Graphing Tips for first grade and Apple Freebies

Graphing Tips for first grade and Apple Freebies

Apple Jacks Math


Sometimes I need a math lesson that is fun. A lesson the kids can devour! I saw a homeschooling mom (on Pinterest) using Apple Jacks in her math lesson to make it more fun for September, and I knew I wanted to do it too. 

I could not decide what skill I wanted to teach with said delicious manipulatives, so I made 2- and I ended up doing both!

I needed 1 box of Apple Jacks for a each assignment. This year I have 24 kids. Each child also got to eat a BIG handful to eat on the way to recess. So i think if you had a class of 30 you could swing it with a big box. You can also buy the bulk bags and save some cash! 

I plopped 2 plates in the center of each table group. One plate was filled with glue for dipping and the other plate had Apple Jacks. They dipped very carefully and glues their manipulatives to their plates and popped a few in their mouths too.

Most importantly, they learned these important skills.  Even MORE important they deemed me the best teacher ever!

SCORE! If you want to score some fun as well click the image below!

Download now new

Graphing tips every teacher needs:

Cool math tips for getting the most out of graphing

It only took me 14 years to figure out this graphing trick. 
 I might be a little slow. But I felt like a genius in math today. We were graphing apples… Who doesn’t graph apples? 

But today was different. 

Today changed graphing forever. 

Simple changes… big results.

Teaching the Difference: 
Teaching the difference is the bane of any graphing lesson. Graphing is so easy, concrete, and fun. 

Then comes the “What’s the difference?” question. Kids freeze up.

All of a sudden 5 kids have to go to the bathroom and 3 have to go to the nurse! Why because we asked a question with HEAVY academic vocabulary. 

So I changed my method. I kept asking them to compare things that were exactly the same.

Light bulb moment- differnece is hard to see until you can see similarites
Oh I played it up… 

What do you mean the Yellow Golden Delicious are the same as the Gala apples????” 

Then I showed them two groups of equally numbered paper clips each and questioned again.  
“What’s the difference?” 

They cried out, “They are the same. There is no difference!” 

I did it with cubes. 

I did it with sheets of paper. 

I did it with fingers. 

Then, Then Then, I did it with Skittles and two students. 

“Jane has 6 and Mike has 6. So what’s the difference?” 

The kids were going crazy, almost yelling “THERE IS NO DIFFERENCE !!! ”. 

Had their teacher gone crazy? 

(Yes, years ago.) 

When I let the 2 students eat all 12 skittles it was “game on”. 

They all wanted Skittles. 

So I brought up to new kids. 

One kid was given 3 Skittles and the other one was given 5. 

I asked again, “What’s the difference?” and just about every hand went up.  

They were so HAPPY to finally see a difference between the groups that they actually saw the (math term) difference.  

I asked how did you figure that out? I got these answers:
“ I counted up.”
“I subtracted.”
“I looked at the ones that were the same and the extras were how they were different.”

It worked. 
So remember,  teach the difference by comparing things that are exactly the same first!

Build The Graph One Table At A Time: 

Don’t create the whole graph and then ask questions. 

Stop and question often as you build the graph.

Genis ideas

I don’t know why it took me 14 years to figure this out, but I asked oh 50-60 questions in this graphing session.

 They were engaged the whole time because the graph kept changing with each group that added their data.

Simple tips to getting more out of graphing

These two are pretty self explanatory but worth talking about.  

Number before you color:
By numbering, your kids can accurately color the graph.  PLUS, once the numbers are on they paper the kids can talk using number words. This is important because they can say "4 yellow apples" instead of instead of  saying the "yellow row" or "red row" or "this one/ that one". 

Buddy Read the Board:
Buddy reading the bulletin boards is powerful!

I love to turn my kids loose in the classroom and walk around listening to them talk and teach each other. It gives them a chance to use their academic language in a non-threatening way, and gets them talking about math and other subjects in complete sentences. 

My room is filled with our anchor charts so they can revisit an entire month of learning without having a “review lesson”. 

I walk around and just bask in the glory of what they know. They come alive and become animated in an awe inspiring way!

Apples! Apples! Apples!
So you must have gathered by now that we are in the throngs of Apple Week. 

You too? 

Go figure! 

What is it September or something? 

Well, you know how I feel about informational reading and the lack there of in first grade. 

Oh there are a TON of books out there. 

Too bad the kids can’t read them, yet

So, you know I wrote some. 

Two, as a matter of fact!

Slide3 Slide13
Slide2  Slide1

Social Studies and Science are both covered and my kids loved them!!!

We graphed, made applesauce, and wrote about Johnny.


My next tip is about cutting your apples.

The Easy Way to Cut Apples:
 I wanted to tell you how I slice apples since apparently I am a freak.  I cut apples differently than any of the room moms had ever seen before and they were crazy for the apple cheeks method. 

I call it Apple Cheeks, and it is the easiest and safest way to cut an apple! I hope this makes your apple tasting a little easier!

Check out the pictures below!

