It’s the most wonderful, terrifying, exhausting, rewarding, and hopeful time of year for teachers: back to school time! Have back to school dreams started kicking in? Or, are you already back to school and living it in real life? When it comes to resources for your sweet first grade babes, I’ve got you covered. Below I’m sharing ten resources that’ll keep you and your students floating all year long. You can click on any of the photos below to be taken to the resource.
Creating a warm classroom environment plays such a vital role in helping students build confidence and take pride in their work. These Bravo Boards that hang in my classroom have each student’s name on them. At the beginning of the year, I hang up an activity that they completed. I make a super, duper BIG deal out of it and make sure they know just how proud I am and how special it is to display their work here. After that initial hoorah, I allow them to choose their OWN piece of work that made them proud. They LOVE this! Displaying their work and letting them be in charge of what work they hang here really encourages them to do their personal best!
Continuing down the personal best path, I just added a new resource to my shop that is perfect for the beginning of the year. These activities encourage students to think about their choices and how their choices impact them and others.
They meet a friend named Penelope. She sends the class a letter asking for help.
Penelope is having a hard time at school. Her teacher keeps telling her to do her personal best and make good choices, but she has no idea how to do that or what that even means. Penelope writes down her daily schedule in the letter and asks for advice from the class.
Students will work together in pairs, bundles, or as a whole group to come up with solutions to help Penelope make good choices. They will "send" the schedule cards back to Penelope so that she can begin to make changes in her day.
Students will also meet some other characters. Your class will have to determine if the characters on each card are putting forth “4 Star Effort” or “Not Quite” based on the “rubric” shown below. This activity could be completed as a whole group or in small groups (if you are feeling brave). You could even have students act out each scenario.
Good Choice or Not? - These cards focus on the BEHAVIORS of different characters. These can be used to discuss what good choices look like, sound like, and feel like. Students could act out these scenarios, as well.
The Best Me I Can Be Booklet: Create a “The Best Me I Can Be” booklet for each student (all materials are included in this packet). Each of the sheets in this booklet reinforce the importance of making good choices and doing your personal best. There is a little contract at the end of the booklet for students to sign.
Penelope will fit right in with The First Grade Experts.
Ah! Writer’s Workshop. A topic that can make a teacher’s palms sweaty in 3.2 seconds. I remember three years ago my old district decided it was time to buy a Writer’s Workshop curriculum, which meant random boxes being delivered to our classrooms daily. Oh, the boxes! THE BOXES! THE BOXES! Panic mode set in!
Luckily, the summer before school had started, I was determined to make Writer’s Workshop my area of focus that year, so I had already started reading up on it.
Here are some ideas on what I’ve done in the past:
Create a fun Writer’s Workshop space. You can read more about how I set that up here.
Introduce each of the writing traits with the help of two characters: Mr. and Mrs. Fix It!
Organize all of your materials in this binder:
Nothing gets me more excited than teaching nonfiction to little ones. Nonfiction gets ALL students (even the reluctant ones) engaged. There’s a topic for EVERYONE. I absolutely loved creating all of these nonfiction resources over the past year. The world around us is so interesting, magical, and beautiful and being able to share all about it with first graders is just plain awesome.
This big bundle includes 31 units. Each unit includes differentiated mini-books for close reading, close reading articles, vocabulary cards, text-dependent questions, and many graphic organizers.
I’m especially pumped about the latest two units added to the bundle: Schools Around the World and School: Then and Now!
These two resources will be awesome for autumn! These, too, are included in the bundle.
Here’s all that is included in each packet in the bundle:
Vocabulary posters and mini vocabulary cards (real photographs help students better grasp these words)
All About _____ article pages - These article pages were designed as a way for you to "hook" your students at the beginning of your unit. You can display the article pages on your document camera as a whole group or print and display during small group instruction.
Differentiated All About ____ Mini-Books - These are differentiated mini-books that can be used during small group instruction.There are three versions. Each version is slightly easier than the last. I wanted to give you options because I know that many of our students come in reading at different ability levels. It is up to you to pick and choose which articles you use with your groups. You can either print in color and laminate or print them in grayscale. Text-Dependent Response sheets follow!
Close Reading Passages: These articles are PERFECT to use for "close reading beginners" or "close reading masters." These were designed to help you and your students get into the groove of closely reading a text that requires multiple reads and answering text-dependent questions.These can either be done together in small group OR with guided support. Questions about each close reading passage are included.
Graphic organizers, vocabulary books, and independent practice sheets to be used however you wish! There are many different options to help meet the needs of your diverse group.
True/False Sort: After learning facts about the topic, students will sort the sentences according to whether they are true or false. I've also provided a cut/paste sheet too that requires students to read simple sentences and glue them in the correct column.
I LOVE these differentiated mini-books!
I LOVE these big posters that Learning In Wonderland shared over on her Instagram here. What a cool space too! Her students will be able to see those posters from anywhere in the classroom. The posters she had blown up come from my First Grade Graphic Organizers and Posters resource.
I break down what each standard means too!
Understanding word problems can be tricky and not-so-fun! I've found the most successful way to teach my students how to solve words problems is through visualizing. I have discovered my students are much more successful when they create a picture of each word problem situation in their head before they rush off to solve it.
Ah…phonics! One of my favorite parts of teaching first grade is teaching phonics! If you haven’t figured out my teaching style yet, I often like to bring in imaginary characters to help teach my students! My kids EAT IT UP! One of my favorite characters to help me teach phonics is “Sound Snackin’ Monster.” I would make my students guess the sound we were focusing on that day using Sound Snackin’ Monster. He would ONLY eat the foods/objects that were associated with the phonics spelling and sound that day (ex: shoe, shell, Sharpie for the /sh/ sound). My kids absolutely adored him! I plan on making a resource all about him this month.
Anyway, I digress! Teaching phonics is just plain fun. Here are some activities to help you teach phonics in your classroom:
Each packet includes I Can Statements and Explanation/Reference Posters
Read, Circle, and Draw Passages
And, many practice activities that can be used at Word Work.
Daily Five completely changed the way I taught! I created a FREE resource packet that you can download in my store.
I also created two different resources that can be used to help you kick off Daily 5 in your classroom. These activities reinforce a lot of what is addressed in the Daily Five book. I’m working on another resource that correlates with the Daily 3 math book.
I receive so many questions about how to implement close reading in the classroom. I find that many teachers are nervous and unsure of what to do or where to start. I created this Close Reading for Beginners resource that explains what close reading is and how to implement it. I also offer an introductory lesson to help you kick off close reading in your classroom. If you’re anxious about conducting close reading lessons, I say GO FOR IT! Take risks! You will be BLOWN away with your students’ vocabulary development and comprehension skills once you get rolling. I pinky promise!
My kids have always enjoyed a good writing prompt to get their creative juices flowing. I’ve created a large collection of writing prompts to last you through all of the seasons! These writing prompts focus on informational, opinion, and narrative writing. I’ve bundled them all up into one big resource!
The final resource to help get you going this school year is the sight word bundle. Let’s face it…memorizing sight words is not all that beneficial or fun for a bunch of young firsties. These sight word fluency flip books are an engaging and interactive way to practice learning sight words.
I hope these resources offer you some inspiration and get you excited for the upcoming school year. Just click on any photo to go grab them.
Happy Back to School!