Sunday, August 26, 2012

Hurricane Ready Classroom & 2nd Week

My classroom is "hurricane ready" now according to the county because we have big plastic orange bags over our computers. It is so silly but they don't want any water leaks to get on the computer equipment so we had to do this to our computers Friday afternoon. 

Thankfully I don't think we'll have to worry to much about this hurricane because it isn't coming our way but I'm prepared just incase. You never know where they are going to turn and we'll be getting strong winds, storm effects, and potential tornados in the central Florida area. I'll have to review my tornado plan tomorrow just in case. I have to say though that the school is probably one of the safest places to be during a storm. It is a fairly new school and built with concrete blocks.

Tomorrow starts the 2nd week of school and I hope that my kids are finally getting into the routine of school and learning the ways of first graders! This week we will be focusing on the book Chrysanthemum, doing name activities, character development, continuing to work on read to self, starting work on writing, continuing with addition to 10, and reviewing our 5 senses. Here is to a great week hopefully filled with wonderful activities, little firsties, and no hurricanes! 

Hope your week is wonderful! 

Tuesday, August 21, 2012

2nd Day of School

Hey girl teacher

This morning I took Ryan's advice. I taught on and forgot about Monday!

Today was a much better day! Things went how they were supposed to and most of my little ones listened to me. I still had to move one clip but that little one is just going to be a piece of work this year. She is used to playing at school and not working, which is sad. Her Kindergarten teacher did her a disfavor by allowing her to write with a crayon and be lazy. She also did a disfavor to her by not starting her with RTI. She needs extra help and no one has ever given it to her. Little girl doesn't know her color words or sounds. It will be a challenging year with all my little different ones but I know they'll all come out smarter because I pushed them.

My students this year are good at math. They are doing great with beginning adding and seem to enjoy this subject the most. We will really need to work on reading this year though. We started learning about Read to Self today and read for 3 minutes. They got it but I have a lot of wiggly ones so I know it will take a lot of practice. I can't wait to see how the year progresses with this class.

Thank you for all of your positive comments yesterday! I love my blogging community and readers!

Monday, August 20, 2012

First Day

Ohh first day of school..we look forward to you, dread our summers end, worry about you and then finally you come up like a sneaky surprise! 

My first day with my students was today. I was super prepared for 18 students. Florida state law says we can only have 18 students. Two of my students didn't show up for meet the teacher which isn't normal for my school so I assumed being prepared for 18 was being super prepared. 


Always be prepared for more...why haven't I learned this after years of teaching?! 

8:45-17 students come in, sit down, and get ready for our morning routine. Everyone is listening nicely, I'm feeling great about the day, my students are all polite, nice and I'm thinking wow what a great start. 

9:55-Number 18 comes strolling in late with all of his supplies, parents, etc. wanting to talk (this is what meet the teacher is for...I called you about this) He gets into the routine of things though and I have time to set him up/prepare him for the day. I was expecting 18 so things are still going well, children are listening, we've already learned so much about reading, I'm feeling good about the day.

11:01- Number 19 comes in with a ruler in his shirt, some supplies, oh and parents want to talk of course but I have lunch at 11:03 and was getting my students ready to go. I get new student number 19 to put up his backpack and jump in line. I have 2 questions for the parents 1. Did you bring a lunch or set up an account for your kid at school to eat lunch? 2. How does he go home? Well guess what the child didn't have a lunch, the parents didn't set up an account, and ohh sorry I don't have any cash to give him to eat. (HOW ON EARTH CAN YOU SEND YOUR KID TO SCHOOL WITHOUT A PLAN FOR LUNCH!?) Well kids always get lunch at school we don't let them starve but really parents come on. Turns out they are foster parents but really people that should not be an excuse. Oh I also didn't have enough desks so during my lunch break I hunted down our custodians to get a desk and chair for my new little one.

11:38- Writing time where my little ones complain and ask when we're going to recess. I told them to look at our clocks and that it would be soon.
12:00 Recess everyone played nicely.

12:15 Math time where I didn't have 19 books only 16 and had to frantically print copies even though I had put in for copies to be made Friday. Apparently the copier broke because the office staff is usually super great about getting copies done. I'm kinda flustered about this because I thought I've have the copies ready at lunch time.

