It’s that time of year when we share Valentine cards!
Whatever YOUR site chooses to call it.
IT’S HERE! Let the Valentine Card sharing begin!
The time of year when we color,cut & glue
to show our FRIENDS that WE LOVE THEM!
Pinterest has LOTS ( I mean LOTS )
of Valentine IDEAS!
These are a few from one of my collaborative Pinterest boards
Check out this fun Valentine Post about
You need NOW!
WE LOVE VALENTINE’S DAY!
But WHAT TO DO WITH ALL OF THOSE VALENTINE CARDS???
How to MANAGE them ALL?
2 days before our “Friendship Celebration”..
*We are NOT allowed to call it a VALENTINE celebration
(separation of CHURCH/STATE thing..)
we make our BAGS!
Now I have done LOTS & LOTS & LOTS of different types of cardholders…
(Again…THANK YOU PINTEREST!)
But I think the MOST important thing to remember is…
WHERE ARE YOU GOING TO PUT THEM?
If you have 25 students…these take up a LOT of space!
So the choice is yours!
ALWAYS…ALWAYS…make 1 extra!
(That student who was absent on CRAFTY day…will want a bag on PARTY day!)
Have your kiddos write THEIR NAME ONLY on the cards.
One in each bag…PLOP..PLOP…PLOP!
NO need to MATCH their friend’s name to the bag.
One for EVERYONE!
When we open our bags…we say THANK YOU to each person who gave us a card!
So good luck.
Check your CRAFTING SUPPLIES.
Find our where you want them be..they will be there for two whole days.
Don’t forget to make one for yourself!
I am sure your kiddos will have “TREATS” for you too!
Do you NEED a few more Centers for Valentine’s Day?
Happy Friendship Day!
Not, an ELF ON THE SHELF!
A REAL HELPER ELF!
It’s the MOST, WONDERFUL TIME OF THE YEAR!
SANTA CLAUS is COMIN’ TO TOWN!
First of all…
I work at a low socioeconomic, Title 1 school.
This time of year can be very hard for some kids.
Some families DON’T celebrate Christmas.
Some families can’t afford gifts.
Some are VERY proud and won’t accept donations.
This means…Santa & his elves don’t come to EVERY house.
So today..we had THE TALK.
THE talk about what December, Christmas, and Santa
are REALLY about.
GIVING & HELPING!
Today, we became HELPER ELVES!
We talked about
HOW we can HELP at HOME,
and help our FRIENDS!
The kids talked about giving from the “heart”.
Our class meeting was SO enlightening!
My kids were SO engaged.
The conversation was NOT about “ME..ME..ME”.
They were SO excited to brainstorm “What can I do for OTHERS?”
Sniff..sniff..made tears of joy come to my eyes!
IT WAS AWESOME!
Santa, you can come to ROOM 3.
(I have a feeling…he will)
Here are some suggestions for YOU!
But for now..
WE WILL BE HELPING YOU, SANTA!
WE ARE HELPER ELVES!
To help YOU out in this BUSY month..
Here are some
from my TPT store.
Here is a FREEBIE
from my store!
I Love the MONTRA… Work SMARTER, Not HARDER
Sometimes I find something ( or do something )
that I think…
“DUH!!! WHY HAVEN’T I BEEN DOING THIS FOREVER???”
This is one of those things…
Here is SPELLING for the Whole YEAR to help you WORK SMARTER, NOT HARDER!
We use MUST DO’s & MAY DO’s for centers.
Have you ever used
REPOSITIONAL VINYL LETTERS??
OMG! I LOVE THEM!
I got mine…at STAPLES
BEFORE…last 23 YEARS…
I would write the numbers & Content areas
Work SMARTER NOT HARDER!
NOW…I can just add the words / skills
& the kids ALWAYS know where to look!
You can erase over the letters
when you remove them..
NOT sticky ucky GLUE stuff!
I use multiple sizes for interest…
MY NAME is GIGANTIC!
(Don’t ask me how to spell…MRS. McCARTY )
Love Love Love this!
Again…as we begin a NEW YEAR…
a great time to
WORK SMARTER…NOT HARDER!
FREE from me to YOU!
Happy Holidays from 1stgradefireworks
Do you have a daily ROUTINE?
First, I get up early.
Then, I get a cup of coffee.. that is ready for me.
( I set it to brew the night before while I am doing dinner dishes).
Next, I check my emails.
Later, I make breakfast & lunch.
Finally, I wake up hubby,
shower, & get ready for work.
