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Shel Silverstein Site

It’s time for the Wednesday Website suggestion!! For two years, I was the Technology Specialist at a school in Georgia. During that time, I amassed a large collection of websites that I use with my students. If you want to search through some of them, you can check out my IKeepBookmarks site. Or, you can check back here each week for the Wednesday Website suggestion.

April is National Poetry Month, so this week’s website suggestion Shel Silverstein Website - Raki's Rad Resources Reccomendssurrounds around my absolute favorite kid’s poet – Shel Silverstein. I have all of his books in my class – and we regularly read from A Light in the Attic and Where the Sidewalk Ends. In honor of this amazing author, my kids are going to spend some time this month at his official website. There are games, free printables, lesson plans and information about Shel Silverstein. It’s such a great sight, I wish I had time for an author study!

If you are looking for more activities for National Poetry Month – be Poetry Writing Journal on Teachers Pay Teacherssure to check out the Linky Party over at the ESOL Odyssey. I’ve linked up my poetry journal over there with her, and there are tons of other ideas and resources available.

Hope you enjoyed this Wednesday’s Website suggestion – check back each Wednesday for a new Wednesday’s Website suggestion and click HERE to view previous Website suggestions.

Heidi Raki of Raki's Rad Resources

Raki's Rad Resources on Teachers Pay Teachers Raki's Rad Resources at Raki's Shop Raki's Rad Resources at Teacher's Notebook

National Poetry Month

Did you know that April is National Poetry Month?  When I was teaching 3rdpoetrywritingjournal grade, I always used my Poetry Writing Journal during the month of April.  It’s a great way for students to get creative juices running during a month that is often filled with test preparation and/or long testing sessions.  Students will brainstorm and write 10 poems, and then choose their favorite to “publish”.  We always published our poems by typing them on the computer, adding clipart and putting them together into a book that was a great keepsake for the end of the year.  Grab a copy of the poetry journal from my TPT store for just $10.00. 

If you are looking for more poetry ideas, Laurah from ESOL Odyssey is having a linky party specifically for poetry products – stop by and check it out.


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St. Patrick’s Day Blog Hunt Day 5

Top of the Morning Blogging Friends.  I hope you’re having a great time with the St. Patrick’s Day Blog Hunt, gathering lots of freebies and teaching tips. If you’re hopping over from Mrs Lirette’s Little Learning Detectives, I’m so glad you found me!  I have a great St. Patrick’s Day puzzle for you today: 

Here’s your fabulous freebie, just right for St. Patrick’s Day – a Self-Correcting Puzzle that allows students to match the amount of money to the amount needed in the leprechaun’s pot.  Give your students practice counting by 2’s, 5’s and 10’s as they help out the Lucky Leprechaun.  Click on either picture to grab your FREE St. Patrick’s Day Puzzle.

stp$2   stp$1

So far our blog hunt has taken us to:
March 1st-
Deanna Jump

March 2nd- A Modern Teacher

March 3rd- Sharing Kindergarten & Kindergarten Smiles

March 4th – Mrs Lirette’s Little Learning Detectives


shamrock5Happy St. Patrick’s Day!  Don’t forget to click on the shamrock to find out where tomorrow’s treasure will lie!





St. Patrick’s Day Blog Hop

blog hunt picsTop of the Morning Blogging Friends!  Play a fun blog hunt with us by following the shamrocks on different blogs each day until Saint Patrick’s Day. You will see lots of great blogs along the way, discover some great ideas for your classroom, and pick up some free materials.  May the “Luck of the Irish” be with you!  We started on Thursday, March 1st with Mrs. Jump’s Class, but it’s never too late to start – so go on over to her blog and she will get you started.  Come back here on  Monday, March 5th to find my great FREE Leprechaun Money puzzle!



P.S.  While you’re blog hopping today, check out my guest blog post on independence in centers that was featured on Kreative in Kinder on Tuesday!


10 Free Writing Prompts

After having so much fun with last week’s You Know You’re a Teacherwriting prompt linky party When Linky Party, I was super excited to see that Diary of a Not-So Wimpy Teacher and Classroom Magic were teaming up to have a Picture Writing Prompt Linky party.  It was perfect timing too, because I was just getting ready to make some writing prompts with the awesome clipart my husband makes.  Apparently, I got over-excited, because I made 10!!!  So, instead of a Top 10 for this week, I’m giving you all 10 prompts for FREE.  Feel free to print off the pictures themselves (by right clicking and saving image) or even easier, click on each picture and you will get a free sheet from Google Docs with the writing prompt and a space for your students to write.  Enjoy!!






























