Hour of Code and Computer Programming

Did you and your class participate in the HOUR OF CODE last week?

The Hour of Code aimed to get 10 millions students learning how to code. More than 19 millions students participated!

This video is wonderful. A parent in my classroom sent it to me and I was instantly on board. 

Our entire school participated and now that I have a better understanding of what my kids were learning and how much they can do I'm jumping in full force and trying it myself. 

My first graders worked on Tynker during their hour of code and worked through several lessons. You can sign up your entire class for free. Each lesson has interactive animation and students drag and drop their commands to see if they can meet their goals. For example, one student was trying to make a dog jump over a pair of shoes. The informational video is short and worth looking at. Tynker has grade level specific lesson plans and uses a watch-learn-do approach with teaching. My kiddos couldn't get enough. I've requested information for the Premium Membership so I don't know how pricey it will be. 

Our school hosted a Scratch marathon too. The library was PACKED with students from all grade levels. Scratch is free and I just worked through the introductory lesson this morning. It was pretty fun making the cat change color and dance. (I'm such a kid at heart)

I showed my students the app Hopscotch too. It's a coding app that is free and also uses drag and drop commands to teach computer programming.

Another free computer programming app is Daisy the Dinosaur
Drag and drop commands to program Daisy.

The best thing about these Tynker and these apps is that EVERY one of your students can participate and be successful. Even if you don't think of yourself as a techy person or a tech-saavy teacher go try a Scratch or Tynker lesson while we are on break! Your class will be so excited and impressed if you show them how to program!


Well…I'm a few days late in announcing but as you all know the last week before winter break is completely exhausting! I still haven't even started my Christmas shopping. I have my list but haven't actually shopped at all. It just snuck up on me! It was Thanksgiving about five minutes ago wasn't it?

Anyhoo, I'm very happy to announce that the winner of a Common Core Connections workbook is Cynthia Arki!

Congratulations Cynthia! You should receive your workbook soon! A big thank you to all who entered!

Gingerbread and Pancakes?

Say what? Gingerbread and pancakes? 

I'm not talking about treats I'm talking about John Lithgow's 
Marsupial Sue Presents The Runaway Pancake!

It's similar to the tale of The Gingerbread Man except it's a pancake that escapes! The pancake sings a clever little song as he finds his way past all different characters. It's a wonderful story to compare with the Gingerbread Man with your whole class. My school has a license to Tumblebooks. John Lithgow himself reads the version on Tumblebooks and he does it with style! You can sign up for a 30 Day Free Trial of Tumblebooks here

*If you are needing an idea for a grant a license for your whole school Tumblebooks is AMAZING. They have more stories than you can count all read aloud. They even have a Common Core Portal so you can find books related to the exact CCS you need.

I've discovered many books that I had never heard of!

Another site I just discovered is Storyline Online. It's an online literacy program from the Screen Actors Guild Foundation. Actors read aloud different famous picture books for children. The stories are perfect for talking about expression too. Many of the actors read in different voices with different book characters. It's a perfect site for your students to visit during Listening to Reading or, if your my book-loving class, during indoor recess or snack.

Common Core Connections Giveaway!

A couple of months ago I was contacted by Carson Dellosa and asked to do a review on two workbooks. 

Common Core Connections Language Arts Grade 1

Common Core Connections Math Grade 1

Y'all- no lie, these workbooks are AWESOME! Each workbook has a checklist of skills and an assessment. I used the math book pages for reteaching and assessing after reteaching. They are GREAT for assessing after reteaching! 

The reading comprehension passages in the Language workbook are a little too difficult for the majority of my class. However, I used them in small group with my two highest reading groups. The passages are perfect for working on finding main idea and detail. After practicing in small group a few times I sent home some passages as homework. My students have really enjoyed them. I like that the passages are brief and the questions require the students to look for answers or use inferencing skills. One of my parents is a teacher at our school. She commented on how much she liked the reading comprehension passages!

Wouldn't you love one of these great resources? I'm giving one away to one lucky follower! Just enter using the Rafflecopter below. Winner announced next Wednesday December 18.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Remembering Sandy Hook

How could someone do such a hateful thing?

Nearly a year ago as we were teaching we heard just a trickle of information through parents and on the web. We knew there was a school shooting. We knew students were killed. We didn't really have many  of the facts until much later. 
All of it broke my heart.
I hugged my kids a little tighter that day...every day the rest of December. 
I'm the kind of teacher that tells my kids that I love them. I told them I loved them a LOT in December.

