Thursday, January 31, 2013

Long U Robots!

Hey blogger buddies, we hope you are all having a fantastic week!  This is our first full, five day week in what seems like FOREVER!  Since we've been back from Christmas break we've had trainings, teacher work days, half days, and holidays galore!  So, as you can imagine, it's been a VERY LONG WEEK!  TGI almost F!  Melissa totally made my morning by swinging through Dunkins on her way to work.  Me without coffee... well, lets just hope we never have to experience that! haha I am totally okay with fully admitting I need a cup-o-joe to jumpstart my morning... and a large French Vanilla iced coffee with milk only is what I like to call... a little cup of heaven!
Melissa and I have been busy, busy, busy trying to teach our kids the dreaded LONG U spelling pattern this week! UGH!  I don't know if y'all would agree, but I find that long u takes my kiddos a little longer to grasp than most long vowel patterns.  I'm guessing it's because long u can make two sounds... it can say its name, "U", and it can also sound like a double o as in spoon!  TRICKY TRICKY!  Thus, it required a little extra creativity on our part to make this spelling pattern sink in!  I'm not sure if we've mentioned it before but we use Treasures as a reading series in our county... well, that is until the beginning of next year, when we will adopt a new reading series (inserted excited face here) that is more aligned to common core.  Don't get me wrong, I LOVE Treasures!  Marion County adopted Treasures my first year teaching (awww) and I am FAR from a "by-the-book" kind of teacher, but I definitely like some of the stories used in Treasures and I also really like the phonics pattern/sequence it follows.  I am slightly sad to see it go, but I'm super excited to see what the new reading series will have to offer and I can't wait to see what Melissa and I come up with as far as activities and games to fit with our stories and phonics patterns!  You can be sure we'll keep you all posted!

Here's a little something we came up with to go along with our main selection "June Robot Cleans Up".    It's a story about a little robot named June who likes to make new creations with old junk!  The story ties in with the whole recycling theme and the kids really love it!  We found these adorable little robot gift bags at TARGET last year in the dollar section!  Aren't they cUUUUUUUte?  (emphasis on the long u)  If you look close, you can see one bag is labeled "Long U" and the other one is labeled "Short U". 

As you can see, students take turns reading the words on the adorable little robot cards.  Then the group gives them a "thumbs-up" if they read the word correctly.  The students decide if they hear a long u or a short u in the word and place it in the appropriate bag.  The kids really love this sorting activity (I think it's because of the awesome bags!!! haha)  I usually introduce this activity at my teacher table during centers and then use it again as an independent activity in my word work center the following week.  It's really helping them distinguish between the long and short u sound!

Tomorrow is Friday and it's also the 100th day of school!!!  80 days and counting!!! YA BUDDY!!!  It's going to be such a fun day!  Earlier in the week we sent home letter to encourage students to dress as if they were 100 years old!  I can't wait to see them!  You can be sure we'll post pictures of all our 100th day activities!  Until tomorrow frugal followers!!!   

Tuesday, January 29, 2013

100th Day!

Goodness gracious! Where, oh where has the time gone??? Can you believe we've already been through more than half the school year already? In our classrooms, the 100th day of school is celebrated in a B-I-G way! We started Erica Bohrer's tradition last year and had our students dress up like they were 100 years old! If you haven't done it yet... DO IT!  It's hilarious and SO MUCH FUN! One bit of advice from some rookies though, check the school calendar because picture day is only twice a year and happens to be very close to the 100th day of school. Let's just say some of our first graders looked VERY mature in their pics last year! haha!

This year we plan on doing the same thing and continuing with the tradition. We don't have many original things planned because we have already found so many great things online! We made shirts of course (In case you were unaware, we are slightly obsessed with matching school shirts)! Below you can find our parent letter. Please feel free to download and enjoy the 100th day with your kiddos!!!

Thank you  Surfin through Second for the adorable boarder! We love it! 

Wednesday, January 23, 2013

Double up!!!

Hi sweet friends! We wanted to give you a quick little freebie that might help your students master doubles +1. We made this little activity to help our first graders understand the concept of "doubles plus one" by first figuring out the answer to the doubles fact and then adding one more to find out the doubles +1 answer.  Hope you find this helpful!

