Saturday, July 19, 2014

Creating a 'Love Notes' Board in Your Classroom

My students love to write me 'love notes' and draw me pictures (as I am sure all of yours do).  By the end of the day I have a small pile on my desk and I have no idea what to do with them!! So, I decided to create a 'love notes' board. 
 I love our classroom 'love notes' board and it is simple to make! I bought 4 cork boards from Jo-Ann's Fabric (they are also magnetic) and put them onto my wall using double sided sticky tape.  Yep, I said it!  Double sided sticky tape.  And it stayed up all year!  We aren't allowed to staple or nail into our walls so this solution worked perfectly. 
My students love this board just as much as I do.  I love displaying their 'love notes' and pictures on the wall for everyone to see and they love seeing their artwork displayed as well!  It makes them feel special just as they make me feel everyday!! 

You can find lots of other 'Bright Ideas' by clicking on any of the links below.


Monday, July 14, 2014

Get Ready for Back to School with Freebielicious!

I can't believe I am going to start talking about back to school! I feel like summer just started and I am SO not ready to start a new year! But with that said, I get a lot of emails asking me what 'themes' I teach and how I can still teach in 'themes' with all of the standards we have to meet.  These were my themes last year.  They were slightly changed as the year went on and I'm sure they will change again a little this year.
 I am always flexible and open to new ideas!
This year I know I am going to tie my All About Me unit in with the Five Senses unit and make that 3 weeks.  I've also cut back on the Gingerbread Unit to create more time for Holidays Around the World.  I'm also considering doing 2 weeks on just penguins and then spending the next 2 weeks on animals to make time for group research projects!! You can find some of my detailed plans on these thematic units by clicking on the image below. Hope this helps you see how I incorporate theme with the standards, science, and social studies!!
I also get a lot of questions regarding the beginning of the school year.  What do I do that first week of school? How do I start introducing centers? Etc. Last year I documented EVERYTHING I did the first two days of school and wrote about it HERE
So...speaking of back to school...my girls over at Freebielicious and I have teamed up with Educents and we have some instant downloads for you! This pack is loaded with great products for back to school including book studies, craftivities, classroom prep, and content materials!  With 23 instant downloads... it is definitely something you have to check it out!  

My product included will help get you excited to start school again and hopefully make setting up your classroom a little easier!
For some reason this past year I never took any pictures of my classroom set up!! But, you can definitely see some of the black and white decor pack in the background of my pictures! Here you can see the number posters hanging :)
The pack includes the alphabet, word wall letters with matching images, months, days of the week, number posters, color posters, and shape posters!
For a limited time the bundle is $34.99 from Educents which is 68% off!  Twenty-three products for your kinder and first grade classrooms and over 1200 pages of materials from some of your favorite teachers!  It's a bundle you are sure to LOVE!

Click on any of the links below to take a peek at some of the other teachers featured in this bundle.  You will also find some great ideas for back to school!

Sunday, July 6, 2014

Five For Friday!

I have been SO lucky this summer to get to travel all over the world!! I went to Ireland first with my family.  Then, my next stop was China. Below you can see some pictures of me in Hong Kong.  I learned how to use chopsticks and walked around the markets...wasn't brave enough to eat street meat! Haha!
I just left Vietnam on Friday and had a blast!! I had the opportunity to learn all about the farming and fishing life!
I am currently in Thailand.  I just got back from a day spent taking care of rescued elephants! AMAZING! 
Believe it or not, I have been trying to get some work done during my travels!  I had a couple requests to make my decor pack in other colors.  The first color scheme I made was gray.  I love it because it can be used in any classroom with any color scheme!!  You can add your 'pop' of color along with this gray pack by adding colored book bins, pom-poms, etc. You can find the gray pack HERE
I will be making the same decor pack in bright colors and primary colors. Be on the look out!
I am currently reading Redeeming Love.  I am honestly not a reader at all, but this book is definitely one to check out. I am loving it!
A bunch of the Freebielicious girls will be I Teach K and we would LOVE for you to stop by our booth between July 7th and July 10th to enter to win an iPad Mini! 
I wish I was able to be there to meet you all!!
I am ABSOLUTELY in LOVE with these new classroom quotes I found on Etsy!! I may need to redo my classroom quote wall before school starts this year! SO cute!! (Just click on an image below to view them on Etsy)
Hope you all are enjoying your summer!!

