Tuesday, August 28, 2012

178 more days to go!

Whoa...I need a nap!  I have completed day numero dos with my little chickadees.  To say they are excited about being in school would be an understatement.  Don't get me wrong, there were a few tears the first morning, but those have long since disappeared with all the new friends and fun in first grade!
Here are a few highlights of my exhausting first few days:

How cute are they?  Now, my kiddos don't actually have smudgey-faces--they're pretty much the cutest first graders ever!  I just smudged them for some good ol' fashioned internet safety :)  We took some first day pictures to send a little keepsake home at the end of the to the end to see it!

Then,  I found an online story about First Day Jitters.  No one knew about jitters--they were all feeling them, but couldn't put the words to what they felt.  AND in the end--they find out it was the teacher with jitters *gasp*  cute book! 
Then, we dove into Babbling Abby's unit Fun with Firsties....LOVE IT!!

There are so many fun and engaging activities to choose from.  Our class favorite so far is the find-a-friend activity.  They got their very own clipboards (no I haven't bedazzled them yet--I'm a horrible teacher) and they walked around to quietly find a friend who matches the descriptor.  My principal came in during this activity, and you woulda thought a rockstar walked in--he now must know how Justin Bieber feels!  They mobbed him and were amazed to find out he had a summer birthday!!!  Just the answer they were looking for, but how do you spell your name?! 

Then, back to the Jitters.  I downloaded First Grade Jitters to my iPad, and we read it together.  Now they all knew what jitters are & could relate to the story.  We then worked through a few more activites, but who can read poems about jitter juice without making jitter juice?!  "The bubbles make all the flies in my stomach go away!"  (We had talked about butterflies in your stomach.)  This surprisingly went off without a hitch.  I had a big container with spout we made it in together, they wrote the recipe as we were making it.  And then, they got to fill up their own cups all by themselves! 

That was it in a nutshell.  Lots of practicing routines etc, but lots of fun too......
You made it to the end; so here are the treats they've gotten to take home these first few days:
freebie on my TPT

tag says: I made this magnet my very first day, so my first grade work will always be on display! 

Sunday, August 26, 2012

'Twas the Night Before First Grade...

and all through the house.  Not a creature was sleeping; especially the totally stressed out teacher--lying awake to all hours thinking about all she needs to get done on the very first day tomorrow!  I'll post about the first week (it makes me cringe to even write those words) sometime this week.  But for now......Meet the Teacher Night Morning.
Our morning starts out bright and early with our itty-bittys.  They show up eager to meet their new teacher.  My favorite part of the morning--they all walked in & didn't say hi to me.  Their first words to their bright eyed (coffee-fueled)  teacher were, "Yeah, but where's Bertie?!"  I think I need to get a cardboard cutout of my dog to sit in her bed for the time that she's not in the classroom.
So, I set up stations for my visitors this time around, thanks Ms. Tunstall--I got that rad idea from you! It worked out great!  They had a plan of action; so they we're all just wandering the room--fighting for my attention (I'm talking about the parents; not the kids, lol.)  Station 1 was to sign in  and find their student's desk & cubby.  I also urged them to grab a pen & fill out all that paperwork to get a head start on the week.  There was a box to turn completed papers in right next to the sign in sheet.
     Then #2.  This one was for the kiddos, and they LOVED IT!  Sorting their supplies.  How many hours have you spent sorting 20-odd kiddos junk?  I put out boxes with labels and pictures & they did it themselves.  It was like a game, and it kept them busy and entertained while parents and I talked.  I am totally leaving these out for the first day of school.  #winning!
     #3 was to tell me how you're getting home.  I just had a boring clipboard and paper.  wah.wah. It got the job done!
     #4 and lastly, take all your papers & your treat with you!  I had little baggies of starburst on their desk "I'm bursting with happiness you're in my class!"  You can find it free in my TPT store.  And of course, say bye to Miss Curtis before you leave. The purple cards are business cards I got from Vistaprint & laminated.  I stuck a magnet on the back--and now my parents have contact info at their fingertips; assuming they stick it on their fridge as directed.  
     And randomly, here is the QR code poster I put on my door.  Parents were fascinated by it.  I had to show most of them how to use them, but definitely an instant hit!

     One of my better Meet the Teacher Mornings, and I'm pumped for the year ahead!  I just hope I can go to bed sometime before 3am tonight...........
And lastly, this is the view from my door.  Notice the neatness & order.  It won't happen again! 

Sunday, August 19, 2012

Tour De Class 2.0

First of all, I wanted to link up on the rocking back to school linky party thrown by Jeannie from Kindergarten Lifestyle.  Here's mine.  Important because I heart shopping!  I am often taken aback by my shopping cravings come August.  I am no longer drawn to the allure of the malls; instead I seek out the biggest and baddest teacher store around....Teacher Heaven!! 

