Friday, August 29, 2014

Love in my Library!

I have been just the busiest beaver setting up my classroom in the past few days. It's fun and crazy you all know! One of the biggest facelifts in my classroom this year was my library. It needed a pick me up so pick me up it got! I am a huge lover of the Daily Five whose main philosophy is in order to learn to read you need to spend a lot of time reading books. Genius, right?!? I really wanted to create a space that kids are excited to come into, cozy up and dive into a book. 
My library houses AR books by level, a variety of series, books by author, many different book themes (fairy tales, math books, animal books, etc) and seasonal books. I think I need a book intervention! Here's how they all fit into this cozy little space!

I'm in love love love with that Dr. Seuss alphabet on my closet doors. Dr. Seuss' ABC book is an all-time favorite of mine so I had to grab these. I picked mine up at Michaels. Grab your own here!

The labels I used in my library are from my shop.

If you need a label that you don't see here please contact me and I'll try to add it =)

Tuesday, August 26, 2014

My Just Right Book

Hi everyone!  It is Teresa Phillips from Fun in K/1 and Technology with Class.  I teach 1st grade in Florida, I am in my second week with kiddos.  I did one of my all-time favorite lessons about how to pick out "just right" books.  This idea came from the book "Comprehension Connections."  (If you haven't read this, I highly recommend it.  Great book for a book study!)
Here is how I set it up...  One of my shoes break during the day.  (OK the strap really comes undone.)  Then I "call" my dear husband and ask him to bring me a new pair of shoes.  About 15 minutes later someone from the front office delivers a large bag of shoes to me.  (I brought a bag of assorted shoes in and set up the delivery.)  Then I sit down with the class to go through the bag of shoes my husband brought me.  He is really BAD at picking out shoes!  As I pull out the shoes one pair at a time, we discuss why they aren's a good fit for me.
I have a pair of tiny kid shoes, way to small for me but just right for the child they belong to.

A pair of my husbands shoes that are way to big for me but just right for him.

I also have a pair of my daughters dance shoes, they fit but are a little tight.  Still, they are not right for me, I don't know how to tap dance!

There is also a pair of really sparkly, light up Sketchers that all of the cool kids are wearing!  However,even though I like them,  these shoes are too small for me.

Finally, a pair of my shoes and they fit!  Only problem is they are high-heeled dress shoes with rhinestones.  They don't really work for the purpose of school.

Ahhh.... my faithful flip-flops! I LOVE these well worn flip-flops but, they aren't right for school.  They offer no support for me.

Then at the bottom of the bag I finally find my "just right" shoes!  They fit me, support my foot and match!

The kids love this lesson and think my hubby is completely crazy!  Then I proceed to talk about how finding the the right book is just like finding the right shoes.  I also go over the "I PICK" strategy for picking books.

Here is a great follow up activity I then do with the kids.  They have to take this sheet and look in my library to find their own "just right" and "not a good fit" books.  I thought I would share it with you!  Click here to download it.

Friday, August 22, 2014

Fall Is Freebie

Hello there friends, Renee here from Fantastic First Grade Froggies.  How is school going for those who have started?  I am busy moving into my new classroom, so I am here today with a quick post about a freebie I made last year.

Fall is not too far away, so why not start planning now with a freebie.  So here is my Fall Is freebie, I have been doing with my class for years.  First I introduced what an adjective was.  We used our five senses to describe leaves, apples and pumpkins.  I explained that these are all adjectives (and I began to see adjectives in some of their writing this week.

After brainstorming adjectives in small groups, we made charts from all three items.

Next we, wrote our our Fall is...poems.  We had also sponge painted construction paper is fall colors and cut our leaf shapes from the sponged art.  Here is a sample of the finished product.  It is great to see them using adjective in their writing now!

Here is a closer look at the freebie

To get your freebie, click below!

Thanks for stopping by today!

Sunday, August 17, 2014

Learning about Shapes

I don't know about you, but to me there is something magical about the beginning of the year.  Don't get me wrong.....I am dead tired by the end of the day, but I just love getting to meet my new group of kindergarten babies.

We spend the first few weeks of the school year learning routines and procedures before we ever start learning any curriculum.  I teach the procedures for EVERYTHING!  I mean it.....everything from how to get a drink of water at the water fountain to what to do if your pencil breaks.  Teaching and practicing these procedures helps the rest of my run smoothly!  What teacher doesn't want that.

Once we have a good handle on how our school day runs, we dive into the curriculum.  One of the first things I like to teach in math is colors and shapes.  I love to use poems and songs whenever I can in my classroom.  My students seem to remember so many more concepts when we use poems and songs.

