Friday, January 1, 2016

Five for Friday-2016 Edition!!

Happy 2016!! Ok someone please slow this time thing down! 2016?! I mean weren't we just partying like it was 1999?! Ahhh, its so crazy! Well it is what it is and another year to start fresh and make things spectacular!
One I always feel like I fell off the wagon...and I've slacked on creating too. I have a ton of projects either on the to-do list, half done, almost done, done, done? I just have lacked some motivation and creative juice to get it all wrapped up! Soon!

Balancing first grade?! Crazy town I know but they can do it! I am in no way looking for mastery in this at all because it is a very intricate and developed concept but I did want them to just see and experience this for the moment. Plus they LOVED it! Who would have thought? But after we were done they were like "This was awesome!" *mind blown*
My main goal really from this was just to get them to understand that the equal sign is a symbol to show that the left is the same as the right. They get so used to seeing it one way that when it changes at all it throws them off track and they freeze. When in all actuality they can do it. I broke out the balances and you would have thought I was a super hero . I also found one online that was interactive so we were able to use the smartboard and the small balance they could touch. 
Here is the interactive online one:

I also felt the need to have them be able to record their thoughts and findings throughout the lessons so I created a packet that incorporates missing addend, balancing equations, and word problems. (I am hoping to get this up on TPT as well soon!) I went very slow and gave them a lot of time to talk and explore and discuss reasoning's. Seriously, my mind was blown listening to them think through and use math talk. Everyday after these lessons I felt like I had run a marathon, not in an omg I am going to pass out, what was I thinking kind of way, but like an omg that was exhilarating, I feel accomplished, it can be done kind of way. Especially when they were so interested and pumped as well. 


We not only worked through seeing the equal signs meaning but we also challenged ourselves to make a false, unequal, unbalanced equation, actually balanced. 
They started seeing how they could create certain equations different ways and that there was not just one way to make or see it. 
I thought they were going to explode when we got to one problem that went past 10 and since they balance only goes up to ten they had to either put more than two weights on or stack the weights to get to their answer. 
There was so much good stuff that we did that week I can't even list it all! 

Here is a little video of one of my friends sharing his math thoughts. It may not seem like much to you, but it was a celebration that day to get that kind of thinking even started!

When I get the packet uploaded I will repost the link!

So as I was decorating this year, I had this sparkly frame just sitting not being used. I also had some old card covers I had saved from greeting cards I was given over the years. Sometimes you get cards that are so pretty and just can't seem to throw them away- I mean cards are so pricey now days. So I had compiled a few that I really liked and just tore off the cover. 
I added some scrapbook paper in the background and.....
fast, easy, pretty decor! 
You could do this really with any card you may get Easter, Valentines, etc. 

I also threw these little candy jars together one night. I filled each jar up with some candy (starburst and jolly rancher) added a little card and....
a fast, easy, cute, tasty gift.
I wrote these little sayings in each card as well...
"Hope your Christmas and New Year is "bursting" with blessings."
"Have a "jolly" Christmas and New Year full of blessings."

We talked long and hard about characters in books and their traits. This is always something they love to do but sometimes have difficulty moving past their external characteristics towards their internal. We want them to get to know their characters like their BFF! 
So I made this poster to use during our mentor text reading to help out a bit. This is something we took very slow and it took us all week to make it through each section. 
We read good 'ol Kevin Henkes! 
Lilly's Purple Plastic Purse lent itself to some very good character analysis and let me tell you when we were done we knew Lilly like our BFF!
 Once I read through the story once we worked on just the first section of "feelings". They taught their buddy about how she felt throughout the story and then we recorded a few of the places they talked about. That was all we did for the mini lesson that day. The next day we went back and reviewed her feelings we wrote down and then I wanted them to help me with exactly what were her actions during these feelings. So we pinpointed two of those feelings and I had them prove it to me in the book. I really challenged them to show me and defend their answer. We then went back and proved her words she used in the story to back up her actions and feelings. We were only able to get one answer recorded that day.
At the end of the week after a lot of modeling and partner chat I gave them each a recording sheet I made to match the poster we had used that week. As a class I modeled very specifically what we were going to record and used the book to refer back. Since it was teacher lead it looks near perfect haha but my reasoning behind them copying is to get them practicing their book talk and proving their thoughts rather than worried about spelling etc. I feel this in turn will help them when they do go off on their own and can manage this kind of activity without me being right there.

Click HERE to grab these printables!

Throughout December we decided as a team to try out a new idea for celebrating family traditions around the holidays. Long story short, the kids went home and created a  "quilt" piece (on paper, material, photo paper etc) discussing and sharing their families traditions. We wanted them to understand why a tradition is important to them and their family. 
After they turned them in, we presented them to the class to learn about everyone's traditions. It was really neat to see and hear different stories and see their creativity. Here is a short little video of them presenting. 

How do you share progress updates with your parents? I always feel like I can do more or maybe should do more when it comes to communicating with my parents. I am sure if I listed all the ways and frequency I do initiate communication it would actually be adequate. But I got to thinking more about making sure I am really letting parents know throughout the week, month, and even semester how their child is doing. Especially those whom their child is not having any issues academically or behaviorally. Sometimes those kids get pushed to the back burner not because they are not important but because, well, they are not a red flag or concern. I decided I wanted to do something else for everyone in my class at semester time to kind of wrap it up and give a quick update since I can not have 22 conferences all over again in December. It started as one page then quickly turned into 8-10 just since I was not sure exactly which format I liked the most. I printed them all out and decided to go with this particular one. 
I wanted to make it easily read and understandable. I filled one out for each kid and will send it with the report card. I have not offered this yet in my TPT store or as a download yet because it is more tailored for my classroom expectations, however, if I see interest I may tweak it to be more generic and offer it in case there is someone that may be able to use it as well! There are, like I said, many different versions I made, it all just depends on what people prefer. 

Have a BLESSED weekend!

 I hope you start your 2016 full of hope and joy! God will do great things! 


  1. Happy New Year!! :) Loved reading your post! 1) I really liked your idea with the greeting cards in a frame! My grandmother kept tons of cards over the years and made a bunch of us grandkids placemats! They turned out really cute! I loved using them for Christmas decor this year. 2) I really liked your progress report to parents. This is so important to me, and I am always researching new ways to stay in contact with parents (some people have said I "do too much" when communicating with parents weekly, but I have gotten thanked multiple times by parents!). Have a blessed day! :)

    1. Happy New Year to you too!! Thanks for stopping by to read and leave your sweet comments! I appreciate it!! I will see if I can tweak the comments to parents sheets and get them uploaded for ya'll!! Thank you for your interest!!

  2. I too love the card in the frame. What a lovely idea! I liked the form about student progress. Happy New Year!

    1. Hi Angie! Happy New Year! Thanks for reading and commenting! I hope I can get the progress to parents notes uploaded since ya'll are interested :)