Saturday, September 21, 2013

Working Hard!

Whew!  We have been working fast and furious!!  I've been itching to get our routines and procedures in place but it takes time and sure pays off later with how independent your children become.  :)  We are *almost* in full swing with most everything.  Here we are a couple of weeks ago practicing our math stations.  This week we were all practicing the same station at the same time.  We've now moved on to tables practicing different stations.  Soon we will have full rotations.  Your kiddos *LOVE* this time!  Math can be sooooo fun! :)  The conversations and group learning that go on during this time is pretty incredible.  We've been working on 'seeing the 5' (on a ten frame) when counting in our math program.  But through math stations last week, one group was talking to me about how they not only 'saw the 5' but they were 'seeing the 10' (on 2 ten frames) and counted "10..11, 12, 13, 14, 15, 16"  Oh how I bragged on that smart thinking!!  I love seeing their little brains work and carry over learning to independent practice.  Another student referred to our voiced s sound as he saw it in the day of the week this past week in morning work.  Yay!!  I love to see them voice their learning.  :)

Our Daily 5 is basically in full swing.  We will teach Listen to Reading soon.  But right now we have rotations of small groups, word study, read to self/AR testing, istation practice and pullouts.  We stay pretty busy at this time of day!  And it is one of my favorites because I love to see all the little brains engulfed in their books!  :)  I always see some light bulbs going off when it comes to reading during this time of day.  I already have little hands being raised to ask, "When will we do Daily 5??"  :)  Makes my teacher heart happy to hear that question!!

We finished our Reading Goals and posted them on the wall as a reminder throughout the year.  Our goals this year varied from read chapter books, to learning more sight words.  All of our goals are different and I love it!
 Our back wall of work from a few weeks ago.  "First Grade is...." writing piece and a backpack full of "What a first grader needs to be successful"!

Writer's Workshop is still easily one of my favorite times of day and it is quickly become a favorite of some of the kiddos as well!  The stories are developing quickly and I've already seen so much progress in handwriting, spacing,'s just amazing how quickly they grow!  Your independent writers can write up to 2 pieces a day, continue the next day or start new pieces as they choose.  They love the responsibilities they have control of during this time. :)

 A few weeks ago was all about reading, our goals and how to grow as a reader.  We read the book "Reading Makes You Feel Good" and then did an art project and prompt of "Reading makes me feel..." I have been amazed with all of the love of art in this class!  And I definitely think we have some future Picasso's around.  WoW!  The drawings that come from your kiddos are wonderful!

 The first grade team of teachers had some exciting news this last week.  We had applied for a local grant and were excited to learn last Thursday that we won our grant!  One of our teachers was the brains behind the project and we all helped out where we could.  We are excited to be using our grant to purchase mentor texts and book binding materials to use during our Writer's Workshop times.  The kiddos loved being able to share the excitement with us during their lunch period.  They were also pretty excited to hear that the money was going to be spent on them.  ;)

Friday, August 30, 2013

One Week Down!

Wow, you guys really know how to spoil a girl!  ;)  Thanks for all the tender hugs, sweet pictures, and incredible comments from the students this week.  And a special thank you to the parent who spoiled me with this Sonic drink.  Yumm-O!!  

We are one week down and many more to go! :)  I have so enjoyed getting to know all of your sweet little personalities and understanding the joys of your heart.  I've heard all about your dogs, families and the video games that you love to play at home.  ;)  Writer's Workshop is easily one of my favorite times of the day and your fearlessness in writing has been amazing.  I can't wait to watch you grow, and more importantly, hear more about the things that excite you!

We've been busy this week!  We've recited our responsibilities everyday.  *If you haven't heard them yet, ask your child to share them with you.*  We're becoming experts on our Responsibilities!!  Here they are in case they need a little memory encouragement.  ;)
1.  Follow directions quickly.
2.  Be silent and straight in the hallway.
3.  Raise your hand for permission to speak.
4.  Respect others, respect yourself and respect your community.
5.  Do your best and be on task.  

We also filled our book boxes today using our I-PICK chart.  We learned a little 'rap' to go along with it.  Here is the video of a class online that we referenced to when learning our 'rap'.  

I'm sure your child could jump in with the singing & movements in the video and show what they know!  Next week we will start the beginning stages of Read to Self and I can not wait to get this in place.  Our best differentiation occurs during these times.  :)  

I've seen some hard work this week!  I know we are all tired and looking forward to the 3 day weekend.  Get some good rest and I can't wait to see you bright and early Tuesday morning.  :)

**To the grateful Mimi who left the sweet comment...  I completely understand the distance.  My niece lives out of town and I only wish I could be more involved in her school functions.  I'm assuming your son shares your last name.  If so, he is such a sweetie and an incredibly bright boy!!  Today he wrote about his dad helping him defeat the monsters on his Zelda game this weekend.  His vocabulary is incredible and I'm excited to work with him.  :)

Monday, August 26, 2013

First Day Jitters!

