Monday, September 2, 2013

First Week Survival ~ Daily 5 Up and Running

I can't believe this three day weekend went SO fast... entirely too fast!  I would love to have just ONE more day! And even though I'm dead dog tired I told myself I had to blog and share with you a few things from our first full week back.  I know many of you do Daily 5 and we have gotten it up and running piece by piece.  I'm still not taking groups yet.  I want to make sure they are doing all activities properly and can problem solve and take care of situations without interrupting my group.  I love the first few weeks of Daily 5 because I am able to meander around the room and listen to kids read, watch them write, watch them build words and really get to know my students by having small conversations with them during this time. We start out with Read to Self and here are a few pics I took during that time.

We talked a lot about choosing just right books and using the five finger rule.  We also practice getting our book boxes and having them by our side during Daily 5.  After they all got the hang of Read to Self I introduced word work.  We began our first weekly word study last week and took our first spelling test on Friday!  I was amazed that 90% of my class spelled and wrote 100% of the words correctly!  Usually the first test is a doozy just because it's their first one.  I was blown away!  Word Work allows my students to practice these weekly words.  They always have a "must-do" and then they can choose several different activities to practice spelling and making words.  My "must-do" varies daily.  I use many of the pages from Abby's Short Vowels Pack and some word family activity pages from the great Cherry Carl .  I start out only introducing magnetic letters, rainbow words using smelly markers and glitter pens and stamps.  I add more throughout the year as I feel they can handle it.  Here are a few pics I took during word work.

As you can see our first week is short a.  She spelled "we" but as long as I see them building words it makes me happy. I love hearing them read me the words they have made.

These words were off of our word wall.  We start out with about 15 words on the word wall from Kindergarten or High Frequency words they will use a lot.  As you can see I think it's time for me to get some new ink pads!

I also have introduced writing.  I know that seems like a lot but we have writer's workshop every morning.  I like to introduce some "fun" writing choices so students can write and illustrate with markers.  One of our first writing activities is making a card.  I use the monthly premade card templates from Deedee Will's Writing Work Stations.  I also use her monthly vocabulary cards to hang in my writing center and I also use the corresponding page of the monthly words in my student's writing folders for writer's workshop.

Students are able to color and be creative during this time but are writing to their friends or their teacher.  This gives them more practice using the strategies we are learning during writer's workshop like stretching out the sounds in words.

On Friday I wanted to do something fun and yet connect it to our curriculum.  Since this week was short a and we worked with -at words, I found the cutest craftivity that allowed the students to write a story using at words and they got to make their own "Cat on a Mat".  The activity is by Mel From the Pond.  I fell in LOVE with it and my students did too! So after students wrote stories about their cat (and some were SO hilarious) we broke out the scissors and glue and began making our cats. I love standing back and watching how my new first graders use scissors and glue.

I wanted to take pictures of their stories too and forgot to take them before leaving for the weekend (it wasn't like I was in a hurry to start a three day weekend or anything ;)  I'll try to post them another time because they were so adorable!  Here is some more pics of our super cute craft!

Next week is only four days but we will be working with short i. I will be introducing more writing choices, our listening station and read with someone next week.  I love to hear how others use Daily 5!  I steal grab ideas from teachers all the time. It has to be my favorite time of the day!

Hope you had a fabulous three day weekend!  

Wednesday, August 7, 2013

Freebies and Birthday/Back to School Sale!

The last few days have been super busy!  As I'm sure it is for all of you... back to school is here and I'm checking things off my to do list only not as fast as I want.  I don't have much to share today - because I'm getting ready to head out the door to celebrate my birthday! Nothing spectacular other than spending the day with my kiddos and having a dinner out ~ (Actually that's pretty spectacular) but I feel like I need a little break from it all. :)

I recently went to a whole brain teaching conference and absolutely L.O.V.E.D. it!  I used whole brain some in my classroom last year but now that I've experienced the workshop I'm ready to give it all a try this year.  First freebie I'm sharing is the WBT rules and signs I made:

You can download them for free HERE.
I have included these WITH and WITHOUT backgrounds in case you want to save some ink :)

I'm really excited about implementing Whole Brain and one piece that I'm SUPER excited about is the Super Improvers Wall.  All students start at the bottom and work their way up to the top by accomplishing goals... not just accomplishing but by showing IMPROVEMENT.  Students strive to make it to the top! You can always visit the Whole Brain Teaching website for more information.  SO - My next freebie are the super improver wall headers (10 levels and 10 different colors):

 Click on the first image to download for FREE!

