Organizing Charts and Posters!

I'm over at my collab blog, Owl-ways Be Inspired, showing you a tip for of my favorite topics - ha! Come on over!


Fire Safety Week with Math and Spelling Updates

This last week has kicked. my. butt.

I really can't even remember my days.

Monday, I had a meeting during my planning, interims were to go out that day but the copiers were down, and I had a Dr. appointment after school and on the way home I got stock on the interstate because of an accident for thirty minutes.

Tuesday is our faculty meeting day after school, so I don't usually get home until late anyway.

Wednesday?? I don't remember Wednesday. Oh.. wait! I went to see my brother and his wife and my nephew. I just happen to have nothing that day and Autumn asked if she could see her baby cousin. Sure. 

Thursday, we had Math Night that I had to be at and I didn't get home until 8:00 that day.

Friday? One CRAZY day...but it was a great day! Apple Day/Week was a success and I can't wait to show it to you!  OH, and I was home by 3:30 and IN my pajamas on the couch. Yep. 

I'm overly exhausted right now. September is brutal.

Anyway... no time to do my visual plans, but I did want to tell you a little bit of what we'll be doing.

We're going to be doing short vowel review with words that end in -ck.  So I updated my /k/ pack. If you already bought it, make sure you download it again.

Our thematic poem for the week to put in our journal is on Firefighters. You can read about my poetry journals {HERE}. You know I'd be in trouble if I didn't do a fire safety week! I always try to get my husband to come in to my classroom with his gear and do a little demonstration, but I never know if it's going to work out or not. We'll see if it happens this year or not!

Anyway, I found a freebie poem from one of the first blogs I found many years ago, Just 4 Teachers, that I turned into a poetry journal and centers activity. Click the picture to download.  We're going to do the poem on Monday morning and then it will be one of their centers throughout the week.

Another center they'll be doing this week is the vowel and consonant addition. I've had this activity in my centers FOREVER, but I've copied them so many times that they start to look blurry. So I finally just made my own so that it was actually "pretty" and I could print originals whenever I wanted. The old version was with ewwy fonts and no clip art. Not pretty. lol. I like functional....and pretty! haha It's the problem with being a clip art addict, I guess. Click the picture to download the freebie.

Some more of my centers will be coming from a few different packs.... my October version of my Label It!

And my October CCS center packs. I had the chance to introduce math centers last week with all of our apple fun, and I really liked it! We only had like 15 minutes to do them.... so I can only do one quick one, but it was enough time for me to walk around to get an idea of who needed help and which concepts I needed to spend more time on.

Also in Math, I'll be doing a "round up" of all the addition strategies I've been teaching them. I'll be doing some activities from my Addition Strategies pack. This was on of the first things I made a few years ago. I'm adding more activities to the pack as the week goes! By next weekend, I'll have the pack updated... so if you already bought it, be on the look out for a FB shout that I've uploaded the new version. If you haven't bought it yet, you might want to get it now before the price goes up!

I have a few new ideas I want to implement in our routines. But before I share them with you, I want to make sure they're going to work... or IF I even get to them. We start our school wide intervention next week. This eats up about 45 minutes of my already too-short of a day. So, I'm not sure if I'll be able to get it all in.

Insert sad face. I really miss time. I wish I had more if. For so many reasons.


Peek at My Week 9.22 - Apple Week!

Yay!  Apple Week is upon us!!  I just love this week... among many other weeks, but right now let's just focus on Apple Week. ha!

If you follow me on IG, you've seen this picture...

I brought home all my apple stuff that I thought I would be able to use for 1st grade so I could see what could do with it all.

I finally made some sense out of it. I think...

First, let me show you some of my favorite apple books I'll be using this week...
Here are some of my favorite Johnny Appleseed and Apple books

And here are some of my favorite "apple-themed" books

So, here are my plans for the week. I don't even know where I'm got all of my activities from...some of them I've had for YEARS. And, unfortunately, some of the stuff I've downloaded doesn't have a name on it I don't know where I got it. BUT, if I do know, then I linked it for ya! Make sure you download the file and then when you open it, you can click on all the pictures and links to go to the page to get the freebie or check out the pack.

This week's phonics poem comes from THIS book:

I'm also using an apple poem that I had in my files from A LONG time ago that I retyped and made it into a center and poetry journal insert. There are actually THREE poems in the pack, because I just like to keep all the apple themed poems in one file instead of hunting them all down - ha!

For math this week, I'm TRYING to fit in some centers. I don't have a lot of time for math, so I'm not sure I can do it, but I figured I'd start with it this week since I had so many fun things I wanted to do... we will see how it goes. Last year I had about an extra half hour for math, so it worked out really well, but so far this year, I'm struggling to get actual centers in for math. I am using my September CCS math centers, but then I also came up with some last minute ideas I wanted to do. You can download those activities in the plans or click on the picture below...

