Saturday, August 31, 2013

Owl Glyph Product Revision!

Good news! I think I've made my final revision of my Get to Know You Owl Glyph product. If you've already purchased it, just go re-download it to get all the additional pages I added to the packet. Due to the addition of the pages, the price has now gone up. HOWEVER, I am going to have it on sale and price it at its original price during labor day weekend (that's 20% off!!), so get it while you can!

*pictures of the craft added
*owl glyph key for bulletin display
*teacher data collection sheet
*student response sheet

Now, off to my alma meter's first football game of the season! Go Bears!

Friday, August 30, 2013

Five for Friday - First Week of School!!

I made it through my first week of school! This week was SUPER hard to get through. By the time we reached Friday, I had run out of things to do! I clearly didn't have energy and time (didn't go home until 5:30pm every day and continued working at home until midnight!) to blog about each day so thank goodness Doodle Bugs Teaching hosts Five for Friday! And because I'm tired and so out of it, this will just be pictures with captions and nothing more. :)

1. Monday - First Day of School! 
Hallway bulletin. Go Outstanding Owls!
If you're interested in what the "secret message" is (no picture, sorry!), check it out on TpT!
2. Tuesday - Getting to Know You Activities (actually, all week)
Find a friend activity.

Paper bag sharing. (5 things to share with the class)
My Owl glyph. Click on the image below to buy it at my TpT store!
P.S. A revision will be happening this weekend. I figured out some of the kinks when I used it this week. 

Cut-out owls replaced by our owl glyphs!
3. Wednesday - First Day of Second Grade Book

I told the kids that if they were awesome that MAYBE I would teach them some multiplication. ;)
Not my product, but still awesome! If you want to buy it, check it out in Simply Skilled in Second's TpT Store!
4. Thursday - Outstanding Owl Chart
Everyone was chosen randomly to move their clips down for nothing (just to give them a feel of what that is and show how it's not the end of the world). 
Also talked about D.E.A.R. and S.S.R. time.
End of the first week celebratory froyo with a colleague!
Hope everyone had a great week! I am SO happy we have a long weekend! Gonna be busy lesson planning!!! @@

P.S. To all SMART Board users out there...I am having technical issues with mine. Every time I plug my computer to the SMART Board, my mouse freezes and basically cannot be used. Sometimes the mouse will lag but I can't select anything. When I unplug it from the SMART Board, the mouse works just fine. This is most definitely a program since I can't align the SMART Board or set it up or anything. Makes me sad. :( Help?

Sunday, August 25, 2013

Classroom Reveal!

Aaah! I have been a little MIA on the blog. So sorry! Have been SUPER busy with getting the classroom ready and everything. Work officially started on Wednesday with two full days of meetings/workshops and a "full day" of classroom prep (which was really occasionally interrupted with one to two hour long meetings). Thankfully, we were able to get in to the school for a couple hours yesterday and since students officially come back tomorrow, now I have no choice to say that I am now as ready as I can be! Time for the classroom reveal!

(By the way, if you haven't seen my before/after post of the classroom from two weeks ago, I recommend you do so that you can see the true transformation of this classroom!)

Hallway bulletin. Thanks to my colleague for making the tree!
Door bulletin
View of the classroom from the library. My SMART board has been installed! Unfortunately, it's not working correctly (The mouse is not functional when the computer is connected to the SMART board. Anyone know how to fix this?) Got the fabric book covers again as chair pockets. I put a clipboard and a white board in each one. I plan to use both sides of the classroom during instruction so the clipboard will come in handy when the kids don't have a hard surface to right on when they are facing a different direction during instruction. 
The "back" of the classroom. All the pencil boxes and other packets that are sent home on the first day are on the small group table.
Calendar area (Everyday Math)
This will be the bulletin board and book holder for our thematic units. Books displayed right now are school books and community building books. The shelf is all resource books for the kids. Don't have a purpose for the table to the left yet besides for the computer when I use the SMART board. Thinking of moving the listening center to the table. 
One side of the classroom library. Bins labeled with post-its for now. 
Other side of the classroom library and my piano. I am going to Ikea later today to get the cardboard magazine holders for book bins to put on the ledge about the library.
Computer area and listening center. I'm thinking of moving the listening center somewhere else.
Back bulletin and sink area. There used to be a paper towel dispenser (which you can see next to the fridge) and a soap dispenser mounted on the bulletin. You should've seen the trouble I had putting the bulletin paper up and around the stuff! My colleague's mom finally removed the dispensers (which aren't even used) which made it so much easier! Now, the get rid of that random thermostat sticking out in the middle....
Our cubbies area with the remainder of my recycling and our lunch bins.
My teacher area. Still have to go through all the instructional resources that the retired teacher left behind!
 As you can see, I still have some work to do in the classroom, but at least it's ready for the first week of school! I'm just finishing up my first day plans right now. I can't even describe how I'm feeling about the first day of school tomorrow. But I am definitely excited about having some of my old students again! I've already received messages from parents of three of my former students and those kids are excited to be back with me again. Makes me feel good. :)

For those who start tomorrow like me, good luck! Hopefully I'll have the energy to post about the first day when I get home tomorrow. We shall see! :)

Friday, August 16, 2013

Teacher Week - Teacher Tips and BTS13!

Last day of Teacher Week! I can't believe I was able to keep up!

Today's topic is actually the hardest because I feel like most of my posts these last couple of weeks have just been sharing teacher tips! Would it be cheating if I just link you back to them? :D

Okay, fine. Let me think of something else....Hm...

