Sunday, August 30, 2015

Our First Day of School!

Well, I made it through the first week.  You would think that after 13 years it would somehow all be less exhausting, but it wasn't.  Trying to be a mom and a teacher on the first day is rough ya'll, but I managed to grab a few quick pictures of my wee ones before the chaos started.  They are starting first and fourth grades this year!

The first day is always kind of a blur, but I managed to grab a few pictures of the highlights.  We started the day by reading Jitter Juice and doing the Jitter Juice activities from Babbling Abby's Fun with Firsties pack.  My kiddos looooved the jitter juice and had so much fun with the "Find a Friend" activities in this resource.  It's first week gold, I tell ya!

Next we went over our classroom rules and practiced some of the Whole Brain Teaching attention getters I use on a daily basis.  We learned "Class, Class", "Hands and Eyes", and "Mirror".  We practiced, practiced, and then practiced some more!  I had dabbled in WBT before, but this summer I read Whole Brain Teaching for Challenging Kids (and the rest of your class, too!) by Chris Biffle and it got me really excited to try out the rest of the strategies with my class.  Once we had practiced the rules several times we watched my "Why Do We Need Rules?" power point.  Afterwards I gave them their science and social studies journals and they wrote down one rule that helps them be a good friend at school.  This was great for me, because I could wander around and observe.  On the first day I was able to see who my strong writers were and who was going to need more support.

Later that day we made our rainbow names.  This is one of my favorite first week activities for several is good fine motor practice, it makes a cute hallway display, and it takes them a long time to finish it...let's be honest, by the end of the first day you just want something to keep them busy for more than five minutes so you can catch your breath!  I got this idea from Deanna Jump's Names unit, another one of my first week must haves.  I love the name chants and class books...we use them throughout the entire first week!

Aren't they cute??

All in all, the first week was great!  I forgot to mention this before, but I only have fourteen kids right now.  FOURTEEN.  This is unheard of...I've never had a class this small!  Last year at this time I had 24 and I cried at the end of the first day, I'm not gonna lie.  I am tickled pink about my tiny little group! 
I hope everyone had a great week!


Thursday, August 20, 2015

Classroom Reveal

Tonight is my Meet the Teacher Night.  In just a few short hours my new firsties will be here to meet me and see their new classroom.  I thought this would be a good time to share pictures of my new classroom, because Lord knows it won't look this put together next week!

This is the view of the back of the room, by the door.  You can see my cubbies and my reading corner.

Here is my calendar board and what will soon be my concept board.  This is where I will do my read alouds and morning meetings.

This is the front of the room.  Can you see the big book holder/easel my hubby made me?  He's so handy!  :)  Ignore the random boxes sitting out...I use them on Meet the Teacher Night to sort supplies.

The other side of the front of the desk and small group area.  I will attach my mini anchor charts for reading concepts to the strips of border as we learn them.

Back to the front of the room!  Here you can see my word wall, mailboxes, and where my kiddos keep their water bottles and lunchboxes.  Check out the cute burlap pineapple my bestie bought me as a back to school gift!

It's my new favorite thing!  

This is outside of my room, by the door.  I just need to add my class list to my little board and I'm all set!  Have a great year everyone!

Monday, August 17, 2015

Must Read Monday: First Week Favorites!

It's the last week of Must Read Monday...I'm so sad!  I love, love, love introducing my kiddos to great literature, and read alouds are my favorite part of the day.  This link up has given me so many great ideas!

This week I am linking up with Kindergarten Planet and The Kindergarten Connection to talk about our favorite back to school books!

I absolutely love the Gilbert and Friends books from Diane deGroat.  The series begins with Brand New Pencils, Brand New Books and goes all the way to No More Pencils, No More Books, No More Teacher's Dirty Looks.  My class loves following Gilbert and his pals through their first grade adventures!

Another favorite of mine is Horus's Horrible Day (First Graders From Mars).  This super cute story is all about Horus's disastrous first day and how with the help of a new friend he finds the courage to give first grade another try.

Last summer I picked up this little gem, Lacey Walker, Nonstop Talker. It quickly became one of my new favorites.  It's adorable!  Lacey talks A LOT...all day, and all night.  Sound like anyone you know?  It seems like there's always at least one, right?  Anyway, Lacey looses her voice one day and learns an important lesson about listening.

