Sunday, September 6, 2015

Do You Need a Brain Break?

Brain Breaks!  We know our kiddos need them, but do you need one?  The answer is yes!  Thank goodness for this 3 day weekend!  I needed a break from school, not to get away from school, but to reflect on how it's going so far!  I completed Day 13 on Friday and haven't had a moment to breathe.

Good teaching takes reflection and, too often, we are so busy with planning "what's next," that we don't take the time to relect!   For example, I've been caught up with some behaviors this year.  While dealing with one or two students, I've allowed other students to "not quite read to self" but read with others.  It sounds small, but it will be the death of my Daily 5 classroom later!  Tuesday will be a much slower day for my students as we review and reinforce procedures.

Back to Brain Breaks!  You know your students need them!  They need them more often that we probably realize, too.  I've implemented a new procedure this year and my students are loving it!  Do you ever have those students that are "too cool" to participate in a brain break?  Yes, you know the ones!  Since using GoNoodle in my classroom, most of my students participate already simply because it's so engaging, but I still have my stinkers!  So I've implemented the GoNoodle Champ system.  I keep my eye out for a student that is doing a great job participating during our brain break and they become the GoNoodle Champ!  This means that they get to CHOOSE the next GoNoodle activity!  OMG!  They love this!

And let me tell you, we GoNoodle several times a day in our class, so we have lots of chances to be a GoNoodle Champ!

I have a GoNoodle lanyard that I picked up at the I Teach 1st Conference, but any lanyard will work.  I attach a badge holder to it and slide in one of these cards!  You can download this free.  Just click the picture!  Students wear the lanyard until they pass it to the next champ.  It's simple, engaging and keeps us all happy!

If you haven't signed up for GoNoodle, what are you waiting for?  It's FREE!

Sign up for GoNoodle!  Your students will thank you and you will love it!

Friday, August 28, 2015

Hop over to Classroom Tested Resources!

You can find me over at Classroom Tested Resources today!  I'm blogging about Brain Breaks!  Hop on over and grab a freebie for your students!

Wednesday, August 26, 2015

Back to School - Day 5

Day 5 began like any other first grade days...flag salute, walk to class, morning hugs and then...
one poor baby throws up in the middle of the room. Right before said child got sick, mom had taken him to the bathroom because his tummy hurt.  Well, it must have really been hurting!  Meanwhile, another sweet baby misses her mommy and proceeds to wail...and so went the day!

 Luckily, I work with great people and had lots of support with my little class of 22.  

I am happy to report that we are rocking it with Daily 5!  I'm taking it slow (which is soooo hard)! I have some great new seating options for kids and they love Read to Self!  We are up to 8 minutes!  I'm sure this will fluctuate as I introduce other choices, but I'll take it!

They love taking the pillows and turning the chairs over to create a comfy spot...thank you Pinterest!

I also introduced Math Daily 3 and this little roll and color activity!  They each had their own die and completed Math by Myself perfectly!  The goal was engagement and independence to learn procedures!  They did it!  Download this freebie for your kiddos!

Next up...Work on Writing! Are you using the Daily 5?  

Sunday, August 2, 2015

Tried and True First Day Activities

I love the First Day of School!  Truly!  I can't wait to meet my little kiddos! I usually overplan for this day because I feel like I'd much rather have too much to do than not enough.  Of course, I plan lots of getting to know each other activities and begin introducing procedures, but I also read, read read!  I make sure I have all of my "back to school" books in a basket and at my fingertips!
I make some very purposeful choices to read books targeting specific behaviors or concepts.  These help set the stage for our discussions about classroom expectations and procedures!  

Afterall, just about everything that needs to be taught, can be introduced with a book!  These are some of my favorite first week of school books and activities!

Since there are three first grade classes at our school and we are the First Grade Froggies,  we always start the year with Froggy Goes to School!
The Froggy books by Jonathon London are a favorite with our group!  After reading this fun book we are going to make this cute little craft. This provides a great opportunity to go over expectations and procedures! Plus, I love having hands on crafts the first day. They can take something fun home from the school this first day, or I may try to convince them to let me hang them up for our first display!

Two of my favorites are No, David! and David Goes to School by David Shannon. The kids always giggle and laugh and pay attention to the story.  We follow up with a super cute directed draw!  You can find the directions here

We then brainstorm appropriate choices to make at school.  What did David do?  What should David have done?  We complete a writing activity which is perfect for the beginning of the year.  You can download this freebie here!  Students choose either a "Yes" or "No" paper, write their name and an appropriate or inappropriate thing to do at school and illustrate!  It's hilarious and makes a great class book to kick off the year!

I also love to share Officer Buckle and Gloria during the first few weeks of school as we discuss school safety and review procedures such as fire drills, code reds, etc.  After reading the story, each student writes a safety rule for the classroom and draws Officer Buckle!  I love how different they each are!


Here are some of the books I will have in my "Back to School" basket!   

What are some of your favorite Back to School books?  Please share your favorites in the comments!  I'm always looking for new books to add to my classroom library!

Speaking of "Back to School", be sure and and enter my back to school giveaway!  There are some great prizes for your classroom!  Good Luck!

Saturday, August 1, 2015

Back to School Giveaway (S)!

I am so excited about my Back to School Giveaways!   That's right....GiveawaySSSSS!  I'm teaming up with some amazing people to offer you four fantastic prize packages!  I was lucky enough to meet the creative minds behind these classroom products while I was in Vegas and love their products!

My motto is "kid tested and teacher approved" so you know I love it if I use a product in my classroom!

SitSpots are absolutely GENIUS!  These spots really stick to the carpet and don't budge until you move them!  They make great spots for kids to stand on when lining up or to incorporate into a game. Write words, numbers or equations on the spots for a fun interactive game!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

KleenSlates are an amazing twist on the usual whiteboards!  (Designed by a teacher!) These slates have a plastic sleeve that you can slip an number of templates behind!  Write directly on the plastic and wipe right off!  It is so versatile!  Kids love them, too!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

I also got to meet "The Apron Lady"!  I loved all the aprons I saw!  This is the one I bought and I can't wait to wear it in class...I know my firsties will be engaged in word building, sight words and math equations while I"m wearing this beauty!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Dr. Klemm is the creator of NumbersAlive!  Everyone of her products is created to intentionally teach about each number. She believes STEM education must begin at an early age and that numbers can be fun for all children.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

a Rafflecopter giveaway

I know you and you're students will  love these products as much as I do!  Good luck!