Category Archives: Learning something new

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

Write On Journal Pages

Helping my EL’s with Writing.

My kiddos come with a SMALL  amount of ENGLISH print.

MOST..not all..but MOST have enough English to communicate 

everyday NEEDS to me.

BATHROOM, Recess, and When is LUNCH?

How to help EL’s write, when you don’t speak the same language?

We are OK.

BUT…

English PRINT?

WOWZA! Another WORLD!

FIRST…

 We begin…BEGIN…with  Phonemic Awareness.

Sounds…

ORAL…

NO PRINT!

Letter Sounds, Vocabulary Words, Rhymes, Alliterations,,

SOUNDS

and LOTS OF THEM!

Next…

We ADD 

PHONICS!

A symbol (letter/word) to the sounds.

Alphabet, HFW, Word Families, emergent readers, etc.

For those who make READING a priority…

they excell!

For those who don’t have a LOT of support at home..

It can take LONGER…

But..

THEN…

We WRITE!

We write well and we write A LOT!

Lists, poems, booklets, stories, and they LOVE IT!

The problem occurs when they don’t have an ENGLISH word to attach to the “word” in their head!

Vocabulary MUST be a HUGE part of the daily writing minilessons.

And RESOURCES!

We use Step Up to Writing…

Writing Stoplight

and

I “supplement”…Ummm

SUPPLANT

with

LUCY CAULKINS!

YESSSS!!!

http://www.heinemann.com/products/E07729.aspx

Click HERE to see it…

FINALLY..

We  use  my

WRITE ON!

 papers because they have 

VOCABULARY

built in!

Write ON! Writing and Vocabulary to help EL’s with Writing.
Write ON!
Write ON
Write ON
Write ON

Available HERE

My kids are doing GREAT!

(Most could only write their names at first!)

Daily PROGRESS! 🙂

First Grade Student Writing

First Grade Student Writing

First Grade Student Writing

And so..

we 

PRACTICE, we TALK, WE SING,

WE CHANT,

AND ..we

  WRITE ON!

And HERE is a FREEBIE to Help you on your way!

Check My Writing. Post Writing Checklist.
Check My Writing. Post Writing Checklist.
Easter eggs for BOTH learning and play!

Eggs. The Little Plastic ONES!

Plastic Easter Eggs. What do YOU do with THEM?

EGGS!

Huh?

I know..I am talking about those CUTE little plastic ones!

The plastic ones we put stuff into and hide at EASTER!

How to use them in the CLASSROOM?

A MILLION WAYS!

Plastic Easter Eggs in the classroom
Eggs with word family stickers

Word Families

Number  Matching

Or….

How to use Plastic Eggs for Learning!

Multiple Other ways!

(Pinterest)

KIDDOS  LOVE THEM!

They are CHEAP!

USE THEM.

Use them A LOT!

Sometimes…the best lessons are in the smallest packages.

Have fun. Smile a lot.

Giggle.

Hoppy Spring!

Guess What? PIGS DO FLY!

Guess WHAT? Pigs DO FLY!

PIGS DO FLY!

Pig flying

SPRING CLEANING

OK…I admit it…I HATE to CLEAN!

Spring Cleaning Purging is NOT FUN!

It is a chore!

But, the Christmas dust bunnies 

are MULTIPLYING!

 Just in time for EASTER!

After my 3rd cup of coffee, this AM,

I decided to get to work!

Hubby at work for the day..so

I made a deal with myself …

NO SHOWER until DONE CLEANING!

(I LOVE MY SHOWERS!)

So, what’s a girl to do?

GET CLEANING!

I CRANKED UP THE COUNTRY MUSIC…

LOUD…

REALLY LOUD!

Tim McGraw
Tim McGraw

Luke Bryant
Luke Bryan

Kenny Chesney
Kenny Chesney

I WAS LISTENING, SINGING,

 & DANCING to the music!

Thank GOD, no one could SEE me!

Anyways…

I CLEANED…AND Cleaned…

and cleaned….and cleaned.

More SPRING CLEANING

I even cleaned out my earring tree!

Didn’t know I had SO many that

only had 1 earring! GOODBYE!

Closets, bookshelves, drawers, 

took BLANKETS to the LAUNDROMAT…

SPRING Clean” THEM TOO!

My house smells like PINE-SOL!

If I didn’t know any better…

I’d swear I was NESTING!

NO WAY LADIES…

This GMA is TOO OLD for that! 

Then…shower..AAAHHHHH!

SPRING CLEANING & BAKING?

No…I am NOT ill.

So then I decided that because the EB…

Easter Bunny
Happy EASTER

EASTER BUNNY

is on HIS way …I could help him!

My family LOVES

Reeses EGGS!

Reeses peanutbutter chocolate eggs
Reese’s Peanut Butter Eggs

(WHO doesn’t?)

