Thursday, July 2, 2015

Goodbye June...Hello July!

You guys. It's JULY already. How did this happen?! June was supposed to be my "stay at home, relax, and be productive" month and it just FLEW right by! The past week has been a blur of preparations for the big SDE Nationals I Teach 1st Conference and the 2015 Teachers Pay Teachers Conference in....VEGAS! I leave Sunday morning (early. as in: "i'll need 9 cups of coffee" early) and I can't wait to see all of my blogging friends for a whole week!

Vegas is a little sweeter this year for me because I get to present at I Teach 1st! :) I'm presenting two sessions on Thursday morning.  I can't wait!!  I'm so beyond thankful to have the opportunity to meet and share teaching ideas with all of you! Eeeeekkk!!!!
 My first session is a new session for me - it's a "back to school" session called Teacher in the Trenches. I'm sharing ideas, activities, tips, and tricks for the areas that truly "drive" my classroom throughout the year: Routines, Engagement/Integration, Organization, and Small Groups! I spent this past weekend making all of these cute marshmallow tags to share with the teachers attending the session!  
Did you know that if you bring a box of 75 marshmallows to the US Post Office the lady behind the desk will look at you like you're strange?'s true haha!  She asked me why I was shipping marshmallows to Vegas and before long I was teaching her the little marshmallow poem and we were chatting away about hallway behavior and her grand-daughter. (If you know me, you know I can pretty much strike up a conversation with ANYONE about ANYTHING haha!)

Last night, I timed my session since it's a new one for me.  That meant hooking up my projector in my home office and talking to the wall for 75 minutes HA! My poor dog, he was surely thinking his human mommy has officially jumped off the deep end. :)
Besides packing and prepping and practicing, I've been spraying our entire house down with Lysol over the past 72 hours.  My hubby came home from a business trip Monday with the sniffles. OH NO YOU DIDN'T was what I said to him haha! I am determined not to let a single germ enter this house until Vegas is over. ;) ;)  My husband feels back to normal again and as of today, we are healthy and well - thanks to my sweet friend, Lysol.  :)
Thanks for catching up on my week with me! This summer has been a BUSY one so far and I'm looking forward to a little "break" in July. :) I hope everyone has a fabulous weekend. I will be posting an organizational "updated and revised" Throwback Thursday post while I'm in Vegas on word work and math materials! It will come with a little stop back soon! :)

Sunday, June 28, 2015

My 5 Favorite Math Apps

Hi friends! Today I blogged over at the cute, cute collaborative blog I am a part of - Primary Chalkboard! :) If you hop over there, you can read about my 5 favorite math apps for those first couple months of school! Click HERE or on the picture below to check them out! 

Wednesday, June 24, 2015

Wordless Wednesday! June 24th - Motto of the Year!

For this week's Wordless Wednesday, I'm sharing a quote that I believe will be my "motto" or "official" quote for this coming school year.  Since I will be spending some of my time as a literacy coach this coming year, I think this quote PERFECTLY describes what I hope to help instill more of in our staff and school this year - collaborating and sharing! :)
What is your "motto" going to be for this coming year? What do you wish to focus on in your classroom or school?  Share it with me below by leaving a comment! :)

If you are a blogger, feel free to link up your own picture of the week using the linky party below! 

Thursday, June 18, 2015

Make Your Own Science Lab Coats!

Today I want to share some pictures that I meant to share with you LAST summer! :) My sweet husband helped me make science lab coats for my first graders last summer and they had SO much fun with them all year! It made them feel like "real scientists" and you could see the excitement and seriousness in their little faces when we put them on for experiments throughout the year!

Step One: To start, I ordered several Large and a few X-L child sized t-shrits.  You can find them all over the place with a quick google search. Custom Ink and Jiffy Shirts are two companies that sell shirts in bulk, but there are many!
Step Two: Sweetly ask your husband or another family member/friend for help! Haha this will make the process go much faster! Then, cut each shirt down the front so that your "t-shirt" is now a "lab coat!" :)
Step Three: We made a square pocket out of cardboard and cut angles on the bottom of the square to form a point. We used a sharpie to trace the pocket onto the left side of the shirt.
 You can draw a straight, dotted line across the top of the pocket to give it a little detail!
Step Four: We used a penny as our "tracer" for our buttons! Easy-cheesy.  We traced 5 buttons down the front of the lab coats. You can draw four little "holes" in the buttons with your sharpie for extra detail! :)
Ta-da! You now have some homemade lab coats for your little scientists! If you want, you can add some diagonal rectangles toward the bottom of the "coats" for extra pockets. 
My students store their coats in their cubbies by hanging them on their hooks! When it's science experiment time, they grab their coats and are ready to learn!
Here's a picture of a happy little scientist in my classroom!
The best part? I simply collected the shirts at the end of the year and threw them into my washer. I folded them up and now they are ready to be passed out and used next year!
We only used them about twice a week, so they were all in very good condition still!

