Teacher Week 2013- Classroom Digs

Tuesday, August 13, 2013

Hey everyone! I have had my blog for almost 2 years and have never posted any kind of "classroom tour" pictures. As I was trying to straighten my desk, stash piles and clean up after a busy day - I realized this is why I don't post pictures! Forgive the mess - here goes!

Here is the view from the door.  (Keep in mind my school is about 25 years old) My teacher desk is in the upper right corner, the back cabinets are all storage and I use the area above the sink to display student work (I have more than 13 kids, I have only displayed the kids who have finished their project, the other 11 kids will finish tomorrow).
You will notice that the desks are in rows (GASP!!!!) I teach at a "traditional" school and the philosophy is that desks are to be placed in rows facing the front of the room. Not my preference :(
I have a BEE theme in my class. Our rules are displayed on poster on the cabinets, these posters were purchased from Oriental Trading and I LOVE THEM!

UGGGHHH! I try, I swear! My teacher area is always a mess but I swear I know exactly where everything is. 
Those colored storage containers from Lakeshore organize all my papers for the week. My cabinets don't quite latch, as I mentioned before - older school. I have three hanging organizers on the wall: Copy, File and Grade. This helps me stay somewhat organized, but more of this organization stuff in tomorrows post! 

This is my favorite area of the room. I love when we can get out of our rows and meet at the rug. Notice my super comfy rocker?! That was purchased for my first child's nursery and when she outgrew it I decided to take it to school because it is SO COMFY! You can see our station buckets behind the easel and our book boxes to the left of the rug. The flowers in the corner behind my chair are part of our classroom management plan that I will talk more about on Thursday.  

Here is our classroom library. In our class we love doing author studies so I choose to organize most of my books by author. We just finished reading a TON of Mo Willems books are we are now working with Todd Arnold's Fly Guy books. We have bean bags, reading buddies (the stuffed animals in the basket) comfy chairs and a small couch (sorry that got cut out of the picture) to make our classroom library feel homey. To the right of this picture is our horseshoe table for guided reading.

My final picture is of the front of the room. I display my BEEutiful Writing and Marzano Scale at the front. The door is to my neighbors room. It desperately needs to be repainted and I would cover it but we are not allowed to, thanks fire marshall. The whiteboard is BRAND NEW, MAGNETIC! We asked for years for a magnetic board and we just got one this year, the first thing I did was buy magnetic punctuation pieces from Lakeshore, LOVE THEM! If only I had a Smart Board :(

Well that is the tour of my home away from home! Thanks for coming to visit! I am looking forward to tomorrows post: Organizing for Instruction. Have a wonderful day everyone!

Teacher Week 2013 - Meet the Teacher!

Monday, August 12, 2013

I am linking up with Blog Hoppin' to kick of Teacher Week 2013 with a linky party. Monday is the Let's Talk About Me Day, so here goes!

I am a teacher in sunny Arizona with a passion for making my first grade class a wonderful place to be. I have been teaching first grade for three years now and before that I taught kinder for 6 years. I love primary aged students, frankly the older kids scare me! I grew up in AZ and went to ASU! I have my Masters in Educational Technology and I LOVE creating resources and lessons that involve technology because students are so motivated by it. 

Over the last several years, I have spent a lot of time creating math curriculum. When I moved to first grade I was told by the current first grade teachers that the most frustrating part of their day is math. They explained that our curriculum is out-dated, it did not align to standards, and we would be teaching without the workbook due to budget cuts. So...I set out creating daily math lesson plans. That is where my TpT/blogging life began in 2010. I have since sold to districts around the country and even teachers in Australia and Thailand have reached out to me about the success of my curriculum in their classroom. I feel so incredibly blessed to have worked with some many teachers and each time I receive more positive feedback I feel so grateful and excited to be making a difference outside of my classroom. I have created math curriculum for kinder and first grade and I am slowly (see below) working on creating curriculum for second grade. 

My life outside of school is amazing. I have a very supportive and loving husband and 2 beautiful little girls. My oldest daughter is 5, and my youngest is 9 months. Everyday I struggle with the work/life balance. Being a working mom is so incredibly difficult, and I have so much respect to all the moms out there who manage to pull it off while still maintaining their sanity. When I am working at home on school stuff I feel guilty for not doing mom stuff. It is a very tricky balancing act that I still have not yet perfected. I have finally come the the realization that I can't do everything (that was a tough one) and I have had to begin giving myself permission to relax and enjoy my family because they are the most important thing in the world to me and frankly as teachers we work WAY TOO HARD and no matter how hard you work, there is still more to be done! 

That is a little about me, I am looking forward to this week of blogging. Come back tomorrow to go on a classroom tour with me! (I better clean my classroom a little)

Write Like A Rockstar!

Sunday, August 11, 2013

Hi All! Just wanted to quickly stop by tonight to let you know that I have uploaded a new Writing Unit! I have had many requests for themes and tonight I created a "Writing Like a Rockstar!" unit. 
I posted my BEEutiful Writing Packet in a prior post and many teachers have reached out asking me to create themes to match their classrooms. (click on the link to check out the original post) I am also working on a zebra theme that should be posted early this week. Also on my list are frog, ocean and owl theme. Keep watching my blog they will be posted soon!

Here is a look at my BEE theme and Circus theme!

Ants In Our Pants

Friday, August 2, 2013

My word!
I had moments this weekend when I was wondering if Friday was ever going to be here! TGIF friends! Second week of school is over!

I wanted to link up with Doodle Bugs to share 5 moments from the week!

1. Our Harcourt Trophies story this week was Ants. We took this nonfiction topic and ran with it! We read several nonfiction ants books, my favorite being It's An Ants Life: My Story of Life in the Nest by Steve Parker. 
Great book with TONS of information presented in a fun diary format. We gathered lots of facts from this book then created a tree map and also wrote about the life cycle of ants. 
2. We also read several fictional stories about ants, my favorite being I Saw An Ant on the Railroad Track by Joshua Price. BEST BOOK EVER to help kids understand how to make predictions when reading. The book builds up to a great climax, at that point I close the book and ask students to write a prediction about what they think is going to happen next. 
This year, the vast majority of my class was convinced that the poor little ant was squashed by the train. 
One student had an eye for detail in the pictures and noticed that Switchman Jack had a sandwich placed right next to the train track and she made that prediction that the ant would be saved because "Maybe the ant turned to the food." - LOVE that girl! 
(When I was googling a picture of this book I saw that Joshua Price has written another book called I Saw An Ant in a Parking Lot - I MUST have this book! I ordered it last night and I am so excited for it to arrive - I will let you know if it is as amazing as the first!)
3. We also read Hey Little Ant by Phillip M. Hoose and made a little craftivity inspired by Peace, Love and Kindergarten.
We wrote a letter to the Ant Bully asking him not to step on the ant and each student gave him a reason to let the ant live. TOO CUTE!

4. We also created a Venn Diagram comparing ants and people then the kids created their own ant hill by  tearing brown paper and then gluing sand to create the tunnels.
5. Finally, those of you who follow by blog know that one of my "New School Year's Resolution" is to do a better job teaching grammar this year. Well - what would go better this week than to focus on teaching ANTonyms! We learned all about antonyms and made a fun craftivity - "Our ANTonym Hill". Each child was given a word and they were asked to think of the antonym. They then wrote the word on the first line of their ant and the antonym on the second line of their ant. They turned out super cute and the kids were so excited to learn the "fancy" word for opposite. Click here to dowload the ant body template
Well that was our busy week in first grade, I am exhausted. Have a wonderful and relaxing weekend everyone! See you soon :) 
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