Sunday, December 9, 2012

12 in '12

YAY! I loved this linky party last year! Also I just today posted for the first time since November 2, and here I go again. How exciting!
Here we go!

12. Favorite movie you watched.
Hands down, no question, didn't even have to think about it - Bridesmaids!!!!! 
I was lukewarm about seeing it because I didn't really know what it was about or if I'd like it, but my cousins sat me down and I am SO HAPPY they did. I laughed so hard I almost peed myself! So so so so so so so funny

11. Favorite TV series
I was just recently introduced to New Girl, and I looooooooove it!
I've already watched the whole first season and I get so excited every Tuesday for the new episode to come out. Everyone is so funny, but I especially love Schmidt. :)

10. Favorite restaurant
I am a biiiiig sushi fan, and this year I discovered a delicious sushi place!
I haven't been to the steakhouse part of it, but the sushi part is amazing! I recently went there on a date during which I ate tons of crazy sushi (I usually stick with my California rolls... haha). So yum.

9. Favorite new thing you tried
Well, I recently ended my relationship with my boyfriend of almost four years.... so I think I am going to say being single. I have been spending lots of time with friends and going out a lot and having fun!

8. Favorite gift you received
Definitely my interactive whiteboard!
It has made my life a lot easier, really. I don't always use it interactively - I use it a LOT for building background knowledge. For example, we recently had some free time (shockingly) and I grabbed a book out of a basket randomly to read to them. It ended up being When I Was Young in the Mountains by Cynthia Rylant.
Towards the end of the book, the author mentions hearing a bobwhite calling in the trees. None of us (me included) even knew what a bobwhite was, so I quick googled a video of one and we got to really understand the story better! I love you, technology.

7. Favorite thing you pinned
Over the summer, I saw Kristen's post on her chair book pockets and pinned it immediately!
Use nail aprons from Home Depot as chair pockets!
I actually got these donated to my classroom - all I had to do was write a letter to Home Depot explaining how I'd use them. My kids LOVE them and the parents love them even more!

6. Favorite blog post
During election season, everyone was talking about the candidates, including my students - which I documented in Wait, Who is Running for President Again? This post had no educational value, but it made my day times 100. And I'm laughing now reading it again.

5. Favorite accomplishment
On Wednesday, I finished my ESL endorsement!!!!!! That is, unless I bombed the final project... haha. That is super exciting for me because I feel like I am a better teacher now, and it opens up job opportunities for me in the future! As much as I love my students, and it would kill me to leave them... I have to think about myself a little bit.

4. Favorite picture
This is a picture of me and my cousins at the Indiana Dunes this summer! They are my besties. :) I love this picture because we all look super happy and it was a REALLY fun day! This picture also makes me laugh because you can see that I am wearing my swimsuit.... but it was WAY too cold to actually swim or wear it without the rest of my clothes on top!! I hope we can return there when it's warm!

3. Favorite memory
Hmmmm....... Election Night. I was pleased with the results. :)

2. Goal for 2013
School goal - Keep working on making my teaching more exciting!
Personal goal - Spend less time in my apartment and more time out in the world!

I feel like I am doing a lot better job of teaching than last year. My students are really getting it this year, and I feel good about that. When I have dynamite lessons though, they all have one thing in common - I strayed from whatever the manual told me to do and did my thing! I need to do that more often. Everyone has more fun and learns more! I think this will help with my classroom management issues as well.......... enough said about that.

As I previously said, I have been spending a lot more time with my friends, going out and having fun! I want to keep that up for sure. I spent a lot of college with my boyfriend at the time, and I don't feel like I had a legit college experience. I want to live it up while I am young!

1. One little word
This is tough!

I'm going to choose "flow." I want to go with the flow. I want to live in the moment and appreciate everything that is coming to me.  I want to sail through this part of my life and not stress. In school, I want to roll with the punches - whether that means that an angry parent is screaming at me during a classroom party (not that that happened this year or anything.....................) or one of my first graders doesn't know any of her numbers. I want to go with it, do my thing, and make it work.

Thanks, Hadar and Kristin, for hosting again!! :)

I Love You, Writer's Workshop

Do you use Writer's Workshop in your classroom? We do not have a schoolwide writing plan. Each teacher does whatever they want. We have a writing program but no one cares if we use it. Last year I used the program we have, but it was very dry and no one enjoyed writing.

