Wednesday, August 31, 2011

What I'm Loving Wednesday

1. I am LOVING the fact that my kids are into writing workshop! My students wrote for 6 minutes today on their own. One student even said she wrote two stories. :) We are going to making heart maps for the front of our journals tomorrow!

2. I am LOVING that my students are really getting into our routine and know what to expect each day. They know to write down their homework, get out their binders, and pick new books if they finish. It is becoming so much easier everyday!

3. I am LOVING J. Meacham's Writier's Workshop Mini Lessons! My team was just talking about how we needed something to guide us more in writing and then I came across this! I love the literature she uses too!

4. I am LOVING that our principal let us leave with the kids today on a early day! Early day is every Wednesday and students get out an hour earlier. Most of the time we have faculty meetings or professional development but today we got to go! Our principal will say on the morning announcements that she is seeing stars- which means we can leave early. Not that I actually left on time...but I still got home at 3:30 which is a record early for this school year!

5. I am LOVING Blake Shelton's song God Gave Me You. It reminds me of all the really important people in my life that help me get through my ups and downs. It makes me smile to realize I have so many wonderful people that I love and are here for me!

6. I am LOVING Pinterest! I got these two ideas from there and I think they came out really cute!
This is a little different than other people's bulletin boards but it is the same idea! 
This is a magnet for parents to put their child's work up on the fridge. The sign the children are holding up I got from Pinterest it says "I am a first grader!" The poem says: I made this special magnet on the very first day so that my first grade work will always be on display! 

Hope your having a great week and happy Wednesday!

Tuesday, August 30, 2011

Our class is reading...freebie!

One way our school promotes literacy is by posting this sign (Our class is reading..) outside all of our classroom doors. That way when you walk around the school you can see what books each class is reading. It's nice for our principal to know so she can talk to the kids and for the parents too. I put up our chapter book read aloud so I don't have to change it all the time because we read so many pictures books and good fit books we couldn't possible fit them all on there! Right now my class is reading The Magic Treehouse book Dinosaurs before Dark. They are loving it! Click below to get your own sign for your class! 

Doodle border compliments of Hello Literacy and Pinterest.

Our class is reading sign

Hope you enjoy! 

Monday, August 29, 2011

Work on Writing

I am falling more in love with my class each day. Every time I ask them to do something new they rise to the occasion and exceeds my expectations. They are just so great...I hope this honeymoon period does NOT end! This week we started Work on Writing and they jumped right into it. I explained that was just like Read to Self time expect for writing.

Day 1: I introduced Work on Writing and we made our anchor chart. We talked about what it looked like, sounded like, and how we would try to build stamina. I taught them to underline words they weren't sure they spelling correctly and to phonemically spell their words out. I modeled for them so they understood. I have them a topic so they wouldn't spend time thinking about it when I wanted them writing. The topic was "What I did this weekend". The student's took off with their writing and wrote for 3 minutes. I stopped them even though they were still writing because some people started to whisper to each other and I wanted them to know no talking was aloud during Work on Writing. My students were excited exclaiming " I wrote 3 sentences!" and "Wait, I need to put a period or I'm not finished!" Those words are like music to my ears. I had my student sit at their desks for the first day so they can just get used to writing. I'm just impressed that they are listening to my directions and trying their best. :)

BTW I love blogging because it is a wonderful reflection on my day's events. I hope you enjoying reading as much as I do writing.

Sunday, August 28, 2011

Launching Daily 5 and CAFE

Daily 5 and CAFE

This was my first week back at school and I started the launch of Daily 5 and CAFE. I have previously launch both but never at the same time. I have done Daily 5 for two years and CAFE for one.  Here is what my week look liked.

Day 1: I started by introducing I choosing good fit books. I let my students then pick books for their book boxes. I then read aloud to them and introduced Check for Understanding. We took a brain break and played a boggie game and then started back up. I introduced Read to Self and we practiced independently reading for 2 minutes. We then graphed our progress, kissed our brains, and set off for other exciting activities. 

Day 2: I reviewed what we had learned from yesterday and introduced 3 ways to read a book. The students caught on fast and were ready to get into their book boxes. My students read to 4 minutes! We celebrated by graphing our stamina and gave ourselves a pat on the back!

Day 3: We reviewed everything and I was thinking my students might be a little overwhelmed with information. Perhaps launching Daily 5 and CAFE was a little too much for them. My students only increased their stamina by 1 minute and we graphed this time talking about making sure we stay in one spot and read the whole time (no talking to others!) 

