Monday, June 27, 2016

Courageous Creativity Conference 2016

In my last blog post I mentioned going to the Courageous Creativity Conference and that I'd post about it if there was something to tell you. Not much is published about this conference so I didn't know what it would be like. But if you get the chance to go, do it! Especially if you're a Disney fan.

The conference is put on by The California Arts Project and was held at Disneyland. A good enough reason to go, don't you thing? It takes place over 3 days and is for K-12 teachers. There are only 2-3 actual sessions so you don't necessarily come away with specific ideas to implement in a 1st grade classroom. I didn't get any actually. What it is, though, is hugely inspiring! HUGE!

Most of the conference was presentations by former and currents heads of Disney's Imagineering Department and actual imagineers. For example, there was a presentation about how the newest Cars Land ride was created and then we got to go ride it. That was fun! 

The tour I signed up for was Soarin'Around the World and the man who designed the seating system for the ride explained how he came up with the idea and built a model from the erector set he had in his attic that became the design of the ride. 

We then walked over to California Adventure and went on the ride. If you've been there before, the movie isn't Soarin' Over California anymore, instead you go around the world. It is spectacular! The real highlight of the tour, however, was watching from behind the screen to see how everything worked. Just amazing!!

What I really got out of this conference was inspiration to be creative and to encourage creativity in my students. I think that was the whole purpose. There was an imagineering panel and each person talked about where they came from (some from poverty, one with dyslexia) and one teacher who helped them along their way. They're all so passionate about what they do and I'm determined to infuse more opportunities for creativity into my teaching next year! 

One last picture of one of my favorite rides. Have a wonderful day!

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Tuesday, June 21, 2016

It's a Wrap!

Yep, it's a wrap. My school year is over. To be truthful I've been out of school for a week enjoying taking it easy during the day and not having a schedule. I love summer! (just had to say that).

 This was a great year! Nice class, sweet & motivated kiddos. They were so much fun. So I tried to make our last day together full of fun activities. I called it Bubble & Ice Cream Day. We started with one of my favorite end of the year books. Throughout the year we've read other Diane deGroat books so it's fun when this book references things that happened in the other books.
I needed a few minutes to organize ice cream toppings parents dropped off so we watched this video of Splish, Splash, Splat. read by Molly Ringwald. It's such a cute summer story!

Then we went outside with bubbles and frisbees and played on the upper grade playground- a true treat for first graders since they have swings!

We came back inside and painted the desks with shaving cream. First graders LOVE this! I start with quick instructions about not putting shaving cream on anything but the desks, just to save us from having shaving cream on our faces, in our hair, ... you can imagine.

After that the kids have recess. My mom comes to help on the last couple of days and recess gives us time to clean up. The desks are nice and clean after this and the room smells good too.

One of my end of the year gifts to my students is a beach ball which they get to autograph. I love the reaction as I throw beach balls out to the kids. Everyone gets a sharpie marker and off they go!

This year the kids finished signing beach balls about 10 minutes before we were going to have ice cream with another 1st grade class. I wasn't quite sure how to fill the time when Mr. Heath walked in to drop something off to me and it solved my problem. I love this picture of him getting mobbed by my students for his autograph too!

After that we had ice cream sundaes and I let the kids play on the playground for a bit when they finished. At 11:15 parents came to watch our end of the year slide show.
After some tears and lots of smiles, it was time for the kiddos to go home. On the way out the door one of the girls looked at me and said, "I'm going to cry when I get home," which, of course, brought tears to my eyes again. I hugged her and told her I hoped she would go home and do something fun and that I'd see her next year.

I miss my sweet class. But I am thoroughly enjoying staying up late, sleeping in a bit, and taking it easy. Tomorrow a group of teachers from my school and my principal head off to Disneyland for the Courageous Creativity Conference. Not much is published about it and we won't know what sessions there are until we get there. I do know there are behind the scenes tours, which I'm really looking forward to. If there's any great information to pass along, I'll post about on the weekend.

Thanks for reading! I hope you're having a great day whether you're still teaching or already on vacation.

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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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