But…I AM CHEAP! 

I know…really cheap!

So today I decided to MAKE them!

You heard that right! MAKE THEM…ME!???

For the girl who doesn’t cook, 

they turned out pretty good!

 homemade chocolate eggs

 homemade chocolate eggs

 homemade chocolate eggs

Here are MY Reese’s  Eggs!

They are ready for Easter Baskets!

So, my friends…

Guess what?  

Pigs DO Fly!

pig flying

Happy  Weekend!

If YOU need more Easter Goodies…

1stgradefireworks logo picture
https://1stgradefireworks.net
You Quack Me up
You Quack Me Up! ELA & MATH Centers for first grade 4th quarter!
Robby Rabbit's Garden... a complete plant unit reading, writing, math for SPRING!
Robby Rabbit’s Garden… a complete plant unit reading, writing, math for SPRING!
Spring Word Trees for Reading Fluency UPDATED with Easy-prep extensions.
Spring Word Trees for Reading Fluency UPDATED with Easy-prep extensions.
Balanced Literacy
What is a BALANCED LITERACY Classroom? This resource will show YOU!

For MORE EASTER GOODIES…CLICK HERE!

Here is a SPRING FREEBIE for following 1stgradefireworks

CLICK HERE!

Chicken Dance! FREEBIE! Check it out at 1stgradefireworks!
Chicken Dance! FREEBIE! Check it out at 1stgradefireworks!

Classroom Management..from Harry Wong to Brag Tags!


Classroom Management.

I don't have my ducks in a row...but they are in the same pond...

I know.   I said it.

WAIT!  DON’T LEAVE!

Classroom Management isn’t a BAD  thing!

It’s how to create a CALM…so you can teach!

And isn’t THAT our GOAL?

There are a GAZILLION places to learn how to do

classroom management. 

When I was beginning my career, 

HARRY  WONG

was the JEDI of Classroom Management!

Book on classroom management

It’s a good read for ALL of us! 

After a trillion different management attempts,

 retries,

 changes, 

changes again..

I think I have found classroom management

that works

FOR ME!

And it HAS to WORK ..

FOR YOU! 

What the teacher next door is using

maybe the best thing, 

“since sliced bread”.

BUT

If it doesn’t work FOR YOU,

it’s USELESS!

So WHAT do I use?

Three step program.

(NO… not a 12 step program…ONLY 3)

As every primary teacher knows,

Consistency is the key to success.

Young kids like to know what is coming next.

They like to know ” IF THIS…THEN THAT!”

And they keep ME on my toes!

And pulling my hair out!

yes, they make me crazy sometimes

 I start my school year with group points.

It lasts about a month.

After they figure out which “friend” is going to be a problem in THIER group…

points don’t count.

I used to use “CLIP CHARTS”.

Great kids move up.

Those who need more “attention” moved down.

I had a great visual 

of the “cans” and the “cannots”.

Not for me.

And so began ..

MY  3  STEPS  to  MY  SANITY!

1. CLASS  DOJO

2. GOLDEN  TICKETS

3. BRAG TAGS

These 3 management strategies work for me.

If they help YOU…JUMP ON IN!

#1

CLASS  DOJO!

Class Dojo

Class Dojo for phone

* I am NOT receiving ANYTHING from DOJO…

I JUST  LOVE IT!

Class DOJO has allowed me 

to connect with

 students 

and  PARENTS

quickly and effectively!

Isn’t that the point of classroom management?

To effectively 

“manage” a situation 

and correct it, 

or support it,

 immediately?

YES!

Dojo is an online program where each student has an avatar. They gain or lose points as they follow the positive or negative 

attributes that YOU set up.

I had a BIG problem with tardies.

8-10 kids tardy…daily.

One of my positive attributes is

ATTENDANCE  ON  TIME.

Every student gets a point for being in their seat, 

ready to work when the bell rings!

I am down to 2 tardies..average..daily.

FOR me?   Success!!!

Dojo also sends an automatic email to parents on FRIDAY, detailing their child’s points for the week!

INSTANT PARENT NOTIFICATIONS

..and I didn’t have to do ANYTHING!  🙂

AND…

After parents have signed up for texts 

THAT IS THE HARD PART…GETTING THEM TO SIGN UP

(I AM RELENTLESS…I BUG THEM OVER & OVER)

I can text them at a moments notice.

AND I DO!

I also do class messages and send pictures.

I am just learning DOJO, too.

#lifelessons   #newtechtolearn

#2 Golden Tickets

THIS IS MY “GO TO”  PROGRAM!

IT WORKS LIKE A CHARM!

Simple.

Run a copy of Tickets on YELLOW OR GOLD PAPER.

CUT UP into tickets.

Keep in a box.

Golden Tickets for classroom management

Kids earn them for ANY positive interaction, action, or reaction.

Help a friend? TICKET!

