Tuesday, August 14, 2012

Classroom Volunteers with a Freebie!

Can I just say that I am exhausted!! I took a 2 and a half hour nap today. Yikes! The sad part is summer school is only half a day! I can't imagine how I'm going to feel next week once school actually begins!

Tomorrow I am meeting with some teachers at my school to put together our CAFE reading and conferring notebooks. I copied all the papers yesterday and our school even purchased our binders and student tabs for us! Yippee! So, I'm planning on doing a post about the notebooks and where to get some amazing resources!


What are your feelings on parent volunteers? How do you manage the volunteers? What do you do if you get an unreliable volunteer? What do you do if your volunteer hangs out after they're finished?

I'm having some anxiety about parent volunteers. I have never used them before, but I feel that they can help lessen the work load and work one-on-one with students that I can't seem to find time to work with.

One of the my lovely team members emailed me her classroom volunteers letter. Of course I revamped it to make it cute! (I think they are realizing that I like to cuten (yea, I don' think this is a real word, but I think it should be) things up. Which I am very thankful they are so open to me revamping some things.)

Here is my version of the letter. There are different categories that parents can volunteer for.

I included:
  • Parties and Donations
  • Mystery Readers
  • Student Helpers
  • Cut, Staple, Organize (at home)
  • End of Year Helper

Click here to get your free copy!

Leave me a comment if you have any suggestions on how to handle classroom volunteers. I asked tons of questions at the top!

Saturday, August 11, 2012

Back to School Sale!

Everything in my store will be 20% off. Plus use the code to get an extra 10%. Who doesn't love a great sale!

Here is just one item in my TpT items that you can get for a total of 30% off!!
My Hunks and Chunks Word Wall or Sorting Activity Cards.

How Do You Plan? And Tons of Planning Freebies!

I'm Linking up with Mrs. Standford's Class for the How do you plan? linky party.


I was going to do a post about this anyways, so why not do it and enter an Erin Condren giveaway hosted by Miss Jessica!

How Do I Plan?

1. The first thing I created this summer was my lesson plan outline. This is what I use to plan my week.  Get your copy here. It's saved as a pdf so it is not editable. I'm working on how to do that still.

2. I also created a Weekly Class Schedule. This is what we turn into our principal and it also helped me to create my lesson plan template that is shown above.

3. The third thing that I use is my scope and sequence plans for math, word wall words, and phonics. This is just a general plan. I may or may not stick to them and I can easily change my order based on what skills my littles need.  I just highlight what I have completed so I know that I have introduced and covered that skill.

Get the Word Wall Word/Phonics Schedule here.
Get the Math Common Core Scope and Sequence here.
Get my Weekly Class Schedule here.

Once I finished putting together my Daily 5 and Cafe Reading and Conferring Notebook. I will share with you how I plan for my guided reading and strategy lessons.

Friday, August 10, 2012

I'm Alive and Classroom Overhaul Again

Where have I been all my life?!?!? Why, in my classroom of course. I apologize for being absent for the last week, but I have been extremely busy since summer school started on Monday. I feel tired exhausted when I get home. I'm hoping once school starts that it will be an easier transition. Doubtful but I'm hopeful!

Ok so I keep thinking I'm done setting up my room and then I get on pinterest and your wonderful blogs and I keep giving myself more and more to do. I have to stop! I. will. am. going. CRAZY!!!

Here are some updated pictures of my bright polka dot/owl themed first grade classroom. :) (P.S. - I am a horrible picture taker. Hopefully I get a nice camera for Christmas.)

Here is the view from the door. I scored the bins, to the left, at a garage sale and I spray painted them to match my room. I'm kinda loving that I am going to have tables now.

Thanks to an awesome second grade teacher at my school, she solved my dilemma that I was having with name tags. I bought the table organizers and I am just going to have my littles place their name tags in the organizer, and they can pull them out when they are at their seats. That way I can easily move seats if and when needed. Problem Solved!

Here is another view from the door. I'm loving that the cubbies are ready, minus my littles data folders. I am waiting dreading putting them together. I'm thinking that it will have to be my last thing to do.

You can also see my pocket chart. I'm going to have my littles rearrange our poetry. It will be one of the read to self options that they can choose. Behind the pocket chart is my table for the word work station.

