Monday, 15 August 2016

First Grade Flash

It is that time again! The summer has flown by! I've been busy getting ENGAGED and moving out to an acreage! Yes - it's been the craziest/most amazing/busiest summer yet, but I have been embracing every moment. 

The days are getting shorter and the stores are full of crayons which means back to reality. I've already been into my classroom twice to decorate my bulletin boards and move our little desks around. Though my mind is usually thinking about a million things at once, I always tackle my class decor first so that when it's time to plan and prep I can completely focus. 

In our school, each teacher has to provide our admin with a Year Plan before the year starts. This can be a very overwhelming task - fitting everything in and balancing subjects. This year, I was inspired by The First Grade Parade's Pacing Calendars and designed my year plan month by month with weekly themes. 

I created these plans to align with the Alberta Program of Studies, however they are easily adaptable to other curriculums. The plans include Literacy, Numeracy and Social & Science combined. I am hoping these help you stage and guide your year! I love being able to glance at a week and see what my focus should be and what is coming next! I also LOVE having a theme to focus on!! Themes are fun and engaging! 
Click on the picture above to download the First Grade Flash package!
I teach in a Catholic school so I have included themes such as Advent, Lent and Easter. These can easily be substituted for general Christmas and Easter themes if you are teaching in a public school! 

I (like most teacher I know) have good intentions a tendency to be overly organized. This year plan helps prepare me to teach my units fluidly and in a logical order! 

Now, time to enjoy the last few weeks of summer!


Monday, 13 June 2016

The Wonders of Writer's Workshop

When I first found out that I would be teaching Grade One, to say I was excited is an understatement. I was-jumping up and down, grinning ear to ear-excited. I started planning fun and engaging units, theme days and projects. I couldn't wait to get to know my students and work with such a creative and energetic age group. And then I started to talk to other teachers who taught other grades and heard comments about independence, tying shoes and teaching them the foundation for reading AND writing. This is when I began to feel the pressure of teaching the building blocks for the rest of my students education. Pressure's ON Miss W!

Luckily, during my first few months of teaching, our school's Learning Coach suggested I try teaching a Writer's Workshop with my firsties. This is where it all began! She provided me with the entire program for Grade One (which can be found for free here). This is the program that I followed when I launched the program on my own for the first time last fall. 

I can't BELIEVE the progress my students have made this year. They continually write longer, more detailed and creative pieces. At the beginning of the year their "writing" consisted of drawing and labelling pictures.  Now, they are working through a "How-To" writing unit. 

I now use this program for Writer's Workshop and LOVE it! I purchased it after Spring Break and started my students with the "How-Two" unit.

This package includes detailed lesson plans, colourful anchor charts, different writing paper, management ideas, organization plans and more! I had to write about it to rave. 

 Click any of the pictures above to check out Deanna Jump's Writer's Workshop program!

Here is a snapshot of what a Writer's Workshop lesson looks like in my class.

  • I gather my students on the "Author's Carpet."
  • I start all of my introductions briefly reviewing what my "authors" have been working on in Writer's Workshop. In this case, it was how-to writing.
  • After, I start my mini-lesson, which only lasts about 10 minutes. This mini-lesson was on writing a powerful title for our how-to's. During many of my mini-lessons, I model exactly what I would like my students to work on. 
  • At the end of my mini-lesson, I give my authors think time to brainstorm what they are going to write about that day. My authors put a thumbs up against their heart when they have an idea. I take time to listen to each of their ideas before sending them to write. 
  • Now - the fun part! Watching my students writing unfold...
  • During my authors writing time, I conference one-on-one with students. This is a good time to give them specific things to work on and things to keep doing that are great! 

  • My students have been building their writing stamina since November and I am SO proud to say they can quietly write for about THIRTY minutes! It's amazing. 
  • At the end of their writing time, I bring them back to the Author's Carpet. I tell them a few things that I noticed and loved and I tell them a few things to work on for next time.
  • NOW - share time!! I call different authors to the Author's Chair to share their writing. If they are not confident enough to read to the class, I read their writing for them. 

  • After a few students share in the Author's Chair I let all of my students turn to a neighbour and share their writing.

I can't rave enough about this program! It has truly allowed each of my students to work at the level that best suits them. My students are confident authors and engaged listeners as they share their writing. Writer's Workshop is m-m-m-m-marvelous!

Monday, 23 May 2016


The end of the year is quickly approaching, the weather is gorgeous and my students are antsy. My little munchkins are staring out the window at the playground, talking about baseball and soccer practices and not so enthused about another whole month of school. I can't blame them either! I am just as excited about summer as my 7 year old students. 

With this in mind, I try and keep as many ROUTINES as possible until the end of the year. Keeping up with routines allows my kiddos to know what to expect, how they are to behave and they can participate independently

Part of our weekly routines are Sight Word Centres. These are a huge hit for my students! Over the year I have implemented many different centres for my kids to practice their sight word fluency. I love this time of year because the students have worked through the Pre-Primer, Primer and First Grade Dolch lists and can independently participate in many different centres. 

My latest and greatest centre is Sight Word HEADBANDS! Think of the game Hedbanz you loved as a think instead of guessing what picture is on your headband, students guess which sight word in on their headband using hints from other players. My kids LOVE this game! They hardly realize they are practicing their words!

Click here to check out the full Sight Word HEADBANDS package! 

How to Play

Each player must have a headband.
To begin, each player chooses are Sight Word card from the pile and slide it into their headband to face the group. It is important they DO NOT look at the card they choose!
Once everyone has a card in their headband, they will begin.
The group will start by giving the person three hints for their word. If they guess it, they take the card out and choose a new one. If they do not guess correctly, their turn is over and it is the next persons turn.
Hint examples: This word has 3 letters. It is part of the "-an" word family. It rhymes with ran.
Students continue this until there are no cards left or the time is up!
The person with the most cards collected (guessed correctly) is the winner!)

This game is a favourite in my class. The kids can all participate at once and can take turns giving helpful hints to each other to guess their words. I LOVE to see my students using our Word Wall as a reference during this game!

I will be keeping this game a part of my weekly routine up until the last week of school! Click any of the pictures above to check out the full package! 

Only 26 more school days until summer! What are you doing to maintain a little normalcy in your class this time of year?

Wednesday, 18 May 2016

How much fun is one?

I am SO excited to say welcome to More Fun in 1! My name is Danielle and I am a first grade teacher from Alberta. I graduated university with a Bachelor of Education in Early Childhood Education in December 2014. This is my second year teaching grade one and let me tell you, I LOVE IT! I'm loving it so much that I have to share what is happening in my classroom. 

Check out my class - at the end of a loooong, hot day!

I might be extremely a bit biased but I think grade ones have the most fun. The progress and growth I have seen in my students this year blows my mind on a daily basis. They entered in September working on the alphabet and printing their name. Now, it's almost the end of the year and they are READING and WRITING! And all the while we have had so much fun. 

My class is a busy place with many different centers and activities happening at the same time. Right now we are jumping into a unit on the needs of PLANTS! This is one of my favorite units as there are so many fun, hands-on activities for my kiddos to delve into their learning with. 

My student's amazing greenhouses! Find the template here.

I will be posting about all the crazy, fun and engaging activities that are happening in my class. I can't wait to share my classroom and all of our adventures with you! 

Thanks for stopping by!!