Category Archives: Small Groups | Centers

Small group ( 6 or less) and independent centers for students to practice skills and strategies.

Phonics and Math Morning Work BUNDLE

Happy Fall, ‘Yall. Surviving September and October. And a FREEBIE!

Happy FALL, ‘Yall 

This has been a CRAZY Fall month!

We started in August.

We are SO LUCKY to get 2 weeks FALL VACATION

the first two weeks of OCTOBER.

IF you can survive SEPTEMBER!

We just finished Fall multiple

( and I mean MULTIPLE ) assessments.

Some whole class, some one-on-one.   

AND  then TEACH!

Don’t forget… report cards for ALL.

(Make multiple copies and then some!)

Fall Parent Conferences.

I had 100% attendance this year! 

This has NEVER happened to me before!

I can get close… but 100%???   

( Pat on the back ). 

 

Finish 1st quarter lessons & skills.

Introduce 2nd quarter skills.

And… a new student on Thursday

before Fall Break! 

Of course!

 

And so this Fall Break was WELL DESERVED! #tiredteacher

multi task teacher

We have no “BIG” plans.

Family is local ( we are catching up with family).

 

So,  I thought this Fall break,

I would work on my TPT store,

           1stgradefireworks

a “little bit”.

Thank you, Misty Miller and Shelly Rees.

You helped MOTIVATE ME!

1stgradefireworks logo

1stgradefireworks logo

And so the Fall creative juices started flowing.

I kept asking myself, “What do I need this year?”

I asked friends, “What do YOU need this year?”

And here is what WE came up with.

TADA!

Phonics Morning Work BLENDS, Short/Long Vowels, & Digraphs

Math Morning Work Activity Pages 

Phonics and Math Practice Pages

FOR THE WHOLE YEAR!

Happy Teacher

Preview skills. Review skills. Assess. Interventions. Homework. Centers.

Whole Group. Small Group. Independent.

ALL DONE!  WAHOO!

And a FREEBIE for YOU!

Click HERE

Enjoy your FALL.

Take care of yourself.

You can’t pour from an empty cup. 🙂 Take care of yourself.

                                                                Wendy

                                                                                                                                                       

Fall, Apples, & Johnny Appleseed



It’s ALMOST HERE!

FALL

FALL
The leaves will be changing, sweaters & boots come out of the closet, & PUMPKIN SPICED LATTE!

The world will be “balanced” again!

To celebrate the 
COMING OF THE NEW SEASON

I have a new apple activity for fall!
I LOVE APPLES!
Apple pie, apple cake, applesauce…apple everything!

September is the MONTH of celebrations!
We celebrate Johnny Appleseed’s birthday too.
We make… APPLESAUCE!

 

 


To add to this year’s celebration..
I have a NEW product.

Apples are the BEST!

 

 

 

 

 

September Literacy Booklets for Apples and Johnny Appleseed.

Booklet style..2 on a page..B/W

21 PAGES of Reading, Graphic organizers, Word Work, Grammar, labeling, & Writing!
All in ONE BOOKLET!
Great for Whole Class, Small groups, Partner Work, Independent practice.

Early Finishers WILL LOVE THIS!

Fall themed. 

If you need more Literacy Products… follow 1stgradefireworks

 
I hope you can enjoy 
APPLES ARE THE BEST!
 
Follow my PINTEREST boards for
MORE
FALL  FUN

Flexible Seating: Stools, rockers, rugs, and seats…For READING??

Why flexible seating?
When I was in elementary school
( Way back in the DINOSAUR days )  
1970’s
 
flexible seating in the classroom
 
We sat in rows.
Many rows.
All of us looking straight ahead.
At the teacher, at all times!
No flexible seating, here.

 
flexible seating in the classroom
We kept our hands & feet to ourselves.
We kept our books in our desks.
And we read QUIETLY to ourselves.
Shhh…whisper!
 
We read.
Some people enjoyed it.
Some people just pretended.
Most did what we were told.
We didn’t ask…WHY?
or
 
Is there ANOTHER WAY?
How to bring flexible seating options into my classroom?
 
Because at home…
 
I would lay on my bed and read for HOURS!
flexible seating
(picture by Dreamstime.com)
 
And that is how I  LOVE TO READ!
 
I want my students to LOVE to read!
 
So I have “changed it up!”
I have added flexible seating options in my classroom for kids to 
read in a comfortable, relaxed, enjoyable experience.
 
Every day after lunch my first graders do
 
READ  TO  SELF.
 
