Tuesday, July 31, 2012

New School Year Resolutions, Giveaway Reminder, and Magical Product Swap!!

Happy Tuesday Friends,
I stepped foot in my classroom for the first time since summer vacation started today! I just love the cleanliness of a classroom after summer break...floors sparkling and waxed, everything wiped down and clean. I started getting some things organized and I think little by little, things will come together nicely. I will take some pictures tomorrow when I go in to work some more. 
I thought that this would be a perfect time to make some New School Year Resolutions!!
  Amanda from Teaching Maddeness is having a linky party on new school year resolutions!! I am on board! Here are mine:

1. Organization, organization, organization!! I always begin organized and lose my way along the school year. I am more than dedicated to staying organized this year thanks to blogger tips and pinterest!!

2. My principal has a saying that she likes to use: "You can't stop the waves, but you can learn to surf." I think that is so true. My resolution is to be positive and go along with any changes or bumps in the road this year with a good attitude.

3. Plan ahead! I admit, this is not my strong point. My goal is to stay a few months ahead with everything & have it at my fingertips when it's time to teach it! 

4. Be the best teacher that I can be! I always think there's room for self improvement & I want to focus on certain areas of teaching that I think I can improve at!! 

Do you have some New {School} Year Resolutions? Link up with Amanda at Teaching Maddeness and share them!
Don't forget my 650 Follower Giveaway!! It ends on Friday! 6 bloggers have a chance to win 6 gift cards. Click on the picture to head to that post! :)

Stay tuned for tomorrow!! I'm so excited to participate in the Magical Product Swap hosted by Jessica from Mrs. Stanford's Class!! :)
I can't wait!
Have a Terrific Tuesday!,

Monday, July 30, 2012

Monday Made It & You Know You're A Teacher When linky...

Hi friends, it's me again!!,
I had a great time with my in laws who were down from Connecticut & they left earlier today. I just couldn't miss a Monday Made It with Tara from 4th Grade Frolics, so I put together something that I wanted to make for my classroom.
Last week, I bought these fans. I printed out a pirate boy or girl to glue on each one to hang above each table in my classroom. It's a no-frills project, but it's another thing off the to-do list! :)
Here it is...

On another note, I saw this linky from one of my favorite gals, Tanya Dwyer, from A+ Firsties and knew that I had to link up!
I must warn you that I could go on for hours about this.
You Might Be A Teacher If...
1. The entire wall of your home office looks like this during the summer (pleasssee don't judge- it's coming to school with me tomorrow!):

2. The overflow makes it's way to your dining room (again, pleassee don't judge LOL!)

3. You might as well hand your summer paychecks over to Target and the Dollar Tree.

4. When you have 100 items on your Teachers Pay Teachers wishlist- I promise, this is NOT an exaggeration! :)

5. When you are sneaking behind your husband's back to buy cute items for the new school year. I guess what he doesn't know won't hurt him! ;)

6. When you are addicted to Pinterest projects and blogging all summer long! Show of hands, please?

7. When you can't wait for the new school year to start again!!! :)
Come and link up with sweet Tanya over at A+ Firsties and share your ideas for "You Might Be a Teacher If..."
Until the next time!,

Welcome Guest Blogger Joell from Totally Terrific Teaching!+ Giveaway!

Happy Monday Friends!,
I hope you have been enjoying the guest bloggers on here over the past few days. Sadly, I am going to have to skip Monday Made It for now. I still have a project I am working on so I may get it up later, depending on how things go around here! :) I still have family in town so I have another special guest blogger for today.
Please welcome Joell from...

I am so honored to be a guest poster for Lisa's wonderful blog.  I'm a  blogger newbie and I'm learning tons, but everything seems to take forever to figure out.  My name is Joell and I have taught first grade in a title 1 school for 18 years.  The funny thing is I was NEVER going to teach first grade.  Now I love it so much, I can't imagine teaching the older kids.

