A Week in Rewind - July 26th

Sunday, July 28, 2013

Hey All! I survived the first week! As always, it was a little crazy, mixed with some fun but totally and completely exhausting! I meant to get to this blog post earlier today but felt it was crucial to sneek a nap in before the madness begins again tomorrow. 

I wanted to highlight for you some of the fun we had this week. 

It would not be the first week without tons of time being devoted to the rules and procedures. There is no one better suited to teach your students how not to behave at school than David in the book David Goes to School! We spent lots of time discussing David's behavior and how it could be changed so that he would look like a "real first grader". The kids helped me brainstorm some rules that David must learn and follow. Then they choose three rules to write for David. Next we did this fun little craftivity that somehow always seems to resemble the child who created it! 

 This craftivity is a FREEBIE in my TpT store. Click here to get it! I also have the editable poster available for your class, click here to get it! 

We also worked on our "Back to School" book. I LOVE this book and so many parents appreciate it too! Parents have told me so many times how much they LOVE this book and consider it a first grade keepsake. You can check out the book here.
 This book takes us the entire week to complete. (We do not do literacy stations the first week so this is a great activity for that time period.) When the completed book goes home students/parents have reference to our specials schedule, daily classroom schedule, our school's VIP's, graphs with information about our classes boy/girl ratio, how many students are 5, 6 or 7 a class picture and much more! (There is also a second grade version of this book!)
We also did several activities from Abby's Fun with Firsties packet. We enjoyed some Jitter Juice and her Find a Friend Icebreakers Activities.
The highlight of my week has been being able to take my daughter to school with me. We do not live in the school district I teach in but I decided to bring her to my school this year. I love being able to see her around school and check on her at lunch. Here we are in our matching school shirts on Friday. (forgive the horrible hair, pony tails are a MUST when it is 109 degrees!)
Awesome first week, glad it is over and we can get into our real routine. Next week we are getting busy with our Harcourt reading. I will be back to share some of our adventures next week! 

New SCHOOL Year Resolutions

Saturday, July 13, 2013

My summer is quickly coming to an end! I return to work in just 2 days! 

With each new school year, I try to set a goal for myself, a RESOLUTION if you will :) I don't want to overwhelm myself by setting tons of goals or making lots of huge changes each year because I already know that next week when I walk into our professional development days, my principal will be waiting with a list of new changes and challenges.

SO...with that in mind, I have set only 2 New SCHOOL Year Resolutions for the 2013-14 school year:

Resolution 1: TEACH GRAMMAR - Let me be totally honest, when I think about teaching grammar to first graders I think UUUGGGHHHH! I have really neglected this in years past and I vow to do better this year. When filling out report cards I come to the dreaded grammar grade and always tell myself I need to do better but, finding extra teaching time and quality resources has always been my hiccup. SO...this summer I have worked on creating and finding resources to help.  I have created "Grammar Guide" reference posters to display in the classroom (picture of my Grammar Wall coming soon)
and I have purchased several grammar workbooks and TpT products to use. I am looking forward to evaluating the workbooks and resources I purchased and creating new resources to share with you throughout the year! 

Resolution 2: SOCIAL STUDIES - I stink at teaching Social Studies. I seems I am always trying to just quickly squeeze in Social Studies instead of creating purposeful, meaningful units of study. I became inspired late last school year by reading a few of the "Who Was..." books. 
 These books are awesome! This series includes: Johnny Appleseed, Lincoln, Washington, Martin Luther King Jr., Neil Armstrong, Helen Keller, Columbus and many more great American Heroes - perfect for first graders.  I purchased some of these books through Amazon but you can also find them at Really Good Stuff and I have even found a few of them at Target and Walmart! I have been creating book guides for each book so while we are digging into the informational text we can also work on writing.
 I plan to create a American Heroes Timeline to hang in the class for student reference. As we learn about each hero, we will add them to our timeline. (Pictures coming soon!)

For me personally, two goals seem obtainable. I am excited to create more resources to share with you. 
What are your New (School) Year Resolutions? Join me in sharing your Resolution(s). Just add your link below and don't forget to grab the button at the top!
Button Credits: Scrapping Doodles

This is How We Do It...Journal Writing

Wednesday, July 10, 2013

Bellwork is a very important part of our daily morning routine. On the back of our bell work worksheet, I always copy a blank journal writing page and put a journal prompt on the board. 
Our prompts are often related to our social studies, science or reading topics. Students are expected to use our BEEutiful Writing Traits when completing their journal. I have the BEEutiful Writing poster and mini-posters displayed in the front of the room for students to reference. 
OR students can reference their bookmarks to recall the BEEutiful Writing Traits. 
The traits we focus on in our first grade class are: neatness, spelling, capitalization, punctuation and word choice. (Each mini-poster describes the trait in greater detail.) At the beginning of the year we spend a lot of time practicing each trait so students understand and are aware of our writing expectations. 

When students have finished journal writing, students peer edit each others writing using the bees at the bottom of the journal page. If the students paper is neat, the peer editor will color in the first bee at the bottom of the page with a red crayon. If the writer used correct spelling, the editor will color in the 2nd bee orange. If capital letters are used correctly, the editor will color in the third bee yellow. If the writer used punctuation, the  fourth bee will be colored green. Finally, we talk a lot about word choice and making sure our writing makes sense. The editor will give a blue bee if the writer has done a good job with word choice. 

Often times, I will grade students papers after peer editing is complete. If I grade it, I will attach a small rubric to their paper with a writing grade based on their BEEutiful Writing Rubric. 
I have my entire BEEutiful Writing Packet available for sale in my TpT store. The packet includes a large Beehive Poster with the 5 traits, (BTW you can print 16X20 colored posters at Costco for $5!) 5 mini-posters describing each traits in detail, bookmarks for student reference, Mini Writing Rubrics for teachers, 2 journal writing templates (with dotted lines and w/out), and a BEEutiful Writing Tree Map. Click on the pictures below to link to my store.
I have also created a CIRCUS theme writing packet for my neighbor called "Juggling Great Writing"
I have also created a "Write Like a Rockstar" theme for Debbie! Cute idea, thanks for asking Debbie!
Need a theme to match your classroom? JUST ASK!

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