Tuesday, August 28, 2012

A Little help from my friends?

Okay, y'all...I adore my first graders.
Seriously, they are a great group of imaginative, adorable, friendly kiddos.
The problem is, we are a little too in, we just can't shut up grasp the concept of when to be quiet and when it's okay to visit with our table mates.

I feel really comfortable with my Daily 5 procedures.
Man, those sisters are a coupla geniuses!
Here are my precious darlings doing read to self.
Sorry for the "starry" faces..gotta keep my sweeties safe, you know!

They are doing SUCH a great job staying on task and working quietly...during D5, anyway.

But the rest of the day...oh my!
We are very chatty:) to say the least.
I feel like I say "Give me Five!", "If you can hear my voice, snap two times", and echo clap at least 10 times a day...each!
I've even resulted to turning the lights off and having them put their heads down 2 times today...and I REALLY hate to do that:(

So, I have some questions, and I hope a few of you will chime in and give me a little friendly advice:
Are your kiddos chatty...a lot...throughout the e n t i r e school day?
What do you consider developmentally appropriate for first graders, in regards to the amount of time spent working quietly (aka, sans talking)?
What are your management go-tos for getting and KEEPING those little mouths quiet?

This is only my second year of teaching, and I never felt great about my classroom volume last year, so I would LOVE anything you have to offer!
Thanks, friends:)

Tuesday, August 21, 2012

Day 1...DONE!

Oh, boy, y'all, my dogs are barkin':)

I forget how helpless these little beginning-of-the-year Firsties actually are!
I mean, the little things you take for granted.
I told them once (and expected them to remember for their lifetimes) that I DO NOT like to be tapped, but please raise a hand if you have a question.
I think by the time the 5th kid tapped me, I turned around like I was going to bite his head off because he shrank back a little. Was my face that bad??

Of the 4 anchor charts I had planned for the day today, we got though (almost) one of them!

I used Abby's Jitter Juice idea and that was hugely successful!
They enjoyed it, even though they kept telling me it was really Hawaiian way! I got this at the Jitter Juice store:)

I did have a little one get sick we were walking down the hall! That was a first! Poor baby:(
I think it was mostly nerves, but who knows. If I'm down for a few days in a week or so, we'll know!

Day 2 plans: 3 more anchor charts (obviously), Chrysanthemum & using kind words, review Daily 5 procedures taught today (ways to read a book, stamina, quiet spots), begin Color Days:RED Day! (see Made for First Grade)...practice, practice, practice!

Do any of you ever find that you need to explicitly teach game-playing at this age? Do parents not have time for board games anymore?? (I know I don't...)

In addition to the plans above, we are going to go over the rules/procedures of some board games that I have for indoor recess. Last year, I found I spent the students' entire recess just telling them how to play the game, then they couldn't remember the rules the next time we had indoor recess so they opted not to play it, but a different group of kiddos decided to play it and I would spend their entire recess telling them how to play it...and on, and on.

Maybe if I teach explicit game directions whole group I won't have to waste so many recesses this year:)
We'll see...
Plus, it's a great way to get them working in cooperative groups! Yeah, that's the reason I'm doing this...

Last thing, I am attempting Kristin's Gold Tags idea.
So far, so good!
Ask me again in December:)

In the mean time, does anyone want to massage my feet? I got paid yesterday, and I'd be willing to part with a good chunk of change for a fabulous foot-sage:)
Any takers???

Sunday, August 19, 2012

I have my work CUT out for me:)

Actually, I wish I did!
I wish there was some magical Scissor Fairy that would come and cut all this laminated material that I just thought I needed this week!
Here's what I'll be doing all day:

Good thing we go to church on Saturday nights, because I never would have made it today!!

I don't have a Freebie for you, but I'm going to direct you to a great one I found by total accident.
Have you ever looked at the traffic sources for visitors to your blog? I never paid much attention, but then I was playing around with all the settings and found there is a way to view where many visitors to your blog are coming from! One of the sites was Mrs. Heeren's Happenings. Super cute blog!

