Friday, September 30, 2011

A Peek At My Week

This week in writing my kids wrote about Johnny Appleseed and fall. They also are continuing to work on building their stamina in writing. Today they published their writing into books. I had a volunteer come in to help out and students who wanted to publish their writing got to write in books with assistance and illustrate their pictures. The books came out so cute and the students couldn't wait to share them with their families. One student wrote an adorable story about their dog and another wrote an informational story about dolphins. I can't believe I didn't get pictures but I was so busy in guided reading.

In guided reading this week I worked on short /i/ words with my students and worked on their goals (as you can see from our FACE board) most of their goals are accuracy and comprehension. I taught and reviewed strategies to help them achieve their goals. We also worked on evaluating stories when reading and focused on the story Pigs in Rig from Houghton Mifflin. 

My students are now reading for 20 minutes so I gave them a little treat of gummy bears. The sign on top of the bag says "You are a beary good reader!" My students loved getting these snacks while they read and were super proud of themselves for reading for so long.

We made these adorable apple poems that with apples. I just had to take pictures of these-I love how they came out. I let the students use watercolors and choose which color apple they wanted to paint. We will add these to our poetry journal. 
This is our cute behavior chart I've been wanting to share. Everyone starts off on green "Ready to Learn" and moves throughout the day depending on their behavior. It looks like "Above and Beyond is the top but I let them move to the top of the chart and then they get to pick a pencil or bookmark to take home. We had such a great day today everyone moved to "Above and Beyond!" I just love having great days where everything seems to go right! 

In science this week we explored and observed items to learn how to be a good scientist and use all five senses to take notes. They also worked on sink and float during science centers. 
Last but not least we had our first mystery reader today and it was a huge hit with the kids. Our clues were 1. I love to fish. 2. I am short. 3. I love our school. 4. I am on TV every morning. 5. I am a leader. My students guessed our principal and were correct but also guessed our librarian, an elf (because of the clue I'm , our music teacher, and reading coach. Our principal read Clifford's First Autumn and complimented my class on being super smart. She also said it was the most fun she had all week! I'm so happy to have a principal that loves to connect with the students and have fun.

Hope you've enjoyed a peek at my week. Join up with Clutter-Free Classroom to see other bloggers week in review. 

Tuesday, September 27, 2011

Do you POP?

Brain Pop that is! Brain Pop Jr. is hands down my favorite website to use for science! If you don't know about Brain Pop it is a website that does require a membership (often bought by schools) but you can get some videos for free. You can try out the free trial and see if you think the membership is worth it too.

It includes super fun engaging videos that feature science in a kid friendly way. Moby and Annie the characters of the videos are great with vocabulary and explaining science! There are pauses where Annie asks questions like good scientist do and so you can explain further. There is also follow up activities at the end of the video such as games, word walls, and mini quizzes. I always do the mini quizzes online because it's a great way to assess whole group and  my students love to do them!

If you haven't been there try it out! Brain Pop Jr.  is for K-3 and Brain Pop is for 3-6!

Extra special thank you to Tara from at 4th Grade Frolics who awarded me with the I heart your blog award! I will post soon all the wonderful blogs I heart! I feel so honored to have received awards for my blog! Thank you Tara and all my followers!

Monday, September 26, 2011

Who likes to fish?

Mystery Readers: 

We have our first mystery reader this week. It is going to be our principal! I explained what a mystery reader was and gave out the first clue: "I love to fish!" My kids scrunched up their noses and weren't sure who it could be. 

Later on during our quiet lovely writing time where all my kids are writing, engaged, and focused a boy scout leader comes in to interrupt about a boy scout meeting going on tomorrow night at school. I mean jeez couldn't be my principal walking in when my kids were perfect could it? Noooo it has to be a boy scout guy who wants to get my boy's excited and worked up about boy scouts. he does his whole speech "Who loves to camp? Who loves to make smores? Who loves to fish?" and my one sweet boy who always calls out in excitement yells out "HE'S OUR MYSTERY PERSON! I GOT HIM!" 

Oh my word...I had to laugh out loud I just couldn't hold it back. He looks up innocent as can be and goes "Well he said he liked to fish". He was correct but missed the point of our mystery reader. I re-explained what a mystery reader was and decided it was time to go to recess. I knew there wasn't going to be any writing after the boy scout leader excited them. Oh first grade! You make me smile, laugh, and have fun through the day! 

