Tuesday, August 2, 2011

beginning of the year......CRAZINESS!

It's been forever since I updated for my few followers and fellow teachers!

I know I have said this before, but I teach at a year around school so my short six week summer ended way too early and I have already been back to school for two and a half weeks in this HEAT! (We pretty much have had indoor recess the whole time..and its driving me a little crazy).

Starting my second year of teaching almost seemed more nerve-wracking then my first year (and you have to remember on my first day of my first year, I not only had 23 fresh first graders, I also had a photographer and reporter from our city's newspaper in my room!) I remember being so calm last year and freaking out more this year!? Don't ask me how that works!
Thankfully my first day jitters disappeared after the first few hours of the school year...and I am so excited to say that I have a WONDERFUL class this year! I am so excited for all the things we will do! Even with this 100+ heat indexes, my alarm going off at 5:30am, and watching all my other teacher friends still enjoy the pool and summer vacations....I am happy to be back in my routine...and it doesn't hurt when you absolutely adore your teaching team and the school you work at! :)

I feel so much more prepared and put together this year...its an amazing feeling. It feels so nice to have a frame of reference for everything now!

With the beginning of the year craziness S....L....O...W....L....Y.... starting to die down, I promise to post pictures of my classroom setup and some awesome new things I have implemented this year!

It was all of the wonderful teachers and their blogs out there who made my first year easier and more if I can help someone else with my little ol' blog...its all worth it!

Sunday, June 26, 2011

Classroom Jobs

I have decided this year to have a job for each student in my classroom. This will hopefully make my life a lot easier and will give each of the students a job every week.
I have put together a list of all 23 of the classroom jobs with their descriptions, you can click here to view the list.

In my classroom, I have labeled a library pocket for each job and each student has an index card with his/her name on it. The index cards are placed in the library pockets. I change the jobs every Friday afternoon for the upcoming week. I just move all of the index cards one library pocket over to switch their jobs for the next week.

Wednesday, June 22, 2011

Summer is half over!

While everyone else is surely gearing up for a long summer ahead of them, mine is half over. I teach at a school that has a continuous year calendar, so we got out right before Memorial Day and the first day of the new school year is July 14th (giving us about 6 weeks of summer!) But don't feel too sorry for me, right around the time everyone else's year is just getting into the swing of things, I have a three week fall break, the perfect time for a vacation! :)

I kind of went into freak out mode this week! Realizing that I only have three weeks left and still so much to do! I have been working on creating a new bigger and better focus wall for my classroom and I am currently working on a social studies unit and a new reading incentive program (more pics and updates to come later). I also am currently in the Capturing Kids Hearts training and finishing up a grad class.

I also decided to take on the HUGE project of sewing 25 chair pockets! I have tables in my room and one big hassle last year was where to store all their STUFF! I haven't sewed since I was 10 and that was when I had my amazing grandmother helping me (she was a great seamstress!) Now its just me and my sewing machine! I competed number ten last night! They don't look too bad, just don't turn them inside out and look at the hems and stitches...I am sure my grandmother is cringing! ;) But they will do the job for my firsties!

One of my favorite things to do as a teacher is to take normal everyday things and adapt them to use in my classroom, it makes me feel extra creative! :)
I found this at Target a couple weeks ago and this purchase made my day! It is this really neat picnic caddy with a ton of different compartments! I have decided to use it as the supply caddy for my small group table! It will be perfect to hold small dry erase boards, pencils, markers, sticky notes and books! Best was under $7!
I can't take the credit for this next idea...I got the idea from a literacy teacher in my building last year, but I loved it, so when I found these at Target, I had to get them! She uses drink stirrers as pointers in her small reading groups. I loved this idea! The kids don't know the difference and they think it's the coolest thing in the world to use them while reading their books to me in small groups!

I hope everyone is enjoying their break no matter how short or long it is and getting some much needed R&R! :)

Friday, June 3, 2011

Classroom Library

I would like to share how I organize my classroom library. It worked VERY well with my class last year. I am in the process to adding more books to my library this summer and can't wait to share this system with all my new kiddos.

I organized my library by different genres, topics or authors. I created a label for the outside of the book tubs by using 2"x4" Avery Shipping Labels. I printed off the book labels, stuck it to a index card and laminated them. You can view the book tub labels here

I then took the same picture that I used on the outside of my tubs and put that picture on a small return address label. I used Avery return address labels. You can view the book labels here (This file was too large to have a preview in google docs. You have to download the PDF, it may take a while, but it should download for you)

I had some difficulties uploading these files to Google Docs because of their size. If you would like me to try to email them to you, I would be willing to try to do that if the pdf versions don't work for you, but I am not promising anything because of the size of the documents!

