Our Busy Week One

Saturday, July 26, 2014

Week 1 is finished and although I had pre-first day nightmares that looked like this
I survived, they did not manage to tie me up, and we had an awesome first week of school. This is an exciting year for my family because...look at my big first grader! My oldest is in first grade and so that means I get to see her even more during the day. No, she is not in my class. (That would be REALLY bad.) But, she has the best teacher and she is loving school and she is right next door, YAY!
This week flew by, we were crazy busy trying to squeeze in as many rules and procedures as possible. I always forget how young they are at the beginning of the year. On Monday at about 9:15 (45 minutes into the day) I had a kiddo ask me if it was almost time to go home. Oh honey, its going to be a LONG day! HA! 

Here is a little look at our week, I tried to make sure I took lots of pictures so I could share with you. Monday we began our Back to School book. I LOVE this book and students/parents do too! 
The first page is "Meet My Teacher" where the students draw a picture of their new teacher and write something they have learned about him/her. I created a little Around the Room activity to help. Great first day activity since they are so WIGGLY! 

All About My Teacher! Editable PDF Around the Room

On Tuesday we began Readers Workshop. We read for a whole 5 minutes, WOO HOO! We are going to build up our reading stamina slowly. My book boxes are from Really Great Stuff, my teaching neighbor showed me these awesome clear labeling pockets from Lakeshore and I created this editable PDF for the labels. These labels are FREE for Facebook Fans. Simply like my page to download them, click on the tab on the right to get there. 

My week started to get a little blurry on Wednesday, it was 113 degrees so that means no outdoor activity. 
No outdoor activity = rainy day schedule = NOOOO!!!!!!! 
We made the best of it and started working on our No, David art. 

Thursday, oh Thursday. My little one had enough by Thursday, we slept in over the summer and she is having a hard time changing her sleeping schedule.  
Thursday was another hot one at 114 degrees so again, no outdoor activity. Oh my! We finished out Back to School book on Thursday and sent it home. 

Friday was crazy hot again but I can put up with just about anything because IT IS FRIDAY! We brainstormed the classroom rules and did the writing to accompany our David art. They turned out so cute! This is by far one of my favorite bulletin boards of the year. The David art and Writing page is a free download in my TpT store. Several people have asked about the poster, I am trying to clear this with David Shannon because I don't want to violate copyright. If/When I hear back with permission I will make it available. 

Next week we get to begin our NEW Journeys Reading Series and we are starting with the story "What is a Pal?" I am super excited about this new series. I have created a ton of stuff to use next week. We are going to begin our Interactive Notebooks and Literacy Stations. I am looking forward to sharing more with you! 

Now I am off to bed and I am looking forward to enjoying my Sunday with my family. 

Week One Here We Come!

Saturday, July 19, 2014

Well teacher week is OVER and students begin on Monday. We had a crazy amount of professional development this week and my head is spinning with all the new changes. 

I wanted to share a little about what I have planned for the first week of school but before I get to that I wanted to show you my new ETSY purchases. 
I LOVE ETSY! (I spend way too much money during summer breaks!)
I bought the wine tumblers from Lulu's Goodies. I bought one for each of my awesome teammates. Lulu was amazing she even personalized them FOR FREE and gave me a discount because I ordered 5! So cute and believe me I will put this tumbler to use next week! :) 

I also purchased a new lanyard and SewMuchDetail. It has little bees on it to match my classroom. Sandee had my order shipped in less than 48 hours and I love it! 

Finally, I bought a new sign for my door and I am in LOVE! Lisa from LisaBees is amazing, she makes the cutest personalized signs. She has a million designs to choose from and my new sign is  beautiful, durable and just perfect! 

I also did a little Back to School clothing shopping at White House Black Market. I added these cute items to my wardrobe. Best news ever - they were all on clearance! My favorite is the dress on the right, I wore it to Meet Your Teacher, so cute! 

So like I said before, Monday is our first day of school. We don't start our reading series or Literacy Station the first week so we fill our time by learning rules and procedures and working on our Back to School books. When the completed book goes home at the end of the week, parents learn so much about our class including: our specials schedule, daily classroom schedule, our school VIP's, our class boy/girl ratio, student ages, first grade expectations, they can see a class picture and so much more!  

