Monday, January 28, 2013

What's Your Schedule Look Like?

Falling Into First is doing a fun little linky about schedules.  I don't know about you, but I love to see what other people's schedules look like.  Now, normally about this time, I would be starting math right now, but today (and tomorrow) I will be home with a sick boy.  I apparently shared all my germs with him last week and now it's his turn to be sick.  Luckily, it's not the stomach thing going around, just a nasty head cold/sinus thing.  But, because he has a fever - no school today or tomorrow.  So, here is what my schedule (normally) looks like:

8:15 - 8:45  Students come in, unpack and begin morning work. Teachers report at 7:45. Our tardy bell rings at 8:35.
8:45 - 10:20 ELA block - this block is broken up into whole group mini-lessons and centers.  I used to assign centers to students, but since we've come back from Christmas, I have let the students choose what center they want to go to.  I also used to set a timer for a set amount of time in each center, but I found myself either running out of time and not getting things done or (especially with my high group) getting done too quickly.  So, I now just pull a group that I need to work with and allow the others to work in their centers.  Then, when I am done with the group I'm working with, I simply ask the others to clean up.  If they did not finish their center, they turn the center card sideways.  This helps to remind them (and me) of where they need to go next time they go to centers.  It's actually working out pretty well.  And, it's taken a lot of stress off of me because now I am free to work at the pace that the students in my group need (rather than trying to rush the less able readers, for example, just so we can get done before time is up). 
10:30 - 11:00 Specials - We have the same resource/specials schedule every week.  We go to library on Monday, PE on Tuesday, Music on Wednesday, and Computer on Thursday.  Friday is our make up day if we have a missed day due to holidays or planning days.  If we didn't miss any specials that week, the kids all get together and the specials teachers do a fun activity with them.  After seeing some of your schedules, I am jealous that some of you get a full hour! 
11:00 - 11:15  Read Aloud
11:20 - 11:45 Lunch - yep, you're seeing that right - only a 25 minute lunch (which in reality turns out to be 15 or 20 minutes). 
11:50 - 12:15  Grammar/language arts
12:15 - 12:30  Calendar/Math Journal time
12:30 - 1:20 Math - We usually do a whole group math lesson until about 1 or 1:15 and then the kids go to centers.  This gives me time to work with those who need some extra help with concepts.
1:30 - 2:00  Recess
2:10 - 2:40  Social Studies/Science
2:47 Bus Riders Leave/ 2:55 Walkers Leave
3:15 Teacher Dismissal Time (haha - yeah, I wish!  I usually leave around 5)
So now I'd love to see your schedule.  Head over to Falling into First to link up!
Falling into First

Thursday, January 24, 2013

Linking Up With Love

Tessa from Tales From Outside the Classroom is having a great linky party right now.  It's all about the things that we love.  What could be greater than that?  So I'm jumping in with some of my "loves":

Above all else, Jesus is my first love.
Second is my family
this is my hubby and me at Rock the Universe last year
My Mama
My kiddos
Out there in Blogland, I have some blogs I love:

First Grade Wow
Nancy at First Grade Wow is AMAZING!  Not only does she have the best ideas, but she gives away a lot of her stuff for FREE!  If you don't follow her blog, you need to go there right now!

Rebecca at Teaching First is my bloggy buddy.  She's so sweet.  She was one of the first people that encouraged me when I didn't think anyone was reading this silly little blog.  She took a little blog break a while ago, but I'm so glad she's back!  Click her button above to check her out!
Products I love:
I just got this awesome pack from Christina Bainbridge:
It is great!  I'm doing some fluency interventions with one of my sweet littles and this pack is exactly what I needed.  It has an awesome reading "Bump" type game.  I think I may have to use it as a station for all my kiddos since I know they'll be jealous when they see the game!  The cool thing is that she has sets for the first 400 Fry words!
You can even buy them in a bundle and save some $$$!  If you click her name above, it will take you right to her blog post where you can read about these packs. 

 Last, but not least, some of my food loves:

Have you tried these?  I didn't really like the chocolate brownie ones, but the chocolate chip ones are OUT OF THIS WORLD!!!  The problem is that I like them at the bottom of a bowl with vanilla ice cream on top (which sorta screws up the whole 90 calorie thing...).  But yes, if you're really watching what you eat, they are just as good by themselves!

