Friday, 19 September 2014

Five for Friday - Cats & Dots & Pirates

Happy Friday. Just popping in to give you an update on some of the things that have been happening in my class (I have been teaching seriously!!) So I am linking up with Five for Friday with Doodle Bugs Teaching.

When reviewing the letter sound "a" we read a lot of fun books including Splat the Cat (who I love, don't tell the other two famous cats - but Splat is my favourite!! so darn cute!!). One of our activities was making these adorable Splat the Cat paintings.

I found the idea on Pinterest of course!! I drew the outline and the students filled it in with paint. Then they used a paper comb to make the fur fuzzy. I made templates for the face and paw pads. We added googly eyes and whiskers if they wanted. On the side they cut and paste words with the "a" sound that they could read.

We celebrated International Dot Day (September 15th). This is my first time celebrating but there is so much teaching you can do with a dot. We used dot stickers to create a picture and then counted the dots. I placed coloured dots around the room and students had to find them and tally the number of dots for each colour. Students coloured a beautiful dot to decorate my desk. Next year I would like to add in some Twister games and 3D dot making and a class mural.

If you were doing it with older grades I think this book would be a great tie in!

We celebrated Talk Like a Pirate Day ( a day early - it is today!!). We made pirate scarves for our students using red plastic tablecloths from the Dollar Store and eye patches from paper and pipe cleaners. We were working on the letter "r" or in this case "argh" so they also got letter "r" hooks that I cut on my Cricut and we added to popsicle sticks.

Pirate Day included a treasure hunt in the hallway for "r" words. At the end of the treasure hunt were these adorable treasure bags (made by one of my teaching partners). Inside gold doubloons (a.k.a dollar store coins) and mini-granola bars.

Pirate day also included a math activity - students pulled a gem from the treasure box and had to model their number (tricksy teachers only included numbers 5-10 on the gems!).

It also included this cute craftivity modified from this pack from Babbling Abbey.

It also included a few books

and a few videos

and this song - only on GoNoodle

Hope you had a great week. I am looking forward to this weekend - I always think I am going to get so much done - then Sunday night comes....

Tuesday, 9 September 2014

Tried it Tuesday - New School & New Grade

I can not believe how long it has been since I blogged!! I know everyone understands what the start of a new school year is like so I will not go on and on about how busy I have been or how tired I am at the end of the day - you have been there, you know. But I really want to share some of my experiences with you, so I am sitting down to blog and I am linking up with my friend Holly at Fourth Grade Flipper for her linky party....

So, what is my tried it you may ask....I tried moving schools and changing grades!! This is huge for me. I am not a fan of change to say the least - I love knowing my students and their families and my coworkers and what to expect - LOVE it!!! I loved the feeling of community at my old school - and that is why I stayed there for all 15 years of my teaching career. But I had the chance to work at a school that is 30 minutes closer to my house and felt that I really had to go for it. Also it is a brand new school so I would not be walking into a situation where everyone else was comfortable and knowledgeable - we would all be uncomfortable together!!

This change in schools also led to a change in grades. I am now teaching Grade 1 with 19 students.

Something else I am trying is not to freak out every minute of the day : )

The school change and grade change were big enough stressors. Add to that a brand new school that was barely ready on time for opening!!!  We started school on Tuesday, September 2nd and we got into the school to set up our brand new classes on Saturday, August 29th!!!

Here a few pictures of my classroom on the Saturday morning when I arrived at 7 a.m.



Here are a few pictures of my classroom on Tuesday morning before the students arrived....

My teacher desk - arrived this weekend!!
My computer table - still no computer!!

Here is our carpet area - without carpet : )
Here are a few things we have been working on..

Our class birthday graph using monthly cards from A Burst to First

Our daily graphs from Teacher's Clubhouse and sponge idea from Teacher Tipster.

We started out our day talking about tools - it will lead into our community helpers unit.

Then we talked about tools that we need to help us learn- I gave each student a red toolbox - a basket I spray painted red - to hold some tools for learning.

Our Listen Buddy lesson.
Some of our work on Chrysanthemum

So my tried it is an ongoing adventure to say the least. I am not sure who is learning more right now, me or my students - but hey, at least some one is learning : )

I will try to keep you posted on what is happening in our classroom on a regular basis - but please forgive me if days go by without hearing from me  -  I am trying : )

Saturday, 30 August 2014

Classroom Economy (Freebie) - Spark Student Motivation

Happy Saturday!! I am just popping in to share one of the strategies I will be using this year for classroom management. So of course I am linking up with my good friend Joanne at Head Over Heels for Teaching for...

For the last two years I have been using a clipchart (read about it here). Earlier this week I did a home visit for a student that will be coming to my class and was informed that this system will NOT work for her - that a classroom token economy system would be better.

I have done a classroom economy for a number of years (read about it here) but tried moving away from it the last two years. I still used it before Christmas (read about it here) and at Easter (read about it here) and do really like it - I just find it can be a little expensive.

I will be returning to using classroom money (the bankbooks I used with older kids seems a little bit too much for Grade 1's right away). Here is what my classroom money looks like (only photocopied on to coloured paper!):

Click here if you would like a copy (sorry if the teacher does not look like you!!)

We are going to keep our money in these pencil cases I picked up at The Dollar Tree. I have used envelopes before and putting it in a folder in our desk - but again with the little ones, I wanted something a little more concrete for them to use and that would be less likely to get lost in their desks. I am making labels for them - just as soon as my class list is finalized!!

This is my treasure box. I bought it years ago at IKEA. I hope to have school related items as well as a few dollar store treats.

Just need to find the lock - somewhere in the pile of boxes and bins!!!

So that is it, one of the ways I hope to keep my class motivated and on task this year : )

Wednesday, 27 August 2014

Why'd I Buy It? Linky - Bathroom Pass {Freebie}, Book Storage & Spinners

Eeek!! I can not believe this is it - the last week of summer holidays. Which everyone knows are not really holidays at all but full time prep work!!

I want to share a few of the things that I have bought for my classroom. I'd love to see what you have bought for your classroom (or you!) too - so be sure to grab the button and link up or leave me a comment with some more shopping ideas!!

First up. I bought some id clips for my bathroom/hall passes.

I bought the pack of 12 at Walmart for $2.00. Students will clip the passes onto their shirts - hopefully - I am not sure how long it will take use to learn this procedure - we may have to move lanyards!! But hey, $2.00 is not bad!!

If you want a copy of the passes, click here, you could use clips or lanyards or put them on the outside of hand sanitizers.

Next up, I bought these baskets.

They are collapsible, they are soft, they store large picture books and they have a chalkboard on the front panel!! I am a sucker for anything with chalkboard : )

I am using these baskets for themed picture books. I have limited (read - very, super, limited) shelving in my new classroom and need to find alternate ways of displaying the gazillion books I like to have available for my students. They will be on the floor in our reading area. Here are the first two theme baskets.

Lastly I bought these spinners.

I bought these through Scholastic using my bonus points. I first heard about these from my friend Joanne at Head Over Heels for Teaching. I plan to use them for anything and everything. Making words (starting letters, word families), math (add the numbers the spinner lands on, write a question for the answer we land on) and just for fun!!

Spinner in action on our freezer - I am sure the students will love this!!

I'd love for you to link up - if you do be sure to stop be some of the other blogs to see what they bought and give them support for their purchases as only other teachers can!!!