Wednesday, December 10, 2014

Deck the Classroom!

It's the most wonderful time of the year! December! The weather gets colder, the days get shorter, and the Christmas decorations are everywhere! 
I'm excited to share some pictures of my classroom decorations and Christmas themed projects! 
I'm linking up with Step into Second Grade's Deck the Classroom Linky!


Fa La La La Link Up! Holiday Freebies!

I don't know about you, but I am the queen of last minute! I am constantly scrambling to find fun, meaningful, and engaging activities to use before long breaks. I am so excited to be linking up with Primary Powers (the best collaborative blog out there... I'm not biased at all!) to share one of my best holiday freebies! 

I love using music and poetry in the classroom. My kids love singing and finding rhyming words. Poems motivate my students to read complex vocabulary and it improves their reading fluency. 
It's taken me awhile to build up the courage, but I am finally starting to share some of my music and poetry with my ya'll! 

I was so excited to share my December Poems, Songs, and Close Reads!
 Here is a free sampler of this song and poems pack. It includes a fun winter themed song, some accompanying activities, and a close read about snowflakes. 
My students loved learning about snowflakes and had so many questions about them! 

I hope you and your students enjoy this holiday freebie!

Head on over to Primary Powers to score some more holiday freebies to use in your classroom! 

Friday, December 5, 2014

Classroom Rearrangin'!

Last weekend, my mom came to school and helped me rearrange my classroom furniture. 
I wasn't happy with my set-up. I love carpet time with first graders, and our carpet at the side of the classroom limited what we could accomplish there. I also have wiggly kids who need to spread out, and the carpet is a great place for them to do this. 

With the carpet front and center, I have eliminated a couple transition times. The carpet is closer to the SMART board, so we won't have to transition from the carpet back to our desks in order to see the board. It's amazing how a small change gives us more learning time!

Before: I loved my corner carpet spot, however, we couldn't see the board very well. When I taught from the board, students had to transition back to their desks. 
After: I moved the carpet to the center of the classroom, this way, we did not have to transition back to our desks. Students who need a break from their table group can work on the carpet. 
I moved my couch, which was the biggest bummer of the rearrangement. I love my wicker couch, and am sad to see it hidden. Oh, well! My couch potatoes are my two helpers of the day. It is a special place for my kiddos! They love being a helper and sitting in such a comfy spot! 
I moved my shelf to the back of the classroom. I am going to have to do a bit more rearranging! This will soon become our math wall. It's a Christmas break project! And the white stuff on the trees... It's supposed to be snow, haha! I think I missed the mark on that one! 
As I move the bulletin boards around, I'll be sure and share my classroom's new look! 

Monday, December 1, 2014

December Currently

It's December already!?! That means it's time for Currently! 
I'm linking up with Oh Boy Fourth Grade for some December Currently fun!
Listening: Now that I moved to a place of my own (again!), I get to enjoy cooking in my own kitchen! On the menu is some healthy chicken breast... yum, yum! And, my sweet dog is squeaking away with her chew toy! Don't you love how excited dogs get when they make their toy squeak!?!

Loving: It's the most wonderful time of the year! I decorated my classroom this weekend! I sure hope my first graders love it! 
Thinking: Back to school tomorrow!

Wanting: Will this chicken hurry up! Cooking it on low heat makes it taste better, but it takes forever!

Needing: I moved two weeks ago and my house is still full of boxes! It is such a mess and I have no time to unpack! Okay... I could unpack, but I need to blog and create things for my classroom! That's more important, right!?!

Giving: A collab blog I'm a part of, Primary Powers, is giving away GoNoodle swag! I'm giving away a full class set of GoNoddle shoelaces, which your students will just LOVE! You can enter the giveaway {HERE} or head over to Primary Powers and go through a blog hop with LOTS of GoNoodle swag to give away!  


Saturday, November 29, 2014

Cyber Monday Blog Hop Stop #22

I'm so glad you stopped by! The bloggers of Primary Powers are sharing their best tips for using GoNoodle in the classroom. You have landed on spot number 22. Read on to find our how I use GoNoodle to engage students in math instruction, along with an awesome giveaway! Or, you can start at the beginning and find your way back here. 

1. Warm-up your lessons with an engaging math song. Research shows that music and movement before lessons can increase students' attention span and can help focus your students. 

2. Take a brain break during math assessments. In my classroom, students take a brain break every 5 assessment questions (or less, depending on the length of the questions). They know that if they stay focused and work hard, they will get a break to get their wiggles out! I have seen an improvement in student motivation to work through an assessment, and an increase in focus during the assessment!

