Welcome Aboard!

I'm delighted that you have taken the time to drop anchor here at my little teaching blog: Sailing Though 1st Grade! Oh, the places we will go! Enjoy the voyage.

Oct 3, 2013

Polar Bears

This week's story in our Imagine It program's Big Book was "Polar Bears" by Jacqueline S. Cotton.

After reading the story together, we completed our first "Can, Have, Are" page of the year. The children did a fabulous job and enjoyed the process of finding facts and categorizing them.

Then, we used these "findings" to develop and write a six or more sentence non-fiction information report about these amazing arctic creatures with an introduction, 4 facts, and a closing.

Once we were finished writing, we stapled our reports to a 9x12 piece of white construction paper and added a head and legs to turn them into eye-catching publications.

Tomorrow the kiddos will practice their reading and public speaking skills as they share their polar bear reports aloud.

I am so proud of their work and how far they have come in just 30 short days!

You can grab a free copy of this mini-writing project here.

Happy Friday!

Sep 15, 2013

A Day at the Beach

I just completed a cute "A Day at the Beach" writing pack for one of my students who will be out for a week on independent study.

After I printed it, I thought, "Why not share it with my blogging friends as well?"

So here it is! Just click on the first picture to download your FREE copy.

Hopefully you will be able to use it as well.


Sep 13, 2013

Back to School Night

 We had our annual Back to School Night last night - when the parents come to meet the teacher and hear all we have planned for their children. Do I ever feel blessed! I have another amazing group of students and parents this year! I absolutely love my job... It is such a joy to teach children who are kind, well-mannered, hard working, cooperative, and enthusiastic. Of course, we all know how those lovely children got that way- because of great parenting! So I am counting my blessings and loving every minute with my incredible class of 1st graders.

Now for the GOODIES

Although, every teacher's Back-to-School night packet is very specific to their own room, policies, and curriculum... I love looking at what other teachers distribute to parents. Don't you?

I always get good ideas, help with phrasing some item I will be covering, and sometimes even inspired to switch up everything I had already planned.

So, I thought I would post a copy of my 2013 parent packet and teacher presentation to help anyone else who is in the middle of creating one of their own.

Hopefully one of my followers can benefit from something you find in one or both of these pdf files.

Click on the pictures to download.

Aug 16, 2013

Back to School TPT Sale

This Sunday and Monday TPT is holding a BIG "Back to School" sale. Everything in my store is 20% off. Add the promotion code BTS13 at checkout and receive a whopping 28% off.

I can't wait to do my shopping! How about you?

Jul 27, 2013

So Much Still to DO!

OMG... I can't believe how little I have accomplished so far this summer and how much I have yet to do to get ready for my new group of first graders. Although I had the best intentions of keeping this blog up to date during the break - I failed miserably. Everything takes WAY longer than I ever plan for.

In any case... I wanted to share a few of my latest creations and some FREEBIES to keep you coming back.

Over the summer I completed a few new Word Work packs:

I also created a comprehension-based 

with matching Paper Craft

Finally ...

This morning I also uploaded a new Word Family Houses FREEBIE to my TPT store that you might find useful. Grab YOURS!

Grab a few more freebies below from my new Word Work packs.

Jul 21, 2013

Short A, Short I and Short O PowerPoint Shows

The absolute easiest way to have my student practice blending, decoding and reading new words is to add all the words into a PowerPoint Show and set it to run automatically or have a student be the "mouse clicker" moving us from slide to slide. We go through the show slowly on Monday and by Friday... we are whizzing through ALL the words.

My weekly PowerPoint shows focus on the spelling pattern and/or phonics skill for the week, which of course is dictated by our Reading and Language Arts curriculum.

You can grab my UNIT 1 PowerPoint Shows below.  There are 3 presentations in all. (Each has been saved for use with both older (.pps) and newer versions of PowerPoint (.ppsx) Unfortunately, in order to protect graphics copyright, I am unable to save them as .ppt for individual editing)

The shows included focus on vowels:

Short A
Short I
Short O

Click HERE to grab yours for FREE.

If you find these useful - all future units will be available shortly in my TPT store.


