October 1, 2015

October Ideas in a Nutshell

It's October!
I'd love for you to go back and read my past posts on all the great things I do in this fun month.
For the sake of time, there's no need to do that because I've brought it ALL to you right here in one post!

Pumpkins {check}
Bats {check}
Spiders {check}
Halloween {check}

Let's dive into all of the great activities I do in my classroom using Pumpkins first!

I love bringing in a real pumpkin for my class to explore. It's hands-on learning at it's finest.
It's all about the math and science when it comes to the class pumpkin.
We also read some non-fiction books about pumpkins and record our pumpkin schema beforehand. 

{If you would like to read more details about each activity, click on it's link}


Next up, Bats!

We go batty for bats!
We again read some non-fiction about bats and record our schema and new facts on a large bat.
We also use labels to label a giant bat!
We read other books like Stellaluna and craft it up using plot. 

{If you would like to read more details about each activity, click on it's link}

Bat Schema

These creepy, crawly things are so interesting to firsties. Here's a few spider ideas!

When learning about spiders we always fill out a KWL chart because there is always so much they already know but even more that they want to learn! We read plenty of non-fiction during our study of spiders.
Making our spider web shaped book is always a hit and a few fun spider shaped crafts are always fun too!

{If you would like to read more details about each activity, click on it's link}


The very end of the month brings us Halloween. We don't necessarily celebrate it at our school, but we still do a few fun things. Check out the Halloween ideas!

{If you would like to read more details about each activity, click on it's link}


I hope from all of these ideas, you are able to implement a few. 
I have implemented every single one of them at some point and time and lover every one!

May October treat you and your students well!

September 28, 2015

It's Fall in the Hall

One thing I love to do whether it's at home, in the classroom, or school hall is decorate!
And tis' the season for adding a little touch of pumpkin to every aspect of life.
It may not quite be October yet, but last week we broke out the pumpkins and got down to business.

I'm sure you can tell by the picture below what we have been studying, grammar wise.

We've been practicing sorting nouns into categories of person/place/thing.

One activity we did this week was illustrate our own nouns.
Each day I gave them the category: person, place or thing.
They came up with their own idea, illustrated it and wrote the word for it.
We put them on the big green chart. Now we have 20 people, places and things to refer to. 

Here's a close up look of our noun pumpkins.
They had to search through magazines to find pictures of 4 people, places and things. 
They turn out super cute and gave our hallway just the right amount of  "fallish" feel! 

September 27, 2015

Let's Do Literacy with Pumpkins

It's Fall y'all!
Time to break out all things pumpkin, including literacy centers.

This summer I totally revamped one of my very first creations I made for TpT. 
Here's peak into what is include in my Pumpkin-y Literacy Centers pack:

{Click picture above for link to TpT store}

These simple centers are great for the beginning of the year.
I can't wait to put mine into action this week!

September 23, 2015

Setting Up Your Math Block

I'm so thankful that teachers are teachable too!
I took it upon myself  this summer to do some at home professional development. 
The end result...I revamped my math block and teaching style (go me!).

In the past, I taught math whole group. I would teach, they would watch. We would practice. 
I started out doing math tubs just as a fun way to practice while I pulled students I needed to "tutor".

Over the years this evolved to me realizing I NEED to be meeting with ALL my students, not just those in need! 

Fast forward 4 years and I'm here to share with you what I did for the FIRST time today.
And just how absolutely fabulous it was...on DAY 1!

Here is how it all flows:

Here is each component in detail:

Calendar time is short and sweet.
We go through the parts of the date and use the number of the day to count place value and money.
For Target the Question, students are given a picture for the week.
Each day there is a different word problem that goes with the picture and we discover the answer together.

During whole group instruction, we sit on the carpet and I explicitly teach the content.
For this specific lesson we were focusing on ways to make 10 if given one part and the whole. 
I talk. Students listen.I may have a few of them interact with me for example problems. 
Many times this is followed by guided practice for an extra 5 minutes.

We break up into small groups using our CATS MATH rotation chart. 
This comes from Reagan Tunstall. If you would like to read more about how it works you can following these links to her blog HERE and HERE and HERE
{This is where I did my at home professional development from to come up with this math block}

Students go to 4 rounds each day (pictured above). 
During the small group instruction students meet with me.
In this time, I dig deeper into the topic we discussed in whole group. 
Normally this involves getting out manipulatives and working on things "hands-on". This allows me to correct anything the students are doing wrong. It is so much easier for me to catch and correct their mistakes when I am working with groups of 5 students rather than 20!

I KNOW my kiddos are going to appreciate math time SO much more this year and get lots more out of it too! If you're thinking of taking the small group math step...let me tell you, it's WORTH IT!

September 18, 2015

Five For Friday

Now that I've got 4 weeks under my belt and I'm back in my routine, I feel like I should take a few minutes to update you on where I've been. I always think the last few weeks of school are the most exhausting and then I remember just how tiring the first few weeks are! 

After spending the first week going over the rules, I always like to put together a class promise. 
Seems like kids are always making promises, so why not make one to our classmates too!
We write it together and "sign" the bottom.
It's something I hang in the class until the last day!

I really feel like the queen of anchor charts sometimes!
Here are the charts we are currently going over (minus our 4 phonics ones). 
If you want to know more about how I use charts, here's a post for you!

Instead of using the infamous "shoe" lesson on how to pick books, I used shirts instead.
Total success!!!

