Saturday, August 31, 2013

September Book Reports Freebie

This is definitely a short blog post, but I have my September book reports ready to go.  There are two different book report sheets.  I also included sheets that have handwriting lines and regular lines.  Hopefully, this will help some of our early writers.





Anyway, hope you guys get to watch some football, eat some hotdogs, and get a little rest.

Hopefully tomorrow I will get to share my newest writing packet with you.  Time for me to go eat a hotdog and chili, take some cold medicine, and settle in to watch my Georgia Bulldogs!

Friday, August 30, 2013

Five for Friday - Loads of Freebies

Wow!  This week has flown by and I am definitely looking forward to my three day weekend.  It is funny, but I have TONS of ideas, pictures, freebies, and quick tips to share, yet I seem to have a really hard time finding time to blog.  So, this will be one of those blog posts that is LOADED!

So, load up on some ink, make sure you have some card stock and copy paper ready, and get ready for a Five for Friday that is FULL of freebies.



#1 - Open House
Open House to me is one of those things that always stresses me out a little.  That's when you find out what your new kiddos are really saying about you to their parents.  Even though it has never happened, I always worry about dealing with a parent that isn't happy.  Isn't that funny how we always tend to build worst case scenarios in your head?



Anyway, this year I decided to change it up a little.  I've never been a "meeting" kind of girl.  I love teaching, but being in front of adults is not my idea of fun.  So, I bypassed having a sit down meeting with my parents and decided to make it a little fun.  I set up their desks with popcorn that said, "Thanks for popping in!" paperwork from the office, and a Scavenger Hunt.  I was thinking about what Open House should be and decided it should be a chance for students to show their parents what they have been doing.

Below, I have included links to both of the things that I used for my Open House.  I made the Scavenger Hunt editable.  You can use mine or you can create your own to fit your classroom.


#2 - Short I Bear Hunt
My sweet teammate Pamela and I were working on lesson plans last week and wanted to come up with a fun activity to do with our kids.  One of the stories we were reading this week was "Jack and Rick" which is a story about a bear and a bunny.  Pamela commented that we should create a bear hunt with our words.  I had just bought my class clip boards a few days before, so I told her that it would be fun to let the kids search for the bears on our hallway.

I took our bears and put them in groups of three or four all down the hall.  Some of them were mixed in with work, some were on display cases, and some were over the water fountains.  Friends, if you have a way to do this on your hallway or throughout your school, you should definitely do it.  It was a HUGE hit with the kids!  I took a small group of kids at a time.  We started on the first group of words and I helped walk them through it.  After that, they were on their own and I just monitored them.

So far, it is one of my favorite lessons for this school year, so I thought I'd share it with you.  You can click on one of the pictures below and you can go download the item for free.





#3 - Cardinal Directions
I'm going to be bluntly honest with you, I have a hard time teaching science and social studies.  For one, I hated science growing up.  For my right-brained self, trying to get formulas and lots of random information to stay fresh on my mind was next to impossible.  I did great with science projects or anything hands-on.  I was great at dissecting animals and naming trees, but outside of that I think I was lost.

The other reason I have had a hard time is we have SO much to teach!  Between nouns, adjectives, reading fluency, and all things math, there isn't much time to work in science and social studies.  Sure you can do some of it through reading, but how much fun is it to read about directions on a first grade level?

So, I decided this summer that I needed to have an attitude change.  I decided that the key to liking it was for it to be fun.

This week, we did Cardinal Directions.  I found some great black and white chevron signs from Lisa Mattes at Growing Firsties. What's funny is I was searching on Pinterest and thought, "What cute signs!"  Little did I know that one of my favorite girls had made them.  I hung them up around my Activboard and we practiced going over directions.

Later in the week, I drew a map.  I promise friends that I can draw a lot better than this, but this was one of those quick lessons.  We had the best time.  I'd tell the kids, "I was at the lake and fell into the water.  I had to go home to change.  What direction is my house?"  I probably asked them around thirty questions like this.

