Friday, August 29, 2014

Five for Friday - Back to School

I'm linking up with Doodlebugs to share my first week back to school!

If you didn't check out this week's Whole Brain Wednesday, be sure to click here to learn about WBT Scoreboard & for 2 WBT freebies!

I also created this fun sign for outside of my room... click it for a copy!

We've been working hard to introduce Daily 5 this week! It will take us about 3 or 4 weeks to be fully launched, but that time will be SO worth it when the rest of our year is smooth sailing. We increased our stamina to 4 and a half minutes on day 2! I was so impressed.

I'm loving how our Looking Back on Summer Sunglasses came out! It's not too late to do this kind of activity... want to make sunglasses next week, grab it in my TPT store here.

We are making our Reaching New Heights Giraffes from A Cupcake for the Teacher today so I'll share them next week for sure!

I love "Find Someone Who" type activities. I think I've used a different one each year. My kiddos had fun with one from Jessica Tobin, you can grab it here.

Loving our tables! The one year of desks taught me that desks are just not for me. We're using our book bins as folder-holders too so their book bin is ALL they ever need to carry around the room. I've also made sure supplies are available for just about every possible work area so kiddos don't even need to carry around supplies. I'm going to try for all our supplies to be shared. I asked families to use any "fun" supplies they bought for the year to be used at home on homework to prevent any arguments over pencils, erasers, etc. I had enough of the "That's MY pencil!" arguments the past 2 years... we'll see how it goes!

Have a fabulous weekend!

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Wednesday, August 27, 2014

Whole Brain Wednesday: Scoreboard & freebies

Hello Whole Brainers!

Today I'm going to talk about the Whole Brain Scoreboard! I talked a little bit about it here...

So the scoreboard is really simple... you can just draw a smile & a sad face on your board or write teacher and students on the board. But if you want to get a little more fancy (or cutsie) grab this freebie...

I have these laminated with magnets on the back and put them up on the whiteboard for our "master" scoreboard. I put a mini scoreboard on my name tag so I can give points at any time.

So at the very basic level, the scoreboard is where students can get positive points (smile/students) or negative points (sad face/teacher). Younger kids will definitely love the smiles/sad faces but upper grades might like teacher vs. students better.
These points are generally given when the whole class is doing a nice job or when the whole class needs a little motivation to improve behavior, use of WBT, etc. Once in a while POSITIVE points can be given for one student who "saved" the class from getting another sad face point to help motivate the kiddos. When students get a positive point, they get a 1 second party to say "oh yeah!" and do a fist pump or other motion you decide on. When students get a negative point, they give a mighty groan and get right back to work.

I use the scoreboard to motivate my kiddos to use our WBT gestures, to energize their Teach/Okay time, to prevent unnecessary chatter and many other instances, especially when we are in a whole group setting.

In the past I would tally up "smile day" for students to earn a classroom celebration such as a dance party, extra recess, etc. However, after attending the WBT conference, I am convinced that this scoreboard needs to be used for more immediate (but simple) rewards. I plan on giving students between 1 and 3 minutes of a fun game such as around the world or chat time at the end of the day. The possible 1-3 minutes will work perfectly because the teacher should try not to make the tallies go more than +/-3 either way. Keeping the score like this keeps students on their toes. They never feel that "winning" is out of reach or that they are "winning" by so many that they don't have to try their best.

As the year goes on you can do different things with the scoreboard such as "double points" or boys vs. girls. I've also done a double score board where half the scoreboard focuses on one classroom rule. There are many other scoreboard "levels" on too!

Alrighty, now for a freebie... Here is the super improver wall my grade level team will be using :) Click below to grab it for free!

Happy whole-braining :)

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Tuesday, August 26, 2014

Book Talk Tuesday!

I'm linking up with Mrs. Jump for another Book Talk Tuesday!

Today I'm sharing a fun one that my kiddos LOVED read aloud the past 2 years. 2 years ago I read it as part of our enrichment group reading block and we answered comprehension questions. Last year I read it as a just for fun book. Used in both capacities it was very well liked!

This is a hilarious book about farm animals who decide they are sick and tired of their food. When the chickens complain about their chicken feed, the rooster decides to solve the problem.

After seeing the farmer and his wife cooking Mexican food, the rooster assigns the chickens to find ingredients in the garden for salsa.

 The other animals start to decide they are tired of their food too...

And before they know it... there is a fiesta happening in the barn!

 I promise your kiddos will be laughing and asking to try guacamole by the time you're done reading Chicks and Salsa.

Reading Level: DRA 12
Guided Reading G
Lexile 1010L

Resources for teaching...

Web Resources

  • Discussion Questions & more: This school website offers discussion questions and many across-content ideas for this book!
  • Sequencing Lesson: This step by step lesson is geared towards 1st grade with an objective that students will be able to sequence the events in Chicks and Salsa.
  • Comprehension Questions: This link provides page by page questions to ask while reading
Vocabulary:  Here are some words you may want to teach... aroma, satisfied, cuisine, sombrero, plod, succulent, fiesta, pilfer,
Check out this link to a vocabulary game freebie for Chicks and Salsa

Before Reading:
  • Access students' background knowledge with questions such as:
    • What do you know about cooking? Have you ever cooked with an adult?
    • What are some interesting foods you've tried?
    • Do you ever get tired of the same food?
    • What is your favorite food or meal? 
During Reading:
  • While you read this story aloud, stop to ask comprehension question such as those on this freebie...
  • As different foods are mentioned, ask students if they have tried these foods before.
After Reading:
  • Have students complete the comprehension worksheet above.
  • Ask students to create a story sharing what the animals will try to make next.

