Saturday, January 31, 2015

Valentine's Day First Grade Reading Skills

It's the month of February and that means Valentine's Day!  I love stretching Valentine's Day activities into the entire week and the children seem to LOVE it!

If you work with first graders, you know that the ones you met at the beginning of the school year are not the same ones as you have in February.  At least in terms of their skill literacy levels!

Here are a few skills you've seen students acquire over the past several months:

1.  Spelling words with consonant-vowel-consonant patters.
2.  Reading words with long vowel patterns such as CVVC and CVCV patterns.
3.  Reading and spelling words with consonant blends.
4.  Increased instant word recognition knowledge - sight words.

Give yourself a pat on the back.  They're showing GROWTH thanks to you!

I'm excited to tell you about a fun filled teaching product I made for Valentine's Day or Valentine's week.  It's designed with second semester first graders in mind.  The file is PACKED with both math and literacy activities.  
*There are a few things that you'll need to get in order to do all the activities.  I'll tell you about them at the end of this post.

Here's some information about the literacy component of the file.

1.  Syllables  Each child will need a small stamp for this activity.  The children read the word printed on the envelope and determine the number of syllables in the word.  Then they "STAMP" the envelope with the same number of stamp marks.  They love this because they can pretend to be a postal worker stamping envelopes!  First graders love pretend play just as much as kindergarten children and preschoolers! 

He had to read a key to know how many stamps to apply according to the number of syllables.

Each word is given the same number of stamps according to the number of syllables the word contains.

We completed practice rounds before we used the stamps on the envelopes.
There are two syllable sheets.  One sheet has words with one or two syllables.  The other sheet is more difficult with words containing two or three syllables..

2.  Opposites  The expression, "Opposites attract." was the perfect phrase for this Valentine's Day printable.  It's not only scientifically true, a lot of people say opposite personalities attract.
Children match the opposites pairs through coloring.
*Teaching Tip:  When teaching opposites, prompt children with additional background information.

Do: "What is the opposite of hot in terms of temperature?"
Don't:  "What is the opposite of hot?"
Do:  "What is the opposite of big in terms of size?"
Don't:  "What is the opposite of big?"

3.  Word Work - Prefixes  I used the "opposites" theme to create the "Keys to My Heart" printable.  This is with the prefix "un" added to the root (base) word.  Students match the keys with the appropriate locks.  They cut out the squares with the keys inside.  They then glue the squares where indicated with the appropriate lock.  There is no photo of this, however, the next few pictures will give you an idea of what it looks like.

4.  Word Work - Verbs with Inflected Endings  I continued on with the "Keys to My Heart" theme and created another printable similar to the one with the prefixes.  In this one, I intentionally focused on long "e"words with the CVVC  and CCVVC spelling patterns.  Students match the root words to words with the "ing" ending.
If desired, the students can lightly color the locks with crayons.
I focused on words with the long /e/ sound with the CVVC and CCVVC  spelling patterns.

The  "Glue here" spot is just a guideline.  The -ing words are far enough down the box for the words to be visible in spite of where the glue ends up.  Don't stress your students with staying within the "Glue here" space!
Students can reread the words or take home and read to their parents.

If you are a first grade teacher, you probably have students on a variety or reading levels.  One of the strategies you could use with some of the activities in this packet is to pair each of your advanced readers with an on grade level student. If it is appropriate for your struggling readers to use these activities, you might use it with a small group setting or with one on one support. 

5.  Sight Words  Cupid's target is the sight words!  I found two-letter sight words from the FRY high-frequency word list.  This activity is a memory matching game.  Students need to work in pairs.  It gives them an opportunity to be away from their seats and desks!  Pair advanced readers with below level readers.  Students cover the words with cubes or pennies.  They then take turns finding pairs.  If they get a match, they keep the cubes/pennies until the game ends.  (They could also be required to read the word or use the word in a sentence.)  The game is over when all the cubes/pennies have been removed from the sheet.  The winner is the child with the most cubes/pennies.
First they need to cover the words with their cubes.