#4 - Astronauts and Aliens
Earlier this week, I came up with a random idea.  Friends, it's crazy sometimes.  I can walk down the hall and an idea will literally just pop in my head.  My newest idea is called Astronauts and Aliens.  I created a quick flip chart page for my Activboard where I wrote short I words.  Some of the words were real words and some of the words were make-believe words.  You move the real words to the astronaut side and make-believe words to the alien side.

It was a HUGE hit with my kids, so I made a quick flip chart to share with you guys.  If you have an Activboard, you can click on the link and download it.



#5 - Pet Peeve #319
No, I don't really have that many pet peeves, but I love to just pick random numbers.  It makes things a little more entertaining.  So, this is random, really random, but I DVR pretty much all television.  I typically catch up on a few shows on the weekend, but I definitely don't have time to watch live television anymore.  Well, one of my favorite shows from this summer is Big Brother.  There is something about watching reality train wreck that is relaxing after a week at school.  So, last night was elimination night.  However, as usual I was busy and didn't get to watch.  That leads to Pet Peeve #319 - Never announce who got kicked off of a t.v. show.

Alright friends, I am off to create some September book reports and set up my next blog post :)  Oh, and eat some pepperoni and green olive pizza that my awesome hubby picked up for us!


PS - Go Dawgs!!!!  College football is finally back!


Freebie Fridays

Friday, August 23, 2013

Five for Friday

This year is definitely going to be the year where I sprint through my days.  I love busy days because you don't get bored and there is always something to keep you entertained.  However, it definitely cuts down on my blogging time.

Does anyone else's schedule look like this?
1. Get up
2. School a.k.a work
3. Dinner
4. Create/watch t.v./family time (All at once)
5. Bed

That is my schedule right now five days a week.  Routine is nice, but I'd love to throw in going to the gym, afternoon naps, and an extra hour or ten for creating.  You would think after so many years of teaching I would figure out it isn't ever all done, but no, I don't.  In my mind, one day, I will catch up.  Yes, you can quit laughing now!

Now it's time for my one of my favorite link up parties -  Five for Friday!  Now that I'm back in school, it is definitely easier to come up with five things.



#1 - Ants, Ants, and More Ants
This week I focused on ants ALL week.  We had tons of fun doing all sorts of different activities.  One of my favorite is one I saw on Cara Carroll's blog and on Erica Bohrer's blog.  I took both of their ideas and combined them to make my own little ant writing.  First, we read "Hey, Little Ant".  When we finished reading the book, we filled out the Graphic Organizer.  As I go through the year, I begin to allow my students to fill them out themselves, but this early in the school year it helps if you walk them through it the first couple of weeks.  I typically use my Activboard to do this.  Once we've filled out the Graphic Organizer, we do our rough draft, meet one-on-one to discuss revisions that need to be made, and then do our final draft.  One thing I've learned about my kids the last two years is they enjoy writing much more if it's tied into something funny or a craft.  We ended up making the boy holding the ant paper.  Below are pictures of some of my favorites.



#2 - A Few More Ants
One of my favorite books that I read to my kids was "I Saw an Ant on the Railroad Track".  I read an actual book to my kiddos, but they do have it for the Nook on the Barnes and Noble website.  The picture has a link to save you a little time.  It was super cute and I created a cut and paste sequencing activity to go with it.  Feel free to click on the sheet to go download it.


#3 - TPT Sale
Oh my goodness ya'll!  Did you guys buy as much as I did?  I went through my Scope and Sequence and bought packets that I thought would compliment what we had on the schedule.  Seriously, my wish list was seven pages long when I started.  I did manage to narrow down what I wanted which is a good thing because the original cart of "I have to have this!" was around $300.  I managed to make a chunk of cuts, but my list is still pretty full!