Day One (or two because I always over-plan) my students are going to learn all about me with this fun little Around the Room activity. I try to cram in as many activities as possible that allow for some movement because WOW are they wiggly at the beginning of the year! I recently learned how to make an editable pdf and now I am a *little* addicted! Simply download and add your text by clicking and typing in each box! You can grab this activity here. 

Finally, we are going to learn school rules with a little help from my favorite author David Shannon. I LOVE his book David Goes to School so I created a little craftivity and writing page to accompany it. You can find my David Goes to School FREEBIE by clicking on the link. (I will post pictures at the end of the week. In the meantime, check out last years pics by clicking here.)
David Learns the School Rules Craftivity and Writing
Good luck to everyone who starts school this week!

Hersheys Candybar Wrapper!

Tuesday, July 15, 2014

Yay! I created my first editable PDF!
Sorry this is going to be the quickest post ever because although it is only Tuesday night, this is proving to be the longest week ever! Teachers are back to school this week and we have a CRAZY amount of professional development this year
 - AND - 
I have Meet Your Teacher/Curriculum Night on Thursday evening! I wanted to quickly stop by to  share my cover page and matching Hershey's candy bar wrapper with you all. 
Since we combine Meet Your Teacher with Curriculum Night I have a TON of information to give to new parents and the kids are required to sit and listen so the candy bar is very helpful! :)   
The coverpage is editable so you can insert your School, Room Number, Name, Year, etc... the back of the candy bar says "I am looking forward to a wonderful year with you! (heart) ________" My students are always so excited about these candy bars and I know your kiddos will be too!

Learning Goals and Scales

Monday, July 7, 2014

So I have been putting off this post forever because frankly I hate sharing my weaknesses. However, I have finally decided that this purpose of this blog is to help other educators by collaborating and sharing ideas and experiences so...here goes! 

I really have to start at the beginning...A few years ago our district adopted this elaborate way of rating teacher performance based on Marzano and his Nine Instructional Strategies for Effective Teaching. This has been a enormous change and huge task for teachers to understand exactly what it is evaluators are looking for when they come in. So at the beginning of last year we were asked to pick two target elements. These would be just two things that we were hoping to improve on throughout the year, easy enough right? HA! 

I chose to work on Learning Goals and Scales because during the previous year I had spent time creating my Marzano BEE themed scale (pictured below). Cute right? I had created several themes for other teachers at my school and I had these 4 signs hanging in the front of my room and I thought "All right I am ready to go, I am going to nail these Learning Goals and Scales!" 

Well not so much. 

The above signs are perfect for a classroom scale, they are generic so that I can use them throughout the entire day. The kids find them fun, I can quickly check their learning by asking them to write their number on the top right corner of their paper or check whole-group by asking kids to show me their fingers, love them. Scales, CHECK! 

However, I struggled ALL YEAR with Learning Goals. I know the learning goal, I know exactly where we are going by the end of the lesson, unit, year, etc... Do I really need to write it on the board for FIRST GRADERS! Some of them can't even read! For much of the year I considered it a waste of time, energy, and valuable white board space so I kinda faked it when my evaluators came in and...it didn't really work. 

Fourth quarter came and I still had not met my goal and panic started to set in. I was so mad that I had picked that goal and I was failing at it. I had to re-evaluate my thinking and you know as well as I do that is a really hard thing to do sometimes. 
I decided it was time to UNITE Learning Goals and Scales. You are probable thinking "duh, they already were united" uh yeah, NOW I know. But, at the beginning of the year I really did not understand how to do that.
Once that light bulb finally turned on I created this! I decided to change my thinking and to really try to focus on not just the scales but also communicating with students the learning goal and just see what happened. Well I have to give it to that Marzano guy...he may know what he is talking about :) Seriously, my students love it.
I used my the wording from my smaller scales poster and created a banner to introduce our daily learning goals. The learning goals are displayed by subject in a Ikea frame so that I can use a white-board marker to easily change them. Best part, the frames are attached by Velcro so we can easily take them down. 

We begin each lesson by stating the learning goal. Here is a simple math example:
"I can add two-digit numbers with regrouping."  

I read them the learning goal and ask students to show me with their fingers where they think they are on the goal. I ask those kids who show me a 3 or 4, "tell me what you know". It is amazing because many times the kids are able to help kick start the lesson with their prior knowledge of the concept. 