One of the big professional goals in my school this past year was keeping kids engaged and getting multiple responses to questions.  Ilike lists, so I thought I would just list some of the ideas we came up with.

High Tech 

  • Clickers.  Ourschool purchased clickers for students to use.  Pros:  I loved using the clickers, and my students did too.  Some of my kids held the clickers out like they were laser guns and would shoot the screen with their answers.  Cons:  To get the most out of them, I felt like I needed to make powerpoints with the questions built in.  Some of my lower students and ESL students had a hard time figuring out how to use them.  
  • iPad.  I only have one iPad in my classroom and I'm thankful for it!  Last year my kids loved it when I used the doceri app to control my computer through the iPad.  I could use this in conjunction with my document camera, or with any website or computer program.  In some activities all students had to write down their answers, then I chose someone to write or select the answer on the iPad.  They knew if they were off task or didn't answer they wouldn't get to use the iPad.  Pros:  Kids loved it, I get away from the computer and document camera and move around the room.  Cons:  Only 1 iPad, so we have to take turns.  
  • Cameras.  I was fortunate enough last year to get a grant through donors choose.  My classroom got 6 digital cameras.  My students loved to use the cameras for assignments.  It was a wonderful assessment tool, I would tell them to go take pictures of nouns, or things that start with p, etc. and see what they found.  I gave them timers and sent them out in groups.  They had to come back to class when their timer beeped.  Pros:  Great assessment opportunity, can use the photos to make books and add to the class website.  Cons: Getting the pictures off the cameras to the computer, keeping track of who took which picture.
  • Class Dojo.  Class Dojo is a website and if you haven't signed up for or used this wonderful resource, you should hurry over there.  I add positive behaviors such as "smart answer", "contributing to class" and "good listener" to it and give out points for that.  I also use my iPad to run Class Dojo and on occasion I'll give it to a student to give points out.  Pros:  Free, easy to use, students love it, immediate feedback to students, tracks behaviors.  Cons: Can't think of any at the moment.

Cooperative Learning

  • Whole Brain Teaching. WBT is a great resource for teachers, and best of all, their stuff is free. I have used some of their classroom management stuff and this year will be using some of their lesson planning stuff.  They're all about active learning.
  • think/pair/share.  Tried and true.  Last year I gave my students several different response partners:  milkand cookie partners, peanut butter and jelly partners, etc.  The share part of this can also be done in a written form rather than verbal.  Or they can share with another pair rather than the whole class.
  • jigsaw.  Groups students into topical groups.  They become experts in the topic, then go back to their home groups and teach what they learned to everyone else in their group.
  • peer tutoring.  My favorite way of doing peer tutoring is to reward both the learner and the teacher.  "If Johnny can do problems 10 and 11 by himself when I come back, you both get a reward."  This helps the tutor focus on teaching rather than just giving answers.  

Low Tech Response Systems 

  • Gel Boards.  I love my gel boards because there is no need for an eraser or marker, they use magnetic pens and erase with their hands.  
  • white boards.  Some people have kids keep markers in socks for these.  This year I'm going to have them just keep their markers in their pencil boxes all the time and see how well they handle it.  (If they lose or ruin their marker, they need to "buy" a new one from me.)
  • sheet protectors.  Put papers in sheet protectors, students use dry erase markers to write their answers on the sheet protector.  I'm using these for Whole Brain Teaching's Super Speed 100.
  • Response cards.  These are very fun and easy to make.  Here's how:
All you need is construction paper and a stapler.
Fold the paper in half "the hamburger way"

Fold up a flap about 1-1.5 inches from the bottom, and repeat on the other side.
It should look like this.
Staple along both sides to close the pouch.
Students insert their hand in the bottom and can hold up their answers for you  to see.
Make cards to go inside.  Students can make these, or you can.  If you laminate them, they can use dry erase markers and re-use them.  The prompt for this might be:  which vowel is in the word class.
Do you understand how to do your assignment?
I use these for true/false, thumbs up/thumbs down type questions.

