Friday, December 30, 2011

How many ways???

How many ways have you arranged your student desks this year? I am not sure--but I probably would win a prize for the many trials I have tried! The reasoning--have the meeting area in front of the SMARTboard AND have the desks so the kids can see the SMARTboard also. If you like pictures--stay tuned. If you don't you might as well just click the little red X.

 This is August--before kids!  I was scheduled to have 21 students so decided to go with three groups of seven desks. I have these neat hide in the middle shelves to house their reading bookshelf baskets.

The groups worked fine--but seven kids seem to find more of ability to talk during "work time" than I like.

Three weeks later I have already made adjustments to four groups. Two groups of six and two groups of four. Still using the bookshelf holders. I've begun angling the desks toward the board.

September 9=one month after these babies entered Room 109. Now I have taken away those shelves and book baskets. Think kids who can't seem to leave items alone during teaching/.working/listening maybe to me.

October 6=still same arrangements but for some reason my OCD wanted the desks straight and not angled. (And no--the kids aren't bowing down to me, it's morning movement moments our school does!

November 9=ah the kids earned their book baskets back again! I'll bet we have matured! We can work nicely a little better.

Six.days.later.  Now we lost those baskets again but have four groups of five kids each. I remember--each child now is labeled a day of the week within the group. On Mondays--the Monday kids are the table captains, paper hander outers, desks cleaners, etc. (slaves).

Last day in December before our Christmas break. Two fours, two sixes and ...

The room awaits January 3rd with the sixteenth new arrangement. Four groups of five desks--but three facing the board and only two on the sides. Desks angled. Book baskets in close proximity. 
We.  will.   see.. . try... get it right!

Wednesday, December 28, 2011

Winter Center Giveaway

Made for 1st Grade is having a great giveaway of three units.
Just click here find out all the information about how you can have a chance of winning!

Tuesday, December 27, 2011



Our Treasures series begins Unit 4 with a study of birds. I like to begin January with the Tacky books. It allows me to use a review of comprehension skills that we have covered touched on: text to self connections, character analysis, compare and contrast. We also are beginning to delve into making inferences. Tacky allows us to infer his character and how the characters can change! I hope that you can use these if you are ready compelled to return to school soon!

I'd love for you to drop me a comment if you found these useful!

Sunday, December 25, 2011

Friday, December 23, 2011

Merry Christmas

Wrapping up 2011 and celebrating our Savior's birth! 

It is hard to believe that I've reached the end of another year. Where does the time go when we are having so much fun teaching little babies to read, write, math skills, and oh yes--social skills.

I just wanted to say a big Merry Christmas to everyone! And thank you for the many inspirations that have made me a better teacher!

 Happy Holidays from my little corner of the first grade world to yours!


Tuesday, December 20, 2011

Daily 5 vs Work Stations vs Workshop Approach

It is time for a New Year's resolution--decide which way to go--and get on with it!

  • The approach began with Workshop Approach and I really felt I was going in the right direction. I followed a great and brilliant teacher on ProTeacher who wrote as if she was sitting next to me and guiding me. If you haven't read Once Upon a Reading Workshop and you are wanting to be truly inspired, visit ProTeacher.
But...then she became a Mommy and has left the classroom. My inspiration vanished. Left.

  • Our district had a fantastic coordinator who came from a nearby state and held summer workshops. I attended every summer. We learned about Reading With Meaning, Growing Readers, The Units of Study for Primary Writers and others. Each summer we focused on a book. One week. Great inspirations.
But...then she retired and left our district. My inspiration vanished. Left.

  • Enter The Daily 5. I kept hearing about The Sisters. Purchased the book on my own. I then was able to join a study group in my district. We watched videos and talked and discussed and brain stormed and tried to implement portions of the idea.
But...I was too schooled on the Workshop approach=mini-lesson and independent work and small groups and etc.  I have tried to implement portions of the Daily 5/Workshop. I still can't seem to give my kids the freedom to choose an activity AFTER I just held a mini-lesson. I WANT them to work with the skills we have just touched on. I WANT them to utilize the information and practice and learn RIGHT THEN.

I feel as if I am swimming in a sea of ideas but not really doing what I feel totally comfortable with. I need to once and for all maybe choose which will work with my theories and beliefs and just go with it.

I have a student teacher starting soon--January! I need to appear show that I do have a path to teaching my first grade babies.

  • And then..there are all the wonderful ideas I gain from the Blog world and purchase from TPT. I print those wonderful work stations, laminate with my Scotch laminator, prepare them and them in baskets-----only to MAYBE have one or two groups get to the activities during the week.
OK--Please give me some ideas/help. I am going with a $10 gift card to Target for a random helper! I am ready to purchase your wisdom.  What works for you? Which approach works into your schedule?

Monday, December 19, 2011

Christmas from HOME!

It's time to share our true home pictures (I know we spend more time in our classroom).

Bedroom taste of Winter

Dining Room with my "blue"


Living Room

Layered bow


And hoping for some snow days in January!

Merry Christmas to all my blogging friends! Thanks for inspiring me every day of 2011.

Sunday, December 11, 2011

Christmas is coming...

Yes! In spite of the cr-aaa-zy kids that have inhabited my "normal" kids, Christmas is coming and this teacher is getting! What happens when the calendar flips to December? Every teacher's sigh and look on their face is not IS< IS< IS not a happy one!

This year I took an inspiration from a co-teacher who has been making stockings for her kids. I may be wondering if these cr-aaa-zy kids will appreciate my hours of work. But they are going to get a stocking whether they like it or not!

I purchased felt squares from WalMart and Michaels. If I ever anticipate doing this again in the near future next year I would purchase the felt before December flips into being. I pinned two squares together (of the same colors) and free-handed the stocking shape=cut those out. I used one felt square of white to cut four pockets.
Now--a BIG tip--use baby yarn--and buy those little needle threaders--and purchase darning needles that are also sharp.  This is what step one resembled.

Step 2 was to sew the pocket and button on only the top stocking with the baby yarn. (I couldn't find baby yarn in red so had to use regular sized yarn=difficult to thread and work with.

Step 3 is to sew around the outside. I made a loop when I began the trip around the stocking with the yarn. My co-teacher suggested ending with that side and I tried it--but in my mixed up cr--aaa-zy--tired teacher mind it was backwards to me in the direction I was sewing. So I changed my direction to begin with the looped side and go around the stocking.

I need to get busy--I have made six stockings with 14 more to finish on the Step 3 portion.

If you are following The Teacher Parade, Cara has shared many of her projects. View her great ideas here.  How does she do that? So I am going to attempt the little Santa creatures. I wandered through Michaels (returning the candy green apple felt I didn't need) and found this great pack of Christmas paper for only $2.70--must have been on sale. I grabbed that baby up as there were only two packs left--and will use it for my kids to make theirs. The pack has 25 sheets so with cutting each sheet in half and using some plain paper too--we will see what the Santas resemble! I just couldn't see paying $10 right now for regular scrapbook paper as I am not a scrapbooker. I am a blogger/follower!

Happy living with first graders week!