These are my favorite lunches from Lean Cuisine.  YUM!

And who doesn't love a big juicy steak? Ok, maybe some people who have high cholesterol and can't eat red meat, but...they have chicken too!

Allright - now I'm dying to see what you love, so go link up!

Linking up with love

Monday, January 21, 2013

Awesome Giveaway!

Ms. Fultz's Corner is celebrating her bloggy birthday.  Check out what she's giving away:
3 lucky winners will get to pick three items of their choice from her TeachersPayTeachers store.

2 lucky winners will get a $25 Target gift card.

1 lucky winner will get a $50 Teachers Pay Teachers gift card to use in any store.

Click her button below to head over there and check it out!
Ms. Fultz's corner

Saturday, January 19, 2013

Standards Display

Yeah, I know - catchy title, right?  Sorry, I'm not as creative as some of you out there.  You know, those great ladies like Rebecca over at First Grade Fascination.  I downloaded her Common Core "I Can" statements from TpT. 
First Grade Fascination
Before I found these, I was going to make my own.  I found some really cute subject headers, and printed them, but I can't remember where I got them and now, I can't find them again (not even a picture on google or pinterest).  Anyhoo - I decided to use the "I Can" Statements that I downloaded to try to keep me more on track with the standards.  You can see how I posted them on my bulletin boards in this picture:
The white ones are the ELA and Math headers and the green bordered ones are the cute ones I downloaded from somewhere.  If they're yours or if you know where I got them, please let me know!
I had to use the Science and Social Studies because my OCD wouldn't let me just post math and ela standards.  As a result, I have to create "I Can" statement cards for Science and Social Studies. 
I have finished the cards for Social Studies.  Now, these are from the Next Generation Sunshine State Standards (NGSSS).  If you don't teach in Florida, these may not work for you.  If you do, please feel free to grab them.  I got the really cute frames from The 3am Teacher.  They go pretty well with the color scheme in my room.  You can visit her here:
 Again, I'm not a pro, but if you can use these, please consider leaving me a comment and letting me know. I always wonder if anyone is able to use anything I post. 

Friday, January 11, 2013

The Snowy Day

Yeah, I know I live in Florida and we don't get snow days, but we do read some snow and winter themed books.  Some of my kiddos have never even seen snow!  That is so strange to me (who grew up in Ohio).  This year, the kids came back on Wednesday, so we couldn't really launch into a new unit or story with only 3 days.  So, instead, we spent these  3 days reading these:


We used The Snowy Day to work on sequencing and retelling a story.  We used the picture cards found here.

The book Snow Day is really simple, but it has a fun twist.  See, the crocodiles (or maybe they're alligators...who knows?) wake up to snow and go out to play.  All of a sudden, they stop and realize it's a school day.  Only then do we find out that they are not kids, but the principals of the schools!  They go in and call the news to cancel school so they can go back outside and continue to play.  We used this book to practice predicting (and for recognizing that it's okay if our predictions are a little off). 

We also needed to review some skills from before Christmas, but I also wanted to incorporate this practice into the stories we were reading.  So, I went through The Snowy Day and wrote out some of the sentences on chart paper like this:
You'll notice that I took out some of the words and left blanks.  We were working on inflectional endings -ed and -ing.  Then, the students had to tell me, using the base word below the blank, what ending we shouuld add to the word so that it makes sense in the sentence.  I gave them a post it and let them stick it on the chart.  When we were done, it looked like this:
I was going to type this activity up as a worksheet to share with you guys, but I'm not sure about copyright.  Am I allowed to?  Anybody know the rules?
Next week, we're headed into outer space!  My door is ready to welcome the kiddos:
My son wanted to get in the picture, so I promised him I would post this one too:
I'm off now to blast into dreamland.  Even though the kiddos were only thee 3 days this week, I'm WIPED OUT!!!  In fact, I typed most of this post with my eyes shut.  So if you find any mistakes or typos, you'll just have to catch me tomorrow!
Nighty Night!

