Gingerbread Fun!

Hi there! It’s that crazy holiday time of year again! Lately, I have been taking a break from the same old, same old to do some festive holiday activities! One of my favorite holiday units is The Gingerbread Man! Who knew you could do so much based off this classic folktale? Reading, writing, math, you name it!

We have been super busy working on many first grade skills with a Gingerbread twist! Here are some of my favorites from the past few days.  There are so many great versions of this story! Of course, we compared and contrasted two versions. I love the Gingerbread Baby! This really got us using some higher order thinking skills!



For writing, we worked on adding describing words to our writing. First, we decorated our gingerbread person and added color, shape, size, and number describing words. The kids were ecstatic to TASTE gingerbread cookies (no, not homemade… just picked up at the grocery store!) and add taste words to their descriptions, too! After adding the describing words, we wrote descriptive sentences about our ginger-people. They came out so cute!

gingerbread gingerbreaddescribingwords


To top off our gingerbread extravaganza, the students wrote book reviews for their favorite version!
gingerbread book review


We all know there is so much to do for literacy skills with The Gingerbread Man, but what about math? The kids loved playing Gingerbread vs. Fox roll, add, and color math game! This was a great way to practice addition skills and race to see who wins! It was intense.



We also practiced measuring a path using gingerbread men! I threw down some tape to make “the Gingerbread Man’s path” on the floor. The kids measured each line segment, and added them up to find the total length! This was a really engaging, hands-on, cooperative math lesson, and so much more fun than using paper clips, as suggested by the math program!

gingerbreadmeasureI hope this helps to give you some ideas for Gingerbread fun in your own classroom! No time to prep? Click here to grab my Gingerbread Print-and-Go Activities! It will be discounted for a limited time. Happy Holidays!

Emily MG

Three Wins

Hi there! So the past few weeks have been a whirlwind! Three conference nights, assessments, observation stuff, curriculum meetings, and all the regular stuff in between! Whew!

When things get so busy and hectic, it can be tough to reflect on things that actually went well. We had someone come into our school this week to speak about social and emotional health. She recommended that teachers take time to record three “wins” each day. I have been feeling super swamped this year, so I think I am going to give it a try. I wanted to share a quick post about three “wins” from this past week that you might be able to implement in your classroom!

First…. Making ten! I have always thought that our math program, Everyday Math, teaches combinations of 10 in a very convoluted way. We have tried pennies, using our fingers, counters, you name it. These strategies are all good for helping the students understand the concept, but in my experience, most kids could not master the skill. So, this week, I decided to switch it up. We made a rainbow to show the combinations of 10. The best part is, it was SO easy, and the kids LOVED it. I had my students trace their fingers over the rainbow in both directions when saying the numbers that add to 10. They were so excited and kept saying, “This is like art in math class!” “This is so easy now!” It was AWESOME. Just goes to show that sometimes you have to just throw the math program out the window! My kids keep this in their math folder and take it our to use as a reference when working on this skill in a game, on a journal page, etc.! It totally helped to solidify the concept.



Win Number Two – Turkeys! It is that time of year again. We have been doing all sorts of turkey fun. My favorite from this week was reading aloud Turkey Trouble and doing a little response to the story. My first graders came up with ideas for how a turkey could escape being eaten for Thanksgiving dinner. They were so excited when I told them that they could be silly! The creative juices were definitely flowing. I got some hilarious ideas, like fly him to the moon, dress him up in costumes, and dig an underground hiding spot until Thanksgiving is over! This activity is part of my Terrific Turkeys writing pack! Click the link to take you to my TpT store!


And finally, win #3 from this week, is that all my students have officially started Accelerated Reader, know how to log on, take their test, and print their test (for the most part)! Achieving this is always a long, tiring, patience-testing process. I also gave out  my first reading crown this week! Wooohoooo. Do you use AR? I have leveled baskets in my room and tell the kids which baskets they are allowed to choose from. It is easy differentiation, and really motivates the kids to read! When my students earn ten points, they get this gem to celebrate their success. It is a REALLY big deal. I gave out my first reading crown this week! I wish I would have snapped a picture of it – I will try to do that next time! They can also wear it whenever they want – not just the day they earn it! By the end of the year, I have a class full of confident reading crown-wearing kids!  I highly recommend using AR as a supplement in your classroom!

Well, that’s about all for now! I am going to try to be more conscious of “wins” in my teaching, and regular life! I think you should too!

Have a great Thanksgiving!

Emily MG



Thanksgiving Freebie!

Need some quick and easy literacy activities for centers or seatwork?

Grab my FREE Sample from my Turkey Time Literacy and Writing Activities for 1st or 2nd.  It’s no prep – just print and go!

Click here or on the cover below to download.

FREE Turkey Time Cover

These printables are included in the above freebie:


Turkey Time Free pages

Happy Thanksgiving!

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First Post…. Bats!

