Monday, September 5, 2016

Pick 3 for September

Hello there!
I am late (so what else is new?), but welcome to the September Pick 3 party!  I just love this little linky because I get to see everyone's top Pinterest picks for the month.  It's a great source of inspiration for me!  I just wrapped up my second week with kiddos, so I am still really focused on assessing and teaching routines.  Let me show you some of the great Pinterest finds I want to use this month!

I love practicing growth mindset with my kiddos!  It made such a huge difference with my students last year.  I can't wait to pick up these fun read alouds from the library and share them with my class.

We begin our unit on Place Value tomorrow, and I love this anchor chart for introducing the important vocabulary we will be learning!

As the fifteenth anniversary of 9/11 creeps up on us, I have been gathering resources to share with my students.  I created this power point because I wanted to be able to share the heroic acts of that day without scaring my students with all of the ugliness.  I chose to focus on the first responders and the "helpers".  As a child and sister of a firefighter, this subject hits so close to home, and I work hard every year to give it the sensitivity and respect it deserves.

Looking for more great ideas?  Check out my Pinterest Boards!

Welcome back!

Hello friends!
Welcome back to another new year!  Most of us have already gotten started, but I know a few of you lucky ducks don't start until after Labor Day, so good luck to you guys!  I have been meaning to get on here and post pictures of my new classroom, but you know...

I'm not going to lie, I was like that after the second week too.  Starting a new grade level is not for the faint of heart, y'all.  BUT!  This three day weekend has given me a tiny bit of renewed energy, so here I am!  I feel like I am finally climbing out from underneath the piles of beginning of the year STUFF and getting myself together.  Who knows, maybe we will get our routine going next week.  Fingers crossed!

So I moved down the hall this year and I have a whole new set up.  I decided to go with the whole flexible seating idea, and I'm loving it.  My kids are too!  Right now I'm letting them choose where they sit each day, and they can switch throughout the day.  I do plan on assigning seats for when I have a sub, because I'm sure the poor sub would hate me by the end of the day otherwise. Right now I have 4 scoop rockers, 4 yoga balls, two standing tables, and a regular table with chairs and wobble cushions.  The kids can also sit on the floor or the beanbag with a clipboard.  I have a Donor's Choose project going for some wobble stools, so hopefully I will be able to add those to our room soon!

I'll warn you, the pictures aren't the best...I realized right before the kids came on Monday morning that I hadn't snapped any pictures yet, so I took super fast ones with my phone, but you'll get the idea. I have already made a few changes...I moved the standing tables to where the weren't blocking the view of the kids at the small floor tables (duh! Why didn't I see that in the first place?!).

This is my reading corner and library.  The gray boxes hold our Chromebooks.  The concept board is something we put together as a class for each of out Language arts units in Imagine It.

These are the fabulous mailboxes my grandfather made me way back when I first started teaching.  I use the shoe organizer to hold water bottles and keep them off the desks.

This is my small group table/teacher work space.  The sound cards on the wall go with our ELA curriculum.

A few of my littles using the beanbag to work!

A few of the different table levels.

The back of the room with our pocket chart stand and number line.  The back counter is another choice for a work space for my kiddos.

So, now you've had the official tour!  I hope everyone's year gets off to a great start!

Wednesday, July 20, 2016

Student Stories

Hello friends!  I'm so excited, I just couldn't wait to tell you the news...
Once again, Class Dojo has come up with something amazing for the new school year.  Today they rolled out "Student Stories", personalized digital portfolios for students to use to showcase their accomplishments!

I have used the heck out of Class Story and I got a ton of positive feedback from parents- they love seeing pictures of what is going on in the classroom and staying up to date with our classroom news. I know they will be thrilled to be able to also click on their own child's story and see pictures of their child's hard work!  I love the thought of our parents and students having conversations about what is shared in their Student Story- what a great way to make sure we are all working as a team to help our littles be successful!  You can watch this short video to see it in action.  I also love that it is student led.  Kiddos can choose what they think they did their personal best on to share with their family.

It works with classrooms that are 1:1 with devices and classrooms that only have a few to share. Students will simply scan a class QR code and log in to their story.  You can set this up in your classroom in three easy steps!

1- Display your QR code- you can get it by tapping "Class Login" in your account.
2- Download ClassDojo on your classroom iPads (coming soon for Android tablets and Chromebooks!)
3- Let your kiddos dive in!  All they need to do is tap "Scan QR code" on the login screen and they are set to go!

ClassDojo just keeps getting better and better, and as a teacher I LOVE that all of my parent communication is in one place.  Anything that helps me streamline my day and makes teaching more efficient is a winner for me.  Go check it out!

Tuesday, May 17, 2016

Show and Tell

It's time for another round of Show and Tell with my blogging buddies! Lots of fun spring time activities have been going down in our room, so it's time to share!

We hatched chicks in our classroom!  My kiddos were just entranced with our fluffy little ones...they couldn't get enough of them!  They learned so much in the 21 days it took for our eggs to hatch, and they are still talking about it.  Science for the win!

We were learning about land forms and bodies of water in Social Studies.  I have been participating in a little challenge that our Technology Instructional Specialists put together.  We are learning how to incorporate Google apps into our teaching, so I thought it would be neat for my kids to use Google Draw to create some of the land forms we learned about. The kiddos really enjoyed it, and it was a great way for us to learn something new together!

