Sunday, May 24, 2015

Do you use Front Row for Math? (freebies)

Do you use Front Row in your classroom? We started using it in my room back in February and it's amazing! Since I started teaching I've tried so hard to differentiate for all my students. Math Work Stations helped, and having 2 math groups sometimes helped by never seemed like it provided enough challenge or support for ALL my kiddos. I just couldn't figure out how to do more. Then I found Front Row. Finally my math time is differentiated for every single student!
Signing my class up for Front Row was simple and free. My students login easily and are quickly working on what each one of them needs. One of my kiddos is a math whiz! He's working on 4th grade level equations requiring order of operations! Another of my kiddos struggles with math and is working on late-Kinder/early first grade addition and subtraction. I could never give them that much work at their own level before!
The first thing students do on Front Row is take a placement test. After that they can work on whichever CCSS domain you want them to do. Front Row will even suggest which one you should have them work on. Here's what this looks like

For every question students have manipulatives available and can have the problem read to them (no more problems with students not being able to read the word problems!). 
There are 1-2 videos the student can watch to also help them with the problem. Front Row also suggests 1-3 students the child can go to who might be able to help too. They're students who have already passed similar questions. I love this feature! It's exciting to see my students not being afraid to ask for help. And I love that they're learning to teach and help each other. 

While my students work on Front Row, I'm able to pull aside individuals or small group and work with them on whatever skill they struggle with. Amazingly, Front Row will even suggest grouping for you and provides worksheet you can print to use in the small groups if you want to.
I find the analysis reports extremely helpful too. I can find out if a student completed a standard with no difficulty, moderate difficulty, or if they really had a hard time. 
I've used this for my own information in creating groups and for report cards.

Another thing I love about using Front Row is the reports I can look up that tell me how many questions a student answered and what their accuracy rate is. On Sundays I get an email that tells me which students improved the most in which domains and who still needs help. This post is starting to sound like a Front Row commercial isn't it? Sorry about that. I am just so excited to finally be able to differentiate the way I've always wanted to! 
After a while, I thought my students should be rewarded for their hard work and created some certificates for them. I give them out every Monday and the students who get them choose a reward coupon. So far the favorites have been to sit in the teacher's chair and 15 minutes of free time for the class. My desk chair is blue, has a comfy padded seat, and rolls. The first person to choose it was a boy who we'll call E. A few times during the day I'd look over and see E turning round and round in the chair. He wasn't distracting anyone and was still paying attention, so all I could do was smile. At the end of the day I walked my students out the front school, came back in the room, and found my chair right back behind my desk. I had forgotten to ask E to put it back. He just did that himself. What a sweetie!
If you'd like the certificates for your class, you can grab them in my TPT store. They're free and include my reward coupons.

 I'd love to hear from you about your favorite math websites! Any suggestions for ones I should check out?

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Sunday, May 3, 2015

Teacher Appreciation Sale & Giveaway

To all the teachers I've gotten to know through blogging, all those who follow my blog and stores, and all those whose blogs and stores I follow, I can't tell you how much I appreciate you! You inspire me and I am a much better teacher for making those connections.
This week I'm throwing 20% off sales in both my Teacher's Notebook and Teachers Pay Teachers stores.
Thank you to The Daring English Teacher for this wonderful button!

To further show my appreciation, I'm having a Teacher Appreciation Giveaway! You can win one product from my TPT store
It's super-simple: check out my store, pick the item you would like to win, and leave your email and the name of the product in a comment below.
The giveaway is open until 8pm Tuesday evening Pacific Time. I'll then choose a winner at random and email you your product of choice.
Good luck!

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Monday, April 6, 2015

Whole Brain Teaching, Part 1- Getting Started

Today was a staff development day for my district. Our school was lucky enough to join 2 other schools for a day of Whole Brain Teaching. Our presenter was supposed to be Chris Biffle, but one of the co-founders of WBT came instead. He was awesome! I've done the class-yes part of WBT teaching for a few years and it's an amazing way to get kids' attention. I was always nervous about trying the rest of WBT even though there are plenty of videos out there to watch. But after today, I'm jumping in!
In case you don't already know, WBT has a techniques for getting attention called class-yes. However you say "class" the students respond with "yes" and are quiet with their eyes on you). For getting kids talking to one another they do teach-okay. The teacher says "teach", kids respond "okay", and turn to tell their neighbor about what you've just taught. Our presenter had us take turns practicing different ways to say "teach" and it wasn't easy to keep coming up with new ideas! I know that in front of the kids I won't feel so silly and it will probably be easier.
Tonight I found a great video that show how to get started with whole brain teaching. I love the way Nancy describes how to introduce the teach-okay part. After practicing today and watching this, incorporating teach-okay is my goal for this week. Tomorrow should be lots of fun. Wish me luck!
Hope you enjoy the video:

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Thursday, April 2, 2015

Currently in April

April, sunshine, and Spring Break. Life is good. I went in to school today to clean up a big mess I left behind last Friday afternoon. Brought home a little bit to do my planning for next week when we're back in school. We have a professional development day Monday and I'm so excited! No really, I am. It's not sarcasm this time. Chris Biffle is coming for a day on Whole Brain Teaching! Woohoo! I hear it's a pretty intense day but I'm sure it will be awesome. I'll let you know.
In the meantime here's a link to one of my favorite WBT videos you've likely already seen, but could you really get tired of watching this adorable little boy lead the class in the rules? I smile every time I watch it.

