8/27/14

First Day Freebies

Now that I have been in school for two and a half weeks and it's like summer never was or will ever be again, I took the time to update something that has been on my list forever.

And/or someone emailed me asking if I could send an editable version so that they could translate it into Spanish.  And then when I tried to find the original document, I couldn't.  Because I made it over two years ago in an attempt to open my store on TpT and it was kind of a mad dash and a here you go, I don't know what I'm doing, but if it has borders and clipart, surely it will suffice, right?

Oh, but I am here to tell you that I've learned a few things.

One:  Some clipart is actually cuter than others.

Two:  Some borders look better than others.

Three:  A cover page and a credits page is usually required.  (No, my other one didn't have either one.  I know.  I hang my head in shame.)

I was just a TpT baby back then.

Now I'm all growed up.  And yes, I meant to say growed.  And now you're supposed to giggle because I said growed.

If you haven't had your first day of school yet, and I am in no way laughing at you or pointing at you or saying neener neener because mine is over and yours is yet to come, but if you haven't had your first day of school yet, maybe you need a little something-something.

And, if you do, here you go.

And, if you don't, no biggie.

And, if you happen to have the other old ugly ones, please re-download the new ones and throw the other ones away, and if you have a trash compactor, even better.  Or, let's all just use a paper shredder instead. 

Now that I've built these up into something amazing (as I tend to do) and they're actually nothing very exciting (as they usually aren't), here are some samples.






The coloring pages are only in black and white, but the certificates also come in color. 

For Grades K-2.  In my TpT store.  For free.

And that's all I have for today.

Except to say that we have a three day weekend coming up.  

:)

8/25/14

Following Directions

We have been in school for eleven days.

And a lot has happened in eleven days.

For one thing, our K/1 combo was dissolved and I got two more students.

That would have brought me to 31 kids, but I lost one last week.

We're still looking for him.

Oh, I kid.

I kid.  Really.

He's in a different class now.  I won't go into specifics, but let's just say that this is now the best thing for him, and it had nothing to do with me, and you can rest assured that people are not pulling kids from my class.

Although, now that I'm at 30, that might not be so bad . . .

Er.  Anywho.

We've been working mostly on following directions for these past eleven days.

And we are getting better.

For the most part.

For example, the first week, things looked a little like this:

Me:  When I call your name, come to your cubby.  Don't bring your backpack.

FYI - I have a No Camping Policy at my cubbies.  My kids are not allowed to bring their backpack because then they tend to camp out and put each paper into their backpack one at a time and it is so slow and deliberate that I feel like I might lose my mind and I am afraid that I might end up grabbing all of the papers and crumpling them into nothingness and then shoving them into the offending backpacks and then tossing them across the room to get the kids to go follow them so that we have more space at our cubbies. 

So . . . NO BACKPACKS AT THE CUBBIES.   There are just way too many of us.  We call it No Camping Out or Making S'mores.

As I was saying.  Things looked a little like this last week:

Me:  When I call your name, come to your cubby.  Don't bring your backpack.

Kids:  Okay!  Yay!  Are we going home?

Me:  We are getting ready to go home.  It's still an hour (or two) away, but this is going to take awhile.  Trust me.

Kids:  Okay!  Yay!  How long is an hour?

Me:  So-and-So and So-and-So and So-and-So, come to your cubby.

So-and-So would arrive at his cubby.  But not the other So-and-So or the other So-and-So.  

However.

Fourteen other kids would come to their cubbies.  Some with backpacks.

Kill me now.

Some came with work they wanted to show me by shoving it into my face and saying, "Look!  I finished!"

Some came with nothing except a confused look on their face.  The poor little babies.  

Others came with nothing except to tell me that they are reading a chapter book at home and they have a glitter bookmark and it practically lights up if you put it to the side and look under the lamp that they got for their birthday and did you know that they are six already?

I would have to take a deep breath.  And smell the soup.  This is where you breathe in deeply like you are smelling the soup and then you let the air out through your mouth as if you are blowing on the soup to cool it down.

