Sunday, January 6, 2013

Brand New Year!

Well it's been months since I posted anything. There is nothing like teaching a new grade level, raising 18 month old twins, and working on action research for my masters!! While I would like to say that my posting on my blog is a part of my new year's resolution, I am going to be realistic and not add that to my list of things to do. Some day, I would love to devote more time to blogging. For now it will be a when I have time hobby.
After being back at school a couple of days for inservice and getting back to church after a month of traveling on the weekends I did begin thinking about how I would like to make myself better this year. I decided instead of keeping all these "ideas" in my head and most likely forgetting them I would write them down. A place where I can look back and reflect.
First of all, each year my church reads the bible in a year, chronologically. I have joined this challenge... luckily we meet once a week for just a half an hour, great accountability for someone like me :) I am getting late start because due to my last minute decision I am now waiting on amazon to deliver.
Second, I signed up for a half marathon a couple months ago and started running prior to Christmas break. Christmas break kind of put a damper on my running schedule, so I need to get back on track! Worst part is my running buddy is taking real estate classes for the next 3 weeks and won't have time to run :(
Third, I bought a month's worth of boot camp to also work on my strength, plus it's FREEZING outside so that way if I don't get a run in here and there because of weather I'll be okay.
I am thinking I am going to have to start training my body to go to bed earlier, so that I can start my day earlier. Our pastor is challenging us to find 10 minutes to be still and listen for God. Along with my bible reading and running I am going to have to get my booty off of facebook and stay focused. Next week our challenge is to fast for an entire week. I have NEVER, EVER fasted. I am up for the challenge but will be interesting as I LOVE food!
Over all I am hoping to have a more positive attitude and outlook on life!

Tuesday, August 14, 2012

Surviving First Grade

Wow, surprisingly for my first year in 1st grade things are going so well! Timing was my biggest concern and it turned out that my pacing is just perfect. There have been a few other hang ups that I have adjusted to... LOTS of bathroom breaks and of course is easier as a class. I am also adjusting to the inability to sit still and/or sit correctly. We made this poster and I refer to it EVERY time we sit down. It is a great visual reminder and they came up with all the ideas around the little boy.

*This is not a photo of ours, as my camera went through the washing machine :( Click on the photo to go the blog that came up with the original idea.

Today, we started the first day of Daily 5. No one in our building has ever done Daily 5, so this is a brand new concept. Read to self... well let's say it was a stretch when I told them they lasted a minute ;) At first, they made it 40 sec. after reflecting we made it closer to one minute. But there were a still a few that had a hard time reading the "whole" time. So it's a slow start but we are starting and that's what counts. Maybe some more modeling tomorrow and continue talking about the 3rd way to read to self.

We also read Chrysanthemum today and the kids really enjoyed the graph we did as a class.

Tomorrow I plan on doing the activity which is a part of the Wonderful Names unit here. It's free and has a Alice in Wonderland theme.

Thursday, August 9, 2012

Meet the Teacher Night

What a wonderful evening! I was so nervous to meet first grade parents, but turned out to not be so scary. Meeting all my little firsties made me SO excited for the first day of school. My room turned out great, and I felt like I got a lot done just in time. My favorite part was the balloons, a Pinterest inspiration. They were a hit, all the kiddos loved their balloon and none ended up on the tall pod ceilings :)

Now that we have made it passed that night I can focus on planning for the first week of school! 
Question for you all.... how do you organize supplies on the first day? 

Monday, July 30, 2012

Behavior Management Take 2!

School hasn't even started and I am already switching up what I planned on for a behavior system. I was not a fan of the color code system, but it was the only thing I could find that I liked. Color code seemed easy for me, parents and students. However... then I began seeing a million different versions, with different colors representing different behaviors. I also found it very difficult to find a kid friendly think sheet. This one I found is so weird... they are bald, cone heads! Too weird  for me. A while back I came across this token system. It seemed like a lot of work and I was worried about 1st graders being able to handle/understand this. So needless to say I was not excited about my behavior management plan, but hey, we were a few weeks away from school starting and I hadn't found anything better... until last week!

I was at a workshop with one of our 2nd grade teachers and during some downtime we began discussing what we did for behavior management. I was so excited when she began describing the token system. She obviously has adapted it a bit, but I loved it all over again! So I went through my math cabinet picked out certain color of "tokens" that I was going to use and labeled them with students numbers. Each student will have 10 tokens, with "their" number on it. I also bought a container similar to the one below at Wal-Mart for $4.97. This is to help organize the tokens by each student. Now my friend does not have hers labeled. She just hands them out to anyone... this would make handing them out much easier, but I am just worried about firsties losing, or stealing :( The numbers avoid both issues. 
Creative Options Shallow Utility Box
When students earn 10 tokens by doing the right thing then they can trade it in for a coupon. Coupons must be redeemed on the following Friday. I record this in their take home folder the day they earn their 10 tokens. 

Now my question to her was, okay this is fabulous, BUT what do you do when a kid is not doing what they are suppose to? I shared with her my dilemma with the think sheets. She shared her behavior sheets, they are done weekly and she has codes for each misbehavior. Anytime their behavior interrupts learning they mark the code next to the day. This is just a quick recording of their behavior. At the end of the week it goes home to parents. She said if she notices 3 or more of the same code they fill out a think sheet, which goes home that night. Here is an example of what will go in their folder. (It's a half sheet... save paper!)

