TpT Sale {Morning Work Repost}

We’re still in the midst of summer… or more accurately less than four weeks from the beginning of the school year. But, it sounds MUCH better to say it’s “summer” and not, “it’s almost time for school”. Are you cringing at every back to school commercial on TV? It just can’t be that time yet!

740 × 400But seeing as how the start of the school year is creeping up on us, I wanted to point out that starting tomorrow, August 1st, Teachers Pay Teachers is having an amazing sale. My whole store- First Grade Adventures- is on a 20% sale. This is the perfect time to stock up on everything you need for the start of the school year.

Looking for how to run successful guided reading groups? Click on the picture below to link to my best selling, 5 star rated Guided Reading Basics pack.

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Need new ideas for your writing center? Need to spice up your Daily 5 writing station? Click on the picture below to link to my Ultimate Writing Pack.

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Stuck on science? My Light Pack and Sound Pack are two of my BEST SELLING products. They are completely inclusive science units that are ready to go, with hands-on experiments, NGSS aligned, and wonderfully engaging!

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Another great product is my Reading Comprehension pack. I use them weekly in my student’s homework packets and they are differentiated so you can meet the needs of all the kids in your room!

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Lastly, if you’re just in the frame of mind to think about the first few days of school, check out my First Day of School Pack. There are lots of fun activities included, like Play-Doh sculpting, All About Me activities, and even interest inventories to get to know your new kiddos.

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There are TONS more products, so be sure to check out my store. Click on any of the pictures above or CLICK RIGHT HERE TO LINK TO MY TPT STORE- FIRST GRADE ADVENTURES

1200 × 628Don’t forget, my whole store is already on sale. But you can also add the code “BestYear” and get an additional 8% off. That works out to a 28% discount! This is really the time to stock up on what you need. Get a jump start on the school year!

Speaking of getting ready for the school year, are you still doing traditional morning work? If you are, you REALLY, REALLY, REALLY need to click on this link to read my blog post about why traditional morning work just doesn’t cut it.

I’ve moved away from the traditional “one page a day” method and you can read all about why at the link above. You should check out all of my month packets at my TpT store to replace your traditional morning work needs. At only $4.00 for the whole month, it’s SO worth it! {Side note- I’m still working on getting a couple of the months done, but this is the time to buy as many as you can of them while they are on sale!}

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Just click on the picture above for the September packet. Then, look at my store to find the rest of the months! I really recommend it, it’s something my kids use every single day.

Thank you so much for taking the time to read this post, check out my store, and consider some of these products. I really appreciate all of your support and reviews. Thank you!

M is for Measure

 

Sunny Days

Sunny Days

Happy Saturday! We’ve made it through another week {we’re almost at 40 days of school…. can you believe that? I feel like school just started!}

Right now, we’re in the middle of our measurement unit {1.MD.1 & 1.MD.2}, which focuses on measuring with non-standard units, basically we are measuring objects with things other than rulers. This leads us into the second standard, which is about comparing things based on their lengths. We are putting objects in order from longest to shortest OR from shortest to longest.

Here is a couple ways we are doing this in class!

Comparing Sizes

Comparing Sizes

Comparing Sizes

Comparing Sizes

Last year I bought this pack from TpT on measurement, which is based on the fairy tale Jack and the Beanstalk. We started off by reading the story together and discussing some of the things in the story that were long and some things that were short.

As pack of that pack, there is an awesome activity where the kids take the “giant’s shoe” and look for things around the room that are shorter than the shoe, longer than the shoe, and the same length as the shoe.

So the kiddos took their “giant shoe” and were off searching the room!

https://www.teacherspayteachers.com/Product/Jack-and-the-Beanstalk-A-Nonstandard-Measurement-Unit-for-Common-Core-351371

Comparing Sizes

Comparing Sizes

Comparing Sizes

Comparing Sizes

Comparing Sizes

Comparing Sizes

Comparing Sizes

Spot! Of course the kids wanted to compare him to their shoes 🙂

Comparing Sizes

Comparing Sizes

As the kids were comparing things around the room, they used the simple organizer {that comes in that pack} to record the things they found. They wrote down the things they found that were longer than their shoe, shorter than their shoe, and the same length as their shoe.

