Thursday, August 23, 2012

Blog Hoppin' Linky Party: Where I Teach Wednesday and Theraputic Thursday

Oops! I missed a day so I'm doing double duty today :) Actually would it be considered triple duty since this is my second post today?

I linked up with Blog Hoppin' for Theraputic Thursday and will be playing a little catch up for Where I Teach Wednesday!
For where I teach Wednesday, I can show you my beautiful newly constructed classroom. Since I was hired 4 days (not 4 work days either!) before school started, and my room was literally completely empty, I'm pretty proud of myself for how my room came together! There isn't much on the walls, because we weren't encouraged to put a bunch of staples in the fresh walls!

This is the view from my main classroom door (I have 2 inside doors and 1 outside door). I love love love my frames on the wall to display the kiddos artwork and writing!

This is my desk area. I am not in this space very often, but it is where I organize everything and is where the kids spend their teacher desk coupons! 

 This is my classroom library! We use the Fountas and Pinnell leveling system, so I have a large guided reading library, in addition to genre books. Each student has their own book box. 

 I am beyond lucky that I have 8 computers in my classroom! You can also see my bookshelf of math manipulatives on the back wall.

 This is my meeting area! I am lucky enough to have a wonderful smartboard that I use for everything!

 This is my writing table where the students get all kinds of brainstorming paper, graphic organizers, writing paper, publishing books, class journals, and more!

This is my classroom in a nutshell! I am currently in the process of making an EU and EQ wall. I will post about this project when it is finished!

I would be lying if I said that I don't go home after a hard day and do absolutely nothing. I get a class of my favorite wine...

and some sushi...


and watch some Crimimal Minds or some Olivia and Elliot in SVU...

Criminal Minds tv show photo

And I veg all night :)

What do you do?

Almost Friday,

Character Education, Classroom Rules and Beginning of School Fun!

The first two weeks of school have just flown by! My little second graders have done all kinds of work. We have been doing a lot of getting to know you activities and a lot of character/team building stuff.

My favorite story to read at the beginning of the school year is First Day Jitters! I think sometimes the kiddos feel like they are the only ones who are nervous, and the kids that have never heard the story before have their mouths hanging open when they find out its a teacher in the end!

I also use this really cute writing page where the students get to write what they have first day jitters about from Crazy for First Grade! (This link also has a bunch of other cute first day ideas!)

We also made some All About Me posters. This was a really great way for me to assess my students on their idea recall and their drawing. Some were definitely surprising :) It was very simple: what I did this summer, favorite foods, what I like to do, and my family! It allowed me and all of the other students to learn about each second grader. They are hung on the wall in my classroom and periodically I catch the kids checking them out still!

We also did a quite a few teamwork activities (which are my favorite!).

We made a class puzzle. I took a posterboard and cut it up into 20 pieces (I have 18 kids, I made one, and we made one as a class together). Make sure you make a bunch of black lines/black dots on one side so the kids know which side to color, because if they color the wrong side, the puzzle won't fit together! It turned out really cute, and I made this little poster to go with it from a cute saying my teammate found!

Another activity that my teammates introduced me to that is so cool is what I'll call the "Elephant activity." You start by reading the story Seven Blind Mice by Ed Young, and you discuss with your students how the mice are working together to try to figure out that they are actually seeing parts of an elephant, and without all the mice seeing the parts, they would not know it was an elephant in the end.

So you group your students in teams (I use my table teams) and give them all the same gray size piece of paper.

Each team is in charge of making one part of the elephant, without seeing what the other teams are making: head, body, tusks and trunk, legs, tail, etc. (depending on your # of teams). In addition, each member of their team has to play a part in making their elephant part: drawing, coloring, cutting, gluing, etc. Some friends need more help deciding on jobs than others :)

After they are finished, I hid the parts and quickly put the elephant together. These elephants look so goofy, but that's part of the fun! I then talk to my students about how we all worked as a team to create this elephant, and that we all played a part in making it. Our team worked together, and if one person chose not to, our elephant wouldn't be complete! Here are my kiddos finished product for this year (check out that trunk!)