#4 - Primary Chalkboard
Alright friends, I am loving the collaborative blog.  Each of us is on a schedule, so we know when it is our turn to blog.  Well, our first round includes us introducing ourselves through the remainder of August.  Today it was time for Lisa (Growing Firsties) and me to introduce ourselves.  We talked on the phone a few times last week and this week and decided to play on our favorite football teams since football season is right around the corner.  Plus, my team is ranked at number five right now, so why wouldn't I want to start thinking about football?

Anyway, go check out our collaborative blog.  We worked together and tried to give you a little something fun to check out.  Oh, and there is a freebie we did together that is only available on Primary Chalkboard.  You can click on one of the pictures to go grab it.


#5 - It's the Weekend!
Okay, I know it's silly, but weekends right now mean sleep, junk food, sleep, did I mention junk food?

Quick commercial break - does your hubby ever leave you the potato chip crumbs?  You know, the broken up chips?  Well, typically that isn't a bad thing, but when you have French onion dip, yep, it is not a good thing.  So, I came up with a solution today!  I am now putting chips in my mouth and then adding some French onion dip with a fork.  Why yes, I do believe I'm a genius and might be a little ADD on Friday afternoons.  Back to my original thought.

Seriously, I love my new babies and everyone I work with, but it is nice to be able to shut down a little on Saturdays.

Hope you guys have a great week!  I'm going to finish off my crumbs chips!


Saturday, August 17, 2013

Sale, Classroom Pics, and Freebie

I swear I used to love rainy days!  I know that's an odd way to start my post, but today is rainy and right now I'm hating it.  No, I'm not running a marathon and I don't have big plans.  Well, I do have kind of big plans if you count creating new centers, updating files, and making morning work for the second nine weeks.  What does that have to do with rain you ask?  All I want to do right now is take a nap.  I slept nine hours last night, took a four hour nap this morning, and I believe I could go for another nap now.  There is something about chasing after munchkins all day and rain that makes you feel like you could sleep for hours and hours.

Now, real quick, do not miss out on the Back to School sale.  TPT is throwing their sale tomorrow and Monday.  Remember you can earn extra credits if leave feedback on products you have purchased in the past.  TPT is also giving 10% off after my 20% off.  Don't forget to put in their code - BTS13.



Also, I promised at some point in the last few weeks pictures of my classroom, so I am delivering now! I took LOTS of pictures last week to share.  Hope you like them!


This is how I handle discipline in my classroom.  Instead of moving a clip, my students move corn.  It sounds silly, but it fits my theme.  Since it's the back of a book shelf, I hot glued the magnets onto the tractor.  I didn't want to do Velcro because it pulls too much.  The magnets release easier.  I also put my listening center in this area.  On the stereo, there are several stickers to help my kids know what buttons to press.  


This is my computer area.  I have lamps all over my classroom.  I rarely turn on the overhead lights.  They tend to give me a headache.  I painted two book posters and put them over my computers.

Yes, that's Christmas lights around my Activboard.  I don't know why, but I leave them up year around.  They add a little extra light to the room and make me smile, so they stay.  One of my friends also made me the numbers to hang around my clock.  It helps a ton when I work on teaching time to my kiddos.  My book bins from Really Good Stuff are stored underneath the Activboard.  I bought two bookshelves and left the shelves out so I could store more book bins.

Another trick I learned is I made my kids tags for their book bins, laminated them, and then wrote their names on them.  The bins come with tags and a piece of plastic to slide over it, but they fell out constantly last year.  My kiddos keep five to six books, bookmarks, book report sheets, and headphones in their book bins.

The stool was a cheap, white one I found in the kids' room area at Target.  I painted it to match my theme.  My students use it to reach the Activboard if they need it.

This is my desk area.  As you can see, I don't have a desk.  I have a table.  It was the best decision I've ever made.  The seats are storage ottomans from Target.  They cost around $17.  I have 12 in my room and they come in handy.  I use the bookshelves that are against my back wall to hold Sterelite drawers.  The drawers have all of the stuff that used to be in my desk drawers.  I also bought a wireless keyboard and mouse several years ago, so I can have up to five students sit with me when they need help.



