Tuesday, December 4, 2012

Third Time Is a Charm

 I have changed my stations...AGAIN...for the 3rd time!  I thought I had a great way to do them last year at the first of the year, but then I found a better way.  So, I started this year with my new, improved way only to find a much better way to do stations that I just started last week.  I LOVE this arrangement.  I did have stations on my SmartBoard, but I love using my pocket chart instead.  I have groups of two students (which honestly is the only way to do stations).  My room is so much more orderly and calm with only one switch each day, and it is so much easier on me to only come up with five main stations each week.  I honestly feel like my station ideas are so much better, too.  I also figured out that most of my stations could be categorized into Word Work, Time 4 Writing, or Skill.  This also has saved me tons of time!
 So, every student will go to the Time 4 Writing Station once a week (pictured above and below.)  Each station has a label on the basket where they can find their weekly assignments and they also have a clear picture frame to assure the students they are in the right place.  Of course, all of these match the card on the station chart.
 I Love this "Writing Eye" stuff that I got from somewhere on Pinterest.  I am pretty sure I put it on one of my boards if you want it, too.  I love this little chick and her rules.  I am going to make cards that go under each example to allow the children to make goals for themselves and once they reach them- they can stick their name on the card.  I also have little laminated cards with all of the punctuation and their usage if the students need them when they are writing.  There is also a ton of word cards for them to use which have picture words, reading words, basic words, story words...you name it!
 Word Work is another station which can be so diverse from week to week.
 Then, there is the Skill Station which I tell my students always requires a lot of thinking. 
 This is one of the Skill activities- putting Long e words in alphabetical order.  Of course, it also has all of the names of their classmates who have Long e sounds in their names.  Always get their special names in!
 Fancy Nancy is taking care of the Computer Station...
 The sign lets them know what they can and cannot do each week. 
 Listening Station, of course, is always an easy station because it is so quiet.  But, I really need to find a battery tree in my backyard.  They are so expensive!
And of course, my favorite time is when they read with me!  I have to make sure to get my basket which has my crown in it.  Otherwise, they just cannot remember that I am not to be disturbed, since I am royalty and all!  It is so difficult for Firsties to not interrupt during station time--but my crown does the trick.  Even when they are walking toward me, once they notice the plastic purple headpiece- they quickly turn around and head right back to their station.  Too cute! 

So, hopefully, this change will stay!  I am all about trying new things, but I just want to figure out the best way to do stations and keep it the same SO it works the best for my students.  I do love this, and they all have told me that they definitely approve of the new station arrangements!

Aimee the Bee

 We have been learning about the Long E sound, and we have been learning about Honey Bees.  My students had so much fun learning about bees.  Firsties never fail to amaze me!  They loved telling me all about bees.  So, first they met Aimee at the beginning of the week.  She told them all about her favorite things which all have long e sounds in them.  Then, we read our story for the week.

 After learning all about the different types of bees, they created their own charts which told about the jobs of the bees.  I thought these were really Bee-utiful!
After that, we had some station activities that included sorting the Bees which had Long e words on them, writing sentences about Aimee the Bee and her favorite things, a venn diagram where we compare and contrast two types of bees, and a writing assignment where they wrote a summary of the information they had learned (example above- which is my daughter's work.)  Learning about Bees was so much fun!

Thursday, October 4, 2012

Word Work Stations

Before I even start, I just have to say that I have a serious love for colored index cards and Avery labels.   With that said, I can tell you about these stations that my Firsties enjoy.
 I really LOVE Word Work Stations!  I am amazed at how much my students learn from these.  The first station (pictured above) was for Cause and Effect.  It was just a simple way for them to make up the Cause that went with the Effect.  Plus, it was good practice for writing, writing sentences correctly and reading them to make sure they made sense.   

 I use the Stamping Station every other week or so.  They love this one!  Normally, I have words written in the first column.  But, since this is a review week- they are able to write their own words and then stamp them out.  This Melissa and Doug Stamping Set has been the best one I have found!  It is durable and plus it has a great container to keep them in. 
 This was a Short O Lollipop Sort that I used at the beginning of the year.  We reviewed with it this week, and they flew threw this station.  I loved that because it gave some of them some issues in the beginning, and now- they were really good at doing this one and using their time wisely.  Plus, they were able to write sentences with these words after they finished sorting.  How they have already grown in just two months!

 The pink and yellow cards are from a station where we added -s and -ing to words.  They had a recording sheet that went with this one.  They were color-coded so that they knew to add -s to the green cards and -ing to the pink cards. 
The last one for today is the Noun station.  This is a Noun Sorting Activity where they have a sheet that allows them to sort nouns into people, animals, places, and things.  There are also a couple of verbs thrown in that they have to list at the bottom in the Not a Noun table.
      I really seriously love index cards and Avery labels! 

