Category Archives: Small Groups | Centers

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

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!  🙂

Games for Assessments?????

Can I really play a FUN game to ASSESS?
Oh YEAH!
We have been playing ( YES…PLAYING)
fun games this month!
And guess what?
I can use them for assessments!
( Do I hear OH YEAH!)
Sorry …my WBT is going to my head!
My new SEPTEMBER game is both.
It’s a game & assessment.
I use the foldable game cards as a
September PREVIEW & REVIEW.

Slide1Slide2Slide3

I start the month with the cards to see what my kiddos know…
DO I HEAR KWL???
Then I can plan for the month depending on what they DON’T KNOW!
At the end of the month..REASSESS!
Use DATA for review in small groups.
(WOW!!! I think I am getting this down…sarcasm)
It’s only taken me 23 years..sarcasm
( Some of us have been teaching this way for years!)
Shhhh…don’t tell anyone
Those “young PHDers in Education” may feel sad.
They think they have created something new..
The education pendulum has swung again!
Smile, nod your head,…and teach!
Do I hear an “OH YEAH!” 🙂

February’s Here and the We’ve got the CRUD!

WINTER, FEBRUARY, THE CRUD, AND A FREEBIE! 🙂

Boy..How is it already FEBRUARY??
We’ve had the “crud”
..so when we started feeling better..
it was JANUARY! 
Now…???  It’s FEBRUARY!
WOW!
So now that I am feeling better…
things are finally coming together!

I have made some new packets to share with YOU!
FREEBIE at the end…keep looking! 🙂

It is still WINTER!
Those of you on the East Coast…
you know this best of ALL!

Here is my newest packet

click HERE to see it in my TPT store

Here are some PREVIEWS…

WOW! LOTS of action for kiddos!
My class LOVES this packet!

Then as we move into FEBRUARY…YES FEBRUARY…
The “LOVE” blossoms in ALL of us!
So..to share the LOVE…
I have a BUNDLE of 6 packets…YES..I said 6 packets!

All of these are available in my store…individually…

BUT now available in a BUNDLE!
Click HERE to get the BUNDLE!
Here’s a preview…

AND an EXCLUSIVE Packet…
only AVAILABLE in this BUNDLE!

WOW! All that!


What a wonderful 
FEBRUARY BUNDLE

FREEBIE???

Here you go…

Fluency  Word  Practice 

for FEBRUARY!

It’s National PUZZLE Day! Do YOU play GAMES??

GAMES!

Today is NATIONAL PUZZLE DAY!
Wahoo!
Fun times with friends.

Do  YOU play games in YOUR classroom?
I  HOPE  SO!

What a better way to practice academic skills & strategies.
The BEST way to learn social skills of sharing, taking turns, winning and losing.
AND..most importantly….
IT BUILDS YOUR CLASSROOM COMMUNITY!



I also have the children make their OWN games..
We play the “matching” game..A LOT!

Use spelling words, vocabulary words, math facts…whatever!
I give 1/2 the class 1 sheet of colored paper.
I give the other half  
1 sheet of colored paper, too 
BUT a different color!

We fold it into 8 rectangles.
EVERYONE writes the same words on their paper.
THEN…cut the cards apart!

When we are ready…find a partner
 WITH   DIFFERENT COLORED PAPER!

Turn over all of the cards. 
Pick one of YOURS,
 then choose one of your partners!

With different colored papers
…no mistaking whose is whose.

When game “time” ( set a timer ) is done
..pick up YOUR cards!
No mixing them up!
Take the cards HOME & PRACTICE!
Here WE ARE at WORK:


I hope you play games!
Have FUN!

Here are some MORE blog posts about
CLASSROOM  GAMES!

PLAY ON




Here are some games 
for YOUR classroom:

Check out my 
Pinterest board
for MORE fun GAMES!


Here is a FREE game..to ENJOY!

How do YOU FIT IT ALL IN? Balanced Literacy

BALANCED LITERACY IN FIRST GRADE!

I can’t  believe this is year 26!
MY own twins were in first grade MY first year of teaching!
( NOT in my class…TG…)

Each year things CHANGE!
CHANGE is NOT a BAD thing!
It can make you rethink, reevaluate, redo, remake, revitalize!

After 26 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 .
HOW TO FIT IT ALL IN?
 
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

                                          #2 ..  INTERACTIVE  WRITING
 
I  start with 
READ  ALOUDS!
 
I  start  my day with a 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..
 
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

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

How to Fit IT ALL IN? Balanced Literacy…

BALANCED LITERACY IN FIRST GRADE!

I can’t  believe this is year 26!
MY own twins were in first grade MY first year of teaching!
( NOT in my class…TG…)

Each year things CHANGE!
CHANGE is NOT a BAD thing!
It can make you rethink, reevaluate, redo, remake, revitalize!

After 26 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 .
HOW TO FIT IT ALL IN?

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

                                          #2 ..  INTERACTIVE  WRITING

I  start with 
READ  ALOUDS!

I  start  my day with a 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..

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

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

Fall, Apples, & Johnny Appleseed



It’s ALMOST HERE!

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 product!
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!!!