Five for Friday * 11.27

Five for Friday with Doodle Bugs Teaching

I'm linking up with Doodle Bugs Teaching Five for Friday, again!

I can't believe I almost let the entire month of November pass without posting about the adorable turkeys I made with my students a couple weeks ago! We brainstormed a list of reasons one should not eat turkey- and then we created another list of "turkey-approved" alternatives for Thanksgiving. The children then completed the page on their own, and then composed the turkey craftivity with my assistance. This idea is credited to Melissa from the blog First Grade Smiles. (Click here to visit her blog to find the writing papers for this activity). I created the craftivity myself though- but I didn't scan the templates yet. If anyone is interested in grabbing it, comment below!

"Hellooo?" I am LOVING Adele's new album and listening to it on repeat. And singing "Hello" on repeat as well, much to my husbands dismay. (He likes the song- it's my voice that isn't too great). Anyway, seriously love her and these videos- check them out if you are a fan!

Adele pranks her impersonators:

Adele rocking out with Jimmy Fallon and The Roots:

And of course this one...

It's been a while since I'm had enough time to really sit at the computer and finish a TpT product. A couple weeks ago I made a pact with a friend of mine to get a new product up this weekend and do a Five For Friday post. I really needed that motivation to get going- I'm so thankful to have someone holding me accountable! Jenna is a middle school French teacher, and is also relatively new to the blogging/TpT world. Click here to visit her blog and here to visit her TpT store. She's awesome! Share it with any French teachers you know!

Speaking of new products, I'm super excited that I finally got a new one up! (Thanks again, Jenna!) The latest is a packet with differentiated practice pages for the Make a Ten addition strategy. Year after year my students struggle with this strategy. And it's near impossible to find anything online that correlates with the way the strategy is presented in our math program (Go Math!). I made this packet for use with my own students- and I think a lot of other people could find it useful! There's three levels of ability (easiest, on level, and most challenging). You can find it on my TpT store by clicking here.

Birthday Giveaway
And then some exciting news- I will be getting my very first senior field student teacher in the spring! I am extremely excited about this opportunity and am looking forward to working with her. We've communicated through email, and I will be meeting her in a couple weeks. My kids are also excited that they will be getting another teacher! For those of you who have had student teachers (and enjoyed the experience)- any advice? Comment below! ;)

Going Batty for Bats!

So... to say it's been a while would be an understatement. I have to give credit to all the amazing bloggers who find a way to make time for their blogs while balancing work, family, and friends. I have yet to discover how to do this gracefully!

Now that the school year is in full swing, I'm ready to try and make blogging a habit. I'm taking baby steps. :)

In class my students and I have been busy learning about bats. Stellaluna is one of my favorite read alouds (I always cry when Stellaluna is reunited with her mother) so I was super excited to launch this unit.

We started the unit by activating prior knowledge about bats with a Bat Schema chart (thanks to Erica Bohrer's amazing bat unit- click here to read her blog post about it and check it out for yourself).

Then we did a lot of research. A lot of research. We borrowed books from the library and from other teacher friends- I even bought a few new titles to add to our class library. The interest was so high for this- the kids were talking about bats all. the. time. We also used Lyndsey Kuster's "Flap Your Wings" bat unit to do our research. Click here to check it out- the unit includes differentiated texts and links to awesome videos which my students LOVED. Great book suggestions, too! As we learned more and more about bats, we updated our schema chart. (The picture above is after two days of "bat research").

All this research about bats really got my students thinking. They were especially interested in vampire bats, naturally. We had to do some special google research to assuage fears regarding whether or not vampire bats can be found in the US (thankfully, they are not). One of my sweethearts told a vivid account of his encounter with a vampire bat in "the place where you can find vampire bats". According to him, he bravely "defeated" the vampire bat. After some prodding, he admitted that his story was part fantasy at least- he "really did got to that place where vampire bats are!" Of course, we talked extensively about how vampire bats are not actually vampires. By the end of the unit most  of my first grade friends were not as terrified about bats anymore and had a newfound respect of them. MOST of them.

To tie in math- we made a class graph telling whether we thought bats were cute or creepy. This fabulous idea is straight from Cara Carroll- I just love everything she does! Click here to read her blog post about bats. 

The kids colored a simple bar graph to match this picture graph we made together- again, click here to find it and grab it from Cara Carroll's blog. 

To tie more writing into the unit, I had each student write about why they think bats are cute (or creepy). I differentiated it by providing some students with the starter: "I think bats are cute. Bats are cute because..." or "I think bats are creepy. Bats are creepy because..." Other students had to write both sentences without a starter. The kids loved writing about bats and creating their bat craftivities!

With the end of October approaching, our bat research is dying down and we are gearing up to study turkeys, of course! What are some fun units you explore in the month of October? Spiders, anyone?

