Monday, September 1, 2014

September Currently!

It has been a long time since I've linked up to Farley's Currently linky, so here goes!

Listening- This picture is in real-time. I just snapped it with my phone. My little puppy has been SO tired this weekend. He's also been very happy that both his mommy and his daddy have been home with him all weekend! :) 
Loving- My laundry room! I picked up an old iron yesterday at a thrift shop and I loved adding it to my laundry room shelf.  I still need to fix up the other side of the room but it is slowly coming along!

Thinking-  I was so, so happy that all of my tablets turned on and are ready to go for tomorrow!  We will be learning how to use them and playing our first math game on them.

Wanting- I l-o-v-e fall weather! I can't wait to be able to throw on a comfy sweater and jeans and yet still not need to wear a jacket (I do not like winter - at.all.).  I'm also happy to see all of the pumpkin coffees coming back! Yum!

Needing- I don't know if it's just getting back into an "after school routine" or whether I am being lazy but I have not been doing a good job at utilizing my time after school.  I've been REALLY good at taking naps after school though...  #nomoreprocrastinating 

3 Trips-  I would love to go to Italy because my family is Italian! (DeCarbo...not hard to figure out haha!)  My husband and I are tossing around the idea of making a trip to Hawaii this summer before we start to think about having kids - I hope we are able to but right now it is an 'up in the air' idea!!  I would also love to go to London one day! :)

Thanks for letting me share my Currently with you! Head over to Farley's blog to check out other bloggers' Currently pictures and link up, as well! :)

Saturday, August 30, 2014

Five for Friday on Saturday! Pics, videos, and more!

It's Saturday morning and I'm linking up with Doodle Bugs Teaching for her five for Friday linky party! Better late than never, right? I'm linking up and sharing pictures of my week with you.  Here we go!

Back in May, I did a YouTube interview with the adorable Sheila from Sheila Jane Teaching on her Sprinkle Teaching Magic YouTube channel.  Sheila is so sweet and so positive - I feel honored to be a part of her series!  Sheila released the full interview yesterday.  I had never done an online interview before but it was SO much fun! 
Here's a quote from my video:
 The interview was for her "Teachers We Love" series.  In the interview, I share how I balance school and home, some special things happening in my school district, my top 5 tips for TpT, a favorite teaching story, and much more! 
You can watch the whole interview by clicking on one of the pics below OR clicking HERE.

Week 2 was all about routine again! We built our stamina up for Daily 5 and math workshop. My kiddos got to 22 minutes on Thursday, so I know we are ready to roll this coming week with small groups! We did a couple practice sessions on Friday and I even got to pull a little group of kiddos for a blending session!

 We also started my Think, Talk, Teach routine this week!  We have been working hard at speaking in complete sentences and learning how to expand our thinking by using conjunctions.  First, we are focusing on the conjunction, "and."

 I wait to launch Work on Writing last in my classroom.  Until my students have a solid grasp of what it means to actually write, we practice with our daily journals. You can see how the oral language activity each day is already transferring into my first graders' writing skills - and this was only Day 7 of first grade! I'm so excited for the rest of the year!

Before we can move into our math workshop and small groups, we practiced what we look and sound like when we play games with a partner and games by ourselves. In the picture below, we are practicing our September independent math games using my Write On/Wipe Off Back to School pack.  They had so much fun and can't wait to get started by making their own choices for math workshop on Tuesday!

Thanks for stopping by and getting a peek at our week! I hope everyone has a wonderful Labor Day Weekend with their families and friends. My husband and I are off to buy some paint for our upstairs. It's about time we got the guest room and hallway painted! Fun, fun!
Until next time - 

Wednesday, August 27, 2014

Wordless Wednesday August 27th - Furbaby Twins!

After last week's special Sale Linky, we are back to our regularly scheduled program! :)
If this is your first Wordless Wednesday link up - please check out these simple, easy-cheesy linky rules for Wordless Wednesday.  We can't wait to check out all of this week's pictures and posts! :)

Yesterday was National Dog Day! I couldn't help myself - I had to do a side by side of my furbaby, Weston, with the flowers my hubby got me last week for the first day of school! Don't they look like twins haha?!  