Wow!! Today FLEW by!  I can't believe how fast the time went!  Do you feel the same way??  I hope you had a blast...I know it's going to be a great year!!  The next few days we will continue to practice many of our routines and procedures...but before you know it you will become such bright and independent learners!  I can't wait to watch you grow.  :)  I know you came in with butterflies and nerves today...I did too!!!  Every year I got so nervous before the first day.  I guess I have a lot of excitement built in too!  Well one of my favorite activities is our Jitter Juice activity.  We read the book First Day Jitters which has such an unexpected twist to it.  ;)

And then we make our Jitter Juice to help the butterflies fly away.  (It's a yummy treat for all as well!)  We organized a little data after our taste test...and quickly found out that it wasn't that hard to organize...all 19 students LOVED the Jitter Juice.  :)

Saturday, August 24, 2013

Meet the Teacher

Thank you to all of you who were able to come out Thursday night for Meet the Teacher!! I was able to meet 13 precious faces and I cannot wait to meet the rest!  It is going to be a great year...I just know it!!

I wanted to share a couple of pictures of our classroom with you.  :)  This will be our new home away from home and I know you will grow to love it as much as I do.

This is the view from the hallway.  I will be hanging several of your masterpieces in the hallway as an ongoing portfolio of art projects and writing projects!

When your parents come in, it's always important for them to sign-in at the sign-in sheet.  We require signatures in 5 areas from each parent for Title 1 documentation purposes.  Your parents will feel like celebrities from all the signatures we ask for throughout the year!  ;)

Here I am waiting for all of you to arrive on Meet the Teacher night.  :)  My family is all lives out of town, so my mom requires a picture of me in the classroom each year.  hehe.

Here's the view of our classroom when you first walk in.  You will each get your very own desk as your personal space for the year!

This is your view to the left.  My desk is near the back door.  It houses the document camera so I can project whatever worksheet or project we may be working on onto the screen.  I also see my small groups at the trapezoid table attached to my desk.  On the floor, you will see our black rug.  We will spend a lot of time here reading stories, playing games and getting to know each other.  More importantly if you look a little further to the left, you will see our Promethean Board!!  Our campus is still working on getting one of these into every classroom and we are one of the lucky ones to be in the first round.  It was just installed last year and I am soooo excited to put it to good use!  This summer I worked so hard at putting so many of our math lessons onto flip charts so that we can use the Promethean Board interactively with math lessons.  I know you will love it!!! :)

To the right, you will see some small work tables that we will get started using for Daily 5.  We also have a restroom and sink in the back corner of our room.  The back wall will be the home of your 'Wow Work'.  I can't wait to see what you guys dream up in our creative art projects, writing projects, math projects and more!  We will also be hanging our Anchor Charts and learning around the room on some of our designated bulletin board areas.

Here's the view from standing near the sink in the back corner of the room.  Our word wall is front & center of our classroom.  This way we can use it when working on interactive writing projects on our chart paper and our promethean board.  You will also see our new Birthday Board at the front left.  I am so excited to take your pictures and put them in place!

See those question marks at the top?  As you become a detective in our Saxon Phonics program, you get to unlock each letter as we introduce it and the ways to code it in a word!  You will hold the keys to reading and become such a bright little reader this year.  You also see the book boxes at the bottom...these will house the books of your choice that you will have opportunities to read during Daily 5.  This is a time so many of my past students have LOVED, and through the opportunity to test through our Accelerated Reader (AR) program, these book boxes have become an important part of our day!! :)

Now I am standing in the back corner, near our computer station.  You can see the green rug that is the middle of our class library.  I've worked hard at collecting books that I know you will love to read!!  I can't wait to get this up and rolling.  You can also see the bookshelf near my desk that will house your papers/folders, our plans for the week and my small group materials.  The top 2 shelves are dedicated to pictures of my family and the special children in my life including my niece, Goddaughter, and best friend's baby boy!  You will also see Mr Hutchins' and I's 'first child'...our dog, Tye!  You will hear lots of stories about him as he is a special part of our daily life.  :)

Here's the view from my desk.  You will sometimes get this view, too, as I ask volunteers to come up to help, or show their work, or read their story!  Our classroom is a special place and it is very first grade friendly!

Here is a panoramic shot that Mr. Hutchins took for me!  This room is ready for excitement, learning, mistakes, cheers, happiness, games, stations, reading, math, writing, spelling, teamwork, science, social studies, teaching, helping, and most importantly....YOU!