I have my students cut and paste these poems into their math notebooks.  We then use practice drawing the shapes and try to find the shape throughout the classroom.  If we have time, I have the students draw a picture of something that is that shape in the classroom.

Would you like these shape poems for FREE?  Just click on the image below so you can go download them for yourself!

Do you use interactive notebooks with your students?  I have also created a shapes interactive notebook that is common core aligned.  This notebook will be on sale for today only just because I love our TBR readers so much!  {Click on the image to check out this product}

Happy Beginning of the School Year to you!!!

Wednesday, August 13, 2014

How To (Sort Of) Stop Spending Your Own Money on Your Classroom

Hi everyone! It's Angie here again from The First Grade Scoop. We aren't quite back to school yet (I can start setting up my classroom next week), and I can assure you, my list of things to get for school is super long. However, I have a big way to keep your spending in your classroom minimized (well, at least as much as you can handle it!)...!

In case you haven't heard of it, is a website that allows public school teachers (including charter schools) to create projects requesting a wide range of classroom materials, from paints and brushes to books to living animals for science labs. You can request items from Lakeshore Learning (personal fave!), Amazon, Best Buy... You name it, pretty much everything is there. If they don't have it, you can put in a special request (although you'll need to earn more points for those).

They have plenty of tutorials on the DonorsChoose website, so I won't bore you with those here. However, in the past seven years, I've had over 50 projects funded (including five that were FLASH FUNDED last week, including a Mimio Board!), and I've definitely had plenty that haven't been funded. I'm here to offer some tips to help you have a successful project!

First, at least at the beginning, keep your projects smaller. I have had nearly all of my $200-$250 projects funded. You have to request a minimum of $100 in materials, then there are shipping costs and a donation to continue to fund DonorsChoose, so the total will go up a bit. If you'd like $400 worth of books, split them into two projects. Smaller projects are more attainable.

In your project description, be specific. What exactly will your students do with the books you're asking for? How will your students benefit from the phonics games you requested?

After your project is posted, spread the word! Usually, during the first week of your project being posted, there's a match offer for family and friend donations. This is a great way to get your project going.

You can also link your DonorsChoose to Facebook, so that donations show up in your feed. This helps spread the word even more!

Once you get funded, rock the thank yous. I've had several projects funded by the same couple of donors, who have also specifically said they love the thank yous students sent. I put mine in a presentation book (bound page protectors with an insertable cover) that I found in bulk on Amazon so they were about $1 a piece. You'll take photos of your students with the materials, and I also turn these into a photo collage to insert into the cover of the presentation book. All the kiddos get their thank you notes inside.

There are many amazing opportunities to get funded on DonorsChoose. About 20 minutes of time can really pay off big with donations to your classroom.

Happy back to school! I'll see you all next month!

Tuesday, August 12, 2014

fresh freebies for fall

Where did the summer go?! My first day back is on Friday, but our first day with kids in next Wednesday...a whole new crop of kiddos!  I can't wait!  That's one part about this job that I really love...getting to know 20+ new kids each year :)

Really quickly before we get started, I'm having a giveaway! Click below to enter at my blog!
I created these Back to School Math and Literacy Centers!  If you're like me, you end up having to do a ton of 1-1 assessments with your students right away (i.e. "Did your teacher last year really mark you at that reading level?! I need to verify this for myself....") and need the rest of your class to sit down and shut up be occupied so you can quickly and quietly get things done. Enter my new lifesaver:

Last year, the random holiday/assessment times I pulled out centers (we mainly stick to our reading program), I figured out that I prefer binders over tubs/buckets/whathaveyou.  I just stick the master in the clear front pocket and the rest inside (sometimes I remembered to hole punch on the copier, other times I just stuck them in the pocket part of the binder).  If the center had cards or other parts, I put them in ziplocs or in a binder zipper pouch.

Here's an example of what I mean (using these Iditarod centers):

I used my Teacher Binder Essentials all year last year and looooved it! I think I'll be binding it at OfficeMax this year (have you ever done this? let me know how it went!):

If you haven't seen my classroom remodel from last year where I used this Chalkboard decor and first day set up using play-doh, check it out here!

And a FREEBIE roundup! Click below to grab these goodies that are perfect for back to school! Some of these are new, and some are just updated :) 

PLEASE BE KIND AND TIP YOUR SERVER LEAVE FEEDBACK...I worked hard on all of these and really appreciate you taking the time!

And in case you're in the market for are some fall bundles you might be interested in!

Happy shopping friends!

Tuesday, August 5, 2014

Alphabet Learning Info ... for Parents and You!

Hi, Teaching Friends!

In a perfect world, all of your students would come to school knowing the alphabet.

