Daily 5: Work on Writing and I PICK

Hello hello! Happy Friday to all! It’s another hot day around here and we’re all doing what we can to stay cool. Thank you parents for following the heat index schedule all week. Next week looks like it will be cooler, so we should be back to our normal schedule on Tuesday- remember no school on Monday! How could you forget? πŸ˜‰

Around here, we’ve been busy practicing our Daily 5 stamina (stamina means doing something for a long period of time). Each day we continue to practice Read to Self, and today we read for 12 minutes! Wow! Because we have been adding 1 minute on to our stamina each day, the time truly passes by fast and the kids do a great job sitting in their spots and reading the whole time. After Read to Self, they are always so excited to see if we made our reading stamina goal for the day. It’s good motivation!

Work on Writing

After we practice our Read to Self stamina, we move on to our Work on Writing stamina. Why do we write each day? TO BECOME BETTER WRITERS! πŸ™‚

I-Chart

I-Chart

We come up with expectations together. The kids say how they should be acting and what they should look like during this time. We even come up with rules for what the teacher should be doing!

The kids know that we write each day because it’s fun, we can be creative, and it helps us become better writers. The best way to become a better write is to write more- so that’s what we do each day! The expectations are simple: get started right away, stay in one spot, and write the whole time.

Writing

Writing

We do a lot of modeling of what this looks like. Students come up to the front of the room and show us how it should look….

The right way!

The right way!

like this! Here is a friend showing us the correct way to get his materials, get started, and write the whole time. The class watches him do the correct model. Then, we ask him to show us the incorrect way to do Work on Writing. During this time, he might walk around the room, talk to a friend, or stare at the ceiling. The kids love this part because it’s so silly. Finally, we ask him to correct this “bad” behavior and once again show us the right way.

Watching other kids model the correct behaviors helps reinforce how we should be acting and behaving during certain times of the day.

Once we’ve modeling the behaviors and gone over the expectations, the students get their materials and practice writing!

Writing

Writing

Writing

Writing

We only practice for 3 minutes the first day. After 3 minutes, we clean up and talk about if we all followed the expectations and wrote the whole time. Then, we practice writing for 3 minutes again.

Writing!

Writing!

Writing!

Writing!

Writing!

Writing!

The kids know they can sit anywhere they’d like, as long as they can focus and write the whole time. (This does take practice and it’s something we work on each day- how to pick a good spot)

Writing!

Writing!

 

Each day, we add on 1 more minute of stamina. Right now, we’re writing for 7 minutes! It’s a fantastic way to become better writers and something we work hard on each day!

I PICK

From Pinterest!

From Pinterest!

During Read to Self, we spend a lot of time going over how to pick good fit books for ourselves. Sometimes students want to pick a book that isn’t right for them just because they think it’s cool or it’s from a movie they like or they saw someone else reading it. It’s important they learn how to pick a book that they can understand and read independently. To solve this- let me introduce Daily 5’s I PICK method! Hooray!

As a model, I show the students 3 different books: a dictionary, a picture book, and a chapter book. I tell the students I’m trying to find a book that is a good fit for me. First I look at the dictionary. I show them all the little words and try to pronounce a few (amid giggles). πŸ™‚

I tell them that this book doesn’t interest me and I don’t comprehend many of the words. It isn’t a good fit for me.

I move to the picture book. I quickly and easily flip through the pictures. I tell the students that even though I understand the story and know the words, it isn’t interesting to me and I don’t have a purpose to read it.

Finally we go to the chapter book. I read from a page to show the students that I comprehend the words, know the words, and am interested it in. This is a good fit book for me!

After this lesson, we talk about how different books are good fits for different people. The chapter book that was a good fit for me won’t be a good fit for them. It’s important that as we look at each book, we think about the PURPOSE of why we’re reading it, if it is INTERESTING to us, if we COMPREHEND it, and if we KNOW most of the words….. put it together and the letters spell PICK!

