Friday, August 31, 2012

First week lesson plans done!

Now that I have one year in first grade under my belt (and reading TONS of books & blogs), lesson planning is a bit easier.  Here is the first week will look like for my new batch of friends:

This is a Google Doc in Word, so you can absolutely borrow it if you need a change in your planning format.  However, please don't pass it off as your own (I will get sad).  In fact, this format is a variation of the work done by Jessica Meacham.

You will notice that for readers and writers workshop, there isn't tons of detail there.  I have separate binders for each that contain the unit and the scripts for specific lessons.  I write all over it to make it my own (my personal language choices or added ideas).  My principal knows that I have the binders, so it's not a big deal.

Many of the "back to school" or building communities activities will come from this awesome packet from Abby Mullins:
Fun with Firsties! {Back to School for First Grade}
Have a super Labor Day holiday!

Thursday, August 30, 2012

Growing as a team through planning...

I know many schools are given their curriculum maps for the year or are locked into a specific sequence by a publisher's textbook.  That isn't the case in  my school district.  Although we have a set curriculum, we have a lot of say in the order we present it in the classroom.  Starting this year, our entire district is following the same sequence for readers and writers workshop, but are free to add additional lessons in, where our specific class needs reinforcement or extra tip for success. 

The other areas.... a bit different.  We are in the process of switching over to the CCSS for math (all set on literacy!) and some schools are piloting the Investigations and Everyday Math programs.  In the meantime, we are integrating into what we are currently using- mostly teacher created lessons and activities.  Science and social studies are also pretty fluid in how we are able to teach.  We are still going by Michigan's GLCE's (benchmarks), so we can use what we like for science.  There is a book for social studies, but hitting the GLCE's is still the main focus.

Can I just say how PROUD I am of our first grade team?  Last year (and in previous years before I came into the picture), each teacher had their own curriculum map and way of doing things.  Nothing too crazy or anything- just different philosophies and ways of doing things.  As of today..... (wait for it!).... all three of us are on the SAME page and turned in ONE map to our principal.  This may not seem like a big deal to many of you, but to us- it's HUGE.

Our communication and general sharing is at an all-time high. I really believe that we are building trust and will continue to build on our cooperative efforts in order to best support our incoming students.  I feel really good about this year.  I know what you're thinking... did ya'll sing Kum-ba-ya, too?  No, no we didn't.  However, there may or may not have been a hug involved at some point towards the end of the day.

In case you are wondering what we did for two hours today, here is a link to our year map:
First Grade Curriculum Map .

Wednesday, August 29, 2012

Weekley Schedule

My schedule is all set... however, I do change it in January when their stamina for reading and writer gets longer. 

I was chatting with my friend, Jaime and they were struggling to fit it all in (they have some extra requirements at their building).  I'm sure this is something that we all struggle with every day and year.  I'd love to see/ hear how you fit it all in, too! 

I'm linking up with Sugar and Spice, so check it out and link up your schedule to inspire us all!

Click HERE


Tuesday, August 28, 2012

Classroom Tour... Finally!

Truth be told (disclosed) my room is only about 90% done.  As many of you know, I have yoga balls as chairs for my entire class.  For some unforeseen circumstances, they didn't get inflated or cleaned yet.  My mission today was to do just that.  Let's just say I may need to buy the P.E. teacher a new air compressor (I forgot the mega one at home).  She's a friend, so I hope she will be kind and loving about it (yeah- right she will reticule me as any good friend would!).  I am mostly ready for next week, as we have meetings for the next 2 days, which leaves Friday to finish everything up.  So.... as you look at the photos, keep in mind- there WILL be places for my students to sit.  The balls WILL get blown up and cleaned (go ahead- giggle, I do every time I say it!).

Here is panning around the room from my door...

Lunch choice board (back of the white shelf from above).

Mailboxes-  the idea of using binder clips for that names was borrowed from too many teachers to even begin listing.  There are more boxes behind, for the rest of the class.

This is my front wall.  I don't really use the big white board, so I turned it into a focus wall this year.  Here is my calendar area (we do calendar folders, thanks to Jessica Meacham).

My whole group instruction area and general meeting place.  The new rug was only $19 at Lowes!

Look books and favorites.

The rest of the focus wall; spots for math, writer's workshop and reader's workshop.  The flex area is blocked by the easel at the moment.

This is behind my desk.  I rarely sit at it, so I move the easel back there to make more room.  I still need to bring back all those professional books that I planned to read (but only read two of them!).

Front of my desk and writing supplies.  Notice how my desk is excluded from the photo-Dis. As. Ter.

I skipped over the 10-year old Mac computers... kinda sad, but I'm hopeful for iPads through DonorsChoose this year.  This is one one of my tables with our New Arrival books in the window.  They aren't really new, but they don't that!

