We're Not All Teachers

Saturday, August 25, 2012 5 comments
Let's face it~while some folks were receiving life's gifts, they received the gift of teaching. Others received their own special gifts. Those gifts might not be as rewarding, but they were gifts nonetheless. :) My best friend, and she will fully agree, did not receive the gift of teaching. She is technology. She is numbers. She is organized in the office. She is budget and balance. Teacher-she is not. She is a mom, a loving mom who would do anything in the world for her little love monkey, but she just is not a teacher nor does she want to be and that's ok!

When I was asked to review this product, I thought of my best friend. Creative Teaching Press (love them!) has created a parent and teacher resource that has many great parts. Best part (mom's opinion) the real books!  They are colorful and fun and perfect for my pre reader! T feels like big stuff when he "reads" these books. T's favorite part (I'm serious) is the books, too. He just loves them and wants to read them again and again. Another bonus-this is doable! 

What did I do with them? We read the books (all 8!!) We did one or two pages in the workbook. He is pretty hands on, so we are not focusing too much on that. We did a few of the activities and let me tell you they were helpful even for this first grade teacher! He asked to do this and that makes me happy! T loved placing the stickers on the record sheet after reading each book a few times.

So what is it I am bragging about?

The Learn to Read Kids Club!
Click here to view larger image

Each set (available for Kindergarten and first grade) includes:
All of this for less than $30! My advice to my best friend-get a group of moms together. Each one buys a set. Use them and trade them! Make the most of your money and your child's time! Creative Teaching Press is helping make reading with a preschooler fun and affordable!

Do you want a set but just don't have $30 to spend right now? Well, it is your lucky day! Enter now to win a Kindergarten set of your very own!! I know my best friend is! 
a Rafflecopter giveaway

Press Here--->

Wednesday, August 22, 2012 No comments
Ok, so T is becoming a little more particular about his book choices. Maybe this is part of being 3 and 1/2 or maybe it is him driving his mommy nuts. Either way, we're dealing embracing it!

When push comes to shove and we just can't agree on a story, we have one go to book.

This is the one. Have your pen and paper ready!

It has action (literally,) color (and color words,) and drama (what will happen next?!?) It teaches and it surprises. It makes us giggle and it makes us wiggle. We love..........

Press Here

Want to see the awesomeness for yourself? Check out this clip:

Yes, I am a Tullet fan and I promise this book does not disappoint. It is a preschool sensation and I have a feeling I have a few firsties who would love to get their hands on it, too!

Want your own? Visit a local bookstore or buy it here on Amazon for $10. 

My Classroom

Sunday, August 12, 2012 3 comments
Ask and you shall receive.....well, sometimes anyway! 

A friend and fellow blogger (and much better blogger I should say) asked me to post pics of my classroom. Here it is!

Guiding principles (for me) in setting up my classroom:

1. My classroom is designed for students with a reflection of who I am. It is not my space. It is our space. It is not my dorm, my living room, my cozy space. It is for the children. 

2. Yes, it is done. Color words, shapes, bulletin boards, birthdays, etc will be created with my students. I will anchor their understanding and reference points by putting these things up with my college bound first graders. Our room is a work in progress.

3. Books will be everywhere and they will have access to almost all of them. This was hard for me-I love "MY" books, but they should be the ones reading them, loving them, holding them, and talking about them with each other. 

4. If nothing else is done, my dry erase board will be clean at the end of every day. Don't know why, but for some reason, it makes me feel like the rest of the room is neat. (It never it is.) I also can't use the erasers, I have to actually clean it. Freak obsession-I know.

