Tuesday, September 2, 2014

September Currently

Good Morning!  I am linking up with Farley for September's Currently! Here it goes!

It is the first day of school today.  I am up, enjoying my coffee and my husband is downstairs watching Seinfeld, maybe a first day of school pick me up?  Normally he isn't up this early, but I think the excitement of the day has us both up and running before the sun!

Even though this is my seventh year teaching, I still couldn't sleep last night and the anticipation of the first day is killing me.  I hope we get to do everything I have planned for the day and it all goes smoothly.  As long as they all make it on the correct bus to get home, I will be happy!  

Even though I am wide awake, another hour of sleep wouldn't hurt.  I have a feeling an early bed time will be up for tonight!

The three trips section was fun :)  I love to travel!  We spent our summer in Alaska and Southeast Asia. I have yet to make it to Hawaii.  It is one of the 3 states I have left to visit and we will probably save it for last.  I've always wanted to go to South Africa and New Zealand as well!

Happy first day of school to all of you guys starting today and have a great September!  I am ready for some football and fall weather :)

Monday, September 1, 2014

Classroom Reveal!

Here is my big reveal this year!  This year I decided to do an ocean theme.  It was really fun to put it all together.  I wish I could claim all originality, but this wouldn't be possible without Pinterest!  I don't know what I did before without it :)  Here is where my 22 kiddos will come each day this year :)  I am so excited!

It's hard to believe it all started like this:

And was transformed to this in only a week and a half!

This is the welcome board in the hall.  I created the whales using shapes in powerpoint.  I was really happy with how they turned out.

How cute are these little otters for our class helper area?!

A shot of the classroom.  I am starting with four tables because I like symmetry, but I am sure this will turn into five tables shortly.

I am trying out Class Dojo this year!  Has anyone had any success using it?  Any pointers?  I think it will be much more manageable than my old behavior management and I am excited to introduce it to the kids tomorrow.  We are going to color in avatars and create speech bubbles for them with classroom rules.

I love the birthday board.  Last year, I did the same thing with super heroes, but NEVER put their pictures in as the faces!  This year that is number one on my list - take their pictures to go in each boat.

The crabs in the tens frame are so cute!

I broke up my board this year by subjects.  We have a lot more that needs to go into lesson plans this year so I am hoping to incorporate them in each section.  For example, in addition to learning targets, we need to add vocabulary.  These will kind of serve as Anchor Charts, but on the board.  I hope I can keep up with it!

This will be the Word Work area.  I am also trying Daily Five this year.  I always had about 9 centers for kids to go to, but this year I have consolidated them into the Daily Five.  I am excited to try this.  I hope it results with me working smarter and not harder.

A tank of writing ideas!  I can't wait to introduce all of these fun writing projects to my kiddos.

Our word wall!

In my Read to Self area, I put all of my theme books (which use to be a separate theme center), my Author of the Month center (Kevin Henkes) and then the classroom library.  I hope it works out.

Not really classroom decor, but for open house/bts night every year, I always have my parents/students sort their supplies.  This year I even had them put what they needed to keep in their desk away.  This saved me so much time.  Next year, I am adding a step though - unwrapping everything!  Do you know how long it takes to take all of the glue sticks out of their packaging?  I hope the parents won't mind doing that themselves next year :)

Tomorrow is the first day!  Good luck to everyone else starting tomorrow :)

Happy Teaching!  Rest Up!

Tuesday, August 12, 2014

I'm Back!!

This blog has been severely neglected!  I haven't posted since January, but I hope to contribute to my blog a lot more this year!  A couple of major things have happened since my last blog entry:

1. We moved to a great new home!
2. We went on a month-long adventure in Asia!

What do both of these things have in common?? $$Money$$  To make both of these things happen I tutored non-stop last year and had absolutely no time to add to TPT or to blog, but now that everything is under control, I have cut back and am ready to enter the blogging world again!

I don't have anything to say about school just yet.  We don't start until after Labor Day and aren't required to head back until the 20th.  I do plan on heading in later this week to start my set up :)  This year I am doing an ocean theme!  Last year, I did a super hero theme, which I loved.  In honor of my renewed adventure in blogging, I am giving away all of my super hero themed decor FREE in my TPT Store!  

Go check it out!  While here, I also posted a whole year's worth of morning work/daily journals!  

I am happy to be back :)

Monday, January 27, 2014

Our Daily Routine, Continued: Daily Journal

Do you do a daily journal?  This is one thing I started my first year teaching and I cannot let go of it.  I really think in the long run, it helps my kiddos with their writing.  Every year prior to this one, their journal was their morning work.  This was great for my kids that arrived on time, but all of my stragglers were always behind.  

This year, I decided to do the daily journal at the beginning of our Center Time (which is about an hour).  It takes the students about 15 minutes to complete this, but this way when they are done, they can go straight into their literacy activities.  My kids like their journals and work really hard in them!

How do I motivate them?  I choose an Author of the Day daily.  I pull three random journals each day at the end of our literacy block.  These students read their journal and then I decide who wrote most like an author (included interesting detail, spoke clearly, answered the prompt, etc.)  The student I choose for Author of the Day gets to display their work on the board and use my smelly pencils (nothing fancy and very manageable.

I do not correct their journals or even look at them on a daily basis.  At the end of the month, I flip through them and look for the first grade standards.  I write a quick note on what they do well and their goal for next month to improve their writing.  The one great thing about the journal instead of daily work, is I copy it once a month and I don't have to send it home until the end of the month.

My February Journal is now available in my TPT store.  It features primary lines, daily writing prompts and a place for illustrations.