If you have not read the book
The Daily 5
 
from “The 2  SISTERS”      YOU  NEED  TO!
My first graders read to themselves.
 
Not to me,
Not to a partner,
JUST TO THEMSELVES!
 
Therefore…READ  TO  SELF!
 
I set the BIG TIMER!
 
online reading timer
 
 
I use THIS one.
 
We start the year at 6 minutes.  Read.
We work on increasing our reading STAMINA.
 Read longer.
Today, we are at 18 minutes!
 
18 minutes of uninterrupted reading 
of books THEY choose!
 
BUT there is MORE!
 
They don’t sit in rows.
They don’t sit at their desk.
 
We have flexible seating choices for reading.
 
flexible seating reading rockers
READING  ROCKERS

 

flexible seating stools
TALL STOOLS

 

flexible seating short stools
SHORT  STOOLS

 

flexible seating chairs
SHORT  STOOLS  at  SHORT  TABLES
flexible seating
 
CHAIRS  by themselves

 

flexible seating rugs
READING  RUGS

 

flexible seating
 
CORNER  NOOKS

 

flexible seating floor
FLAT  OUT  ON  THE  FLOOR
 
And when we are done?
Stools under the tables.
Rockers stacked in baskets.
Rugs in the tub.
And chairs stacked.
 

 

flexible seating stools

 

flexible seating stools

 

flexible seating guided reading stools

 

flexible seating reading rockers

 

flexible seating chairs
They MOAN when the timer goes off. 
 
They ask during other times of the day
to Read in the Rockers.
 
THEY  WANT  TO  READ!
 
I have taught them to LOVE to READ..  
 
ANY HOW…ANY WHERE!
Flexible seating choices have made a HUGE difference
in the reading choices my students make.
 
They want harder books.
They want to read MORE!
 
It’s hard to walk into a first grade classroom
 
and hear…SILENCE.
 
But the “whispers” of reading are heard, daily!
UPDATE
More flexible seating CHOICES!
 
I won ..yes…won  these
4 AMAZING Stools at our recent
NorCAL Teachers Meet UP
in Pleasanton,CA!
 
Check out the fun at:
Instagram
 
flexible seating storage ottomans
I was the BIG..WINNER  WINNER! 🙂
Yes…I won ALL  4
WHOOP!  WHOOP!

 

flexible seating wooden rocking chairs
And these Bad boys…
They are wooden rocking chairs,, and they SQUEAK!
I love to hear the squeak, squeak as they rock & READ!
Thank You Donor’s Choose!
 
My “flexible seating” is complete!
Now to “arrange” it into 
WORKSTATIONS!

 

 

 

I absolutely LOVE IT!

 

( SO DO THE KIDDOS!)

 

Some of my “bloggy friends”
have also posted about
their experiences
with flexible seating.
Check them out.
How to fund and implement flexible seating
 
10 things to know about flexible seating
 
flexible seating
 

 

If you want to learn MORE about reading
check out these blog posts:
 

Where do I put ALL of this “CENTER”… stuff????

Where Do I Put ALL of my CENTER Supplies?

Today my tip is about storing ALL of those center supplies!
Who doesn’t LOVE all of those cute centers!
Holiday centers, reading centers, writing centers, skill centers…
And so on, and so on...
BUT
WHERE DO I PUT ALL OF THEM????

Where Do I Put ALL of my CENTER Supplies?

How do I store all of this stuff???
Well…I have a solution.
 
I LOVE Sterilite drawers!
 
NO…I mean
 I REALLY LOVE SERILITE DRAWERS!
 I did NOT put the casters on them.
I line them up on my counter…
I TOLD YOU I LOVE My drawers!
I teach 9 months a year ( Approximately )
SO…
 
9  English Language Arts drawers 
AND
9 Math drawers!
 
Conveniently they come in stacks of 3! 
These fit nicely on my counter.
9 ELA drawers
I used scrapbook paper to “cover” the front of the drawers.
(Hides the mess  contents  inside…)
9 Math drawers…Math is blue..just for me!

Where Do I Put ALL of my CENTER Supplies?

How do I organize it all?

