Tuesday, February 26, 2013

Dr. Seuss Fun! Tongue Twister Cards Freebie!

Snow days are definitely putting a damper on my yearly outline. We're now going on our 4th snow day in the last week. I'm not complaining though, I do love my free time. : )

Last year, our Dr. Seuss week was by far one of my favorite weeks. One thing that I loved doing was having my students read some of the tongue twisters from various books. Here's a shot of them in action last year. Everyone had a note card and we just passed them around in our circle and gave it our best shot. 

I'm going to do this again but this year my cards will be a bit cuter. : ) I've uploaded them to Google Docs and they're yours for the taking! I hope your kiddos can enjoy in the fun and silliness of Dr. Seuss with these. 

What is your favorite Dr. Seuss book? Mine is definitely Fox in Socks. Such a fun read aloud! : )

Friday, January 18, 2013

Five for Friday

I've loved reading everyone else's link up with Doodle Bugs Teaching and I'm excited to join in! We had SUCH a good day in 1st grade today. We've been learning all about Martin Luther King Jr. this week using my MLK unit. Like I said earlier in the week, I thought that we were going to be in school on Monday but it turns out we are actually off. In my unit I planned on Monday being a day full of service projects to honor MLK's memory. But...since that couldn't happen we spent the last half of the day doing a few of the activities I planned.

1. We wrote nice and encouraging notes and headed to the library to stick them in random books to surprise someone. I modeled some things to write and then we brainstormed some more ideas. Once someone wrote 'You are a Rock Star' I got to thinking about popular songs that they could use. They thought of You're A Firework, Shine Bright Like A Diamond, and then we talked about One Direction. So when I was going around I found a sweet little boy trying to write the entire song. LOVE it!

2. We also made the cutest little signs that I'll be taking to an animal shelter to have them hang up. Would this pull at your heart strings and make you want to adopt? I hope so! = )

3. Since moving into our house this summer, most of our decorations have been seasonal. I love decorating for holidays but I want something that can be more consistent. I'm in the process of making these pretties to add above our fireplace and give it some much needed height. A Valentine's mantel is coming soon!

4. Finally got my flu shot! I'm doing everything possible to avoid sickness. I've been very strict with the kids about not spreading their germs. After a girl stuck her mouth on the edge of her desk to lick up every possible germ I might have made her cry for her lack of judgement....

5. Last but not least, I'm hoping to spend a lot of my time this weekend crafting. I made this necklace for my mom at Christmas and I'm really wanting one for myself as well. I think they would also be super cute as hair clips for some babies I know!

Hope you all had a great week as well! Enjoy your weekend! 

Tuesday, January 15, 2013

Getting ready for Martin Luther King Jr. Day

Martin Luther King Jr. is by far my favorite historical figure to teach my students about. Hearing him speak and his wise words have influenced me many times. In fact, when I was applying for certain jobs and was asked why I wanted it, I would always start by quoting Dr. King. "Injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere."

We are spending all of this week learning about MLK Jr.'s life. I had originally been planning on having a Day of Service on Monday since we were still going to be in school, but since we were recently told that we weren't having school, I'm having to move that up to Friday.

We're learning a new word every day this week and thus far we've learned segregation and equality. Since today Martin's actual birthday, we made him a card and wrote him a note. I loved seeing some of them talk about equality and making our lives better by helping end segregation. Precious little ones...

When talking about equality today I hit a point where my kids just weren't getting it. I talked about treating them differently based on their skin but it didn't really sink in because of course I try to treat everyone the same. Then I decided to try out the Jane Elliot "Brown Eyes, Blue Eyes Experiment" but instead of using eye color I used the color of their pants. Students can wear either navy or khaki pants so I could easily split them up into 2 groups. I spent probably about 2 hours favoring one group over the others and I feel like that made them understand the concept of equality better. About half way through the exercise I had each group talk about how they felt about how I was treating them. As expected, the group that I was treating as inferior would say, "I want to wear navy pants tomorrow!" and vice versa. When we were done we talked about how we could control what color of pants we could wear but we can't control what color of skin we had and elaborated on how unfair it really was. I think it was very powerful. I'm glad that I did it but I think next time I would shorten the duration of how long I treat each group as inferior or superior because of the reactions I saw when we first started.