Pick up the floor? Ticket!

Say kind words? Ticket!

A friend helped YOU?  Give them a TICKET!

And so MY STUDENTS start looking 

and listening 

for ways to give positive feedback

  tickets,

 to each other.

They have to tell their classmate what

they SAW or HEARD

 that earned their ticket! 

 SO  engaging!

After they get their ticket,

they write their name on the back.

No…sticky fingers.

Twice a week we COUNT tickets.

If they have 10

they can choose 

their reward!

I am NOT spending ANY  $$$$$$

on rewards!

NO need to!

Here are there rewards…

Posted rewards for golden tickets. Classroom management

 Reward CHOICES:

Tech Time …15 minutes on the ipads!

They can choose whatever app they want!

Friendly Lunch..ALL TIME FAVORITE:

I purchased 8 plastic placemats – 4 sets of 2

They choose 1 friend to give a placemat to, and they sit next to each other at lunch in the cafeteria, and eat lunch with their placemat and their friend. AFTER lunch, they sanitize the placemat, and put it in the office so I can pick them up after lunch.

ROYALTY for A DAY..

Students can choose to WEAR A CROWN, and be KING____ or QUEEN _____  for a day. The crowns?  BULLETIN BOARD borders I have

  used, scrounged, saved, begged for from others, 

on hand. Measure, staple, VOILA..instant CROWN!

Wear it, take it home. I DO staple a golden ticket to the front. EVERYONE will ask WHY DID YOU GET THE CROWN?

They can explain about GOLDEN TICKETS.

Teacher chair:

They get one of my BIG SQUISHY chairs at their desk for a day. They will spin, moved, be tall, and LOVE their BIG chair.

SWIP  SWAP:

Change desks with a partner FOR A DAY!

Use their books & stuff and THEY use YOURS!

Must clean each others desk

( put things back better than they were

when YOU got there..)

at the end of the day.

FREE Homework PASS!

NO homework for 1 night!

I write a note and put it in the HW folder so parent’s know.

FLUFFY  FRIEND:

They can bring a stuffed animal to school for 1 day.

Sits on their desk, works in teh classroom, cannot go outside.

If kids don’t have one..they can choose 1 of mine.

LINE Jumper:

First graders LOVE to “cut in line”. The LINE JUMPER can cut in line ANYWHERE they want, for 1day. They MUST tell the person behind them…”Excuse me, I am a LINE JUMPER!”

(You can NEVER step in front of someone

 without using the words EXCUSE ME

..and tell them WHY!)

#manners

Here we are in action.

Student on ipad for golden tickets rewards.

Golden tickets rewards.

Golden Ticket's reward.

Golden Tickets reward.

Stuffed animal as fluffy friends.

LONG POST…  sorry

#3

BRAG  TAGS!

We LOVE BRAG TAGS!

Many THANKS to

Lucky Little Learners

  Angie Olson @ Lucky Little Learners

Brag tags necklaces on the wall.

We started using the LINK necklaces for Brag tags.

TOO HARD to OPEN for our little fingers.

#toomanyforteacher

Drawers hold each set of brag tags.

BRAG TAG storage 🙂

Rings hold Brag tags.

Now we use RINGS instead of link chains.

Wear your BRAG TAG necklace home!

At the end of the MONTH, 

we take ALL of our Brag TAGS and BEADS

 OFF of our RINGS

and string them on a STRING.

Make a BRAG TAG necklace to WEAR HOME!

Most kids say they save them

 at home for the whole year!

Great HOME connection!

WHEW! Long post…SORRY.

I just want to give you all of the details so

YOU can choose 

what works for YOU!

Here are some other posts I have on

classroom management:

BRAG TAGS

What’s Up in Room 3?

Get  YOUR Golden Tickets HERE:

Brag Tags and Golden Tickets

For your time…

Here is a FREEBIE

from ME..to YOU!

Free POPCORN sort from 1stgradefireworks

So let me know…

What do YOU use for YOUR classroom MANAGEMENT?

Share your story in the comments.

I will choose 1 person this week

for a FREEBIE.

I will choose from my comments!

Leave me your email! 🙂

ENJOY!

St. Patrick's Day Tpt gift card GIVEAWAY

There IS GOLD at the End of the RAINBOW!

There is gold at the end of the rainbow!
There is gold at the end of the rainbow!

Those little rascals, the leprechauns, have left some “gold” for us to Give to YOU!

It’s a GIVEWAY!

*** ST. PATRICK’S DAY GIVEAWAY ***

St. Patrick's Day Tpt gift  card GIVEAWAY
St. Patrick’s Day Tpt gift card GIVEAWAY

To help with the purchasing of St. Patrick’s Day and Spring resources for your classroom, a team of amazing teachers and I have grouped together to gift ONE awesome, lucky teacher with a TPT gift card!


