol!!!! Do you think I’ve watched one too many episodes of Duck Dynasty?

HA! I love some Uncle Si!!!! *LOVE* But I may want to work on keeping his language out of my math lessons from now on….=)

I really love an opportunity to practice listening and following directions {wink, wink} Getting the kiddos up and moving to actively learn is also a must. Before trying to find a point on a grid on paper, a friend was positioned at 0 and provided directions to follow in order to find a figure on the grid aka our classroom carpet. We did this a few times. Once they really got the hang of it, a student then listened for directions to move from one object to another.

For instance, the student giving directions would tell the student moving along the grid to start at 0, move up 2 and right 2. By following those directions the student would’ve found the sphere.


I went to work heavy hearted and in need of a genuine word of encouragement. One thing that always changes my mood for the better, is getting inside the classroom amongst my little lovebugs.  Today was no exception. Just as I began to prep for the day, I found this sweet gift on my table.


It was a perfect gift…


….and just what I needed. Receiving the message from a student made it totally special.


A little retail therapy after school to start my summer wardrobe didn’t hurt either! Have a great weekend!


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