You Know You’re a Teacher When….

Jeannie at Kindergarten Lifestyle is having the coolest linky party!  You Know You’re a Teacher When…  Who doesn’t have a ton of examples of this?  Here are my 5, hop on over to Kindergarten Lifestyle to find more!














Calendar Math Linky Party

How do you use Calendar to teach Math?  I LOVE Calendar, because it can include so many elements of math at so many levels.  Link up your Calendar Math post to this post, and let’s all learn from one another! 

Please provide a link in your post back here so that everyone can find all the wonderful Calendar Math links.  Please also link up a direct link to your post, and not a generic blog link.



Calendar Math in My Classroom

We do Calendar Math every day.  I confess that it’s not super cute.  I have resources that I’ve created to make it super cute (like these calendar numbers), but I have limited access to color printers and lamination, so instead of cute, we focus on function!  Here’s our routine:


1.  We sing & talk about the days of the week (What day was it yesterday?  What day is it today?  What day will it be tomorrow?)


2.  We talk about the number we will be 100_6333writing on the calendar.  We say that number in English, French and Arabic – to help out my students who have difficulty with higher numbers in English, but are familiar with them in their home language.


3.  We write the number in a color pattern, thereby working on various patterns.



4.  We record the number of days we have been in school.  We also say that number in English, French and Arabic – to help out my students who have difficulty with higher numbers in English, but are familiar with them in their home language.


5.  We talk about the weather and record the weather on our calendar itself, creating a real-time record of the weather we’ve had for easy access when talking about seasons and weather patterns.


6.  We write and read the date and the 100_6332count down to the 100th Day of School.  (After the 100th day of school passes on February 13th, we’ll be counting down to the last day of school!)


7.  We dissect the number of days we’ve been in school, writing it on a place value chart, drawing it in base ten blocks and use the 100’s chart to add 10, subtract 10, add 1, subtract 1, add 5, and subtract 5.


8. We add American coins and Moroccan dirhams to our “change purses”, 100_6335working on coin combinations, coin names, and counting money.


9.  If time allows, we do number aerobics, and skip counting.  (This was in the beginning of calendar in the beginning of the year!)  BTW – the cute hands and feet are from Sparklebox.





A Day in My Shoes

Adventures of a 6th Graderadayinmyshoes is hosting a linky party about what’s really going on in everyone’s classroom.  So, here is a post I made for my parents of what happens in my classroom each day.  Stop by Adventures of a 6th Grader to see what’s going on in everyone else’s classroom.

Welcome to Grade 1B.  Here is a virtual tour of your first grader’s day:

7:50 – 8:00 Restroom & Unpacking  Before students come to class, they are encouraged to use the restroom, so that they will not need to interrupt their learning to go to the restroom.  When students arrive in the classroom, they take out their agendas and homework, and then get ready for Reading Centers.

8:00 – 9:00 Reading Centers.  During Reading Centers, students may choose one of five centers to go to.  Around 8:30, students will switch to a second center.  Students are expected to try to go to each center two times each week.  While students are working at centers, I will pull small groups to work on reading with me at my table.  Groups are organized by the skills students need to work on.  Although some centers may change, most stay the same from one week to the next, with only slight variations.  Here is a look at this week’s reading centers.

100_5835Center 1 – Listening Center – Students listen to stories on MP3 players while following along in the book.  After listening to the story, the complete a page telling me the main character and their favorite part.  




100_5836Center 2 – Use the Word Wall – In this center, students use the word wall to read words.  Sometimes they just read the words. 






100_5839Center 3 – Reading Puzzles – In this center, students complete puzzles that help them to read words. Sometimes we work on puzzles that help us sound out, sometimes we work on sight words (like color or shape words), sometimes we work on letter sounds or word families.



100_5840Center 4 – Picture Dictionaries – In this center, students are slowly building100_5841 themselves a vocabulary dictionary with pictures of words for each letter of the alphabet.





100_5842Center 5 – Reading Books – In this center, students are reading Easy-Reader Books.  They have two buckets of books to choose from and are to find at least 3 books they can read independently (reading the words, not just looking at the pictures).  Then, they write the titles of those 3 books in their center packets.






