Category Archives: Small Groups | Centers

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

What TIME is it???

How many “times” today have you been asked…

WHAT TIME  IS  IT???

 
For me…
WAY  TOO  MANY!
 
And so…
WE  TEACH!
 
Hour hand.
Minute hand.
O’clock.
Thirty.
 
And OVER…And OVER…And OVER!
 
Big ones for WHOLE Group. 
Little Ones for Small / Independent Practice.
(Practice  MAKES   Perfect!)
 
To help out…
 
I have created a
MUCH   NEEDED  Packet.. 
for ME AND  For YOU!
 

 

 

 

 

 

 

WHAT  TIME  IS  IT  SNOWMAN?

 
These games will help my kiddos practice
Hour & Half-Hour
in 
MULTIPLE GAME  Formats!
 
 
Those who like SORTING…SORT!
Those who like a MATCHING GAME…MATCH!
Those who like to write..WRITE!
 
And so we work, we play, we practice!
 
And then…

 

WHAT  TIME  IS  IT??

 
RECESS!  LUNCH!  TIME TO GO HOME!
  
Check out my WINTER Pinterest board!
LOTS  of Winter GOODIES!

Data Collecting sends SHIVERS DOWN MY SPINE!

Data Collecting!

 

The words that send

SHIVERS

down 

EVERY TEACHER’S

BACK!

WHY? HOW? WHEN?

Relax…take a breath…

go to your “HAPPY PLACE!”

 

Data Collecting is very important in education.

We as educators not only need to deliver the instruction, but we do have the need to ensure our students master and apply the knowledge we are delivering.
 
For me, it was a
CHANGE of  MINDSET.
When I change my lifestyle, I need a WHY?
Why am I doing this? Why is it needed? 
WHY?  WHY?  WHY?
 
BECAUSE.

 

Collecting data is NOT about the numbers.

It’s NOT about “judging” my teaching. It’s NOT about seeing 
HOW many of my students DID or DID NOT master a concept.
 
It’s about looking for those SMALL skills,
those giant holes,
those little tweeks that
are missing FOR THE CHILD! 
What areas are missing…so I can fill them!
 
IT’S NOT ABOUT ME???
 
NOPE!
 
It’s about the KIDS!
 
Data is to help our kids.
 
OK.   So  HOW?
 
There are a MULTITUDE of  assessments
that you can use. 
In this day and age, I bet your district has a LONG list of assessments
they want you to use.
USE them!
 
Don’t just give the test & move to the next lesson.
LOOK  AT  THE  DATA!
 
You might be surprised at what you see!
 
I recently gave a math assessment to my firsties.
We had spent 4-5 weeks (YES WEEKS) on place value!
Tens and ones.  Tens and ones.  
OVER  AND  OVER!
 
After my “district” math assessment,
I noticed a trend…
On 5-6 of the tests  ( 25%  of my class..)
they missed 3-4 questions about 
adding ten to a number.
 
WHAT? ADDING TEN IS EASY!
 
We had gone over tens & ones,
tens & ones…   BUT…
 
I “assumed”
…remember what they say about 
ASSUME…
 
that it would be easy for them 
because they understood place value!
 
So…a week later of
SMALL  GROUP   math
  …adding tens to numbers
 
SHAZAM!
 
100%  on the place value review test!
So what if I gave the review test again?
They didn’t get it the first time!
 
It is NOT important that 
OUR numbers
 look good to others!
 
What is important is
DO THE KIDS KNOW IT?
 
Knowledge vs. numbers.
 
WOW!
A New MINDSET!
 
If you are looking for some reading/writing assessments 
to HELP your kiddos…
THIS WILL HELP!
 
See how I use it 
 HERE

Winter is Wonderful!

WINTER is my Favorite Season

Winter is WONDERFUL

Winter.

Winter is WONDERFUL!

Snow.

Jackets, mittens, scarves, & snow boots.

I am NOT an expert on SNOW!

I live in NORCAL.

Wine country. 

Not a lot of snow here.

My students LOVE to learn about WINTER!

Our favorite theme.

WINTER  IS  WONDERFUL!

UPDATED for 2022

WAHOO!

Bigger & Better 

66 Pages of ELA & Math Centers

ELA & Math Centers for Grades 1-2

ELA includes:

Contractions

Present, Past, and Future Verbs

Nouns, Verbs, Adjectives

Mixed-Up Sentences

Writing Topic & Details

MATH includes:

Math Mountains

Addition & Subtraction

Making 10 Strategy

Place Value Addition

“ Ten” Groups

ELA & Math Centers for Winter

ELA  AND  MATH  CENTERS

English  Language  Arts

Winter is WONDERFUL! Reading / Writing & Math Centers

Contractions

Winter is WONDERFUL! Reading / Writing & Math Centers

VERBS

MIXED UP SENTENCES

Winter is WONDERFUL! Reading / Writing & Math Centers

WRITING…MAIN IDEA  &  DETAILS

MATH

Winter is WONDERFUL! Reading / Writing & Math Centers

Math Mountains

Missing  Addends

Winter is WONDERFUL! Reading / Writing & Math Centers

MAKING  10  STRATEGY

PLACE  VALUE

ELA & Math Centers for Winter

WINTER  IS  WONDERFUL

Easy Prep & Go!  Get started

organizing now!

 BALANCED LITERACY

Click Here 

Check out the WINTER  Literacy Products from 1stgradefireworks 

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

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

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. 🙂

                                                                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
 
 
We sat in rows.
Many rows.
All of us looking straight ahead.
At the teacher, at all times!
No flexible seating, here.

 
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!
(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
 
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!
 
 
 
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.
 
READING  ROCKERS

 

TALL STOOLS

 

SHORT  STOOLS

 

SHORT  STOOLS  at  SHORT  TABLES
 
CHAIRS  by themselves

 

READING  RUGS

 

 
CORNER  NOOKS

 

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.
 

 

 

 

 

 

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
 
I was the BIG..WINNER  WINNER! 🙂
Yes…I won ALL  4
WHOOP!  WHOOP!

 

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.
 
 
 

 

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 

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

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