Also, where have I been so far this year? Well, to illustrate, this is what my life had been like.
Chaotic. Messy. Unorganized. Crazy! 

I spent some time trying to get my school life in order over our Christmas break and this is what I'm hoping the rest of my year will be like...
Organized. Planned. Ready to go! :) 

Sunday, August 5, 2012

Alphabet in Action: How do you teach the alphabet?

When I learned that I was teaching first grade a few years ago my first thought was to panic. What did they know at that this age? Do I really know how to teach them to read? What about my kiddos who didn't even know the alphabet? If you're in the same boat as I was, I have a solution for you!

Last year I found a video of a teacher singing a great alphabet song that practiced the sounds along with coming up with an action for each letter. I knew I just had to try it out. At the beginning of this past year I had 3 students who knew about 5 letters and sounds. After singing this song A LOT, they were all readers by the end of the year. {Oh my how I hope they've kept it up over the summer!} I really credit their ability to learn the alphabet and thus becoming readers to this song.

You want to see my students sing it, don't you? I looked back at the few takes I have of them singing it {completely adorable, I'm going to miss them SO much} with full intentions of sharing it with all of you BUT, I don't have permission to share. Imagine 22 of the cutest kids in their uniforms doing a call and response song and hopefully you can imagine what it's like in a class. So, next best thing....my 2 sisters. They're going into 5th and 7th grade this coming year so they're not quite the target audience for this song but I had to show you somehow! They're both very sassy girls. Can you tell that they're dancers? That's what I attribute all of their theatrics to. Here's what the alphabet in action song looks like:

To help my students this year, I've made alphabet cards and some other materials that correspond to this song. I contacted Carrie from C & C Teach First to create the clip art for this song. She was so nice and did a wonderful job! Last year we just used my curriculum's alphabet cards which did not match up. Remembering that G was girl was a bit confusing when they were seeing a picture of a gate. Thank goodness we won't have any confusion this year! 

Here's a look at what I made:

I'm super excited to start the year off with this. I've worked really hard to put this together and have decided that this will be my first TPT product for sale {yikes!!}. If you're interested, here is what is included: 
*Full size alphabet cards with a teal chevron background
*Small alphabet cards with a black chevron background
*An alphabet book. For each page students will practice tracing lower case and capital letters. They can also trace and practice writing 2 sentences that correspond with the picture. 
*Desk name plate
*Alphabet Chart 
Click here if you'd like to download a preview and check it out further.

The first person to comment will receive this for free! :) 

Super Hero theme templates

Are you doing a super hero theme this year? Ever since The Avengers came out I've seen a huge spike in all things super hero. I have to admit that I kind of jumped on the bandwagon as well. I didn't read comic books as a kid, but my husband got me hooked on them. Chris Evans and Chris Hemsworth make it even easier to get into them, right? :) This past year I had a super hero theme. I thought it would be a huge hit with the boys but I ended up with a class that had way more girls. Either way, I think everyone enjoyed it. I'm planning on doing it again this year and I hope to make it a little better.

I wanted to share two of the templates that my husband drew for me last year and hopefully you can use them too. Even if you're not doing a super hero theme, you could use them along with a writing prompt or whatever else your creative minds think of.
I used the shield to decorate my student's lockers. The super hero template was used for our classroom reading tracker. I took their picture on the first day of school and placed their head on the body for them to decorate. As they grew in reading, their super student moved up the building. I'm thinking I could add a little title to this tracker with Reaching New Heights or Soaring to New Heights. You can see a picture of their completed super hero here.They loved seeing their super hero go up and I'm excited to use this again!

Click here to go to my TPT store to download the free templates. Hope you can use them!

