Wednesday, April 27, 2011

Super Busy-Science Fair

I have been so super busy I have barely had time to breathe! I have officially finished grad school this week, with lots of presentations and projects, and had an interview. My school is doing a science fair, which we just found out about today. So I need some ideas! I want to make it simple, engaging, and relevant to first graders. If you have any suggestions please share! This will be my first science project with students so I need all the help I can get.

P.S. I'm super excited to have 26 followers! Thanks!

Sunday, April 24, 2011

Mother's Day

Here are a few ideas for Mother's Day!

Paint coffee filters with watercolors to make a beautiful flower. Then use a green pipe cleaner to wrap the flower and make a stem. Last attach this poem to the flower and your kids will have a special flower for their Mom.

A Mom is Like a Flower:

A Mom is like a flower
On a sunny summer day.
You'd pick her in a minute
If you could have her way.
A Mom is like the sunshine;
She warms your heart each day
And makes you feel like smiling.
It's just her special way
Of saying that she loves you
The way that mother's do
A mom is very special.
That's why you love her, too!
Mother's Day Poem

Another idea is to make a Mother's Day card. I got this idea from Lakeshore. Attach a tea packet to the inside of this card.

The last Mother's Day project is one that I found while blog stalking and cannot remember who to give credit to so if this is your idea please let me know. It is the top 10 reasons why you love your Mom and I think it is so sweet. You can make this a card for Mom's or you could have the student's draw a picture of themselves and their mother and paste this on the back.
Top 10 Reasons


Monday, April 18, 2011

Listening Center

I've join a linky party with Primary Inspired about Listening Centers.


Listening Center:

My listening center consists of books on tape and CD that goes along with our reading theme of the week. I choose the books that they listen to for the week. I only have one set of headphones so I have my students listen one at a time during literacy centers. I have groups of four students so each day one student of the group listen to the book while the others are on computers. The next day they switch so by the end of the week every student has listening to the book.

I have the students respond to their listening in our listening notebook. I have a ton of different response sheets and the students can respond to the one they want. I keep them all in the notebook so student's can look back at the books we've previously read.

This is what my listening center looks like:

The headphones hang on the wheel. I like to make the class comfortable with pillows. Hope you've enjoy a little glimpse of my listening center.

Math Monday Blog Hop #2

Math Monday Blog Hop

It's that time again, Math Monday! This Monday is all about our new topic shapes! I created a shape sort the my first graders please check it out. First we sorted all of the shapes on our Promethean Board and then they played this game during math centers. I like using real pictures to help children notice things around them are shapes. Also if you have a smartboard you can save this document as a PDF and then import it as a PDF into the program you use, mine is ActivInspire. After that it becomes a flipchart for you to use on your smartboard. Just click on Geometric Shapes below. Hope you can use it!

Geometric Shapes

Saturday, April 16, 2011

Lessons Learned Linky Party

Lessons Learned is having a  You Know You're a Teacher When... Linky Party

1. You do the "potty" dance during testing week because you haven't had a break all afternoon!

2. You are called mommy at least once a day...followed by giggles.

3. You have erasers, toy cars, crayons, paper clips, etc. in your pocket.

4. You smile when you hear your kids repeat things you've modeled. "Make good choices." "Be a problem solver." "Use your reading strategies."

5. You have a teacher voice that projects and it is hard to turn it off.

6. You LOVE books and can never have enough!

7. You pretty much have an office supplies store in your classroom.

8. When you haven't had the best morning and a child tells you they love you and holds your hand, it instantly makes your day better.

9. You have a countdown for summer vacation.

10. You love going to school (not work) every day to see what new adventure will unfold and what your bright little children will learn!

Friday, April 15, 2011

Organizing My Classroom Library

Organizing a classroom library is a MAJOR job! I feel like I have been organizing and reorganizing my library since I have started teaching. But thanks to Ladybug's Teacher Files I have found a great way to level my classroom library. I used Teacher Book Wizard: Find Children's Books by Reading Level, Topic, Genre. Level Books | to find each books guided reading level. Then I also created genre labels to add to my guided reading levels. This way my students know the genres of each book and know where to put the books back in the library. I hope you can use this in your class too!

Summer Countdown Giveaway

Hadar from Outfitted and Inspired is putting on another summer countdown giveaway! The summer countdown is such a cute decoration for any class. Go check it out at

Good Luck!