Picking good fit books

Picking good fit books

After reviewing how to pick good books that “fit” them, the students got a chance to go in our class library and pick their own good fit books. These are the books they practice reading with during Read to Self time.

Picking books

Picking books

When your child is reading at home, ask them if it is a good fit book. If they comprehend the words, know most of the words, and are interested in it, it’s a great fit for them!

Keep checking back to see all of the things we’re doing in class. Have a great, long weekend!

 

 

Play-doh Letters

Good morning and happy Monday!

First of all, thank you for all adjusting to the heat index schedule today and tomorrow! I know it’s hard to change the start and end times of the day, but it’s truly helping our children stay safe. Thank you!

Last week was a review week for us in phonics. We spent time going over the letters and their formations. We wrote letters on paper, on white boards, and on the ipad. We were letter crazy! πŸ˜‰

It’s important the students understand not only how to make letters, but the different between upper case letters and lower case letters. We practiced making different letters with play-doh to give us a chance to build letters quickly and easily.

What letter are we making?

What letter are we making?

To begin, I wrote a letter on our ipad- which is projected on the screen for the students to see. We talked about what letter it was and if it was upper case or lower case. Then, the students began making the letter!

Q!

Q!

Each kiddo got a small piece of play-doh and had to make the letter that was shown on the i-pad.

Rolling the dough

Rolling the dough

It’s a fun way to practice letter making. It also really helps them remember the formation of each letter.

Smile!

Smile!

Making letters

Making letters

Also, its good fine motor practice. It helps them work with something small and show details.

You can easily do this at home! You can use play-doh, cereal, paint, or beans to have students write letters. Remember, they need to know the different between upper case letters and lower case letters.

See you bright and early tomorrow morning- 8 AM start again!

 

 

 

First Week Activities and Beginning Daily 5 Read to Self

Cheese!

Cheese!

Smile! We are 4 days into first grade and you wouldn’t believe how many things we’ve done already! πŸ™‚

We are spending this first week reviewing many of the concepts and skills from Kindergarten. In math, that means we’ve been practicing number recognition…

 

Find the number!

Find the number!

by playing this fun fly-swatter game. I wrote the numbers 1-12 on the board and had pairs of students go up to the board. I’d call a number out and the kids had to be the first one to “swat” the number.

Where's that number?

Where’s that number?

 

I got it!

I got it!

It was a great way to do a little moving, cheer on our friends, and practice writing numbers.

We also did some number writing…

Hold it up!

Hold it up!

with white boards. I’d call out a number to write and the students wrote it down, held it up, and checked each other’s work. This is a quick way to assess who know their numbers and who might need more practice.

That's the cover!

That’s the cover!

We’re also reviewing “book skills” this week, like the parts of a book. We are finding the cover, the title, and the author/illustrator. When reading with your child at home, point out these parts. It’s important to keep reviewing these things!

Daily 5 Read to Self

On this blog, you’re going to hear A LOT about Daily 5. The Daily 5 is a way to set up your literacy time to ensure that each day, students are practicing 5 important literacy skills- reading to self, reading to someone, writing, listening to reading, and word work.

You introduce these skills one at a time. Right now, we’re practicing Read to Self. The first day, we practice how we should read (eyes on our books, staying in one spot, starting right away, etc) and work on our reading stamina (doing something for a long time).

We practicing reading to self for 3 minutes the first day.

Reading to self

Reading to self

Reading to self

Reading to self

Reading to self

Reading to self

 

When I ring the bell, the students clean up, put their book bins away, and gather on the carpet. We review how they did and talk about things we can do better next time. We also have students model the RIGHT WAY to do Read to Self…

Modeling for the class

Modeling for the class

and the wrong way to do Read to Self…

Wrong way!

Wrong way!

This is a very important lesson! It allows the students to be the “teachers” and show the class how Read to Self should look and how it should not look. The kids learn from each other this way.

