Wednesday, October 2, 2013

Our Schedule

Hi Teacher Friends!

We've been very busy this week in third grade. We have been learning about rocks and fossils in science. I have lots of pictures to share of the projects we've been doing with that. We are also finishing up our addition chapter in math.

I thought I'd stop in for a quick post tonight and give you a peek at our daily schedule. This is a very rough schedule and it's not uncommon for us to change our plans on the spot. I try to stick as close to this as possible.

8:30- Kiddos start arriving and go to breakfast. After breakfast, they start their morning work, which is a math and reading common core practice page. Here's a link to the math one:

9:00- Announcements, Pledge of Allegiance, Star Spangled Banner and School Pledge

9:05- We work together to go over the common core sheets mentioned earlier

9:20- Restroom break

9:25- Whole group Language Arts from the Wonders reading series

10:40- Specials (PE, library, music or keyboarding)

11:20- Read Aloud

11:35- Lunch

12:05- Recess

12:40- Checklist work and small group reading. Most kids work on a weekly checklist while I have guided reading with small group. The checklists usually include practicing spelling words in various mediums, writing in journals, reading silently, doing comprehension worksheets and taking AR tests. The kids have all week to finish the checklists. I usually only get to one or two guided reading groups each day.

1:10- Cursive. Yes, I know it's not  on common core. But we still like to expose them to it. It's not for a grade, we only do a few lines a day, and they absolutely LOVE it.

1:20- Math. We're using McGraw Hill My Math and I am so obsessed with it

2:20- Science or Social Studies

2:50- Daily Points. OWL binders, pack up

3:05- Read Aloud

3:15- Dismissal

Well that's our crazy day. It took a few weeks, but we've finally settled into a routine and it feels so nice. I also do two or three brain breaks throughout the day. I'll put on a song like Tooty Tah and we dance. Fridays are the kids' favorite brain break days because we do the Cha Cha Slide for one of them.

Know what else my kids like? That silly little Geico Hump Day commercial. On Wednesdays, if we are quiet and responsible all day, we watch that video in the last few minutes before dismissal. I hope all of YOU had a great Hump Day too!

Monday, September 16, 2013

The Quiet Game

Good Evening!

I'm sorry for neglecting you all for so long. Between pre-assessments, diagnostic tests, establishing routines, open houses, assemblies and more, I kind of lost track of time and put blogging on the back burner.

I wanted to share one of my very favorite behavior management strategies ever with you.

Behold the Quiet Game.

We all have times when you're waiting with a group of kids in the hallway. Maybe waiting for 3 or 4 stragglers to finish up in the restroom, maybe waiting for the previous class to finish so you can lead your kids into the library, whatever.

To keep everyone quiet during those times, we play the quiet game. It's so easy. I start by picking the friend who is being the most quiet. Then, he or she becomes "it" and picks the friend who is being the most quiet. And so on. You would NOT believe how much my kids love this game. They BEG to play the quiet game. Every other group of kids I've ever tried it with have gotten bored with it after about two days, but these guys love it.

We get SO many compliments from other teachers for being quiet in the hallway. I have the quiet game to thank for that!

Hope you can use this with your kids and hope you have a wonderful week!

Sunday, August 18, 2013

My Classroom!!

School starts tomorrow! I can't believe it. It seems like just yesterday I was sitting at graduation. I am so excited to meet my sweet third graders! 

After many, many late nights, my classroom is ready to go! My theme is owls and bright colors and I am so happy with how it turned out!

Without further ado, here is my first ever classroom! 

This is my door! I cut the tree out myself and painted the leaves on. The owls in the window have the kids' names. The curtains are noise-reducing and I found them at Walmart! 

This is the view when you walk through the door!

My computers are to the left when you walk in. The green bulletin board will hold our rules once we make them together on the first day. The pocket chart will be our schedule. 

This is where I will write our daily objectives for each subject. I cut the letters on my cricut. 

This is my desk. The red bulletin board is for my schedules, notes etc. The top of the green shelf behind my desk now has some pictures of my friends and family. I just hadn't added them when I took this. 