9:00 – 9:45 Writing Centers – During Writing Centers, students may choose one of five centers to go to. Around 9:20, students will switch to a second center. Students are expected to try to go to each center two times each week. While students are working at centers, I will pull small groups to work on writing with me at my table. Groups are organized by the skills students need to work on. Although some centers may change, most stay the same from one week to the next, with only slight variations. Here is a look at this week’s writing centers.

100_5843Center 1 – Content Center – this center changes every week to reflect our current science or social studies theme. One example of this is my animal characteristics centers.






100_5847Center 2 – Sight Word Center – in this center, students practice their weekly sight words.  They write their words with pencil, then color over their words, then they may use plastic letters to spell their words.




100_5846Center 3 – Free Write – Each week, students have the opportunity to write about any topic they choose.  They draw a picture and then write about their picture.  They are expected to have at least 2 sentences, using finger spacing, capitols and periods.




100_5845Center 4 – Handwriting – In this center, students practice using their best handwriting.  They are given a sentence to write and will write that sentence over and over, either on a white board or a paper, to practice their handwriting.





100_5844Center 5 – Phonics –   Students are working on phonics letter sounds in this center. 







9:45 – 10:30 – Content or Specials – Depending on the day, students will either do a whole group (everyone receiving instruction together) science or social studies lesson, or students will go to a specials class, such as library, computers or PE. 

100_585110:30 – 10:45 – Snack/Restroom/Recess – During this time, students may eat a snack go to the restroom and have a time to play with their friends.  As First Graders, we play out in the courtyard.




10:45 – 11:25 – Specials – Students will attend a specials class during this time. 


11:25 – 12:15 – Math Centers – During Math Centers, students may choose one of five centers to go to. Around 11:55, students will switch to a second center. Students are expected to try to go to each center two times each week. While students are working at centers, I will pull small groups to work on math with me at my table. Groups are organized by the skills students need to work on. Although some centers may change, most stay the same from one week to the next, with only slight variations. Here is a look at this week’s math centers.

100_5863Center 1 – Thinking Centers – The students often call this the computer center, because they are often on the computer.  The purpose of this center is to develop critical thinking.  Many websites help students to do this, so this is why they use the computer so often in this center. 








100_5859Center 2 – Math Words – At this center, students work on the words associated with math. 






100_5857Center 3 – Puzzles – This self – explanatory center is most kids’ favorite center.  These puzzles are often self-correcting puzzles that relate to the topic we are covering. 





100_5866Center 4 – Patterns – Students make patterns with manipulative shapes.






100_5861Center 5 – 100’s Chart – At this center we focus on counting and numbers by using a 100’s chart.  Then students answer questions based on the 100’s chart.




12:15 – 1:00 – Lunch & Lunch Recess – At this time, we go to the cafeteria for lunch.  When students finish their lunch, they are dismissed to lunch recess.

1:00 – 1:15 – Calendar – Every day, we do calendar to work on many different skills, including, but not limited to: days of the week, months of the year, weather, patterns, making numbers, and counting money (both in dollars and dirhams).

1:15 – 1:55 – French – Students have French class.

100_58671:55 – 2:10 – Write down Homework – At this time, students write their homework down in their agendas, and we review the homework expectations.

2:10 – 2:40 – Phonics Chant, Word Wall & Number Aerobics – During this time, we review some of the things we began the year with, including the phonics chant (for letter sounds), the word wall (for sight words) and number aerobics (for counting review and groups of 10).

2:40 – 2:55 – Read Aloud – Students come to the floor and listen to a story.  During this time, we work on reading comprehension strategies.

***  On Tuesdays and Fridays students go to Music from 2:30 – 3:00.  On Fridays students who have 15 stars go to Friday Party from 2:05 – 2:30.  ***

2:55 – 3:00 Stars & Packing Up – At this time, I write in each childs’ agenda how many stars they have earned for the day (Remember that 3 stars and up indicates a good day.)  Then students pack up and we come out for dismissal.