My question for you this week:  Do you have a furbaby? What kind is he/her?  Weston is a peek-a-poo (half Pekingese and half Poodle). :)

Link up with us below! :) Happy Wednesday!

Sunday, August 24, 2014

Sample It Sunday & Our First Week!

Happy Sunday! My husband and I just got home from a beautiful, sunny day on the lake with some friends. Now it's time to catch up on some school stuff and laundry before we start Week #2!  But before I think about Week 2, I'd love to share some pictures with you of some activities we did during our first week and bring you another edition of:

Today's Sample It Sunday page comes from my Let's Read and Write: Handwriting for Beginning Readers pack!

This pack is the first thing I use for morning work in my classroom.  We are always in need of a handwriting refresher and practice pack during those first few weeks of school.  I am not a fan of handwriting pages that have little meaning to them - so I created this easy cheesy pack, which combines handwriting development AND beginning reading skills! 

On the front side, students practice tracing the upper and lowercase letter of the day. They also trace, read, and draw a picture of three words with the short a sound. This is a great way to get to know your little ones as readers. I can quickly tell which students can and cannot blend simple cvc words together.

 On the back, students read, trace, and draw two simple sentences. Picture cues have been added to help beginning readers! Students have the ability to show their comprehension skills as they illustrate the sentences.

A second version of the back pages are included in the pack.  Use this version if you do not wish to have your students trace the sentence but rather write it completely on their own.  I start off with two weeks of tracing and then move to these pages. 

 This handwriting pack completes the first 28 days of our morning work in first grade (lines, circles, and 26 letters).  It is a simple but practical way to get my students into the swing of our morning work routine.  It also allows me to tackle handwriting in a short but effective way because my students are also practicing early reading skills.

  You can snag the above pages for free as part of my Sample It Sunday series by clicking HERE!

After you have tried the pages out with your students, or if you take a look at the sample and think that this pack would be perfect for your classroom, you can find the full version of Let's Read and Write: Handwriting for Beginning Readers pack in my TpT store by clicking HERE

Now, let's move on to some fun pictures of what we did during our first week of school!
My husband sent this adorable flower arrangement to my classroom on the first day of school.  He has a tradition of sending me flowers every year on Day 1!  I do not remember this, but back when we were dating, I apparently told him the old fashioned quote, "The first day of school sets the tone for the year." He says he has always remembered me saying that and sends flowers for a great new school year! :)  

 We played with the magic dough from my Back to School: First Week Fun pack on the first day of school! We completed our Magic Dough Lab Report and said the magic word that turned our dough from white to colorful! The kids had SO much fun with this! It's the perfect first day of school activity!

We wrote about how we felt during our first day! I LOVE this activity because it is secretly a wonderful pre-assessment for me of their reading and writing skills.  I offer NO help at all except to read them the words, "I feel" and explain that they need to trace and write a word (or as many words as they can) about how they are feeling right now.  This little boy wrote the word 'because'

I was loving the spelling of the word "awesome" from this little one! It shows me she has knowledge of vowel sounds and that she knows words need a vowel in them. It also lets me know right away that one of her first writing goals will be using lowercase letters in the middle of her sentences. 

 This m&m math activity is always a huge hit! This was our first big math activity and we thought it was delicious!! :)

 We sorted, counted, graphed, and added our m&ms to refresh our brains from summer (while having fun, of course!) :)

We learned how to walk in the hallway using a fun, concrete lesson:  marshmallows! My back to school pack contains all the details for this fun lesson!

I couldn't help but take a picture of my lonely car in the school parking lot after work on Friday.  Can you tell it had been time for me to go home already?! :)

You can find the above activities by clicking on the picture below.

Thanks for catching up on my first week with me! As soon as we get into the swing of our routine, I'll be back on Sundays with my visual lesson plans on Sundays! :)  Until then, have a happy, happy week! :)

Saturday, August 23, 2014

Keeping It Real.

I just finished my first week of school!  I can't wait to share some of the fun things we did this week, but today I want to talk about "keeping it real" on our blogs. If you are like me, you often read teaching blogs and think to yourself:
"Is this for real?"
"Darn, I felt good about my classroom until I saw that second grade Pinterest picture with chandeliers and light up desks."
"How did she manage to complete those craftivities, math projects, reports, and science experiments in the same week as parent-teacher conferences, a Halloween party, AND report cards?!"