For the Math Worm Center, I'm using my bucket of worms I have in my classroom. We used them to teach measurement in 2nd grade, but i figured they'd be great for this week too!  
 And whenever it says "In Student Books," I'm referring to these:

I took the activities in my Hands-On Learning with Apples Pack and turn them into books. I pick and choose each year which activities I want to do and we work all week in them.

To check out any of my packs I mentioned in the post, you can click the pictures below.

Poem Freebie:


Seat Sack Giveaway!!

This year, I've decided to try out seat sacks.

Yes. We have desks. But I LOATHE how messy and "shoved" with papers they get. I don't know how. They just do.

AND, I do a lot of turn and talk activities within my groups.  There was always the question of "who goes first?!" every time we were doing an activity.

SO, these seat sacks act as a 2-for-1 for me!

ONE: They help us organize. They keep their clipboard, pencil box/bag, book stick, Spelling Journals, and center folders.

TWO: They act as an easy way to turn and talk.

I got mine from The Seat Sack Company. They are a really good thick material and hold up strong. I got two different colors, blue and green... to match my room, of course!

This is how  have it organized... I altered the two colors in my groups... BUT, every group is organized the same way. I actually have it so that all my 1A kids are blue, 2B kids are green 3A kids are blue, and 4B kids are blue. These are Kagan Team building "team jobs" assignments. I actually didn't write their names on the name tags given, but only because I wanted the sacks to stay at the same desk as my kids rotate around the room.

If you don't do Kagan, just make sure you alternate them all starting at the same "person."

When I say it's time to "turn and talk," my kids know to turn their chairs and sit knee to knee. And then I'll say "Green first!" and they know who has to start without even thinking twice.  What I like about how it's organized is that when they turn and talk and they are sitting next to someone from the other group, it's the opposite color! So they don't have someone right next to them reading or talking at the same time.

Good news for you!! The company has graciously offered to giveaway a class set!!  Just enter below for your chance to win!

a Rafflecopter giveaway


October Centers!

Yay! I'm finally finished with my October themed activities! These might be my favorite version of all my packs so far - I just LOVE October!! So many great themes!! I just wish FL actually had a FALL season so it could feel like the REAL October. Oh well.  Pretending will have to do I guess - ha!

First off, I finished the Label It! pack for October - there are a lot of themes in this month's pack:

 13 different pictures for Columbus, Football, Fire Safety, Pumpkins, bats, spiders, and Halloween

If you haven't seen my pack before, here's what's included...

You could extend the labeling pictures and add in a writing activity OR you could use the writing pages as separate activities to go with any of your lessons in class.

Also, I FINALLY finished the 1st Grade October centers

These are meant to be review centers; skills that they've already been taught so that you can pull for small groups without worrying about "teaching" the skills in the centers!

Themes included in this month's pack: pumpkins, jack-o-lanterns, bats, spiders, and fire fighters, Halloween.

Centers included in this 140 page packet:

Word Work:Label a Picture (2 versions of 2 different pictures)Beginning Sounds - Clip and WriteSeptember Poem with Task Cards

Grammar:Reading Clues - Adjectives (matching)Match a SentenceAdjectives

Reading:Read and IllustrateSequencing - Main Idea and DetailsSight Words

Writing:Sentence ScrambleStretch a SentenceBe an Author

Phonics:Spin-a-Word - Short vowelsBuilding Words - Short vowelsWord Families -op and -ot


Story Structure
Summarzing (SWBSF)
Summarizing with writing it out
Thematic Writing Paper
Problem and Solution
Evaluate the Story

The Math Centers include activities for each domain of the CCSS:


Roll-a-Problem - Addition Problems (doubles)
Related Facts (Commutative Property)
Balancing Act: Addition
Word Problems
Rolling Numbers
Spin-a-Number: Counting by 10s
Comparing teens
Missing Numbers on a Hundreds Chart
Place value - tens and ones
Decomposing Numbers
10 Frames
Number Recognition - Tally Marks
MD and G:
NonStandard Measurement
Time to the Hour (and half hour option)
Coin Recognition

Click any of the pictures to check out the packs. You can get the packs in the BUNDLE separately if you only need the ELA or the MATH.


Centers... Revisited and Revised

Ok, so a few weeks ago, I showed you how I started my centers off in the beginning of the year. We started off slow, doing one center a day, and only 2 people were allowed at a center at a time. My kids did surprisingly amazing - and only 3 days after school started! If you didn't see that post, you should definitely check it out. It's a great starting place for centers! It really goes into how I do centers. 

I also said in that post that I wanted to start doing 2 centers a day eventually. 

Well that day has come! Last week was our first week of doing them.

