August 18, 2013

Give With Target

Target is offering their "Give With Target" opportunity once again.  You need only log into the site and vote for Old Town Elementary School.  You can vote more than once so be sure to check out this great opportunity.  OTES will get $25 for every 25 votes!  

Here is the link:

Work Hard and Be Kind!!

August 16, 2013

Tips and Tricks

Here are my tips and tricks.

1.  Take the time to build a community and really get to know your kiddos.
2.  Set expectations.
3.  Stay in touch with parents.  I also try to contact parents on all the good things their kiddos are doing.
4.  Show your sense of humor.  Firsties are so LITERAL but by the end of the year they get my humor and can give it right back.
5.  Play music.  I love the sound of kids working and softly signing along to music.  Even though I often have those kid songs stuck in the head for the remainder of the day.
6.  Let them see your personality.  I'm ME in my classroom!!  What they see is what they get.  I have moments of meaning serious business, silliness, and forgetfulness.  It's good for kiddos to see no one is EVERY TIME I misplace something I JUST had in my hands.
7.  Try to breathe.  I know, it's go, go, go from the moment you walk into school but I try to take a 10 minute break at lunch to unwind.
8.  Complete lessons with the kiddos.  I often find myself writing, coloring, and completing work as they are.
9.  I created Daily 5 Desk strips which have helped greatly.  It makes the transition to Daily 5 SO much smoother.  They color in each one as it's completed so they know what they have left.

I'll also be having a SALE at my TpT Store on August 18th and 19th!! Make sure you check it out by clicking on the pic below.

Banner by The 3 AM Teacher

August 15, 2013

Taming the WILD!!

Here's how I TAME the wild!!  I began using a Class Store (The Lyons' Store of course) when I began as a third grade teacher and I decided to continue it in first.

Each kiddo gets a wallet with a license at the beginning of the year. They all start with $25.  Kiddos earn money for classroom jobs and following our school motto of, "Work hard and be kind."

They can also loose money for inappropriate behavior.

Throughout the week I keep track (which is some work) of who earned and lost money.  Friday is pay day.  Students who had a job get paid and the kiddos who lost money pay me.

The Lyons' Store opens once a month.  I buy most of my items at the Dollar Store and also ask for parents to donate items.

They really like this system and are able to practice counting money.  

At first I wasn't sure about this system because students should follow the rules, work hard, and be kind.  Right?  I often tell my classes I didn't get anything for being good in school.  They truly have to earn the money and I don't just freely hand it out for expected behavior.

Next up, a team member found this behavior chart.  I had made one last year (not as pretty) but will be using this one this year.  Here's the link A Sunny Day in First Grade.

Set high expectations, be consistent, have a routine yet have those moments where they can let loose.  We have moments when we get up and have 30 second dance parties!

I feel it's so important to create community and spend time getting to know your kiddos at the beginning of the year.  The majority WANT to please you and most of the time the rest will follow!

I can't wait to see other ideas for classroom management!

August 14, 2013

Staying Organized!

I'm one of those people who is OVERLY organized...even though at times it might look like complete chaos.  Everything has its place and should be easy to find!

Here is how I stay organized for instruction.  Click the pic and it will enlarge.

Pic 1:  Teacher's Toolbox-Best...thing...I've...ever...made...for my classroom!  I got rid of my teacher's desk and store all of my supplies here.  I absolutely LOVE IT.  I have FREE toolbox labels at my TpT Store.

Pic 2:  Subject Bins-I've seen some teachers use these as weekly bins.  I like to stay ahead of the game so I've labeled them by subject and as I photocopy I add my materials.

Pic 3:  Clear Storage Bins-This is where I organized ALL my Daily 5 materials by theme/month.

Pic 4:  Helpful Writing Tools-I bought 2 small plastic drawers and organized the writing materials my kiddos might need.  Instead of asking me they know right where to go.  I have extra pencils, date stamps, editing checklist, final draft books, extra paper, erasers, etc.

Pic 1:  Target Storage Cart-This was a bit expensive (and a pain to put together) but is one of the BEST purchases I've made for school. It's made of durable plastic and has held up well.  Each drawer holds my reading group materials.  The smaller drawers hold magic tape, markers, pens, letters, etc.

Pic 2:  Bins...bins...and more got to the point I had so many colors and styles I was just trying to give them away.  The white bins are labeled and store my picture books and craft supplies.  I store my listening center books in the blue bins below.