Hope this helps everyone in the daunting tasks of organizing their libraries! :)

Wednesday, May 25, 2011

Last Day of my First Year

Today was my last day of school. It was an extremely bittersweet day for me! It was hard seeing my firsties go, but it helped knowing that I was just sending them down the hall and I will be able to see them every morning as they walk to their second grade classrooms. I had a friend ask me this afternoon how I felt after ending my first year. After I thought about it, I told her it felt like going down a hill on a big roller coaster ride! It takes a while to get up the hill, you have a million emotions running through you, but when you finally reach the descent and start heading down, it all fades away and it feels worth it!

There were times that I felt like I would NEVER see this day or on those really rough days, times that I thought I would NEVER make it to this day. It feels great to know that despite all the challenges and emotions, I have completed my first year successfully.

Through the ups and downs of this year, there are a few things that I would have never survived without.....

1) My AMAZING team!
2) My family and friends
3) All the great first grade blogs
and of course....
4) QT fountain soda!

Thank you for letting me take the time to share my happiness with you! Its hard for anyone else to understand who isn't in this unique "teacher world"

Tuesday, May 17, 2011

Writing Posters

While I was sorting through some of my first grade documents I have created this year, I stumbled across these writing posters. I created them back in December to help my students prepare for a writing assessment. I thought I would post them to my blog! Hopefully they can help someone!





Monday, May 2, 2011


We started our plants science unit a couple weeks ago. This is quickly becoming my favorite science unit of the whole year! (We use FOSS science kits). I have done a lot of supplementing for this unit, but my kiddos are loving it! They are so engaged. We started out by doing the ever so popular "growing a lima bean plant in a bag." It has been a huge success! I love to see them come in every morning and get so excited over the growth of their bean.

I have really been trying to focus on observations. I have showed them how to write and draw their observations in a journal that I created. It has been a huge success. Below I have added my observation journal, I hope someone else can use it for their class!

Lima Bean Experiment Observation Journal

Wednesday, April 27, 2011

Learning Curve

I am still trying to get the hang of this blogging thing!
I am currently on April Break (I work on at year-round school) so I have some time to sit down and play around with this and upload some pics. This post is going to include my class's Earth Day project (I'm sorry I am posting after Earth Day! Hopefully its something you can file away for next year!) and our Mother's Day project.

Earth Day:
I had to be absent during Earth Day this year, so this project was done in three parts. We first made our coffee filter earths the day before earth day. I just had the children color the coffee filters with blue and green markers and then I sprayed them with water and let them dry.
On Earth Day, I had the sub read the book The Giving Tree to my students and generate a list of things the Earth gives us. The student then wrote a thank you letter to the Earth (I just used a copy of Earth day paper I had and added a sentence starter). On Monday, we glued our finished projects on black construction paper and I hung them in the hall! I loved the way they turned out!

Mother's Day:
For Mother's Day, I made salt dough ornaments for my students over the weekend using a flower cookie cutter. Each student then decorated the ornament with markers and I plan on spraying the ornaments with a clear sealant when we return to school and put a ribbon through them. I also plan on having the students complete an acrostic poem using the work MOTHER.

Wednesday, April 6, 2011

Tricky Y

I am starting to quickly learn that April and May will be the busiest months of the year. When the weather starts to warm up so does my social and school life! :) This is the first night I have had in a couple weeks that I have been able to sit down and catch up on my Criminal Minds!

I have wanted to post more/new ideas, but to be honest, I have just been crazy busy. My goal is during my April break, I will take an afternoon to sit down and update, update, update! But I am adding a quick idea tonight!

This week my student's are learning the 'y' that makes the 'i' and 'e' sound. In my classroom, we call this little guy...TRICKY Y! I have made a drawing of TRICKY Y, laminated him, and taped him to a paint stir stick to help us go along with our song/poem! (I don't have a picture! Sorry!)
I do have to admit though..I can't take all the credit for this song/poem about TRICKY Y. One of my good friend's niece, who is also in first grade, helped me with the lyrics! :) Too cute!

My name's Tricky Y,
I'm sometimes an I,
Maybe an E, but its always me!

If I have learned anything in my first year of teaching, its that if you put a song or catchy poem with a skill...firsties LOVE IT! (and it becomes their new favorite song at recess!) :)

Sunday, March 27, 2011

Counting Change

For the next couple weeks in math we are focusing on learning the value of coins and counting  coins. I have created some task cards and a recording sheet that I will use in a math center.   I plan on having plastic coins at the center to help the students count out the values and then record them on their sheet.  I still haven't completely decided how I will have the students record their answers, I was thinking about using addition sentences.

Counting Change Task Cards

Counting Change Recording Sheet

First Post!

I have been so inspired by all of the other great blogs that have helped me so much in the past year, I have decided to start my own blog to hopefully share some of my ideas and inspire as well.  As I continue to come up with ideas and create new activities, I will make sure to share!