Category Archives: Uncategorized

How Calendar Time Starts MY Day!

My favorite CALENDAR,,,Krista @ Creative Clips Paper
My favorite CALENDAR,,,Krista @ Creative Clips Paper

Calendar Time. I’m NOT sure WHO needs it more..

ME?   or my students?  


Restroom Time?




I Love Calendar Time.

I Love reading through the MONTH.

What’s happening THIS week

Next Week.

All month!

It keeps my “getting older” brain…


It helps my kiddos stay on top of events for this week and this month.

This week we are discussing:




classroom calendar
My classroom calendar wall

My calendar is next to my focus board.

This is where we begin our morning meeting.

After vocabulary discussions, calendar,

 days of the week ,months of the year, HFW cards..

I get to do a READ  ALOUD!

Working on reading strategies!

All of this in about 15-20 minutes!


Classroom calendar
first grade calendar…How to start the day!

My calendar is in PLACE VALUE numbers!

I got it HERE.

I also have MELONHEADZ Holiday cards.


I try to “release” the CALENDAR instruction to my students as the year progresses.

By the end of the yer, THEY lead the calendar time.

But , I still get to do the READ ALOUD!


Just a quick shout out to

Krista@Creative Clips Papers Collection

Creative Clips Paper Products
teacher paper calendar

This is MY Calendar!

I use it every DAY!

My Preps, meetings, Notes, appointments, etc.


One PAD lasts 2 years!  


I do MATH Calendar after lunch.

Math wall, focus wall, math calendar wall

We go back to number of days in school, place value, etc.

This begins my REVIEW of math concepts BEFORE we begin anything new!

We count to 120 by 5’s & 10’s ..2’s to 50 at the end of the year.

This is my FAVORITE!

monkey math, first grade math

It ALL begins with Calendar TIME.

Check it out on PINTEREST and TPT!



( I know..I cringe at that word.)
Kids want to SPELL perfectly…every time!

My fear is…students who STOP writing a wonderful story, because they can’t remember HOW to spell a word.

Just one word. And then..they stop writing! UGH! They ask themselves, “What does it start with?” Oh..I dunno…so where do they look? What do they do? Ask a friend…look on your word list…check the word wall…ASK THE TEACHER! NO!!!   I want INDEPENDENT readers & writers! Those DREADED words…


Ugh! What to do FIRST? We have gone over letter sounds, word families, vocabulary, picture prompts, word walls, word lists, dictionaries, pictionaries, and so on..and so on. And still they ask. “How do you SPELL???” So what is a teacher to do?? Then what?
PINTEREST! ( The place where ALL questions CAN be answered!) And so I search…
Spelling Practice
Spelling Practice from Samantha Almaguer  FREE!


So many Spelling WORD LISTS! ( And don’t EVEN get me started on WORD WORK!) Balanced Literacy Word Work And so…what’s a teacher to do? Head to YOUTUBE! Here is a great video from Angie @ Center Station
Still, no answers! AND SO?  What to do? What to do? Create MY OWN! My district has adopted a curriculum. I have 18 boxes waiting for me to unpack! My PD for this new curriculum is 5 days before I have students! I probably won’t have time to REALLY dig into the program. Surface teaching for a few weeks! BUT… My kiddos are ready… BEFORE I AM! And so.. I create! Bookmarks for Sight Word PRACTICE

Here are a few of my newest

SPELLING   creations!

The spelling word lists in this program can be used anywhere, anytime, with ANY program!

Homeschools, interventions, homework, practice pages! Here is KINDERGARTEN
And  Grade  2
All of the lists are printed in black and white. SAVES  ON  COLORED  INK! ( I print mine on colored paper!) I print one copy of SPELLING word list for the student’s desk. A little tape on top..and voila! Instant word wall for writing! (NO MORE …HOW DO YOU SPELL…) The other word list I send home for homework each MONDAY! They have to read & practice each night. Spelling tests on FRIDAY! I give “rewards” for 80% correct or higher! I don’t expect perfection…just effort in their work. I add these word lists to SPELLING CITY on our computers. (If  you don’t have SPELLING CITY….GET IT!) 🙂
They practice EVERY DAY!