Recording their Objects

Recording their Objects

Recording their Objects

Recording their Objects

Recording their Objects

Recording their Objects

Recording their Objects

Recording their Objects

Recording their Objects

Recording their Objects

Have younger students or kids who can’t quite write yet? This can be simply differentiated by having the kids draw pictures of the objects they find instead of writing them down. I encouraged my firsties to write what they found, sounding it out. Not only did this activity help us practice comparing lengths, but it also was a great way to talk about vocabulary. As they were exploring around the room, they asked each other {and me!} “What’s this called?” when they found an object. It opened up their eyes to different words and how to describe things!

Another non-standard measurement activity we did was “measure the teacher“. Another first grade teacher and I spent our planning time on the floor of the staff lounge {much to the laughs of our fellow teachers and ourselves!} tracing each other on butcher paper.

Measure the teacher!

Measure the teacher!

The kids were seriously EXCITED to see their “teacher” papers to measure. The kids had a recording paper and had to measure their teacher with a unit of their choosing.

Measure the teacher!

Measure the teacher!

Measure the teacher!

Measure the teacher!

This is also a great way for you as a teacher to see how they are measuring. We have been talking a lot about the correct ways to measure, with no gaps or overlaps between units. As I walked around, I heard a lot of them saying to each other “Don’t put a gap there!” 🙂

It’s also a great way to point out to kids that we measure in a straight line. Some groups might want to measure along the shape outline. It’s a simple chance to remind them to measure from one end to the other in a straight line.

Measure the teacher!

Measure the teacher!

Measure the teacher!

Measure the teacher!

Each group had to use four different units to measure their teacher. To manage this  {in a non-crazy way} I assigned one student in each group as the “unit picker”. That student was the only one who picked the groups unit and also the only one to put that unit away. This worked out really well and ensured that the groups weren’t fighting about what unit to pick. I just put a bunch of units out of the table and they were ready to go!

Measure the teacher!

Measure the teacher!

Measure the teacher!

Measure the teacher!

Measure the teacher!

Measure the teacher!

After, this led to a great discussion about why they got different numbers for their measurement of their “teacher”, based on the unit. {i.e. because the units are different sizes, when they use them to measure the teacher, they get different answers}

The kids had so much fun doing this and as an added bonus, I had them decorate their “teacher” when they were done. I must say, I really should have taken pictures of that because some of them were just hilarious! One group made me in a Halloween costume and another dressed me for winter {because it might get cold soon, they told me} 🙂

It’s been a great unit so far! Thanks for checking in to our adventure!

 

iPad Updates AND QR Codes!

Doceri

Doceri

Welcome back to our adventure!

A couple of weeks ago I blogged about us starting our 1:1 iPad adventure this year! {If you missed that post, CHECK IT OUT HERE!}

This post will show a glimpse into us using our iPads during phonics time, as well as how I’ve been using QR codes!

Writing

Writing

Sometimes we use iPads as a basic white board substitution. For those of you who are all things “SAMR“, I’m talking about the “substitution” level of the continuum. Those of you who need a refresher, check out my post about SAMR here 😉

Doceri

Doceri

One of our most used/loved app is Doceri. I’ve posted about it TONS (just search Doceri along the right hand side of this blog, and you’ll find so many posts!)

dOCERI

Doceri

I love that the kids are already exploring all the inner-workings of the app, including changing the colors by using the color palette.

