Sunday, August 30, 2015

Learning those facts and getting homework in... Well maybe!

We have been busy, busy, busy!

Settling into a routine is hard!

One of the first things we have been working on is our math facts.  This seems to be something we struggle with each year.  In the past we have worked with one set of facts each week, but it seemed like as soon as we tested on those facts, they forgot them.


So I divided up the facts into 3 big chunks.  We are working on one chunk per month and I am hoping that this will help get the facts stuck in their heads forever!

My Addition Fact Plan:
August - We focused on 0 + 0 to 5 + 5
September - We will focus on 0 + 0 to 5 + 10
October - We will focus on 0 + 0 to 10 + 10

We had a sheet in our binders to help the parents know which facts we were working on.   
This was our list for August. 

It took a little bit of time, but I pulled just these facts from all of my flashcard decks and we worked only on these facts.  We worked on in small group, flashcard races, in the hallway, and on paper.  The kids favorite way to practice the facts is to "flash" the answers with your fingers instead of saying them.

Every Thursday, we took a time test with 20 problems in 2 minutes.  I am happy to report that everyone did really well on our last one this past week!  The kids were so excited!  Now we move on to the next set!

So only time will tell, but I'm hoping this new system will help us master these facts.

If it works, we will do the same for subtraction.

We are still struggling with getting homework turned in.  ARGH!  So I brought out this great book for a read aloud.   This is one of the Scholastic books written by kids.  It has some of the best excuses EVER and the kids giggled and laughed.  After we finished we had our first "love talk" and I sure hope we can get 100% completion on homework this week.

If you are having trouble with homework, look for this book!  It is a winner!

The beginning of school can mean only one thing....


Here is a picture of my favorite middle school football player!   School games are already underway! Nothing like a cool evening and a little football to bring a smile to my face.  I think what impressed me the most was the number of teachers from his school that came to game!  I would say at least 25-30 teachers, if not more!  It really made the kids/parents smile because the teachers care so much about them.  I'm so lucky that my son is attending such an amazing school!

I hope everyone has a great week!

Sunday, August 23, 2015

My NEW BLOG and a FLASH FREEBIE to celebrate!

Excitement is not the word!

My new blog is up and running thanks to the AMAZING Alexis with Laugh Eat Learn Design. She has been completely and totally fantastic to work with, so if you are out hunting for someone to take your vision and make it into a masterpiece, please consider using her.  You won't be sorry!

So now that my new blog is up and running I wanted to bring you up to date on my first two weeks of school!

I am as tired as tired can be!  It is a good tired and I know you all know what I am talking about.

I moved to a new classroom down the hall, so I had the chance to make some changes to my classroom.

We all start of Ready to Learn each day.  My big change this year was that everyone starts on an "S".  I really thought a lot over the summer about conduct.  At the end of the day we expect the kids to earn an "S", so I decided that we start off where we expect to end.  It also put my conduct chart in line with the majority of the teachers at my grade level and that is always a good thing.

If you haven't read this book to your kids....  BEG, BORROW, or STEAL!  One of my teacher friends showed it to me and I LOVE IT!  It was great for those first few days when we are all learning that our mouth is truly a volcano and it needs to not ERUPT!   After we read the book the kids worked in groups and wrote the main idea of the story and included a picture of each of the them being a VOLCANO!  Such a great way to help them work on this important skill.

One of my favorite stations in the classroom is the Highlighting Station.  A bucket of highlighters and a desk by the spot where they turn things in is all it takes to fix the NO NAME problem. The kiddos simply stop and highlight their name before they turn it in.  They love it and the NO NAME problem is eliminated!

Even though I had all the stations set out for Meet the Teacher...  my first day was a SUPPLY disaster with all the extra stuff they brought!    It seemed like their backpacks were bottomless pits of stuff!  It is all put away now thank goodness!

I finally have my teacher tradebooks and novels all organized.  The top three shelves are class sets of books that I have from grants and Scholastic points.  The bottom two shelves are trade books that I use for read alouds.  I have them organzied by subject matter, but I am thinking that it would be better to organize them by weeks of the year.  How do you organize yours?  I would love to hear some different ways!

