Tuesday, April 30, 2013

Teacher Talk Tuesday: April 30, 2013

I remember when I was a new mom, I read tons of books and articles about parenting, developmental milestones, personality traits, and on and on.  One personality trait stuck with me, "slow to warm."  In most new situations my little  A  is slow to warm.
She likes to observe and certainly takes her time before she jumps in.  I must admit that I am "slow to warm" when it comes to technology.  However, today is not the day to be slow.  Today is the day to be quick to warm.
After seeing lots of other fantastic bloggers expanding their tech horizons with Instagram, I decided to take the plunge.  Signing up was very simple.  I didn't have a chance to take a school pic.  So I interrupted my poor dog's nap and snapped my first Instagram picture.

Now that I have figured out how to sign up and take a picture, I'm off to "follow" some of my favorite teacher bloggers.  I would love for you to follow me @schoolisahappyplace.  As of now I have zero followers.  Hey but I can only go up  r i g h t ?
Check out What the Teacher Wants or Apples and ABC's if you would like to see who else is Instagraming.


Monday, April 29, 2013

Math Box Monday (Organization Tips)

I love peeking into other teachers' classrooms and seeing how they organize their classes and materials.  I wanted to give you a little look at my math box organization and storage.
We call them math boxes in my class.  But you may call them math stations or math centers or math tubs.  Whatever you refer to them as in your class, I'm sure you know they are a great addition to your math time.
I try to use them everyday.  I partner students together during their math box time.  I usually partner a stronger student with a weaker student.  If I have an odd number of students, one will just work independently.  I leave the partners together for as long as that set of math boxes are out (usually about a month).  When I change my boxes, I also change the partner arrangement in the class.  
This arrangement has worked well, but I continually remind the students to take turns so that one student is not doing all the work.
So there you have a brief explanation of how I organize my students.  Below you can see how I setup and organize my boxes.

My students really like to do math box and I love the constant review I can work in by having them as part of my math time.  If you do not use them, summer is coming up.  You will have some time to think about how you can work them into your class' routine.
Thanks for reading and please say a little prayer for me because the countdown continues.
Have a great evening.

Sunday, April 28, 2013

Mapping Penny's World: A Must Read Mentor Text and a Social Studies FREEBIE

Happy Sunday.
I'm linking up with Collaboration Cuties to share a favorite text to use with social studies.  One of my favorite social studies books is Mapping Penny's World by Loreen Leedy.

This book is very similar to Me On the Map by Joan Sweeney (another favorite).   In this book Lisa learns about different types of maps.  She uses her dog Penny to complete a mapping project. 
I love this book because of the illustrations, the in depth explanation of maps, and because it is part of a series of three books that feature Penny (Measuring Penny and It's Probably Penny).  My first graders love all of these books.
Below you will find a freebie to use with Mapping Penny's World.  Students can draw a maps of their bedrooms and create a key to go with their maps.  Click on the picture below if you would like a copy.  The clip art is from Scrappin Doodles.

I highly recommend Mapping Penny's World and all of the other Penny books for your classroom library.  The stories are cute, the information is abundant, and your kids will really enjoy them.
For more tried and true recommendation head on over to Collaboration Cuties and check out the other Must Read Mentor Texts for social studies.

Thanks for reading and have a great week.  

Saturday, April 27, 2013

My Marvelous Mom: A Free Mother's Day Book

This evening  D  and I were discussing Mother's Day plans.  We usually host lunch for both of our families on that day.  Since plans are in the works at home, I figured I better start getting my ducks in a row at school.
One activity my firsties will complete for Mother's Day is My Marvelous Mom book.  All they have to do is complete each sentence about their sweet mamas and illustrate a picture to go with the sentence.  You can have your own free copy by clicking on the picture below.  The clip art is from Scrappin Doodles and Fancy Dog Studios.
My class will be taking the SAT-10 next week and we are under orders not to be instructing in the afternoons.  Seems like a perfect time to work on some Mother's Day activities.
You may also be interested in this book.
The Night Before Mother's Day by Natasha Wing is another book in The Night Before series.  It is a great little read to get students started thinking about doing something special for their moms.
P.S.  You can click here if you would also like my free printable book for Father's Day, My Rad Dad.

Friday, April 26, 2013

Five for Friday: April 26, 2013

We made it.  It's Friday!
Not only does that mean a little break, it also means time for Doodle Bugs Teaching's Five for Friday!

I'll start the count with some class goings on.
Number 1 is Earth Day.  On Monday we did a little Earth Day writing craftivity.  We started by brainstorming a list of ways to help the Earth.  My sweeties came up with some fabulous ideas.  Then they completed the project.  They turned out really cute. If you would like a free copy of this activity, you can click on the picture.
Number 2 is field trip fun.  We went on our last field trip of the year to a local animal park.  The kids had a wonderful time.  Since it is spring there were lots of adorable babies.  I really had to stop myself from putting this little baby pig in my jacket pocket.  It was born only hours before we arrived.  So cute!
Number 3 puts a large lump in my throat, count down to kindergarten.  I can not believe the time is almost here.   A  is ready but I am not.  In my mind she is still a little baby.  Time marchs on and I better get in step.
Number 4 is new sandals.  My friend had a pair of Sseko sandals on the other day.  Of course a discussion ensued.  They are sandals that have interchangable ribbons that you can tie in all different configurations.  Cool right?  Even better the company that makes them is a fair trade organization based in Uganda and commited to helping the women of that country.  After checking them out for myself, I had to order a pair.  You can take a look by clicking on the picture below.
Number 5  is my favorite dress of the season.  J. Crew's factory site has this sweet little dress in solid colors and in this polka dot print.  I think it is simple enough to live on for many springs to come.  It is one of those styles I will want in every color.
Thanks for reading and have a great weekend.

