Monday, April 22, 2013

Hug the Earth!

This past weekend I was searching for a cute little idea to use with my little people to teach about Earth Day.  I came across this adorable bulletin board by Katie over at the "Teacher to the Core" and decided my kinders could do this amazing little project.  So, I broke out the Silhouette to cut my letters and attempted to draw the pattern pieces to recreate Katie's creation!
Next, I wanted to add a touch of writing.  So, I hopped our to "The First Grade Parade" and like always Cara Carroll came to my rescue with an Earth Day Promise.  So, I combined the two and my kinders came up with our "Hug the Earth" craftivity!  
 I promise to never litter.  I promise to pick up trash!
 I promise to grow trees and plant flowers.
 I promise to pick up garbage because it is bad for the Earth.

Thank you Cara and Katie for your wonderful ideas!!

Sunday, April 21, 2013

A Note From...1st Grade Hip Hip Hooray!! AND a DEAL you can't refuse!

I am so excited to have been asked to be a guest blogger.  And having to follow Nikki is thrilling as she is my Number One Fan!  She makes my products come alive and the kiddos just love them.  I even found if I wrote Nikki and told her I needed something she was right on it.  Thanks Nikki!!
Being asked to be a guest blogger was "mind blowing" because each and everyday I am humbled by all the amazing sites and materials out there.  I have been teaching a LONG time BUT I can't bring myself to retire because of all the exciting material now available to teachers and the love I continue to feel each and everyday toward educating our "future leaders".  A few years back when I was raising my three sons and working full time I really would have loved to of had a site to go to where teachers use their creativity to prepare products that are teacher tested, embedded in the Common Core and kid friendly!  How lucky are we now?  Because of the new "bloggy" world , TpT and Teachers Notebook there is no reason not to be successful in enhancing standards,curriculum and your lessons.  
My blog was just a year old in February and what a growing experience it has been.  I still am looking for more followers and to get some conversations going but I also know I need to be patient. My favorite part of it all is preparing materials and packets for students and teachers that I know are valuable and worth the effort to put together.  Like Nikki...preparing them is easy because I LOVE to create them and I can assure that all the writing, word work, reading and mathematics that needs to be included is there.  At my school we have no official reading program.  They used 4 Blocks for awhile and now we are using Daily Five.  These are wonderful formats but as you know it puts the responsibility on the educator to assure you are creating a Balanced Literacy Program that meets the Common Core.  For this reason most of my packets embrace these themes.  Creating them has been fun and allowed me the freedom of embedding my science standards into my literacy which also meets the informational text piece in the Common Core and saves time while making connections to the real world.  So.... here is the deal!
For any follower of Mrs. McLaren who becomes a follower of 1st Grade Hip Hip Hooray! ( I will give you a packet of your choice.  All you have to do is email me (  and I will forward the packet to you.  I have made this same offer to my followers who follow Mrs. McLaren.  I am so happy to share my blessings with others as I know what a limited budget we are all on.  
Final days are here my friends...Summer is just around the corner.  Together we can make a difference.   Michele  

Tuesday, April 16, 2013

Hi friends!

Hi my friends!
     Nikki here, from Melonheadz Illustrating. What an honor to be asked to be a guest blogger on Mrs. McLaren's blog! I have been so blessed to call her friend:) My blog has been up and running for a little over two years, and what a crazy ride! I have learned so much from those in the teaching community. It's been quite an eye opener, being allowed into your world:) As a parent, I have always felt guilty when it comes to my children's education, wondering how on a limited budget and very little extra time. Being able to share my "stick people" with the world has helped me feel useful! I can't tell you how exciting it is to see that my scribbles are on papers that my kids bring home from school...WOOT WOOT!
     So I thought I would tell you a little about me, and what inspires me to draw the things I do.  My hubby and I have been married a little over 11 years. He is my best "supporter",lol. I am a mommy of 3 girls (O yes... 3!) ages 19, 8, & 7, and 2 furry 4 legged boys. I am also going into my grandmother years... (I don't know how THAT snuck up on me). I work a full time "real" job, and also full time doodling. Yes I never sleep... ever.
     It's a weird thing once you find something you LoVe to do..... I find myself with a running list in the back of my head of "I should draw that".  I have had to become organized.... sort of. If I don't write everything down and in the same place, it is lost in my whirling dervish of a brain. I  am so grateful for the requests and suggestions offered as well. When not working on my list of requests, I like to do silly things that make me smile and are fun! I have no idea usually if they will be useful for anyone else, but they make me happy. Inspiration can come from a story on the news, my faith, or to someone I see on a corner. My little ones are quick to supply me with stuff if I ever run out of ideas too,lol.
    Thank you so  for letting me gab at you, and for taking the time to stop in and see Mrs. McLaren! She has
 and I know you will learn tons from her, and love her as much as I do!

