Sunday, August 10, 2014

Morning Message Freebie

Hi all!  Welcome to our PA blogger blog hop!  I still have quite a few weeks left till I meet my littles.  (and a few to meet my newest personal little--but I'll get into that later).

I wanted to share with you something I did last year, BEFORE you all end up starting your year!  I'm usually a few weeks behind on everything because of our late start----and our late end!

As you know, we have a LOT of fun in my classroom, BUT.  I.HATE.CHAOS.  I cannot stand a classroom full of kids who are just talking and not doing something meaningful---from the minute the bell rings.  YES-we have lots of down time throughout the day where kids can be kids and talk and have fun.  You can see that in my posts.  This leads me to my "tool" AND "tip" for you!

Morning work.  Some love it, some don't.  I combine morning work with a letter to my kids.  Why not have them read authentic writing right from the start of your day?!  My letter to the kids is typed and EACH student gets a copy.  A lot of copies, yes.  BUT-consider this.  They are manipulating the text every day AND it can serve as a newsletter to parents about something we did that day!  {confession-I haven't done a "real" newsletter in years because of this!}  At the bottom of my messages, I include some kind of practice in LA or Math.  I also have an analogy---GREAT for the common core!

I wish I had a few pics of this in action, but sadly I do not.  I never think of it because it's something I've done now for the past 11 years---only now I have it SO much more streamlined.  (I used to type the letter, cut and paste the analogy and cut and paste a bottom activity!  ugh... NOW, it's all in one powerpoint file!)

Click on the picture below to grab yourself a week's worth of messages to check it out.  I have an entire year (with first grade Common Core Standards addressed at the bottom---I'll have to make some new ones for my new position in second grade) uploaded in my TPT shop.  It's broken into 4 packets and they get progressively harder.  {The third or fourth pack could be something that would be useful in the beginning of second grade as review}

When you click the picture, it will take you to my 3rd packet on TPT.  Click the download preview button there to get your week's worth!

What I love most about this tool is that after a few weeks of "training" in first grade, at least, my classroom is a well oiled machine.  My classroom is all but silent at the beginning of the day---and I ALWAYS have my handful of movers, shakers and nonstop talkers!  They LOVE coming in and working on their message.  It tells them about their day----and what child doesn't want to know about what is going to happen?!  My own kidlets at home drive me bonkers sometimes with their questions of where are we going?  What are we doing...  Maybe I should make THEM messages each day!  HA!

The tip part of this wordy blog post is that when students come into your classroom, make sure they have something to do---that's routine and you do not have to explain 20 different times.  Make it meaningful and fun.  When you do, your day will start off fabulous---and not to mention, it has given me many chances to deal with issues you don't plan for at the start of the day... crying kiddlets, parent phone calls, etc.

Before I go, I wanted to share-if you haven't read it already--that I'm expecting my third little bundle of joy in about 5 weeks!  So I've been quite MIA this summer (and since I'm moving grades--since spring, really!)  I've been frantically moving a classroom, taking grad classes (just finished 60 credits this summer in 4 years!!), learning a new curriculum and trying to put stuff together for a sub---that could possibly start my year instead of me spending my 11 days there before I'm out--as well as spending time with my family of 4 with some beach time.  I'll be out till January, but have a TON of things I'm working on!  I can't wait to finish and share these.  They will blow you away! =)

Thanks for hopping by!  Click on the picture below to head to the next stop!

You'll be heading to Nick's blog at Sweet Rhyme & Pure Reason!  Make sure you also check out his exciting news about his little family!

Sweet Rhyme & Pure Reason

Friday, August 1, 2014

Currently-August! I'm back!

Boy, have I missed you all!  This has been quite the summer.  I'm linking up with Farley for her Currently in August to fill you in a bit.  I promise to be back more often.... soon!

