Saturday, April 27, 2019

Teaching Symbols in Primary Grades

Teaching Symbols in Primary Grades

Hey y'all! Are you working on learning about state or US symbols? Every year my littles learn about symbols in social studies, but have a hard time understanding WHY these symbols exist and the significance of them.

One way I teach the significance of symbols and the WHY behind them is with this personal symbols book. After introducing symbols, students begin to reflect on what their symbols would be--what is significant to them.

Students draw their flag, find a song that is meaningful to them, and illustrate their personal flower. They also identify their bird, color, animal, and anything else they'd like to include. They also have to explain why they chose each thing as their symbol.

This is a fun way to share more about ourselves and what is meaningful to each of us. For older students, this makes a great beginning of the year activity.

You can pick up a copy of this for your classroom here.

At the end of the unit, we make a class book highlighting all of the things that America is. Each student gets a letter (or two) and draws something that is meaningful to America. It doesn't HAVE to be a US symbols necessarily, just something significant to the US.

This book is ALWAYS a hit and even the most reluctant learners get excited about creating their page for the book. Oh, and it's FREE. You can get a copy of this book here.

What are some of your favorite ways to teach about symbols? Let me know in the comments.

I hope you found some new ideas for your classroom. Thanks for stopping by and I hope you have a wonderful week. Stay tuned for more awesome resources coming soon!

Stay sweet,

Saturday, April 20, 2019

Teaching Habitats in Primary Grades

Teaching Habitats in Primary Grades

Hey y'all! We're right in the middle of one of my favorite science units: habitats. The kids are always so excited about this unit and we usually end up doing huge research projects on different animals and habitats.

We start the first week with an overview of what a habitat is. We read books and make a graffiti wall. We read the "What is a Habitat" book, and the kids come up with all kinds of focus questions.

Tuesday through Thursday, students visit a series of stations learning about different habitats. They take notes in their notebooks about the different plants and animals in each habitat, as well as defining characteristics.

On Friday, we do a simple matching activity and students explore more about habitats with different books we've checked out of the library.

The next week, students choose an animal and make an example of the animal's habitat. This can be as simple or intricate as you'd like. Some years, I just have them draw it out on construction paper. Other years, we may build dioramas or bulletin boards for each animal. It just depends on the group of kids and the time we have available that year. At the end, the students write a quick description of how they know their animal belongs in that habitat.

What are some of your favorite habitat activities? Let me know in the comments. 

Thanks for stopping by and stay tuned for more awesome resources coming soon. Have a great week!

Stay sweet,

Saturday, April 13, 2019

Sight Word Egg Hunt Freebies

Sight Word Egg Hunt Freebies

Hey y'all! Are you ready for some Easter fun? I love teaching sight words to my kindergarten and first graders with seasonal activities. It helps keep things novel and exciting.

This little sight word egg hunt freebie has been in my store for awhile now and is perfect for reviewing sight words with first graders (and some second graders), but may be challenging for kindergarten.

But now the wait is over! You can grab the kindergarten version with more of the "beginner words" right here. And it's free!

Just place the cards in a pocket chart and hide the egg behind a word. Students call out words trying to "hunt" for the egg. This game works for whole group, small group, and center stations. It is always a huge hit and the littles get so excited to find the egg!

I hope your class enjoys this little freebie as much as mine does! Thanks for stopping by and have a wonderful week!

Stay sweet,

Saturday, April 6, 2019

Grammar Egg Hunt Freebie

Grammar Egg Hunt Freebie

Hey, y'all! Spring is here! Easter is just around the corner, and this egg hunt freebie is always a hit in my classroom.

Students practice identifying words that are nouns, verbs, or adjectives. Just put the words in Easter eggs and students write the answer on their recording sheet.

This is just right for second grade, but can also be used for review in third grade or for advanced first graders. To grab a copy of your own, just click here

Thanks for stopping by and stay tuned for more resources coming soon. 

Stay sweet,

Wednesday, April 3, 2019

Teaching Addition and Subtraction to 100 in First Grade

Hey, y'all! You've worked hard on number sense all year. Your firsties have it down pat. Now it's time to take it a step further and work on adding and subtracting bigger numbers.

As a class, we practice finding 10 more and 10 less of a number everyday during math warmup. Gradually we get better and start finding 20 more, and 30 more. And our conversations about place value get bigger and more complex. We add on just a few more to a number, and take a few away. But then students have to be able to show they can do this on their own. That's where this unit comes in.

This 1st Grade Big Numbers Unit is a four week culmination of everything they worked on in math this year as far as adding and subtracting are concerned. The first week, students practice adding and subtracting a 1-digit number with a 2-digit number.

Students visit a series of stations practicing these skills and working with partners to fine tune their understanding through games, task cards, and explorations. On Friday, the class comes together to play a mathed-up version of the Dots game.

Week 2, students practice adding and subtracting 10 from a number. True/false statements are included in almost every week of this unit. The games and partner activities help students learn the material more quickly.

Week 3, students practice adding and subtracting multiples of 10 from numbers within 100. Skip counting by 10s helps students make the connections and games help solidify the content.

On Friday of weeks 2 and 3, the whole class comes together to create a mystery picture by solving equations and coloring the answers on the 100's chart. (Not pictured.) This is always a favorite activity! 

