Category Archives: Small Groups | Centers

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

Are YOU ready for DECEMBER?

Holiday Literacy\Math Games and Activities and a FREEBIE

Are YOU planning for December?

Are YOU ready for DECEMBER?

Get your first-grade math games & activities ready for DECEMBER!

Are you ready for holiday first-grade math games and activities?

Do you have your holiday reading and writing centers ready for December?

Do you need help finding them?

Easy Prep?  High student Engagement?

I have HELP FOR YOU!

This ROUND-UP is to help YOU get organized,

NOW!!!!

The FREEBIE is at the BOTTOM! 

KEEP  READING!   🙂 

Get your guided math centers ready to go!

Math games and printables prepped, organized, sorted.

 Students can’t wait

for the exciting activities

to help them get through DECEMBER!

Place Value Ture or False Sorting

Do your kids need extra help with place value? How about a sorting activity?

Place Value Sorting Cards True or False?

 

Greater then Less Than Holiday Edition

How to help your students practice greater than and less than with game activity.

Greater Than Less Than Holiday Edition 

 

December Fact Families

Math Fact practice activities for December

December Fact Families

10 more and 10 less for math centers

10 more and 10 less task cards for math games using the hundreds chart! Fun game!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

This Elf is NOT on the Shelf

Now  it is time for those literacy

( reading, writing, phonics, word) 

centers! 

Are YOU ready? 

The Elves are Working OVERTIME!

Literacy activities and games for reading, writing, and grammar for December.

The Elves are Working Overtime

Reading Word Trees for Fluency

Helping students read using Word Trees. Reading activity for fluency practice.

Sight Word Trees Holiday Edition

And for a FUN combination of Literacy and MATH…

The Winter Wonderland BUNDLE!

More games and fun activities to help your students practice grade-level standards in a highly energizing way! What a fun way to support learning through the HOLIDAY season!
Winter Wonderland Holiday Literacy & Math BUNDLE

Reading, writing, phonics, grammar, sight words, place value, task cards, and student practice pages to support learning through DECEMBER!

Winter Wonderland HOLIDAY BUNDLE

Do not forget to take care of YOURSELF! 

Get planned and prepped for December

and then enjoy the season!

Laugh, giggle, give hugs & high-fives.

The holidays are for making memories.

MAKE YOURS!

Here are some posts that can help YOU, too! 🙂

When do YOU put up YOUR Christmas Tree?

What Does Read At Home Really Look Like?

Don’t Blink!

Balanced Literacy

Happy December!  Take Care of Yourself and ENJOY IT!

THANK YOU for hanging in for this LONG POST!

Here is a FREEBIE for YOU!

Click BELOW

Holiday NOUN, VERB, & ADJECTIVES

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

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!

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
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!

How To KEEP Growing a Rainbow in Your Classroom

This is NOT a GARDENING BLOG POST!

Each of us is a flower… Growing in Life’s Garden (by Charlotte Diamond)

Can I really GROW A RAINBOW? YES!

This is the entry into a world where ALL students are flowers in the classroom garden. Each is unique, colorful, and needs it’s own nurturing to THRIVE! How to create a classroom environment where each student with different needs and abilities will blossom. When we create our classroom bouquet, we have grown a RAINBOW from the seeds we have planted.

How to KEEP Growing a Rainbow in YOUR classroom, from the seeds YOU have planted.
How to KEEP Growing a Rainbow in YOUR classroom, from the seeds YOU have planted.

One time per week, I will post a TIP, a TRICK, and/or a HACK to help YOU, the teacher, nurture our students into thriving blossoms of learning! My hope is that through support, trials & tribulations, and time-saving tips, YOU may grow YOUR RAINBOW!

A rainbow of flowers. From: How to Keep Growing a Rainbow in YOUR classroom. Planting Seeds of Knowledge.
A rainbow of flowers. From: How to Keep Growing a Rainbow in YOUR classroom. Planting Seeds of Knowledge.

Today’s TOPIC:

Classroom Routines.

