Sunday, February 17, 2013

100 Follower Freebie!

My TpT store reached 100 followers, hooray!!  I know this is a tiny, tiny fraction of what some of you amazing teachers have accomplished, but it is exciting news to me!  I'm happy to share a freebie to celebrate!
Our math curriculum includes a daily Math Meeting.  We go through the 10 or so pages of math review on our SmartBoard.  I love that it gives us constant practice with important math skills, but it's inevitable that by mid-year, the meeting becomes a little too routine for the kids, and they start to get super wiggly on the carpet.  I've seen fellow teachers create worksheets for their students to follow along and complete during the meeting, but it seems to me that, if done everyday, that too would eventually become unmotivating (and make for lots of grading papers on my part...)
So, my solution: Just one table of kids are Math Meeting Reporters each day.  That group of 4-5 students grab a clipboard and a chair and sit behind those on the carpet to complete their "reports" as we do each part of Math Meeting.  This works great for me for several reasons...
*Each kids only reports once or so per week, so it doesn't become a boring task.  They are always excited when they find out it's their turn!
*It's a quick, informal assessment, and better yet, I only have a handful of papers to grade after meeting, instead of 22!
*There are less kids sitting on the carpet, so they are less wiggly!
My pages are aligned to the first grade Common Core Standards in math, and I add pages of more difficult math skills as the year progresses.  Click the picture below to download my reporter pages for free!  I hope your kiddos love them as much as mine do!
P.S.  If you would like small edits made to these pages to fit your specific needs, I'd be happy to do that! Just leave me a comment! :)

Sunday, February 10, 2013

100th Day Celebration!

Wednesday was our 100th day of school, and our celebration went so well!!  Of course, we’ve been counting toward this since day one, so the kids were beyond pumped!  I always love these themed celebration days as well.  Although they're crazy exhausting, it's nice to have a break from the daily routine and curriculum., and it's so fun to see the kids make these special memories.  Days like this are one reason I'm so happy to be teaching first!  

We spent the morning with all three first grade classes combined for activities.  We sang out 100th day song:

This song (and a few other 100th day poems) come from my winter poetry set.

We counted to 100 by 1s, 5s, and 10s.  We read a few of our favorite 100th day stories.  We did 100 seconds of exercises such as jumping jacks, toe touches, and karate kicks (great for getting rid of some of that excited energy!).  And - the teachers' favorite part of the day - we were all quiet for 100 seconds.  It's amazing how much the kids enjoyed that; they asked to do it again!  And we of course agreed, lol.  We also did a few fun writing prompts, including "If I had $100...." I'm looking forward to putting those pages together into a class book.  It's hilarious to read what they hope to buy with $100!

 Here are a few photos of our special day...
Our breakfast treat!
Estimation Activity - the kids looked at the different objects (cotton balls, blocks, bottle caps, etc) in each bag and estimated which bag had 100 items.  Five or six kids guessed correctly!
Their craft - 100 year old portraits and bucket lists - turned out super cute!

One special activity we always do is let off 100th day balloons.  Each class gets one balloon with an attached tag which says that our class is celebrating 100 days, gives our school address, and asks whoever finds the balloon to write us a short note!  Although it doesn't always happen, there have been years we have received mail!  The kids just love this!
Seeing our balloons off!

Sunday, January 27, 2013

Our Daily 5 updates.

Wow, I’m terrible at keeping up with this blog.  Sorry friends.  It seems that writing posts has fallen to the bottom of my priority list, but I tell myself that that’s okay.  After all, actually teaching my kiddies is what I should put first, right?  

Anyway, we’ve had bunches going on lately.  Like most of you, we will be celebrating the 100th day of school soon (February 6th), and Valentine’s Day not long after.  One year, thanks to snow days, those two events fell on the same day.  OHMY was that an exhausting one.  I think we’re safe from that this year!  I'm excited to share our celebration pictures soon!

What I’d really like to share is a Daily 5 update.  This is the first year I’ve done the Daily 5 in my classroom, and I can’t imagine life without it.  It really is so much more relaxed than my past experience with centers, AND the kids are doing much more authentic reading and writing!  We look forward to our three rounds each day.

We’ve recently added two super fun things into our Daily 5 time.  First, I have started allowing 2 kids to work at the Smart Board on ABC Ya.  This is one of my favorite websites for educational games and activities.  During Daily 5, it qualifies as word work, and it's definitely a favorite right now!  (Below, A and A are using magnet letters.)  I was worried that having this going on would distract others in the classroom, but so far it hasn’t been a problem.

 Another new Daily 5 addition is our WhisperPhones!  Our principal purchased these for all classes after a recent literacy workshop we attended.  They’re fantastic!  The kids totally get into them during Read to Self.  (If you don’t have the funds to purchase the fancy kind, homemade whisper phones can be made from PVC pipe for cheap!)

Finally, here’s our biggest update:  Last week, the kids had their very first day of total choice!  They were absolutely pumped!  I made a very big deal of this occasion, telling them how responsible students must be to have total choice.  A small part of me was nervous about giving up control (until now, we've all done the same Daily at the same time), but I'm pretty happy with how it is going.  My rule is that they must Read to Self at least one round each day, but otherwise, they are free to choose between Read to Someone, Work on Writing, Word Work, and Listen to Reading.

