Tuesday, January 20, 2015

Rough Patch!

 It's been a rough couple of weeks at the Tunstall house.  For the last two weeks I have been fighting fever, infection, and now bronchitis!  Thankfully I am finally on the mend even though my voice and lungs beg to differ.  I have never taken a steroid before this week and let me tell you they are beautiful little magic pills.  What a difference!

Also at the same time our 20 year old cat passed away and it has been a bit more difficult than I imagined.  Sorry for the bloggy bummer.  I know you didn't come here to read about this stuff! 

Here's what we have been up to in this beautiful new fresh week of school.  Isn't it a wonderful distraction to spend your day with the innocence of 6 year olds?

We are transitioning from shapes to fractions in math.

In this discovery we have been working through brace maps in small group.  It's been a great avenue to understanding the parts that make up the whole. 

Grab these free shape maps HERE :) 

We have also been working through fair shares and partitioning shapes and numbers into equal parts. 

 Fair Shares comes from my winter math journal

Tomorrow we will start this activity below!  
Students will share the cookies among the number of friends! 


Meanwhile in spelling and reading, we have conquered the long vowel silent e pattern and have moved on to bossy R.  Last week we did AR and OR.
  This week we are doing ER, IR, UR

 Our morning messages are reflecting our new reading abilities these days. It's so fun to have big time readers and writers!

 Just for fun, check our our weather unit display!  The students begged me to mail their post cards off.  I didn't post them here with their research post cards because they are supposed to be in the mail.   AHEM.... we must never speak of this.

We will wrap up this week with our biographies on MLK.  This year I printed each student's face so we could develop our dreams and impact we want for the world.  We will write about MLK Jr. as well as write about our own footprint on this world.

I am looking forward to meeting some of you next week at the Texas First Grade Conference! Just a few more days! :) Click the picture for more info!

Tuesday, January 13, 2015

iPad Essentials: Analyzing Weather!

I couldn't be more thrilled to share about this unit that Cristina and I have been teaching! If you have access to iPads then you are ready to have a blast studying, analyzing, and sharing all about weather with your kids!

First we partnered up and studied the weather on iPad. Everything we did is explained step by step in the lesson plan!

We watched the video tutorial and enjoyed playing meterologists as we predicted rain or no rain.

We learned about a location around the world through a post card with specific information just for us!  We used iPads to check out our location of study! 

 We compared the weather in our post card city to our own city. 

Students loved looking at all the different weather books.  The more they learned, the more they wanted to learn!

After comparing the post card city to our own, students wrote a post card back sharing all the important information they had learned! 

 Shock broke out around the room as we discovered the weather prediction for Saturday!  Most of my students have never seen snow because we live in south Texas.  It was just about the coolest thing to be able to see these temps and this forecast on our iPads.  (Sadly the snow didn't come.  We did see 32 degrees all day with moisture!)
 Checking out weather on other continents...

As an extension to the lesson, students can create a forecast and play meteorologist with the extension lesson included in the unit! Using props and a student colored background picture, students can report the weather! 

We show you how to green screen with iPad...

 Could they BE any cuter? 
 You can even have a forecast viewing party with all your recorded forecasts!

 It's not hard to have your students analyzing, comparing, and predicting weather!  

This is the first in the next series of iPad Essentials Units.

Sunday, January 11, 2015

Primary Geometry: Making the Grade with Shapes

 If you say the word Geometry it can muster up some bad nightmares for a LOT of people.  What can we do in the primary grades to set students up for success down the road? 

In primary grades we are focused on plane shapes (2D) and solid figures (3D).  There are three main categories in the standards
  • Distinguish between defining attributes and non-defining attributes
  • Compose two-dimensional shapes or three-dimensional shapes to create a composite shape, and compose new shapes from the composite shape
  • Partition circles and rectangles into two and four equal shares, describe the shares

When it comes to any math concept, I believe firmly in the hands on conceptual understanding first phase.  Let students play math, apply math, create math, and understand math first hand!  We do this through 5 activities.  Hands on application in a math tub activity, interactive journals, small group instruction, technology, and independent work. 

