Saturday, December 29, 2012

So Long...2012

Whew! I can't believe it will be 2013 when we return next WEDNESDAY! I am a little somewhat sad one to be returning in the middle of the week. After all, my mind plans for five day weeks. You know--beginning on a Monday and ending on a Friday.

With that little added bit, I've been trying to plan. Think and plan. Get motivated and plan.

We will do a little of Happy New Year. I have some collections of review and "fun" type activities that I managed to dig out of my files. 

Penguins and Tacky. I love Helen Lester's books. And...our Treasures basal story for the first week of Unit 4 is Birds so it stands to reason that I can do some fiction before we begin the non-fiction.


Abby over at The Inspired Apple shared a work station that she used. You can access the original owner here. We will review consonant blends and digraphs some before starting a new phonetic pattern.

I also want to do more vocabulary work. I had just introduced vocabulary journals in December. I will choose some words to work on that come straight from Tacky! Odd. Switch.  March. A great time to work with multiple meaning words and their use in context!

To go along with the Common Core I plan on letting small groups give the details of various "Tacky" books. 


I just printed labels similar to these and will use small chart paper for my firsties to use!


We can move into the research area of Common Core when we learn more about them. I think I will combine this with the writing workshop time and let each child write their own researched project with a table of contents, drawing, captions, close-up, and map. It's always hard to fit science and social studies in the minutes of my day so I think this will work wonderfully. The above pic is from The First Grade Parade. 

And to conclude--a few pics of my firsties working with counting patterns.

Saturday, December 22, 2012

Blog makeover 101

Indecisive! Always changing. Fifteenth change in my blog look--maybe! With both a teaching blog and a personal blog it adds to the pain.

I found a simple way to change No $$$. Well, there are all the scrapbook kits I have purchased. But...still.

See what I mean. 

  • Use powerpoint to create the header by putting shapes, filling them with my scrapbook backgrounds.
  • Add embellishments that are also part of the kits I have ordered.
  • Create text by inserting text boxes and using different, favorite fonts and Word Art. all, copy and paste into:


Then it is an easy process.
I can crop it, resize it, and save it as a jpeg.

Changing the background isn't too daunting. Decide which background I want to use and upload it to Photobucket. Copy the http. link.

Now back to my blog and go to HTML. I know nothing about HTML other than it is really, really scary! I mean really, really, really scary. If you scroll down through all the various lists of whatever is there you will come to one that has the word background. That is it. Go to the part that is within the () and if you look carefully. It looks a great deal like the link you copied and pasted. Go ahead and put your cursor there and delete that portion. Insert the part you just copied and is the best part...preview it. If it is fine you succeeded. If it isn't right then you can look right beside that preview button and you can delete the changes you made. AH. 

The image that is saved in Paint as a jpeg can be inserted into the layout section. There is an image near the top I just delete that image and insert my new one.

I make a divider the same way. 
  • Create a divider
  • Select all, copy, paste in Paint.
  • Resize and crop.
  • Save as a jpeg.
Go back to the HTML that now isn't nearly as scary and scroll down the multitude of information til you find one that has the word divider. Find the () and delete and paste your new divider!

Good luck!

Sunday, December 16, 2012

A Difference

I sit here on Sunday night anticipating stepping back into a first grade classroom. I will look at my kids much differently as will teachers everywhere.

The television has had to remain off most of this weekend. It was too painful to watch, to hear, to share.

But as I sat grading papers I know that God has worked through our writing from last week. Good old Common Core. The different types of writing that we now expect. Last week it was a review of several types--one being "opinion". I knew that with Christmas coming that it would be a great time to let the words flow. I expected most of the kids would have opinions on holidays.

This is one:

Christmas is a time when we share our love with others. My family celebrates Chistmas by reading the story where Jesus was born. My Papa tells that story every Chistmas. And my family nows that Chistmas is'ent about geting presents it is about Jesus comeing to erath. Abd Jesus was born in Behtlahim. We just give presents for our love. And Chistmas is my faveorit holiday.

I find peace knowing that little first graders can believe. And twenty new angels had a chance to feel God's love. 

Take care of your kids! Love them as you teach them. And maybe you will look at life much differently too.

Saturday, December 15, 2012

Sadness all around...

Sad. Shaken. Heartbroken. All these emotions traveling through our nation and especially hard for teachers to comprehend. We've practiced that very same drill of lock yourself in the classroom and hide in the corner. But it takes on a new meaning. I just can't fathom those precious children whose lives were lost. I can't understand how the children who witnessed the horror will ever feel safe again.

But we can pray. We can know that our faith will sustain us. Prayers will give strength to the families.

Just pray.

Saturday, December 8, 2012

Random Acts of Kindness

After Cara posted about the Random Acts of Kindness and Lyndsey over at A Year of Many Firsts even posted a free unit on TPT--I was sold! We can all use a little kindness.

It seemed strange to tie it in with our Grinch week but it did. It was perfect. The heart that grew is exactly what we are trying to do!

Day 1--I used the package with the pretty bow. It just happened that it was also the day I put up the tree. It was funny to hear their thoughts. They were still thinking Grinch was in the box. 