Day 4: Thursday came with a bit of a shock! My students were asking when we were going to read. They really knew the information when we were reviewing! My students read for 8 minutes independently! WOW! They did such an amazing job! I even got to read with some of my more wiggly friends to keep them on track. I was super impressed and I celebrated their progress. They were excited to see our stamina graph growing.

Day 5: We reviewed everything we had learned from the week and let me tell you my students are super smart this year! They remember everything we had learned! This time my students read to 9 minutes. Not much of an increase but they read the whole time, stayed in one spot, and we stopped because 1 person stopped reading. I heard groans when I rang the bell and one student didn't even stop reading. I had to tap him and say please put your book box away.

My principal also came in during this time and not one child noticed she was even in the room. She came in took a look around and then left a little note in my bucket. We are a bucket filler school so everyone has a bucket outside their door. She said she loved my common core standards, today's password sign, that my students were all engaged, and everything was organized! What a compliment! It really made my day! Thanks to all my blogger friends I'm super organized this year! Daily 5 is also really organized too so that helps as well. I'm glad that my principal approves of what I'm doing. It confirms that my professional decisions are correct and truly working for my students.

I told them when we came back to our meeting spot that their ultimate goal was 20 minutes. They look a little scared...but then asked "what happens when we get there?" "do we get a prize?" I was taken aback...I have never had this asked before. I said we would celebrate and that then I would get to read with everyone individually. They nodded their head in approval. I continue to encourage them and tell them they were so smart and I knew they could do it! Now what to do to celebrate?? I've made a promise...which I have to keep! I thinking balloons or a special snack? Thoughts?

Anyways I hope your week went as well as mine! I will be posting more about launching Work on Writing next week and the continuation of Read to Self. I have a good feeling that my students will do amazing! 

Thursday, August 25, 2011

Three for Thursday

I am continuing Teacher Week with Blog Hoppin'! Join in the fun to see other bloggers favorites. 

Blog Hoppin

My favorite font:


My favorite blog:
The First Grade Parade was the first teacher blog I was introduced to and inspired me to be a blogger. This blog helped me to find so many resources, fun ideas, and made me realize what a big teacher blog world there was out there! I love the way that everything is organized on this blog and how creative her ideas are! Thanks for being an inspiration Cara! 

My favorite online resource:
  I am so addicted to Pinterest now and I know I'm not alone in this one! It is a wonderful way to find new blogs and great ideas. I love how simple it is to use and that it's an app on my phone! 

Wednesday, August 24, 2011

Where it all goes down Wednesday!

I have posted many classroom pictures in the past but here are a few all together without any of my other ramblings! Hope you enjoy! I love looking at other classrooms to get ideas!

View when you walk you. 

Guided reading, library, and Face of a reader

Homworkopoly board 

Rules, reader's choice, and literacy center pocket chart

Beanie baby reading strategies
My welcome got cuter! 
My super cute notebook holder for work on writing! 
Thanks to Porters Polka Dots! I won this in a fab giveaway! 

Blog Hoppin

Tuesday, August 23, 2011

Teacher Talk Tuesday

This is kind of a short post...I've been to the dentist this evening for some extreme pain in my tooth and jaw so I'm still a little under the weather. Speaking of earthquake today and a hurricane this weekend! I hope all my blogger friends are okay! Okay I digress back to actual teacher talk! I still feel like I'm a "new" teacher this only being my fourth year teaching and having switched schools. But this is some advice for first year teachers!

Be more prepared than you need to be! Have way to many activities planned so you never have any down time!

Behavior management makes your whole year! Make sure you practice routines and set the tone at the beginning of the year. It's okay to be strict in the beginning and then give a little if they are behaving. Remember your students who go above and beyond and reward them.

Be friendly at school with everyone but do not gossip. You don't want to "dip" in buckets or be like a high school mean girl. Keep it professional!

Be silly and have fun sometimes they're kids!

Your students will love you! So put a smile on your face and do the best you can!

Blog Hoppin

Monday, August 22, 2011

Meet the Teacher-Blog Hoppin'

                                                                               Meet the Teacher Monday!

Just a little slice of Florida paradise! 

* * * * *

Tell us a little something about you...

I'm Jess or Jessica, Jessie, Jesper, or well I can't tell you my other nicknames they are just too embarrassing. I live with my boyfriend of 5 years in a cute little house and I love our life. (Hoping for a ring…oh but we won't go there…lol)    I love teaching, learning, reading, biking, boating, sunning, and recently bloggin' and Pinterest! I received both of my degrees from the University of Central Florida-Go Knights! My undergraduate degree is in Early Childhood Education (PK-3) and my Master is in Reading Education. I would eventually love to become a reading coach. I had a wonderful summer! I graduated with my Masters in May, my brother got married to a beautiful women in June, I took a fabulous trip to Costa Rica with my boyfriend in July, and got to spend a lot of quality time with my best friend, who is constantly busy because she's in med school. I just had my first day of school today and it went smoothly! I just hope that the hurricane holds off until the weekend!

