Friday, September 19, 2014

Five for Friday {September 19}


I’m so happy it is FRIDAY FINALLY! I honestly didn’t know if I’d ever make it to Friday. I had Open House this week, progress reports due, data meetings, and all the “regular stuff” we have to do. I’m still feeling super exhausted and wondering if I’ll ever catch up on everything. 

This sums it up right?

I had Open House on Monday night. I had 14 out of 18 parents come and I would say it was an overall success. You can read more about my Open House here.

I taught text features this week. You know good ole’ common core standard R.I.1.5. This was completely new to my students. They learn the text features and graphics this week through non-fiction texts. I had a beautiful anchor chart…but forgot to take a picture. It was interactive and the students’ all took part in labeling a text feature. Oooh labeling is a text feature...they were just learning so much! I focused on labels, captions, heading, title page, maps, and keywords for the text features. Those were the ones that were in our guided reading science books, guided reading books, and our text for the week. 

You can see the kids labeling the parts of the book here in guided reading. 

You can also see them labeling the different parts that were in our text with the interactive notebook.

We used a new Kagan structure this week called Quiz, Quiz Trade. I had the students’ quiz each other on their subtraction facts. The kids stand up find a partner, ask their subtraction fact and the other student responds. Then the other student asks their subtraction fact and the first student responds. They high five each other if they got the answer right or coach each other to get the correct answer. Then they switch cards and find a new partner. I did this for five minutes the first time. They love asking and answer, talking to their partners, coaching each other, and moving around. Today we played the game for eight minutes. They really enjoy playing this game and there was no prep for me. I just had to model my expectations. I wish you could see the expression on their faces. They are joyfully learning. The boy in front is teaching the other by subtracting with his fingers. 

This week our team was told how we need to group our kids in literacy centers. We were also told that each center has to have an accountability piece. I’ve always had a choice and freedom in my centers. I have chosen to ability group my students in the past. I have done mixed grouping before but found it was easy to differentiate with ability grouping. Now after I’ve practiced, planned, modeled, explicit taught, and managed my students’ literacy centers, I need to change it. Boo. I will roll with it though and have started to put all my kids in mixed ability groups. I’m started on Monday and hope the kids will see little change since the centers will be mostly be the same. Any help/ideas on mixed ability grouping and differentiating within those groups would be helpful. My hope is these folders will help me to differentiate each group’s word work. I put a different word work game on each groups level in each folder the the kids. I have their names slapped up their on post it notes but I will make it cute this weekend.

This week we voted for teacher of the year. I felt so honored to even be nominated. We have such amazing teachers at my school. We’ll find out next week who is our teacher of the year. It makes me feel proud that my colleagues notice my hard word and dedication to our students. It also makes me think I must be doing something right. I'm thankful for colleagues who lift me up and are positive. 

Hope you all have a great weekend! I’ll be found grading paper on the couch watching football.

Tuesday, September 16, 2014

Open House {2014}

Open House was Monday night. To clarify for my readers, my Open House is a night where parents come for an hour to learn about our classroom. I cover everything from curriculum to field trips. It is pretty much everything the parents will need to know for the whole year. There is so much to get ready for Open House. I have been planning with my team for Open House this past week.

You can check out my past Open House posts here;

I make a folder with handouts of super helpful (I hope) information for parents. Let’s start with what is in the parent information folders.
I put these awesome reading strategies handouts in the folder. I hope parents will use these strategies and praises while reading with their student at home. I got these handouts from Growing Firsties

I put their students’ STAR reading and math level. This is a computer-based test through Renaissance Learning. The students’ have to take this to be placed for their AR level. I include a handout explaining AR and how the parents’ can log on to see their child’s quizzes.

Most of the time that the parents are in my classroom, I’m going over my power point of everything from curriculum to paying for lunch.

Here is what was in the hallway for parents to look at before coming in. The front is their graduating year from high school! Inside they listed their goals for the year.

1st grade goal banners:

Here are what their desks looked like:

 I made magnets to hold their work at home and book marks for parents. I also included some of their projects from this year.
Erica made this adorable tags for the water and I just had to use them. She makes the cutest things! Check them out here. 

My Open House went really well. It was extremely hot in the room though. I'm pretty sure the AC went out because I'm not a nervous sweating presenter but it looked like it last night. So glad I had the water bottles for the parents! They drank them during the presentation.  I had 14 out of 18 parents attend. Two of the parents that did not attend though had children in my class last year so they know the drill. Then one momma who didn't show is about to have a baby any day now so I get that. Not sure what happen to the other child's parents but I sent out the powerpoint and sent home the information so everyone received it. It is great to see the parents again at school before we meet for parent teacher conferences. 