Monday, June 23, 2014

Daily 5 Book Study: Chapters 3 and 4

Welcome to week 2 of our summer book study (kind of...I am a little late to post)!! If you don't have your Daily 5 (Second Edition) book yet, you can purchase yours HERE.  I had a couple questions on my Facebook page on whether the first edition Daily 5 book would work...if you don't want to purchase the second edition, then I would say read the first edition then log on and read some of the blogs in the book study and compare!! The second edition is different and has great ideas! You can also read week 1 of the summer book study containing chapters 1 and 2 HERE.
 Chapter 3 was a BIGGIE! I will take you through some of the notes I wrote down on the 10 Steps:
1. Identify what is to be taught: Articulate to your students exactly what will be taught BEFORE the lesson begins.  This way students know what to expect and they will focus more.  I do this before EVERY lesson (not just during the daily 5). I think this is SO important and truly makes a difference.
2. Set a purpose and create a sense of urgency: Students need to know why-make sure to articulate (or write on the top of your I-Chart) reasons we do Read to Self, etc.
3. Record desired behaviors on an I-Chart: Don't brainstorm the desired behaviors as a class.  This takes too long and as the sisters mentioned before, their attention span isn't long.  Just record the desired behavior and explain each one. 
Last year I used these words and pictures to create an I-Chart (click on the image to grab a set). After we went over the behaviors and modeled them, I had all of the students sign their name right on the I-Chart.  This was their 'promise' to me to follow the 'reading rules'.  
We hung the I-Chart together in our classroom library. I loved having it in there as a reminder!
4. Model most desired behaviors: Pick students to model. Refer back to the I-Chart as they do.  When they are finished modeling the desired behavior end with, "If they continue to do this, they will be a better reader."
5. Model least desired behaviors and most again: Model the wrong behaviors and say, "If they continue to do this, it won't help them become a better reader."  Always refer back to the I-Chart. Show students that they ARE capable of following the most desired behaviors. 
6. Place students around the room: Don't dismiss all students at one time to get their book box.  Call on 5 or 6 kids at a time to get their book box and find a spot.  Place them in a spot at the beginning to save time.  Call on the shortest stamina students last. 
7. Practice and build stamina: Don't set a timer, just let them practice.  Keep a stamina chart with the date and minutes.
8. Stay out of the way: Let students practice and don't step in until they are not following your expectations.  Don't walk around, don't even praise students. They will start to get used to that and depend on you doing that.  When you are launching the Daily 5, you won't be pulling groups.  If you see a student off task give them a second before saying anything, they me just be 'resetting'.
9. Use a quiet signal to bring students back to the gathering place: As soon as a student loses stamina, stop and gather. You don't want them practicing incorrectly/spending time managing the barometer children, this will defeat the purpose of learning independently. If you use a loud signal to stop students, then they may get loud.  Play low chimes and have students clean up, put their book box back, and gather.
10. Conduct a group check in: How did it go? Refer back to your I-Chart and reflect on the day.  You can use a scale if needed.  Go over one rule at a time (example- How did we do at getting started right away?) Then, share your goals for the next time. 

WOW! Told you Chapter 3 was a BIGGIE!! This is one I will have to review a couple of times!
To get started, you definitely need to figure out what you want to use for book boxes.  I know a lot of people use these from Really Good Stuff
But, I ended up switching to these because I had an entire piece of furniture that wasn't being used (only problem is, bigger books don't always fit!)
You also need to have a gathering spot for your focus lesson.  Hopefully you have a big carpet in your classroom.  I LOVE my carpet because it has squares and I can assign each student a square to sit in :)  You can kind of see my carpet under the pile of lamination! It is from Lakeshore Learning
Have a space in your classroom where you can hang your I-Charts. Make sure they are somewhere accessible so you can refer back to them.
Also, make sure you have a variety of seating! You can have low tables, regular tables, high counters for standing, comfy chairs, area rugs, a loft (I wish!), single seats, etc.  Support your students in finding a good place to sit.  Maybe discuss with them that you trust them to make a good seating choice and that may mean they can't sit by their friends. 
I love these little chairs I bought at the Container Store.
I also have tons of pillows, a reading nook, a couple different areas with a carpet, etc.

Make sure you head over to my friends' blogs to read their take on these two chapters! As always, I would love to hear what you think as well!!