August 22, 2014

What Friday: B2S with Blog Hoppin'

There are SO many fun things you can do with 6 and 7 year olds. That's why I LOVE teaching 1st grade! 
Here are two of my favorite things to teach throughout the year.

Sitting down during writing conferences I always notice an influx of "and" being used in my students writing once they become familiar with expanding their sentences.
AND it drives me crazy 
AND when I finally decide to address it, it goes like this.
Last year I asked one student if she would allow me to model a lesson using her paper. 
She agreed so I read it aloud to the class putting major emphasis on the word AND when I read it in her story.
When I read it they laughed {and laughed and laughed and laughed}! 
They thought I was crazy for using the word AND so many times
Their response "That's a lot of and's Mrs. Griffith".

I modeled to them what can be done with the word AND.
We crossed out the word AND then added a period in its place.
 They are always surprised when I tell them that --they-- were actually the ones who were consumed by this disease! I have them go back and edit their papers for the "and disease", capitalization and punctuation.
We came up with a solution: When we reread our stories and find that we have the "and disease", we will erase the word and add a period in its place.

Here is a template I created for my kiddos to use to check their writing before turning it in. 
I teach them how to use each box at the bottom to check for errors. 

Click on the picture to download. 

Part of the fun in teaching 1st grade is getting to be crafty.
Who doesn't love taking a lesson and adding a little pizzazz to it!?
That's exactly what we do for our digraph unit. 

Day 1: CH
We took our words from "Our ch words" anchor chart and made a CHocolate CHip cookie! 

Day 2: SH
We took our words from "Our sh words" anchor chart and made a fiSH bowl!

Day 3: TH
We took our words from "Our th words" anchor chart and made a paTHway of words!

Day 4: WH
We took our words from "Our wh words" anchor chart and made a WHale!

August 21, 2014

When Thursday: B2S with Blog Hoppin'

If you teach first grade you know 2 things:
1. They can't sit for more than 10-15 minutes without losing their attention
2. Teaching reading takes up the majority of your day

That's why I absolutely love, adore, admire our schedule.
It worked wonders last year and I'm hoping the same goes for this year.

Live through a day in first grade with a deeper look into our schedule:
When our day starts, the first thing we jump into is writer's workshop. Here's a breakdown:
1. Mini-lesson
2. Silent Writing Time
3. Conferences

I find writing first thing is the perfect way to wake up their brains and get the juices flowing for the day.
It leads to a calm environment and sets the tone for our day.
After their little brains have a chance to wake up, we enter into our Phonics lesson.
1. Mini-Lesson (whole group)
2. Practice (whole group)
3. Independent Practice
This is our biggest and most needed chunk of time throughout the day. It houses whole group instruction, small group instruction, independent practice and centers.

1. Whole group mini-lesson (or activity) on comprehension strategy using a read aloud
2. Small group instruction 
3. Center rotations with independent practice and reading

Our team meets once a week to sit down and plan for the upcoming week together while our kiddos are at specials. If we aren't planning as a team, we are prepping charts, gathering activities, or compiling plans. 

My room may look like this during planning: 

But it always finds a way to look like this by the end of the week:

After coming back from specials (a much needed break for a first grader) we have our math block.
This encompasses calendar, whole group instruction, small group instruction and math tubs.
1. Calendar
2. Whole group lesson
3. Practice time 
4. Math Tubs (teacher meets with small groups) 
Leaving science and social studies until the end of the day can be a good thing or a bad thing, depending on our day. On good days, we make it through everything and actually have time to complete our activity but as you know there are times when everything just doesn't get squeezed in and we neglect to make it to our lesson. This means integrate, integrate, integrate which I try to do as much as possible! 

August 20, 2014

Why Wednesday: B2S with Blog Hoppin'

With everything that a teacher is responsible for keeping up with, I cannot begin to imagine having a lack of organization in the classroom. I am constantly re-organizing my already organized room at the end of each day to avoid a melt down.

True? I think so!
Here's a few tips to how I organize some areas of my classroom.

For the last 2 years I have stored my centers in a binder where I put examples and printouts in plastic page protectors. My collection grew to 2 bulging 3" binders.

 I had had enough

I came across some very cute monthly labels on Instagram and just knew I had found my new way to store centers!

Each month gets its own tub. I found these tubs at Target on sale for just over $3 a piece. Great steal!!

Inside I store ALL centers for that month, literacy and math.
 Right now, everything is just sorted into the tubs, but my plan is to take large manila envelopes and store the printables inside of them with the cover page of the center packet on the front.

Check out these Monthly Tub Labels by That's So Second Grade!
Here are the 3 things you will need:
1. colored stackable sorting trays      2. magnetic colored pockets      3. colored trays

Each day we have 3-4 jobs.  This is what I call their skill work or practice pages.
Job 1 is red.
Job 2 is yellow.
Job 3 is green.
Job 4 is blue.

Each morning, I display what the students will be working on in the magnetic pockets next to our calendar.  This gives them an idea of the work they will be completing that day. 

Each job they are to complete can be found in the colored tray, each tray holding a different set of papers. This is where the students will pick their papers up from.  They then return to their desk to work on it.

When they are finished, they will turn their papers into the colored stackable sorting trays and head back over the the colored trays to pick up their next job.

*** What makes this system uber-important are the color codes.
 Most of the time the color codes help the students answer their own questions. 
 If they forgot what job they are on, they can look up at the magnetic pockets to find what paper they just completed.  Whatever color the pocket is would be the same color stackable tray they would turn it into.

This system takes a bit of training at the beginning of the year. 
 But around mid-year, the students are able to move from one job to the next at their own pace.
 I rarely get the following questions: "What do I do now?   Where do I turn this in?  Where do I get my paper from?"  I promise you, the training is SOOOOO worth it! 
And the best part is, everything is already sorted for you! {PTL}!!!!!

August 19, 2014

Where Tuesday: B2S with Blog Hoppin'

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!

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 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.
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. 
Here is a post on how I am planning on incorporating them into my room this year.

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!