Each drawer has a label on the front:
Each drawer has a month
AND
The skills my MATH PROGRAM teaches each month.
Yes, I have a math program I must follow.
My kids are assessed on these skills.
So I organize them by the skill for each theme taught each month.
 I always, ALWAYS need an ETC drawer!
Who doesn’t have EXTRAS???
I partnered up the first two months of school to get an extra MATH drawer.
Mostly the same concepts for the first two months.
Each ELA drawer has the same.
Each one has a month and the skills taught in my ELA Program!
Yes, we also have an ELA program!
Tested skills… 
So now..my drawers are labeled…NOW WHAT???
As I create or purchase centers,
I laminate, cut apart, and put in GALLON ZIP-LOCK BAGS!
Then…place in the drawer by SKILL!!
What about cutesie ones that are holiday-themed, but in the wrong month?
FOR example…
I teach short a & short i in August..
what if I have a cute short a center with SANTA on it?
SO WHAT?
MY KIDS LOVE SEEING SANTA IN AUGUST!
or
Bring it out again in December for review…
It won’t hurt them!
Centers are for independent practice…ALL THE TIME!
When we finish a theme…place them back in the drawer! DONE!
Sometimes drawers get “messy”…
THAT’S WHY WE COVER THEM!
Close the drawer & walk away!
Can you see me SMILE?
So, as you are doing SPRING CLEANING or
this SUMMER when you have “extra” time…
Think about drawers…I LOVE THEM!
( I have another set for Guided Reading…6 drawers for 6 groups!)
Here is a freebie of drawer labels for YOU…
 
Leave me a comment.
 How  do YOU organize your centers?
PS… Here are a few LINKS to centers in MY store!

How do YOU FIT IT ALL IN? Balanced Literacy, that is!

BALANCED LITERACY IN FIRST GRADE!

I can’t believe this is year 30!

MY own twins were in first grade

My first year of teaching!
( NOT in my class…TG…)

Each year things CHANGE!

 Literacy has changed!

It is SO very important!
CHANGE is NOT a BAD thing!
It can make you rethink, reevaluate, redo, remake, revitalize!

After 30 years…I can HONESTLY say..

I will NOT throw out the BABY with the BATHWATER!

WHAT????

OK…We have a new curriculum.  AGAIN!
EVERY  7 YEARS.
Whether you want it …or NOT!

And so, here we go again.

It really doesn’t matter what “program” you give me.

BALANCED  Literacy
is
BALANCED Literacy

My “STRESS” level rises when I try to plan.
 

Reality check…

Some days I can…some days I can’t.

 

It’s ok. 
Life won’t end if you don’t do it ALL!
BUT…
 
TRY!
 
Let’s start with :
 

 #1.. READ ALOUDS for Literacy Mentor Texts

 
READ  ALOUDS!
 
I start my day with READ ALOUD.
AND
I end my day with a READ ALOUD!
 
( I try to make ONE of those Read Alouds
 a SCIENCE, SOCIAL STUDIES, or HOLIDAY story)
 
INTEGRATE whenever YOU can!
 
After EVERY story…We Discuss.
 
Characters.
Setting.
Problem.
Solution.
 
EVERY Read Aloud.  
Discuss for  10 minutes …MAX!
Highly Effective! 
 
When students THINK about a story,
“turn & talk”
about it,
use the “academic language”
from the story, they are engaged!
They might NOT take it on
for themselves the first time…..
but…over time, they will!
 
This week I heard some “reading partners”
 discussing  our anthology
story.
 
I heard “MAIN CHARACTER”, 
“Beginning, Middle, END”, 
“How did they SOLVE that Problem?”
 
WOWZA! 
 Teacher  Happy DANCE!
 
If you need suggestions for Read Alouds…
PINTEREST!
 
Next on my BALANCED LITERACY plan…
 
#2   INTERACTIVE  WRITING
 
So, how?  Where?  WHEN?
 
I LOVE interactive writing!
Interactive Writing is when the KIDS do the writing.
 We use chart paper. We discuss a story PLAN. 
We start with MAIN IDEA. Then we add 3 detail ideas.
 We add a conclusion. 
 
They help each other spell.
We sound out words together.
We discuss grammar.
 
And we write..and read..
and edit..and rewrite!
 
What a wonderful cycle!
 

I am using my interactive writing skills to

 incorporate our

#3  Word Work

NEW long vowel phonics concepts. 
We made a chart. 
Together we thought up words
that use our long vowel
 word families.
We made a vocabulary box
on the chart 
to remind us of words
we want to use in our story.
 And…THEY  WRITE! 
Smelly markers are a must! 

And we read..This happens during our morning

meeting time. 
We spend about 5-10 minutes writing 
each day for 5 days. 
Mondays..we begin a new story.
THEY LOVE THIS!
 