Day 1's kind kids went out to pick up trash from the playground and surrounding areas. I was amazed at all the trash that was there. Our school borders a major interstate but there is a wooded area that creates a buffer--along with several fences. 

Day 2 was giving the kids' last year teachers some "hugs" and HUGS. They loved this!

Day 3 was to treat the school secretaries and school nurse to a little poinsettia. They loved this--both the kids and the adults.
The next one will be the most touching. We will write cards and notes to a little boy who is gravely ill. He happens to be my neighbor's grandson. A lot of prayers are going up for him. Some of my children attend his church and know him. Your prayers will be greatly appreciated also!

Monday, December 3, 2012

Family adjectives

My theme this week (along with Grinch and Random Acts of Kindness) is family. Also Common Core adjectives. this going somewhere?

I made a little quick way to let the kids label their family with adjectives.

Click here to download.

Saturday, November 24, 2012

Evaluation Help From Abby and Cara

I haven't met Abby. But The Inspired Apple's help for my latest evaluation was a God SEND!!! I think one of the most the most difficult part of the evaluation process is actually deciding what to do. I mean we all KNOW that we teach every day with WONDERFUL and ENGAGING lessons. Right? HMMMM.

(I think my best lessons just kind of happen during the flow of the day. One thing leads to another with a connection, etc.) knew my unannounced visit would be a math of language arts lesson during a week. Lucky me--it was narrowed down to two days since it was this week and we only had school for two days! And..another lucky part was that we share our assistant principal with another school. had to be on Monday.

In Math we were working on plane shapes. The lesson was symmetry. So, I pulled out Cara's lesson with the assessment being the turkey using plane shapes.  If I had it to do again I would make the turkey bodies smaller! Some of the turkeys looked naked after covering up their symmetry.  :)

Actually math is in the afternoon and my evaluation was OVER so we could relax a bit with this fantastic lesson. You can find her original post here.

The reading was the lesson that was the unannounced visit. We have been working on making predictions and inferring. I had used Abby's Snow Day Case Files last year. I hope she doesn't mind but I "recreated" it to be a Fall Day. The lesson went well (according to THE evaluator principal). I created a powerpoint to make sure that I named my objectives several times throughout the lesson. What I did forget. gulp. was Abby's powerpoint that contained the posters as a modeling of the inferring strategy. I got off track. Why is it when we are being stared at, listened to, critiqued, that we would forget?

Below is the powerpoint I used. You can find Abby's great plan here.
Fall Break Case Files

With the Cyber sale on Monday you can probably pick up some great ideas! Isn't TPT wonderful????

Monday, November 5, 2012

Character Analysis

We've been working with characters and learning trying to analyze their personalities. But my little firsties have struggled with this. They want to tell what happened and when it happened. But to try to get them to understand the feelings of the characters and why --well that is another story.

We've tried writing from our point of view. And sharing. And talking. And talking some more.

But when Cara over at The First Grade Parade shared a book and what she had done I quickly grabbed her idea and ...I think they understand now. All because of a little pumpkin that no one would pick. We could now think of how the pumpkin felt. What the pumpkin thought. How s.a.d that pumpkin was! Thank you Cara!

And a highlight from another blog. If you need a smile--just step over to A Teeny Tiny Teacher's blog. Oh-my-word! She should be an author! Her post last night was so, so funny! Just what we need some most days in the life of a classroom teacher.

Now, I have one more day off! We had a little fall break this weekend! Four days! I think I'll curl up and relax tonight.

Saturday, October 13, 2012

Blog changes and some freebies and ramblings


These words describe my last couple of weeks. It seems like one step forward and a giant leap backwards.
Not for the kids. It is me.

We have finished our first nine weeks! Grades have been submitted. Power Teacher does the work for us. We just input the grades as we go. At the end of the grading period Power Teacher submits the scores/averages to our grading report card site. Ala--what you see is what you get. No fudging on grades are allowed. Also, the parents have access to the grades on line. So--what is this? they can see the final grades and daily grades if they choose. Can't fool me!

I guess with the discontent in my antsy, grumpy, busy teacher life I needed a little update. So...I've spent my Saturday morning changing, making updates, fiddling around, deciding on a new header and background. If I can do it--so can you. It will probably change again and again though!

On to the classroom...

We've been working on "how to" writing for the past two weeks. It's linked to Common Core 1.W.2 in which they write a sequenced list of events. I made this little large foldable to use the graphic organizers.

How to Brush Your Teeth

I found as I moved on to another "how to" topic this week that the kids do great on the graphic organizer but once they write on it--we will just write something totally different on the published piece.

This week I am going to incorporate three "fall/Halloween animals" into our new unit on research. Since our Treasures story is about animal habitats why not use owls, spiders, and bats as research choices. Since this week is going to be cr.a.zy with PLC grade level meeting Monday p.m., all day conferences on Thursday, and a two hour EPIC school celebration on Friday, I foresee this unit moving on to the following week also.

Research Report

But we will divide into three groups to allow research help as described in Common Core 1. W. 2 and 1. W.  5.

I love using the work station activities in a different way. I place cards around the room and let the kiddos search and organize word families, nouns, etc, It gets them up and moving, allows for peer interaction and help, and gives me a quick assessment!

What do you do that would help me?