Wednesday, July 31, 2013

Helper of the Day

Do you want to know the easiest way in the world to determine classroom helpers and jobs? It's called helper of the day. That's right, one student for the whole day is the line leader and my helper for any and everything that I need during the day. {For example: passing out papers, running to the office, taking a book back to a teacher that I borrowed it from, grabbing something we forgot off the playground...etc}
I used to have classroom jobs that were cute and changed each week. It worked great for a while but then students kept forgetting their job, or would fight over a job...someone would do someone elses...they would be absent, etc. It just didn't work for me. So I made my life really really easy and started using this fool proof system.
I make a big chart that hangs by my door with everyone's name on it and use a clothespin to mark who the helper of the day is. I start at the top and move down the list each day. I can't tell you how much I love this method. And the best part is it is EASY!
Hope this helps those of you like me who can't keep 10 classroom jobs straight each week, or who doesn't have time/find time to keep up with it.
If you have a better or similar idea I'd love to hear about it.   

Monday, July 29, 2013

Science/Social Studies Unit Outline

A few weeks ago I shared a template to help make a unit outline for science and social studies standards....or really whatever you want to make a unit outline for. Well today I met with my first grade team...the first time all summer...and we talked for FOREVER. (yay!) One of the many things we discussed is our new schedule for the year (it always changes doesn't it?) and I shared this little unit outline for science and SS this year. They agreed so I'm ready to share it with you.

The red is the Unit to correlate with our standards in science and social studies and the blue are the holidays because those are also in our curriculum and lets be honest...we gotta stick in those fun learning crafts and activities that are so much fun to do with holidays somewhere. I'm still working on making all of my science and social studies activities available for you but here are the ones that I use to teach for Constitution Day and History.  Click here and here to check them out! By the end of the summer I should have my Rocks and Minerals unit ready with Civics and Governance close behind.
Here is a rough draft of our schedule this year: (just in case it might help you make yours)
8:20-8:40 Calendar
8:40-9:15 Phonics (Letterland)
9:15-10:00 Comprehension & Writing
10:00-10:10 Snack
10:10-11:00 Specials
11:00-12:00 Daily Five Literacy &Reading Intervention
12:00-12:10 Class bathroom break, prep for lunch
12:10-1:15 Lunch and Recess
1:15-2:15 Math
2:15-2:55 Science/ Social Studies
2:55 Dismissal
Only 4 more weeks until school starts for us. I'll be back to post everything that I'm doing to prepare. So much work to do! We just got our keys back today so it's go time!!!

Tuesday, July 9, 2013

Back to school bulletin board ideas

One of my favorite summer activities is thinking of my back to school bulletin board! I'm not one of those teachers that makes it easy on herself and uses the same one every year. I wish that I could do that and be satisfied, but I love creating them too much! I've been thinking about it for a while now and I finally have my idea. After my new blog design I'm a little inspired with ice cream so my bulletin board is going to be:

"Here's the Scoop on Mrs. Farmer's Sweet First Graders!"

After a little searching online I found this amazing one and will use it for inspiration when creating mine.

I love the awning and how she did the words "scoop" and "sweet"! She also has a great template for the ice cream cones...all for free! Just click on the picture to go to her website.

I plan on doing something a little more with the ice cream cones. My title will be "Here's the Scoop..." so each day the kids will add a new scoop to their ice cream cone with information about themselves. Some ideas I'm kicking around members, hobbies, pets, favorite subject, something they did on summer break, and color in their favorite ice cream flavor. Since the first day of school is on a Monday, I will probably have one for each day of the week. And I'm pretty sure that the last one will be their favorite flavor, topped to look something like this:

Summer Ice Cream Crafts for Kids
The chocolate syrup is actually brown tempera paint in a condiment squeeze bottle. Love the cotton balls and sprinkles...oh wait, and the cherry on top!!!

As their gift for meet the teacher, I found a few things that I just love:
S'mores treats and ice cream bubbles...maybe with a tag that says, This year will be so sweet! I'll share when I make them. Of course this will go along with magic confetti!

If you are interested in an ice cream back to school bulletin, I thought of some other good titles:
"Here's the scoop...1st grade is a real treat"
"Ms. _____'s first graders are sweet!"
"1st grade is scoops of fun"
"Scooping up a great year"
"Here's the scoop...we're a great class"

And here are the bulletin boards that I have done over the past few years...this of course was before I was a blogger so unfortunately I was not good about taking pictures back then.

2010: "Here We Grow Again" I put pictures of the kids faces inside of flowers!
2011: "Let's Set Sail for 1st Grade"...Mrs. Jump inspired pirate was so cute! I had little pirate bears on a huge pirate ship.
2012: "Let's Kick Off to a Great Year" inspired {since this was last year, I did have a picture}. Read more about this one here.
I would love to hear what you are thinking about for your back to school bulletin board. Leave me a comment here or on my facebook page! 

Saturday, July 6, 2013

My New Blog Makeover with a Freebie

What do you think of my blog makeover? I think I'm in love! It's so bright and colorful and every time I look at it, it makes me so happy. Tessa from Tales of a Blog Designer was amazing to work with. I had no idea how hard this process can be. She has so much patience and just overall rocks.

Be sure to click on the "About Me" link at the top. I just filled it in with lots of pictures and facts about me. Let's get to know each other! I'm also working on a Facebook page too! So many exciting new changes and adventures.

It's normally about this time during the summer when I start thinking about how I am going to organize my year. With common core I definitely want to use more integration than I did last year so I think that I am going to start with my science and social studies units. From there I will plan on how I can integrate literature, writing, art, technology, music... along with it.  So to help me out I made this little graphic organizer to jot my ideas down. It's yours if you want it. Just click on the pictures to download. Happy 4th of July weekend friends!!

pssst... If you are an NC 1st grade teacher and want to know what I come up with, I'll post when I get it figured out. Wish me luck!