Friday, September 26, 2014

This girl is on FIIRREE! (you can thank Alicia Keys)

It's finally favorite time of year! 

Apple pickin', cool breezes, lattes in hand, and my neglected scarves are seeing the light of day. 

I'm sooo excited for an apple orchard field trip. 
I actually get to go on my son's first field trip to Rocky Brook Orchard
What a wonderful experience for both of us. 

Want to know another great thing about FALL [other than apples, Halloween, and all thing associated with cooler weather]?

October is officially FIRE SAFETY month.
Ok, well actually it's Fire Prevention WEEK, but I like to make sure my kiddos spend a good bit of time on the subject since it's uber important to their well-being. 

So, here's the jist:
Fire Prevention WEEK is the 2nd week of October (Oct. 5-11 this year) and while most fire departments are VERRYY willing to host field trips and/or do classroom demonstrations, I'm a big advocate for incorporating fire safety into everything we do in the classroom (at least for the first half of October). 

In my last post, I mentioned that, in the past, I've used several fire-safety themed resources from TPT sellers which have been AMAZING! But due to my limited funds and time restrictions, I had to come up with some "rough draft" letter and sight word recognition activities as well as some math games. They were super ROUGH, ya'll. I mean, I was a bit worried that if any other teachers asked for copies of these activities, I'd have to admit that I didn't have any written instructions or aligned standards. 

Lucky for me, my kiddos LOVED the games and activities I created to supplement those awesome resources I found on TPT and I vowed to come back to them and clean them up so I could share them. 

And that's just what I did...

( Click on image to purchase from TPT)

I've gone over these ELA and Math activities with a fine-tooth comb to make sure they're as clear as water to anyone who wants to use them. 

I'll give you a brief run-down of what you'll find in this HOT (get it?) pack:

Here's a real quick independent activity for students to do individually while you get the games distributed.
Students use the word bank to cut & paste vocabulary words to the picture. (Color & B/W options)

I've always have a few artists in my ranks, so I like to give those friends the opportunity to let their inner Picasso out. Well, within reason. There are still standards to address.
Each student is responsible for giving his/her dalmatian black spots and then using 1:1 correspondence to count the dots in order to tell his/her dalmatian apart from other dalmatians in the class. 
** I do let those budding artists add flare to their puppies, because who am I to restrict their creative sides. **

Want a number recognition and 1:1 touch correspondence game?
Here it is...

Individually or in a game setting, students use 1:1 correspondence to count the number of black dots on each fire hydrant card and then determine if they have the matching number on their 9-square flame game board. If they do, the player(s) covers the number with a water chip. Covering all nine spaces wins!

8 different 9-square flame game boards

31 dotted fire hydrant game cards for 1:1 touch counting
(I do 31 to reinforce calendar numbers)

100 water chip pieces to cover up numbers on flame boards.
 You may want to make more than 1 copy depending on how many students are playing.

As we're talking about fire safety, I do use a lot of idioms with my kiddos...
"I'm on fire!" is one my friends have REAALLY loved saying in the past. 
So what do you do when your bunch of 20 lovelies won't stop saying "I'm on fire!" when you praise them? You roll with it and make it a part of their learning!!! 

I present On Fire for...

3 different playing mats
Letters, Letter Sounds, and Sight Words

4 sets of cards
Capital letters, lowercase letters, DOLCH Pre-Primer sight words, and DOLCH Primer sight words

These games can be played individually, in partners, or in a group.
Students select letter or sight word cards to identify. Using 1 of the 3 playing mats (On Fire for Letters/Letter Sounds/Sight Words), correctly identified cards are placed on the left side (I’m on FIRE for…) while incorrectly identified cards are place on the right side (I need to keep up the FIGHT) for future practice.

I really like the idea of students self assessing and creating two stacks of cards: 1 stack for secured knowledge and 1 stack for areas of needed practice. 

I'm feeling much better about these activities now than I was this time last year. 
I hope you're prepared for Fire Safety Month Week too. 

Wednesday, September 17, 2014

Instagram, Fire, and a FREEBIE!

Are you on Instagram?
If you are, come follow me @thetakehometeacher! 

I've been on "Insta" (as one of my best friends calls it) for awhile but all my posts are private to protect my family. 

But...I love connecting with people so I thought having an "Insta" for The Take Home Teacher would be a perfect way to do that. 


I'm gearing up for Fire Safety Week (October 5-11) by making a reading and math pack for the little ones (read: Pre-K & Kindergarten).

We had such a great time last year learning about fire safety and while I used a good number of resources from TPT sellers, I had to fill in the blanks with sight word recognition, number recognition/touch counting, and some other skill standards. I put together some ROOUUGGH draft activities to hit those areas, but vowed to come back to them & clean 'em up.

Currently, I'm doing just that...
cleaning up those standards-based activities and wrapping them all up in one reading & math Fire Safety Pack. But until I get those all nice and neat, here's a preview of what you can expect to see:

Here is what you're downloading:

Friday, September 12, 2014

Crayons...have they "quit" yet?

Fun Fact : "The first two crayons in a box to be worn down to nubs are usually the black followed by the red." - Not Another Apple for the Teacher by Erin Barrett & Jack Mingo

So, it's are those crayons holding up? For me, they're usually broken in halves and worn down to an inch long. Those poor crayons! They sure do get abused in elementary classrooms. 

Which brings me to one of my most favorite books in the past few years...
(Buy here)

Now, if you've been following me at all over the last couple of years, you KNOW that I'm a big (and I mean BIIIGGG) fan of author/illustrator Oliver Jeffers. I mean, I'm talking Facebook Fan so I know what he's working on and what to expect from him in the coming months. 

I knew that he collaborated with Drew Daywalt a few years back to illustrate The Day the Crayons Quit and I was highly anticipating it's release (June 2013). So what if I pre-ordered the book the moment it was put on's not like I was really "stalking" him...I stalk his stuff! 

It's only right that I create a RTL and comprehension game based on this magnificent book!
(Click on image to purchase)

Drew did such a fabulous job of writing this outstanding picture book...each crayon's plight is very believable. Which makes responding to this book sooo much FUN!

For the younger kiddos, there is the writing/drawing template The ______ Crayon Quits!
With every crayon color (from the book) represented {12 crayons + a BW template},
students are able to pick a color to draw and write about. I ask students to tell me why a particular crayon color quit...they can either give me a reason stated from the text or make up a reasonable one on their own. 

For slightly older students, there is a more detailed writing activity: Give Me One Good Reason...
Students are asked to convince one crayon color to stay in their crayon box. 
 On the graphic organizer, they are given space to write out their 3 reasons with details and draw for visualization.
Additionally, "Openers" {First Sentences} examples are given to help kick-start their writing.

For those crayon fanatics, a craftivity is included.
Making your very own crayon to go along with your writing.
(Please excuse poor quality photo)

Templates are provided for students to color and cut as well as simple directions on what to add (pipe cleaner arms & legs and googly eyes...pretty easy).

And top it all off is a fun comprehension game with easy to read question cards.
Print, cut, and (possibly) laminate...
all you need to add is a kitchen timer and you're set!

Reading this story to my students is honestly one of my favorite books of the year!
They really enjoy the text and illustrations
and I love watching them come up with funny reasons why crayons would quit!