Our Quiet Spot (blogged about it here).

Some of our math supplies... I try to only keep out what we are currently working with, but these small manipulatives stay out all the time.  The back side of this shelf isn't that interesting- just some math games for the first few weeks.

This is the back of the room.  The shelving/ counter houses my math tubs for stations.  The board will eventually have class photos & snapshots, as well as our classroom pledge (student created).

New this year: Inspiration Words!  I made three different ones to hang around the room.  It's mostly for me, but I hope to influence the tone of our learning (here's the FREEBIE!)

Literacy and Math Station organization charts

Portion of my nonfiction section.

More nonfiction... and our class set of plastic letters.

Just right leveled books.  I love my low table!  Now kiddos can sit on the floor if they choose.

My ball chairs (I only have four of them inflated and cleaned at the moment).

View from my desk... if I were to actually sit there.  How much do you LOVE those lanterns?

My word wall will eventually develop on the cabinets above the lockers.  The rest may seem empty, but I believe in charting out learning as it is constructed by the group (hence the lack of charts).  One of these days, I'll post about my thoughts on that :)  I hope you enjoyed!

Stop by and see more great classroom photos:

Thursday, August 23, 2012

Waiting is the Hardest Part & FREEBIE

I'll be the first one to admit that I tend to be a bit Type-A (my husband and mother would say that is an UNDERSTATEMENT- like my mom referred to me as a pit bull).  I like to be in control and have a plan.  Due to some circumstances in our building, my room isn't ready for me to set up yet.  I shouldn't be concerned because school doesn't start in Michigan until September 4th.  (Before you get jealous- we don't end until June 14th!)  Sure, that's weeks away, but I have 2 boys in baseball and a busy few weeks with family commitments and last minute fun.

So what's a girl to do?  I already spend WAY TO MUCH time trolling blogs.  I can only plot, plan and Pinterest so much.  While in the holding pattern, I've been reworking/ updating some of my yearly forms that I use, and making things for the classroom.  My office space at home is a hot mess at the moment!

I was inspired last night by this post from a sweetie at Sub Hub:

Cllick HERE for post!

I'm more of a flower girl, so I created these for my kiddos:

I cut out the flowers with my Cricut machine and printed the circles on white paper (I ran out of yellow and couldn't drag my kids to one more store today!).  I have more pencils and a galventized buket at school that I can put these in, once I get back into the room.

Because I'm also a girl who loves a FREEBIE, Here is a template for you!  I left the part for the teacher name blank so you can sign it :)

Click HERE to download a pdf.

Here's to waiting.... and enjoying the last moments of summer!

Friday, August 17, 2012

I'm a sheep...

I know you've seen the cute crate seats all over Pinterest and even this awesome tutorial on how to make them:

CLICK for directions.

Well, I finally gave in and took the time this summer to make six for my classroom.  I usually don't give into fads, but rather go with what I love.  I love this!  I'm thinking about all of the different seating options that I'd like to offer my kiddos during reading and other "all over the room" times.

I am so proud of my handiwork and just had to share my project for the week :)

Thursday, August 16, 2012

Dream a little dream and a new toy....

You know what I'm talking about... the dreams that all teachers start having about 3 weeks before school starts.  Summer is running in the opposite direction and the to-do list comes crashing into our brains- while we are trying to sleep!

Last night, I dreamt...
Our contractor (we are having some work done on our house) came in and asked why I was home. 
Where else would I be, besides ready a mindless book on my Kindle? 
Lady, today is the first day of school.  Your kids' bus just went by.

(exit dream sequence, enter me waking in a cold sweat)

Seriously, my stomach is still upset an hour later.  The 3 cups of coffee (so far) are probably not helping, either.  I'm in a holding pattern (still!) as far as getting into my classroom, but I'm doing okay on the planning end.

As I said, we are having work done on our home, so that is keeping us pretty busy and somewhat distracted.  However, I think teachers have an internal clock that tell us that we are supposed to be doing something.... something that will help us sleep better at night!

Since we know I'm a planner (and LOVE all things organizational and in an office supply store!), I thought I'd share my new favorite toy.

Hurray!  I almost kissed the FedEx guy (this is normal for the UPS man, but rarely, does FedEx get this kind of greeting from me).  I just had to show off my new Erin Condren Life Planner (click HERE to see the website).  Let me just say that I am in NO WAY being paid or asked to endorse this product.  In fact, I willingly paid FULL PRICE to get it.  (I'll review a free item I got next week :) ! )  I just had to have it after hearing of the cute personalized items and checking out the site.

This is how it arrived (so precious!):

Here is a quick tour of the inside



There a bunch of other cool goodies, but I had to stop taking pictures so I could start marking up that bad boy with big plans!