Friday, August 24, 2012

New Year, New Room, New Team etc...

Hello Everyone!
Phew! Friday night, 10:00 P.M. I think I am finally ready for my new firsties. I had better be! They are coming on Monday!! 
 I was thrilled to meet them all last night at our "Meet the Teacher Night." I am so excited to work with them!  I took a few pics of our new space to share with you. I hope the kids will love it and feel comfortable! We've got a ton of learning to do and many hours to spend together, so it better be a space we all love.
My classroom has a western vibe as you can see, but our hallway is all bubblegum.  Enjoy!
Come On In, Y'all!
Books are stored in boxes with mini chalkboard labels
Our Math Thinking Tools

Use real clocks to show schedule. No batteries required!

Writing and Reading!

Birthday Boot! Will write kids' names on each month.

Kid sized Overall Valance.:) One of my favorite parts of the room.

Rub a dub a book in the tub!

Cowpoke CAFE - Menu Ingredients

Cowpoke CAFE Menu

Bubblegum Fun in the hall!

Kid's work will go on the gumballs!

Kids pics will go on the door! Yes, We stuck play balls on the door to look like gumballs!
A sweet treat for the kiddos at "Meet the Teacher Night!"
Stop by again for another peek into the wonder-filled world of First Grade!
We are ready to saddle up and go for a ride!!

Sunday, August 19, 2012

Star Polisher

Hello Everyone!
One of my favorite motivating poems for me as a teacher is the lovely poem by Leah Becks called "Star Polisher."  I have posted about this before, but I needed the thoughts from this poem to come back to the forefront of my own thoughts.  I have been soooo busy getting my new classroom ready and getting things ready to go for my new team, that sometimes I lose focus.  My focus should be on the kids!!  Yes, I like a cute classroom because I spend a lot of time in it, and I want the kids to know that I love them so much that I want to give them a learning environment that they can be excited about. But the reality is, a classroom is the kids!! They are what give a room life and passion.  I'm sharing a printable of this sweet poem for you to post and be reminded of our job as teachers- star polishers!

Thanks for stopping by to take a peek!
Let's get polishing!!!

Friday, August 17, 2012

First Day Jitters!

Hello Everyone!
Phew!  It seems like forever since I've posted.  I am so sorry!  I have been sooooo busy getting ready for the start of this new year!  I am so excited to work with a great team of passionate, enthusiastic teachers.  We have many new things going on, curriculum changes, teachers changes, room changes, and of course a new group of firsties!  This new year is giving many of us a case of the jitters!  So, of course, I wanted to incorporate Julie Danneberg's book, First Day Jitters into our first day.  I just created a cute little ultra mini unit with this book in mind. It's short and sweet because of all the other amazing activities and books we've already got planned!  This unit contains, a couple of reader's response activities, an anchor chart idea and a craft connection with patterns included.  I can't wait to enjoy this book with my kids!! 

I've included patterns to make this cute little jitter character!

The 13 page mini unit is available here! Click!!

I'll be back soon to share pics of the finishing touches of my new room!

Til then! Stay joyful!

Wednesday, August 8, 2012

I Can Shine If...

Hello Everyone!
So, bringing in groceries this morning, I caught my flip flop on the little step up from the garage, and fell hitting my head on the workbench! As I slowly got up, blood from a 2 inch gash above my eye was gushing everywhere! UGH! I am so clumsy!  Not sure if I need stitches yet, but I'm keeping an "eye" on it!!  (sorry-no pics!)
Are you wondering why I shared all that? Well, I'm taking it as God's little nudge telling me that I don't need to go up to school today.  I need to take a day and just sit on my couch!! :)  It gave me time to just enjoy some quiet time.  You know I'll be back up there tomorrow!!  I want to be totally organized and ready!!
During my quiet time, I redid my little classroom expectation sheet for both parents and the room.  Setting classroom expectations can be as simple or complicated as you want.  Mine is quite simple and self explanatory. Here's how I work it in my room for those of you who have asked!
My kids each have a little library pocket taped inside their cubby- very discreet. In the pocket, they have three reminder sticks, green yellow, and red. (You can pick up these colored sticks at WalMart. ) After introducing all of our expectations, kids will know that (after verbal warning), if poor choices continue, I will ask for the green reminder stick. If behaviors continue, the yellow and then the red. You can see on the chart the consequences.  Kids always have the opportunity to earn their reminder sticks back!  I don't sign folders until the end of the day.  We all make mistakes and should have the the chance to learn and grow and improve. Everyone gets all their sticks back to start a new day!