The History of MLK Day

We weren't exactly sad to have Martin Luther King Day off from school! Especially since we spent that day finding a wedding dress for Brittany! However, we didn't want to let such an important day pass without reflecting on why we celebrate and remember such an important man in American History. Our classes joined together for a full day of Dr. King! 
The first thing we did was create a "Thinking Map" on the Smart Board. We started with our schema on Martin Luther King Jr. We used whole brain teaching to introduce "SCHEMA" earlier this year. The students use words and motions to describe what schema means. We reviewed the meaning of schema before beginning the lesson. We turn both hands out and elbows in  (as if to "what") and say "SCHEMA is something you THINK you know. It might be right it. It might be wrong. It's what you think." When they say think they move their finger toward their brain. 

Below you will see our entire thinking map. First we wrote down our schema. Every year our students think MLK is the president and/or a King. 
As we learned new facts about Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. we added our facts to new learning. Also, we discussed the word Misconceptions. We always add 'misconceptions" to our thinking maps, however, this particular lesson seemed extra appropriate since so much of what went on during this time in history was based on a lot of misconceptions. 

Next, we watched the read aloud "Martin's Big Words."
We discussed
as a class his words meant and that by BIG
words the author is always
telling us that Martin used POWERFUL WORDS. 
We did the egg activity using a white egg
and a brown egg to discuss Martin's famous quote "
 I have a dream that my four little children will one day
live in a nation where they will not be judged by the
color of their skin but by the content
of their character." 

Of course our students quickly realized
 that though the eggs were different colors on the outside,
they were the same on the inside. We were surprised by how well
they understood this concept. 
" I have a dream that Ms. Prussing will be
the principal of our school forever" haha
We asked our students to visualize and think about how Martin must
have felt when people treated him unfairly. 
After our speeches were finished
 writing our speeches, we practiced
reading them.

Later that day we created a "I have a dream..." list. We discussed
different dreams that were important to us and our world.
Teacher tip: make sure to explain that in this case
 the word dream is more like a hope
or a wish not something we do when we are sleeping. 
We finished off our day by doing some Kagan, HAND UP- STAND UP- PAIR UP to share our speeches with our classmates. 

It was touching to see how much the story of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. affected our first graders. They were all very upset by the way he was treated along with all of the other people who were treated so poorly because of the color of their skin. They all agreed that they are very glad MLK was brave and stood up for what was right. 

One day later... 

Today we used the story of Ruby Bridges to discuss the sadness of segregation during the time Martin Luther King. We are working on the reading comprehension strategy QUESTIONING. First we wrote down the importance of asking questions before, during and after we read. Next we made a mini anchor chart of questioning phrases.

Students wrote down the question they
felt was most important to them. They
recorded their question on a post-it note. By the middle of the story
they were able to answer their question. 
After seeing only the cover of "The Story of Ruby Bridges"
 students developed
questions the had about
the story based on what they saw on the cover of the story.

Overall, the lesson went well. we did a lot of class discussion about Ruby and here bravery. We also talked about the importance of this event in history. "What if Ruby wasn't so courageous and she stopped going to school? Would things have changed?" We could have spent the next few hours learning about Ruby and other brave people in American History. But 2:05 came all too quickly today and before we knew it, our two day history lesson on segregation (thanks to whole brain teaching, our students have mastered the meaning of that word too) had to come to a close. 

Tuesday, January 22, 2013

The most important dress!

The frugal girls went shopping in a BIG way yesterday! Let me give you a hint... the maids took our beautiful bride-to-be, Brittany to pick out the most important dress she will ever wear! Okay, so it was more like a *total giveaway* than a little "hint"! I've never been very subtle anyway! There is no reason to start now!

So as you can imagine, we wanted to bring gown shopping to a whole new level! Being Brittany's maid-of-honor is a job I don't take lightly! I wanted her dress shopping day to be everything she had hoped for! Living in a rural city like Ocala means there are not many absolutely no places to shop! We're talking very slim pickings here! So we planned to take MLK day (No school!) to head south bound and dress shop Orlando-style to find the perfect dress!

A message to Brittany from here bridesmaids! We filled the basket with celebratory pink champagne labeled "Brittany's Bridal Bubbly!"


We had a "Bridal Brunch" before we hit the road. The Bridal Gown Itinerary was set on all the plates so everyone knew the schedule for the day! We followed it almost perfectly, I might add! Dinner was going to be at Cheesecake Factory at 6:00 so we made sure to eat enough brunch to hold us over all day! Plus, we bought tons of snacks for the car ride.
Our bride! She's sipping mimosa's and reading a letter from her closest friends! 
Cheers to our bride!!! 
Lots of pink!
 Table view!
The bride, her bridesmaids and her sweet flower girl, Madison!
 We are only missing one of the bridesmaids. She had to work :(
We are all enjoying our healthy brunch.
"Do you think champagne makes you bloated" quoted from our bride! Too funny! The answer must be no because she looked perfect in all of her dresses!