Last but not least, we put together something special for our moms just before Mother's Day.  First we did a little directed drawing and made portraits of our moms.

Then we filled in the blanks to tell all about our moms.  This is the story my little one write about me.  I'm going to overlook the 40 years old part because she thinks I only weigh 70 pounds and didn't write anything about me drinking wine.  I call it a win!

We also made these sweet little bags filled with breakfast goodies.  We put in a tea bag, a cute napkin, an orange, and a Nutri-grain bar.  My kiddos were so excited to treat mom to breakfast in bed!

That's all for this month, thanks for stopping by!  I can't wait to see what fabulous things everyone else is doing in their classrooms!

Sunday, May 15, 2016

Shark Week!

Well, we are almost there....the end is near...and the natives are restless.  It is getting harder and harder to get and keep their attention, so I decided to pull out the big guns last week- SHARKS.  It is pretty universal, all first graders love sharks - I have no idea why.  We had our state testing last week for the bigger kids, so that means we were trapped in our rooms with no specials for three days of the week.  I knew I would need something BIG to keep us all from going completely crazy.

We began with a little research on Tuesday.  I used a nonfiction resource from A Year of Many Firsts for most of our research and it worked out perfectly.  We read the mini book about sharks the first day and made a giant web with everything we knew about sharks.  I put out my shark books on the browsing shelf for my kiddos to peruse through the week and they just ate them up!

The next day I let them break into teams.  They used reading passages (from the same resource) and books on to gather information about their chosen type of shark.  I had groups researching great white sharks, whale sharks, tiger sharks, and hammerhead sharks.  They were so engrossed in this that it took most of the morning, and I was happy to leave them to it!

On Thursday we began working on our posters.  They drew their sharks, filled in the background, and added facts they had learned about their shark.  I was pretty impressed with how detailed their drawings were!

I was trying to think of a good activity for Friday when I came across this little directed drawing activity on @adayinfirstgrade's Instragram account, and I knew it would be perfect!  Sure enough, my kids loved it, and they turned out to be adorable.  When they finished my kiddos spent some time reflecting on what they learned in their journals.

All in all, it was a great week, even with the testing and the end of year craziness. Just twelve more days to go!!

Tuesday, May 3, 2016

Big News!

Hello again!  Look, it's me!  I haven't fallen into a deep dark well, I've just would appear that I am really terrible at keeping up with this whole blogging thing.  I swear, that's going to be a big goal for me next year.  I'm going to have to make a schedule or something, because GEEZ. #goodintentions

So I come to you with BIG NEWS.  Like, capital letter BIG.  Well, big for me anyway.  It's all official so I can finally announce that after 13 years (my entire career!) in first grade, I will be moving to second grade next year.  I am super excited and a wee bit nervous, but mostly excited.  I absolutely love my group of kiddos this year so I went to my principal just after spring break and asked if I could loop up with them.  This girl is ready for a change!

We had the "big end of the year info" faculty meeting today and we were given all of our end of the year check lists and what not.  That's always exciting, because now we can officially start counting down the days (19 and a half, in case you're curious.  You can bet your boots I counted.) until we can sleep past dark o'thirty in the morning.

When the maps with our new classroom assignments were passed around, I have to admit, I got a bit weepy.  I am soooooo far away from my teaching besties, and you know how that is.  One hall over can seem like an ocean between you.  After the meeting I went to get a peek at my new room, and y'all- there. are. ceiling. fans.  All the spirit fingers and praise hands!  ALL OF THEM!  It is ALWAYS hot and muggy in our building and I am a wee bit on the fluffy side, so fans make me a happy girl.

I'm super pumped to share my new journey with you- movin' on up!!

Tuesday, January 19, 2016

Show and Tell!

I always loved show and tell as a kid, so when I was asked to participate in a Show and Tell linky with Stephanie from Forever in 5th Grade, I couldn't resist!  I am so excited to share some of the things that were happening in (and out!) of my classroom in January.

How adorable is this response to text?! I found this little gem on Pinterest and blogged about wanting to try it here.  I love the book Snowmen at Night and I'm always looking for ways to help my kiddos make good connections to text.  This little one wrote "If I was a snowman, at night I would play in the park.  In the park I would swing."  We had so much fun with this little project, and tearing the paper is good for their fine motor skills...two birds, one stone!

Next up are these number sense posters my kids worked on in small groups.  They had to represent their number four different ways, then show the number on the number line.  We have spent the last week or so working on "bigger numbers" from 100-120 and my students are feeling very grown up and pleased with themselves.  They worked so hard on their posters and they look great in the hallway!

Number three is what I am most excited about.  See that giant check??  SQUEEEEE!  I wrote a grant over the summer, and my class is going to be awarded nearly $5,000 for a class set of Chromebooks!!!  They actually came around back in November to hand these bad boys out, but of course, that was the one day I was out sick.  They finally made it back to my room just after Christmas break and I was SO EXCITED.  I can't wait to get this technology into the hands of my little ones!

Number four isn't classroom related, but I am darn proud of it, so I'm sharing it.  This cheeseball is my fourth grader, and this is his (FINALLY) finished science fair project.  ALL THE JAZZ HANDS AND PRAISE THE LORD.  Science fair projects are definitely put on Earth to test our patience as parents, ya'll.  Just sayin'. 

Well, that's it for this month!  I can't wait to see all of the amazing things going on in your classrooms!