Category Archives: Learning something new

Elf on the Shelf- FAIL!

I Failed at ELF ON THE SHELF!

I admit it…I failed..

I tried the ELF thing…FAILED!

I forgot to move it.

I didn’t want to spend the time moving it to who knows where.

My kiddos didn’t find it!

OH…exhausting!

I went to PINTEREST and saw ALL of these AMAZING ELF activities.

https://www.pinterest.com/pin/53409945561232171/
https://www.pinterest.com/pin/219761656796958212/

I GIVE UP! 

https://www.pinterest.com/pin/140526450852865539/

And so…I QUIT!  I am NOT  “ELFABLE!”  

Change..inevitable
THINK POSITIVE!

Change my mindset.  Change is good. Change is necessary!

So maybe I don’t ELF this year. Maybe I will “ELF” a different way. 

Maybe I focus on a DIFFERENT type of KINDNESS. I think I might look at…

Sharing ORNAMENTS!  Or presents, or smiles!  Or handshakes, or time. 

https://youtu.be/hqOOUJFv1n0
 
Maybe my “LESSON” to my students isn’t about THINGS…    

So I think I will focus on content.

I will share the GOODWILL of the ELF ideals,  through lesson content.

I hope my students’ families will give them the “warm fuzzies” they deserve. I do EVERY DAY. 

But for now, we will focus on learning.

Are YOU a HELPER ELF?

( BORING I KNOW…BUT NECESSARY!)

So…next in my list…MATH!

UGH! I know. HOW CAN THE ELF HELP US IN MATH?

THIS ELF IS NOT ON THE SHELF

1 more..1 less…10 more..10 less

So…to help with my “ELF FAILURE”

AND

to maximize my math time…

This ELF is NOT on the SHELF!
This Elf is NOT on the SHELF

This can be made into a booklet, used as math centers, individual practice, assessments…

ENDLESS possibilities!

It may NOT be as EXCITING as finding the ELF each day.

The ELVES are WORKING OVERTIME!

The Elves are Working OVERTIME!

The Elves are Working OVERTIME!

BUT…my students won’t be confused or saddened because they think the ELF doesn’t care.

They know I care. And that’s better than ANY ELF!

And so my friends, I admit it. I am an ELF on the Shelf failure. 

But…my student’s did REALLY WELL on their math assessments and we 

giggled, grinned, hugged, & gave high-fives all through the year.

Now…where did I leave that ELF?   🙂  

Elf on the Shelf taped to classroom clock.
HELP ME!

Holiday HELPERS for YOU! 🙂

Classroom Literacy

Data Collecting

Guided Reading

Leave me a comment…help me be an “ELF” convert. How do YOU use the “ELF”???   There must be a support group SOMEWHERE! 🙂  Happy Holidays!

 

Veteran's Day 2019

Happy Veteran’s Day from A Proud Military Family


Veteran’s DAY!

We are a military family.

Army & Navy.

We have heard stories from WWII to Korea to today.

Great Grandpa’s, Grandpa’s, Dad’s, cousins, sons, daughter-in-law…

WE THANK YOU FOR YOUR SERVICE!

In MY classroom

I spend a lot of time discussing MY SON

ACTIVE US NAVY…

and why it is SOOO  important to say

“THANK YOU” for their service.

He is currently on deployment…

He was married to an active military US NAVY  wife,

AND they had …MY GRANDDAUGHTER!

( She is sooooo  cute!)

But he left them behind to live on a ship and PROTECT US!

So how can we say THANK YOU?

We send  letters, pictures, stories, and cutsie art projects.

And this MOMMY sends BOXES of COOKIES! 🙂

I try to send things at least once a month.

This month’s ideas…

( Pinterest is GREAT FOR THIS! )

Let’s Talk Turkey

Next   Month…… DECEMBER CRAFTIVITIES

Just a little something to remind them of

All of us at home who CARE!

When my son is no longer on a ship…

 we send things to friends & family who are

ACTIVE soldiers & sailors.