Simple worksheets and independent practice are also included. These can be used as part of the center rotation as intended or in addition to your district's curriculum. Our district's curriculum is great, but doesn't always provide enough practice on these skills. I've used stations as enrichment practice for after our required lessons, or for reteaching when needed.

Week 4 is a review week of all the skills worked on in this unit. It's mixed practice with addition and subtraction at all levels. It's super easy to differentiate, too.

With each week, we are together for a whole class lesson on Monday. Tuesday through Thursday, students work in stations to practice the focus skill. On Friday, we come back together for a whole class game or activity. At the end of each day, we share any Ah-ha! moments or "I wonders" and discuss ideas. 

There are lots of ways to modify this setup so it works with your district's requirements if needed. You can find out more about how to make this unit your own (and grab some freebies) here

For more information on this bundle and more, head over to my Teachers Pay Teachers store here. And if you like this setup, you can grab a whole year's worth of curriculum with the 1st grade math bundle here

Thanks for stopping by and I hope you found some new ideas for your classroom. Stay tuned for more great resources coming soon. Have a wonderful week!

Stay sweet,

Teaching 2D and 3D Shapes in First Grade

Hey y'all! I am so excited to share this unit with you today. I had the most fun making this shape unit for 1st grade and I know your students are going to love it as much as mine do!

Since we start this unit in the fall usually, I almost always launch this it by reading the book Pick a Circle, Gather Squares. It is an absolute favorite of ours! (This is an affiliate link.)

We spend 4 weeks learning all about 2D and 3D shapes in first grade. The first two weeks, we cover 2D shapes, and the second two weeks we cover 3D. On Monday of each week, we do a whole class lesson to introduce the topic. We go on a shape hunt around the room or school (depending on the class), build designs with partners, and use interactive notebooks.

Tuesday through Thursday, we visit a series of stations practicing working with shapes. Students sort shapes with outlines and with real life examples, identify shapes in pictures, make shapes with play dough, build with pattern blocks and foam or wood blocks, play games, and more.

This unit is perfect for the beginning of the school year since it is so hands on. The visual supports help students who aren't quite ready to read it all on their own yet. And the tasks are simple enough that even your neediest kids will be able to do them independently.

While students are in stations, I either work with a small group in a station or rotate around the room checking for understanding and supporting anyone who needs it. This time of day is a favorite for my students because they love the independence of it. Our math and science stations both are set up this way and we have zero behavior issues during this time because everyone is engaged!

At the end of math each day, we come together to share any Ah-ha's!, ideas, or questions that benefit the whole of the group. Students share out things they noticed or things they got clarity on as they were working. I love this part of our day because it really helps my students who need more support to develop their understanding and academic vocabulary.

On Fridays, we come together for another whole group activity. The first week, each student decorates a shape then describes it as if it's missing. We hang up our work in the hallway so that other classes can help us "find our shapes!" We also build shape robots and play shape Bingo. These Friday activities really become a celebration of our learning throughout the week.

This is such a fun unit and I know your students are going to love it. To learn more about it, you can check it out in my Teachers Pay Teachers store here. It's also included in the year long bundle for first grade that covers all of the common core math standards for first grade. Each week is set up like this unit and includes tons of hands on activities, games, task cards, explorations, and interactive notebook pages. You can explore the bundle here if you'd like. 

Thanks for stopping by and I hope you got some new ideas for your own classroom. Stay tuned for more great resources coming soon and have a wonderful week!

Stay sweet,

Tuesday, April 2, 2019

Teaching Subtraction in First Grade

Hey, y'all! Today, we're talking about teaching subtraction in first grade. This is probably THE HARDEST skill for firsties to master in math. Then usually get the basic premiss down of taking away, but this is where all the simple mistakes seem to take place. 

Research has shown over and over that kids learn and retain skills much more quickly when they play games related to the skill. That's why this unit is packed full of games for students to play independently or with a group.

Now, it wouldn't make sense to start a unit without some kind of direct teach, either whole group or small group. So on Monday, we come together as a class (or you could do this in small groups if you wanted) and we talk about strategies for subtracting. How is it similar to addition? What's the difference? What do we already know about take away?  You get the point. Then, we practice. We demonstrate with taking away shoes, having kids stand at the front and model leaving (taking away), drawing it out, etc. At the end, we do a simple practice page and discuss our strategies used.

Tuesday through Thursday, students visit a series of stations to practice this skill. While students are in stations, I check in with each group to see how they're doing, check progress of work, clear up any misunderstandings, and answer any questions. Students are encouraged to check with their partners if they're not sure as well.

At the end of math time, we come together as a class and talk about what we noticed, what questions or struggles or celebrations we had, and anything else that needs to be shared for the good of the group. This is prime time for me to reteach anything that needs to be addressed as well.

On Friday, we come together as a class for a whole group activity or lesson. In this case, it's Bingo a scoot game. Week 1, we play subtraction Bingo (always a favorite!), and week 2, we play Scoot. These are quick and easy ways to assess who's mastered the skill and who still needs more practice.

This 2-week unit can be found in my Teachers Pay Teachers store here, and is part of the larger, year-long 1st grade math bundle here. This is a growing bundle, so keep an eye out for more resources being added to it soon.

Thanks for stopping by and I hope you got some new ideas for your math block. Have a wonderful week and stay sweet!