"Lub" you guys!

Saturday, April 13, 2013

"The Three Little Pigs"

First up today for the Flash Giveaway Weekend "The Three Little Pigs!" Which little piggy story is your favorite? All you have to do is leave a comment and your email address on my facebook page!! Three winners will be chosen right after lunch. Then get ready for the next little prize! 
Happy Spring Everyone!!

Thursday, April 11, 2013

Flash Giveaway Weekend!!

Watch for more flash goodies this weekend over on my facebook page!! I'm celebrating spring!  Also, it is an extra special day because it's "Happy 1st Birthday" to my adorable grandbaby Wyatt!!  Please check on Saturday morning for the first of the goodies!!
Woo!  Hoo!

Flash Giveaway!!

Hop over to my facebook page to entry my "flash giveaway" tonight for "Chomping Along with the Very Hungry Caterpillar!!  All you have to do is leave me your email address in the comment section on facebook!!  Good luck everyone!

Wednesday, April 10, 2013


Hi all!!
I just uploaded some new scallop frames!  And, better yet they are free for the taking!!  Just hop over to my TPT store to download! Have fun creating!

Tuesday, April 9, 2013

Guest Blogger: Growing Firsties

Hi Super Star Friends of Kyp!!!!

It is SUCH a pleasure to be guest blogging for my sweet friend Kyp today!!! Thanks so much for the invite!!!

Growing Firsties

I am Lisa Mattes from Growing Firsties - a semi-organized yet fairly-random first grade teacher in Wisconsin....Gooooo Badgers!!!

I had some trouble trying to figure out what I wanted to blab blog about on this guest post...

but I finally decided to blog about some routines I have going in my classroom.

The morning routines help my first graders build independence and organizational skills (hopefully)...

which ultimately leaves time for me to scramble to take care of the things I've forgotten to get done connect with each kiddo as they arrive.

Gotta love visuals, so I'm packing in some pictures here...

(please pardon the's just easiest to use my iPhone for the pics since it's the fewest steps to get the photos postable...)

I originally snapped these photos so I didn't have to get too wordy on my sub plans. 

Pictures DO speak a 1000 words!!!

This is what the Morning Job board currently looks like. (Though we're now in unit 8 for math, not unit 4...)

We start at the very beginning of the year with the first 3 items...we build muscle memory for those jobs with step by step practice & choral reading on a daily basis. 

Golden Tickets (thank you Teeny Tiny Teacher) are handed out to students for doing all the jobs.

If you want to learn more about Golden Tickets (as opposed to a clip chart), check out Teeny's first & second posts about how she uses them. 

My grade level all wants to be just like Teeny Tiny, so we use them the way she does!

Once they're pretty solid on those three (and once guided reading and Everyday Math Homelinks begin), we add jobs 4-6 and repeat the process of building muscle memory in similar ways as at the beginning of the year. More about job 4 in a minute...

After a few weeks of deepening all six routines, we add #7. 

For our Daily Warm Up activities, the main things we use are printables from my Common Core Crunch (a monthly ELA series) 

and from Kelley Dolling's Good Morning Work - Math (she's the brilliance behind Teacher Idea Factory!).

I'll throw Common Core Crunch on sale for today (4/9) and tomorrow (4/9 & 4/10) if you'd like to give it a try. If you want to 'try before you buy' go ahead and download the Preview file, since it contains 3 freebie sheets. Just click the picture above to get to it in my store.