Students can make their own number sentences.

Physical Responses

  • thumbs up/down.  I sometimes use thumbs sideways.  Have students hold their thumbs in front of their chests instead of up in the air.  This makes it harder for friends to just copy what everyone else is showing.  I've also done "1,2,3 show" where they decide which one they're going to show, but don't show until the cue "show".
  • Four corners.  Have students get up and move.  They move to a certain area of the room depending on their answer to a question.  This can be really fun with opinions.
  • Blow it in your hand.  Have students think their answers and blow it in their hand (that's kind of like a think time thing.)  Then they answer on cue.
  • When practicing with pattern blocks, coins or other small items, I'll have them hide their answers in their hands, then on the count of 3 show it.
  • Physical demands:  wiggle your nose if it rhymes, touch your toes if it doesn't.  Etc.
  • My first graders love the silliness of talking to strange things.  When we practice  new vocabulary I have them say it to the floor, say it to your chair, say it to your crayon.  Say it in a spooky voice, sing it to your paper, etc.  Many of my kids don't have literate parents, or don't have parents home in the evenings, so I tell those kids for their reading practice to "read it to your pillow."  Then have them suggest weird items they can read to.  
I was going to write about incentive systems, but I think this is plenty long, so I'll save that for another day on my own blog.  Thanks, Lisa for allowing me to be a guest blogger!

Totally Terrific Teaching

Thank you to Joell for guest blogging for me today. She has a great blog so head on over & check her out! 
Just a reminder about my 650 follower giveaway!!! I'm giving away 6 gift cards to 6 followers. Please click on the picture & check it out if you haven't already. It ends on Friday. 

It looks like I am going back to work tomorrow. I always like to get a jump start on the school year! Wish me luck as I will have my 3 year old in tow! Thank goodness for my Kindle Fire and Netflix! :) Pictures to come as I prepare my classroom for this year.
Have a Marvelous Monday!,

Sunday, July 29, 2012

Welcome Guest Blogger Maria from Curious Firsties!!

Happy Sunday Friends!,
I have another guest blogger for you today! Before I hand it over, I just wanted to remind you of a few giveaways. 
First, my good friend Michelle at Mrs. G's Kindergarten in Heels is having her first giveaway for 50 followers! She is giving away a $25 Amazon gift card, so head on over & enter!!

Yvonne from Sassy in Second is giving away a product from her TPT store!!

Also, don't forget my Back to School 650 follower giveaway!! I'm giving away a gift card to 6 followers! Click on the picture to head over to that post!

Now without further adieu, please welcome my guest blogger for today, Maria from Curious Firsties!!
This summer a group of teachers from my school went to the Literacy Collaborative in Columbus, Ohio.  It was great learning for three days and now I'm currently reading one of the books called, Guiding K-3 Writers to Independence : The New Essentials.  This book is edited by Patricia L. Scharer and Gay Su Pinnell. 
Click here to view the book on Amazon. Sorry, I couldn't figure out how to get the image of the book here.  I'm still new to the bloggy world.  :)

I have enjoyed reading this book and I believe it'll help me a TON because I will be teaching our Curious Firsties writing.  One thing I have learned from this book that I am going to use a lot is to "Re-See" your writing. "Re-Seeing" your writing is just like revising, but I love the words "Re-see".  I think my firsties will understand it better.  Basically, your students will choose to: add details, delete unimportant information, or change the order of their story and reread, reread, reread!  This is what I've come up with so far to help them out.  I used fonts from either Kevin and Amanda or Miss Tina.  I can't remember which ones I downloaded from who.  UGH!  Anyone who can help me out, I would love to give appropriate credit where credit is due.  :)

I also worked on the following anchor chart to use with my firsties.  I will cover up each bullet and reveal them as we move through this process.           