Each day, we add 1-2 minutes to our reading stamina.

Reading to self

Reading to self

We also talk about picking good spots to read. It’s important they learn to make good choices and sit somewhere where they can focus.

Reading to self

Reading to self

Reading to self

Reading to self

The students know that there are 2 ways they can read during this time- they can read the words, or read the pictures. Reading the pictures is a great skill for emergent readers. Most of the time, the pictures carry the same message as the words. For the beginning readers, reading the pictures is a great place to start!

Reading to self

Reading to self

We are already reading in one spot, the whole time for 7 minutes! Wow!

Each day, we’ll keep practicing our reading! Remember parents or teachers, sign up in the right hand corner with your email address to get updates on new posts. Check back each week to see the new things we’re doing in class! πŸ™‚

See you later!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Day One!

We did it- we survived the first day of school! And not only that, we had a great time in the process!

Day one- done!

Day one- done!

The kiddos were so quiet as they first walked in the room this morning. I always forget how funny the first day of school is- we’re not on our routine yet, they aren’t sure where things are- it’s very overwhelming! But as the day started, they quickly found themselves smiling and enjoying each other!

One of the first things we did was Play-doh sculpting!

Pink play-doh!

Pink play-doh!

I think this is a really fun ice-breaker because who doesn’t love playing with Play-doh?!

Rolling it around!

Rolling it around!

At first, I gave them a little free time just to make different things. They were so excited to share the different objects they had made- pizzas, pancakes, and tacos were among the many. πŸ˜‰

Then, I asked them to sculpt something they loved and could share with the class. I showed them a dog I had made out of play-doh and said, “I made a dog because I have 2 dogs at home. They are so silly and I love them very much. That’s why I made a dog out of my play-doh.” We brainstormed a few different things they could make and then, they were off!

 

My cat!

My cat!

(We made these sculptures on a paper plate so that when we shared them with each other, it would be easy to move and see)

After we finished, we took some time to show and talk with a neighbor.

What did you make?

What did you make?

 

The kids were SO excited when they found out they could keep these play-dohs for themselves! It’s a fun treat for them and a great way to get to know the kids in the class. (Teachers- you can grab this activity at my TpT storeΒ here!)

Pete says, "It's all good!"

Pete says, “It’s all good!”

One of my FAVORITE books is Pete the Cat, Rocking in my School Shoes. I love reading it to the first graders and hearing them giggle along with Pete and help read the repeating parts.

A few weeks before school, I found this AWESOME school tour-Pete the Cat School Tour– for free on Pinterest. I printed it out and knew I’d use it this year. Because of the new addition, and teachers being in all different places, it was a great way to explore the rooms of the building AND look for Pete the Cat. But, Pete is such a tricky cat and we couldn’t find him in any of the rooms we looked in. He wasn’t in the office, the gym, the library, or the art room.

Guess where we did find him?

Pete!

Pete!

He was in our room! (Their faces were so cute when we found Pete in our classroom! They told me I had to watch him all during lunch and recess so he didn’t run away again!) I took that job very seriously! πŸ™‚

We finished out the morning by coloring in our own “school shoes”.

Shoes!

Shoes!

Rocking in his school shoes

Rocking in his school shoes

Are those good shoes? Goodness, yes!

Are those good shoes? Goodness, yes!

After lunch and recess, we calmed down with yoga (parents- we do yoga/stretching every day after recess as a way to relax and get back into “school mode”) and finished coloring our shoes.

Then we had one more Pete project to work on!

Pete!

Pete!

We made some Pete’s ourselves! It started with this pattern- Pete Pattern– which I downloaded from Pinterest and copied onto yellow and blue paper. First, the students cut out all the pieces…

Cutting!

Cutting!

Very focused

Very focused

and then they did some gluing…

Making Pete!

Making Pete!

and some drawing…

Making the face!

Making the face!

 

and voila! We had ourselves a room full of Pete’s!

 

All done!

All done!