3. Use math songs to supplement your math instruction. Working on counting to 100? Are your students learning how to count by 2s, 5s, and 10s? Use a GoNoodle song to help your students along the way!

4. Take a break when your students are getting wiggly. I take my cues from my first graders. When I notice they're getting particularly wiggly, we take a break! I set the expectation that after our brain breaks, we get back to work and refocus. It's amazing how taking a quick break helps us get back to business!

5. Close your lesson with a brain break. Did your students work hard to accomplish tricky math problems? Reward them with a brain break! They will love it and it will make their hard work that much sweeter!

GoNoodle is offering a 30% discount for all Primary Powers readers! Plus, a special gift from Primary Powers and GoNoodle with your order! Click {HERE} to shop!

You can shop your heart out and not feel guilty after these amazing savings! Just use code POWERS30 at checkout. I know my cart is already FULL of GoNoodle goodies for myself and my students! They even have pre-wrapped gifts, perfect for the holiday season!

You can also enter to win a class set of GoNoodle shoelaces... 
Yes, an entire class set! 

I was lucky enough to snatch a few of these GoNoodle shoelaces up this summer and my students LOVE them! I use the shoelaces as a reward for my first graders who know how to tie their shoes. These shoelaces have been very motivating! 

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Thanks for stopping by and entering this giveaway! Keep hopping for more great GoNoodle tips and more chances to win some great swag! Your next stop will be to All Students Can Shine with some great tips on using GoNoodle during assessments! 

How do you use GoNoodle in your classroom?

Tuesday, November 25, 2014

Do You Know Your Doubles?

We know math fact fluency is important, but how do we get our students to actually compute their math facts quickly? 

For the past month, my first graders have been practicing and applying addition strategies. In just a few weeks, I have already seen a huge improvement in math fact fluency. One of our favorite strategies has been learning our double facts. We got these down! Double facts have been able to help my first graders add in so many ways! My firsties know their doubles, their doubles +1, and their doubles -1! We are addition superstars!

To celebrate our awesomeness, because my first graders are pretty darn awesome... We made our very own doubles music video. This was a HUGE hit in my classroom! My kiddos were all smiles. After making our music video, my first graders listened with a critical ear. They decided to rerecord our video 4 times before my firsties agreed that it was "good enough" to share. 

Drum roll please.... Here it is! 

You'll have to turn your volume up. Our recording materials weren't the best! Next time we record a music video, we will record the song first, then place the recording over the music video. We recorded our video the quick and easy way today!

I saved the best for first... Oops! BEFORE we made our video, we made a double fact foldable. This was another HIT! They loved writing under the flaps. I heard a class full of, "OoOoooOoooO" and "AaaAaaaAaaah." 

You can find this Double Fact Foldable as a freebie {HERE}

I'm off for the next 5 days and have some unpacking to do! I can hardly believe I blogged! But, I was just so excited about our class music video, that I just had to share with you! I hope you can use our double fact video in your classroom, or found inspiration to create a video of your own! 

How do your students practice their double facts? 


Saturday, November 15, 2014

Bright Ideas Round-Up!

Thanks for stopping by for this edition of Bright Ideas! I can't believe it has been 10 months since Bright Ideas began! I feel so fortunate to be a part of this link-up! I may not post a Bright Idea every month (my, have I been busy these past few months!) but I always make sure to read my bloggy friend's post!

This month, I am going to share some of my Bright Idea posts, along with a couple of my personal favorite bright ideas!

My first Bright Idea was all about engaging students outside of the classroom and use paint chips to inspire authentic writing. You can read this blog post {HERE}

My next Bright Idea is my favorite management tool! On this post, I shared all about my easy-peasy bathroom management procedure. Read all about it {HERE}

Last, but not least, I shared another one of my favorite management tricks. This trick will help keep all of your students accountable during small group work. You can read about it {HERE}

I may not have contributed every month, but I made sure that when the Bright Idea linky came around, I read my friends' posts! Here are some of my favorites!

This amazing idea came from Nicole at Teaching With Style. Nicole is one of my best blogging friends & is one of the kindest people you will ever meet... Not to mention, she has some amazing ideas! You can read about how she used whiteboard dots in guided reading {HERE}

I had to plan for a sub this week, and this Bright Idea came in handy! It comes from my friend Emily from Education to the Core, another sweet and amazing blogger. You can read her post {HERE}

This last Bright Idea is one that I just have to try! I usually do a Class Promise and display it in my classroom, but with the move to a new school, I just didn't have the time to do it! I feel in love with this sweet positive display from Teaching First. You can read about her sweet and positive idea {HERE}

I hope you've enjoyed the Bright Ideas I've shared with you! The fun doesn't stop here... Check out more of the Bright Ideas below!


