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!