Each girl also got a bottle of lotion called "Diamond Dust." It said, "she has her man, she has her maids, she has her diamond... now all she needs is her DRESS!!"
It was such a perfect day! Let me tell you, Matt is one lucky guy! Brittany looked absolutely STUNNING in every single dress she tried on! She narrowed her search down to the final three!!! We need to bring Brittany's mom back with us to help with the final decision! I'm pretty confident that Brittany will say YES to the DRESS very soon!!!!

The dress will have to remain a surprise for the big day, October 20, 2013!

Stay tuned... 

Friday, January 18, 2013

Tic-tac-toe addition

Let's be honest... math can be a real doozie sometimes! Brittany and I were no math maniacs growing up. Britt still thinks math is probably the most boring part of the day. However, I find math to be pretty GOSH DARN AMAZING!  I mean, it's so hands-on and just plain BETTER than it was when I was growing up! LOVE IT! Brittany loves reading and writing. I can totally understand why. She's an incredible teacher and her writing and reading instruction is life-changing! I just love watching her in action! She's taught me so much and it's made me a much better teacher. I guess that's why we make such a great team! Math is totally my thing! I just love the path that math instruction has taken over the last few years. My first graders love it too! Here is a math activity we did together with partners.  A little old fashioned tic-tac-toe "addition style"!! Enjoy!!
                  Tic-Tac-Toe Addition

Tuesday, January 15, 2013

Missing addend freebie

The frugal girls are busy setting up Brittany's Smart board so we only have time for a quick freebie tonight. Hope everyone has an easier time with missing addends. That is one hard concept for little ones to understand.

Monday, January 14, 2013

Bring on the technology!!!

Hi friends! We don't know about you, but our classrooms have been SUPER busy these last few days. Coming back from winter break is usually a fun time in first grade because they come back a little more grown up and it always appears to be a little more calm in class. However, 2013 has started a little chaotic and overwhelming. We decided to relieve our stress this past weekend with a fabulous and oh-so-frugal shopping trip!

Check out Brittany's cart! 
There were some fabulous deals to be found! $2.53 for these adorable sandals from Kohl's!  Shout out to one of our coworkers over in 2nd grade for sharing this total steal with us!!! Thanks Rachel! 

 As you all know, shopping is one of our favorite things to do. We are always excited when we manage to find an awesome bargain. But at this moment, we have even bigger news! Even better than any discount... Are you ready for this???

Cue Fireworks please!!!

Tomorrow Brittany is getting her very own SMART Board!!!!
On that note! Tomorrow our classes will all be hanging out in the same classroom while this gem is being installed! We are in the middle of an author study on the talented, Jan Brett! Don't worry, we plan to blog about it when we're done!

Please feel free to download this quick, little "Long Vowel Challenge." We are finishing up long i and are still working on "flipping the sound."

Also, below you will find the same activity for long a words. It served as a nice review for our firsties!

We are happy to report that when we write our next post we'll both have SMART boards! Hooray!!!

Monday, January 7, 2013

Science Fair

The dreaded, REQUIRED, annual Science Fair project is due on Thursday. Our first graders LOVE LOVE LOVE Science, and we think it's pretty awesome too! However, something about the word required makes it not-so-fun for teachers. In k-2 at our school the class does a project together. This year we asked the question, "Which liquid stains teeth the most?" We are using hard boiled eggs (the shell is made of calcium, very similar to our tooth enamel) and a few of our favorite sugary drinks to find our results.

Before we went too far into what our project was all about, we decided to tackle the SCIENTIFIC METHOD with our firsties. We created an anchor chart together to explain the steps scientists use.

We suggest incorporating a lot of WHOLE BRAIN teaching when explaining these steps to your students. Fancy words like HYPOTHESIS can be very tricky for first graders to say, let alone understand. Trust us, the more whole brain learning... the better. 

Today we wrote out our question: "Which liquid stains teeth the most?"
Next we wrote down our Hypothesis. Most students think coffee will stain teeth the most. Even our student's were saying, "Oh no! Ms. Peterson and Ms. Prussing are in trouble. They love coffee"
We put one egg into each of the four liquids (coffee, grape juice, sweet tea and Root Beer). The eggs are going to soak in the liquids for the next few days. Tomorrow we plan on making observations and recording our data from day 1 and day 2. 

More Science Fair fun to come!

Thursday, January 3, 2013

Linus and Gus Sign Sort

Hi Friends! Just wanted to share another fun freebie to use when teaching your student's about Linus and Gus the math brother signs! Click on the link below to download for free!

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