Tuesday, August 27, 2013

The Beginnings of a Great Year? and Daily 5 Praise Necklaces {Freebie}

Holy Moly! Today I just finished day 5. The last 5 days have been a mix of emotions. Sad that I have to leave my little man for the first time since April, but extremely excited to start this year long adventure with my new 25 little ones.
I have been M.I.A. since the beginning of school because I have been trying to adjust to my new busy life. I was so used to coming home from school to just crash on the couch, eat dinner, do some school things, and head to bed whenever I felt. Ummmm not so much anymore. I have definitely had to become more efficient with my spare time. The good news is that I feel like I'm also getting more things done during the school day. I am getting way better at managing my time.
I am still working on finding time to take pictures of the things we are doing in the land of first grade. That is a goal that I am working on. I have taken a few but nothing really worth sharing.
I did want to share some milestones that my little ones and I have reached in the 5 days that we have been together. I was so proud of them this morning. Yesterday, we began our first day of Daily 5. We started with Read to Self. We began by creating an I-Chart and then we began working on our stamina right away. My little ones made it 3 minutes on the first try. We only practiced once the first day. I wanted to keep it positive and as short as possible so that they didn't get burned out on the first day.
But today! Holy Moly! We practiced building our stamina twice. The first time they made it 5 minutes and the second time they made it 7 minutes. The only reason we had to stop was because someone came into the room and it threw them off task.
I think what really helped today was my introduction of my Daily 5 Praise necklaces. Today, I showed them by Stamina King and Queen necklaces. Actually, one little girl noticed them hanging on the board and asked what they were for. I had completely forgotten about them. So, I introduced them, gave it a whirl, and BAM, we built our stamina to 7 minutes!
I was so proud of them and I think they were more proud of themselves than I was. Some of the first graders did Daily 5 in kindergarten and I can see a huge difference in my little ones this year compared to last year.
Here is the link to my Daily 5 praise necklaces. Check out this FREEBIE!

I am so excited for this group of little ones. I can already tell that they are strong readers and writers. Here's to the beginnings of a great year! Yippy Skippy!

Saturday, August 17, 2013

What's on your TpT Wishlist?

I have seriously been waiting all month for the big TpT Back to School sale. I have caved and already bought some things so that I could get a head start before school starts.
What are some things that you have wish listed? I could always use some great resources.
Here are some things on my wish list that I plan on purchasing on Sunday, and some things that I have added to my store this summer (just in case you missed some of them).
Items on my wish list:
 Common Core Writing Workshop Mini-Lessons: Unit 1-Personal
Mrs. Wheeler's Writing Workshop Mini-Lessons Unit 1
A Writer's Workshop Folder {PK-1}
Rowdy in Room 300's Writer's Workshop Folder
Beginning of Year Assessments for First Grade
Mrs. Wheeler's B.O.Y. First Grade Assessment Pack
Common Core Differentiated Morning Work for August/September
Jodi Southard's August & September Morning Work to complete my set.
a bright year {a craftivity}
A Cupcake for the Teacher's A Bright Year Craftivity.
And here are some resources that I have added to my store this summer. Each picture will take you to the direct link to my TpT store.


Thursday, August 15, 2013

Back to School TpT Sale from Firstie Friends!

I am linking up with some of my Firstie Friends. This Sunday and Monday TpT is having their Back to School 2013 sale and we are adding an extra 20% off all of our TpT items.
Be sure to check out all of our blogs and TpT stores for all of your Back to School resources! These girls have some amazing things that I can't wait to get my hands on!
Thank you @[1566332788:2048:Lisa Weber Mattes]!! Ha! :)
 Be sure to add the code BTS13 when you checkout!

Classroom Management: Clip System or Class Dojo???

The key to a VERY successful year is having a meaning classroom management system in place.
I have tried managing my little ones behavior two different ways. Well, maybe three...
Two things I have used in the past are the clip system and Class Dojo. Have you every heard of Class Dojo or used it?
I used Class Dojo my first year when I taught second grade. I was actually going to give it a try again this year until I made my own clip system. I'm going to explain how I have used both in the past and what I "plan" on doing this year. My plan might change depending on the needs of my little ones.
Classroom Management: The Clip System
During the first week of school, I introduce the clip system to my little ones. We go over classroom rules, I show them the clip chart, teach them how to use, and we practice modeling good and bad behavior choices.
Once I have gone over my expecations with my little ones, I send home this parent letter. I want to keep them as informed as possible so that they know what my behavior expectations are.
Something new that I am going to try out this year is adding the positive reinforcement aspect to the clip system. In the past, all I had was green, yellow, red, and blue. Once one of my little ones moved to a spot they could not move back to green. I was never really a fan of this style.
So this year if one of my little ones moves to yellow they have the opportunity to move back to green, but once they move to orange or blue they can not move back to yellow or green. Hopefully that's not too confusing.
To keep parents informed and to keep track of my little one's behaviors, they will be given time at the end of each day to fill in their behavior calendar. This is also something new. Last year, my little ones filled in their calendars but the parents didn't see them until grade cards went home. As a grade-level, we decided that it is important for that calendar to go home every night so that our little ones can be held accountable for their behavior and the choices that they make during the school day.
Here is an example of the behavior calendar that I will send home nightly.
Another option I created is to send home a different calendar each week. I like the monthly version because it saves on paper, but some people/parents prefer a weekly update.
Another thing I am doing differently is adding point values to my good behavior colors. I want to award my little ones for making good choices. Now! I'm not going to just let my little ones move up the chart because of expected behavior. I am going to be looking for the student who goes above and beyond. I am not the teacher that just hands of "treats" for no reason. So most days, my little ones will probably just be on Ready to Learn.
If one of my little ones moves to purple or pink, they will get a "good behavior" ticket at the end of the day. I just used the black and white version and printed the tickets on colored paper. The green tickets are worth 1 point, purple is worth 2 points, and pink is worth 1 point. (I already have them printed and cut. I just forgot to take a picture. :/ )
If you would like a copy of my Classroom Management: The Clip System pack click the link or the picture below.
 Now, have you ever tried Class Dojo???
When I taught second grade, my little ones absolutely loved it! I used it one while still using the clip system.