The people of Newtown, CT would like us to commit RANDOM ACTS OF KINDNESS December 14 in order to honor the teachers and students of Sandy Hook School. Isn't that a wonderful? So simple! Pass along some kindness.

**As educators, we remember and honor our fallen colleagues and their students from Sandy Hook School. We honor them each day in our classrooms in which we continue their dream of teaching our children. We honor their memory with our service. Join with teachers everywhere in committing random acts of kindness to show our love for Sandy Hook.**

Big thank you and big hug to Greg from Kindergarten Smorgasboard who organized all of these posts bringing together bloggers from all over! XO

Get ready to get your shop on!!

Woot woot! I'm so excited for the Cyber Monday/Tuesday sale on TPT!

I've loaded my cart with LOTS of goodies including these great items:

First up is Candy Cane Creations from The Hands on Teacher in First! It's an engineering project for your first graders using candy canes!

I'm working on finishing up my North Pole Math Centers and hope to have them up tomorrow! Be sure to check out my whole store. EVERYTHING will be on sale!!

Happy Shopping Y'all!

Snowman Math Races

I posted about our snowman math races two years ago, but I think this is one of those posts that should be recycled! These races are easy and quick and don't cost you a penny!

December means it's time for snowman math races! Snowman math races are a big hit in my classroom. We use addition wheels to practice our facts and turn it into a race. If you aren't familiar with them Here's how they work:  Draw a donut shape and place numbers around the inside. Then place another number in the center. Students line up and take turn adding the number inside the donut hole with the center number. They place their answer outside the circle.
 After a student writes down an answer they pass their expo marker to the person behind them and go to the end of the line. Now, if I have a student writes down an incorrect answer someone else in the line has to fix it. They simply cross off the wrong answer and write the correct answer next to it. When we race I usually have just three or four students in a line. Students are NOT allowed to whisper or call out an answer OR let another student know their answer was wrong. As soon as all of the answers are written down and correct that group wins. I don't write the same numbers in each wheel when we race because I don't want anyone sneaking a peek at the other team's answers. It's a great way to get students to practice addition facts.

Snowman math races are easy and quick and great for indoor recess, end of the day, brain break, or as a competition with other classes. (OH YEAH!) I've also used them for finding the missing addend. If you're an upper grade you could do multiplication wheels. 

Here are some pictures from my snowman addition wheels from a couple of years ago.

*notice the wrong answer!

*If you don't have a whiteboard you can laminate some butcher paper or poster paper and cut out your wheel and use dry erase markers to write. 

To help my kiddos understand how to do addition math wheels I use wheels from this product. Students quickly understand and your students who are still struggling with their facts get some extra practice. I usually incorporate some of these into our math stations too. My struggling students will take wheels home for homework all month.

This pack as well as everything else in my store will be on sale for Cyber Monday!

(Totes adorbs button created by Creative Clips)

I hope you all had a HAPPY THANKSGIVING!

Wow- it's almost December!

Can you believe how quickly November has flown by?! I was just going through my files and taking a peek at my upcoming activities. I'm really excited to use my Gingerbread Pirates literacy companion pack. Some of you may have used my Room on the Broom literacy companion pack and this pack it loaded with activities to go along with the story as well. We'll start this as soon as we get back on Monday. Click on the image below to see it in my TPT store. 

I started thinking about how excited my little first graders will be to see each other after a week of vacation. They always have more stories to tell than I can possibly hear. So I put together a little morning activity that would give them the opportunity to chat with each other. If you grab the freebie I would love for you to leave me a comment! 

Click on the image above to download your freebie!


More poetry at last!

I did it! I have poems for the rest of November and December! I heard from many of you that you liked my poetry freebies so I set my mind to creating a whole set. I made poems for all of November and December and I just listed them on TPT!

Each of the poems has comprehension questions and sight word searches as well as a fill in the missing word activity.

I introduced the Turkey Shoes poem today in class and my kiddos loved it! These poems have been a great way for me to finally incorporate poetry on a regular basis. You can grab a free preview from my Facebook page.

Tomorrow we have a field trip! It's been rescheduled twice already due to rain so I'm really excited that tomorrow we actually get to go. We're heading the Wildflower Center here in Austin and it's wonderful for a field trip. Students are given a scavenger hunt and they have so much fun searching for a plant that  grows in water or a bug with four wings. 

We only work through this Friday then I'm off to Seattle for some cold weather! How many more days do you have before break?

Follow the Turkey Tracks

Follow the turkey tracks!
Ok, so I MAY have gotten a little carried away with Jessica Weible's turkey track clip art.... there was a sale... I have a weakness for clip art.