Tuesday, April 12, 2011

Terrific Tuesday

Today was a terrific Tuesday because my shoe didn't break like yesterday, it did not rain, and I got tons of FREE books! Nothing really makes me happier than free books. My librarian was giving away books and I snagged 8 awesome books including a Junie B. Jones and an A-Z Mystery. My students are eating those books up right now so it was great! The students were so excited to see some of their favorite authors like Eric Carle in the bunch and pumped to read new books. (You can get 1st graders excited about anything!)
Then to my surprise tonight during class my professor announced she was moving and giving away tons of her books. I grabbed so many great books for my kids to read and I know they will be super psyched to see their new choices for reading tomorrow! What makes your day terrific?

Monday, April 11, 2011

Double Giveaway

There is an awesome double giveaway going on right now at Kindergarten Works. She has teamed up with Mrs. Wills Kindergarten for an awesome literacy pack giveaway. Go check it have until Friday, April 15 at 7:00!

Math Monday Blog Hop

 love2learn2day is hosting a linky party "Math Monday Blog Hop" that's all about math! Even though my passion is teaching reading, I have learned to love to teach math as well.
Here a is glimpse at how I teach math in my room:

I start with calendar activities and a problem of the day. The problem of the day is always review from yesterday's lesson.

Then we start our lesson on the Promethean Board. We discuss our previous knowledge about the topic, I teach a mini lesson on the topic, and then we watch a cool video courtesy of Envision math. The video takes the children step by step through a problem and asks questions throughout to check for understanding.

After the lesson I have my students start math centers. The math centers are the following:
teacher: I review from the lesson, check their independent work, and they take a mini quiz
computers: They play Envision math games or FASTT math.
workbook: They do independent work in their workbooks that is checked by the end of centers. They may check their work with a friend or ask a friend if they need help.

games: I have a drawers full of math games but to keep them focused I pull out one drawer that is full of the current topic example: We are working on two digit subtraction so I pull out the subtraction drawer and place on the math table so they can only pick games out of that drawer.

That's all for Math Monday today please check back next week!


Sunday, April 10, 2011

Mrs. Scoma at First Grade Fundamentals is having a homework linky party and I'm joining in the fun! 

First Grade Homework: 

Homework is given every day. The students write their assignments and spelling words in their agenda. They are expected to do the homework assigned for that specific night in their homework journal.  I check homework daily and give  a stamp for neatness and completion or a "I" for incomplete. If a child receives an "I" please complete the homework and return the next day. Homework is very important and I encourage every parent or guardian to review their child's homework daily. 

Daily Homework: 

Spelling: On every Monday your child will write their spelling words in their agenda. Each night they are expected to study their words as follows:
Monday-write words 3 times each in different colors
Tuesday-write words in alphabetical (ABC) order
Wednesday-write words 1-5 in sentences (please underline words) 
Thursday-write words 6-10 in sentences
Every Friday we will have a spelling test. The test will not be graded until Monday so please check your child's O.W.L binder then. 

Reading: The more time a child spends reading the better they will get at reading! Each night students need to read for 15 minutes but they can always read longer if you wish.  Students may read any books they are engaged in. Books will be sent home weekly from students book boxes and from guided reading group. I encourage the students to read these books at least one night during the week but they may also select a book from home. Students can read with anyone they would like such as a sibling, parent, or any family member. I want this to be a time for students to read aloud but if you are reading to your child make sure you discuss the book. I send home a list of discussion questions and CAFE strategies for parents to talk about what they read with their child. I do not require you to record your reading but I expect that when the parent signs the agenda each night they are ensuring your child is doing all of their homework including reading. Reading is the key to success!

Math: Each night students have one math worksheet. This will always be over something that we have learned in class. I will not send any homework home that has not been taught. The students tear out their homework sheet each night from our interactive homework book from Envision math. The homework reviews the lesson that was taught that day. It only has six to eight questions on it so it is the perfect amount of review and not overwhelming. 
Other Homework:

Dolch word book: Once I have assess each student on their sight word knowledge, I will send home a Dolch word book. Dolch words are words that are most commonly seen during reading and often cannot be sounded out, children need to know these words by sight. This book consists of a list of words and sentences that use the words. It should take 5-10 minutes to read the list and sentences of words your child is working on. 

Reading worksheets: If I see that a student is struggling in a certain area in reading, I will send home additional homework to assist your child. I just want to ensure they are understanding the concept and the parents are getting the material they need to help. 

Projects: During the school year we have some family projects. These are meant to be a fun way to bring the family together to create or build something for the class. I  send home a paper explaining each project in detail and when it is due. Some projects we did last year were: math man, disguising Tom Turkey, speaking about your family holiday traditions, and making a habitat. 

