Monday, December 7, 2015

Classroom Tested Resources

I'm blogging at Classroom Tested Resources today!  Hop over and check out my post about Traditions and Celebrations!


Sunday, December 6, 2015

PBL Series - Bats

I love Project Based Learning!  PBL is awesome, engaging, messy...and takes on a life of it's own! We started our Bat Project waaaaaaaaay back in October!  We are just now wrapping things up!  But, ya know what? That's okay!  My students are totally engaged and have learned so much! This project went so well for my kiddos this year, that I thought I would share the steps we went through for this project in a series of blog posts.  

Getting Started...
We started off this project with a simple question...Are bats helpful or harmful?  We completed this chart by adding our names to the chart indicating our answer.

After this little graph, we integrated some math with graphing the results!  

You can download these freebies by clicking the picture above!  

I'll be back with the next in this series in a few days!  Enjoy the crazy days before winter break!

Monday, November 30, 2015

Thanksgiving Snapshots!

How was your day back from Thanksgiving Vacation?  Mine was GREAT!  My little firsties were so cute and eager to share about their vacations!    I thought they would be a little tired today, but they were ready to go and we had a very busy day! 

First, we enjoyed sharing our adventures for the first half hour!  I love mingling to music and sharing our news with each other! Then we got down to businesss writing about our break!  It was the quietest work on writing block we've had in a long while!  YAY!

First, we completed our graphic organizer.

Then, we wrote about our vacations!  I love the complete sentences and "first grade spelling"!
Then, we  started a new game with our "Fill-it-in" chart!  We complete this everyday during our morning meeting/calendar time, but today we added a fun twist!  The students work in pairs taking turns.  One rolls the die and writes that number in the center square.  Then the partner completes the chart. I love this activity for Math Tubs!  Some of the kiddos still need to use the hundreds chart for help so I make sure those are available!

And for Word Work today, the kiddos completed a "Fix-it" sentence about bats...that's right, bats!  It's November 30 and we are still highly engaged with our PBL bat unit!  I was a little worried they would have lost interest, but not a bit!  We still have lots to go, but we're going in depth and I love it!

Have you stopped by the Cyber Sale on Teachers Pay Teachers?  I know my cart is filling up fast!  I already purchased a bunch yesterday and am going back for more tonight!  LOL!

I have lots of "Fix-its" available in my TpT Store!
 Everything is 20% off during  the Cyber Sale!  Don't forget to enter the Promo code "SMILE" for an extra 10% off!

Saturday, November 28, 2015

Post Vacation Managment!

Wow!  It's been a while!  It's also been quite a year, so far! Yes, it's been one of those years in the classroom.  Don't get me wrong!  I love my students!  Each one, individually, is sweet and wonderful, but when all 22 get together I feel like a first year teacher, all over again.

Well, the week before break, my little darlings and I sat down for a class meeting.  We talked about what WE need to have a great environment to learn and have fun.  Our days were going better and I'm really looking forward to seeing them on Monday!  I'm going to surprise them with some new "prizes" in our "Reward Catalog"!  I love changing these up for the holidays...don't tell the students, but it's only the name and picture that change!  Last year's group loved the "fresh for the holidays" prizes!

If you find that your students need a little something "fresh" to help with the "Pre-Winter Break" excitement, you can grab my freebie here!

Hop over to Classroom Tested Resources for another Freebie!

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!  

Thursday, July 30, 2015

Don't Forget!

Here is a little tip for the beginning of the school year!

So you know all of those little things we need to "remember to remind" our parents and students about every day?  Well, I don't know about you, but I ALWAYS forget!   Have you ever felt like this?

I used to feel like this!  

Well, two years ago I discovered the COOLEST app EVER!  I'm not kidding!  I was a little leary of using it, but I've taken the Technology Bull by the horns and by golly...I am becoming pretty darn techy!  This little app is FREE and has made my life as a teacher easier!

Maybe you've already heard of it....

Remind 101 (I think they changed the name to just Remind) is great!  This little app allows you to "REMIND" parents about important events at school (plays, spirit days, field trips, homework projects, etc.) in a user friendly format.  

