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Hey friends! Today I want to share with you a super easy, quick and efficient small group teach or station idea for teaching students how to order numbers on an open number line.


You will need:
-large popsicle sticks
-clothespins
*I chose the colored popsicle sticks so that I could color code and match the numbers on the clothespins but it's totally up to you!

Why is it important? 

An open number line is a line that has no intervals or numbers. The concept of an open number line allows students to control or zoom in on a small piece of the number line. By placing numbers on an open number line, students are able to physically see how the numbers compare with one another. This is very important for our young learners because they will be using these concepts for mental math later on. 

How it works

Step 1: Give students one popsicle stick and three numbers
Step 2: Students place the smallest numbers at the top of the popsicle stick and the bigger numbers towards the bottom.
Step 3: Once students have the numbers in order, you can then start talking to them about spacing the numbers appropriately.

Want to make a self-check option? Write the numbers in the correct order with the correct spacing on the back of the popsicle stick!

Need stations? 

Check out these math stations that include ordering numbers on an open number line!








I am currently in the middle of a book study on the Fountas and Pinnell Literacy Continuum and it is affirming some of the practices I use in my classroom.

Here are a few of the things that really stuck out to me:

"Through listening during daily interactive read-aloud  lessons, students have the opportunity to internalize the syntactic patterns of written language, to learn how texts work, and to expand vocabulary and content knowledge." (Fountas & Pinnell, Literacy Continuum 2015)

"By listening to texts read aloud, they internalize language that they will use as they talk and write." (Fountas & Pinnell, Literacy Continuum 2015)

"Writers learn to write from studying the craft of other writers." (Fountas & Pinnell, Literacy Continuum 2015)

Now, you could read those quotes in a couple of different ways, but my instinct was to relate them back to author studies. When I first started teaching, I originally thought author studies were all about introducing students to new authors and helping them find book series that they enjoy listening to and reading. I still think that is true, BUT I have found a much deeper and more meaningful way to use author studies....through writing.

When students are exposed to multiple books from the same author they "internalize the syntactic patterns of written language" and "internalize language they will use as they talk and write". We know that every writer has their own style, even our young writers. By exposure to different syntactic patterns, students are able to develop the style of writing they are most comfortable with.

Author's Craft Examples



Here are a few examples of author's craft that I have found most helpful in first grade:

Cynthia Rylant uses patterns of three. 
"Mudge was not a perfect student.
He liked to lie down too much.
He like to sniff the other students.
He liked to think about other things."

Jan Brett uses detailed illustrations in the borders of her pages to add more to the story. 

Kevin Henkes uses mice as his main characters and they usually learn an important lesson. He also likes to use the character's home and school as the setting.
Chrysanthemum learns to love her name.
Sheila Rae the Brave learns to always be brave.
Wemberly learns not to worry.
Owen learns to be brave with only a small piece of his blanket.


Mo Willems relies on speech bubbles or large, bold words and direction lines in most of his stories.
Pigeon screamed, "I WANT A PUPPY!"
Pigeon yelled, "I'm NOT tired!"
Pigeon cried, "That's it!"

Patricia Polacco uses strong words that show how much time as passed. 
"the next morning"
"it wasn't long after that"
"that night at dinner"


How to Identify Author's Craft


Students must be able to distinguish the author's style from other books. To do that, I've created book study bundles to help my students comprehend books from different authors. Once students are able to comprehend what I consider the "surface level" of the book, then we dive deeper into trying to imitate the author's craft during our writing time.

Here are a few of my favorite author study bundles:







Help Students Connect to an Author

Check out these previous blog post about how I help my students connect with authors. I think it is so important for students to be able to "meet" their favorite authors and connect their name to a face.






If you are anything like me, science and social studies is usually the first thing to go if you are in a time crunch. In fact, for that very reason I have science and social studies scheduled at the very end of the day because, if we are being completely honest, everything about teaching first grade is geared toward teaching reading. Trust me, I wish I was a super teacher that could fit in thirty solid minutes of social studies everyday, but I'm not, so here's how I compensate.