AND

We send things to the local Veteran’s HOSPITAL.

All who serve and who have served…deserve a THANK YOU!

I searched GOOGLE for a local VA Hospital address…

takes a little searching, but time WELL spent!

ALL  will appreciate it.

 Parents who cannot ( or are not) with their own kids

appreciate a little art project or note from a child, any child.

A little smile, a little laugh, a warm fuzzy from home.

No need to put names on them.

Here are a few addresses …

To those Veteran’s ( active or inactive )

AND THEIR FAMILIES …

THANK  YOU!

Happy Veteran’s Day!

Wendy

What does READ AT HOME really look like?


I am a BLOG STALKER!
I admit it.
 
I am ALWAYS trying to find the BEST, FASTEST, & EASIEST ways
to make my classroom run smoother & more effective while being 
academically successful.
I want my students to continue to practice their reading & writing skills and strategies 
AT HOME!

BUT..What does Read at HOME really look like?

 
Aren’t we ALL?
 
So each year I try to “change” a few things for the better.
NO THROWING THE BABY OUT WITH THE BATHWATER!
 
(  For YOU youngin’s…  Don’t get rid of the good stuff while trying NEW stuff! )
 
So here is something “NEW” ( or New to ME )  that I am doing this year!
 
I am NOT ( Ugh…),
NOT  
choosing the Student’s TAKE HOME BOOKS each week.
( Let it go! Let it go!)
 
I LET THEM!
The power is in the CHOICE. 

I thought if I chose reading books that were ON their reading level

THEY would MAGICALLY fall in LOVE with READING!

NOT!
I have RAH ( Read AT Home ) envelopes…
Purchased at REALLY GREAT STUFF
BUT ANY envelope will do!
 
Each WEDNESDAY and FRIDAY they bring their RAH folder back.
I have them choose 2 books…YES…2 books to put in their folder.
( I place a pile 20 or so, of books at each level …
 
*disclaimer…right now I have 5 Guided Reading groups..I group their 
PILES of books by the Guided Reading group level…
 

So they really are taking home books at THEIR reading level.

Just a little teacher “nudge” in the right direction!

 
They choose two books, put them in their envelopes, and put them in their cubbies.
They keep them for 2 nights..hence bringing them back WED. & FRI. 
We change them for two NEW books … and here we go again!
 

Some nights I add a READING RESPONSE page to their homework.

USE ONE OF YOUR RAH BOOKS!

( Your choice!)

 
You can get my READING RESPONSE Packet HERE  
Some nights I have them do a page or two from my
Book Reports.
Accountability?
I do have a paper…lined…for parents to sign each night.
DO ALL OF THEM SIGN IT?
 NO!
If YOU take a horse to water…Can you FORCE it to drink it?
NO!
Let it go! Let it go!
So then what?
If you have a parent who won’t support reading at home…
 READ, READ, READ at school.
 
YOU may be the ONLY adult who reads with “THAT CHILD”..
We ALL have “that child”.
 
Don’t fight it!
Don’t PUNISH the child.
IF he/she could read it BY THEMSELVES…..THEY WOULD!
 
They can’t.
So
Let it go! Let it go!
BUT…
I do REWARD those who make the continued effort to read at home
EVERY NIGHT!
 
When they bring their envelopes back, I check the paper.
IF the parent HAS NOT SIGNED…I highlight in RED that date.
 
At the end of the MONTH,
I give a reward (and a SPECIAL BRAG TAG ) to those who have read
EVERY NIGHT!
 
I know…NOT fair for “that child”
Fair is NOT Always EQUAL!
 
I want my kiddos who 
DO THE WORK
to know…
I NOTICE!
 
And so my friends…
I keep stalking.
 
LOTS of great ideas out there in 
BLOGGY LAND.
 
And PINTEREST  LAND.
 
AND  INSTAGRAM LAND.
 
If you need some ideas..
 