Friday, September 28, 2012

Stations! Stations! Stations!

 So, I thought I would spend the next few weeks posting some pictures of my favorite stations.  I will start with something really simple---Rainbow Writing Word Work.  It is the simplest station, but my students always enjoy this.  We only do this one about once a month or so.  I certainly don't want them to get tired of it, but using smelly markers and colored pencils always seem to make it even more fun!
I completely forgot to include this at the beginning of the year.  This was a great way to get to know each other during the first week.  My firsties had so much interviewing their partners. 

Next week, I will continue to post station ideas each day that have been a big hit with my Firsties!

Thursday, September 20, 2012

Daily Folders

This is something that just makes life so much easier for me as a parent and a teacher.  All of our teachers use these at school, and they are just a wonderful way to keep up with everything each week.  When you open these folders, they have a pocket that says 'Send Back to School' and one that says 'Keep at Home'.  Plus, I love the clear pockets on the front and back to personalize my students' folders.  Plus, they are super easy to clean. 

Saturday, September 8, 2012

My Alphabet Box

 I just love posting things about organization...I know I have a problem, but it is my gift. 
 I finally took all of my punch-out letters that I use for bulletin boards or just whatever, and I put them in this cool box I found on Amazon.  It is so easy for me to put words together for my boards now.  I love taking them, making words with them, then laminating the words together.  I think it makes it look so cool.  For example, I just made the words "Number Patterns" for something I am putting up in my room with my Firsties' pictures.  They look like dominoes or dice patterns.  I will take a picture of it for another post.

Monday, September 3, 2012

Lunch Board

 I came up with this idea last year to help organize my morning routines.  My kids love this Lunch Board with magnets.  As soon as they come in, they place their magnet in the correct area on our chart.  They move it to Hot Lunch, Cold Lunch, or Brought Lunch.  It is so easy for me to glance at the chart and jot their names down quickly.  Plus, as an added bonus- they will all have a nice little name magnet to take home at the end of the year. 
I bought these magnify magnets at Oriental Trading and they are super easy to make.  The dry erase/magnetic board is from Staples.  I used purple masking tape to make my lines and magnetic frames are at the top. 

Friday, August 17, 2012

"Paws" & Think

 In staying with my purple theme, I also found these cool paws.  I tried a lot of jobs last year which was way too much trouble, so at the end of the year- I finally came up with two jobs that my students really loved.  I have a Super Line-Up Leader who is in charge of leading the line and picking the line-up song.     I also have a Teacher's Pet who holds the door, passes out soap at lunch, takes the lunch count, and is actually the Teacher's Pet all day long.  They get to do everything!  I just have the boys' names on one ring, and the girls' names on the other.  I switch them once everyone has had a turn.  It is so EASY!  This year, I also added the necklaces that are shown below.  They love wearing their own tags each day, and honestly, they are even keeping them really clean.  They hang them back on the wall before going outside.  They are very responsible with them!
 I have also carried my "Paws" theme into our vocabulary words for the week.  The kids look for Paws (Pause) words everywhere all week long.  They get so excited when they find them, and they say, "We have to Pause- I found a Paws word!"  We are only eight days into the year, and this idea took off pretty well.  I love these purple paws!

Read with Me...

 Along with my princess crown (which reminds my little Firsties to stay at their own station while I am teaching my "Royal Subjects"), I found some other cool things that I love to use with my students during my Read with Me station.  I love these cool Before Guided Reading spinners to get my children actively involved with thinking about what we are about to read together.
And I LOVE, love, love these purple reading chips that let them choose the questions to ask after we have read our story in our group.  They love having something to hold onto while they get to be the teacher during our small group time.

Hula Hoops & Helpers!

 I just have to say thank you to my sweet daughter and wonderful Best Friend/Husband for helping me with my room this summer.  I just don't know what I would do without my helpers!  I set up a new little area for my Bean Bag/Reading Station this year.  So far, my students are really loving the little nook.
 We are getting started with our "Time 4 Writing" early this year.  I started with my Hula Hoop Venn Diagram on the first day of school.  It was a great activity that the students really enjoyed.  We moved on to learning about Web Diagrams this week.  I am amazed by what my little Firsties are able to do!  I have also added some whole brain gestures to my writing process which has proved to make writing a thousand times more fun!

Wednesday, August 15, 2012

Best Bathroom Pass Ever!

