Sight Word Super Set #1

It's here, it's here, it's finally here!  I have been working on this big set of sight words for a long time.  I wanted it to be absolutely perfect!  I have been using the little red Short Books for years to teach sight words in my classroom.  I LOVE THEM!!!!!  They are a wonderful curriculum tool for many reasons. (which is really another entire post...)  This is an additional set of instructional materials which compliment the books.  I have been using some of these items in my class for years, but finally cleaned them up and made them pretty to share with all my teacher friends.   Others have been on my to do list for a long time and now are finally in one comprehensive set.  They say a picture is worth a thousand words, so here is all you need to know.....

Wow!  It's enough to keep little sweeties busy learning for a long time.  Some activities are meant for classroom use, some are great for homework.  But most of all, it is meant to be hands-on, developmentally appropriate, and fun!  The pack also includes lots of additional ideas and directions for games and activities using the cards in your classroom.  I hope you love this set as much as I do.  I am going to put all of the masters in a binder for easy access throughout the year.  The cards and games are mounted to construction paper and laminated.

If you would like to get this set, it is available in my store:

Teachers Pay Teachers

Thanks for visiting!
Happy Teaching!

Plant Studies

 This was just a fun little experiment to wrap up our studies about plants in first grade science this year. I only have one hour per week with this group to get all the standards taught.  We did this toward the end of our unit, so there were more oral observations than written ones.  The kids really enjoyed seeing what would happen to the plants that didn't have all three things they need to live.  (Air, water, and light)

This wasn't really a surprise to anyone.

This was interesting, because at first, the plant started to grow and looked fine.  Then, we noticed that the bag got puffed up, even though it was completely sealed.  We talked about this and wondered why it had "air" inside the bag.  We had talked just a bit about photosynthesis and some of the students knew that the plants put out oxygen as a byproduct of the process.  We thought maybe it was a result of that.  Later, the bag deflated and started to turn a bit brown.

This one was interesting as well.  We noticed how light in color everything was.  The plants didn't look green at all.  Just shades of white to yellow.

We did this over several weeks.  The kids would look at them each time they came into my room for science, and some would pop by at recess time, as well, to check on them.  Here are a few of the comments that I heard from our little scientists:

"Water is the most important thing."

"The one with no air looks like it is dying."

"The one with no light is almost white."

"It's not doing too good."

"The one with everything it needs has a little flower!"

"It looks really good."

"It is growing out of the bag!"

I have done lots of plant experiments in the classroom before, but the staples were a new idea.  I saw it on Pinterest, of course, but I didn't pin it.  When I went on to try to find it, I found LOTS of other seeds growing in bags, in the same way.  I guess it is not such a unique idea.   But, thank you anyway to the home school mom who first put this out there.  It was a great way to observe the plants growing.  I just took it a step further  by changing the variables of each and using a control group.  This is a simple experiment that can really be appropriate for many age levels. 

Happy teaching!

Spring Fever Freebie!

Do the students in your class have spring fever?  If not, it will most likely happen soon.  This is a little tool I use when I feel like I need to bring out the big incentives for good behavior in my classroom.  I do not do a yearly behavior incentive program because I don't think giving rewards for expected behavior is productive for the long term.  But, drastic times call for drastic measures.  Yes, it is time to bribe my students with a reward for good behavior.  It gets us all through the remainder of the school year and creates some fun!

Anytime my class does something well, they get a gumball.  I just draw them in with marker.  It is usually for transitions, clean up time, walking in line well, etc.  Gumballs will also be given for using quiet voices during guided reading groups as well.  Any behavior you desire gets a gumball!  Sometimes I give big gumballs or multiple gumballs when they deserve it.  Sometimes I just give a little gumball to try to keep them motivated, but need to encourage better.  You get the idea...

When the class fills the gumball machine with gumballs, then they earn a special reward.  It might be extra recess time, a fun healthy snack, stickers.  Anything,  you decide.  Hope this is helpful to you!

Just click on the image above to get yours.  (the document won't have my logo on it,  just the image...)
Thank you to Cara Carroll (CC fonts) for the adorable font!  If you don't have her fonts yet, you should check them out.  They are my favorites!

Happy spring and happy teaching!

Oceans of Fun!

