Saturday, August 24, 2013

First Day and my Classroom Virtual Tour!

Wednesday was our first day and BOY, did it go by fast!  I have the sweetest group of 25 firsties this year and they were really excited to walk in on the first day with their teacher dressed as a Super Hero Teacher!  My cape was a huge hit!
I was able to squeeze in some student photos on our special day with a cute little sign I made.  I shared the photos on our class website and the parents LOVED it!
Click here for the download.

I am even more excited to link up with Ashley from Flyin High in First Grade to give you a virtual tour of my Back to School Classroom for the 2013-14 School Year!
It is 11 minutes long so grab that Java and enjoy!
Have a great weekend friends!

Tuesday, August 20, 2013

2013 Open House Success!

Open House ran from 5:00-6:30 last night and WOW, was it fun!  Out of 25 students, 20 stopped in and I was absolutely delighted to have such a nice turn out!  The kids were super-excited to find out our school theme is Super Heroes!
The lovely Lisa Mattes over at Growing Firsties had these adorable O-FISHALLY FIRST GRADERS labels that I stapled to individual packages of Goldfish crackers!  Wally World had the 12 packs for 2 bucks each so it was a steal!  

After greeting my new littles one by one, the parents helped them unpack all their school supplies following a little direction sheet on top of their desks.  

I circulated, on cloud 9, watching the parents swiftly rip open packages of glue sticks and pencil assortments.   I heard a few "Oh,  ****, we forgot to sharpen the pencils first" and of course, my smile widened to a mischievous grin!  
How did I do it all those years ago....  
First day of first grade, scrambling through supplies WITH the kids?? And how easy it has been, the last few years, of having Open House BEFORE school starts.  God bless us for that.  Now, I can mingle, and laugh, and relax as I pass on the school supply tradition to my sweet parents!  

At 5:30 on the dot, I grabbed the microphone and started my little Parent Presentation which covers the essentials of first grade homework policies, rules, and expectations.
This is the perfect opportunity to cover the important homework routines and explain directions to eager parents!
You can take a peek at that and click here.

After that, I had parents pick up my First Grade Handbook which outlines (in 21 pages) all the NEED-to-KNOW in first grade.  (This handbook is a lifesaver and my parents LOVE those details!!)  Click here to see more!

It was the loveliest first grade back to school Open House yet!  Today was teacher work day then my littles arrive bright and early tomorrow.... I can't wait!  It's going to be a fabulous year!  Working on the edits of a video tour of my classroom... Stay Tuned!

Thursday, August 15, 2013

Five for Friday SHOUT OUTS and a BTS Sale!

I can't believe it.
This is my LAST Friday of summer vacation!
Staff in-services next week and my new little bundles of joy arrive bright and early on Wednesday!
I worked in my classroom until 11:15 tonight and totally forgot to take pictures... but not to worry.  I am going to do a little video of my new and improved classroom and I promise to share it very, very soon!
To celebrate this Five for Friday, I have some fabulous finds on Teacher Pay Teachers just in time for the big sale this weekend. I am so excited to be joining some FABULOUS Firstie Friends for the big 2 day shopping extravaganza!  
Thank you Haley O'Connor over at My Silly Firsties for the awesome sale poster!  

Fabulous First Grade Find #1
I am LOVING her Back to School Assessment pack and B2S activities!

Fabulous First Grade Find #2
Chalkboard Book Labels by Angelia Grimes Graeme
My library shelves have never looked so fabulous!
Chalkboard Book Labels

Fabulous First Grade Find #3
I have them laminated and ready to go for Word Work!

Fabulous First Grade Find #4
Lisa Mattes' has 2 awesome finds-
 Sight Word Math Packs and Building STAR Readers and her famous Common Core Crunch for September!

Common Core Reading Workshop - Building STAR Readers - Stu

Common Core Crunch - September - ELA CCSS Printables - Gro

Fabulous First Grade Find #5
I am excited to start using this to compliment my Daily 5 rotations.

and a BONUS Find:
The talented Lisa Richling created two cool units for first grade that I am super-geeked about using this year!

Write Like a Superhero: Manuscript Handwriting Practice

Of course, all the items in my TPT store will be on sale at 20% off.  Add TPT's additional 8% and now you are rockin' the sales with 28% off your purchases!
Use the  Shopping Code BTS13 during checkout.
Have a great weekend friends and happy shopping!