 
 
 
Happy  Reading my Friends!
 
 

Don't Blink. Thank You Kenny Chesney.

NOVEMBER already? Don’t BLINK!


I just LOVE

Kenny Chesney…

Kenny Chesney

Kenny Chesney

I think he is speaking to ME!

As I  am singing…no…  BELTING OUT.. his song

( in my car of course…windows up..no one wants to hear this voice) 🙂

“DON’T BLINK”

Don’t blink!

Just like that, you’re six years old and you take a nap and you

Wake up and you’re twenty-five and your high school sweetheart becomes your wife

Don’t blink

You just might miss your babies growing like mine did

Turning into moms and dads next thing you know your better half

Of fifty years is there in bed

And you’re praying God takes you instead

Trust me friend a hundred years goes faster than you think

So don’t blink

I can TOTALLY RELATE!

I swear..I just looked at the calendar & it was OCTOBER!

Early OCTOBER!

THEN…WHAM!

Halloween is here..NO..GONE!

and now it is NOVEMBER! 

WHERE DID OCTOBER GO??

As I turn the calendar, I realize 

I need to slow down

and appreciate ALL that I have in the HERE & NOW!

So, my friends..

BEFORE the Holidays come…55 days to be exact!

Christmas Carols EVERYWHERE!

and then BAM! Christmas Carols EVERYWHERE!

Take a few moments to 

STOP! Look around! Remember this MOMENT!

It will be gone in a BLINK!

Enjoy the..

LULL

( Before the RUSH!)

Take a minute, relish in the moment, and ENJOY!

BECAUSE…tomorrow will be here soon enough..

I wonder where I can get a 2019 CALENDAR?

(I better hurry…it will be here SOON!)

HAHAHA

Here are a few 

“helpers” to get you through the

 Nov./Dec.  rush!

DON’T  BLINK!

Let's Talk TURKEY ( TpT 1stgradefireworks)

Let’s Talk TURKEY ( TpT 1stgradefireworks)

Let’s Talk Turkey

November Fact Family Booklets from TpT 1stgradefireworks

November Fact Family Booklets from TpT 1stgradefireworks

Fact  Family

November Adding 3 numbers MATH Booklets from TpT 1stgradefireworks

November Adding 3 numbers MATH Booklets from TpT 1stgradefireworks

Adding 3 numbers

November Vocabulary BANNERS from TpT 1stgradefireworks

November Vocabulary BANNERS from TpT 1stgradefireworks

November Vocabulary Banners

The Elves are Working OVERTIME from TpT 1stgradefireworks

The Elves are Working OVERTIME from TpT 1stgradefireworks

The Elves are Working OVERTIME!

WINTER Vocabulary BANNERS from TpT 1stgradefireworks

WINTER Vocabulary BANNERS from TpT 1stgradefireworks

Winter Vocabulary Banners

So remember:

1. Don’t BLINK!

2. Enjoy each and every moment

3. Tell those you care about, what they mean to YOU!         Kind WORDS COUNT!

4. Take care of yourself. 

5. Live, Laugh, Love!

Primary Teachers are Quirky!

Close Reading

How important is READING?

Enjoy!

ME? Dress up for Halloween?

Do YOU Dress Up for Halloween?


I hate to wear hats when I dress up.

I don’t like things on my head.

I do enjoy a great laugh.

I want to participate with the group.

I am a TEAM PLAYER.

 

BUT… I don’t dress up for Halloween!

Screaming child

Sreaming Child

There!  I said it!

I am the “old teacher” who does NOT dress up for Halloween.

Old Granny

Old Granny

WHY?  I dunno.

Just never got “into it”.

The whole “make-up, costume, prop thing” just doesn’t appeal to me.

I don’t get the whole “dress up as someone else”, thing.

DON’T GET ME WRONG!

I love HALLOWEEN!

I dressed my kids up in HOMEMADE costumes AND store-bought costumes.

They were SO CUTE!

