Monday, November 30, 2015

Christmas BINGO & Christmas Freebies

Merry December Everyone! My kiddos came to school this morning talking about putting up Christmas trees, lights, and decorations. I thought I'd hold off starting Christmas activities for just a few days, but instead we'll just jump in tomorrow. We'll start off with Christmas Around the World and some Gingerbread Man activities. I just love all the Christmas activities we can do in first grade!
What are some of your favorites?

I don't know about your class, but I have many EL learners and English only students who have a limited vocabulary. We teach dedicated ELD lessons, but in addition I like to teach Christmas vocabulary. Many of my students can't name a wreath, reindeer, sleigh, or stocking when shown pictures. So I created this Christmas BINGO game to help them learn Christmas nouns. It's simple- kids make the bingo cards in about 15 minutes and we're ready to play. At first, I say the noun and show the calling card so that everyone can identify the pictures. After a few times I just say the noun instead of showing the pictures. When a students gets "bingo", they have to read me the pictures they covered. In the beginning I'll help them with the names, but later they have to be able to name the pictures to get bingo. If your kiddos could use some vocabulary building, or you just want to have some Christmas fun, you can pick up your Christmas Bingo by clicking on the picture. It's just $1 in my TPT store and is currently on sale thru tomorrow. Use the promo code SMILE for extra savings!

There are some freebies you can pick up in my TPT store too.  

For a post about how I use the Christmas Short Vowel Sort in my classroom, click here. The Long Vowel Sort is set up the same way. Just click on the pic to grab your copy.

I'm off to take advantage of the TPT sale myself. Have a wonderful week!

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Tuesday, October 27, 2015

Easy Halloween Bingo

We've been having a lot of Halloween fun in our classroom lately.  Tomorrow we'll have a party with different Halloween centers. It seems so early to have a Halloween party but we have a field trip Thursday and PD all day Friday. 
As a one of our centers during our party, my kiddos will play Bingo with my parent helper. Today they made their bingo cards and played a few round with me. 
We went from this
 to this
in less than 15 minutes. Once about 5 kiddos were finished with their cards I took them to the rug to play bingo. That hurried along the rest of the group and we all enjoyed a break after some testing this afternoon. They'll love playing with candy corns tomorrow! If your looking for a last minute Halloween idea, you can grab this in my TPT store.

If you're looking for some other last minute Halloween activities, here are some fun & FREE ones you can snatch up. 

my friend Barb at GradeONEderful has a great sequencing freebie to go with The Old Lady Who Swallowed a Bat {click here}

and Disney Family has a cute Halloween coloring page and maze {here}

I'm off to fix dinner and get ready for tomorrow's Halloween party! Thanks for popping by!

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Sunday, August 23, 2015

Classroom Reveal 2015!

Friday finished my 4th day of school. My class is so sweet! We played our first partner math game Friday and they did a great job! Everyone was cooperative and had lots of fun. Well, one pair had a slight disagreement but for the 4th day of school I was thrilled to see them playing so nicely with each other. 
I hadn't gotten around to posting pics of my finished classroom before school started so here they are today- better late than never, right? This year my classroom is decorated with frogs and yellow and lime green polka dots.
Sorry about the glare, it was the best I could do. The calendar pieces are little light and dark green frogs in an AB pattern.
I love the look of pennant banners for bulletin board headings to I made these in lime and yellow polka dots.

This is right behind my reading table. Everything I'll need for my small groups.
I love having stuffed animals in my room! They're so cute and later they'll be reading buddies for Daily 5.

That larger empty bulletin board is for writing.  This is where I'll post anchor charts and student work. We'll start Writer's Workshop tomorrow. I'm excited! Hopefully this group will love it as much as last year's. Closer up the banner looks like this. You can get it free- just click on the pic. I'd really appreciate if you'd leave a comment below too!

 We did our If You Take a Mouse to School writing. I love this because it's cute and fun and the kids really enjoy it! I go over how to do the whole thing and then let them work. It also tells me SO much about their abilities. It's one of my favorite assessments. You can read more about it {HERE}.

