Friday, August 28, 2015

Brighten up your Bulletin Boards

B2S15 has been a bit of a tornado. I apologize for the tardiness of my post.
Let's brighten up some bulletin boards. Last year, I had the chevron on this board. and the paisley. I added the Chalk and turquoise polka dots and the chalk pennant cut-outs from Creative Teaching Press.

Try different borders to make your bulletin border unique. The top is pennant border, from the Dots on Turquoise decorator set. The side border is Paisley and dots on turquoise and the bottom border is stitches. To divide the bulletin board, I used the turquoise Chevron border.

These are probably the most versatile item in my classroom. Dots on Turquoise Dots. I used them on the above bulletin board for my Word Wall letters and below on my floor for line spots. This is the first time I have tried this idea. I wrote Line leader and door holder on the first 2 spots, then numbered the rest. I taped them to my floor. I give each student a number alphabetically. Now when I call them to line up, they go write to their spot!

I love this Chalkboard set. I laminated the cards and wrote the kids names with a chalk marker. They wipe write off with a magic eraser or a wet paper towel. Check out the here Chalk it up! School house charm .
I'm sorry I didn't get the best picture of this area, but... I tripled up the border on the bottom of the jobs board. Red Herringbone, turquoise scallop then turquoise chevron. Since this is wher we keep our lunch boxes, the border protects the wall. I used the Dots on turquoise small library pockets. I wrote jobs on each pocket and used the matching letters to label the board. I made numbers and glued them to popsicle sticks. I rotate the jobs every week.
 Now head on over to Kayla at Top Dog Teaching to see her new ideas to celebrate Differences

Saturday, August 22, 2015

Week 1 done! classroom pics!

Week 1 of year 18 is done!
My class this year is comprised of 10 boys and 9 girls. 1 of these boys, was brought to me the first day of school, from the Dominican Republic. He does not speak English and my Spanish is limited to what I can remember from High School. Thankfully, I have 2 adorable students who are bilingual and can help this little guy out. First Grade is probably the hardest grade I have ever taught (and I have been teaching it for half my career), but it is also the most rewarding. All my students are excited to learn Spanish words, when I am trying to translate.

In Addition, I have an ASD student pushing in for my Reading Block without a para. He is brilliant, and adorable, but doesn't want to work....yet. I spoke with my ESE chairs and they gave some encouragement and advice. I am so happy to say that yesterday he worked, listened, conversed with students at his team and left with a caterpillar sticker happily stuck to his little hand.

Of course there are always hiccups in any school year, but I am determined to be Unshakeable and enjoy my students and my calling as their teacher.
 I usually do a little linky party for showcasing classrooms, I've just been so swamped this month with getting things ready for the year that I could not do my usual link-up. However, I invite you to take a peek inside my classroom below.

Decided to use Creative Teaching Press' 6 inch dot cut-outs to make line spots on the floor.

A view from the door.

My daughter posing! She was a big help putting this room back together again.

A view from the back.

The AC broke on the 2nd day of school, thank goodness for fans! This is where I house my books for Reading Groups and my Reading response notebooks. My classroom faces the playground, and gets a large amount of sun, so we usually keep the blinds closed.

Love my easel

Library and word work storage

Calendar, Library, Fabulous First Grade Work and Self Portraits

Schedule-Cara carroll freebie and Jobs board. Creative Teaching Press library pockets and border. I made the numbers.

Don't worry, there are goals up there now. lol! the first couple of days my only goal was to follow the rules!

Our hallway bulletin board. I enlarged Melonheadz graphics and printed with the poster option. Letters and border are from creative Teaching Press. Teachers Names are on the music notes.

This is my AWESOME first Grade team on pre-planning week. We all brought in something for breakfast and spent the morning planning our our 1st quarter!

First Grade Rocks!!

Do you follow me on instagram? Here's advice I would give to anyone just starting out.