As I reflect back on my first week of school, I think it's important that as bloggers, we keep it realWe naturally want to share the GREAT things that are happening in our classroom in hopes of spreading inspiration, help, and ideas to our followers. That's a good thing, because if we are not blogging to inspire, help, and share, then we shouldn't be blogging in the first place. :) Sometimes, however, I want to send an honest message that says:

Truth: I had a rough few days during this first week of school.  I have 25 first graders who are SO sweet.  They really are wonderful and have the funniest, cutest personalities! I already love them so much!  I KNOW it's going to be an amazing year but many of my new firsties are struggling with expectations for walking in the hallways, keeping their hands to themselves, and using the restroom.  They are going to be a great class but they are going to take a bit longer to get into routine than some classes I've had in the past.  They are AMAZING in the classroom, but my expectations for the restrooms, hallways, and lining up are very different than what they were used to in kindergarten. So we are chugging along. My week went a lot like this:

We talked about what we look and sound like in the hallway. We modeled the correct, incorrect, and correct way (again) to walk in the hallway. We practiced walking in the hallway (with absolutely no agenda or place to be at - just walked to practice).  We talked about what we look and sound like when we line up. We practiced lining up. We repeated lining up for lunch 6 times one day. We modeled, modeled, modeled the correct way to behave in the restroom. 

Press the REPEAT button and that was my week.  On Thursday, I had a moment of, "What if they NEVER get it?!"  

But guess what? They did.  It is not perfect yet. But Friday was a million times better.  They walked in a straight line. They used the restroom quietly and quickly. They were respectful and silent in the hallways.  It was a true sign that we were going to be a-okay, folks!
Taping calendar numbers to the floor with clear packing tape helped them know where to stand in line. It also gave each of them their own personal "space."

I'm sharing this with you because we have all felt like this before. We have all been frustrated or worried that our kids will not be able to get into "routine" during back to school time.  Sometimes it's because we forget what first graders are like in August and September. Sometimes it's because no matter how amazing you are at classroom management, you'll have those classes during your career that are just "tough."  I blog to share ideas, but I also want my blog to be a place that teachers can come to and think, "I'm not alone in this struggle either."  Blogging is just as much about sharing as it is about supporting one another.  If you ARE struggling to get your kids to meet your behavioral expectations, I will tell you that constant modeling and practice are the two key aspects for success.  You may need to put off some academic activities that you had originally planned in order to do so.  That's okay! :)  We often need to move slow in order to eventually move very fast later in the year. :)  

Fellow bloggers, I'm challenging you to share some struggles you face in your classroom. Followers, I'm challenging you to rise above the world of Pinterest and know that you are an AMAZING teacher who does not need chandeliers and light up desks to prove it. ;)

Later today, one of my little sweethearts got up out of his seat during an activity and started walking toward me. My first thought was to repeat our WBT Rule #3: "Raise your hand for permission to leave your seat." But before I could spit the words out of my mouth he hugged me, said "I love you," and then returned to his seat.

How could you NOT know this is going to be a great year?! :)

Wednesday, August 20, 2014

Wordless Wednesday: August 20: BONUS Sale Linky!

If today's Wordless Wednesday looks a little's because it is!!  Because Teachers Pay Teachers has announced a last minute BONUS Sale day TODAY ONLY, I decided I would throw a "special edition" Wordless Wednesday for all of you, so that you can share pictures of some of the awesome and creative resources that are on sale today in your TpT stores! 
Here's how this Special Edition Wordless Wednesday will work.  
Grab the Bonus Sale Linky button above and use it in your post. Then, share a few of your TpT items that are on sale today but posting pictures and linking them to your product. Please link back to my blog so we can find you. :)

In true Wordless Wednesday fashion, NO WORDS allowed- just pictures! :)
If you are not participating in the TpT sale, don't worry! 
We'll be back with our normally scheduled program next week. ;)

Have fun and Happy BONUS DAY sale shopping! 
EVERYTHING in my store is 28% off today when you use the code: BOOST. Here are a few highlights of some items on sale! Click the picture to jump to product and check it out! :)

My question: What's on your wishlist? I have a lot of math resources in my cart this time! :)