Do you have routines set up for each day? Each Transition? For the beginning & Ending of the day? Here is your HELP! Check out the FULL POST HERE!

Here are the first 10 minutes of my day. EVERY DAY!

ENTERING  THE CLASSROOM ROUTINE:

I meet my kids on the playground.

Kids on the playground. Setting up classroom routines. 1stgradefireworks
Kids on the playground. Setting up classroom routines. 1stgradefireworks

Our “first” bell ( line up ) is at 8:20.

I go out to our line at 8:15 and  remind ALL of my students to get out of their BACKPACKS their BLACK homework folder (provided by me at the beginning of the year..black because I don’t use black for any other folder in my room..and their READ AT HOME envelope with TAKE HOME BOOKS. 

They have them “in their hands” before we walk to the door.

WHY?  

NO ONE has to “dig through” their backpacks when we get in the door. 

While we are at the door…I have a Home Depot shelving unit next to the door.

garage shelving unit
Home Depot Garage Shelving Unit

S

Gray Home Depot Garage shelving Unit. this helps with the beginning-of-the-day routines!

They put their backpacks and jackets ON THE SHELVES! Great beginning-of-the-day routine! NO backpacks or jackets on CHAIRS! No room!

 After we enter..2 baskets on the table next to the door. One “homework”..the other RAH (Read AT Home) Envelopes.

Homework Basket for Entering the Classroom Routines.
Homework Basket for Entering the Classroom Routines.

Black folders in HW basket, Book envelopes in RAH basket.

DONE!

(Any notes or OTHER STUFF…in HW basket).

NOW, they get a chair 

Stacked at the back of the room,

and WALK to their desk. They know the routines.

When the starting bell rings at 8:25

(5 minutes after we enter…)

I choose the HELPERS for the day.

You can only be a HELPER if you are sitting in your seat when the bell rings! I am prompt!

( No tardies, wanderers, “chatting”).

If you are TARDY…you won’t be a helper on that day if it’s your turn. You will have to wait until tomorrow if you are on time.

An incentive for getting to school ON TIME!

I choose my helpers. 

2 of my 10 helpers for the day are 

TECH  TEACHERS.

I ask the TECH  TEACHERS to choose a “quiet partner” to help them pass out Chromebooks ( We are a 1:1 school ) and earbuds ( they have their own in numbered baggies.

 (We number EVERYTHING!)

They get their Chromebooks, long into our district reading/phonics practice program, and GO TO WORK!

ALL of this takes 10 minutes.

8:20-8:30

NO MUSS…NO FUSS! Routines help manage the classroom!

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!

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:

HI HO.. HI HO It’s OFF to High Frequency Work..WE GO!

High Frequency Words…or  Sight Words
(depending on your generation..) 🙂
Back in the “OLDEN DAYS” when I became a teacher…
( um…Let’s just say in the late 80’s..)
I was taught to work on HFW (High Frequency Words) DAILY!
These are the words my student’s would see in their daily reading.
Some can be “sounded out” and some JUST HAVE TO BE MEMORIZED!
In order to memorize a word…a student MUST work with it at least
30 times!
WHAT???!!!!
Each word???   YEP!
So we do…DAILY!
Now the list of grade level words is ever changing.
You can see FRY WORD LISTS, DOLCH word lists, CURRICULUM word lists…
BUT the main focus is NOT on the LIST,
BUT WHAT YOU DO WITH IT!
Again…to embed a word into a first grader’s BRAIN..
they must work with it at least 30 times!
(Some kids more..some kids less)
HOW??
READ…..WRITE….SPEAK
Say it with me, “READ..WRITE..SPEAK”
OK. Now the work begins.
High Frequency Words
High Frequency Words
High Frequency Words
High Frequency Words
High Frequency Words
These samples came from Pinterest..
MANY,MANY,MANY boards to help YOU
create a class list &
MANY, MANY, MANY
different activities to help your kids
WORK WITH HFW!
They need to practice DAILY!
I myself, am a KINESTHETIC learner…HANDS ON!
NOT a SUPER fan of worksheets.
( Yes..we do some..I AM ONLY HUMAN!)
Thank You PINTEREST!
High Frequency Words
High Frequency Words
High Frequency Words
Sight Words
And so you see…Practice..practice..practice..
This year my class is a One-to-one classroom with ipads!
(THANK YOU TO WHOMEVER DREAMED OF THIS!)
My newest LOVE is an app called
“SHOW ME!”
Ipad app Show Me
It’s an individual interactive whiteboard!
We play word games, I SPY, word ladders, etc.  each on their own tablet..
and then SWISH!
CLEAR ALL…and we start again!
We do daily practice for about 10 minutes.
That’s about ALL they need in a “chunk” of time 10-15 minutes.
Later in the day…they each have individual word rings.
I have sets available in my store or you can search TPT for others.
Here’s a sampling…
High Frequency Word BUNDLE TPT
TPT 1stgradefireworks
High Frequency Words Tpt 1stgradefireworks
High Frequency Words Tpt 1stgradefireworks