Jessica Heeren teaches 2nd Grade, but I have found that many of her uh-mazing ideas will transfer well to first----especially her Cookie Compliments!

Many of you have seen the "Brownie Points" whole group reward a time or two.
I don't know what it is, but I cannot embrace this "cute" idea, when all I think about is the origin of this phrase. Brownie Points? I envision seven-year-olds with brown noses...and the brown comes from, well you know....
So, as cute as some have made this phrase work in their classroom, I just can't do it.
It appears that Jessica also uses this reward method...but in her freebie mini-pack she also includes "Cookie Compliments"!
I {heart} this idea! I mean, who doesn't love chocolate chip cookies:)
Our school has a wellness policy, so chocolate chip cookies aren't really encouraged as a snack or treat...but cookies made out of card stock and laminated? I think they're going to have a tough time arguing with that!
If you want to find out more about this whole group reward, click on the pic of her packet cover, and it will take you straight to her blog where she offers it for FREE!

I plan on keeping the reward cards in a large manila envelope and putting the "cookies" in an empty Toll House cookie dough tub:) I can't wait to see how my Firsties react to this!
I hope a few of you like this idea as much as I do, and check out Jessica's blog, if you're not already familiar with her.
2 more days, and I have a room full of kiddos....yikes! I better get to cuttin' :)
Happy Sunday, friends!

Saturday, August 18, 2012

This is harder than it looks...

What happened?

It was so easy to blog during the carefree, aka non-scheduled, days of summer!

I reported back to school on Monday, and suddenly I can't keep up!
I have such new found respect (not that I didn't have a great deal already) for you seasoned bloggers!
This is definitely a balancing act....but, then again, that's my life:) So I hope I get the hang of it soon!

I am so excited about the new school year! The Common Core, our building's theme, my K-1 Crew and our new discipline new group of {adorable} firsties!!! What's not to be excited about?!

Our district boasts an Apple Distinguished School for a few years running, and I love that we focus so much on technology and teaching 21st Century Skills....
...especially when that means each teacher in the district gets their own iPad! Woot, woot!
We also have 2 extra carts of iPads in our building this year, so K-1 gets their own cart for student-use! Hooray!!

It's coming down to the final moments, y'all!
Last work day on Monday, then a Back to School Ice Cream Social that evening...and school is in session Tuesday morning!
I am almost overwhelmed with butterflies!! Mostly excitement, but definitely some nerves:)

Also, my baby starts school....whaaaat? He can't possibly be a Kindergartner already!
I'm so glad I will be teaching and focusing on my students, and not have time to worry about the fact that my baby is so big :,) When my oldest started Kindergarten, I spent the whole morning in time for that now!

I know many of you have already started your year...but I am sad to say I have had very little time to blog-stalk. I hope you are having a stellar year, thus far, and if you haven't yet started with kiddos (like me), best wishes for a wonderful beginning! Here's to us:)

Monday, August 13, 2012

"Oh, back to school, back to school..." anyone else singin' Billy Madison's little ditty before he gets on the bus to start his B2S adventure? Just me??
Love me some Adam Sandler-silliness:)

Well, it's official for me and the other teachers in my district...
We are all back-to-school-bound! On the clock officially, as of today!!
Today is just FULL of meetings.
 I personally can't wait to get "geared up" for the new school year:)
I'm VERY excited about my new group of Firsties!!!
8 boys, and 11 girls:) a good little mix of a group with some absolutely wonderful parents!

Just quickly wanted to share my TpT purchases from yesterday's shopping frenzy:

Click on the pic of the item to be taken to that seller's TpT store
and click on their name  to visit their blog!

Our building is doing a "HEROES" theme this year. I originally had Kelley's "Welcome Watermelon" pack in my cart, but when I saw she had a heroes pack, I switched it up...and her watermelon pack is in my wish list, instead...for now:) Allison's Heroes Birthday posters will be SUPER in my room! (HA!)

