Sunday, November 16, 2014

The Sunday Scoop!

I'm LInking with the Teaching Trio for The Sunday Scoop!  

Here's my Scoop!

I woke up this morning and walked into the laundry room to feed my dog.  The laundry fairy did not come last night!  I'm so bummed because now guess who has to do the laundry today :(  After I realized this bad news, I walked into the living room and realized the house cleaning fairy must have taken the night off, too!  Now I have to add that to my list for the day.  And to top it off, I never quite made it grocery shopping yesterday or to Costco!  Whatever happened to my day of rest?

Yesterday, on my way to Costco, I detoured into Michael's!  My girls and I picked out new decorations for a theme tree this year!  We are all super excited to try something a little different this year.  We want to decorate early since we are flying to Houston for the holidays!  Needless to say, I never made it to Costco or Safeway, but we have a great start on our decorations!

I finished my report cards last night!  Yay!  Well, I finished the easy part.  I still need to go back in and add some individual comments.  I'll get that done today, hopefully!

And, today I'm happy to hang out with all my girls and spend a little extra time with my big girl before she heads back to school.  Things are sure different around here when she's gone!  :(  I'm looking forward to a long Christmas Break and having her home!

What is your Sunday Scoop?

Friday, November 14, 2014

You Oughta Know Blog Hop!

Howdy! Today I am linking up with Mrs. McClain over at Buzzing with Mrs. McClain for her monthly You Oughta Know blog hop. Other bloggers and I will be sharing things that you “oughta know” for your classroom.

I really thought hard about what I wanted to share...something that would help other teachers through the crazy holiday season in the classroom...and something practical!  So I decided on something to save your sanity with classroom management!  

I believe in rewarding kids for positive behavior and good choices.   This works so much better for me than the card systems and clip charts!   

I have a pretty lengthy blog post about my system!  Click on the picture below to see how I use this in my class.

This is what I created to use during the holidays!  I thought I'd change it up and make it "different" for my kiddos!  Really it's the same for me!  The idea is responsibility.  The kids are responsible for always having a chart on their desk and remembering to get a reward when earned.  I just notice great behavior and stamp charts!  Easy peasy!  I don't even buy anything!

Thanks for hopping by!  Download this to use in your classroom!  I hope your kiddos enjoy it!

I talk more about my management system in this post !  Don't forget to hop to the next awesome blog and discover more things You Ought to Know!

Happy Hopping!

Thursday, November 6, 2014

What? It's November?

How did that happen?  We are on our 49th day of school today!  I can't believe how fast this year is going.

And my poor little blog is getting the shaft!  I have really been neglecting it!  In looking through my past posts from this year, there isn't much!  YIKES!  I've had lots to share in my head, but just never made it to the keyboard of the computer.

So a quick recap of the last few weeks:

This year we are looking at everything through the lense of a Conservationist!  We have been learning how to take care of our Earth and what that means. Also, and this is the biggie, what is conservation!  This has been the hardest concept to teach to this group of 6 year olds!  And I know it is a big concept for anyone, so I'm not that surprised.  When asked what it means, I get an assortment of responses:

  • saving the Earth
  • saving animals
  • helping the Earth
  • recycling
  • worms help the Earth
  • reuse paper
These are all great answers, but don't really define Conservation.  I've tried to come up with a "kid-friendly" definition and this is as close as it gets:

Conservation: protecting and saving our natural resources

Sounds simple. Most of the students are getting it.  Some are still trying to wrap their minds around it all.  That's fine.  It's a big and important concept and we will be weaving through our learning all year.  So how am I doing this?  Well...

We started off the year with our Green Team unit and learned all about the 4 Rs.  This is always fun and a great way to start the year.  We learn about recyling, reusing, reducing and rot!  We talk about how our choices impact the Earth. I also use this unit to teach procedures about where we put our scraps.  Each table group has a recycle bin on their table and one student at each group has the recycling job each week.  They love having the job of empyting the table bin into the classroom bin.

We did a fun activity with newspaper ads!  What first grader doesn't love cutting and gluing pictures to charts?  They loved it!