Monday, January 7, 2013

Superspeed Readers

So the other day, I saw a post about this Superspeed Reading program.  It's from the Whole Brain Teaching site which I've been hearing a lot about.  Now, I don't really know a lot about Whole Brain Teaching (or WBT), but I do know that this Superspeed Reading program looks like a lot of fun.  They have Superspeed 100SuperSpeed 100    and Superspeed 1000 SuperSpeed 1000  .  Basically, it works like this: you pair two kiddos up together - one a stronger reader and one a weaker reader.  They take turns reading alternate words.  The goal is to read as many words as they can in one minute.  After one minute, they mark their ending spot and then try again, this time they switch who goes first.  This allows both students to get a chance to read each word.  The Superspeed 100 is going to be perfect for my sweeties at the beginning of the year, or those who are still struggling with basic sight words.  It gives them the repetitive practice they need, but in a fun and engaging way.  Each time they break a "personal record" by reading farther than they did before, they get to put a check on a new personal record star.  I can't wait to try this out when my kids come back on Wednesday.  I think they're going to have so much fun!  If any of you have tried this (or Whole Brain Teaching) in your classroom, let me know how you like it.  If you'd like to try it with me, head over to the Whole Brain Teaching site to see how you can download your own copy for free!

Saturday, January 5, 2013

Starting the Year Off Right...

Ok, so the pictures that I am about to post are not for the faint of heart.  Those of you who are super organized and bothered by clutter in your classroom should just look away (or skip to the bottom of the post).  This was what it looked like when I went in to work in my classroom yesterday:
See, I warned you.  I just heard you gasp!  I know, I know - you don't have to say it.  But, as I said before, I am a compulsive piler.   I tend to lay things down anywhere and not even think about it.  But I am really going to try hard in 2013 to keep my classroom clean and organized.  So, after working all day (nope, didn't even stop for lunch), here's what we have now:
Ahhhh - nice, huh?  I also changed my word wall and some other things around.  Here was my word wall before:
It was up under  my board with the calendar above it.  While I liked the idea of it being low enough for the kids to really get close, my teaching chair was always in front of it and I just didn't like the feel of it.  Plus, the black made the front of the room rather dark.  So, I moved the word wall to the wall above their cubbies:
This gave me more room to post the adorable spelling chunk cards I downloaded earlier in the year (I forget where I got them and I don't have them here to look at.  If you know where I got them, let me know so I can give credit).
I also straightened up our indoor recess games (you can see them on the left side of the first picture):
And I added shelves of "I'm done" activities (one shelf for reading and one for math):
Finally, my new calendar board:
So much lighter and brighter for the new year.  On the board now are Common Core "I Can" statements.  I got them here.  Below the board are where I am going to put their math station symbols so they know what math station they are going to.  The blue chart on the easel is for reading stations.
I was also able to straighten up my little writing station (yes, it had been piled on too):
The green bucket on the left holds my story starters.  These are pictures that I cut from magazines or colored from coloring books (am I the only one that finds coloring relaxing?  I love to color.) that the kids can use to write a story about - like this:
At Halloween, I allowed the kids to pick a picture from a Halloween coloring book which they colored and wrote a story about.  They just loved this, so I'm thinking that this might be a great activity for them. 
So now, aren't you proud of me?  My classroom is (almost) ready for the new year.  I still have the counter by the office to clean off.  Oh, and if I were you, I wouldn't venture into the closet...or into the office.  Hey, a girl can only do so much in a day!

Thursday, January 3, 2013

Being Thankful on Facebook

Just a short post - I'm sooo excited!!  I was able to set up a Facebook page for my 365 Day Thankfulness Challenge. If you'd like to read more about what this is, you can click here (it's the lasst part of that post). If you'd like to check it out, just click here (I hope), or you can search for 365 Day Thankfulness Challenge on Facebook.  I would love for you to like the page and share things that you are thankful for every day of 2013!

Wednesday, January 2, 2013

A Great Giveaway

So I talked about my 2013 Thankfulness Challenge here.  For Day 2 of 2013, I am thankful for the beautiful weather we have here in Florida.  My windows are open to catch the breeze and I can hear my kids playing baseball outside.  Much different than January in Ohio where I grew up.

Anyway, on to the topic of this post.  Y'all know how I love to find new blogs.  Well, not only did I find one, but she is having a great giveaway to celebrate her one year anniversary of her blog.

There are tons of goodies from some of the best bloggers out there.  A lot of the packs that she's offering as prizes I have on my wishlist!  What a great way to start 2013!
On another note - welcome to all my new followers.  If any of you know how I can reply to comments (I know a lot of you expert bloggers know how to do this), please let me know!  I love comments and I really want to reply, I just haven't figured it out yet!