I'm really proud of this part. I originally saw it on Pinterest and modified it a bit. The kids' names are on the magnets. As long as they complete their homework, their names will stay in the club. A missed homework assignment will mean taking the name off of the board. At the end of the month, anyone who is left in the club will get lunch with me. 

The kids will go to this check-in station when they arrive in the morning. They will put their homework in the tray and their binder in the basket. I'll have a post on my binder system coming soon. The right side of the table holds my supplies to share with kiddos who don't have their own.

This is my guided reading table. 

My cabinets. All of the reading posters are from Really Good Stuff, which I am completely obsessed with. 

This is my behavior chart that I shared in an earlier post. 

 I love this cart. I got it for Christmas. The letters were cut on the cricut and stuck on with Mod Podge. 

This is the board behind my library. The tree on the right is my job chart. The kids' names will be on little owls and go inside the houses. My calendar is on the other side. We won't be having a full calendar meeting, but I couldn't resist putting one up for reference. 

My rug! It took me forever to find one I wanted. I like the look of the color blocks, but most of the ones I found were ABC and I wanted something a little more "grown up". After weeks of searching, I found this multiplication/division rug at Toys R Us. It's perfect for 3rd grade! 

My shelves full of books! I wanted to share a little story about the shelves. My awesome cousin actually had this classroom before me. She is now the principal of our school (and she so deserves it). She gave me everything that was in her classroom, but my most favorite would have to be the shelves. Her dad (my uncle, obviously) made them himself. They are perfect and so much sturdier than anything that could have come from a store. I love that such a special family keepsake is in my classroom!

Long before I had a classroom of my own, I decided that I wanted this beautiful quote to be the centerpiece of my library. It means the world to me and I can't wait to put many, many stories into the hearts of my sweet  little ones big kids! 

My chair and easel

Kids' names on the lockers. We have 12 lockers per room, so they share them. 

Owl curtains! For you fellow owl lovers, they're at Walmart. 

Inside of my door. The top poster is for bus lists and the bottom is for upcoming events!

That's it! Thank you for reading! Our first day of school is TOMORROW! I'm sure I'll have lots of stories to share with you then! 

Sunday, June 9, 2013

Owls Behavior Chart

I had never planned on having a theme for my classroom. That is, until Pinterest came along and I saw so many precious things that I just couldn't resist.

I (like many of you, I'm assuming) have jumped on the Owl bandwagon. I also have a lot of materials with polkadots and stripes, so my self-titled theme is going to be "Owls and Bright Colors." Original, I know. ;)

Tonight I made a behavior chart. It's certainly not anything new. This basic format has been floating around Pinterest for as long as Pinterest has existed. Using the basic outline as an inspiration, I created my own chart. I'm really proud of how it turned out.

I bought some cute owl clip art from the much-loved Scrappin Doodles. I got the black and white outline version and colored the owls on Paint to fit what I had in mind. Then, I typed up the labels and glued them to construction paper. Then I glued all of them together. Quick and easy.

The titles for each color are: Purple- Hey now! You're an "Owl"-Star; Blue- "Owl"standing Job; Green- Ready to Learn; Yellow- Stop and Think; Orange- Make Better Choices; Red- Tomorrow Will Be a Better Day

All of the kiddos will have a clothespin with their name on it. Everyone will start each day on green and can move up or down the chart depending on how they are behaving. 

At the end of the day, everyone who is on green will get one point, blues will get two and purples three. At the end of every month, the students will be able to spend their points in a class auction. I'll definitely share more about that once we actually have one. ;)

Hope you all had a great weekend! 

Thursday, June 6, 2013

Birdie, Birdie...

Okay, I can not take credit from this. The awesome first grade team at my Partnership school (explained in the post below) thought of it. But it's such a fun idea that I had to share it with you.

We had been working hard on a bird unit for a few weeks. At the end, the children got to take on the role of birds as they made their very own nests.

