Tuesday, October 30, 2012

Flash Freebie - Updated Place Value Games

"It is easier to build strong children than to repair broken men." Frederick Douglass

That quote resonated with me at church yesterday. So poignant. So true. So relevant in this day and age. My heart is still heavy with the Azana spa shooting last weekend. Azana is located in Brookfield which is the community where I teach. I have been to that spa (though not for a few years) so I could picture what it looked and felt like on the inside. Heartbreaking. A broken man did that. What happened in his childhood to make him so angry?

On another note, I am working on another writing unit...our current genre is friendly letters. I'll have it up on TpT next week sometime. I love to include student samples in my workshop units (have you seen my Personal Narrative one?), but that adds extra layers to completing it. I'm currently implementing the unit and mining my firsties for samples. They've got some darling ones! Once I take the photos and make preview pages of the unit I'll get it out there. I'll probably give away a few copies, too, like I did with the PN unit. :) 

I added two more versions of the dice game on my Base 10 Block Place Value mini-pack. With the update, I'm making it a flash freebie until my bedtime-ish tonight. You can snag it by clicking the picture. My bedtime is typically 9:30ish (CST, since I'm in WI).

Monday, October 29, 2012

Manic Monday on Classroom Freebies

Stop by and see my link and a bunch of others at Classroom Freebies today...I'm featuring my Indoor Recess Bags Parent Letter freebie!
Classroom Freebies Manic Monday

Tuesday, October 16, 2012

Place Value Games - Base 10 Blocks

I've had Place Value with Base 10 Blocks on my mind...

My district implements the Everyday Math program. Some days the core lesson is super meaty. Other days, not so much. Hence, the games/centers option. :)

Something we are toying with is trying Math Workshop with our Everyday Math for grade 1. Do you do Math Workshop with EM for grade 1? If so, I'd love to hear about your general structure and any tips you would suggest.

Anyhoo - back to the games...There are three different ones - a dice game and two versions of concentration...

Thanks to the fabulous Ashley Hughes for the great clip art images! You can find them in her TpT store right here. :)

Dice Game (3 versions)...This can be played individually, with partners or in small groups. Set up a "bank" of base 10 blocks. Kids roll two dice and follow the action on the page and record their roll & running total. Depending what they roll, they'll either add to their collection from the bank or remove from their collection to the bank. They'll keep a running total after each roll. Winner is whoever has the most (or least!) at the end...you decide.

Concentration/Memory - Yellow/Abacus
Arrange cards upside down. Students take turns flipping over two cards to try and match the number with the corresponding base 10 block image.

Concentration/Memory - Blue/Right Triangle
Arrange cards upside down. Students take turns flipping over two cards to try and match the equation with the corresponding base 10 block image.

Monday, October 15, 2012

Boo-ed!! How fun!!

So excited to be getting back into the swing of things! Conferences nearly done, out of town weekend fun has been had...just an avalanche of laundry and grocery planning/shopping ahead of me. But, THIS is sooo much more fun!!

In my blogging absence I've been quadrupled boo-ed...so, here's my best shot at Boo!


I adore this book by Mo Willems. Leonardo is the sweetest little monster, though he wants to be scary. The illustrations and word placement are so powerful. If you've never read it I highly recommend it!

I'm a huge fan of Kelley at Teacher Idea Factory. Have you seen her adjective pumpkins centers? She's always full of great ideas.

Learning With Mrs. Leeby
Mrs. Leeby has a super cute freebie for syllable counting on TpT. I am happy to be one of her new followers! You should go follow her, too.

The lovely bloggers who boo-ed me:

Susan at TGIF...Luh-uh-uhv her TpT stuff and her blog. I am weirdly stalker-ish of her, actually. Maybe since I admit it it's not scary to her? Have you seen her new-ish "All About Books" writing workshop unit? Deep love. I just about fell over when I saw that she included my Personal Narrative Unit in her post about her awesome Personal Narrative unit!!

Grab My Button
Cindy at Granny Goes to School...I'm thrilled to be one of her new followers. She's got gads of ideas - a very cool recent post about personal word rings with synonyms for words you'd like you kiddos to retire. Head over and give her a high five!

Maria over at Curious Firsties...she has an amazingly delicious snack recipe over on her current post. We found each other (similar blog names and all) and she is just as sweet as can be. Go give her some love!!

Primarily Speaking
Aimee over at Primarily Speaking...her post about the simple, fun and oh-so-cheap (free money-wise, cheap sweat equity-wise) for a math game called "Walk the Plank" had me running out to Home Depot for a bunch of paint sticks. What a FUN game!!! Show her some love, too. :)

The bloggers I'm Boo-ing...

Leading and Reading
Stacy at Leading and Reading...