Thursday, November 13, 2014

Much to be Super Thankful For!

I have much to be thankful this year! 
My friends at Primary Powers created a linky to share all that we're thankful for! 

I will keep my post short and simple because it is conference week and I am dog-tired! I don't even know how I managed to stay away this late, and it's only 8 o'clock!

As many of you know, I moved from 2nd grade to 1st grade. It was a big change, but I am just loving it! My students have a lot of energy, but are so sweet! I could not imagine teaching without them!

Moving school meant moving to a new classroom. I am very pleased with my space. It is not as cramped as I used to be. I have enough room for all of my books (which I still need to organize), and has enough room for 29 first graders. 

Of course I am thankful for my family! We are not the most photogenic bunch (my dad is even giving me bunny ears... what!?!) but I love them just the same!

I am finally moving to a new apartment! I will miss living with my parents (really, I will), but I am excited to live away from them again, haha! Teachers need their space!!
Enough said!
I cannot express enough how blessed I feel to be a teacher! There are so many wonderful life experiences coming my way!

I am thankful to all of my blog readers. I know I am not the most consistent blogger, but you have stuck with me... I appreciate you all!

What are you thankful for??

Monday, July 28, 2014

Monday Made It: Classroom Decor & More

Once again, I'm linking up with 4th Grade Frolics for another edition of Monday Made It

Since I am changing the colors of my classroom, I wanted to add a few cute decorations that would match the new theme. I made this R to be displayed behind my desk, or to hang outside my classroom door. I haven't quite made up my mind yet! Nonetheless, I'm excited to display this somewhere in my new first grade classroom!

This initial was pretty easy to make. I bought the giant R at a local craft store on sale for $10. I also purchased several sheets of scrapbook paper in my classroom colors and little letters to spell my last name.

To make the collage, I simply ripped the paper and used mod-podge to glue it to the letter. 

Once the mod-podge had dried, I used a sharp X-Acto knife to cut away the extra paper. 
*Disclaimer* I am pretty awful with the knife! 

A little hot glue held the letters in place. 

And, there you have it! My craft project is ready to be displayed!

Since school is just around the corner, I am working on project, after project to get my classroom ready! I knew that I would need another set of number posters to add to my calendar area.
 I love, love, love ten frames and visual math, so I was sure to add ten frames to each number poster. 
Since first graders learn how to tally, I also added a spot for tallies.
 I can't wait to print these and hang them up!

What projects are you working on? 

If you haven't already, take a look at this week's Monday Made It for some classroom inspiration!


Monday, July 21, 2014

Monday Made It: File Cabinet Rehab with Sass!

Since I'm going to be teaching firsties, I wanted to add color... lots of color! Color makes me... happy! As  I plan what will go into my future {and new} classroom, I wanted to create a show-stopping piece that people would say, "Where did you get that at!" and I would proudly respond, "I made it!" 

So... I turned a boring old cabinet- that I scored for FREE- into a colorful, sassy, ready-for-firsties cabinet!

I'm linking up with 4th Grade Frolics for my first Monday Made It of the summer! What took me so long!?! Well, I was moving... and moving again... Oh, and I was in Vegas! But, I'm here now with lots of Monday Made Its to share!

I started my project with a boring brown metal cabinet. I loved the look of it and the many drawers, but it wasn't ready for my classroom! 

I took the drawers out and added primer to get it ready for some vibrant spray paint!

And here are my color choices! The darker the color, the easier to paint with! The yellow was ridiculously hard to pain with! I had to paint layer, after layer, after layer... and it still ended up looking a bit odd. The blue was by far the easiest to work with! I am going to use the same paint for other craft projects!

I was so smart and didn't wear gloves... and ended up looking like this! I kinda liked the look! I still have some random bits of spray paint here and there... hmmmmm

After a top coat, the drawers were ready to go back in! I just loved it!! But... I wasn't done yet! Every teacher knows the details are what makes the best impression!

I found these pretty papers on sale that would match my classroom theme/ colors and look just perfectly as a finishing touch to my cabinet! I love the patterns! My favorite is the paper in the blue drawer.
 It says, "I love it!"

Ta Da! The final product! 
I can't wait to get this sassy piece in my classroom! 


The Breakdown:

Cabinet- FREE
Spray Paint- $4 each x 7 = $28 (YIKES!)
Pretty Paper- $4
Flower- $3

Total = $35

Effort - Moderately Easy
Time - About 3 hours + drying time


Next week I will have some more fun craft projects to share! In the meantime, I hope you check out the other lovely creations on the Monday Made It link-up!

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