We smell the soup a lot in my class.  Sometimes, it's just me.  Other times, it's a group effort thing.  And sometimes, it's just a kid all on his own because he can't open his math paper, even though he actually can, it's just that he has it turned over and so he's trying to open the fold which doesn't work (I mean, it's a FOLD), and meanwhile the AC unit is blowing the other side wide open and it's flapping in the wind, but he can't see that at all because he's concentrating so hard on the folded side that will not open.

That was just an example from today.

Anyways, after fourteen children arrived at the cubbies when I just asked three to come over, I had to use the signal.

It's the 5, 4, 3, 2, 1 signal.  When we get to 1, everyone has to have their hands on their heads, no voices, etc.  Even the teacher.  And you know if the teacher can do it, you can do it, too, because I really don't want to mess up my hair, and yet, here I am, doing just that.

By the way, this signal only works if you're really firm the first few times and, even though it hurts you more than it hurts them, you take away a gold tag from the two or three kids that think they don't have to put their hands on their heads, or the ones that think one hand on their head while the other hand is still coloring somehow counts, or the one that thinks he can talk to his friend because his hands are on his head.

Once you've established that you're super serious about the 5, 4, 3, 2, 1 signal, it works like a charm.

So I had to use that signal a lot the first week.

And then I would have to repeat the directions with a lot more words.

Such as, "When I call your name, come to your cubby.  If it's not your name, do not come over here.  Do not come here to show me your work.  Do not come here to tell me a story.  Do not come here to ask me a question.  Do not come here to give me a hug.  Do not come here to ask me for a band-aid.  Do not come here to tell me that my hair is two different colors.  Do not come here to tell me that I am short."

Kids:  Okay!  (and lots of laughter because I am a riot, don't ya know)

Me:  So-and-So, and So-and-So, and So-and-So, please come to your cubby.

The second time around, only eight or nine kids arrived.

The third time, only about five or six . . . and so on.

AND TODAY?

I was able to call table groups.

And only the table groups came to the their cubbies!!!!!!!

It was almost perfect.

Except one little guy didn't come to his cubby.

And when I reminded him, he brought his backpack and he built a fire and he made s'mores.

And darn it, if he didn't take every single paper out one at a time to fill up his backpack . . . 

Well.

I had to look away and smell the soup.

8/23/14

Five for Fraturday

Happy Saturday!  Happy Saturday!  Happy Saturday!

TEN DAYS DOWN!

I am a rock star!  I made it!  And I still have all of my hair and my fingernails.  





I got some new running walking shoes.  My other ones were at least ten years old.  I'm not kidding.  They were so ugly and so old that I just decided to stop walking.   I just woke up one day and said I shall not walk any more in these ugly shoes and I bet they are actually harming me, too, and I went back to sleep.  Walking on the treadmill can be hazardous, ya know, especially if you do not have the correct gear.

I love my new walking shoes.  And I got up four out of five mornings this week to walk on the treadmill.  I also did sit ups.  In fact, I use the oldest abs workout in the world called ABSolutely Fit by Kathy Ireland and each day is a set of five different exercises, so I'm not just doing regular sit ups.  Sometimes, I'm sitting in a chair and pulling my legs up over and over and I want to kill Kathy Ireland for this kind of reverse sit up thing, but at the same time, I pretend I'm on the video and the camera is focused on me so I have to look like I am not in pain and I can't give up, either.  It's a little self-talk thing I do.

What?

AND, you're not going to believe this, but while I walked on the treadmill, I also lifted weights.

Which means I basically cannot walk, laugh, or lift a glass of wine because my entire body is sore.


I introduced pattern blocks this week for centers.  This pattern block set is from Crayons and Whimsy and I highly recommend it!  My kids went crazy over these cards!  There are four levels of difficulty so it was awesome to differentiate for my kids and to actually see the kids pick and choose the cards that worked for them.  It wasn't a lot of work on my part is what I'm saying.  ;)  

We did this activity whole class so I could model the expectations for this center.  This was a QUIET activity, people.  They were all engaged, focused, and totally happy to be working on these mats.  You know it's a hit when they all ask if they can have another card.    I have my eye on the Zoo Cards next!


This is a former first grader of mine.

I KNOW!

