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Graphing Tips for first grade and Apple Freebies



Apple Jacks Math

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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!

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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!


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

We graphed, made applesauce, and wrote about Johnny.


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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.

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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:


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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.
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Do you have an immersion blender at home? 


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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:

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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!

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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!



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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.


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Today I got 6 grades in my grade book!

Social Studies
Science
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!

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Graphing Freebie: 

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

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