Kelly Dolling @ The Teacher Idea Factory

Allison @ Climbing the Monkey Bars

I desperately want to add more "fun" to my math block, and I think these packets will do just that. Anything from Donna is amazing...I own many of her fab units! And I think this apple math will be very versatile -read: don't just think Johnny Appleseed & September:) I'm also very excited about the kinesthetic activities in Melissa's Jump Around pack, and L-O-V-E Jennifer's GeoBoard it! The Gumdrop activity from Robynn will be great with my Gingerbread Unit:)
Donna @ Math Coach's Corner

Robynn @ Busy Bees

Melissa @ F is for First Grade

Jennifer @ First Grade Blue Skies

Since writing is such a strong component of Common Core, I think Lyndsey's packet is just what I need:)
Lyndsey @ a year of many firsts
And no shopping trip is complete (in my opinion) without a little sumthin' from the uber-talented Mrs. Carroll. This has been in my wish list FAR too really wanted to be on my Mac instead:) I'll be using several things in this unit throughout the year, so I rationalized getting it now!
Cara @ The First Grade Parade
Good news? I saved a whopping total of $10.99!!!
That's like gettin' a couple of these babies FOR FREEEEE -more Adam Sandler- :)
Bad news? I still spent more money, right after I bought a home...and paid for my kids' enrollment...and bought school supplies...and (the list goes on...)
Good thing I get a little check from PTO (I hope we still do that....) today! And I get paid next week:) That was one of the best TpT trips I've ever had, though! Whew:)

So, how'd you do? And when do start back???
Y'all have been awful quiet lately:) I hope to hear from SOMEONE today!

Saturday, August 11, 2012

B2S sale...yeah, baby!

Just a quickie today:D

Hope you're all gearing up for the big HUGE  GINORMOUS TpT sale tomorrow & Monday!
I know my cart is full and ready to be checked out:)

In case you need a little extra cash (who doesn't) Tonya at Tonya's Treats for Teachers is having a flash giveaway for a $25 TPT GIFT CARD (wahoo!) that ends in about 10 hours!

Head on over and enter! I just did:)

Look around her blog while you're there...she DOES have some pretty sweet ideas!
Just looking' at her blog will give you a sugar rush:)

Have a super-dooper Saturday, all!

Friday, August 10, 2012

Project Friday? & a B2S freebie

Well, I did NOT go to my classroom yesterday...other than to pick up a few things that needed to be laminated. Needless to say, I did NOT tackle the monster that was "Project Thursday" (cleaning up & putting away those last few things covering my guided reading table and students' desks). Darn procrastination...

However, I DID make an eventful trip to my local teacher supply store to pick up some last minute things! (Shopping is sooo much more fun than cleaning, right peeps?)

I now have everything ready for my new firsties...I hope:)
Clip chart (we shall see how that goes....)
"Dinosaur" classroom volume reference poster (maybe I'll blog about this idea soon...if it works...and my principal likes it)
fun math reference posters
 sticky pockets for the Teeny Tiny Teacher's Gold Tags (LOVE this idea!)
 desk nameplate covers
and Welcome postcards.
Yep, I think that about covers it!

By the way, how much do y'all love Creative Teaching Press?? I recently ordered some things of theirs that I could not find at the supply store, and a certain carrier lost my package. They (the carrier) were most unhelpful in recovering said package, claiming that it had been delivered (liars!) and there was nothing they could do...but CTP (especially Cheryl through Customer Service, thank you so much!) offered to reship the entire order! I'm telling you...THAT is customer service!
I will most definitely be ordering through their website again, and I think you all should as well! Just sayin' :)

I also spent the better half of my afternoon printing & laminating maaannnny units I had purchased awhile back (but never printed), and that got me inspired to make this:

click on the pic above to go to Google Docs for your copy!

Just a little activity for alphabet and number (0-9) practice/review to go along with a favorite, "Chicka Chicka Boom Boom".
Many of you may think this is strictly a Kindergarten story, but I found last year that my firsties loved hearing it again, and this little activity would be a great way to link an informal assessment of what your kids remember from Kindergarten to a literature classic!

