Tuesday, August 28, 2012

My Back to School Purchases

I'm finally getting around to sharing some of my back to school purchases! I think I filled my shopping cart 3 times during the back to school sales. So, here are a few of my favorites! 

 I found these adorable strategy posters for reading comprehension by Lindsay. The set includes 11 posters. They are oh so cute and aligned with the common core.  I'm looking forward to using these when I add each of the strategies to our CAFE menu!

I also purchased Reagan's Daily Math to give my students some daily practice.  After we establish routines and do lots of community building, I'm hoping to be able to use some of these for our morning work. 

This summer, I've spent a lot of time revisiting,  revamping, remodeling my guided math/math work station plan.  When I found Jennifer's Guided Math Cards, I knew they would help me get organized.  The fact that they have monkey themed clipart was an extra bonus.  

I also purchased several of Barbie's word wall word sets.  I love the clipart she used and can't wait to add these to my writing center this fall.  I'm still trying to decide if I'll put them in a pocket chart or put a ring through each set to make them into word books for students to use while they are writing. This is one of the sets that I added to my overflowing shopping cart. 

I'm linking up with Blog Hoppin' and The School Supply Addict to share my back to school purchases. 

Parent Wish Jar (Freebie)

I'm linking up again with Tara from 4th Grade Frolics for Monday Made It!  I know...it's Tuesday.  Better late than never. Thank you, Tara, for hosting!
In addition to doing lots of printing, copying and laminating, I made a few things for my classroom this week. We have open house on Wednesday (the week before school starts). I guess it's kind of like some of your "meet the teacher" events, but we don't have to do another open house later in the year.

When my new families come to open house, I am going to ask parents to write down a "wish" for their child's year in 1st grade to add to our parent wish jar. I will take the wish jar home with me over the Labor Day weekend to help me get to know my families (and their wishes) before the first day of school next week.  I don't share their wishes with anyone.

My Parent Wish Jar

 Here are the labels that I made.  The picture shows the one I used for my own jar, but there are a few different designs.  Just click on the image if you'd like to download it. 

Here is the slip  I ask parents to fill out with their wishes.  You can click on the image below to download this document as well.  If you download, please follow and/or leave me a comment.  I'm heading into 2 full days of professional development and I'm going to need something to read. :)

Counting down...
Today is my last official day of summer.
Tomorrow is our first day of required professional development.
Tomorrow evening is our Open House.
Next Tuesday...my students will start.   Let's get this party started!

Monday, August 27, 2012

Guest Post: Welcome April from Chalk Talk!

Chalk Talk

I have learned so much from Kimberly about working with struggling readers and running guided reading groups so I was extremely honored when she asked me to do a guest post on her blog. 

It was Kimberly’s Virtual Teaching Expo video that actually inspired me to read the book Catching Readers Before They Fall by Pat Johnson and Katie Keier. 

My favorite chapter in the book is called Beyond “Sound it Out”. I am definitely guilty of overusing the phrase “sound it out” when my students get stumped on words they are trying to read when in fact the English language is not consistently phonetic meaning that approximately 40-50% of words cannot be solved by sounding them out. Marie Clay says that sounding words out is not a routine response used by efficient readers therefore asking students to sound words out is oftentimes not helpful or even fair. 

There are so many other strategies out there for problem solving how to read an unknown word that it doesn’t seem logical to continue to support young readers by repeatedly saying “sound it out.”

 Students who take too much time examining every letter of every word read too slowly causing them to lose the meaning of the text they are reading. When children are able to focus on meaning when they read, they are constantly anticipating the next word in the text, while building their fluency at the same time. The goal is to have students focus on the meaning while also checking letters of the words. They need to internalize the questions Does it make sense? Does it sound right? Does it look right? 

Rather than saying “sound it out” here are a few other suggestions for prompting beginning readers… 

Read that again and check to see if this part looks right. (slide your finger under the part you want them to check) 

Run your finger under the word to see if it looks right to you. 

Let the first part of that word help you. 

Try that again from here.

Sometimes the letters don’t help us enough so we have to try something else. Let me show you what I’d do next. 

Try that again and keep the story in your head as you do. 

Let’s get our mouth ready for this word together. 