But wait ~ there's more!  LOL For those of you who are interested in a Forest or an Owl Theme this year, I've had some requests for Daily 5 Posters in those themes.  So I've recently posted those for free also in my TPT Store.

These are the Forest Posters. Click on the image to download :)

These are the Owl Posters. Click on the image to download :)

Both of these poster sets also come with and without the backgrounds to save on ink.

There are so many other things I've been working on for Open House and the First Day of School... but I will save them for tomorrow. 
My daughter surprised me this morning with a homemade card.  It was super sweet... but I could've done without the birthday candles on the cake. :)  Takes the guessing out of how old I am! 
I just realized she left the d out of birthday.  She's really into writing in cursive right now. As far as I'm concerned homemade cards are 1,000 times better than Hallmark ;)

One last thing...I'm throwing a sale in my TPT store today through Saturday!  EVERYTHING is 20% off!
How many more days for you?  Our first school day is Wednesday, August 14th. I'm already getting the jitters!  Have a great day!

Sunday, July 28, 2013

Too much Chevron.... Really???

Ok... so I'm in LOVE with Chevron.  I began making all sorts of chevron items... I tend to gravitate toward chevron pillows, rugs, fabric, clothing. {I admit I may be addicted}  So when I began putting up things in my classroom I had to STOP and look at things again.  I decided my Chevron alphabet was just TOO much!  AND I didn't like all the owls along the bottom.  I mean ~ WHAT!  Too much chevron, too many owls??? I just didn't think it was possible.  So I kept some chevron, added some different patterns with the same colors and I liked it SO much better.  I also took off all the owls but kept them ONLY on the vowels.  I'm thinking what a cute way to distinguish the vowels... they can be our Owl Vowels.  Or maybe Vowel Owl Pals.  Hmmm. Don't know yet but here is what the new version looks like:

It makes me wonder if I feel this way - will others also?  Should I change all my items to this?  If you have an opinion, I'd love to hear it!

I have changed my color scheme this year to the blues, greens and browns because first grade is getting new desks and chairs.  I am super excited but I knew I had to change from my colorful scheme because of our new chairs.  They are really bright but very nice.  Here is a pic:

So I started incorporating this color and took out all the pink and purple.  I am surprised at how well the aqua blue, navy blue and royal blue go together.  Here is a picture of my word wall and the banner I created to go above it:  

Don't mind the mess on the shelves.  I'm still sorting and organizing so I have piles everywhere :)

I had already laminated and cut out my word wall headers so they are gonna have to stay the same this year.  There's only so much time before school starts. 
I also found a new rug for my reading area.  I have to say that I love the factory seconds from Sensory Edge.  I know they are a bit more expensive but I have always purchased a $20 rug from Wal-Mart in the past and at the end of the year have to throw it away.  They just don't hold up.  But I splurged a little this year and hopefully it will last forever ;)

I wanted to give my reading area a little something so I added poms in my colors but instead of spreading them out... I hung them in a group over this area.  I've seen so many pictures on Pinterest and loved this idea!  How do you think it looks?

Again, please mind the mess on the back shelf.  My room isn't finished yet. 

I love these fabric boxes (I get them at Target).  They hold all my seasonal books.  I am thrilled I found some in different blues and added another brown and it really brings the color scheme together. I had to get rid of my purple, pink and orange from last year. 

I also came up with an idea for a title above my Literacy board.  I think it turned out very cute although the picture is not great.  I used blue chevron border and then decided too much... so I decided to layer it with the brown border and I think it looks much better.  However ~ I ran out! :( So have to run out and get another package!