We use both of these amazing checklists (mine on top, theirs on bottom) to organize our rounds:

(I downloaded both of these freebies from TpT at the beginning of the year but was unable to find their links now!  It one is your product, please help me credit it)!

They love it. I love it. Hooray for Daily 5!!

Monday, January 14, 2013

A math freebie. (And a suprise in my teacher mailbox!)

Hi friends!  I have a math freebie to share with you.  My students have shown a need for some extra practice with the 120 chart, so I put together a packet of a few games and a few worksheets.  

These activities –especially the puzzle worksheets- are helping them understand the patterns on the chart.  And, if you have little ones who are struggling with place value (the CCCS of recognizing that the digits in a 2-digit number represent tens and ones), the place value game in this pack should really do the trick!  

I would've liked to take pictures of us using these materials, but that day happened to be a planned observation with my principal, so I focused on being teacher instead of photographer. :) I hope you find them useful!  Click on the picture below to download the packet for FREE from my TpT store.

Also, I have to share the special mail that our class received today – our very own letter and photograph from Mr. President!  Back in November, we wrote letters to President Obama congratulating him on being reelected and asking him some questions.  I sent them out with help from Teacher to the Core, and then forgot all about it.  Well, I nearly jumped up and down when I saw the big manila envelope in my mailbox today!  (I won't share the pic because it has our school's full address displayed.)  And my students were, of course, amazed!  They begged me to copy it for each of them to take home!

Have a super week everyone!

Saturday, January 5, 2013

(Belated) Holiday Cheer!

Okay so the post below is bit old.  I wrote it over a week ago and then ran into some glitches with uploading photos! :(  It was too special not to share though, so I hope you enjoy my belated holiday cheer! 


It’s the day after Christmas, and I’m not only totally snowed in, but also totally sick.  The husband and I both came down with strep throat a few weeks ago, and we just haven’t been able to kick all the germs.  I’m thankful for the time to lay on the couch, but anxious when I think about the Christmas mess that needs cleaning and all those to-do items I save for school breaks.  

Anyway, let’s back up to Christmas.  I ADORE this time of year.  I am one of those people who gets simply giddy over Christmas.  I’m like a child.  I love everything about it – the get-togethers with family and friends, the decorations, the music, the sweets (hehe), the gift-giving (and yes, okay, the gift-getting).  And most of all, I love the holiday spirit that surrounds us.   

My school is very traditional in that we celebrate Christmas completely, from Santa and gifts to the Christmas story. I teach about other holidays around the world, but our focus is on Christmas, and I love that. (Disclaimer - I do not have any students who celebrate other holidays in my class. If I did, our focus would change a bit.) So, here are some pictures of my December, at school and at home. Merry Christmas all!

Our little classroom Christmas tree!  The kids are each allowed to bring an ornament from home to add to the tree.  They were in awe of it all month long!
The kids' elves turned out SO cute!
Another hallway display.  I just love this template for a letter to Santa! (Found this on Pinterest, taken from the lovely blog Home by Heidi.)

Our Holiday party.  We had SO many parents attend! It turned out super!
1st graders performing at Breakfast with Santa!
My niece Aliyah and I!  She came to Breakfast with Santa at school.  Isn't she just precious?!

Some of our 1st and 2nd graders, getting ready to perform their Holiday Concert!  Their fancy little clothes were the BEST. :)
The hubby and I on Christmas Eve.  We have a tradition of buying each other a new set of PJs, the dorkiest ones we can find!  I'm modeling Eeyore, and him Super Mario.
Christmas morning at the Livengoods'!
Christmas card pic! Zoey did so well! Thanks to my bff Karen for being the photographer. :)  Happy Holidays!

Monday, December 10, 2012

A sick (yet productive!) day

Well, I thought I was actually going to make it to Winter Break without using a sick day this year.  Would’ve been the first time in my three years of teaching full-time.  So much for that – the hubby and I are both home today with strep throat and bronchitis!  BLAH.  We went to Wal-Mart to pick up our prescriptions and bought these things…. cough drops, ibuprofen, chicken noodle soup, oatmeal, ice cream, 7 Up, and tea.  I think it's safe to say we’re now prepared., lol.  Despite all the icky, germy miserableness, I found three positive things about today….

1.  I got to eat ice cream (twice) without feeling guilty.
         2.  We were able to watch the daytime episodes of Saved by the Bell and Boy Meets World. YES!
.        3.  Being stuck on the couch all day, I got caught up on some TpT things!

So, I finally finished my second set of Write around the Room Activities.  You can now have a set for nearly every season and holiday.   My kids just LOVE this activity, no matter what their writing ability!  I hang the posters in hiding places around the room, and the kids grab their clipboards, search for the posters, and record the seasonal words.  And, I’ve discovered that they also totally dig the game 4 Corners, and these posters can be reused to make that game seasonal!

Click the pictures below to purchase Set 1 (back-to-school, fall, Halloween, Thanksgiving, and Christmas) or Set 2 (winter, Valentine’s Day, President’s Day, spring and summer).  Each set is 32 pages of posters and recording sheet.  I hope you find them useful!

Tomorrow is another at-home day (doctor’s orders!), but Wednesday I’ll be back at it with my firsties (and scrambling to catch up, of course).  Have a great week!!