I forget just how little those brand-new first-graders are...and I'm not just talkin' 'bout their size!
They come to us with only the knowledge of their first formal year of school! It's gonna be awhile before they are writing paragraphs and reading chapter books independently (for most of them).
So, I thought this might be a fun activity they can do alone, or with a partner, while I observe or assess other students.
If you think this might be something you can use, please feel free to download and do so!

And, I have a favor to ask those of you who make freebies and the like for your TpT do you make a hyperlink active for a PDF document? I have tried and can't figure it out:(
If you can help me, just shoot me an email! Thanks!

Okay, enough procrastination... I must finish my room.
Wish me luck:)
Are your rooms student-ready?? Let me know below!!

Wednesday, August 8, 2012

Winner & classroom updates

Congrats to Lori, the winner of the Thirty-One Giveaway!
I hope your as excited about this tote as I am!
Thank you SOOO much to everyone who entered, and spread the word! My followers doubled from this giveaway! Y'all are the best:)

And, I was too late (I think) to link up with Brigid for classroom tours, but I'm going to post some updated pics anyway! Some are similar to what you've already seen; sorry!

See the blank white board behind the tables?? My wonderful principal surprised me with new magnetic white boards!!!
 I had asked her at the end of the year, but didn't think it was possible til next year.
 They used to be AWFUL wanna-be bulletin boards...but nothing ever stuck to them!
I was constantly re-stapling things to make them stay!
Beautiful white boards...L-O-V-E!
As soon as you walk into my room, you see these two tables to your right. Since there is a LOT of emphasis on writing and publishing with Common Core (even in First Grade!!), this is going to be a "Publisher's" area. Students can use the two laptops on the rectangle table for listening to reading, or playing educational games during a choosing time as well as typing written pieces, with the help of an adult (yay for parent helpers!!).
Students will (hopefully...) use the computer at the round table to check out books from our library using this awesome website:
Oh, I hope it works as planned! Wait, I have nothing to worry about, right?
Everything ALWAYS works as planned in education:)

They will also use this round table to publish their writing (with the help of an adult...yay for parent volunteers!)

 My pride and joy:) I have been collecting children's literature for over a decade and I am very proud of the books in my classroom library. I could always use more, though...I am very lacking in nonfiction!
The bottom two shelves of both sections will be closed off with butcher paper and a sign that they will be "opening soon"! Last year, we had such a hard time putting books back in the appropriate basket...I want to give them a test of being responsible with only a few books before I let them loose with the whole collection! We will also gather here (obviously) for calendar.
 The back of my library is my "Web-slingin' Word Wall". Our theme is "HEROES". Can you tell which superheroes will be helping us with our sight words?? Here's a close-up of one of the letter headings:

 Work on Writing and Word Work area.
That large garment rack pocket chart stand needs to be cut down before kiddos get  here!! Aargh, so much STILL to do!
 Science, Social Studies, and Math areas.
We adopted a new Social Studies curriculum this year...I am so excited!
The science posters are from Deanna Jump's TpT store. It's her featured free download.
I don't remember where I found the wonderful shapes around my math shelf, but if you know...tell me so I can credit them!
 I also do not remember where I got the clock labels, but I love how it looks like a flower!
However, I downloaded Ginger's neon ones...I am VERY tempted to print them off and redo!
Her entire neon classroom set is totally AWEsome!

 My teacher's aide's desk, very neat and organized...for now:) Until I get a hold of it...Sorry, Kristy!

 CAFE signs (also from Ginger) and Daily Schedule Cards (from Cara).
Wow, my room is completely full of bloggers!
The white carpet will be our gathering place for D5.

And just in case you think I'm all that and ready a week before students enter my room....

Project Thursday. 
Clear off Guided Reading table...and those poor students' desks cluttered with things that need a home.
Oh, and those white boxes on the closet shelves in the background? MUST file all those papers for the entire year!
Yep, summer's officially over, people.
But most of you knew that already!

Again, Congrats Lori...and thank you to everyone for making my very first giveaway so special and successful:) Have a terrific night!