We have had so much fun learning about ocean life!  This is a BIG post with lots of ideas for arts and craft projects!  I have been procrastinating on this one because there are so many photos!  Hope you enjoy it!

So, I am a big fan of paper plate art projects because I always have a stack of them (plates, that is) in my classroom and they are a great option when I am short on time and can't run errands to buy lots of fancy supplies.  Plus, I think they are so cute!  You can make just about anything with a paper plate.  For the little sea turtles and jelly fish above, we used the little plates.  We needed lots of room on our bulletin board "ocean".

To make the jelly fish, just cut plates in half, and let kids paint the front.  We used water colors.  Then, when they are dry, kids can glue the tentacles to the back.  We used tissue strips and ribbon.  You could use cellophane, fabric, or just about anything.

To make the sea turtles, you need a whole plate, and some tissue paper cut into squares.  You also need a water and glue mixture.  Here is my set up:

The students will need to brush a little bit of the glue mix onto a part of the plate and then layer the tissue squares to make the desired effect for the shell.  I always model this carefully for my sweeties so they can do it independently.

After the shells have dried, then kids cut out a head, fins, and a tail to finish.  We added googly eyes for fun!  Aren't they CUTE!!??  I just love five year old kids' art work! 

I think the parent that was helping with this project gave the kiddos a little support with the cutting.  But, we do LOTS of art in my classroom, so they are pretty accomplished by this time of year.  Sorry the color is funny in these photos.  I just couldn't get it quite right.  But you get the idea.

We also made sock-to-puses!   I have to give FULL credit for this amazing project to my incredibly wonderful instructional aide Stacey!!!!!   She thought of this idea earlier in the year and had done this at our local art museum for a fun weekend workshop.  So, we had these in the plans for several months.  Stacey provided all the socks and stuffing.  We just added a few more little things to pull it together in the classroom.  THANK YOU, STACEY!!!  You are the best!

Here's how you can make yours:

You will need socks and stuffing...

and some other goodies to glue onto your creature and tie off the head.

This project needs lots of adult supervision because it also involves a low heat glue gun:

First, stuff the foot of the sock and tie it off to make the head:

Once you have stuffed the head and tied it off, then you need to cut the legs.  It can become a counting activity because you have to make eight legs.  How many cuts will you need?????


Next, you can carefully add eyes and other goodies to complete your  little sock-to-pus.

Here are the wonderful pets my sweeties made:

We wrote about them, and of course, played with them.  It was one of the "choices" in my classroom after the academic "jobs" were done.  The kids were thrilled to have fun with their little ocean friends in class.  I love kindergarten!

We did lots of other fun activities in class, like games and graphs.

This game is available on Teachers Pay Teachers.  Just click on the image above to go there and get it for your darling little students.

We talked a lot about fish.   My kiddos did an excellent job on this three step water color painting.  I was very impressed with the outcomes.  And, of course, we wrote fish facts to go with our artwork.

I got this idea and step by step instructions for the fish paintings from Kathy Barbro on Pinterest!
She is an amazing art teacher with lots of wonderful ideas and great pins.  If you would like to follow her: Kathy Barbro  and she also has a website:  Art projects for  This is a link to the pin about the clown fish:  Clownfish on Pinterest  There have been so many re-pins of it.  So cute!

We also had lots of fun fishing for numbers... it is a separate post.  You can check it out here: Mrs. Byrd's Learning Tree: Fishing for Numbers

We went on a wonderful field trip to the Seymour Discovery Center at Long Marine Lab.  It is a part of UC Santa Cruz campus and it is such a great educational spot for our community.  They do an incredible job with the learning activities for school field trips.  There is lots of hands on learning and it is FUN!  Here is a link to check out what they have going on -
We learned lots about echinoderms and their interesting little tube feet.  We saw dolphins, a Hawaiian monk seal, and many other ocean animals.  We also saw our friend the BIG claw-less lobster!   So cool!  Many thanks to the Seymour Center!

The lobster has been very special in our class for personal reasons to me and especially, my dear friend, Stacey.  So, we had to make some of our own.  We decided to put little hand claws on ours.  Stacey, again, did so much to make this painting project special and fun for our darling kiddos.  Thank you Stacey!!!

