Monday, September 21, 2015

First Weeks of Learning

To say this post id overdue would be an understatement. I am going to try my best to keep this sweet and to the point and also give you some freebie downloads too.  I always feel lie it takes me a solid month for the kids to start to get the swing of things and for me to gain my sanity back.  Well it's been 27 days and I think I can finally start this whole blogging thing again.  Here is a glance into some of my favorite activities the past few weeks.
We have been really working hard on sentence order and structure the first few weeks and this was pretty easy to prep and the kids worked well on this activity with their partners.  I grabbed this adorable organizer from The School Supply Addict to go along with the sentence structure sort.


I also loved introducing author's purpose last week.  This always seems to be a tricky one for the kids.  We used some of our old book order forms to sort books authors wrote for entertainment and books they wrote to inform.  This is also a great way to dip into the differences between fiction and non-fiction.  This organizer is saved on my school computer and I will get a link up this week for download. 

 I am always looking for great books to help teach grammar strategies to my littles.  I love these phonics tales series because the set comes with enough for modeling the activity and the kids can use them for independent practice.  We used these for rhyme and word family work.  The kids each got their own phonics fable book, a sentence strip, and crown.  They had to write the word ending they were hunting for on the crown and search for words that rhymed or went with that family on their strip.  When they were done hunting they made crowns.  They loved these and enjoyed being called a goofy name for the remainder of the day.

We are working hard on our small moment stories and we created this awesome anchor chart that we used as an intro into a watermelon vs a seed.  I think this really made small moments make more sense to the kids.  Plus who doesn't want to crack open a watermelon to eat while sharing stories? 

You can grab the printout for this anchor chart here

I plan to be back on here in a few days to share some things I have created to go along with our new Eureka math program. This has pretty much absorbed every ounce of my evenings hence why I have been dead to the blogging work the past few weeks.  If anyone else uses Eureka math and has tips on how they "fit it all in" I would love suggestions.  Have a wonderful week and happy teaching! 


Sunday, August 23, 2015

New Year,New Look!

I wanted to take a moment to share a few pictures from our first week of school and to show some picture of my classroom.  This year I decided it was time for a change.  I have pretty much had the same set up and d├ęcor for the past 2-3 years and I was ready for a change.  I decided to head over to SchoolGirl Style and have her hook me up with a cute rainbow chalkboard theme.  I really fell in love with the silhouettes.   
 I really love the way my focus wall turned out and the sky paper helps to set off the harsh black colors from the chalkboard designs.

 The adorable subway art rules posters can be purchased here.
 I decided this year that I would go with a magnetic word wall.  This makes it super easy for the kids to grab and go with the words for centers, writing, and seat work. 

Our first week of school was a success.  We all survived and had a wonderful time getting to know one another.  We managed to do some “About Me” posters that I got a steal for at the Dollar Tree (I heart that store).  My favorite part was letting the kids decorate cardboard cut outs of them themselves.  They turned out really cute and made an awesome display for the first week back.

We managed to get “Our Classroom Promise” finished and hung in our room too.  I love Debbie Miller and this is a must in my plan book during the first days back.  We did a classroom survey with anchors around the room.  I love this activity because it gets them up and moving around the room.  They are usually pretty squirmy the first couple weeks until they get the routine down, so this is great.  We play it much like musical chairs only they stop at a poster and have to put a sticker on the choice that best describes them.  For example, “What’s your favorite specials?”  The kids love it.

 Student Surveys 

We did a lesson this year that I really loved to watch.  It was a listening and following directions exercise with Legos.  This is a skill that I am sure all kids can use as a life skill.  Each group got two bags of Legos, each with the same colors/size Legos as the other.  One partner would build a Lego design with their eight blocks and then would have to give step-by-step instructions to the other student and see if they could build their design correctly.  The builder had an office up so the other person couldn’t look.  It was tricky for some of my kiddos, but I had a few students that really gave detailed directions for a first grader. I was impressed!

What are some of your favorite first week activities? Have a wonderful week and happy teaching!