Cassie Thompson at Adventures in Teaching is a doll. This pack is perfect if you are getting ready for open house. I suggest you get some bright colored paper (Astro-brights is brilliant) and go and buy this Meet the Teacher Pack right now!
1. Stitch Fix is so convenient and easy especially if you are so busy you don't have time to shop. They sent me the dress, I wrote a note to my stylist telling her about Open house. I paired it with a pink cardigan and my new aerosoles shoe.sandals. If you want to get your fix click Here or on the link above for my referral. 2. Our Pod is one in a Melon!! Thank you Jennifer, you are 1 creative girl! 3. My new student and I were so happy to be matchy match.

Before: The first day of school. Again thanks to Stitch Fix, I was matching, stylin' and comfy for the first day of school.              Get your Fix Here 
But First let me take a Selfie!  Son starting 4th grade!. Daughter Middle school, 6th Grade!! Lord Help me!

Can you tell i'm not good at these?
No explanation necessary!
Wake-up Work Poster (on the back is Pack-up procedures) someone remind me to take a pic of that please.

My dear Kindergarten friend Jennifer gave me this great idea. She read that it's good for little ones to be down low on their bellies or even sitting on the floor. She and my other pod-mate Amanda, lowered my table for me! Thank you ladies!! See those pillows...I made them!! What? My other first grade teammate Kim, convinced me to buy a sewing machine. I bought 10 yards of fabric--yup, (insert Jerry Seinfeld voice) Do you know how much 10 yards of fabric is?

Yes, I still have a teacher desk.  I am not sorry to say this at all. We get about 20 emails a day, and I'm the team leader. I need a separate space to organize myself, or it would be nightmare!

Chrysanthemum, Chrysanthemum, Chrysanthemum

I've been doing this craft for a few years now. I'm happy to say that I still love it. Even though each student gets the hearts cut for them, the way the glue the ears, draw the eyes and bow, make it an individual product!

This adorable 7th grader is my peer mentor. One nice thing about working in a K-8 is having responsible hard-working students to help out in your classroom. He helps me so much! he cut out all the hearts for the Chrysanthemum craft, pulled all the math homework out of the math books, sorted it and hung up all the work you see hanging in the pictures. Bonus---He's my cousin!!! Such a blessing!
Mrs. Berggren is out of this world!-Did I mention I love teaching 1st graders!

Jitter Juice on the first day of school. 7up, fruit punch and sherbet.

Hope you all have  or have had a great 1st week too!

Monday, July 27, 2015

Monday Made It! and a freebie

This will be the first time I am doing a Monday made it. If you are interested in this linky party click {HERE} to go to 4th grade Frolics. I am always making things, I just am too tired to post about it. However, It's Monday and I've had my coffee so here goes!
My Co-worker Kim used to be a decorator in Life before she was a teacher. She convinced me it was not hard to make pillows for my classroom. She came with me to the store and helped my pick out my first sewing machine!  She gave me some instructions and ideas for putting the pillows together.  And here we go...

 Here is a shot of the bottom of my sewing machine and the edge of the pillow. I sewed on velcro (loop and sew, not sticky) to the edges and made a flap, so the covers could be taken off and washed.

 Here are 2 of the pillows, I used square foam inserts that I found at Walmart. I am not going to tell you I did this very professionally. I laid the fabric out on the floor and laid the pillow on top. I left space on either side for the seam. As you can see above the blue polka dot is slightly big. I went back after and made it smaller.
You lay the fabric nice side to nice side. (so when you are sewing you will see the back side of the fabric) I sewed three sides then flipped it right side out. That is when I sewed on the velcro. I used straight pins to hold it in place. The edge over laps, one over the other.

Tales of a First Grade Teacher
Teacher Apron
 I have desperately wanted a teacher apron for a while now. I scoured ETSY to see if I could somehow manage to make one.
Again, I didn't really measure, except to hold the fabric up to me. (ahh, bad idea) First I sewed 3 sides of the chevron fabric and turned it right side out. I did the same on polka-dot pocket. Then I ironed the fabric so it would be flat and you could see the seems and edges are crisp and neat. I folded and ironed down the top of the fabric, then sewed and closed the seem. Next, I pinned dow the pocket and sewed around the sides and bottom. AFter I sewed down to create 3 separate pockets. Finally, I made the straps. I fold the fabric over on itself and sewed the end and all the way down 1 seem. I then had to very carefully pull it out to see the fabric correctly. Lastly I attached these to the back of the apron, sewing a good 1 1/2 inches of the strap to the apron. Now I have an apron to protect me form glue and who knows what else, and it can hold, expo markers, post=its and whatever else I may need :0)

Here is my daughter's room before. She just turned 11 and has had this room since she was 2. She asked for a blue room. Originally, there was a floral wall paper border going around the entire room, and she had a Garden theme. Alas, she is getting older and wanted some new decor.