Here's another picture that might be better but has an awful glare (I should invest in a digital camera):

I love using the animal strategies for reading.  My kiddos just seem to make connections as we learn each one and I leave put them on a bulletin board by my guided reading group area.  Last year the borders were all bright colors so this year I had to change them up a bit.  I like how they turned out and am in love with the mini poms on the corners. :)

I also use small caddies for my tables that hold crayons, glue, and markers for students to share.  I always match my caddies to the table color.  I had a bright blue and green already, I found a royal blue one (at Dollar General) but no such luck finding a brown. :( But I was able to find a gray and decided to use it at my brown table.  Hopefully, this will work out ok.  The label matches the table color so it should be. 

I love grouping my students into tables or pods.  Last year I used the paper circle fan decorations for my table signs.  This year I decided to go with lanterns and hang my table sign from the lantern.  Here is a picture which also gives you an overall feel of my room.  I am making new curtains for my windows so they are not hung yet and still have lots more organizing to do.  Our desks haven't arrived yet so still using our old ones until they get here (hopefully before school starts).

I have lots more to do but I can see it coming together.  I could spend hours looking at pictures of other teachers classrooms.  I believe it is important to walk in and feel at home since we spend so much time there during the school year.  I see so many awesome pictures and get inspired each time I see such beautiful, homey classrooms! Hope you have a fabulous week!

P.S. If you didn't notice - I also got a BLOG DESIGN MAKEOVER!  I love this color scheme so much I decided to make over my blog with these colors too.  I have to say thank you to The Cutest Blog on the Block for making such a great design!  

Thursday, July 11, 2013

I'm now on Bloglovin'!!

I'm now on Bloglovin'!

Prepping for the new year! And Hello again {SMILE}!

I can't believe it has almost been a year since my last post!  I will have to say I have MISSED blogging and wanted to sit down and share with you classroom and life happenings so many times... Needless to say last year was a whirlwind but since then I've finished my Master's Degree and am ready to dive back in!

So as I thought about getting back into my classroom this summer (yes already!) I have done the dots on chocolate theme for a couple years now and wanted to change it up a bit.  I have seen so many CUTE ideas and just couldn't figure out what color scheme I wanted to use.  OH - Did I tell you that we (first grade) are getting NEW desks and chairs this year? {I promise that was not a RANDOM thought} The chairs are ROYAL BLUE - So my new theme HAD to incorporate this color (or at least coordinate with it).

Anyway - I was walking through party city {I adore their lanterns and poms} and saw this:

I LOVED the royal blue with the green and aqua! And I really think a chocolate brown would look great with these colors too.  So I started thinking chevron (I have to admit I am loving all of the chevron stuff) so I started looking for borders.  I ended up ordering these from CTP:

I think they will look great with my new theme... And I plan to layer some to create the effect I want.
So now all of my items that I created last year ... it is to do all over again.  I've had a camping/forest theme for 4 years but the last few years I've been adding in more and more owls. {smile}

So I came up with a few things for my room and thought I'd share them and gather some feedback! Please let me know what you think!

First for some name plates for my new {squeal} desks:

I did these nameplates in all four colors above. See... OWLS!

I decided to change my alphabet line to also fit this color eme but couldn't decide whether to stick with the forest theme or change to owls.  SO ~ I created 2 versions!

Here is the camping version:

And here is the OWL version (which I think I'm leaning toward):

I also created cubby labels, table signs, banners and I'm changing out all my word wall stuff.  I am so excited about my new word wall headers :

I can't wait to hang these banners up!

I guess I went a little crazy and I'm still thinking of all kinds of other things I want to add (labels, charts, etc.) So hopefully I will get them done before school starts. I created a bunch of forest animal items and some BRIGHT owl items while I was at it and added those to my store as well if you are interested.  Here's a sneak peek:

Alphabet Cards 


And the cutest forest animals ever!  I just LOVE Scrappin Doodles!

I am really looking forward to getting back to blogging.  I am SORRY this post is super long!  I hope to get back in the swing of things and be ready for Throwback Thursday next week. I'm attending a Whole Brain Teaching conference in a couple of weeks and I'm the coach for our PBiS team and we are implementing this year {More to come on both subjects}. Hope everyone is enjoying their summer!

"OWL" see ya later! 