I am really so excited with my new organizer!  I took one of the 5 drawer rolling carts I had and made days of the week labels for it.  Since it is on wheels I can move it to where I am planning. As I plan, I gather up everything I need for the activity and put it in the drawer.  All of my trade books, construction paper, tracers, worksheets, and books I need for the day in once place.  In the morning all I have to do is get the stack of stuff out and I'm ready for the day!

To celebrate my new blog I am making A Drawer for Day organizer a FLASH FREEBIE!  Click on the picture to download it for FREE!

I hope it helps you as much as it has helped me!

Thursday, August 6, 2015

Meet the Teacher! FLASH FREEBIE!

I have meet my new kiddos and parents!  I always seem to forget how little they are at the beginning of the year.

Our district had a day this week when the parents and kids could come to school, find out who their teacher was, and bring in supplies!

This was the first time that we have done this and I was really worked up with how to manage all of this in my room.  I knew that I wanted to set up stations and make it adorable!  So my teaching BBF and I worked and laminated well into the night.  I am so excited with how cute it all turned out!

Here are some pictures!

I organized the stations so that each set of desks had one station on them.  

As the parents came in I greeted them and found out how everyone was getting home that first day.

I showed them to Station #1 and explained that they could move through all the stations and see me when they finished.

At this station the parents filled out all of the paperwork for the office, clinic cards, and information about their child.  I put a cup of pens at any station where they would be writing.  I started off the day with five pens at this station.....  I ended with only one!  Such is a teacher's life!

At this station the parents helped their child put their binder together.  I made cute cover sheets to put in the front pocket.  I let the kids take their binder to any seat that they wanted to sit at the first day.  They really got excited when they heard they got to pick their desk!  I can't tell you how much time this saved me from having to put these all together myself the first day!

A teachers most dreaded task.... SUPPLIES!  I put out a bunch of bins and the kids sorted all of their supplies!  How easy was that!  Best of all I don't have to mess with all this stuff the first day!

Who can't use some extra supplies?  I wrote a few items we needed on these hands and I am happy to report that within an hour they were all gone and I was able to write some more!  I have the greatest parents this year!

So this is a little sample of the stations I used.  I also had a station where the kids got a little treat from me.  I made these station signs in green, but my BFF wanted red, so I included that in the packet as well.  After I made this I realized that my supplies and stations might not work for everyone, so I also made an editable version as well.  The signs, supply labels, and student treat cards can be customized for your own classroom.  The file is in Powerpoint and included in the packet.

Here is a preview of the packet!  Click on it and it will take you to my TPT store. You can download it for FREE!  It's a flash freebie until August 8, so tell all your teaching friends!

This has been a crazy week getting ready for the kids!  I can't wait to settle down into a routine and start the new year!

Have a great year and enjoy your kiddos!

Happy Teaching!

Sunday, August 2, 2015

The last day....

It is here!  The Sunday before we go back to work!

I've been busy getting stuff ready for my classroom, putting the finishing touches on my presentation for district learning day tomorrow, and of course filling my wish list for the TPT sale that starts tomorrow! Use code TPTX0 at checkout!

One of the big things on my TO DO list over the summer was to create a spelling choice board for kiddos and it was just finished this morning!  

It is very similar to the homework choice boards that I made before that have math, reading, writing, and spelling.  This one focuses just on spelling.  You can use the choice boards for homework or for independent work in the classroom. The kids really love the choice boards because of the variety of assignments they get to pick from.  

The packet includes 11 different boards, so the choices are endless!  They start off easy and get harder.  This packet has a BIG emphasis on writing with the spelling words!

The kids will be coming to meet me on TUESDAY!  No, my room isn't ready yet!  However, I just had a HUGE, AMAZING idea and my teaching BBF is on her way to my house so that we can make some amazing things for Meet the Teacher Day!  Check back soon and I will post pictures and a link to get all of the materials for the day for a FLASH FREEBIE!

Happy Teaching!