 While she still has some purging to do, I think the transformation is astounding. Her room seems much larger using 1 color on the wall. Her white furniture really pops against the soothing blue color.

 As you can see the baskets in the tower and bookshelf need changing out. After this picture was taken I found blue baskets at target to replace the pink and polka dots. The basket liners will have to wait for another day.

Last but not least is a little freebie. I am making all these pillows, so when My kiddos are doing Daily 5 they can have a comfy spot to sit in the room. Here is the pacing guide I have used the last few years. I have taken the 2 sisters launch and typed it up in a user-friendly format for lesson plans and teaching. You can download the Daily 5 Pacing Guide in my store on Teachers Pay Teachers.

Saturday, July 18, 2015

Incorporate Playfulness and have fun with learning:UBS Ch.12

Chapter 12: Incorporate Playfulness and have fun with learning.
I teach first grade where playfulness comes a little bit easier than most other grade levels. Even so, I still am a pretty serious person, I get caught up sometimes in "getting it done" that I forget I need to relax and enjoy what I do as well.

I am fortunate to have a really fun teammate who loves to make up songs, and pop in my room with her whole class to sing to me and mine. She reminds me that even though we have a tough job to do we can have fun while doing it.

In this chapter, Angela talks about different ways we can be "playful" and you can choose from their. I am going to discuss some of the things I try to incorporate as well as a few I plan on trying this year.
Appeal to your students emotions. We remember things that we have some feeling about. Whether it makes us laugh, cry or angry. Those are the things our students will remember too.

Why playfulness? "Happiness is a powerful emotion and we tend to remember moments of joy very well"
Try integrating Music into your classroom. I use I {Heart} radio. I usually choose the piano instrumental for a calming effect. But on some occasions I've been known to play a little Kids bop as well.
How about songs?  I sing a song when my kids are coming to the rug:
Make a circle, Make a circle 1, 2, 3
All my friends are here with me.
I usually sing this 3 times. By the 3rd time all of my students are sitting and ready to learn.
I'm sure you can look on pinterest or you tube and find a zillion songs that work for you.
How about a dance break or a brain break? I personally love Go Noodle. It's free and fun and my students are always begging to do more. They have 1, 2, and 3 minute videos that get kids up and moving. It is great for transitions and you can control which video/song you pick!
Talk or read in various accents and voices 
ah-hem, cough, cough. I already do this. Yup, I have a pretty good Irish cadence since my brother-in-law is from Ireland and I speak a little yiddish and do a great Yenta voice. I usually pull my voices out when I'm reading a picture book on a topic. But you can try it out at different times as well. 
I have not however, transformed myself into a different character. If you are the dramatic type or a really into a certain topic this may be the avenue for you. I'm trying to think how I can add this into my repertoire because I think the kids would absolutely love it!
Create a Learning Environment where Humor is celebrated 
Of course there has to be a balance, but if you are having fun teaching you know your students will be having fun learning!
How do you think you can incorporate playfulness into your classroom?

Just stopped in? want to see more of what Unshakeable is about? Here is what we've covered so far.
Click the links below to go to previous chapter reviews.
Chapter 1 share your authentic self to bring passion and energy to your teaching
Chapter 2 Allocate your time and energy wisely through productive routines
Chapter 3 Establish healthy habits for bringing work home and decompressing
Chapter 4 Determine how to do what matters most an let go of the rest
Chapter 5 Go the extra mile for families (but don't take forever to get there)
Chapter 6 Learn to say "no" without guilt and make your "yes" really count
Chapter 7 Do your part to create a positive school culture
Chapter 8 Take charge of your own professional development
Chapter 9 Let your vision define your value and measure of success
Chapter 10 Uncover the compelling reason for every lesson you teach
Chapter 11 Create curriculum "bright spots" you cant wait to teach

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