As soon as I know how to upload documents to google docs I will upload the O.W.L binder, strategy sheet for parents, Dolch word book, and project information. If you could give me step by step instructions of how to use google docs it would be appreciated. 

Keep reading! 

My Classroom

Welcome to my classroom! I am currently in a "cottage" outside...that's what my principal calls our lovely little portables. Storage space is limited but I love the natural sunlight. These pictures are from the beginning of the year but I'll post some more recent ones soon. 

View from the front of the room to the back. 

My reading strategies board.
The word wall and writing center. The word wall is a whiteboard so I can easily switch out the words. The three green circles to the left are all content area word walls.
Our schedule board when you first walk in the classroom. 

All hands on deck! Our classroom jobs. To the left are file folders that I place word work activities in for each guided reading group. The group name is listed and it is easy for them to grab their color folder. It is easy for me to differentiate their word work this way, keep it organized and put their word work in each morning.
This is where I store all my fabulous word work activities. I love this cart from Lakeshore! It helps our class stay organized with our materials.
Our literacy center sign for rotations. Under each group name and picture I write the students names with a dry eraser marker. That way it is easy to change students around in groups. Under word work their is a focus for each day of the week: spelling, sight words, vocabulary, phonics, and games. I pick all their activities to make sure they are differentiate for each group based on what that group needs to work on.

 This is the corner of my Promethean Board..which I need to take a picture of lol, my beautiful rocking chair my boyfriend picked up for me at an auction, and my calendar. I am thinking about switching over to doing calendar on my smart board...I would love to hear feedback on using it.

My math focus board and one of my computers.
My listening center. I love using pillows to make the room more comfortable.
The next few pictures are of my class library. The books on the wooden bookshelf are all leveled readers. Starting from the top I have guided reading books, science leveled readers, and my personal collection of leveled books. The other bookshelf holds our book boxes and books organized by genre.

My genre poster from of Beth Newingham. If you notice I take a lot from here...she is so inspiring.
These books are all organized by genre.
Our reading takes us places map. We add a push pin when we have read a book from that area. This is also our computer area which has three computers. The object attached to the wall is surround sound auto for my smart board and microphone.

Hope you have enjoyed my little tour of my classroom. If you have any questions please let me know!

Linky Party 7 Favorite Things

I wanted to join this Linky Party about my 7 favorite things to introduce my blog to the blogging world!

Here are a few of my favorite things: 

1. I love bike riding around my neighbor, on nature trails, or just about anywhere. It's a fun way to exercise and enjoy the outdoors.

2. I also love to travel! I have been to Europe three times now and have travel along the east and west coast of the United States. Traveling is a great adventure and I hope to be traveling over my summer vacation.

3. I have to live around water. My favorite body of water is the ocean. I like to go boating, water ski, wakeboard, snorkel, collect shells, and bronze on the beach.

4. I am always reading at least one book. My favorite genre is historical fiction but lately I have been reading a lot of non fiction because of grad school and I'm enjoying it. I read every night before I go to sleep. 

5. I don't know if I could live without my iphone now. Technology is so great! I like playing games especially angry birds. 

6. I like baking and sweets, chocolate is my favorite.  My love of baking stemmed from my sweet tooth. Cake Boss is one of my favorite TV shows to watch. Buddy creates the most elaborate, delicious looking cakes.

7. HBO is the best entertainment. My favorite show is True Blood. I even dressed up as Sookie this year for Halloween. 

New to Blogging

Hello fellow bloggers! I am brand new to blogging! I recently got into blogging after a friend introduced me to The First Grade Parade. I became extremely addicted to checking blogs every night to see what wonderful new ideas fellow teachers had come up with. I was inspired to create my own blog but since I am currently working on my masters did not feel like I had time until now! I am graduating in on May 7th with my master degree in Reading Education. I'm super excited to the new possibilities of blogging and would appreciate any tips about blogging. 


Saturday, April 9, 2011



I have been teaching for five years, one year in Kindergarten and four in 1st grade. My undergraduate degree is in Early Childhood Education and my masters is in Reading Education. I love working with primary students and my passion is teaching reading. Eventually I want to become a literacy coach. Currently I'm teaching first grade and my blog is just a glimpse into my ramblings about teaching espcially reading and reading professional books. I have been following blogs since February 2011 and was inspired to create mine because of all the wonderful bloggers out there. I love all things Florida- beach, warm weather, water sports, and boating!I teach in a wonderful, support atmosphere and couldn't ask for better first graders. I live with my handsome, caring, and wonderful fiancé that I will marry next summer! If you have any questions feel free to e-mail me. Thanks for stopping by!