P.S. I know I'm not supposed to post twice in one day but I thought this was funny and didn't want to wait! 

Favorite Science Books

Science Week

It's science week at TBA and today's topic is favorite science books to use.

Well I couldn't just pick one book so I picked a few from each of our units: 

Properties of Matter: This is great for young readers and has simple explanations for matter.

States of Matter: A Question and Answer Book (Questions and Answers: Physical Science)

Motion of Objects: I love the Let's Read and Find Science series of books. Force makes sense when you are comparing it to the playground. 
Forces Make Things Move (Let's-Read-and-Find-Out Science 2)
Space: I love using this for writing. Steven Kellogg is a wonderful illustrated and this book is no exception.  The children fill in the prompt "If you decide to go to the moon..."

If You Decide To Go To The Moon (Booklist Editor's Choice. Books for Youth (Awards))

Life Cycles: I think these books best explain science concepts in language children understand but not dumbing it down for them. I also love the beautiful pictures in the books. 
From Caterpillar to Butterfly  (Let's-Read-and-Find-Out Science, Stage 1)From Tadpole to Frog (Let's-Read-and-Find-Out Science 1)
How a Seed Grows (Let's-Read-and-Find-Out Science 1)
Also for older readers this is the most humorous science book! This is truly a delightful read even for adults.
Science Verse

Check back this week for more science ideas! 

Thursday, September 22, 2011

School Bag Linky Party

Yes, I know I'm a little tardy to the party. But can you forgive me? I mean with open house, progress reports, and a severe storm that kept me with my little ones for 40 extra minutes at the end of the day it can be hard to find the time!

So without further ado I introduce to you my lovely bags I take to work each day:

The yellow bag and the tan bag our my purses that I switch back and forth with depending on my outfit. I love the yellow purse because the strap makes the purse hands free. 

My lunch bag that I actually got from my sister in law for being in her wedding. It's not actually supposed to be a lunch bag but it has the wipeable inside/outside so that's what I use it for! 
My school bag! I love it because it was free from a Scholastic at a book fair in graduate school, it is large, and easy to fold up if I need to. It's not the prettiest bag but they usually aren't big enough for me. I got a super cute vineyard bag from my brother my first year of teaching but after I starting collecting more stuff (you know what I mean piles up!) I decided I needed a bigger bag.

This is what is inside the bag...ughh kinda of a mess. 
I have folders, scissors, hot glue gun, heat and bond, id and keys for work, DVD from the end of last year, photos of my class, a crayon, a marker, a pen, and a candy cane. Some of the stuff is just random teaching items that happen to just stay in there.

A folder full of laminated items a I need to cute and make into games. I had high ambitions for tonight...don't think that's all happening until the weekend. More folder to make games out of, super cute paper that is pink with lime green polka dots on it, and laminating sheets (thanks to my wonderful parents this year!)One parent got me two laminating packets, color, and black ink it's nice to be in a giving school this year!

Well those our my school bags! Link up with Abby to see other teacher's school bags! 

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

Open House What I Loving Wednesday Edition

What I'm loving this Wednesday....

1. I had my Open House last night and I have to say I thought it was a success! I had 13 families out of 18 attend and it was pretty packed in my first grade room. I think the parents walked away with important information and more knowledgable on how they can help their kids at home.

I want to share with you some of the things I used to make my Open House run smooth and look nice. I'm a visual person so I took pictures. 

Apples for the parents.
This poem is from Erica Bohrer: It is (free) from her TpT page:
She got the poem from a teacher magazine years ago and typed it into a leaf shape.

I had three papers on their child's desk. One was an AR(Accelerated Reader) information sheet explaining what AR is and how their child participates in the reading program. The second sheet was to be a mystery reader in our class. I got my mystery reader packet from Clutter Free Classroom-check them out! I also had a print out on "what good readers do?" and "how to help my reader at home?" double sided. The parents really seemed to like the last print out because it had guiding questions for when their child is reading at home. I can't find that print out on my computer but I'll keep looking.

Cute backpacks we made from Abby's Fun with Firsties packet! The parents thought these were so cute! I like the little mini little friend cute off some of her backpack but its unique!

For some reason my power point from Open House won't load so I can't share that with you. Sorry :(

2. My progress reports are DONE! :)

3. Some new areas in my room:

Writing wall inspired by Pinterest.

