Heeeelllllooooo! Guess who’s back? Back again?
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.
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!
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…
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…
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
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
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…
like chicken and waffles!
Honestly though, we spent a lot of our time in Savannah doing this…
and sitting here…
Sitting on the dock
and saying hello to these friends…
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
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…
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 🙂 )
All in all, we had a fantastic time and it went by fast! It was a great way to end the summer! 🙂
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…
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…
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…
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!
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!
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!
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! 🙂