Look at my amazing new bookshelf that my DAD made for me! :) I am one happy girl. I love that there is a shelf on the bottom and three more shelves on the back. Yay for more storage!

Behind the shelf is my listening center BTW!

Here is a picture of what the insides of the cubbies look like and my word work and math center organizers. I'm loving the owl name tags and the book bins. I made the bright polka dot number labels for the book bins. You can get your free copy here.

I will do a post soon about how I organize my word work. Promise!

Ok, so it's a bad, bad picture. I warned you. Here are my rules. This was definitely pinterest inspired.

I spent 6 hours, yes 6, at school today organizing. Here is a section next to my teacher area. I created tubs for guided math and guided reading supplies. That way I can just grab any manipulative I have to help instruct my littles. In between the green tubs is my task cards. I usually use these for when I have a spare minute or two. Which hardly ever happens. On the bottom shelf are my birthday supplies, thank you cards, reading logs, AIMS Web papers, hunks and chunks cards, and some extra supplies.

This tub is located behind my kidney table. The top four drawers are labeled with color groups. I am going to store my guided reading supplies in them. The bottom shelf is labeled CAFE Strategies. That is where I house my strategy cards and any other items I might use to introduce or provided extra instruction on specific strategies.

Lastly, I bought these tubs at Big Lots to store those ugly and awkward  clip boards in. I just put them on top of the cubbies for now.

And as an extra added bonus....

My beautiful bean, Olive! I call her Bean even though her name is Olive. I saw these adorable froggy baby jammies and I couldn't resist. I put them on my bean and they fit perfectly. Isn't she just the cutest thing you have ever saw!?!? P.S. She's 2 years old and weighs 4 pounds, so she is not a puppy. She's just little (like a bean). :)

P.S. Check out my latest TpT Product. Hunks and Chunks Word Wall Cards or Sorting Activity. I will do a write up in a few days or when school starts.

Wednesday, August 1, 2012

The Magical Product Swap Linky Party

Today is the day I get to share with you about one of Tanya Dwyer's TpT Products from Mrs. Dwyer's At Firsties.

I have linked up in the Magical Product Swap. Check out Mrs. Dwyer's A+ Firsties for a review of one of my products as well.


I was so excited to see how simple this was to create and how great of a review it will be for my littles the first couple of weeks.

There are a couple of different activities included in this packet.

Here are pictures and descriptions of each individual activity.

The first activity is a Alphabet Sort. Your littles will sort all the letters by uppercase and lowercase. The directions are right on the rainbow chart and it is great to put in a center of your Daily 5 Word Work Stations.

 The second activity is an ABC Order Sort. Not with words but just the regular old ABC's. Your littles can use the lowercase or the uppercase letters to put the ABC's in order. This is definitely a great review for the beginning of the year. Especially with your littles that are struggling just a tad.

The third activity is called Name It. The instructions are easily displayed on the top card and you again will use the alphabet cards that were used in the first two activities. Your littles will place the cards upside down and draw a letter. Once the letter is drawn and identified, they will have to come up with an item that begins with that same letter. It's easy as that!!!

First, sorry that this picture is lopsided. I can't seem to fix it.

Anyways, this is the final activity included in the pack. It is called In the Beginning. Your littles will sort the picture cards to the word cards. The word card and the picture card should match. Every letter of the alphabet is included in the activity. Along with easy directions for your littles.

This packet was very easy to print on cardstock, laminate, and cut out. It took very little preparation and it is definitely worth getting for Kindergarten and First Grade!!!

Check out out Tanya Dwyer's blog as well. She has been blogging for about 7 months now. She links up in all kinds of linky parties and has very detailed posts. Check it out and become her latest follower. Tell her who sent you!!
Also, you can check out her blog for a post on one of my TpT items!!

Sunday, July 29, 2012

50 Follower Giveaway!!!

Yay! I have 50 followers! I have been watching the numbers go up daily!

For everyone's support, I have decided to host a giveaway! One lucky person will get to pick any 2 items from my TpT store! Let other's know about this giveaway!

Here are my items...

Grammar and Punctuation Rule Book

 Word Wall Cards: 2nd 100

Yummy in my Tummy: Addition and Subtraction to 12

Word Wall Cards: 1st 100 HFW

Thematic Take-Home Bags: All Year Bags

"Going Fishing" Monthly Journal Prompts

September Calendar Cards

October Calendar Cards

"Doing the Word Wall"

a Rafflecopter giveaway

A To Do Linky Party

To help myself get organized for my last week before school starts, I'm linking up in the To-Do List Linky party at Fabulous 4th Grade Froggies.

