Monday, September 9, 2013

Whole Brain what??

Today was my first day in fifth grade and it was amazing.  My classes are really 
well-behaved and all around great kids.  I know we will have a great year but imagine
my surprise when none of them had ever heard any part of whole brain teaching.  
Actually that may be a little bit of a fabrication,  they knew to say "yes!" when I said
"class" but that was it!!!

They looked at me like I had three heads when I asked them.....
practically had to beg talk.  In a couple classes, I 
had to stop the conversations and tell them that I needed to 
hear more talking.  Some were scared to turn their neighbors and
chat.  Boy, I have NEVER had this problem before!

We were about to cover the five classroom rules, partner share with "teach/ok", 
and "class/yes".  I taught them all about the scoreboard and 
every class beat me.  They really were that good.   We used "mirror words"
for our classroom rules.  I did not use "Hands & Eyes" because they are in 
my opinion a bit old for that one.

I think we really are going to have a great time 
learning our social studies using whole brain.  They really
seemed to like mirror words.  Even the "too cool" boys were doing the
hand motions with me.  

Tomorrow, we start our first real unit with our first real lesson.  I've created my 
flipchart so that the information is sent out in chunks with talking and sharing in 
between the chunks.  That always seems to be my weakness.  Once I start
talking, I have trouble stopping.  Surely you don't have that problem right?!?!  
I knew you didn't!!  

Just as a reminder, if you want my classroom rules (whole brain of course) 
on polka dot papers, you can find them in my store here.

I hope you have a great week.  Check back later in the week for a 
recap of our group project which is on Wednesday! 

Thursday, September 5, 2013

I think I can, I think I can, I think.....

So after surviving the first three weeks 
of school with my sweet babies, I decided that maybe 
I needed a change in scenery.  A job came open at a
school near my house, at the school my boys go to, at 
a really really great school in our district and I jumped
on the chance to be here with my boys.  

Yes, I will miss my babies.  

Yes, it is hard to leave after just learning about each one.

No, I never wanted to be "that" teacher that switches schools 

But, sometimes you have to do what you have to do!

So tomorrow at lunch I leave my firsties for the very last time
to go work in my FIFTH grade room.  Yes, fifth grade!!  And social studies at that!!

Sadly, I will be packing away my circus stuff.  One day I will come 
back to the little people again but for now, I am with the big kids!
I was totally at a loss as to what to use as my theme for my new classroom until
I walked in and saw that she had put polka dots as a border around the top of the room.

My new theme - Dots and Spots!  

Creative isn't it?  lol.....

I'll have pictures AFTER I can get into my room to clean it out and decorate it tomorrow but for now......

I created a set of classroom Whole Brain Teaching rules.   

You can grab them all in my store here for FREE of course!!!

I hope you have a great weekend!!  I'll be back next week to share pics of 
my new room!

Tuesday, September 3, 2013

Surviving the first few weeks of school!!

Yes, I have survived!!  Today marks the end of our third full week 
of school (we started on a Wednesday)  and I can honestly say 
that my students are pretty much where I want them to be.  
Yes I still have some friends who need to be constantly reminded
 of the rules but for the most part, by golly, we've got it!  

Most of our first week was spent learning rules and procedures.  My 
students are definitely chatty and some have difficulty remembering 
procedures but most of them are very eager to please and that helped
make our transition to first grade a great one.  

As we were learning about our math tools and how to use them, we worked on 
patterns.  I find this to be an easy start each year because students usually understand 
patterns really well.  Since this is a slightly advanced class, I decided to see if they 
could "name" the pattern with letters.  

They were proud to show off their patterns to me.  Most of them were excited that 
I wanted to take a picture of them.  

They were so cute and worked so hard but I can't tell you how many times we 
had to "catch" our frogs hopping all over the floor.  It was a MESS!!! 

We loved our roll and color sheets from Little Miss Kindergarten!!  You can get them here!

They were lots of fun until one friend would win and the other would throw a fit 
and provided lots of opportunities in learning how to win and how to lose politely.

Here's a pic of my youngest enjoying an ice cream to celebrate the end of
his first week!!

