Monday, September 30, 2013

Math Centers

Another teacher and I were talking a few days ago about how we really were not happy with how our math was going. Our students did not seem as engaged and we just weren't able to get as much done in our scheduled time as we would have liked. Then I realized, if our literacy centers went so smoothly and we accomplished so many things, why not do the same thing with math?! It seemed like a simple idea. So simple I should have thought about it before!

Well my class tried it today. It was awful. Absolutely terrible.
I was actually expecting it to go fairly well. I structured our centers exactly like I structure our literacy centers. Same rules, same expectations. But still--absolutely awful. Worse than the first day of our literacy centers! It was like I had 1st day kinders!

We are going to try it again tomorrow. Many prayers are being said tonight that it goes better! Any suggestions? What works best for your class?

Wednesday, September 25, 2013

Here Comes Johnny Appleseed!

For the last 2 weeks, we have been learning all about apples and Johnny Appleseed!
Johnny Appleseed craft

Johnny Appleseed book (and mini books for the kiddos!)

Life cycle of an apple flip book
This was my example. I had the kids glue the pictures in and write a quick sentence.

Check out the whole unit on my TpT store!

Friday, September 13, 2013

Five for Friday

It's Friday!! It felt like the longest week ever. That's the downside to short weeks, the next week always seems so long!

1. This week we have been learning about apples! I was the worst at taking pictures though. I'm still doing good to just make it through the day, much less with pictures from the day! But...we investigated apples, labeled apples, and made applesauce! All of our activities can be found in my apple unit!

2. We also did our first shared writing about what we learned about apples! This one was their ideas, but my writing. Later I plan to have them do some of the writing, but I wanted them to see it first.

3. Our first grade team is trying something new this year. We leveled all of the first graders, then had them rotate between each teacher for 20 minutes for some more focused instruction. We tried it today for the first time, and it was great! They did really well and seemed to get a lot out of it! My focus was nonsense words, so we played Nonsense Word Tic Tac Toe!

4. My first evaluation of the year is on Monday! It's crazy to think about! I feel like it is still the first week of school. Hopefully my class will cooperate for a bit!

5. Have you ever heard of Sit Spots? I ordered some and am hoping they come in next week! I am so excited to use them! This group does not quite understand carpet time...

Happy weekend!

Wednesday, September 11, 2013

My Obsession

I have talked before about my unhealthy love obsession with children's books. It is impossible for me to resist. I found one recently that I had not read before.
If you have never read this, you simply have to. It is adorable!

I'm linking up with Cindy to share about my new book find!
I originally got this book to use it to teach story structure. It is super simple for the kids to follow, and perfect for introducing plot! Of course, after that, I found that it was good for so many other things! We have been learning about bringing our characters to life in Writer's Workshop, and this is a great example of making characters move and talk! It also lead into a great conversation about what we are at school to do. This year, I have one student who is mute and one 5th grader who just moved here from Mexico that visits our class to learn some basic skills. All of the kids have tons of questions about each other, and this book helped them to see that everyone has a place. Just like the boy in the book is meant to be a child instead of a pet, we are not meant to all be the same. We are all treated differently because we are different. Hopefully this will sink in soon!

On another note, we have been learning about apples all week and having so much fun! Hopefully I will be back later this week with what we did!

Saturday, September 7, 2013

Making Progress!

Since my kids have been really struggling on vowel sounds, I have been searching and searching for fun and different things to help! Thank goodness I found this great song!

You have to watch it! My kids love it and sing it all the time!

Beyond just teaching them vowel sounds, I think it really helped one of my students take a huge step. This year, I have a student who is a selective mute. He has been at this school for 3 years and has not spoken a word to anyone at school. Not one word. He is also extremely reserved and does not react to anything. I have been trying to make him feel super comfortable and hoping that we can make some progress. Well...this song worked magic. As soon as I put it on, he got up and started dancing like crazy! I was so excited! Maybe a sign of more good things to come?!

Thursday, September 5, 2013

Short Vowel Pack

We are 15 days into school and most days I still feel like it is the first day. My group this year is just a difficult group. We are still working on where we stand in line! And for some, we are still working on writing our name. 
But tomorrow is a brand new day. And things can only get better...right?

Besides all of that, so many of my kids this year are struggling with vowel sounds. I mean really struggling. Some didn't know any when they were tested. So we have been working really hard on them, and I wanted to have some fun games to help them!

Right now, there are 4 games included, but I got a few more ideas I am trying to tweak before I add those in. Grab it now before it's updated!

Happy (almost) Friday!

Monday, September 2, 2013

September Currently

I'm sorry...what? It's September?! Did August even happen? 

It has been deathly hot outside lately. Highs of near 100. Gross. So I am taking my relaxing, no-schedule morning to enjoy some sun and outside time that doesn't end in needing multiple showers.

How much do you love 3 day weekends?! I can get so much done! And an extra day to sleep later than the sun is always nice too!

I did actually go up to school yesterday and got a ton of things done--things that I never want to do during school hours or after school when I'm just ready to put my feet up. 
I ordered more book boxes like these so all of mine would match, and they finally came in! Now our class library is beautiful, organized, and matches! I was also able to organize a ton of files and activities that I had been putting off since last year! Now if only I could do some of that organizing at my own house...

Who doesn't want 3 day weekends every weekend? I know they make me a much happier teacher come Tuesday morning!

Our district opted to not purchase Accelerated Reader this year. Not a big deal at all, but you would think they had decided to stop paying us by some reactions. So, we have been brainstorming something to do school-wide to encourage reading. Any suggestions?

Love Yourself Spot
1. Read a book. Not school related! I never seem to find time to do this during the school year.
2. Pamper myself! Massage? Mani/pedi? I actually got a manicure yesterday. But that was before I decided on this goal, so I'm not going to count it! :)
3. Join a gym! This has been on my list for a while, and I just haven't done it. I will this month!

Happy Labor Day!