Thursday, July 24, 2014

Tips for Meet the Teacher!

15 of the most wide eyed and terrified future firsties walked into my classroom today to meet their new teacher.  I swear every year they get more and more precious (this doesn't mean I'm ready for a baby right?)  I actually really enjoy meet the teacher.  And I always want to set the tone for the new school year.  I LOVE making little treat bags for my newbies.  My mom teaches Kindergarten and gave me those poems where you would have to get all the pieces...for instance, a starburst (because you're a star in my class), a sticker (because we all stick together), a band-aid (for the owies), etc.  IT WAS JUST TOO MUCH!  (Sorry mom.)  So this year, I kept it simple...

 I used a paper bag and threw in a pencil, eraser, some snacks and sweet treats.
 I have a giant, scalloped hole punch from Micheal's and used it to cut out some school scrapbook paper.  I have a Silhouette that I USUALLY use to make stickers but it really didn't like me so I just printed out the "welcome to first grade" and used a 2.5 inch hole punch to cut it out.  Glue it on top and staple to the bag.
I mean, how stankin' cute is that???

This poem I actually wrote really quickly one night and thought, "This will work!"
(One of the mom's actually got teary eyed reading it to her son today...yeah, score.)
If you want a copy, you can get it for FREE HERE.  I also did one for Kindergarten (MOTHER!).
(If it doesn't open, just leave me a comment below.)

So, what about when the little babies are in your room,  and they are getting comfortable while you talk to mom and dad, and start running around the room and taking things off the shelves?  Um, no.
Let's do a craft!!!
(I have been doing this for several years and it always keeps me sane at the end of the day.)
I got these little sticks at Joanne's fabrics.  I had my husband paint them and then I hot glued clothespins to them.  Then, I took an extra fine-tipped Sharpie and wrote...
Then I make sure all the supplies are laid out and ready to go.

When my little friends come in, I let them pick which one they want to do.  I write their name on the back with a permanent marker.  I give them QUICK, simple instructions...
 Off they go!  And they are busy while I talk to mom and dad :)
I love it!
After everyone has left, I quickly put a magnet button on the back (just a quick peel and stick).  Yes, Danielle, I know I need a manicure.
And there you have it!  A darling magnet for your students to hang their lovely and all star work!  (and they didn't tear up your room :)
I am almost ready for the new school year.  I have a few more finishing touches and then my classroom is DONE!  Check back for a classroom reveal (ooohhhh...)

Saturday, July 12, 2014

Keeping Track of Sight Words and a FREEBIE!

One thing that I notice that I do from year to year is quickly scribble sight words on index cards and throw 'em in a bucket.  Nothing is ever organized and I don't know who needs to work on what.  So this summer, I have taken the time to create sight word cards - printed and beautifully laminated.  I got the sight words from Maria Monroe at Kinder-Craze.  She has a post on how she made her sight word cards.  You can read all about her post HERE.  You can get her FREE sight words HERE.
To start, you are going to need Avery shipping labels.
I had some pretty cardstock that I had purchased from Michaels.  I cut those up and put the labels on them.  I did this all while watching Lifetime movies :)...
Then I ran them through the laminator...

I just get all warm and fuzzy when everything is coated in heavy plastic!  I also notice that when a student is "thinking" they fold and bend the cards.  This will make them a little more durable.
So then I purchased a file folder from Wal-Mart for about $4.
It keeps all the words in order.
I ended up buying three of them to keep the words separated.  I used a silver Sharpie to label the folders.  But then I thought, how am I gonna know who knows what?
So I made somewhat of a little assessment piece that I might be able to use.  I plan on giving the student the words and just have them read through them, kinda like how they do on our MCLASS assessments.  I made a recording page so that I can keep track as they read.  I also left some space under each word because sometimes I write what they said if they got the word wrong.  For instance, if they see the word "like" but say "lick," I'll write "lick" under it so I can have a reference during conferences and such.
Then I made this sheet to keep track of multiple assessments.  This little baby will keep all the scores in one place.
And if I want to keep track of my guided reading groups and what words we need to focus on, I'll use this form.  This will give me a quick shot of my groups as a whole.  I don't plan on putting my whole class on every list because some students are going to be far beyond certain words.  I'll have this form ready to go while I'm working with that group.  As we work with our words, I'll be able to tell who knows a word, who doesn't and I''ll be able to quickly check it off on the list.

I'm hoping that these forms will help me stay a little more organized this year and a little more informed with my students.  You are more than welcome to get these forms for free HERE.

What are some ways you keep track?

Friday, July 11, 2014

Back to School Goals 2014-2015

            I'm linking up with Jess from I (heart) Recess to talk about goals for this coming school year!

I always set little goals (in my mind), but I never take the time to actually write them out.

Personal: I didn't take a whole lot of time for myself last year, let alone with my husband.  I always brought work and stress home.  Not good for a new marriage.  This year, I plan on spending more afternoon time for myself and my husband.

Organization: Emails!  Oh I am SO bad with emails!  I was lucky enough to have a team that would call me on the phone and let me know what was going on because they knew I was bad about checking emails.  One thing that I started to do at the end of the year was just leave the screen up and I could see what was coming through.

Planning: I'm pretty good with making plans for the week, but never more than that.  I want to try to work on planning for more than one so I can have more personal time.

Professional:   EVERYBODY has an opinion.  BUT, not everybody's way of doing things will necessarily work for you, nor will your way work for somebody else.  Keep and open mind and listen, rather than argue.  It will make for a happy place :)

Students: Do we NOT keep enough data on students?!?  We administer the MCLASS for our students, but I want to keep more records for my personal information this year. 

What are your goals for this school year?

Sunday, July 6, 2014

Well Hello There! It's a Sunday Smorgasbord!

How long has it been?  Like for-ev!

I'm linking up with Michelle at Fabulous in First!

First of all, Scott and I JUST got back from our Honeymoon!  We went to St. Lucia and it was amazing!

The country was amazing.  The food was amazing.  The vacation itself was amazing.  My husband did an amazing job planning this trip!  Now it's back to reality and getting back to working out :(

Since summer started, I've also gotten into the decorating bug.
I LOOVE Marshall's!
I found this darling little His & Hers pillow.

And remember when my husband was working on adding shelving to our bathroom?
I was very concerned about this project because my husband doesn't know how to build...

The shelving turned out great!
I found some  flowers and baskets at Marshall's and the print in the fabric is the exact colors of the walls.

Okay, so that post was totally random, but that's the beauty of Sunday Smorgasbord!