Friday, October 24, 2014

Celebrating our First Stories

A few weeks ago we had our first writing celebration!  It was a lot of fun but kind of rushed with everything else we had going on!  Here's what we did to prepare:

Day 1: We talked about what a story that we would be proud of would look like.  We came up with some ideas and I made a poster to remind us.  Modeling is KEY!  So, I looked through all my old stories that I'd written in mini-lessons and selected one I was most proud of.  Then it was the kids turn.  They looked through ALL of our old writing pieces {I collect them all each day the first quarter of school until the kids are ready for folders}.  Then the kids selected ONE story they felt they were most proud of.  I collected it.

Day 2: I modeled how to come up with a title for the stories.  The kids got their stories back and a cover page.  They came up with titles and illustrated their covers.

Day 3:  I modeled how to re-copy my story by fixing sight words that may be spelled wrong and adding some more details where possible.  I passed back the stories the kids had chosen and they did the same.  My interactive word wall is great for Writing time!

Day 4:  I modeled filling out a rubric for my story. guessed it!  It was the kids' turn.  We celebrated with donuts and milk.  We also had a rotation where the kids went table to table looking at others' stories and complimenting them.  I hung the pieces on my board for everyone to see!  I'm so proud of how my writers are doing!  Great strides in these first 9 weeks!!

If you are interested in starting or improving your Writing Workshop, I have LOTS of goodies in my store for Writing!  Just click HERE to take a peek.  If you'd like a year's worth of Writing Workshop lessons, printables, and posters, you can snag the bundle for a discounted rate below.  Happy Friday!


Wednesday, October 22, 2014

Using Hand Signals in the Classroom

Hey everyone!  Happy Hump Day!  This morning I posted all about how I use hand signals to effectively manage my first graders!  Hop on over to A Classy Collaboration to check it out!  You can also snag a freebie while you're there!  Just click the button below!


Tuesday, October 21, 2014

Writing Bundle Update!

Hi everyone!  Happy weekend!  I'm writing to let you know that I updated my Writing Bundle.  I completely updated the "Holiday How-to Writing."  I also updated some posters in the other units. You'll also find a free writing pack {Seasonal Words} now included!  For those of you that don't have this, you can check it out below by clicking the cover.  It's a year's worth of writing workshop lessons, printables, posters, and paper templates.  This was compiled with my knowledge of writing in the primary grades and 11 years worth of experience tweaking the workshop in my 1st grade classroom.  It's appropriate for grades k-2.  Enjoy!

Below are some previews of a few of the packs included in the bundle:


Monday, October 20, 2014

Simple CvC Activities

I like to always have a CvC center included each week--especially at the beginning of the year.  I created some CvC flash cards to use for centers as well as instruction.  Below are some ideas for how to use these in your room!

Magna Doodle Practice-Put out a stack {or all} of the cards with some magna doodles and let kids practice writing the words!  This has been a fun center in my room!  I have large and small magna doodles.  I like to use the large for this because I ask the students to write each word 4 times.  To check out magna doodles online, click HERE.

Races-I do these in guided reading a lot.  Hold up a card, and the first person to correctly decode it gets to keep it!  Winner has the most cards at the end!  The kids get obsessed with this game!  Great practice!

Spin-a-Vowel-Put a stack of the cards out, face up.  Students take turns spinning a vowel spinner and selecting a card that matches the vowel they spun.  They must read the word and make up a sentence with it.  They can keep the card if they stretch it correctly.  To snag a spinner, just click HERE.

"Secret Password"-Put the cards on a ring and ask each child to read one of the words as they enter the classroom in the morning.  I like to flip to a new word for each child so they aren't just copying what the child in front of them said.

These are just a few ways I use my cards.  I also have sight word and silent e flashcards.  How would you use them?  To snag these cards, click below!  There are 66 pages included, with 4 words to a page!  