I start summer school next week. We have summer school the first two weeks before school actually begins to help get the students who struggle a little more in school mode. It is by no means going to get them back on target, especially when we only meet in the mornings.

Anywho, here's my to-do list for the next 3 weeks...

1. Finish my calendar board.

2. Finish my Welcome door display.

3. Set-up my anchor chart wall.

4. Plan for the first 2 or 3 weeks with the first grade team.

5. Print off and make my Grammar and Punctuation Rule Book.

6. Print and make student writing growth books.

7. Create math centers for the first couple of weeks.

8. Spray paint my garage sale find!!!

9. Create some anchor charts.

10. and much, much more...I just can't think of them all.

Thursday, July 26, 2012

Daily 5 & CAFE: Where to Begin

Some of my colleagues and I met at school today to discuss Daily 5 and CAFE. No one at our school has implemented the management system before and several of us are going to try this coming year.

We met in my room so that everyone could see how I had set up my Daily 5 and CAFE boards. Even though I have been at the school for 2 years, this is going to be my first year as a permanent resident!!! Yay! I love that I got to share all the research and items I had found and made with everyone!

I thought since it went well at school today and I hopefully helped everyone understand it better, that I should do a post about it for other newbie Daily 5 and CAFE users.

Here it is....

First, I shared my set up of the Daily 5 board. I posted earlier that I purchased the headers from Kylie at Down Under Teacher.

Up at the top I have the choice Read to Self, Read to Someone, and Word Work. Down below I have Listen to Reading, Read with Teacher, and Work on Writing. The Read with Teacher choice is not an original choice in the Daily 5 book by the"The Sisters". However, down below you will see why I think it is important to include that choice.

This is a close up of how I'm going to have the rotation work in my classroom. I only have enough time for three rotations. Each little will have a clip with their name on it for each chain. Sorry I haven't done that yet. I will post a picture later that shows exactly what I mean.

When my littles walk into the classroom each morning, one of their morning procedures will be to make their Daily 5 choices. However, one choice will possibly be chosen for them. If I plan on meeting with a guided reading group or a strategy group, their clip will already by on the Read with Teacher. So that little will really only have two other choices to make.

I am also going to require that each little picks Read to Self once per day. So really some littles might have just one choice to make for that day.

Here is my CAFE board...

I haven't had a chance to put up the goal papers for the post-it notes yet, but they will be up. This board is behind my reading table so that it can be referred to during guided and strategy groups.

Here is a close up (Sorry for the glare.) ...

Ok, now here is the best part and what my colleagues all wanted copies of. I have spent hours and hours and hours thinking and planning, thinking again and planning again on how to begin the Daily 5 and CAFE process. I'm not going to lie, I have shed some tears trying to figure this out. At one point I felt like giving up, but I didn't and I am soooooooooo glad that I didn't!

First, using the Daily 5 and CAFE book, I planned out a possible schedule as to what it would look like in my classroom. I wanted to still use guided reading groups because it is part of the reading program in my district so I had to think of a way to use guided reading and strategy groups.

Everyday of the week I will give three mini lesson each day. But the instruction I give to my small groups will look different daily.

On Mondays and Fridays, I plan on having strategy groups and student conferences.

On Tuesdays, Wednesdays, and Thursday, I plan on have guided reading groups.

Some of my littles might get small group instruction more days than others because I might have a little in a guided reading group and a strategy group. Remember, strategy groups are to used to provide instruction to littles that need extra coaching on a specific goal and strategy. During a strategy group, each little will be reading their own "just right" book. Whereas, my guided reading groups every little will be reading the same book and at their "just right" or instructional level. Whew, hopefully that makes sense. :/

Click here to get a copy of my general Daily 5 and CAFE schedule.

The next item that I created and shared today was my Where to Begin Mini Lessons. For me, the hardest part was trying to figure out how I was going to start the process in my classroom. (This is where I shed the tears :(.) I have created a general plan of my first series of mini lessons. Once I get into the classroom I may find that this is not going to work. But it is a STARTING PLACE, and I love having something in front of me to look at and know that I always have a back up.