Here is the pdf if you like the behavior log!

When the student earns all 5 tokens I note on their folder sheet the day they received their coupon and their choice. Here are the coupons I made for my class.

I am NOW excited about my behavior management... because for the most part it is entirely positive, however I do have a way of tracking the unwanted behaviors. 

I would love to hear what you do in your classrooms for behavior management!

Friday, July 27, 2012

Daily 5: Chapter 7

Finally finished up the Daily 5 book. This last chapter did clarify a few things with implementing the daily 5. I think the 7th chapter will be a great resource to go back to once the year is up an running. My plan is to start the 2nd day of school with talking about the 3 ways to read a book. Is that too early? I just know that I have to start our basal program the second week of school so I would like a little time to really focus on Daily 5, before adding all of that in.
The one thing I did realize from this chapter was that we all are doing the same part of Daily 5 together until about mid October. This makes a lot of sense because chaos can come easily when several activities are going on at once.  I just finished putting together my cards so students can choose their Daily 5 activities in the morning, allowing me time to get choices recorded. I got my inspiration from Mrs. Bainbridge's site, if you click on the image it will take you to her site. Hopefully I will have a picture of my own up soon.

I wish I had taken pictures of my room today, it is really starting to look complete! I think I have made my final trip to Target, Dollar Tree, Hobby Lobby and Mardel! Of course, I will have to go to Wal-Mart for necessities and end up with school supplies but only 2 more weeks!! Today I got some 1st grade resources from my cooperating teacher, she is also teaching in the KC area and when she heard I was switching to first she offered some of her resources as she moved up to 5th. It was great to see her! The only thing I am still looking for is some chimes for a signal... I have a bell but that can be so abrupt.

Saturday, July 21, 2012

Cute new chairs/storage!

I am tagging onto a blog hop for newbies... yup that would be me!

Click the picture above if you would like to join! Janis had this great idea to share a bit of information about ourselves...

1. I teacher in Kansas
2. 1st Grade
3. I have taught 4th grade for 3 years, and now going into my fourth year of teaching.
4. I started blogging in May when I found out I was for sure moving to 1st (and yes this was my choice... I'm so excited!)
5. I have a gmail account and I read all my blogs through Google reader! This saves a lot of time, because it tells me who has news posts and everyone is in one spot.

Anyway, today I got some help from my hubby to create these crate seats! I think I am going to use them at my guided reading table. The only thing I need to add is the ribbon on the sides to help for easier lifting. 
Here's how to make one for your room!

Staple Gun
Material (or I used vinyl tablecloth so that it's easier to keep clean)
Ribbon if you want to make handles

First, you need to cut your plywood to fit just inside of the crate, so it sits on the inner rim that is made for holding file folders. Make sure it fits nicely, remember fabric will be going on the sides. Then lay your piece of plywood on the back side of the material. I measured four inches away from the perimeter, and probably didn't need quite that much.

Then staple one end and the two corners on that side. 

Now you can start stuffing, make sure you stuff all the way to the corners and work it around to avoid lumpiness.

Finally, flip it back over and staple all the edges to the plywood. If I have leftover material I am thinking about cutting a rectangle to completely cover the wood.

Place it in the Crate and take a load of your feet!

Only 5 more to go!! :)

Thursday, July 19, 2012

Daily 5: Chapter 6

Whew! Only 2 more chapters and right now I am feeling more confused about Daily 5 than excited. Thanks to Misty Dawn I did find page 119 to be very helpful in laying out all these "days." I wish there was someone in my building who had implemented Daily 5 in the past, but other than my blogger friends I am on my own!

So here it goes Chapter 6: Writing and Word Work

In this chapter they continually mention that by now the students are aware of Daily 5 and these routines become easier to teach, however looking at page 119 "The first five weeks of Daily 5." The writing portion is introduced right after Read to Self. I feel like the writing part might be a little more tricky. So is page 119 an Idea, but not necessarily a guide for how to start Daily 5. Ahhh, I am confused :(

Anyway, the writing portion is a great time for students to work on their creativity with writing. I love the time taken to discuss spelling words... I always make a point encourage students to use the words they want to and worry about spelling later. I like that they underline the word so they know we are not just going to ignore the word. 

Word work sounds like a fun, hands on time for the kids. I need wikki stix! My question is do you have resources like spelling list, sight word list available for kids to look at or maybe this could be something that is in their book box for the week? 

I am also thinking of making a kind of checklist for students as they have completed a part of the Daily 5... here are a couple of ideas I am contemplating for that.

Daily 5

I like this so I know what they are currently working on and it holds them accountable. However, this does not "record" what they have already done that day.

idea for students who struggle to remember classroom routines

Or I was thinking something like this on the side of their book boxes.
These are the book boxes I ordered, which are obviously going to need some sprucing up... I was being a penny pincher, but now I wish I would've just ordered the colorful ones :(

And then I think, hey why not both? HA... maybe if my order comes in soon and I can get busy right away I will be able to accomplish both of these ideas!

So my sister came up and helped with my classroom yesterday! She is only 14, but I put her to work! We got a lot accomplished. Here is a picture update.

My library is getting there, and I finally hung my calendar. :)

This is what I really needed her help with... hanging all the blue and black material... we also created the city outline down below the whiteboard. I was going to us it for my behavior system, but I still can't make up my mind!! It's cute either way. I am going to get a silver paint pen and outline/draw windows on the buildings!