Back to business.  I've spent almost 2 weeks in my classroom.  Unpacking, painting shelves, and waiting on construction workers who'd rather siesta in the lounge.  I'm not saying my room is finished.  Just finished *enough* that no one will notice that I'm not finished.   I still have quite a few projects on the horizon, but for now--I give up!  So here goes....Tour de Room 128....the elusive first grade classroom on the corner.

And I will start in the corner of my room.  Here is the required IB board.  You will notice the sink that doesn't turn on, along with my turn in buckets & bins that house my handouts for the week. 

Next we move on to my computers.  One I still can't find the cords to, whoops.  That should be fixed by the time I have kiddos.  Did you see my naked tree.....see, projects! 

I'm skipping my teacher cabinet corner.  Nothing exciting, short of a boggle board and some file folder games.
My Smartboard is BACK!!  And my favorite thing ever with this construction, they mounted my projector from ceiling!! 

Here is Bertie's corner.  She could probably use a new bed, but she's happy enough just to be at school and in the mix of things! Those shelves are the reason I was walking around with lime green hands yesterday.  Thanks Rustoleum!


Here's my word wall; which has still not been taped off into boxes....project.  My computer, also not set up.  Oh yeah, I guess this is my desk.  It's actually just my small group table, but I got rid of my teacher desk last year.  It took up WAY too much space in my little room, and all it ended up being was a graveyard for piles.  Piles and piles of papers. 

Moving along, this is my unfinished calendar spot.  Along with the tiniest focus wall ever!  I'm missing 2 of my odd number finger pics...I guess if they don't show up I'm taking pictures again.

My favorite tree....not naked.  Helpers, behavior chart, and listening center.  Future home to my Daily 5 board.  Again, projects.

This is the only workstation board I have up....math.  And of course, homeworkopoly--a class favorite!

And finally.... my clean desk fairy, Deskerella.  But what I really wanted you to see was my favorite find of the summer....mustache duct tape!!'s on the hanging bucket for office notes.  I heart mustaches of any form.  And who doesn't love duct tape?!

I believe I'm finished enough for kiddos to come in week after next.  Also finished enough not to lay awake at night thinking about  it.  We shall see.....

So how are all y'alls classrooms coming along?  I can't wait to see pics!!

Friday, August 17, 2012

5 things I'm gonna miss about the summer

Nancy at the Joy of Kindergarten started this linky.....and  inspired me , or perhaps un-spired me.   I thought I'd link up on this one; with my school year looming right around the corner.  My classroom is still a wreck, but I'm hoping to be finished *enough* to post some pics tomorrow!  There comes a point where you just have to step back and say "that'll do, pig...that'll do."  bonus points if you know what movie that's from!  With all the construction going on; I've been at school for almost 2 weeks now and feel like I've not accomplished anything.  BUT, I must remember, my kids won't know if I forget to contact paper my filing cabinet, or make a new fancy calendar board.  They'll be just as excited for a new year as I am....fancy or not.

Anyways, back to business....5 things I'm gonna miss:

1.  SLEEPING IN!!  I'm not talking about past noon or anything, but why can't we start school around 9:30 or 10?  Waking up at 5:30ish is not high on my list of awesome things to do each day.  ugh.

2.  Staying up's to all us late night party animals!!  I am the queen of staying up till 4am.  Why so late, you might ask?  Important,  random projects, Facebook, PINTEREST, catching up on True Blood, and I'm a closet follower of  Dawson's Creek on Netflix.  So, obviously, nothing life-shattering; but not having to get up at the butt-crack of dawn has it's privileges. 

3.  Getting stuff done in the afternoons.  Making appointments, running errands; all so much easier with an open afternoon schedule.  And thank you Nancy for reminding me--doing said things in workout pants and flip flops.

4.  Lunch!  You know what I mean.  The freedom to take more than your alloted 20 minute lunch time to eat.  No cafeteria funk, no inhaling your food in record time, and most importantly--no one "looking" for you during aforementioned lunchtime. favorite lunch this summer, Torchy's Tacos.  The trailer park taco will change your life ;)

5. And lastly.  Lazy summer afternoons.  The freedom to go to the pool, the mall, take a nap, sit around and read, skate, workout, write, or anything my heart desires,  I could do one, or do them schedules...who cares, it's summertime!

Le sigh.  Back to school next week.  I'm excited for a new year; but not looking forward to the early mornings and seemingly endless lists of things to do.

What about you....what are you going to miss about the summer?

