Monday, August 25, 2014

Today was the first day of school! My ninth one to be exact and I was the least nervous that I have been my entire career. Usually the first day brings a terrible stomach ache, shaky nerves, and lots of prayers. But today, I was pumped up! It may be because I love my school and the families that go there. I've been there 4 years and it truly feels like a second home. Speaking of, I made a few changes to the room that I wanted to share.

We'll start with my back to school bulletin board. Pinterest inspired of course, but I added my own touches to it. Like the coconuts with the kids names on them. I spent hours going through a HUGE bag of letters to find all the little pieces to their names. I could have done something much easier, but I'm crazy like that.

This is a picture of what I had on the student's desks for meet your teacher. Notice how I do not hand write the names on their name tags. My handwriting is decent...I just don't like it, and when I do write it I critique it all.year.long! I also include their number on their name tags. It makes life easier for me and them. 

 I made some cute labels to help keep things organized and so the kids and parents would know where to put school supplies. It's so much easier when they help sort through some of it.

 Here are just a few little snippets of my new and improved room. It gets better and brighter every year. I'm super excited about my Daily Five focus board. Usually I make huge poster anchor charts that are hard to keep up all year. This way the expectations and criteria for success are in front of them every day...right in front of their book boxes actually!

I also added some trees that my sweet friend Holly gave me. One girl's trash, another girl's treasure!

Once again, I have no theme in my classroom other than bright and beautiful. The more color the better! It makes life so happy.

So there it is, ready for a new group of sweet little first graders to learn and grow.

Tuesday, April 1, 2014

Report Cards

Report cards are due on Friday! All of you Reading 3D givers, I know you feel the frustration of not having official 3D scores to report on report cards. Yes, we have been progress monitoring; but that does little to tell parents where their kids are right now and where they need to be. We have about 6 weeks left until EOY benchmarks...eeek! Is your class ready? Mine are close, but all of us aren't there yet. So....I made this sheet to go along with my students report cards. Thought I would share in case any of you feel like me and give as much information as I can to the parents of my students.

Click on the picture to get this for free!

 I also use colored pencils to color a circle around their score so parents know how great their child is doing or if they are close or really behind the goal. I'm visual, so colors help! I use lots of colors in data and assessment charts!

Let me know if this was useful for you!

Wednesday, March 26, 2014

Geography with technology!

I just finished up a great little unit on Geography and I wanted to share some of my favorite activities that helped my students learn geography concepts!

Obviously we read this book. It's like a no brainer when it comes to getting little ones to think about how they can locate themselves on a map.

And then we did this little project. We started with my planet, my continent, my country, my state, my town, and last my house.

But this year I added a little something!!! Using google earth we looked at real satellite pictures as we made our paper circle maps:  planet, continent, country, state, town, school. Check out how awesome this is!

We talked about landforms and what they look like on a map too! First we watched an amazing brainpopjr video, then we made our own landforms out of Playdoh. We labeled our landform and took a museum walk of the landforms that we created. There is also a great idea floating around on pinterest of doing this same idea with sand and a table cloth, but I wasn't feeling that brave. Maybe next year. (or maybe not!!!)

We related what we knew about landforms and found them on our big classroom map of the country. Then we found and labeled our own on these fabulous maps. My coworker came up with this idea. Isn't she fabulous?

You can't talk about maps without the compass. We learned how to label a compass, and then we labeled our classroom. To reinforce the compass we played a fun game called four directions. It's just like the game four corners, except the person who is it has to call out a direction. The kids standing at that wall have to sit down. They LOVED it. We play it a lot. It's also a great brain break activity!!

After we learned all about geography, we hit another essential standard by looking at culture on different continents. We explored what they eat, animals that live there, how they dress, what school is like, what language they speak, and much much more. Our students are learning about culture in Africa, Asia, Australia, and South America!

We did lots and lots of more amazing things with this unit but of course I don't have pictures of them all. I would love to hear what you do with geography in your classroom!

Monday, December 16, 2013

A gift your teacher coworkers will LOVE!!!

It's that time of year, and you have no idea what to do for your coworkers at school. If you are like me, you are at this point broke and running low on ideas. Here is an idea for a gift you can give that your teaching coworkers will love.

Personalized labels!!! I have given this as a gift the past two years as well as made them for myself and I use them all. the. time! I just gave them to my friends yesterday and they were so excited. It was inexpensive, fun to make, useful, and thoughtful. I cut mine up, put it in a clear bag from the party section at Walmart and stuck a ribbon on it. Bam, sweet first grade teaching buddies LOVED  them.
Merry Christmas!!

Thursday, December 5, 2013

Holiday Traditions

Before we begin studying different holiday traditions around the world, I always like to start with sharing our holiday traditions here in America with the students in my class. First we read "Night Tree." It's a story about a family who every year on Christmas Eve go out into the woods and find the same wild evergreen tree out in a big clearing. They decorate it with edible ornaments, spread out a big blanket and drink hot chocolate while singing Christmas carols. That way all creatures can enjoy a special treat for Christmas. It's so sweet, I just melt every time I read it.
Night Tree
After the book, we have a class discussion about holiday traditions. We turn and talk to a neighbor about one of our traditions and then I send this sheet home in their BEE book. Parents sit with their child and help them brainstorm all the traditions that their family does for the holidays.
The next day or following week, we use our graphic organizer to help us write a narrative about our family holiday traditions. As we share them, we can compare and contrast our traditions with others in our class. Then we are ready to explore the traditions of other countries and cultures around the world the following week.
I always love to hear the sweet traditions each kid does with their family.  

Wednesday, November 6, 2013

Ways to Make Numbers

In our math investigations unit we are learning about combinations or different ways to make numbers. I love decorating my classroom with student work, but worksheets just aren't fun to display. As we learn about breaking a number apart and finding all the different ways to make a number we each choose one way and make a craft to display our learning. Here are a few of our combination creations:
A fun book to read with this one is "Red Leaf, Yellow Leaf." Students created combinations of 6 with red and yellow leaves. 3+3=6  5+1=6

I think this one is from What the Teacher Wants. You could read "Who Took the Cookies from the Cookie Jar" as a read a loud to go with this activity. Students made combinations of 5 with cookies inside and outside of the jar.

Who doesn't love spiders in October? We made combinations of 8 using the spiders legs. The body is an 8 from our die cut machine.

We made combinations of 9 using peas and carrots on a plate. Our magic spoon could only scoop out 9 things. After this activity, I learned that peas can be square...ha ha! Integrate a health lesson with this about vegetables and allow students to sample peas and carrots.

This is a glimpse of how happy it makes my room. I have all of their combinations displayed all over and students refer to them as we continue our unit.

Friday, October 18, 2013

The Greedy Triangle

 No geometry lesson is complete without the book "The Greedy Triangle."

It is one of my favorite math lessons. I don't own this book but I was able to find it online. If you can't access you tube at your school (like me) then you can find it on gaggle tube. Just type it in the search engine.
After we listened to the story, each student chose a triangle that I had cut out in all different shapes and sizes. We brainstormed where we see triangles in the world around us and each student shared what they were going to turn their triangle into. This was a very important step. My rule was that you had to make something different from everyone else.  In previous years I haven't done this and everyone made the same guessed it, the roof of a house. I love what some of them came up with all on their own!

And much much more. They were so proud of how they used their imaginations to manipulate and create their triangle into an object.
Another great activity I did with shapes this week is this poem to go in their poetry journals. It is titled "What Creature is This" and it's all about a jack o lantern made out of shapes! I passed out some shapes and they created the creature in the poem.

Do you read "The Greedy Triangle?" I would love to hear what you do with this story!