We started with Kate.
Long a with silent e.
Then Irene.
Long e with silent e.
Next week…
Long o with silent e.
 
Check out ..
Next we preview…
 
WRITER’S  WORKSHOP

Do you like to play games? GOTCHA!

I LOVE GAMES!

I really do.

My kiddos LOVE to play games.

They learn to take turns, to negotiate, to strategize…
and to win peacefully, 
and lose graciously.
So…I created a game.
Not just ANY game.
A game kindergartners can play WITH second graders…
AND  WIN! 🙂
Here is my newest product:
(Think 4-in-a-row type games.)

 

The directions are pretty simple…
Take turns placing your tokens on the MAT…
Try to get 4 in a row.
You can get 4 in a row horizontal, vertical, or diagonal!
BUT…be careful!
Your partner will try to BLOCK YOU!
When you BLOCK them…
YELL…

 

Multiple game mats are included.
You can play a variety of levels, as needed.
Differentiation at its BEST!

 

The tokens are what make the difference.
There are a variety of leveled tokens.
From ABCs & 123’s…to short vowels…to contractions, and more!
Players must READ before playing a token!
READ?  and have fun???   
WOW!

 

Packet includes:

3 differentiated game mats.

16 different themed player tokens.
Here is a PREVIEW of the packet.
Click Below
 
 
Happy Summer my friends!
Wendy  1stgradefireworks 
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

Book Clubs for Book Study

Book Clubs Reading Groups

Reading Groups? 

 LOVE THEM!

BUT….
My High Kiddos 
don’t want to meet with me
 as often as my others…
so, enter

BOOK CLUBS

 

 



We have grouped our BOOK CLUB kids into groups of six.

 Each has the same book.
They have worked with the packet with me first during guided reading.
Model, model, model. 
Then …
RELEASE THE KRACKEN!



 I mean …release the firsties!

 

Book Clubs work as a team 
to help each other read the story,

 have a “LITERATURE” discussion ( the hard part),
 and then they complete the packet TOGETHER.

 

 



 Do they copy…yeah ( get over it) .
They ARE Learning from each other.
 I have heard the BEST discussions ever 
( and I wasn’t involved in it!).

 They really CAN do it.
They enjoy the new packet.
 I give them a “reward certificate” 

LUNCH with the teacher 
when the TEAM completes their packets
 AND 
 give a 
GROUP ORAL REPORT 
on their book!

They want MORE!
 ( I try to switch the Book CLub groups , depending on the book level).
It takes them about 1-2 weeks to complete it.

 We have a “core” reading series 
we HAVE TO DO are highly, most decidedly will, are

encouraged to do, first.

 SO… Book Club is their UA (small group) time.

So here it is!  Check it out! Good for ANY story or book.

BOOK  CLUB

 

 

 

Tips & Tricks

 

  • When students are independent readers, begin BOOK CLUBS
  • Hold students accountable
  • “Chunk” their work time ( I have them work for 15-20 minutes)
  • If needed…choose a LEADER to begin the discussions.
  • All club members need the same book.
  • Have booklets ready ahead of time. When they finish one…start another!

 

Check out these resources to help with reading & writing in YOUR classroom! 🙂

If you like it..PIN IT! 🙂

Book Clubs for Book Study

Book Clubs for Reading Comprehension!

3 Steps to Sight Word Fluency

3 steps to sight word fluency.

Not exactly steps..a hop..a skip..and a JUMP!

When teaching my kiddos to read,

I use MANY tools!

Books, whiteboards, markers, pocket charts, flashcards, etc..

But… when teaching sight words

or

high-frequency words

or

FRY words, Dolch Words etc, etc, etc.

It ALL comes down to this…

IF YOU CANNOT READ  SIGHT WORDS

You WILL NOT read at grade level!

Scary??    YES!

 HOW  DO  WE HELP???

We research.  We try. And we try AGAIN!

There are MANY resources on Pinterest

to help you find lists, and lists, and lists of words!

27-awesome-sight-word-activities-for-kids-pin

Awesome Sight Word Activities

27 Awesome Sight Word Activities

sight-words-pin-700x1000

Sight Word Activities

Learn Sight Words Through Play

And LOTS of OTHERS!

HFW Dots from 1stgradefireworks

Awesome Sight Word Activities

HFW Dots

NOW I know what to teach…

 HOW  do  I Do  IT?

Here are your

3 steps to Sight Word FLUENCY!

steps

Step 1

Matching  Game

Each student makes their OWN word cards on colored paper.

