Wednesday, December 15, 2010

National Board???

I recently achieved my NB Certification.  I was one of 8,600 teachers to achieve this year.  There are now over 91,000 teachers that have their certification.  I was checking out the NB website and found some interesting data.
I was shocked at the fact that North Carolina has 2,277 teachers that have their NB certification. (Compared to New Hampshire with a total of 19)  Until this year the state paid all fees for teachers during their first attempt.  North Carolina also offers a 12% increase to teachers that achieve NB.  I’m sure that is why their numbers are so high.  This made me wonder how many states encourage their teachers to work towards their NB certification.    
 National Board is all about what it is we want our students to learn, how we teach it, and how do we know if our students GET IT. 
Congrats to all the rest of you NBCT’s out there.

Cold Weather??? I NEED A HEADBAND!!

I’m so excited about Babbling Abby’s give away.  She is giving away a SUPER cute flower headband. . . . which of course I would love to have.  Check out her page for more information. 
See below picture:

Thursday, December 9, 2010

If You Take a Mouse to the Movies - Chain Reaction

So . .  .  tonight I found some SUPER CUTE ideas on Team Carroll’s Blog The First Grade Parade.   She used the book If You Take a Mouse to the Movies for some of her in class activities. 
This book works perfect with our upcoming comprehension skill: Cause and Effect.  I created this Chain Reaction graphing organizer to use with my students.

The Mitten Box

After the holidays we will be learning about describing words.  We will be reading lots of poems.  One poem is called the Mitten Box.  I would love to have each students bring in a mitten and place it a box.  During our comprehension station each student will choose a mitten from the box.  Then they will generate 4 or 5 words that describe that mitten.  In our vocabulary station the students will read each card to see if it describes these mittens:

Download Here:

Work that Lights Up Our Classroom

For our holiday bulletin board I gave each student a coloring page Christmas tree.  After each child colored their tree they had to write about their tree.  (My tree has nine ornaments. There is a yellow star on the top of my tree.)  I had the students write on some holiday stationary I had which had animals with presents around the border.  They turned out GREAT!!  The students were so excited to do their best so their work would be displayed on the board. 
Here is a student sample:
Here is the completed board:
Hope your boards turned out just as cute!  I would love to see them! J

Friday, December 3, 2010

Story Vocabulary Dice

To help our students learn to use their vocabulary words in text we created story vocabulary dice.  The students roll the dice and then use the word in a sentence.  Again, I have added clipart to help the lower level students.  I often challenge my higher level students to roll the dice twice and use BOTH words in a sentence. J 
I have added a blank template, feel free to use it in your classroom. 


This week our comprehension skill was sequencing.  We created several mats where the students sequenced what happened in the story.  On the last day we created this sequencing mat and sequencing cards.  The lower level students used the picture cards and higher level students used the phrases. 

Download Here:

Wednesday, December 1, 2010

Math Estimation

Math Estimation

I loved Sarah Cooley’s October estimation activity.  I decided to create my own activity for January.  I am still working on the Answer Sheet.  I’ll attach it once it is finished.

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Hero Dad - Book about Army Dad's

I read this great book to my students today.  It is all about how the little boy's father is a Super Hero because he is an American Soldier.  This is a MUST HAVE for military children!! 

For more info check out this Amazon link:

Monday, November 15, 2010

30 Day Blog Challenge!

Day 3-Your first love
My first love was right after high school.  I found out one of my best friend’s brother had a crush on me.  He was five years older than me and I thought, “Wow, he has a crush on me.”  We began flirting some and the summer after I graduated from high school I started working at a local factory, where he worked, to earn extra money for college.  Sometimes he would drive me to/ home from work.  We began hanging out and watching movies together.  I loved the attention he gave me.  I was scared that once I started college it would end.  However, we continued dating through college.  He often came to visit me. Or I would go home on the weekends to visit him.  We dated for about 3 years.  We got along great; I only wished we could see each other more often.  During my junior year of college I began to pressuring him about what was going to happen after college.  Since I’m not close with my parents I planned on moving and teaching in a NEW state.  However, if he wanted something more serious between us I told him I would move back to my home town.  We argued about it because he would always say, “I don’t want to hold you back.  Move it’s what is best for you.”  (To me that meant, I don’t want to be with you.)  We pretty much broke up at that point but we remained friends and often talked on the phone.  Several weeks later. . . he called and he had changed his mind.  He wanted to be with me.  He wanted something more.  We got back together.  However it wasn’t what it was before. I wasn’t sure what it was but I knew IT (this) wasn’t what I really wanted.  We continued to date for a few months.  Then he called one day and said, “I changed my mind.  You should move.”  I was like. . . WHAT?!?  I couldn’t believe him.  I was devastated.  I loved him and wanted to be with and but at the same time didn’t want to be.  I knew what we once had was gone.  I was afraid of moving on and afraid of losing my BEST FRIEND.  I soon found out that during out break-up he had gotten another girl pregnant.  Finally it became clear.  After college I moved 10 hours from home and it was the best thing that I could have done for me!!  It was so hard especially since he was my best friend.  But the move helped me find out how strong I was and learn about what I like and want out of life. 

30 Day Blog Challenge!

Day 2-Meaning behind your blog name
At my school every classroom has a theme.  Then each teacher picks a describing word with the same beginning letter.  I became the Fabulous Fish.  Since I found blogger because of teaching and use it mostly to find teaching ideas I decided to name my blog after my classroom theme!! J

30 Day Blog Challenge!

I am trying some of  the 30 Day Blog Challenge:
Day 1-Introduce, recent picture, 15 interesting facts


1.    I teach first grade.
2. I enjoy running, but sometimes it doesn’t fit in my schedule!!
3. I have two sisters. I am the youngest!
4.  I have always taught first sometimes I think about switching grades BUT I enjoy teaching my students to read.
5. I am originally from Pennsylvania.
6. I love doing crafts with my students!! J
7. I LOVE biscuits!!  I could eat them EVERY day!
8. I love having NEW clothes to wear to work!
9. I love jewelry.  Sometimes new jewelry helps me make an old outfit feel new again!
10. I LOVE watching movies!!  My favorites are romantic comedies.  I could sit around every weekend and watch hallmark ALL DAY!! 
11. I am not close with my family. . . so my friends are my family.
12. I am about 5 feet, 3 inches.  I wish I was taller.  Short pants are too short and regular are too long! 
13. I just started BLOGGING this summer when I randomly came across a blog while looking for lesson ideas.  It is my new passion.  I love get new ideas from other teachers.
14.  I LOVE teaching but I this year I seem to be have a negative attitude about going to work, I can’t figure out why:  Is it the long meetings, the little pay, the being told what to teach AND how to teach it???  I just wish the ADMIN would see that I am doing my job and my students are making growth.
15. I have been working on my National Teaching Certificate.  It has been SOOO much work.  I should find out if I passed later this month.  I am hoping and praying that I passed!!! 

Sunday, November 14, 2010

Math Stations

We are learning to use nonstandard units to measure:

Math Stations

We have been learning to count by 2's!!!   To help my students see the counting by 2's pattern I made cut outs and wrote the numbers by 2's on the front.  During center time my students line them out.  Then they count outloud and write all the numbers in their Math Log. 

To help some students I encourage them to line them up this way:

Tuesday, November 9, 2010

The First Grade Parade: Veteran’s Day

The First Grade Parade: Veteran’s Day: I just found this idea! I LOVE it!! I plan on using in tomorrow in my class. Thanks for the great idea!

Monday, November 8, 2010

Writing Workshop

This year we are starting a school wide writing workshop.  We have been reading:

This is a great read!  :)  Teach students to write about things they know.  You'll see this teacher write about something she does. . . This encourages students to share things about their life during writing time.  I'm excited to try it with my students tomorrow.  :)

Tuesday, November 2, 2010

Boat Float

We have been learning about solids and liquids.  We experimented with testing many objects in water to see what would sink and what would float.  We also tested all kinds of plastic bowls and cups to see which one would make the best boat:

dollar section at target several years ago

 "the winner" -  We decided it must be because it is wider and has straight sides.
This really helped the students see why a boat must be balanced.

Next, the students made their own foil boat! 

Each student recorded how many frogs their boat held.

