Monday, August 29, 2011

Sight Word Homework

So the bane of my existence... first grade homework! Ahh!! I have simplified it for the first and second quarter of my school year by creating this template below. I am not a promoter of "packet for the week" homework really, but I have found in my first 6 weeks of my year round calendar that this is working very well. Each child in my class has a key ring that can be purchased at Office Depot for very cheap. They have four sight words to study and do homework for each week. Every Friday I test the kids while they pick out books for their book bags (I monitor their book choices after I test). Then I give them new words each Monday morning by putting the words on their word cards (index cards with a hole punch) and giving them their packet for their take home folder. If they miss a word, I put it on their key ring again. The more times they have it on there to practice the better! Throughout the week they use this key ring for word work, when parents come in, and when they have a few free minutes. My kids ARE ROCKING their sight words. Click below to check out the weekly homework!

Thursday, August 25, 2011

Three for Thursday! Teacher Week Day 4!

Today is "Three for Thursday"! I am going to share THREE favorite font, favorite blog, and favorite online resource. Click the link below to check out other favorites and post your own!
So my favorite font hands down is Doodle Tipsy! Check it out for yourself here : Index of fonts.
Just click and download to your computer to install! Then drag it into your fonts folder. Once you open powerpoint or word, it should pop right up!

I have many, many favorite blogs, but the blog that got me started is TheFirstGradeParade! Thanks for the inspiration Cara!

Finally, my favorite online resource is ReadingAtoZ. If your school already has or can get a subscription use it! I am sure many, many of you use this, but I love it for connecting my guided reading to my content area.

Wednesday, August 24, 2011

Where it all goes down Wednesday: Teacher Week Day 3

For day three of teacher week, I will share some pictures of my classroom! If you would like to participate, just click the picture below, head on over, and link up!So my room is organized and functional in my opinion... not super fancy, but the kids learn a lot just the same :-)

This is my RTI stations chart. I put the kids' pictures next to the station they are at for the day when I hold intervention time. There were a lot of kids who needed a quick intervention today, look at that! We train the kids on the stations that we switch out each Friday. Some stay the same for a while because they are so fun! We use Debbie Diller inspired stations. Love her!

This is a view of my calendar wall/folder bins/RTI and storage! On the far left is the calendar my kids write the new number of the day on each day. Then the days of the week, vowels, money, yesterday and today, hundred chart, turn in tray, and storage bins! This is the main wall in the classroom we use to learn besides our word wall. Sadly I do not have a smartboard, but I do have a projector to hook up to my laptop!

I have almost NO storage in my teeny tiny room, so this was a life saver this year! I store all my math manipulatives I don't want the kids to get into quite yet in the six parts below, and then the top three are for RTI station games. On the very top are thing they can use for indoor recess, but it's not very neat right now since we had indoor recess yesterday... it was stormy!!

So last year my kids' desks were a MESS. This year, I decided to have table captains for my four tables that were in charge of getting folders if and when we need them. Each table is a different color corresponding with the bins. Each week the table helper rotates. They are getting SO GOOD at this job!!!! We have been in school for six weeks though since we are year round...

So the top of this may look like a hot mess, but it's actually a cool idea! These are our pizza box portfolios. We keep these throughout the year, and the papers that need to be evaluated to go in them is the hot mess at the top. We have a simple rubric to evaluate what should go inside to save. This also helps out for our academic celebration at the end of the year.

That is it! I hope you got some inspiration from my room! It's working well for me so far, and I love looking at everyone else's rooms too!!!

Tuesday, August 23, 2011

Teacher Talk Tuesday: Teacher Week Day 2!

It's teacher week Day 2! Hosted again by the wonderful teachers at Blog Hoppin'. Just click the link above to link up and post yourself!

So today is about giving some advice to all the new wonderful teachers out there! Here are my top 10 things to remember:

1. Fake it 'til you make it! When you are meeting with parents, administrators, whoever it may be, make sure you are CONFIDENT because you know exactly what you are doing!
2. Beg, borrow, and steal! Use EVERYTHING you see or hear around you. Don't be afraid to take someone's ideas, worksheets, activities, and make them your own. Teaching is all about sharing!
3. SMILE! Even if your day is crazy and 10 bad things have happened, remember to stop, have a read aloud of your favorite book, and ENJOY your kids.
4. Don't sweat the small stuff. If everything does not go exactly as planned it's ok, the kids are still learning, trust me!
5. Remember where your kids are coming from! Finding out about their home lives will give you a huge insight as to how to help them at school.
6. Love what you do. Make sure you do something each day when you are teaching that you really enjoy doing with the kids (I do a "morning jam" each day to wake up the kids' brains. Really, I just like to see them dance and relax a little in the morning :-).
7. Make time to talk to your colleagues. They will help you immensely when you are down and out!
8. Love, love, love your secretary because if there's a jam, she will help get you out of it.
9. Be kind and chatty with your custodial staff. They will walk on water for you if you are their friend! You will have puke cleaned up in no time flat...
10. GO HOME. Do not stay at school forever because there is only so much you can do in a day. Your biggest asset is your energy, so don't waste it all when the kids aren't there!