Don't forget to make one for yourself! :) Thanks for stopping by my blog today! I hope these pictures gave you a good idea of how we created our lab coats in case you want to implement these into your classroom this fall!

Sunday, June 14, 2015

Sample It Sunday: Let's Get Chatty! Picture Prompts for Classroom Discussions

Hi Teacher Friends! I hope everyone had a fabulous Sunday.  I spent my Sunday doing laundry (boring), unloading the dishwasher (boring), and grocery shopping (even more boring).  I'm ready for a little fun this evening and thought I would share a Sample It Sunday edition with you this evening! Sample It Sundays are days where I share a FREE sample of one of my products with you so that you can take a closer look at it and even try it out with your students! 

Today, I'm sharing one of my newest editions to my TpT shop with you: 
Let's take a closer look!
This little gem contains 20 picture prompts to spark classroom discussion for routines, procedures, and character building during those first few weeks of school. Of course, it would be great to use at any time of the year for reinforcement, procedure refreshers, and class meetings! 

The goal of this pack is to integrate oral language skills into your "classroom family" while you discuss and teach important values such as kindness, respect, and responsibility. 
There are four components to each picture prompt within this pack:
A poster that includes discussion questions is provided for teacher support, but you may also choose to display just the picture prompt and leave the discussion open-ended with your students. Half-page pictures are also provided to save ink or laminate and place within a literacy center or writing center! In addition, each picture comes with writing pages that the teacher can utilize as writing prompts if he or she wants! The possibilities are endless. 
So....are you ready to download a FREEBIE picture prompt pack and try this out for yourself?! To get a free discussion poster, picture prompt, and writing page, click the picture below or click HERE to download it from Google Docs!
To purchase the full edition of this pack and receive all 20 picture prompts for your classroom, click HERE to check it out in my TpT store, or click on the cover page below:

Thank you for checking out this edition of "Sample It Sunday with Miss DeCarbo!"
I hope you enjoyed it!

To find more Sample It Sunday posts on my blog, check out these links below:

Thanks for stopping by tonight! :) 

Wednesday, June 10, 2015

Wordless Wednesday - Claw Hand!

It's finally SUMMER!! Yayy!!! I spent Monday presenting two sessions for some fabulous teachers at a local conference.  We had so much fun! I will be back tomorrow to do one more session for them. My sweet friend Caity took this candid picture Monday morning. I had to share with you because my husband said to me, "Why are you making a claw hand?" Haha! Gotta love candid photos!
Are you taking any professional development workshops, classes, or courses this summer? If you are, share what you are studying with us below! 

If you are a blogger, you can link up with me below to share you photograph of the week. Grab the linky button above and link back to my blog. Or, look below to check out all of the fabulous photographs and grab some great ideas for the week! 

Thanks so much for stopping by!

Monday, June 8, 2015

Narrative Writing Practice!

Happy Monday! Tonight I want to share a new pack with you to help your struggling writers with narrative writing.  The pack would be perfect for writing centers, morning work, writing practice, and even as assessments, if needed.  Let's take a look at my new pack, Just Print Narrative Writing Practice!
Each "writing page" includes a story with illustrations already provided for the student. This is ideal to help your little ones who have a hard time coming up with a solid sequence of events.  Let me be very clear - I'm a huge believer that the child needs to develop their own narrative - However, I often have students who really need this to be explicitly modeled over and over again before they are able to formulate a logical story on their own.  Do you have these students, too?  This pack is designed to help them get their feet wet with narratives, and get them started in a very direct, explicit way! :)
Students write about the pictures and use the temporal words provided to guide them through the beginning, middle, and end of the narrative.  There is even a self-reflection checklist at the bottom of the page for the child to edit and go through their writing!  Students color code their capitals and periods to ensure they are not missing these essential conventions. I've included the SAME pages without the checklist in case you don't want to use that quite yet.  When teaching beginning writers, it's important to make sure to focus first on content and THEN on conventions.  Depending on the time of year you use this and where your students are at with their writing goals, multiple forms and templates are provided for you!  Perfect, right?! :)
The pack also includes blank templates so your students can use this same format to write and generate their very own unique narrative stories! Using these templates after they've modeled and practiced on the picture prompt pages will boost their confidence and help them apply what they've learned. :)  All four template versions are included with blank copies, and separate "self-reflection" checklists are also included for whenever and however you wish to use them! :)
 The pack contains a clickable table of contents page to help you jump to the format that works best for you at particular times of the year.  You can provide the same picture prompt in various templates to the whole class - differentiating the paper template to meet the various needs of your writers! :)  
 Here are some additional ideas on ways you can use this writing pack in your classroom!
You can find this pack in my Teachers Pay Teachers Story by clicking HERE or clicking on the cover page below! :) I hope you enjoy it! 