First with Franklin

First Grade Fascination

2 cool teachers
Ashley & Monique at 2 Cool Teachers

Tuesday, October 9, 2012

Updated Freebie and a Giveaway

I'm thrilled to be getting closer to my next giveaway, which will be Pete the Cat related. I'm in luh-uhv with Pete. :)
Pete the Cat and His Four Groovy Buttons
I found a typo on my Self-Evaluation freebie. Grrr. Here's the updated version.

Have you seen Miss Elementary's giveaway? I was lucky enough to be included! Head on over there to enter. :)

I can't tell you how many more freebies I have lurking in my brain. I need more hours in the day! Orrrrr, fewer in-my-face responsibilities! It's conferences week and we're going out of town next weekend, so freebie fun will have to wait until next week. Sigh.

Have a wonderful day, friends!

Friday, October 5, 2012

Embarrassing Moment!

Thanks to those of you who posted comments with your embarrassing moments during the giveaway (feel free to add your comment below if you didn't get a chance)! 

They made me smile and even cringe for you. 

Now you can cringe for me...

So, a few years ago, I had this awesome kiddo - his family was equally awesome and stunningly beautiful. 

Beautiful as in, both kids modeled for Kohl's ads. The mom and dad may have modeled in their past, as well. 

A super sweet, kind, generous, wonderful family who you wanted to just keep staring at all four of them because they were so attractive. 

Sounds a little stalker-y, but true. Everyone who knows them would agree.

They would die of embarrassment if they knew I was posting this because they are just.that.nice.

At any rate, I was going to Kalahari (a water park hotel in WI Dells about two hours from where I live) over the weekend with my family and so were they. 

We ran into each other a few times while we were there. 

Me in my bathing suit with any kiddo is kind of embarrassing. With super-model (but soooo kind) family? 

A.W.K.W.A.R.D., but oh well. 

My suit was a two piece...skirt on the bottom and loose tank-top on top. Important detail to note.

I decided to give the boogie boarding or surfing (can't remember) a try in this pool thing that shot water at you like a wave would and you could boogie board/surf. It has a very thin layer of water flowing at you really fast so you could do your thing. 

The worker explained that the best spot to do it was the middle because off the sides the water wasn't as strong and you'd go spinning and flying (super fast water on part of you and slower water on the other part created the spinning.)

Welllll, I aimed at the middle. I really did. 

Yet I went over to the side. 

Which created the spin. 

And the water up my nose and the swimsuit going every direction. 

Exposing my white, pudgy belly. (I would say the pudge was from having had my second baby six-ish month prior...but the same pudge still occupies my belly. Said baby is now four. Years. So, that wouldn't be right to use baby as an excuse.)


I finally look up and straighten myself out and yep...super cute family is there. 

With their parents. 

Meaning, the grandparents of my student. A group of six people watching my demise. 

The mom didn't make eye contact with me right away. As in, "I don't want you to think I saw all of that so I'm going to look away to make you think maybe I didn't." She's sweet like that.

My little student said "That was so awesome, Mrs. Mattes!" He really is so darn sweet and probably didn't think it was a big deal AT all.

On Monday he walks in and says, "Mrs. Mattes, my dad got that fall recorded." WHAT??? 

I'm sure they were recording it not to be mean but because their little boy told them to. 

They didn't know I would make such a fool out of myself. 

And, they're so nice I'm sure they deleted it.

I still cringe when I think about the moment I realized my embarrassing moment was witnessed by people I knew. But it's hilarious, too. :)

And, it taught that wonderful student (whom I still keep in touch with several years later) that wipeouts aren't all that bad!

Thursday, October 4, 2012

Personal Narrative Writing Workshop Unit

This Writing Workshop Unit has been SUCH a blast to implement! 

My sweet little writers were very productive in learning that their lives are FILLED with stories just waiting to come out on paper.

In order to make it as easy as possible for you to teach, I've included teacher AND student samples for as many pieces as possible!

It is available individually and also at a greater savings in my Writing Workshop Bundle.
Rave Reviews on TpT                    Friendly Letters on TpT

The unit encourages students to think about four main places in their life that they have stories to tell...

Then, you spend a while going deeper into each of those four parts...

Students LOVED writing stories, too. After we spent time on each 3 box planning page, kids would choose one story from one of the boxes and write a story.

I teach first grade, so the samples are from first graders since that's what I teach. If you have second grade samples from implementing the unit, I'd LOVE to hear from you!!!

Here's a sample that a student wrote after we focused on Places for a few days...

When you do mini-lessons on adding details, this anchor chart can come in very handy...

There are three different types of writing paper, too...
No editing circles...

With Editing Circles...


 Beginning, Middle End...

Here's another planning page for you to use, too. My class loved writing and sharing their embarrassed stories! I SOO wish I'd taken pictures...
Thanks so much for sticking with me! You can click on the cover to get to it on TpT or you can click here, too.