They also must use the week’s spelling words in their journals.

They read their journals to a partner. WOW! Spelling, reading, writing, word lists, &  homework! I think we’ve got this! I have also added BLENDING LINES for READING FLUENCY PRACTICE!
Blending Lines
Blending Lines for Reading Fluency

I hope you can use my new SPELLING Packets!

This may help, too!    For more thoughts and talk for November, please visit these great posts. Like what you see, and want to join us? Before posting your link, please email RETTA at
Teacher Talk
Leave me a comment !!! Good Luck!

HI Ho, HI HO…It’s OFF to High-FrequencyWord 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!


Each word???   YEP!

So we do…DAILY!

Now the list of grade level high-frequency 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,


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)



Say it with me, “READ..WRITE..SPEAK”

OK. Now the work begins. PINTEREST!

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 &


different activities to help your kids


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!)


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!


My newest LOVE is an app called


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…
Roll. read. cover – Sight Words from 1stgradefireworks

Roll, Read, Color

TPT 1stgradefireworks

Happy HFW..Snowman Style

High Frequency Words Tpt 1stgradefireworks


High Frequency Words Tpt 1stgradefireworks
Fry First 129 Words
High Frequency Words Tpt 1stgradefireworks
High Frequency Words Tpt 1stgradefireworks

Available at:

1stgradefireworks TpT Store

And so…



It’s OFF to HFW


Enjoy! 🙂

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!





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!

When is it “officially” FALL?


It’s 100 degrees in NorCAL!

My A/C has been on for WEEKS!

I don’t like to sweat. 

My calendar says Fall ‘officially” begins on Monday, September 23?

WHAT? Why so far away?

I think FALL should begin TODAY!

WHEN is it “officially” FALL? 

I am ready for…  FALL!

When is it "Officially" Fall?

When is it “Officially” FALL?


I have been looking for FALL-themed resources

to help get my first-graders into the


I hope these help YOU too!

(Thank You PINTEREST!)

The Best of Fall Read Alouds

The Best of Fall Read Alouds

Fall themes?  YES! Many to choose from!

What do YOU teach in the FALL?


When is it "officially" FALL?

When is it “officially” FALL?


Need MORE  Fall inspiration?


Bring on FALL! We are READY!

How Do You Know When It’s Fall?

Fall, Apples, & Johnny Appleseed

And so my friends…as YOU can SEE…FALL is ALMOST here!

Enjoy the changing season! Have fun with your students, hug your family!

Now…where did I put thise leather boots?

Hmmm…I may have to clean out a 

closet or two! 

pumpkin spiced latte

pumpkin spiced latte

Pumpkin Spice LATTE is almost HERE!  WAHOO!!

HAPPY  Fall. ‘yall from NORCAL! 




Getting Ready to READ in SMALL Groups

AKA… After I assess them, NOW what?


small group table for reading

small group table for reading

We are back in school. I spent the first few days going over schedules, routines, set up, clean up, etc. As the week went on, we got better.

Now, it’s time to introduce content. I need them to start working so I can ASSESS.

Assess for READING!

First grade is ALL ABOUT READING!

Small groups are leveled so I can reach each student at their level and help them become


HOW? How do I know?


Assessments drive your instruction.

DATA. What DO they know? What DON’T they know?

All of this data becomes the source of my instruction.

If I have a concept that a LOT of them don’t know…. whole class lesson!

BUT, if only a FEW are missing a skill or strategy…SMALL GROUPS!
Reteach it during small groups.


How to Group students for SMALL GROUP reading. 1stgradefireworks

How to Group students for SMALL GROUP reading. 1stgradefireworks

Assessments drive your instruction for small groups!

Assessments drive your instruction for small groups!

Curriculum, DRA, Running Records, BPST, Letter sounds/names, blending, segmenting, sight words, etc.

PLEASE…. DO NOT sit a child down and assess for more than 15 minutes!

Better to assess over DAYS than HOURS!

You want to know what they truely know.

I put ALL of my data on a spreadsheet,

I like to see ALL of it together.


Look for patterns.

Do they know letter names & sounds?

