Sunday, September 30, 2012

Super Sunday

Well, here I am.  Once again, I got on a roll with writing and then, the week and the weekend got away from me.  For the first time in awhile, I spent my weekend doing next to nothing.  It always feels odd when I do that.  It wasn't that I didn't have anything to do.  Sometimes I just feel like I have to stop and breathe for a few minutes.  My mind is always working, so although I know I need to be creating new holiday packets, writing more creative lesson plans, etc. I decided it needed a break.  Do you ever do that?  The crazy part is every time I do, I enjoy it, but I feel a little guilty for slowing down and doing nothing.

Anyway, since I didn't do anything that means I don't have anything of my own to share.  However, I do have a link to a freebie that I'm going to use this week.  I've never met this seller, but I thought it was cute and it goes with my first grade standards.  I hope you like it as much as I do.

Know this is a quick post, but time to get ready for Monday!  I can't wait to show you our writing that we are doing this week.  I have TONS of fall stuff, so will definitely get some pictures.

Oh yeah, have to throw this in - Go Braves, Falcons, & Bulldogs!!!!  Great weekend to be a Georgia girl!

Have a great night!

Tuesday, September 25, 2012

Terrific Tuesdays

Good Night!

Yeah, that doesn't sound as good as good morning does it?  Funny when you think about it.  You can start a note with good morning and it sounds happy.  You start with good night and it's like, "Huh?"  Honestly, not sure where this came from, but I'm blogging - two days in a row!!!!  I must be getting close to a habit, right?

Anyway, as close as I am to forming a new addiction habit besides drinking Cokes, I will try to keep this one short tonight.  I am closing in on being 100% quickly, but definitely still need more rest than usual.

First of all, I created a new center.  I have to say, this is one of my favorites.  I am teaching categorization to my students right now, so I created a center that helps with them learn this skill.  The reason I'm SOOOO excited is I was able to use 12 different clip art sets that I've ordered.  Below are a few pictures of this one.  I made the assessment a little bit bigger so you can see it a little better.



I'm planning on making some more assessments over the next week, so make sure you keep checking back if you need some quick Freebies that will cover 1st grade standards.  I also have TONS of Freebies on TPT and all of my stuff is under $3.50, so you may want to check it out, too.

Hope everyone had a great Tuesday!  

Monday, September 24, 2012

Manic Mondays II

Yes, I know, I just posted, but I promise this will be the shortest post ever!  Plus, it makes up for one of the days I skipped, right?  I just have to share because I think I may have just found one of the most useful sites I've ever seen.  I cannot WAIT to be back at school tomorrow and load up on some of these great materials.  When you go to the site, click on the word CONTENT at the top.  I think you will be amazed as I am.

Manic Mondays

I might as well start off by telling you this Monday hasn't been a manic one.  Honestly, it's been more of a Mild Monday.  I managed to catch the stomach virus going around school, so today is a recovery day.  After my chaotic Saturday/Sunday, it was nice waking up fever free and able to eat crackers and drink Gatorade.

So, you may be wondering what that has to do with you?  Well, during the last two days on the couch I really didn't feel like doing much, so I took time to read a few blogs.  I have decided my favorite ones are the ones that give you funny stories, lots of ideas, and a little bit of what it's like to be a true teacher. I also realized that when you sit behind a computer screen it can be so easy to vent.  I think letting out your frustration makes sense at times, but I've decided that doesn't belong on media outlets (Facebook, Twitter, blogs).  You may disagree with me and think that's not being "Real", but really, if you've had a long day and heard complaining at your school are you getting online to find more frustration or inspiration?  I think it's still "Real" if you are choosing to focus on the best part of your day instead of the worst.  Take it or leave it, but just an observation I've made the last few days.

Now, to the fun stuff :)  Since I've been looking at a lot of blogs the last few days, I have a few new gadgets I've decided I want need for my classroom.  Most of them I've seen on multiple blogs, so they have to be worth it, right?  Below are pictures with links to where you can buy them.  To me, there's nothing worse than finding something amazing on Pinterest and it just shows you a picture, so anytime I can I will give you links.  Also, all of these items can be found on Amazon, but prices and number available vary, so tried to stick with real stores.

First of all, I REALLY would love to have my own laminator.  I would use the school one for the bigger projects, but this would come in handy for little pieces, especially labels or those things you need ASAP.

Next, I would love a portable handheld scanner.  I think this would be great days that a worksheet is a little too tough :)  I could use this to scan it and pop it up on my Activboard.  I'm also thinking it may be helpful with portfolios.  I could scan pages before I sent them to parents.  My mind spins when I think of all I could do with this little toy.  Plus, I could store it in a desk drawer because it is small!  