Vocabulary wall...I need to make some new reading ones! Once things slow down I'll make some really cute ones. (If things actually slow down....)

 My "FACE" of a reader board. We're learning new strategies everyday!

Our reader's choice student is in the middle because she said "maybe" no definite yes or no. Girls can be so indecisive! (lol) 

Daily 5 (literacy centers) board complete with pictures!

Hope you enjoy and are loving your Wednesday!

Sunday, September 18, 2011

Versatile Bloggers

First of all I'm so honored that a fellow blogger 4th Grade Frolics who I find inspiration from gave my blog The Versatile Award!


Please check out 4th Grade Frolics! I continue to find amazing resources on this site that I can adapt for my students.

After accepting this honor, there are some things that you are requested to do.

1.  Thank the person/people that nominated you and provide a link back to their blog.
2. Share 7 things about yourself.
3.  Pass this award along to 15 other blogs that you have discovered.

7 things about me:
1. I have a love affair with chocolate. Any kind I don't discriminate milk, dark, cream and peanut butter cups get the best of me.
2.  One day I want to be a reading coach and possibly a professor teaching undergraduate students in children's literature or intro to teaching courses. 
3. I love reading and now love reading on my Kindle. I'm currently reading The Mill River Recluse.
4. I could not live without my Iphone anymore! I love checking e-mails, facebook, Pinterest, playing Angry Birds, and being connected to the ones I love with my phone. It also is my alarm clock, timer, weather reporter, and flashlight.
5. I took piano lessons for 13 years and still play occasionally. I don't like to play for other people because I don't feel like I'm good enough anymore and I don't like making mistakes in front of other people. I do however love to play Christmas carols (they are pretty easy) to brighten up Christmas cheer. 
6. I have lived in four different states. I was born in Florida. My family moved to upstate New York for half a year where I first attending half day Kindergarten. We then moved back to Florida where I continue elementary school until 4th grade. Then we moved to Georgia and I lived there all the way through high school. After I graduated high school I moved to Florida for school and my parents moved to South Carolina. So I would visit/live with them every summer I wasn't in college. I now permanently live in Florida and have no intentions of leaving this  sunny state! 
7. One day I want to have a family of my own. If I could have it my way....which I know I can't....I would have 2 boys and 1 girl in that order. I think I would make a great mom seeing as I am a school mommy to lots of little ones already.

Now for those awesome blogs that deserve this award:

You all are amazing teachers and an inspiration to me! Thanks for all that you do! 

Wednesday, September 14, 2011

What I'm Loving Wednesday

 I'm so grateful for our early release on Wednesday so my team and I could do some curriculum planning that was much needed. We talked about some really cool science activities and centers that we have for sink and float, Johnny Appleseeds birthday coming up, Open House which is next Tuesday, and lots to do with spelling and spelling city. I think that we are such a cohesive team that works well because we all have ideas to bring to the table. I'm excited about using spelling city this year to help students! This is actually a free resources so go sign your class up! We will be doing a spelling contract for spelling homework.

Click here to get it! 

I am also so thankful that my old team read my blog! You girls are so amazing and I miss you! They gave me a wonderful rubric to use for my goals. I think that it will be a great resources I'm just waiting for my principal and team to approve. We all have to be on the same page here. To check out the rubric- click here.

I am loving that my boyfriend went to Publix after work and surprised me with a car full of groceries and dinner to cook tonight! We are having homemade pizza! mouth is watering already. He is such an amazing chef, best friend, and boyfriend. (Not actually pizza...I think his looks better!)

I can't wait for Open House next week! I have a few really cute idea I'm going to be sharing soon! I hope to see a lot of posts about Open House so I have plenty of ideas!

What I'm NOT loving:
Haha well I'm trying to be a positive Polly here but I'm am so NOT loving FAIR right now. To be fair (insert laugh here) I actually have a love/hate relationship with this assessment. If you live in Florida you know what I'm talking about. FAIR stands for Florida Assessment In Reading. It is a wonderful assessment if it doesn't kick you out of the program that is online or not save any of your students work. K-2 teachers have to administer the test one-on-one with their kids and it is A LOT of testing. I have been at it all week and only completed four students. The test has a initial word list to see what their probability of reading success is that is pretty quick because it's only 12 words. Then they move on to a long list of words that start with me and look  and ends with words like unusually and receive.  Based on that list they get put on a certain passage that they have to read and answer five questions on (2 explicit and 3 implicit). But if the student misses 11 words in the passage they get bumped back to the previous passage. This happens all the time in the beginning of the year because some students aren't quite reading and by the end of the first passage they get bumped back to listening comprehension. After all that reading we still have to give a vocabulary part of the test to each student. Then if a student scored low on their probability of reading success they have to do a series of word study activities.  I know you're probably thinking this is a lot of testing and very time consuming....well it is and it isn't the only reading assessment we do with the students. We also test sight words and do HM leveled reading passages. Oh boy...I'm getting tired just thinking about it! In the end though it gives me a clear focus on what my students need to work on and is really helpful.