Look right here at the first letter. That will help you start that word. You got the first part right; now check the ending. 

 How can you fix the last part of that word? 

Try that again but this time touch under the words. 

Do you see a part of this word that looks like another word you know? 

As you work with your struggling readers this school year be on the lookout for a variety of ways to support young children as they build early word solving strategies and learn to read with fluency and comprehension. Happy Reading! 

Wednesday, August 22, 2012

Community Building Books Linky Party

While everyone is getting back into their classrooms, I thought it would be a good time to do linky party about your favorite books for building community in the classroom. I hope you'll join me and help me spread the word to encourage others to link up too! 

I think it's so important to take the time to build a sense of  community in the classroom.  The problem is that each year, I wish I had spent a little more time doing just that.  I am really careful about establishing classroom routines, making sure my expectations are clear and getting to know each student...but the team building seems to be something that I always wish I had spent a little more time on (rather than rushing into the curriculum).  

My top 5 favorite books for community building...


I hope you'll link up to share your favorite books to help build community in the classroom.  You can share just one or as many as you'd like in your post.  Feel free to grab the image at the top of my post, if you'd like to use it for your post when you link up.

Monday, August 20, 2012

Monday Made It

Like so many of you, I've been busy making things for my classroom. Here are a few of the things I've accomplished so far. First, I made a box top collection container, which I posted about last week. You can read the post and grab the box top signs I made here

My students frequently use post it notes during our reader's and writer's workshop lessons.  I do a post it note mini lesson at the beginning of the year, so students know how to use them purposefully.  After that mini lesson, I have a basket of post it notes available for students to use.  This week, I made a matching sign for my post it note basket.

I made a whole set of these signs that match the box top signs that I shared last week.  There are different colors that may match some of your rooms better.  You can click on the image below if you'd like to download the set. 

I spent some time this summer working on a Classroom Birthday Pack for my Tpt store and Teachers Notebook shop.  I've also accomplished a few things to help my students celebrate their birthdays in the classroom. 

I made a new set of birthday balloons for my students.  This is obviously not my original idea.  There are multiple versions of these on Pinterest.  I took this picture with my phone...sorry.  My students loved the birthday balloons last year!

The other two other birthday related things I made are from my Classroom Birthday Pack.  I made a birthday book basket and birthday necklaces for each student.  The necklaces can also be used as desk signs for the birthday student.  I prefer necklaces.  I used Doodle Twine (which I am in love with) for the necklaces. The book bin sign and a variety of the birthday necklace/desk signs are part of my Classroom Birthday Pack.

Looking forward to visiting 4th Grade Frolics to see what everyone else is making for their classrooms!  Thank you, Tara, for hosting Monday Made It!    I'm inspired each week!

Sunday, August 19, 2012

First Grade Chat on Twitter

A few weeks ago, I inspired by Erin Klein (from Kleinspiration) to open a Twitter account. I can't say that I have tons of Twitter followers yet...but I'm workin' on it. For the past two Sunday evenings, I've been chatting with first grade teachers around the world via a first grade chat on Twitter. It's a live chat that lasts for one hour. I've already met some really supportive 1st grade teachers and learned several new things that I can't wait to try in the classroom. The conversation moves pretty fast, but it's really easy to participate. If you have a Twitter account and you're interested in joining us... use the hashtag #1stchat tonight (or any Sunday night) at 8p.m. (EST). I've followed chats about the Daily 5 and kindergarten as well. There are chats for just about everything...anyone else know of other good chats to follow? Off to unpack from my trip (which I can't wait to tell you about - post coming soon). I also need to finish my Monday Made It project.

Friday, August 17, 2012

It's Freebie Friday on TBA!

Freebie Fridays

I promised myself that I would do a better job linking up for TBA's Freebie Friday this year. So, far so good. :)

I've recently done some thinking (more like rethinking) about math work stations. You can read a post (Revisiting Math Work Stations) that I made a few weeks ago for some information about why I felt like I needed to rethink the whole math work station thing.