For my last electronic "Need" of the day, I'd love to have a Belkin RockStar.  This allows up to 5 people a.k.a kids to listen to a song story at a time.  With Nook Kids, Scholastic Storia, MeeGenius, etc. I could quickly turn an iPad or an iPod into a listening station.  I bet I could even use it with computers during those times that kids are needing to share.  Now, if I could only find a pair of Dre Beats for $14.99 I'd be in business.

So, what are the cool tech gadgets that you want for your classroom? 

See you tomorrow!

Saturday, September 22, 2012

Super Saturday

Alright, I feel like I am letting my followers down.  You know that saying that says it takes so many days to form a habit?  Well, I don't think my blog is quite a habit yet.  I'm working on it, but it is definitely taking some time.

Anyway, if you are following me, I have to tell you I am soooo excited that October is almost here and that today is the first day of fall.  This is my favorite time of year!  I'm not a Halloween nut, but I love the colors, the cooler Georgia air, and everything pumpkin.  Since this is my favorite time of year, I am throwing a TPT sale starting tomorrow and running through Wednesday.  I also have a new Fall Fun Freebie :)  Below are a few pictures of it and a link to it.  When I'm finished I'm hopefully going to have a section on nouns, verbs, adjectives, parts of speech - nouns, verbs, adjectives, conjunctions, prepositions, & articles.  Since we've never taught conjunctions, prepositions, or articles in the first grade materials are lacking, so be expecting more freebies for these specific parts of speech in the future.

Here's a link to this specific freebie.

Fall Fun - Verbs Freebie

Also, last year I tried several different fun activities in my classroom that I found on Pinterest.  Here's a link to my Halloween Holiday Fun board.  I know it says Halloween, but this folder also includes Johnny Appleseed ideas, (in general) fall ideas, and Halloween.  I hope it helps you get creative!  My kids LOVED the pumpkin bowling and the Skeleton Dance.  If you do pumpkin bowling, you may want to use an orange ball, or a stuffed orange basketball and paper towels.  We started with toilet paper, but got much further with the paper towels.

Holiday Fun - Halloween

Hope you have a terrific, fantabulous weekend!

Tuesday, September 18, 2012

Terrific Tuesdays

Apparently, I'm meant to be a night owl blogger :)  Mornings are too crazy, afternoons are spent at school, so here it is a little after 9:00 and once again I'm just unpacking my computer from my bag.  Speaking of which, I'm not sure what you have, but if you are looking for a new computer I love my MacBook Pro.  Funny to think that when I first got it I was in tears and wanted to chunk it out a window.

Okay, so today is Terrific Tuesday.  It was a pretty interesting day.  We had grandparents eat lunch with our kids, the book fair, and a random power outage on our side of the county.  The good thing is my classroom has a lot of sunlight in the afternoon, so we were able to keep on moving.

Anyway, before I left today I took a few new pictures, specifically of a the Top 5 things that I HAVE to have to survive in Room 116 :)

I can't live without my Sharpies.  I have a super Sharpie, thin Sharpies, medium Sharpie pens, & fine Sharpie pens.    Yes, I'm a little obsessed with them!  Love them!
This is my little, green wagon.  Instead of having kids carry papers back and forth from our copy lady, I send them with this wagon.  Since I bought it everything is always stacked neatly & is never dropped by accident.
My notepad collection might just be bigger than my Sharpie collection.  I love collecting cute notepads, especially if they have my name, paw prints, or anything to do with first grade.  Yes, this is a drawer full of notepads, & sticky notes. 
This is a portion of my wall of fame.  It has the bear I painted for my last theme and lots of sweet cards & notes from my former students & their parents.  When I have a bad day, I stop what I'm doing, & I read through the cards.  It makes me smile every time.
Last, but not least is my notebooks.  I've never liked filing cabinets, so I did notebooks instead.   You can tell me a standard & I have it covered.  I've had these several years, but redid them this year to match all of the new standards.  It took 4 days to complete.
So, those are the 5 things that I can't live without.  What are the things that you have to have?  Leave a comment.  I would love to hear about a few of your favorite things.

Until tomorrow!

Monday, September 17, 2012

Manic Mondays

So, I thought all day about what I wanted to post today, but I forgot to take a picture at school, so maybe tomorrow.  I thought I'd share a few things I use to organize my students and me, but definitely easier to explain with pictures.

