Wednesday, September 28, 2011

too funny to pass up

Ohmygoodness, y’all! Tomorrow is Open House and we have been working on Community Helpers this week (I will post some of our activities later). Today, we wrote about what we know about Police Officers and I just HAD to get online and share this with all you teachers out there! I have just about shared it with everyone I know because it has just cracked me up today!


It says, “Police have guns. They shoot people. Bad people. They are really incredible. They are very nice….”

and for the part that just has me crackin’ up and sharin’…

“you’re goin’ downtown. Take ‘em in boys!”

haha… okay, seriously! Maybe it’s how Trista read this to me (so serious when reading everything else and then so much enthusiasm in the goin’ downtown and take ‘em in boys! part.

My question: What has this girl been watching?!? I tried asking, but she didn’t know the name and was just beside herself that I didn’t know what she was talking about!

Anyone out there know? (Cops, maybe?!?)

Anyway, this was just to good to pass up, so I had to rush online to share with y’all! Hope you enjoyed her story as much as I did! And you gotta love the little walkie-talkie and the dialogue box with the “take ‘em downtown boys” quote!

Be back later to share some community worker stuff we’ve been doing this week! 2 more days til the weekend! <3

Friday, September 23, 2011

Apples… apples… apples!

Goodness, I l-o-v-e teaching and doing this fun-tastic unit! We started our week off with apple patterns. The kids did this while I made our first taste-test for the week (apple butter).


We did some apple measuring which you can find Slide1here. The kids really enjoyed this… although I must be honest and say that I was a bad teacher and was unprepared for this fully. I went to look for my scales where I have kept them for the past 4 years and they were not there!!! I had to borrow from a fellow teacher and none of my other co-workers had one! AHH!! So my kids had to do this with only one scale—it got a little noisy (again, b/c of my lack of preparing). So I took it up so we could do it later when I got some balance scales from our math lab—low and behold, I FOUND my balance scales (after school) in the same spot they had been in for the past 4 years but in a NEW BOX! Yikes! I had moved them into it over the summer to organize it better and totally forgotten. Oopsie! Sorry kiddies! Anyway, here are a few pics of them measuring their apples.

DSC_1281 DSC_1282

Our next taste-test activity was these a-stinkin’-dorable apple frogs. I made these with my kids last year and they just “ate them up”—okay, okay, bad pun!!! :) P1010105

Super easy to make… just need sliced apples, peanut butter, grapes (cut in half—I use scissors to make it go faster), and chocolate chips (for the “pupil” as one of my genesis’ informed us today!) After chowing down, my kids asked for these “every day for snack” and “when we learn about apples again!” Haha… gotta love it! *Peanut allergy substitute: Shared this with a co-worker who has peanut allergies in her class and we modified it with cream cheese instead' of peanut butter.

Slide1ApplesPoem I wrote… we used it to find rhyming words and chunks we know (or as my kids call say, “I see a chunky monkey!”) We found –ing, –th, –it, –all, –ap)

They got a copy of their own and put it in their writing journals to illustrate what the poem means to them.

Thought this one was cute…


This one was creative… you can’t see it too well but she cut it out in a circle and then added a stem and leaf for the top. I told her how creative and awesome it was and she said, “it’s cause I’m a genius!” lol… guess I’ve said that once or twice this year ;)


We made this cute Johnny Appleseed using tracers. I thought Bayleigh’s was fun and creative! Never had a kid label his pot with a J for Johnny (but this student has really taken to our labeling our pictures mini-lessons so it’s not shocking that she did this!)


Cara’s KWL chart… we will finish Monday. I like finding out what they want to know (how apples get sour/how they “git rottin”)


Parts of an apple… The kids made these with tracers and labeled the parts while I tended to our yummy applesauce! They then put them in their science journals.


Deanna Jump’s Who Took the Apples from the Apple Tree? class book:

      P1010138    P1010140

      P1010137      P1010139

Can you tell that I don’t like white space?!? haha… I just love Trista’s “surprised” look on her face! Priceless!!!

P1010122We wrapped up this week by eating our applesauce and theeeen… bobbing for apples. (had one of my kiddos from last year swing by this AM and he saw we were learning about apples and said, “I remember Johnny Appleseed and it was so fun bobbing for apples,” luckily; none of my firsties heard it this year. So this was a total surprise for them! yay! Two of them actually got apples (and of course it was literally the NEXT person after I switched off my camera!) 

