Saturday, July 23, 2011

Introducing My Classroom!

I have been working in my classroom for the past week now. We start school Tuesday. Yes, Tuesday, July 26th! We are on a year-round schedule here. So now that I have my new first grade classroom put together, you can take a look!
Here is my whole classroom from my desk. I wish I took more whole-class views, but I didn't.

Smarty pants - I have searched and search and could not find where I found this idea. So if it's your sign please let me know! There are smarties inside the pants to give to students who have an ah-ha moment, get 100% on a test, or whenever I feel they deserve one! Next to it is my classroom job chart. I have baseballs that go on it, but I took the picture before I put them up.

I have huge windows that take up one wall, so I put my word wall in the middle.

I split up my calendar routine for this year, so we'll see how it works out. This is the math portion of my calendar. I will call it Math Wall. We will do this before Math Journals and Math time in the afternoon. On this wall there is an estimation jar, money, telling time, guess my number, lunch count for <>= and tooth tally chart. The apple poster goes with some problem solving. It changes out for each month. The white board is to do the daily number in base 10 blocks, even/odd, and another way to make the number.

This is the calendar portion that we will do in the mornings. I hope it will help keep their attention more because it won't take as long at one time. Here we will do the date, yesterday -today-tomorrow is, days of school, and weather.

Lunch choice/attendance board.

Reading corner. I made one of those cute crate seats! I am so excited about it.

Bucket fillers. I found these cute plastic buckets from oriental trading. I wanted tin ones, but they were out of stock. Then when I got around to putting them up, I realized plastic were better because they weren't so heavy. I found the cute printable sign from What the Teacher Wants. In my class we will use pom-poms when we fill each other's buckets.

Sunday, July 17, 2011

Funnies Through the Years

Mrs. Dillard is having a linky party about the funniest things students say. Here are a few I remember over the years. . .

“If you are bad, Santa doesn’t come and your parents have to buy ALL of your presents.”

We were learning about different Christmas traditions from around the world. I had a friend who just arrived home from Italy come speak to my class. She was saying how they have a women's day in Italy. Boy:"Do they have a men's day?" My friend says they do not. Different boy: "That should be illegal!"

Student was talking to me during center time. He looked at me and said “you have black under your eye.” So I wiped it with my finger. “That made it worse. It looks like you have a black eye,” he said. Another student comes over and listens to the end of our conversation and casually explains, “Oh that’s just what happens when you don’t get enough sleep. It happens to me and my brother.” I thought – oh great, it’s only my first year of teaching and I have bags under my eyes.

I was conferencing with a student for writer’s workshop. We were discussing how to publish his work by correcting the mistakes and writing it again, followed by another picture on clean white paper. He said it’s hard for him to think of ideas because he is not an idea machine, but he is a picture machine so he likes drawing pictures. But there is only one edition of the story, so he wasn't going to edit or revise.

We were using the perimeter cards for math and one got passed to a student. He said “these 3’s are upside down.” And I simply replied “because you’re card is upside down.”

I can't wait to see what my new firsties will have me cracking up about!

Saturday, July 16, 2011


In second grade we would have one student each week be the student of the week. Because I have a sports theme, in my classroom it was called the MVP. On Fridays, that student would teach the class something of their choice. We called this Show-N-Teach. HERE is the note we created to send home the week prior to the child's turn so they would have time to prepare. We did not allow parents to come in, because let's face it, we all know what happens . . . the student forgets what he's supposed to say next, the mom jumps in and presents the rest of it. We had no complaints from parents about this. The class always looked forward to Show-N-Teach on Fridays. I'm not sure I'm going to do this next year because I am moving down to first grade, but some of you out there may enjoy it!

Tuesday, July 12, 2011

Shoe searching . . .

I absolutely LOVE to buy shoes! They are the last thing I put on as I head out the door and the first thing that comes off when I get home, but I do love to splurge on them. However, I have not found any comfortable, nice-looking (but not grandma-ish) shoes for school. As you know being on your feet most of the day makes for tired feet. I've been looking for some new shoes for the new school year. Anyone have shoes they love to wear to work? Please share!

Saturday, July 9, 2011

Favorite Fonts

There is a linky party going on about your favorite fonts to use.

Here are a few of the ones I use regularly. I try and find cute fonts that use the letter a written in the usual handwriting way, but they are hard to come by so if you know of any please leave me a comment about them!

Thursday, July 7, 2011

My Top Ten

Mrs. Owens is hosting a linky party! Go check it out and join in the fun!

Ten things about me:

1. I love M&M's! I'm addicted! I love plain, peanut, coconut, or peanut butter. I get a small bag every time I check out at the grocery store!

2. I hate pets. I will never allow any animals in my house, except maybe fish.

3. I am OCD about organizing things. My kitchen cupboard shelves are even labeled where things are supposed to go!

4. I love to redecorate my house. Where I teach, we are on a year-round schedule so when I am off track for my 3 week breaks I usually find some room in my house to redecorate or add to.

5. I recently took up a liking to zumba. I was a bit scared at first because I have no dancing abilities, but I absolutely LOVE it! You should try it if it's near you!

6. I love shoes. I hate wearing them, but I love buying them! :) I have a whole closet full.

7. If asked to go anywhere for dinner I would choose Cafe Rio . . . pork salad, no beans, no rice, shredded lettuce, creamy dressing. YUMMO!

8. I am addicted to reality shows. I love the Bachelor, Survivor, Amazing Race, Love in the Wild, etc.

9. I don't like my classroom to be noisy, except for the occasional group work assignment, and even then I get a little antsy for it to be over quickly. But we still have a lot of fun!

10. I love blogging about my family, but recently discovered awesome teaching blogs so I joined in the fun.


One year I had a cute little student who had glasses and hearing aides. Her mom came and talked to me about how worried she and her daughter were about the other kids in the class teasing her about being different. I came up with a small mini-lesson on being different and it worked like a charm. We read the book Different Just like Me byLori Mitchell. We brainstormed a list of ways we can be different from other people, but still be friends. We learned the song I Like Being Me from Utah's Prevention Dimensions program. We also made a class book about being different using THIS writing activity.
It turned out great and we only had a few minor cases of this cutie being teased the whole year.

Noise Management

I am a visual learner, so I tend to do things in my classroom geared toward that. I hang THISsign up on the board. I use a cute pointer magnet to let the students know where I want our class noise level to be at for that activity. I will give them reminders before we begin such as "Take a look at the level for the activity. I expect everyone to be working in the Yellow Zone." It works great. I love it especially during guided reading and center time. When the noise level starts to get too loud, all I need to say is "RED" and they quiet down again. Of coarse it takes a lot of training those first few weeks of school, but saves you the rest of the year.

Group Points

Do you hate the tally marks going across your board? I know I do! But I like to have tables earn points together to promote teamwork and help those struggling students get ready quicker or be attentive quicker! So I made these handy point keepers. I copied each one on a different color of cardstock, laminated them, hung them on my board, then used different cutesy magnets for each one. Once a table reaches 20 points, that table gets to eat lunch in the classroom with me. They love it! I move every table back to 1 once a table has earned the prize and most of the time I do a little switching of students too.

To download or take a look at what I made click below: