Vowel Pairs

This week we began a more in depth look at vowel pairs.  I must say that the kids are doing wonderfully. 

First, we reviewed our Vowel Pairs Powerpoint.  Go here to read more.  Then, we learned a new song.  Whenever possible, I try to introduce new concepts through song, movement or both.  This song was published several years ago through Mailbox. I typed up the words and drew some pictures to go along.
Today, we watched this classic Between the Lions video clip.  Fortunately, I was able to access this through PBS Kids.  Here it is for those of you who are not familiar with it.

Afterwards, my kiddos practiced being vowel pairs.  They were so cute!  They walked around as one "talked" and the other "walked." I wish I could share the pictures.  Instead, I have this photo.

We also discovered Two Vowels Together by Mark D. Pencil.  The class moved to this hip hop song as they worked independently sorting  /ee/ and /ea/ words. 

We will continue practicing this concept as we introduce a  few vowel pairs each week.  During guided reading, I will try to focus on this reading strategy with my struggling readers.  Well, that's what we are doing in our class to learn about vowel pairs. 

Happy Teaching and Learning!

The Presidents

Here is what we created this week in honor of George Washington and Abraham Lincoln.

Thanks to Chalk Talk my students created these super cute Presidents.  My class normally creates the TLC Art Lessons  but this was a great substitute. 

Here is a sample of their expository writing.  We did the top together and they had to come up with three facts on their own based on our readings and our notes from the lesson.

 Happy Teaching and Learning!


I am so excited about Valentine's Day this year!  I think it has to do with all the wonderful stuff I have been reading about via your blogs.  I was so inspired that I finally used my Cricut to make these V-Day cards for the kiddos.  Thanks to The First Grade Parade for the inspiration.

We will be spending much of the morning "working" and then, spend the afternoon celebrating with Valentine Day inspired centers.  To celebrate, we will have ice cream shakes!  YUM!!!! 

Hope you have a fabulous Valentine's Day! 

Happy Learning and Teaching!


The Second Shift

I love teaching! But some weeks it is hard to be a teacher. Last week, I spent two hours after school meeting about planning for RTI, had an IEP meeting, and countless other things. Then, I came home to this....

"Mommy, we didn't do art in school. I need to paint a rainbow." All I could think of was that it's almost six, I have no idea what's for dinner and I'm exhausted. But, cheerfully, I replied, "Let's get started."

Some days, it is hard.  I know, I should be spending more time relaxing with my little one but all I can think of is how to improve a lesson or what is needed for tomorrow.  How do you find balance between teaching and home?  Any suggestions?

Happy Teaching and Learning!

Valentine's Day

Here is the card we made for our parents.  Don't you love it?  I was making a sample when one of my little ones asks, "Is that for your love?"  I reply.  "Yes."  She answers, "He no break up with you.  He your love."
I can't help but smile. 

Happy Teaching and Learning!

Instant Math Center Using Puzzles

Turn an ordinary 100 piece puzzle into an instant learning center!
I labeled the back of each piece of the puzzle with the key information that my first graders needed to know regarding number.  The puzzles are labeled either by digit, word, or by place value using words and visuals.

I have found that many kids would love to complete a puzzle but do not know how.  This helps really helps them.  It gives them a map of what piece is needed next.  I love to do this activity when we are learning about place value.  It's an engaging way to see who is understanding!  It also makes a great 100 day activity!

Happy Learning and Teaching!


Valentine Day crafts and ideas

It is hard to imagine that Valentine's Day is just around the corner!   

Here is what my class made last year.  It was a pretty easy craft.  We tissue papered the heart; just like I remembered doing in first grade.  This took about an hour. (We did this in 2 days.)  Afterwards, I spray mounted the hearts to large cardstock paper.  Next, I called a small group of kids at a time to stamp the letters.  After it dried, they added their names.  Viola an instant card and gift! 
I wish you could see her beautiful smile.  The photos were great!

This year, I am planning to do something a little different.  I am going to reuse some materials I discovered recently.  I love when classroom materials can have more than one purpose.
These are cards that I am using for brain breaks with some of my students. But as the kids used them, the outer frame came apart. Instead of throwing them away, I am going to use them as picture frames.

