Friday, December 13, 2013

Naughty or Nice? Christmas Mice!

Each year my students become pen pals with a first grade class in Lexington, OH.  It was a random pairing one year and the teacher and I clicked and have kept it up ever since!  In addition to writing letters often, we also Skype with them about once every six weeks.  It's a wonderful opportunity for the kids to connect with their pen pals and "see" their new friends.
We exchange gifts at Christmas time via Skype, as well.  This year, we made them Christmas mice because they're so nice!  We can't wait to watch them open their box next week during our next Skype video call.
Click here for the Christmas Mouse template.

Thursday, December 12, 2013

Reading Stools (contractor buckets never looked so good!)

It only took me about, ohhhh 9 weeks to accomplish this project! It was one of those ideas on my summer to do list, but it never happened.  One marking period, an amazing room mom, paint, ribbon, and 2 yards of fabric later and the reading stools are born!  My kids LOVE them!  For the past few days, when they've come over to the reading table, I've heard many students comment on how 'comfy' they are.  I'm glad they love them, because they certainly make me smile. :)

Monday, November 25, 2013

Synonym Cinnamon Buns

Awhile back, I remember seeing Synonym Cinnamon Rolls/Buns on pinterest and so I recently went on a pin hunt - I just hate it when I don't pin things and then go searching for them later.  It's nearly impossible to find it again!  After much scrolling and searching, I found what I had been looking for!  Thanks to the Lesson Plan Diva and Cara at The First Grade Parade, my kiddos had (another) "best day ever!"  Ahh, hearing a first grader say that NEVER gets old! 

We have been working on synonyms all week and, WOW, what a difference I have seen in their writing!  I frequently heard my writers talking about the 'boring' words that they used synonyms for in their stories.   To celebrate our increasing vocabularies, we cooked up some delicious synonym cinnamon buns!  They were so proud of the powerful words they have been writing and saying, not to mention they LOVED rocking the chefs' hats!

We also spent time putting said to bed this week.  I thought I would include a picture of an anchor chart that we created one morning after reading My Rotten Redheaded Older Brother by Patricia Polacco.  My students were amazed at how many different ways they could communicate in their oral and written language instead of just using "said."  In fact, this minilesson went beyond any guidelines for a proper minilesson!  We had the best discussion that I just could not find it in my teacher's heart to stop.  After being at the mat for about 30 minutes (and completely engaged!), I apologized to my writers for taking up so much of their writing time.  On of my little friends spoke up and said, "But Mrs. Goldhardt, this was so worth it!"  If that doesn't SCREAM meaningful instruction, then I don't know what does. 

Cyber Monday & Tuesday

My ENTIRE TPT store is 15% OFF!  Stock up and save!
I can't believe it is almost Thanksgiving - it is one my favorite holidays!  I'm not one to make a game plan for Black Friday, camp out in the cold, or join the stampede for a sale.  I'd rather point and click my way to a great deal!  If online shopping were a sport, I'd be a franchise player!  (Sorry, in the midst of the Steelers coming back from their horrendous start to their season, I can't help but through in a little football fun!)

Sunday, October 20, 2013

Shape Investigators and a FREEBIE

About a week ago (yes, I'm late posting)' my kids went on a shape hunt!  We read We're Going on a Bear Hunt before venturing out to hunt for shapes to accompany our learning about shapes in our environment.  We reviewed sides, vertices, and angles, as well as hot to dram and label (an activity we do each week with word study). I created a table to collect data about the shapes in the hallway, classroom, and playground.  This table accompanied the.....set from Katie Hill of Mrs. Hill's Heroes.  Click here to access her wonderful packet! Click the picture below to get the Shape Hunt. 
Shape Hunt Table FREEBIE
Here are my detectives at work! 
After collecting shape data, we came into the classroom to share our findings on charts for each location.  
Finally, they compiled the class data on the graphs in .... We had great math talks about more, less, comparisons, and total shapes.  What a great lesson!  

Sunday, October 6, 2013

Happy Fall, Y'all! It's Apple Season!

I love fall!  Although it hasn't felt much like fall here in VA (85 degrees?  Really?!), I'm going to trust the calendar and move forward with fall-themed learning activities.  :)

Friday was Apple Day in our room.  As a "kick-off" for the amazing fall activities that will ensue in our classroom over the next two weeks, the students brought in apples {peeled and unpeeled}.  Although hectic, this is one of my favorite days!  We graphed, weighed, measured, etc. with our apples...

