Wednesday, February 23, 2011

I Heart Debbie Diller

 I posted this a while ago, but with Mrs. Patton's Linky party going on I thought I would re-post it!!

This past summer, my teacher BFF and I traveled to Houston for a conference to see our idol....Debbie Diller! She is the writer of Literacy Workstations, and a bunch of other AMAZING books. Y'all we sat a table away from her on the lunch break and you would of thought we saw Justin Bieber. 
Anyway, she is just great and her workstations are so amazing. I LOVE that I don't have to switch stuff around all the time. I mean really who has time for that? Here are some pics of my kids in them:
computer workstation

word wall workstation

abc/ word work


pocket chart

buddy reading

more pocket chart

word wall

 My kids just love them, and it makes meeting with small groups much easier!

A key part to Debbie Diller's awesomeness is that she makes an "I Can" list at each station. It is list of all the things they can do while there. I recently just had small papers up with only words that we listed the first few weeks. BUT, I just made beautiful posters (if I do say so myself!) that have pictures and words! They are on TPT, so go and check them out! All you gotta do is print, post, and model! 

Ms. Thomas :)

Monday, February 21, 2011

Random Monday things!

I am random today....I figured I would share these two random things with all of you!
First, I made a pretty cute anchor chart today, if I do say so myself! HA. We have been talking about inferences so much lately, and thanks to fab teachers (Babbling Abby) my kids are really getting it!
Here is inference boy!

I also have had this one for a while, because he sneaks up on first grade a lot!

AND the second random thing....we start money tomorrow! I just made my bubble maps using Cara Carroll's idea! Those are darling and I already have all my money anchor charts done! This makes me happy! AND one of my good friends Meg (I love her for what she sang to me the other day) told me or rather sang me a song she learned in grade school to help remember coins! I typed it up, and I wish there was a way I could sing it for you?! I guess make up your own tune? or it can work as a poem!


-Ms. Thomas :)

Sunday, February 20, 2011

A Small President's Day Activity

My teacher BFF and I talked this evening about how tired we are. :( So, putting together activities for this week was tough. She had a great idea to do a vote for me writing activity and I love it. Simple, and I need to get my kids writing more. I figured making a week long persuasive writing mini-unit will be great! I will start with reading the book "So You Want to be President?" by Judith St. George. 
Then we will discuss what it means to be president and the qualifications to be president. After, we will do our writing web on why someone should vote for them.
I made this piece of paper to put the final writing on:

I did this last year in second grade, and my kids had to make a poster and some of them even made treats with vote for me on them! It was just too cute! The best part was they didn't even have to do that. :)

We also voted :)

Awww...second grade memories!

If you have the day off, I am jealous! Happy President's Day!
Ms. Thomas :)

Seven RANDOM Facts about Moi

Thanks Gladys over at Teaching in High Heels! (I love the name of that blog!) She tagged me for checking out my blog! That makes me sooo happy!
Here are my seven VERY random facts!

1. I still love stuffed animals...haha. I know it is such the kid in me. I recently bought the peas in a pod from Toy Story 3. I couldn't live without them, and they are just so cute. I cuddle with them every night. 
2. I have two passports! I was born in Wales and then moved here so I have two now. I actually need to renew my British one, because I am going in May! Cannot wait!
3. I LOVE soft drinks. I know they are bad, but if you are a teacher it is just neccessary to have a Dr. Pepper around 1:00 pm. 
4. I am addicted to online shopping. I just find it so much easier than going to the store. I find the best things from forever 21 online than in the store, and when the J.Crew factory opens up on the weekends..I cannot help myself. 
5. I watch law and order:svu to the point where I have seen every episode. I secretly wish I was a detective. 
6. I really want to be a reading specialist on an elementary school campus. 
7. I love purses....I will be soon purchasing my first Louis Vuitton. I have been saving for years....I cannot wait to have that little guy in my hands. 

Okay, I said they were random!
Here are the blogs I love to stalk all day every day...:)

I know most of y'all have been tagged, but it is because you are so awesome!

Ms. Thomas :)

Monday, February 14, 2011

Read to Self Time

So I don't know if you are familiar with The Daily Five??? (If you have not heard of it, run out and buy it...NOW!)

I had heard such amazing things about this book and when it was time to do a project for grad school I decided on this book. It was such an amazing read. Seriously, the "sisters" have got it going on. :)

So there are 5 elements to the Daily Five, and right now I am using the read to self element. I was skeptical at first, but I am telling you it is wonderful! Basically how it works is you start by making sure each student has their own personal book box. I bought these cardboard ones at office depot (they were a dollar!) but time and first grade have not treated them well, and I want the plastic ones next year. 

I selected the books at first, but after ALOT of modeling they can select their own books now! So, after you have the book boxes you start by discussing what this time will look like, and what behaviors are appropriate during this time. Modeling is key here! It makes the world of difference. So, you start by letting them read for only 3 minutes!! I know it sounds short, but we came back after 1 minute. That's the other thing, if there are off task students come back and review the appropriate behaviors. Once everyone is doing amazing, then add a minute everyday! 