12:30 Still doing math but my kids are working independently now! I'm thinking things are starting to look up. The class is participating nicely, their engaged in our lesson, and they are learning! Then one of my kids throws up all over himself. Thankfully my wonderful para professional that works with him took care of him, got him to the bathroom, and then down the hall to the nurse. I really don't know what I would have done had she not been there. Probably thrown up too. So now I'm feeling relieved that I have a para that can take care of this situation so I can focus on my other students.

12:45 Lots of complaining from a few kids about how much work first grade math is and when are we going to do play centers. Hmm guess they zoned out during our talk about our schedule that day. I had to put on a tough face and tell them we don't do play centers and we work hard all day. At this point I then catch one of my students cheating. Yes, on the first day. She was copying answers from the student next to her and then just had him complete her work for her on her paper! She sat their smiling. I had to talk with both of them about how this is not okay and since she knew what she was up to she had to move her clip. I know this sounds super mean for the first day but she had already been given several reminders about following rules already and this just kinda did it for me. Hopefully that lesson is learned for her.

1:30- We are cleaning up from doing math puzzles, games, and flashcards. I didn't get to science...our math takes awhile especially when they are just starting out. Everyone is cleaning up well and getting to their seats. All except one student who thought it would be cool to run and jump on the beanbag. So yeah I had to move another clip down. Expectations have to be set and this is not going to fly in the class especially since most of our morning was spent going over rules.

1:40 Specials for my kids! I finally get a moment to check my email, write in binders, and get ready for dismissal.

2:25 Snack, going over dismissal. 

2:50 Dismissal. Somehow one of the bus riders that is supposed to come to me gets lost in the hallway and gets mixed in with 2nd grade bus riders. We didn't know that at the time and her teacher and I were frantically trying to find her in the hallways. Thankfully she knows what bus she rides and found her way to the line. Meanwhile my beanbag jumper from before starts hitting people with a ruler. I take away the ruler and put it back in our room. Then he throws a fit like a 2 year old screaming, crying, and throwing a fit while I'm trying to get 4 classes of first grad bus riders outside and to their bus safely. After gently coaxing this student by his backpack, because he sat down in the middle of the bus pavilion not wanting to move, he finally got to his bus. I did bus duty and went back to my room with a big sigh. 
Don't know if this was sigh of relief or what but it was a big sigh. The day was done. I put away more supplies, paper work, and suddenly is was 5:00. How does the time just fly like that? I had to toss in the towel for the day and remember tomorrow is another day.

I think this has to be my hardest first day besides my first year when I had to dismiss 16 Kindergarten students for a hurricane evacuation by 11 a.m. I feel pretty overwhelmed about my students right now and I'm longing for my old ones who seem so grown up and big. Were they ever this small? I'm sure they were. Does anyone else feel this way sometimes after the first day? I hope so.

I just have to keep telling myself these kids were put into my life for a reason. I'm to teach them all and they will all learn. Everything will not always be prefect.

Now a glass of wine, Chinese, and Pinterest are awaiting for me to start unwinding. Here's to an interesting start to the school year!

Sunday, August 19, 2012

Meet the Teacher & Photos

I had Meet the Teacher this past Thursday and these are the pictures of my room all ready for my 1st grade families. I have 18 students this year and I had 16 families come to Meet the Teacher. During Meet the Teacher I have the kids sort their supplies and get to know the classroom. I talk with each family to make sure they feel comfortable for the first day, have them fill out a transportation sheet so I know how their child is going home, and take a picture of each little new first grader.

Most of my kids were pretty excited but I have 6 kids that are new to the school and are very shy. I had one student who wouldn't talk to me at all or let me take a picture. Her sister got her to take a picture so we can have her smiling little face in our room. I love putting up the pictures so the kids feel like the room is theirs even on the first day.

I added lanterns above each desk.

Meet the Teacher goodie bags, books for students to view, and table numbers.

Book banner, leveled nonfiction library, and book boxes.

My lovely little reading corner.

View of meeting spot and desk area.

Meeting, calendar, and anchor chart area. First day books are ready to go! 

Calendar complete with rules and schedule!

Good work hangs out here! The baskets are to turn in work, homework, and hold today's work. I have highlighters for when the kids turn in their work and clipboards for any center work or when they need to move to sit on the floor. 

All my first grade planners ready to go and sharp pencils!

Writing area.

Daily jobs for kids (guess I should make a sign for that), lunch choices, and a chart to keep up with our monthly reading logs.

Happy Birthday banner (hard to see with the glare) and birthday months. I'll be taking pictures of my students tomorrow to add to this. All the kids will get together for a photo according to their birthday month.

My math games and word work carts.

