Category Archives: Small Groups | Centers

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

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!

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!

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

 
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. 
VOILA!
 
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

Games for ASSESSMENTS???? REALLY???

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.

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!” 🙂

Have YOU Heard? REALLY??? AM I the LAST to know???

I feel left out!

HOW did I not know…???
I just found out that

ORIENTAL  TRADING

has a 
WEB SITE 

JUST FOR TEACHERS!

OMG! 

LIFE  CHANGING!

The “go to” website for class sets of

ANYTHING…

pencils, erasers, crafts, party supplies, etc

NOW…has

TEACHER  SUPPLIES!

Bulletin board materials, pencils, book marks,STEM activities, etc..etc..etc…


Learn365  is  AMAZING!

The WONDERFUL people at ORIENTAL TRADING
sent my students  SOME  GOODIES!

*disclaimer…I was compensated in classroom materials for this blogpost.
 BUT…In my opinion,
 I believe this is a wonderful site 
for teachers when purchasing classroom materials.

My students have
 3 new STEM tubs
 for Problem Solving!


Jumbo Lacing Beads

WHO doesn’t LOVE to make PATTERNS, 
practice stringing beads, 
and work on fine motor skills
 of putting a bead in a string?

My kiddos LOVE this!

Yes…primary kids still need patterning!  🙂

Foam SHOES for practice TYING SHOE LACES!
WHAT A HIT!

It’s a LIFESKILL..not all students have.
Great practice!
These are sturdy & REAL!
Love them!


And their ABSOLUTE
FAVORITE!

Learning Resources® Gears! Gears! Gears! Movin’ Monkeys™ Building Set

STEM  at  it’s  BEST!

They build a rainforest THAT MOVES!
The monkeys MOVE!
The forest MOVES!
They control it through the movement of GEARS!

WOW!


We have only been in school for a week…
but I have already had kids ask
if we can get THIS out again!

WINNER! WINNER!

So..I feel very fortunate to have this wonderful
donation to my class!

GO NOW! Get your STEM ON!


and now YOU know!

I hope I will NOT be the LAST to know again!

Happy Back to School!


The day the BOYS found…DICE!

My boys have found…DICE!

I must THANK the Dollar Store & Target $1 Spot
for making their “dreams come true!”

I Love to have games in my classroom!
We PLAY LOTS of GAMES!
 I once had a parent ask me if ALL we did was play games….
each day her daughter would go home & MOM would ask..
” What did you do at school today?”
Daughter….”Oh, we just played games…”
YES!  BUT…
We play MY games…
games that reinforce concepts I am teaching!

So, today,

MY BOYS  FOUND….DICE!

Their world has changed FOREVER!
I have small dice, large dice, EXTRA LARGE FOAM DICE! LOTS!
We are working on beginning addition…
( YOU know where I am going with this!)
Roll…..ADD….Color!

We got out the dice games & had a ball!
Here is my FALL DICE GAMES
7 games in one packet!
So CHEERS to games 
that make learning FUN!

What games do YOU play
 in your classroom??? 🙂

WOWZA! I’m on a ROLL!!! OK..Time for a NAP!

I am on a ROLL!!!
Working on updating & revamping some
 FALL GOODIES!

Stop by & give me some LOVE!

(WOW! …I need a nap!)

 HUGS! 🙂

1stgradefireworks
Fill in the missing number.
Task Cards for Guided Math Centers.

Sweet Rhymes.
Match the cone to the ice cream scoop that rhymes.

September Preview/Review GAME!
Assess for FALL concepts!
Fun AND INFORMATIVE!

Missing addends in FALL task cards!
Guided Math center activities.

Sight Words Flip book!
HFW fluency practice.


Greater Than, Less Than, Equal To
Halloween Edition.

Fall themed packet includes:
-Fall vocabulary : syllables
-Graphic Organizers
-Writing Paper
-HFW Matching Game
-ABC Order
-Poem
-Pocket Chart Cards for Poem

WHEW!
Hot around here.

I hope YOU are taking it easy,
resting and playing…

 Soon enough, 
we will be getting ready for BTS!