Two-letter sight words covered with cubes.
Not every classroom has the same materials.  I created the optional page (shown below) to use pennies to cover the words with if cubes are not available.
Two-letter sight words covered with pennies.
6. Sentence Picture Match  I created five simple sentences and found pictures to match the sentences.  Each sentence contains six words.  50 percent of the total words are from the first 50 FRY words.  A readability test on the sentences scored this just below grade 1 level.  I measure this as a high primer level.
Students write the numerals in the boxes to match the sentences.
7. Crossword Puzzle  For additional practice with the sentences, I created a crossword puzzle.  Students need to complete it in the numeric sequence provided as this will direct them to go "across" or "down".  
Crossword puzzle for first grade.
8. Six Word Sentence Scramble  Once the students have practiced reading the sentences from the "Sentence Picture Match" and the "Crossword Puzzle", they might be ready for another challenge.  The picture below has the words for each sentence in correct order.  The student page will have the words mixed up.  Students can cut the squares out and arrange them in correct order so the sentences make sense.  An easy accommodation for a child with unique needs might be to allow him/her to refer to his/her completed "Sentence Picture Match" page.  (From number 6)

Students cut out the squares and reconstruct the sentences.
I used a large sheet of construction paper and folded it in an accordion style.  I used the top space for the name.  The other 5 sections were for the 5 sentences.  The child would use this as a "Poster" to practice reading fluency.
Reading fluency poster.

Most of the Valentine file is in BLACK ink.  Sometimes children need to see color!  I made a color option that could be printed once and used as a literacy center.
50 percent of the words used are from the first 50 FRY words.

Cut each row of sentences:

Cut into squares:

Put in the word cards in a sandwich bag for storage.  Students can use as a center activity.

I also made teacher modeling cards for each of the sentences.  These will fit in some styles of pocket charts.
Teacher modeling cards.
They could also be laminated and a magnet could be affixed on the back.  Students could use on a magnetic board to practice fixing the mixed up sentences.
Pocket chart cards.
9. Tracing Sheets  Many first graders struggle with printing neatly!  Their motor skills are still developing.  I made two tracing practice sheets.  One is for strokes from top to bottom.  The other is from left to right.
Student tracing sheet.
I also made a color version.  These could be laminated and used in a "Trace and Erase" center with dry/erase markers.
Trace and erase!
10. "Double Bubble" Long Vowel Rhyming  I made six sheets with my "Double Bubble" template.  There is a sheet for each of the long vowels, a, e, i, o, and u.  Plus, a "Do It Yourself" sheet.  Students find the appropriate rhyming pairs, cut and paste.
Words spelled with the CVCV pattern using long "o" words.

 *Teaching Tip:  Students should cut out the squares first, then cut out the "bubbles" (circles).  This makes the task of cutting out the circles a MUCH easier task.
Cutting out into squares first, makes cutting out the circles a snap!

Cut out on the solid lines first.  Then cut out on the broken lines.

Squares are cut out.

Cutting out the circles.

Putting the glue in its place.  A little glue below the line is NO BIGGIE!

She is affixing rhyming words to the appropriate matches.

Sis wanted to do another one!  We used the long "i" rhyming words for the next one.
That's one proud girl!
Reflecting on the finished work.

I created the "Do It Yourself" sheet for the students to write their own rhyming word pairs.  Completing a few worksheets on rhyming long vowel pairs does little to developing higher order thinking skills.  They need to create their own!  For the "Do It Yourself" sheet, I would give them the option to use any word pairs that rhyme instead of limiting it to long vowels.  Most first graders will be able to think of a few rhyming words by February.  You could also allow them to create rhymes with nonsense words.

*Another way you could use the "Do It Yourself" printable is to hand write in your own word pairs.  Then photo copy for the quantity you need.  This is a means to differentiate instruction for your below grade level readers.

As they write each word in a circle, they write a word that rhymes with it inside the hearts.
Students create their own rhyming pairs.
Once the words are written in both the circles and the hearts, the squares can be cut out.
After the squares are cut, each circle can be cut out.
Once the circles are cut out, students visually match their created pairs.
Students visually match their pairs.
Then they begin to glue:

"Double Bubble"
Rhyming CVC words are behind the circles.  The circles are glued at the top.

Once the circles "bubbles" are glued to the tops of the other "bubbles", the circles can be slightly bent over to reveal the words behind them.
"Peek-a-boo rhyming pairs".
11. Alpha-Numeric Codes  Students use the alpha-numeric codes to solve the secret message.  I love creating these.  If you would like a FREE sample, follow this link to my TpT store and download the ones I created for the New Year 2015.  Click on the word, LINK.

Let's talk about the supplies you'll need.  You probably already have most items in your classroom.  Such as crayons, scissors, glue, and cubes to cover the words with from "Cupid's Memory Game".  Each child will need a pink, red, and yellow crayon in addition to three other colors. 