Doceri

Doceri

Doceri can be applied in MANY different ways, taking it anywhere along the SAMR continuum, but for the first few weeks of school, we are reviewing the letters and sounds of the alphabet. On this day, we were practicing “Q”. You can see in the first few pictures the students using the iPad to write the letter. It’s simple, quick, and motivating 🙂

QR stands for quick response. QR codes are on anything and everything  They can link to websites, QR voice, videos, pictures, words, etc. QR codes are really one of the easiest things to make yourself or use in the classroom with kids.

You really only need: a QR code reader (there are a variety of free apps) and some type of device to use the app on!

QR Codes

QR Codes

One way we use QR codes in our classroom are to review our sight words. Big shout out to the TpT seller Alma Almazan, who makes this product QR Codes (Scan it, Read it, Find it, Write it). I. JUST. LOVE. IT.

It comes in English and Spanish. One page is filled with QR codes, the only gives the kids writing lines. They scan QR code number one.

QR Codes

QR Codes

QR Codes

QR Codes

And the QR code links them to a page that shows a sight word. They write that word down on line number one.

QR Codes

QR Codes

QR Codes

QR Codes

QR Codes

QR Codes

It’s so much fun! It’s an awesome review for the kids and so much fun for them to complete!

We’ve been doing this on Fridays as an engaging review. After, the kids have been picking up a QR code story to listen to.

QR Code stories

QR Code stories

This comes right from ANOTHER TpT seller, “TECHing it up”, who makes this product which links kids to the Storyline Online stories. These are stories you can play from a computer or device that are books read by famous actors/actress’.

QR Codes stories

QR Codes stories

QR Codes stories

QR Codes stories

It’s another great way we use QR codes in the room.

It’s also a great thing for your early finishers to do while the other kids are finishing up their work {SIDE NOTE- This is ALSO what my kids use for Listen to Reading during our Daily 5 time}

Thank you for checking out all the ways we we’ve been using QR codes so far. We are having such a fun adventure in first grade 🙂

 

Meet…… SPOT! {Our Class Pet}

 

Spot

Spot

Hi Spot! Look at that fact, those eyes, that nose 🙂

Spot is our first grade pet. He spends all day with us. He reads with us….

Read to self time!

Read to self time!

He works with us…..

Working with Spot

Working with Spot

He sits with us when we listen on the carpet…..

Can you "spot" Spot?

Can you “spot” Spot?

He even stands in line with kids who are ready to walk in the hall!

About to go on a walk!

About to go on a walk!

Walks are Spot’s favorite 🙂

So how does this work? And WHY do we have Spot in the room?

For starters, one day after  recess time, we came back into the room to find a box waiting for us.

What could be inside?

What could be inside?

The kids were so excited. Where did this come from? What could be inside?

The box came with a letter, explaining to the class that since they’d been working so hard on following the rules, there was a special friend inside the box to help us continue to be good characters. The kids guessed all different types of animals, from hamsters and fish to tigers and bunnies.

When we opened the box- we saw our doggy friend!

Ah!

Ah!

He's so cute!

He’s so cute!

We loved him instantly!

We loved him instantly!

Already friends!

Already friends!

The kids loved him instantly. They passed him around, shushing each other because they knew he was just a baby and was probably nervous 🙂

We voted on names, and while Max and Precious were close seconds……. Spot was the name winner!

So why do we have Spot?

Class Pet Pack

Class Pet Pack

Click here to find the above pack at my TpT store

{I created the above pack to help explain and provide all of the things you’d need to have the same class pet experience in your classroom}

The main reason we have Spot in our classroom is to help us learn, remember, and practice being good characters. Spot helps us remember to be responsible, trustworthy, honest, and hard working.

I introduce each one of these traits, as related to Spot. How can we treat Spot responsibly? How can we be trustworthy with Spot? Why do we need to be honest about Spot? How can we show we are hard workers with Spot?

By tying those traits into our interactions with Spot, it gives the kids a real life example. Instead of just talking about it, we model how to be responsible while petting him. We model how to be trustworthy playing with Spot, even if the teacher isn’t looking. We model how to be honest about things we do with Spot. We model how when we work hard, Spot wants to sit with us.

