Helping FIRSTIES become Better Writers

Can First Graders become BETTER WRITERS?

Hello everyone!

My name is Wendy McCarty.

I am the creator behind…

1stgradefireworks

I create classroom and homeschool materials

that engage young minds and help the teacher to support instruction.

You can see my products in my TPT Store:

1stgradefireworks

Today’s Topic…

Writing in First Grade

Now… I wish I was PERFECT.

I wish my kiddos were PERFECT.

There are NO Perfect PEOPLE!

NO Perfect KIDDOS.

No  Perfect.

Now that we have gone there…how do we get close?

We get  BETTER!

Better Readers.

Better Speakers.

Better Writers.

Better..Better…Better

( My Mantra )

HOW?

We write EVERY DAY.

Usually..more than once.

We write about our day in school

…things we like

…stories we have read

…new words we have learned

…new thoughts we have had

etc.etc.etc.

I try to do a mini-lesson on a strategy.

I add new vocabulary.  In CONTEXT.

We make connections.

We expand our thinking.

We TALK!

And it can be noisy.

It’s OK.

Sometimes LEARNING is messy.

And loud. And busy.

It’s OK!

We do writer’s workshop.

My kids write.

AND they LOVE IT!

HOW?

Give them paper, pencils, markers, colored pencils, etc…

Give them…TIME!

And … LET THEM TALK!

My classroom is NEVER quiet!

Talking

about writing,

 during writing,

and after writing.

TALK, Write,  Create!

Are they perfect?

NO.

Is that OK?

YES!

*(Update)

I have added new

VOCABULARY BANNERS

to my

Writing Center.

Fall Vocabulary Banners for WRITING

Fall Vocabulary Banners for WRITING

The banners

help my

 beginning writers

( HOW DO YOU SPELL…..??? )

and my

EL students

(LOTS of VISUALS )

See how I use the

VOCABULARY BANNERS

Here.

For WRITER’S WORKSHOP

 If you need a starting point...

Monthly Writing Pages

WITH

VOCABULARY Helpers

at the

bottom of EVERY PAGE!

I LOVE TEACHING!

I am currently headed into my 27th year teaching…ALL of them in first grade!

My kiddos ask me “WHY don’t YOU ever GRADUATE to Second Grade?”

I tell them

“First Grade is IN my HEART!”

You can follow me at:

https://1stgradefireworks.net

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1stgradefireworks

Are your students ready for CENTERS?

How to add games for independent centers!

We have been in school for 4 weeks. I know…we began JULY 31! I spend 3-4 weeks working on whole class routines & schedules. Then we spend a week or two working on centers ( without me actually taking reading groups) so I can monitor HOW they are doing during independent centers. AND THEN????

We begin INDEPENDENT CENTERS without the teacher!!!  WHAT???  Yes!! 

Release the KRACKEN!

Release the Kracken

Release the Kracken

And yes..we begin small group reading.

I used to call it GUIDED READING.

But I have added Guided Reading Skills & Strategies.

Sometimes, we work on words. Sometimes we work on skills. 

Sometimes we read. Sometimes we write. 

I use my assessments to guide my instruction. 

I know WHO needs WHAT.

So what are the other kids doing?

MUST DO’s & May Do’s.

And this week..enter their FAVORITE CENTER SO FAR!

( Yes…in their WHOLE LIFE…as they say!)

Here is the FUN game for centers!

And they are LEARNING!    WIN!  WIN!

 

 

SHORT VOWEL DOMINOES 

294 CARDS! WOWZA! 

294 domino cards for short vowel practice. Domino games can be differentiated by vowel sounds, picture cards, or word cards. Fun activities for student learning. Games help students stay engaged while practicing short vowel CVC word families.

They LOVE THIS! They beg for more time! Get your WORK done so you can PLAY!

YES!  I love it when a plan works!

And so here we go!

Small groups for me..independent centers for them.

WIN! WIN!  All around. Check out the video!

When is it “officially” FALL?

 

It’s 100 degrees in NorCAL!

My A/C has been on for WEEKS!

I don’t like to sweat. 

My calendar says Fall ‘officially” begins on Monday, September 23?

WHAT? Why so far away?