Monday, June 18, 2012

1 Year Anniversary

No, not the 1 year anniversary of my blog like a lot of people I'm seeing. It's the 1 year anniversary since I married my wonderful husband! I think I've shared only 1 picture from our wedding on here, but I wanted to take this time to share a few more. My husband is a huge movie buff, so we naturally had a movie themed wedding. I thought it was really unique and wonderful, but maybe I'm just a little bias. ; )

Anyways, enjoy a glimpse into our special day! :)

The dress. My mom picked this one out. It's true, mothers know best!

Before wedding pictures- there was definitely a portable fan in the background ready to be used right after we were done! 
Our huge and wonderful bridal party!

I had both my dad and step dad walk me down the aisle. The music was one of my favorite parts of the wedding- all songs that were played were in some movie at some point. All the processional pieces were played on the piano and I got to pick songs like Rose from Titanic, Kissing You from Romeo & Juliet, and then I walked down the aisle to My Girl. :) After they announced us we played You Make My Dreams by Hall & Oates. 

Our reception was on the 2nd floor of an old movie theater. It was pretty cool having our names up on the marquee! 

Ha....yes we were announced to the Imperial March while all the groomsmen held light sabers. I let my husband do this as long as I got to choose our 1st dance song which ended up being Come What May from Moulin Rouge. 

On each table we had something like this- some better than others. We both picked some of our favorite movies and/or movie posters and my stepdad inserted our faces into them. If only we could dance and sing like these two! Some of my favorites include Titanic, me as Whoopie Goldberg in Sister Act, and my husband as Yoda. Ha. :) 

Our beautiful and delicious cake! Most of the layers were strawberry and lemon (mmm....) and we learned today that the top was chocolate. So good. His grooms cake was Captain America's shield. Before the wedding my husband used to say this would be such an awesome summer- 1) Captain America's coming out! 2) We're getting married....Yes, even Captain America came before me! Ha! 

Right before the photographers left, they brought us down to the theater where they were having some awards (we wouldn't have interrupted the movie, of course!) and got some cool shots. They were clapping for an award being announced but let's just pretend it was all for us. :) 

Whew, that was more than I had planned to share. So many wonderful memories! I'll be back with something school related soon. Currently I have 7 days of summer school left and the end can not come fast enough. I'm just not as motivated during summer school. Must have break! Must sleep in! Must lounge around! Until then, I'll be daydreaming of everyone else already on vacation and enjoying your summer! 

Monday, June 4, 2012


It's been quite a while. Things have been pretty busy around here. Our last day of school was on the 23rd. I was so sad to see my class go. At the end of last year I truly did not want to teach 1st grade again, I wanted to move up to 2nd grade with my class. I heard that the upcoming class was very low and knew first hand about a lot of behavior issues. I know now that I shouldn't let others opinion form mine. This was an incredible year. My students worked so hard and had a lot of fun while doing it. My goal has always been for my students to grow 1.5 years in both reading and math. Up to this point I had never accomplished that before- my students usually averaged about 1.25 years of growth. Not this year! Based on our test scores my students grew an average of 1.92 years in reading growth and 1.93 years in math growth. Holy canoly!!! After seeing their scores I was a very proud teacher. They're off to great things!

At the beginning of the year I showed my reading tracker that matched my super hero theme. Students move themselves up as they grow in reading levels. Here's how it looked at the end of the year. I've seen a lot of people that are using super heroes as their theme next year. I'll try to find the template my husband drew for our super students in case anyone would like it.

While we got out of school fairly early, I had a five day break before summer school started. I wish we could make enough during the regular year so I didn't have to work summer school. Very jealous of those working on projects and reading and relaxing their days away. At least I'll get all of July off! 

Also, we got a new dog! My husband showed me a shelters website and it just broke my heart. Last Thursday we went out there to look at one dog, and came home with another. He's been a great addition so far. Meet our new cutie, Woody! :) 

I've got quite a few projects I'm planning to start these next couple weeks. Hopefully I can share along the way and you can find something that'll be useful to you. Hope you all are enjoying your summer so far!