Monday, November 28, 2011


Happy Blogversary to "The Swamp"!
One year ago today, right about this time, I decided it would be a good idea to start blogging 
about my teaching experiences and life in general in TN :)
I hope you've found some useful things over the past year!
I've enjoyed sharing with you and look forward to another year of fun and creativity :)

Thought I'd share one of my favorite comic strips...Tundra!
We met the artist and author while trekking through Alaska and have been fans ever since.
I was given permission to post one of my very favorite comics from Chad Carpenter above.

Since it decided to snow tonight...yep, that's right...SNOW on November 28, 2011!
I thought this would be an appropriate comic strip to share
and say ...
"Happy Blogversary Swampers"

Sunday, November 27, 2011

The Legend of the Poinsettia

I LOVE Christmas time and especially talking about traditions and legends from other countries with my firsties!  Tomie dePaola has a wonderful story about the poinsettia that we listen to in class as I do a directed draw of a poinsettia with the kids.  I took the scholastic version and turned it into a youtube movie to enjoy this year.  Hope it goes well....You should be able to zamzar the video and download it to your computer.
I've also uploaded it to my account so you can download it from there too :)

Feliz Navidad!

Friday, November 25, 2011

Scoot Task Cards for Number Sentences


Task Cards for
 Number Sentences

I found this game described on First Grade and Fabulous
You’ll need questions on cards to put on each child’s desk.  You can download some “task cards” from Mrs. Davis’ site by clicking on “task cards” in the label section of her blog.  She has some resources for both Math and Reading. 
The number of response boxes on your record sheet depends on the number of kids you have. If you have 20 students, you’ll need to create a record sheet with 20 boxes.  Each student needs a copy of the record sheet to play the game.
Place a numbered task or question card on each student’s desk.  Students will move from desk to desk reading and recording the answer to the task question on their record sheet. If they are at number 1 desk, they answer in the number 1 box on the record sheet. When you say SCOOT, they move to the next desk.  Mrs. Davis recommends practice moving from desk to desk so that students understand how and where to write their answers on the record sheet to correspond with the number of task card on the desk they are at each time.
Once students return to the desk they started the game at, you can go over the answers with the class. Mrs. Davis suggests checking their work starting with the student with the number 1 card. As they read it aloud and give their answer, you can collect the task cards. This suggestion from Mrs. Davis makes for a quick clean up.

I can't wait to try this game with the kids!


Thursday, November 24, 2011

Blogging Awards! I'm Honored!

Thanks to Jennifer at Rowdy in First Grade and Lori at Bee the Change for awarding "The Swamp" with the Versatile Blogger Award.  It's always nice to know your efforts are appreciated.  If you haven't had the chance to hop over to these cool blogs, now's a great opportunity!
For receiving the award, I would like to
1) Thank the people giving me the award and link back to them in the post....(If you click on their blog'll get to their fine areas of expertise :)
2)  Share 7 things about myself:
        1...I'm an internet junky!
        2...I LOVE anything to do with frogs!
        3...I enjoy being a blogger and sharing ideas with others!
        4....I like to travel....especially to the beach!  Hint, Hint...(for the hubby).
        5...I read "Girlfriends in God" devotionals to start each day.
        6...I LOVE my iPad and the new iPhone 4s :)....and I'm watching the "I'm Watch" carefully to see how it does!
        7....I think Gibbs is "da bomb" and often blog while watching reruns of NCIS!

3) Pass this award along to 15 other blogs...
Wow!  Only 15....hmmm...
Can't do it....check my blog garden at the bottom of this post....each and every one deserves the Versatile Blogger award!  Click on their name to link to their wonderful site.  I have everyone of them in my google reader and LOVE....LOVE....LOVE to see what they're up to daily!

Deceptively Education began an award called the "I Heart Your Blog".  You can read about the award at her wonderful site by clicking HERE.  Thanks to this wonderful site and Mrs. Au at Second Grade Rocks for awarding "The Swamp" with this cool award! only name 10 top blogs would be really hard for me and not very honest...since I truly do visit all my garden blogs through the use of google reader each day!  Be sure to visit the garden below and check them out!

Thanks to everyone who works so hard to share so much!  You're ideas and thoughtfulness help make me a better teacher and person!

 Have a blesssed Thanksgiving Day!


Tuesday, November 22, 2011

The Grinch Wants to Sum It Up!

Not my idea or creation, but a friend and team mate sure is creative and likes to share!

I like the idea of them rolling two die and writing out the addition sentence above the sum...boy do we need some work with sums!

I may switch it up and have them use a deck of cards...with just the Queens (for zero) to the sixes and add the two cards kiddos aren't always the best with dice and cards seem so much more quiet :)  We'll see how it goes!


Saturday, November 19, 2011

Gingerbread Baby Exchange Booklet

Getting ready to create our Gingerbread Friends to send to our exchange class this December.
We're going to read Jan Brett's "Gingerbread Baby" and discuss what would happen if we created gingerbread friends and they "ran away" to another state to teach a class of first graders about our state...