I think FALL should begin TODAY!

WHEN is it “officially” FALL? 

I am ready for…  FALL!

When is it "Officially" Fall?

When is it “Officially” FALL?

 

I have been looking for FALL-themed resources

to help get my first-graders into the

FALL MODE!

I hope these help YOU too!

(Thank You PINTEREST!)

The Best of Fall Read Alouds

The Best of Fall Read Alouds

Fall themes?  YES! Many to choose from!

What do YOU teach in the FALL?

PUMPKIN EVERYTHING?

When is it "officially" FALL?

When is it “officially” FALL?

 

Need MORE  Fall inspiration?

🙂

Bring on FALL! We are READY!

How Do You Know When It’s Fall?

Fall, Apples, & Johnny Appleseed

And so my friends…as YOU can SEE…FALL is ALMOST here!

Enjoy the changing season! Have fun with your students, hug your family!

Now…where did I put thise leather boots?

Hmmm…I may have to clean out a 

closet or two! 

pumpkin spiced latte

pumpkin spiced latte

Pumpkin Spice LATTE is almost HERE!  WAHOO!!

HAPPY  Fall. ‘yall from NORCAL! 
1stgradefireworks

1stgradefireworks

 

 

Getting Ready to READ in SMALL Groups

AKA… After I assess them, NOW what?

SMALL GROUPS!

small group table for reading

small group table for reading

We are back in school. I spent the first few days going over schedules, routines, set up, clean up, etc. As the week went on, we got better.


Now, it’s time to introduce content. I need them to start working so I can ASSESS.
ASSESS for WHAT?

Assess for READING!

First grade is ALL ABOUT READING!

Small groups are leveled so I can reach each student at their level and help them become

BETTER, INDEPENDENT READERS!

HOW? How do I know?

ASSESSMENTS!

Assessments drive your instruction.

DATA. What DO they know? What DON’T they know?

All of this data becomes the source of my instruction.

If I have a concept that a LOT of them don’t know…. whole class lesson!
RETEACH THE WHOLE CLASS!

BUT, if only a FEW are missing a skill or strategy…SMALL GROUPS!
Reteach it during small groups.

OK. HOW?

How to Group students for SMALL GROUP reading. 1stgradefireworks

How to Group students for SMALL GROUP reading. 1stgradefireworks

Assessments drive your instruction for small groups!

Assessments drive your instruction for small groups!

I use MULTIPLE ASSESSMENTS.
Curriculum, DRA, Running Records, BPST, Letter sounds/names, blending, segmenting, sight words, etc.

PLEASE…. DO NOT sit a child down and assess for more than 15 minutes!

Better to assess over DAYS than HOURS!

You want to know what they truely know.

I put ALL of my data on a spreadsheet,

I like to see ALL of it together.

THEN WHAT?

Look for patterns.

Do they know letter names & sounds?

6 kids are “inconsistent”? GROUP THEM FOR practice! Small intervention group with letters, white boards, & pictures,

Your first small group is ready to go!

Missing sight words?
BAM! Small group for sight word practice, reading with the teacher, writing sight words in sentences, and more sight word practice.

Fluency? Do they “robot read”?
Another strategy small group! Fluency practice. I read. You read. We read. I read. YOU read. WE read.
They need to hear YOU for fluency & intonnation practice.

Here are some “helpers” for small groups that I found on PINTEREST!

Effective Grouping for Small Group Instruction - Learning with Mrs. Langley

Effective Grouping for Small Group Instruction – Learning with Mrs. Langley

 

How to Use Small Group WarmUPs with MissDeCarbo.com

How to Use Small Group WarmUPs with MissDeCarbo.com

 

What is a BALANCED LITERACY CLASSROOM? 1stgradefireworks

What is a BALANCED LITERACY CLASSROOM? 1stgradefireworks

Check out BALANCED LITERACY HERE!

So. 

  1. Assessments
  2. Decipher your data. (Look for patterns).
  3. Make your small groups.
  4. RETEACH
  5. Practice
  6. Reassess
  7. Regroup students ( keep groups fluid).
  8. Again. And again, And again!  
  9. Watch them GROW!  
  10.  SMILE. You are great! 🙂

If you need more help…

check out these posts for MORE information: 

Balanced Literacy

Book Clubs- Reading

Writing

 

 

 

 

 

 

The Day the Boys found…DICE for games!