He came by our school with a friend of his who had to drop off something for a sibling.  He asked the secretaries if I still worked there and then asked to come on back to my classroom.  They didn't let him because of safety issues (and I think that's a school wide policy and not just because of his sheer gigantic size), but the ladies said they would ask if I would come up to the office instead.

Well, I was in class.

Teaching.

I know.  Imagine that.

They let him know when my recess was and he left.

AND THEN HE CAME BACK AT MY RECESS TIME!

LOOK AT THIS GUY!  I totally remembered him.  He was such a sweet, respectful, smart little boy.  He just graduated, is college bound, and is going to play football.  He is six foot six and wears a size 17 shoe.  He tried to tell me that he was taller than me when he was in first grade, but I am here to tell you right now that not one first grader has ever been taller than me.  Some have come close, including this kid, but it has never happened.

I imagine it will when I start shrinking, but for now, NO.

He said he remembers gold tags, Fun Friday, and loving first grade.

It made my whole entire WEEK.  :)  

Anywho.  This picture CRACKS ME UP.

Oh, and I feel old.

So very old.




We finally got to see the Pageant of the Masters last night.  It was absolutely amazing and freaky and crazy!  We went with three other couples from our small group and had dinner first at the Lumber Yard.  It was a restaurant and not an actual lumber yard, which was a big relief, let me tell you, because I was starving.  

It was an awesome night out and I am happy to report that I stayed awake for the whole thing and only fell asleep in the car on the way home.

I mean, hello?  It was the tenth day of school and a Friday.






You Know It's Back To School Time When . . . is going on around Instagram.

This is mine.

Surely I'm not the only person who does this?  It's not like my husband questions everything I buy . . . it's just that sometimes I go overboard and he doesn't need to know. 

I also do this with clothes sometimes . . . 

What?  This ole thing?   

;)

8/19/14

Classroom Photos Part 2

Woohoo!  I made it through my second Monday and Tuesday of my New School Year.  I can do this, I think.

Which is good, considering this is my full time job.  And I'm paid to do it.  And I need the money in order to live.

So.  Let's poke around my classroom some more, shall we?



If you're standing at my classroom door, and look straight across, this is what you'll see.

My scaled down version of a Calendar wall.

Scaled down because it used to be quite extravagant, and I used to teach it every day without fail, and I used to have it be a part of my morning routine.

Now, it's considered . . . well . . . I don't know what it's considered, but about four years ago, our administrator said no more calendar in first grade and that was that.  And I did what I was told.  And even though I had a bulletin board up of calendar things, we didn't refer to it as calendar.

Instead, I used it for more for Math and no one was the wiser.

I made some of the posters myself, using my new Handy Dandy Poster Making Abilities.

I do not like the empty space on the left of the monthly header, but today you'll be happy to know there is something hanging there for a Write the Room activity and it looks cute.  So do not fret or lose sleep that there is a blank space.  It is a blank space no longer.

You can read all about Teacher's Pet {HERE}.



This is my Brand Spanking New Focus Wall.

It is 100% inspired by Nicole at Rowdy in Room 300 except I got a little inspired and then I couldn't stop.

And then guess what happened?  After making headers for Reading Strategy, Story, Vocabulary, Phonics Skill, Comprehension Skill, Grammar Skill, and Genre, I forgot pretty much the most important thing.

Yep.  That would be me.

Luckily, I have a big space over on the far right and I can do a little adjusting.

I forgot the Essential Question.

Which is essential.  Obviously.

I'm such a copycat.  Except I'm a copycat who doesn't copy correctly.  Those are the worst kinds.  I mean, if you're going to sneak a peek at someone's paper during the spelling test, at least copy your peek correctly.

Am I right or am I right?

I am so disappointed in myself.  Slap hand to forehead.  Shake head.  Wallow.

Pour a glass of wine.

How could I have forgotten The Essential Question?


This is the board up close.  I took a picture of our story in our Anthology with my iPhone and then inserted it into a document so I could make our story card.  I am sure that this is illegal and, if so, I would appreciate it if one) you don't report me and two) you bail me out if someone does.  Thank you kindly.  Let's all just follow number one, though, and then number two will not be necessary.