How long have you been teaching?

This is my fourth year teaching.  I taught a Pre-K/kindergarten mix class my first year in a charter school-CRAZY! Then I moved to a Title 1 school and taught first grade for 2 years. I just switch schools because they built a school right next to my new one and I'm on an annual contract. It actually turned out to be a wonderful decision though, I'm in a great school with lots of parent involvement (I had 6 mom's want to be room moms!) and I love the staff. I am teaching first grade again this year and I'm so happy! 

You might not know...

That I originally wanted to be a music teacher…eek! I could never do that now! I played the piano for 18 years and really want to get into music education. I tried out for the program at my school and got in but then I heard all about the program. Such as you had to practice for pretty much half your day and the program was 5 years and you could pretty much kiss your social life away unless you wanted to join the music fraternity. Well that just wasn't me! I want to join a sorority and have a fun college experience without being so serious. So I learned that although music was a passion of mine it was not what I was meant to teach. I volunteered a lot in Kindergarten classes and I knew it was where I wanted to be! I just had to be in an Early Childhood classroom! 

What are you looking most forward to this school year?

I'm looking forward to utilizing my parent volunteers! I have never really had parents volunteer for anything besides parties and field trips so I'm looking forward to using parents in my room. I'm also looking forward to a fresh start with a new school and a new class. My babies as I like to call my students are so wonderfully different and special this year, I know it will challenge me to be a great teacher! 

What do you need to improve?

I want to improve on my organization of everything, which I have a great start on thanks to all my blogging friends. I just want to continue to stay organize and not a paper mess on my desk! I just have to remind myself every paper and thing has a home!
I also want to improve on using CAFE. I used it last year but not to the full extent and I just want to incorporate in more into my reading series. It is so hard to fit everything in to one day! I had a million activities planned for today that we didn't get done….sometimes I just need to slow down and take it easy though.

What teaching supplies can you *not* live without?

I love chart paper! I think it is essential to make anchor charts even though mine don't look that pretty. 

BOOKS! I LOVE getting new books! I buy books all the time and I never think my classroom library is big enough. I actually want to get more shelves for my library. I can incorporate a book into any activity for the classroom.

I also love sticky notes! I have them in probably 12 different colors and a entire drawer full of them. I love using them for list, for the CAFE board, or sticking reading strategies to kids notebooks. I think they are so pretty and bright they just make me smile. 

Join in the teacher week fun! 
Blog Hoppin

Sunday, August 21, 2011

Meet the Teacher and More

I have been super busy this past week getting ready for my little ones! At my school we get our class list on Monday and then we have to call all the parents to invite them to Meet the Teacher. This year Meet the Teacher was on Thursday at two different times. The first session was from 10:00-11:30 and the second session was from 4:30-6:00. It actually was nice to have staggered time sessions this year so I could spend a little more time with each parent and student.

All 17 of my students showed up with their families. It was wonderful to meet all of them! It seems like I have a very shy class this year but their parents reassure me they are only shy and quiet for the first few weeks. (sigh) I think it will be a challenging year this year! There are so many labels on my students it is kind of ridiculous! I have 5 ELL learners which is no problem...I'm use to having a whole class full of ELL's. I have another 5 students that have either 504 plans or IEP's. Some are "labeled" speech, auditory/vision, and ADHD. I have accommodations for the majority of the class. I am a little concerned I won't be meeting everyone's needs...but I know this is just an awesome opportunity given to challenge me in my teaching and make me better.

I'm totally sad I forgot to take a picture of my student's welcome bags :( they were so cute!! The bags had Welcome Aboard on the front and a welcome poem on the back with pirate graphics. I had small goodies inside-cool first grade pencil, eraser, and small candy. Our team also had a super mom make hot air balloon cookies in our school colors blue and yellow. She wrapped each one individually and put "Soarin' into a great year!" Our school theme this year is Make Your Mark- Go Above and Beyond!

My first day of school with my kiddos is tomorrow! I'm so excited and nervous...I really feel like the First Day Jitters teacher. I just have to remember to keep a smile, be on time to lunch, get everyone home safely, and have fun! I need to also remember to take pictures of all my cute little ones for my room decorations and hallway display!