And one of my favorite art projects is a pastel/watercolr painting  of the garbage truck from I Stink?.  Our art teacher is amazing and integrates our theme into her art lessons!  She rocks!

This is also the unit where we go to the worm farm!  Fabulous field trip and so educational!  We learn so much from Farmer Mark, dig for worms, climb on a HUGE mountain of worm poop and even get some worms to take back to school and build our own worm farm in the classroom.

Right after our Green Team unit, we swooped into our study of BATS!  I love this unit and how into it the kids get!  They go from thinking that bats are creepy, dangerous, disease ridden creatures to loving and wanting to protect them!  This is exactly what I want.  This has been a great opportunity to see if our students are making the connection between CONSERVATION and our topic!  Guess what?  They did!  They totally got it!  We've been using our Ineractive Notebooks lots to record bat vocabulary and of course anatomy.  You can check out Käri's great unit here:

and below!  Look at these great pages in our Interactive Journals!

We still have another week, at least, to spend learning about bats!  

And in the middle of all of this awesome LEARNING, we took a commercial break for HALLOWEEN!

Halloween...oh my goodness...let's just say it was fun for the kids!  It may have rained all day and we may have had indoor recess and lunch in the classroom...but I'm still recovering so I can't be sure! :)

Whew!  That's a long post!  I plan on making a more regular appearance here, so please stay tuned!

 Thanks for reading!   

Saturday, October 11, 2014

Daily 5 Success!

 I'm excited to report that my little firsties are doing it!  We're off to a great start with learning routines and building stamina with the Daily 5!  It has taken some organization and reorganization on my part and lots of practice! And the REALLY great news...we are also doing Daily MATH!!  I.CAN'T.BELIEVE.IT!

Here are some classroom pics of my kiddos in action!

Daily 5

Under a table or relaxing on the floor!  Read to Self is a favorite time for my kids!

Relaxing with a good book

Word Work is usually a hands on activity.  This is a cut and paste activity working with short "a" word families.  Of course I modeled how to do this type of worksheet with several "whole class" word work days.  But now they are working independently!  Woot!

Bummer!  I don't have pictures of Work on Writing. :(  It's going so well, too!  We started out with one whole class writing time.  Each day for the first 21 days of school, we wrote about one student...our "Cowpoke of the Day."  They loved writing about each other and learned how to draw detailed pictures and add details to their writing!  Now we are writing about our own chosen topics. 

Listen to Reading

Listen to Reading is iPad time in my class.  The kiddos each have their own accounts for Lexia Core 5 and Teach Me 1st.  They can choose either app to work on during their Listen to Reading time.  It's great skills reinforcement and I get to look at their progress with Lexia!  (Not to mention, that it is one silent and engaged little group!)

Read to Someone

Look at these little cuties sitting EEKK style!  LOVE.IT!  We are reading our anthology stories to our partners in addition to practicing our sight words and reading fluency cards!  This is such a great time for building confidence as a reader!

Daily Math 

Drumroll please......
I'm so excited to have introduced Daily Math into my classroom this year.

Each student has a Math Writing Notebook.  This is where we will do our Math Writing.  Currently we are practicing writing stories for ways to make 10.  The kids are really doing well with this and are writing some creative stories!  I try to make time each day for a few students to share their writing!  Below is a picture of an interactive page the kiddos completed for ways to make 10.   You can download this freebie here: Ways to Make 10 !

Our Math Writing Notebooks include some interactive activities.

We write about ways to make 10!

Math by Myself is usually an activity that has been taught in a small group.  This familar activity is then "tweaked" and shows up for Daily Math!  The kids love the roll and color activites. This is one of my Fall Scarecrow simple addition sheets!

Math by Myself
Right now, Math with Someone is a game or an activity that I teach in a small group.   I then place the games in my Math Drawers and the students can choose to play with a buddy during Math with Someone.  We are still working on our procedures, voice level, and stamina. :)

Whew!  That was a long post! 

Happy Weekend!  

Thursday, October 2, 2014

Tricks and Treats Blog Hop!