6 kids are “inconsistent”? GROUP THEM FOR practice! Small intervention group with letters, white boards, & pictures,

Your first small group is ready to go!

Missing sight words?
BAM! Small group for sight word practice, reading with the teacher, writing sight words in sentences, and more sight word practice.

Fluency? Do they “robot read”?
Another strategy small group! Fluency practice. I read. You read. We read. I read. YOU read. WE read.
They need to hear YOU for fluency & intonnation practice.

Here are some “helpers” for small groups that I found on PINTEREST!

Effective Grouping for Small Group Instruction - Learning with Mrs. Langley

Effective Grouping for Small Group Instruction – Learning with Mrs. Langley


How to Use Small Group WarmUPs with

How to Use Small Group WarmUPs with


What is a BALANCED LITERACY CLASSROOM? 1stgradefireworks

What is a BALANCED LITERACY CLASSROOM? 1stgradefireworks



  1. Assessments
  2. Decipher your data. (Look for patterns).
  3. Make your small groups.
  5. Practice
  6. Reassess
  7. Regroup students ( keep groups fluid).
  8. Again. And again, And again!  
  9. Watch them GROW!  
  10.  SMILE. You are great! 🙂

If you need more help…

check out these posts for MORE information: 

Balanced Literacy

Book Clubs- Reading








The Day the Boys found…DICE for games!

My boys have found…DICE for games!

Math games need dice!

Bring it ON!

Dice for Math Games

My boys found the DICE today! Let the games BEGIN!

The kids found the dice for math games! Game ON!

The dice were rolling! Let the games BEGIN!

Let them play!

The learning, discussions, & giggles were contagious! YES!

I must THANK the Dollar Store & Target $1 Spot

for making their “dreams come true!”

I Love to have games in my classroom!


 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...”


We play MY games…

educational games….

games that reinforce concepts I am teaching!


So, today,


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!)


We got out the dice games & had a ball!

Here is my FALL DICE GAMES...

7 games in one packet!

Fantastic Fall Dice games

Learning is FUN!

But to share…A FREEBIE!

FREEBIE math game..You NEED DICE!

Let them Play! Dice games are so FUN!

So CHEERS to games that make learning FUN!


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

You never know..I may choose someone to GIVE a GAME to!

WINK ,WINK!  Leave a comment to ENTER!  🙂 

  Wendy   1stgradefireworks 

I was taught “Hard Work” by the BEST!

I am such a SLACKER! I think I am a hard worker!

I think I have it all together..



My Grandmother & MY MOM

raised a family, worked at home & outside the home, 

and we always had stuff when we wanted it.

THEY were hard workers!



I was taught HARD WORK by the BEST!

Gma & Gpa taught me to work hard!

This is my GMA & GPA…

I miss them both.

They lived on a dairy.

 My GPA taught me about cows, HARD work, & what “silage” tasted like! ICK!

My Gma always wore a dress & heels. She was a petite little thing.

She wore toilet paper around her hair at night, so she would look “good” in the morning.

My Gpa didn’t give us candy.

 When we left his house, he would give us a teaspoonful of brown sugar 

, from the jar in Gma’s kitchen.

 Nothing fancy..but it meant EVERYTHING to us!

They owned a peach orchard.

 40 acres of peaches. 

I never really thought about it when I was little.

 It was just a “lot of trees”.

I was taught HARD WORK by the BEST!

My Mom & Dad who taught me about Hard Work.

This is my MOM & Dad ( I just found this engagement pic.) HAHA

I was taught HARD WORK by the BEST!

My happy parents who both work hard!

They are hard workers. 

My dad went to work every day.

 Dressed in his suit & white shirt 

( that my mom ironed..I know ..with an iron & ironing board! )

And my mom worked a self-owned business, 

was ALWAYS there when we got home form school,

 and helped us with EVERYTHING we ever did ( sports, clubs, school, etc).

And I never asked HOW?

How do you do it ALL? 

And now this….

Both my GMA & My MOM canned fruits, made pickles, and baked goodies!

Now I don’t bake ( leave that gene to my sister, Susie).