Sunday, August 5, 2012

Giveaway Reminders...

I MUST work in my classroom/finish unpacking my house today!
I have no time to
BUT, I wanted to be sure to remind all of you about my Giveaway for a Thirty-One bag that ends this Wednesday,8/8.
I know you all are just dying to have the same rockin' bag I will have this year:) is it I have been around blog-land for nearly a year now (as a stalker, until last month) and have never crossed paths with Amanda from Teaching Maddeness?!?
I'm sure you all follow her...I obviously live under a rock!
 (You knew that, though, seeing as I am STILL not a FB girl...what can I say? I'm a rebel!)

Anywhoo...if you happen to live under a rock near mine and have also not "met" Amanda, go meet her.
And enter her giveaway for a HEARALL ASSESSMENT RECORDER while you're there!

Ohhh, how I want one of those babies!
Wait...maybe I shouldn't be encouraging a bunch of others to enter to win my prize:)
No, seriously, go check it out!
Her giveaway ends why are you still reading this blog post? Go!
Explore her blog while you're there...she has sooo many cute ideas:)

Okay, friends! My goal is to link up with Brigid on Monday with finished pictures of my classroom!
(I'll only be fashionably late to your linky come Monday, right Brigid?)
Wish me luck! and have a fab Sunday:)

Saturday, August 4, 2012

31-DERFUL Followers (+ a few extra!) Giveaway!!!

I am a bag lady.
I MUST have a new bag to start each school year out right!
Call me superstitious, call me crazy (my sons do everyday)...I am not offended.
I guess it's the kid in me to need a new "backpack" before I can officially start school:)

I bought myself a bag that has been all over bloggy-land.
A pretty little utility tote; a Thirty-one bag!
Isn't she lovely?
And...I bought an extra to give to one of you lucky people!
You'll get the same design as me; we'll be twinsies!
I hope you won't mind:)
This is the "Black Parisian Pop Organizing Utility Tote" from Thirty-one.

I had planned to do this when I reached "31" followers, but then I linked up with Farley for the Currently...and wouldn't you know it? My followers increased past 31:)

I can't promise you'll have it BEFORE your year starts (oh, I hope I do!!), but some of you lucky ducks out there don't start til after Labor your chances of having this in your hot little hands before kids walk through your door are a little better!

Simply enter the Rafflecopter below.
Follow my blog, answer a question, and blog about this giveaway to earn the maximum entries.
 Easy Peasy:)
a Rafflecopter giveaway

Which reminds me...Jaime from Bright Concepts 4 Teachers is having a 100 follower giveaway that ends TONIGHT so go now and enter!

Tell her I sent you:)
(It won't get you any extra points, but I'll appreciate it!)

My giveaway ends at midnight on Wednesday, 8/8, so hurry!
And good luck:)
Thanks for all your support, encouragement, and inspiration!
Bloggers (and blog-stalkers alike!) are the best kind of people, don't ya think?

Friday, August 3, 2012 messy, lovely home:)

I am linking up with Farley at Oh Boy, Fourth Grade for the very first time! 
I have always enjoyed reading these from bloggers...and now, for SR&AM's Currently debut:

Also, I want to post some photos of my adorable new home!
My sweet little kitchen!
 (laundry around and to the do NOT want to see that right now!)
My oldest son's room...we are Jayhawk people! Go KU!!
(the blue & brown dots will be gone soon...sorry, former owner!)
My youngest son's room:) Adorbs!
Our living room, + a few boxes that won't unpack themselves!! Go figure...
My office.
They used it as dining room...I need a place to print & laminate, Amen?
Broken down boxes on the left, Pile of things to donate/give away on the right.
So, that's it!
My bedroom is positively filled with boxes...or else I would show it to you.
I will work on that tomorrow when the boys are with their daddy, and I don't have to break up a video-game-induced fight every 30 minutes!

Oh, it's comin' girls (and guys??)! The new school year is right-around-the-corner!! Are you ready?!
Go link up with Farley, and let us know:)
Next time, school-related stuff...for real!
Love you all!