Welcome Aboard!

I'm delighted that you have taken the time to drop anchor here at my little teaching blog: Sailing Though 1st Grade! Oh, the places we will go! Enjoy the voyage.

Oct 31, 2011

Pumpkin Data

This morning we will be using the pumpkins we brought back from our farm field trip last week to collect, record, and analyze data.  We will weigh, and measure both the circumference and height of our pumpkins. Then we will record measurements and sort the class data. Students will compare their pumpkin to the class data and draw conclusions. We will also estimate the number of seeds we think will be in the teacher's pumpkin and count to find out how accurate we were. Then we will finish off our day of "data collection" by participating in a variety of "timed"  relay races using our pumpkins. 
Get your FREE copy here.

Oct 24, 2011


Time for some Fall FREEBIES!
In need of a word bank and story paper to inspire students to write a spooky tale? Download this file here for FREE.

Wondering what you will do to inspire your students to practice their spelling at home next month? Maybe my FREE November Spelling Tic-Tac-Toe will be just the thing. Download your FREE copy from my TPT Store.
Happy Fall!

Open Court Imagine It! Unit 4 Support Materials

For those of you using Open Court... I will be working on the 1st grade Imagine It! materials for Unit 4 this week. So stay tuned! I was able to get a little head start this evening and completed the Big Idea and Focus Questions. So I thought I would post them now just in case anyone will be starting the unit this week. Return to this post in the days ahead to grab the spelling lists, pretests, etc.  Happy Teaching!

Unit 4 Lessons 6-10

Unit 4 Lessons 11-15

Oct 22, 2011

Student Box Monsters

The box monsters arrived at school yesterday... and they are just as cute as I thought they would be! This project is a keeper... and one I will repeat every October! See for your self! I can hardly wait to begin our Go Away, Monster stories!

Oct 18, 2011

Go Away, Monster!

Every month my students are asked to create a project at home with their family . Directions are sent home at the beginning of the month and projects are due back 2-3 weeks later. This month's project was to create BOX MONSTERS. After seeing these adorable characters on Mariah's Giggles Galore blog weeks ago - I knew I had to have my students create their own. Of course October was the perfect month to assign this one! The box monsters are due back this Friday ... I can't wait to see them! If you haven't already read Mariah's Box Monster post, make sure you check it out. She even has step-by-step directions!

Once the students' MONSTERS arrive here at PIER 3, we will use them to delve deeper into our study on adjectives and as "the inspiration" for our next student-authored book, which will be an adaptation of Ed Emberly's Go Away, Big Green Monster!

My Teeny-Tiny story frame was so successful (the students just loved it and their stories turned out so cute), that I just had to create a story frame for Go, Away Big Green Moster! as well.

It is now available in my TPT Store for $1.00.  The 12 page file includes a graphic organizer, a one-page word bank of adjectives grouped into categories such as words that describe color, words that describe texture, and words that describe size and shape, etc., and of course the entire story frame. Finished student books will be 8.5 x 5.5 (half sheet in size).

The adjective word bank is available here for FREE.

Oct 17, 2011

Digraphs -NG and -NK SORT

Next week, our spelling words and sound spelling cards focus on the diagraphs -ng and -nk. I am guessing these are going to be a bit challenging for many of my little first graders. So, I decided to create a SORT activity that targeted these two digraphs to give my CREW as much reinforcement and practice as possible. Here is a sample of what I came up with...

The activity includes 2 sorting headers, 40 word cards, a recording sheet, and an answer key so students can check their own work. The 10 page activity is available for $1.00 in my TPT store.

Oct 16, 2011

Meet the Author

When students publish their own books I love to include a "Meet the Author" page. Here is a completed sample of the I created for their publication of Teeny-Tiny.

You can also download the blank template here. Happy Sunday!

Oct 15, 2011

Who, What, When, Where, Why, and How Sort

Although most of my students have the Super Sentence concept down, there are still a few who haven't quite got it! So, I thought I would create a Who, What, Where, When, Why, and How Sort to do together. Hopefully this will be just the reinforcement they need to arrive at the "Aw Hah!"  Afterwards it will be just one more activity to add to my Literacy Stations.

I hope it works! Find it in my TPT Store for just $1.00.

Using Writer's Eyes

If you haven't yet seen Mrs. Phippen's adorable Writer's Eye Glasses, you have got to check them out. This bulletin board is just too cute for words and one I knew I was going to have to "COPY."

