Gettin' Nonfiction With It & More!

I began this week at the SDE Conference for Texas First Grade Teachers in San Marcos, TX.  I had sooo much fun, and every.single.session I attended was awesome. I have pages and pages of tips, tricks, and ideas to try. I've already implemented a couple of them and I plan on dedicating a post to the new stuff I've learned after I've tried them out for about a week. You might recognize these teacher-bloggers:

Cara Carroll

I attended Cara's Putting the FUN into Your Math Instruction and Calling All Creative Writers! sessions. She covered lots of ways to keep students engaged with fun, hands-on activities.

Erica Bohrer

I saw Erica at Fitting It All into First: A Look into the Year of a First Grade Teacher. As teachers we are confined inside our classroom walls, so it was nice to "get a glimpse" into someone else's classroom and hear how she gets everything done.

I took a picture with Reagan Tunstall of Tunstall's Teaching Tidbits too, but it turned out blurry. Her sessions were absolutely phenominal! My favorite session of the entire conference was Become a Guided Math Guru! I also attended Math Centers: Hands-On & TEKS Aligned, plus Rise & Shine the Interactive Morning (which really detailed ways to make your entire day interactive). I've already tried out some of Reagan's tips and I'm lovin' 'em. Like I said, more details to come next week. 

Now, let's fast forward...back to school...

This week we are learning about expository text. I used a FREEBIE from The Whole Wheat Teacher to quickly make this anchor chart:

After we learned that expository texts teach us about a topic, we worked in peanut butter and jelly partners to figure out what a particular book was trying to teach us. Then, we searched for examples of text features. (I gave each pair a book about an animal that I checked out from our school library.) 

After we poured over these books and familiarized ourselves with text features like Table of Contents, labels, photographs, etc. we were ready to learn about penguins and point out the text features in our interactive read aloud text.

In math, I still have some kiddos that struggle to skip cout by twos, so I came up with this game on the fly today and the kids LOVED it! They wanted to play again at dismissal and again tomorrow.
I wrote even numbers from 2 - 36 on some foam circles and scattered them on the floor. Then, the boys and girls split into two teams. I started skip counting by 2s out loud, then when I stopped, one boy and one girl had to race to find the number that would come next and step on it first. The fastest player got a point for their team.

This week we are finishing up a unit on measurement. Today we walked the line (well, 8 different lines that I  put on the floor using yellow painter's tape) to measure distance using our feet.

Each student worked with a partner. After walking all the lines, the partners sat down and compared the size of their feet to their partner's feet. Finally, the partners compared their mearsurements to see that the child with larger feet and the child with smaller feet had different answers. For example, it took one child 9 "feet" to measure Line C, but it took his partner 11 "feet" to measure the same line. 

Then we reflected on our learning. I'll talk more about this next week. This is one of those things I learned from Mrs. Tunstall at the conference. My kids thought the lily pad game was the awesome-sauciest and the most puzzling too. They said is was "hard, but lots of fun!!!"

We also learned a little something about rocks this week. 

The kiddos brought rocks from home to compare and study, and I found this bag of rocks at Dollar Tree. Combine that with the rocks in our science lab and we had  quite a collection. I think my students' favorite part was trying to scratch their rocks with their finger nail, a penny, and a push pin. 

And making Pet Rocks was fun too!

Next week, our pet rocks are going to inpsire some writing.

Need a little teacher-spiration for next week? Check out what these other teacher bloggers shared about this week HERE: 


  1. OOhhhhh, the conference looks great! I cannot wait to read some of the tips and tricks you learned!

    1. Thanks for stopping by my blog! I'm going to try to get the post about the conference up this weekend.

  2. The conference sounds like it was a lot of fun!! I'm sure you learned sooo much! I love the chart with the key, cookie, ketchup, and puzzle piece!!! Have a wonderful weekend!


    1. Heather, I'm going to put a key, cookie, ketchup, and puzzle piece in a baggie. Then I will give it to a group of four students. They will each take one and then answer the question. The kiddo who takes the ketchup will tell what what awesome-sauce today.

  3. Love Love Love the reflection anchor chart fro Reagan Tunstall! I have to implement that into my classroom. I'm so jealous of all the amazing teachers that you got to meet with at the conference. Looking forward to more posts about your sessions!

    Teach Talk Inspire

    1. Jamie, I'm going to put a key, cookie, ketchup, and puzzle piece in a baggie. Then I will give it to a group of four students. They will each take one and then answer the question. The kiddo who takes the ketchup will tell what what awesome-sauce today.

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  5. I found your blog through the Five for Friday link up. I will definitely be coming back. I LOVE your blog design. So jealous of the teachers you met at the conference.


    1. Thanks! Designs by Tenille created this "look" for my blog last March. I can't decide to if I will be keeping it or updating it this March (birthday gift to me). I really love that little camera. All the teachers at the conference were very personable and gave excellent presentations. Thanks for stopping by my blog.