(Practice sounding out, spelling, & writing EACH word)

I use 8 – 10  words.

Then they cut them apart.

Find a friend who has a different colored paper.

Both friends turn their word cards face down.

Rock, paper, scissors…winner goes first.

Choose one of YOUR word cards and one of your friends.

READ BOTH CARDS…friends help if needed.

If they match…keep BOTH cards. If not, turn them over and partner’s turn!

Winner has the most matches at the end of time

( or when ALL cards are  turned over)

PLAY  AGAIN!

Kids playing Sight Word Matching Game

Awesome Sight Word Activities

Great PARTNER work!

steps

STEP  2

Pocket Chart

MAKING WORDS

and

MATCHING WORDS

I use

MAKING WORDS

 GRADE  1

Making Words for Sight Words

Awesome Sight Word Activities

for my word study WORD WORK.

I make the letter cards and the word cards.

We pocket chart them ( my kiddos like to play SCHOOL during MAY DO time).

One of the Activities is

MAKING  WORDS!

Pocket Chart for Sight Words

Awesome Sight Word Activities

After MAKING WORDS

we play

MATCH IT!

Pocket Chart Match Sight Words

Awesome Sight Word Activities

Turn them over & MATCH IT!

We also invented

SPEED READER

(NOT SPEED RACER!)

I turn them over & as a class,

we read as FAST AS WE CAN!

Step 3

steps

Word Wall for Sight Word Fluency

We play

I SPY

They use their whiteboards

and I call OUT…

I SPY A WORD ON THE WORD WALL that

starts with a “_____”  and RHYMES with “____”.

They find it on the all…and write it on their boards.

Sometimes I will change it up with

“A verb that starts with a “__”, etc. etc.

 The main theme here is PRACTICE…PRACTICE PRACTICE!

No matter how many “steps” it takes…

they need practice activities & time

to HOP, SKIP, & JUMP  into FLUENCY!

Balanced Literacy for the Primary Classroom

ALL Classrooms should be a BALANCED LITERACY Classroom!

ALWAYS  begin with BALANCED  LITERACY!

And so we begin.

Matching Words

Making Words

I Spy

To help with Sight Word Mastery
CLICK on the links for help!

Small Groups

Those Crazy Word Walls

Hi Ho Hi Ho..It’s Off to High-Frequency Work we GO

Ready to TRANSFORM your Classroom 

into a 

BALANCED LITERACY Classroom?

Here you are! 

Balanced Literacy 

If you need more help, check out my TPT Store. LOTS of goodies in there!

Wendy

Using Math Data for Guided Math Groups

I teach MATH.

I “think”

I teach math well.

BUT…

HOW  DO  I  KNOW  IF  THEY  “GET  IT”???

How do I know if they have mastered ( or internalized )

the concept,

BEFORE  THE  TESTING  BEGINS???

I mean…it’s NOT…

I REPEAT…NOT

always about 

THE  TEST!

But.. my kiddos WANT to do well!

Even in First Grade, they KNOW!

They KNOW TESTS COUNT!

Whether or not we like tests or don’t,

TESTS  COUNT!

And so…

I have a district purchased math curriculum 

I am required to teach.

We use  Expressions.

I have a pacing guide from my district to use as a “tool”

to
Keep ME on track.

Mostly to ensure I have taught the required concepts for 

THE TEST!

I am NOT a fan of WASTED WORKSHEETS!

SOME…I LIKE!

SOME…I DON’T!

So …now what?

I NEED DATA!

SHOW ME WHAT YOU KNOW!

And so…

THEY DO!

Here is my Lesson on

ADDITION using 3 digits:

So..  NOW  WHAT?

Now I have LOTS of DATA 

(Student information)

 to put students into

I have noted students who need scaffolding in:

number sense

subitizing

numbers beyond 10

addition

grouping numbers

writing numbers

expanding numbers

place value

shape recognition

AND ALL OF THIS…

with 2 pieces of white paper & some crayons!

But…  

in the next few weeks

when we

“TEST”

My kiddos will “GET IT”!

I know they will!

If YOU need any help with 

Check out …

for  GRADE  1

See how I use it  HERE  and  HERE

AND

BUGGY  MATH

For  GRADE  2

See how I use it HERE

I also have MORE MATH Products…

Math Talk for Math Discussions

Sticks  and  Stones

Thanks for following!

Here’s a FREEBIE for YOUR TIME! 🙂

ks  and  Stones

ENJOY!

Wendy