Resolutions of a 1st Grade Teacher

This is my first year as a 1st Grade teacher.  To be honest, I didn’t want to teach first grade.  Previously, I taught 3rd grade and K-5 Technology.  I was okay teaching primary students when it was just one small section I would be responsible, but I was terrified of having them all day, and being the person responsible for teaching them to read.  However, after 5 months, I have to say that I love it!  I think I may want to teach first grade forever!  (Well, maybe not forever, but definitely for awhile.)  As a “new” first grade teacher, I do feel that I have some growing to do, and since it’s the right time of the year for resolutions – here are my teacher resolutions for the year of 2012:


1.  Spend more time playing:  As a former intermediate teacher, it’s so easy to have an all work and no play attitude.  However, I need to remember that my students are only 6 and 7.  They need to play, play, play, and so I am going to work harder than ever to incorporate play into my day, including starting my word family file folder games and using chutes and ladders in math.


2.  Don’t stress the cutsies: When moving to first grade, you often get the impression that if it’s not cute, the kids won’t buy it.  Because of this, I delayed and delayed starting money – I didn’t have any cute coins to use, I didn’t have cute posters ready etc. etc.  Finally, one day, I said “Heck with it!” and started money with pictures from the internet and circles with numbers on it on the board.  Guess what?  My kids loved it and learned just as well.  In fact, we don’t officially start money until January, but many of my kids can already make money combinations!  So, the lesson I have learned and will focus on this year is that everything doesn’t have to be cute to work with first graders.


3.  Stick with Calendar: It’s only 15 minutes a day, but for some reason, getting calendarspaceto Calendar is very hard for my class. (They have a hard time sitting still at any time!)  However, when I do get to it, there are SO many math and literacy skills I can build in.  (Look for a post on my calendar routine – coming soon.)  So, it is one of my resolutions to stick to the calendar and give my kids that quality instruction.


4.  Go home at 4:00 every day:  There’s always one more thing to do in my classroom, but I find that there are many days when it’s 4:15 or 4:30 and I’m still in my classroom.  My personal children get out of school at 4:00 (an hour later than I do) and so it is my resolution to be home every day when they get home.  Luckily, I live 2 blocks from my school, so leaving at 4:00 gets me home at the same time as my kids.


Want to read more Teacher Resolutions?  Live, Love, Laugh Every Day in Kindergarten is having a linky party just for Teachers Resolutions – go and check it out!

I’d also love to hear your New Year’s Resolutions, so please feel free to post me a comment!


Cancer & TPT

Mandy from Cooperative Learning 365 is having a linky party to raise cancer awareness.  She is having the linky party because she was just diagnosed with tounge cancer and is determined to beat the odds.  This post is in support of her fight.


scan0030I understand the fight with cancer.  My mom fought that fight.  It was a short fight.  We only found out she had cancer one month before she died.  But during that month, she fought harder than I ever saw her fight.  You see, she wanted more than anything to stick around and watch my sons grow up.  My oldest son was her light and joy.  Not that she didn’t love Zaiyd, but Kal and my mom had a special connection, one that sometimes even made me feel jealous.  One month after my mom was diagnosed with Small Cell Lung Cancer, she died, and I miss her every day.


When I saw Mandy’s linky party, I knew right away that I would link up.  However, I debated which blog to link (I have a personal one: and a teaching one.)  I decided to post it here for two reasons: 1.  More people read this blog, and so more people will become aware this way.  2.  My mom is the reason for me joining TPT and thereby the teaching blog community. 


I found TPT when mom was sick.  I took a leave of absence from work, determined to fight the good fight with my mom.  Neither of us had any idea how short the fight would be.  While I was out of work, I knew I would need some supplemental income, so I started doing a web search for places to sell lesson plans and stumbled on TPT.  I put up 3 items before mom’s condition got drastically worse.  I immediately forgot about TPT and didn’t give it another thought until 2 months after the funeral, when I got that little e-mail saying I had sold something on TPT.  I think I made 30 cents on that sale.  But it was also like a little sign from my mom that this was something to pursue, and so I did.  I now have 317  items on TPT, and I’d like to think mom would be proud of me.


I miss my mom every day.  I hate that because of cancer she will never meet my youngest son.  I hate that because of cancer she will never come to visit me in Morocco.  I hate that because of cancer, I will not have her with me on Wednesday for my birthday.  I hate that because of cancer I can’t call her up just to say hi.  I hate that I lost her to cancer, but I am glad to post this to raise awareness for cancer.  My oldest son wants to be a scientist one day.  Maybe if we keep raising awareness, he will have the resources to study and find a cure some day.



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