For the literacy, you will also need small sized stamps.  I found my stamps at Walmart.  They're in the Valentine's section and they sell out FAST!  I recommend having at least one stamp per child.  It's better to have extras because once in a while, there might be a "malfunctioning" stamp.  Additionally, I would gift the stamps to the children on Valentine's Day instead of trying to save them for the following year.  The ink may dry up in a year's time, plus, you won't have to wonder about where you put them.  Your students will be thrilled to take a stamp home.  One package of stamps costs about $ 3.00.  There were 12 stamps in one package.  Here's what the stamp package looks like:

More about the supplies  I'm going to post the math component within a day or two.  For the math, you're going to need a brown (or white) paper lunch bag for each child.  You'll also need some dice (one individual dice per child).  Maybe you already have dice for your classroom.  You'll need the kind that has the following numbers:  1, 2, 3, 4, 5, and 6.  I purchased my dice at a dollar store.  Here's what they look like:

All of the adorable graphics for the printables in this file were created by Whimsy Clips.  Her artwork gave me inspiration in what I decided to create for this first grade Valentine packet.  This product would not have been possible without her artistic gift.  Thank you Laura!

I hope you have enjoyed this tour.  If you are interested in purchasing the product I've shown you, click on the image below.

The math component of this file will be discussed in the next post.  It won't be as long as this one!  The topics include graphing, probability, and problem solving. 
 Lessons by Molly © 2015  All rights reserved.

Tuesday, January 20, 2015


It's almost the 100th day of school!  I'm not sure exactly when the idea of celebrating the 100th day of school began but it certainly has become popular with elementary school teachers.  When I was an elementary school student, there wasn't a "100th Day Celebration".  Perhaps the "100th Day" caught on because it's a fun way to create hands-on learning experiences for children.

Here are some of my "Station Ideas" for the 100th day festivities.  There's a freebie that can be downloaded at the end of this post.  Most of the ideas can be modified by using items you already have in the classroom in place of the ones I'll show you.  You'll need to stop at the bank and get a 100 dollar bill for one of the activities.  That's something teachers don't usually have on hand!  Additionally, you might need to purchase a few things at the store like sugar cubes, craft sticks, clothespins, and very small, plastic cups.

These activities are the "NO-MESS" variety.  No sticky glue to clean up, no spilled paint to wipe away, just good clean fun!  They don't require much space.  Student desks can be used as a work area for several of the activities.  

The children to rotate through the "100th Day Stations".  For this, strategically pair the children in advance of the activity.  If there's an odd number of children, put 3 children together in one group.  Be prepared to make quick changes if a student is absent the day of the activity.

The number of student pairs influences the number of stations needed.  One station is needed for every 2 children.  If there are 20 children, 10 stations are needed.

Before getting started, tell the children that it is not important to finish the task at their area.  This way, when it is time to rotate to another station, they'll be willing to move to the next station.  Emphasize that each pair is responsible for cleaning up before moving the the next activity.  In most instances, that will mean returning the materials to the same arrangement as they were discovered.  It will also be important to briefly describe each station and name the task involved. 

Consider the amount of time available in the instructional day that you plan to devote to the stations.  Space the time evenly within the rotations.  This way, every group will have the same amount of time to work with an activity.  If there are 10 stations and 7 minutes are allotted per station, it will take 70 minutes for all the rotations to be completed. 

Station 1"PAPER CLIP-Art"  Put 100 colorful paper clips out on a desk.  Children create a picture using the 100 paper clips.  Pairs can work together to make one picture or divide the paper clips (50-50) and make their own pictures.
It took 100 paper clips to make the girl in the picture.
Station 2"Clothespin Fort"  You will need 100 clothespins and a box.  The goal is to fit 100 clothespins around the four sides of the box.  If there is not enough room, the clothespins need to be attached to each other.  This activity is great for fine motor development as well as an engineering task.  If a box is not available, use a yardstick to attach the clothespins with.
100 clothespins around a box.

100 Count Clothespin fort.  An engineering triumph!
Station 3"Cups n' Cubes"  This activity is best completed at a table.  Put 100 sugar cubes on a table.  Use 10 small plastic cups.  The cups in the picture are a 2 ounce size!  The children would need to put 10 sugar in each cup, then, count by tens to 100.  Add 10 more cups and the children will place 5 cubes in a cup and count by fives to 100.  (Math cubes could be used if sugar cubes are not available.)
Grouping 100 sugar cubes by tens.  Counting to 100. 