Super Quick {and Neat} Postcards for Students

One of my end of summer traditions is sending postcards to my new students. Kids love getting mail- it makes them feel so special! It does take a bit of time to get them done, but it's so worth it!

After trying year after year, I was FINALLY successful in printing directly onto the postcards! Having an awesome printer now helps quite a bit. Now, I know that typing the message is less charming and personal than writing one by hand. I just don't have time for that. (It might also be because my hand is killing me after handwriting that many postcards one after another. Aaaaand maybe also because printing them decreases the likelihood of my making a mistake when my hand starts to cramp and my eyes start to glaze over).

It took a lot of trial and error. Here are some of the many "errors".
Real Life in First Grade: Yikes! Postcard Mistakes

But I did finally get it!
Real Life in First Grade: Print Directly Onto Postcards for Your Students

In order to do this, I created a 4x6 postcard template in MS Word. 
Grab it for your own use by clicking here. It looks like this... 
Real Life in First Grade: MS Word Template for Printing on Postcards

After editing the text with the student's name and your name, you're ready to print. Load the postcards into your printer (I put a stack of 20 in). I used an HP Envy 4500... this configuration may not work for your printer if you have a different one and you might need to play around with it a little. Make sure you change the student's name each time you print! (You need to print them one at a time if you want them personalized).
Real Life in First Grade: Putting the Postcards into HP Envy 4500 Correctly

Here's the finished product:
Real Life in First Grade: Post Cards Ready for New Students!
 If you're really bold, you might try figuring out how to print the address on the lines as well. I wasn't about to go that far. Had to draw the line somewhere.Mailing labels will do the trick.

Just an FYI- you don't need to use regular stamps on postcards. You can get special stamps for post cards that cost less. Find them at the post office. :)

Five for Friday 8.15 {On a Saturday}

Five for Friday with Doodle Bugs Teaching

I'm linking up with Doodle Bugs Teaching again for Five for Friday- although once again, I'm getting to it on a Saturday again!

This week I had the AWESOME opportunity to be a part of the Tri-State Blogger Meetup at the TpT offices in Manhattan. The experience was amazing- I met some of the people who work for TpT (they couldn't be any nicer) and so many wonderful Teacher-Authors from NJ, NY, CT, and PA. Everyone was so kind and I learned so much. I have to thank Amie from Glitter Meets Glue Designs for being so unbelievably welcoming and taking me under her wing! You need to check out her store on TpT- her clipart is beautiful and unique! I also had the pleasure of getting to know Danielle from Study All Knight and Christina from School Daisies- just two of the incredible Teacher-Authors I met. It was so nice to be a part of a community of teachers that support and encourage one another. I felt beyond inspired when I went home that evening. So much to learn from these great people!

On Facebook it seems that NAEIR orders are all the rage. Maybe it's because I can't get that excited about laminators and scotch tape or maybe it's because they didn't accept my application yet- but it's just not doing anything for me. My trip to Lakeshore Learning with my closest school friends and BFF however, is another story! There's something about brand new school stuff that makes me JOYFUL. I've been that way since I was a kid. But come on, who wouldn't get excited over strawberry scented stickers and owl certificates?!

Super excited about this. Since my first year of teaching I've wanted curtains in my classroom. THIS is the year it finally happens... my ninth year. Better late than never! My BFF's mother generously agreed to make curtains for my classroom from the fabric I picked up at the store. I couldn't pick just one. Of course not. So I got three. I'm thinking the teal fabric for curtains and the others for pillows in the reading area. (Yes, I may have picked up stuffing, too). Can't wait until it all comes together!

Okay- HP Instant Ink. If you don't know what that is, you need to click here and find out about it. Seriously. This is life changing. You don't pay for actual ink cartridges... you just pay a monthly fee (for example $10.00 a month for 300 pages). It doesn't matter if the page is a full color picture or just text. Then, when your ink is running low- your printer will let HP know to send a new one! (I'm sorry for all the exclamation marks... it's clear I am very excited about this). It only works with certain printers though, so make sure yours is compatible!

Birthday Giveaway 

Yari from Sweet Tooth Teaching is hosting a fabulous giveaway! You can win TpT products from all of the Teacher-Authors in the graphic below (myself included), a $25.00 gift card to Target or TpT, or a set of Flair Pens, Paper Mate Pens, and Sharpies! Any of these prizes would be great to have for the start of a new school year. Click here to visit her blog and enter!

Sweet Tooth Teaching Birthday Giveaway

Ready, Set, STAMP! {Literacy Work Station}

This post includes affiliate links for your shopping convenience. Any purchases made through one of my links earns me a small commission, which helps to support this blog so I can continue to share content like this with you. All views and opinions expressed are entirely my own.
The days of summer are slowly slipping away and the new school year is almost upon us! While many of you in warmer areas are back at school a couple weeks already, we still have a couple weeks ahead of us in the northeast.