Welcome to the Tricks & Treats Blog Hop! 

I hope you will hop around and find some great tips (tricks) and TREATS!  I would like to share a management "Trick" with you today!  I usually wait to introduce this to my class once I can see that the "honeymoon" period might be over!  HA!  It gets them right back on track and monitoring their own behavior.  This week it just happens to be time!  :)

I don't use clip charts or have kids flip cards for behavior management.  In my experience that just singles out a child that is already seaking attention with negative behavior.  I prefer to use individual behavior charts for each child and give praise for the correct behaviors.  

If a child is on task, I recognize the desired behavior and "stamp" his/her chart.   The magic with this method is how contagious the desired behavior becomes!  Once I stamp a student's chart, suddenly his/her off task table mate is getting on task.  As I make my way around the room I make sure to go back to those students who corrected their behavior.  

Last year, my classroom theme was Reaching for the Stars.  These coordinated perfectly!

This is a sample of a desk chart.  I prefer to print and copy my own to save money and match my units of study, but these are available at most teacher supply stores for the fancy kind!  

This year my class has a western theme so I changed it up a bit! 
This is the cover that I slide into a clear view binder! 

What do the students get when they complete a stamp chart?  Now here's the best part!  (Aside from a harmonious classroom)  They choose "prizes" from the Buckaroo Behavior Reward catalog!  This is a binder I decorate and fill with pictures of the "priveleges" they can choose for a prize!  I don't spend any money on these prizes.  These are priveleges they get to have in the classroom.  

These are the pages that describe the a catalog!  You can choose to print these 81/2 X 11 or two to a page!

As you can see, these choices are pretty fun for the kiddos.  Bring a stuffed animal to school, share a toy, choose the p.e. game or GoNoodle game, etc.

An unintended benefit is I no longer have a "share" day for my students.  (Shhh, I don't actually enjoy sharing time.)  If they want to share, they can choose the "Show and Share" coupon and bring in anything their little hearts desire!  It's motivating and simple!

OK, so here is your TREAT!  These are Western Behavior Reward Coupons!  These are a smaller version with lots on a page.  These are great to use to get started with a positive reward system in your classroom. Download them now...FREE!   Enjoy!  I'd love to read your feedback!

And as a bonus treat, my entire store is on sale for 20% off!

Thanks for hopping and don't stop here!  Keep on hopping ahead for more Tricks and Treats!

Sunday, September 28, 2014

Day 20 and I'm still alive!

Wow!  I have neglected my blog for quite a while! It's the 20th day of school Monday!
The new school year has started, I've got a great little group and I've got lots to share!

Let's see...where should I start?  At the beginning of course!  The beginning of the school year, that is!  I have the sweetest group of kiddos, the best teaching partners, a beautiful new classroom and an awesome year planned!  It's going to be great!

First of all, the new campus and my new classroom are amazing!  I love it!   I've had a few bumps in the road with organizing my new room and figuring out where to put everything.  I'm still playing around with where to keep supplies, math and word work games.  I've ordered 3 sets of these drawers:
I read the reviews and was mixed about ordering them, but am happy to report they work great!  They are perfect for putting my word work games and materials and math "tub" supplies.  I will start using them this week, as I implement the first week of Daily 5 (maybe 3) and will let you know how it goes!  Here are some FREE Daily 5 Anchor Charts that Käri created for our classes this year!  Head over and get them for yourself!

So, Day 20 is tomorrow!  That  means our 2nd visit from Zero the Hero!  He's a great little visitor.  We can always count on Zero to show up every 10 days! 

This is a picture from last year of Zero with Ruby on the 100th day!

I plan on using this with my students tomorrow!  It is exactly what I need and FREE from Look Who's Smarter.

I've got one last deal for you, too!  Have you heard about Educents, the website with deals for educators? Here's your chance to get $10 free!  Click below to sign up and start accessing great resources for great prices....lots are free!

Have a great week....and tune in Friday for a Blog Hop I'm participating in.  Lots of great ideas will be shared and lots of freebies, too!