Jun 26, 2013

SRA Imagine It! Spelling and Challenge Lists

If  you are a first grade teacher using SRA's Imagine It, and intend to begin spelling activities and weekly tests in UNIT 1, instead of waiting until UNIT 7,  then you might want to grab a copy of my newly compiled "Words to Know" and "Challenge Lists" for the entire year.
This year I will be including these pages in the 3- pronged reference materials section of  our "Ship to Shore Folders" that travel between home and school each day. That way, I do not have to run the spelling lists each week - just think of all the time and paper I will be saving - and my students and parents will know what is coming in the weeks and months ahead, and won't lose those loose pages. It's a win-win. 

Jun 20, 2013

Getting Organized

Thank you to those of you who stopped by my little blog and left me your ideas for organizing my "word work" materials. I took many of your suggestions and here is a picture of what I came up with.
2 packets down about 40 more to go! Yikes!
I decided to use:
  • 3 prong folders to enclose page protected master copies of worksheets (They are not as bulky or as expensive as binders and should work well).
  • zip lock baggies to enclose game pieces and cards. I am placing them in the back pocket and securing with small binder clips.
  • front cover labeling  that includes a picture of the enclosed word work packet and a round label that lists the skill (long u) and our language arts unit number where this skill is taught/reinforced
I plan to store these in my filing cabinet or in crates/boxes labeled by month (Then I store until it is needed and it can remain out for a few weeks until the next packs come out) 

I am crossing my fingers that this works! I'll let you know!

Jun 19, 2013

Organizing Word Work Activities and a Long U Freebie

My goal this summer is to ORGANIZE all my Word Work activities and to make sure that I have a pack that reinforces the sound spellings covered each week in our SRA Open Court Imagine It program.

I created a number of packs the last half of the school year and recently completed two more. Now the task is to determine what I have, what I need, and to organize and store each one in a way that will allow me to access them easily when I need them.

The "what I have" and "what I need" can easily be solved with a  spreadsheet and completing an inventory... but how to organize the games boards, laminated card sets, worksheets - That is the big question!  I'd love to hear what you do to keep all these goodies "at hand" when you need them.

Any ideas for organizing ALL these items would be greatly appreciated. AND...of course there is a FREEBIE for just stopping by.

The Freebie is just one of the activities in my latest  Long U pack. If you have a fabulous idea for storing and organizing these pack and are willing to leave a comment below and clue me in... I will email you the entire pack for FREE. Hopefully one or more of you will be able to help me out!
Click HERE to get the FREEBIE activity from my Long U with Slue-Foot Sue and Friends pack.

May 15, 2013

Wh and Th Word Work Freebie

This week our spelling focus was on the digraphs TH and WH. Although these last few weeks of school are super busy - I did sneak in a few moments to create a few word work activities to help practices our weekly skill and word lists.

You can grab a FREEBIE copy of them HERE.

Apr 28, 2013

Switching Up Spelling

This week our first grade team is switching up the spelling homework... Here is a copy of what we will be sending home for our students to complete and return on Friday morning.

You can grab a FREEBIE copy of these forms HERE.

Apr 27, 2013

Blends ST and TR Word Work

Our spelling pattern last week focused on the blends ST and TR. So, I whipped up these quick word work activities to practice them during our language arts block.

If you are an Imagine It! user they go along with Unit 9.6-9.10.

My students love playing scoot and read and write the room and word searches are always a hit.

Grab your Freebie HERE.

Apr 22, 2013


Dear Blogging Buddies,

I know, I know... I  haven't posted forever... and I wouldn't be surprised if ALL of you have completely given up on me! But, just in case there are a few of you out there who still drop in every now and then - I have FIVE FREEBIES for you. Enjoy!

Mar 29, 2013

I am throwing a egg-cellent sellers sale along with all of my favorite teacher authors on TPT. Stop by my store and hunt down my 5 favorites for a 20% discount. "Hoppy Hunting"! 

Mar 26, 2013


Here's a quick and easy game to play with your kiddos before sending them off for Easter/Spring Break.  Print out the cottontail words and attach to children's backsides so they can't see their word.
Have each child ask yes or no questions to determine which Easter-themed proper noun, noun, or verb they are. This can be done with the whole group, in small groups, or even in partners to speed things up.

