Monday, December 1, 2014

December Currently

I have not done one of these in forever! I missed them but I have just forgotten at the beginning of each month and then I didn't remember until it was far too late.

1. Listening-->Okay so not very Christmasy BUT I'm Netflix hooked.
2. Loving-->I put up my tree on Friday at home and my classroom tree on Saturday. I love driving around and seeing houses decorated and ready for the season. (Now that it's actually past Thanksgiving that is)
3. Thinking-->Cyber Monday! So I will say all the cyber deals I took advantage of were for again maybe not the spirit but I got protein bars and workout stuff.
4. Wanting-->$$$ I wish I had enough money to spoil my loved ones. However, I do truly believe that it's the thought behind the present.
5. Needing-->Okay, I'm in Indiana. I CANNOT deal with cold and sunset at 5pm. I just can't. I'm ready for my jammies and bedtime by seven!
6. Giving--> Here is a link to my Santa Letter Writing freebie packet. I'm using it this week to teach the 5 parts of a friendly letter and to being writing our letters to Santa.

Each December I teach the kiddos how to write a friendly letter. I really make it a big deal because we are going to send these to someone special. SANTA. I swear saying that word to first graders is like yelling "Look, Justin Beiber!" in a crowded mall, lol.

I have them remember the five parts by incorporating touch. 
Heading--Point to our our head
Greeting--Point to our mouth
Body--Point to our bellies
Closing--Snap our legs together like a soldier
Signature--Stick a foot out like you're pointing with your toe

After a few repetitions they start to pick it up.

You'll see in my Santa template page that it's not all about "I want". I encourage them to tell Santa about themselves, whether they've been naughty or nice, and to ask questions. Then, after that they can ask for three (or so) things that they'd like to have.

During morning meeting (calendar time) we add a question to Santa to our chart paper so they get an idea of what to write in their letter. (And it sneaks in teaching/reviewing asking sentences!)

The neatest thing is that once all the letters are 'mailed' I really bring them to the fifth grade teachers. The fifth grade teachers hype up the fifth graders and the fifth graders pretend to be elves and they write my kiddos back. So, about a week passes and I get a beautifully ornate envelope back from...SANTA!! The principal brings it in my classroom like it's urgent business. I read every letter to the firsties. (The fifth graders explain that Santa was busy so an elf wrote them back. They think of the cutest elf names)

Click here to get your freebie

Tuesday, November 4, 2014

Reading Comprehension

I'm starting to really teach and practice comprehension skills. Based on our reading assessments (TRCs) at the beginning of the year I came up with this worksheet to aide in recalling details. I had many firsties that couldn't tell me complete sentences about what happened in the story and struggled (hard) with sequencing a story when they could recall events.

I've been sending this home on Wednesdays when I send our reading books home. It is to be completed with help from an adult but the ideas should be from the kids. I do plan on making versions of this that will grow and develop as first graders do throughout the school year.

Best of all--->IT'S FREE!

click here to get your freebie

Monday, October 20, 2014

Pumpkin Suncatcher

This week we're learning about pumpkins. Thanks to fellow bloggers I'll be all over some great read alouds, anchor charts, and maybe some taste testing!!

We'll end our pumpkinpalooza by making those pumpkin tissue paper window decorations I made last year. 

Short fat pumpkin
long skinny pumpkin

I still didn't do contact paper. We just went slower and I had them cut the templates out in small groups with me.  We also cut our squares out together step-by-step (took longer but so much handier than some kids ending up with tiny squares)
Then we did the edges and filled the inside together. 

Fall is so pretty here. I'm not looking forward to what could be another awful winter but this view makes me enjoy the right now:
the view from our playground

Friday, August 8, 2014

Celebrity Crush

My first week is over. Well, okay it was only 3 days with students but I set an alarm for 5 days in a row so that counts for something.

I'm reflecting on my week, thinking about next week, and trying to stay awake so I don't wake up too early. I want to share pictures and stories from my first week but I'm tired.

This is 3 years old but I don't get tired of watching his segments from the DC march in 2011. I didn't need another reason to crush on Matt Damon but here it is ladies.

And with that, goodnight.

Tuesday, August 5, 2014

Number Sense Throwback

Hey everyone! Tonight is my Open House where I get to meet my kiddos and their families. I will take tons of before/after pictures for you. :) I grew up in 'the city' and attended public schools in an urban environment. I had great teachers, friends, and opportunities. I teach in a rural setting though. In some ways it's such a different world to me. I will say that I really enjoy the community in which I teach. They're tight knit, involved (sometimes to a fault ;) ) and now that I've been teaching at my schools for a while I've had the chance to get to know some families very well and teach several siblings. To see a kid grow from first grade and graduate 5th is wonderful but to see a toddler at Open House, then teach them, then watch them progress through elementary school is something I never considered. Just wow.

Okay, random almost mushy moment over.

I've been back-to-school busy so I thought I'd share one of my most popular beginning of the year freebies with you. It's all about Number Sense. Something every first grader needs to improve upon. I didn't make this last year until a few weeks into the year so I'm excited to start this on Day 1 this year!!

Something that we work on in first grade is number sense. We need to know what numbers are, how to build numbers, how to break apart numbers, how to spell numbers, different representations of numbers, and well...the whole shabang.

