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Alphabet Exchange 2020

Hi everyone!
Its taken me a while to decide what to do about the Alphabet Exchange this year. I've decided it's better not do it this year with all the uncertainty about school in the fall and all the new things a lot of us will be dealing with (how to social distance kindergarteners for example. Oh boy!). It's always a bit of a challenge for some groups to get a complete alphabet and if some teachers have to transition to virtual learning after a little while then it's pretty much impossible to complete the project. I'm not happy cancel it but I think it's the best thing this year. I sure will miss doing this project at the start of the year as a lot of you will too. Thank you for your participation over the years. Hope you'll be back next year!

School Closure FREEBIES!

Hi there, everyone! Wherever you are I hope you're healthy and doing well. How has coronavirus affected you?
Our school here in California closed Friday for at least 2 weeks. So far we have no plan as to whether we'll do paper packets or online learning or not but I'm looking for resources to get prepared. Here are FREE resources for paper packets and websites (some are websites that normally charge a fee but are waiving fees temporarily). I hope they help you. Good luck to all of you in this time of uncertainty.

First of all, if you're still in school this week, I have 2 St. Patrick's Day coloring sheets and a word search are FREE in my TPT store.

I've been looking into Fluency and Fitness for my classroom. Now it's free for 3 weeks for families!

Here are math and reading packets you can download for free from Just a Primary Girl's TPT store. While you're at it, follow her on facebook too! https://www.facebook.com/justaprimarygirl/

Have you heard about Scholastic's Learn at Home website? It looks fun and very educational. Also very easy navigated by kids and adults. Scholastic has also supplied a letter for you to send home to families letting them know about it. Check it out!

Do you use Spelling City in your classroom? I've used the free version for years and my kiddos LOVE it! Spelling City is offering their PREMIUM version for free until the end of the school year with promo code VSCFree90. If you already have an account, go o to the settings for your account and when you try to upgrade to premium there's a place to put the code. If you don't have an account already, set one up! It's fantastic! Use the code when you sign up.

This free packet looks great for kindergarten. I think it's what I'll use.
You can access it on instagram @misskindergarten

Other links to other resources:
30 free virtual learning resources http://justcaracarroll.com/

Take care, everyone!

2018-19 Recap: Classroom Reveals

It's good to finally be back to my little blog :) I've been away a long time.

This past year has been quite different for us. My mother-in-law broke her hip in May (2018) so we moved for the summer an hour and a half north to be with her. I started school back at the same school I'd taught at for a very long time. As I began setting up my classroom, the opportunity came to switch roles and be a Literacy Specialist, working with small groups of kids K-3 on just reading. It was an opportunity for a change and a time to really focus on my skills teaching reading. I applied for the position but had to go ahead and set up my first grade classroom. I taught in it for 7 days. It was very strange setting up a classroom yet not planning on staying in it.

So 7 days into the school year I packed up and moved schools to be a Literacy Specialist. (More about that and what I learned in another post.)

When I arrived the room looked like this- I was horrified!

Do you see that duct tape on the carpet?! Needless to say, the room needed a serious and complete makeover! I had just created a classroom decor set, didn't use it since I was planning to switch schools, so her came the opportunity to decorate like I wanted to just on a smaller scale. I shared the room with the math coach. There wasn't a reason to use everything I made but these alphabet posters were perfect!

Here's how it turned out:

The colors were exactly what I wanted, my little space was roomy but cozy. The Let's Read banner helped show off my focus wall and the Learning Objective posters I created helped me and my kiddos keep focused.

Being a Literacy Specialist was such a fun thing to do! It was a HUGE change from the regular classroom. I'd also never taught 3rd grade either which was the primary group I worked with. 
But... I was driving 90 minutes each way to work every day. Over Christmas vacation, a position teaching K-1 came up in a different district close to my mother-in-law and my mom and brother too. My husband and I made the decision for me to apply for the job and to make our move permanent. The interview went well, I got the job, packed up my 2nd classroom in the 2018-19 school year and moved. Again.
Fate is a funny thing. I love my new school so much! We love living in the town we both grew up in. Again. After 23 years. It seems all the challenges led us to a change that was meant to be. You know that saying 
Well that seems to be very true in this situation. I'll be back soon to post some Small Group Reading Ideas & Strategies very soon. 
If you'd like to pick up the classroom decor set you saw in the pictures, just {CLICK HERE}.

Leave a comment below and let me know you stopped by!
Thanks for visiting!
Have a wonderful day!

2019 Alphabet Letter Exchange

I'm starting to get questions about whether I'm hosting the exchange again or not so it's time to answer some questions.

Yes, it is happening again BUT...
this has been a very different year for my husband and I. To make a very l-o-n-g story very short, we moved away from the town we'd lived in for the last 19 years and I had 3 different teaching positions at 3 different schools in 2 districts. I'll be teaching a K-1 combo next year (which I've been doing since January) and need to focus on that and figuring out how the beginning of the year works at my new school.

So... I am keeping this year's exchange VERY SMALL to make it less time-consuming and easier for me to manage. We'll have only 3 groups (78 teachers) instead of the normal 8-11 groups with 200-300 teachers. I realize this will leave a lot of you out who want to participate and I am SO VERY SORRY! It was either this or I thought about skipping this year. Next year life should be back to normal and the plan is to open the Exchange again as usual.

Tomorrow (July 5 at 9am California time) I will email everyone who participated last the link to sign up. Since there are so few spaces this year I hope you see the email and can sign up quickly. I expect it to fill up tomorrow.