 I used The Great Apple Investigation journals {AMAZING!} created by Cara Carroll of The First Grade Parade.  If you know Cara's products, you already know how wonderful they are!

 But, of course, the finale of the day is enjoying the applesauce that had been cooking all day! 
We will continue our learning and investigating of apples next week.  We will cover more science content with seasonal changes, life cycles/needs/characteristics of plants, and connect our apple knowledge to our learning of pumpkins, too! What activities do you do with apples and Fall Fun?

Tuesday, September 10, 2013


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I recently joined Bloglovin as a new way to follow blogs and receive updates.  I love it!  Follow my blog by clicking the link above.  It's super user friendly - which is exactly what I need in this new blogging world I have entered!

Sunday, August 18, 2013

FIVE for Friday

Hi all!  I'm linking up with Doodle Bugs Teaching for this week's FIVE for Friday.  Looking back on this week, I have so much to smile about:

1.  Being married!  This marriage thing is great - hehe.  Seriously, though, I DO love being married to my wonderful husband + best friend.  It is a great feeling knowing that we will be spending forever together.

2.  I finally finished all of the DIY projects I had planned to do in my home!  (Until, that is, I add something else to my "to do" list)

3.  My dog...she's my baby.  Bella is a puggle who stole my heart almost six years ago.  She always makes me smile.  Although, the other day I came home to a trail of chewed up tissues on the stairs.  Someone got into the bathroom trash...hmmm?

4.  Yoga -Ohm.  I began practicing yoga in the spring.  A new studio opened in my area and had to check it out because of the incredible reviews I had been hearing.  I am hooked.  I LOVE the hot yoga/flow classes.  I feel strong, yet relaxed.  Ahhh.  Namaste.

5.  Last week of summer.  This one is a love-hate thought.  I hate to see the summer come to an end - it's been an amazing one.  Yet I am excited to start the new journey ahead with my new firsties this year. 

Feel free to link up and share your FIVE for Friday thoughts! 

Saturday, August 17, 2013

Clothespins + Paint = masterpiece!

Whew!  It's been a busy summer - unfortunately, blogging (or school in general) was not at the top of the list of activities.  Sorry. The number one big, wonderful, busy event of my summer was getting married!!!  It was an absolute dream. :)  Now it is just a few days before I officially go back to work and I am realizing that school has been a distant thought.  It's about time I start getting back into the groove!  I know once I step foot back into my classroom, the creative juices will begin to flow.

One day, though, I began thinking about the hallway wall outside my room.  That's right - the lovely cinder block walls that we all know and love.  I wanted a new way to display my kids' work.  I was inspired by my school's art teacher to display students' artwork by stringing ribbon with two 3M hooks, then uses clothespins to hang the work. So simple. So cute.

Here we go...I used black stain on the clothespins then I used white acrylic paint and a pencil.  After lots of dipping and dotting, my paperclips turned out exactly the way I had envisioned them.  Every time I look at them I smile!!  Mission accomplished.

So, although I haven't put much thought into my classroom as of yet, the hallway is taken care of.  I can't wait to put these pins to good use.

Tuesday, March 19, 2013

Fraction FREEBIE

Fractions are a HUGE focus this year for first graders.  One of my teammates has been doing a "Fun Fraction Friday" with my kids each week.  I love this idea and want to start including a fun fraction activity in my Friday lesson plans.  With the idea of fractions floating around in my ahead - among many, many other things - I began working on "Fraction Fun in First Grade: Flying with Fractions."  Here is an activity sheet FREEBIE that is a part of my TPT product.  To see more of it, click here.

It's me again...finally!

I promise, one day I will get better about posting regularly.  I'm so glad to say that I've been able to check one MAJOR thing off of my To Do list: marathon!  Check!  However, I thought that my schedule would become more open and flexible once the training had come to an end, but now I feel like I have to keep up with the running before my wedding. Otherwise, the bags of Cadbury Mini Eggs that keep finding their way into my shopping cart will win.  So, my running shoes haven't seen the last of me yet.
Anyway...I've been busy creating a MEGA classroom decor pack.  I am in love with it!  The only problem is that I fear I might find myself completely redoing my room AGAIN this summer.  Ugh.
I found the most adorable birds from Jaime at The Digital Bake Shop.  Then, of course, I had to include my polka dots.  The funny thing is that I am terrified of birds - and now I've created an entire classroom pack with them - but these birds are cute and they won't attack me!  You can find this product at my TPT store.  Here's a peek at the Bird & Dot pack:

Enjoy...Chirp chirp!