My mom paint kids hand to make these flowers. After school she painted each child's name above the flower. It gives kids a place to put their jackets and lunchboxes during recess. Plus it looks fun!

Thanks for taking a tour of my home away from home! Leave a link to your classroom photos in a comment and I'll be sure to stop by!

Off to plan the coming week. What else would I do on a Sunday afternoon?

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Wednesday, August 5, 2015

Setting Up My Classroom- Day 1 & 2

It's that time again. Got my keys on Tuesday and worked a few hours yesterday and today. Here are the "before's" and "after's."
 Everything stacked up on the counter and covered with a drop cloth to keep it from getting too dirty over the summer.
 Furniture in rows? No thanks.

Getting things set up by my desk again. The double student desk will hold my laptop & projector. My DVD player goes inside one of the cubbies.

Today's goal was to get my library put back together and fill book boxes for Daily 5.

 Book boxes ready for Daily 5. They're just missing name labels.
I put about 10 books in each- just an assortment of fiction and non-fiction right now. I've got to find some phonetic readers (or make some) to add in.
 I inherited some new books so I labeled those and put them my library tubs.
 Yay! All my books sorted and on the shelves!
All that's missing are the labels on the tubs and my library is done.

Tomorrow's goals: laminate, organize a couple binders, set up my reading group area, purchase fabric for bulletin boards, have my hubby come and set up my laptop/projector/DVD player. 

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Sunday, August 2, 2015

Currently for August

I'm joining up with Farley's Currently this morning. The last one before school starts again. Didn't my summer break just start a few weeks ago??

I've been loving these warm summer days! Time spent with family & friends, some fun days away with my husband, time with our new kitten. It's been great!

It's been fun to try some new recipes this summer- especially salads. Most recently my husband and I tried a kale and strawberry salad that is amazing! We'd never had kale- it's about time, right? We have wonderful locally grown strawberries so I like to eat them a lot while they're in season. The recipe came from a vegetarian food blog called COOKIE + Kate. Salads are my favorite school lunch. 

As for shoes, I need some really comfy ones. I'm going to the outlet center today to see what I can find. Years ago I had a pair of Rockports that were wonderful! They have a 15% discount for educators too. You can get their coupon HERE.

Reading Unshakable has inspired me to change a couple of things for this year. So a RAK of buying a flat of bottled water and some soda for the refrig in the lounge seems like a good way to start off! Hopefully it will make some people smile.

Back to School is certainly on my mind. I'll get my keys tomorrow or Tuesday. Our first PD day is 2 weeks away and my new kiddos come just after that. I'm looking forward to the TPT sale to pick up a few new things for the start of the year. If you're looking to get organized for the year, I've got some binder covers in my TPT store that will be 20% off starting tomorrow.


Remember to use the promo code BTS15

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Thursday, July 30, 2015

Alphabet Exchange Update

This is the 5th year of the Alphabet Letter Exchange and I'm so thrilled that we're able to do it again! This year there are 234 of us participating. I found these cool fill-in maps online to show which states and Canadian provinces the participating teachers are from. 
Yesterday the emails went out with group lists and letter assignments. If you signed up but didn't get yours, let me know. As of now the project is full. 
Thank you to all the teachers who are participating! I love the fun this project brings to the start of the school year. Once my new 1st graders get the first letter they'll be so excited! I can almost hear their excitement when they see me coming from the office with that tell-tale envelope in my hand.

If you'd like to read more about the project, you can check previous posts HERE, and  HERE.

Hope you're having a great summer day!

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Sunday, July 26, 2015

Unshakeable Book Study- Chapter 20

It's been great doing this book study with my some other bloggy friends! Unshakeable is a fantastic, motivating book with real, practical ways to help teachers enjoy their jobs (almost) every day. Chapter 20 is the final chapter. so I thought I'd leave you with a few final thoughts and images as we start thinking about, or already teaching, this new school year.