Once again another wonderful idea from my teammates (can you tell how thrilled and lucky I am to be at this school with this fabulous team!!!) is an activity called tear-down. This is am example for the students of what happens when you do not work as a team, and start putting each other down.

Each child gets a body shape (mine looked like a gingerbread cookie) and color it to look like them, and then cut it out. My kiddos were VERY proud of them and showed them off to their friends. Then, they brought them to the carpet and we read Stand Tall, Molly Lou Melon which is a phenomenal book about a little girl who gets picked on and how she responds to the put-downs.

We talk about how Molly Lou Melon knew that none of the things that those mean kids said was true, and she loved herself for who she was. However, she will never forget what those kids said about her. You will always remember how you felt when someone made fun of you or made you feel self-conscious. So the students take their dolls, and tear off arms and legs, once for a time they can remember feeling that way.

Then we tape them back on by telling ourselves things about how wonderful we are! But we see by looking at our paper person, that we are not the same as we were before. We have tape on us and tear marks. I ask the kids to remember this before they made someone feel "torn-down" in my classroom. These are a few of the paper people my kiddos made!

Another activity to teach about how put-downs are always with students is the toothpaste to teach respect activity. Gather the students in a circle with a small tube of toothpaste. I read Oliver Button is a Sissy, to show students how you can be better than bullying and if you are doing what you love, it doesn't matter what others say.

Give each of your teams a small tube of toothpaste. Tell them to squeeze it out on a paper plate, and then try to put it back into the tube iwth toothpicks.

Well, it won't work. I talked to my students about how the toothpaste is like the words we speak to others. Once we say an unkind thing, we cannot put it back into our mouth or un-say it. We need to always be respectful towards one another and only say kind words to our friends. 

My kiddos (even the boys!) also really like our friendship bracelet making. I randomly (or not so randomly unbeknowst to the kids!) paired them up with a new friend, and they made friendship bracelets for each other. While they were making each other bracelets, they were to talk to each other and find 3 things they had in common and 1 interesting thing about the other person they didn't know. If they were having trouble, I gave them some question prompts (also on the Crazy for First Grade link above!)

Then, I had them each lunch together that day to celebrate their new friendship!

Lastly, another really cute (any easy) idea is the Friendship dance. I am actually planning on using this throughout the year for some especially wiggly times!

Play any kind of moderately intensive music, and tell the kids they are going to play freeze dance, except when the music stops they must find the amount of friends I say! So it might stop and I say "2 friends," and then they get in groups of 2. In the beginning, I try to make it so no one is left out. Then as it progresses and they start to get sillier, I start having people get "out" if they cannot get into a group fast enough. You could just leave the kids in the whole time though!

I have also been using two wonderful TPT products that I bought during the Back to School sale and they are both AWESOME!

I bought Amy Lemon's Classroom Promise pack and My School Rules pack. I have used both and they are wonderful :)

In My School Rules pack, it has an awesome activity that you can personalize for your own classroom rules. I have read in numerous places that if you want rules to be effective in your classroom, you shouldn't have more than 5 and they should be worded simply.
My rules are:
1. Be respectful.
2. Be responsible.
3. Follow directions.
4. Listen carefully.
5. Always do your best.

Amy's pack has an awesome book the kids can make of your classroom rules. I really like it because it's an awesome assessment of whether or not your kids really understand your rules, because they have to give an example. Here are a few of my kids pages:

We are going to make them into books for the kids to keep in their book boxes the first few weeks. I am trying to build REALLY strong routines at the beginning of the year! We are going to write our classroom promise tomorrow and I can post a picture of that after we've done it!

TGI(almost)F! Woo :)

Tuesday, August 21, 2012

Blog Hoppin' Linky Party: Technology Tip!

Today is Day 2 of Teacher Week!!