How to cut an apple the safe and easy way- Teacher to the Core

How to cut an apple the safe and easy way- Teacher to the Core

I love how the kids can stack their apples in their hands and really see the peels. 

Getting a Giant Knife to School:

I bring my big old knife to school in the bottom of a water bottle. 

The top wont fit on it , so I wrap it in cling film. 

The cling film keeps the knife in even when tipped upside-down.

 Plus, the knife stays clean on the way to school and can get home while not making purse sticky.

IMG_3244[1] IMG_3245[1]

All of this keeps me from getting cut and gets my knife home and back without damage to my purse or the knife.

Classroom Applesauce:


Use the parent letter to ask each child bring in their
 favorite color/ flavor of apple. 

Then, we cut them up and cook them in a crock pot. 
I keep a crock pot in my classroom all year. 
It might seem crazy, but I do not want to drag mine 
home and back. 

Add 2 tablespoons of cinnamon and 1/4 cup of brown sugar.

Do you have an immersion blender at home? 


Bring that bad boy to school and make quick work of you apples after you cook them for 4 hours.

 You can also mash them using a potato masher.  

The Perfect Paragraph-In Your Grasp:


Using a thinking frame we can get lots of ideas onto paper. Then we can take each idea and turn them into sentences. Day by day, inch by inch, we can grow our perfect paragraph!


We also drew Johnny Appleseed for the covers of amazing published writing. 

Just adorable! Each child followed the same oral directions. I love how they came out!

IMG_4657  IMG_4658IMG_4659  IMG_4660IMG_4661  IMG_4653IMG_4654  IMG_4655IMG_4656

Today we took our science and social studies test and the kids rocked it.  I even saw them referring to the vocabulary cards! 

Praise the Lord, no one asked me how to spell “apple”. 

Well, maybe one kid did and the girl next him said, “Duh, use the vocabulary wall!” 

I decided not to correct her brutal honesty because the word apple appears in about oh 200 charts in my room right now.

Slide4  Slide3

Today I got 6 grades in my grade book!

Social Studies
Oral Speaking
and 3 Writing grades.
Yes 3 writing grades!

The Appleseed writing was one grade. 

The Science test asks them to tell two facts about an apple tree, so since our bench mark for month 1 is two sentences, that was a separate writing grade. 

The Appleseed Social Studies test has a writing component too!

 I am in grade book heaven!

If you want to be in grade book heaven, then here you go My Love. It’s a mini unit to sink your teeth into!

Click tpt 

Graphing Freebie: 

Since I started this post on graphing, I thought I would bookend it with another freebie! Enjoy my dear friends!


Download now

Read more »
Katie Knight
The Easter Egg Farm

The Easter Egg Farm

This charming story is about as magical as they come!
I knew I had to share it with you!
Now listen, the cover is not the cutest thing, but the story and the illustrations are so amazing!
 I look forward to reading this book every single year,
and I am pretty sure you are going to love it too!!!

Pauline is a sweet little chicken who cannot lay eggs, and the other hens know it.  So does Mrs. Pennywort. She owns the farm, and she is not happy with our little Pauline! But, in a sweet little twist, Pauline actually can lay eggs if she concentrates really hard.  Something magical happens when she concentrates! Can you see the magic of her eggs by looking closely at the picture below?


That's right!
Pauline lays an egg that looks exactly like the thing she is concentrating on!
Mrs. Pennywort is so in love with Pauline and her stunning eggs, that she brings 
Pauline inside the house to live with her.  Mrs. Pennywort displays Pauline's eggs with pride! She likes to put them on the sunny side of the house...
Can you see where this is going?


Now, since these eggs are not ordinary eggs,
you can bet the farm that the chicks are not ordinary either! 


This is a delightful tale full of problems! 
Children love to find solutions and be surprised by how the character solves her problems!
 The book also leads perfectly into a darling project 
where the kids can create their own egg and chick!

Check out this chick below. Crazy right!


Imagine the chicks your students could dream up!


To buy this book from Amazon, please click

To download the freebies to do the activity, please click

To read more Books Teachers Love, please see below!

