Thursday, September 18, 2014

Advice Needed!

Ok fellow bloggers, I am in need of some advice! My grade level will be receiving some money soon and it has to be spent on "instruction." So, my team is starting to look at possible PD events/small conferences that we could spend the money on. 

What's the best PD you have ever participated in? Favorite presenters?

Saturday, September 6, 2014

Apples Galore!

It feels like fall is almost here! Yesterday, it was 100 degrees when I left school. This morning, it's 63! Glorious!

Our class will be celebrating fall by starting one of my favorite units next week--apples! I added a few updates to my apples unit on TpT.
Head over and check it out! It's on sale until Monday!

Monday, September 1, 2014

September Currently

It has been forever since I have done the currently link up! I got to where I would think about it on like the 7th of the month instead of the 1st. I guess I could have joined in that late, but then I would feel like I was even less together and more scatterbrained than I usually see myself. And I like to pretend like I am somewhat together! :)

Monday, August 25, 2014

Spin a Word

I am always looking for easy, fun, no-prep centers for my kiddos. At the beginning of the year, I like to think that I will have centers prepped weeks in advance...but, of course, that never happens. It turns out to be more of a morning-of, oh-crap-I-have-5-minutes-before-the-kids-come-and-I-am-now-super-rushed situation.

One of my go-to centers is Spin a Word.
It is super easy for the kids to pick up on, and almost zero prep for me! I did actually remember to take a picture (miracle!) of my kiddos doing this the other day while we practiced Word Work procedures, but it turned out super blurry. Ugh. 

Right now, this packet includes 12 pairs of word families for the kiddos to practice with, but there's more to come soon! Pick it up now in my TpT store!

Sunday, August 24, 2014

Turn and Talk

Turn and talk is one of my favorite things to do during read alouds! You know firsties--one kid gets to share what they think, they all want to share what they think. Twice. And let's be real, I don't have time for allllll of my kiddos to share their thoughts with everyone. One read aloud would turn into an hour long event! So, we all just tell our neighbor what our thoughts are.

Another teacher introduced me to my new favorite book for practicing turn and talk procedures!
As the {precious} hamster picks out the details of his hot rod, it asks what you would choose. Perfect for telling your partner and practicing turn and talk procedures. Love it!

Saturday, August 23, 2014

Daily 5

Well the first full week of school is officially done! I would love to say that it went well...but so far my kiddos are a tough group! Hopefully I'll have them in shape soon!

We have been practicing our Daily 5 since that very first day of school (got to start building their stamina!) and they're doing fairly well with it! I am hoping to try it full out this week. 
Check out these cuties reading!

I have always done an adapted version of Daily 5 and told my kiddos which centers they were going to go to each day. This year I am actually going to try out letting them choose! Eek! I'm so nervous about it! I'm sure they will do fine, but it is not the easiest for me to give up that control...
Fingers crossed!

Wednesday, August 20, 2014

Back to School Sale

What a better way to celebrate a new school year than with a sale?! Head over to my TpT store to get 28% off all items!

Happy shopping!

Wednesday, August 13, 2014

Monday, August 11, 2014

Monday Made It

Let me preface by saying that this Monday Made It has very little to do with school, and has everything to do with my latest obsession.

Not chalk paint as in chalkboard paint. It's called chalk paint because of its texture when it's dried. The best thing about this paint is that it requires no prep work! No sanding. No priming. Nothing at all!

{It sounds like I'm a spokesperson for Annie Sloan, but I just love this paint!}

Check out everything I have painted so far!

 New bookshelf for my classroom

Hexagonal table that belonged to my grandmother

Even my boring refrigerator!
{I apologize for my terrible-quality pictures. Maybe I should start using something other than my iPhone to take pictures?}

I think it's safe to say that I have become addicted to painting!

Sunday, August 10, 2014

New Year Prep

School is soooooo soon! (Thursday is our 1st day back!) I have, of course, been working very hard preparing my room for a group of new kiddos. Which actually means I'm taking everything out of my closets to look at it and then putting it back in the exact same spot, while wasting time talking with the teachers across the hall. And then rushing to get things done in the last few days that I have.