And shameless plug....It's BOUT WEEKEND!! If you're in or near Houston, come watch the Bos$es, sans a broken Rayge, whoop up on the Valkyries

Sunday, August 12, 2012

Word Family Workstations...QR style!!

ok, I may be a little obsessed, BUT these QR codes are so kid friendly!  I've gotten so many emails asking for more code projects!  I've been picking my brain as to how else I could incorporate these little gems.  I added the scavenger hunt to my TPT store, by popular demand.  My latest and greatest are some workstations. 

scanning with my iPad, I use Scanlife
making new cVc words
Basically, your students have their iPod, smartphone, etc with scanner.  They also have a jumble of pieces.  Some have letters on them, and others have QR codes.  They sort them by color, and  find the QR code for whichever group they'd like to start with.  The budding tech wiz will scan the code & up pops a word family ending.  He can add the letter tiles to the front of the endings to discover new words!  Of course, there is a recording sheet for accountability.  This set of centers is 20 pages long, and includes 6 different word families.  I am just so pumped about these codes, I'm sure you'll see more of them in my future! 

And then there's my classroom.  Well, I'm *crossing my fingers* when I go in tomorrow I have a whiteboard....we shall see.  Hopefully, I'll have more progress pics later on in the week.  Cause I will have kiddos the week after that & my room just will not do in it's current state.

Happy coding!

Tuesday, August 7, 2012

Classroom Progress....I think

Let me start this post with a few pics so you can understand the gravity of this situation.....
What? May you ask is that empty white space with brown glue horribly ripped from it's surface? Well, that is what used to be my chalk board and my Smartboard.  I am so thankful that our school is being remodeled, but it is really stressing me out that school starts back next week & I can't even start unpacking (we had to pack our ENTIRE room before we left!)  But, I did get a few bulletin boards up this afternoon; working around the "gentlemen" in and out of my room.  Today was definitely what I imagine a  classroom warzone to be--wires coming out of every orifice, randomly timed piles of God knows what falling from the ceiling, and people interrupting every few minutes for seemingly unimportant reasons.  Grrr, let me work!  Here is what I got done today, maybe it will give you some classroom inspiration!

#1 outside bulletin board.  "Now presenting the stars of Miss Curtis' Class!"  Each student will have a glitter covered star with their name on it to welcome them to first grade.  Oh, our mascot is a Husky.  The head in the hole is a picture of Hector, our actual Husky mascot :)

#2  Inside student work bulletin board: "Look whoos done great work!" This will stay up all year, and there are clothespins attached to the ribbon so I can easily change out the work--no staples! The brown paper is just laminated 12x12 scrapbook paper from Hobby Lobby.  The owl header you can find in my TPT store.

#3  My Fry-day Math board.  This is a timed math drill program.  I have addition facts to 10 so far.  Each friday, we take one of the timed tests; if they get 100% on it in the allotted time-they get a popsicle stick, or fry, in their frybox.  You can work out a reward system for milestone--I get the first student with 10 fries in theie box a happy meal lunch from McDonalds!  They love it!!  It's a great motivator to learn basic math facts.  You can find it in my TPT store by clicking the picture. 

#4  My "All About Me" book.  This is a little book I made in powerpoint, I print out the pages, laminate, and bind them to make a book for my classroom library.  The kids always love reading about their teacher.  The other great part about this is...I can run the slide show continuously on my Smartboard (if it ever gets remounted) during Meet the Teacher night!

Today was certainly a big day....I'm pooped!  Of course, I will be up there tomorrow to do it all again!  

Friday, August 3, 2012

Brown Bear Unit....FINISHED!

Stick a fork in me, I'm done!  I know.....2 posts in one day, but I'm sooooo excited about this one!  I finished my first literacy unit today.  My eyeballs are about to fall outta my head, but I think the work was well worth it. 50 pages of engaging learning!
sentence strips for retelling
memory game
I stuck with literacy activities.  Based on everyone's favorite choral reading book....Brown Bear by Eric Carle.  There are 6 activities included:

a take home story for emergent readers, just copy front-to-back & fold; no cutting!
retelling props with sentence strips
sentence scramble + recording sheet
go fish game for color word identification + recording sheet
concentration game for letter identification (uppercase/ lowercase)
and a read the room + recording sheet
story retelling props

take home story
lots of recording sheets to assess learning
I've also added a labeling packet to supplement this unit.  It gives early learners practice with spelling, vocabulary, and writing! This packet includes 19 pages of color and blackline masters; for use in whole group, small group, or at your seat practice.  
I'd love it if you'd take a look...there's a small preview file for you to check out.  My next project will involve Brown bear's more "sophisticated cousin,"  Baby Bear.  This one is aimed more at my firsties.  It has the same predictable text, but introduces "fancy" animals....flying squirrels, prairie dogs, rattlesnakes, etc.  
So, that's my soapbox for the night.  You can check out this unit in my Teachers Pay Teachers store, along with all sorts of other resources.  And remember;  fancy,  sophisticated Brown Bear coming soon!