The Reading Strategy posters are from my friend, Lori, at Teaching with Love and Laughter.  They are a FREEBIE, but you've got to be a fan of her Facebook page and I highly recommend that.

The Phonics Skills and Grammar cards are from Michelle at Fabulous in First.  There is a TON of stuff in her Let's Focus pack.  LOVE!

The Comprehension posters are from Gabby's Classroom.  I made the Genre posters.

I got some cute binder clips and put all of the posters together and then hooked them onto a pushpin.  Now I do not have to store the posters and they will always be where I need them.  

The pocket charts are from The Target Dollar Spot and my sweet friend Denise at Sunny Days in Second Grade sent me a bunch all the way from Florida when I couldn't find any at my Target.  Of course, the day after I got Denise's shipment, I found one million and three at every Target I visited, as well as every Starbucks, Payless Shoe Store, and Bevmo.

Well, that's not entirely true, but you get the picture.

How much are you loving the TV right there by my Focus board?  



Next to the Calendar wall is my Word Wall.  I've already shared this, and went practically insane in front of all of you over the color combinations on Instagram.  As you can see, I have put up three words (yes, THREE words.  I told you I'm teaching things besides go back and try that again, please, we don't race to the carpet like monkeys and hooligans) and I can tell you right now I am not happy with the black font on the word wall word cards.

Ohhhhh . . . to live inside my head is a windy road, people.


Our Listening Center is in front of the Word Wall.


Our listening center is housed at the counter here . . . and I just had to show you my little round circles for the headphones.  These help keep our headphones organized AND they're cute.

Eventually, I'd love iPods.  Individual iPods.  

Someday.

Over the Rainbow.


Guided Reading Area/Computer Center

Except it's not really a Computer Center because there are only two computers and the one on the right has a bit of a temper and we fight constantly.  It's actually quite lucky I haven't thrown it out the window.

Those flowers sure are acting all happy, though, aren't they?  

Oh, look.  More adorable chairs from Ikea.  

I have a problem.  I like the Ikea chairs and I went a little crazy because my class got me a gift card at the end of the year and it was like free money.

I mean, it was free money.  In the form of a card.

The chairs are a little low so I asked our custodian if he could lower my table, and he did, so I paid him with a Chick Fil A Chocolate Milk Shake and I even refrained from eating the cherry before I gave it to him.

The spots on top of the table are those Wall Pop Thingamajigs that you can get from Staples, but I couldn't find them at my Staples, so my partner's daughter got them for me AND SHE CUT THEM DOWN TO THE PERFECT SIZE USING A ROUND MIRROR THAT SHE HAD AND I AM FOREVER GRATEFUL.

People, those spots are DRY ERASE.

I am afraid to have the kids use them.

We will.  Don't get me wrong.  We will.

But I am afraid.


Bulletin Board behind the Guided Reading Table

This adorable School is Cool craft is from Hadar.  It's free.  I've blogged about it before.  I have two projects missing.  One is a kid that never showed up and so I never met him and who knows what that's about.  Let's hope he didn't take one look at me and run the other way.  And the other is missing due to one of my sweeties throwing up half way through Day One and not coming back until yesterday.

So we have to get her caught up.

On a lot of things.

Like my name, for example.



Just another view.  I love my windows.  I am so thankful for my windows.  


This is our Writing Center.

You can get a ton of stuff for different writing options from the talented Lyndsey at A Year of Many Firsts and Lori at Teaching with Love and Laughter.  Everything in this center is a combo of stuff.  Seriously, just go shopping!


This is another bulletin board to the right of the windows.  

Another view.


I hung these flags up for Day One and then again at our Parent Information Night.  They make me happy!

 You can read about how I REVOLUTIONIZED my centers {HERE}.

Staying Organized.

Staying even more organized.  

The kids use all of this stuff so I like it to go back in a nice, friendly manner when they are finished with it.

Call me crazy.  I am.

All of my stuff is behind the whiteboard.

I wonder if I should take pictures of that for you?

Hmmmmm . . . 


8/17/14

Classroom Photos Part 1

Apparently, twelve hours of sleep on Friday was not enough.  I got about ten hours last night and could not get up the energy to get ready for church. 

So we watched online.  Which is not the same, but it worked for me today, let me tell you.  