Does anyone else tend to just throw things into random places at the end of the school year? I always find myself stashing things in filing cabinets and lockers and boxes that don't actually belong there. At the time, I tell myself that I will remember exactly where I put everything, buuuuttttttttt, that's not true. Which is why I am reprinting, laminating, and cutting out my math vocab posters.

I have looked everywhere and they are nowhere to be found! I'm sure I will find them (in May) in a student's desk or closet or in the teacher's lounge where I tend to put things down and forget them. 

Maybe this year I will be a little less scatterbrained and a little more organized!
(But let's be real, I've said that every year!)

Thursday, August 7, 2014

Word Wall Makeover

I loved my old word wall. It is definitely one of my favorite bulletin boards in my classroom, and it is the only board that I had not made changes to at the end of every year! 

{This is a picture from an old post. The butterfly and lizard aren't normally there! :)}

But last spring, I went to a professional development that made me think a little deeper about my word wall. I (like most other teachers) had divided my words up based on the first letter in the word. What other way was there to do it?!  

And then the clouds parted and angels sang and I realized...that way made no sense! 

The words I had posted didn't necessarily start with the same sound. Under "a", you could find as and about. Under "t", you could find take and think. Of course, they visually start the same, but for the kiddo who can't spell the word they are looking for, how would they know where to look?!

Thank goodness I had this life-changing, earth-shattering ah-ha moment.

So now, my word wall looks a little different. Not all the sounds are there. (I mean who actually has words under /v/ and /x/?!) You get the idea!

I'm sure that all of my firsties will thank me on the first day of school for having this realization that will drastically change their lives forever. Or maybe they will just hide their excitement with a breakdown or two :)

Monday, August 4, 2014

Back to School Sale

It's Back to School Sale time! I know that I look forward to this sale all year, and my cart is already loaded up and ready to go! 
My whole store is 20% off today and tomorrow! Add that with the promo code, and you will get 28% off! 

Happy shopping!
And happy back to school!

Tuesday, July 15, 2014

Back to School Brain

Why is July going by so fast?! I felt like June draggggged on (or is it drug on?)--but that was probably because I was in class everyday. Now July is half over, and I'll be back in the swing before I know it. 

I have been doing lots of thinking about my classroom, but not much doing. Lots of thinking about what worked well last year, and what I want to change for this year. Now it's about time to get my booty in gear and actually start doing things for my classroom.

One thing I loved about my class last year was the behavior management. It worked wonders with my kiddos! Who would have thought that pom-poms would make my kiddos actually listen?!

I give out "little warm fuzzies" to my kids for making good choices. I kind of went in waves last year. I would go through a week and realize I hadn't given out a single one! EEK! But then I would bring them back and they worked so well! After they earned 5 little warm fuzzies, they could trade them in for a big one. (I had my students keep them in plastic pencil boxes.) After a few weeks, (aka whenever I could find a few spare minutes or I started to run out of warm fuzzies to hand out) the kids could trade them in for prizes. Most of my prizes are coupons, but I do have a few toys--mostly party favor type. I love, love, love using these! It's super easy for me, and it works!

One thing that didn't work last year? Our math block. It was booooring. We attempted math centers early and they lasted about the 1st 9 weeks. They were never independent (like not even close to independent). It was a lot of prep for me. Basically it just didn't work. So we ended up just following our boring book. Ugh. I hate that.

So what's my plan for next year? Math Daily 5! And I am so excited about it! My kids have done great with Daily 5 in the past. They like the choice, and I love their independence. Hopefully, they will pick up Math Daily 5 just as easily as they do Literacy Daily 5!

Any tips from those of you that have done Math Daily 5?

Monday, July 7, 2014

Brain Breakfast

Is it just me or is summer flying by? I started grad classes this summer, and it took over my life. Sitting everyday from 9-4 is definitely something I have forgotten how to do. I feel like I have had almost no time to get anything done, much less relax! My summer to do list has almost nothing crossed off yet!

One thing I did finally get crossed off is my newest TpT product! This is the morning work I have been using for the last 2 years--and I love it! It is simple to prepare and predictable enough for my kiddos to be super independent (which I definitely need in the mornings)!