Pic 3:  Our Daily Schedule-I printed our schedule on cardstock and added magnets on the back.  Each day I can quickly change it and of course the kiddos like knowing what's coming next.

I can't wait to see other ideas for organization!!

August 13, 2013

Classroom Pics

I love how clean my room is and everything is in it's place.  I'm sure it wont' look this great after the first week of school.  Here are a few pics!!  Click the picture and it will enlarge.

Pic 1: Where I store my craft supplies and word work materials. The kids complete Poetry Art in this area.
Pic 2: Organization Galore!!  I bought the plastic storage bins at Walmart.  This is where ALL of my Daily 5 materials are stored.  The kids also use Bookflix here.
Pic 3: Reading group materials and storage
Pic 4: NO more teacher's desk.  I got rid of it last year and couldn't be happier.  I NEVER sat at it and it only collected mounds of paper.
Pic 5: My teepee-I made it at the end of last year and the kids LOVED this reading nook.

Pic 1:  Where kiddos can complete math.  I've included Work on Math during Daily 5 time and will be doing a math workshop this year.  
Pic 2: Where kids sign in
Pic 3: Where kiddos Listen to Reading-It's so comfy with the pillows and yes I made them.  If I can do a straight stitch ANYONE can!
Pic 4: Our meeting place

Here are some pics of the start of my bulletin boards.  I ALWAYS create these with the kids as we complete lessons but I added my anchor charts.

More pics can be seen here Ode to Summah.

August 12, 2013

Teacher Week: 10 Fun Things About Me

Talk about myself?  I normally don't do this...

I'm linking up with Blog Hoppin' for Teacher Week!  Here are 10 random facts about me.

Here's a pic of me in first grade!!

1.  I was born in Honolulu, Hawaii and was married on Lanikai Beach almost 5 years ago.

2.  I'm accident prone.  I'm constantly tripping, falling, or running into things and often have a bruise some where.  My grandparents began calling me Grace at a young age.

3.  I LOVE anything artistic or crafty.  I'll try any DIY project.

4.  I'm the middle child.  You know what that means if you are too!  I'm the one (in my mind) who had to fend for myself, be overly comedic, and get attention any way I could.  

I always wanted a sister and even dressed my younger brother up (in a dress and clip on earrings) and had a fashion show. he knew I was typing this. Love these guys but as you can see someone's squeezing me too hard!

5.  Flying TERRIFIES me yet fascinates me at the same time.  I love to travel but...the thought of flying and not being in control scares me A LOT!

6.  As a child (first grader) my dream job was to be a paleontologist.

7.  I want to believe I created upper-body dance moves while driving.

8.  I NEVER thought I'd be a runner but began years ago when the special ed teacher I worked with encouraged me.  I've been running since and have found it to be such a stress reliever.  As long as the knees hold up!

9.  I LOVE hiking even though I'm terrified of heights.  My husband knows me so well and always picks the perfect trails.

10.  Cliches...cliches...cliches.  I ALWAYS thought I was saying them right but found myself often corrected.  Growing up I would say, "Pull your buttons" instead of push your buttons" and "rocking the cradle" instead of "rob the cradle."  At least they got a good laugh!

Check back in throughout the week for more of Teacher Week!

August 9, 2013

Ode To Summah

As summer draws to an end I was compelled to take a moment to say how much she has mean't to me the last couple of months.

I can honestly say this is the first summer I've actually taken a mental break.  Don't get me wrong, I did bring a lot of work home but worked on it throughout the summer at my own pace.  I also added new products to my TPT Store.  I only went into school a handful of times which is SO unlike me!

There are SO many reasons why I absolutely love this time of year and I thought I'd reflect...

Gone will be the days of...

*Finally adjusting to not going 50 miles per hour
*No definite schedule, routine, or plans
*Sleeping in until 6
*Bathroom breaks throughout the day (instead of getting home and realizing how badly I had to go)
*Quiet mornings sipping my coffee (not one complete gulp)
*Not drying or straightening my hair (went the entire summer)
*Not having to get dressed (as in presentable)
*Camp days on my float and having a nice glow 
*Feeling completely relaxed
*NO ironing (the one chore I could do without)

Now that vacation is winding down I do look forward to meeting my new kiddos and getting back into a routine!

I've been in this week buckling down and getting ready for the start of the year.  I LOVED seeing my shiny floor and clean room.

Here are a few pictures of it all put back together.

Our kiddos come back on September 3rd but I'll be completing the Observation Survey on August 28th and 29th.  I'll see you then!!