Friday, August 27, 2010
The first small bulletin board is our “Someone Special” board. Each week a different child gets to be the someone special. On Friday’s I send home a little backpack with an information letter, a blank poster, markers, and crayons. They decorate their own poster and bring pictures/other personal items to be displayed for the next week. Also during the week, each child in our class writes a letter to the someone special telling them what their favorite thing about them is. I put the letters into a book and present it to the child on Fridays. I also ask the families to write a letter telling why their child is special to them. We read those on Friday, and the child talks about their poster, pictures, and items. I start the year out with my poster and pictures. I think it’s a great way to introduce myself to the children. I even included a picture of me when I was in first grade! I usually don’t start sending home the backpack until about October, when they are more able to write letters to each other.
The next bulletin board is our Math Meeting. We do math meeting first thing every morning. Our school uses the Saxon Math program, with our own ideas thrown in. If you’re familiar with Saxon, you’ll notice I didn’t put all of their pieces up. They have too many activities to do! Not all are necessary. The white ones get turned around as we learn about those topics. The Student of the Day helps with Math Meeting, and all other tasks around the classroom. They also get to take the Mystery Box (see previous post) home that night.
Then we have our enormous word wall! (Not all shown.) I love this bulletin board! It is actually one whiteboard and one corkboard that I covered over. It has so much room to display all of the sight and vocabulary words we learn. I color code the words we put up – white are sight words, yellow are vocabulary words. It does look MUCH better when the words are up. Some letters have a lot of words, which is why they are not all equally spaced (I have a little bit of OCD when it comes to my classroom...).
My desk area comes next, but it is not ready for a picture yet! :)
The opposite wall is the carpet wall. It starts with our Birthday Wall. On the first day of school, each child gets to color a cupcake, which I then glue on to the birthday bags (brown paper bags). I’ll post pictures of it when it is finished. One boy in my class has his birthday on the second day of school, so I’ll have to be quick getting everything together!
Next are my computer and the children’s computers. They use them independently each day during workshop time. We also have a computer lab I try to take them to once a week. The colors are on top, a motivational banner, and two posters. Our principal is starting a new positive behavior system, and those two posters are part of that.
The last section is our Reading corner. The table is used when parents come to help, but is also there for children to sit and read. We also have bean bags, and a quilt. One of my friends/graduate school classmates came in last year to do a lesson. She had each child draw a picture of their favorite animal. Then she made a quilt out of their pictures! It is really neat!
There you have it. A short, first tour of our classroom. I’m looking forward to getting the rest of it ready tomorrow, so stay tuned!
Thursday, August 26, 2010
Starting the first day of school, I send the Mystery Box home with a different child every day. This is my way of doing show and tell. The child then brings one interesting item to school to share with the class. They write three clues about the item placed in the Mystery Box, and the other children try to guess what is inside the next day.
And this is what the clues look like:
The class gets to make three guesses before the child shows what is in the box. This is one of my favorite times of the day. I love trying to guess what the children bring. They always try to show me what they brought, but I like to be surprised, too!
Thursday, August 19, 2010
To cut down on noise and distraction, we don't sharpen pencils during class. If a pencil breaks during class, they simply trade it for a sharp one. One of the jobs for the student of the day is to choose one recess to stay in and sharpen pencils for us. They seriously love this job! I've only had a couple boys who would rather go outside. If that's the case, I let them pick a friend to do their job for them. This simple routine helps our day run more smoothly.
Monday, August 16, 2010
Friday, August 13, 2010
1. Florida Center for Reading Research – They have the best pre-made activities for the five components of reading, K-5. I’ve used most of them in my class for whole class, small group, partners, or individual activities. They work for everything! I’ve even referred parents to this site, and they love the fun activities and easy to follow directions.
2. PreKinders – This site also has a lot of pre-made activities. I first found this site while looking for pattern block patterns to use at a center. I found these lovelies. My class loves them and could play with them for hours! I then spent about twelve years searching the rest of the site finding so many activities I could apply to first grade. Time well spent!
3. SMART Exchange – My entire school is getting SMART boards and document cameras this year! I’m so excited! But, since I’ve never really used a SMART board before, I’ve been looking for some resources to help. This site is full of pre-made lessons for all grades and subjects using SMART boards. I can’t wait to use them!
Wednesday, August 11, 2010
My favorites are:
This notebook (or several notebooks) for recording my teacher ideas, anecdotal records on children, conversations with parents, etc.
These “love notes” to write a personal message to each of my new first graders and sneak it into their folders to take home on the first day of school!
This “teacher’s treats” jar for m&ms, skittles, or something small like that. Once in a while I pass those out to children for participation, behavior, games, or just for fun!
But most of the time I save them for emergency chocolate breaks during recess or at the end of an especially difficult day!
Monday, August 9, 2010
Wednesday, August 4, 2010
Ideas to use these lids for:
-ABC order with words/the children's names
-Patterning (use different colored stickers and have children create certain patterns - AB, ABB, ABC)
-Alphabet match up
-Alphabet caterpillar (put the letters in order)
-Counting caterpillar (put numbers in order, 1-10, even, odd, 5's, 10's)
She also brought me these little containers to store them in. Perfect fit!
Tuesday, August 3, 2010
Monday, August 2, 2010
2 1/2 cups flour
1/2 cup salt
2 pkg kool-aid (unsweetened)
2 tablespoons cream of tarter
2 cups boiling water
3 tablespoons oil
Mix 3-4 minutes or until cool enough to mix with hands.
Knead and store in an airtight container in refrigerator.
You will most likely need to make a few batches, depending on how much you give to each child.
Zip it, lock it
Put it in your pocket
Arms folded, feet straight
First Grade is really great!
Other teachers at our school have adapted it to say "Kindergarten is really great!" or "Second Grade is really great!". Here are the actions that go with it:
Zip it (pretend to zip your lips)
Lock it (lock your lips closed)
Put it in your pocket (put the key in your pocket)
Arms folded (fold your arms)
Feet straight (line up your feet)
First Grade is really great! (raise one arm in the air for a cheer!)
After saying the chant, we are silent and ready to walk through the halls.
Mrs. Cooley has several line-up songs she keeps on a ring by the door. She lets the line leader choose what song to sing. I think this is a great idea. I might add a few different lining up songs this year. Always a variety is much more fun!
I found this great first day of school activity here.
In the past, our school has had a "Meet the Teacher/Bring Your Supplies" Day before school starts. After the budget cuts and new school schedule, we are most likely not having one this year. I'm so disappointed. I love meeting the children before school starts and helping them get excited and comfortable for the first day of school. When the first day comes, with all that supplies to put away, it does get very hectic! I love this idea of giving each child a plastic bag filled with play dough to play with. This can pass a lot of time and requires no teacher guidance - giving me time to collect and assemble supplies. This activity also provides the children with a fun activity to cool their back to school jitters!
-use the dough to represent a favorite hobby or food
-use the dough to mold elements from a favorite book or story, etc.
-use the dough to create letters or build their name
-use the dough to represent a favorite summer activity
What activities do you use for those first few moments of the first day of school?