My kiddos love QR codes and I wanted an activity that was easy to incorporate into small groups so I could supervise, if needed, or put into a math center. I put together two QR code place value activities that have a self checking element. I also have a sight word center and an ordinal numbers activity. They would make a great addition to your stations over the next couple of weeks!
You can get them from my TPT store!

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Everything Antonyms!

This week we began learning about ANTONYMS in my class. I don't know why I'm on a poetry kick lately but while watching the CMA's I created this poem. (Click on the pic to download) 

I used this poem to create an anchor chart. Then I asked  my students for other examples of antonyms. I listed them around the edge of the poem in different colored markers. "Mrs. Tice, bust out the orange!" HA! 
(We have collectively agreed that the light blue Mr. Sketch marker stinks. Pretty color, but pretty stinky.)

My class did this cute Antsy Antonym activity from Oceans of First Grade Fun on Friday. I was out on Friday so I'm excited to see how their books turned out.

This week I'll add my Antonym Task Cards to their reading stations. You can find my task cards in my TPT store. It's one of my featured items and it's only $2!

Pink Cat Studio has a cute file folder game for antonyms that I've purchased and need to laminate. It will be great as an RTI tool for my struggling students.

Autumn Poem

Last week I shared a couple of poems with you with a pumpkin and spider theme. I used them in my small group instruction and I loved the results! I'm working on putting together a whole packet of poetry activities. 

Well it feels like it took forever but I finally have a FB freebie tab set up. (Big thanks to Nicole, Ashley, and Valerie for their help with that!) If you swing by my FB page you can grab this freebie! 

There are three pages and I'll be putting the poem on sentence strips to place in my pocket chart. 
Happy Wednesday y'all! 
Send me some cold weather!

All things Fall

I love Fall! Don't y'all? Send some Fall weather my way people! I need to wear boots and long sleeves!

This week I'll be putting out some of my Thanksgiving Friends Math Centers. My kiddos had a great time with my spider math stations so they will be super excited for these. They too are now addicted to cute clip art. Ha!

This packet includes ten different centers. We'll be tackling more greatest to least this week and I have a great activity that I do with my kids in small group. 

I'll also be putting my November Vocabulary Board out in the writing station. 
In October my class used a vocabulary board and wrote some great stories!

I'm ready to do a Fall art activity too. Have you ever visited the site http://www.artprojectsforkids.org?
There are tons of great projects. There is a how-to-draw-a-turkey project that my class would love. We are expecting more rain this week so this might be one of my indoor recess projects.

There will also be a surprise on Facebook tonight beginning at 6 pm! Be sure to hop onto my FB page and become a fan!

On our way to WOW

This year I have really focused on improving how I teach writing. I've been using my All the Write Moves pack and referring to the posters. Last week when we had our Pumpkinpalooza we learned about adjectives as well. We made a cute poster that you can see HERE.

Monday I wrote out very basic sentences on sentence strips. I started with
I have a pumpkin. It is big. My pumpkin is from a pumpkin patch. I will carve it into a jack-o-lantern.

Then we talked about how we could add some adjectives to create more interesting details. I added the details that my class wanted in purple. (This was also a great opportunity to discuss that every new sentence does NOT begin on a new line :-D)

Yesterday (Tuesday) I gave my students a piece of writing paper and told them that they had to draw a picture of exactly what I said. So I said, "I have a pumpkin." My students quickly drew a pumpkin and eagerly grabbed their crayons. 
"HOLD ON! How do you know what color my pumpkin is? How do you know how big it is? Do you know what the texture of my pumpkin is?"
(Ok, they didn't, but I swear there was a glow in the room)
"Mrs. Tice we have to add details!"

I had them turn the paper over and start with the sentence "I have a pumpkin." Then they had to add details about how their pumpkin looked. As an added challenge I asked them to try not to start every sentence with the same word. Illustrations of their pumpkin had to match the details of their sentences and I asked them to write before they drew their pictures. (I have some kiddos that would gladly spend an hour drawing and not write one word.)

I was BLOWN away with the results. They did so well! We all shared our writing and showed the class our pictures.

Today (Wednesday) we reviewed what we had learned about adding details. Today in our writing station students could choose from three different sentence starters. They had to add details and draw an illustration to match. 

I have this great mini pocket chart that I bought in the Target dollar section last year before school started. The pockets are really deep and I wish it was pink, but for now it will do just fine.