Happy Writing!
Next Up: Center Time!

Wednesday, January 15, 2014

Word Study Break Down

Continuing in my attempt to post about my daily routines, I figured I would go in order.  Every day after Morning Meeting we do word study.  I have an extensive amount of word study resources, but I have finally figured out a way of managing it.  Below you will see four different boxes (CHEAP from IKEA!)  They are labeled with each of my four different groups.  On Monday, they have to go to their box and cut our their words for the week.  They keep them in a plastic bag in their desk to sort each day.
Every Monday, I meet with every word study group for about ten minutes.  We do the sort that is part of each of my Word Study Units where they sort on pictures.  I cut out the words for each unit (and laminate them for further use) and together we talk about the words and put it on the correct picture.  Before they leave my table, they have to do the sort with their own words and read the words to me.

I have invested TONS of time into making all of these games for my different word study units.  I keep them in this big old binder (I've added a second one!)  Each sleeve has a unit.

After Monday, I put the leveled games into the different boxes.  Students can choose to play whatever game they want during our word study time.  To make my life easier, I created game bags for each game with all of the required pieces.  Students simply grab the game from their box and the bag with the pieces, play it and then return it to the box.

I want students to do written practice of their words so each group gets a written activity each week for their words.  Below are ones that I rotate through:

During the week, the students must complete the tic-tac-toe sheet at home for homework.  They can choose any activities they want each night, but they must get three in a row by Friday.

On Friday, I give each word study group a test.  It may seem a bit daunting to give 4 different word study tests, but I simply put each of the groups at different tables and walk around and give the different words to the different groups.  They must write the words in the correct sort and write them all correctly.  If they do this, they get a super speller award, which they LOVE!

I hope this has helped your word study.  I love word study and think it is so helpful for the kids to learn their spelling patterns!

Happy Teaching!

Thursday, January 9, 2014

Morning Meetings De-Constructed

Happy New Year!  One of my New Year's Resolutions was to blog at least twice a week!  Well, week 1 passed with no blogging, but in my defense we haven't been in school!  We enjoyed 1 day back after break and then a snow day, ice day and cold day.  We seem to be back into the swing of things now so here I am blogging!  I thought I would start by blogging about different parts of our day in first grade.  We start every morning exactly the same, with morning meeting!  Do you do morning meetings?  Here is a screen shot from each part of our morning meeting.  It takes about 30 minutes, but it is a great way (I think) to start off every day.  It will be available for FREE in my TPT store by the end of the day for anybody with a Promethean Board :)  I will also add the other months as I make them!
1. This is up when they arrive in the morning as just a friendly reminder of what they need to do :)

2. Every morning I write them a morning message.  There is normally some sort of seasonal character in the corner telling them how many mistakes there are.  After we read the letter together, the students help me correct it with editing marks.  This is just a quick way of reinforcing writing skills.

3. How many days have we been in school?  We keep track on this hundreds chart (there will be two hundreds charts after the 100th day of school).  The students must tell me if the number is odd or even and then they choose a snowflake.  Behind each snowflake is some sort of counting skill (counting by 1's, 2's, 5's, 10's, backwards and creating number sentences).

4. My students bring over dry erase boards to morning meeting.  When we get to this slide, they have to make on their board the amount of money for days we have been in school.  They simply draw it using P for penny, Q for quarter, D for dime and N for nickel.  I walk around and when I see someone has done it correctly, they can then go drag the coins into the piggy bank.  We count it together.  After that, they write the amount in two ways.

5. Again, on their boards they draw todays number with hundreds, tens and ones.  Then I choose someone to make it on the board.  We then count it together.

6. I guess the whole purpose of morning meeting is the calendar.  We write the date and then add it to the calendar.  Students can also create a pattern in our calendar with the pictures I provide.  They then fill in the days for yesterday, today and tomorrow.  We sing the days of the week song every day and the months of the year.

7. Everyday, I have a "meteorologist" check out the weather for our weather graph.  We keep track of it here and discuss the pictograph everyday.

8. This is my favorite slide every morning.  We just started this one (before we were doing the fifty nifty United States song).  I learned all 50 states in first grade and I feel its a good time to teach it.  If they do 5 minutes of practice/day, they learn it slowly.  This will be the slide for the rest of the year.  We listen to the Animaniacs States/Capitals song and then we choose a part of the United States to label.  We simply drag the names of the state out of the hats and put them on the map.  The kids love this and its a quick and easy way to get in a little geography practice.  I think everyone should be able to name every state and capital and know where it is on the map!

9. We do 5 sight words of the week each week.  I put them in here and then each day they choose a different hat (each with an activity under them).  Some of the activities are back spelling, disco dance, stomp the word, etc.  They also write these on their white boards.

10. We do a word family of the week.  On the first day of the week, we brainstorm together words that are in this word family.  After that, they are in charge of writing as many words in this word family on their white board.  After I give them about 2 minutes, I ask for the words they wrote and we put them on the board together… this way they are writing them too!

11. We have a poem of the week each week that they keep in their poetry notebook.  We do different things with these poems.  We read them for fluency, but then they also write the sight words in them, talk about definitions of words, etc.  We spend about 4 minutes talking about and practicing the weekly poem each day.

12. My school does Answer of the Day which is a great assessment tool.  I write a different answer each day (normally something we are studying) and they have to come up with a question for that answer.  For example for this one a question would be "what is the first month of the year?"

I hope you find this helpful.  I know that it sets up a great routine in my classroom each day and provides time to practice basic skills!

Happy Thursday!