Five Little Pumpkins

If you are needing a last minute Halloween activity for tomorrow, here is something that I did last week.  I passed out the poem, "Five Little Pumpkins."
Click to download
We read it a couple of times and I introduced quotation marks.  After giving some examples of quotation marks, I passed out each of the quotes from the pumpkins in speech bubbles.
Click to download
I gave each student a 12x18 piece of construction paper and 5 orange squares, about 4x4.  The students drew a fence, cut out and decorated their pumpkins, and glued on the speech bubbles to illustrate their poems.

I know that tomorrow will be cr-a-zy with it being Halloween and "Book Character Day" at school!!!  It will be an organized chaos kind of day :)

November Fluency Packet

My November Fluency Passages are completed and uploaded to Teacher's Notebook and Teachers Pay Teachers. 

If you are unfamiliar with the Fluency Passages, you can get more information here and see how I use them in my classroom.
Here are the samples for each week.

Fairy Tales
Click on the picture to download

Native Americans
Thanksgiving and Veteran's Day
For the Thanksgiving and Veteran's Day week, I have included 3 Thanksgiving passages and 2 Veteran's Day passages.  Since Thanksgiving is a short week and we get Veteran's Day off, I combined these two topics.
You can purchase the entire month long packet, or I have uploaded each individual week onto Teacher's Notebook and Teachers Pay Teachers, if there is one particular topic you are interested in.

Clipart from these passages are from ThistleGirl Designs and Scrappin Doodles


Wow.  I just cannot seem to find the time to get any posts written lately.  I am still working on some follow up things from my last post about Small Group Reading and I hope to have that up eventually ;)
This week, we are discussing spiders.  We have read some great books.

Next, we came up with ideas for Spiders can, spiders have, and spiders are.

Click to download

We used these for our writing. 

Click to download

 After students completed their writing, I painted their hands to make handprint spiders.
 We also made an adjective and verb chart, inspired by Cara at The First Grade Parade.

Tomorrow, we will be making some fun spider hats.  If I get a chance, I'll try and post a picture.

Teaching Reading with Small Groups

Quite a few years ago when we became a Reading First school, our Reading Coach talked a lot about flexible grouping during small group reading lessons.  It took me a while to really figure out how to make this work in my classroom.  I kept wanting to make myself a group during small group time, but this did not allow for flexible grouping {grouping that changes very frequently, even daily if needed, based on your student's needs}.  I finally discovered that if I take myself out of the groups I created for Work Stations (centers) then I could pull any students that I wanted over to my small group table.  
This was a great change, however, I still had a hard time figuring out which skills each student really needed to work on and I found myself always having the students read and discuss books or reviewing the weekly phonics skills that was taught during whole group instruction.  
Anyways, long story short, two years ago I created this binder.

I just changed the cover yesterday to add some cuteness ;)
Inside of this binder, I have sheet protectors with paper inserts of all of the phonemic awareness and phonics goals for my 1st graders. 

Sorry. I don't know why it loaded sideways.
   I write all of my students names on small Post-It notes and place them on the first page, which is letter names.  I start off the year by calling small groups over and making sure that my students know all of their letter names.  Once a child knows all the letter names, I move their post it to the next section of phonemic awareness (rhyme and alliteration). I have now created a new small group that I will work on these skills.  If a child has mastered rhyme and alliteration, their post it will be moved to the next section (sentence segmenting).  You will find that many of your students will move quickly through the phonemic awareness sections, but others will get stuck at one or two.  This is why this is so helpful, because now you know what to focus on for these particular students and you also know that those that have moved on, truly have these skills mastered.

These students have mastered all of the phonemic awareness sections and they have moved onto the phonics sections.
This allows me to pull over 4 or 5 students that all need to work on words with short a, for example.  Usually during small group time, I will work on a phonemic awareness or phonics skill and then we will do some guided reading or some other type of reading work.
Also, behind each sheet protector with the skill, I have 3 hole punched a two pocket folder that contains materials that I need in order to teach that particular skill. 
Another sideways picture
Here are the progression sheets that I used. (These were based off of the 1st grade Treasures Reading Series, so they may not fit your needs.)  If you have a different set of phonics skills, email me the progression of your phonics and I can get those made for you.
Click to download
The download also includes recording sheets for letter names and letter sounds.  For example:
Reading back through this post, I'm not sure that it was all clear enough.  Feel free to ask questions if you have them.

More Bat Activities

One of my favorite bat activities to do every year is to tell students the number of mosquitoes that one bat can eat in an hour... 600!  If that doesn't make you love bats, I don't know what will!!  Then I put students into 6 groups, give each group 100 mosquitoes to cut out, and a paper plate.  Each group cuts out 100 mosquitoes and glues them to the plate.

 This is such a great {and disgusting} visual.  You can download 100 mosquitoes by clicking here.
We also talked about the size of bats.  The smallest bat is the Bumblebee Bat with a 5 inch wingspan and the largest is the Flying Fox with a 6 foot wingspan.  We measured these two lengths and cut yarn to show them.

 If you want the signs for these lengths and for the mosquitoes, click here.
Next,we wrote about the things we have learned about bats.  We filled out a graphic organizer first, then transfered it to our final draft.  Click here for these pages.
I love this one, "Bats are the best thing that ever happened to me."  Too cute! 
 Tomorrow we will be playing a fun game outside that is very similar to Marco Polo.  One or two students will be blindfolded {bats} and the other students will be walking around them {mosquitoes.}  The bats will call out "Echo" and the mosquitoes will call out "Location."  The bats will have to tag the mosquitoes.  The kids love this and it really makes that great vocabulary word, echolocation, stick in their little brains.

New Blog - Classroom Freebies

Give me an F.  Give me an R.  Give me an E.  Give me another E.  What's that spell?  FREE!!!  Who doesn't love freebies?!  Well, if you do, there is a great new blog to check out.
This blog was created by Charity Preston of The Organized Classroom.  Every post on this blog includes a freebie for you.  You can even click on sections that are broken down into PreK-2, 3-5, 6-8, and 9-12.  Head on over and check it out!


I love teaching my students about bats.  I think they are such  interesting animals.  It's so much fun to discuss the truths and myths about bats.  Many of my students start off the week being scared of bats and by the end, they love them and know how important bats are to our ecosystem.  Even my 4 year old always says that bats are her friends because they eat bugs ;)
Today, we started off by making a list of things that we wonder about bats.
Then I drew a quick chart on the board saying "Is a bat a bird?"  I passed out a small Post-It to each student and had them write either "yes" or "no."  Then they went up and placed their answer on the board.

{I thought I took a picture of this chart, but I guess not.}  More of my students thought that "Yes" bats were birds.  I think it was 13 - 7, so they were very surprised to find out the real answer.  We discussed the reasons why bats are not birds.
Next, we read this book.

It's very informative with great pictures.  Finally, we returned to our seats to discuss some of the things that we have already learned about bats.

If you would like a sheet for your students to fill out while you complete the group chart, click below.

Here are some more books that we will be reading this week.

Stop back by this week and check out some of the other activities we will doing about bats.
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