My boys have found…DICE for games!

Math games need dice!

Bring it ON!

Dice for Math Games

My boys found the DICE today! Let the games BEGIN!

The kids found the dice for math games! Game ON!

The dice were rolling! Let the games BEGIN!

Let them play!

The learning, discussions, & giggles were contagious! YES!

I must THANK the Dollar Store & Target $1 Spot

for making their “dreams come true!”

I Love to have games in my classroom!

We PLAY LOTS of GAMES!

 I once had a parent ask me if ALL we did was play games….

each day her daughter would go home & MOM would ask..

” What did you do at school today?”

Daughter….”Oh, we just played games...”

YES!  BUT…

We play MY games…

educational games….

games that reinforce concepts I am teaching!

GOOD GAMES! 🙂

So, today,

MY BOYS  FOUND….DICE!

Their world has changed FOREVER!

I have small dice, large dice, EXTRA LARGE FOAM DICE! LOTS!

We are working on beginning addition…

( YOU know where I am going with this!)

Roll…..ADD….Color!

We got out the dice games & had a ball!

Here is my FALL DICE GAMES...

7 games in one packet!

Fantastic Fall Dice games

Learning is FUN!

But to share…A FREEBIE!

FREEBIE math game..You NEED DICE!

Let them Play! Dice games are so FUN!

So CHEERS to games that make learning FUN!

LEAVE me a COMMENT…

What games do YOU play in your classroom??? 🙂

You never know..I may choose someone to GIVE a GAME to!

WINK ,WINK!  Leave a comment to ENTER!  🙂 

  Wendy   1stgradefireworks 

I was taught “Hard Work” by the BEST!

I am such a SLACKER! I think I am a hard worker!

I think I have it all together..

I DO NOT!

 

My Grandmother & MY MOM

raised a family, worked at home & outside the home, 

and we always had stuff when we wanted it.

THEY were hard workers!

 

AND I NEVER ASKED HOW?

 
I was taught HARD WORK by the BEST!

Gma & Gpa taught me to work hard!

This is my GMA & GPA…

I miss them both.

They lived on a dairy.

 My GPA taught me about cows, HARD work, & what “silage” tasted like! ICK!

My Gma always wore a dress & heels. She was a petite little thing.

She wore toilet paper around her hair at night, so she would look “good” in the morning.

My Gpa didn’t give us candy.

 When we left his house, he would give us a teaspoonful of brown sugar 

, from the jar in Gma’s kitchen.

 Nothing fancy..but it meant EVERYTHING to us!

They owned a peach orchard.

 40 acres of peaches. 

I never really thought about it when I was little.

 It was just a “lot of trees”.

I was taught HARD WORK by the BEST!

My Mom & Dad who taught me about Hard Work.

This is my MOM & Dad ( I just found this engagement pic.) HAHA

I was taught HARD WORK by the BEST!

My happy parents who both work hard!

They are hard workers. 

My dad went to work every day.

 Dressed in his suit & white shirt 

( that my mom ironed..I know ..with an iron & ironing board! )

And my mom worked a self-owned business, 

was ALWAYS there when we got home form school,

 and helped us with EVERYTHING we ever did ( sports, clubs, school, etc).

And I never asked HOW?

How do you do it ALL? 

And now this….

Both my GMA & My MOM canned fruits, made pickles, and baked goodies!

Now I don’t bake ( leave that gene to my sister, Susie).

I have NEVER made pickles..& probably won’t..BUT  

I   CAN  FRUIT!   

I CAN FRUIT, A LOT!

I  remember walking into GMA’s garage & seeing shelves FULL of canned goods.

I grabbed bottles of canned fuits from my mom’s shelves in our garage.

Peaches, pears, cherries, etc, etc, etc,,   whenever we wanted!

Winter, Spring, Summer, Fall

It didn’t matter…it was always there.

HOW????  Hard Work!

I never asked.

So now..I apologize to GMA & MOM.

I should have asked to help you peel, or slice, or wash, or……..or….or……to do the hard work!

