Sunday, August 26, 2012

First day of school...and a reminder of why I teach

Tomorrow is the first day of school and I am so excited! Every year it's like being a kid all over again on the night before school starts. I even have a new first day of school outfit-- and I happy to know that I am not the only person who still gets a "back to school" outfit for the first day! Several people I work with do the same...I'd love to know how many teachers do still enjoy a back to school outfit.

I have a cute back to school story that made me reralize exactly why I teach--as I was grocery shopping this afternoon a small boy, probably kindergarten or first grade age, was skipping through the isle behind his mom singing his own made up song to no certain tune, " four more hours until I can go to bed and get up for the first day of school!!!". The mother made eye contact with me and half smiled, half rolled her eyes and I just laughed and told her I was a teacher and I was just as excited as her child was. It made me so happy to know that some kids do still get excited about school. It means he has had teachers who really care and who make it fun and engaging for him.

Back to school...have all of my stuff ready for the First Day Jitters!!

Wednesday, August 22, 2012

My room

I am linking up with Blog Hopper for Teacher Week!

I LOVE my school and my classroom! I wish I had better pictures of my room but all of my pictures were taken earlier this week (workdays) when things were a work in progress. Tomorrow is OPEN HOUSE for FAVORITE day of the year!! I LOVE open house because I can see some of my old kiddos and meet my news ones. I already had an old student pop in earlier this week, she is going into the 5th grade, and she said, "Mrs. Clements, are you REALLY still teaching first grade!?!?" like I couldn't possibly still be there, and I'm NOT OLD!!! 29 to be exact. Then she proceeded to ask me how old I was again and gasp at my age...but no clue if she thought that was old or young.
ok, where I teach Wednesday...I really wish it was technology tip Tuesday--see my comments below my last post, as I love love love technology and can't imagine ever working without it.

My thematic bookshelf- all ready with back to school books.  I always have a thematic poster above the bookcase and books to go with our science/social studies unit on the bookcase. Students LOVE reading these books (or flipping through them at the beginning of the year) and I read them as shared reading books throught the day/week.  Also, a random football confiscated from a student of mine last year-- I've left it out for when he stops by my room this year to ensure he gets it back. Once he figured out I LOVE football season he brought in a football and just left it in his desk all year!!
My listening center.  I use Debbie Diller's book "Reading Workstations" and LOVE, LOVE, LOVE it. I am going to use the green and pink board (thank you Walmart for $1) to display "may dos" and "must dos".  I also have a lap desk for the person who doesn't get to sit on the beanbag chair. Students fill out a listening center form before leaving the center each week.

Maybe my favorite, or at least most Pinterest inspired, center!! I HANDPAINTED the table to match the safari theme in my classroom and I am using it as a handwriting center this year.  My kids will be able to sit on the crate seat and practice their handwriting and then file it away in the crate below. I love repurposed furniture!! I got this table for a colleague who was sending the table to Goodwill.

My morning work sign up board. Students can list on here things they are having "issues" with and we will discuss it as a class.  Students can also sign up to share and to give compliments and a cheer to a fellow student/classmate.  I use this form where they can sign up each morning. If you want the form post below in comments and I will post it.

And lastly is my classroom library. A teacher friend of mine left teaching and gave me all of her baskets so I inherited her organizational system...non-fiction and fiction. I go from hating it to loving it. The students find it super easy to keep books sorted because there are only two labels but I find it difficult to find books when I need them. Oh well..what's best for the students is best for all.

My desks are JEEPS because we are going on a First Grade Safari this classroom theme!

Hope you enjoyed my classroom!!!! Happy Wednesday!!!

Monday, August 20, 2012

Blog Hoppin' into Teacher Week!

I am linking up with Blog Hopper for Teacher Week!

My must haves for school:

1. My new classroom ipad!!

I am obsessed with all of the things I will be able to do with my ipad. I have pinned so many ideas on Pinterest and can't wait to try them all on real kiddos! One of my favorite apps is the Book Retriever app for organizing and leveling classroom libraries...and when it's time, the students can check books out and in using the ipad!! So long lost books that NO ONE claims! Now I will know!!

2. My laminator!

It is so easy to print and laminate small projects, especially centers, at home,  It saves me time at school and I can bribe my husband to help me cut things out when I am at home. Not to mention, the laminating is much sturdier and stands the test of continuous first grader use! I have had mine since graduate school and it still works like a charm.

3. Starbucks Via Iced Caramel Coffee!

Possibly my favorite summer treat in the mornings. It's cool and refreshing with a shot of caffeine! It also saves me time in the mornings without having to sit in the drivethrough Starbucks line. I use all of my Starbucks gift cards to buy more boxes of these treats.

A week from today we will have kids walking into our I ready? For the most part. I just have lots of things to get ready for the smarboard.  I LOVE my smartboard and cannot imagine teaching without it but sometimes creating things for it can be overwhelming and time consuming!!

Just posted my newest and LONGEST and most time consuming unit on teachers pay teachers. It is one year (180 days) worth of daily skill review for Math, Literacy, and Writing. It is based off common core standards. I have used the same format for my class in the past but I reworked it for this year with the new standards. Can't wait to use it with my kids- I think it is a good spiral review for them each morning as morning work. 

Check it out!

Wednesday, August 15, 2012

Back to School

It's back to school tomorrow for the first teacher workday...summer break is officially over.  Of course I have already been to my classroom and set things up for the year so that the hectic schedule that is sure to take over the next few days will seem a little less daunting. 

I  want this blog to be a place where I can share some of the things I am working on and doing in my first grade classroom.  I am such a fan of all of the other first grade blogs I find, I wanted to start my own.

Many of the ideas I post can be found at my teachers pay teachers store here or at my teachers notebook store here.

To start of my bog, here is a picture of my back to school bulletin's a work in progress. By the time I am done wih it, there will be people in the jeep and the students' names will be around the board. For now, this picture will do.  I LOVE pinterest and this idea was inspired by a board I saw on someone else's pin.

My other creation this week has been trying to complete a unit of morning work or daily skill review work for all 180 days of school.  I have used this form and changed the numbers in it each week of school but never kept up with the changes to save it as one file. I am finally determined to get it all in one place to make my life easier.  I am selling it at both of my stores (links below).  As of right now I have days 1-50 and 51-100 posted. Once I complete the last 80 days-- hoping to have this done by the end of this week, I will post it as one large unit, all 180 days together. Be sure to leave me feedback and let me know what you think of it!!