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!  

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