What Does My December Look Like?

Many people have asked me what I use from my store and when I use it. I thought it would be helpful to send out a monthly newsletter to let you know what I have been working on and what I am doing right in my room. But first, and always first, I will share a little update on my family.


It has been a busy year with a freshman in college, a junior, 4 freshman, and one in preschool. Sometimes our driveway looks like a parking lot...I can't imagine what it will look like in 2 more years.
It has been an adjustment for all of us, especially missing our oldest on a daily basis.
My freshman triplets went to Chicago and performed in the holiday parade. It was definitely a proud mom moment. They love being in the marching band and I'm so glad they had a community of friends at the beginning of their new high school journey. 

What Does My December Look Like?

Charlie is progressing with her speech and beginning to play more with her peers. She is so strong willed and determined. The little things we take for granted can sometimes be difficult for her. She loves going to the park but even walking up the steps to the slide is a struggle. She is a constant reminder to all of us to never give up and to not take anything for granted. For Halloween we were Mommy Shark, Daddy Shark, and Baby Shark. (Yes I have an amazing husband who would do anything of her and all of us!)

What have I been working on in the TpT world?

     I have been busy working on a new math series. I have always used the acronym MASTER math in my room.  I finally found the time to make exactly what I wanted for the standards and my acronym. (M-manipulatives, A-apply skills(games), S-small group, T-technology, E-enrichment, R-review) I currently have 6 units done out of 15. I am bundling them into groups of 5. When they are all done, I will offer a complete bundle for all of the 1st grade CCSS. They take me FOREVER because there are so many components. My students are especially loving the technology pieces and manipulatives. The bonus to all of it, my students love it, and their math skills are AMAZING. 


     I'm throwing a little mini celebration because I finally finished my small group leveled reading series. This project has taken me almost two years to complete. It has been a game changer in my classroom for planning and differentiating my small group guided reading lessons. I now have levels A through O. It is a huge span but that is my classroom in a nutshell. The levels vary that much in first grade. 

I have also found time to do a mini unit or two. I'm really looking forward to sharing the story Pig the Elf, and completing the activities to go with it. If you haven't read any of the Pig books, I highly suggest them.

This month

Whole Group Guided Reading

We will begin this week with two weeks of Gingerbread Fun! The last two weeks we will be reading some of my favorite holiday stories in my Christmas bundles. Throughout the entire month, we will be learning about different holidays. We will spend two days on each holiday and then compare their similarities and differences. We will also learn about reindeer and spend the last day having a fun reindeer day.



Word Work, Phonics, and Technology

In word work and phonics we will begin to learn about the long vowels. Next week we will learn about CVCe words. Then we will spend a week on each of the following patterns ee & ea, ai & ay, and oa & ow. We using my SPELLING UNITS as our main focus but we also do some other fun activities too. 
In my reading intervention binders, I have games, more practice and a fun little book craft that goes with each sound pattern. We will definitely be making all of those and working on some of the sorts. as assessements. 


Bank it is one of our favorite games to play. It is a digital powerpoint or pdf that I project on my SMART board. We divide into two teams, I assign a banker and we begin. The goal is to have the most money in the bank. It is fast paced, and no one is ever eliminated. They LOVE it and bet to play.



Boom Cards are a favorite for whole group on the SMART board and on the Chrome books independently. Our focus in Boom with be the Turtle out the word activities although I am hoping to add more. 

We are also learning to use Google Classroom too. So I will be sending these activities out to them in Classroom. We have been playing Google Slides together on the SMART board all year long and will continue to do so. 




In math we will begin Unit 5 this week working on place value. Then we will move into Unit 6 which is comaping numbers with the <, >, and = sign. 

Seasonal Freebies

Here are a few of my seasonal freebies! Make sure to click on the picture to grab them.


If you would like to see daily ideas from my classroom, connect to my Facebook and Instagram accounts. I love to share in my stories on Instagram and they do link to Facebook as well.



From my family to yours… I wish you a wonderful holiday.  Thank you for your continued support. I'm so thankful for your following and all of your kind words and feedback. 
Happy Holidays!
Megan Mitchell 
 First Grade Roars


Owl Lessons... a Non-fiction Unit to see WHOOO knows their Text Features

Every year after Halloween week, we do our unit on Owls. I LOVE to learn about owls because they are so fascinating and such beautiful birds.  In this unit I provide owl lesson plans and activities for 5 different books.

For this unit, I wrote 2 books, All about Owls and Bats versus Owls. Since we are diving into non-fiction text features, I wanted the students to have a book that they could see and use to find these features. 

Owl Lessons

Whenever we do non-fiction we begin with some sort of learning chart. This is my chart from 2 years ago. We did a KWL chart. This is where we meet and discuss our learning every day.  

 On the first day we begin with the mini book, All about Owls. My students get a paper pencil version and I project the pdf on the board as well. The pdf has real pictures of owls so the kids enjoy seeing that version too. I use the paper pencil so the children have a copy to reference. 

The focus of this unit is for my students to learn and understand what a table of contents is and what it does in a text. I also want them to know what a heading in a book is and how to find it. As you can see in the above photo, I have taken my table of contents from the book and made mini posters out of it. After reading, we put the Table of Contents back together and discuss it.  The most important discussion we have about this text feature is that it allows a reader to read the book out of order. We discuss how you can find a heading that interests you, look at the page number, and read that section.

Another book that we use is National Geographic Owls. I was able to buy half of a class set by using my bonus points on Scholastic. It was important for my students to have copies of these books so they could have their hands on them to learn about the features. For this book, we work with a partner to hunt through and complete the table of contents activities. I have also made mini posters for the students to sort the table of contents.

There are two other books that I read to my students that are non-fiction but do not have headings or a table of contents. We read Owls by Gibbons and Arnosky. To help focus on these strategies, I read little pieces of information from the story, the students have to help come up with a good heading for the information. We pretend to "help the author". 

On the last day, we read my story Bats versus Birds. I have this as a colorful pdf file and as a small paper pencil book. After reading the book, I split the children into groups and they complete this sort together. They love collaboration and team work. We also review it together as a class using the colorful posters above. 

There are many fun craft options for the week too. It is fun to see what each of may teammates pick. Our hallway always has a variety. The owl in the bottom right hand corner is one of my freebies. It helps review shapes. We always do it at the end of our geometry unit. You can grab it HERE!

We also love to end our unit dissecting owl pellets. We ask for glove donations from parents and we gather the pellets from our local Nature's Nursery.  They donate them to our school however we do provide a small donation to compensate. Last year we went to the dollar store and cleared the shelves of eye brow pluckers. As you can see they enjoyed the activity and were able to see hands what an owl pellet looks like. 

This unit is so much fun! By the end of the week my students know what a table of content is, where to find it, and how it is helpful. They know what a heading is, how to create headings, and where they are located.  

If you want to see more of this unit check it out HERE!

If you want to see all of my November Units click HERE!

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