The base of the nests were made by rolling down the top of a brown paper bag until it was about 2 inches high. The children used their hands to shape the bottom of the bag into a circle. Then, the children had to find a place in the classroom to hide their nests. They were encouraged to use their new knowledge of birds to find the "best" place. It needed to be away from predators and out of the rain.

While the children were at PE, we spread bits of tissue paper, Easter basket grass, ribbon and yarn all over the floor. After picking up the children, the activity was explained to them. They had learned that birds use their beaks to collect materials for their nest, so the children would be using their mouths- no hands allowed! They picked up the materials with their mouth and carried it back to their nest. As you can imagine, this caused a lot of giggles. They had a blast, though. It was a great way for them to really connect with something birds do.

With all of the excitement from our bird unit, some of our little friends even brought in treasures from home to share with the class. We got to see a big feather and a real nest during share time. 

I hope you are able to use this fun activities with the little birdies in your class! :)

Monday, June 3, 2013

Fun with Nonstandard Measurement, Plus a FREEBIE!

Last year, I had the incredible opportunity to participate in a yearlong partnership program through my college. We were in a local school all day every Tuesday and Thursday. I am so thankful for that extra observation and experience; I truly feel that it made me more prepared for student teaching.

 Anywho... one day per quarter was designated as our "integrated teaching day". We taught about a specific topic for an entire day (as a junior, the first one seemed soooo daunting. Last one? Piece of cake.) My day for winter quarter was all about nonstandard measurement. I think that of my three days, this is the one I was most proud of.

 For one of our activities, we used snacks as a nonstandard measurement tool. The students (first graders, by the way) could choose whether they wanted to use Cheerios or Goldfish. I made up this little activity sheet for them. They lined the snacks up on the pictures and recorded how big each one was. The idea was to get them used to lining up the measurement tool end to end with no spaces in between. They did really well and I think it was their favorite activity of the day.

As you can see... my precious firsties were very engaged in this activity. I loved seeing their little brains ticking as they measured the pictures.

The activity page we used is nothing huge. I still had a lot of learning to do when I made it a year ago, so it's nowhere near perfect, but I wanted to share it with you anyway. Just click on the link below to see it!
Snack Measurement Page

Sunday, June 2, 2013

Thursday, May 30, 2013

Bad Blogger! (Catch Up Post)

In September, I was SO excited to get started with my blog. I had been reading teacher blogs for the entire summer and was beyond stoked to have one of my own. I planned to photograph and write about every activity that I did with my class during student teaching.

....and then the TPA happened. And three Praxis tests....

I put a lot of things on the back burner and unfortunately, this blog was one of them.

Let me bring you up to speed.

I finished my primary student teaching in December. After Christmas break, I began my pre-primary placement. I was placed in a toddler classroom at the childcare center on campus. I had twelve precious two -year-olds who kept me on my toes but made my heart overflow with joy every single day.

Favorite toddler quote?
Child 1: (spits)
Me: "Please stop. Spitting makes people feel bad."
Child 2: "Well, I like getting spitted on."
Whatever floats your boat, right?

I graduated Summa Cum Laude on May 4. In addition to my regular license (PreK-3rd), I also took extra classes to get a reading endorsement for K-12th.

Are you ready for the best news of all?

Are you sure?

Really sure?





That's right, friends! I was offered a job teaching THIRD GRADE. This isn't just any old position, though. This job is in my dream school. It's the elementary I attended growing up. My mom and three of my cousins work there, too. If you know me, you know that I have more than a lot of pride for my hometown. My heart will always bleed brown, white and orange. I feel blessed beyond words that I am able to give back to this spectacular community that I'm so fortunate to call home.

I'm going to try to blog consistently this summer as I plan ideas and set up my very first classroom. I'm also hoping to make some "flashback" posts with activities I did with my toddler class this spring.

If you're still with me after this long hiatus, thank you. Sorry if you left a comment and didn't get a reply. I'm going to go visit your blogs right now.

P.S. Like my design? I'm a total cat lady  if you can't tell. Like what you see? Go visit the fabulous Erin over at Creating and Designing to get one for yourself!