Wednesday, January 25, 2012

Vowel Teams to the Rescue!

   So....I apologize in advance for referring to my favorite video again "When Two Vowels Go Walking..." but we are still doing vowel teams, and this week I decided to do some word sorting with my kiddos.   I've always loved doing word sorts with my kids, because I feel like they really allow the kids to study words and word parts, and it kind of forces them to pay close attention to the different sounds, blends, digraphs, etc. that are present in different words.  I've always seen a ton of word sorts out there for digraphs and short vowels, etc, but not as much for vowel digraphs and those specific vowel spellings our little firsties have to know.  You know the ones I'm talking about... ou, ow, oi, oy, au, aw, ai, ay....blah blah :)  You get the picture.  But I never could find any that I really like that much online, so I decide to make my own.  Now I never have to spend another moment searching for a good word sort refreshing!  Kind of like sweet tea... :)  Follow this link to TPT, and you can download them (the link on the left is a freebie...the picture link on the right takes you to the full set of 10 sorts).

                     Click the text below:

      Vowel Digraph Oi & Oy Word Sort

         Hope you all enjoy!!   - Beth

Sunday, January 22, 2012

Coins, Coins, Coins

This week I am starting a unit on MONEY. I am so excited about teaching money... It is one of my favorites!!! I have found that Touch Money is the way to go with first graders…. If you haven’t tried this you should look into it! Click on the Coins Image to download a FREE graphic organizer that can be used to help introduce coins to your students. I give my students a bag of coins and have them work with a partner to record what they observe about each coin. After giving the students time to investigate, I found a cute little website that will review the coins on ABCya called Learning Coins. Hope this helps you introduce coins to your class :)
- Katie 

Non-Fiction Text Features Study

I have to say....there are a lot of things I am good at teaching, but Non-Fiction never seemed to be one of them.  It's always an area that I always felt I was short-changing.  I'm a "fairy tale" fiction type girl I never found non-fiction to be as interesting to teach.  But boy was I wrong!!  This year, with some inspiration from my fabulous first grade team members, I came up with some new ideas to help my kiddos immerse themselves in a world of non-fiction and learn to LOVE it, as I now do.  After reading many examples of non-fiction texts, we started to talk about what similar text features we found.  We made a graphic organizer describing all of the different text features so the kids could really see how non-fiction differs from fiction and learn not only WHAT the text features are, but HOW to use them as a reader to help themselves when looking for specific information.

   Another fun activity I had the kids do was to make posters illustrating their favorite Non-Fiction Text Feature.  They worked with partners for this activity, and I really saw some great collaboration and "synergizing," as we say.  Even though I expect A LOT of my kids, I sometimes underestimate what they can do, and it always makes me happy when the finished product exceeds my expectation! I thought their posters were super cute, and I love the inventive spelling! They are using all those sounds we are learning.... :)


One other fun collaborative activity we did was have a Non-Fiction Text Feature Scavenger Hunt.  I put my kiddos in pairs again and gave them an array of non-fiction texts - some were non-fiction books from our classroom library, others were non-fiction big books from the school library, etc.  They had to locate all the different text features and write what page they found it on and what the purpose of that text feature was.  Making it into a "game" really motivated them to look carefully and find all the features.  Some kids discovered that they didn't have a particular text feature in their book, which was okay.  We talked about how not all books have every single text feature.  But they had a lot of fun and learned even more!  Click the page below to download the FREE copy of my non-fiction text feature scavenger hunt.


Saturday, January 21, 2012

Long Vowel O (oa & ow) Resources

Long O (oa & ow) Smartboard
  For the past few weeks my class has been learning about different long vowel patterns.  We've done ee and ea, and this week we are focusing on oa and ow.  One of the reasons I LOVE teaching vowel patterns is because I get to play one of my very favorite teaching videos, which I am sure many of you are familiar with - When Two Vowels Go Walking. It's so cheesy... and that's why I LOVE IT! The kids always pick up on it really quickly and start singing it all the time.  That video is always something that sticks with them.  So...anyway... I made this oa and ow Smartboard lesson and thought I would share.  Just click the  and it will take you to my Teachers Pay Teachers page.  Hope it helps you teach those long vowel patterns!    - Beth

Welcome to Simply Sweet Teaching!

Katie & Beth at Master's Graduation last summer
How exciting! Our very first blog post... haha. We are Katie and Beth, southern girls born and raised, and 1st grade teachers from Augusta, GA and Columbia, SC.  We both graduated from Erskine College with Early Childhood Education degrees. We also completed our Master's degrees together at Columbia College.  Although we live in different cities and have taken different paths in life, we are still best friends and constantly share ideas and resources to use in our 1st grade classrooms.  We both make a TON of original resources such as units of study, Smartboard lessons, literacy centers, printable lesson activities, and more... and we love coming up with random ideas to help keep out kids engaged in their learning.  We also love finding great deals and freebies at local stores or online.  So we thought what better way to share all these ideas with others than on our own blog! We hope that you will start following us on Simply SWEET TEAching and will find all of the great ideas you get as refreshing as a nice cold glass of sweet tea!