Sunday, September 18, 2011

HELP WANTED: Teaching a 1st/2nd Split and calling in reinforcements!

Well my year has started off...anything but normal! Certainly wasn't expecting OR prepared to teach a split class AT ALL! However, I am thanks to the awesome budget cuts! Ha! Despite this new adventure...I absolutely LOVE my new split friends and we have been making it work the past 2 weeks. It's a little hairy trying to squeeze in 2 curriculums in 1 day as you can imagine, but I have finally given up being StReSsEd out about it! I'm going to do the best I can and certainly HAVE FUN with it!

So, if there is anyone out there who has experience or knows someone who has, I would be more than thankful to have any tips, tricks, or ideas. Also looking for some awesome 2nd grade blogs to stalk that have great resources, since I'm only hip to the first grade ones and don't have any second grade arsenal! I haven't had ANY time to stalk lately because I have been drowning trying to get my splits organized and on a new schedule...think 2 sets of everything!!! {SCREAM} This will be our 3rd week together of the 5th week of school! Hip hip Hooray!

Saturday, August 6, 2011

Today was an "I've died and gone to heaven" day!

Have you ever met a celebrity? Or dreamt of meeting one? Well today I {kind of} did! At least in the bloggy world I think she totally is {gush, gush, gush}. Her name is Cara Carroll and she is PRE-CIOUS! If you don't follow her yet {where have you been} you TOW-TULLY should over at thefirstgradeparade.blogspot.com. She hosted a little shin dig/mixer with some other {rockstar} teachers and I had the best time ever! She certainly is "the hostess with the mostess!" We chatted, shared ideas, brainstormed, and totally lost track of time!!!

Anywho...I can't wait to meet up with them again and {possibly} getting to know even more gals who love to "teacher talk" just as much as I do! WHAT.A.GRRRR-8.DAY!

Monday, July 25, 2011

Goal: To have my room cleaned, organized, and put together by July 31st

Ok friends...is this goal realistic?!!? Yes, I think so! I have 5 more days to get it together and I've already gotten the majority of it done. Once it's ready, then I can start "making" some fun stuff and thinking about what I'm actually going to teach. It must get "cutesified" first, of coarse! I am a bonafied and certified OCD specialist...and things must be in their rightful place for the sake of my sanity. After cleaning out some cabinets, I have baskets and buckets coming out of my eyes and ears! And I continue to buy more?!!? WHY, oh WHY, oh WHY?!!? I just can't turn down a cute, cheap basket. It begs me to purchase it and take it home! I have a table full of them and I don't even know how I am going to use them yet! Can someone schedule me an INTERVENTION...quick!?!! Here are a couple pics of the DZ..
Like I said...July 31st! We'll see if it happens!

Thursday, July 21, 2011

Spelling and Math Mats

Ok...this is an idea out of the "Green Light Classroom" book from the awesome, Rich Allen. My school (we stayed after work one day and all us teachers made many different mats) used these this year. The one we made for first grade was a "Spelling Mat" and a "Math Mat" out of 1 tarp. One side we use for spelling and the other side for math. It is just a tarp (size ???...I'd have to ask my team mate who would know) lined off by masking tape and then a letter board and number board. The spelling board should have 2 different colors of tape for the consonants and vowels. The math board we made a reflective image of numbers. Here are a couple of pictures for those who need visuals (me, me me!!!)
These 2 mats can be used for MANY different things! The ideas are limitless. We used the alphabet mat to practice our spelling words this year. We didn't do it everyday, but tried to used it once a week. As I'm sure you know...the kiddos did LOVE it. They were all engaged, participating, actively learning, etc. The math mat was used to practice addition and subtraction facts. Again, you could come up with a zillion ways to use both mats.
Some of the other grade levels made 100 charts and times tables. In Rich Allen's workshop, he also has examples of periodic tables, a treble clef and lines taped to the carpet for a music teacher, and the best idea yet...a clear shower curtain with sheet proctectors taped so you can switch out cards for whatever you want to practice. We have a clear one in 1st grade, but it's not in my classroom so I couldn't take a picture to post. If anyone is interested, I can make that happen so you can see what I'm talking about. You could tape these grids to the floor in your classroom, but on a tarp it can travel outside, in the hallway, or lots of room in the cafeteria. Change of scenery is good for the munchkins!
Ok...that's all I've got for now! How'd ya like that?!!? : )

Green Light Teacher

What does that mean? Well here are some cliff notes I told ya were coming:

- Movement in the classroom! "If the bum is numb, the brain is the same!" Instead of the traditional "passing out of papers," have the kiddos get up and get them themselves. Gives them a chance to take a mini break and get the circulation flowing.
-Give directions ONE AT A TIME!!! Sounds easy, right?!!? How many times do we find ourselves saying...do this, and do that, and do this, and do that! For our firsties! ONE AT A TIME!!! Heck...I'm always saying "what" "huh" "what was that again"...I can't imagine how our babies feel.
-teach in short 10 min bursts, then give the kids a few minutes to talk about and digest what was just learned. Don't know about your kiddos, but sometimes mine learn better from each other. I will often times get one of my higher kiddos to help explain a concept to my lower babies, and WALL-AHHHH...they now understand it! Weird, how that works, huh?!!? Like I had been speaking Portugese the whole time or something!
-Use music for everything. A docking station that comes with a remote for your IPod/IPhone works awesome and is what I have. You can control the songs/volume from anywhere in the room. He STRONGLY believes in using it for mood, cues, background noise, and transitions. For example: music playing in the morning as the kiddos come in (this past year, I used Black Eyed Peas "I Gotta Feeling" everyday as our song we came into to start our day...volume level mid-low). Then the bell rings and instead of asking them to please be quiet for announcements, turn up the music loud, then....off! Yep, bring up the volume level to pretty loud and cut it off! They IMMEDIATELY stop talking! It's a miracle worker and you didn't have to say a word! This honestly works like a charm! (I also have velcro dots in random places in my classroom to stick my remote to. Before I thought of that, I was always misplacing that darn thing!)
-Another one of his tricks with music is to say "In 5 or 10 seconds when I say "GO".....in front of what ever instruction you want them to do. Example: A day when we've just learned about verbs..."In 5 seconds when I say "GO" talk to your neighbor and tell them 5 verbs." Ready, GO! And while they do that, turn on the music for about 30 secs or a minute...however long you think they need to discuss. Then, volume up and OFF! They immediately know that means time is up. When you say, "Ready, GO" it's like they automatically are at the races and EVERYBODY participates for some reason! Some serious magic working there! : )
-Lastly, Adapt, Adjust, and Apply. Don't be a boring "Red Light" teacher who has done the same boring thing year after year and getting the same results that hasn't/isn't working. Be "Green" and get creative. Get the kiddos up moving around and involved. Make the instruction relevant to them and they'll actually remember it because you've made it fun and innovative.

What better time than to start off a new school year with some fresh and exciting ideas!!! Let's get this party started! : )

It is honestly, the best in-service I've ever been to. I highly recommend any district who is looking for someone with fresh, insightful, and RELATIVE ideas to hire him to come speak! It is well worth the money, IMO.

Monday, July 18, 2011

Welcome Back (in my Welcome Back Kotter singing voice...wait a minute...does anyone even remember that show in the 70's?!!?)

Well...I'm back. Not that I ever left bloggy world (because I stalk several times a week), I just haven't posted on my own wall. I love reading about what everybody else is doing, but don't ever know what to say on my own. But, this school year, I vow to get good at it (at least it's on my "goals for this new year" list...ya'll know what I'm talking about!) There are ten million things I want to get done before the first day of school (August 22nd...scream!!!!!) and don't know where to start. The sight of this has me feeling both giddy and terrified all in the same emotion! I love looking for and buying new supplies!

My classroom is a DIZZZZ-ASTER zone! I've been working hard sorting through files, reorganizing, and cleaning. Once my room is clean and put back together, then I can work on the fun stuff. I have so many games and ideas to implement from the fabulous blogger teachers in bloggy land that it makes me super excited for the new school year. Can I get an amen?!!?

These are my 2 best girls H and B (Hannah, 13 and Brookelynn 7) You'll hear a lot about them in my posts. We've been enjoying our summer together hanging out. We season pass it at both Six Flags and Hurricane Harbor every week. This Texas heat is NO joke and let me tell ya...it is HOT and MIZ-ER-ABLE!!!


I kicked off my summer break by visiting my newest favorite place...the beautiful Bahamas. While I was there, my girls were at Disney World having a super sweet time with my parents. Ya'll...I did NOT want to leave this place at all! If I had an unlimited money supply, I would've just stayed indefinitely! Here are a few pictures. Now can you blame me?!!? I had the most
AH-MAZING time ever!!!
The gorgeous blue water and caribbean scenery stole my heart.
What a view!!! <3 
Hook "em" Horns 
Yes, the water is as clear in real life as it looks in this picture! 

Holding a stingray for the first time. It was super oogy too! They feel so slimy and it's so weird. They would swim around and rub up against my legs and it was too creepy for me. They all are de-barbed and safe to be around, but their long tails swishing around and me thinking about Steve Erwin dying, prevented me from snorkeling with them like I fully intended on doing. I couldn't leave without a picture though! : ) My super awesome Olympus underwater digital camera was worth every 3000 pennies I spent on it! Totally recommend the investment. Didn't have to worry about getting it wet at all because...it didn't matter! Plus it took some really good pictures and video. 


Well that's all for now. I will update pics of my class DZ (disaster zone) when I go up there next. Tomorrow is our "summer day" staff development. We trade that day for an extra day off at Christmas. Not a shabby deal either! I'm actually looking foward to this one too. It's a Rich Allen workshop called "The Greenlight Classroom" if you're wondering. Earlier this year, I took a 2 day class and not once did I even think of dozing off or wanting to play a game on my phone! (shhh) I HIGHLY recommend you reading his book and getting your hands on any/all of his resources. His schtick is incorporating music in your classroom. From having music on as the kiddos come in every morning, to introducing new themes or concepts, using it for transitions and classroom managment, and ending each day. It really made a difference for me this past year. I loved the idea of having music always playing...who doesn't love music?!!? Doesn't it make the world go round?!!? : ) I'll try to get some cliff notes together for ya'll. Afterall, sharing IS caring!

Here are 2 of his books:
 






Saturday, March 26, 2011

Word Wall Game

Ok...this is my very first post adding a document to share. I've spent all night trying to figure it out and I think I've got it now....wall-ah! Hope someone out there in teacher land can possibly use it too.

Spring Word Wall Game

This is a spring word wall game that the kids LOVE! I prefer that they work in pairs, but they will sometimes get in a group of 4. Shuffle the cards and lay them all face down in a pile. Each student takes a turn drawing and saying each word wall word. If they draw a bee, they have to put all their cards back in the pile. First one to 10 cards is the winner.

 
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