Read more »
Katie Knight
Valenswine and Valentine’s Day in the primary classroom

Valenswine and Valentine’s Day in the primary classroom

Happy Valentine’s Day, V-Day or Valium Day! I love Valentine’s Day for a whole lot of reasons.  I dislike it for a few reasons too. For example, the kids saying “ValentiME” drives me to drink.   Here are 5 tips and a few activities that helped me to have a valium-free V-Day:
Start the Day Off Right
Keep the kids in your class  busy while you take attendance- From Teacher to the Core
Little kids can be crazy! Taking attendance on Valentine’s Day can be almost impossible! Kids are running at you with candy, flowers, their valentines in bags and who knows what else!
So before entering the room, I ask them, “Who has something they need to give me this morning? Raise your hands.” Then, I tell them that I can’t wait to see what they brought to school. However,  before we can do anything, they get to color while I take attendance.
Just in case you forgot, I have MAJOR issues remembering to take attendance on party days.  I just get caught up with all their joy/mania and I forget. 
While they are coloring, I remind them that they are to stay seated and color neatly while I take attendance. The kiddo with the most hearts wins, and if it comes down to a tie, neatness will be the tie-breaker. If you win and it’s sloppy, you are disqualified.
After attendance I give them five more minutes to color. During this time,  I can collect what the students have brought to school. I do this one table at a time.
To download the attendance freebie click the button below
Download now new
Bright Ideas for Valentine's Day Sanity
Can I hear an AMEN for lunch time? We used to party the last hour of the day,  but then I am breathless and my room looks like a bomb went off in it as the kids leave.  No, thank you! After lunch we did some great Common Core Valentine learning, cleaned up the room, and ended our day like we always do. We read a story, packed and stacked, and had our daily awards ceremony. It was calm. It was beautiful, and it was calm. Wait, did I already say that it was calm?

Bag it up, Baby!
How do kids get all their stuff home? These bags! I batted my eyelashes at a box boy and he gave me 30 grocery sacks. Using grocery bags instead of making envelopes was fast, easy, and cheap. Are those words music to your ears?   Plus, the bags stand up straight for the easy “dropping in” of the valentine cards. To get this darling Valenswine art freebie click {here}
Bright Ideas for Valentine's Day Sanity (3)
Valenswine Close Reading!
I love this book! It is a sweet and easy read for your little darlings! You can grab it from Scholastic or Amazon (From 3rd party sellers)
Great book for Valentines Day- Valenswine- Teacher to the Core
The rhymes are precious and the story leads young Polly Pig to her family to find love. I think that “family love” is important at this age. The Disney Channel teaches kids too early to look for love in their peers. Let’s keep them loving their family for as long as possible.
If you don’t have time to buy the book and have it delivered, you can show your class this story time YouTube video.

My friend Fran told me about ViewPure and it’s been amazing for cleaning out ads and comments from my You Tube Videos! Click here and see how the video above was purified! It so easy and free.
Freebie- Valenswine movies and book activities plus ways to clean up your You Tube using View Pure
I love this book so much that I have created 3 activities to go along with it. The 1st activity is a close read printable.
Close reading for the book Valenswine- Teacher to the Core
I also created a summarizing activity for another day this week.
Summarizing for the book Valenswine- Teacher to the Core
Here is the story elements page with emphasis on problem and solution.
Story Elements for the book Valenswine- Teacher to the Core
Download now new
Dance and Drop
I am the mean teacher that does not allow the kids to address valentines to their friends. I only allow them to sign their names.  This is because we dance Conga line style through the room and drop a valentine into every bag. It’s easy and FUN! This year 29 kids handed out valentines in under 10 minutes! I kid you not! I played Gloria Estefan’s Conga Song and we were done is a snap. The quickness also allowed us to spend time doing other fun things during our party. I was leading the conga, so I could not take pictures- Sorry. The LAST thing you want to see is me doing the conga! Here is the song if you want to play it during your own class conga line.

Valentines = Academics
I skipped categorize and classify in my HM story a few weeks ago because I knew I was going to do this with the kids.
Bright Ideas for Valentine's Day Sanity (2)
I am telling you the kids learned a lot, and they had a great time negotiating where each valentine should be classified? Should the Hello Kitty with Dove chocolate go on “Characters” or “Candy”? We ended up separating them so that they could go in both places. It was a perfect way to teach that sometimes a question can have more than one correct answer. 
If you want to do this, have 4-5 blank hearts ready.  Then as the kids are opening their cards, walk the room and look for the most common categories. Be sure to make an “other” category to cover the random valentines that don’t fit any category.  “Where did I get the valentines to glue on?” you ask. Oh every kids always has one left over because I ask the parents to send in 1 extra. It is usually not a problem since I have 29 kids and valentines tend to come in packs of 36. Usually the kids have  6-7 extra!
Staple the Bag Shut
If you stop the candy intake, you can avoid the candy-induced freak out {maybe}. I let them look through their goodies and cards and then I hand out a plate. I ask them to set one treat from their Valentines Stash onto the plate. Everything else is going to go into the bag.
Bright Ideas for Valentine's Day Sanity (4)
While they are eating their treat, juice, and whatever else was sent in,  I run around stapling the bags shut. I still saw little hands try to sneak into their bag, but they had a hard time getting through 5 staples.

Valentines = Academics
My final fabulous, fun, and academic idea comes via Curriculum Castle! Seriously, friends, this is a real winner! I bought a bunch of plastic test tubes from the Dollar Tree. I put 3 test tubes on every table in order to keep Valentine’s Day as academic as possible!
Super fun Valentine Candy Heart science experiment from Curriculum Castle via Teacher to the Core
Download now new
Happy Valentine’s Day everyone! Sending you Hugs and lots of love!
Read more »
Katie Knight
[name=Katie] [img=] [description=Leave Me a Comment, I would love to hear from you :)] (facebook= (instagram= (bloglovin= (pinterest=