It is really pretty cool. If for some reason my little ones don't respond to the clip system I will give this a try.

Here are a couple of features:

1. You can add the names of your students and they can choose their avatars. They are like little cute monsters.

2. The get points for positive behaviors and negative behaviors. You can preset what behaviors your looking for.

3. You can display it one your SMART Board so your little ones can give themselves the points just like they would move their clips.

4. You can use your Droid or iPhone as a remote to control the board.

5. Parents can have access to the website to track their little ones behavior.

6. You can print behavior progress reports to send home to the parents.

7. It keeps a percentiale tracker of how many positive and negative points your giving out. So, I tried to stay 80% positive throughout the entire school year.

8. You can use it to take attendance.

9. There is also a timer you can use.

There are so many more things you can do with this. It is a really great management tool that is fun for you and your little ones. Plus, it's FREE!

(I tried to take screen shots but it wouldn't let me. You'll just have to go and check it out yourself. Click the picture above for the direct link!)

Yours in Teaching,

Monday, August 12, 2013

New Crate Labels For My New Crates

I am so wishing that I could have gone into school today, but I am staying home with my little guy. We are going to enjoy the last couple of days we have together. I am NOT ready to hand him over to the babysitter. Time went way too fast. :(
I haven't really worked on many school projects at home lately. But here is something I threw together yesterday morning. I don't have any pictures yet because this was definitely a last minute project.
This year, I am adding some crates to my room. One of the crates will hold all my Rocket Math papers. Rocket Math is something new to our district this year. It is something that we are all doing in grades 1-5. Everyday we will be required to practice math facts for 10-15 minutes. Each class will be using the Rocket Math program. It's very interesting and something that I know I'm not quite comfortable with yet. Once I figure out how to get it to run smoothly, I think it will be great to have every student practicing math facts at their own level.
The two other crates I'm adding are for writing. One crate will hold my I Can Writing Menu papers. I'm going to always have multiple copies of each writing choice that way my little ones can have everything right at their finger tips. This resource is for Work on Writing during our Daily 5 time.
The last crate will be for my early finishers writing activities. My little ones will be able to go to this crate when they are done with their writing workshop writing.
Here are the labels I created for my three new crates. I am going to print them on cardstock and laminate them. Then I plan on using binder rings to hang them from the crates. If the binder rings won't work, I will just hot glue them to the crates.

Happy Monday Made It!

Saturday, August 10, 2013

Classroom Video Tour and a Sale!

Ok friends, I left school yesterday thinking I was pretty much finished with my room besides copying papers (I almost got into a fight with the copier yesterday. :/), but I dreamed up more things to add to my to do list while I was sleeping.
Since I thought I was finished I went ahead and did a video tour of my classroom. First, I apologize I sound so depressing. I had been there almost 7 hours and I was exhausted.
Here is the tour of my first grade classroom! 
To celebrate my (almost) finished classroom (I don't think it will ever be finished.) I am throwing a sale Saturday, August 10th - Monday, August 12th. Everything in my TpT store is 20% off! So hurry and get some last minute things before school starts, if you haven't started already!
Click on the picture to check out my store.

Wednesday, August 7, 2013

A Giveaway from Growing Firsties

Have you checked out the giveaway hosted by Lisa from Growing Firsties? Well, if you haven't you need to ASAP!
She is hosting an amazing giveaway with different prizes every day. I have donated my Pirate vs. Princess Fiction Book Study Unit in today's giveaway. You could also win a fabulous 31 tote.
Make sure you check back each day through August 9th. Click on the picture to enter Lisa's giveaway!
Now, for a classroom redo update. I have been in to school the last two days and I plan on going back tomorrow. My goal is to be finished by Friday so that I don't have to go in next week. That's probably wishful thinking, but I need to have a goal in mind.
When I'm completely done I will post a video tour of my room for all to see. Keep checking back because I'd like to have that up this weekend. I'm so excited to show the finished redo.
Tomorrow I will spend the day in the copy room....ugh.
Yours in Teaching,

Monday, August 5, 2013

Organizing All Your New TpT/Pinterest Resources and Planning Long-Term

I am beginning to feel a little overwhelmed with everything that I have going on, everything that I want to do, everything that needs finished, and especially with all the new ideas I want/am/need to implement this coming school year.

