February 2014 - Susan Jones Teaching

Spring is *ALMOST* here... right?!

With tomorrow being March, I was so so hopeful that the winter season was coming to a close and warmer weather was on the way..... then I woke up and heard that there is another storm coming this weekend...


Oh well. Just saying March makes me feel a little more cheery :)

I have been working on a few different Spring themed products to prepare for the season, but I wanted to quickly share some resources that I will be using these upcoming months:

Opinion writing!
It isn't spring themed, but our informational writing unit is coming to an end and opinion writing is right around the corner.
In this unit, my kids first learn what an opinion is. Then, they practice expressing their opinion through some fun "would you rather??" type games. Then it is on to writing and defending their opinions. We finish the unit by talking about persuasion and write a few letters to our parents and our principal.

We will be getting this icky critters soon enough and I created this unit last year to help us record our learning with these little buggers. I also added plenty of math, reading, and writing activities so we could have a whole themed few weeks of learning.

Writing through the Spring!
I use these seasonal prompts all year long. They are perfect for independent writing centers, crafts/writing projects for our Friday "fun days", or bulletin board writing to display. Each of these seasonal writing packs include the same type of templates for narrative, informative, and opinion writing so once students learn how to do it once, they can complete these each season independently.

April, April, April... come on April! I love teaching poetry and my kids produced the cutest poems last year with this pack. Free verse and form poems are included in this unit and I already can't wait to make our poetry bulletin board.

Close Reading for Spring!
After my kids "killed it" with our winter pack, spring is coming out next week. My kids LOVE these packs now. They are so simple and straightforward. My 1st graders can really, really do it! It took awhile... all year in fact... but I am SO proud of my little guys n gals.

Last but not least, I am completing this little project SOON.
After butterflies, we will be working on plants! This unit is set up the same way as my butterfly unit and will contain science, reading, writing, and math activities that are all aligned to the Common Core.

I am so excited to work on these units these next few months. They are all bright and cheery and remind me how far my students have come this year. I know it is only February, but this last part of the year always seems to FLY by and before you know it, it will be time for Summer and I will be crying as my kids leave for break! Oh lawdy - am I getting emotional already?!


Close Reading in 1st Grade - Spring Edition

For more information about how I run close in reading in my 1st grade classroom, click HERE and you can read all about it!

A few days ago, I put the finishing touches on my Close Reading - Spring unit and I wanted to share a couple passages from the pack!

I am currently on February vacation - YAHOO - and quite honestly with the mounds and mounds of snow, it doesn't feel like Spring is anywhere close. However, I know in some parts of the country the temps are rising, so I wanted to get this pack out sooner rather than later.

This unit is set up the same way as my Close Reading - Winter pack.

It has a few pages explaining how I do close reading in my classroom as well as a few generic close reading practice sheets that can be used on books/poems/passages of your choice. There are 5 non-fiction passages  and 5 fiction passages, each with vocabulary and comprehension text-dependent questions.

The nonfiction passages include:
Flowers Bloom
Pet Rabbits
Thunder & Lightning
Monarch Butterflies

Sneak Peek:

We use lots of circle, highlighting, and arrows to prove our thinking!

The fiction passages include:
Hippity, Hoppity - a story about a bunny that helps his frog friend overcome a fear
Rainy Day Fun - a story about a boy who grows restless after it has rained for 5 days in a row
Let's Fly a Kite - a fantasy story about a boy and his magical secret
Check out my Bug Collection - a story about 2 girls who learn to love bugs and start a collection
Caterpillar & Bumblebee - a story about 2 insects who deal with caterpillar's change into a butterfly

Sneak Peek:

If you are interested in checking out my close reading packs, click below! Other seasons are in the works, included non-fiction only units and more :)

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Valentine's Day!

Quick Post Alert.

My days and weeks have been filled with SNOW... lots and lots of SNOW!

Snow makes me want to cuddle up and sleep all day and night long... and that's pretty much all I've been doing! I did grab some treats for my kiddos in case we have school tomorrow.

Skittles, bubbles, and chocolate are up for grabs in those treat bags!

I whipped up that tag real quickly this afternoon and I thought I would share it here in case any other teachers were as big of a procrastinator as I am!

Just click the pic above to grab 'em!

Happy Valentine's Day!!

Composing 2D Shapes Free Center Cards!

Money is now a thing of the past and geometry is where it's at in room 102!

We have been identifying 2D shapes and their characteristics, while also getting familiar with these shapes by PLAYING! I mean... "composing" new shapes with pattern blocks and geoboards!

I love geometry because it is all hands-on and the kids have a lot of fun learning about shapes! It also lets me see which of kids need more practice with spatial reasoning.

I created these little center cards that we used today and I thought I would offer them up as a freebie:

There are 18 cards that you can download HERE:

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**To see more 2D & 3D Shape Activities, click below**

I also had my students working on the geoboards today with these fun shape cards:

The sweet Jennifer from First Grade Blue Skies made these and you can get them HERE!!

We will be working on these centers the whole week! I need to enjoy the fun of playing with shapes, because our next math unit is place value.... EEEK!

100th Day and Phonics Games

 Every Tuesday and Thursday afternoon, we have an hour long block set aside for centers! I love this because I can group my students accordingly and get to work on those skills they desperately need for a whole, mostly uninterrupted 60 minutes. This week was all about phonics development in my centers.
Roll, Spell, and Cover! Students at this center had to draw upon previously taught spelling patterns and phonemic sounds to spell different short vowel words. I also have this game using long vowel words and digraphs. You can find this game in my First Grade Common Core Language unit.

Cover up! This center group was working on those tricky digraphs! This unit is SO old and is in the process of a pretty new makeover, but the games work all the same! This center is from my Showstopping Digraphs pack!

It was also our 100th day recently! Our 100th day of school came and went this past Thursday. We had loads of fun, but my students' favorite part of the day was creating their 100th day snack mix!
Each student gets 10 small dixie cups and a variety of snacks! They have to put 10 pieces of the same snack in each cup. Once everyone has filled up their 10 cups, we all count by tens together as we pour the cups into their freezer bag. Throughout the day, I tell my students when they can eat 10 pieces of their snack mix and we subtract that 10 from 100 to determine how many more snacks we have in our bags. A little math, the fun way!

Of course, no 100th day would be complete without the infamous "When I'm 100 years old...." writing prompt. They always crack me up! This little one above was all about using those labels we learned about last week. #proudteacher

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