I'm linking up this week with Blog Hoppin' for Teacher Week!
My technology tip for you is a phenomenal website called Classroom Organizer by Booksource! It is a website that allows you to catalog all your books by their bar codes on the back, and then enable students to check out and return books!
How cool right? You would have to have some sort of iPod or iPad to take pictures of the barcodes, and I sadly do not, so I cannot use this yet! But I am still catalogging all my books on my iPhone so I'm ready when I do. This website is so awesome because you always know where all your books are at all times, especially when they leave your classroom!
Happy Tuesday and join me for 3 more Teacher Week posts!

Monday, August 20, 2012

Blog Hoppin' Linky Party: Teacher Must Haves!

I am linking up with Blog Hopper for Teacher Week. Today I am listing all of my teacher must-haves!

I absolutely have to have:
1. My Diet Coke! I used to drink a 44 oz. Diet Coke every morning! (This was when I was right next to the bathroom!) I'm only a fan of the fatty Starbucks drinks, so I stick to my can of Diet Coke in the morning instead of coffee.
2. My Papermate Flair pens. These are AMAZING! I am an organizational freak and color code everything, and I use these things like crazy! I usually only have to replace them once a year, which is a long time for how often I use them!
3. My camera. It's nothing fancy, but I tak pictures all the time! I love to make social stories for my kiddos to practice routines :)
4. My electric wax tart burner. Long and drawn out name for something that is not a flame, yet makes my room smell good! I keep it at a part of my desk that the kiddos are not allowed into, and my room smells wonderful all year round, even on shoes off afternoons :)
5. My lesson planner! I am lucky enough to have a team to plan with, but I like to write everything down to make sure I know what I'm responsible for teaching my kiddos!
If you would like to link up and tell everyone about your teacher must haves, hop on over to Blog Hoppin'.
That's all for now! I am writing a nice long post about my first two weeks of second grade this weekend. I seriously have no time this week. Getting hired at a new school 4 days before school starts leaves a lot of paperwork to be done really quickly!
Have a nice week!

Wednesday, August 15, 2012

On to Second Grade!! And labels FREEBIE!

Hello my blogging friends!

Unfortunately, I am no longer going to be the fabulous first grade, although the name will stay the same :) I got a job in a wonderful school in my dream district teaching second grade and I could not be more excited!

Today was the second day of school and my little guys have been angels so far! (I know, I long will this last?) I have a few freebies to share with you!

Since I am in a new school and a new classroom, I needed to make all new labels (obviously). So I have some to share with you!

I made some new book labels! There are not that many, but when I make more, I will update it. You can get them on googledocs here!

I also have a wonderful guided reading library, so I made A-Z labels for those book bins too! You can get them here!

I also use a team point system. So here are labels for up to 5 teams and captains :)

I also use class journals! My kiddos LOVED these last year. I have 10 journals that I put in my writing center that any child can write in at any writer's workshop/work on writing time (when they have free choice writing!!). These are topic journals. For example, there is a princess journal and a superhero journal. So if a student decided to write in the princess journal, it would be a story about a princess! At the end of the year, you have a really cool journal with princess stories from all your students!! Here are the labels I tape to the front of the journals :)

Lastly, I have labels for three jars in my room. One is for my estimation jar. This is SO much fun for the kiddos. Eventually, all the kids get to take the jar home and fill it with something from their houses! I also have labels for compliments and concerns jars. I REALLY build thes up at the beginning of the year. I read all the compliments in the jar out loud at the end of the week to make my kiddos feel good! I also put compliments in there if I see them doing something special! The concerns jar is private, and only I read the comments in there. Sometimes the kids don't feel comfortable with me "knowing" who left the concern, and then we can discuss it as a class. The kids really like the system! Here are the labels!

 So that's all for now! Since I am now a second grade teacher :), I will be posting about all the awesome things I am doing in second grade! I will post about all of the wonderful character/team building activities we did this week soon!

Happy Hump Day!
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