How do you deal with all the stress?

I have seen so many amazing ideas out in blogland this summer. My mind is constantly spinning with new ideas and how I can implement them in my classroom.

After talking to my bestest teacher friend last night, I finally think I have something that will help ease all my fears.

Today's post is going to focus on all the new teaching elements I will add to my classroom this year, plus how I plan on organizing my ideas/brain.

Here is goes....

First, here are all the resources I have worked on over the summer to get my littles started on the right foot. I wanted to get as much completed this summer as possible. Now that I am a new mom, I know I won't have as much time once I get home from school to work on grading and creating as much I have been able to do in the past.

These question cards will be printed on colored card stock, laminated, and placed at my guided reading table. We will use them during reading groups to check for understanding of the texts that we read.

I am trying a more positive classroom management tool this year. This year my little ones will be able to move up or down the clip chart depending on their behavior. They will be able to win good behavior tickets to pick out of a coupon book I purchased on Tpt (see below).

Our first grade team has always implemented interactive writing. I just jazzed it up a bit. I added writing sheets for each student to follow along. I only have the fall set ready to go. Each student will have a folder where they place the pre-typed writing or their writing piece in the folder. Just depends on how it's going.

My Grammar and Punctuation Rule Book worked wonders for introducing/practicing grammar rules. It only took 15 minutes, one day per week to implement this. I plan on doing it again this year. I just changed the font and some wording for this year.

Making Words is something that our first grade team did as well. I just made homework practice sheet with the letters all ready to go. Last year, I didn't send this home for homework, but this year I plan on sending it home every Wednesday night for homework, then on Thursday we may or may not do it again together in class. Just depends on how the week is going and what else we are doing in the classroom.

I can't wait to try out my Pirate vs. Princess Book Study Unit. This is something I did during student teaching. Now, I just have all the resources ready to go. I plan on implementing this sometime in September to get my little ones really into reading fiction books.

In first grade we spend some time learning about pumpkins. Last year I didn't have the resources I would have liked to have so I created many graphic organizers and activities to do during that time.

These Reading Response Sheets will be a great addition to reading groups and homework. I plan on teaching my little ones how to use the response sheet in reading group then I will occasionally send them home for extra comprehension homework.

My school purchased a new math curriculum for us this year. I made this pack of resources to go along with the first two chapters of the Go! Math series. I am adding a math focus board to my room this year. It is behind my guided reading table which will also be used for guided math. On the board, I will put these essential question cards and vocabulary cards. There are also several activities to be used during partner time when we have whole group math.

As part of my writing block, I created a writing keepsake. I will use this for monitoring my little ones writing and to send home at the end of the year to their parents. This is something that my little ones will complete on the last day of each month.

Writing has probably been my biggest change so far. Before our writing block only consisted of writing prompts and whole class writing. I hated it! So this year, I am doing writing workshop. I have purchased several different writing resources on TpT (see below) that I plan on using to jazz up my writing block.

Here is one of my last big changes. My littles ones will have a word work menu that they will use during Daily 5.

This is by no means a promotion of my products. I just thought with being overwhelmed it would be a good to reflect on everything by writing and sharing it with other teachers.

Second, here are all the amazing resources I have purchased from other amazing teachers out there. If you click on the pictures it will take to that product for you to get for yourself.

Math All Year! First Grade Common Core Printables!

I plan on using this resource from Laura Martin as independent practice during my math groups.

Guided Math Starter Sticks 1st Grade-Fall {Common Core/TEK

Guided Reading Starter Sticks Fall {Common Core and TEKS A

These guided reading and math starter sticks from A Modern Teacher will be used for just what they say...to get my little ones started at guided reading and guided math.

(For some reason I can't find the link to these resources. I will keep checking.)

Classroom Reward Coupons-50+ Coupons to Reward and Inspire

These classroom coupons will be used as a companion to my classroom management clip system.

Common Core- Writing All Year Long {narrative, information

This writing pack is my biggest addition to writing. I plan on having my little ones choose what they want to write about once narrative, informative, and opinion writing as been introduced to them.

I can write a...Writing Menu

Writing Station Activities for Young Learners

I've already blogged about they two resources, but they will be used during Daily 5 at Work on Writing.


Lastly, here is what I am currently working on at the moment. I created these blank calendars and long term planning sheets to help me organize all the new resources that I have gotten over the summer and to plan long-term for lesson units and the Common Core Standards.


Click here to get your long-term planning calendars and the blank calendar so you can start planning out how your going to implement all your new ideas this school year.
Now, I can't wait until school starts so I can finally put everything into action. Once the school year starts I will be putting up more classroom happening pictures.
Yours in Teaching,