I guess a tip that I may have shared already is USE MUSIC/SOUNDS IN THE CLASSROOM! (Was that loud enough for you?)

Here are ways you can use music/sounds:

1. Transitions - I've attended two workshops by Rick Morris, the guy who created the clip chart, and he shares some great ideas on using nonverbal communication in the classroom. (Definitely go check out his workshops if he's ever in your area!) If you just train teach your students to respond to certain sounds, then you can save a lot of your voice and even transition time. For example, you know those desk bells you usually see at front desks of hotels?
Why not use that to notify your class that you have things to pass out? I have table group leaders whose jobs are to collect and pass out papers and supplies for their group members. Instead of announcing to everyone that I need the group leaders, I just ring the bell and the group leaders automatically come up to me to get the stuff to pass out. 

2. Background Music - I always play some sort of instrumental music (instruments only, no voices) during independent work time for language arts. I tell my students that the music helps their brain work better and they really believe it! Sometimes when they are working on a writing assignment, they will ask me to turn some music on to help their brains turn on too!

3. Voice Level Management - Music is also perfect for managing noise level during workshops. I basically tell the kids that if they can't hear the music, then they are being way too loud. It gives them something to base their voice level with to help them regulate.

4. Academic Integration - You know how those times when you hear a song and then it's just stuck in your head forever? Or if you see something or are doing something and it suddenly reminds you of a song? Well, teach your kids songs about sentences, continents, math facts, etc and they will never forget those things! At the beginning of the year, I taught my kids the sentence song from Handwriting Without Tears. Since then, every time I have the kids writing sentences in our HWT books, at least one kid will automatically start singing the sentence song!

5. Just for Fun - Sometimes it's just fun to sing some songs or dance to some music!

I'm also linking up with Fourth Grade Flipper for her TPT Back to School Linky!
Button created by Fifth in the Middle with graphics by I Teach What's Your Superpower?

I never knew I could see the specific statistics of my products until I saw this linky so it was kind of exciting to see the numbers for each of my products! 

Design by Where the Wild Things Learn 

Animal Report
Back in the days when I taught first grade.

 My most recent product, Get to Know You - Owl Glyph!
Just revised today! I added a student response sheet.
Click on the images to see them in my TpT Store!

So many things on my wish list to choose from! But I guess the one I'm really looking forward to getting is Second Grade Shenanigans's My Reading Workshop Unit!

I'm going to start doing Reading Workshop this year and definitely think this unit will help me with implementing it in the classroom! 

Don't forget to check out TpT on Sunday and Monday for it's huge Back to School sale! Items in my store will be 10% off! :)

Thursday, August 15, 2013

Teacher Week - Taming the Wild!

Classroom management! Oh, how I love classroom management! I'll tell ya, if you don't set those expectations and routines right away, you will be in for an adventure in the classroom! Half (or maybe even more) of having a successful classroom is by managing it correctly!

Of course, I'm not a super expert. This is only my third year of teaching. But I'd like to think I have it down pretty well, especially when everyone is crowding the hallway trying to get to the multipurpose room for an assembly, and my class is the only one that's walking in a straight line and silent. Makes me feel so proud!

Here is what I use:

Individual Student Behavior - Clip Chart
Love my clip chart! I've used it for two years now and it's been working wonders! After using it for a month, I usually like to add another section above "Outstanding". It usually goes with my classroom theme. "Rising Star" for our star theme, "Top Banana" for our monkey theme, and this year, "Outstanding Owl" for our owl theme. It's a super privilege when you reach the special section because not many people typically get that high up!

Everyone starts off on "Ready to Learn" at the beginning of the day. Clips (labeled by student numbers) move up or down based on student behavior (or responsible choices). It's actually much easier to move up than it is to move down (I typically give a verbal warning before moving a clip down). You don't look at the final result until the end of the school day. The students keep track of where they end up in their "Progress Monitoring Calendar" (I don't use the word behavior because then it just becomes a behavior only chart and I've had some parents complain before) which is in their homework folder for parents to see. They also get stickers to put on their sticker charts (located in their pencil boxes) based on where they end up. One sticker for "Good Day", two stickers for "Great Job", three stickers for "Outstanding", and three stickers AND a pencil for "Outstanding Owl".

For the last two years, when the kids filled up their sticker chart, they got to visit the treasure chest. This year, however, I am getting rid of my treasure chest and using Mel's Reward Coupons. I'm excited to try them out!

Class Behavior - Coin Jar

Made this on Word and used our poster maker at school to make it into a poster. Then I laminated it so it can be used over and over again.

This coin jar is used a little differently every year. The original intention was to do a five minute check-in at the end of the day and reflect on how the class performed as a whole. What kind of day did the whole class have?
However, that only worked out during my first year and even so, we didn't get to check in every day. During my second year of teaching, we never seemed to have time for an end of the day check-in. Instead, we did our check in after Daily Five. We would check in and reflect on how we did as a class on following the expectations during Daily Five (reading silently, staying on task, voice level, etc) and give ourselves coins based on that. I actually liked that because it allowed the students to reflect on their own progress as being independent learners, but also on how they worked together as a class to accomplish the tasks. Plus, we were able to check-in every day. I'm not sure what the coin jar will be used for this year. I am going to start Readers Workshop this year so maybe it will be used to reflect on that. Finally, once the coin jar is completely filled (which usually takes a long time), we decide on a prize. The last two years, the coin jar has been conveniently filled (or timed?) close to my birthday so we had a pajama party to celebrate the completion of the coin jar and my birthday. 

Okay, once again, I am talking waaaay too much! Glad you made it through another long post! :D