Vocabulary and Schema

On Monday,  we start adding to our INTERACTIVE ANCHOR CHART about what we already know about the subject. We continue to add to it throughout the week. Pre-writing sentence stems is a HUGE time saver and it's a great way to get the kids involved!



Click and Print Resources

The rest of the week's lessons are filled with these super simple, yet very purposeful CLICK AND PRINT RESOURCES that I designed to match the 1st grade standards (TEKS in Texas). Activities range from fact recording, writing, labeling, interactive journals and creative writing, as shown below.



Social Studies Journal

Finally, in an effort to keep social studies going, even when we are short on time, I added a SOCIAL STUDIES INTEREST JOURNAL to our writing center during guided reading stations. Students can write about anything and everything social studies related. It is really amazing some of the things that they have come up with! Please keep in mind that they entry below was made within the first few weeks of first grade. I typically require at least 2-3 sentences with every entry.



$3.... A Steal!

So I've gathered all of my resources together and the best part... they are only $3 a piece.. or buy a monthly bundle of four products for only $9!




For more great ideas, tips and time savers, follow me on Pinterest!



If you are anything like me, science is usually the first thing to go if you are in a time crunch. In fact, for that very reason I have science and social studies scheduled at the very end of the day because, if we are being completely honest, everything about teaching first grade is geared toward teaching reading. Trust me, I wish I was a super teacher that could fit in thirty solid minutes of science everyday, but I'm not, so here's how I compensate.

Vocabulary and Schema

On Monday, I introduce the vocabulary for the unit with these SUPER SIMPLE VOCAB CARDS.


Then, we start adding to our INTERACTIVE ANCHOR CHART about what we already know about the subject. We continue to add to it throughout the week. Pre-writing sentence stems is a HUGE time saver!! Btw, check out that "boo-boo" tape! Extra labels to the rescue!


Click and Print Resources

The rest of the week's lessons are filled with these super simple, yet very purposeful CLICK AND PRINT RESOURCES that I designed to match the 1st grade standards (TEKS in Texas). Activities range from fact recording, writing, labeling, interactive journals and creative writing, as shown below.


Science Journal

Finally, in an effort to keep science going, even when we are short on time, I added a SCIENCE INTEREST JOURNAL to our writing center during guided reading stations. Students can write about anything and everything science related. It is really amazing some of the things that they have come up with! 




$3.... A Steal!

So I've gathered all of my resources together and the best part... they are only $3 a piece! I just a did a huge expansion of my social studies products, so now I'm turning my focus over to science!



For more great ideas, tips and time savers, follow me on Pinterest!




I am going into my seventh year of teaching and every year I learn something else that I truly didn't know that I didn't know. It's always something that I thought I was doing a pretty good job at, but I could really be doing so much better! This summer I attended the First Grade Reading Academy at my local region center. And let me tell you, there is a lot of things that I truly that I was doing okay at, but I can be doing TEN TIMES BETTER!! So, I thought I'd share a few of my biggest takeaways with you to help you become a better teacher, too!

Model, Model, Model


The more you model your thinking process, the more kids will learn. You need to model EVERYTHING. You need to model how to "think aloud". You need to model your expectations. You need to model how to read with a partner. You name it, you model it. You honestly cannot model enough.

I think one thing we often take for granted as adults, is how easy it is for us to problem solve and visualize things through in our head. A lot of students don't know how to do that yet. You tell students to "tell me what you visualize when I say ____", well some students honestly don't know how to create a picture in their mind, and then we ask them to transfer that thought to paper and.... BAM now they are totally frustrated.

Then come the behavior problems. Chances are, if you have behavior problems in your classroom, they may have (not always), stemmed from a lack of modeling clear expectations and procedures for your students.

So, how do you avoid all of this? MODEL!! Modeling brings invisible thinking to life.

Retell for First Grade Should Be So Much More


Part of our reading academy was spent comparing first grade skills to kindergarten and second grade skills. When discussing comprehension skills, we looked very specifically at story retell. Our presenter was very adamant that by October of first graders students should not longer be expected to do a story retell with a simple beginning, middle and end. Instead, she emphasized that students should be doing a four part story retell using First, Next, Then, Finally. Her reasoning for this was to build a strong foundation for summarizing. Now, summarizing is not a skill that is required in first grade, but it is a key component and a low scoring section of our state assessments. If we can take that extra step and help our students build a really good foundation in first grade, we will be helping them out exponentially in future years.