Ten cubes in ten cups.
The "cups n' cubes" activity above does not take long.  They could also make letters with the sugar cubes when they finish grouping and counting them.  These are the letters I would suggest the children make with the sugar cubes:  E, F, H, L, T, and Z.  Letter cards to display on the table are available here.

Station 4"100 Dollar Doodle"  A 100 dollar bill is needed for this . . . and trustworthy students!  Children make observations about the front and back of the 100 dollar bill.  Then they record their observations on the free printable.  Provide the children with a magnifying class so they can observe more details in the 100 dollar bill.  The picture shows an old 100 dollar bill.  We didn't have anything else on hand and I forgot to go to the bank to get a new one!  Later on, have the children cut out the "bill" that they drew, glue the blank sides together, and have their own "100 Dollars".  (That is if you're the "messy-glue" variety kind of teacher.)  
Children draw what they see on the FRONT and BACK sides of the 100 dollar bill.
Station 5  :  "Rubber Band Sculpture"  I collected cardboard paper towel tubes (NOT 100!).  I put 100 rubber bands out.  The goal is to attach paper towel tubes together using the rubber bands.  As it turned out, 100 rubber bands was too many for this.  However, the rubber bands could be used with other objects such as a collection of pegboards.  The goal could be, "Use 100 rubber bands with the pegboards provided."

Cardboard paper towel tube sculpture fastened with rubber bands

Station 6: "Beads n' Bags"  I had tons of these wooden beads.  I took three plastic sandwich bags and labeled one with an "A", one with a "B", and the third bag with a "C".  I put 100 beads in the "B" bag.  I put 80 beads in the "A" and 120 beads in the "C" bag.  The children need to find the bag that has 100 beads.  They take out the first bag ("A" bag) of beads and count them.  They try the next bag.  They stop when they find the bag with 100 beads.  For this activity, they need a carpet area or a table.  I would also give them small containers for grouping the beads by tens.  The plastic cups shown with the sugar cubes would also work for this activity.  At the end of all the rotations, the students are asked which bag had 100 beads.  The wooden beads can be substituted for anything you have on hand with a quantity of 300.
Beads n' Bags Counting Activity.  Which bag has 100?
Station 7"100 Penny Stack"  In Virginia, we teach coin values in terms of pennies as one of our measurement standards.  To reinforce the fact that a dollar is equal to 100 pennies, I incorporated this activity into a station.  I found 100 pennies and a one dollar bill.  The goal is to fit all 100 pennies on top of the dollar bill.
Stack 100 pennies on a 100 dollar bill.

Station 8"Craft Stick Shapes"  Make triangles, rectangles, and squares with 100 craft sticks.  Use ALL the craft sticks, then count the number of shapes made.  A table or carpet area is needed for this activity. 
Shapes made with 100 craft sticks.

Station 9"100 CVC Words"  One way to use the 100 words is to have the children read them, write them, and use them in sentences.  Place the words in a container for the children to withdraw from.  Once they pull out a CVC word card, they read it, write it on the board, and use it in a sentence.  They put the withdrawn words in another location so the next group at the station doesn't use the word again. 
100 CVC Words
Another way to use the 100 CVC word cards is to sort the words according to a designated attribute.  One possible attribute could be the medial vowel sound.  In this instance, there would be a five groups (A, E, I, O, U).  The sorting activity is a good back-up plan when you have additional groups to rotate to this station and the 100 words were used by the preceding groups.  
Sorting words according to their medial vowel.
The words have the consonant-short vowel-consonant pattern.  Sheets for the word cards are provided with my "100th Day" freebie.  I used yellow, orange, blue, red and green card-stock to get the colors shown above.  This gave me 4 additional sets of 100 words.  The extra sets are put in sandwich bags and added to the class treasure chest.  Some first graders will actually CHOOSE a bag of 100 words for a prize!
100 words with the consonant-vowel-consonant word pattern
Station 10"Make 100 Look Spectacular!"  A coloring sheet for the numeral 100.  The children use crayons to fill in the numerals.  This sheet is also part of my "100th Day" freebie.
Children decorate the 100 by coloring the one and the two zeros with crayons.

The above activities foster the following:  fine motor development, engineering, creativity and peer cooperation.  They also develop:  counting skills, shape recognition, a money value fact, and phonics.

Get the FREE "100th Day" sheets by clicking the image shown below.

Happy 100th Day!

Lessons by Molly © 2015  All rights reserved.