Click here for a free printable if you would like

Numbering the pockets and sticks with student numbers helps with organization (and knowing who's stick you have at the end of the day)

Mini poster to hang

Parent note

Hope this helps!
Now I think I'll head to the doctor!
No more flip flops for me!!


Tuesday, August 7, 2012

Math S.O.L.V.E. tubs

Hello Everyone!
You probably can tell by the majority of my posts and units that I am definitely more passionate about Language Arts.  Math has, for some reason, never been something that I wanted to spend much time researching, fine tuning. I just did what ever came next. That is until I picked up John Van de Walle's book, Teaching Student Centered Mathematics.  This book along with Debbie Diller's books has gotten me excited about letting my kids learn through more number sense and problem solving. Kids learn so much from each other and we need to give them the opportunity and confidence to express their thinking in many different ways. We can tell so much about their development and progress from how they go about solving problems.
I am so happy that my school district is supporting the increase in time spent on number sense, stretching math thinking and less time on rote memorization. 
For the past couple of years we have gotten into implementing "math tubs" but I wanted to give them a little more meat and make sure the kids had ample time to work together, talk, explore ideas, and express in many ways.  Van de Walle encourages teachers to let kids take the lead through problem solving, so I've decided to call my tubs "S.O.L.V.E." After math minilessons, kids will explore more thoroughly some of the different things we are working on using our S.O.L.V.E Tubs.  They will choose which strand they want to work on and working with other kids gain a deeper understanding of mathematical thinking. 
S- Strategy thinking
O- Organize and Think about Data
L- Logic Thinking
V- Visual Thinking
E- Extend and Explore Thinking

I've got my tubs set for the first (or probably second) week of school.
Stay tuned for a post on what I put in them for our first go! 

19 pages

I made some jungle themed tub tags as well.  They are included in the unit! :)

I'm really excited about implementing my new tubs and discovering how far kids will take this new opportunity!
I'll let you know how it goes.  If you have any suggestions or comments, let me know!!  I'm catching that math bug!!

Sunday, August 5, 2012

A Porcupine Named Fluffy!

Hello Everyone!
Ahhhh! Back from a week of total relaxation at Surfside Beach, South Carolina! Well, as relaxing as jet skiing, parasailing, body surfing, golfing, and beach bocce can be, that is!  You have to remember that I have two boys (20 and 24) as well as a husband who don't get into just laying around on the beach like I would love to do!  I did sneak in a little reading and shelling, though!! Priceless time with my sweet guys!! Peace, Love and Sandy Toes!!!
Now back to sizzling Texas and getting ready for school!! :)
Today I worked on a unit that centers around another of my favs for the beginning of the year and all the fun we have just getting to know each other, Helen Lester's A Porcupine Named Fluffy!!  I am in love with this book as it teaches so many things, problem solving, acceptance, friendship, and how special our names are!  I giggle myself every time I read this book!! The illustrations by Lynn Munsinger, are absolutely precious!  In my unit I have included many different kinds of Reader's Response activities, a Reader's theater script, a craft connection with patterns, and a few other things!  I hope you can use this for your beginning of the year celebrations or maybe during a study on animals later in the year! :0)

Talk to you soon!! 
Stay Fluffy!!