Across the Curriculum:
  • Use this book as a part of a Social Studies unit where students learn about their family's culture and food that is associated with that culture.
  • Make salsa or guacamole with your students!

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Friday, August 22, 2014

Last Summer Five for Friday

Linking up with Doodlebugs for my last weekday of summer vacation... *tear*

I have a few classroom updates since last week to share as I say farewell to a wonderful summer!

Loving the addition of book jackets to my library. I saw this idea last year towards the end of the year and just didn't have the time or energy to put up some string to hang book jackets on. I always take book jackets off when kiddo hands will be all over the book because despite keeping off dust, the covers get absolutely destroyed!

So now, books that are available in the library with covers taken off will have their covers hidden & a sign that says "Can you find these books in our library?"

The super improver wall is ready to go! Looking forward to name cards being all different colors as kiddos make improvements & move up the wall. I also can't wait until next year where the second grade number poster has to find a new home because I have faces of living legends in its place!

I finally took a picture of my picture book display. Normally I wouldn't post something as simple and classroom typical as well-loved books but check out the tag. I put a velcro dot on the book display and as I switch out different themed books throughout the year I will put the theme card on the book display... hooray for labels & organization (it really is the little things in life).

My mom made me curtains for my classroom and I have to say it makes a HUGE difference! The blinds in this classroom & the classroom in my old classroom are SO ugly and these curtains hide them perfectly and are fun and bright while doing so. The past 2 years my mom has made curtains to cover up shelves in my classroom closet, this year curtains for the windows, what's next year? haha!

Sorry for the poor quality of the picture (& Read on the Computer/Listen to Reading is cut off in the picture), but my Daily 5 i-charts & anchor charts for launch lessons are ready to go! So excited to start Daily 5 from day 1 with my grade level. I think it will be a success for sure and I am excited for the collaboration that will go along with it :)

Did you put your finishing touches on your room this week or are you already back at it teaching those kiddos?

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Thursday, August 21, 2014

Teacher Week: When?

Linking up for day 4 of Blog Hoppin' Teacher Week. Today is When? as in daily schedule.

Most days we have our special right after lunch, so I'm posting what a typical day will look like, once we get into our normal Daily 5 rotations and such...

Morning Schedule

Afternoon Schedule

Sometimes we switch writer's workshop & math depending on the day's lessons but for the most part this is what our day looks like. Math Daily 3 is new this year, wish me luck!

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Wednesday, August 20, 2014

Teacher Week: Why?

Linking up once again with Blog Hoppin' for today's Back to School Teacher Week: Why?
So today I'm going to talk about the ways I stay organized in my classroom and why they work...

Tip #1 Everything has a place!

I always am sure to never have piles of "stuff" sitting around my classroom. I have a few ways I do this...
First, I always sort my mail immediately... trash or file... this works because basically everything can either be trashed or filed.

Second, I have this organizer by my students' mailboxes/near the classroom door.

To Office: papers that I have my messengers deliver to the office.
To Copy: self explanatory.
Next Week: Items that need to get sent home the following week (we copy our hw packets a week in advance, so usually it's these packets that live here).
Send Home: papers that need to go home that day. My mail managers put these in mailboxes at the start of the day, during snack or after lunch.
Again, this words because it gives items in these categories A PLACE.

Third, this organizer lives on the counter where all my curriculum resources and such are...

This picture is from 2 years ago, (can't find a recent one with the new labels) it is now stacked Monday through Friday (for some reason I had it separated for this picture). This file holds all the copies that are made for the current or following week (I try really hard to stay a week ahead). This prevents stacks of paper from accumulating... once again: everything has a place.

Tip #2 Get those kiddos to help out!

I am pretty sure this was one of my tips last year for Blog Hoppin' Teacher Week, but I stand by it! My kiddos LOVE LOVE LOVE to help out and I use that desire to help to make my life a little easier. Every morning that I needed help this past year, I put a note under their morning work on the Smart Board that said I need helpers. Once their morning work was done, kiddos who wanted to help would come up to my table and ask to help out. I would have them do all sorts of things for me that weren't a classroom job. They would take down or put up solve the room cards, organize folders (for example: take old papers out and put into our scrap bin), sort book bins that had become unorganized, and more!
I find this works simply because kiddos love to help and there are plenty of things kiddos can do to help that will keep the room organized!

Tip #3 Put things away throughout the day, NOT at the end of the day!

I spent way too much time my first few months of teaching cleaning up at the end of the day. It was amazing how much clutter made its way around the room as the day progressed. Now, I make sure students (as well as myself) are responsible for putting every item away that they take out. It's so simple and saves SO much time at the end of the day!!! So why does it work? It makes little jobs out of what could be a big job at the end of the day!

I hope some of these simple tips will help motivate you to stay organized this year :)

Also, be sure to check out the 1-day sale at TPT. Click below to head over to my store!

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Whole Brain Wednesday: Classroom Pics

Hey all, here again with Whole Brain Wednesday.

Since this is my 2nd post of the day (check out some organization tips here) I'm just going to show some pictures of WBT areas in my room... enjoy!

Here's my super improver wall. Next year the numbers poster will be the spot for my living legends' pictures to hang.

Here are our WBT rules & procedures. They hang right above our meeting area, basically front & center of our classroom life. You also might notice our scoreboard (smile/frown). Sorry if it's hard to see, the glare on the laminating isn't the best. You can

Here are my kiddos' practice rule card slots with rule cards ready to go. They are sort of hidden behind my "desk"/reading table at the bottom of my math board in hopes that we won't be using practice cards very often!

I will eventually have either brainies posted or each student will have a brainies card but that won't be until we learn quite a few of them.

How do you represent WBT in your room?

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