Right now, it is 135 pages of morning work, but I am already adding more! Pick it up from my TpT store now before it's updated!

Saturday, May 17, 2014

Counting Down

Who else is counting down the days until school is out?! I only have 9 school days left! I can make it. I can make it. I think I can make it.

Since it is the end of the year, there is of course chaos, testing, and thinking of what I want to do differently next year!

I took this year to try to change up my reading block and guided reading time. There are still some things I want to change in that for next year, but I really want to focus on my math block for next year! I feel like math really gets the short end of the stick. There is so much emphasis put on literacy that math gets pushed to the back burner. At least I know it does at my school!

So next year, I am going to 100% revamp my math block! Out with the boring work, in with the fun, engaging work! I got to see the 2 Sisters speak at the  IRA Conference last weekend and let me just say...AMAZING. I'm planning on trying out their Math Daily 3. But I also want to work on their math fluency. I made up these math fluency cards to help us out! There are cards for ten frames, tally marks, numbers, math facts, and missing addends.

It's in my TpT store for only $6! Hurry up and grab it now! I already have some more that I am wanting to add to it!

Wednesday, March 19, 2014

Battle of the Books

My family went to the Women's Final Four when I was younger, so this time of year brings back so many memories of fun competition (and ridiculously obnoxious fans). So why not combine 2 of my favorite things--reading and competition!

Enter the Battle of the Books!

{Thank goodness for my wonderful sister who helped me get this done.}

I chose 16 books (most of them are books that my class has already read), paired them up, and my kiddos will get to vote until we are left with one book of the year! I am so excited for the competition to begin!

Who do you think the winner will be?!

Monday, March 3, 2014

No G's!

I went to a writing PD Friday with Matt Glover--and let me just say, it was great!! We started talking about students picking their own topics for writing. A teammate of mine asked how to let them choose, while still making sure they are picking appropriate topics. Another teacher there offered a fantastic idea! Enter the no g's rule!

I love this! They cannot write (or talk or draw) about guts, guns, girlfriends/boyfriends, anything gross, or gore! I am sad to say that some of our firsties have had some issues in the girlfriends/boyfriends area this year, so hopefully this will take care of some of that!

Our district had a snow day today and has another one tomorrow, so I have not actually been able to introduce this new rule to my kids, but I am so excited to use it! Click the picture to go to my TpT store and get it--for free!

Saturday, March 1, 2014

It's March?!?!

I cannot believe it is already March. I am definitely glad, because I am tired of the cold, but the year is flying!

Listening: I love the Olympics! But I am glad that my typical Thursday night full of great TV is back! Grey's. Scandal. Parenthood. I love Thursdays.

Loving: One of the reasons I am so glad it is March--SPRING BREAK! Only a few short weeks away!

Thinking: I have been out a lot lately for PD. All of the 1st grade teachers in our district our taking part in a 4 day training called LETRS, then a group from my school went to hear Matt Glover (loved him!) talk about writing workshop yesterday. My list of summer projects is getting longer and longer!

Wanting: A housekeeper. I always need to clean, but never want to.

Needing: To finish lesson plans! And sub plans! Another day out this week for PD.

????????: What could my secret question be?! The answer: Divergent, warmer weather, and summer!

Happy March!

Friday, February 14, 2014

Valentine's Sale

Happy Valentine's Day to all! Our class celebrated yesterday because we are off today! And thank goodness. This teacher is in desperate need of a long weekend. Especially after the chaos of Valentine's Day.

To celebrate Valentine's Day and my long weekend, I'm throwing a sale! Everything in my TpT store is 15% off! It's a perfect time to pick up my Olympics unit or my Draw the Room bundle (which is newly updated!!).

Head over to my store and take advantage of the sale!

Sunday, February 9, 2014

Student Valentines

Valentine's Day is coming up soon! Honestly, I am not prepared. At all. My theme for this year is turning out to be trying to just stay afloat. There is constantly so much going on! Anyone else out there with me?

So I am feeling quite excited about this super simple valentine I plan on giving to my kiddos! Head over to my store to grab this freebie for yourself! (There are 2 other paper options for you to choose from.)

Happy {almost} Valentine's Day!