Welcome to first grade sweet little birdies! 

Specials schedule, goodbye rhymes, and lunch/specials time.

Transportation chart, behavior chart, rules, storage, beanie baby strategies, para desk, and my fabulous kidney table complete with paperwork ready for Meet the Teacher.

 CAFE board, listening center, goals, and scales on the whiteboard.  

Another view of a table. I love the labels, ribbons, numbers, and lanterns!

Tomorrow is the first day of school and I'm super excited. I'm sure I feel similar to my students-anxious, nervous, excited, happy, a little shy, sleepy, but ready to go! I already have my outfit laid out and ready for the morning. Hoping it is a wonderful first day and a great year! Good luck to everyone out their getting ready, on their first day, and whole school year! You'll are such an inspiration to me and keep me loving my job! 

Tuesday, August 14, 2012

Common Core State Standards ELA

Hey friends! I'm deep into pre-planning now and busy going to faculty meetings, team meetings, Common Core training, and trying to get ready for meet the teacher. My head is kinda of spinning from all that has been going on.

We had a Common Core training today done by our reading coach and instructional coach. I went to the training with them and another team mate back in the spring. This training was a refresher about CCSS for me but left me with the same questions I had before I left the other trainings.

I know the 7 shifts of CCSS and how we need to implement more informational text and dig deeper into the text. I know about the standards themselves. Our coaches today said that right now as not to overwhelm us we should do 2 Common Core lessons a month which last 1 week each.

We were told that to really dig deep into the text we should use the same book all week long. One fiction book and one non-fiction book per month-2 Common Core lessons a month. This is how I thought I would outline my week using the Common Core lessons:

Monday-read book in it's entirety (Reading Literature or Informational)
Tuesday-dig deeper into text read a few key pages, have kids read pages, ask detailed questions (Reading-Key Ideas & Details)
Wednesday-dig deeper into text read a few key pages, have kids read pages, ask detailed questions(Reading-Key Ideas & Details)
Thursday-revisit the book and important parts, discuss,  students write a reading response in journal (Writing)
Friday-discuss the book and share reading response (Speaking & Listening)

This is my only current plan. :(

We don't know what books to use yet. I know we are supposed to use exemplar texts. But what constitutes an exemplar text? We haven't really been given a list just a few examples of text we could possible use. The problem is though we won't have a class set of these books. That's kinda of okay with me though because I know we're supposed to use this more as a read aloud book that is at a higher level for the students.

Another problem is we have all of the Houghton Mifflin resources- books for each kid, big books, and work books. But our coaches have told us to stay away from these because we won't be using them next year and the resources don't necessarily go with the CCSS.

My question is what are y'all doing? Are you still using your reading series with CCSS? Are you creating all new lessons like going back to theme teaching? Are you doing both? How are you actually implementing all of this in your classroom? Do y'all have book lists to go off of for first grade?

I would love if you would post any comments helping me out. My team and I are pretty much thinking we are going to have to recreate the wheel by using literature/informational text in our reading lessons.


Thursday, August 9, 2012

Update on my classroom

Hey! I wanted to updated y'all on how my class is coming along. I feel good about my room right now and feel like I've accomplished a lot! I'm taking the day off tomorrow from all things school and getting a massage, pedicure, and manicure. I need a day to myself before all the craziness of back to school really kicks in!

Next week starts are pre-planning and we'll have many meetings, professional development, planning, and meet the teacher on Thursday. I hope to sneak in a lot of organizing too as I'm still working on my student's take home binders and want to organize some files before my kiddos come!

Back to my classroom....I'm just going to show you some parts of the room you haven't seen yet.

Listening area

In the right basket I have all my books/tapes/CDs and in the left basket I have my listening notebook which keeps response sheets, crayons, pencils, and headphones. I just finished making my beautiful crate seats. I stapled a ribbon handle on the side for easy lifting. I haven't decided what should go in them yet but I love them with this small table.

My CAFE bulletin board. Can't wait to add sticky notes from students and strategy cards up there!

My calendar area and schedule listed for the students.

My book banner! I got this idea last year from 4th Grade Frolics. This is in the library area-the library is to the left. The red bins to the left are my non-fiction leveled readers and the blue bins are my book boxes for my students. The one green bin is for my poetry notebooks. The other books are for the students and need to make their way into their desks. This will be a perfect job next week for PTA kids helpers who come by our rooms to lend a helping hand in getting ready for the school year.

