Monday, February 27, 2012

What Can You Create?

Using Bloom's Taxonomy, this activity will help your students explore their creative side when it comes to measurement.  All you need are some rulers  to allow your students to create anything with this exercise.  Simply instruct your students to measure out the exact length that is listed on the sheet.  Then, have them to think about what object/drawing they can create from that specific length.  I have found that it is easiest to introduce this activity during carpet time in order to provide students with an example of what you expect.  I have also used this in a small group setting where I can guide their interaction.  Either way, this activity will spark imagination in your students and reach those higher-level learners in your classroom.

Lilly and Her Adjectives

We have been studying adjectives for a few weeks engaging in different activities.  I just love Kevin Henkes and all of his wonderful books.  So, I decided to make my own Lilly with some scrapbook paper and some white posterboard.  Then, my students made up adjective phrases.   I wrote them myself to place on our Wall of Wisdom.

Saturday, February 25, 2012

Making Good Choices

After 15 years of teaching and using many different behavior management plans, I think this one is my favorite.  I really like being able to reward my super students by making them "perfectly purple" each day.  All of the students strive for it, the parents seem to love it, and I like how it individualizes the behavior by giving me a sentence to say before I move their clip.  For example, "I think you need to think about your choices."  Then, I move their clip without any more discussion.  The students completely understand and refer to the sentences themselves. It is a great way to manage behavior in a positive way!

Thursday, February 23, 2012

All Names are Nouns!

I use this to choose special students throughout the day to lead us in our classroom rules, write on the SmartBoard, etc.  I always say, "I am going to choose a name from "All Names Are Nouns"!  The students recite it with me.  I am hoping that the title might help them remember that simple fact.  It is a fun, easy way to get them excited about participation.

Wednesday, February 22, 2012

Bravo Points

Throughout the day when my students do what they should do- they earn Bravo Points.  These points transfer into coins (at the end of each day) that each table collects for prizes. When they earn a point and I tally it on the board, they say "BRAVO" all together.  When they don't follow our rules, I get a point.  To this they say, "Ohhh".  I started using it without the choral responses, then learned about Biffle's Smilies and Frownies.  It basically works the same way.  I just added the Standing "O" because I thought it was a cute way to celebrate our points each day.  SO, when the students beat me at the end of the day, they get to celebrate with a standing "O".  PLUS, it is a great way to learn about tallies and counting!

Tuesday, February 21, 2012

Read with Me

 This is my Read with Me Station area that I use each day.  I love my 3 Ways to Read Anchor Chart!
 We sit in a small circle on this carpet while we read together and introduce/review skills each week.
 This pocket chart is an excellent way to retell our stories each week, plus the students are able to review the previous story or "take a peek" at next week's story.  We discuss what the next story might be about.
This little table has my important tools for Read with Me.  I have laminated Word Rings for every reading level, vocabulary picture cards, spelling words, Homemade Bloom's Bookmarks, and my Reading Log Clipboard to take notes on every child during our reading time together.
My Vocabulary Words are also displayed here.

Saturday, February 18, 2012

Hula Hoop Venn Diagram

I don't know what it is about Venn Diagrams...but I just love them!  We used the Hula Hoops as a station on the floor, then we took the best answers and wrote them out for the wall.  My children were thrilled to display this Venn Diagram in the classroom!  It was a lot of hands-on fun!

Tuesday, February 14, 2012

Our Classroom Rules- Whole Brain Teaching

 Finally, I have come up with the perfect rules for my Firsties!  I absolutely love these...they are easy to remember and so essential for every day rules in the classroom.  These are Whole Brain Teaching rules that are truly amazing!
 We stand and go over these (with hand motions) every day.  The hand motions make it so much more clever and fun!  The kids love them, and it is a great way to start the day!  I love them all, but I do believe the last rule is my personal favorite!

Monday, February 13, 2012

Have you heard...

Have you heard about how awesome my student teacher is?  Well, she is super duper awesome!  She came up with this fabulous idea for a herd of elephants on my bulletin board.  The students also got to describe their elephants since we have been learning about adjectives.  What a great idea!  Yes, Miss Amanda- I will use it for years and years to come!

Wednesday, February 8, 2012

A Little More Time

To go along with learning about time, I also made these cool clocks to help the children be able to recognize important times during our day.  

