Apples Theme in First Grade

20 September 2016

In first grade we are finishing up our apple themed learning.  Here are photos of some of the activities we have done.  I also have a freebie for your at the end of this post!  Click on the photos to check out the packets the activities are from.

We start our learning with an apple schema chart.  The photo above is from last year.  This year has been struggle city for me to remember to take photos!  We started a new reading series (Wonders) and I am still trying to figure out how to fit everything in.  I have more pull-outs and more push-ins than I did last year.  I am barely keeping afloat!  It always seems to settle down about a month after school starts.  Right now we are only two weeks in!

We do this whole class apple labeling activity from my friend, Rachelle, of What the Teacher Wants.

My students then draw their own diagrams in their interactive science notebooks.

We read many different apple themed books (I have the links posted at the end of this post) and then we complete an interactive science notebook activity.

We have an apple taste testing party and then graph our favorite kind of apple.

Our math centers also tie into our apple theme.  Our math program is pretty dry (EngageNY), so I like to supplement with twice weekly math centers.  I am lucky because our AIS Math specialist agrees to push in for these and conduct a guided math lesson with her students. 

Now for the freebie!  Here is a free Apple Themed Cootie Catcher.

Apple themed picture books & resources (affiliate links):

Thanks for stoping by! 

Thoughts on Whole Body Listening

13 September 2016
I asked Susanne Poulette if she would write a blog post for me on Whole Body Listening.  She is the original author of Whole Body Listening and many years ago, she gave me permission to use the term "Whole Body Listening" on my Teachers Pay Teachers freebie.  I hope you enjoy reading this blog post.  I have included a new Whole Body Listening themed freebie for you at the end of the post.


So it’s that busy back-to-school time with all its eager anticipation. Teachers prepare for the new school year, parents and children shop for supplies, and thoughts turn to refreshing our students’ learning skills and strategies. Among the tools for teaching and sharpening listening skills is good old Whole Body Listening.
·      Brain – thinking about what the ears are hearing.
·      Eyes – looking toward the speaker.
·      Mouth – quiet
·      Hands – quiet, still
·      Seat – firmly in the chair or on the floor.
·      Feet – quietly where they should be (floor or criss-cross applesauce).

The critical word here is “tool.”  WBL should be modified as needed for students who have special needs, difficulty with self-regulation, or discomfort with eye contact. It should always be used with sensitivity for a child’s developmental readiness and attention span level. 
WBL lessons are suggestions for teaching and practicing listening skills. WBL is a teaching tool that can be used as a key phrase to pre-set, or as a reminder for good listening, but not for lengthy performance expectations.

If I could identify the most critical element of WBL, it would be listening with the brain. When I think about what a speaker is saying, I’m essentially connecting my mind with that speaker’s mind. Isn’t that true attending and authentic listening?
Listening with the brain can also help us develop an internal schema as we think about what we are hearing and form mental images. In this way, thinking about what is being said can encourage visualization, and perhaps this might increase comprehension and retention.

We can use WBL to help students to take responsibility for their listening behaviors. Students become aware of and reflect on their own listening. Let’s encourage students to question themselves: “What do I need to listen for? Did I think about what the speaker was saying, or what was going on outside the window? How well did I do? Do I get it? Do I need to ask a question?”

We know that children learn by watching, listening, and imitating. In fact, we may know all too well how fast a child can learn a naughty word or behavior! The same holds true for listening.
When we’re good listeners, we demonstrate how we want our students to listen. Without interrupting or rushing, by maintaining eye contact and attention, we listen well and model the same courtesy to students as we do to adults.


As you work on WBL, here’s another strategy you might find helpful:  HELP STUDENTS DEFINE GOOD LISTENING SKILLS

·      Brainstorm examples of good vs. poor listening and generate lists.

·      Encourage students to reflect on the effort involved in their own listening: Is it easy or difficult?

·      What makes it easy or difficult?  When, why, where is it easy or difficult?

·      What are some solutions for making listening easier?

·      Ask, “Listening is a skill, so how do you get better at a skill?”  Elicit discussion: “Skills improve with correct practice, like throwing a ball, tying shoe laces, playing an instrument…” Encourage students to make this connection and understand that we can improve our listening skills.

·      Teach the difference between HEARING and LISTENING:  
We hear with our ears
We listen with brain, eyes, mouth, and calm body.

·      Compare hearing and listening to TV channels:
TV is turned on, but set at a blank screen: “TV is ON”— is like HEARING.
TV is turned on and “TUNED IN” to a real channel — is like LISTENING.

·      TUNING IN makes the difference. TUNED IN means we connect our brain to the message; we think about it, focus on it, and give it importance.

·      Use the key words to teach self-monitoring:  “Am I TUNED IN to the listening channel or a blank screen?

·      When listeners are distracted and then they hear the speaker say something like, “Now
don’t forget…” or “What do you think about…” That’s a cue to click themselves back to the listening channel.

I wish you a joyful, productive, satisfying, and successful school year. May you optimize and cherish the profound impact you have on the future generation.        ~ Susanne

One of the most sincere forms of respect is actually listening to what another has to say.
~ Bryant H. McGill

A wise old owl sat in an oak.
The longer he sat, the less he spoke.
The less he spoke, the more he heard.
Why can't we be like that wise old bird?
~ Author Unknown
Thank you Susanne for the great reminders and tips for using Whole Body Listening in the classroom.!