Your phone number is not shared with the parents and their number is not shared with you!  They simply join your group and then you have access to send out a mass reminder!  These are some examples from a year ago!
This was my last message of the year!  

I really did forget to tell the kiddos that we would have pajama day the day after open house!  They were thrilled!  Maybe forgetting sometimes is a good idea!?

I don't send them often, so when the parents get one they really do READ them!
Now, if your little kiddos are like mine, no matter how many times I model how to use a glue stick and how to replace the lid, we end up with "dead" glue sticks!  This was my favorite reminder that I sent out to the parents!  When they came to pick up their kiddos that afternoon, 3 parents arrived with bags of glue sticks!  I was set for a long while!  (I've since switched to "glue sponges," but that's another story!)

Last year at Back to School Night, I gave all of my parents the sign up information and most of the parents were signed up before they left my room that night!  So now it's your turn!  Click on the picture and make an account.  It's free!  Do it now so you can become familar with all the features and get your "code" to have for Back to School Night!    
Click on this picture and sign up!  You'll be so happy you did!

I just had to throw in this picture so you can sing or hum this little tune to "remind yourself" to download this app!

Wednesday, July 29, 2015

Don't Miss Out!

I know one giveaway just ended, but get ready for BIGGER and BETTER!

I am so excited to announce my Back to School Giveaways!   That's right....GiveawaySSSSS!

Some FANTASTIC vendors have teamed up with me to offer some AMAZING prizes to kick off your school year!

Click on the links below to check out these awesome companies!


Kinder-gardening Aprons
Check back soon to enter to win these prizes!

Tuesday, July 28, 2015

CTR and a Freebie!

Hi Friends!  I'm blogging over at Classroom Tested Resources today!  Head over to read my post about Back to School read alouds and grab my freebie!

Sunday, July 26, 2015

Giveaway and a Freebie!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Thanks for stopping by!

Thursday, July 23, 2015

Easy Science Experiments for Kids!

Looking to inspire young minds when it comes to science?
Adopt the Ms. Frizzle frame of mind.
Educents Blog (6)
Learning about bacteria is fun, but has your family ever GROWN bacteria? Let the “professionals” show you how AMAZING it can be! In the World of Germs kit, Magic School Bus scientists grow bacteria and fungi, test antibiotics, make a fungus bubble, grow mold, wake up fungi, cultivate bacteria in yogurt, and use yeast to inflate a balloon! Get an exciting new Magic School Bus Science Kit delivered to your doorstep every month for a YEAR! These science experiments for kids include making clouds in a bottle, making rain, the greenhouse effect, making a thermometer, making a tornado, creating your own weather chart, and more! Educents has the award-winning Science Kit subscription for 50% off (+ free shipping within the US)!

Monday, July 20, 2015

Back to School Freebie!

I've been working hard getting ready for my new little class of First Graders!  I haven't been in my classroom, yet, but I've been drooling over the instagram photos from others!

I'm getting so excited to meet my new group.  I'm planning some fun activities for the first few weeks and I've been creating and planning my word work tubs for the first part of the year!

I want my kiddos engaged in hands on activities right away!  I like to start teaching routines, procedures and expectations as soon as possible.  And, we all know that those little first graders come to school ready to do some first grade work!  They are excited to of MANY reasons I LOVE teaching first grade!

Most First Graders will have mastered letter sounds in Kindergarten, but this makes it the perfect concept to review while teaching procedures. It also gives me a quick look at who may need interventions or a little more reinforcement!

These activities are intended for an interactive "Word Work" book.  I plan to have my kiddos use a composition book that has been cut in half as their "Word Work" book!  I like using the half size, not only because I get twice as many, but it's less "white" space for the kids.  These word work activities are intended to be completed quickly and reinforce the concept.

After thinking about how I could make this word work activity meaningful for my kids, I started creating the Alpha Match resource.

This resource not only reinforces letter sounds, but provides opportunity for letter formation.
 Reviewing letter sounds is such a great way to build confidence while refreshing this important skill.

I've also created the first two short vowel word family packs!  


As these units are completed, they will be added to the "bundle".  Currently the bundle sells for $5.  As I add each unit, the price for the bundle will increase!  Buy it now and download the revisions as they are posted!  

Click the image below to download a free sample of this product!