Then the magic happens. Instead of just portraying those traits with Spot, they also portray them with each other.

AND THIS SERIOUSLY WORKS! I’ve never heard my kids same things like, “You need to be a hard worker” to each other before, but now I am. This year it’s common to hear my kids remind each other to be “trustworthy” and “responsible”.

Spot reading!

Spot reading!

They know these rules because we review them every day. Plus, spot moves around the room and only wants to sit with kids who are showing these traits. {THIS IS MOTIVATION AT IT’S BEST MY FRINDS!}

Spot

Spot

And maybe the cutest thing is that as the kids move around the room, you’ll see them stop and give Spot a big hug. Sometimes they kiss his little nose. Sometimes they pet his head. But they always do it responsibly. He’s there when a kid needs some motivation. He’s there when someone needs a friend. And he’s a great addition to our room. He’s helping us be better kids, remember our class expectations, and try our best every day.

Check out my pet pack to get all the worksheets, posters, and more we’ve used to learn these traits with our pet. 

Thanks for checking into our adventure! Spot and our class are so glad you did 🙂

 

 

Summer, Sales, Sneak-Peek…. oh my!

It’s August 3rd! Here’s what my summer’s been like so far….

 

Summer

Summer

Summer

Summer

Summer

Summer

Summer

Summer

Summer

Summer

Summer

Summer

Summer

Summer

Summer

Summer

Summer

Summer

Summer

Summer

But since I’m insane excited, I’m always thinking about the next school year. Which means, I’ve already been in my classroom four times. I like to do things little by little when I have lots of time, instead of trying the mad-dash-school-is-starting-in-two-days route 🙂

I know some people who can do that {and their rooms always look amazing!}, but I am just not one of those people.

For starters, I had the husband help me hang a few more brown banners on the ceiling.

Banners

Banners

I’ve had the two along the back windows up for a couple of years, but wanted to add a couple more to really add a special touch. If you get closer to the two banners along the windows, it looks like this…

Windows

Windows

My student library, my teaching books, the iPad charging cart, and computers run along this back wall.

Calendar/Focus wall

Calendar/Focus wall

Herei s my re-done calendar and focus wall. Towards the end of last year I moved my calendar over to this wall {mainly because I wanted my carpet area over here} and really liked it. I also added my main focus walls to this area. It’s great because it’s the perfect amount of room for anchor charts and a great location for kids to see. These three are for math, grammar, and reading. I have one for writing, science, and social studies on the other side of the room.

I’m not really sure what I’ll put along the bottom of the wall yet…. but it’ll stay empty until school starts. Maybe kids work for each of those subject areas? Time will tell 🙂

Along the top, right under the letters, I’ll have student generated art that matches the letter above it. As we begin the year, the kids will review all the letters and as part of this, draw pictures to make a class “art alphabet”.

 

Objectives

Objectives

Do you post daily objectives for subject areas? One of the best decisions I’ve ever made is to have these pre-written on my board. I’ve seen really cute things on Pinterest for objective walls, but they require you to change them/re-write them as you change subjects.

Big deal! How long can it possibly take to write a new objective, 45 seconds? Hmm… well have you been in a first grade classroom when the teacher has their back to the room for 45 seconds? I’m sure you have no idea what I’m talking about because your class would have three kids throwing pencils, someone standing on a chair, five kids asking to go to the bathroom, someone coloring inside their desk, screaming voices, and at least two children crawling somewhere along the floor to deliver a note to a friend  be sitting silently in their seats the whole time 🙂 🙂 🙂

ANYWAYS- that’s my way to say that having all of my objectives written ahead of time IS A LIFE SAVER. I use the blue paw-print magnet to indicate what we are currently working on. So, if we are doing math, the magnet is next to the math objective. It’s great, plus the kids learn the schedule/routine quickly AND learn to read the objectives themselves to see what we’re doing that day.