Over the summer, I took a class for my ESL endorsement called Reading in a New Language, and for my final project, I had to research something I wanted to improve about my literacy instruction, so I chose writing and did research on Writer's Workshop. Then I decided to do it this year!

I don't have anyone mentoring me, no one in my school has ever done Writer's Workshop, so I am on my own but doing my best. I use the lessons from Portland Public Schools. Thanks, Portland!!

Anyway, that whole backstory was to tell you that writing is really different this year for us. I think we are doing really well (compared to last year at this time) and everyone seems to really enjoy it! I still have some boys who are spending all of their writing time drawing pictures........ but for the most part, we are good.

In our first grade reading curriculum, they occasionally have writing activities for us. Maybe once every 2 units or something. This past unit, the first graders had a prompt: "When I am a princess/knight/giant, I would..." (They got to pick which character.) I was so happy to see what they came up with on their own!

{When I am a knight, I will save the princess. I will marry the princess. I will dance with the princess. I will love her.}

Aw! And this was one of my little ladies who took an unconventional route and did NOT choose to be the princess! Maybe she is trying to send a message to the boys in our class.......... haha!

{When I am a knight, I will help people and save people. It will be fun so much.}

I'm really impressed that he spelled "save" correctly, because we haven't learned silent E yet - that starts tomorrow!

Hope you're having a good weekend and getting excited for this upcoming week. :)

Friday, November 2, 2012

November Currently

Boo yeah!

I don't think I need to explain a whole lot.... except that I LOVE playing the Pandora Easy Listening station! I play it primarily during Writer's Workshop time and the kids basically refuse to write until I put the music on. 

I should also say that I play a lot of Ron Brown's Wacky Workout for brain breaks! My kids seriously can't get enough.

Tomorrow I am going to Sweet Tomatoes and I am SOOOOOOO PUMPED! Do you have one by you?

Wednesday, October 31, 2012

Adios, October

I wish I could write posts to just my followers. However, I don't think that is possible - so I will just say ADIOS to October. You were not my friend.

Moving on... :)

We've been doing some things in school; let me tell you about them!

We learned about problem and solution in first grade reading and then drew pictures of them!

We are becoming amazing writers thanks to Writer's Workshop!

We plotted ordered pairs on a coordinate grid to make a pumpkin!

Note to all the first and/or second grade teachers out there: this was NOT easy. I got the page from Scholastic (here's the link), and I gave it a shot.

I teach ordered pairs in second grade, we actually covered it a few weeks ago, so my second graders were amazing at this. That made me feel really good because they really learned ordered pairs!! The looks that the first graders were giving me, however, made me think I was speaking in a foreign language. It was pretty frustrating but oh wells!

Alert!!! I just figured out that BrainPop is free ALL WEEK! It's going to be Thursday tomorrow and I am going to try to find a video for everything we do!!! Haha! Go check it out!

Thursday, October 25, 2012

Fun With Friction!

Today in school we learned about friction!

We started by talking about riding our bikes and how we'd rather ride on a smooth road than on the grass. This was an easy connection to the idea of friction!

We moved onto an exciting experiment to test out the force of friction. We set up ramps and rolled Hot Wheels cars around!

I tried a LOT of combinations to make a good ramp with the supplies I had on hand in my room and in the building. Three textbooks and a file folder provide a nice, smooth ramp! We tucked the edge of the file folder underneath the stack of books to stabilize it a bit.

Then we tested the friction of three surfaces - the cafeteria floor, our reading rug, and a tumbling mat.

It was a really fun experiment, and everyone totally grasped the idea of friction!

In other news, we are having a legit birthday party tomorrow in my class. One of my parents emailed me today and said she is bringing a cake. If it wasn't a Friday, I might have hesitated....... but I did promise my class we could watch Scholastic's Taylor Swift reading webcast, so it kind of works out perfectly. :)

Hope you have a great Friday!

Monday, October 22, 2012

Spelling Words

Quick question for you, teacher friends!

If you do a weekly spelling test, how do you let the parents know what the words are?

Just wondering. :)

Sunday, October 21, 2012

Something Good

I have had a very stressful day - and that should not be happening on a Sunday!! Especially when the stress is school-related!! So when I saw Amber doing this linky party, it was like a sign from the heavens. I NEED to be focusing on something good right about now. :)

Something good at school - I've been trying out some TPR and it has been working wonderfully! As I might have mentioned 5 times, we're working on force and motion, and the vocab is a little abstract! We've been making up motions for the definitions of "force" and "gravity" and the kids looooooove it. Another thing - and this will be a semi-long story. So I will start a new paragraph.