Since I forgot to take pictures, I'll show you my classroom instead :)  Every 3 or 4 years I change my theme.  Right now, my theme is farm.  I have to say it is my favorite theme I've done.  There's so much I can do with it, plus it's bright and colorful.  I'm even considering keeping it for awhile.

Anyway, below are pictures with some commentary :)  Let me know what you think and feel free to share the themes you have tried or want to try in the future :)

The barn is the main bulletin board in my classroom.  The black parts of the barn are laminated posters.  I hot glued magnets to them to hold all of our math vocabulary cards.  Also, I have the desks in my room pushed against walls.  My room looks MUCH bigger.  Most mornings I sit at the table you see in the center of my room.  I even take attendance from there using my iPad.
This is where I keep up with discipline.  Instead of moving clips, my students move corn.  I hot glued magnets to the tractor and to the back of the corn.  This is the back of a set of cubbies, so it's in view, but it's also out of the way.
This is a close up of the center of my barn.  I always keep the days of the week and months of the year here.  We don't really do Calendar Math anymore, but I still think it's important for my students to have these words available.  This set is available on my TPT site.

Hope you like my room!  I will try to have a few organization pictures tomorrow.  One day this week I also hope to show you a few of the things I found on Pinterest and pictures of how my versions turned out.  It's funny because I have only been on Pinterest for around a year and I can barely remember life before Pinterest.  The E Cards alone are enough to keep me visiting!

Have a Terrific Tuesday!

Sunday, September 16, 2012

Super Sunday

I know it's been a few days.  I was planning on posting to my blog every day, but then life happened :)  Our hot water heater had to be replaced, we had a leak, and I had several other things this weekend, so all of my school ideas had to be put on hold for a few days :)

Anyway, I've been thinking about all of the new standards, programs, websites, etc. we have gotten within our school and our grade level.  One of the things that our county has adopted this year is CAFE/Daily 5.  I'm slowly starting to get some CAFE in and Daily 5, but I'm definitely not where I want to be with it yet.  I'm getting the Daily 5 stuff in every day, but right now it is more whole group than free choice or center-related.  I am looking forward to the day that I feel like it is fully implemented and running smoothly.  One thing I decided to do with mine is adjust it a little.  I added Grammar Work as part of my Daily 5 routine and I decided sometimes we may do 2 Grammar Works, 2 Work on Writing stations, or 2 Word Work stations with the other strategies.  We do Read to Self every day, so I'm not going to do that as part of my Daily 5 routine for the time being.  I also will probably only do a Daily 4 instead of a Daily 5.  Below is a picture of what my CAFE board looks like if it's full.  On my TPT site, I have TONS of CAFE/Daily 5 cards for free, so if your school is using CAFE/Daily 5 and you want cards that match your theme, you may want to go look.  I don't have every theme, but I do have a lot.  Below is a link to my TPT CAFE/Daily 5 cards and a picture of what my CAFE board looks like.

This is my CAFE board.  Below the headers, I have put my students' names.  This way I know what each individual student in my room needs.  Also, I am getting ready to make emergent cards for my students since I teach first grade.  I did take down most of the cards since I took this picture, but I wanted my parents and you to get an idea of what the board will eventually look like.

Out of all of the new stuff we have added, my favorites are 6 Trait Writing and Daily Word Problems.  Both of these were EASY to implement and honestly, I think both give the kids a great foundation as they move up to other grade levels.  I also LOVE Reading A-Z.  If you join, you have the opportunity to get tons and tons of printable books on your students' Lexile levels.  My membership just became official this weekend and I can't wait to load up on some new books!  Below is a link to Reading A-Z.

Anyway, that's all I have for Super Sunday.  Next Sunday, I am planning on Having a Super Sunday Sale on TPT :)  Hopefully, I will have several new fall creations ready and you will find what you need.  I will probably run the sale through Wednesday :)

If you have curriculum or a website that you LOVE to use, please share it :)  I know my best ideas come from other teachers.

Have a Fantabulous Week!

Wednesday, September 12, 2012

Wacky Wednesdays

I'm sure you've noticed by now that every day I'm doing a different theme.  I tried to think of a better word than "Wacky", but none of them seemed to fit.  Wacky definitely fits Wednesdays for me.  Typically, Wednesdays always have something a little different and it is the day where I start to make sure I have everything for the following week planned and ready to go.

Anyway, today was one of my favorite teaching days of the year, but it was quite hectic, so I don't have pictures of any of our activities today :)  So, I thought for this Wacky Wednesday I'd share a picture of one of my Pinterest ideas.