But, I cannot take it back.

SO?

I will follow in your steps.

I will teach MY DAUGHTER to can!

And my granddaughters!

I will continue the family tradition. Work Hard!

Only…we will use the recipe on my laptop.

( I know GMA & MOM didn’t do that!)

So here was my day TODAY ( from start  to finish ).

I was taught HARD WORK by the BEST!

Canning fruits & vegetables is Hard Work!

I was taught HARD WORK by the BEST!

Work Smarter not Harder!

Wash the jars ( hot water & heated dry) in dishwasher.

I was taught HARD WORK by the BEST!

Pick the fruit from the trees, Hard Work!

I was taught HARD WORK by the BEST!

Wash them for safety. Hard Work.

I was taught HARD WORK by the BEST!

Blanch them to peel them easily. Hard Work.

Wash..rinse…BLANCH (  Boil  whole peaches, then put in pan of ICE WATER!)

Their peels  just  slide right off!

Slice, Slice, slice!

I was taught HARD WORK by the BEST!

Work Smarter not Harder!

Too hot to cook inside!

Set up our campstove OUTSIDE!

Pan on the left is a sugar/water mixture.

Cook the peaches in for a short time, then pour into jars!

Hubby is sooooo  good at this!

I was taught HARD WORK by the BEST!

Hard Work.

I was taught HARD WORK by the BEST!

Harder Work.

I was taught HARD WORK by the BEST!

Hubby does the hard work.

Then…

Boil in a water bath ( 25 minutes ) to seal.

I was taught HARD WORK by the BEST!

Hard work pays off.

 and…

VOILA!

I was taught HARD WORK by the BEST!

Canning is hard work, but so worth it!

I was taught HARD WORK by the BEST!

Hard work pays off for MONTHS to come!

There we go!

11 quarts of fresh canned peaches!

They will be sooo  good  this winter! 

(Daddy gave us more peaches 

…so I am thinking peach cobbler for dinner!)

or maybe…..

I SHOULD MAKE JAM!

Gma made jam……so did MOM….WOW…Hard Work!

I should THANK them.   🙂

Making A LIST and Checking it TWICE!

IS SANTA ON HIS WAY?

Is SANTA on his way? In JULY?

 

NO! I am checking MY list.

My  Back to School LIST!

And that list get LONGER, every DAY!

My Back to School is next week. 

In my district ( a modified traditional calendar) we start at the end of JULY! 

No tears for me…we are off the first two weeks of OCTOBER!  I LOVE FALL BREAK!

And so first, I make a list – A LONG LIST!

Thank You @createteachshare

Teacher To Do list @createteachshare

Teacher To Do list@createteachshare

 

Here is how my list begins…

  1. Clean teacher desk
  2. Clean students desks
  3. Number each workbook ( I put numbers on EVERYTHING!)
  4. Get student materials ( books, pencil holders -FILLED, & other things that stay IN THEIR DESKS) on their desks. We will go over them the first day.
  5. Number homework folders, Read at Home folders & books
  6. Tear out & runn of homework for the first two weeks.
  7. Clean out & check literacy & math centers.
  8. Purge ANYTHING I have not used in two years! YES!!!!  
  9. Find my teacher tools.
  10. Check technology… after updates…check technology. After call to district office…check technology AGAIN! Finally works! UGH! I have a LOVE/HATE relationship with technology!
  11. Schedule teacher PD meetings. ( 5 days before kids come..starting tomorrow!)
  12. Write Lesson plans for the FIRST WEEK! ( don’t go further…things WILL change.)
  13. Update list.
  14. Unpack the 10 boxes of NEW Science Curriculum. Inventory. Find missing pieces. Inventory again. Store? Stack in a corner.
  15. Add to my list:  Unpack science curriculum & go through it. Plan? 
  16. Make sure resources on the WALLS are for Back to School ( Not END of School). Update.
  17. Are class lists ready? I need to ADD names to numbers!
  18. Make a LIST ( alphbetically, of course) of students by first names. (WOW! I have an “extra” student on my list…boy will that mess up my alphabtical list.  TEACHERS: YOU GET THIS!)
  19. Don’t care that my alphabetical student names will be OUT OF ORDER! 🙂 Breather!
  20. Cross things OFF list. ( After you have added MORE) I know. It’s LONGER than when I started. It’s OK. Ths kids won’t know!
  21. GO HOME EARLY! Relax. Take a walk. Pour some wine. Hug your family. It’s a job. The kids will be there ready or not. THEY won’t care if I didn’t finish ALL of the ANCHOR CHARTS          I want to make. ADD that to my LIST! 
Classroom 2019

Classroom 2019 Making my LIST!