Click here for the Where to Begin Mini Lessons.

I'd like to give a shout-out to Jessica Meacham for sharing her frontloading mini lessons. They have greatly helped me develop my own plans.

I would love for you to follow me and leave me a comment if you use anything that I created. I love knowing that I have helped others!

These items are unofficial adaptations of the Daily 5 and CAFE Strategies management system by Gail Boushey & Joan Moser. This freebie is not endorsed by the 2 Sisters. Visit http://www.thedailycafe.com for official resources.

P.S.--- I'd like to host a linky party and I have no idea how to. If someone would like to help, it would be greatly appreciated. Email me at kelli.eddleblute@gmail.com. Thanks!

Newbie Blog Hop

I have decided to link up in the newbie blog hop. Check out these other blogs by the newbies!


Tuesday, July 24, 2012

Teacher Must Haves and Classroom Overhaul Day 2

I've linked up with Life Is Sweet...In Kindergarten's Teacher Must Haves Linky Party.

1. My first must have is Mod Podge!!! I could not live without this stuff. I have gone through almost a whole bottle this summer making things. Here are some of the things that I made with Mod Podge's help. :)

These are wooden cubes I bought at Hobby Lobby. I painted them with purple acrylic paint and then Mod Podged the time numbers onto the wood. The Mod Podge worked as a glue and as a sealer! That's why it is amazing!

I had these boring old plastic drawers and I wanted to make them purdy so I bought some scrapbook paper and Mod Podged the paper to the inside of the drawers! They look so much better. :)

2. My second must have are my Mr. Sketch Markers. I absolutely love them. When I was student teaching some of the teachers bought me a pack as a good-bye gift. I could not live without them now! They are the only markers I use for making my anchor charts.

Oh, I also use them as incentives with my littles. They love that they smell. Sometimes when I'm working one-on-one with a little and they are really struggling to stay focused, I let them smell a marker after they complete a task. It works every time!!!

3.  My third must have is my teacher tool box. Even though I just made it and I really haven't gotten to use it, I know that I can't live without it. I love being organized and I have always said that I would love to be a personal organizer if teaching didn't work out. This tool box is the ultimate way to be organized.

Sorry that the picture looks a little rough.

4. This is a must have that I don't know how teachers have gotten away without using for years. The Elmo is a teacher's best friend. I love that you don't have to make transparencies and that you can just slap your paper or book underneath the camera. I also like that you can take a picture or freeze the work. Every teacher needs one of these!

5. My final teacher must have is my teacher bag. I love using Vera Bradley bags because the prints are gorgeous. I just bought this bag this summer. One of my littles got me a gift card to a boutique in my area and they have all kinds of Vera Bradley bags. I walked into the store knowing that was going to be my purchase and they had a new print that matched my color scheme this year! I was over the moon when I saw this bag!!!

Ok, so I spent allllllll day working in my classroom today! I had to force myself to leave.

My daily 5 board is finished!! Thanks to Kylie from Down Under Teacher for the Daily 5 packet. The colors and the polka dots match my classroom decor. I have the regular 5 choices that "The Sisters" wrote about in their book, but I also have a Read with Teacher choice. The charts hanging below are my rotation cards.

The calendar side isn't finished yet. So far, I have the calendar, days of the week, a hundreds chart, and a days in school counter.

This picture is what is to the right of the Calendar and Daily 5 board. I put up the alphabet line and the word wall alphabet letters.

The table is going to eventually be my listening center. You can't really see it but the CD player and headphones are to the left of the paper organizer.

The blank spaces on the wall, in the corner, is going to be where I hang all the anchor charts that we make together in class. So, it will be plain Jane until school starts.

Here is a close up of the leveled library. I used Erica Bohrer's Leveled Library and Word Wall packets to create my classroom library.

The books on the bottom shelf are in author baskets. I have Mercer Mayer, Eric Carle, Dr. Seuss, and Jan Brett baskets.

I plan on going back tomorrow to finish my CAFE board because we are having a Daily 5 and CAFE book study in my room on Thursday. What is the most important thing to keep in mind when implementing Daily 5 and CAFE into your classroom? I'd like to hear what you have to say so that I can share with my colleagues.

P.S. I also plan on creating my birthday board and helpers board tomorrow. So come back to check it out!!