Disclaimer: I'm SO sorry for lack of pictures...  Haven't been in school enough to take pics yet... (and it's a new room)

LISTENING: so, yeah, I got a lot going on with me and my life.  I have SOOOOO much to accomplish in the next 3 weeks, that I'm not quite sure how it's going to happen!  Tomorrow I leave for a week at the beach.  I want to desperately enjoy it, but I'm not quite sure it'll happen.  I'm moving to a new grade, after teaching 1st for 11 years (at my current school).  I had to move my classroom... that I couldn't get into very often, yet.  And, I'm about to have a baby!  So I've been going absolutely NUTS! 

LOVING:  So, I {heart} summertime.  I usually love the heat.  This summer has been uncharacteristically cool and I'm actually loving it, because the days it wasn't so cool....  this pregnant mama was NOT loving it!  My other 2 boys were spring babies, so I never experienced the lovely summer pregnancy!

THINKING: I have 6 weeks left till I meet my newest little guy.  I think that time is going to fly by--and as much as I would love it physically, I want to enjoy the last of the summer with my 2 little guys before we become a "party of 5!" 

NEEDING:  So, yeah--that one is self-explanatory.  Moving my classroom was quite daunting..  Add in that we were in school till the LAST week of June!  I don't feel like I left, yet my classroom is NO where near ready for a class---or a sub?!  I've also been dealing with transferring things to my personal computer from my school's... so a lot of my pictures are in limbo.  (which is code for I'm not sure where the heck they are right now---"old" computer or "new"!?!??!)

Our first day back is still a few weeks to go, but I know many of you are already headed back.  I'm moving up to second grade, so I'll know quite a few little kiddies, so I am looking forward to that.  BUT, I'm due on September 15th... so it will be short lived..... till the end of January!  I'm looking forward to spending time at home with my little guy, while the other 2 are off to school!  It will be strange to have just one at home.

Last, I wanted to put out there that I'll be participating in the big TPT sale next week!  All of my store will be 20% off on top of the 10% you'll get through TPT!  I'm not sure I'll have any of my projects complete that I've been working on, since I've been drowning in organizing for second grade and a sub...  I'll be back in the game shortly, promise!  With lots of second grade goodies!!! 

Sunday, May 18, 2014

Magical Fairy Tale Fun! {OVERLOAD!!}

I have SO much to share with you about our Fairytale unit we just wrapped up!  I just updated my Fairy Tale pack with all the goods you're about to see!

Jack and the Beanstalk addition-craft and writing (I always incorporate academics with my crafts!) ;)  Students answered the question-"Would you climb the beanstalk?"

Goldilocks and the 3 Bears
Fun new bulletin board!  Turned the kiddos' pictures into bears-they created them, I'm not always a fan of "cookie cutter" crafts.  We brainstormed ideas of what Goldilocks could get into in the classroom and came up with more things than students.  Each student picked one (all different) and wrote in a speech bubble.  I turned myself into "Goldilocks" to add to the "fun" of the display!

Three Pigs
 New Worksheet-where kids create 3 different houses using different materials and circle whether it is "weak," "okay" or "strong."

Fun display too!  My coworker created this for her display.  Turned the kids into "pigs" and they came up with reasons why the wolf can't come in (the last house).  James Marshall's version works well with this as the last pig makes excuses as to why the wolf can't come in.

Last, but certainly not least!  We wrapped up the unit for our Open House displays!  Each of us took a different fairy tale and created the display.  (I showed you 2).  On the kids' desks, I had a "portfolio" that had their picture on the front with a crown on.  Inside were various pages I kept from each fairytale we read and did together.

I also had the kids create themselves with poster board.   I printed out their pictures 8X10 size.  I traced the kids hands and feet on the poster board.  The students had to connect the head, hands and feet to make little bodies!  They were quite hilarious!  Of course we added a crown to their heads again.

I did save the best for last.  I created a "fairytale photo booth!"  (Included in the pack is 3 pigs and goldilocks.  I found crowns online to copy and trace--but could not create them myself right now.  Speech bubbles are included as well for all.)