My Smartboard and storage bench. I can't tell you how much I love this. A teacher at my school makes them from scratch-woodwork, handpaints, amazing. Go here to see more. 
READ banner above the window. This is from Party City. My teammates had to help me with this. They know "cute" is not my strength or desire. It is only right because of them!! I love it and it makes me smile.
Books by author and category. Ex. Melanie Watt,  Feelings, ABC books, etc.
Informational books and graphic novels. Strange combo, but it works! Ex. Space, BabyMouse, dinosaurs, movie favs, etc.
One of my bulletin boards and they all look like this. I love the blue and I really love the B&W collection from CTP!
Number line. Has words, tally marks and numerals 0-20.
Leveled books from reading series.  Not a huge fan of the books, but they come in handy sometimes.
Aaah! Theme books and books I have marked up for teaching reading/writing. This method has replaced having them in tubs. Suggestions welcome. They are divided by topic/theme. 
Math materials.
More math. The top shelf houses Daily 5 math tubs. LOVE!!!!
Word wall
Daily 5 math. Cards with each game will be added as I intro them to my class. It is color coordinated. All brain game cards will be orange and the tub is orange. (See above.)
All smiles. This is above our door and we like to say it at the end of the day.
Writer's workshop area. We are writing with pens this year! Woo hoo!
More books! These are sorted by author, character, etc. Ex. Clifford, Skippy, Dr. Seuss,  Laura Numeroff, etc. They are leveled within their basket. 
Brag shelf. This area really is all about me. :)
Teacher resources. Um, yeah.
Language Arts games. 
The closet! No way! Trust me--you do not want to see in there!! :)
What do you think? HA! I'm kidding. It's too late for me to change anything! However, feel free to share tips for August of 2013! Happy school year teacher friends!

Anchor Charts

Saturday, August 11, 2012 No comments
I feel like I "came out of the blog closet" a little this week.  I presented to first grade teachers in my County on Tuesday. I was nervous about being in front of my peers, but they did not disappoint! We had so much fun! 

A fab teacher and I were talking blog stalking and she asked if I had a blog. I hesitated and said, "um, yes." The rest is history. People will read this and picture me. (Bless their souls!)

I'm going to try not to think about that...it is exciting and hopefully will build connections, but it also makes me a little nervous. Can't help it.

I presented a short workshop about integrating the Common Core standards and Georgia's Performance Standards. Here are a few of the highlights....

1. Are you an anchor chart kind of person? Then you should click here and visit Chart Chums. Yes, I have blogged about it before-but trust me-this site is teacher heaven! 

2. Straining your brain is an all time favorite! Visit this site to learn more and make your shopping list because I do believe you will want to do this lesson! I change it some, but I teach 1st grade and well....that's what I do!
3. While I was prepping charts, T decided to make a few charts, too. See the little picture between the two charts? That is his anchor chart!! Kid is a genius. He gets it from his dad. 

So that is pretty much my news. Oh wait! Check this out! We had meet and greet Thursday and one of my kids, D, brought me this picture. I love it. What a way to start the year!
If you have a fantastic lesson/idea, and I know you do, please share the love!

DIY Magnetic Tens Frames!

Friday, August 10, 2012 1 comment
LUCKY! That's me! I attended a workshop by another first grade teacher and all around guided math pro-Kathleen Adair. She teaches in my County and shared a bagillion ideas with us! One of my favorites was magnetic tens frames. 


But how? How could I make these A. cheap B. easy to put away and C. alluring to my little friends?

Hmmm.....when I get into these situations, I like to take time to reflect, ponder, focus, and so on. So I went straight to my happy place----Dollar Tree

Taaaa Daaaa!

$1.00 cookie sheet (They are magnetic!)

Tens frames copied 2 per page-print them HERE or HERE for FREE!
Tape them down with packing tape or contact paper. I did the tape.
$1.00 button magnets in the back to school section of Dollar Tree (8 per pack-5 packs makes two full sets.) Store the magnets in snack baggies. They are pink/gray and blue/black. Cute and fun and the magnets really stick!

AND they are dry erase! You can write on the board, the tens frames OR the tape! Love, Love, Love!

How to use these? 
*Call out a number like 17. Have the kids make it. Informal assessment-how did they make it? Did they count them out one at a time? Did they do 10 on top quickly and then add the others? Did they do part on top and part on bottom? 
*Practice part/part/total.
*Making tens.
*Addition and subtraction to 20.
*Solving word problems.
And so on and so on and so on! 

Run to Dollar Tree and for $7 you can have two sets! That is a steal! Let me know if you make them and how you decide to use them! 

Fashion and Function in First Grade!

Saturday, August 4, 2012 15 comments
a bracelet that erases!!!

I am in LOVE! Here's why....
I teach first grade. 
They fidget and 
they love to accessorize 
and they lose erasers like nobody's business!
 are around $1.00 (less if you buy more)
are great at erasing pencil
are customizable
are adorable
are durable
 have tons of designs!
was created by a Dad
provides great discounts for fundraisers
donates money to "erase homelessness"
are coming to a store near you
is a family business!

But what does T think?
"Wow Mommy! A bracelet that erases!"

Chat with your PTA, call the grandparents, these are awesome! 

Which pack would you choose?


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