Focal Wall is on my list

Classroom of 2019. Making my LIST of things to do!

Making labels for files!

Classroom of 2019. Making my LIST of things to do!

Lesson Plans are on my list.

Classroom of 2019. Making my LIST of things to do!

Filing construction Paper in a crate is on my list.

Classroom of 2019. Making my LIST of things to do!

Sorting  Read at Home Books...on my list.

Classroom of 2019. Making my LIST of things to do!

 

Leveled readers in tubs. On my list!

Classroom of 2019. Making my LIST of things to do!

Get my Teaching table ready for small groups! ( Also my teacher desk..) READY? Check my list!

Classroom of 2019. Making my LIST of things to do!

My list is long.

BUT… The kids are coming to see YOU!  They will look around and SMILE AT YOU!

The smiling, happy teacher who gives giggles, grins, hugs, & high fives!

They want to know they are safe & happy. And so are YOU!

Finally, don’t forget…your list will come & go. Smile. Breathe.

And Love them!  That’s what we do.

I don’t need to add that to my list. It’s ALWAYS there! 

Happy Back to School. Enjoy it! 

Leave me a comment & let me know how it goes! 

Wendy     1stgradefireworks 

 

JULY already? NO!!! Summer… SLOW DOWN!

Where did my SUMMER go?

July???  Already HERE?  End of JULY is close! NO!!!!

 (Sniff…sniff…deep breath..) I need to get my classroom ready for… The First day of SCHOOL!

OK…student’s are coming to school July 30..

I had better go & see what it looks like..

Books on the floor!

EEEEEEEKKKKKKK!

WHO LEFT THIS HUGE MESS in my classroom!!!????

Oh, yeah…ME? 🙂

I locked the door …AND  RAN!!!!!

Whew! Time to clean up!

So, I spent today (again) working in my room, this time…

throwing things away!

I purged like I never have before!

My poor janitor…he came in twice to take away PILES.

But it’s getting there. Now to teacher organization.

I have 3 big things I did TODAY:

1. I got rid of my teacher desk. 

No more file cabinets, drawers, or “piling” surface.

I now have a “U” reading table as my area! 

LOVE THIS!

 I now have 2 tall (5ft) bookcases next to my area.

Teacher's Guided Reading Table

2. I made a “supply” center ( Lowes tool box) 

for all of my desk supplies.

AND…

to keep all of my centers and student stations…

My teacher TOOLBOX.Organize after getting rid of my TEACHER DESK!

LOOK AT WHAT I DID TODAY!

WMart  3 drawer containers.

I “cutsied” ( is that a word?) them..

LOVE LOVE LOVE them!

My counter has NEVER been this clean! 🙂

I couldn’t decide what I wanted on each label.

So, I chose the month ( so I can add theme materials)

AND

next to it, I put what skill is taught during that month.

My thinking is …

when I create or purchase new materials,

I can file them either by the month OR by the skill.

Math was a little harder…most CCSS cross the entire year.

You can’t just teach number & operations in August…all year long! 

I think I will keep the standard, and separate each one by quarter.

Maybe…or maybe monthly…I dunno yet. 

I need to live with it a while & see how things go!

Busy day!  I love getting organized!

Tomorrow I challenge the dreaded….

PUZZLE CABINET!    UGH!

FREEBIE…You made it to the bottom of this post…

Here’s A FREEBIE FOR YOU! (Click HERE)

Back to School Word Work PREVIEW FREEBIE!

Let me know…HOW DO YOU GET READY FOR BACK TO SCHOOL?  

UPDATE! Math Practice for the WHOLE YEAR!


Really?

For the WHOLE YEAR???