The students drew on the eyes, nose, mouth, and whiskers themselves. Each one was a little different and unique in their own special way. Too cute!

I hung them up outside the room…

Pete is rocking in our hallway!

Pete is rocking in our hallway!

So that’s how we spent our first day of school! (Of course, we also spent a lot of time on expectations, school rules, and routines. But this was the fun stuff we did!)

Parents- make sure to sign up with your email address (along the top right hand side of the site) to get email updates of new posts. Be sure to check out the blog weekly to see all the fun things we are doing in class! It’s a great way to start a conversation with your child and have them share what they did in school!

Thanks for making the first day so fun! I can’t wait to see you all again tomorrow! πŸ™‚

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

And it begins….

The new school year is here! Although it doesn’t quite seem real Β yet, students will be in their seats bright and early Monday morning. I’m not sure where the summer went, but I’m looking forward to a new bunch of first graders and starting off the year. πŸ™‚

BUT- first things first!

TpT Sale!!!!

TpT Sale!!!!

Teachers Pay Teachers is having a HUGE sale starting tomorrow and going through Monday. I’ve already set up my store for 20% off! And if you enter the promo code- BTS13- you’ll get an additional % off!

Please check it out and use this as an opportunity to try new things, get new products, and buy the things off your wish list!

Here is a link to my store:Β MY TpT STORE!Β or you can look along the right hand side of this blog to see my products listed!

End of summer activities

I’ve been trying to fit in everything possible these last few days of summer:

Farmers Market

Farmers Market

My mom and I visited a new, local farmers market. It wasn’t huge, but we found a lot of great things!

Yumm-o

Yumm-o

We both left with some great bread, bottled Asian sauces, and fresh corn. Yum πŸ™‚

Family!

Family!

We also all just got together for our 2nd annual Family Game/Pinterest Food Night!

Last year my sister had everyone over for a game night and as added fun, told us all to bring an appetizer that we’d pinned on Pinterest, but hadn’t made before. We all had such a good (and filling) time that we decided to do it again this year! Not only is it fun to get together with the family, but it’s fun to make something you’ve pinned, but haven’t gotten around to making. The food was great- and included taco pizza, bruschetta, Ruben dip, caramel apples, macaroni cups, and peanut butter/jelly/Nutella/and marshmallow mini sandwiches) Thanks Pinterest πŸ™‚

School News

We had meet and greet on Thursday. I love meet and greet for 2 reasons. One being the fact that I get to meet my new students and their families. It’s a great chance for them to see the room, meet me, and feel more comfortable when Monday rolls around. And two, I love seeing my old students who come say hi! (I cannot believe my first Β class of kiddos are now fourth graders! Agh!)

I snapped some pics of my room- it’s finally done!- before the families got there.

Word Wall

Word Wall

I’m using this white board for my word wall and have my sound cards above it. (Do you notice something missing? Notice a letter missing? Over the summer, we all moved to different rooms. My whole room got moved and everything found it’s way here- except my D card! Really? How did I lose it!? I know I’ll find it shoved in something a few months down the road!)

Desks

Desks

On each desk I had the white letter- from the office- and a folder that contained a student information sheet and a blog consent form (I have parents sign off if they will allow their students picture on this blog). I’ll send home much more “getting to know you” things in the next week, but I wanted these things first.

 

Library

Library

All the kids who came to visit loved exploring the library! It’s going to a be a favorite place in the room. Β πŸ™‚

Windows

Windows

I know it’s dark/hard to see, but I love the way the paper balls add a pop of color to the room. (I actually got these from my sister-which were from her baby shower- and knew I could use them in the class!)

Our wall!

Our wall!

And lastly, here is my miscellaneous wall! The bottom part is where we have our gathering rug and calendar items. I love our calendar time in the morning, and it teaches the students many important skills. Each day we cover the days of the week, months of the year, the weather, how many days we’ve been in school, our location, and more!