Teachers EVERYWHERE dress up and they are AMAZING!

I just can’t do it at school!

My kiddos are NOT allowed to wear costumes to school.

I will NOT, if they cannot.

I wouldn’t dress up, even if THEY could. Sorry, Not me!

Maybe I’ll dress up at home!

A cute T-SHIRT! YES!

Maybe.  Maybe not.

Maybe??

So for now… I will live in my “COSTUME”

vicariously through all of YOU on PINTEREST!

This post might help me…

My Fall Dilemma 

WOW! CUTE hat!… Maybe…  Gotta go…I think I found a HAT I LIke.

Stay tuned.  Check out my Instagram.

There may be a HALLOWEEN pic.

Maybe.  🙂

Do YOU “dress up” for Halloween?

Help me out…What do YOU dress up for on HALLOWEEN?

Leave me a comment. 🙂

Wendy

 

vowel kids

Welcome the VOWEL KIDS!


I would like you to meet my newest friends!

The vowel kids!

This is KATE. ( long a)

 Her twin sister is Anna. ( Short a )

Anna left us for a short “vacation”

…so I can use her picture for LONG A!

Thank you to Nikki from MELONHEADZ for the cutie pies!

We took each vowel family and did some writing!

We brainstormed words ( see the word box) 

that have our phonics pattern for the week.

 Then we did an interactive writing .

( see my BALANCED LITERACY packet, 

if you haven’t done INTERACTIVE WRITING)

The kids decided on her story. And then…

WE  WROTE!

Meet the vowel kids

Meet the Vowel Kids

They were so cute! Best editors ever! 

 

After we finished…

they critiqued. 

 

They decided yellow was too hard to read.

 

They said that handwriting is very important,

 if you want others to read it.

 

They said spelling is important. It can change the meaning.

 

And lastly, writing large and spacing our words,

makes it easier to read. 

WOW! They were listening! 🙂

And so …each week for the next 4 weeks

I will introduce another friend.

Long e, Long i, Long o, and Long u.

 

We will chat, create, and write!

I Love my JOB!

If you are looking for more

writing ideas..

Stop on by!

Daily Language Practice

Balanced Literacy

Write ON!

1stgradefireworks

Balanced Literacy

Helping kids EDIT their WRITING

Math Baseball in OCTOBER

OCTOBER Baseball! But… MATH BASEBALL?


Yes! It is OCTOBER!

If you don’t follow baseball…

It’s time for the playoffs & CHAMPIONSHIPS!

AND  then… THE WORLD SERIES!

I have 4 kids.

My 3 boys ALL played baseball ( for MANY YEARS).

And my daughter played SOFTBALL for 16 years!  She even played in the Softball World Series! WAHOO!

So, baseball is in our home. A LOT!

Even though MY team, SF Giants are NOT in the playoffs, we still LOVE the game!

SF Giants Logo

My favorite baseball team! Go SF Giants!

 

But, I am teaching first-graders in OCTOBER!

I need academic “FUN”!

And so… we play!  And we play a LOT! 🙂

The expert of anything, was once a beginner!

The expert of anything was once a beginner!

Remember, baseball is about skills, strategies, and hard work.

It is a TEAM sport.

You must work hard, practice, and have the DESIRE to be BETTER!

WOW! It sounds like my classroom MOTTO!

Work Hard, Play hard,

LIFESKILLS!  🙂

Inspire others.

Inspire others.

I have created a Baseball MATH Game for OCTOBER!

WHAT?  A MATH GAME?  YES!

A fast-paced math game for K-3 students!

Math Baseball in OCTOBER

Math Baseball in OCTOBER

Directions for MATH GAME are included!

Easy Prep… lots of giggles!

 

Math Mats for Baseball in OCTOBER

Math Mats for Baseball in OCTOBER

Math Facts Baseballs

Math Facts Baseballs

Math Manipulative BASEBALLS for LITTLE ONES!

Math Manipulative BASEBALLS for LITTLE ONES!