These are two of my groups.  I saw online several years ago how a teacher had her desks come out of the walls.  Since I have an Activboard, I don't use my boards for much anymore, so I thought that was a neat idea. These two groups have cubbies from Target on the ends.  I did this for two reasons.  First of all, it helps to keep my students from moving their desks around too much.  It also is a great place to sit a few things like mini trashcans and containers to hold markers, hand sanitizer, glue sticks, and scissors.  


This is a picture of my dry erase board.  I used borders to section it off.  I haven't written my schedule on here yet because I know we are still adjusting it.  One of my teammates found the Writer's Eye set at The First Grade Parade and the word cards at Busy Teacher Cafe.  I loved the Writer's Eye set, but wanted it to match my theme, so I recreated it to fit my classroom.  


This is the front of my room.  I ended up repainted my book storage easel.  I keep tissues, pencils, and new books on top of it.  It also blocks this pencil sharpener since it doesn't work.

On the other side, I made clips that have magnets.  I use them to hold my hall passes.  It keeps them from getting left around the room.


This is my front door.  I found blue jean paper, taped it onto white poster board, and laminated it.  I was determined that if I was going to have a farm theme that I would also have a blue jean door.  I hang my rules on the door with a clip and cow ribbon.

Outside of my door is my awning.  My mom and I bought white canvas and red fabric when I decided to switch my theme several years ago.  I don't know if you've ever tried to find cow print fabric, but it's either really ugly or really expensive.  This was much more affordable.  I just painted the fabric and left it with my mom.  She sewed it together for me.  She also got the farm rug that's at the entrance of my room.


This is a picture of the wall next to my front door.  When I first started teaching, I saw someone store items under their coat racks.  My kids have learned to put their jackets in their backpacks and then put them on the top of the rack leaning to the left.  I've done this for eleven years and it has worked beautifully.  

I also bought all of the containers eleven years ago.   The monthly containers contain things I know I will need during those months that are too big to store just anywhere.  I also store extra art supplies, goody box treats, and school supplies in this area.  Next up, I really need to get labels for the outside of the containers that tell what is in each container.  

The desk is one that my grandfather found in a house he was remodeling around seven years ago.  I painted it to match my theme.  The kids like to sit in it sometimes to read or to do work.


This is my entire front wall.  The bookcase is where I store all of my Reading A-Z books and all of my other guided reading books.


This bookcase has more books.   My goal is to really build this bookcase up this school year.  We switched to Daily 5/CAFE and Lexile last year, so it's taking me some time to get this section of my room completely done.

This is where I keep most of my word work stuff, books on CD, and all of my BR-100 books.  The middle basket has individual CD players and Rockstars.


This is half of my room.  I completely forgot to turn the lights on, but it's a pretty accurate picture.  I have a table in the middle of my room so my students can sit there for small group or to have a quiet place to work.  The barn has days of the week, and months of the year, plus a couple of posters.  The windows have magnets so I can hang math vocabulary words or more posters.


This is the front half of my room.  The picture makes it look a little more cramped than it is.  My room looks huge when you are in it.  Well, as big as it can look :)

This is a picture of the wall across from my room.  It is between all of the first grade rooms.  Each year, we get crayons and stars.  The crayons are used for our math fluency wall and the stars are for our Fry words.  As students meet a goal, they get to put their stars up.  This year, my color is red.  Each of us gets a different color so it's easier for our students to find their names.

Here are a few more random up close shots of some of my favorite things in my room.

Goody boxes for my class.

Flowers from my hubby on the first day.  My favorite part is he knows how much I love sunflowers and to top it off, he made sure that he ordered flowers that would go with my theme.  I love that he always takes time to do that.

Last of all, now that school is back in session, I will start having freebies again.  Hope you enjoy them! If I make any mistakes (even on freebies) feel free to email me so I can fix it.  As for requests, right now I can't make changes, adjustments, or Daily 5/CAFE stuff to match my other freebies.  With school starting back and trying to get the morning work packets and several other packets done, I am running full speed.






Have a great night and enjoy the sale!