YEP! YEP!
Math Practice …Common Core Aligned
Daily skills for kiddos to practice!
My newest packet requires..
NO   LAMINATING!!!
Really?
I mean REALLY?    YES!

I Mean NO! NO  LAMINATING!

HOW? Tell me HOW?
 

First…Print  the  cards  on paper  or cardstock.

I choose…FLUORESCENT!
Pink, green, blue, orange , & yellow!
BRIGHT    BRIGHT   BRIGHT
I have Black walls  ( Wal Mart  Twin  Sheets!)
LOVE THEM!
Bright cards LOOK GREAT!
So how do I put them on the walls?

Sheet Protectors!

Cut them to size….
( I added tape to the bottom of some to make a “POCKET”)
and
VOILA!
To see the whole wall….
Close your eyes!  READY??
Love Love Love it!
Here is a preview!
And here is the best!
The kiddos use this printable
doing 4 sets a day, for 5 days 
AND THEN…
take the cards out of the pockets…place a new card in front…
AND DO IT AGAIN!

New card…same skill!

Here is the student printable:
YOU SEE?

Work Smarter….NOT HARDER!

Now available at 1stgradefireworks

You can lead a horse to water…BUT

Happy Summer! Today’s topic..CHICKENS!  WHAT???

I have been helping hubby…AKA…FARMER WITHOUT A FARM…

Keep the homestead happy while he works & I ..vacation!

I have weeded vegetable gardens, picked vegetables, mowed, watered & etc.

(I know..I like to work outside, but IT’S BEEN SOOO HOT!)

 

But, we also have..

 

2 CHICKENS!

Yes..chickens..in a chicken coop.

I live in a suburban town.

70,000 people…house 5-8 feet APART!

 

AND WE HAVE CHICKENS!

I REALLY like fresh chicken eggs…and baby chicks are  SOOOOO  cute!

 

Now I will say..our city allows you to have 5…

we only have 2! That’s enough!

Here is RAPUNZEL – she has LONG feathers

SNOW WHITE is black ( hiding I am sure ) – C’mon

..Snow White has BLACK hair!

 ( Granddaughter’s  named them)

Here is the TRI-LEVEL Chicken CONDO!

My hubby takes EXCELLENT care of his “chickies”…

BUT..

It has been hot here in NOR CAL…100 degrees plus!

Our “chickies” have a HUGE water tank (oustide the coop )

attached with a hose 

to the inside of the coop

 with a  “CUP” 

inside the for them to drink from.

It’s attached by a hose to our sprinklers

 so they always have clean, fresh water to drink!

(Smart HUBBY)

The only problem is….

THEY WANT ME TO FILL IT

…intead of “pecking it” , for the water to come out!

They would LOVE it ,

 if I would just stand there… 

& keep the cup full.

NOT!

So what’s a farmer’s wife to do?

Just as teaching anyone to do anything…

 

MODEL, MODEL, MODEL

Guided Practice

Independent Practice

 

Really? 

YOU  want ME  to Model this??????? To CHICKENS????

NOT!   REALLY???   ME????

 

So..I took a stick..pushed on the nozzel in the cup ( really just tapped it)

AND WATER FILLED UP THE CUP!

I had both of them in my hands

..NOT CHOKING THEM

   though I may have thought about it!

..just  enough so they wouldn’t scratch me!

I showed them where the water was & how to get it!

Then I stuck pushed,  pushed a little harder, their “LITTLE BEAKS” into the cup.

(MANY times!)

Over & Over

and

Over and Over…

Did I mention chickens are NOT  “above average” in cognitive development?

And again…and  again..

DONE!

NOW for independent practice! 🙂

Here’s my theory..

I WILL NOT POUR THE WATER INTO YOUR BEAKS!

If you are thirsty….

DRINK!!!!!

So..

They are alive.

 I guess sometime ( when I am NOT looking )..

they drink!

SUCCESS!

SO..you can lead a horse to water…

 

but make sure he teaches the chickens HOW to drink!

 

Thanks for hanging in there with me!

From me  to YOU…

 

CHICKEN DANCE!

 

(NO…I WILL NOT

 TEACH THEM

 HOW TO DANCE!!!)

 

Click Here 🙂

I think I will go practice the MACARENA! 🙂