Thursday, July 24, 2014

Apple Math! Math Games for the beginning of the year!

Last fall I was inspired by a field trip to the pumpkin patch to make some math games that I "creatively" called Pumpkin Math.

They were a fun way to tie in pumpkins to our math block and they were a big hit in my classroom.

Thinking along those same lines, I wanted to make something for the month of September that was similar. We learn all about apples and Johnny Appleseed at the beginning of the year, so I thought I would make 6 more math games and title it, Apple Math! Again... the creative juices must have been flowing when I thought of these titles ;)

Since I will be using these centers and games at the beginning of the year, I made them to align with what we will be teaching at that time.

Here is an example of the activity, Adding Apples!

There are 18 different task cards in which students add red and green apples to find sums within 10. There is also a recording sheet for them to record their answers. I included the little apples for students to use as manipulatives, but I also know I have some cute apple buttons and pom-poms at school that my kids will love to use!

Another activity is our book of story problems:

We work on story problems all year long so my students can get used to the real world application of math. It also gets them used to solving the problem, showing their work, and writing the equation. These are addition and subtraction within 10 and are a great starting point for story problems at the beginning of the year.

These are just 2 of 6 different activities for students to complete. To read about the others, just click HERE!

This unit as well as ALL my other math units are on sale for the rest of the day!
Happy Christmas in July!

Tuesday, July 22, 2014

Making Inferences Lessons and some FREEBIES!

Last year, I taught inferencing for quite some time. With such an emphasis on close reading, I wanted my students to read between the lines, to dig deeper, and to find out the answer to the question, "what is the author really trying to say?!" 

I spent a lot of time researching and reading picture books to find ones that would work well for my class. After test-driving each of these, I continuously referred back to them when discussing inferring and so did my kids.

These four books made for great focus lessons when we were learning what an inference is and how to make one! We started with a clear definition of an inference:
This helped guide us in our lessons.

After we defined an inference, I started by reading Duck on a Bike by David Shannon. It is a simple book with interesting illustrations and my 6 & 7 year olds just love that this duck is riding a bike. It's the simple things....

I read most of the story normally. Letting my kids take in the illustrations and giggle at what was happening in the story. Then, we came to this page towards the end of the story:

I made quite the point to say, "WOW, it seems that David Shannon didn't write any words on this page! Do you think he wants us to just skip it?!?!?!" (Imagine it being said in the most teachery "I'm making a point here" type of way). 

Most of my kids just look at me all crazy, but they know the answer is "no!" of course we don't skip the page! I let them know that this is the perfect time to make an INFERENCE! What is David Shannon trying to tell us on this page?! What are the animals thinking!? My students look at their facial expressions, they use their schema and what they've already learned from the text to create their own inference as I record them on the board. It is perfect.

The next day, I review with my students what we learned:
Just because the author didn't write anything on a page, he might still be trying to tell us something! I then let them know they will be challenged to make another inference today and we read, The Stray Dog by Marc Simont.

You can make lots of inferences in this book. I tell my students that while I am reading they can put their thumb up in front of them if they have an inference to make. I look around after each page and if a student has an inference and can back it up with their schema and evidence from the text, we write it on the board. There are plenty of pages in this book without any words so many of my kids know they will have to make an inference on those pages. However, I also like to stop on pages like this:
Here there are clearly words, but there is also something the illustrations are letting us know. I ask my students aloud, "Hmmm... Willy was in a big hurry... why was he in such a hurry?" and they all say "Duh, Mrs. Jones, he's in a hurry because that man has net and is trying to catch him!"

I challenge them and say, "Yes, it seems you might be right but Marc Simont didn't SAY that! Where is it in the text?!? HOW do you know this?!" That is when they give me evidence from the story and what they know using their schema to prove their answers to me. I then let them know that they are all little geniuses and to be proud of themselves because they were making inferences that whole time without even knowing it! Now, they make lots of inferences on purpose.

I made this little freebie page to help us document our inferences. I use it a lot when I am first teaching the skill so my students can really draw what they see on the page. They can show me their evidence:
I have them include their inference in the writing portion at the bottom using our inference "equation" [schema + evidence = inference].

The other 2 books I included on my list are two Mo Willems books, Don't Let the Pigeon Drive the Bus! and I Love my New Toy! If your 1st graders are anything like mine, then they are obsessed with the genius that is Mo Willems. You can make so many inferences in these books to determine how the characters are feeling and Mo Willems does a great job with his illustrations to allow the students to see the facial expressions of the characters and find the evidence in the text to support their inferences.

I also included in my freebie two pages from my Mo Willems author study that highlight the skill of inferring:

Once my kids become pros at inferring, we start practicing the skill in short stories that don't have illustrations. I create fiction passages in my close reading units that deliberately require students to infer and provide evidence to support their answers! It is amazing to see their growth throughout the year and watch them turn into thoughtful, purposeful readers.

Thanks for sticking with me through this never ending post! To download any of the freebies, just click the images of them above!

What are some of your favorite books for teaching inferences?!

Saturday, July 19, 2014

First Week of School Activities and a FREEBIE!

My first day of school is in less than one month. 29 more days.

The countdown is on.

It is not as exciting as the countdown that happens at the end of the year, but I know a new school year is just around the corner, so I might as well start getting excited!

(No worries, I am not a freak... I fully intend to enjoy every.last.second of my summer as well)

As the new year approaches, I wanted to get my mind (and printer) ready for those first days of school. I opened up my files and VOILA I found my first week fun unit.

It is always a hit and helps my new batch of first graders get to know one another and their classroom better.

There was only teensy weensy problem. The unit needed some major updating! It was actually one of the first units I ever uploaded to TPT, so please forgive the old looks and say HHHEEEELLLOOOO to a new look:

This product has all the same great material. It is just updated with some new clipart! I also added a few new activities that your students are sure to love.

Here is a part of the mini-book my students complete throughout the week:

It also still includes one of my favorite activities that we complete after we read My Mouth is a Volcano! by Julia Cook. It is a must at the beginning of the year!

There are 11 total activities for your students to complete during those first weeks of school. The list is as follows:
- My new class mini-book (boy and girl version)
- Writing response: “One important class rule is….”
- All About Me! Brainstorming map
- Things I am good at! Brainstorming map
- Ice breaker: “Find someone…”
- Partner activity: Classroom Checklist!
- Library Exploration: My Book Hunt!
- This Year vs. Last Year Venn Diagrom
- Summer personal narrative – organizers and writing paper
- Things I love about my new class – organizer and writing paper
- “My Mouth is a Volcano!” craft and writing activity

 I also decided to make one of the new additions to the unit a FAN FREEBIE on my facebook page. This is a classroom checklist for you students to complete with a partner. It is a fun way for them to get to know the classroom and their surroundings a little better!

In order to grab your own copy of the checklist, make sure you click the picture above and it will send you to my facebook page. When you are there you will click on "Fan Freebie" shown below:
 If you already like my facebook page it will take you to the freebie! If you don't like my FB page yet, you just click "like" and then it will take you to it! EZ-PZ!

Also don't forget, if you already purchased this item, just re-download it on TPT and you will get the new version!

Have a happy, happy weekend everyone!

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