My entire plan for the day is to work a little on my September version of the Just Fold! Mini Books and then rest.  Because I've got another full week in front of me with brand new first graders and I plan on CONQUERING IT, thankyouverymuch.

I am Teacher.  Hear me Use My Teacher Voice.

I have to break up my Classroom Reveal into a couple of posts because I went a little crazy and took pictures of every itty bitty thing.  And now I have too many pictures.

And, yes, I do see the weirdness of breaking up  pictures into two or three posts, but not breaking up sixteen thousand words into separate posts.  I know.  It is weird.  I get it.  But I can't help it.

So here is Part One:


view from the door

I LOVE MY WINDOWS.  I did not sew those curtains.  They are  white fabric from Joanne's.  I cut it.  Then I stapled it above the windows.  The End.

The name tag holders got a ton of buzz on my Facebook page yesterday.  I have actually blogged about these puppies before.  They are that awesome.  I highly recommend them.  They are from Really Good Stuff and they are called Desktop Park and Props.  

However, let me be clear, they are not cheap.

I paid for them out of my own pocket, much like everything else in my classroom, besides the desks and chairs.  And the walls.  BUT. The name tag holders are five or six years old now and they look, feel, act, etc. like they are BRAND SPANKING NEW.  

I use velcro to adhere them to the desks.  Then, if we are having a class party and need to put butcher paper or table cloths over the table groups, we just take our Desktop Park and Props off and store them in our desks.  I have not bought any new velcro, either, in all these years.

I do caution you, though.  You are going to get a kid that thinks his/her Desktop Prop and Park is a pencil box.  And he or she will try to put as much stuff in there as humanly possibly, such as fourteen pencils, six erasers, a whiteboard marker, twenty-two crayons, half a sandwich, and some Doritos.

I am very clear on what is allowed.

A PENCIL.  AND THAT IS ALL.

We use it when we are gluing or have important pieces that we cut out.  We store the caps to our glue sticks in our holders, and little pieces that we don't want to lose while working on a project in our holders.

But that is all.

Otherwise, those Doritos are fair game.


Now you can see my door.  And my desk.  Which does not have a fun little computer or laptop like I've seen in so many other classrooms.  But I have a phone.  See?  It's on the wall.  I call that technology.  I made my Teacher Name Flags myself.  The flags are a freebie in the blog post found {HERE}.  I promise my name is not on it.  :)


My door poster in action.  And I made those rules on the right, but they were inspired by someone else that I can't remember, nor can I find it on my Pinterest boards so now I am afraid someone is going to come after me and yell at me.  Please don't.  I will give credit where credit is due if someone can help me.  I used my own frames, my own clipart, my own fonts, etc.  And FYI:  I just hung that ribbon on the wall and then stapled the rules on top.  I tend to cut corners.  I'm a Corner Cutter.  

Oh.  And isn't my Fire Extinguisher awesome?


This is my new Math board that my friend Heather did.  So I copied her.  Heather also made a Boggle board.  So I copied her.  I am a Corner Cutter and a Copier.  Boggle found {HERE}.  It's FREE from The Teacher Wears Prada.  Math Word Wall found {HERE} from Teaching and Tapas.  The whole idea of both of these boards is to keep us busy in line.  I laugh at this.  Ha ha ha.  Because right now, we are barely IN our lines.  And we talk.  A LOT.  But we are working on it.  


I love this idea and I know I'm late to the party.  Heather also came up with the idea of hanging a basket right by the board with the extra letters in it.  BRILLIANT.  Now I don't have to store the letters.  And I (Heather again) hot glue-gunned mini clothespins to the board so it will be a piece of cake to switch out the letters.


This is our class library.  It is just on the other side of my desk.  I'm never in my desk so I have a clear view of the kiddos in here from wherever I am in the classroom.  I have a rotation because there are too many kids.  Table One can visit the library any time they have extra time on Mondays, Table Two has their turn on Tuesday, etc.  It works really well. 

The flowers on the window are from a DJ Inkers Bulletin Board pack.  I got mine at our local teacher supply store eons ago, but you can find them {HERE}.


