Saturday, April 27, 2013

Zoo Animals Writing and Field Trip

This past week was a busy one. We celebrated Earth Day throughout the week and went on a field trip to the zoo.

Our trip to the zoo started with a bus tour to get a snapshot of what we wanted to see. We were able to see more animals than ever before, because they were out due to the overcast weather.

Some of our favorite zoo animals:

The male lion was one of the first animals we saw. He sat there lounging the whole time we watched. At times, he even turned to look at us. The children who had never seen a real lion before were amazed! {Me too, such a majestic animal!}

One-humped camels.

We saw several adult giraffes and even got to see a pair of 6-month old calves.

We had to see the elephants. The zoo has an "open enclosure," so the public can see the "behind the scene" activities with the elephants.

And what are these? Peccaries. We had just finished our study of the rainforest, so the children were so excited to see the peccaries.

The reptile house is always a "must stop" for the students. Snakes are their favorites. Lots of "oohs" and "aahs" as we walked along the enclosures.

With all the excitement about what the children saw, writing and sharing was a natural extension of the zoo trip experiences.

Zoo Field Trip Printables includes a couple of zoo trip writing and drawing activities. 



graphics by Fancy Dog Studio and KPM Doodles


For other zoo animal writing activities see:

What Can You Write About Zoo Animals?

Reading to Learn About Zoo Animals

Click on the pictures to purchase.

Our first graders visit an ocean institute, walk to a nature center, see a play, and visit the zoo for our "first grade" field trips. What are some of your class field trips?

Sunday, April 21, 2013

Earth Day Activities

We will be celebrating Earth Day with activities throughout next week. 

Two of my Earth Day library finds:


Kids Can Recycle by Cecilia Minden, PhD


Kids Can Keep Water Clean by Cecilia Minden, PhD

Both books have large, colorful photographs. The print is large and at a reading level appropriate for most of the students in my class. 


I created Earth Day Writing Packet {Freebie} to go along with our Earth Day reading and discussions.

Click on the picture to download {free}.

Our first graders have an Earth Day project for homework this week. They will create either a craft or  something useful from a recyclable. I posted some of last year's projects. We set all the first grade projects up in our multipurpose room and invite the classes and parents to view the projects. It's fun to see all the creative ideas. I'll share this year's projects after Friday.

This is the letter to our parents.


We send home a page of pictures and links for ideas.




The children write about their project, too.


Click HERE to download the printables.

Earth Day themed math activities will also be part of our week.


Earth Day Math Centers First Grade includes 6 math centers with an Earth Day/Environment theme.


I'd love to hear about the activities you have planned for Earth Day.

Happy Earth Day!

Friday, April 12, 2013

Five for Friday Link Up

Today I am linking up with Doodle Bugs Teaching for Five for Friday Link-Up. I love her blog and first grade ideas. And, she sells personalized stationery. Visit Doodle Bugs Paper to see her store.
I have been on spring break this week and loving every moment of it. With the extra time, I've created a couple of spring writing packets that are filled with FUN writing activities that can be used throughout the spring season. 

A spring writing first grade packet . . .


A spring writing kindergarten packet . . .


We have the most wonderful school garden at our school. Maddie, one of our first grade teachers, has a passion for all things gardening. We even have a master gardener who volunteers at our school and helps to keep our garden growing and educates our children about the garden. 

We also have a school orchard, but more about that in another post. 

Some garden pictures . . .

The children love digging, planting, and tasting some of the vegetables that are growing.

It's especially fun for the children this time of the year to see all the wildlife creeping and crawling throughout the garden. I wish you could see the excitement on their faces when they spot a butterfly or bug.

You might not be able to see the sign, but it says worm composting. The children especially love learning about composting. I was excited to find out that many of the children have experience composting at home.

Would you like to find other bloggers from your state? Diane from Fifth in the Middle has created blog buttons for each state in the United States. She has lists on her blog of bloggers who have linked up from each state. It's a great way to see and meet other bloggers from your state. 

I'm a California blogger . . .

Click on the picture to link up and get your own state blog button.

Have you seen these crayons at Target®? Not only do I love the assortment of colors, but the titles are so much fun. They can tie into so many themes. They're perfect for center activities. A special box of crayons is such a great motivator.

dandy candy . . .

I thought I would use these at holiday centers like Valentine's Day, Christmas, or Halloween with candy-themed worksheets. {a great substitute for real candy}

cupcake my day . . .

Now wouldn't someone with a birthday love to use these crayons? Or how about using them with If You Give a Cat a Cupcake by Laura Numeroff?

glitterati . . .

 Any ideas for these?

Some of the crayons in each box are glitter crayons. Extra special! These are the ones I purchased, but I saw an assortment of boxes with catchy titles. I saw a pirate box and mermaid box, too. You can find them HERE.

As I've said before, our district is in the process of implementing the Common Core Standards. First grade will fully implement the standards this coming year. Throughout the year, our staff has been attending workshops to help prepare us for the change.

Our most recent workshop was a Common Core Standards English Language Arts workshop. One of the web resources given to us was Common Core Conversation.

Free resources at . . .


Click on the picture to go to the site. Click on the tab at the top that says "Free Common Core Resources" to find free resources for the Common Core Standards.

This was the first time I've linked up with Five for Friday at Doodle Bugs Teaching. It was fun. Check out her blog to link up and see more Five for Friday link ups.

Tuesday, April 2, 2013

April Currently

Today I'm linking with Farley at Oh' Boy Fourth Grade with the April Currently.


LISTENING - I'm sitting at my computer - oblivious to any background sounds. I'd rather be listening to music, but when I stop to listen, all I hear in the background is the sound of clothes drying.  Reminds me that I have one more load of wash to do. Not so interesting - just the reality of what's happening currently. Anyone else in the midst of washing and drying clothes?

LOVING - 2 absolutely precious pugs, cuddling beside me. They look so content. As I've said before, I just love pugs.

THINKING - about spring break. I know that most schools have already had spring break or are on spring break this week. Our spring break starts next week. It's late compared to other districts. It will be a nice, looong-awaited break. I know my students will enjoy it. They've been sharing about vacations, visiting grandparents, and just having fun with family and friends. We've all got a bit of spring fever.

WANTING - I just love sunshine and blue skies. It started to drizzle this morning, and the gray clouds were rolling in. But by late morning, the sun was out and the skies were blue. Sometimes I take my class outside to do Read to Self on warm, sunny days. The warmth of the sun and the blue, blue skies is completely uplifting.

NEEDING - We just completed a big unit on the rainforest, report cards were recently sent home, and we're starting to practice for our first grade play. In the back of my mind, I'm thinking about all that we need to accomplish by the end of the school year {which is now just a few months away}. Ongoing organization is what I need. It seems like "catching up" is always on my To Do List.

ADVICE - I've been selling on Teachers Pay Teachers now for about a year. It's been a year of learning curves. It's been a year of ongoing "figuring it out." It's been a year of frustration at times, excitement at times, and I wish I already knew how to do that at times. 

My advice would be to relax and enjoy the learning process. Enjoy each step and leap that you take as you grow and learn to create better and better products. Know that it will take time and all that "figuring it out" is really quite intrinsically rewarding. 

Learn more about what is currently happening in April with some fantastic bloggers by visiting Oh' Boy Fourth Grade.