And of course, we got the original idea on Pinterest- can you tell I am obsessed?  It has SOOO rocked my world this school year!  The original pin was with a foot print too!  So cute!  Here is the pin:  Pinterest - foot print lobster  We did a more classroom friendly version with just the hand prints.  I think they turned out really sweet.  We talked about the real colors of lobsters (not just red) and students were given the choice to use them as they wished.

Lastly, here is a collection of some of the ocean books that we enjoyed during our studies:

Hope these ideas are helpful to you and inspire some delightful ocean activities in your classroom or home.
Have fun and ....
Happy Teaching!

Math Fluency!

I am working hard this year to get my little sweeties fluent in addition and subtraction facts to five.  I also want them to be VERY comfortable with the number pairs that make ten.  Here are two simple  activities that I think have helped...

Sorting is such a powerful activity in every subject!  First, we made unifix cube trains with 10 cubes.  I told students they could use two colors.  Some of the students realized that you could also just use 10 of one color and zero of the other. (Clever little darlings who wanted to finish quickly!)  Then, I had them record it on a paper by coloring and writing the two numbers used.  Some students just naturally wrote an equation, but it was not required.  After that, I had them do it again with different numbers.

The next day, we sorted every recording sheet onto the chart (above).   It went really well and reinforced all those facts.  I think next time I would do it with category cards that are bright and more appealing rather than the boring chart.  But, of course busy teachers don't have lots of free time, so the boring chart served its purpose.  If I get a bug up my bonnet and decide to make the category cards, I will post them here as a freebie....

BTW, I did both of those lessons as small group math centers.

I have noticed a difference in fluency with these facts since we did this.  In fact, I gave the sweeties a word problem the following week to solve in groups that was 10 divided by 2 (10 cookies for 2 kids).  I was a bit surprised when several kids did it with mental math before we even got to tables to work on it.  As the kids were discussing the problem and recording their thinking at tables, it came out that knowing 5+5 = 10 made it easy to solve this problem.  That, and it seems like whenever we are figuring out how many cookies kids get they are super motivated.  Boy, did that make me HAPPY!!!

This is the other easy (for teacher) way I have been practicing addition and subtraction daily with my sweeties.  I started doing this when we got to 100 on the calendar and students were fluent in counting by 10s and 5s.  Each day there are different equations with different numbers missing.  Two students have to guess what goes in the blank spaces.  Some days we have good discussions when others disagree and students talk about how they solved it.  It is great to hear them explain their thinking.  This has also been a good way to reinforce that equations can go in different directions, the meaning of the = sign, and that sometimes you have to solve for the addend and not the sum.   The numbers and symbols are on card stock, and are laminated with magnets glued to the back.  It is quick and easy to change them each day.  I think this short activity (2-5 minutes) is a great use of instructional time and gets so many things accomplished at once.  I try to do this each day as a part of my calendar routine.

Hope this helps you and gives you ideas to use with your kiddos!  Please comment if you have any other ideas or variations on the theme to pass on.  Share the LOVE!

Happy Teaching!

Melt Art Fun!

This is a fun and unique way to do crayon art and I hope your kiddos will LOVE it as much as mine do.  You will need a flat surface griddle.  They often go on sale and can be had for under $20.  Cover it with foil.  Turn the temperature to just about 200 degrees.  You will need crayons with the wrappers off and some kind of tool to hold and move the paper.
Here is my set up:

This is set up for two children to use it at the same time.  Two sheets of paper fit together very nicely on the tray.  Copy paper works especially well for this art activity.

This is a center in my classroom.  I only allow four students at a time to be at this one.  Two can be working on the art while the other two watch and wait.  I have an adult supervise this a few times before it can be independent.  I have done this for years in my classroom and have NEVER had a safety issue.

Once the surface is hot, it is ready to go.  You can draw with the crayons, but they melt as you draw.  It is like drawing and painting at the same time.  The end result is very cool!

It is important to use some kind of tool to hold and move the paper.  I use pencils that have not yet been sharpened.  The final product does not take long to dry, just a minute or so.
We did eggs last week and of course, we couldn't stop there....

So we made colorful chicks hatching out of them:

"My chick is kuot!  My chick is haching."

'My chick is happy.  My chick is difrent from the others."

"I like my bluejay because it is blue."

They are so darn cute I could lay an EGG!
Happy spring and happy teaching!