With all the tragedy going on with our law enforcement, we decided to pay tribute to them.
We had our students make cards and we put together a sign.
Our officers for our district were invited out and we paid our thanks to them!

I severely struggle with my weekly outfits.
I normally have something in mind but end up changing at the last minute, more than once!
I'm always pulling into school RIGHT on time.
So on Sunday's, I am going to plan each day's outfit, try them on, and make sure all is good!


September 15, 2015

When You Have NO Math Book...Break Out the Hula Hoops!

Hands-on learning is so much more fun than workbook practice.
Especially when your workbooks haven't come in yet....on the 4th week of school!?!?
So, we are diving into addition using  number bonds this week. 

What do you do when you have red and blue hula hoops?
Not hula hoop.
(that's what the kids were hoping for)

We did several problems together where I had students start in the parts...

...and move to the whole.

After we "played", we created our own number bond manipulatives to use with our cubes for the week. 

All you need to do is prep 2 blue parts, 1 red whole and 2 black linking strips.
Glue together and ta-da!

We practiced using them for several days.
At first I would call out 2 numbers for them to put in the parts, slide to the whole and count the total.

Then we moved to "ways to make" numbers as I called out a number to put in the whole and they would figure out different ways to make that number.

The last day we practiced writing number sentences with them.


September 13, 2015

My Home Away From Home {Classroom Tour}

One of the best things about being a teacher is having the summer's off  being able to collaborate and share your ideas with others who are just as excited about the profession as you are! So today I'm going to share with you a peek inside my classroom in hopes that you are able to take an idea or two away and use it for yourself or pass along the love to others!

Side note: I fell in love with the layout I had last year, so I really didn't spend too much time changing things up over the summer. If you've got a good flow, stick with it!

Step Inside! Let's GO!

Here is my writing center area.

 I keep lots of different supplies students may need to "spruce up" their writing like markers, crayons, gel pens, colored pencils, glue, scissors, etc. They are housed in the black storage drawers.
 The stackable trays hold the different writing papers (story templates, books, construction paper, lists, etc.) The "Writers Wall" is where I will display student writing examples for others to see. 

You can find all the printables on my bulletin board in the links below.

This is my home away from home, my desk area.
 Although not a lot of time is spent here, I try to make it as homey as possible with pictures.
My lovely mom made my desk skirt which hides my refrigerator that's underneath! 
Student's turn in their work (see tomorrow's post) in the stacked bins.
If they get in trouble throughout the day the put their purple folder in the yellow bucket for me to sign.

This year I moved my document camera to the end of my desk so that students can come up and easily access it without having to walk all the way around my desk. I have a feeling it will also get me up from behind my desk when teaching...hated that!

All my resources are kept on my 2 black bookcases (from Office Depot) and in my filing cabinet.

Here is our cozy small group meeting area.
 I (fingers crossed) normally  have 4 different leveled reading groups. 
Each of their materials is housed on a different shelf. 
The other bookcase holds my materials, assessment binders, privacy folders, and more leveled books. 
I keep a lot of games and supplies in the colored drawers for easy access. 
I hate having to get up and leave them, time is precious people!

I have 3 computers in my room. Normally they are used for the Listen to Reading station.
 I have assembled a site using sqworl.com which has different links they can click on which is SOOOO much better than having them type it in on the search bar. These links take them to directly to the sites. 
If you haven't heard of sqworl, check out my page {HERE}.

At the front of the room is our Smartboard.
 I also display our sight words for the week in the purple pocket chart. After the week is over, they make their way up onto the word wall.

If students aren't at their desk working, then they are most likely meeting with me on the floor.
 Here is our meeting area, better know as the "Information Hut". 
The calendar helper gets the job of updating this area during calendar time.

On the whiteboard is where I keep track of table points.
 I like to reinforce positive behavior whenever there is a chance. 
The table who reaches 10 points first gets a surprise.

Our daily schedule goes in the long blue pocket chart. 
You can find these cards in Cara's store {here}. 
Next to the schedule, I display what we are going to be working on for the day in the magnetic pockets.

I also use my whiteboard as a "wall" to hang our anchor charts, or what we are learning.
This year I sectioned it off so that my gazillion charts weren't randomly put on the board.

Down below are our book boxes. 
My sweet hubby took the time to build their house for me last summer when I could find absolutely nothing where they would fit just perfect. He is my hero!

Our listening station is house in front of the white board.
They will be able to choose what book they want to listen too off of the book shelf.
I made crate seats for them to use with their partner while reading the book.

I created a cozy reading nook in one of the corners. 
Here I put the zebra chair.
I was lucky enough to snag this for free from a friend who was remodeling their child's room!

This year I've designated a place for our phonics and math charts. They will be hung on my cabinets.

Time for a little rotating! 
The small pocket chart is where I place my math tub groups. These rotate on a daily basis. 
The next chart is for our center/reading group rotations.
 The last chart is my newest addition. They are our classroom jobs. 

One thing I did change out were my blue charts to black! Loving the fresh look! They are from Scholastic.

What do you do when you run out of wall space? Use the corner of course!
Birthdays will be displayed on the cupcakes.

Here's our classroom library, which I spent nearly ALL summer leveling!

The bookcases at the back of the library house all of our literacy centers and math tubs.
I also have math manipulatives in the crate on the side.

Now for a full view with desks and all!
That was ALOT!

Hoping you were able to take something away from it!