Here's a Pinterest inspired freebie that I made up to use with my firsties. Check out how we practice some of these skills daily:

click here to download your freebie

Sunday, August 3, 2014

Time to empty that wish list!

I'm TOTALLY participating in the Back to School TpT sale. It's timing is perfect because the sale on TpT is August 4th-5th. Well, those are our two teacher work days and my wish list is full. They should really put a max on that thing...but then I'd be sad. 

So I'll be shopping, printing, and laminating preparing for my new batch of firsties. Right now I'm hovering around 22/23 kiddos but that always fluctuates.

Here are some of my best BTS sellers:

All Things Chevron
You can still get these items individually but I've decided to bundle them ALL. Buy in 'bulk' and save. (I totally just got a Sam's Club membership--can you tell?!)

Get the bundle

What will you get specifically? (or click links to check out individual products)
12 Months of Birthday Chevron & numbers to hold
 click here to get this individually

all printed, laminated, and cut out

It'll look better on my white wall at school but here's my birthday board!
Visual Birthday display. :D The blanks are because I don't
have any kiddo birthdays in those months.
When I print their pictures next year I think I'm going to hang up a fun background. My navy blue door doesn't pop! (it was the only kinda solid colored thing that was at their level, lol)
Teacher Binder Starter Kit (with editable pages)
click here to get this individually 

Editable labels for book baskets, supplies, binders, carts, doors (4 color set)

Premade and Editable book basket cards (or blanks to use as you please)

Premade numbers and book basket labels (non-editable)
Click here to get the book basket label bundle

classroom supply labels with supply graphics in 6
colors click here to get these individually

Oh and don't forget the freebies that would match
click here

click here to get them

My math journals bundle (basically buy 3 get 1 free) (based on Math In Focus Singapore Math)

Management Goodness

Here are some choices that I'll have when it's time to print and laminate and put this bad boy together!
click here

click here

click here

click here

No, I don't have a Pirate room but one of my work-besties does so I revamped what I made her. 
You can find them all here in a bundle with my Classroom Management Resources.  Where you'll see different types of Management Resources. If you've already purchased this item then please go and re-download to get the updates.
Original blog post here
If you know the clip chart is for you and you don't want to see other Management Resources click here to get only the clip chart images.

Do you DIBEL? Want to see some Nonsense Word ideas?
click here to see what's included
<click here>
Happy Shopping!
wanna check out my whole store?

Monday, July 21, 2014

Classroom Management Facelift

The countdown is on people! Two weeks! Oh my goodness. Where has the summer gone? Usually by now I'm getting a little bored or antsy and even though I'm not looking forward to alarms I'm looking forward to routine, structure, and all that jazz. Yeah, I still have the anticipation of a new class (and some siblings from awesome families I've had the pleasure of working with before!!!--love when that happens) but I've been so stinkin' busy (with fun and just life) that I'm not ready!!

Well, ready or not here it comes.

Something I saw on Pinterest quite a bit and then I read more about what "Behavior Bingo". You can really title it whatever you choose. I used to do a marble jar and after all the marbles were earned (marbles were earned and lost at my discretion, for perfect attendance, hallway compliments, and following directions) The marble jar has been fun. Truthfully I'm a little burnt out on it though. Also it's most effective at the very beginning of the year or when we only need 10 more marbles. When the jar has about 100 left in it it's hard to emphasize the importance of having a quiet restroom break to earn some marbles.

I decided to make my own "Behavior Bingo" board. I uploaded it to VistaPrint and had them print it for me. It was $5 for the basic small poster but I wanted a sturdier paper so it was $7 plus shipping. I laminated it today and I'm excited to try something new!!!

I've decided that the kiddos can earn a number (I typed up a 120s chart and cut out the numbers and put them in a bucket) for having perfect attendance, receiving compliments from me or in the hallway from other adults, having the whole class return their homework completed and on time with their name on it, and teacher's choice because I have no idea what else I'll want to reward them for. :D

I had to adjust it a bit on VistaPrint but I like how it turned out. If you'd like to get your freebie template (don't worry, I removed my name) click here. They are images and I have saved them in two formats. See what works best for you.

You'll get (click images to enlarge)
basic board

numbers to draw and the incentives I'm using for now

This will be my 8th year teaching and my 7th year in first grade. Every once in a while I like to change things up. I do this for the kiddos but also for myself. A few years ago I went from my "Card Flip" management system to a "Clip Chart" management system.

I like my clip chart system. It helps me praise good choices and address poor choices. I'm sure most of you know how it works so I won't even go through that. I have made two clip charts since I've started this system. I revamped it just because I wanted it to be pretty. Here's my clip chart:

One more thing I'm adding to my plate...the Homework Club. Do you have a Homework Club? Basically each child is in the Homework Club every day UNTIL they forget their homework or return an incomplete assignment. Then they move their number to the other chart. Good news is they'll get another chance when the new month starts. Kiddos that stay in the Homework Club the entire month will get to have lunch with me in the classroom. I might change up the incentives but this was something quick and easy (and free!) that they'd enjoy and I like it too.

I got the number from my local teacher store. They're actually cute calendar numbers. I think I may need to find smaller numbers though, lol. The pink and green 'boards' are pizza pans from Walmart that were less than $1. I spray painted them and added some ribbon and labels and voila. This is my first year to do this so I'll let you know how it goes!!