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!**

A Must Have for kinder and first grade classrooms

Happy Saturday y'all! A short time ago I was contacted by EAI Education to do a product review. I chose to review the Quiet Shape Connecting Ten Frames Boards
As you can see from the picture the ten frames can connect to each other so you can be counting up by tens. The red and yellow counters are some type of hard foam and are a snug fit inside the ten frame. Having my students place them inside the ten frame and pull them out was great fine motor practice. And they are QUIET! 

I used these in small group work this week. First I had my students who are struggling just show me numbers up to ten. 

I had other groups show me numbers up to twenty or thirty by connecting the ten frames.  Later in the week I asked students to model addition sentences/problems using the ten frames.

I created a little freebie to go with this activity. After I printed and cut the addition problems and the matching ten frames I laminated them back-to-back so that I can put this activity into a center and students can check to see if they have modeled the problem correctly.

Click on the pic to download your freebie

I'm in love with these! My teammates saw them and they all want to try them too. EAI has this product and tons of other great products as well. I ordered some book bags just last weekend. If you order $25 or more in products you can get free shipping with this code: RIFGFS2013
This code is good from now until the end of the year! Sweet!

Have a great Saturday!