Thursday, March 7, 2019

Jamie O'Rourke and the Big Potato-A St. Patrick's Day Read Aloud

Time keeps marching on! St. Patrick's Day is almost here!  We spring forward in Arkansas this coming Sunday, and just have one week until Spring Break!  There is a lot going on and time is definatly not on my side.  Anyway, I wanted to hop on and tell you about one of my favorite St. Patrick's Day read alouds!
THE BOOK:Jamie O'Rourke and the Big Potato
 Grab it here on Amazon:Jamie O'Rourke and the Big Potato

                                        Jamie O'Rourke and the Big Potato

Jamie O'Rourke and the Big Potato is an Irish Folktale. This book is about a man that is very lazy and has his wife do all the work on the farm.  But, his wife injures her back and is unable to work on the farm.  While trying to avoid working, he encounters a Leprechaun and finds himself in a heap of trouble.

THE ACTIVITIES: There are a few activities that I have put together for this book.  As always in the primary grades, we want our students to be able to retell the story from beginning, to middle, and to end.  So below is a picture one of the activities included in my St. Patrick's Day pack.  I have also included anchor chart pieces for you to teach compare/contrast by using Jamie O'Rourke and Big Anthony from Strega Nona. I also have my students research Ireland during this unit.  There are many interesting facts to be learned about Ireland and the culture.

Sample Math Center:

Grab this pack here(while its on SALE!) : St. Patrick's Day Activities on TPT

                                                St. Patrick's Day Activities

Sunday, February 10, 2019

Small Group Tips and Tricks...and a FREEBIE!

Hi Friends!  February is rolling along!  This week is super busy and fun in Mrs. Mistler's Class!  We have a Field Trip to our High School tomorrow and Valentines Party on Thursday!  So with that being said, here we go!  First of all, this is the time of year that I start getting a little nertsy(family term...means crazy!) about my students growth.  Ok-I need to clarify, teacher friends you will relate-I am always concerned with student growth, but this time of year... it's getting close to what I call CRUNCH time!   This makes my heart race just thinking about it!  Ok...Mandy...CALM...DOWN!! WHEW!  Wow, ok, now I can proceed with my previous thought! I just completed all of my Parent/Teacher Conferences last week(They went really well!! Yay!!). Anyway, now its time to move forward and keep driving on!  I feel like I am small group crazy kinda teacher.  Anyone else out there?  My students and I have been working hard in small groups and growing everyday.  I recently attended a state mandated training that helped me to remember some key fundamentals about teaching reading.  Now, before I continue, I know that this can be a hairy subject for some teachers.  Teachers have a wonderful gift(being passionate) and sometimes, because of that gift, we get a little sideways on our opinion. I am talking to myself too!  I want to just say how important small group teaching is.  I remember when I first started teaching, how scatter-brained I was.  I really wanted to rock small group time, but a lot of times found myself, wanting to work on word families, but would spend my time with my first group, trying to find the right letter tiles for the word family I was working on. Or, waiting to pick out the book for the current group that I had, until they were sitting in front of me.  I was a young teacher and was just trying to keep my head above water.  OK, I am almost down with my soap box kind of post... Anyway, when it comes to teaching small group reading, here are a few tips:

1. PLAN, PLAN, PLAN-Before you teach your groups.  I cannot tell you how important planning your small groups is.  Now, I know that TIME is not on your side as a teachers, and when I say plan ahead, you are thinking...I know , but I am already a lot of extra time weekly, planning whole group lessons, let alone small group. WHO has the TIME for that?  Well, let me tell you with time and practice, planning for your small group lessons, won't take very long, I PROMISE!  So, with that being said, here is a small group lesson plan template that I use.  Its simple and effective.
                                     Small Group Lesson Plan Template
Grab this template for FREE HERE.

Now, I only have time for 3 groups a day, so I meet with my below level group every day, and then I meet with 2 more groups that day.  My schedule does not allow for meeting with all 3 groups in one chunk.  I meet with some of my groups in the morning, and some in the afternoon.  I just meet with my high group ONCE a week.  I meet with them on Fridays.  These students just need practice with higher level text, vocab, comprehension, etc.  It works out best for me to meet with them on Fridays.  Bottom plan your groups to best fit your kids and your schedule. :)

2. Pick out your books BEFORE you teach your small group.  Read through your books that you are planning to teach, before your call your groups.  When you do this, you can be sure to build background, plan critical questions, and comprehension strategies.  Just a quick read through will help so much!  Knowing the story is important for so many reasons.