Didn’t get to, but will do this next week:

Life Cycle of an Apple Tree in their science journal. I have my own and have already made copies but I think this one is a LOT cuter! Thanks Cara for posting it for me and everyone else who emailed you!

Apple word puzzles using short a words (-ap, –at, –an, –am). Kids will use a spinner to create words and put them on their puzzle. They’ll cut it out and create their own word puzzle.


Next week… community helpers! Isn’t late September/early October just the *best* time of teaching?!? Kick-starts all the fun units for the rest of the year!!!

Thursday, September 22, 2011

I’m a slacker so here’s a picture packed post!


Hey fellow teacher friends! Hope your week is going well… one more day ‘til FRIDAY! Woot! I have slacked in the picture department, so I figure I should post a couple of things we have done around the room. We did an alphabet scavenger hunt around the classroom and the next day the kids got a new letter and looked through magazines to find pictures that began with the first sound of their letter. I just LOVE to pieces the “fone” picture! I think it was my fav!

DSC_1186 We did our self/friend unit last week and then made self-portraits that turned out to be A-DORABLE! They’re out in the hall with a poem we read that I didn’t get a pic of yet. The kids really enjoyed figuring out how to do their hair! And I <3 the 2nd person because she gave herself pink fingernails! So cute!


Our first Science Unit was with heat so we made a chart about what we knew about heat and then watched a BrainPop, Jr. We discussed what we learned from that video and added (in red) what we learned from the video. Then we did a fun experiment in our journal. We were exploring heat with our mouths and M&Ms (can you say INSTANT hit?!?) We put an M&M in our mouth and recorded our experiment and its findings. This is Roxanne’s journal:


DSC_1263We played a game from Cara’s Place Value (just a plug for it because it’s AWESOME!) I am a teacher who loves these types of activities as a whole group lesson and then transferring it to a Math Tub so we did ours individually and I set out 10 bags (20 in all-10 brown bags, 10 white bags-since I have 21 students) with different objects in it (unifix cubes, keys, links, little animals, counters, beans, poker chips, etc.) They went around the room and did each bag while recording their numbers. I usually do something like this (with skittles last year) but I think this recording sheet was so much more helpful for them to transfer that number to paper. I saw a major difference in their understanding of it after this activity.

To continue with place value, we made number rockets (you have to check out this Alien Counting song… I will have to get the singer’s name because it is HA-LARIOUS! That’s what sparked this rocket activity. Each kid rolled a die and placed their first number in the tens place and second roll in the ones place. They then decorated their rocket and on the back of their number, they drew their tens/ones to visually see it. They were pumped about it and this will go in a Math Tub once everyone is completely finished. Some of them turned out pretty awesome if I do say so myself. Here is my example on the promethean board and another student’s front:


Here is a finished rocket:


So our district has implemented SSR (or DEAR time as it’s known in my room.) We are working on 5 minutes of sustained silent reading to help build fluency for the new STARR test Texas is going to this year(our goal is working towards 15 min. by the end of the year). I pick one student to read to BEVO (Hook ‘em Horns!) everyday. He is our pillow pet. This picture was too cute to pass up and share with you because drumroll… I have my own JUNIE B JONES IN MY CLASS! Doesn’t she look JUST like her?!? I can’t post her face front on but she’s got the glasses and yes… she literally dresses that Junie B-ish every day! Too precious! Check her out as she reads Splat the Cat to Bevo! DSC_1274

DSC_1286 Last pic share… PROMISE! This one particular writing mini-lesson, we used Bevo to help us describe things. Here he is so you can get a better look at him. I did my best (which is all I can ask for—that’s what I tell my kids). I am by no means ANY type of artist… I’m lucky if I can make a stick figure look decent. So anyway, drew Bevo while the kids ate breakfast and then we sat down and described him. We talked about how important it is for our reader to get a good picture in their head of what you are trying to tell them and how describing words can really help the reader see what the author is trying to share in their mind. This is what we came up with:


I had them close their eyes after we completed our chart so I could read their words to them. As I read the words to them the neatest thing was watching their faces picture Bevo in their mind. Their faces were so surprised that their words described him so well. Too precious! Most of them said they could picture him perfectly in their minds. I then set them lose to describe something to a reader.

I hope y’all have a HAPPY Friday! I know I will! We’re making apple frogs, applesauce, bobbing for apples, and finishing any last minute apple stuff! Gotta get some grades in there too and computer lab! Should be a packed day!