Rules

Rules

The other side of my board is where I have my MAPS posted and rules. We’ll make an anchor chart with rules/pledges when school starts, but this is where it’ll go.

iPad

iPad

If you’re new to this blog, a HUGE part of my classroom is technology. I’ve fortunate enough to be a 1:1 classroom, meaning all my kids have their own iPad. Here you’ll see the SAMR model shown for the kids, along with the apps we use in my room and where they fit on that continuum {btw- some of these apps fit into more than one level, plus you can use them in different ways to fit multiple places}

Word wall

Word wall

And here’s my word wall. I need to get around to taking down these words from last year, but I LOVED how well this Word Wall worked for me. Last year I did this and won’t be changing it. I just used gold tape strung across my cabinets and attached the letters. Then, I used mini wooden clips to attach the words to the tape. Voila!

AND HERE….. THE MAIN EVENT…. IS MY NEW PROJECT/OBSESSION……

Burlap border

Burlap border

Burlap border

Burlap border

I’ve been looking all over Pinterest at classroom pictures and the one I keep pinning over and over is burlap borders. I’m slightly obsessed with burlap {cue wedding picture……}

Wedding!

Wedding!

Ah our wedding! A little over a year ago 🙂

It’s only fitting it should sneak into my classroom too 🙂

Burlap

Burlap

I got a giant roll of burlap from Uline and then cut strips. I just bunched and twisted, then glued. I used hot glue {which peels off clean} This area took me about an hour :/ Which wasn’t so much fun- but I think it turned out great! I’m going to keep doing this around the room in different places.

TpT Back to School Sale!

If anyone else is starting to think about back to school, today and tomorrow are the perfect days to cruise TpT to get extra savings. Take a look at some of the packs I’ve uploaded lately….

Fairy Tale Pack

Fairy Tale Pack

This fairy tale pack has everything you’d need for passages, organizers, and more for Red Riding Hood, Jack and the Beanstalk, and Goldilocks

First Day Pack

First Day Pack

My first day of school pack is full of games, activities, and worksheets that help you get to know your kids!

Class Pet Pack

Class Pet Pack

Do you have a class “pet”? {ours is a stuffed animal dog!}

This pack takes you through your pets arrival, has journals, behavior help, and much more.

CLICK ON ANY OF THE LINKS ABOVE TO GO RIGHT TO THAT PRODUCT.

These are just three things that are great to help you start off the year right! Click on this link to go right to my TpT store to see it all!

Remember, it’s the big sale only for the next two days. Use the code BTW15 for additional savings. My store is ALL 20% already, the code will give you even more savings 🙂

Thanks for much for reading and I hope your summer adventure is bright, sunny, and fun!

 

B is for Biography

 

Biography

Biography

Do you know who invented the traffic signal? You don’t? Well my first graders do- Garrett Morgan! We read all about Mr. Morgan and how he solved the traffic problem where he lived. He was a problem solver- he saw people getting into accidents and knew something had to be done. His invention helped cars, horses/buggies, and people cross the street and get places safely.

The above book is from Reading A-Z (Reading A-Z Website) and was filled with lots of great information. For example, not only did Garrett Morgan invent the stop light, but he also invented the mask that firefighters wear to help them breathe. What an important person!

After reading his biography, we used a simple biography organizer to summarize our learning. I found this great one on TpT from the store of “The Third Wheel”. You can find it by going TO THIS LINK! And… it’s free! You can’t really get better than that! 🙂

Biography Organizer

Biography Organizer

Biography Organizer

Biography Organizer

I love flip organizers because I think it helps the kids visually split up their thinking. I also love that this organizer has question words on the front- which was our last reading unit!

Biography Organizer

Biography Organizer

Biography Organizer

Biography Organizer

We filled out the inside together and then the kids got to draw pictures to match.