P.S. ~ Everything in my TPT Store right now is 20% until Sunday, July 14th!  

Monday, August 13, 2012

AND The Winners ARE...

I want to say thank you to EVERYONE who entered my giveaway!  And thanks for all the wonderful birthday wishes as well.  Today is my first "official" day back to school.  We have a PD technology day today.  We don't start school until Wednesday, August 22.  So I still have plenty of time (maybe) to get my TO DO list done.  OK - On to the winners...

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Congratulations and I will email you the files shortly!  Hope everyone has a fabulous day... if you didn't win, don't forget the TPT sale going on today.  Everything is 20% off, PLUS another 10% off with the promo code BTS12!

"OWL" See Ya Later!

Saturday, August 11, 2012

TPT Sale and a TON of Freebies!

It's Back to School time and I've been a shopping mama... taking my kiddos to buy school supplies, new shoes, clothes and all those things they "think" they need.  I found some AWESOME sales today and my kids are all revved up for school! Now that I got my kids all ready for school ~ I'm so HAPPY I get to "back to school" shop tomorrow at TPT!  {I have lots of items on my wishlist and tomorrow is my chance to get some goodies!} They are having a super duper sale.  Not only do you get 20% off but use the TPT promo code BTS12 and you get another 10% off! Most stores are participating... including me - but you can always check out all the fabulous teachers who are participating over at Blog Hoppin'.

Thanks to Amy Lemons for creating this CUTE image! 

Even though we don't start school for another week ~ I've been working in my classroom so that I can have several days to rest before my students show up and prepare lesson plans and all those last little things that just HAVE to get done {like pinterest inspired projects I really really want to do - SHHH}! 

[WARNING:  The following post is LONG ~ I got a little carried away but there are many freebies throughout.]

One of the first things I'd like to share with you is how I turned an UGLY green chalkboard into a whiteboard for only $13!  I was going to try and use the white board paint but it was $30 and you still had to prime the chalkboard first!  UGH!  Too expensive and too messy!  So I found some shower board (I've heard many bloggers talk about how they have cut it to make small white boards for their class).  It comes in sheets of 4 ft by 8 ft - so I took my measurement and had them cut it to fit!  YAY!  Instant whiteboard.  How to attach it???? I thought about using liquid nails - but worried if it ever had to be taken down it would absolutely ruin the chalkboard.  So - I put magnets on the back (since the chalkboard is magnetic and slid it underneath the metal track by lifting the screws and then tightening them.)  I have to give credit to my dad for doing this for me.  He's such a handy dandy guy!
 But wait... this is the before picture.  

Here is the after picture!

I love how the border filled in those tiny gaps where you could still see the green chalkboard - PLUS I put up my scoreboard in preparation of using some Whole Brain Teaching strategies!  If you want my Happy/Frowney Face - You can download them HERE

I've done ALOT {like a TON} of labeling this year.  I've had these baskets for years full of read aloud books that I use during my mini-lessons for Reader's and Writer's Workshop but just never took the time to label them.  Well friends ~ I FINALLY made some labels!

I also keep a basket of my favorite read alouds and science read alouds nearby.  Here is a close up of one of these labels:

I tied these labels on my baskets with some cute ribbon... I think they turned out a wee bit cutey patootey!  If you would like them ~ you can download them HERE

Even though I plan to implement whole brain teaching this year, I am still using my clip chart as I get more familiar with whole brain teaching practices.  I started out with a HUGE owl but decided real quick I just didn't dig him.  He was too big and made it difficult for the clothespins to attach to the chart.  I ended up with this idea and I am completely in LOVE with it!
I hot glued a "branch" I made out of construction paper to the top of the bulletin board, then used ribbon between each piece of the chart and finally hot glued the ribbon at the top to make it look like it is hanging from the branch.  Here is a close-up view:

I am so excited about implementing a new behavior reward system. {NO MORE TREASURE BOX... NO MORE CANDY!!}  Not that I am against those things - I just about go broke trying to keep the box and the jar stocked!  Plus, last year I had a kiddo with diabetes - so I did away with my candy jar last year and I realized that the kids didn't miss it at all!  Then on those special days when they did get a treat it was REALLY extra special! 
This year I am going to use "Warm Fuzzies" as my rewards.  This by no means is my idea... I've adapted this from Mel D. over at Seusstastic Classroom Inspirations
She has an awesome presentation that explains her behavior management plan in depth as well as freebies for all the behavior coupons that go along with this system. 
I have decided that depending on the color that a student ends on for the day they will earn "Warm Fuzzies". What is a "Warm Fuzzy" you ask?  They are just regular {or fancy} pom poms.