Tomorrow I am going to start blog hoppin'! Check it out:
Blog Hoppin'TeacherWeek

Monday, August 15, 2011

First Day Back and a Freebie

It was my first work day at school! The whole staff was very welcoming, we got cute bags and new school shirts, and a delicious breakfast! It was a great start to a long day! So after all of the meetings, I got to work in my classroom. I got my class list today and have 17 little ones to get ready for! Here are some of more exciting things that I got done today.

I changed up my strategies board to how is was last year. I was just not feeling the other smaller ones I was trying to use. I used hot glue to get my beanie babies to stay up on the cabinets.

I also made my reading banner today. Just laminate your favorite book covers and hot glue to some cute ribbon. I got the idea from Forth Grade Frolics. Everyone who came in my room complimented me on it and I think it looks really nice! It's simple and it shows off great literature.
Close up shot: sorry for the glare! 

As I was walking out today at 6:00...yes I know so late...I saw this little gem! I thought all of those froggy teacher would really love this! It shows where her class is during the day.

Here is my freebie for the day-lunch options. I have each student place their popsicle stick in a bucket to let me know if they are ordering hot or cold lunch or brought a lunchbox. On the board I will post a school menu. Hope some of you can use these lunch options! Just click on the picture and it will link you to goggle docs.

I sent my team Deanna Jump's Common Core packet to look over because we all have to have the same thing and they loved it so we are running it by our reading coach and principal now. Turns out one of my team members actually used to work with Deanna! Crazy! Deanna was her mentor and on her team! I just could not believe it since I majorly stalk her blog!

P.S. If anyone knows how to put their donor's choose project on their blog please let me know!

Thanks! Hope your first day back was as eventful and enjoyable as mine!

Saturday, August 13, 2011

A Few Questions

I have a few questions for my blogger friends out there!

1. Where did you get your blog design? I want to find a new one since I found out someone else is sporting the same one.

2. Do you use a Kindle and if so would you be interested in a Kindle cover? (I'm thinking of a possible giveaway)

3. How do you put your donor's choose project on the side of your blog?

4. Would any Florida teachers want to have a "blogger" get together? (Like Cara from The First Grade Parade did in Texas)

Thanks a million already! I know I'll get some great advice and feedback!

Friday, August 12, 2011

Advice needed, classroom update, and back to school!

First things first I need some of my fabulous blogger advice on math books.

I really like using Envision math but this year our entire district order these books:

They are enormous, horizontal, and take up the whole desk! Not to mention you can't just flip through them and do the math problems. Do you see in the picture how you would do the front side then to do the back you would have to flip the book around because the problems are upside down if you don't? What you are supposed to do is have the kids rip the paper out and fold it. Hmm well the designers of this book have obviously never worked with Kindergartens or first graders. The book is not perforated so it does not easily tear out. I also feel like this would waste a lot of time teaching the kids how to do this. So most of our office staff suggested that we just tear each one out and fold it ourselves. You would have to tear our 18 and fold them and then sort them into each topic to keep organized...who has time for that when we are to start using them the 1st day. Then you have a bunch of lose paper too. So I'm stumped on what to do...I will probably give in and just tear them all out and sort them because that will be easiest in the long run for the kids. What are your thoughts? Have you used these Envision math books before?

Second thing I need advice on is my schedule chart. For some reason when I wrote on the wipe off pocket chart part of the white board marker stayed on the inside of the pocket. I need to change my schedule around this year but can't clean the inside of the pocket chart off. Here is a picture so you can see what I'm talking about.

Does anyone know a good way to get white board marker off the inside of this pocket? I thought about using a toothbrush and water to try to get it off but haven't tried it yet.

Here are some updated pictures of my room:

This is my literacy center chart. I am going to put the students pictures next to which center they are in. This way it can easily be changed when they check in. Next to it is my reader choice board that also needs my student's smiling faces.

                                                My writing strategies above my writing center.

This my math workshop board sorry you can't see that well because of the glare. I think I'm going to change the border on this though because it doesn't really match the rest of my room...I think I'll go with the  blue border that is in the rest of my class.
My specials rotation pockets. Each pocket has a day of the week and then the special we are attending that day.

Now here are some things I made yesterday.

Birthday bags:

Cute clipboards:

And I made a sign for my pirate wreath that says" Ms. Bullen's Buccaneers": 

I'm oh so excited about going back to school! We start pre-planning on Monday, Meet the Teacher is on Thursday, and then it's the start of a brand new school year! What I'm not excited about is going back to traffic school! :( :( After a wonderful college girls reunion last night I got pulled over by a robo cop. Yes he was robotic- he didn't give me time to cry, explain, or do anything besides give him my information. Blah-I was on the highway going 72 not bad right...oh expect for this part of the highway is 55. Don't know how or why I got pulled over when I was not in the fast lane and not going 80 like others but that's reality. So my last few days of summer will be going to icky traffic school. On the bright side (is there one really? of course!) my friend also just got a speeding ticket and needs to take traffic school as well. So we will be sitting with our laptops side by side drinking wine and taking traffic school on Saturday.