I started Daily Five and never got past Read to Someone (so I still, at some point, need to introduce Word Work and Listen to Reading). Anyway, when I am teaching the first graders, the second graders are supposed to choose Read to Self, Read to Someone, or Work on Writing, and vice versa. This week, I had another teacher in my room during reading time, and I gave her some things to do with the first graders while I worked with the second graders, so I basically took away their independent reading/writing time.

They were NOT happy. One girl almost cried when the other teacher took her independent reading book away. This made my day. Although my class is WAY too chatty during independent reading/writing time, they are actually doing it! And they love it! This makes me so so pleased.

Something good at home - I hung out with my brother this weekend! We both moved out in August and we have only seen each other like twice since then, which  makes me sad. This weekend, we went out to eat a lot, went to a little fair, and just spent time together. Love my broski.

I hope your Sunday has been stress-free and that you are ready for the kids tomorrow!! :) What good things are going on in your life? Go link up!

Thursday, October 18, 2012


I'm teaching forces and motion in science right now and I am LOVING IT! I absolutely, one hundred percent adore teaching content. I love it, the students love it, everyone is happy!

Today we covered gravity and watched this super cute video

Then we extended our learning a little by hypothesizing which would fall to the ground faster - a heavy book or a marker. We were SHOCKED to find out that they fell at the same rate. Who knew?

Tuesday, October 16, 2012

Types of Motion

Yesterday we started a new science unit that I am REALLY pumped about - Forces and Motion!

Today we learned about motion. We made our books and desk contents move all over the place in all different types of ways. The engagement was through the roof!

As a culminating activity, we completed a picture sort. We sorted pictures into three different types of motion - straight, back and forth, and circular. They loved that big word - circular! :)

My students did a great job with this! I think it also really cemented the idea of motion into their little brains. :)

If you're teaching about Forces and Motion and would like to use this sort, feel free to download it (for free)  from my Teachers Pay Teachers store!

Monday, October 15, 2012

Creating Graphs Online

At the end of every math class I teach, I give out little quizzes to check for understanding. They're only two questions long and cover only the information taught that day. I started this at the end of last year, and I love doing it because it gives me such a clear idea as to how well I taught and how well they absorbed the information!

Right now in second grade, we're covering graphs, and my little quiz for tomorrow is on reading line graphs. Now, I am for sure NOT going to hand-draw a line graph for their little quizzes. That's just cray cray.

Instead, I remembered this sweet website I found last year - NCES's Create a Graph! If you just input your data, it makes a lovely little graph just for you.

You can print it straight from the website or save it in a variety of formats - PDF, JPEG, PNG... whatever you want!

Your students could use this also instead of hand-drawing graphs. I had my own students use it last year when we studied natural resources. It was a bit on the complicated side for my class (there are a lot of steps to make a graph), but if you modeled it and had them use it on a regular basis, I think it could really come in handy!

Saturday, October 13, 2012

Technology in the Classroom Presentation

Hello friends!

Today I presented at the UIUC Professional Development Conference. If you're visiting from the conference, here's a link to my Prezi!

Thursday, October 4, 2012

Wait, Who is Running for President Again?

Casual conversations about the upcoming election...

First Grader #1: So if the white guy doesn't win, he doesn't get the job?
Me: Right.
First Grader #1: And if the black guy wins, he does get the job?
Me: Barack Obama is already the president, so he would get to keep his job if he wins.
First Grader #2: But what about Washington?
Me: Yes, Washington is where the President lives!
First Grader #2: No... George Washington...

Apparently someone in my class has not been informed that George Washington is no longer a presidential hopeful...

Wednesday, October 3, 2012

October Currently

Today I started my Assessment of Language Minority Students class. So far it feels like a good fit! My teacher is really chill and very intelligent. I think I will learn a lot and I am really excited about having the opportunity to effectively assess my ELLs!! Also it's my last class that I need to take to have my ESL endorsement. Yay for me!

Florida in December!!! SoooOOOoooOOOoooOOO excited! Let me tell you why:

  1. It is cold in Chicago in December.
  2. It is warm in Florida in December (or so I am told).
  3. I love the beach.
  4. I love vacations!!
So excited.

I chose Duck for President as my favorite fall book because I also love elections. They are fun to teach about and the kids get really into it. I also love Grace for President. What great books!