I hope you have a wonderful week! Happy Writing and as always -

Thursday, June 4, 2015

You're Invited: To A Vocabulary Party!

Today I am so excited to share a really fun day I had with my students during our last week of school.  As you know, we really dive into our Fancy Vocabulary unit during the month of May. This starts with lots of Fancy Nancy books, anchor charts, vocabulary activities, and of course - a really adorable Vocabulary Parade around our whole district! You can find posts about the activities we complete during this unit by clicking below:
CLICK HERE to read about starting your own Vocabulary Parade
CLICK HERE to read about additional Fancy Vocabulary activities

So what do we do to wrap up this fun vocabulary unit?
Have a Vocabulary Party, of course!
I started by inviting our families to the party in our classroom newsletter.  We held the party during the afternoon of our Vocabulary Parade day.  When our parents arrived, we did our "parade performance" for them.  Each student had the chance to show off his or her costume and tell what their word was fancy for.  Then, we sang our Vocabulary Song.  You can find this cute Fancy Vocabulary Song in my May Fluency Pack. They looked so precious!

After we performed, we enjoyed some yummy and colorful cupcakes as a "fancy" treat! I had lots of extra cupcakes for our families, but I also wrote each child's word from the parade on chalkboard toppers that I found at Michael's Craft Store! They loved having their own unique cupcake to look for (and it also helped them identify and practice reading each other's words). 

After we ate our cupcakes, the students played a little Fancy Vocabulary game called Fancy Word Race that I made for our party. They had so much fun playing and the families loved getting to spend this special time with their children.  I also loved that the parents were teaching the kids additional "fancy words" as they played and enjoyed the game.
You can download this little game for FREE from Google Docs
 by clicking HERE or by clicking on the picture below!
After we played the vocabulary game, my kiddos' spread out around the room with their families and enjoyed lots of READING of course!  I gathered a bunch of Fancy Nancy books that we read with our families! It warmed my heart to look around and see my kiddos curled up in various places of the room with their families and books in their hands! 
Our Vocabulary Party was a wonderful day filled with lots of fun, love from our families, learning, and most importantly - words!! I hope you enjoyed reading about our day and found a few ideas to take back to your own classroom and school! :) 

Thursday, May 28, 2015

I Feel...Writing Assessment - First and Last Day!

Today was our last day of school! It was bittersweet. I absolutely loved my class this year. They were one of those classes who just genuinely CARED about one another. During our closing circle today, one of my little sweeties started to cry.  I watched in awe as one little girl put her arm around him. Another little boy got up without being asked and retrieved a tissue for his little friend from the back counter. I sat back, taking in that very simple but very powerful scene. These were classmates who generally did not gravitate towards each other on the playground or outside of school. But in our classroom - they were a family. They had learned the true meaning of what it meant to "take care of each other." 

:) Another favorite moment of today was our "I feel..." writing activity. On the very first day of school, my students complete an "I feel..." writing activity.  You can use regular writing paper, or you can grab my template, which is included in my Back to School First Week Fun pack in my TpT Store.  Here are some examples from our "I feel..." writing activity this year - the first day of school!

I save these writing pieces and tuck them away in a safe spot. I don't tell the students what I' using it for. I just tell them that I can't wait to take them home and read them. :)  Then, today, on the last day, I gave each child a regular piece of writing paper. I told them to write about how they were feeling in that moment. We all started with the same prompt, "I feel..."

As they wrote, I passed back their papers from the first day of school, face down on their desks. On the count of the 3, we all flipped our papers over. There is always a lot of laughter and squeals as they compare their writing from Day 1 with their writing on the last day.  I often hear, "I can't even READ what I wrote!" or "Look how BIG my writing was!" and "Oh no, this is horrible!" But it is all said with a big smile on their face, as they look over the piece of writing they just completed (quickly - and, let's be honest, it's the last day of school...and not their best work haha!) They can instantly see the improvement in their writing and it's a moment when they all realize, "I worked hard and it paid off!"

It's one of my favorite moments of the school year. :) So many of my little sweethearts have come SO far in their writing abilities, especially the samples from above. They were two of my most struggling writers on Day 1, and looking at these before and after pictures makes my heart SO happy! :)

Thanks for letting me share our little celebrations from today. :) Maybe you will be able to find a few minutes to squeeze this simple little "assessment" in next fall for back to school! Have a wonderful Friday!