Saturday, March 12, 2011

First Grade Fun Dr. Jean Giveaway!!!

Check out the giveaway happening over at First Grade Fun and enter for your chance to win a Dr. Jean cd!!! Congrats to Ms. Van Orman for reaching 200 followers!!! How exciting:):):)

YAY for a new blog makeover:) and BOO for new url issues:(

Hey Everyone!!! I'm loving the blog design Cara created for me!!!! It's perfect and makes coming over here and posting even more fun:) On the downside, I tried to change my url to and realized that it's WAY more complicated than I thought it would be! Turns out that changing your url is easy...I was able to keep all of my awesome followers (yay!), BUT (here comes the yucky part)the news feed wouldn't show any of you my new post ....double disappointment for me! I love the news feed and want everyone to know what's happening over here sooooooo.....I changed back to my old url for now. Sure enough my latest post popped right up in the news feed for everyone to see when changing back over.

Here's the deal....I want a new url, but don't want to have followers who can't see what I'm posting in their news feed! What should I do? Any suggestions???

Hope you all have a wonderful weekend!!!

Thursday, March 10, 2011

Think Dots Choice Board

I love using "Think Dots" choice boards in my classroom! The activities on each choice board are differentiated by levels and interests. My little loves have so much fun with them:) They roll a die with a partner and complete the activity if it is one that interests them. They have to complete at least 3 activities. When they complete one, they color the box and put their recording sheets (or whatever they used to show their work) in their math folder. Since this is a very student directed activity, I act as a facilitator and just circulate the room monitoring/helping as needed. I usually give the choice boards towards the end of a unit for extending and refining purposes. Click HERE to download a  Money Think Dots choice board!

I love, love, love these plastic storage drawers! They make having materials for several activities a piece a cake!!! I just put everything the kiddos will need for each choice in a labeled drawer!

As higher order thinking and differentiation become more and more of a focus at my school, I have found these choice boards really helpful. When I first started using them, my students and I went over the expectations and modeled how to complete each activity. Please don't get discouraged if the first, second, or even third time you do a choice board is a little me, it will get much, much better!!!

For more resources and information on a TON of awesome differentiated activities check out this awesome website-

Happy Friday Eve!!!

Sunday, March 6, 2011

AN EXCITING BLOG ANNOUNCEMENT & TpT 10% off coupon code :)

Hey Everyone!

I'm beyond excited to announce that the awesome, Cara Carroll, will be giving my blog a much needed makeover in the very near future(a week or so)! Check out her blog designs at OH SO SPOILED. I admire her work so much & can't wait for my "new look". With a new look will also come a NEW BLOG NAME! When I originally set up my blog, I didn't do a good job of looking to make sure that my site name wasn't already taken or similiar to others. Turns out, Fun in First is a very popular name, which is awesome because first grade is so much fun, but I don't want to confuse anyone at the same time:) With much going back and forth about my new name, I've finally decided on one that fits me better, " Crazy for First Grade".....perfect, huh? My only worry about this is that I could possibly lose my sweet follower/visitor friends b/c my url will change & I don't want that to happen at all! When Cara's done designing and ready to get things looking a whole lot better here, I will post another announcement letting everyone know what my new url is before I actually change it over:) I've had a ton of fun sharing ideas with all of you and look forward to continue doing so in a much cuter space :) :)

FYI -TpT is running a 10% off special ALL WEEK with this coupon code- G2R2M :) Awesome!!! I have a few wishlist items that I can't wait to use it for:) Please check out my TPT store if you are in need of St. Patrick's Day and/or Spring centers. I love creating centers that are easy to use, but engaging and fun for my students! My packets include printable centers and games with coordinating accountability sheets! As mentioned in an earlier post, I finally have my Spring Math and Literacy center packet up and running over at TpT, but for some reason my preview isn't working right now. I've contacted TpT to get help with that so please know it will *hopefully* be attached soon. Here is the downloadable preview if you want to check it out.

Since my Spring packet is finished, I'm now working away on my next math and literacy center packet called "Bugs, Birds, and Butterflies". These centers will be really cute to use when you get tired of bunnies, chicks, and eggs...ha! What skills are you working on in you classroom that you could use a center for? Let me know:)

Hope you have a super Sunday and a GREAT week!!

~Anna Brantley

Saturday, March 5, 2011

My Favorite Things

The wonderful Jodi at Fun in First Grade started a Favorite Things Linky party and I've been wanting to post my favorites all week. Finally, I have "me time" to do it!!!

1. Starbuck's Breakfast Blend Coffee = LOVE! Seriously, I can't function in the morning without it!

2. Reality TV! It's my guilty very favorite are the New Jersey Housewives:) I'm also a huge fan of the other housewives, Jerseylicious, Jersey Shore, Wife Swap, etc.

3. Dansko clogs- These shoes are soooooo comfortable! I don't know what my little teacher feet would do without them:) If you are on your feet all day, they are a must!!!They come in a variety of cute styles and patterns! I like the black because they go with anything:)

3. Moroccan Oil hairspray- Not only does this hairspray hold your "style" without weighing your hair down, but it also gives a nice shine and smells sooooooo good!