Link up!

I Voted!

Today we voted for the President of the United States!
Each year, Scholastic hosts a Presidential election a month prior to Election Day. Students around the country, from Kindergarten through twelfth grades, can fill out a ballot. Teachers collect the ballots and submit them to Scholastic, where they count up the votes and declare a winner.

The interesting thing about the Scholastic election is that it has reflected the results of the actual election in every case except for two!

We briefly discussed voting today and then, one-by-one, we went out into the hall to cast our vote. Everyone took the vote VERY seriously and were excited to participate in the political process. After the vote, we all got “I Voted!” stickers, just like adults!

Did your class vote for the next President?

Thursday, September 27, 2012


A while back, I mentioned that my principal had ordered some interactive whiteboards for our school and one was for me!

I now present my new best friend!
Aaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaamazing. Before today I didn't even have an overhead in my class. This is a big deal in my life.

Basically we played on it all day in between doing stuff we REALLY HAD to do. Only Scholastic News games though!!! All CCSS aligned. :)

I haven't actually used the software yet that came with it (it's a Starboard) and it seems sort of confusing. I'll figure it out though!

Moving on, in first grade we are learning how to add and today we worked on number stories!
We were only technically supposed to be learning how to write a number sentence based on a word problem, but they really wanted to draw out the problems. Definitely doable!

Do you like our little chalkboards? In Scholastic News this week, we learned that "long ago" kids wrote on slates with chalk. It made me laugh because I have a whole stack of these bad boys in the closet and the kids love them!! Not to mention the erasers I made. :)

And last, today I gave the first graders an emergent reader that I downloaded from Mrs. Wills. They went crazy over it! Our reading program is designed to be very challenging, which is fine for my high students but painful for anyone who doesn't read way above grade level. My kids felt so good and confident to be able to read the emergent readers! On the back page, they had to write something that they like to do, and I felt really happy when saw this:
I like to gow to the porc! Otherwise spelled as "go to the park", haha. Anyway, I feel absolutely PUMPED that my first graders are applying letter sounds to write phrases!!!!!! I think Writer's Workshop is paying off big time!!

Monday, September 24, 2012

What's Your Address?


I have been slacking big time on my blogaroo. :( Here are my excuses...

  • Everything I'm doing is incredibly boring right now. My reading program is scripted (maybe I've mentioned that 93847239847 times) so everything is workbooks. I'm infusing a touch of Phonics Dance-y business so it's a little less lame. Still doesn't help a lot though. Side note - I am teaching sh/ch/tch right now in first grade. Anyone else?
  • I started a classroom blog and the parents are loving it! It's a lot easier to post there because my families are happy with a picture and two sentences, haha.
Umm... that's pretty much it. Haha!

We did learn about addresses today!
I erased some of my kiddos' street names. :)

I like teaching things like this because my students are REALLY engaged since it is all about them, haha!

First we discussed what addresses are. Then I had them turn and talk to a partner about their own address. THEN, I turned the tables on them and said they could only raise their hand to share their PARTNER'S address. 

What a shocker! You mean I actually have to listen when my partner turns and talks to me?!

We had to redo our turn and talk, haha!

Speaking of turn and talks... I have a suuuuuuuuuuuuuper chatty class this year. I did last year too, but my class size went up exponentially so the chatting did as well. I'm on the hunt for strategies that will mesh well with my first and second graders' incessant need to talk allllll day long.

Turning and talking is going well. Anything else you'd care to share?

Monday, September 17, 2012

L'Shanah Tovah!

Today we learned about Rosh Hashanah in our classroom!
In Social Studies, we've been learning about families. One of our lessons was about holidays and how every family celebrates them - but that different families celebrate different ways or even different holidays all together! So the timing was perfect. :)

We started by reading a great book - Celebrate Rosh Hashanah and Yom Kippur. It's a National Geographic book, so it has beautiful pictures and the text was perfect for my class!
Holidays Around the World: Celebrate Rosh Hashanah and Yom Kippur: With Honey, Prayers, and the Shofar
Afterwards, the kids colored a Rosh Hashanah picture while I sliced up some Gala apples and poured out a few dishes of honey. We dipped our apples in our honey and decided it was the best snack EVER! Tomorrow we'll graph whether we liked or didn't like apples and honey - we didn't get to it today. :)

I love celebrating multicultural holidays with my students!

Sunday, September 16, 2012

Making Words

Hello and happy Sunday!!!