Daily 5

Right now this is where my Daily 5 literacy stations chart will be. I want to have kids move their clothespins to where they want to go. Not sure if I like this spot but it is right in our meeting spot, easel, mini-lesson area so I feel like it belongs in this area just not sure I like how it looks. The other part of the bulletin board will be used for anchor charts.

My "desk" area which I have shown you but I just added this piece of fabric to block the organized files mess below the desk. I'll organize this underneath mess next week! 
Without a actually desk I need to stay super organized and put my files in this bins. I just need to go ahead and organize these things and move that teacher bag! I do love how the fabric covers this up though because even when it's neat I don't want people to have to see this! 

Just some odds and ends of my room. My pencil system which I'm sure you've seen ready to write and need to sharpen pencil bins so students can easily get pencils. Notice all the pencils are in need to sharpen lol this will be switched before the 1st day! I saw these adorable bathroom passes 3rd Grade Thoughts and had to make some of my own. Even though my kids use the bathroom in our room and we can hear everything this will be a germ free way to make sure they have clean hands when opening and closing the door.

Next week I'll be posting about Meet the Teacher, pre-planning, and my finalized room before the kids come! Hope you all are getting excited, prepared, and organized for the new school year!

Tuesday, August 7, 2012

Monday Made It!

It's almost time to go back to work and I've been getting ready by making a lot of new things for my classroom! The thing I'm most proud of making today is curtains for my windows! I'm so excited this year to have windows in my class and my team leader showed me how to make curtains out of bandanas! 

These are the materials needed to make the curtains. 
6/7 bandanas from Hobby Lobby or any craft store
Stich Witchery (amazing invention)
Hot iron
Ironing board 

Yes, I still have my college ironing board. We're getting a new one soon! We don't iron a lot at my house. We mostly take our iron worthy things to the dry cleaners or steam them with our steamer. 

The first step is to iron the bandana. Then fold the top over leaving enough space to fit on the curtain. Place the Stitch Witchery in between the fabric and press a damp cloth on the top piece of fabric. Then press the iron on the top for about 10 seconds. Do this all the way down the bandana. Wait for a couple of seconds and then check to make sure it bonded the fabric. I never had a problem with having it bonding but you want to make sure before you place it on the curtain rod. Then repeat this until you have enough for your curtain rod. Make sure you line up the bandanas so they are the same length. This is a tedious part of making these but I plan on never do this again.

Finished in the classroom! You see them when you first walk in and it makes me feel cheerful. They are so bright and I can't wait to finish my second curtain tomorrow!

Another few things I made today in my room.

My brain breaks from  3rd Grade Thoughts: Brain Breaks Revisited: Better Than Ever & A Giveaway!   I covered a tin can in polka dot duct tape to make it look a little bit cuter.
My pick me pot for calling on different kids from A Cupcake for the Teacher: "Pick Me!" Pot + Freebie!

My teaching neighbor had this giant leaf in her room from Ikea and just didn't have a space for is so we tried it out in my room. We attached it to the cardboard roll that my new rug came in. I also put tan paper around the roll to make it look more like a tree. It just leans up against the back of the bookshelves in this little nook. It hangs over the library more than it looks like in the picture.

Lastly I made this welcome banner that will go above my door outside my room but I wanted to show you all so I quickly pinned it up on a unused wall in my room.

Can't wait to see what everyone else made today! I know everyone is busy preparing for their new classroom and students.

Saturday, August 4, 2012

Classroom Day 4

My day 4 in the classroom was actually Thursday but I've been kinda busy watching the Olympics, trying to make curtains and crate seats, tutoring, and going to yoga. I'm trying to soak up the last little bit of my summer but still get classroom stuff done too.

Let me update you on what I got done in my classroom.

My word wall is finished! I put it under the board and I think it will be a great area for the kids to see the words and be able to grab the words off the wall for spelling if they need to. My word wall is velcro so we can easily add words and take them away.

I also put up my beanie baby strategies wall. I use this mostly during guided reading to help my kids remember strategies so I put it up near where my kidney table will be.

Then I also put up my goodbye rhymes and daily specials schedule on my door.

It doesn't seem like I got that much done through the pictures but I did a lot of organizing done. I can't wait to show you all the finished product which probably won't be done until meet the teacher.

I have been looking everywhere for classroom jobs and I just couldn't find any that I wanted so I made some! My old classroom jobs were handmade-I actually colored them in my first year of teaching so I thought it was time to update these. You can click here to get them.

Hope you're having a great weekend!