This is a frame that one of my parents helped me make for the first day of school.  Once I got the kids settled, my parent took a picture of each of the kids holding the frame with their faces inside of the frame.  The pictures turned out great although, I have to admit I haven't gotten them developed yet :(

Here's the link to the picture I found on Pinterest.  My parent changed it a little, but to me you can never have too many pictures or ideas!

Pinterest - 1st Day of School

Looking forward to tomorrow!

Tuesday, September 11, 2012

Terrific Tuesday Ideas

So, yesterday I told you how I organize my folders on Mondays.  Today, I want to share with you two things I did in my classroom that worked really well.  If you are reading this, which still blows my mind, please know I in no way think I know everything.  I am so far from it, but I LOVE trying new ideas and more than anything, I think it's amazing that after 10 years in first grade, I still learn something new every day.

The first thing that is going great is a project I'm working on with my flex group.  In case your school doesn't do flex groups, basically flex groups are where we take ALL our first graders and divide them into groups based off of their skill level.  The low groups usually are very small, so each student gets more attention.  Our high groups focus on more higher level thinking skills and projects.  The next two weeks, I have the middle group.  We are focusing on addition right now.  Since one of our standards covers doubles, I decided I wanted to do double books.  We start off the first few minutes doing what I call Mad Math Minutes.  For three minutes, we see how many problems we can do.  It's great practice, especially when we use our Activboard, and the kids love it!  After that, we've been working on our double books.  The project is going great, but I do wish that we had longer than 30 minutes to work on it.  I've included pictures below and a link to where you can get it on my TPT site.  Hope you like it :)

The other Terrific Tuesday idea I have to share randomly hit me today.  I was teaching my students that I ALWAYS has to be capitalized when standing alone.  I wrote examples on the board for them to see.  Then, I wrote an I that was correct and an I that was incorrect in large, bold colors.  Then, we practiced coloring incorrect I's red and correct I's green.  I had never taught it this way, but something about the colors helped it to click.  Below is a picture of what I drew on my Activboard and a worksheet we did.  Even my strugglers did great today!  Oh, by the way, I looked on the worksheet for a name, but it didn't have one.  I'm pretty certain that Amy Lemons may have created it as a freebie on TPT.

This is what we did on the Activboard before we did the cut/paste activity. 
This is an example of how I had my kids color the correct answers green &
the incorrect answers red.  We did this before we ever cut anything.
I hope my ideas help you out!  If you have any cool ideas of how you teach addition or capitalization, please feel free to post it in comments.  I love reading/seeing all the different ideas!!!!

Monday, September 10, 2012

Manic Mondays

If your schedule is anything like mine, Mondays are typically very busy and a little crazier than your average day.  It never fails that no matter how much I prepare, I discover that I forgot something.  This morning, I got to school and realized that I hadn't written my grades from Friday in my grade book yet or started my newsletter.

Here's my fantabulous news!  I have saved my newsletters without fail for the last nine years.  It is a minor detail, but this has saved my day more than once.  It allows me to pull my newsletter up from the week before or even year before if needed.  Typically, I change out dates, a little bit of info, and they are ready to go.

Mondays are also folder days for me.  One thing I did to make this a little easier, is I bought the folders.   Typically, the best folders are at Target.  I like to get the thin, plastic folders.  They are usually $.50 each.  Then, I run to School Box and get some cute labels to put on the front.   It may cost a little of my own money, but it is so nice to be able to stack them up and have them all match :)

Hope everyone had a Marvelous Manic Monday :)

Sunday, September 9, 2012

Fall Fun - Noun & Verb Freebie

Since I'm so excited about my new blog, I thought I'd go ahead and include a freebie :)  Follow the link below and it will take you to the newest thing I've created on TPT :)

By the way, I know color ink costs a lot.  Usually, what I do is I buy bright colored card stock & I print my centers on the colored card stock.  It's still pretty, but it doesn't cost quite as much.

Fall Fun - Noun & Verb Freebie

I have a blog!

I am sooo excited!  I've tried blogging, been against blogging, and a month ago woke up one morning and decided that I really wanted a blog!  Hopefully, if you are one of my friends or if you've stumbled onto my blog you will enjoy it!  Just be a little patient with me - it's going to take me a little while to figure out what I'm doing.

Oh, and in case you want to know my plans, I want to use this to give away freebies, share pictures and organizational ideas from my classroom, and share different projects (learning or just for fun) that I'm trying out at school.  I may decide to add other stuff as I go along, but I figured I need somewhere to start, right?

Now, off to bed!  It is way past time to go to bed and I know I will have 16 energetic first graders ready to go tomorrow morning!

Have a Fantabulous Day!