Guess what my kids are up to? We started in October.....

23 minutes!!!! I know, it is amazing! They read for that long all on their own! It is all about building stamina, if you take it slow you will have amazing results! (something I have to remind myself of quite a bit)

Ms. Thomas :)

Sunday, February 13, 2011

Writing Journal Topics!

So, I don't know about you but the writing workstation makes me want to scream. My kids just have a really hard time just being creative and just writing whatever they feel like. So, I made some journal topic cards. They are simple questions that they could answer in the amount of time for one rotation of workstations. I have them up on TPT. They are $4.00, and there are 36 of them! I am planning on putting them in a box and have them bring their writing journal to the station. I hope it will make your writing workstation run a little more smoothly!

Here is the link:

Ms. Thomas :)

Saturday, February 12, 2011

Honest Abe!

So I made an activity for Abraham Lincoln's birthday! I know it is today and it would of been wise to do it before, but with Valentine's Day I figured other people would be behind also? (at least I hope) 
It is over at TPT!  It's only $2.00, and it comes with two printables and a lesson plan! 

Ms. Thomas :)

Wednesday, February 9, 2011

Penguins! Finally!

I have been seeing fabulous, amazing penguin activities on everyone's blog lately! It was perfect since our reading series' theme last week was birds. So, I decided to focus a little more on the adorable penguin. :)
I kept it simple since, I have been overloading myself trying to do all these amazing activities I see when I just need to accept I can't do everything. :( Booo

So, I started with a chart that had what we already know on it. I gave each kid a post-it note and had them write something down. We had read a story earlier in the year about the emperor penguin, so I knew they would have some background knoweldge. I loved how Babbling Abby and Mrs. Carroll did their charts! I just knew making a penguin that cute was NOT going to happen in the 30 minutes of lunch. LOL
Then, we read some books and learned some new things and then they had to write a fact they learned on a post-it note! 

I have to say I was quite impressed with my kiddos!

So, I have been slacking on the writing lately. Mainly because I have been trying out all these different methods and finally found that a simple writing web is the easiest way to go. I also started writing journals for them. They do the web on one side and the sloppy copy on the backside. This is also great since I don't have to make copies!
We summed it up with writing about what we knew, what we learned, and why we like those cute little guys! They turned out adorable!
I can just picture them waddling!

He wrote so much we put it on two and called them buddies!

Don't mind the leftover green paper from the holidays since I decided to use the hot glue gun to get them up there....oops
That is my penguin quick mini mini unit!

Ms. Thomas :)

Monday, February 7, 2011

Ms. S loves recycling!!

It is official the first grade teachers are bloggy addicted and now we have moved on to TPT! We just cannot stop. Now, we may not be anywhere exciting yet like the amazing Deanna Jump but, baby steps! 
So, I wanted to give my teacher BFF Ms. Simoneaux over at First Grade Fresh a shout out. (since she gave me one! and yes I will be your valentine!) She made an amazing recycling mini unit to go along with our sometimes boring reading series! Yay!! Go check it out! Recycling

Ms. Thomas :)

Saturday, February 5, 2011

I am on Teachers Pay Teachers!

I finally did it! I have been putting it off for forever now, (mainly because I am new to paypal, still not sure if I did it right?) but I am officially on there selling stuff! 
I only have two things up can get my ice cream contractions for FREE, and I just posted a new Valentine's Day literacy activity. It is based on the book "If You'll Be My Valentine" by: Cynthia Rylant. Go and check it out! I will be hopefully making new things to put up there!

Ms. Thomas :)

Friday, February 4, 2011

Inference Detectives!

So believe it or not....but WE got a SNOW DAY! I use the term snow day verrrrry loosely. Regardless, I have an extra day to relax. I am super jealous of all my loves in Dallas who have had four days so far!
Well luckily I was able to complete the awesome inference activity that Babbling Abby put up on TPT! Check out her new teacher blog The Inspired Apple. I cannot wait to see what she puts up!
So I could not agree more with her that our reading series was not cutting it with explaining inferences well to six year olds. I just loved how she presented it and I can tell my kids now understand a difficult comprehension skill. 
I started with the snow day activity brainstorm which my kids actually could name a lot of things. (We don't see snow much down here so that was good!)
We read the story next, which was about a Mom wondering what her son and his Grandmother had done on their snow day. I explained that we had to help Tim's Mom out because she was not sure what they had done all day. The kids bought in and were excited to be detectives.I made the case files the night before and kept it the same as Abby did but changed a few things. (I couldn't eat a happy meal nor do I have children so I used spaghetti materials :))
Each group investigated their case files and then recorded their observations. 

