Wednesday, June 30, 2010

Starry Eyes

I've had several questions about my class behavior chart, so here is what it's all about! It is a system called "Starry Eyes", which our grade level decided works best for us. I think most of my grade level friends use a series of smiley faces for their cards, and I use the birds because we have a silly stuffed bird that I use as another way of managing behavior. (More about that later.) You can see from the chart that each student is assigned a number so that no one will know who has been asked to move a card. Each student begins the day on the blue bird, or starry eyes card. If a student breaks a class rule, he or she is asked to move a card. The first card is a warning. They still have a chance to turn their day around! If they move another card, they will lose 5 minutes of recess, and the child's parents will be notified of what happened via the behavior calendar found in their WOW binder (binder goes home nightly). Moving a fourth card results in sitting out 10 minutes at recess. The last card, "sad eyes" usually means it's time for a phone call home or a trip to the office. I hardly ever see the sad eyes cards--which is a good thing!

Monday, June 28, 2010

Craft Idea Share

This craft idea seems a little random, but I came across this picture today, and I just thought these were too cute! We made these coffee filter jellyfish during our ocean unit! They are so easy and fun to make. Flatten out a coffee filter, and tell the kids to color all over it with markers--try not to leave any white space. Then, you can either spray it with water, or fold it and dip each edge in a cup of water and watch as the colors blend into one another. Let them dry on a paper towel for about an hour, then fold in half and add eyes and curling ribbon. I really like when the kids decide to make giant eyes for their animals--I just think they look adorable and very "kid-like" that way.

Thursday, June 24, 2010

Favorite Things

Emma and I made our daily trip to Wal-Mart yesterday...yes, we go daily. (When you have a baby, you realize that all of your money goes to Wal-Mart.) We had fun looking at all of the school and crafty supplies! I found these rockin' markers that I think would be awesome for my teacher friends to use with anchor charts, and for my first grade friends to use for fun projects! So what is my newest favorite? Project Poppers markers made by Elmers! It looks like there are only 4 markers, but they are double sided, so if you are writing with one color and wanted to switch colors, all you do is flip the marker. They can write in bold or fine print. Love them. They come in super fun colors too.

Wednesday, June 23, 2010


Over the summer, I usually take time to reflect upon the past school year. It is amazing how different each year is from the one before, and how I learn new things from each group of children I teach. Lessons learned this year:

*I can never have enough band-aids.
* I can make up math games like nobody’s business.
*Not being able to bend over to tie shoes with my pregnant belly, I found that more of my kids could tie shoes than I originally thought…
*Mornings in first grade are my favorite. I love hearing what they talk about when they greet each other in the morning!
*Singing in the classroom gets the kids excited, and they really don’t care how bad I sound!
*When I heard a child who had been struggling all year finally read an entire book aloud, it gave me a feeling like none I have ever felt before.
*I still learn things everyday, and I should tell my students when even I am learning something new!
*Kids love to share their writing.
*Losing a tooth is a huge deal. When one child finally lost his, everyone cheered and clapped for him like he'd just won a prize.
*Quiet mouse is the best hallway game ever, and it never gets old!
*I’m cooler than a 100 foot shark (according to William, age 6).
*I really love what I do.

Tuesday, June 22, 2010

Educational IPhone and IPad Apps!

If you have an IPhone or IPad (love them), there are some great educational "apps" out there for you to download! Here are just a few of the cool ones I think first graders might l-o-v-e!!! They will be having such a great time they won't even realize how much they are learning! Learning + Technology = Fun!!!

ABC and Me:

Letter Lab:

Tic Tac Math:

Math Bingo:

Phonics Made Easy:

Our Classroom

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Here is a sneak peek into our room! I can't wait to go work on it this summer to add some of my new ideas!

Monday, June 21, 2010

Bargain Books!

Although I am always book collecting, I've been on a mission this summer to find great "new" books for my class library! The challenge has been to do this on a budget, and I have discovered that if I look in the right places, there are so many cheap books out there! I am so pumped about my finds so far, I just had to share!
I found all of these at a thrift store for $3.00!!! Some of them are brand new!

I found these at the Friends of the Homewood Library bookstore for $3.00!

Other places I find great books for super cheap:
*TJ Maxx
*Home Goods
*Sale section of Books-a-Million (It's always a huge section, and they have amazing deals!)
*Kohls (I love when they have the book and matching stuffed buddy for $5 each!)
*Scholastic Book Clubs (Love the book orders, but they even have a warehouse sale in Birmingham a few times a year!)

Friday, June 18, 2010

I love Mo.

Willems, that is. After returning to school from my 8 week maternity leave this past year, I found myself with 3 weeks left in the school year, and 22 kids absolutely ready for summer--which was, well...wild. I needed learning activities that would be meaningful, engaging, and get the kids excited about learning! That's when Mo and his trusty pigeon came in and made those last three weeks AWESOME! I have done many author studies before, but this one was by far the most excited I have seen my kiddos get! His books and illustrations are hilarious, and the kids loved making their own Pigeon and Elephant and Piggie books. They sat at the writing station working. Thats right. Working! They read independently, using funny voices and reading with expression, and they rolled with laughter as they buddy read the Elephant and Piggie books together! We read, laughed, created, wrote stories, and had a blast those last three weeks. Parents, I highly recommend adding Mo Willems books to your home library. I know we will be reading Mo at our house! Here are just a few of the fun activities we did with our author study...

We made our own pet pigeons!

The kids were inspired to write their own pigeon stories! This one was precious!

We made a graph! Would you let the pigeon drive the bus?

We made a character map of words to describe the pigeon! They surprised me with some of the words they used!

Visit his website for fun games, teacher's guides, and just "Mo" stuff!

Idea Notebooks

I think it might be essential that all teachers keep an idea notebook. I will just be going about my day then suddenly come up with an idea for a lesson or cool project. Of course, I have to write it down immediately--because If I don't, I will most definitely forget about it later! I even have a notebook on my bedside table for ideas that come to me in the middle of the night! My problem is, I have about 5 or 6 idea notebooks, so when I go to look for the idea I have written down, I can't remember which notebook I used. I love my notebooks, but there has to be an easier way! Any teachers out there with a good solution?

An example of the craziness inside:

It may look wild to you, but it makes perfect sense to me!

Tuesday, June 15, 2010

Life in first grade

I started this blog a little for parents, a little for teachers, a little for kids, and a little for myself! I hope to share what everyday life is like in my first grade classroom! Believe me, there is never a dull moment! This will be my third year teaching first grade, and even though I didn't think I could love it more, each year I continue to learn, face new challenges, and have the opportunity to teach amazing kids who become part of my life. I know this is what I was meant to do! I am a first grade teacher--at last!


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