We have lots of fun in our room! We are excited to share our adventures with you.

Wednesday, July 25, 2012

Star of the Week!

      I have always loved doing Star of the Week because I see my students so excited when they are the Star and the parents really love being involved too.  The parents come in for lunch on the Thursday their child is the Star and they will even sometimes bring a surprise (whether it is a non-homemade sandwich or a special somebody).  My little kiddos love it!  I also have my Firsties be the Line Leader when they are Star of the Week, which is always a VERY big deal!  I recently had the line leader start checking the line too, so they get to check to make sure everyone is in line, facing forward, quiet, and hands are behind their back. Once again, checker...a VERY big deal for Firsties! 

I finally got done making my Star of the Week Ready-to-go-Packet and I cannot wait to use it this year.  I used to buy posters, but now I am just going to print them out, put them up when they are the Star, and then bind the 4 pages to make a book on Friday at the end of their Star Week. 
Here's a look at my posters/book.  I made them black and white also! 
I am so excited to use these! They look so much better than that boring poster I used to use.  And...they won't just get thrown away by the family at the end of the week because they don't know what to do with a poster in their house.  

 I also made things that I have found extremely helpful when I do Star of the Week, teacher tracking pages, certificates, labels, reminders to the parents, an introduction letter to the parents, a sign, and a general overview. See below for the others that are included...
I also hand out Starburst Gummies with the certificate and use one of the labels to go with it. I get them at Target in the large box (I LOVE target).  I think they come 24 to a pack...so I get two and save the rest for my hungry days when I realized I worked all the way through my lunch.

Something else that I am looking forward to doing is possibly a Star of the Week sign.  I haven't decided if I want a sign like this for only birthdays or one for birthdays and one for the Star of the Week. I'm leaning toward just birthdays...but in case anyone else hasn't seen this pin...it's to the right.  I couldn't find who this picture belongs to because when you click the pin, it just shows you the picture.  If this is yours or someone you know- please let me know so I can give them proper credit. I love the idea.
Do you do Star of the Week?  If so, what's your favorite thing about it?                                    

Monday, July 23, 2012

Newbie Blog Hop

I'm officially linking up with Grade Three is the Place for Me and the Newbie Blogger Blog Hop! What a great way to check out all the new bloggers! If you'd like to link up, head to her page and join in on the fun. Here’s my answers to the Newbie Blog Hop questions:

1.  I live in sunny California

2.  I am teaching first grade...and I love it!

3.  I have taught 5th, 6th, 7th, 2nd, and 1st.  

4.  I just started blogging this July (yes this month)

5.  My blogging tip for other newbies isTo be able to link up your name in a comment on blogger, you put in
<a href="URL Link">Text</a>
Replace URL Link with the actual URL Link and put in the writing you want to show where it says Text.

Hope you find some great other newbie blogs while your out thereI know I have! Click HERE to head to the Blog Hop!

Enjoy hopping around!

Friday, July 20, 2012

I'm Blushing! An Award!

I'm officially blushing y'all!  I have been awarded a blogging award!  The very sweet and lovely Brigid from Brigid's Daily Lesson Log has awarded me the Liebster Blog Award.  I happen to be a new blogger, so I’m feeling very honored right now. J
This award highlights blogs that have under 200 followers.
Here are the rules:
1. Copy and paste this award on your blog.
2. Thank the giver and link back to them.
3. Reveal 5 other bloggers and let them know by commenting on their blog.

If you have not checked out Brigid’s amazing blog- Brigid Daily Lesson Log do it soon! No sooner...like now!
Click here to head there!

Now for the suspense of the wonderful bloggers I picked to award
Is the Jaws Theme Song in your head right now?
How about now?
Alright, I know the suspense is killing you right? 
Here are the 5 bloggers I am awarding

1.         Joell from Totally Terrific Teaching
2.         Angie from The First Grade Scoop
3.         Alisha From Blissful Days in Second Grade
4.        Mrs. Brown from Adventures in Third Grade
5.         First Grade Hip Hip Hooray!

Click on the links to check them out!
That’s it for now!  I’m currently in the process of moving - so back to packing I go.  Do you still have the Jaws Theme Song in your headI do! 

Thursday, July 12, 2012

Give Away Winner!

And now, the winner of the First Day of School with Tortoise Give Away!

Congratulations to
Drum roll please!

from Learning is Something to Treasure

If you haven’t seen how I do the
First Day of First Grade
or any grade from K-4.
Check it out here!
Congratulations again to Lisa! Become a follower to stay tuned and up-to-date on the most recent Give Aways and Freebies!          


Wednesday, July 11, 2012

Math Workshop

I love, love, love Math Workshop! 
Last year I had a HUGE difference in math abilities with my students.  Huge might even be an understatement.  I had students working at every single ability level (like still getting down numbers to be able to do third grade math on their own).  I was struggling in September with how to make sure I could fully reach all of them and give them the time they needed with me to succeed while also making it fun.  After discussing with coworkers, googling, blog hopping, and ultimately creating bunch of it myselfI jumped in head first to a Math Workshop style.  It worked amazingly well! I must admit thoughI would not have been able to do it without volunteers!  It just isn’t the same without volunteers.

Here’s how I do Math Workshop
My station changer. The pocket
chart makes it quick and easy!
I ended up having 5 groups of levels that were very different in terms of abilities.  I would have rather had 4 groups instead of 5 for time, but it worked out.  I name each of the groups after a college I think it’s never too early to expose them to higher education.  They get SO excited when they hear about their college out of the classroomit’s adorable!

I put the color of the table they are at behind the college they are, so it reminds them, me, and my volunteers what station they should be on (and their group name).

I have attached an overview of what I did last year
Credit to Rebecca Drake for her help! She’s amazing!
Click on the picture to download!