This is what have used in the past to store my magnetic letters.  I have also used a shoe organizer hung on a door.  I have a tackle box that has all of my letter tiles organized in it. 

3. Prep your materials.
I always make sure to have my whisper phones, pointers, googly eyes, etc. available and ready before I start groups.  Also, if you are planning to work on word building with tiles, magnetic letters, etc, go ahead and group the letters for each student prior to meeting with them.  I keep snack size Ziploc bags in a bookshelf right behind me for that reason.  While planning my groups, I can easily pull letters and place into bags prior to the lesson.

I am planning on posting more tips and tricks later on the month. I feel like I have typed a novel!  Anyway, Happy Teaching!

Sunday, January 27, 2019

Lesson plans Journey's and Arctic Animals

Well, January is quickly ending! We are working on everything Arctic Animal this week!  I have a lot lined up to do and hope to get it all done.  Although, we do have several interruptions this week. Here are my lesson plans:

Our school system has adopted Journeys for our Reading and Envision for our math.  We also have Saxon for our phonics program.  I have created a Journey's supplement pack to go with this week's story: Where Does Food Come From?  You can grab this pack HERE.  I am also planning on working on Polar Bears and Penguins this week.  Here is a book I ordered from Scholastic a couple of weeks ago. I just love finding new books.  We are researching polar bears and penguins and will be writing about them this week.  Take a peek below!  

I have also ordered Instant Snow from Amazon to do an experiment on how animals survive in the cold.
 Bigib Make 2 Gallons Fake Instant Snow Powder for Slime Supplies Cloud Slime Charms

Tuesday, January 22, 2019

Lesson Plans Arctic Animals, 100th Day Activities, and a GIVEAWAY!!

Exciting things are happening in First Grade this week!  I love winter units as well as 100th day! HOORAY!! Anyway, here are my lesson plans for the week.  My tpt product should have a link with them when you click on them.  If not, head over to

Now Drum roll please!!!!

Head on over to my Facebook page:
to enter into the Giveaway.  Like, comment, and share the post and you'll be entered to win a $10 TPT gift card! Also, enjoy 20% off in my store!! Winner will be drawn on Wednesday, January 23rd! Hurry!

Monday, January 21, 2019

SNOW Activities!

Oh my goodness! I am so excited! We had our first snow this weekend!  I have been waiting for a good snow and this is the best one we have had in a long time!  We enjoyed all things snow day. We played int the snow AND my husband fixed his fabulous hot chocolate!  I had a little time to create some things.  Here is a SNOW writing and comprehension pack:
Snow Writing and Comprehension ActivitiesClick HERE to see it on my tpt page

I also have a Winter Centers for Kindergarten pack:


                                                 Winter Centers for Kindergarten

My tpt store has many more resources for winter activities! Happy Snow Day!!!!

Sunday, September 30, 2018

Scarecrow Magic Read Aloud Activities

Hello!  Its one of my favorite times of year....FALL!  I love everything about it, the colder weather, flannel shirts, hot cocoa, pumpkins, corn maze, and on and on!!!  I love teaching my fall units.  This year, I have added a book to my read aloud collection.  Its called, Scarecrow Magic.  Its a cute story about a scarecrow that turns into a skeleton at night and has a lot of fun.  It has a lot of rhyme in it as well.  Its perfect for primary readers.  I created a mini pack to go along with it.  I want to start focusing a little more on comprehension with my first graders.  So, I have included retell and story element components in this pack.  There is a teacher and student set of retell cards.  As well as, color and black and white teacher versions to choose from.  My students have reading journals, so they will be gluing their cards into their journal.  If you do not have a journal, you can have your students glue on a piece of construction or colored paper.  You can grab this pack HERE. Happy Teaching!!

Wednesday, September 26, 2018

Johnny Appleseed Craft

I'm hopping on to show you my newest creation.  Its a Johnny Appleseed writing craft.  It is super easy and simple.  After reading/discussing Johnny Appleseed, have them make their own Johnny Appleseed and write an important fact(s) about him. I had my kiddos color the pieces of the hat gray.
You can find it HERE

You can also check out my Apple Unit HERE