They also recorded this in their Learning Log!

The winning boat!!

It held 164 frogs!!! 

Tuesday, September 28, 2010

Pumpkin, Pumpkin . . .

This week we read the story Pumpkin, Pumpkin by Jeanne Titherington. 
Pumpkin Pumpkin
After reading the story we talked about how a pumpkin grows from a seed, to a sprout, to a flower, to a green pumpkin, then a small orange pumpkin, and then finally a full grown PUMPKIN!  I wanted the students to be able to share this story at home.  I gave each student to paper plates to paint orange. 
Then each student colored and cut out the life cycle of a pumpkin. 
After each student had colored and cut out the parts we stapled them to some fun, root looking yarn.  Next, we stapled the end of the yarn that was attached to the small orange pumpkin to the plate.   (This allowed the students to pull out each phase of the cycle as they told the story.)  We then stapled the two plates together to make a pocket and added a stem
pumpkins start as a seed
 then they grow a stem and a flower

after the flower, comes a green pumpkin, and an orange pumpkin
The students LOVED the craft and they were excited to take it home to share it with their families.

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

Behavior Plan

This year we have started a school-wide behavior plan.  Each teacher has this poster in their classroom (I added the positive parts to my classroom poster)

This system seems to be working FABULOUSLY.  Each time the child makes a good choice they move their clip up.  Each time they need to be reminded of the rules they move their clip down.  At the end of each day the students colors their behavior on this log and they write a word to describe their day.  This allows the parents to see how their child’s day was each day.

Monday, September 20, 2010


This year I have noticed my students really need practice drawing.  I found this Follow the Directions and Draw It All by Yourself book. 
Follow the Directions & Draw It All by Yourself!: 25 Easy, Reproducible Lessons That Guide Kids Step-by-Step to Draw Adorable Pictures & Learn the Important Skill of Following Directions
Each week I pick an animal from this book, then I find a book that will teach the students about that animal.   Next, I use the book to help me draw animals.  This model how to draw the animal.  We then create a Story Map of details from the book.  My students use this map during writing to help them recall the facts from the story.

Word Families

For the last several weeks we have been learning all about word families.
We have been reading:
Word Family Tales -Ip: Take a Trip to Planet Blip
My students love these books.  After reading we guess the missing words for the Fill in the Blank sentences in the back.  As the students guess I record their answers and make a word family poster.  Then we display the posters in the phonics station.

We have also been singing some word family songs:
Word Family Sing-Along Flip Chart & CD
My students LOVE these songs!!
Each day in the phonics station my students practice these new word families.

We have sorted words into the correct word family:
Word Sorting, Gr. K-2
I have also created my own words and had the students cut them out and glue them on construction paper.

Build words with bottles caps:

Used word family slides and wheels to make words and then recorded our work:
Turn-to-Learn: Word Family Wheels (Grades PreK-2)
I use black and white slides and wheels that I have colored and created but I found this book of wheels that are already in color and ready to go!

Friday, September 3, 2010

Classroom Tour

Birthday Board

Center Rotation
Each year I group the students by ability and then create four heterogeneous groups.  By grouping my students heterogeneously they are able to work together to complete center work.  Since my classroom has a fish theme each group is named after an ocean animal.

In my classroom everyone does their part to take care of the classroom.  Each child has a chore. Everyday I move the names down one and put the bottom one on top.  The students get excited to see their new chore each day!

Word Wall
Each week we add words from our stories to our word wall!

Mini File Folder Word Wall
To help make my word wall more user friendly I created mini wall walls!!  Inside each folder is a list of all the words, beginning with that letter, we will learn during the school year.

Center Work Display - "FINtastic" Work

Classroom Library
I store all my books in baskets so the students are able to see the front over of the books.  I also group books but subject or author to help students find books they are interested in reading!  It also helps them put the books back! :)

Classroom Objectives
If you work at a school like me we have to display our objectives daily.  I got the idea to post them in a pocket chart so they can easily be updated.  I store the objective sentence strips in a closet on a ring by subject so they can be used again!

Pencil Baskets! 
Each student has a pencil basket that stores their crayons, pencil, glue stick, scissors, spaceman, and stickerbook.