So as soon as I got the chance, I started working on the posters to go with the giant glasses. In the meantime I also happened upon the oh so chic posters that Cara Carroll at the First Grade Parade created after being inspired by the same post. (Don't you just love her stuff?)

Anyway, mine are not so chic but they match my classroom colors and as you can see include our class mascot - froggy.

To HELP motivate my students to actually use these new posters and edit carefully, I gave them an actual pair of "WRITER'S EYE GLASSES (frames only of course), to wear during the editing process earlier this week. I have been saving my 3-D movie theater glasses for a few years and finally have a class set! I simply punched out the lenses.

My students looked so SMART in them and they actually took the editing phase very seriously when they were given these props! I only hope this "MAGIC" continues when the novelty wears off!

Click here to download. 

Oct 13, 2011

November Super Sentence Pack

Thank you to all of you teachers that have been leaving such POSITIVE comments about my "Super Sentence" packs. I am thrilled that you are actually using them with your students and that you are asking for MORE!

Your requests have been heard! Here is the next set for the month of November. The pack includes turkeys, pilgrims, native americans, pumpkins, crows, a thanksgiving feast, scarecrows, and of course fall sports.

You can purchase the full pack in my TPT store
or just grab a freebie sample here.


Teeny Tiny Template

One of my favorite stories to read to the students in October is "The Teeny Tiny Woman". The repetition of the story and the ghostly voice the character hears as she hides under the covers, simply  grabs the students' attention and never lets go!

After reading the story, I usually have the students help me write a Teeny Tiny tale of our own - an adapation based on the story I had just read. First, I model how to use the graphic organizer I created to assist students in planning their own original version of the tale.  Then,  we fill-in the story template together. The story can be spooky and Halloween related or have nothing at all to do with ghostly creatures.
Once we have written a class story using the template below, most students are ready and anxious to develop their own version of this traditional English ghost tale.

This is a fun one... and the stories are always so cute. You'll want to film or record your students reading these!

Click here to download the graphic organizer for free.  You can find the entire 30 page file which includes the organizer, 8 page story template, an "About the Author" page, 2 different cover pages, and two completed student samples in my TPT store . More screen shots available there!

Happy October!

Oct 10, 2011

Parent-Teacher Conferences

Today I will me meeting with 18 sets of parents for parent-teacher conferences. Our district sets aside one entire day for us to hold these face-to-face meetings. Students of course have the day off! It is exhausting, but I love that they are all wrapped up at once.

In any case, since I moved grade levels this year from 4th to 1st,  it was time to create a new form to share the kiddos' progress with parents. My teaching partner created a great form which she was kind enough to pass on; but unfortunatelyI hadn't gotten to all the assessment pieces she had on it - so I had to do some tweaking.

Here is what I came up with. What type of form do you use to share your students' progress with parents?

Oct 6, 2011

Halloween Super Sentence Pack

Since I received so many positive comments about the Super Sentences that I posted a couple of weeks ago, I thought I would create a Halloween pack at varying levels of difficulty to allow for differentiation and to span a few grade levels. My first graders are really starting to get the hang of writing more complex sentences; but perhaps even more important, using these writing scaffolds have helped my students to recognize and be able to identify the who, what, where, when, why, and how in stories we are READING in class! Who KNEW???
 Get your copy here.

Oct 3, 2011

Classroom Mascot or Pet?

Do you have a classroom mascot or pet that students take home for a weekend? If so, what is it? Do students have writing or other activities associated with having their "GUEST" visit? How do you assign weekends and communicate with families?

Next week we will begin our third unit in our reading and language arts program entitled "I am Responsible!"
One of the things I will do to launch the THEME is to begin student weekend visits with our classroom mascot "First Mate Froggy"

Below is a copy of the letter I created to send home.
Click on the graphic below to view or download the actual file.

I can't wait to see what the children write and add to the FROG LOG each week!

Oct 2, 2011

Open Court Imagine It! Unit 3 Support Materials

I know a few of my followers have been anxiously awaiting this posting, as they are a week ahead of me in their language arts program.  You are keeping me on my toes! I will try my best to get the rest of the unit materials up by the end of week... but I thought I would go ahead and upload the first week materials for Unit 3 of the Open Court "Imagine It!" program this afternoon, so that you can RELAX and know that tomorrow is taken care of. Happy Sunday! Enjoy!

Oct 1, 2011

Weekly Behavior Report for Parents

I finally finished creating a weekly behavior report for parents to match my nautical-inspired froggy pirate behavior clipchart. I am trying to keep it simple... hopefully it will be effective and quick and easy enough for me to manage each week.
Click here to get your copy of this classroom management form.