4. Haribo Gummy Bears- YUM! The Best Gummy Bears. EVER.

5. Weight Watchers - I joined back in July and have lost 33 lbs! I'm only 4 lbs away from reaching my goal and becoming a lifetime member, which means I'll no longer have a monthly fee...yay! Good-bye baby weight:)

Tuesday, March 1, 2011

Rounding and Money Practice

We've been reviewing previously taught skills in math this week. Yesterday, we worked on rounding to the nearest ten. Here's a game I call "Drop and Round" that my students LOVE! All you need are counters, 100 charts, marker boards & markers! Students drop a counter ( I like to use the small clear counters shown in the picture) on the 100's chart. On one side of the marker board, they write the number their counter landed on. Then they write the nearest ten on the opposite side of the board. You can pair your kiddos up or let them play independently. This week, I let my students play this independently while I walked around the room to observe/take notes. It was a nice formative assessment!
Here are a few pictures.....

Below is the recording sheet that was used to play these games. Very easy- have your students fold a piece of white paper into each box they write a number and it's nearest ten (they wrote the nearest ten in colored pencil to make it stand out).

Today, we practiced counting money and making fair trades. We played two different games - "Money Drop" and "4 ways". They are very similiar to one another.

Money Drop- Students drop a counter on a 100's chart and turn it into an amount of money. For example, John's counter dropped on 66 so he would use 66 cents. Once they have their number, they show it in four different ways on their Fair Trades Board (a large piece of laminated construction paper divided into four sections.

Four Ways- I give each student a coin combination card. They count the coins and write the amount on their board. Then they show that amount in four different ways on their Fair Trades Board.

Lastly, I want to share something with you that has nothing to do with money or rounding...ha :P! I'm almost done with my "book basket project". I had a few AWESOME classroom volunteers help me sort my books last week. I found the baskets at the $tree....All I have left is a w.h.o.l.e lot of labeling....thank goodness, I love labels:) Anyhoo, I'm so excited about this and had to share:) Can't wait to show you the finished product next week!!!

I hope you are all having a wonderful week! Thanks so much for visiting! I'm so close to my goal of 50 followers this week! 15 more and I'm there....Please share my blog with your friends! THANKS:)

Sunday, February 27, 2011

Bartholomew and the Oobleck!

This is one of my FAVORITE Dr. Seuss books to read to my first graders. It's about a young boy named Bartholomew who must rescue his kingdom from a sticky substance called Oobleck! After reading the story with my kiddos, we make Oobleck. Here is the easy recipe- 2 cups of cornstarch, 3 drops of green food coloring, and enough water to make the mixture thick like the texture of pancake batter. I usually mix equal amounts of water and cornstarch, but make sure you mix it in slowly. Once the Oobleck is made, I give each child their own sandwich bag full of Oobleck and let them explore it, which is oh so much fun. Every year, Oobleck is a BIG HIT! Knowing that Dr. Seuss would want us to have fun on his birthday, it's the perfect activity!!!

Some fun things we do with the crazy green stuff are...
  • Discuss how Oobleck is a solid and a liquid- we call this a "soliquid" :)

  • Oobleck does not bounce.
  • If you make an Oobleck ball and throw it in the air, it will lose it's shape and become flat in the air.
  • Oobleck can be molded in a container, but it loses it's shape as soon as you take it out.

  • If you fill a balloon with Oobleck, the air forces the Oobleck back out.

  • When you leave Oobleck outside in the sun, the color evaporates, it turns hard like cement on top and is like jelly on the bottom.

I also made a graohic organizer for my sweeties to illustrate, write describing words, and a sentence about Oobleck. Click on the picture below if you would like to download it.

I'm SO excited about reading Bartholomew and the Oobleck on Tuesday!
Happy Birthday Dr. Seuss!!!

This weekend had been quite busy with a wild toddler, lesson plans, and a bunch of grad school work, which means that my Spring/Easter center packet was put on the backburner for a bit...can you relate? I will get it posted later this week:) If you need centers for St. Patrick's Day, you can go grab my St. Patrick's Day Math and Literacy center packet on TpT HERE for only $5.00 right now!

I hope you all have a fabulous week! Thanks for following my blog and supporting what I do! Please feel free to share it with any of your teacher friends!
I love, love, L.O.V.E my followers:)

Tuesday, February 15, 2011

Reading Response Station

Here is my Reading Response station that my kiddos go to after they listen to a story at the listening station. I differentiate it by using leveled book reports or graphic organizers. Students choose which reading response sheet they would like to complete out of their colored, labeled pockets (made with laminated file folders). I give each group two reading response options. I have 3 different leveled groups with 2 different options so altogether there are 6 different sheets in the reading response center. I typically change them out every 3-4 weeks! As you can see from the pictures, I use already made response sheets for this center. I don't know about you, but I have an extensive variety of graphic organizers. One of our first grade standards is that a student uses them to understand text, which makes them a perfect fit for the listening station!