I want to tell you today about a sweet activity I do once a week (on Fridays) in my classroom - Making Words!
I first learned about Making Words when I was doing a clinical in a third grade classroom. My cooperating teacher did the activity once a week and I really loved it so I decided to do it in my own classroom!

If you aren't familiar with this situation, here is the scoop. Every student gets a worksheet with 5-6 letters on the top of it in boxes. They cut out the boxes and then I call out words for them to make with their letters! Typically, each week has one or two word families that they're working with. This week I think it was -an and -ack maybe? Anyway, as you can see in the picture, the words start easy - "an", for example. As you move on, they get a little more complicated - beginning blends, digraphs, what have you.

I love this activity for several reasons, and here they are!
  1. It gives all of my students a chance to practice decoding, encoding, and reading skills in a low-stress environment. Their affective filter is low, so to speak, because they are doing the activity in a large group and can lean toward a friend if they need a little help.
  2. The kids LOVE coming in the front of the room to make the words. As you can see in the picture, I have magnetic letters that I use to have the kids demonstrate the correct spelling.
  3. The activity is differentiated in and of itself. The "easier" words are challenging for my low first graders, and the harder words are just right for my second graders. I can call on lower students to show the first few words and I can call on higher students for the last few. Nobody has any idea that I am handpicking the kids for certain words... :)
  4. It is great for kinesthetic learners! They get to manipulate the letters on their desks AND on the board if they get called up! It hits visual and auditory as well - the visual learners SEE the letter magnets on the board, and the auditory learners HEAR us spell it together out loud!
  5. It touches on vocabulary if they give you some weird words to make!
  6. It gives some of my students some MUCH NEEDED cutting practice. That's all I have to say about that......
I bought a book to just print the pages out of. Here is what I have (except I have the first grade version...).
There is probably a new or updated version without a lady in a denim jumper on the front but whatevs. :)

You can also make your own letters and lists of words if you are focusing on a specific word family or spelling pattern for the week.

Yay for Making Words!

Sunday, September 9, 2012


For the first few weeks of school, we have been short a Technology teacher. I missed having my planning time, but I did value the extra teaching time!! Especially during the first weeks of school!!

Anyway, last week I took my class to the computers so that we could do something technology-related. I am (supposedly) getting an interactive whiteboard sometime soon, and I REALLY want to incorporate more Web 2.0 business in my classroom. :)

Here's what we started with - Wallwisher!
Wallwisher is essentially an online bulletin board. Anyone with the link can post ideas or thoughts to a pre-made board. Just to get started, I set up a Wallwisher page asking the students about their favorite colors. With two clicks and a bit of typing, many of us were able to get our thoughts published! As you can see, some of us didn’t quite get it in time (and some of us did our very best spelling those difficult color words!), but overall it was a success. If nothing else, it gave me a little heads-up as to who my tech-savvy students are! :)

It was a really fun and simple thing to do!

This was just a little intro to Wallwisher, but you could definitely use this for other things! Can you think of any cool uses?

Wednesday, September 5, 2012

What I'm Loving Wednesday

For being such an obsessive picture-taker, I have been TERRIBLE at taking pictures this year so far. And my battery died suddenly! Oh wells, time for What I'm Loving Wednesday!
I'm loving that we started legit curriculum this week. Although I am sort of not loving it. I love it because it makes planning a million times easier. I don't love it because I don't like scripted programs. Ah well.

I'm loving that my boyfriend and I take cute pictures.
I'm loving writer's workshop. Writing workshop? Whatevs. My high second graders are writing multiple page stories. My very low first graders are creating detailed picture stories. One of my girls who, up until yesterday, was drawing only pictures with no words, suddenly wrote a page and a half of words. I can't read them, but I am just pumped. Everyone feels empowered and excited about writing and no one is complaining. I love you workshop model!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

I'm loving that I bought tickets for a preseason Bulls game!!!!!!!! Yeah! So pumped!

I'm loving the awesome Prezi I made for our teacher institute today. Want to watch it? (Shout out to Jennifer and Kelli for their amazing resources!)

I'm loving that I'm getting together with Laura and Krista for dinner tomorrow! Yum and yay!

I'm loving that my school was chosen as a Girls on the Run site for 2012-2013!!!!!!!!!! HOORAY!

I'm loving that the best way I could think to explain an interactive whiteboard to my students was to call it a big iPad for the wall. They understood. :)

What are you loving today?