Look at how some of their writing came out! Most of them are going to continue to work on this same writing in our stations tomorrow. I left some notes on Post-Its for my kids this afternoon. A note from the teacher is always special!

I'm SO PROUD of this little guy's writing. He has come SO far from the first start of school when he didn't know letter sounds! 

If you try this in your own class I would love to see or hear how your students did!

Is it really almost November?

Holy smokes people, it's almost NOVEMBER. Whaaaat?! Where did the time go? This month has been a super busy month in the classroom and I've made lots of changes in how I run things. {More on that tomorrow!}

I've never really been good at incorporating poetry on a regular basis in my classroom, but I'm working on it. This week in our Journey's basal we will be learning about poetry so I put together a couple of poetry freebies to share. I added a couple of easy questions for a reading comprehension component. I really want my students to practice finding information.

Click on the picture to download your copy!

How often do you incorporate poetry into your classroom?


I am so excited to tell you about our PUMPKINPALOOZA! 

It all started with this WONDERFUL book written by Margaret Mcnamara. Mr. Tiffin's class makes estimates about how many seeds are inside a big, medium, and small pumpkin. I only read to the part of the book where all the students had made their estimates. Then I split my class into groups. We tallied who thought the bigger pumpkins would have the most seeds and who thought the smaller pumpkins would have the most seeds. Most of my students thought the biggest pumpkins would have the most seeds. They said things that are bigger can hold more. Good logic :-)

Each group had to discuss what they thought a reasonable estimate would be. We listed our estimates on the board. Then each group opened up their pumpkins and began pulling out all of the seeds. Lots of "EEEEEEEWS!" were heard and lots of kids got the giggles! 

After every single slimy seed was out of our pumpkins we discussed how we thought we should count our seeds. The class decided counting by tens was easiest. Each group member started making piles of ten. One of my little girls took charge of her group and split her group into two. Each part of the group had to create ten piles of ten then stop because they knew they had 100. Then they piled the seeds they had counted onto a plate. {Proud teacher moment right there!} They were done counting lickety split and went on to help the other groups.

We recorder all of our answers then I read the rest of How Many Seeds in a Pumpkin. In the book Mr. Tiffin explains that pumpkins with the most ribs/lines have been on the vine the longest. For each rib/line on the pumpkin there is a line of seeds on the inside. *I kept this in mind when I picked my pumpkins. I was the weird girl counting lines on pumpkins outside of Whole Foods*

Our smallest pumpkin had 32 ribs and 614 seeds! WOW!

Next we talked about adjectives. We added adjectives with Post-Its to a paper pumpkin. (Ok, this is the pic from last year, but we did the EXACT same thing!) I have a post about this right HERE. We'll do the writing activity mentioned in the post tomorrow.

We wrapped up our Pumpkinpalooza with a reading of Pumpkin Jack

While my kids were at PE today I super secretly carved one of our pumpkins into a Jack-o-lantern. We put Jack and our other pumpkins into our garden plot at school. We made predictions about what would happen to Jack and the other pumpkins too. Our class is curious to see if Jack rots faster than pumpkins that aren't cut. We are also curious to see if the smaller pumpkins rot faster than the bigger pumpkins.

It was such a wonderful day of learning! I can't wait to write about our Pumpkinpalooza tomorrow. My kids had a blast and worked so well together!

What's the Plan? And it's time to shop!

I am ├╝ber excited about my plans this week! My students have Monday off (and so do I thanks to all of my extra training this summer) and we have a field trip. (Aren't we geniuses for planning a field trip on a short week? I feel like a genius!) With just three days of school work it's the perfect time to do some fun activities.

First, we will still be doing math as usual and I'm adding more of my math centers from my 8 Legged Math pack. It now has 11 centers-I added a graphing activity so if you have purchased this product be sure to download the latest version. 

This week we'll be working on putting numbers in order from least to greatest.

 I also have several students that need to practice number order.

I'm also adding my Halloween Vocabulary Board to my writing stations. These boards are a big hit with the kids every year!

This week we will also work on sequencing a story. I have the perfect book for sequencing and if you don't have this book you've got to run out and buy it. It's absolutely adorable! Room on the Broom was written by Julia Donaldson.  I just saw on Amazon that there is also a movie. What?! Who knew?! {Now adding to my Amazon cart...}

Last year I created a literacy companion pack for this book. After I read the story I work in small group to retell the story. We use story maps and identify problem and solution too.

**Did you hear?! Teachers Pay Teachers now has 100,000 likes on FB so they are throwing a sale! Enter the code FB100K to get 10% of off your purchase through October 14!**