Before going back to even set up my classroom, I try to do as much as I can at home. Printing, laminating, cutting, gluing- anything to make the start a little smoother. I'm excited to try out some updated literacy work stations in my classroom this year, so I've been busy making materials and gathering needed supplies.

One of my favorite activities (and a tried and true favorite of students) is the Stamping Word Study Station. Anything to do with stamps or bingo daubers and the kids are hooked. When dealing with phonics activities that can be a little tedious, anything that gets children motivated and engaged gets an A+ in my book.

I like stations that are easy to set up and to clean up. The only things I put in this bin are a couple of stamp pads, skinny markers, two sets of alphabet stamps, and a pile of copies for the Stamp it Up! page we are working on that week. My favorite part about stations like this is that you only need to show your students how to do it one time. The activities are consistently the same. Trace, write, color, stamp. The only thing changing? The words. Kids know what is expected and they are able to work without interrupting my small group. YES!

Real Life in First Grade: Materials for Stamping Work Stations

Real Life in First Grade: Alphabet Stamps for Literacy Work Stations

I know some people might think that kids might get bored. Um... MARKERS and STAMPS. Need I say more? No one is bored with this one. The biggest problem is children wanting to stamp beyond the limits of station time. Kids actually do a silent cheer when it's their turn to do this station. Trust.

If you're looking for something new to add to your literacy work stations, click here to grab my Ready, Set, STAMP! pack on Teachers Pay Teachers.

Real Life in First Grade: Ready, Set, STAMP! Literacy Workstation on TpT

Materials You Might Need:


I'll be blogging more about my favorite literacy work stations in the future- so check back soon!

Peek into My TpT Cart {Linky Party}

Show Us What You Bought {Linky Party}

The TpT Back to School sale is over and done with- hopefully you didn't miss out! I certainly didn't. :) So many awesome things on sale- I grabbed a bunch of new packs I'm excited to use with my kids this year. I'm linking up with Blog Hoppin' to share some of my favorite purchases. Here are my top five purchases (in no particular order).

Note: I do not know any of the sellers mentioned in this post personally, and I have nothing to gain by talking them up. My goal in having this blog is to simply share ideas and resources I think are wonderful! Click the images for more information.

Do Your Personal Best     Flap Your Wings: A Bat Unit

Okay, so I included two products for a few of these, since I bought more than just one from a few of my favorite sellers. I'm SUPER excited to use the with my students the first week of school. Lyndsey Kuster came up with a great way to reinforce the idea of making good choices and engage children in problem solving. I don't have anything else like this, and I know it will help me start the year on the right foot. As for the Flap Your Wings packet- I am planning to do a HUGE unit on bats for the month of October and this will fit in perfectly. It's not always easy to find nonfiction resources in the library that are appropriate for my students, and this pack ensures that we will be able to collect a significant amount of information on the topic. I highly, highly, HIGHLY recommend any of Lyndsey's nonfiction units- they are wonderful!
Fast Finishers Guided Reading Phonics Activities 

It doesn't take much to get me to buy something from Cara Carroll's store. I've been shopping her TpT store since the earliest days, and I own many of her products. When I read a blog post about these two new ones, I knew I had to have them! Writing Centers for Fast Finishers is exactly what I need for those students who finish a task quickly and need something engaging to move on to. Wish I had it last year! As for the Guided Reading Phonics Activities Bundle, I believe in a balanced literacy approach with a strong phonics component. This bundle has many great activities for small group instruction.

       Interactive Reading Journal     Writing Throughout the Year 

You really can't go wrong with things from Deanna Jump's store... If I'm not mistaken, she was the first millionaire teacher on TpT, and for good reason! Her units are extremely detailed! I've been eying the Interactive Reading Journals for a while now, it was time to pull the trigger. I've heard so many good things about her Writing Through the Year units I had to see what the fuss was about! I'm sure I will be back to buy more of them.

     Batty for Bats 

Batty for Bats by Erica Bohrer is going to pair wonderfully with the Flap Your Wings unit I got! Stellaluna is one of my most favorite read alouds- I always cry when I read it. I was thrilled when I found this packet- it has so many bat related activities. I know it will be a hit (especially the cootie-catcher)!

     Word Family Slide and Find 

I was very excited when I found this products from A Cupcake for the Teacher. I don't have anything like this in my literacy workstations- it's perfect for engaging kids with a "new" kind of activity.

I am a new seller to TpT, but I do have a couple products I am proud of. 
See below to check them out! 
(Click the product covers to view them in my TpT store).

Ready, Set, Stamp!

Sight Word Spelling for the Entire Year 

My Sight Word Spelling (For the ENTIRE School Year) pack is part of an awesome giveaway that is still going on! Scroll down to enter!


Enter the Rafflecopter below to win!

There are THREE other prize packs being given away as well!
Hop on over to Droppin' Knowledge to enter those!
Good luck!