Tuesday, September 27, 2011

Power of Projectors

I don't have a SMARTboard. OH--I have wished for one. I have asked for one. I have tried to write a grant for one. So, I did the next best thing. I asked for a document camera and projector. I was lucky enough to get our entire first grade team each a projector and a SMARTslate. A SMARTslate is like a SMART mouse! AND I love, love, love both of them.

As you can see, the projector is aimed right at our whiteboard. So, now we can write on the images. Love that we can pull up workbook pages from our Treasures curriculum and demonstrate, or teach, or review right there. The SMARTslate even has a little pen that will allow me to write but I usually just use the whiteboard itself.

For Treasures--I found online Florida links that actually "read" the main selections and we use it as a shared read. I also googled and found the grammar, on level, and spelling workbooks--entirely on line. Wonderful!!!!

Maybe...someday I'll get a SMARTboard. But I have the next best thing and am so thankful!

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

Teacher bag Linky Party

What a fun party! The Inspired Apple is always coming up with a smile to a depressing day! Just like I enjoy looking inside teacher's classrooms now we get really personal. 
It seems as if lots of 31 bags have been perfect for teachers. The extra little pockets and the roomy interior that holds files, planning notebooks, teacher resource books=one good bag!
Mine was a Christmas gift from a student with a 31 parent who sells the product.  

Now...the interior is usually packed with the "normal" stuff:
YUCKY notebook with all state evaluation "NEW" requirements, rubrics/Grade book

My "Bibles"--for reading workshop

Papers to grade--my nightly date--and a neat Dollar Tree teacher journal
My camera which usually is a great documentation unless it is left turned on inside the case--then it doesn't quite work.

And the best stuff-pictures of ideas, charts, and more from talented bloggers who have a great creative mind and a creative touch of artistry!

My very first 31 product I purchased--the great lunch bag.

Now here is an idea for the next linky party--what do you pack inside? I haven't purchased school cafeteria food in years and more years!

And to carry it all into the building...  

Saturday, September 10, 2011

Behavior Buddies

Need I say chatty? Definitely verbal. Social creatures. Friendly. But...all of these traits leaves a problem when I actually want my first graders to listen and learn! So...a few changes.

  • Simplify.  As in--remove any distractions. So my neat storage in the group desks
became:  simply smooth.

  • Minimize. Three groups  into four. Less kids might lead to less ability to be distracted.

  • Prioritize from negatives to positives.
I was using the stop light system. I was ready to move to a more graduated behavior system but a teacher friend tried "desk buddies". Beanie Babies that are chosen each morning. Desk Buddies that have to be good listeners. We made a chart showing what good listeners do. And Desk Buddies need to be quiet. They need to be still. They need to keep their hands paws to themselves. I was doubtful but desperate! (Did I mention ADHD?) But desperate measures lead to anything is worth a try! And it was amazing. These kids love being able to choose their desk buddy and keep it on their desk, take it to their book nook for reading. You might think they would keep their hands on it but for some reason they haven't! And--I just ignored the stoplight system. If a message indication needed to be given--I just walked over and yanked removed that Desk Buddy right off the desk and quietly placed it back in the basket. No moving of clip. No moving to yellow or red. And the kids commented when we went out to play--no one is on red! Funny kids. They were changing their behavior but in a totally different manner.

Next week we are going to work a little more on behavior with David Shannon books. Thanks to this, I am ready to talk about our Peacemakers vs Peacebreakers. The First Grade Parade blog  (Cara) shared this the other day and I love the idea. The kids love the books and our school district calls no bullying EPIC. Great idea from another great blog!

Monday, September 5, 2011

Vowel Hunt for Short a/ and short i

Word Detective">I have been in school for a month and my firsties are reviewing the short vowel (CVC) words containing a and i. (I use Treasures reading basal as a focus). I created this little word hunt using books that I have shared and the kids LOVE! Who doesn't love Pete the Cat, The Chick and the Duckling, David Shannon's books, and Molly Lou Melon?

Sunday, September 4, 2011

A bargain is a bargain!

If only I knew...how simple this was...I would have done it before!

Chair pockets. Yes. Chair pockets.

Inexpensive. So proud!

I've made them before. The first ones I made were not simple. I would use one fabric on the pocket and a different fabric on the part that slips over the seat back. That means more cutting, more thinking, more sewing. AND...I would also put elastic in the pocket to make it expandable. That was when I taught K kids and would use the pocket for their supply boxes.

But with desks storage in first grade the expandable part wasn't as important so I would leave off the elastic. Still was using two fabrics--color coded groups, etc. (Did I also say that I am OCD when it comes to matchey, matchey?) Then I moved on to one fabric--this time it was denim. Great fabric that fades and has one lighter side. HMMM I lived with it and then used the old dye them to make them fresher looking.

But walking searching through Wallie world in the little left fabric section for fabric to cover my bulletin boards (did I say OCD matchey, matchey--for the perfect royal blue) I spied outdoor fabric. Now this fabric is like heavy duty AND lamination all rolled into one fabric. Sounds like a teacher's dream, huh? It can be wiped off! And maybe the little lice critters will just bounce off  if any happen to enter the room--oh, I hope not! OK. the fabric was only $3.97 a yard and it was wide--60 inches baby. So that means for one yard I could make four chair pockets. If you figure it out--$1 per chair. And what does Really Good Stuff sell theirs for? It only took several trips to surrounding WalMarts to find enough fabric in the before mentioned royal blue color. But the fabric had changed in price to $4.97 but still $1.50 per chair is OK! (If only my sewing machine would have cooperated it would have been a little easier on my holiday weekend.)

Wrong side showing the seam and the two side seams!

It only took a little effort to fold over the ends and run a seam. Then two quick folds and a seam down each side and...

This is the part that slides over the chair.

This is the "pocket" which has the laminated, vinyl ly side.

I hope this is my last set of chair pockets since I am going to retire in five years!