They had to record the evidence and then infer what they did with the evidence. They did a FABULOUS job thinking outside the box. 
We came back together and each group presented their evidence and their inferences. Then we answered the questions. 
Luckily we just had finished up time lines, so it was perfect that she included this too! This is ours.
After, each student could pick a time and then illustrate what happened at that time. They were awesome. I plan on hanging them up after this three day weekend! 
Thank you so much Babbling Abby...go to TPT and pick this activity up! It is sooo worth it!

I also wanted to share this chart that my fabulous teaching buddy Ms. Simoneaux made. Check out her blog!

We use this whenever we read a book! It was so simple to make, and it is interactive so the students really get a grip on these important comprehension skills. 

Pretty and functional! My favorite two things for something in the classroom!

Stay warm!

Ms. Thomas :)

Wednesday, February 2, 2011

Meet the Teacher!

My fave bloggy author Mrs. Carroll is doing a fun linky party, so I had to participate!

So where do I begin? :) The name is Ffion Thomas. (I explain the f's later)

Ben and I in San Fran

I was born in Wales, UK. Crazy right? My family and I moved when I was 5 to the great state of Texas! I hope know I will end up there someday. :) 
I graduated from LSU (GEAUX TIGERS!) in December 2008, so I picked up a mid-year job at the school I am at now and met some amazing children and decided it was not time to move yet! I decided last Spring to pursue my Masters. I am currently back at LSU (loves it) and will be getting a Masters of Education and a Reading Specialist. It is my fave subject hands down. I have been teaching for two and half years. I started in second and moved to first this year. I am torn between which one I like the best!
Sian, Angharad, and me
I am one of three girls, me being the oldest. I love my sisters. :) I have a fabulous boyfriend, Ben. I have wonderful parents. Life is good.

Q: What would you be doing if you weren’t a teacher?  
A: I would be a singer, for sure. I love to sing.
Q: What are your hobbies?  
A: I love to sing, listen to music, travel, cook, dance, watch TV. I love pugs too. I also love planning fun things for my students!                                                                                  
Q: When you were little, what did you want to be when you grew up?   
A: I wanted to be a zoologist for a little bit. I also wanted be a professional flutist. But in eighth grade, teacher was chosen and never changed from there. :)                  
Q: What are your guilty pleasures?    
A: ALL sorts of bad television. I get yelled at by Ben for all the awful TV I watch. I am actually too embarrassed to say some of them. LOL                                                              
Q: What is your biggest fear?!     
A: I am TERRIFIED of tornadoes or bad weather. I was scared of tornadoes in Texas and now in Louisiana it's hurricanes. I cannot catch a break.                                                                   
Q: When you’re on vacation, where do you like to go?   
A: I told Ben the other day I would leave for Hawaii tomorrow. :)                                
Q: What’s the best advice you’ve ever received?       
A: Love is the simplest thing you need in the world.                                             

Q: What do you value most in others?        
A: Honesty and being selfless when someone is in a time of need.                                                        
Q: If you could choose one of your personality traits to pass down to your kids, what would it be?       
A: I would hope my humor. I love to make them laugh, so I hope they can see how it can make any day better.                                                                                                  
Q: If you could have lunch with anyone in the world….living or dead…who would it be?              
A: Hmmmm...tough one! I would probably say Amelia Earhart. I may be a nerd for that, but I was obsessed with her when I was little. I did my biography book report on her in 5th grade. :) I just think she is such an amazing woman role model. And please lunch with my family is always fabulous. 
Now tell us one random thing about yourself:
I have celiac disease, so I am proudly a gluten free girl! :) AKA I love whole foods. I have two f's in my name for a reason. In the Welsh alphabet two f's makes an f sound. So, that is why I have to have BOTH of them!

That is all about me! Now your turn to post! Go link up at The First Grade Parade

Ms.Thomas :)

Tuesday, February 1, 2011

Dr. King and the 100th day!

Since Dr. King's holiday was a day for no school, we still had time to talk about how important he is and was before. We even watched his famous "I Have a Dream" speech. It still gives me goosebumps not matter how many times I watch it! We read a few amazing book all about Dr. King to make sure we really understood what he stood for. 
We then read the poem We Can Be Like Martin. I got this awesome resource from Mrs. Larremore over at Chalk Talk!

My Dr. King I made! 

After we read the poem we discussed all the amazing things that Dr. King stood for. The list they came up with was AMAZING!! Here is how they thought they could be like Martin.

 Just makes me so happy!

SOOOO, now the 100th day!! Such a great day, especially in first grade! We rotated around all the classrooms. I did a 100 day trail mix, Ms. Simoneaux did froot loop necklaces, and Mrs. Mathieu did a writing activity about what we would do with 100 dollars. Here are some fun photos from the day!

Counting in groups of 10

Such a great time! It was even better that we came with an article of clothing with 100 things on it. Even I hot-glued 100 pom poms to my shirt! 

:) :)

:) :) :)!!!!!

Perfect end to a perfect day!

Ms. Thomas :)

Ice Cream Cone Contractions!

I made these the other week to help my kiddos learn their not contractions better. They love them so I thought I would share them with everyone!

Ms. Thomas :)