Sunday, December 4, 2011

Homework Extension Ideas

I just finished our first trimester parent teacher conferences this last Friday. The conferences went well and I loved getting to brag about all the gains my first graders have made since the beginning of the year.

Every year there is a very eager parent that asks the question, "How can I challenge my child more at home?" Every year I discuss ideas with parents and make suggestions but I was tickled pink when I found this list of Homework Extension Ideas created by the Teeny Tiny Teacher.

She was so thoughtful in her ideas for all of the subjects. The ideas are well thought out and this page really gives the parents a reference point to come up with challenging homework ideas at home.

cartoon graphicsPriscilla

Monday, October 24, 2011

100 Chart Pumpkin

With Halloween landing on a Monday {ugh!} and an involved party planned by some of my amazing parents, there wasn't much time left in the day to squeeze in some math. So....I created an easy 100 chart mystery picture for my students to complete. The fun part is that this activity is super easy to differentiate! Pass out blank 100 charts, charts with missing numbers or a completed 100 chart depending on your kids' abilities. Plus, you can give the numbers in so many ways it is bound to keep their interest. Announce numbers to color in tens/ones, as addition/subtraction sentences, word problems, 1+/-, 2+/-, 10 +/ get the point :)

After coloring in the numbers, a cute little pumpkin appears.

**Side Note** I plan on using the interactive 100 chart found in the Smart Board Notebook gallery to follow model. This is what you are seeing in the image above, I left the side bar open so you could hopefully get a better idea of where to find it!

{Download a copy of the coloring instructions HERE!}

cartoon graphicsJennifer

Yum..a sweet candy corn man

Whew...I don't know how you ladies do it! I am having such a hard time keeping up with the blogging and teaching, now that school has settled into a bit of a routine I am ready to jump back in!

I have Halloween on the mind, as I'm sure you do too with only 6 short days to go! I just wanted to share a cute and easy art/writing project my class completed this week to get into the spirit of Halloween.

First we made a torn paper candy corn man, inspired by this post from Made for 1st Grade's Candy Corn themed unit. We added our own spin by cutting our own triangle shape without a tracer and adding torn pieces of orange, yellow, and white paper. The kids choose to snazzy their Candy Corn Man by adding a face, arms, legs and of course a spectacular pair of shoes :)

The following day, we added a poem about candy corn. I deleted the color words as well as the missing verb in the last line. The kids enjoyed filling in the missing color words... but we had to keep in mind what colors needed to go where in order for the poem to rhyme. The poem is a short one I whipped up so it's nothing special, but the kids liked choosing the verb. Overall, it was an easy project which encourages individuality, plus it keeps those copy machines a little less busy!

Candy corn,

candy corn,

orange, yellow, and white,

I sure hope I ___ you on Halloween night!

{Download the Candy Corn poem I wrote HERE!}
cartoon graphicsJennifer

Tuesday, September 6, 2011

Freebies you NEED to check out!

Wow, the first week has come and gone and I am loving my new class! I'm tired, but so excited to incorporate all of my new blogging ideas.  I have printed so many spectacular signs, games, and my wish list on Amazon is becoming monstrously long!  For this post I just wanted to link you up with some of my favorite ideas and freebies I have printed from all of those amazing teaching blogs out there via googledocs.  Hope you can find something useful too!

Super cute Daily 5 Posters from kindertastic's cute blog...there are large and small versions for both pocket charts or anchor charts. I posted mine on some cute scrap booking paper at the top of our I chart.  They not only look great but provide a nice visual for beginning readers. You can find them here!  

Here are some G-R-E-A-T reading strategy posters.  They can be found at The First Grade Parade...of course. There are two different versions to choose from... Letter size and she also also included a bookmark for kid friendly referencing too! Cara has such darn cute stuff to post every week. {how she does it all is inspirational to say the least!}  Love, Love, Love! Click here for her reading strategy post.

I have also found Deanna Jump's monthly calendars super handy at Mrs's Jump's Class.  I am planning to keep a copy in my Cafe binder to help me stay on track with all of those conferences. You can click here for the link!

Those are three of my current favorites...stay posted for more :)

 cartoon graphicsJennifer

Wednesday, August 31, 2011

Daily 5 Book Totes

I have throughly enjoyed reading the Daily 5 and CAFE this summer. I have so many ideas that my mind is swimming. One of my favorite things I put together was our class book bags for Read to Self. I thought long and hard about what to use for book boexes or bags and one magical day at the Dollar Tree I found these fantastic totes.

I love that they have a pocket on the front for various reading items (I'm thing word rings, book marks, highlighters, ect) and my kiddos look so cute carrying them to their special spot.

I put all of my students' names on them with Avery labels, scrapbook paper, and zip ties. I was considering using the metal rings that open and close but to be honest I felt like we would lose the names, metal rings or both. Plus zip ties are cheap and durable!