Biography Organizer

Biography Organizer

Biography Organizer

Biography Organizer

Biography Organizer

Biography Organizer

Biography Organizer

Biography Organizer

I love their pictures and ideas! This was a great way to summarize our knowledge on Garrett Morgan. Tomorrow, we’ll read the biography of Sarah E. Goode, another inventor. On Friday, we’ll be using our Double Bubble thinking map to compare and contrast the two person (just like explained HERE!!!!!)

Have a wonderful day and thanks for checking in to our adventure!

 

QR Codes and Grammar

Good morning, good morning! It’s Thursday, but I’m sitting at home on the couch, snuggling with one of the puppies, and watching reruns on TV. Not because I’m sick, but because it’s Thanksgiving!

Thanksgiving is probably my favorite holiday. I love the food, seeing family, and watching the parade. But mostly I love this time of the year and the holiday season that follows. Thanksgiving is like the big kick-off! It’s also a time to reflect on things your thankful for. And while obviously I am beyond thankful for all the important people in my life, all the great things I have, my new item to that list is….. I’m thankful for being able to explore and use iPads 1:1 with my students this year!

 

My classroom family

My classroom family

I spend my whole day with these amazing kiddlets and I am continually amazed at all they can do. Being 1:1, I’ve noticed that one of the best ways to introduce a new app or activity is just to present it to them, and then let them explore it for 5 minutes first. As I sit and listen to them during this time, you hear them naturally discover things, ask questions, and help each other. For example, the other day we started exploring Story Kit- an app that is used to make books, write stories, and illustrate them. As the kids were exploring, one of them said out loud, “How do you erase in this?”. Another kid across the room said, “I don’t know!”. Other kids started chiming in and someone said, “I know. You need to go into the color and just use white. The white color erases what you drew.” The first kid said, “Thanks!”. And it was as easy as that. It’s a great example to show how they naturally find out how things work and can problem solve together. I’m thankful for their problem solving skills!

QR CODES

QR stands for quick response and are on literally everything you see. In fact, since I’ve introduced my kids to QR codes, my kids love pointing them out to me on their water bottles, food boxes, crayon boxes, etc. It’s really cute and kind of like a continual scavenger hunt.

QR Codes

QR Codes

When I introduced these to my kids, we first used them during grammar time. We’ve been working on using capital letters for proper nouns. I found this pack on TpT that allows the kids to find mistakes with capitals, scan the QR code, and check their answers. We did this as a class. First we circled the answer we thought was correct, then we’d scan the code and see if we were right.

QR Codes

QR Codes

QR Codes

QR Codes

It can be a little hard for them to scan the QR code because when they are close together, it’s tough to see if you are scanning the correct one. I taught the kids to point with one finger to the right code, and then make sure they see their finger as they are scanning.

QR Codes

QR Codes

That seems to help a lot with my little ones. They really loved doing this! They thought it was so cool that the answer popped up right away.

QR Codes

QR Codes

QR Codes

QR Codes

QR Codes

QR Codes

QR codes can be used in so many different ways. I can’t wait to post about a Tall Tales project we did this past week, which not only incorporated QR codes, but also the app Chatterpix and a craft project.

QR Codes

QR Codes

QR Codes

QR Codes

Make sure to check back next week to see all about it and more! It’s always an adventure with us and I am thankful for that! 🙂

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

And it begins….

The new school year is here! Although it doesn’t quite seem real  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. 🙂

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: MY TpT STORE! 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 🙂

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 🙂

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  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.  🙂

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  🙂

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!

 

 

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 🙂 )

Hiking!

Hiking!

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

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 😉

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: 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! 🙂

Getting Things Ready…

With summer school over, I’m starting to look ahead to the upcoming school year. It’s an exciting time to think  oh my gosh where has the summer gone! about all the new things you can do with a new batch of kiddos.

