Monday, April 30, 2012

Ocean Visitors

We had some visitors today!

I bought 3 beta fish and borrowed a hermit crab from another teacher to study during our ocean unit. ( See old post here).

 The kids named the fish: Redman, Bobbie "The Blackout" Beta and Rainbow Sparkle. The hermit crab was named Hermie! Aren't those cute choices?

Last week when we learned about fish, we completed our fish report writing on this cute writing paper. (I have this stationary as a freebie on my TPT preview of this unit. Download here if you're interested!) We also read Rainbow Fish and made our own sparkly versions.

I let the kids outline all the scales with glitter. They look amazing when finished!

Today we sang this crustacean song and highlighted the facts, read A House for Hermit Crab and made these adorable hermit crabs!

The songs and craft templates are included in my ocean unit. I can't wait to study dolphins and whales next!

 Hope you all are having a great week!

Wednesday, April 25, 2012

Little Bear

This week we've been reading Little Bear by Else Holmelund Minarik because the chapter " Little Bear Goes to the Moon" is in our Treasures series. It's nice because the students can read this independently so they can concentrate more on their fluency and comprehension. They have been busy completing my Little Bear comprehension pack. Here's a look...

If you're interested, you can find my Little Bear pack on TPT ( here).

I'll be back soon with pictures from our ocean unit!!

Sunday, April 22, 2012

true or false equations freebie!

Happy Earth Day and Birthday to me! To celebrate, here's a math freebie!

One of the objectives my district has asked that kids understand in math is true or false equations. We have practiced these before but we still had trouble with them on our assessment.  I made this worksheet so we can work together to solve them on day 1. I want students to be able to look at the equation and make a prediction about whether or not the equation is true or false after seeing the numbers on either side of the equal sign. Then I put the boxes underneath so they would remember to solve both sides. After they have solved both sides, they can circle the actual outcome.

 I also made a blank one so students can create their own worksheet by writing in numbers for an equation on day 2 of the lesson. I am going to give them a second blank worksheet so they can make an answer key to go along with their created worksheet. They won't even realize they are actually doing work! ( insert evil laugh here)
On the third day, students will exchange their worksheets with a friend. The friend will solve the equations and decide true or false.  On day 3 or 4, whichever works best, students will use their answer key to grade their partners work. My students love playing teacher this year so I think this will be a big hit!
Hope you find these useful! Click on either picture to download the file.
Happy Earth Day!

Friday, April 20, 2012

Under the Sea! Ocean Freebies

Goodbye, Pond Life ... Hello, Ocean animals!

We have finished with Frog and Toad and will be beginning our Ocean Habitat Unit.

I love, love, love this unit because it is so arts integrated in dance, drama, music, and visual arts. It has a huge science emphasis while remaining literacy based.  Our first grade usually puts on a performance after the unit to showcase the students learning. I included many of our ideas in the unit for the performance if anyone is interested in an end of the year performance. It's so fun and makes the last month go by fast! It also includes all the foldables and materials to make a lap book at the end.

Here is the preview! It's so big I had to make a preview of the preview!!! It's 68 pages!
These are kind of hard to see but you can get a better look by opening the preview on my TPT listing. Click the picture to go to my TPT store.

I also used many of the resources I had so I was able to include lots of freebies for you!!

Just open the preview on the TPT listing for the freebies. I hope you can use this unit in your classroom. I'm so excited for our trip "Under the Sea".

Monday, April 16, 2012

Dancin' the frog life cycle!

A few days  ago I asked whether or not teachers felt comfortable using dance in their classroom. The two comments I received asked for an example. So I posted two videos from my classroom today.

I will say that I have been so lucky to attend workshops about movement in the classroom as well as work with the dance teacher at my school. I have loved learning how to incoporate dance into my instruction. I have modeled quite a bit with other concepts and we have created a few whole group movements so they have had practice.

Let me give you a few details before you watch...

We have been using my Frog and Toad Unit from TPT and reading all about the frog life cycle as a science connection. Today I asked my students to use a count of 8 to show the stages of the frog life cycle after a book about the subject. They had a little less than 10 minutes to do this. They have gotten to the point where they can work well together because they know they don't have much time. Also, I did not model at all. This is all their knowledge coming out. I added captions to the video so you could spot the little details they added that show learning.

One more thing...If I were going to perform this for an actual audience, I would have had them practice more. The beauty about dance in a lesson is that you don't always need to make it performance ready. It's really all about putting the learning into the body and using higher level thinking skills to create movements that represent concepts.

Sorry it's sideways! Apparently I hold my iphone wrong!

Let me know what you think or any questions you have about dance in the classroom. Seems doable, right?

Here is another project we just finished from the Frog and Toad Unit. These are our multimedia comparison word problems. We have been working on the different types of addition and subtraction word problems and this has been our focus for about two weeks.

The students watercolored the pond water, added a yellow sun with construction paper, and flowers with tissue paper squares.