I love the library.  I got the chairs from Ikea.  They are new this year.  They make me HAPPY.  All the little frames are the $1 frames from Michael's.  I painted them myself last year and used clipart and fonts for the pictures.  The little lamp is not turned on because I need an extension cord to reach the plug and I do not have an extension cord so there you go.  It is purely for looks.

The posters hanging on the back of my rolling cart are from Lyndsey's Daily Five pack.  They are FREE!

I made the flags for the library myself.  The flags are a freebie in the blog post found {HERE}.

That's one side of my classroom.  I'll show you another side tomorrow or the next day.

But I'd also like to show you how the room looks with real, live, actual human beings in it.  

I wish I could play some Haunted House or Horror Movie Music as you scroll through the next few pics.  It would be the soundtrack I would pick for what you're about to see.

Prepare yourself.

DUN DUN DUN!!!!

AAAAAHHHHH!!!!
TRASH!!!!

AAAAAHHH!!!
BACKPACKS!
SWEATERS!
FEET!

AAAAAAHHHH!
IT'S SO CROWDED!
LOOK AT THE PENCIL!
THE LUNCH BOXES! 
THE BACKPACKS!
THE KID SITTING ON HIS KNEES WITH HIS 
CHAIR TURNED SIDEWAYS!!!

AAAAAAAHHHHH!
MORE TRASH!
IT'S EVERYWHERE!

:)

8/16/14

Five for Fraturday

It is Saturday.

I made it through an entire first week of first grade.  As in, FIVE WHOLE DAYS AND NO EARLY DISMISSAL ON WEDNESDAY AND BACK TO SCHOOL NIGHT ON THURSDAY.

I felt I should have a party.  Except I knew I wouldn't be able to stay awake long enough for a party or dress up for a party so then I figured I deserved a slumber party.  

And a medal.

And some money.

And someone to go pick me up a Starbucks and bring it to me.





BEST THING EVER.

I had no Mother Bear issues at all, thank you very much.  I am so in love with how this turned out.  Check it out {HERE}.  Jennifer at Simply Kinder is brilliant!





This is proof that I actually taught something this week.  

SIGHT WORDS!

And How To Make Play-Doh Snakes!

I know!  Put it on your calendar!  I actually taught something besides lining up and coming to the carpet and going back to our seats and here's where you get a new pencil and when you hear this song, you're supposed to do this, and when you hear the music in the music box, you're supposed to be quiet, and no, it's not Friday so we aren't having Fun Friday yet, and yes, it is Friday, but Fun Friday comes at the end of the day so you have to wait.

I know.  I am amazing!

You can get these awesome Play-doh Sight Word Mats {HERE}.  They're from Miss Kindergarten!

You have to supply your own Play-doh, though.  When I downloaded the pack, I was a little shocked that no play-doh came with it.  

Maybe Miss Kindergarten needs to include a disclaimer . . . 

;)





A CLASSROOM PHOTO!

I took a bunch of pictures and I hope to blog all about my classroom tomorrow.

This is a sneak peek.  

But don't go getting all excited.  It looks a lot like last year's classroom, seeing as how I'm still in the same classroom and, well, there's only so much one can do with 30 desks and 2 more under the counter (yes, I can have up to 32 kiddos) and I am always afraid the two extra desks will have to come out and get put in a table group and then the table groups will be unbalanced and then I might die.  It is a real fear of mine. 

Shudder.




video

Just wanted to show you a quick snippet of Murphie wanting to play with a bird.  She just really loves birds.  I am almost 100% positive that she would not harm the bird.

I think she wants to be friends with the bird and that's all.

I think I could write a children's book series called Murphie and The Bird.  Children all over the world would read it and I would go on a Morning Talk Show and bring Murphie with me and we would get interviewed.

It would be grand.

Except I have too much other stuff to do and I don't know when I would write the series.

So it's just a little pipe dream.  Not one I've had forever, either, because I just now thought of it.




You know that slumber party I was talking about?  Well, it started last night at about 8pm on the couch.

I woke up at 9pm and headed up to bed and slept until 8am this morning.

That's what having no kids looks like sometimes.  

I am very sorry.

Do not hate me.

And that is all.

My week.

I survived.

The End.

:)