Does your school require that essential questions be posted in your room
for students to view?  Our school does so I have been creating pages to 
hang on the walls with the essential questions from our reading series, Wonders.

Here's a peek at my latest set from Unit 2!!

Click on the picture to be taken to the item in my store!  Want to win it??  Leave a comment telling me when you started school or will start school this year!  I will pick one winner tomorrow evening!

Tuesday, August 13, 2013

A peek in my room on the eve before the first day!

Well this is it.  I'm as prepared as I'm going to be!  My room is as done as it can be!  My sweet first graders will come tomorrow for their first day!  I'm very excited to get to know them and begin this journey with them.

Here's a peek into my room as I left it today -

A view from the doorway into my room....on the opposite wall you will see my word wall and my schedule

Our carpet for carpet time with my chair and circus wall

My "messy" corner of centers storage and outdoor play toys along with our
Juggling Jobs clown

My boys' and girls' restroom with our library in between.  A few of our first days books are on top of the library with SkippyJon for now.

Each bucket in our library has a different type of duct tape on it.  Each book in that bucket also has the same strip of duct tape across the spine.  This enables my student whose job is librarian to know which bucket to put the books in.  

More of our library...

An example of a bucket with the strip of duct tape

The left front of my room with student boxes, centers trays, color words and our Whole Brain rules

The board area of our room

My agenda board with our essential questions and objectives as well as my teaching table

Looking back at the door into the hall with our 200 chart, shapes and number words

My data wall to hold student benchmark scores as well as goals and "Did we meet our goals?" information.  Please excuse my mess under the board.  Some are my items and some are supplies but those desks will hold my student netbooks when we receive them later this week.

Well I better get to finishing up my last minute things so that I can go to bed.  I hope I can sleep!  Can you sleep on the night before school?  I'm always SOOOO excited and nervous that it's hard to actually rest!

Tuesday, August 6, 2013

More back to school planning!!

I think I may have finally figured out my centers dilemma.  Whew, I had so overthought (is that a word?) the whole process.  Tonight, feeling overwhelmed by my large number of students and my even longer "to do" list, my brain shut down and I just began to click through old blogs and links that I had saved from years gone by.  On the second link, I came across a page on centers.  I think it was an answer to prayer! Here it is if you are interested - Mrs. Mcdowell.

I'm not going to share her chart here because that would be "plagiarizing" but basically she suggests only 3 rotations a day - me, centers, seatwork.  This will give me eight students at each rotation and since they work in pairs, there will be four groups in centers at a time.

SO....for my class of 24 students, I will have 8 working with me, 8 working with partners on seatwork, and 8 in centers.  We will have three rotations of 20 minutes each (actually around 18 minutes with 2 minutes to move about the room).

Since there are five days in a week that we will be doing centers, I will need five centers (the other way I had planned 9 centers each week - YAY for extras!).

My five centers are as follows -
1.  Bump/Scoot Game
2. Computer time
3.  ELA center
4.  Math center
5.  Writing center

I feel so much better about all of it!

I also worked on desk name plates today.  I often have my kids work in pairs and also in teams of 3.  Last year I felt grouping 3 confused some of my kids because they weren't sure who to group with.  This year, I have a plan!

On their nameplate, each child will have a color and a shape at the end.  This child is a member of the purple pair and the triangle group.  Each member will be at the same table sitting next to each other but this will show him to speak to if I say "color group chat" or "shape group chat".

How do you do centers?  How do you group students for class chats?

Sunday, August 4, 2013

Class Lists, Meet & Greet, and a GIVEAWAY

A while back I had received what I thought was my class had 23 kids on it....I was 
shocked and stressed to have so many firsties.  Since then, I've seen that lots of you
have that many or more on your lists.  After receiving my first list, my class grew to 26, and then to "too many kids to have in one class" so now they have taken back my list as they sort through exactly what to do with my sweeties.  

Tomorrow I get my class list AND tomorrow I meet my babies for the first time.  I hope that somewhere in there I have time to put their names on least one thing before they come in.  I have never in my 13 years of teaching had to do it so last minute but if it keeps me from having 26 or more kids I'm all for it.

Tonight at midnight, my giveaway ends so be sure to check it out here!!  

 Thanks for stopping by!!