I thought the easiest way to create a gingerbread friend and include information about our state would be to make a booklet with our friends holding the information....or "carrying the information booklet" to the other class :)

Here's the pages for the booklet the friend will be holding...

Of course we'll start it all off with some Gingerbread Baby Graphing....just like last year :)

If you're from the state of Tennessee and would like to use the pages of this booklet to create your own state can download the pages HERE.


Tuesday, November 15, 2011

Skyping a lesson with Mamaw!

YEAH!!!  We successfully skyped a lesson with my mom today!  It was a blast!  She talked them through how to put together the turkey she had created for them.  Then they told her what they were thankful for so that they could begin the writing portion of the project!

It took a minute for the kids to realize that they had to be in front of the camera for Mamaw to see them.

They were totally enthralled with the whole process and were so intent on doing the things she said!
Here's some of their end products!

Create your own turkeys using the patterns HERE

Can't wait to skype with mom again as she helps them put together an elf project for December!

Sunday, November 13, 2011

Chalkboard and File Folder Stories

File Folder Story...ahhh...the good ol' days!

I LOVE Dr. Jean's blog!  Today she's sharing about her file folder story:  "Timmy Turkey".
I followed her directions and finished this cutie pie in under 30 minutes!  I'll laminate at school and add the construction paper, but how cute is this!  Need a copy of the turkey body?  Click here for a VERY OLD file of a turkey body!  I'd love to tell you where I got it from, but it's THAT old that I don't even have the company on it...looks like it could be from an old Thanksgiving book that I used to use for holiday crafts, but I've since torn them apart and put into files.  Sorry!

Dr. Jean even gives you the story to glue on the back...
Just copy and paste into a word document and voila!
Story ready for Thanksgiving!

Speaking of OLD files...I finally found the draw and tell story I was looking for...only it wasn't called a draw and tell back in the day...we called them "Chalkboard Stories"...probably because we actually used a chalkboard to draw the story as we told them!  No chart paper or white boards for me :)

This one is called "The Wild Ducks and The Goose" by Carl Withers.  I remember copying it down for an assignment in....1986...for my Language Arts college course.  Our job was to locate and share story telling ideas to use in the classroom.  I have an entire 3 ring binder of stories (hand copied)!  I remember being graded on organization as well as....handwriting skill!  Wonder if they still do that today?
I haven't used it in a couple (well okay... a LOT) of years and would probably change up the wording in some spots...but it's fun to do with the kids!  I think this year, I'll tell the story and draw once....then have the kids listen and draw with me the second time. 
You can download my "beautifully hand copied" version of the story HERE.

Don't forget to stop over at Dr. Jean's wonderful blog!

Saturday, November 12, 2011

Turkey Anyone?

Mamaw (my mom) put together this adorable turkey for my kids to create during those two days before the Thanksgiving Break!  The plan is to have a Skype session with Mamaw and the kids so she can show them how to put things together!  They hear a lot about her, but have never gotten to talk with her. I think it will be to see if it will work!

If you'd like the patterns for the can download them HERE.  or HERE.

I thought we'd also try the Draw and Tell story of the Turkey Lake.
You can view a librarian telling the story so that you can see how to tell the story and draw as you tell.
Sometimes I have the kids draw it too...other times, I just have them listen to the story and see if they can figure out what I'm drawing!

I used to have a story about the Wild Turkeys, but I like this one much better!

When we're done with the turkey craft....the plan is to have them write about their turkeys.  I think it would be cute to laminate the turkeys they create and add a magnet to the back so that they can put it on their fridge at home!

Have a great day!

Sunday, November 6, 2011

Veterans Day Power Point

To help my firsties understand Veterans Day a little more, I created a power point of this holiday.
Here's a preview of some of the slides in the power point...

I thought it would be a good idea to add some writing to go with the power point, so there's a tree map for creating sentences to describe what the kids took away from the power point.

I don't know about you, but I LOVE using the tree map organizers to help my kiddos create their own sentences and stories.  If you haven't checked the info on the soldier craft project from Deanna Jump's unit, google it!  They're terrific!

Thanks to all those who serve our country....
both the families who sacrifice the time away from their loved ones and the soldiers that keep us safe!
God Bless!

Here's a link to the PowerPoint...I hope it works :)

Saturday, November 5, 2011

Days, Months, and Holidays

We worked on our target skill of:
"I can write days, months, and holidays using a capital letter at the beginning of each."

Some of my friends need to spend some more time learning to categorize words into days, months, and holidays this week.

Here's a simple word sort I plan to use during help them recognize and remember the difference between days, months, and holidays :)

First create the category headings for the pocket chart or file folder they'll be sorting the words into...
Download a copy here.

 Use these words on labels to create cards to sort.  I printed off the labels and added them to some cute colored cards I purchased from the local teacher store.  You could use index cards.
Download the label words here.

 After playing the sorting game for a couple of days, assess the kids using these assessment sheets.

Download a copy of the assessment sheets here.