Saturday, November 15, 2014

Bright Ideas {Round-UP}

bright ideas round up-02
 Hey, Friends! Welcome to the November edition of the Bright Ideas Link-Up! This one is going to be a little different….and a special one! Loved finding so many bright ideas? Perhaps you missed a few? Well, no worries! Over the past 10 months, we’ve shared 1,000’s of awesome ideas through this fun monthly linky. This month, we’re re-capping all of those awesome ideas in ONE spot for you to catch any that you might’ve missed!

You can check out my previous posts for the year below:   In March, I shared about one of my daily favorites….guided writing! It’s the perfect blend of reading and writing. The journals also serve as a natural way to collect meaningful documentation of student growth throughout the year!

My next Bright Idea was about setting the classroom atmosphere. It is SO important!


June was all about organizing using student numbers. We use them for just about everything!


August…..more organization! Oh, how I’ve loved using THIS bright idea! No more tangled spirals…..


September was all about instructional necessity….implementing [math] Problem of the Day. My kiddos wouldn’t let me skip this part of our routine if I tried! They love it!


In October, I shared a fun find. Initially, it was found during an online search for a shared reading resource. Later, I discovered the FREE was for a limited time only. Sad face……=(


Which…..catches us all up to the here and now!

I hope that you’ve enjoyed this quick wrap up, the bright ideas and that you’ve found an idea that you can easily use in your own classroom. Be sure to check out the link up below for tons more bright ideas from my friends!

Enjoy your day!

Friday, November 7, 2014

Five for Friday {Let’s Catch up!}

Hey, ya’ll! I’m FINALLY  coming out of football mom, tired teacher starting the year mode and finding a thing closer to balance! It’s been far too long and I’m dropping in to shoo away all those crickets that have been chirping around the blog! How’ve you been?!

My sonshine played football for the first time this year and let me tell you….IF you’ve never experienced the joy of having a son in a Texas youth football league….it’s taken pretty darn seriously! It was like having a part time job! So, with that being said…I had to take a little break to be present for my favorite player. Noooow, that the season is done, let’s get back to a little blogging fun!

Here’s a little flashback over the last couple of weeks…..


This has easily become my favorite quick foldable! We’ve adopted it from the Frayer model. The Frayer model is used for vocabulary development. The middle section houses a word, with the four surrounding sections dedicated to defining the word, listing facts/characteristics, providing examples and listing non-examples. Wellllll, as you can see, we did not use it for vocabulary, but rather used it as a way of visually organizing information on our papers. Could we use it at a different time for vocabulary? Absolutely! I think this quick organizer will be awesome to use for any number of things!

My students and I work and learn best when we’re creating, when we’re involved in the process of learning without the priority being the end product….so we complete a LOT of graphic organizers and foldables. This one provides us with the space to share the focus concept in the center, while dividing our paper into sections to show our learning. We also usually use them front and back. The example above shows how we illustrated 10’s and 1’s, then used the 120 chart to generate numbers.

I prefold the paper for students by folding the paper into 4 squares, then taking the central corner of the paper and folding it down diagonally to create a triangle. When it’s  unfolded, it reveals a rhombus in the middle with the 4 surrounding sections. Students are then instructed to trace the lines of the rhombus….followed by the 4 lines that are north, south, east, and west of it to create the writing spaces.

You’ll definitely see more of this foldable!


Place value is a tough concept for little learners, so we use lots of hands on fun and games to practice this skill. On this day, we rolled dice to build and compare numbers. Another simple foldable was used to record our learning. One fold straight down the vertical center of the page….the partners rolled, built, wrote numbers and recorded the comparison symbol on the fold line.


Tired of foldables yet? Here’s just one more……I pre-folded the paper. Students traced the fold lines, then we practiced modeling numbers in different forms. Looks simple, right? Not! Remember, these are 1st graders. Awesome 1st graders….that need to wiggle move and take their time to organize their work. We went over each section of the first number together and then students worked to display the different number forms for the last 2 numbers while I rotated around the room helping.

Creating foldables also provides the opportunity for students to listen for my voice and become accustomed to following directions. While our end products are organized well, it’s still the process of creating that gets us the most bang for our learning buck! And you should see the pride shining on their little faces when they see what they’re truly capable of doing! It’s amazing!


Every once in a while, they let me hold the pen too…! Macrons (line placed over long vowels) and breves (indicates short vowel sound)…yep, we talk about those too!


Writer’s workshop is moving right along! We’re enjoying Lucy Calkins lessons and are ALMOST done with our anchor chart. We’ve begun to publish, BUT have got to find the time to add the final step to our chart! That darn clock just keeps on ticking!

Wellllll, that’s what we’ve been up! What have you and your firsties been learning about? See ya again….real soon! =)

Saturday, October 18, 2014

Speak a WHO?

Hey, Friends! How are ya?  It’s that time! Time for another bright idea!

This one….has quickly become a class favorite! While searching online for an animated version of our story of the week, I came across an adorable website that couldn’t be a bit easier to use! It’s called Speakaboos. Have you ever heard of it? Speak a WHO? Speakaboos!


If you choose, you can enter an email address to receive a FREE story each month. Free! Yep! I’ll take it! There’s also an app for THAT! Don’t want to enter your email? No worries, just close the window and move forward to the website. It’s super simple, organized wonderfully and reads “everything” as the mouse moves over the screen.

Sooooooo, you know what my kiddos asked to use as their listening station for next week, right?


Yep! You guessed it! Speakaboos! Action stories, fairy tales, sports stories, ABCS & 123s…..students can also click the wheel at the bottom to choose animated stories by character.


The stories can be viewed within a frame or enlarged to fit the entire screen. SUPER kid friendly, beautifully designed…..and now another little resource for you to add to your toolbox!

I hope your class will enjoy it as much as we have. Now a class favorite….the question is no longer Speak a Who? Now, it’s when CAN WE Speakaboo?! Click HERE to visit the site and check it out!

If you enjoyed this bright idea, consider joining me on Facebook, Instagram, or Twitter for more ideas to come!

For more bright ideas from a variety of other bloggers, please browse the link-up below and choose a topic/grade level that interests you. Thanks for stopping by! Happy Reading!


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