Tuesday, August 28, 2012

The first week, a hurricane and a FREEBIE!!!!

Well I have successfully finished my first week in first grade!!!!  Whew!  They are SOOOOO different from my fourth graders last year!!  I'm worn out!   They have had countless green runny noses.  One got sick all over his table, our floor and the hall.  They call my name a million times a day.  O.k. so maybe more like one hundred but it feels like a million!  On a brighter note, I have six students who tested high/above average in reading and math.  I'm really excited to see what I can push them to do and how far they can go this year!

I've been so worn out since school started that I haven't shared pics of my finished room so I was going to share some tonight but Blogger is being a pain and won't upload my pics..... =(  I guess that gives me something else to share on another day!

We are out of school tomorrow for our first hurricane of the season.  This gives me a little bit of extra time to breathe, catch up, and revamp a few things for my room.  One thing that I noticed with my students is that they have a hard time with direction words like circle, color, underline and write.  Therefore, I created four half sheet posters to illustrate each direction word.  I am hoping that this will help some of them begin to be independent learners.

You can pick up the four mini posters for free here!!

Wednesday, August 15, 2012

Working in my room.....

So I typed this up last night and forgot to hit publish......

This week is our work week to finish up our room before the kiddos come for meet and greet on Friday.  I have so much left to do!!!  The very first thing I did on Monday was make a new to do list which included the 40 most important things!!!  40!?!?!  Yes 40.....crazy that I have so much left to do but it's nice and satisfying as I get to cross each one off of my list!

I'm working on some more things for my classroom which means I'll have more stuff in the store before long but for now, I just have some pictures of my classroom from today.  It's beginning to look more like a classroom and less like a closet. =)

 My "Juggling Jobs" chart.....need to get the letters put up and the student tags made

 Word wall letters for the students to fill in
 Color words
 Calendar and birthdays - I'm doing my morning calendar time on the promethean board
Excuse the excess red tape on the left side.....I love my alphabet train!

Today we found out that the school was able to hire another first grade teacher!!!! YIPPEE!!!  I was so excited because that means my class size drops by quite a few.  I believe that I should have under 20 kiddos now!!! I'll get my roster tomorrow to know for sure!

Hope you all have a great Wednesday!!!

Tuesday, August 7, 2012

WBT, a shout out, and a FREEBIE!!

As you may recall, last Friday, I was trained in Whole Brain Thinking.  There are SOOOOOOO many things that I'll pull away from that professional development, but one of the things that I LOVE the most is the Super Improver Wall.  I love it for a number of reasons and here are a few:

1.  It's FREE for me!!!  (well except for the paper)
2.  It rewards EVERYONE who reaches their personal goal and not only the smartest kids.
3.  Did I mention it's FREE!?!?!
4.  It's a great motivator for the students to learn discipline and goal setting.  It also makes me acutely aware of where each student is and what they need to do to improve.

For my circus theme, I have chosen these 10 levels:

Lion Tamer
Tightrope Walker
Trapeze Artist
Plate Spinner

I'm going to have clip art of each level along with the words since my firsties may not know who/what they are.  I hope to do these in the next day or two so that I can get it put up on my board!!  

Speaking of my room, it's slowly becoming a classroom again!  YAY!!!  I was excited about my circus theme until I started trying to find decorations for it and then I realized that it's really hard to find stuff that is cute and circus-y.  SO........I went to TPT and found the cutest Circus theme pack from Berry Creative!!

I'm using LOTS of it in my classroom but here is one picture of my student supply boxes.

I know the picture doesn't do the kit justice but it's full of really great stuff!!!  

Today we were discussing documenting behaviors in our professional development meetings.  I had created a chart last year to document student behaviors on so that it took less time and since the boxes were little, I would write less.  Ever feel like you have to write an essay about one child's behavior??  Yep I have that problem too.  I go into great detail when all we need is the "Reader's Digest Condensed Version" as my dad used to say.  

I'm sharing my chart for free at TPT.  It's not cutesy.  It's not colorful.   It is useful.  It is what I need.  =)

Hope it helps you too!!!  

Tomorrow we tackle our new reading program at school.  Will I like it?  Will I dislike it (hate is a strong word)?  Will it matter?  Have a great evening!!!!  