Commercial over...

Another routine that helps keep me organized with Guided Reading is this handy dandy tub...

I began this routine part way through the year last year and modified it a little bit this year, too.

Each Book Club Group (guided reading) is assigned a, orange, yellow, green, blue...

Each group has a section in the tub, in front of the fancy dancy divider. 

To make the dividers I trimmed 12x12 cardstock to the width of old, icky white board (cuz they're hard), folded the cardstock in half and adhered it to the whiteboard using clear packing tape.

More functional than classy, but oh well.

One side of the divider says Put in Book Box, the other says Keep in Envelope...that's because we almost always focus on a guided reading book for two days...(I'll post more on that another time.)

So I flip those signs accordingly...

Each night when I'm doing a variety of little tasks to get ready for the next day, I have a little white helper card in my calendar that I CAN'T move until I've addressed those two jobs!...

This little helper has helped me keep track of whether I've done the two jobs of arranging the divider signs AND if I've rotated Literacy Stations. Not pretty...but works SO well to keep me on track! 

There are just too gol-durn jobs to keep track of in a day that I just don't always remember if I've done something or not.

We won't talk about how sometimes I forget to rinse the conditioner out of my hair or shampoo a second time in case I hadn't done it the first time.


Each student has a poly envelope (ordered online for the whole grade level in August from the cheapest vendor) - they each get 1 poly envelope per year. 

We charge them $2 if they lose it. 

If it becomes damaged but can still hold the materials, we keep using it.

Each student's envelope gets a folded piece of duct tape on their envelope to help them remember to put their envelope in the correct section.
Envelopes #3 & 4 are hiding between #2 & 5!

This also helps me visually see that all have put their envelope in the right spot.

K...the next steps are a little picky-pants, but it really HAS helped me be more efficient during Book Clubs...

Each student is assigned a table spot at the book club table (kidney shaped table) and then I put a number on their duct tape according to their assigned seat (going from left to right at the table).

The duct tape DOES come off relatively easily when we switch groups around! At least it has for me all year long so far.

Groups have different numbers of students so I don't actually label the actual chair or table spot...just the way they sit from left to right.

This helps me keep it flexible so I can skip a chair between some particular students.

And, yes, students DO put their envelopes in their section in number order...that was the whole point of numbering them in the first that I could easily hand out envelopes when the kids need them.

I hope this long post helps you out! It's nice to learn from one another, so I'd love to hear from you! 

You can find me lots of days over at Growing Firsties and it would such an honor if you dropped by!

Smiles - Lisa

Thursday, April 4, 2013

Check out what I've been working on!  

I know, I  know!   I should be working on Nursery Rhyme stuff for next week, but I've been having so much fun making doodle frames and backgrounds!  I've been wanting to learn how to do this for a long time and finally I know how!  Thank you Sara!!  Woo! Hoo!!

These little guys are free!!

Monday, April 1, 2013

Fruit LOOpy Fun with First Grade Fever

Hi everyone! It's Christie from First Grade Fever and I am SuPeR excited to be a guest blogger! Thank you so much Kyp! First, I would like to give a big CONGRATS to Mrs. McLaren's Little Super Heroes for reaching over 100 followers-Woohoo!!!! I was trying to come up with something exciting to write about and decided that I would share one of the activities that I did with my firsties last week.... "LOOPY Words"

We have been working with different vowel teams including "OO." I don't know about you, but I just did not have much luck finding very many ways to reinforce the "OO" sounds. I found some cute video clips on You Tube and we also created our "OO Words" anchor chart, but reproducibles were just far and few between...and our workbook pages just didn't have much pizazz I decided to create this fun lil activity...

I gave my firsties some Fruit Loops cereal & had them write the words to match the pictures, gluing 2 Fruit Loops in place of the "OO" in each word. They absolutely LOVED this activity! But let's be honest, who doesn't love an activity that includes a little snack?!? YUM!!!
If you would like a copy of this Fruit Loopy fun activity, just click HERE or on the pic above! Hope  your kiddos go "LOOPY" over it! :)