Monday, March 16, 2015

Mr. Popper's Penguins Read Aloud

After posting on my Facebook page asking for read aloud suggestions for my class, I decided to read Mr. Popper's Penguins by Richard and Florence Atwater.

I only read aloud during morning snack time, roughly 10 minutes per day. This book has 139 pages, so it took me quite awhile to read. However, as always, I strongly believe that reading aloud to students should be a part of any literacy program. I chose to read a chapter book because some of my students are at the point where they are already reading them. Not only that, but I was taught that students should be read books that are at a higher level than what they can read. It helps to build vocabulary and enhances their knowledge of words. Some of the words we talked about included Antarctica, South Pole, North Pole, expedition, and rookery. We also learned many facts about penguins. For example, we learned that penguin usually lay only two eggs, but not in this story! There were 10 eggs! So we then hypothesized why there were so many eggs. In addition to learning all about penguins, hearing me this story aloud provided a good example of fluent reading.

Because reading this book aloud went so well, I am trying to think of what to read next!

Here are some of my choices:

Charlotte's Web

Little House in the Big Woods

More Books from the Magic Tree House Series

What do you think? Do you have any other read aloud suggestions for first grade?


Sunday, March 15, 2015

Markers and Dice

It comes as no surprise to me that my students love to write with dry-erase markers. Everyone knows this, and this is why I am constantly needing to buy more. What I didn't realize is that allowing them to write with these markers makes any type of learning more fun. One day, I decided to let the kids DRAW ON THE TABLE. And you're thinking WHAT?! How can they do that? Well, it's actually no big deal. The marker wipes right off and then, just to clean it, I use a Clorox wipe at the end of the day and it's ready for the next day. So one day I told my students, "Go ahead, it's ok. Write this problem on the table and solve it." And they LOVED it. And kept asking for more. What were they doing? Double-digit addition problems. That's it. Now, I love adding and if you give me a problem, I want to solve it right away. But they cannot get enough! It's almost to the point where they don't want to do anything else during math time. They try to finish as fast as they can so they can draw on the table or the board. To make this activity even more exciting and independent, I found these dice:

Place Value Cubes

These are great dice because they have the place value right on them. The numbers go up to 9, not just up to 6 like regular dice, which is great when you want students to practice with carrying. So now I just give the students the tens and the ones dice, a marker, and some whiteboard space, and they are satisfied for the rest of math class. And I told them that if they kept getting correct answers, I would even add the Hundreds die! Needless to say, they worked extra hard after that to get that third die. I am so proud of how quickly they learned double and triple-digit addition and it pleases me even more that they enjoy it. Hopefully, by the end of the year we will be using the Thousands die!

Do you have any fun strategies for teaching addition? I would love to hear your ideas!


Monday, March 2, 2015

March Currently

Ok...Ok I know I posted my New Year's Resolutions on my blog to try to get me more motivated to post more. However, that didn't happen. I have been so caught up in other things that my last post was the February Currently! Yikes! Hopefully, I can revisit my resolutions and post more frequently. Spring break should help with that too. But I wouldn't miss a Currently so here it is!

Listening: Yes, I am behind on watching The Bachelor. But due to a conflict on Monday nights and because I don't have DVR, I have to watch the episodes a week later.

Loving: Sometimes when I get home from work, I have some time to myself to just watch Netflix (or in today's case, The Bachelor), and I have really started enjoying this time. After a long day teaching the kids, it's just nice to sit quietly and work by myself. I also enjoy jigsaw puzzles and crossword puzzles.

Thinking: Another of my New Year's Resolutions was to start exercising more and, like my blogging resolution, I have gotten nowhere. I think I really need to set concrete goals for myself in order to accomplish this. Any ideas?

Wanting: I really need some ice cream right now to put out the fire in my mouth. I burned the roof of my mouth on the soup I made for dinner, and some ice cream would really help it feel better. Doesn't ice cream make everything feel better?! And peanut butter ice cream is even better.

Needing: There is just never enough time! I need time to create TPT products, time to lesson plan, time to grade, time to blog, time to clean, time, Time, TIME!! Another goal of mine is to be more efficient. We'll see how that goes.

Spring Break Plans: I wish I had exciting spring break travel plans, but alas, that is not the case. But, I will have plenty of time to catch up on all of my to-do lists, including making and updating some TPT products! I had not been in the creating mood for awhile but I just got back into it this past weekend. Hopefully, I can keep the momentum going until the end of the school year!

Don't forget to link up with Farley at

Have a great week!