Monday, September 3, 2012

September Currently

Happy September!
Yesterday, I spent the day with my BTF! Part of our awesome day was me baking these muffins:
OMG. Super delicious. Here is the recipe I used - I just made them in a muffin tin and reduced the cooking time to about 20-25 minutes. :)

Happy Labor Day! Hope you are able to relax and enjoy your 3-day weekend. :)

Friday, August 31, 2012

Fridays Are Fantastic!

Hi friends!

I was just going through my Google Reader and came across Taylor's post about five things she thought were really great this week in her classroom! I love that idea of staying positive, so I am allllllll over it.

  • My class is basically in full-on work mode. I spent a lot of time on the first few days of school letting the first graders know that we didn't have free choice time, do-whatever-you-want time, or playing with toys time (the last one was actually funny, as I don't even have any legit toys in my class besides our Skippyjon doll!). The first graders have now accepted it and moved on with their lives and are working HARD.
  • We can walk in a (relatively quiet) line down the hallway!!!!!! Last year I was way too lenient about this. I think part of the reason is that I work in a very small school, and I'm the only teacher who keeps her door open during the day... so unless we were screaming down the hallways, we weren't really bothering anybody. But I made it a personal goal of mine to have a quiet line this year. So far, so good. :)
  • We are becoming more and more polite every day! Over the summer, I read Amanda's post about how she instills manners in her class, and it really made me think. We practice this a lot over the course of the day, and it's starting to become natural for some of us. Yay!
  • Phonemic awareness time, or Hear & Cheer (as we call it), is going SO well! I put a lot of stock into Michael Heggerty's PA program when I asked my principal for it over the summer, and it is paying off already! I have hand motions going for a few activities so far, and those the ones the kids like the most. Note to self - think of some more. :)
Phonemic Awareness
  • We are finally going to have a full specials schedule! I typically have six 30-minute specials during the week, which are my planning periods. Mondays - art, Tuesdays - P.E., Wednesdays - technology and music, Thursdays - P.E., and Fridays - library. However.......... we did not have an art/technology teacher hired until this morning. Our previous art/tech teacher became our Kindergarten teacher this year (HOORAY!) but that left an opening that, for some reason, just could not be filled. But finally it was. The loss of planning time wasn't my biggest problem - it was more that the kids really needed a break from our room! 
Oh, and I have a sixth one!
  • We can read for 15 minutes!!!!!!!!! I love you, Daily Five!
Can you think of five fantastic things about this week? I'd love to know them! Happy weekend!!

Sunday, August 26, 2012

Can I Have Your Attention, Please?

Wow! This week has been tiring. And although I've had lots to write about, I haven't had the energy!!! Ay caramba.

Anyway, I want to talk to you about something that is a bit silly slash embarassing.

Whenever first year teachers ask me about advice that I have for them, I ALWAYS say, "You need to have an attention-getting strategy!" I have said it a hundred times. I have even added that I didn't have one last year and that is part of the reason that I didn't feel confident about my classroom management skills.

I went into this year with my attention-getting strategy in mind - I wanted to do the Class/Yes from Whole Brain Teaching. I haven't bought into the whole WBT situation but I felt like this was a pretty standard thing to try out.

So I went in on the first day, taught the Class/Yes thing to my class................ and then didn't use it for the next 3 days. I felt really self-conscious about it for some reason, even though I teach 6 year olds!!

On Thursday afternoon, day 3 of school, I was already just as frustrated as I was last year. I hate the feeling of standing in front of the class and just hoping that they'll stop talking. Or talking over them and then no one hears you whatsoever.

So I decided - on Friday, I was doing it! I was going to Class/Yes all day long! There was no stopping me!

So I did it. And it was AAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAMAZING. I never had a hush fall over the crowd like I did on Friday. Go me go!

It made our Friday schoolwork SO much more pleasant and wonderful!

For example, we made our first math quilt!
I absolutely loved making these last year, but my love for them increased 1000% when I had everyone's attention to teach the folds and cuts! My second graders (who made these last year - but starting in December) were trying to do the fancier folds and cuts that come later in the year so I had to stop them, haha!

We also did a super fun estimation activity with oatmeal squares!

A side note - one of my friends came out from New York this weekend and we did lots of touristy things in the city! It was a beautiful day yesterday and I had so much fun!
What attention-getting strategy (or strategies) do you use? If you need some ideas, there are a bunch of options here!