Now on to progress reports, lesson plans, team leader meetings, and informal observations! Have a great week teachers!

Friday, September 12, 2014

Five for Friday {September 12}


This week seemed to last forever. It was just jammed packed with meetings, phone calls, e-mails, to-do lists, technology issues, etc. I’m so happy it’s the weekend!!
I’m so happy I could sing… about finally getting Daily 5 up and running! YEAH! BTW it is my fourth week of school. I finally have my kids quietly working independently. Amazing! Anyone with firsties knows this is a huge deal.

This is listening:

My kids are working on MyLexia a computer-reading program. They can login on their own now.

This is writing:

My kids labeled Pete the Cat and wrote in our class journals.

This is word work:

My kids are working on their spelling and sight words.

In reading this week we read Curious George at School. Our goal was to retell the story. I made this anchor chart to keep up in our room. As a class, we made this anchor charts. The kids all got the draw a part of the retelling. At the end of the week, we did an interactive notebook retelling. They had to sequence the events and the draw the pictures underneath the flap. These are from Teaching with Love and Laughter.

This part of my room makes me happy. It’s our birthday board and job chart. My kids love to look at their pictures under their birthday month and see their jobs for the week.

I got these wiggle tools from others recommendations. This is a wiggle seat that helps kids that can’t sit still. They can wiggle in their seat without distracting other kids. The kids enjoy sitting in the wiggle seat. They trade it around as needed. Some use it for writing, others for sitting at the computer, and others use it during independent math. No one fights over and it moves around the room. It has been interesting to see where it ends up at the end of the day. The other tools are for my students with ADD and ADHD that need something to touch while listening and working in class. They keep this inside their desks and use as needed. It doesn’t bother anyone and keeps the kids on task. I also place Velcro under these students’ desks. They touch it and stay focused. We read Pete the Cat this week and made up our own Pete the cat stories. I had one student finish his entire Pete the Cat final copy today. This is a huge deal for him to write around six sentences.

I needed a pick me up yesterday and also needed a notepad. I reached in my drawer and picked this up. This is a sweet note from a student from three years ago. He is now in 4th grade! It was just what I needed! I love seeing my old students and remembering all the great times we had in class.

Hope you all have a nice weekend! I have Open House on Monday so look out for a blog post.

Saturday, September 6, 2014

Five for Saturday { September }


I know it is Saturday…but this is my Five for Friday. I’m still lingering on yesterday. Short weeks for some reason feel longer. I can’t figure it out. Is it because we are still supposed to cram everything we do in five days into four? Is it because we had a meeting everyday? Maybe it was because I stayed late every day this week?

Well this was my Monday:

Awww relaxing, beautiful, peaceful, sunshine, beach.

Tuesday we started word work for the very first time! My kids were pumped to start working with the “fun” materials. I started them out at their tables with wikki sticks, magnetic letters, stamps, and markers. They loved writing their spelling words, sight words, and words from our word wall. They are so loud though!!! We are working on quiet voices. They are just excited about the new materials. I was going to introduce writing on whiteboards and lego letters next week. I may have to hold off until they can control their volume more though.


I got a bunch of new books from my reading coach! I wish they were all mine…but they are for our first grade team. We have ten classes so I split them among the team. There were ten read aloud sets that were the same and then various level of books for the students. I tried to split these evenly by level and genre. So one person didn’t end up with five math books that were all easy reads. They should get a good mix of great literature, excellent read alouds, cool non-fiction reads, and little readers for their first graders. Each teacher got twenty new books for their library. I love getting new books to add to my library!

I have a super sweet volunteer this year who was a teacher at my school. She stopped teaching when she had her second child and now she is a photographer. She is such a help in the classroom! She cut out all this lamination and took beautiful pictures of my kids! She had all the pictures printed out for me professionally and wrapped them up like a little present. So thoughtful! She also wrote the nicest note saying how great I was with the kids and she thought I was the perfect teacher for her daughter. Melt my heart! This made my day! Sweet and encouraging notes help me realize why teaching is my passion.

We read “Don’t Let the Pigeon Drive the Bus!” this week. This book is all kinds of funny! My students’ love how expressive and persistent the pigeon is in the book.  We used this book to write captions this week. This is my copy…without a caption. I wish I would had mine done or taken a snap shot of their finished products. They wrote:  
Don’t let the pigeon cook!
Don’t let the pigeon go to the farm!
Don’t let the pigeon go to school!
Don’t let the pigeon teach your class!
Don’t let the pigeon babysit!
They did such a good job but Friday afternoon is super busy and I forgot to snap any pictures. I'll have to take some pictures on Monday.

Well friends I hope you enjoy your weekend! I’m going to watch some college football and do chores around the house!