Saturday, October 18, 2014

Game Pieces Organization: A Bright Idea

Happppppy Saturday!  It's time, it's time!  Another Bright Idea Blog Hop!  I just love this hop!  So many great and simple ideas!  Today my idea is about organizing game pieces!  We play games constantly in my 1st grade classroom, so I like to keep a lot of different dice and game pawns on hand.  I found some craft boxes and new they'd be the perfect fit for the pawns and dice!  I sorted all of my goodies and put them in the little compartments.  Whenever we play a game, I just break out the box and distribute the materials quickly and efficiently to my kids!  Easy peasy!  *The boxes were found at Hobby Lobby for super cheap PLUS I used a coupon b/c that's how I roll!

If you liked this tip, please consider following me via social media below!


To check out other bright ideas, please look down!

Wednesday, October 15, 2014

Daily Schedule: The AFTERNOON

Hey ya'll!  Or "hey everyone!"  Not sure why I suddenly felt the urge to talk like I'm from down South.  Because I'm not.  I'm from the Mid-West.  Where we don't say "ya'll."  Anyhow, hi!  I'm back today to share the afternoon portion of my daily schedule!  Our afternoon is short!  So this is going to be a short post.

So we get back from recess around 12:25.  I am lucky to have a sink and drinking fountain IN MY ROOM {holla!} so the kids take a quick drink and then meet me at the rug for...........JUNIE B. JONES!  I am obsessed with Junie B.  My cooperating teacher used to read it every day after recess and I've been doing the same for 11 years!  I think I mostly have all of the books memorized BUT I still crack up with the kids each time I re-read them!  I have multiple copies of all the books.  Usually when second quarter hits, I'll draw names when I introduce a new book.  The student's names that I pick are the ones who get to "hold" and "follow along" {I use that term loosely} with ME while I am reading aloud.  They LOVE this!  They feel very important.  They also get to hold the books up and show the pictures.  So I read 1 chapter a day and we laugh together at Junie B's ridiculousness.  We predict what she'll get into in the next chapter, based on it's title.  Junie B. is one of my favorite parts of the day!  If you've never read/seen the books, you should check them out!  *Junie B. doesn't always speak in proper grammatical form, so there are some haters out there.  Everything in our life doesn't have to be about Common Core, does it?!  Check out all of Junie B.'s books by clicking the pic below!

After Junie B. we move into Math.  I start by reviewing an old skill that we learned the days/week prior.  Sometimes it's a fun game and sometimes it's just some quick and dirty counting/oral activities.  Then I introduce my lesson, do some direct teaching.  We practice in our GO MATH journals and finally plan a game to seal what we've just learned.  You can check out some addition Math lessons I've done recently by clicking HERE and HERE.  I am working on starting Math tubs soon, but we keep getting all kinds of intervention support help, so I am going to have to figure out how to fit them in again this year.

Once Math is over, it's time for silent reading.  Each Friday, the kids go "Book Shopping" in the classroom library.  They select 4 books from the library that they'd like to have for the week.  *To stat the year, I only let them shop from the top shelf of my library.  We recently added the middle shelf and in a few weeks, the bottom shelf will be available, as well.  I do this so that they learn how to put the books back in the correct spots.  I tell them that if the library is not taken care of, I will shut sections of it down.  Seems to help keep them responsible and organized!  They keep their books in gallon ziplock bags with their names on them.  They store the bags in their desks.  Every day at 1:20, they take our their books and find a quiet spot to sit and read.  They are allowed to read with friends as long as they are: looking at books, reading books, or talking about books.  If it gets too loud or they get too silly with their friends, back to the desks they go.  Silent reading is a nice way to end the day.  The kids are pretty calm and have some freedom.  It allows me to run my guided reading groups.  Do I meet with every child every day?  Heck no!  Do the kids meet with someone daily? Yes.  It's also our intervention time, so kids are getting pulled for various groups.  I typically have no more than 15 kids in my room during this time, so it's ideal for guided reading.

Silent reading lasts for 20-25 minutes.  After it's over, we pack up and sit quietly at our desks.  I'll usually put on a Scholastic picture book DVD {love these!} for the last 10 minutes of class to keep everyone in their seats and quiet.  We have to do bus and car rider duty and I don't like my kids up and all over the room during dismissal.  The DVD does the trick!  It usually takes us a couple weeks to get through an entire DVD.

So there you have it.  Our afternoon in a nutshell!  What questions do you have?