Wednesday, August 22, 2012

What I'm Loving Wednesday

Happy Wednesday! It was our first full day of school!
I have a lot to love today. :)

I'm loving that I have a pretty good class this year! They are super chatty and I need to get that in check, for sure, but overall they are very sweet kids. I don't foresee any major behavior problems this year.

I'm loving that one student who particularly challenged me last year has transformed into a wonderful little man. He always tried to be good, so it was hard to get TOO frustrated with him, but had some impulse control difficulties. I hardly recognize him this year! I love his parents for working so hard with him all summer. :)

I'm loving my new girl. New kids are really rare at school, but I have one in first grade and she is the cutest. She is incredibly shy and nervous around the other kids, but she wants hugs from me all the time and just generally brightens up my day. She is loving school this year (the TOTAL opposite of her Kindergarten experience) and I feel happy that I am helping her have a good experience!

I'm loving that yesterday, when we talked about stamina, one boy said he had a lot of stamina for eating. Haha!

I'm loving that today my first graders asked if they could read when they finished their work early! YES! Pleeeeease read!

I'm loving that we launched Writing Workshop today! Everybody was incredibly excited to write, even though 75% of them wrote about their dog (like I did in my model story). When time was up and some kids weren't finished, they begged to finish tomorrow. I laughed to myself and said, "Yes! Of course we will have time to finish tomorrow!" And the next day... and the next day... and the next day...
I could probably think of a million more things, but it's probably past my bedtime!! What are you loving today?

Tuesday, August 21, 2012

My Second First Day!

Today was the first day of my second year of teaching! Go me!
We had a half day, and it went AMAZINGLY well. Like, I was boggled as to what was happening in my classroom. They got a little squirrely in the last hour or so, but they're essentially all BFFs who haven't seen each other in a few months... so I wasn't too tough on them. :)

We started Daily Five today, and it went crazy well. Last year when I tried to launch D5, we read to ourselves for 17 seconds on the first day.

17. Seconds.

Today I actually had to stop them at 3 minutes! I almost died. I told them afterwards that I was AMAZED and I couldn't believe what was happening, haha! Then we walked down the hall in complete silence with our hands behind our backs and our bubbles in our mouths.

It wasn't all perfect! I did forget to collect their supplies, which led to general craziness at dismissal time. We enjoyed some Jitter Juice (courtesy of Abby), which was very fun!
 But it was a little too unstructured for us on the first day.  I'm sure it's just the way I taught it, because it was super fun and the activities were awesome! I learned quickly that we need lots of structure in my class. And that's cool, I can work with it. :)

So, tomorrow's another day! We're launching Writer's Workshop (which is new for all of us) and learning the 3 ways to read a book! And some math stuff too. :)

Question for ya - tomorrow we have our Technology special, but our Tech teacher isn't coming in. I want to take my class to the computer lab just to get us into the routine. Any thoughts on what we can do while we're there for 30 minutes?

Tuesday, August 14, 2012

Back to School Jitters!


Today I went with my favorite cousins to school and we worked HARD and got a lot done! The room isn't quite ready for a picture reveal but it is looking pretty snazzy I must say. :)

So in lieu of pictures today, I'm joining a linky party hosted by Jessica at A Turn to Learn. This linky party is about our back to school feelings! I definitely have some. :)
So allow me to elaborate...

I'm excited that I have totally rearranged my room. Nothing is the same as last year! I moved my desk, I moved the kids' tables, I moved our whole group instruction area, I moved the computers... plus supposedly the Starboard is coming in sometime soon. They won't even recognize it in there!! :) I'm also hoping to try some new things - Daily Five, writer's workshop, news notebooks, a class blog, poetry journals... wowzer.

I'm nervous about my first graders. I've heard through the grapevine that at least one of my incoming first graders doesn't have letter recognition (is that how you'd say it?). Also I met a new girl who is coming into school and when I pointed to numbers and asked her to just say them, she was fine on 0-5 but got stuck past 6. I am up for the challenge, I hope!!

I'm excited because my former first graders are coming back to me!! Love love love. I got a postcard from one of them this summer and a letter from another one!

I need to remember to keep up on all that stuff I mentioned before! I have a bad habit of abandoning things in my classroom when I feel like they are too much work... but all the new stuff I want to do is beneficial, so I really hope I can convince myself to persevere!

Overall, though, I have a REALLY good feeling about this year! 

Go link up about your jitters! :)
Back to School Jitters Linky Party
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