Here is a new Whole Body Listening Freebie for all of you:

Books to promote listening discussions in your classroom:

Farmhouse Style Classroom Decor

11 September 2016

I have redecorated my classroom and changed over to a farmhouse / fixer upper style theme.  That means lots of burlap and galvanized metal!  I kept my black accents from my polka dot themed room and changed out all my bright bins and bright accents.  I hope you enjoy the change!  I will update this post with the links of the TpT packets for each decor item, as they become available.  Follow my store for email alerts of when I post something new!

I painted my desk black a few years ago.  It just needed a little bit of touching up for some chips.  

I accented the desk with this garland by Cool As Cam Be.   I told Dana the colors I was looking for and she created this custom garland for me in no time!  You can check out Dana's FB page {HERE} and her Instagram page {HERE}.   Please, tell her I sent you her way!

  1. Sunflowers: Real (from the North Fork of Long Island)
  2. Trays - Target Threshold Section on Clearance
  3. Apple  - Target Dollar Spot
  4. Sharpies - Amazon
  5. Glass Jar - Target
  6. Twine - Amazon
  7. Frame - Michaels
  8. Garland - As Cool As Cam Be

  1. Glass Jar - Target
  2. Sharpies - Amazon
  3. Apple - Target Dollar Spot

  1. Caddy - Amazon
  2. Burlap Ribbon - Hobby Lobby  or Amazon option {HERE}
  3. Farmhouse Table Labels - TpT 

  1. Large Crayons - Amazon
  2. Caddy - Rustic Roots by Mel

  1. Caddy - Rustic Roots by Mel

  1. Read Letters - Michaels
  2. Lavender - Hobby Lobby
  3. Let Them Be Little Sign - Hobby Lobby
  4. Ruler Ribbon - Michaels
  5. Numbers - TpT (coming soon)

  1. Caddy - Amazon
  2. Burlap Ribbon - Hobby Lobby  or Amazon option {HERE}
  3. Table Labels - TpT 

  1. Bins - Walmart
  2. Library Labels - TpT (coming soon)
  3. Leveled Library Labels - TpT (coming soon)
  4. Shelves - Office Closing Find. I painted the metal black. 

  1. Chair Pockets - Neat Seats
  2. Caddy - Amazon
  3. Farmhouse Caddy Label - TpT
  4. Lanterns - Amazon

  1. Lanterns - Amazon
  2. Poms - Hobby Lobby

  1. Farmhouse Alphabet - TpT
  2. Mini Chalkboard - Michaels
  3. Ruler Crate - Michaels
  4. Tin - Dollar Spot at Target
  5. Reading Strategies Posters - TpT
  6. Cube Seats - Past Season Target
  1. Farmhouse Number Posters - TpT
  2. Farmhouse Alphabet Posters - Tpt
  3. Twine - Amazon
  4. Mini-Clothes Pins - Amazon

  1. Stool - Decor Steals
  2. Plastic Drawers - Amazon
  3. Don't Forget to Be Awesome Sign - Homegoods
  4. Labels - TpT (coming soon)
  1. Large Ruler - Michaels
  2. Labels - TpT (coming soon)
  3. Black Bulletin Board Paper - Amazon
  4. Ribbon - Amazon

  1. Bins - Walmart
  2. Farmhouse Labels - TpT (coming soon)
  3. Farmhouse Color Posters - TpT
  4. Farmhouse Banners - TpT
  5. Black Bulletin Board Paper - Amazon
  6. Burlap Ribbon - Amazon

  1. Farmhouse Birthday Board - TpT
  2. Farmhouse Banners - TpT 
  3. Calendar Labels - TpT (Coming Soon)
  4. Black Bulletin Board Paper - Amazon
  5. Burlap Ribbon - Amazon

  1. Door Decor - TpT (coming soon)
  2. Where We Are Signs - TpT (coming soon)
  3. Burlap Ribbon - Amazon

  1. Pencil Caddy - Amazon
  2. Labels - TpT (Coming Soon) 

  1. Bathroom Pass Labels - TpT 
  2. Sanitizer Bottles - Big Lots

  1. Fans - Hobby Lobby and Party City (Thank you to Katie of Queen of the First Grade Jungle for the inspiration.)
  2. Word Wall Headers - TpT
  3. Farmhouse Banners - TpT 
  4. Pocket Chart - Carson Dellosa
  5. Burlap Bulletin Board Paper - Amazon
  6. Bordette - Amazon

  1. Banner (it was short lived, I messed up writing on it) - Hobby Lobby
  2. Bins - Target
  3. Classroom Jobs - TpT (coming soon) 
  4. File Cabinets - Staples

  1. Classroom Jobs - TpT (Coming Soon)
  2. Burlap Banners - Amazon

  1. Teacher Toolbox Labels - TpT (Coming Soon)
  2. Toolbox - Amazon
I hope you enjoyed seeing my classroom makeover!   Here are a few more useful links.  Please, note that this post contains affiliate links.

My farmhouse decor items:




More Farmhouse Decor Essentials from Amazon:
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