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!