Tuesday, August 30, 2011

ADvertisements Will ADD To Our Writing Center!

So, it's Tuesday, which means two things...Monday is past us (yippee!)... and coupon/junk mail day.  I still get kind of excited when I see the big wad of coupons in our box.  I keep thinking maybe I'll find a "golden ticket" of a deal...but always to no avail.  

Today's junk mail.
 So every week they go to waste.  But wasted no more!  Today I decided to cut out some of the better pictures from each ad to make a stash of  usable magazine pics. for future literacy center activities.  I'm thinking they could glue a picture in the middle and make a web of adjectives to describe them (there were lots of food pics which seemed to naturally lend itself to this).  Or they could use the pictures as writing prompts, sentence starters, etc.  Anyway, this inspired me to start an envelope that I can keep pictures in  as I cut them out (I'm thinking I could watch TV while I clip them).

I love the CONCEPT of all the cute "let students cut out pictures from magazine" activities, but A) there are so many inappropriate pictures in magazines that I don't want my first graders to come across, and B) first graders are SO messy and I personally don't ever feel like dealing with magazine scraps in every nook and cranny of my classroom.  So if I just clip along the way, I can establish a good stash to have "on the ready" whenever I want them to do this type of work!  I'm looking forward to putting them to good use!  

Anyone else have any brilliant early childhood ideas for ads/magazine clips?

And for a funny teacher story...I definitely had a teacher "first!"  Today as I was teaching away, I started choking in the middle of a sentence...something had caught my throat. A student had the most disgusted look on her face and said, "Um...a fly just flew in your mouth!" HAHAHA!!! That sucker flew right into my wind pipe while I was teaching!! So before they went to activity today, we read "There Was An Old Lady Who Swallowed a Fly"  in honor of our "event."  And that, folks, is one of the reasons why I love teaching.  No two days are alike, and there is never a dull moment!  


Monday, August 29, 2011

Rollin' Right Through the School Year!

The third week of school has begun and we're diving into literacy corners!  I am changing the way I do corners/centers/rotations/whatever you want to call them.  I'm adding more corners and I'm really excited about the way these will keep my students engaged and focused on fun, quality assignments that will support my instruction!  Here's a game I made for my "word work" corner.  All you need is a dice and a copy of THIS document I made!

We have talked about two word families so far: -at and -op.  So I created this activity to help them practice changing out different onsets with the -at and -op rimes.  The student will roll the dice, and the number they land on will determine what onset they use.  They will then write it down next to the rime for #s 1-10 and see how many new words they have created!  I hope this works well!  Looking forward to it.  OH and by the way, I have extra large foam dice which I bought years ago to cut down on the noise when they roll the dice on their desks.  But I plan on incorporating THIS great idea I found on Pinterest to eliminate those boogers from tossing the dice all over the room and arguing with me that it was an "accident." Not that I'm bitter or anything ;)

Sunday, August 21, 2011

A Very Pinteresting Classroom!

Well, it's been a long time!  I'm sure you couldn't possibly imagine why!!

I survived all of the professional development and the first week of school.  I looooove my class, although with each group comes its own challenges!  This year we have a SURPLUS of first graders!  My class kept growing as the week went on (I'm up to 22).  I know that isn't a HUGE number of students for many of you teacher folk, but for our district that is big!  We only have 20 backpack hooks in our rooms, and I kept having to get desks from our storage to add to my room!  I won't go into the details and whine about how some of my desks don't match the others and how I had to go back to the store a million times to get more supplies as my class size grew.  Bottom line is, we're past the first week, and things go a little smoother every day!

And now I'm onto my real topic for today's post....PINTEREST!!!  It's been a blessing and a curse ever since I registered for this brilliant site.  I've found the best ideas for school and home, but I can't STOP searching and pinning!! Aaaaggggghhhh!!!  So I decided to do a quick post about the things that I have already adopted into my classroom, as inpsired (or flat-out copied straight from) the Pinterest site.  So  here it goes:

I found this cute sign on Pinterest for a "Book Hospital."  I printed it and put it on the front of a crate in my library center for my students to put books that need repair.  This way, they won't "bother" me during my literacy rotations!  It was a brilliant idea! 

While I was on her blog for the Book Hospital printable, I found her post HERE about the "Blurt Chart."  I decided to make my own, but instead of using velcro pieces, I just have my students put an X in the box with a dry erase marker.  3 "strikes" = 1 card pulled in my class.  This way, they learn not to blurt out in class discussions. It's already worked so well!

I also redid my calendar math board with THIS idea.  I hated having to keep up with individual calendar pieces, and I really liked having the cards on rings.  It's a simple, clean board that I can spruce up throughout the year as I want to increase the math content. 

I LOVED this idea that originated HERE.  It's such a simple idea, but I never thought about having all of the things a new student would need in one easy-to-grab baggy.  What a time and stress saver!! Let's be honest...when we get new students, it usually happens with little or no warning and we feel like we're scrambling to take care of them all day!

On the second day of school, I created THIS anchor chart with my students.  It was such a great way to referee all of those extra stories and side commentary they use every day in class discussions!  I am glad that I will have something to reference whenever they get off-task or say something unnecessary!

I also loved THIS idea to make sure students put their names on their papers.  I have a basket of highlighters right next to their turn-in baskets and a sign similar to the one on the cup in this picture.  Brilliant!

One of my favorite management finds (and one of the easiest to make) is THIS little guy for class volume.  I love it because A) It's a nice visual B) It reminds you that there are some times when you can allow the students to whisper while they work C) It takes the "meanness" off of you because you can say things like "Look at our noise-o-meter.  It's saying that right now we need to have no voices, so make sure you look at that while you're working to keep from having to pull a card today!"  Already in the first week of school it's been a handy visual to have and they seem to really respond to it!  I made mine in Microsoft Word, laminated it, and attached velcro circles to each color.  It took all of 5 minutes to make and it's well worth the effort!

And lastly...I saw THIS great math center ideas for coin identification and I happened to find the perfect container yesterday at Dollar Tree.  So...I decided to go ahead and make it to have on hand for when I teach money!  One thing I didn't like about the one on Pinterest is that it had the pictures of the coins right there in plain sight, so it seemed a bit too easy for the students.  I decided to create labels that ONLY had the coin name and value to place in each compartment.
Then I made separate labels with the coin pictures (using BUSY TEACHER'S CAFE coin clipart) and placed them on the sides of each compartment so that they can use it to self-check when they are through!  I look forward to using it!

Most of the stuff I've used/made so far is for general classroom management.  But as the year goes on and I get into specific content, I can't wait to make use of Pinterest even more!  I just love it!