I feel like it needs a little more color, what do you think?  Any other ideas out there for "Re-Seeing" your writing??????
Thanks Maria for stopping by to guest blog!! Head on over & check out her blog! I have one more guest blogger for you tomorrow. Stay tuned! :)
Have a Sensational Sunday!,

Saturday, July 28, 2012

Welcome Guest Blogger Brenda from You Might Be A First Grader!

Happy Saturday Friends!,
I am spending the weekend with family, so I have some guest bloggers lined up for you over the next few days. First, I just want to remind you of my 650 follower giveaway going on right now. Please click on the picture to go over and enter!
Please welcome my first guest blogger today! Brenda from...

You Might Be a First Grader...
As many of you may know Lisa is enjoying some of her summer break with family and has asked for some guest bloggers this week. I jumped on board! I have been a fan of hers from the moment I stumbled upon her adorable blog. I feel so excited, honored, nervous, and anxious to be blogging here. She has a great group of followers. I see all the love she gets in the comments when I'm blog stalking checking my Google Reader. 

My name is Brenda and I blog over at You Might Be a First Grader... I've been teaching first grade for a few years and decided to throw my hat into blogging ring this past spring. It is such an awesome community. This year, for the first time since I've been at my school, we're having a "Meet the Teacher" night before school starts. Normally we have an Open House mid-September but the district decided to do something new this year. I'm really looking forward to it. I don't know about you but I have a lot of parents bring their firsties in to meet me and see their classroom before school begins. While I'm thrilled to meet them my room is usually in less than stellar condition (because I'm working so diligently, haha) and I'm usually sporting a pony tail and t-shirt. Now I have an opportunity to prepare, decorate, pick out an outfit, slap and on some make-up. However, I also have to prepare stuff for my first back to school night! I thought I'd share a few of my creations with you and hopefully they'll give you ideas or help you out.

Parent Volunteer Sign Up Sheet

I made printable labels to adhere to mini-candy bars or other treats
A little scavenger hunt to have them find things in the room (and give them something active to do)

If you'd like to download these things for free then click here to go to my TpT store and download. It's a zip file so you get them all in one download.

I want to thank Lisa for giving me this chance to talk with you all. Please feel free to check out my first grade blog.

Thank you Brenda for stopping by & guest blogging for me today. Head on over & show her some love! She has a wonderful blog!
I'll be back tomorrow with another guest blogger for you! :)
Have a Super Saturday!,

Friday, July 27, 2012

It's Fabulous Blogger Friday!!!

Happy Fabulous Friday!!
It's Friday again and that means it time for Fabulous Blogger Friday!! Today I'm excited to be featuring Storie from Stories by Storie! :)

Grade or Subject You Teach:
2nd Grade

What inspired you to become a teacher?
I wish I could tell you that special moment in time where that one teacher just made everything click, but it wasn't like that for me. I can only remember that in the fourth grade, I suddenly wanted to become a math teacher.

Describe your teaching "personality": 
I teach a structured balance of auditory, visual, and kinesthetic styles. I like to teach in small groups to meet the needs of my students. I tend to put in a lot of extra hours to make my lessons meaningful and engaging for students.

What is your favorite subject to teach?
I go back and forth between Reading and Math.

What made you decide to begin blogging?
There's something about blogging that inspires me to be a better teacher. It's like having an endless supply of colleagues who are willing to share and collaborate with you every step of the way.

If you could give a piece of advice to your fellow teachers and bloggers, what would it be?
Can I ask for advice instead? For those of you with little ones at home, what tips do you have for keeping school at school so you can focus on your family at home?

Finish this sentence: You know you're a teacher when:
Deciding on a name for your child becomes a near-impossible task. Have you seen that episode of How I Met Your Mother?