Happy Monday!

Wednesday, April 11, 2012


So, I have a question for anyone who sees this post. I am working on a new unit for TPT and since I work at an arts school and get to work with a dance, drama, visual arts and a music teacher on a regular basis these subjects have become integrated into my planning and instruction. I really had the vision to share these ideas when I started this blog but am stumped as to how to do this. I have these great ideas as how to incorporate music and dance into this ocean unit but am not sure how teachers will feel about trying out lessons where they choreograph simple dances if they can't see them in action. Also, I don't want to include an already choreographed dance because the true learning happens when students are involved in creating the movements to represent learning. So, I was wondering how other teachers would feel about this.I love trying new things but as an arts coach at my school, I know this is not true for everyone so let me know what you think.

Here's the question:
If you bought a unit packed with printables as well as ideas about how to use certain songs (song titles and artists included) along with dance ideas to teach/ reinforce a concept, would you try it? What would help you step out of your comfort zone? a video that showed an example of using the dance to teach a concept? Let me know what you think. Thanks!

Monday, April 9, 2012

My new design and ideas for Arizona bloggers!

 This is a long post but lots of pictures! :) Hang with me!

Did you notice my new look? Thank you to Erika and Misty at Honey Bunch Blog Designs for my new design. I just started blogging and wanted something unique to me and my classroom. I really love it!

On to Easter craft...
 I just wanted to share a little craft we did last week before sharing our desert unit.
Last Thursday, we read Last One in is a Rotten Egg and then made these cuties!

Two girls added the carrots to the bunny peekover. I love them! I will definitely add that next year! I don't remember where I got the good egg paper from. If it was from you, let me know so I can give credit!

On to desert habitat...

One of our science standards is local habitat and since I'm in Arizona, that mean the Sonoran Desert. I wanted to share what we do for this unit. If anyone teaches in Arizona and is interested, let me know. I'm planning on scanning everything to make an electronic file to share.
We have the students make their own lapbooks. It is not very fancy but the kids make everything and are really proud! I love it because instead of sending one foldable home at a time, the parents get to see how hard the students actually worked when everything is together in one easy book.  Here is one of my students' lap books.

The front cover is an Arizona packet....

Here are the pages in the Arizona packet...

Here are a few pics of the inside pages...

This picture shows right when you open the lap book after the Arizona packet. It has a personal narrative about our Desert Field Trip and a 100 Year Old Cactus flip book. ( Not sure why her mountains are blue. I had a sub that today so I suppose I shouldn't be picky!)
This picture shows the inside middle. It contains many foldables we made during the desert lessons. I have even more I didn't get to this year! Nocturnal and diurnal, Jackrabbit vs. Cottontail, Bats, Tortoise etc. For a few of these we wrote reports instead and that's why they weren't included this year.

A cute Tortoise that we make after our field trip to the desert is a great culmination to the unit. The pages ask students what a desert look likes, their favorite desert animal and plant and why they think the desert is an intersting place. We also had a visit from a real desert tortoise
This is a shot of the lap book unfolded. I wish I could have add more of the foldables I have but time didn't permit this year. You all must know how that goes!
Last I wanted to share the desert mural the students created outside the classroom. We made the saguaros after we learned about the plant adaptations and the rattlesnakes during our lesson on camouflage. Look at those awesome camouflage patterns!
Well, if you made it to the bottom... thank you! I hope you got some ideas!

Wednesday, April 4, 2012

Exciting Day!

Okay, this is to all of my 8 loyal followers! lol

I will be getting a makeover tomorrow from Honey Bunch Blog Designs!

<center><a href=""><img border="0" src="" /></a></center>

aha ha! Look at what I did above! Guess I can't just put in the button link! Here is the button!


I will be changing the name of my blog to Sample's Superstars because of 3 reasons:

1) My last name is Sample- (always confusing- my teammate used to write "Sample" on her originals so now we write "Master" )
2) My class is Ms. Sample's Superstars and we have a star theme in our classroom.
3) I didn't know about the blog First Grade Fanatic when I started and I feel like I infringed on her name somehow.

So... you will see a big difference soon! I'm excited!

I'm also happy because my class was named Field Day Champions today!

I love field day.  In fact, I have to hold back to make it seem like I don't actually care, but I do! It's sad but I'm that competitive! Anyone else out there secretly love field day?

Last I wanted to show how my labels for the Easter tins turned out. I like them! :)
Click here to get your free copy of the Vowel Teams Easter Egg Hunt Center!  Happy Wednesday!


Sunday, April 1, 2012

Another Easter Freebie!

I have hardly had anytime to post since I started this blog and I have been feeling guilty so I wanted to share something I made for this week.  I have these cute Easter tins I got from the dollar section at Target and I thought they would be great for sorts.

So... I made a vowel team sort for my students to use this week as practice.
If it interests you, check it out! It's an Easter freebie!

Have a great week!

Erin :)