Wednesday, April 24, 2013

Fiesta Fun: Enjoy a Cinco de Mayo FREEBIE

I'm mid week reviewing for next week's SAT-10 test.  As my kiddos make their final push before the big test, I'm looking forward to happier days.  Cinco de Mayo is the next holiday on the calendar.  This year May 5th is on Sunday, but that is not going to stop me from working a little Cinco de Mayo fun into my first grade class.
For math we'll be reviewing using a Cinco de Mayo math mini book (that you can have by clicking on the picture below).  This mini book reviews calendar skills, time, graphing, double digit addition/subtraction, fractions, and more.  The clip art if from Scrappin Doodles.

Here are a couple of books I'll be using for read aloud:  Cinco de Mouse-O! by Judy Cox and Chicks and Salsa by Aaron Reynolds.

Both of these books are really fun and provide jumping off points for some discussion of Cinco de Mayo traditions and some Mexican traditions.
For some more Cinco de Mayo ideas check out Pinterest (as if I even need to tell you that).  I have found several cute craftivities that I think the kids will love.
Suggestions . . . let me know.

Tuesday, April 23, 2013

The Daily Five: Focus on Listen to Reading

Hi Friends.
I know when I started The Daily Five I really wanted to know how other teachers were organizing their classroom and materials.  One thing I discovered was that everyone had their own way of doing things.  Below you will find a few ideas from my classroom about organizing and executing Listen to Reading.

I do have a fairly large listening library which includes books on cassette and books on cd.  I have purchased everyone of them through scholastic book orders.  If you do not have a listening library, check out TumbleBooks.
Let me know if you have any questions.

Monday, April 22, 2013

Calendar, Group, and Library OH MY! (Let's Get Acquainted Linky Party)

I'm really excited about Flying Into First Grade's Let's Get Acquainted Linky topic.  It is:
My Classroom (Share Three Favorite Areas)
I really love seeing picture of other classrooms.  I always get so many ideas.  I like really organized spaces that emphasize function.  Below you will find three areas that get a lot of use in my first grade classroom.

Number 1-Calendar

Number 2-Group Area

Number 3-Class Library

Real estate is at a premium in the classroom.  These three spaces certainly earn their keep.  Now head on over to Flying Into First to take a peek at some other classrooms.

Sunday, April 21, 2013

Super Science Selections: A Must Read Mentor Text and a FREE Science Graphic Organizer

Hi Friends.
I'm linking up with the Collaboration Cuties for the science edition of Favorite Mentor Texts.  I've been thinking about one science text to share and I'm afraid I'm going to have to cheat a bit this week.
I'd like to highlight a favorite science text author, Gail Gibbons.  She has written  s e v e r a l  science texts that are great for the early elementary classroom.
Below you will find a free printable that can go along with any of Gibbons' books.  Students can write words in the appropriate boxes to show what they know about a given science topic.  After reading a book that covers that topic, students will add more information to their graphic organizers.  This activity can be done individually, with partners, or with the whole group.  
If you would like a free copy of this printable, click on the picture below.  The clip art is from Scrappin Doodles.

If you do not have any of Gibbons' books in your library, go check some out.  They are great resources to have.  If you are looking for some other great resources, check out the other links at Collaboration Cuties' Must Read Mentor Texts Link Up.
Have a great week and best of luck if you are testing.

Friday, April 19, 2013

Five for Friday (April 19th)

Hi Friends.
I'm linking up with Doodle Bugs Teaching for Five for Friday again this week.  So without further ado, here are my Five for Friday.
Number 1 this week is this great cd for class, Jazz for Kids.  It includes various classic jazz artists, like Ella Fitzgerald.  The songs are all very fun and sometimes a little bit silly.  The kids seem to enjoy it.  I love playing it first thing in the morning as my sweeties trickle into the classroom.  I think is sets a happy tone for the day.  I ordered my copy from Amazon.
Number 2 is the Time Timer.  If you do not have one of these for your classroom, you have my condolences.  Seriously, this timer is fabulous.  You pull the red circle around the clock face to set the timer and it counts down.  The kids can see how much time they have left on a given activity.  It also really helps me keep track of my time when we are doing our Daily Five rotations.
Number 3 is Babbling Abby's end of the year checkups.  Our first graders are taking the SAT-10 in a week.  Of course this up coming week we are reviewing in preparation for this test.  I plan on using Abby's The 25 Day Check-Up for math and The 20 Day Check-Up for reading/language arts.  I think these packets will be the perfect jumping off point my class's prepartation. 
Number 4 is totally not school related (neither is number 5).  I have needed a couple of shelves or cabinets for our keeping room.  We have a fire place with small spaces on both sides.  For past five years  A's  stuff has occupied these spaces.  Totes of music instruments, riding toys, doll strollers . . . you get the picture.  However, I think I have finally found the solution, Pottery Barn's Logan Modular Wall System.  I think a couple of the glass front cabinets will work perfect for these odd spaces and should be great for housing  A's  gear.
Number 5 are the trees in our yard.  Last weekend  D  put up a tire swing for  A  and she  l o v e s  it.  This morning a strong wind storm took one down across our drive way.  I had to do a little off-roading to get to school.  This evening when we got home (without being asked) our neighbor and across the street neighbor came right over and helped with clean up.  What nice guys!  We are so blessed to have wonderful neighbors.
Don't worry, horse tree is still standing.
Thanks for reading.  Be sure to check out some of the other links this week.
Have a nice weekend.