High Frequency Words Tpt 1stgradefireworks

High Frequency Words Tpt 1stgradefireworks
Available at:
And so…
HI  HO 
HI  HO
It’s OFF to HFW
WE GO!
Enjoy! 🙂

625 VALENTINE CARDS? Where Do We PUT Them?

 VALENTINE  CARDS

It’s that time of year…

Kindness cards, Friendship Celebrations, Valentine Parties
Whatever YOUR site chooses to call it.

IT’S  HERE!

I have LOTS of
 math, sorting games, 
and MORE!


ALL  available in my TPT Store

Click on the video to see new and exciting 
Valentine products!

*There is a preview of
President’s  Day, too!

The time of year when we color, cut & glue
to show our FRIENDS  that WE LOVE THEM!
Valentine crafts!  Yippee!

Pinterest has LOTS ( I mean LOTS )
of  Valentine, Friendship, and February
 IDEAS!

These are a few from 
 my 
Pinterest Valentine Pins https://www.pinterest.com/firstgradeflair/valentines-day-elementary-resources/

Valentine Lap Book

Pinterest pin for Valentine's Day .https://www.pinterest.com/firstgradeflair/valentines-day-elementary-resources/

Valentine gift baggie "SMORES"
WE LOVE VALENTINE’S DAY!

But 

WHAT TO DO 
WITH ALL OF THOSE 
VALENTINE CARDS???

How to MANAGE them ALL?

2 days before our “Friendship Celebration”

*we Celebrate FRIENDSHIP

we make our BAGS!

Now I have done LOTS & LOTS & LOTS
 of different types of card holders…

(Again…THANK YOU PINTEREST!)
The Little Monster Valentine Goody Bags will hold the cards!

Pinterest Valentine Card holders

Pinterest Valentine Goody Bags

Pinterest Valentine Goody Boxes to hold cards

But I think the MOST important thing to remember is…

WHERE ARE YOU GOING TO PUT THEM?

If you have 25 students
…these take up a LOT of space!

So the choice is yours!

Just remember…
ALWAYS…ALWAYS…make 1 extra!

That student who was absent on CRAFTY day
…will want a bag on PARTY day!

ALSO….

Have your kiddos write 
THEIR NAME ONLY 
on their Valentine cards.

One in each bag…PLOP..PLOP…PLOP!

NO need to MATCH 
their friend’s name on the card to the bag.
One for EVERYONE!

When we open our bags and
we say THANK YOU 
to each person who gave us a card!

MANNERS COUNT!

I am lucky to have PARENTS who will send gift bags, cookies, & treats to share.

We pass these out after our cards are packed up.
Don’t want to SPILL on them!

So good luck. It’s time for DIY.
Check your CRAFTING SUPPLIES.

Find out where you want them to be
..they will be there for a couple of days.

AND enjoy!

Don’t forget to make one for yourself!
I am sure your kiddos will have “TREATS” for you too!

Here is a FREEBIE for YOU
to share with YOUR KIDDOS!

FREE Sight Word game from 1stgradefireworks


Happy Friendship DAY!  🙂