Hope you're having a WONDERFUL Wednesday and reflecting on what you LOVE and maybe don't love so much about teaching!

Tuesday, September 13, 2011


WARNING: This is going to be a long post!

I lost my kids last Friday...yes all of my kids. You may be asking yourself how does a teacher loose all of her kids! Yes, last Friday I lost my kids during specials. I dropped them off at P.E. went about my business franticly (you know the feeling so much to do so little time) and then tried to pick them back up at P.E. The operative word here is kids were not at P.E. No one seemed to know where they were other than a six year old that informed me they went inside. So I'm thinking great....somehow my kids decided to go back to our classroom without me...surely they wouldn't do that. Finally a substitute informed me my kids were taken to the computer lab. So I'm now running because I'm late up the stairs to the computer lab to pick them up. When I get there though there is no one in the room. Now I'm really starting to worry but I thought they may have been downstairs in our class. So again I run down the stairs to the room very out of breath and my kids are waiting patiently with the computer lab teacher. Of course they were perfectly fine and told me that I was late. Oh kids!

Now there is something else that I'm lost with as well and need your advice on. My district wants us to have goals posted in our classroom (check) with scales and for students to be able to know the learning goal for each lesson and relate it to what they are doing and the scale. The million dollar question is what is a scale and what does it look like?? Well this is what I was told for clafication: a scale is an attempt to create a continuum that articulates distinct levels of knowledge and skill relate to a topic. But I just don't know how this is to be posted and referred to for each lesson. How can it be the same for each will this actually benefit my kids? Do any of you use scales in your classrooms?

I'm just slightly concerned because this is part of our evaluations for this year and upcoming years. If you didn't already know teachers in Florida will start getting paid for performance in 2014 at least that is the current projection. Half of my pay will be based on observations in my class the other half will be based off test scores. Not the test scores of my own kids even though we do plenty of assessments (look for my rant later in the week about this!) but the state test (FCAT) that 3rd, 4th, and 5th graders take. It isn't very fair not to mention teachers know the state isn't hiding money up its sleeve soo we know there isn't going to be some big check for merit based pay. The state still hasn't said if they are going to pay for experience or advanced degrees but it has been a battle before that they may do away with that as well.  For now I laugh it off because I love my job, I couldn't do anything else in the entire world, and I never got into teaching for the's about those adorable smiling faces I see each morning.

Thanks for listening to my ramblings! Also a special shout out to my brother who is deployed and still finds the time to read my blog and my adoring parents who want to see what's up in first grade! LOVE YOU!

Monday, September 12, 2011

Winner winner chicken dinner!

True Random Number Generator 30 Powered by RANDOM.ORG

Sara Livsey said...

I love ordering things for my classroom! My next order will include those giant puzzle piece mats for students to sit on. Congrats on 200!
Sara you are the winner of the giveaway!!! I will be sending your Amazon gift card so you can purchase those puzzle piece mats for your little ones! Congrats and thank you everyone who participated! I loved reading the comments of what you like to buy on Amazon! 

Wednesday, September 7, 2011

200 Followers! Giveaway!

I am beyond elated that I now have over 200 followers! I never imagined that so many people would read my blog. I'm so happy that so many people are interested! I get giddy every time I have a new comment. Blogging has opened up my teaching to even more wonderful teachers, resources, and ideas. It is also a wonderful reflection of my passion in teaching and an outlet for my need to talk about anything! Thank you so much for being followers!

As a thank you to all my wonderful followers I'm hosting a $25 Amazon gift card giveaway! If you are the winner you can either receive this through e-mail or snail mail just let me know which you prefer!

All you have to do is
1. Leave a comment you are a follower.
2. Tell me your favorite things to order off Amazon.

Hope you are having a WONDERFUL Wednesday!