Hi there! I’m Emily, and I’m so excited to be teaming up with Laura on this blog! Laura was my mentor teacher for my first two years of teaching first grade. She taught first grade for her whole career and therefore taught me all the important stuff that you need to know. For example, how to use a Smart Board (her technology skills are AWESOME), how to assess reading skills, how to work with parents, how to sing a song for every part of first grade, and how to solve MANY mysteries in the boys’ bathroom….. Ha! I am in my sixth year teaching first grade, and when I think back on those first two years, it is crazy to think how I ever survived! Laura is such an inspiration and I’m so thankful for her guidance when I was just starting out!

Anyways, my first post is about bats! Do you like bats? I always thought they were pretty terrifying until I started teaching a bat unit every October. Now I think they are really neat! This week, we went bat-crazy. We researched bats using some great resources, like bat nonfiction books and a Scholastic News issue. If you do not subscribe to Scholastic News, I would highly recommend it! Great informational text, and the online component is awesome! You can just throw it right up on an interactive whiteboard. Each issue is available online with a little video, vocabulary words, and a game!

We also dove into this great book! It is loaded with fascinating facts about bats and really great photographs, too.


Next, we compiled our research onto this cute graphic organizer. I love are/can/have charts. They make research so simple for the kids.



We used these graphic organizers to write bat reports. They came out beautifully! Check out the bat drawings. I love kid art! The bats don’t look so scary, do they?

We integrated lots more bat activities this week. We compared fiction to nonfiction text features using the classic book, Stellaluna, tied in math with some graphing, sorted true and false bat facts, wrote about what life would be like if WE were bats, and lots more!

Grab this bat writing paper for free below, or check out my Fantastic Bats mini unit in my TpT store! Everything is printable and ready to go! I hope your class goes as batty for bats as mine does!   Emily MG

Bat Writing Paper

Fantastic Bats Unit




Constitution Day: Five Ideas including a Freebie!

Federal law mandates that all schools receiving federal funding, pre-K through college, hold an educational program on the U.S. Constitution on September 17th, also know as, Constitution Day.    Helping first graders understand the importance of the Constitution in a meaningful way can be a challenge.

Here are some ideas to help your plan for Constitution Day:

1.  Read aloud and discuss the book We the Kids by David Catrow.  We the Kids cover

This picture book provides a fun and easy introduction to the Preamble of the Constitution!


2.  Participate in Annual Constitution Day Poster Contest Constitution Day Poster Contest

Have your students design a poster to show how they have benefitted from the freedoms provided by the U.S. Constitution.  This Constitution Day Poster contest is sponsored by for students in grades K-12, including homeschoolers!  Follow this link or click on the image for details and an entry form.  You’ll find more information on the Constitution on this website too!

3.  Watch and discuss Schoolhouse Rock “We the People Video”

First graders enjoy watching this classic song and cartoon video of the preamble of the Constitution!  The video is just 2:45 minutes long, but I found that my first graders enjoyed repeated viewings. Click here to go to the video webpage on YouTube.

4.  Wear Red, White, and Blue on September 17 – FREE Printable

A simple way to celebrate this day in first grade is to wear red, white, and blue.  Here is the coloring sheet that I sent home the day the day before Constitution Day to remind them of what to wear.  Click here or on the image below for your FREE PDF copy:

Click for PDF

Click for PDF

5. Constitution Day PowerPoint Lesson

Want something “no prep” and ready-to-use?  Check out my best-selling Constitution Day PowerPoint lesson!  It includes a 24-slide PowerPoint lesson that explains the U.S. Constitution and its history in first grade language. At the end of the PowerPoint, there is a link to view the Schoolhouse Rock “We the People” video on the WatchKnowLearn website.  The lesson includes a lesson plan, as well as the wear red, white, and blue coloring sheet above and a follow-up worksheet.
Constitution Day Cover
Constitution Day PPT





Hope these ideas help make your job a little easier as you prep for Constitution Day!

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First Grade, First Day . . . and First Post!

Today is the first day of first grade at Maple Elementary in Chardon, Ohio.

All day long, “First Grade, First Day” will be rolling around in my head.   This was the first poem placed in my students’ poetry notebooks.  I used it as the basis for a reading lesson on the first day of school.   We would chorally read it aloud together, read it with a partner, use it to identify rhyming words and practice making words with the -ay word family.  Then I’d send home a copy of the poem for my first graders to read with their parents.

Kids would love reading this poem later in the school year and remember the first day of school.  Repeated readings would help build fluency.

Here is a free copy of the poem for you to use with your students.  Click on the image below to get a PDF file:  First Grade First Day Poem

I offer two complete reading lessons connected to Common Core State Standards using the First Grade, First Day poem.   Click on an image below to check out these products in my Teachers Pay Teachers store.

First Grade First Grade Notebook Cover First Grade First Day PPT Cover

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