I have also included a parts of speech sort, and an ABC order recording sheet to get the most out of those cottontails.


Mar 23, 2013


If you download my "Follow the Yellow Brick Road Long O Word Work Freebie before 8:30 PM PST on Saturday, make sure to download the updated file. I found a few more errors with the scramble this evening.

Thanks for stopping by!


Long O Freebie

Over spring break I watched one of my favorite movie classic - The Wizard of Oz with my two boys. I never get tired of it!

So, when I saw Nikki's (from MelonHeadz Illustrating) adorable Oz-themed clip art yesterday I just had to buy it.  I used it to create this week's word work pack for Long O spelled o_e, oa, and ow. 

My students love to read and write the room, do word searches, and play "I Have, Who Has. So I included all of these activities along with a couple of word games. You can grab the pack here for FREE.

Mar 19, 2013

Buy One Get One Free

50th Freebie

Today I turn the big 5-0! Yikes... It hardly seems possible. Although I am not excited about being so OLD -I feel so tremendously blessed to be healthy and happy and to have not only a wonderful husband, two amazing sons, and a job that I love - teaching 1st grade, but wonderful blog followers like you.

God has truly blessed me beyond believe. So, to celebrate 50 years of blessings, I am throwing a TPT sale today. Everything in my store is 20% off - since that is as much as the site allows me to discount... I was really hoping for a 50% off sale ... but...since that is not possible, I am offering a buy one, get one free  on March 19, 2013 only! (Please note:  free item must be of equal or less value than the item purchased) Simply purchase an item in my store on March 19th and then email me at dcandau@sbcglobal.net with "50th  Freebie" in the subject line.  Make sure to tell me which freebie title you would like from my store and I will email it to you as soon as possible. Emails must be received on or before 11:59 PM PST on March 19th. Happy Tuesday!


Mar 11, 2013

Bunny Books

Looking for an adorable Easter-themed writing and paper craft project? Then you might want to hop on over to my TPT store to download a copy of my Bunny Books pack - which I am offering FREE between now and Friday, March 15, 2013. I made these with my class last year and they really turned out adorable.

But the best part is... the students' very own egg-shaped published story is hidden inside.  That's no yolk!!!

Happy Spring!

Feb 15, 2013

Our 1st Grade Valentine's Party

Yesterday, my first graders and I celebrated Valentine's Day 50's style. I decked out our room for the occasion and encouraged the students to dress up for the day. Of course I wore my poodle skirt!

We participated in a number of activities and played lots of games. Then we made our way to the ice cream table and everyone concocted their very own sundae or float.

After dishing up their treat with the help of parent volunteers, the students came up with a name for their scrumptious dessert and drew a picture of it on a flavor of the month poster.

While the children waited for their turn to dish up, they distributed their valentines. I also delivered mine - which were a a bottle of bubbles with a 50's themed tag tied to the top that read,

"You BLOW me away valentine. I am so proud of all you have learned this year!"

After we had finished eating, passing out valentines, and designing our posters, we took off our shoes and had a little sock hop to 50's music. I taught the children how to do the HAND JIVE and TWIST!

It was great fun!

Many of the activities for the party came from Soaring Through Second's Valentine Party Pack which I purchased on TPT and from ideas I saw on Pinterest. The kids loved the activities - and there was no work on my part - except to print and organize the materials!!!  Thanks, Sandy!

To inform parents about our party plans, I sent out the following note. The party was such a success... I will definitely do this one AGAIN!!!

Jan 31, 2013

100 Day Hats

Tomorrow is our 100th Day of School ...and we can hardly wait to celebrate!

Each student in my classroom will be coming to school in a original "100 Day" Hat that they created at home with the help of their parents. Each month I assign a family project  - and this was the one assigned for January.

Of course I had to create a 100's Day Hat as well. This is the one I created tonight- modeled by my 4th grader. What a trooper!

There are exactly 100 pieces of 100 calorie popcorn hot glued onto a popcorn container I already had. It was simple to make, completely original, and I didn't have to spend one cent.

I am anxious to see what my first graders have come up with - we have kept this one a big secret!

Click here to grab a generic copy of the parent letter I sent home to introduce this project.