My last pick is a silly little book by Jerry Pallotta that is always a hit with my kiddos, How Will I Get to School This Year?  Every year during the first week we talk about how week get to school and make a graph.  This book is a perfect addition to this lesson!  I like to make the class graph with my kids, read the book, and then let them draw and write about how they would choose to get to school.  Elephant?  Mosquito? Pig?  The possibilities are endless!

Well, that's it!  I hope you found a new book  you can use this year. What are your first week favorites?

Tuesday, August 11, 2015

Must Read Monday...on a Tuesday??

So...I'm a little late to the party.  I got caught up getting my room ready and totally forgot about Must Read Monday!  I couldn't skip this week though, because these are some of my favorites!

This week I linked up with Kindergarten Planet and The Kindergarten Connection to bring you our favorite modern day fairy tales.  These books are just the best for teaching students to compare and contrast!

The Three Ninja Pigs is a class favorite!  My firsties love anything to do with ninjas, and they thought this book was hilarious.  These pigs aren't going to take the wolf's bullying tactics anymore, so they learn karate to take him down!

I loooove Jan Brett.  I think she is one of my favorite authors to teach with.  So many amazing things are happening in her books!  The Three Snow Bears is an Arctic twist on Goldilocks.  You can use this book to compare and contrast fairy tales AND habitats at the same time!

I like to pull out The Gingerbread Cowboy when I teach my Texas unit.  It's so much fun!  This little cowboy boot scoots by ranchers, javelinas, cattle, and coyotes.  

So there you have it!  Make sure to tune in next week...we will be talking about our favorite back to school books and you won't want to miss it!

Wednesday, August 5, 2015

Dojo Just Keeps Getting Better!

Remember when I said that Class Dojo was going to be launching some really cool new features this summer?  Well, they are!  Today another really awesome feature rolls out, and I think I am the most excited about this one.  You can read about the new Groups feature that launched on July 21st here.
Today Class Dojo brings us the Class Story!

Teachers can share stories from class using photos or text updates! Posts are shared with all connected parents, and no one else. Unlike class websites, Twitter, or Instagram, this means that only parents can see these important stories and no one else, keeping ClassDojo safe for families, students, and teachers.  Class Dojo's Class Story will work with any computer, Android, or iOS device!
I am so excited to be able to share snippets of our day with parents.  As a parent myself, I know I would love to get little pictures and updates from my children's classrooms. The last few years I have been trying to keep up with newsletters, class websites, e mails, and class Facebook pages.  Now I can simplify and use Class Dojo for all of my communication needs, as well as great classroom management! 
This will be a great way to give parents the tools to have meaningful conversations with their children about their day.  No more "How was school today?" they will be able to say "Tell me about the graph you made in math today."  How great is that?
Anyone can sign up as a beta tester beginning August 5th, just in time for the new school year! You can sign up at, as well as get more information, so head on over!

Monday, August 3, 2015

August Pick 3 Pinterest Party!

It's that time again...time to share our top 3 Pinterest Picks for August! 

This month I linked up with Inspired Owl's Corner and Pawsitively Teaching, and we will be focusing on things we plan to use in our classroom in August.  I had a hard time picking, I have pinned so many fun ideas over the summer!

My first pick is this super cute little Paper Bag Book!  It is a freebie, and I thought it would be perfect for the first week of school.  I usually do All About Me bags...I send home paper bags and they fill them with items that represent themselves, then share with the class.  I think this cute little book will be a fun twist on that old activity!  See the original pin here.


My next pick I am especially excited about!  I am a huge Erin Condren fan, and have had her teacher planners in the past.  This year I went a different direction though, and ordered a large teacher planner from Plum Paper Designs.  I can hardly wait for it to come in!  I know I will get tons of use out of this bad boy...I am a typical type A over planner, lol.  This isn't the design I ordered, but it sure is cute!  See the original pin here.

Went with Plum Paper instead of Erin Condren for my teacher planner for next year - excited! 2014 Owl Teacher Planner by PlumPaperDesigns on Etsy, $31.00

Last but not least, I pinned this packet from Abby Mullins, over at The Inspired Apple.


It has the cutest activities for the first week of school.  I love the Jitter Juice pages and Find a Friend pages.  There is also lots of great activities to go with popular first week of school books.  I can't wait to use it!  See the original pin here.

What are your favorite pins from this month?  What will you be using at school during August?  Link up with us and share!