Special Thanks to Doodle Bugs Teaching for hosting today's

Friday, August 9, 2013

Five for Friday: Task Cards, Focus Wall, and Freebies!

Happy Friday Friends!  I am so happy to joining today's Five for Friday.  I have the day off from working in my room. Custodians are frantically waxing the hallways outside my classroom and since the laminator is still not working, why not stay home and blog instead!
Here are a few things I have been working on for school~
Now I was stalking this item from day 1 of it's release and I then I just HAD to have it!  Reagan has done an incredible job giving detailed directions on how to set up the binder.  The only thing I have done differently so far is buying color binders instead.  I am not a white kind of gal.  Can't do white.  White gets dirty way too quickly (when I am involved) so I went with color instead!  I plan on using the binders with the kiddos as part of our daily morning warm up work.  I put the cover inserts in today and added the clear page inserts.  Now time to copy the content!  (I may get a parent to do the rest for me!!)  Fingers crossed!


I just published this set of Morning Routine Task Cards.
I can't wait to introduce the steps the first week of school!
This will really help with keeping the kiddos on track and on task.

I got so excited about the morning task cards, I thought, why not create the same type of routine task cards for the end of the day!
 So I published this set of Excellent Ending Task Cards too!
Click here to check them out!

Last year, I played around with several different ways to display common core learning in my classroom.  
What I found was the area I was using was not manageable at all.
Changing things out weekly was a big chore and took too much time.  So this year, thanks to you fabulous teachers out there using focus walls, I have started a really nice bulletin board that will spotlight all the "learning objectives" for the week.  
I created some fab glittery animal print Focus Wall Headers
that I have cut out and ready to go.  You can check them out here.

Freebie Time!
My theme this year is animal print fabulousness
So I also made some new posters for my classroom that I am happy to share with you!

and some DIRECTION labels!

Special Thanks to Doodle Bugs Teaching for hosting this five for Friday celebration!


Monday, August 5, 2013

I'm Lovin' Daily 5 August linky edition

 My sweet and fabulous friend Becca over at  First Grade in Foxwell Forest asked me if I would be interested in joining her new monthly linky party focusing on Daily 5.  Of course there was no hesitation and a quick YES from me!  Now Becca has already laid the foundation of starting up the year with Daily 5, so be sure to stop over and visit her blog as soon as your done reading here!  And because she adores the Daily 5 as much as I do, she is also raffling off a new copy of the Daily 5 book by the two Sisters.  So if you don't already own a copy, enter to win one!
To give you a bit of history-
This will be my forth year using Daily 5 and my Third year using CAFE.
Some important start up tips that I find most useful:
#1  Make sure your classroom rules (WBT) is in place before starting your transitions.  I teach WBT rules on Day 1.
#2  Don't rush the launch.  Let it unfold naturally, and at it's own pace. Daily 5 begins on Day 2 of school.

#3 Create the anchor I charts with your class first, before moving to pre-made products.  There is alot to be said about the intimate process of brainstorming those charts that is very meaningful to the students AND the teacher.  
#4 Thoroughly teach the procedures and process for "Check for Understanding" and Good Fit Books!
#5  Students should be Reading to Self at least 20-30 minutes daily (weather it during a round or after morning work time)
As many of you know, the Sisters have a 25 day cycle for launching the Daily 5.  Last school year, I started with 26 first graders and a WIDE range of abilities.  Behavior was also a key factor last year, so I made the decision to slow things a bit, so that I could offer shorter, more intense mini-lessons for each day of the launch.
After it was all said and done, I retyped my notes and created this 
Launch Sequence:  

If you would like to download of copy of my 2012-2013 pacing guide, click here.  (Please keep in mind that I am not an expert by any means...Just your typical OCD first grade teacher that loves the details!)

I also have a few Pinterest Boards that are stocked FULL of great resources.  Be sure to check them out!

In June, our district First Grade Team got together and created a curriculum map for ELA and the new CCSS.  So, before school starts, I have some strategies to switch around just a bit...but for the most part, I think I will continue using this schedule.
I will also be adding more Work on Writing choices (in a different order).  Stop back next month on Sept. 5 for the more tricks of the trade using Daily 5 in the classroom!

If you have anything specific you would like to know or want me to touch on for next month, be sure to leave a comment!
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