You are a awesome follower if you read through all that....look for a freebie come Monday! I have some lunch labels that I want to share but I want to take a picture of them in my classroom first.

Monday, August 8, 2011

Team meeting, my first student, and more of my classroom!

I had my first team meeting to talk about dismissal, duties, meet the teacher, planning, and our play. They were all very nice and welcoming. I happy to be a part of a sharing team. I am so excited to be doing a 1st grade play this November. In the past the first grade team has done a Thanksgiving play and a Patriotic play around Veteran's Day. I think my vote will be for Thanksgiving this year...there is just something SO adorable about little kiddos dressed in pilgrim and Indian outfits! I loved my pilgrim outfit when I was 5 so much I not only wore it do our class feast but I wore it our real Thanksgiving feast!

After the meeting was official over, I stayed and chatting with my team leader. This is when I got introduced to my first new student-which happens to be her son! I couldn't believe it! (Usually teachers get to pick there child's teacher so either a. She wanted to be un-partial  in picking his teacher since I'm new or b. She really liked me during the interview( there was a panel of 8 people) and thinks I'll be a good teacher for him.) Either way I'm flattered to have a staff members child in my class and hope that she is fully satisfied with his learning this year. He was very polite and friendly as well as happy to meet me-his new teacher! I am extremely happy to have met one of my little firsties! Now I just need to hunt down our office staff to find my class list.

Now for my classroom:
It might now look like a lot of improvement but I actually got a lot of organizing done and placed everything where I think I want it to go. Suggestions on room arrangement, etc. are welcomed! :)

This is what my room looks like when you first walk in. The adorable carpet that was in previous pictures got taken out :( it was a Kindergarten teachers rug that somehow got moved into my room. I still need to put up my Reading Takes Us Places letters but I did get two boards done today! The one that is leaning on the cubbies is my finish Homeworkoply board and the one to the right is my math centers and vocabulary board.

This is what you see if you look to the right of my doorway. So excited my library is finished and CAFE board is up! I do need to put "The Face of a Reader" up though-blogging kind of makes me think of all the things I still need to do...See the blue standing pocket chart? I just snagged it from the work room today it was in a pile of free stuff. I controlled myself and only took this because I still was throwing away piles of stuff today. Oh teachers! 

This is really not that great of a shot but it does show our goodbye rhymes, how we get home paper, schedule chart, and today's password. (which will be sight words) I'm excited to do this starting this year. It reminds me of the Harry Potter books where you have to know the password to get into each dorm. (Dorky, nerdy, I know..don't care) 

This is the view from the other side of the room. As you can see I added my pirate banner-top right and my word wall! A special shot out goes to Frogs in First for providing me with this adorable pirate word wall.  There are velcro strips so I can add the sight words as we go along and then take them off when the class knows them. 

My classroom library is organized by genre, level A-Z, and AR. See Ladybug Teacher Files to get started on leveling your classroom library. Starting from the right are my leveled reader books and book boxes, then my non-fiction books and books that need to organized (top shelf), then to the left are my fiction books and reading buddies on top. The basket on the bottom under the Just Read sign is going to be used to put back books and it will be our class librarians job to put them back each afternoon correctly. Oh and I love my pirate rug! :) X marks the spot to good reading! (ooh that could be an idea to put in the library...) 

This is my writing table..kind of a mess right now but on the back wall is going to be content vocabulary and on the back of the bookcase there are writing strategies. On the table there is an organizer for paper and clipboards. No worries it will get jazzed up and ready for the kids! 
Yes I know it's an awkward picture. I don't know what the Iphone was thinking. This is my math wall unfinished but at least up and my math games are in the rainbow drawers. 
Ta da! Finally this board is complete! I cannot even tell you how long I sat and tried to configure this board because the pieces do not fit around a regular bulletin board. It is done though! :) 

This is my desk area and my Pirate of the Week board. I still need to put up my favorite things to show off to my kids. 

This is my birthday month board where I will put up all the kids pictures under their birthday month. Thanks Erica Bohrer for the idea! Also featured is the tooth chart and behavior chart. 
Finally if you are still with me after all my ramblings you are awesome! These are some very colorful crates/buckets I don't know what to do with and a white board that doesn't a home. Suggestions are welcomed. 
Thanks for taking the classroom tour and reading my ramblings! Back to school is in full gear!