All of this is updated in my Fairytale packet!  {Which also includes lots of goodies that I blogged about last year-including adding some nonfiction research on WOLVES!  My kids ate that up!}  If you have purchased this already, please go to your purchases on TPT to get the updated packet! 

Last, but not least, I've just uploaded a fun twist on the end of year memory book!  Fairy Tale Themed!

You can find it {HERE}

Monday, May 5, 2014

End of Year Awards and a Sale!

I always had a hard time finding the perfect award set.  Last year I created my own.  Our end of the year is still a loooooooong way away, but I thought I would share what we did.  (sorry for lack of pictures of it, but I'll have more this year instead.. but you'll have to stop back late June...)

I fell in love with Melonheadz's Troll set, so I used them as my "theme" and actually gave each student a little troll with their award, but it isn't necessary-and apparently hard to find this year. 

I have found these cute things that I think my kiddos will enjoy-if I can remember to order them in time with all of the chaos of my life right now! ha!

 And these rings could be a hit too!
We aren't allowed to use food, so that is just another thing that limited me last year.  There are just SO many cute food related ones....  But, non-food items get SO darn expensive!

The award includes:
Fabulous Friend
Most Improved
Future Environmentalist
Star Worker
Future Hollywood Star
Most Enthusiastic
Free Spirit
Biggest Heart
Future Teacher
Sweet Storyteller
Sweet Words
Super Helper
Outstanding Behavior
Super Leader
Future Author
Class Comic
Team Player
Organizational Royalty
Handwriting Queen/Handwriting Hero
Mad Scientist
Problem Solver
Rad Reader

You can find these in my store {HERE}  Color version is included, as well as a black and white version to save money with color.  Just print on colored paper or cardstock!

Also, I've been quite behind with everything going on with my life-both personal and professional--and completely missed the email about the TPT sale!!!!!  I'm putting my store up for 20% off Tuesday and Wednesday---and enter code TPTXO  for an additional 10% for 28% off total!  I have to get organized and figure out what goodies I'll pick up for myself!  I can never NOT get something when there's the big sale!!!!!  =)

Sunday, May 4, 2014

2 easy classroom management

Well, first, I have to tell you that I have had lack of pictures lately because I am currently packing up my classroom.  I have been asked to move to SECOND grade next year.  I've spent my entire career (of course, that's just 13 years) in K-1, so this is a big move!  The best part is that I'm moving back to my old room, that I was just in love with.  My current room lacks a lot of things... I'm not looking forward to moving a classroom when 7 months pregnant and during the humid, hot summer... but I know I have a great support system at school with many willing helpers.

Here are 2 things I do in my classroom that help keep me sane.  Hope that I can help you too!
1. Nametags.  I HATE how kids pick at their nametags.  It doesn't matter what you do, the little fingers ALWAYS find it.  Tape under, over, ends...  Velcro...  Last year, I decided to move the nametags to the sides of the desks, and use magnets.  We use our nametags for many things, from spelling names at the beginning of the year to using the numberline for math.  I didn't want anything permanent-so the magnets work perfectly.  The kids can take the name tags off at any time to put on their desks... you know, for substitutes or guest speakers--or to use to spell, add, subtract.

The best part??  No more dragging desks when it's time to move seats.  I have the kids take their belongings out of the desk and move their stuff and name tag to the new seat.  What used to take 15-20 minutes to drag desks, now take less than 5 to get settled!

2.  Table names.  Those table names should have a purpose.  Why have something hanging that kids look at ALL the time that isn't very useful?  I got these fabulous cards from Creative Teaching Press.  I laminated them and use a wipe off marker to rename the tables every few weeks.  I pick high frequency words that are tricky.  BUT, when I move to second grade, I plan on using vocabulary words and even some math facts!  The possibilities are endless, and since I can easily wipe off what's there, I can do whatever I want!

You can find these fabulous mini posters at Creative Teaching Press {HERE}!  They are WELL worth the money!  (There are also a variety of other designs that could work too!  My room has a lime and turquoise feel, so I went with the Dots On Turquoise!  They are the 10" cut outs!)

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