Here is a copy of my rotation rules that I post
My students stay at the table (except when they meet with me).  They grab the bin for that station, pull out their book, or head to the computers- whatever it might be for that station for that day.  I write what each station is on the whiteboard.  I wish I had a picture to show you, but that stays up all year long and I just wipe and write at the end of the day for what the next day holds for them to do at each station.  I usually introduce the game on Monday and keep the same game for the entire week.

Click on the picture on the top to download the directions and the picture on the bottom to download the game.

I ended up having all of my students but three passed as Advanced (not just proficient, but advanced!) at the end of the yearmany of them were considered as proficient as an End of the Year Second Graders (I teach first graders!) and I had quite a few proficient as End of the Year 3rd Graders or 4th Graders.  My student who was heading to proficiency as a third grader at the beginning of the year was as Proficient as an End of the Year 5th GraderI knowamazing! 

Friday, July 6, 2012

First Day of School Plans and Give Away!

I get super excited about the first day of school!  It is one of my most favorite days!  The kids are filled with their nervous excitement and are really looking to see what their year is going to be like.  Because of this, I LOVE showing my little ones around the campus in an extra-special way! Instead of just giving them the old “Here’s thishere’s that” tour, I make it much like a scavenger hunt.  This year it’s based on Back to School Tortoise by Lucy M. George. 

It’s a super cute book that reminds me a little of Wemberly Worried and First Day Jitters all in one book.  Tortoise has a lot of worries about going back to school and questions what it will be like.  When he finally gets to school, there is a twistdo you think you might know who Tortoise really is? He’s the teacher! How cuteI know! 
Well, after the read aloud I introduce how we actually have Tortoise here! I mention that he’s really shy though.  When I go to pull him outhe’s not there- there’s only a note. This note leads to another notethen another, then another! 
(The one shown is to the cafeteria)

We get to travel around the school in search of Tortoise while also meeting the important people of the school and getting to know where the important places are!  My kids LOVE it just as much, if not more, than I do.  The notes actually rhyme too, so that’s always a fun measure of who can spot the rhyme already on the first day.
The notes finally lead us back to the classroom where we find a note telling us that Tortoise jumped back in the book, but that he has left us a treat.  For this year, I was thinking of doing something like these adorably cute turtle cookies made by Kirbie’s Cravings.
So cute!  That is assuming I will have time before the first day.  But, we all know how that goes.  So, plan B is to by some turtle gummies or maybe tortoise pencils or something along those lines.

We also do a few reflection sheets inspired by our tortoise read aloud and adventure. Click below for a free sheet.

First Day Favorite Part Pages

Click on the Link below the picture to get your First Day of School with Tortoise Unit, which is on sale right now. I'm also randomly giving one away to a lucky winner who responds to this post. I'll randomly pick Thursday Night!
Here's what my first day looks like in a time table fashion:
We start on an Early Out Wednesday to ease them into it. 
8:30-8:45 Meet students and give directions, They put backpacks up where their VIP Name Tags are, find a seat, and work on coloring VIP Name Tags. 
8:45-9:00 Practice stopping what they are doing to chimes several times.  Take lunch count during one of the stops. 
9:00-9:15 Read Back to School Tortoise and line up straight and quiet
9:15-9:45 Tortoise Scavenger Hunt Tour
9:45-9:50 Tour finished, discuss Tour, and line up for Recess
9:50-10:00 Recess
10:00-10:15 Work on Shell Page from First Day of School with Tortoise Unit 
10:15-11:10 Morning Message, Icebreaker Game, Name game, Poem: Hello, Greeting: High-five Hello.  
11:15-12:00 Lunch
12:00-12:25 Read aloud The Night Before First Grade then fill out Before and After Tortoise Sheet
12:25-12:45 Discuss First Day and do My Favorite Part Tortoise Sheet
12:45-1:00 Share brown bag item I brought in and explain directions, hand out bags with directions stapled on.
1:00-1:10 Clean up and pack up
1:15 Dismissal

Second Blogging down and plenty more to follow.  Next, I'll be blogging about how I run Math Workshop with some freebies included. 

Thursday, July 5, 2012

How We Bucket Fill and Compliment Starter Freebie!

I have found that Bucket Filling has been a great addition to my classroom!  

If you aren't familiar with Bucket Filling, let me give you a little low down of what it's about.  It is based on the book Have You Filled a Bucket Today by Carol McCloud.

It is all about how people have these invisible buckets above their head and most people never even realize it!  These buckets are kind of like our self-esteem. The buckets get filled by things like nice comments, compliments, acknowledgement, etc.  However, they can also get emptied this happens by put-downs, rude remarks, being ignored, or being treated badly.  I LOVE this book and the idea of it because it makes sense to kids...well, at least it has to my class.  It also fits in perfectly to the levels I teach (I use Marvin Marshall's Levels of Raising Responsibility...more about that in a later post.)

Each of my students have a little bucket and each month we learn a different way to compliment another person.  I use my Bucket Filling Compliment Starters: The Polka Dot Edition
Click on the link and then the Preview to get a few FREE in the cute polka dots! The original Polka Dot Edition is only $1.00 though! 
I use Bucket Fillers in my classroom not only to add more positivity to my classroom, but also as a tool to teach how to give compliments.  I teach a different way of beginning a compliment each month.  There are 11 different Bucket Filler Compliment Starters and 1 Blank one. I use the blank one in June, as they are pretty good now at knowing how to start a compliment. I switch them out each month, so students don’t just stick with the “You are” compliment.
I focus on teaching students that good positive compliments do not compliment things that people have, but rather who they are, what they choose to do, and what they work hard at and are good at.
I love it and so do my students.  I hope you find it helpful as well!
-Jen Martin