This is the photo of my son a kept at school when returning from maternity leave.  He turns four in May. 

Here is what it will look like completed.  I will take a photo of each student and them mount them to cardstock.  I'm going to add magnets so that it will hang from the fridge. 

Here is the bag we made to hold our cards.

Sorry for the grainy photo.  Really bad lighting.  But you get the idea!

Happy Teaching and Learning!


Meet The Teacher

I'm playing along, as many of you are too! 

Hello, I'm Mrs. Parker.  I LOVE teaching! I can't imagine my life without it! I like to say that I go to school and my husband goes to work.  Yes, some days are rough, but most often, that has to do with the adults in the workplace and not the kids.

As a kid, my sister and I, were referred to as "the girls" since we were only 10 months apart. I can't even imagine.  My mother was a migrant worker as a child and went to school every other day.  She stopped going by fourth grade.  Segregation and a need for financial survival forced her out.  My dad, on the other hand, grew up on a farm and dropped out his senior year of high school.   When my sister and I graduated high school, it was a BIG thing. 

I am the first to go to college and graduate.  I am a Bulldog; a University of Redlands bulldog.  I am indebted to the people who welcomed me as a young freshman on campus.  I spent four glorious years there.  This is a picture of where the Admissions Office was located when I was there.  It was the place where I spent most of my time.  I was an Admissions Officer and in my senior year, an intern for the Office of Admissions.

I have been married to Mr. Parker for five years.  He is my best friend.  He is a federal officer but has many more talents.  He loves to cook and collects cookbooks.  He is teaching himself about photography and loves all things techy.  I would be lost without him in my life.  Together, we have a son who will turn four this May.   He is the joy of my life.  He has my personality and attitude and his dad's looks and brains.

Q: What would you be doing if you weren’t a teacher?
A: I'm not sure.  I never thought of anything else.  As a little girl, I would love to play my record of When You Wish Upon a Star and spin like a ballerina. 

Q: What are your hobbies?
A: Hobbies? Hmm....I love to read and scrapbook.  My new addiction is blogstalking. You all are so wonderfully talented!

Q: When you were little, what did you want to be when you grew up?
A: I knew since first grade that I would be a teacher.  As a kid, I would read the encyclopedia researching the "right" college.

Q: What are your guilty pleasures?
A: As of late, I have been treating myself to one Starbuck's vanilla latte a week.  I LOVE ice cream, dark chocolate, a nice glass of red wine, and Zingermans bread and cheese.  Have you heard of them?  If not, check them out

Since having a child, we love all things Disney.  We have annual passports and go at least once a month which involves a two hour drive one way.

Q: What is your biggest fear?!
A: Loved ones passing away. 

Q: When you’re on vacation, where do you like to go?
A: We try to go to Wisconsin every summer.  My husband's family has a cabin which they built in the 50s.  There is nothing fancy about it.  But, we enjoy it!  We love waking up to the sounds of the loons in the morning. 

Q: What’s the best advice you’ve ever received?
A: Life is good.  My husband's uncle; our son's namesake, said this everyday despite the fact he was battling cancer.  Even at his worse, he would remind you, that life was worth living to its fullest.  Don't take it for granted.  Although, he is gone today, I try to remind myself of this.  Life is good.  Make the best of it.

Q: What do you value most in others?
A: Honesty and integrity. 

Q: If you could choose one of your personality traits to pass down to your kids, what would it be?
A: Perseverance.  Don't give up despite the challenges.

Q: If you could have lunch with anyone in the world….living or dead…who would it be?
A: My grandmother.  She passed away when I was thirteen.  I wish I had a chance to know her more.

Now tell us one random thing about yourself:
I'm a HAG; it's the name of my tea group.  A group of girlfriends and I meet four times a year.  It is an entire weekend of tea, games, crafts, and activities.  Our ages range from 80 to mid 30s.  We met while I was working at a museum as the Education Coordinator.  My friend and I invited ourselves over for tea and the rest is history!

Happy Teaching and Learning!

P.S.  - If you found me via First Grade Parade, welcome.  Thanks for stopping by.  :)
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