For the cubbies, I just took two small standing bookshelves, gave them a little spray paint love, and turned them sideways. The color coded slots help the kids find and put away their book bags quick and efficiently. Love it!
Tell me about how you do book totes/boxes? What works for you?

cartoon graphicsPriscilla

Tuesday, August 9, 2011

Owl Themed Rules

Here are some cute rules posters I made using my classroom theme. I created the rules as an acrostic poem with the word OWLS. The letters stand for:

O = Our classroom is kept clean
W = We keep our hand, feet, and objects to ourselves.
L = Listen to our teacher and our classmates
S = Speak softly and respectfully

I used clip art from Lettering Delights (Thanks Deanna Jump!) and after I they were printed, I glued them onto cute scrap booking paper. I hung them near the fun wall decal I bought from the kids bedroom section at Target (in the picture below!). If you think you will be able to use them, download the rules now!

{To get a copy for click the photo!}
Here is a photo of how they look in my classroom. I think they look pretty cute!

cartoon graphics Jennifer

Monday, August 8, 2011

Easy update for UGLY cubbies!

How do you use your cubbies/mailboxes? I normally use them to hold all of those papers the kids need to take home from the office, graded work, art projects, and such... but I am thinking of copying my wonderful blogging partner Priscilla and turning them into what she calls 'Busy Boxes'. She uses them to hold unfinished work and raves about how well this system works. I have to admit, I do like the idea of being able to see which students have unfinished work. So, if it works for her, I am willing to give it a go too!

Here is a picture of what I was dealing with before...
I like the fact that the cubbies for each student are large enough for any project(s) we would need to stuff in them, but I didn't love the mismatch of Avery labels with former student names in combination with the large Sharpie numbers, so I knew I needed to update. After a long attempt with a razor blade and a cleaning spray from my lovely custodian...nothing! So I opted for a new approach-contact paper. I just bought a cute roll (funky lime green!) at Target and cut each piece to fit along the bottom of each cubby. A few cuts later, I had this:
I am really happy with how they turned out! I am planning on making small name tags with student names to tape hanging from the top...if only I had my class list!

cartoon graphicsJennifer

Saturday, August 6, 2011

Slow and Steady Wins the Race

I have adopted the Tortoise's motto of "Slow and steady wins the race" for setting up my classroom this year. A little work (okay....a lot of work) here and there and I should be already for my first grade kiddos on Back to School Night August 25th. Here are my before pictures and with a little elbow grease, I hope to have an Underwater Oasis ready in a couple of weeks. I'll keep you posted on my progress. Cross your fingers for me.
Here is the view from my front door. I am battling how to set up my desks this year but I am thinking of doing two horseshoe shapes so that my projector will still have room in the middle of the room. The two blue boards are my word wall and the yellow board is for student work. I am thinking "Chicka, Chicka, Boom Boom. Look at the good work in our room. "

Here are my front boards. I set up my calendar on the left, schedule in the middle, and the white board on the right holds our Morning Message and any work we do during the day.

Believe it or not, this kidney table is my desk. I decided last year that I no longer needed a desk since it only became a place for additional storage and took away from kid space. With that said, I got rid of it and never looked back. I use the white plastic drawer set for all of my supplies that once upon a time were in my desk. I love using this space for reading groups, math groups, and one-on-ones. This allows for my second kidney table to be used by an aide, a parent, or additional space for projects.

This is my closet, reading focus wall, and bathroom. The second kidney table is usually along the wall and the space in front of the board is my carpet area.

This is the side of the room by the door. So scary! My computers will reside here along with the second kidney table and if I am lucky a math nook. Thanks for viewing my classroom and I hope you enjoy the changes I am working on for my little home away from home.

cartoon graphicsPriscilla

Friday, August 5, 2011

The before...if only it wasn't so hard to get to the after!

Happy Friday! I would normally be very excited to say that, but with summer vacation dwindling too quickly it kind of makes me sad! Since we are new to blogging and love spending time blog stalking all of those a-maz-ing first grade blogs out there, we wanted to begin with some pictures of our classrooms since that is one of our favorite things to stalk. Don't you just love looking into other teachers' honest you know you peek in the window walking down the hallway !

Here are a couple pictures of my new first grade classroom...I recently transferred schools and thus moved into a new school and a new room. Here is a picture from the door. Here is another showing the two large bulletin boards which are to the left of the door. I am hoping to have my Popcorn Words (word wall) on the yellow board and my CAFE and Scott Foresman Reading Street Focus Board on the blue one. Yuck, the cubbies are in pretty bad shape, I am going to spruce them up with some cute lime green contact paper.

This is a picture of of the library...yikes! Lots of work left to do here sorting, labeling and cozying up this space. Nobody would want to read here as it is now! Here is a view of the back corner. I am going to hang a close line and cute-ify the large board you can see to display student work. I do love the cupboards and drawers, you can never get enough storage!
It's too daunting to actually write out everything on my to do list, but I have 17 days left to prep before the meetings and craziness begins. Be sure to check out my next post...more on my OWL theme!

cartoon graphicsJennifer

Friday, July 29, 2011

Yay...We have a blog!

Welcome to our first grade blog! Thanks for taking the time to take a peek at our little home on the web.

cartoon graphics Jen & Priscilla