Above that I have our Daily 5 posters. I thought those were so cute and hit all the important parts of each choice. On the other side, I decided I wanted some posters with visual cues for the students on the parts of speech and punctuation. I’m hoping these will help Β πŸ™‚

That’s it for now! I’m actually going to run into school to do a few last minute things. I’ll be sure to post about our first day- I’m just as excited as the kids!

 

 

Homemade Classroom Bench (and new classroom pics!)

 

Molly says hello!

Molly says hello!

Goooooooooood morning!

First things first, Target is a dangerous place for me to go. I head in for hangers and I leave with collar bling! Although, I’m not really complaining because I love it and buy all sorts of ridiculous things for our dogs. This definitely fits in that category, but I think it’s too cute! It’s on a rubber band, like a hair tie, and you can slide it onto the collar. Oh Target, you have the best things! πŸ™‚

Anyways, I’m continuing on getting ready for the new school year (meet and greet is Thursday-agh!) and trying to do as much as I can at home to prepare.

Crate Bench

One of the things I always see on Pinterest are the cute seats people make out of the plastic crates.

Last year, Stephen helped me make them and they were really cute- and I loved that I could store things inside of them. I used them instead of chairs at my guided reading table.

But, after a year of use, the fluff inside of them weren’t cutting it and since kids had spilled ketchup on some of the seats during “eat lunch with the teacher”Β since I got new chairs for my guided table this year, I knew I wasn’t going to use them anymore. But, I knew I loved the idea of them.

This year, I started unpacking the thousands of boxes in my room last week and arranging things in the room. The new rooms are connected to the neighboring room with a fold-able wall. We aren’t suppose to put big, heavy furniture in front of that wall, but I knew I needed something (that could be easy to move)

To Pinterest I went! And, everywhere I saw people making benches out of the plastic crates. This, I thought, was perfect because I could still use it for storage, it would be light-weight, and gave the kids a place to sit.

I went out to buy the things I’d need:

The cast of characters

The cast of characters

I bought 4 black plastic crates (from Target), 4 cloth bins to go inside the plastic crates (from Target), 2 yards of fabric (from Hobby Lobby), and a foam roll (from Hobby Lobby)

(Side note: Hobby Lobby sells those foam rolls in different thicknesses. The 1 inch thickness was $15.00. Β The 2 inch thickness was $36.00- but I was NOT going to spend that on foam. Solution- I bought the 1 inch foam, cut it in half, and put it on top of each other! Now, I had 2 inch foam for half the price!)

To begin, I lined up the crates and zip tied that together.

Securing the crates

Securing the crates

At first, I zip tied them at the top, but it made the crates buckle in towards each other (in other words, they weren’t staying in a line), so I figured out to do the connecting together in the middle. I probably did about 3 zip ties per crate.

Then, I laid the foam roll on the top of the crates to see how long it needed to be. I cut off the excess with scissors. Next, I folded the foam in half, noticed I could make it into 2 layers, and cut it into two pieces- as mentioned above. This way, the foam would be thicker.

I put the fabric (upside down) on the ground and put the foam in the middle of it. (Sorry there are no pictures of this, I was really into the process) πŸ™‚

I tried hot-gluing the 2 foam pieces together, but that didn’t work at all, so I just left them as it. Then, I just wrapped the foam like I would a present, using the fabric. I used the hot glue to secure it at all points.

Voila!

Voila!

When you flip the pad over, it’ll look wonderful! The last step is to put in the cloth crates and you’ve got yourself a bench!

Inside the crates

Inside the crates

I like these bins for the games or toys I have for the kids during free time or indoor recess. There isn’t really any other place I can put these that they’d have easy access to, but these bins are perfect.

I’m planning on putting the bench near where I have my classroom library so it’ll be a great place for them to read and relax.

Classroom Sneak-peak

Like I said, I’ve been busy getting my classroom together for the school year. There is still tons to do, but I have already done a few areas.