Place the “MITT(s)” in a big circle.

Students take a “baseball” card and QUICKLY, place it in the correct MITT!

HURRY! Then “RUN” to the end of the line. The next “batter” is UP!

They choose the next baseball card & place it in the CORRECT MITT!

Some baseballs have numbers, some have math facts,

some have MANIPULATIVES ( ten frames, dice, dominoes, etc )

to represent the NUMBERS!

The winners are the “players” who get ALL of the baseball cards into the MItts!

Teamwork is REQUIRED!

Can you HEAR the CHEERS??? 🙂

We love to have fun, play games, and practice TEAMWORK!

What more can you ask of First Graders?

Maybe…learn to tie your shoes?   HAHA   HAve fun with this!

Need MORE?

SPORTS BANG! Sight Word GAMES!

5 games in a BUNDLE!  WOW!

Sports BANG! Sight Word GAMES

Sports BANG! Sight Word GAMES

Check it out!

Math Baseball in OCTOBER

Math Baseball in OCTOBER

Math Baseball for OCTOBER

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

https://www.facebook.com/1stgradefireworks

https://www.teacherspayteachers.com/Store/1stgradefireworks

https://www.Instagram.com/1stgradefireworks

https://www.pinterest.com/1stgradefirewor

Follow me:   TPT    FB   IG   Pinterest

1stgradefireworks

HELPERS…How do YOU choose them?


I want my kiddos to

HELP!

I am NOT your MAMA.

I am NOT your Grandma,

AND

I AM NOT YOUR MAID!

🙂

We ALL work & play in our classroom.

If you work here,,,you are a part of our TEAM.

AND ALL Team members HELP!

So HOW to

“Share the JOBS?”

Make it a

CHOICE!

I don’t

CHOOSE

daily helpers.

I let them choose what they would like to do each day.

Here are my helpers:

I write their names on

  a  cardstock  strip .

I use a 12″ X 36″ pocket chart.

I have

2 Clean Up Crew members,

2 Ball Handlers ( for recesses ),

and

2 Tech Teachers ( pass out / collect ipads )

1 line leader,

1 door holder,

and 1 messenger.

9 helpers each day.

My NUMBER 1 RULE!

If you are NOT quiet and  in your seat when the

BELL  RINGS…..

YOU CANNOT BE A HELPER

THAT DAY!

( Don’t be Tardy…or NOISY!)

My kiddos LOVE it!

(I’m HERE & I’m QUIET!)

Hahahaha

and then…

I ask the next person on the card…

“_(susie)___ “,  would you like to be _( ball handler)_  or __(tech teacher)_”

( Go straight down the pocket chart…)

Until ALL the jobs are filled for the day!

They like having a CHOICE in their day!

and then…

I don’t have to do the JOBS!

And…I LOVE THAT!

DJ INKERS Teacher Appreciation SALE! May 2-8

DJ Inkers Knows Teacher Appreciation!

It’s a DJ INKERS Teacher Appreciation SALE!

WOWZA!

DJ Inkers LOVES teachers!

The DJ INKERS Teacher Appreciation Sale is from MAY 2-8.

EVERY SMILE IS ON SALE!

DJ INKERS is giving away a $25 GIftcard to ONE LUCKY WINNER!

Also…

1stgradefireworks is giving ONE LUCKY WINNER

Robby Rabbit’s Garden AND What is a Balanced Literacy Classroom .

Over $20 in FREE PRODUCTS!

Just because

WE APPRECIATE YOU!

Enter the Rafflecopter HERE!

Robby Rabbit’s Garden https://www.teacherspayteachers.com/Product/Robby-Rabbits-GardenGrade-1-Unit-of-StudyCCSS-included-1169757
What is a Balanced Literacy Classroom?https://www.teacherspayteachers.com/Product/What-is-a-BALANCED-LITERACY-classroom-1776415

Enter before May 8, 2019.

Good LUCK!

Wendy 1stgradefireworks