Today, I'd like to share a game that my students play during math work stations. It's actually two different games. The forms that I'm including are for a Lego Addition work station and Lego Subtraction work station. You can click on the picture below to download it if you'd like your own copy.
My students use 1 die at the beginning of the year and 2 dice to give them a challenge when they are ready. I bought these adorable Lego cups (instead of the bags for the legos at each work stations) for extra fun.  I found them at a local party supply store.

I'm heading over to see what everyone else is linking up for Freebie Friday! See you there!

Wednesday, August 15, 2012

Back to School Jitters Linky Party

Back to School Jitters Linky Party

I'm linking up with A Turn to Learn for the Back to School Jitters Linky Party!
I want to thank everyone who stopped by my Tpt store and/or my TN shop during the big sale. It was my best sale ever and I appreciate all of you! 

 Now, head over to A Turn to Learn to link up your Back to School Jitters!

Monday, August 13, 2012

Guest Post and Freebies

I'm excited and honored to be doing a guest post at today at Crisscross Applesauce in First Grade! I met Holly from Crisscross Applesauce in First Grade at the Michigan Blogger Meet Up last month. Although I have been a huge fan of her blog for a long time, I had no idea we have so much in common. Feeling lucky that I had the chance to meet her in person and honored that she invited me to do a guest post.  You can find my guest post here. I hope her readers like my post.  Maybe some of you could stop over and leave some comments just in case they don't. :)  Please head over to visit Holly's blog to read my post, grab another math work station freebie in my post over yonder and follow her if you don't already. Then come back for another freebie below (please)...

Do you ever feel like there are little ziplock bags full of box tops floating around your desk? A few weeks ago, I spotted a cute little container for box tops on Pinterest. I tried to pin it, but my service in the woods during my camping trip was limited. So... it didn't exactly get pinned (bummer). But, I did make my own container for students to drop their box tops into each morning.

 You can click on the image below to download a label for your very own box top container (if you'd like). I made a few different versions.
I've filled my cart (and I mean filled) and checked out - TWICE - during the back to school sales! Today is the last day for my back to school sales. I want to thank everyone who has stopped by to purchase something at either of my shops. This has been my most successful sale to date. I appreciate the purchases you made. You still have time to shop. Don't forget to use the coupon code BTS12 on Tpt today if you want to save an additional 10%.
Heading in to my room today. Going to set a time limit, try not to spend time visiting (even though I'm dying to chat with everyone) and cross as many things as I can off my list. 


Saturday, August 11, 2012

Math Work Station Freebie

Last week, I wrote a post about re-visiting math work stations. I've been busy working on making games for math work stations and organizing the games my students loved in the past. I found these cute little buckets and mini-frisbees at a local party store this summer. If you don't like/don't want to buy these...you can use any bucket and small butter lids for this game instead. 
So, I hid them from my son and quickly  made a math work station game to go with them. You can click on the image below to download the game.  I let my son test the game when I was finished. He loved it!  And... I love comments and new followers for my blog and my store.

I've also been working on preparing my math journals.  Lucky me...I found 30 composition notebooks at a local resale shop for 25 cents each!  My little helpers (kids) helped me peel off the price tags and I added my own math journal covers.  My math journals are ready!

 In my Tpt and Teachers Notebook shop, you can find my Fall Math Journal Prompts, Winter Math Journal Prompts and Spring Math Journal Prompts if you're interested.  Each set is regularly priced at $1.50...but I'm currently having a 20% off sale!

Christie from First Grade Fever has been hosting a Fabulous Freebie Frenzy all week! A back to school freebie from my blog is being featured on her blog today. Head on over to visit Christie to download that freebie. Be sure to check out all of the other fabulous freebies from the whole week. 

Friday, August 10, 2012

It's Freebie Friday

Happy Friday everyone! I'm linking up a more/less number grid freebie to share for Freebie Friday. I included it in a post last week about revisiting math workstations. You can read that post here.

I use the more/less number grids pictured below as morning work for my students. I've also laminated the strips and put them in a math work station, so students could write on them with a wipe off marker.  You can click on the image below to download it for free.

Don't forget...it's back to school sale time! 

*You can use the code BTS12 on August 12 & 13 on Tpt for an extra 10% off.  

Be sure to visit TBA's Freebie Friday post to grab freebies from other bloggers and/or to link up a freebie of your own.

Enjoy your day!