 Bloom's verbs for geometry (2D and 3D shapes) are as follows: 

The following videos were taken last week.  We began our studies of 2D shapes on Monday.  This first video is during our small group time.  Students had to scoop and graph pattern blocks right on the table.  Using geometric language they had to create, analyze, and explain their graphs to me. 


 This video was taken in small group. (where I live)  I see my students in small group every day.  I am able to progress monitor while they are there with me.  You will see that I have the three members of the group working on an independent task while I am able to informally assess one particular student.

Things that also happen during this time:  The students in the math journal rotation are automatically doing a quick check with me during the lesson.  The rest of the class are all in guided math activities around the room.

{ I had to split this video into two because of the size, but the next two videos show the same lesson.}

Taking video of yourself can be terrifying!  Although I want to hide under a rock when I hear my own voice, I hope this is helpful for those just starting out with small group, or wondering how it all fits together.

If you are looking for materials for geometry that keep it hands on and standards based, check out the following links below!

Thursday, January 8, 2015

Writing Mini-Lessons

This is the part of the year when writing becomes really fun!

I wrapped up the third in my writing series Engaging Writing Activities!  It's perfect for the second half of the year!

Just for a little more background info, I started each lesson whole group, usually on the pocket chart or on the easel with a chart tablet. Once students show understanding, we transition the lessons to the writing center for some independent extra practice.  Oh the power!

 This lesson is from volume 2 in the series

Here's the new version with 8 new lessons/centers
It's on sale for today! 

If you want to get all three, I bundled them for a discount.

Each unit has 8 writing lessons.  If you spend a week developing each concept, that's 24 weeks of writing instruction ready to go!

Volume 1
Click to see all the lessons included on TpT. 

 Volume 2
Click to see all the lessons included on TpT. 

Volume 3
Click to see all the lessons included on TpT. 

Sunday, January 4, 2015

A Peek at my Week {Gif Style}

It's THAT time friends.

Time to cut, peel, detach from, take off our pajama pants, brush our unkempt hair, and smear on the lipstick (who are we kidding) chapstick.

Back to school for the winter...

Based off of facebook and instagram, the general teaching public seems to be feeling this way.

Coffee drinkers be like

But as all teachers know it is all about planning so you don't walk into school and...

Here's a peek at my week.  I am giving it to you objective/resource style because I am not about to create a clickable pdf on my last day.

First up, phonics.  We are still in long vowel land.  This week we are doing both long o and long u together. 


Teaching these in one week after 2 weeks off of school may prove to be trying. Don't worry, I am sure we can do it like never before.

 I keep ALL the phonics/spelling packs in this gigantic bundle.
 By the way I found this you tube video on silent E and I am crazy about it.  After I showed it to my class we decided we are going to make one too.  But then I realized I can't sing or dance.  But during the silence of work time I belted out SILENT EEEEEE and they sang "Oh how it changes everything!!!"  Gosh I miss them!
You MUST watch it.  It's the coolest phonics video ever.  I want to be him and work at his school where apparently you can just dance through your day and shoot hoops. 

I don't have a specific resource for ya.  I go off of whatever book my group is working through.  It is our weekly focus.

Just for added fun I take out the magnifying glasses and we use them to find our important details.

While I am busy with little geniuses at my small group table.  This objective is happening. 

 Resources this week

Moving on to math! I've already shown enough of this here...so I am not going to elaborate.


 I am most pumped about science this week! 

Here's what we are using.  Genius boy videoed me making one of my umbrella books for the unit below.

Cristina and I just finished our iPad Essentials unit on analyzing weather!  I know my students are going to really enjoy it and I will share more about it as we do it in class!


Well I really want to share how I teach writing, but my writing resource makes me dry heave when I look at it.  It's so old!

You are not allowed to buy this.  Although the info inside is great and I do use it, I do not want you to look at it until I can update!  I am seriously going to overhaul this thing.

Alright...that's it for planning folks.

When the dark cold morning comes just remember we are all in this together. 

 Think about how grateful the parents are....

To commiserate plan with other teachers click the button below!   Have a great week!  Seriously.