I found this idea on Pinterest, of course.  So, I made some labels and put it into place the first day of school.  This is by far the best Bathroom Passes I have ever used.  The girls and the boys love it!  It is simple and so easy to use.  I just made a label sheet of Girl's passes and a sheet of Boy's passes that are stuck in my folder.  When we run out of Germ-X, then I can stick another sticker on a new bottle.  Awesome!

Monday, August 13, 2012

I Love Pop!

My Firsties absolutely loved Pop for Sight Words last year.  So, this year, I bought the other two Pop games at The SchoolBox.  Apparently, they are just so much fun!  I would definitely recommend these to anyone who needs something fun for their station time.   I use these on Fun Fridays.  I can't wait to use them this Friday and see how much my new Firsties enjoy them.

Monday, August 6, 2012

It's All Good in 1st...with labels!

 I saw something similar to this on Pinterest!  My Goodness- I had to copy it!  I LOVE, LOVE, LOVE Pete the Cat!  So, I thought I would also talk about something else that I LOVE, LOVE, LOVE.....Labels!
 As a teacher, one of my favorite things is putting little labels all over my classroom.  It allows me to make my space welcoming to my new little Firsties posting their names all over my room.  I just could not survive without labels!
Only one more day until my little Firsties come...and I am ready to begin a brand-new year!

Thursday, August 2, 2012

Ping Pong Spelling

I worked on some new stations this summer, and I found so many amazing ideas on Pinterest.  I ordered a zillion ping pong balls from Amazon.com this summer, then I tried out some ideas on my daughter who will be a First Grader this year.  I am going to use her so much this year to try out new things!  We used ping pong balls for a Spelling Station (pictured above).  She had the best time bouncing the ball to me, then I would say the word, and she would spell/write it.  We switched places every two turns.  She loved it!  It was such an active station, and she stayed completely involved.  She has even asked to play again and again.
  I have also made a math station with these ping pong balls.  What is about balls and kids!  They just love them!  So, I am definitely going to think of some other things I can do with bouncing balls this year!

Saturday, July 14, 2012

A Homemade Dry-erase Board

I had an old 8x10 picture frame laying around, and I decided to spray paint it purple.  Then, I put some polka dotted scrapbook paper inside with a couple of little white boxes I made on my computer.  I printed those out on cardstock, and now I have my own personal Dry-erase board to keep up with special happenings each day!  I just LOVE making things for my classroom!

Saturday, July 7, 2012

I Got a Blogging Award!

Inspired in Second gave me a BLOG Award!  Yay!  I think it is my first, so I am going to follow her Blog Etiquette as to what to do.
   You should go check out her awesome blog!  Thanks so much for giving me this cool award...
So, now I am going to nominate some of the coolest teachers for this award...
1.  My favorite blog ever...First Grader at Last....I love every idea on this blog!
2.  Seusstastic Blog....absolutely adorable with tons of awesome ideas!
3.  Fun In First where standards meet creativity!
4. Oceans of First Grade Fun...a super blog from a very experienced teacher!
5.  Heather's Heart...I have found tons of free things on here that I use in my stations!  Love her blog!
6. The Inspired Apple...seriously amazing ideas!  She has some great stuff for sale!
7.  First Grade Fabulous Fish ...Tales from a First Grade Classroom!
8.  The First Grade Sweet Life...wonderful blog!
9.  Tori's Teachers Tips...Tips, Tricks, and TimeSavers for teachers!

Thanks so much for sending this award my way!

Tuesday, July 3, 2012

Pom-Pom Erasers!

I found this idea on Pinterest, of course.  So, my daughter and I made these this summer.  She has been using her set all summer long, and she loves them.  I cannot wait to use these at school this year!

Thursday, May 24, 2012

Have a Blessed Summer!

Here is my little princess who has just graduated from Kindergarten.  We are going to spend our summer together, so I won't be blogging this summer.  But, I will be creating lots of new things for next year.  So, when August rolls around---there will be lots of new posts.  Thanks for following along!  Have a blessed summer!

Friday, May 11, 2012

Joke Books for Fun Fridays

 Such a simple way to make kids enjoy writing!  I started this at the beginning of the year, and it has been a huge hit.  I have a joke on the SmartBoard every Friday morning for them to write down in their joke books.  They cannot wait to see what it is.  I started out just letting them write them on big lined index cards for writing practice, and they were able to take them home to share with their families.  Then, after Christmas, "because their writing was so beautiful" --the students were able to get their own Joke Books.  They love writing the jokes, reading the jokes, and decorating their books.  It is a fun way to start every Friday!

Monday, May 7, 2012

Writing Stories Anchor Chart

My students helped me come up with this anchor chart to put up in our room.  I just LOVE anchor charts!  They are so much fun, and they make it so simple to understand what your students have learned about any topic!