I know in my classroom, Daily 5 is a huge staple of what we do and will be started on the very first day. I still re-read the book about how to start the first lessons each year- doesn’t hurt to brush up- and know that we’ll be building our stamina in no time.

This year I’m thinking about projecting a timer to visually show the students our stamina, but I’m also not sure if that will help or hurt the process. Does anyone else use a timer the students can see as they are reading? On one hand, I think it could help promote stamina and motivate those squirrelly (totally a word)  students into sitting longer. On the other hand, I think it could be a huge distraction for others.

In the meantime, I’ve been creating some new things I want to use in my classroom next year. “Work on Writing” is an area I wanted more materials in, so I created this bundle:

writing pic

Writing Pack

to give myself and my students different writing opportunities. It includes recipe writing, writing cards, “when I grow up” writing, and more.

In my class, I’ve found it to work best by putting out 1 writing choice at a time. The students also have writing folders, so if they don’t finish, they put their writing in the folder. They can work on it more next time they choose work on writing. I’ve found it gives them a focus instead of them sitting around and thinking, “What am I going to write about today?” (I change the writing choice about once every other week)

I also made a “First Day of School” bundle. Sometimes I feel like the first day of school is looooooooong hard to fill with activities because the kids are so quiet and there’s so many procedure to go over. I put things in this pack that I’ve done before, are hands-on, and activities students can do alone or with partners. There are a few games and things that get them to get up and move around. (I’ve very excited about the play-doh sculpting activity!) It can be found on my TpT store, or the link below the picture.

1st Day!

1st Day!

1st Day of School Bundle!

This year is going to start before I know it (August 15th anyone?) and that means I’ll be having some upcoming posts about getting into my new classroom! Can’t wait!

Have a great rest of your Wednesday!

I Need Letter

need

 

Way back in March (seems like forever ago doesn’t it!?), one of my students pencil sharpeners broke. Instantly he was up at the front of the room waiting patiently tugging on my sleeve to show me. 😉

I told him to remind me later and I would write a letter home for him telling his parents he needed a new one. Well, the day passed and as they were walking out the door, he shouts, “Ms. Tasch! You said you’d write a note about my sharpener!” Ah! The school day had slipped by so fast and I had completely forgotten! I ran to my desk, tripped over a chair, grabbed a post-it, and scribbled a barely legible note about his broken sharpener, hoping he’d be able to decipher it for his folks.

But, the whole incident got me thinking… I wish I had something easy to grab that let parents know (in a polite way) that their child needed a new supply. Parents send in so much in the beginning of the year and I have a hard time asking for more. So, either I don’t ask and go buy something myself, or the child ends up sharing with others. This had to change! So, I immediately sat down (or more accurately, I sat down the next day while my students were at gym) and typed up a quick letter, which can be found here:

Supply Letter (FREE!)

I tried to keep it simply and to the point, with the cute rhyme: “”I’ve been working hard in school, each and everyday. But I’ve run out of these supplies, would you please send some my way?” Then I added pictures of various supplies and a space to write in a supply that isn’t pictured. I print one off, made some copies, and put them by the students mailboxes. Then, when a student tells me they lost/broke/ran out of something, you just circle what they need and send it home! It works great in my first grade room and by the end of the year, kids were able to fill out the forms themselves.

I posted the letter on Pinterest and TpT and didn’t think much about it. But in just a few weeks, it had been re-pinned on Pinterest a few thousand times. Pretty cool! As the months passed, the repinning continued, and now it’s at over 15,000 repins. I’m so glad other people love it and can use it in their classrooms as well!

Question: Do you keep other forms ready to be passed out daily/weekly/monthly? What forms are they and what do you use them for?

I also keep forms by my mailboxes that tell parents about who is the student of the week. On Fridays, I just grab a form, fill out the students name, and pop it in their mailbox. All the directions are on the form and tell the parents what they need to do for “student of the week”, so it’s handy to have them pre-ready!