That being said, unless you participated last year there will not be room in the Exchange this year. If you participated last year but don't get the email I apologize for that as well. I'll be working from my master list and may miss some of you of were added to spreadsheets, etc, etc. To anyone who does not get to participate,  I apologize but hope you will check back next year.

Alphabet Exchange 2018 is HERE!

The Alphabet Letter Exchange is back again! I'm a bit later than usual getting it started because my husband and I moved an hour and half from home at the end the of the school year to take of my mother-in-law for the summer. She broke her hip and recovery is slow. I am so excited to be finally getting this started! Registration will close at the end of July to give me time to put group lists together and that information out to you before the craziness of setting up my classroom begins. I may have to close registration early if groups are close to being full. Please follow my blog and social media to stay updated.

**Update as of September 2nd, I am establishing a waiting list for the project. If you are interested in participating, please email me at firstgradefoundme@gmail.com.  

If you've been part of this project in the past, we are doing things the same way except that I am asking teachers to be sure their letters are mailed in September and not to wait if their letter comes up later in their curriculum. I realize you may want to make it part of your letter of the week, but please make this exception and let's get our letters out in September.

If you're interested in the project, please read the info below before registering so that you know what the project is all about. A link to sign up is at the end of this post. Thanks in advance for your interest/participation!

How does the project work?
1. Your class will be assigned a letter of the alphabet.  Print 26 of your letter (cardstock works well but is not required) and decorate them with something that starts with that letter. There are examples from past year on my blog firstgradefoundme.blogspot.com if you’d like to take a look. Have fun and get creative!
2. You'll need to mail 25 of the letters to the members of your group and you'll keep one. Each teacher is responsible for their own postage charges. At the end of the project you should have a complete, unique, student-made alphabet! It is your choice whether you mail the letter in a regular letter-size envelope or larger manila envelope.
In the event that you don’t receive all of your letters, which can happen unfortunately, some teachers have their own students make any missing letters. You might also email your group and find teachers who are willing to have their classes do another letter. But let’s make this the year EVERYONE gets a complete alphabet!
3. Also, please include a short letter about your class, school, and where you live. This is optional but is really fun for the receiving class.

Please email me if you wish to be on the waiting list for this year.
Also, you can follow me on social media so you don't miss any updates. Just click on the pretty little circles in the top right column of my blog so we can stay connected!
Thank you so much for visiting my blog!

2017 Alphabet Exchange is Almost Full

As of today we are very close to having 12 groups of 26. In order to have full groups I will change the sign up form to a wait list once the 12th group is full. If another 26 teachers sign up before Friday I will create another group. My original post said sign ups would be open this week but that they may close early in order to have the right number of teachers in each group. I apologize if you don't make it in this year, but I do always end up needing a few people from the wait list.
Thanks to everyone who has signed up this year. Letters will be flying all over North America before we know it!

The 2017 Alphabet Letter Exchange is Ready!

This will be the 7th Annual Alphabet Letter Exchange, can you believe it?! Some of you reading this may have participated in all or most of them, and some of you might not know what it is yet. But keep reading and maybe you'll want to join us...

This is a collaborative project for teachers from all over the US, Canada, and Mexico and is a fun way to introduce or review letters and sounds for our students. It was inspired by this book
which is one I love to read to my first graders at the start of the year! I'm sure you do to. If you are interested in participating in the project, please read the description below. Your class will be assigned a letter to decorate and mail to the other teachers in your group. Hopefully you'll end up with a completely unique alphabet at the end of the project. If you decide to participate after reading about the project, please fill out the form at the end of this post. You can check out pictures from past years by clicking {here}.

To all of you are joining the project again, thanks for your support and for allowing this project to continue! I am grateful.

Thanks for stopping by!

Here's how the project works:

1. Your class will be assigned a letter of the alphabet and put into a group with 25 other teachers. Each teacher would have their class decorate 26 of that letter. A template like the letter below will be provided. You'll print it on regular paper or card stock and have your class decorate it. Decorate it however you like, just have fun and get creative!
Some decorating tips: Decorate letters with something that starts with the sound of that letter. You can cut out the letter or leave it on the whole page- whatever works better for your letter design.
Mailing suggestions: Some teachers mail letters printed on card stock in manila envelopes. Some teachers have letters that can be folded and mailed in letter-size envelopes. It all depends on how your class decorates the letter and what you want to pay to mail.

2. You'll need to mail 25 of the letters to the members of your group and you'll keep one. Each teacher is responsible for their own postage charges. At the end of the project you should have a complete, unique, student-made alphabet!

3. You could also include a short letter about your class, school, and where you live. This is optional.

4. During the last week of July you should receive an email that includes your group spreadsheet. This will tell you what letter you've been assigned and who else is in your group. At that time, please double-check your address information, make any changes you need to, and highlight your information so others know for sure it is correct. Then start planning how you'll decorate your letter! 

5. The project will run from about September 1st-30th to give everyone time to get back to school, decorate, and mail their letters.

I'd love to have you participate! Just a little favor, though, please sign up only if you really intend to follow through with the project. It is heartbreaking to kids and teachers alike to end up with an incomplete alphabet. If you do want to participate, just click below and fill out the form!

**I have stopped taking sign ups for this year. Please check back around the first of July when we'll start it all up again! Thanks for popping by my blog. 

I plan to stop sign-ups on July 23, as I'll need to get group lists ready before I have to start setting up my classroom. But since I need exact groups of 26, sign-ups could end early. I will post all project updates here on my blog as well as on my social media (links at the top of my blog). I hope you'll follow along!

Just a couple more little things:
I'm planning to stop sign-ups before the end of July so I can get the group lists out to everyone. Also, I'll be in touch via email to give you any updates and send out the templates so please watch your emails for that information.

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