Because the board are only attached by Velcro we take them down and put them under the document camera and identify what we already know and what we may not know. In this example, we already knew how to add and we already understood what a two-digit number was so we just briefly discussed those two terms. We spent a longer time discussing regrouping. We had practiced that concept before so the few minutes we spent reviewing it helped students remember that term.  
Usually during this time there are a lot of aahhs as they begin to remember and realize that they do know how to do this and its not so scary when you "unpack" the learning goal. Sometimes we re-check where they are on the scales but often times from here we can jump right into the lesson and students are ready to go. Of course, we always end our lesson by coming back to the goal and using our scale. 

I have learned a lot this year and I am not claiming to be an expert at learning goals and scales, but I am learning and changing daily and I am excited about the growth that I have made this past year. 
I wanted to make this project available for others you can check it out by clicking on the picture above. I printed the banner at Staples, I waited for a sale and I got it for $12. Money well spent, I use this poster daily in all subject areas. (You can also have it printed at Vista Print for CHEAP!) 

Since most people may not share my love of bees, I have also made a Melonheadz theme because who doesn't LOVE Melonheadz, am I right? Check that out by clicking on the picture below. I could not decide between the solid color objective pages or the chevron so...I included both! ENJOY!  
I will be back later this week to talk about this new product - Hint: This may be my Target Element next year!

Journeys Unit 1 Bundle!

Tuesday, July 1, 2014

Yay! I am finished with my Print and Go resources for Journeys Unit 1 and posted it as a HUGE bundle pack.
Having an entirely new reading series can be very overwhelming but I am feeling super organized. I just finished printing and organizing my binders for the first unit. It was a lot of work but I know that we are going to have this reading series for A LONG time and I know that I will be so grateful in future years for the time that I am investing now. Here is a little peek at how I organize and use these Print and Go packets in my classroom.  

I have a one inch binder for each story. I am crazy about keeping my resources organized and neat so I use these binders to hold all my masters, samples, anchor charts, sentence strips etc... 
(I also included a cover page for the Unit 1 Bundle in case you prefer to have a large Unit 1 binder instead of individual stories)
I use the Daily Edit as a bellwork activity. There are 5 Daily Edits included in each packet. Students use the Editing Marks poster as a reference to learn consistent editing marks. Each Daily Edit page has a mini-poster in the top left corner so students can always use it as a reference. This will be an exciting new change to our Bellwork and I know it will really help my kiddos.  
Each packet includes NINE Print and Go Literacy Stations to practice the Spelling and High Frequency words each week. I don't have time to use all 9 activities every week but this allows me to change up what I do use so the kids don't get bored and it also provides consistency so the kids are not interrupting my Guided Reading Group to ask me: "What do I do?" Ugghhh, I despise that question! 
This year I am most excited about diving into the world of Interactive Notebooks. I have seen some amazing ideas and I am so excited to begin these with my students. I am loving the idea that these notebooks provide students with a resource that they can use to review and practice. These notebooks will be a great way to show our mastery and learning of each of the CORE standards. Each Print and Go packet includes directions, anchor charts and student pages to support the implementation of these Interactive Notebooks! 
Each packet includes grammar and writing activities. These activities will vary with each story but here is a little look:
Finally, each of my Print and Go packets includes a cover page for the story. I print two cover pages and use one for the front cover of my binder and the other to create a guided reading folder. 
To make my guided reading folders, I use those cheap paper folders. I simply glue on a cover page and then laminate the entire folder and ta-da, and beautiful folder that I keep at my guided reading table for the week. Inside the folder, I keep all the Leveled Reader Teacher Guides and Printables for each leveled reader. I store the 4 leveled readers in a Ziploc bag and put the bag of books with the Guided Reading Folder in my cubbies behind my horseshoe table. (Sorry I will post an actual picture when we return to school). 
I print two copies of the vertical binder labels (shown above) to: 
1. label the side of each binder  
2. label the bottom of the cubby so I can quickly find each story. 
Mobile Student Work Organizer

To check out each packet by clicking on the pictures below or grab the Unit 1 Bundle and SAVE!

I will begin posting Unit 2 stories during the month of July so stay tuned! 
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