PRIZES INCLUDE 
1 x $150 TPT Giftcard


ENTER HERE: http://www.rafflecopter.com/rafl/display/b4951b8557/

Raffle CLOSES: Saturday 23rd March 2019 12am
GOOD LUCK!!!

McBlarney Time!
McBlarney Time!

You can enter on my INSTAGRAM also!

Good Luck my Friends! I am going outside to search for that POT OF GOLD!

I may need my four-leaf clover!

Happy St. Patrick’s Day! GOOD LUCK!

Wendy 1stgradefireworks

McBlarney TIME Time to the hour and half Hour

The “WEE” Little Ones are a’WATCHIN … What time is it?

What TIME is it?

It’s McBLARNEY TIME!

 
‘Tis the month of MARCH!
 
The “WEE LITTLE ONES”..
are a’watchin..
 
 
 
(Like my Gealic?) HAHA
 

What TIME is it?

ALREADY?
 
BTW…
There are 294 days 
…until CHRISTMAS! 
Just wanted to  FREAK YOU OUT!!!!!

What TIME is it?

It’s ONLY  MARCH!
Whew!
 
As an “official” IRISHLASS.
 Well…kinda…married a McCarty…
IRISH TO THE MAX!
And ..I carry Scottish/Irish genes.
 
So I AM an “IRISH  LASS” !
 
One of my fav. poems..I know it’s a song!
I love the lyrics!
 
 
 
The chorus…
 
When Irish eyes are smiling, 
Sure, 'tis like the morn in Spring. 
In the lilt of Irish laughter 
You can hear the angels sing. 
When Irish hearts are happy, 
All the world seems bright and gay. 
And when Irish eyes are smiling, 
Sure, they steal your heart away.
 
 
Awwww….
Makes me heart HAPPY!
 
I have been to the “EMERALD ISLE”.
I have “KISSED THE BLARNEY STONE”
…kinda gross.
( Story another time )

What TIME is it?

It’s McBlarney TIME!

 I want to share some “Blarney” with YOU!
 
 
 
 
 
And
 
 
 
 
Celebrate the WEARIN OF THE GREEN
on St.Paddy’s DAY!
 
Go n-éirí an bothar leat
(May your journey be successful)
 
* Don’t forget to wear YOUR GREEN on St. Patrick’s Day
…don’t want to get
PINCHED! 🙂
 

seed germinators

Spring gardening 101 and a FREE CHICKEN DANCE!


I love SPRING!

DID I MENTION…

I LOVE SPRING!

This Spring I taught my students how to recycle water bottles into seed germinators!

Hello Spring

I Love Spring!

I am an AVID  Gardener!
 
LOVE to get my fingers in the dirt.
 
We call my hubby “FARMER WITHOUT A FARM!”
 
We are “suburbanites” with a backyard farm. Chickens included!
 

Luna our backyard chicken

Black Chicken

Sunshine our white backyard chicken

Sunshine – white chicken

 
 
More on that later.
 
 
This year we installed
 
PALLET  GARDENS!

How to plant in a Pallet Garden

Grow plants in a PALLET GARDEN!

So easy!  
Lay down wooden pallet.
Fill with potting soil & steer manure.
Plant!
 
We did seeds.
And more seeds. (Rotate your crops)
 
We didn’t have a lot of room for “vines”.. so we did NOT grow pumpkins.
 
We did grow some BEAUTIFUL SUNFLOWERS in the back.
They need A LOT OF room. They got 10-12 feet TALL!

                                Check out my Sunflower Seeds Plant Unit.                                                                                AWESOME!

 
Grow vegetables that you eat. I wanted to show the kids
ROOTS, STEMS, LEAVES, FLOWERS, etc.
Choose plants that will help with that!
 
We also made individual planters for the kids to take home.
 
As we had been studying EARTH DAY…
 
We RECYCLED 
water bottles as seed planters!

Water bottles for planting seeds.

Recycled Water bottles for planting.

Start with water bottles.
Cut them in half.
Poke a hole in the lid.
Tie a knot in string & thread through the hole.
When lid is ON…string hangs DOWN.
Flip the  TOP of bottle..into the  bottom.
The bottom will hold the water.

Add soil.

Cut bottles in half. Add soil.

Add soil.
And seeds to top.
Fill the bottom with water.
The string acts like a wick…to water itself!

Water bottles growing seeds.

Recycled water bottles with seeds.

Water bottles as seed germinators!

We have sprouts!

Soon… sprouts!
We took them HOME at OPEN HOUSE!
The kids were SO excited to show off their garden.
Maybe THEY will become MASTER GARDENERS some day!
 

Happy Dance!

Happy Dance!

 
In honor of my 
CHICKENS…
 
Chicken Dance is FREE!
 

Word Game

Chicken Dance Word Game from 1stgradefireworks

Happy Spring to all!