And, if we are being honest again, how hard is it to retell a book in just three parts? It sounds like more work, but adding that fourth element actually makes the story retell easier. Another thing she emphasized was that a story retell has four "parts", not necessarily four "sentences". So if you want a way to really challenge your higher students, challenge them to write eight sentences or more.

One last tip, she said to pick five graphic organizers to use those organizers the entire year and do not change them. I know we always think we need to change things up to make them fun, but every time you introduce a new organizer, you are not only have to teach or practice a new skill, but now you are teaching a new organizer and new expectations for that organizer.

Make Time for Oral Language

When I think of oral language, even the state says that oral language should be mastered Pre-K. But the reality is, many of our students do not attend quality Pre-K programs and in the state of Texas, they aren't even required to attend Kindergarten!! So when do they build those oral language skills? You got it, FIRST GRADE!! Oh my heavens... I'm supposed to have a student on a Level J by the end of the year and they came to not even able to spell their own name?? But we pull our superhero capes on and we do whatever we need to do to help that baby succeed.

You build oral language with the same questions you use to build comprehension skills, but they have two entirely different purposes/outcomes. When reading a book or telling a story, ask "Who, What, When, Where, Why and How". When building oral language, you are asking those questions to "pull" or extend their story and get them to tell you more. If a student can extend a story orally, then we cannot expect them to do it in written form, or understand or extend their thinking when reading a story.

Need some resources?? The Florida Center for Reading Readiness has TONS of great resources for K-1 for FREE!!!!

>>>Check it out here!<<<





Welcome to the Simple Stations Series, the series for teachers who want solid stations that are quick, easy and cheap to make!! Check out full series below: 

Alliteration Station

Alliteration is a skill that is introduced in Kindergarten, but emphasized more in First Grade. This is an activity that I used to always do on an anchor chart. I know you've seen them before. You write the student's name and the whole class helps you come up with a matching adjective. For some reason I decided to do it a little bit differently this year. 

Instead of an anchor chart, I had my students write their own names on index cards (with marker because I wanted to be a cool teacher...not really, but it's hard to read pencil on colored index cards). Then, I wrote their matching adjective on a different index card and put the cards in a pocket chart during our whole group lesson. 


The students loved it, like they always do. Well, when I was taking it down I thought, what a waste to just throw these away, I'm going to put them in a basket and let them try to rematch them as a station.

Let me tell you, this station kept their interest ALL. YEAR. LONG. We made the station in September. I finally took it out in April and you would have thought the world came to an end. Every day the kids asked me, "Where did our alliteration station go? Is it coming back? Why not?" I'm telling you, these kids seriously had everyone's alliteration adjective memorized and were calling each other that on the playground!!

So needless to say, your students will absolutely love this station.



Welcome to the Simple Stations Series, the series for teachers who want solid stations that are quick, easy and cheap to make!! Check out full series below: 


Sight Word Sentence Sort

I walked into a neighboring teacher's classroom where I saw this activity and immediately said "Ooh, I'm going to steal that!" I always struggle with good ways to incorporate sight words into our daily routines in a way that students read and practice them in context. This station does all of that and MORE!

The idea behind this station is very simple. We focus on five sight words per week. I have students help me generate a sentence using one of the sight words and I write the sentence on a sentence strip. I write the sentence in one color, but I always write the sight word in black. Each sentence gets its own color to help students sort the words into the right sentences, but because the sight word is in black, they have to figure out which sentence it belongs with.


After we have written our five sentences (and practiced reading them together SEVERAL times) I cut the sentences apart and put them in a station. The great thing is, you can limit this station to the five new sentences a week, or you could keep adding sentences to the basket and build a set of 10-15 sentences. 


To use the station, students can sort the sentences individually or with a partner. If you have students who really aren't challenged with this station, you can have them try to create longer sentences using only word cards from the basket. Make sure the students understand that the sentences can be silly, but they still have to have correct syntax. If you really want to commit to this station, students could write and cut their own sentence cards. 

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