Here's what my bucket looks like on the inside.

So if a student ends up on green for the day - they have earned 1 warm fuzzy.  If they got to move their clip up to blue... 2 warm fuzzies.  If they were Outstanding... then they've earned 3 warm fuzzies.  However, if they end up on yellow {warning} for the day - they do not get a fuzzy.  If they end up on orange {consequence} for the day - then they OWE me a warm fuzzy.  If they end up on red for the day {parent contact} they will owe me 2 warm fuzzies!  Heaven forbid!
But if they get OFF THE CHART - when they are better than outstanding... which is a RARE occasion  - they get a GLITTER FUZZY!  {WHOA - Stop the world!}
These are worth 5 {YES I SAID FIVE} warm fuzzies!

Just take a look at these beauties!

They will put their warm fuzzies in a paint cup labeled with their student number... I didn't take a picture of the cups but I think you might be able to see them inside their book baskets in their cubbies in this picture.

But what is all the fuss about fuzzies?  Every 2 weeks my students will get to shop for reward coupons.  Each coupon is worth 5 warm fuzzies.  {Hopefully an incentive to earn a fuzzy a day by at least staying on green}.  These coupons I printed on cardstock {I got them from Mel D} laminated them and put them in a craft box to keep them organized.  These coupons are things like - sit by a friend, 15 minutes computer time,  kick your shoes off in the classroom, bring a stuffed animal to school, read a book to the class, etc.  There are so many more and they cost me NOTHING!  But the kids go crazy over these kind of rewards!  I'm so excited about this idea and will keep you posted how this new system works out.  OH and if you liked those cute Warm Fuzzy and Glitter Fuzzy Labels - you can download them HERE!

Do you do the Daily 5 and Cafe?  We changed CAFE to FACE so that our first graders would relate a little better to the concept "the face of a reader".  I redid my board this year {Yep - you guessed it - OWLS}!

What I am super excited about this year is that all of my strategy cards have been redone, match the color owl on my FACE posters AND {wait for it} have the CCSS on the card! Give me a 10 finger WOO everybody! LOL
Take a look at what I mean:

The purple owl is on all of the fluency cards, outlined in purple and if you look very carefully the CCSS {and there are sometimes more than one} listed on the strategy card by the owl.
Here is how I have mine organized:

I said there was gonna be a TON of freebies... so if you've made it this far in this post - Here you go!
You can find my FACE posters AND all of my strategy cards with the CCSS {FOR FIRST GRADE} HERE!

Do you do a "Star of the Week"?  This year since I have kinda drifted away from camping but still have that outdoorsy forest feel... I decided to go with "Ranger of the Week".  I ran out of room on my walls so put our display on the inside of our classroom door.

I found the cutest little polka dot rug and some owl pillows - I will probably regret it but they were impulse buys - you know - just too cute too pass up!  

I know there are not many Saxon users out there - but we use Saxon Math - and I just HAD to get rid of all that YELLOW for our calendar wall.  So I cut around each piece and made labels to put above each concept area on our wall.  I don't mind it as much anymore. :)

If anyone does Saxon and would like my labels - just email me and I will send them to you.
WHEW!  I told you it would be a long post... I hope I didn't bore you.

Don't forget about the "Back to School Sale" at TPT tomorrow and Monday.  I know I will be shopping!  Oh and don't forget tomorrow is the last day to enter my giveaway for Deedee Wills Writing Work Stations The Complete Set and my Everything OWLS Classroom Bundle!  There will be 4 winners that will receive both items.  I will announce the winners on Monday, August 13th!  

a Rafflecopter giveaway
"OWL" See ya later!

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