Objectives

Objectives

Here is my new objectives board. I found those labels on Pinterest for free, printed them, laminated them, and attached magnets. Each day, I’ll write in our objective for that subject. I separated the subjects with magnetic border I found- which, I’m obsessed with. It’s so easy to use and looks crisp!

MAPS

MAPS

 

Here is my new classroom MAPS (MAPS are part of the Diana Day Vision Management program, the discipline system we use at our school. They help students understand the expectations. M stands for materials, A for attitude, P for placement, and S for speaking voice) You change out the words or pictures to help students see what they should be using, where they should be sitting, and what their voice should be.

Library!

Library!

Here is my new library area. I’ve got some comfy places for the kiddos to read and hope they’ll enjoy it πŸ™‚

Daily 5

Daily 5

Here’s how I’m storing my Daily 5 Word Work boxes this year. I always keep them in those plastic bins- they are easy to see, grab, and use- and I like having them all together like this. I think I’ll introduce them one at a time, and maybe say the kids can only use the ones on the top row at first, but as time goes on and they learn all the games, they will be able to choose any box they’d like.

That’s it for now!

Enjoy your Sunday. I think Stephen and I are off to take the puppies for a walk! πŸ™‚

 

Number Sticks and Rewards

I want this!

I want this!

Happy Thursday! I’d like to start today by saying that last weekend, during my marathon trip to Wal-mart (as talked about here), I came across this bike. I LOVE it! I don’t have a bike right now and last time we wanted to go for a ride I had to borrow my sister-in-laws. During that ride, I told Stephen I wanted a bike with a basket (to which he replied, “Like an old lady?”) πŸ˜‰

Despite his opinion, I absolutely love everything about this bike and just had to share it!

Number sticks

I’ve been working on some things for my classroom, one of them being new number sticks. (I have sticks with numbers written on them to use as a way of calling students randomly.) In the past, I’ve always just used plain old Popsicle sticks and written on them with a black marker. They served their purpose, but just weren’t so cute. This year, I got on Pinterest and looked up number sticks. When you do, you’ll find lots of different examples and ways to make them. One I liked best was from the blog “A Cupcake for the Teacher”, and the page can be foundΒ here. I printed off the numbers, got them laminated, and hot glued them to a stick.

Number sticks

Number sticks

(P.S. The cute cup was made by one of my sister’s for my other sister’s baby shower a few months ago. When the party was over, I snagged them and knew I could find a use for them in my classroom!)

These are a cute and simple way to randomly call on students, make partners or groups, and keep track of who is answering.

Classroom Rewards

Another thing I revamped this summer was how I did classroom rewards. I’ve tried a bunch of different ways to reward students for good behavior/doing something good/being respectful, etc. This started with…

number 1. A “This Class Rocks!” jar where students could put a rock in the jar when they did something well. When the class filled the jar, we got a prize like a movie day or an extra recess. (But, I didn’t love the class reward system because I felt like it wasn’t motivating to all students)

so I moved on to number 2. A “Caught You Being Good” net. I put a net up in my room and when I caught students being good, had them fill out a piece of paper and put it in the net. On Fridays, I would pull out 5 names to pick prizes. (But, I didn’t love this because even though many students got slips, only 5 would get prizes per week. I also didn’t like having to buy so many prizes!)

so I moved on to number 3.Β I made a bulletin board with cups hanging from it and because it was easy, I used straws to reward the students. When they did something well, I gave them a straw. They put the straws in their own cup. When they gained a certain amount, they could trade in their straws for a certain prize- which were classroom rewards. For example, 7 straws could be turned in for the “Stinky Feet” prize, where they can take their shoes off all day. 20 straws could be turned in for “Lunch with the teacher”. 15 straws could be turned in for them to bring a stuffed animal to school. (I LOVED the idea of these types of prizes because they don’t cost anything and the kids LOVE them! However, because of how I had it set up, it took up too much physical space in my classroom)

FINALLY THIS YEAR….