I have NEVER made pickles..& probably won’t..BUT  

I   CAN  FRUIT!   


I  remember walking into GMA’s garage & seeing shelves FULL of canned goods.

I grabbed bottles of canned fuits from my mom’s shelves in our garage.

Peaches, pears, cherries, etc, etc, etc,,   whenever we wanted!

Winter, Spring, Summer, Fall

It didn’t matter…it was always there.

HOW????  Hard Work!

I never asked.

So now..I apologize to GMA & MOM.

I should have asked to help you peel, or slice, or wash, or……..or….or……to do the hard work!

But, I cannot take it back.


I will follow in your steps.

I will teach MY DAUGHTER to can!

And my granddaughters!

I will continue the family tradition. Work Hard!

Only…we will use the recipe on my laptop.

( I know GMA & MOM didn’t do that!)

So here was my day TODAY ( from start  to finish ).

I was taught HARD WORK by the BEST!

Canning fruits & vegetables is Hard Work!

I was taught HARD WORK by the BEST!

Work Smarter not Harder!

Wash the jars ( hot water & heated dry) in dishwasher.

I was taught HARD WORK by the BEST!

Pick the fruit from the trees, Hard Work!

I was taught HARD WORK by the BEST!

Wash them for safety. Hard Work.

I was taught HARD WORK by the BEST!

Blanch them to peel them easily. Hard Work.

Wash..rinse…BLANCH (  Boil  whole peaches, then put in pan of ICE WATER!)

Their peels  just  slide right off!

Slice, Slice, slice!

I was taught HARD WORK by the BEST!

Work Smarter not Harder!

Too hot to cook inside!

Set up our campstove OUTSIDE!

Pan on the left is a sugar/water mixture.

Cook the peaches in for a short time, then pour into jars!

Hubby is sooooo  good at this!

I was taught HARD WORK by the BEST!

Hard Work.

I was taught HARD WORK by the BEST!

Harder Work.

I was taught HARD WORK by the BEST!

Hubby does the hard work.


Boil in a water bath ( 25 minutes ) to seal.

I was taught HARD WORK by the BEST!

Hard work pays off.



I was taught HARD WORK by the BEST!

Canning is hard work, but so worth it!

I was taught HARD WORK by the BEST!

Hard work pays off for MONTHS to come!

There we go!

11 quarts of fresh canned peaches!

They will be sooo  good  this winter! 

(Daddy gave us more peaches 

…so I am thinking peach cobbler for dinner!)

or maybe…..


Gma made jam……so did MOM….WOW…Hard Work!

I should THANK them.   🙂

Making A LIST and Checking it TWICE!


Is SANTA on his way? In JULY?


NO! I am checking MY list.

My  Back to School LIST!

And that list get LONGER, every DAY!

My Back to School is next week. 

In my district ( a modified traditional calendar) we start at the end of JULY! 

No tears for me…we are off the first two weeks of OCTOBER!  I LOVE FALL BREAK!

And so first, I make a list – A LONG LIST!

Thank You @createteachshare

Teacher To Do list @createteachshare

Teacher To Do list@createteachshare


Here is how my list begins…

  1. Clean teacher desk
  2. Clean students desks
  3. Number each workbook ( I put numbers on EVERYTHING!)
  4. Get student materials ( books, pencil holders -FILLED, & other things that stay IN THEIR DESKS) on their desks. We will go over them the first day.
  5. Number homework folders, Read at Home folders & books
  6. Tear out & runn of homework for the first two weeks.
  7. Clean out & check literacy & math centers.
  8. Purge ANYTHING I have not used in two years! YES!!!!  
  9. Find my teacher tools.
  10. Check technology… after updates…check technology. After call to district office…check technology AGAIN! Finally works! UGH! I have a LOVE/HATE relationship with technology!
  11. Schedule teacher PD meetings. ( 5 days before kids come..starting tomorrow!)
  12. Write Lesson plans for the FIRST WEEK! ( don’t go further…things WILL change.)
  13. Update list.
  14. Unpack the 10 boxes of NEW Science Curriculum. Inventory. Find missing pieces. Inventory again. Store? Stack in a corner.
  15. Add to my list:  Unpack science curriculum & go through it. Plan? 
  16. Make sure resources on the WALLS are for Back to School ( Not END of School). Update.
  17. Are class lists ready? I need to ADD names to numbers!
  18. Make a LIST ( alphbetically, of course) of students by first names. (WOW! I have an “extra” student on my list…boy will that mess up my alphabtical list.  TEACHERS: YOU GET THIS!)
  19. Don’t care that my alphabetical student names will be OUT OF ORDER! 🙂 Breather!
  20. Cross things OFF list. ( After you have added MORE) I know. It’s LONGER than when I started. It’s OK. Ths kids won’t know!
  21. GO HOME EARLY! Relax. Take a walk. Pour some wine. Hug your family. It’s a job. The kids will be there ready or not. THEY won’t care if I didn’t finish ALL of the ANCHOR CHARTS          I want to make. ADD that to my LIST! 
Classroom 2019