After I figured out who could "handle" centers, which students I was going to be spending the most time with, who took longer to complete seatwork and activities, I figured out how I was going to do them. And it worked out pretty well this week, so I think it'll work for us!

Ok, So. 

Let's see if I can explain this. 

I have 2 different sets of reading centers: the Blue Centers and the Green Centers. And the students have blue cards and green cards with their numbers on them. Each day they will pick a Blue Center and a Green Center. Now, not everyone is going to get to do the green centers. These are the students that I will be working with longer than the rest of the students, so they really won't have a lot of time to do the 2nd center. BUT, I didn't want them to miss out on centers at all, so they get to do the Blue centers.

So... blue cards to the blue centers and green cards to the green centers.

You can see that I have less students at the green centers, and sometimes a lot of kids at the blue centers. That's okay about the blue centers though, because I call 3-5 students back to my table for small group, so that helps to break down the groups to be a little smaller at the center.

Now the blue center goes to the blue buckets and the green centers to the green buckets....see how that all worked out?? It's actually purely coincidental that it worked out that way.

SO, what are my centers? 

They change weekly, but I think I've figured out my "constant" of the centers each week.  The "TOPIC" of each center will stay the same each week, but the activities will change through out the time.  Here is an example of my Center Menu. (The one the kids get don't have the pictures... although that's a good idea! ha!)

By the way, you can download this center menu to find out where the activities come from on {THIS} post.

The Blue Centers are the "must-dos" which are the core centers... practicing spelling and sight words and comprehension and such. And "Write the Room" is always a favorite, so that's a constant, but the actual activity or product I use will be different each week. These are the centers that I want EVERYONE to do, so even my kids who only do 1 center will do the "core" centers.

The green centers are the "extra" centers that some of my students get to do.

So, I set the big timer for "Round 1" and if they finish that center before the timer is up, then they can finish other work (old centers included!) or read a book.  Once the timer goes off, they quickly clean up and I go around and quickly check off those centers and tell them they can go to their green center or finish their blue center if they don't have a green center. I set the timer for Round 2. I usually save my lower groups for the "Round 2" time to call back to my back table so that they have time to do their blue centers... they are the ones that have a hard time ever going back to finish work, so I really want to give them time to do their centers during round 1. 

I know. This sounds really confusing. But I promise, once you do actually do it and put it into motion, it's really smooth flowing!

I hope that gives you some ideas... coming up soon is a new post all about my guided reading binder... what's in it and how I plan for my small groups - the whole reason to have centers to begin with! Gotta meet with those small groups!

Let's do a little Q and A session, shall we?? I've been getting a lot of questions on some of the same things, so I figured I'd just write them all out! 

When do they pick centers? Do they all go at once?

They pick centers as part of their morning jobs. They come in, unpack, sharpen pencils, trade books, and pick their centers. They have to have their menu IN THEIR HAND while at the pocket chart so they know which centers they've already done.  Since my kids come in anywhere between 7:45 and 8:00, there is usually a pretty good spread of kids at the pocket chart. Every so often I have to tell students to come back since there are more than 3-4 people at the chart at once...but not too often.

Do you assign them centers?

No. It's all about choice... although they HAVE to do every center, so it's only a slight choice. But, some days, you're just having an off day and you want to take it easy, so you want to pick the "easy" center, go for it! And there are favorite centers, so yes, the people who come in earlier get to choose those centers first.  BUT, they can only do each center once, so eventually they will have done them all, no matter the order.

NOW, there are some kids who don't get to do the green centers, so in essence, I am assigning them centers; they can only do the blue centers.

How do you handle picking centers with just their friends.

Well, I just know which students work well together and which ones don't. lol. There are certain students that are not allowed to pick the same centers as their friends. We figured that out real quick.  But sometimes, kids work better when they're with their friends.  And since I'm randomly calling people back to my small group table, they don't always get to hang out with their friends the whole time at the center, so it usually works out.

When do you check centers? Does it take a lot of time?

In the beginning, it does take a lot of time, but only because they aren't so quick at the procedure yet. BUT, right now, I can check centers in about 3-5 minutes. I check Round 1's centers halfway through our small group time. My timer goes off, they know to get cleaned up while I'm finishing with my small group, and they are waiting for me at their desk with their center and menu out on their desk. Then I tell them to either go to their Green center or to finish up their blue center if they don't do a green center.  Then my timer goes off again at the end and the same thing happens; they clean up and I come around to check Round 2's centers. Sometimes, I've used that time for them to be doing their silent reading while I'm walking around checking centers, but right now it's working out me doing this way.

How long do centers last? 

It really depends on how long my whole group takes. But generally 60-75 minutes.

What are you doing during centers? What does your guided reading look like?

It changes year to year.... and this year it's really changed since I'm in a different grade, but you can check out my my post I've done before on small groups {HERE} and {HERE}.

I hope that helped you with any questions you might have!

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