Monday, August 6, 2012

Back to training today and a calendar FREEBIE!!

We had a wonderful weekend with some puttputt golf and shopping to end off our summer.  Today I'm back in training for something.  Is it wrong of me that I don't remember?  I'm sure I'll know more after class but so many trainings causes the brain to forget what exactly we are going to talk about!  What have/will you be trained in before school?  Do you like professional development days?

This weekend I also worked  on attendance charts for my classroom, one for each month.  I plan to incorporate attendance into my morning calendar time but I'll explain more on that later once it's all finished.  For now however, I have some August apples to use on your calendar or in a math/numbers center.

You can pick them up at my store, First Grade Circus.  Enjoy and happy Monday!!!!

Sunday, August 5, 2012

Garage Sales and a FREEBIE!!!

Do you ever shop for your classroom at garage sales?  I love finding little treasures that are perfect for my room at really cheap prices! Since I moved down this year from fourth to first grade, I needed to rework my classroom library.  After all, there's no way my first graders are going to be reading my fourth grade books at the start.

I had checked quite a few places looking for cheap/free books with no luck.  Yesterday I went garage sale-ing (is that a word?) and hit the classroom library jackpot!!!  It looked like a teacher had retired and was selling all of her classroom materials.  I was a little too late for most of her classroom items but she had loads of books left when I got there.  At 50 cents or cheaper a piece for books in GREAT condition, I was in heaven!!

While leaving the garage sale, a library friend of mine called to let me know that she needed to discard some books off of her shelves.  Score!!!  I raced over to the library and gladly accepted another load of books.  So I went from zero books for my library to a LOT of books for my little classroom.  It's well over 125 books but I haven't counted them all yet.

Here's a picture of my spoils from yesterday's adventure!!!

There are some great titles in there and I can't wait to share them with my students!!

Lastly, I spent the last couple of days working on a freebie for my TPT store.  I've been a member of TPT for about 4 years now but I've always purchased items and have never had a store.  This year I would like to change that and share what I create for my room.  I plan to share every item I create as a freebie for one week before I put them up for sale.  So you will want to take some time to visit my store and become a follower so you can get the shares before they become products!

Click on the First Grade Circus picture to go to the first freebie!!!

What would you like to see me create?  What do you need in your classroom?  Do you ever find treasure at a garage sale?  Share in the comments below!

Saturday, August 4, 2012

First Decorations

Circus decorations are hard to find!!!  I was able to score a pack of banners from Party City with a "carnival" theme that work well on three of my four walls in my classroom.  It was three banners and a welcome sign made out of plastic for about $20.....a little steep for my taste but it was about all I could find at the time.   My first order of business in my classroom - hang them up!

If your school is like mine, I had to be really careful not to block any fire alarm signs, sprinklers,  or exit lights.  Once everything was hung up, I asked my new best friend J (our maintenance guy) to come inspect my room JUST to make sure that it would pass the official review.  It passed so now my room looks like this!

I also set up my furniture in my classroom in order to get a feel for the size of it.  If you look in the second picture I have three tables on one side of the room with two on the other side of the room.  Should I leave it like that or make a U shape with them?  

Friday, August 3, 2012

The first day....of the rest of my life....

O.k. so that's a bit dramatic but on July 13, I started in a new district at a new school in a new grade with a new (to me) curriculum.  It's going to be a whole lot of changes but I hope that it will be good changes for me with some stability after a few "one year only" contract jobs.

I will be teaching first grade in Louisiana using common core (of course) with whole brain teaching and a few other things mixed in.  In the past, I have taught fourth grade math, fifth grade self-contained, sixth grade self-contained, and first grade (before even comprehensive curriculum). I also taught seven years of junior high - high school math at a VERY small school where one math teacher for the whole school was enough.  This will be my 12th year teaching but I still have SOOOO much to learn!

Here's a pic of my classroom the day I moved in -

I have a fairly small classroom with no in-room restroom.  The floor is stained concrete and the walls are sheetrock.  Fitting centers, students, and everything else in my room might be a bit of a stretch so I'll probably have bucket centers that students can do at their tables or carry with them to finish on the floor in various spots.  

What are your suggestions about centers in a small classroom??