Since it's April (already) I'm linking up with Farley again for this month's Currently.
 Listening- It's terribly windy outside today and has been for the last couple days. I really want to work in the yard and get my flowers trimmed up. Maybe tomorrow will be nicer.

Loving- Oh yeah, Spring Break. What's not love? Sleeping in, staying up late, no worries about what to wear, or getting lunch ready the night before. I wish I could say I've been extremely productive, but... not so much. And I'm enjoying it.

Thinking- that pretty much explains itself. 

Wanting- my husband's first real estate sales are supposed to close in the next 2 weeks. I sure hope they go smoothly. One hit a major hiccup last weekend but he saved it. My husband was laid off a couple years ago so he got his real estate license and after lots of work getting his name out there the sales are here! It will be nice to do more than just pay bills. We're going to celebrate with a trip to Disneyland later this month or next month. He loves Disneyland! and we could use a fun trip.

Needing- Yippee I get my hair cut on Wednesday! I'm past due and it's driving me crazy.

My blog name- First Grade definitely found me! I didn't even want to be a teacher when I started college. I was a biology major and planned to become a zookeeper. But that first quarter chemistry kicked my you-know-what and my plans needed to change. I'd been very involved in 4-H and liked helping younger members in my project so I decided to become a teacher. But there was no way, no way! I could teach kinder or 1st grade. I was sure of it. How do you teach kids to cut with scissors, write their names, etc? Wouldn't you know it, my first job was a 1st/2nd combination and I loved it! Two years later we moved back closer to home and I decided I'd like whatever grade I got. That turned out to be kindergarten and no one was more surprised than me at how much fun I had. This year I moved up with my class from 1st to 2nd grade. It's been so much fun- this group is a dream! But one day after school it hit me, out of nowhere, that 1st grade really is what I love and that I wanted to go back. That surprised me too because I was all set to stay in 2nd for a while. I'm thrilled to be going back to
image from
and plan to stay there for a long time to come. So that's how First Grade Found Me- twice.

Thanks for popping by!

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Saturday, March 14, 2015

St. Paddy's Day Freebies!

Happy Saturday everyone! I'm so glad the weekend is here so I can recharge a bit. We had parent conferences last week and I was gone all day Tuesday to a textbook evaluation meeting. We're getting new math textbooks next year and are trying to decide between Go Math!, Math Expressions Common Core (we've been using the old version for a couple of years now), and Singapore Math. If you use any of those or have any opinions, I'd love to hear from you!
This week we'll do some fun activities for St. Patrick's Day, continue to work on writing opinions, and begin to wrap-up our biographies unit. It should be fun!
My friend Barbara from Barbara Leyne Designs and GradeOnederful created some monster-themed St. Paddy's Day clipart that inspired a couple of coloring sheets and word searches I'll give my kiddos Monday and Tuesday. If you need a little something for the holiday, grab this freebie! Just click on any image.
There are 2 word searches- one easier, one harder. I'm teaching 2nd grade this year, but a few of my kiddos will feel overloaded if I give them the harder word search. I think I'll just copy enough of each and let them choose.

Barbara Leyne Designs

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Tuesday, March 3, 2015

Currently in March!

It's March already? Oh my gosh! I missed last month's Currently, so I wanted to be sure to do this one. Here it goes:

LISTENING: Coast Guard Alaska is so interesting! That surprises me. I didn't expect to enjoy it so much. What those men and women do is just remarkable. Recently I found out that one of my kindergarten students who was also in my class in first grade is going into the Navy this summer and wants to be a rescue swimmer. He's grown into such a wonderful young man and I'm so proud to know him. It's so much fun to know some of my students as adults.

LOVING: My students are having so much fun with our latest writing unit! I'm having fun seeing them produce quality writing and enjoying it at the same time. If you're looking for an opinion writing unit for your kiddos, I recommend Share Your Opinion from Tania over at My Second Sense. The way she laid out the format for writing is working really well in my room. Thank you, Tania!

THINKING: Ugh, report cards. I brought home lots of paperwork to sort through, but tomorrow's a minimum day meant for report card prep. So I think my bag will stay right by the door where I put when I walked in. I'll search the web for fun art projects instead :)

WANTING: Ha! Ha! I always want warm, gooey brownies.

NEEDING: a few days off just to recharge a bit. There are several books on the shelf just waiting for me! Any recommendations? Especially mysteries.

SPRING BREAK PLANS: relaxing, reading, cleaning, and maybe enjoying one of those warm, gooey brownies!

Hope you have a spectacular week! I'm off to check out other Currently's. Thanks for popping by!

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Thursday, February 12, 2015

Valentine's Day Bookmark Freebie

Happy Valentine's Day everyone! This is a quick post tonight. I just finished making some valentine bookmarks to give my class tomorrow. They're a freebie in my TPT store. Just click {here} and they're yours. Comments and pinning are greatly appreciated if you download them. Thanks so much!!

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