Good luck new teachers, and keep checking out my blog for FREE resources you can use!

Monday, August 22, 2011

Blog Hopping! Teacher Week 2011-2012

Some wonderful teacher bloggers are hosting "Teacher Week" starting today! Just click on their button above to link up and post about you on your blog. Today is Meet the Teacher Monday, so read on and meet me!

Tell us a little something about you...
I teach at a year round school, so I have been in session for six weeks! My little ones were so sweet at the beginning, but now the first grade comfortableness is kicking in. I have a wonderful class this year thankfully, and I am loving every minute of it. I am ready for my little break coming up in September though!

How long have you been teaching?
This is my sixth year of teaching. I started out teaching for a year in San Jose, CA. I am from Illinois though, and I came back to good old Illinois after one year teaching third grade out west. I missed my family, and it's expensive out there! When I moved back, I got a job teaching 2/3 at the school I am currently at. After 2 years of that, I moved down to first grade! Yay!

You might not know...
I am a dancer! I was on a dance team in college, and I still coach cheerleading at my school. The school I work at is kindergarten through eighth grade, so I get the best of both worlds!

What are you looking forward to this school year?
I am so excited to work with my first grade teammate for our third year of teaching. We are a great team, and we are doing wonderful things for the kids! I am also excited that we get out in May because our school is being renovated!!

What do you need to improve?
I am working on goal setting with my kids using the "Map sisters". They gave an excellent presentation at our school on the MAP test and how to use this data. Although I don't give it in first grade, all of the things the presented applied. Just good DDI Teacher if you want to look into this!

Also, I am working on differentiating math more. We have a good start with our pretests, now I am working on tubs/games/etc.

What teaching supplies can you not live without?
I am lost without my laptop!!!! Also post it notes, painting tape ( it does not get too sticky ), flair pens, plastic sleeves, a laminator, diet coke (that's a supply right?) and lots of pencils and erasers!!!!!

Click the link above, link up, and post!!!

Sunday, August 21, 2011

Spotlight on the author Mo Willems

I LOVE Mo Willems, and it is a great way to start the year with funny, short, fun books that the kids can read. My kids love these for their book bags after I read them each day for the first month of school. Read aloud is essential to reading comprehension and interest, so I make sure I do this each and every day! The project below goes with the book "The Pigeon Finds a Hot Dog".

The first picture gives step by step instructions and pictures for making pigeon and duck puppets! Just click and enjoy!

The next link is a follow up sheet I used for the first graders to write their own dialogue for the pigeon and the duck. They chose what they wanted the pigeon to find in their story, drew a picture, and then wrote their story! At the end of the lesson, they shared their stories they wrote like a play! Effective for creating dialogue and stories, and SO much FUN!

Tuesday, August 16, 2011

Assessment Linky Party!

Hey everyone! Hop on over to: A Crucial Week in the Life of an NQT to share your Assessment tricks and tips! Just click the button below and post your link on the blog.

Here is the assessment I am sharing:
Every Friday my first graders reflect on what they have learned and worked on throughout the week in Reader's Workshop. It is a great writing assessment as well as a way for them to share what they have worked on and retained throughout the week. You can edit this in google docs to change it as the year goes on as well! Eventually I take away the "I learned" since they can write it on their own.

Me and My Gang

Hey everyone! I added a button for this blog on my page, but check it out by clicking on the button in this post! Me and My Gang is a collection of bloggers posting and sharing resources for different grade levels. So awesome, and thanks ladies at Me and My Gang for making me a part of your blog!

Sunday, August 14, 2011

✿Daily Five Parent Letter

For those of you that use "The Daily Five" as your reading block time, here is a parent letter explaining what the program is all about! We include it in our back to school information the first week of school.

Monday, August 1, 2011

❀Back to School Freebies! Under the Sea!

This year we started our year with a fun "Under the Sea" unit to hook our kids for the first couple of weeks. Below are links for a bulletin board idea, a getting to know you game, a phonics game, and a math game that I used the first couple of weeks. The kids loved playing the games, and it was a great kindergarten review! Just click on each picture for the free game download!!!

To create this cute bulletin board, I put this "Officially Firsties" poster in the middle, and then printed the children's names on labels. I put the labels on the fish patterns you will find in this picture link, and then each child had a fish with their name on it on the bulletin board! Great welcome back!

I have posted this game before, but it goes with the "Under the Sea" fun!

This game is a great phonics review! The kids work in pairs to fish for letters that have the same sounds! The directions are in the link.

This game is a great math review! You can play as a whole group lesson first, and then have the students work in pairs to put the numbers in order from 1-30. Great follow up activity included too!