Rewards!

Rewards!

I knew I wanted to keep the same “prizes” for my kids because it worked great (which, by the way, I downloaded for FREE on TpTΒ HERE!)

But I didn’t want something that I had to post on a wall, because I don’t have the space this year (also, because all the straws were on a wall, we did have some problems with kids taking other kids straws). I wanted it to be something they could have in their desk.

So, I did what any good teacher does and stole borrowed an idea another teacher in my building does- pencil pouches! The same pouches I used for my F.R.O.G. books were perfect!

I am going to give one to each student to keep in their desk- not only will this teach responsibility, but also will allow them to see at any time how many they have and not need to congregate around a bulletin board- and instead of straws, I’ll use those plastic coins! I will pass out a coin to students who are on task, who are helping others, or displaying signs of good citizenship, and they will keep them in their pouch. When they want a prize, they will turn in that many coins to earn it!

I’m hoping this is going to be a good rewards system this school year! I’m excited to try it out and see how it goes!

Does anyone have any other ways they’ve tried/or use to reward positive behaviors? What has or hasn’t worked about them?

 

Vacation and F.R.O.G. Books

Heeeelllllooooo! Guess who’s back? Back again?

We are!

Hello!

Hello!

After a fantastic week long vacation in Savannah, Georgia and the Smokey Mountains, we’re home, reunited with the puppies, and I’m already diving head first into school preparations.

Vacation

We left last Saturday and drove about 11 hours to Dalton, Georgia. We’d hit our driving tolerance for the day and stayed overnight there. Bright and early the next morning, we finished the 6 hour drive to Savannah!

Forsyth Fountain

Forsyth Fountain

We had such a great time exploring the city! Since it was so hot (about 112 degrees with the humidity), most days we headed out early, relaxed during the hot afternoons, and went back out for dinner. We also went…

Tybee Island!

Tybee Island!

to Tybee Island! It’s a beach town about 10 miles from Savannah and the house we were staying at. You see that bad boy? 179 steps! Doesn’t sound so bad, but it was hot, there is only one hand rail, it was hot, it’s very high up, and did I mention it was hot!? However, I was very proud of myself for climbing it!

We also visited…

Cannon holes

Cannon holes

Fort Pulaski! (In my family, it’s not a vacation until you visit a fort) This one is pretty cool because of all the cannon holes in the outer walls, some with the cannon balls still stuck inside.

At Fort Pulaski

At Fort Pulaski

And, it’s got a great view to the ocean!

My family has been to Savannah many times (although it was Stephen’s first time), but before we went, I made sure to ask them for any recommendations for eating. My sister and brother-in-law told us to check out a roof top bar called Rocks on the Roof, which is on top of the Bohemian hotel. After reading reviews, we decided to head up for an early dinner since it gets very crowded later in the night.

The view from Rocks on the Roof

The view from Rocks on the Roof

First off- look at that view! Amazing! What was even cooler was watching the barges go by. They…are…HUGE! It was a great experience and of course we ate some delicious food…

Yum!

Yum!

like chicken and waffles!

Honestly though, we spent a lot of our time in Savannah doing this…

Relaxing!

Relaxing!

and sitting here…

Sitting on the dock

Sitting on the dock

and saying hello to these friends…

 

Dolphin!

Dolphin!

Dolphins! The house is on a creek and sometimes, dolphins swim in the creek during low-tide to run the fish up on the shore. We were lucky enough to see two dolphins during our stay!

Our last sunset in Savannah

Our last sunset in Savannah

We were in Savannah for 5 days and then started the drive back home. This time we stopped in Gatlinburg, Tennessee to see these monsters…

the Smokies

the Smokies

It was a terrifying place to drive through such an amazing view! We had time to go on one hike at the Smokey Mountains National Park (which by the way, was HARD and I only made it half way πŸ™‚ )

Hiking!

Hiking!