Tuesday, February 7, 2012

Teaching Time

We are getting ready to learn about Telling Time.  I made this clock to help my little Firsties.  They love how it looks, so hopefully they will learn from it, too!

Monday, February 6, 2012

Ta-ka-Radi Tiles Reading Station

If you have an old set of Jenga or Ta-ka-Radi Tiles laying around your house- You can make a Reading Station with them!  I just used a Sharpie marker to write First Grade sight words (along with some Second and Third Grade sight words for a challenge!) on two sides of each tile.  The students build the tower, and then they carefully pull out one block at a time.   If they can read the words to their group, then they get to write the words on their paper.  There are even some special tiles that are worth extra points just for fun!  The person who gets the most points wins!  Easy and fun!  My Firsties just love it!

Sunday, February 5, 2012

My Super Power

 My wonderful husband once said that if I had a Super Power- I would be known as The Organizer.  Seriously, organizing things is what I do to make me happy.  It just gives me a sense of happiness when I organize and re-organize everything in my life.  So, I thought I would share some of my classroom organization ideas. Pictured above is one of my favorite buys from Calloway House.  This is one of my favorite places to shop for classroom organization items.  Sure, it is expensive.  But, the products are outstanding!  I use this cart for station supplies.  The students are able to get what they need without asking me for help, and they put things back easily by reading the labels.
I love using crates for all sorts of things, and I have enjoyed using this one for organizing my math materials in hanging file folders.  It is so easy to find what I need without having to look through a filing cabinet.  Plus, I am able to keep everything I need in the file folders, too- like my laminated part-part-whole mats and hundred charts.  I just store them with the unit they go with, then I place them at the front of the crate when we are using them.  This way, the students can go get one if they need them anytime- during the lesson or math stations.
This simple, budget-friendly shelving is from Wal-Mart.  It works great on top of the counter.  It gives me the height I need to keep my sweet treats from getting into little hands, so that some things can just be on my level.  But, I also have labeled bins for their station work materials.  The purple ones are labeled using velcro dots so I can change them out.  They are used for their recording sheets, and then the students turn in their completed station work in the silver basket.    These allow the students to take care of themselves during station time.
These amazing purple drawers were found at Target, but I think that I have seen them at Wal-Mart, also.  I could not live without these to organize EVERYTHING.  I used some scrapbooking paper which I laminated and labeled for the drawer fronts.  I absolutely love these drawers.  I store my daily math workbook pages, skills, reading workbook pages, etc. in these drawers right behind my desk.  They are easy to access.
This is another area for station materials which are located on the bottom shelf.  I love these clear heart boxes which I purchased at Target.  They are very sturdy and seem to be indestructible.  The top shelf is where I store my materials.  The purple binders were an amazing find from Calloway House a few years ago.  Unfortunately, they have now stopped making them.  I organize them with pocket dividers which are labeled by each story from our reading series.  I place every activity and skill that I use throughout the year in order.  It is a great way to keep up with everything without having all of that material in ten different places the way it comes from the publisher.  The first thing I always do is put everything together by story so it makes more sense to me.  These folders also have my I Can Statements (which are laminated) in clear pockets, along with my lesson plans, and a Weekly Five Letter to Parents.  Once again, everything is organized by week, by story.
The last thing I will share is another way to use these awesome crates!  I also bought these crates at Wal-Mart.  I think these are a fun way to add some color to your room and they are so much cheaper than buying actual book shelves.  They are a great way to store puzzles and station materials.
     Go have some fun organizing!  Enjoy it!

Saturday, February 4, 2012


 Here are a few pictures of my classroom.  This is my first year in First Grade (I have been a Fourth Grade teacher for 12 years).  So, I still have a lot to learn and a ton of work to do.
 I have changed a few things since I took these pictures, but this is the basic layout of my classroom.

This is my Bean Bag Reading Area.  The children love sitting here reading with microphones, stuffed animals, and whisper phones.  It is a HAPPY Place to be!

Thursday, February 2, 2012

Venn Diagrams

 I love using paper plates for Venn Diagrams while teaching my students about compare/contrast.  They love it, and they really remember this skill.  I use this with my Bloom's Taxonomy PowerPoint presentation that is used weekly in my classroom.