Friday, August 14, 2015

Five for Friday (Back to School)

I am SOOOO glad it's FRIDAY!  Thank you Jesus!  I have been to 4 states in 4 different weeks and I ain't going ANYWHERE this weekend.  I'm tired.
I'm making this one short and sweet with a Link Up with Doodle Bugs Teaching!

Last weekend Scott's company had a meeting/family retreat at the Grove Park Inn in Asheville.  It was beautiful.  The hotel itself is very interesting and very historical.  

This is the view from the Spa...under the ground!

I had an amazing parent donate a gift card to get bean bags for our Read to Self Center.  
Now my reading nook is so cozy!  I've had many people ask how I keep my students from fighting.  Well, I only have four friends in a group.  When it's their turn for Read to Self, they have to decide who will sit in it the first day and who the next.  Then they just flip flop days.  Of course there are always some sweet ones that say, "You can go first!" and I have to reward their kindness :)

As I said before, I like to keep my centers as EASY PEASY as possible at the beginning of the year.
This pack helps me do just that!
At first I had the students using play dough to build the words.  Then I found these blocks in the dollar section at Target.  I added those and BOOM!  We've added more interest!  When September rolls around I'll change out the mats and have them build with something else like sand, stamps, etc.  Super easy to keep the interest going!

Work on Writing is always a little trickier at the beginning of the year.  I created this pack to help ease my friends into the routines and expectations for my centers for the remainder of the year.  Every pack for every month stays the same.  The only thing that changes are the writing prompts, the theme and the border around the writing paper.  That way, once my students get the hang of it, I no longer have to explain how to do anything - I just switch out the materials.
For back to school purposes I only introduce one thing at a time and add something new after a few days.
The first activity I added was labeling.  I have some friends in my class that aren't quite writers yet and I wanted them to have something they could feel successful with.  I print the pieces on card stock and laminate.  They use a word bank to label the words.  Super easy!
Narrative writing is the next thing I introduce and put in the writing center.  Many of them are still getting used to routines let alone have enough stamina to write for 20 minutes but I do have some friends that are interested in this option and can handle more rigorous writing.
Sticker Stories are ALWAYS a hit!  Right now, I'm still trying to train them on writing sticker stories - not sticker sentences.  This is something that ALL my friends enjoy and feel successful with.  You can get my sticker story template HERE FOR FREE.
So far, my students have had several options in their Work on Writing center.  This week I introduced Letter Writing.  (Keep in mind, I'm at a year round school and have been in school for three weeks.)
The letter writing was a huge hit (and I think it was because of the envelopes they get to make to put the letters in :)

Now me and Rosco plan to do NOTHING this weekend but sleep and eat :)

Have a great weekend friends!


  1. Your library looks so cozy! I am loving the centers, perfect for first! I ended my Five For Friday post with a dog also, ha!

  2. Love the sticker story idea... I'm sure the kids go nuts for this. I never thought of using the blocks as letter tiles! Thanks for sharing!

  3. Excited to find your blog! I live about 45 minutes from Grove is a beautiful place! :)

    Thirsty Firsties

  4. That hotel is beautiful and so is your library! I love those chairs! I loved reading about your sight word mats too. They look great! :)

  5. I'm in love with those chairs!!! They look so cozy!
    Love your writing centers-sticker stories are a favorite for my kiddos, too!
    Enjoy relaxing this weekend! :)
    Stomping Through First