All in all, we had a fantastic time and it went by fast! It was a great way to end the summer! πŸ™‚

F.R.O.G. Binders

We went to Wal-Mart this morning because, among other reasons, we had absolutely no food in the house. And, among other reasons, you know I had to stop in the back-to-school section. And, for reasons ALL teachers know, you know I left with a TON of school related things. I can’t help myself! It’s a problem πŸ˜‰

But I was on a mission to put together my students F.R.O.G. books- which stands for First graders Responsible, Organized, and Growing. Basically it’s a binder with different things in it that my students bring to school every day and take home every night. It’s a way to stay in communication with the families and teach the students to be responsible and organized.

If you’re interested- you can get my F.R.O.G. book pack at my TpT store here:

F.R.O.G. Binder Pack!

I started by printing off all the papers I’d need to put in each binder. (Make sure you have enough ink if you’re doing this at home- I’ve realized all my school printing is making quite the dent in my ink cartridges!)

The cover of the binder looks like this…

Cover

Cover

I write the student’s name at the top, which I’ll do once we get a set class roster. Here’s a look at what I put inside the F.R.O.G. book…

Note/Money pouch

Note/Money pouch

The first thing in the binder is a clear, plastic case which is the notes and money pouch. It’s a place where parents can put any money they need to send to school or important notes they need to get to me. The kids learn to check this every morning when they get to school and since it’s in the front and clear, they have a better chance of remembering to show me. (One year I didn’t go this, and really regretted it. The kids always were forgetting things in the folder. This pouch really is worth it!) I bought a pack of 25 of these from US school supply for $13.00. This is way cheaper than anywhere else I’ve seen. Here’s a link:Β Plastic pouches!

The next part of the binder is…

Contract

Contract

the F.R.O.G. book contract. It explains to parents and students what the binder is and how to be responsible for it. I also make the very first “homework” assignment that the parents AND students need to sign the bottom to show that they understand.

Next up is…

Communication is very important!

Communication is very important!

the communication log! To me, this is the most important part of the binder! It’s a place where I can write quick notes to parents and they can write me notes, ask questions, or communicate to me. It’s such a great place to keep track of the communication happening and very quick and easy to respond. I have parents ask questions here, ask for suggestions, or write me little notes. The cutest note was a parent last year who wrote me a note to say, “My daughter is always talking about you at home and mentioned you get engaged! Congrats!” It was very adorable.

Following that is…

Take home folder!

Take home folder!

the all important take home folder! (These were a buy at Wal-Mart this morning- only $0.35!) I like the ones that always have the holes punched in because it’s easy to put in the binder. I also like these more plastic-y (very scientific word use here) because they last longer!

Also…

Letter sheet

Letter sheet

I put in this alphabet worksheet. It’s a good reference for the kids and can be used to practice letter, sounds, or words.

Not pictured- 1. I also plan on putting in a sight words sheet for students who need practice with these or references for writing.

2. Another IMPORTANT part of this binder is the behavior chart. I put in a weekly behavior chart that the students color each day (green, yellow, or red) and must be initial by parents. I check in the morning to see who has it signed and if they do, I put a sticker by it. This is fantastic because it lets parents know each day how their child behaved and another way to communicate and document problems. (I used to put this in a sleeve, but the kids struggled with taking it out and putting it away each morning and afternoon. Now, I put it in the front inside binder pocket)

 

3. The very last thing I put in is a reading chart. We have 3 reading benchmarks for first grade- in fall the goal is reading 20 words per minute, winter is 40, and spring is 60. We benchmark them at these times, but also progress monitor each month. We keep a chart in the back where students keep track of how many words they are reading and can color in boxes to show that many words. We also put in a chart for their MAP scores and goals so they can see their progress with that as well.

Well that’s it for now! The binders are almost done and ready to be brought to school tomorrow! Tomorrow will be my first day in my new room, so we’ll see how overwhelmed I get. Let the unpacking begin! πŸ™‚