Alas, as they say ... this is not a perfect world.

Some children thrive on the advantages of a print-rich home and the attention of concerned and capable families. Most of them sparkle when they come to school, and are ripe for learning more, more, more!!

But of course, that's not every child on your class list, and in some situations, it isn't even most of them.  There are those children who were very happily learning in other ways, like playing in sandboxes and building with Legos, but just haven't been ready for alphabet and numbers yet. Sadly,  there are also many bright children ... and please believe me when I say that academic achievement is far from the only indicator of a bright child! ... who come to us from backgrounds of non-English speaking families, or lack of ability or interest on the part of families in teaching the early academics,  or emotionally unstable homes, etc. 

So, how can we help those families, both before their children begin school and now? Today I'd like to share just three little ideas for helping parents on the journey to literacy.

For the past few years, I've had the pleasure of addressing a group of parents of incoming kindergarteners at an evening program at our local library. With Pinterest being as pervasive as it is, many of these parents were very happy to be referred to a board where I continue to gather resources for them. It's filled with fun and do-able ideas, plus lots of links to lists, like "5 things you need to know about..." and "20 books about...", etc. Feel free to refer your students' families to this board, too.

Then there are those kiddos who come to school with the ability to sing the Alphabet Song (usually with a little "elemenohpee" thrown in, for good measure and cuteness), and families who think that's the whole ballgame. Here's a little freebie that's great for Parent Info Night, Meet the Teacher, Back to School Night, or whatever your school's name for it is! Encourage them to post this checklist and refer to it for new ideas about ways to "know" the alphabet. This list is also a handy item to fill out before a parent conference and use as a "talking point" during your discussion.

Another way to assist your families as they practice with their child at home is to equip them with an alphabet chart, as well as ideas for lots of ways to use it. Try alternate reading of letters (you, the child, you, the child,...) or letter/sound reading as in Wilson Phonics ("A, apple, /a/, B, ball, /b/, etc.). It's also fun to cut an alphabet chart apart to turn into a puzzle. Here's a free chart for you and your students! There are many others available on the internet. Use a variety of them and encourage families to do the same to help your students develop varied and flexible alphabet knowledge.
As a teacher, you may be looking for new ways to practice the alphabet in your centers and small groups. Here are a few from my store.
The Whole Alphabet: Naming, matching, sequencing, ... letters and sounds ... cards and games for centers and small groups.

Ready to Learn! : Alphabet cards, 10 mini-task cards, and a game.

This set of alphabet riddles will get your little guys thinking hard about the names, shapes, sounds, and sequence of letters.

If you're looking for an inclusive set, try this alphabet bundle.


I wish you all an exciting, challenging (in the best of ways!), and fulfilling school year as you embark on the learning adventure with your new students!

Happy Teaching!

Monday, August 4, 2014

A Contest, A Sale, and A FREEBIE, Oh My!!!

It's My Anniversary Today!

The First Three People who guess the number of years 
my husband and I have been married 
will get my Back-to-School Bundle
which retails for $19 if purchased separately.

Just leave your guess in the comments.
I'll pick 3 winners from this blog post and 3 from my home blog.
(See the clues below.)

Click the image for more info about this bundle.

It Includes:
~Colorful certificates for the first day of kindergarten.
~A comforting note for parents to take as they leave their child at school on the first day.
~Our Letter-Name Book for recording the letters of each child's name.
~Our Daily Diary Book for recording the events of each day.
~Boomer's Take-Home Book.

Here Are Some Clues...

... to help you guess how many years I've been married:

1.  My husband's hair was shoulder-length at our wedding.
2.  I wasn't old enough to drink at our reception and I just turned 60 last week.
3.  One of our wedding gifts was a fondu pot.

In Honor Of My Wedding Anniversary Tomorrow...

I'm throwing a 20% off sale in my ENTIRE TPT STORE
but that's not all, no, that's not all...

TPT is offering an additional 10%
when you use the code:  BTS14

300 × 250

That's 28% off on August 4-5.

So have fun shopping!

And, Who Doesn't LOVE a Freebie???

Here is a cute one:

Click the image to get the FREEBIE.

So cute!
This is how you place the photos into the cartons that are not completely flat.

Just print, cut, and paste.
You will need little thumbnail photos of your students to place in the windows.
Have fun with this one.

Check out my:
FaCeBoOk:  Click Here to see my Facebook. (Tons of FREE ideas.)
PiNtErEsT:  Click Here to see my Pinterest Boards.  (Oh, the ideas on these boards!)
TeAcHeRs PaY tEaChErS:  Click Here to see my TPT Store (Did you say, "15 freebies?!")

 I'll see you all tomorrow.

Palma :)