Sunday, September 18, 2011

Reading groups


We start our reading groups this week and since I have 6 non-readers, I realized I needed a new way to document them instead of just putting it in my 5 subject spiral that I use for each of my groups. So after searching the web for a guided reading/running records sheet and not being able to find one like I had in mind; I made this. It's pretty self-explanatory and I'm hoping it works for me the way I envision it going. I will keep track of their progress as they move levels, each book we read that day, the date, and I personally like to keep track of how long I met with each group. The skill box is for what we worked on during our meeting. And then there are 6 boxes for each students name to be placed on--which track accuracy, wpm, and comp. I figure this will be easier than keeping track of 6 papers for each student during the group and can be transferred to one page as our intervention team needs. In the past, I was having to go through and copy each page out of the spiral and then mark out the other students names for documentation. Not fun.

Slide2 These next sheets are our district standards. Our Reading Coach gave us these at the beginning of the year. I just made a smaller document so I could tape it in my binder for quick reference as I am reading with kids. I used post-its last year but our levels and fluency changed this year (they were WAY too high!) so I made these. You can get them here and here.


I will have 6 groups this year since I am planning to break up my non-readers into two different groups. Our literacy library is huge and has what appears to be a wonderful resource book that I plan on using to help these babies along. We'll be starting with letter recognition, then letter sounds, and work our way up from there. I will meet with them every day of the week during our FOCUS time (15 min each) and then during our reading group time (which I do during our independent math work--I find they are much more independent during this time and there are not as many interruptions. I personally like to walk around during their independent reading work that we do in our Response Journals and help students and check their understanding.)

Anyone out in blogger-land care to share how they track reading progress/interventions? Or share how they do their reading groups?!? I am always wanting to get better with this.

Friday, September 16, 2011

Classroom Tour...

Y'all... 19 days in the school year and I *FINALLY* figured out my schedule for the AM. Crazy sounding, right?!? Well, this year has seen some changes and now we have breakfast in the classroom and "FOCUS" time at 8:00-8:45 to give us time to work with kiddos. Problem has been though, starting at 8:00 is fine if the kids were done eating and for kids who are independent enough to do things on their own... us, not so much. So we've been doing writing journals and then starting calendar. Going smoothly now and we've been doing Cara's wonderful Calendar Companion (check it out at her TpT store). I blew mine up using PowerPoint and then wrote in the titles for the boxes myself. The kids heart this a lot more than doing it up on the ELMO. We bring our binders down to the floor and do it as we complete the calendar on the wall. The kids have told me they like doing it this way as well--as opposed to their desks. *Sorry for the sideways-sloppy-ness of my writing... I got a little lazy when writing it.

Our calendar wall (we do this with the calendar companion.) I have two helpers and normally we circle the partners in the ones place and write odd/even. We just didn't this morning.

Here are our class agreements (rules) and our awesome clip chart (that you can get here). This is a modified version of Cara's at the first grade parade. Next to it is our schedule, which has been changed since I took that picture in August-but you get the idea. The kids, and other teachers, really love the chart and I just love the idea of it. I've always used a clip chart system where they start on top and move down if they don't make good choices and then they can move back up. But this one seems to work so much better because it rewards those students who are always making good choices and helping others. I don't know how many girls I had last year that stayed on our top color all year and never had to move down--until one of them wanted to know what it was like to move her clip. of course the only way was down and she started making choices she knew would make her move her clip down, just to see what her mama would say if she came home with it moved down.

On to the rest of the classroom... Hope you enjoy taking a sneak peek into my home away from home! Sorry the pictures are so bad... I took the pics while the kids were at the library and didn't turn my classroom lights on :/
Chapter Books, Series Books, Non-Fiction/Fiction Library
Fiction books Alphabetized by Author, Seasonal Books (green basket). I put the books we read as a class in the green bucket after we read them and they can read them during DEAR time or when they are done with their work.
Markers, Extra Crayons, pencils, construction paper
Completed Work Folder... has worked amazingly well this year!
Reading Nook/Safe Place
Promethean Board and Centers
My counter area for my reading/data/teacher info, etc.
teacher desk... kinda messy, so excuse it... it's Friday! ha!
back wall with restroom, fiction/nonfiction part of library, Sherlock (class pet), tubs.
Carpet Area, reading group activities, Sound Cruncher, and Centers
Promethean Board, Class Agreements, Alphabetical part of library
side wall of room that houses more reading group activities/my seasonal books
Tubs (Math and Reading), Browsing Box, magazines
Word Wall, Going for the Gold Clipchart, Schedule, Units