Grandmother Vowel

Sunday, July 31, 2011 No comments
A coworker of mine shared this with me when I first started teaching first grade and I must say it has been one of the most effective tools I use when teaching the long and short vowel sounds.  My students want to hear the story over and over and when we get a new student, one of the first things they want me to do is share the Grandmother Vowel story with our newbie.  I take the posters off the wall and introduce each of my grandchildren as I tell the story.  (These posters are old and if someone takes the time to make some cutesy, updated pictures, I sure would like a copy)  My students refer to these alot during the first half of the year.

  (This is the version I tell my students as I dress like a grandmother:  white bonnet, apron, and grandmother glasses)

 Hello.  I am Grandmother Vowel and I have 5 sweet grandchildren who come to visit me on my farm every summer.  I want to introduce them to you.  (I hold up each poster as I say their names)  Their names are
ā, ē, ī, ō, ū.  These are their REAL names but I have pet names, or nicknames for all my grandchildren.  (I then ask the kiddos if any of them have nicknames and allow for a few shared stories)  I am going to tell you how I came up with my pet names for my grandchildren.

My granddaughter ā is just a baby and I have a large apple tree on my farm.  It is filled with bright red apples and ā just loves apples.  When she wants an apple, she points up to the apple tree and says "ă, ă, ă,"  until she gets one.  So after the first time she did that, I started calling her ă for short.  Her real name is ā, but I call her ă.

My grandson ē is full of mischief and he likes to pretend that he cannot hear me when I call him for supper.  He puts his little hand up to his ear and says "ĕ, ĕ, ĕ" like he can't hear me.  So, now I call him ĕ for short.  His real name is ē, but I call him ĕ.

My grandson  ī  loves to play indian when he comes to my house because I let him make all the noise he wants to.  He puts his hand behind his head with one finger sticking up like a feather and goes around yelling "ĭ, ĭ, ĭ" as loud as he can.  He even scares my cows and chickens when he does this.  So even though his real name is  ī , I call him  ĭ for short. 

I love to bake cookies when my grandson  ō comes to my house because he loves to eat my cookies!  When he smells the odor of my baking cookies, he rubs his stomach in a circular motion (like in the shape of an o) and he says "ŏ, ŏ grandma, you're cooking my favorite cookies".  His real name is  ō  but for short I call him ŏ.

My grandson ū is old enough to do chores on the farm when he comes to visit. I always pay him a little bit of money for doing little chores for me.  One time when he visited, he made $2 for gathering eggs.  He took that money to the store and bought candy and ate every bit of it right there!  When he was finished, he grabbed his tummy and he said "ŭ, ŭ, ŭ, my tummy hurts."  So now I call him ŭ for short.  His real name is ū and his short name is ŭ.

(When finished with the story, I go back through the posters saying the real names and then I have the students do the hand motions and say the short sounds with me.  By hand motions, I mean what each of the grandchildren did in the story  -
A points high up to the tree and says her short sound
E holds his hand up to his ear and says his short sound
I puts his hand behind head with one finger sticking up like a feather and says his short sound
O rubs his stomach in a circular motion and says his short sound
U holds his tummy like it hurts and says his short sound)

Smarty Pants

Monday, July 25, 2011 No comments
I was checking out the awesome ideas at The Inspired Apple, and came across these "Smarty Pants" and had to make a pair.  Fill these pants with Smarties candy and reward your kids for using their brain power.  Abby has the sign, stickers, and a note to go with this little reward system.  So stinking cute.  Hop on over to her blog and get the whole set.  Here is picture of the ones she made:

Concentration/Privacy Folders

I usually buy the really big sticky name tags that have all kinds of info. for the kiddos to refer to and stick them on student desks.  Our school desks are shaped like a trapezoid and the top edge is short and these name tags are so big that they a) take up alot of space and b) they barely fit.  So, to fix this problem, I decided to put the same information on my student "Concentration Folders".  I call them this because I tell my firsties that the folder helps them concentrate and stay focused on what they are doing.  I still have to laminate them, but here is a picture:

This is what I put on the front or inside (what the kids will be looking at when working):
This is what I put on the backs of the folders:
If you would like to make these for your class,
 just click on the link: 

Hanging Book Display

Sunday, July 24, 2011 No comments
I just made two book slings for my classroom. 
These were super easy and fun to make and you can go over to Megan Cooley's blog, Penny Carnival, for step by step directions and lots of book sling pictures.
 Here are pictures of the ones I made. 

Scientific Method

Tuesday, July 19, 2011 4 comments
I just made a poster that has the steps of the scientific method that is first grade user friendly.  Here it is:
I always attach a hanger with tape to the back of my posters that I do not staple to the wall so they are easy to move, store in the closet and easy to hang. 

The reason I made this poster is because I am trying to make more of the science experiments that we are doing in class using the scientific method format.  Below are two examples that I made that go with my earthworm study:

Here is the link to get the 2 experiments shown:

Here is the link for the info. on the poster so you can make your own:

Thinking Activities using Scarecrow Attributes

Friday, July 15, 2011 2 comments
I just uploaded a new Problem Solving/Thinking Activity onto TpT.  It has activities to do whole group, another for small group or as a center, and an individual activity for students to complete.
And . . .
The first person who comments on this post will get this packet FREE! 

Here is a preview:

Decoding and Comprehension Strategies

Wednesday, July 13, 2011 1 comment

These Beanie Baby Reading and Comprehension Strategies are awesome!   If you are not using these in your classroom, then you are missing out.  I am including links below for the posters and the bookmarks.  I used these last year and my kids loved them.  Their is a stuffed animal that goes with each poster that you can use when introducing each strategy and you could also let kids take them to their desk when using the strategies.  I don't know who came up with these initially because I have seen them on many websites, but whoever you are:   YOU are AWESOME!

Here is the link for the decoding posters:  Beanie Baby Reading Strategies
Same decoding strategies but in a bookmark form for your students:   Reading Strategies Bookmark

Here is the link for the comprehension strategies posters:  Beanie Baby Comprehension Strategies
Same comprehension strategies but in bookmark form for your students:
Comprehension Strategies Bookmark

And finally, a link that has all the beanie babies to purchase is you want them:
Beanie Babies to Purchase for all Strategies

Activites for the /au/ and /aw/ sound

Wednesday, July 6, 2011 2 comments
I have created a set of activites for the /au/ and /aw/ sounds.  Here
 is a  small preview.

There is a story to read to your class:

"Open your mouth and say Aw" Activity where students read words with au/aw and "feed" the words to the boy or girl they make.

A literacy center where students sort words with au and aw and a recording sheet:

You can check it out by clicking on the picture above.