 It's true what Angela Watson says about this, "Most of us are too busy to regularly- or ever- step back from our daily routines and reflect on what is and isn't working." Next year I'd like to make myself sit down for a few minutes at the end of the day and think about the day, maybe make a few notes for the next year, and let myself appreciate what was accomplished that day. Think I can do it? I know it won't be as easy as it sounds, but it definitely will help me keep enjoying my job.
Right now what's working in my classroom is a few things I won't allow myself or anyone else to compromise:
1. giving myself permission to take time to talk with my students about THEM. That sounds so depressing, doesn't it? A few years ago we under pressure to stick to a schedule that gave us about 15 minutes per day to teach science, social studies, art, music, clean-up, put backpacks away, you get the idea. Let me tell you, that's miserable for the teacher and the kids! If we spend 20 minutes just talking to each other about what kids what to talk about it's ok by me. I get to know them, they get to know me, and everything's good!
2. Playing games! Math work stations, partner word sorts, Scoot,,, Go Noodle
3. Regular time for PE
4. Writer's Workshop- started this 2 years ago, did it a little more last year, and I love it! My kiddos get to choose their topics so they're extremely excited to write. They help each other proofread. I jsut love watching and listening to them interact with each other and their writing! It makes this teacher's heart very happy.
5. Daily 5- I'm tellin' you... I can't imagine ever NOT doing this! It's the best thing I've ever done in my classroom! Kids love it, I love it, and I see it building excitement about books, the desire to read, and along with that comes improvement in reading.

***What is one of the very best things you've added to your teaching repertoire?

This made me laugh

Yesterday I wrote about having been burned out and not enjoying my job a few years ago. Angela suggests finding a PD book to read, taking on a new school committee, or challenging yourself to do something new in your room as a way to shake things up and make things new again.

Angela writes," that you'll be able to handle whatever comes your way."
That's not easy and can be very scary!
Last year was my first experience with 1:1 technology in the classroom. It forced me to try things even though I didn't know what the outcome might be. I'm the kind of teacher who tries to think through the possible problems and pitfalls in order to try to prevent them so this was extremely uncomfortable for me. One day I tried using Google docs with my 2nd graders. I had no idea if what I was planning was something they could really do. Well, what we tried didn't work. I was honest with my kiddos about not knowing how it would work out and when it didn't they were flexible and change gears with me and we just did the project a different way.
I'm not saying that was the best thing to do, but we all made it through the experience and it gave me the courage to try other things even when I wasn't sure of the outcome.

Angela writes about choosing the things you do as a teacher based on what is best for kids rather than the fear of what your administrator or other teachers might say. She writes about a time she didn't use workbook pages like she was told to but presented her principal with results that showed the children learned what they should have using other methods. Turned out the principal was very impressed with what she had done rather upset about the lack of workbook use.

I had to laugh reading this chapter. Have you ever been presented, trained it, and directed to use a program only to have it replaced with something else after only a year or two?
Angela writes," Don't internalize this pressure, my friends. Be kind to yourself."
Something for me work on. I'm sure I'll be re-reading this chapter.

The main idea here is not to let little failures keep you from forging ahead. Last year we had WBT training so I went back and tried Teach, OK the very next day. It didn't go well and I never tried it again. Hmmm..... maybe I should.

I hope this next school year will be a fun adventure for all of us! Some of my classroom set-up and possibly our PD day may not be much fun. There will be lots of paperwork, supplies to sort through, etc. but as Angela writes,"Watching kids learn is the greatest adventures you'll ever have." Here's to a great adventure! Let's

Thank you to Jessica from Tales of a First Grade Teacher for introducing me to this book and inviting me to be part of this book study. Please check out the other posts from Jessica, Cassie, Brittany, and Sandy on their fabulous blogs! (if you haven't already :)

Fearless in Fifth

If you're interested in more about Unshakeable by Angela Watson, she has tons of resources on her website. Just click on the image of her book. There is also a Facebook group doing a book study too.

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