Any personal links that you would like to share with readers (TPT, TN, Pinterest, Etsy)?
I do have a TpT store that I would love for you to check out: 

Here is a freebie for you that Storie wanted to share. Please click on the picture to download:

A BIG thank you to Storie for letting me feature her! If you are interested in participating in Fabulous Blogger Friday, please email me at fsuteach81@yahoo.com
Also, another reminder from me about my 650 follower giveaway!! Please click on the picture and enter for your chance to win 1 of 6 giftcards!!
I have a few guest bloggers lined up for you over the next few days!! So sit back & enjoy the ride!
Have a fabulous Friday friends!,

Thursday, July 26, 2012

What's the Word on Weekly Reader and Scholastic News + FREEBIE!!

Happy Thursday Friends!,
Before I get started, I posted my Back to School 650 Follower Giveaway yesterday!! Click on the picture to head over & enter if you haven't already! You don't want to miss out. There's 6 gift cards up for grabs & 6 winners!! :)

Also...I'm extending my Christmas in July sale in my lil' ol' TPT store since TPT was down for most of the day yesterday. You can get 20% off of all of my products until midnight, so head on over & go shopping!! :) Click HERE to go to my store.
Now on to my topic for today!
I wanted to talk about one of my favorite classroom resources today: Weekly Reader & Scholastic News.
  Weekly Reader Grade 1
How many of you have used Weekly Reader or Scholastic News in your classroom?
Weekly Reader and Scholastic News is a year long program where they provide you with a reader for every week of the school year. My students love this because they are all nonfiction. There is something about nonfiction reading that my students can't seem to get enough of at this age.
You can order it by grade level. On average it's about $4.29/student. It sounds a bit steep, but I can vouch for my students last year & tell you that they absolutely loved it. Every Friday for morning work, my students would read the Weekly Reader independently. Then, there is a little Q & A section  for them to complete. Later on in the morning, we would go over the Weekly Reader together and discuss it.
I love this because....
a) It gets my students reading about topics of interests, even those students who struggle with reading.
b) It aligns to Common Core Standards!!
c) It increases reading vocabulary and comprehension.
d) It helps them use their analytical skills.
This year, I decided to go with Scholastic News instead of Weekly Reader, because I liked how they had an interactive activity on each page for students to complete. Here's an example of an issue:
I decided for this year to extend it even further. I am going to have them complete a sheet where they have to write down 2 important things that they learned from the Scholastic News & draw a picture. Click below on the sheet if this is something that you would be interested in having. It is free in my Teachers Pay Teachers store! Click on either picture to download it!

Have a Thrilling Thursday!,

Wednesday, July 25, 2012

Let's Celebrate with a Back to School 650 Follower GIVEAWAY +TPT sale!

Hi Friends...Lisa here!
I have some great news for you today! It's time for a giveaway!!! :)
I was trying to think of something creative and different to celebrate...something that would benefit you, especailly at this time of the year, so I came up with this Back to School 650 Follower Giveaway!:

Here's the scoop...there will be "6" winners chosen for 650 followers!!! 

1 winner will win:
$10 Teachers Pay Teachers
1 winner will win:
$10 to MPM School Supplies (which seems to be the talk of blogland right now!)
1 winner will win
$10 to Scrappin Doodles
1 winner will win
$10 to Amazon (what teacher doesn't need books??) :)
1 winner will win:
$10 to Target

1 winner will win:

$10 to Dollar Tree

There you have it...all of the things that you need to kick off a great school year. Please enter below via Rafflecopter! Good luck to all of you. The giveaway will end on Friday August 3rd! Thank you for all of your encouragement & support that you give me & my blog!! :)

Also, my friend Tori over at Tori Teacher's Tips needs your help! She needs you to help her by voting on your favorite picture for her Look Where I Was Caught Reading linky party. Please head on over & vote!! :)
One more thing...
I'm participating in the Christmas in July sale!! All of the items in my tiny Teachers Pay Teachers store will be marked down 20% today once it's back up from maitenance! Happy Shopping!! :)

1st - Reading Strategies, Writing, Math - TeachersPayTeachers.com

Have a Wonderful Wednesday!!,