Thursday, September 26, 2013

Team {word} Building!

It's still a "get to know you" period in my classroom.  We are finishing our 3rd full week.  Getting into our new and exciting curriculum and also learning to work together!

Today, we had a fun team building activity.  But really it was a phonics lesson!  SHHHHH!!!  Don't tell them!

Each table got some letters.  I gave them the "wheel of fortune" usuals plus ALL of the vowels.  We were only working with short vowels.

I gave the class a word.  The team challenge was to find the letters and hold them at their bellies.  Rule #101 was that each student could only hold ONE letter.  They had to build quietly so they didn't give away any answers to other teams.  (THAT in itself was a challenge, but I found that even though they were a bit noisy, no team looked at another team to help them out!)

Once all teams were standing with the word in order, each student said their OWN sound.  (SO if the word was "cat" Student C would say /k/, student A would say /a/ and student T would say /t/.  Then I would clap my hands together and ALL three would say the word they made.  Blending, segmenting, sounds, team building, cooperation all bundled up in giggles.  PERFECT, simple activity.

Click {HERE} to grab a copy of the letters I used.  (Well, it's the entire alphabet.  I didn't use them all.  That would have been a bit overwhelming at this point in the year for my firsties)

Have a wonderful Friday and weekend!  It's so great to finally be back in the swing of things and have things to share again!!! 

Wednesday, September 25, 2013

MIA--but now I'm back {with some freebies!}

So, the first day of school came and went---well faster than ever this year.  I never made it!  I was carrying in my adorable "first day of school" frame, when a letter blew off.... I bent down to get it, in my heels and dress... stood up and completely lost balance!  I tried to beat it, but down I went, spraining my ankle and bruising my other knee.... (and possibly spraining the other ankle too---but we won't talk about that...) 

I was back for day 2 and 3--and then it was the weekend.  Woke up Monday AM ready to go, feeling like I got hit by a bus....  doctor's after school---sinus infection.  Neither were beating me down-and I was still having the BEST beginning of the year ever.  Friday came....  You know, the first FULL week of school with first graders who aren't used to a full day.  2:00 rolls by and guess what I get.  My first "walk through" observation!!??!?!?  AHHH!  Last 20 minutes of school of the first full week of school---well, I know I am LESS than perfect.  I'm just hoping to get all my babies home on the right bus, not to mention packed up and ready...  So we write in our journals.  The did fine.  However, my plans were less than desirable for the Friday of the first full week.  :(  I'm not going to lie.  (I wasn't even going to put this out there, but I wanted y'all to know, things aren't always perfect.)  Tears were shed Monday morning when I got my feedback.  I don't know about you, but that first week to us is getting into routines, tweaking lesson plan set ups, etc...  I also spent a LOT of time preparing things.  You've seen pics of my plans...  of course, those are when we are actually diving into curriculum.

Fast forward through a few more doctor's appointments and my 3 year old getting an ear infection---oh and not to mention his LONG adjustment to going to a new daycare and being away from me..........  Back to School Night was this week!  I was super excited about it.  I think it's all the experience and ideas I have gotten here and by my adventures on TPT.  Here's some pics of what I did.

I was in LOVE with my PP this year!  I was just so pretty (thanks to Nikki's wonderful graphics!)....

 I ended my presentation with a fun little slideshow of the kids learning.  I felt that it was a nice way to end the night, with the parents seeing their pride and joy smiling, having fun and being able to see their day!  (I totally took the idea from my son's own teacher this year.  As a parent, I loved it!)


Since I wasn't there on the first day, my lovely substitute did take my kiddos pictures.  I couldn't use the poem that is out there, so I just whipped up on that could be used in my situation.  It could be used anytime.  And could be wonderful parent gifts too!  Click on the picture to grab a copy for yourself.  I made a boy and a girl version.  Glue their pics on the clothespin.  Add magnets to the other side.  I added a fun button on the front to give it a little more "cuteness" but it wasn't necessary!

I have to look into if I am allowed to share/sell/what-have-you for my parent wish list table.  It was a last minute thing, and it's graphics I did not buy.  I have to read the terms of use to see and will post it if I can!

I'll be back soon with some more freebies of the beginning of year stuff I've done.  Of course my lesson planning writing is now taking me a good 2-3 or more hours....  that's really eating away at my time.  I didn't need to sleep, right?!?!  ;)  (I know that some are spending that or more---so I am thankful I can still make them "my own" but finding that more efficient way, so I can spend more time on creating resources, etc......  I wish that would come a little bit faster.  :)

PS-I've been sharing a lot more pics from the classroom on instagram!  It's just much more easier to click and share.  Make sure to check it out!

Monday, September 2, 2013

Making Student Connections Monday

Hi everyone!  This week I'm sharing another idea for making connections Monday!  Read about my first post {HERE}

I know a LOT about my students.  And it's not from the time I talk to them.  Let's face it.  Talking to 21 first graders to get to know them would take all day!  I get to know my students through writing!  And not "required" writing.  This is through the writing done at the writing table during the Daily 5/station time and/or during free time.  I do not correct the pages, but I do read through them.  I've learned all kinds of things from them.  From one student not being afraid of Zombies (remember the talk of the Zombie apocolpse?!) to their mom never having another baby, but possibly adopting a child from China.  They LOVE when I write back to them on the page (when I have time) or when I bring up something they wrote.

Follow my Facebook page to grab a freebie sample from the pack that I use. 

Link up if you have any good ideas on how you make connections with students!

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