Classroom 2019 Making my LIST!

Focal Wall is on my list

Classroom of 2019. Making my LIST of things to do!

Making labels for files!

Classroom of 2019. Making my LIST of things to do!

Lesson Plans are on my list.

Classroom of 2019. Making my LIST of things to do!

Filing construction Paper in a crate is on my list.

Classroom of 2019. Making my LIST of things to do!

Sorting  Read at Home Books...on my list.

Classroom of 2019. Making my LIST of things to do!


Leveled readers in tubs. On my list!

Classroom of 2019. Making my LIST of things to do!

Get my Teaching table ready for small groups! ( Also my teacher desk..) READY? Check my list!

Classroom of 2019. Making my LIST of things to do!

My list is long.

BUT… The kids are coming to see YOU!  They will look around and SMILE AT YOU!

The smiling, happy teacher who gives giggles, grins, hugs, & high fives!

They want to know they are safe & happy. And so are YOU!

Finally, don’t forget…your list will come & go. Smile. Breathe.

And Love them!  That’s what we do.

I don’t need to add that to my list. It’s ALWAYS there! 

Happy Back to School. Enjoy it! 

Leave me a comment & let me know how it goes! 

Wendy     1stgradefireworks 


JULY already? NO!!! Summer… SLOW DOWN!

Where did my SUMMER go?

July???  Already HERE?  End of JULY is close! NO!!!!

 (Sniff…sniff…deep breath..) I need to get my classroom ready for… The First day of SCHOOL!

OK…student’s are coming to school July 30..

I had better go & see what it looks like..

Books on the floor!


WHO LEFT THIS HUGE MESS in my classroom!!!????

Oh, yeah…ME? 🙂

I locked the door …AND  RAN!!!!!

Whew! Time to clean up!

So, I spent today (again) working in my room, this time…

throwing things away!

I purged like I never have before!

My poor janitor…he came in twice to take away PILES.

But it’s getting there. Now to teacher organization.

I have 3 big things I did TODAY:

1. I got rid of my teacher desk. 

No more file cabinets, drawers, or “piling” surface.

I now have a “U” reading table as my area! 


 I now have 2 tall (5ft) bookcases next to my area.

Teacher's Guided Reading Table

2. I made a “supply” center ( Lowes tool box) 

for all of my desk supplies.


to keep all of my centers and student stations…

My teacher TOOLBOX.Organize after getting rid of my TEACHER DESK!


WMart  3 drawer containers.

I “cutsied” ( is that a word?) them..


My counter has NEVER been this clean! 🙂

I couldn’t decide what I wanted on each label.

So, I chose the month ( so I can add theme materials)


next to it, I put what skill is taught during that month.

My thinking is …

when I create or purchase new materials,

I can file them either by the month OR by the skill.

Math was a little harder…most CCSS cross the entire year.

You can’t just teach number & operations in August…all year long! 

I think I will keep the standard, and separate each one by quarter.

Maybe…or maybe monthly…I dunno yet. 

I need to live with it a while & see how things go!

Busy day!  I love getting organized!

Tomorrow I challenge the dreaded….


FREEBIE…You made it to the bottom of this post…


Back to School Word Work PREVIEW FREEBIE!