Thursday, August 22, 2013

Learning School Rules with David! and My Mouth is a Volcano!

In addition to learning all about my new kiddos, our first week focuses on setting up our classroom behavior guidelines and reviewing school rules.

  • I launch the school rules discussion by reading the David books, by David Shannon. You know LOVE No, David!, David Goes to School and others.  
    • Angie Neal at Fall Into First  has an awesome craftivity to go with this David Goes to School. The results are hilarious, and they give me a quick preview of my kids' abilities for following directions, fine motor skills, spatial reasoning, and writing.
  • Next up is a series of discussions to set up our classroom guidelines. This year, thanks to some awesome bloggers, I found a series of books that I'm using. I'll be sharing my thoughts on how things went with these books in the coming weeks.
    • First up...My Mouth Is a Volcano by Julia Cook. This one is about a kiddo who's mouth keeps "erupting."  The focus of the story is how it feels to be interrupted, and how to keep yourself from interrupting during conversations. Perfect for 1st grade!  
    • I found related activities at Teachers Pay Teachers. "teach4real" offers a set of writing activities that were a great follow-up to the book.

I'm off to school! Have a great day!

Back to School FUN with Chrysanthemum!

I have to say, I LOVE my class! Such a bunch of cuties!

The first week is always such jumble of excitement, nerves and anticipation -- and that's just for me! I can only imagine how my kiddos and their parents feel knowing that they are headed off to start a new year.

I like to open the year with a few activities to get us focused on learning about each other. Here are some of the things we did on the first day of school!

If you haven't read this picture book, find a copy!  It has a great message about learning to embrace our individuality. Love it!

I read it to my kids on the first day of school, and talk about how Chrysanthemum felt when she was teased for having a unique name. Of course, that leads to all sorts of discussions about bullying, being kind, etc.

I found a great suggestion a few years ago for a lesson that incorporates retelling the events of the story and brings in the theme of treating each other with kindness.

  • Prior to the lesson, I draw a poster size version of the main character. 
  • After reading the story, I have the kids retell it to me. 
  • As they retell, I crumple the poster (the kids are horrified) each time they mention teasing. 
  • When they get to the part about the kids saying nice things to her, I try to smooth it out -- of course that doesn't work, and I'm left with with a wrinkled, torn mess. 
  • That leads to a discussion about how cruel words don't just go away with "I'm sorry." They leave a lasting mark. 
  • I post the wrinkled picture in my classroom as a reminder to be kind.

I follow up this lesson with name games. So much fun, and it sure helps this teacher to learn names!

  • Matching names to photos. We add these to the word wall.
  • Name puzzles 
    • I scramble the letters of their names. They cut out the letters and put them in order.
    • Using the same letters, they make new words out of their name letters.
  • Decorating name tags (written on large pieces of tag board) with beads, sequins, etc. Later in the week, they make face plates (with yarn for the hair, scraps of material for the lips, etc.). We match the name tags and face plates.
  • Name Graphs - the kids participate in answering questions such as, 
    • How many letters are in your name?
    • How many syllables are in your name?
    • How many vowels are in your name?
Finally, one of my favorite activities of the week is learning the Name Stories of my kids.

  • I send home a letter to parents asking them to share the story of their children's name (how did they choose the name, why is it perfect for the child). 
  • We spend the week reading their name stories -- the kids just beam when they hear their name story.  

There are some great resources to go along with Chrysanthemum.

  • There's a great story mapping sheet from "travel teach and love" on Teachers Pay Teachers. 
  • Amanda Peavy offers Chrysanthemum Name Activities, also on Teachers Pay Teachers. 
  • Kelly Hallahan has Name Activity to download.  
  • Of course, I love Kevin Henkes' website.  He offers a host of connected activities to go along with many of his his books.
Have fun and Happy Teaching!

Saturday, August 17, 2013

Back to School Sale This Weekend on Teachers Pay Teachers!!

Thanks to the 3am Teacher for creating this button! Check out her awesome graphics!

Get your shopping carts ready, because it time for an awesome Back to School Sale at tpt!  Be sure to enter promo code BTS13 for your discount.

While you're there, check out my new 1st Grade Assessment Journal. It's Common Core aligned and ready to go!  Starting tonight at midnight, it'll be 20% off the regular price of $10, but only through Monday, August 19!

Friday, August 9, 2013

15% Off SALE!

Jump over to The Apple Tree Room and get your shopping carts ready! Everything is my store is on sale through this weekend, Friday, August 9 - Monday, August 12!  Message me if you have any last-minute Back-to-School display needs, and we'll work together to get a "just right" set pulled together for you!

Thursday, August 8, 2013

Woo-Hoo! I love Back-to School!

Does anybody else get more excited about Back-to-School than say...Christmas?  I love Back-to-School! It's like we're wiping last year's slate clean and get to start fresh.  (Not that I WANT to wipe last year's slate clean -- I had an awesome class!)

My classroom is close to being set up, and I've been getting geared up for implementing Common Core in my room. Today we're going to take a close look at the Backward Design Process in developing CCSS lessons.  A bunch of us worked all summer to preparing for sharing it with the rest of the staff, and I hope they embrace it as much as we have!

Anyhow, a few new products to share...I've been busy!

Apple Theme Letter Pack and Apple Theme Number Pack
Chalkboard Theme Letter Pack and Chalkboard Theme Number Pack

In these packs, you'll find sets of 2"x5" and 5"x7" letter (print and cursive script) and number cards (0-200).  You'll be able to use the small cards for small groups and centers, and the big cards for display or large group activities. They are $2 each. Here are a couple of sample pictures. Click on the links above for a closer look!

Chalkboard Letter Pack

Apple Number Pack

Next up are Behavior Clip Charts in three styles -- ChalkboardApple, and Ribbons & Stripes.  All three of these sets have two different color/terms choices each!

Chalkboard Behavior Clip Chart

Apple Theme Behavior Clip Chart

Ribbons & Stripes Theme Behavior Clip Chart
Also, check out my store for complete sets of my Chalkboard Theme Decor and Apple Theme Decor. For $15 each, you get 8 sets of each theme. These include the Number Packs, Letter Packs, Hall Pass Sets,  Where Are We - Class Location Cards, Attendance & Lunch Count Clip Charts, Agenda Cards, Behavior Clip Charts and Helping Hands Job Charts!  

Chalkboard Theme Classroom Decor Pack

Apple Theme Classroom Decor Pack, photo 1

Apple Theme Classroom Decor Pack, Photo 2

Have a GREAT Back-to-School start!  I know I will!