I LOVE my morning routine.
When things run smoothly…I know what to expect.
That’s how our kids feel in the classroom.
When routines work
EVERYONE knows what to expect & how to do it!
ROUTINES MAKE THE WORLD GO ROUND!
Here are MY top 3 Routines
for a smooth running classroom.
ENTERING THE CLASSROOM ROUTINE:
I meet my kids on the playground.
Our “first” bell ( line up ) is at 8:20.
I go out to our line at 8:15 and remind ALL of my students to get out of their BACKPACKS their BLACK homework folder (provided by me at the beginning of the year..black because I don’t use black for any other folder in my room..and their READ AT HOME envelope with TAKE HOME BOOKS.
They have them “in their hands” before we walk to the door.
NO ONE has to “dig through” their backpacks when we get in the door.
While we are at the door…I have a Home Depot shelving unit next to the door.
They put their backpacks and jackets ON THE SHELVES! Great beginning-of-the-day routine! NO backpacks or jackets on CHAIRS! No room!
After we enter..2 baskets on the table next to the door. One “homework”..the other RAH (Read AT Home) Envelopes.
Black folders in HW basket, Book envelopes in RAH basket.
(Any notes or OTHER STUFF…in HW basket).
NOW, they get a chair
( stacked at the back of the room..see routine #3)
and WALK to their desk. They know the routines.
When the starting bell rings at 8:25
(5 minutes after we enter…)
I choose the HELPERS for the day.
You can only be a HELPER if you are sitting in your seat when the bell rings! I am prompt!
( No tardies, wanderers, “chatting”).
If you are TARDY…you won’t be a helper on that day if it’s your turn. You will have to wait until tomorrow if you are on time.
An incentive for getting to school ON TIME!
I choose my helpers.
2 of my 10 helpers for the day are
I ask the TECH TEACHERS to choose a “quiet partner” to help them pass out Chromebooks ( We are a 1:1 school ) and earbuds ( they have their own in numbered baggies.
(We number EVERYTHING!)
They get their Chromebooks, long into our district reading/phonics practice program, and GO TO WORK!
ALL of this takes 10 minutes.
NO MUSS…NO FUSS! Routines help manage the classroom!
Transitions. THE WORST TIME OF THE DAY!
Solution: A NEW routine!
Kids are working. The “Hummm” of classroom work.
And then…the timer goes OFF!
WE MUST STOP!
Time to TRANSITION TO SOMETHING ELSE!
First graders like to MOVE…and FAST!
So to help…we FREEZE!
Change the ROUTINE!
When the timer goes off…we freeze! I tell them they have one minute to clean up and return to their desks.
Always return to their desk.
Kind of like their “LANDING PAD”.
After everyone is sitting down ( well, almost everyone..there are always the 1-2 stragglers )
I say.. “One, two, three EYES ON ME!”
They respond ” One, two, EYES ON YOU!”
And then a call out… ( I have a list )
Could be “MACARONI & CHEESE”
They respond “EVERYBODY FREEZE!”
AND THEY DO!
I hold them “frozen” for 3-4 seconds.
THEY LOVE THIS!
While a few stragglers are getting to their desk, we play a game! A TRANSITION game. I only need a doc camera, my riddle cards, and a SOFT VOICE. If they can’t hear me..they can’t play! See my post on the TRANSITION GAME!
After we are settled, I can give directions for our next
activity. I do this SAME ROUTINE ALL DAY FOR TRANSITIONS!
The LAST 30 minutes of CLASS. End-of-the-day routines.
It’s almost OVER!
The day has come to an end.
HOW TO GET THEM OUT THE DOOR?
Many things to do BEFORE we leave.
REMEMBER…The class is ALL of yours.
It’s NOT my job to clean up, put everything away, and pick up the classroom AFTER they leave.
We ALL work here. The community is for ALL of us.
We dismiss at 2:30.
we STOP, put our work away,
and FREEZE to go back to our desks.
At 2:15 we begin the EXIT PROCESS.
My 2 TECH TEACHERS (helpers) put ALL of the Chromebooks back into the cart ( I have taught them HOW to do this MANY TIMES.They know the routines.)
*UPDATE… They now put them in the cart & plug them in! I put a number on each Chromebook with Sharpie Paint Pens. Then I put a RED dot (Sharpie PAINT pen) on the side above the plug. They know ALL the red dots must line up, every number has to have a matching Chromebook, and they PLUG them in on Tuesdays, Thursdays, and Fridays! TECH TEACHERS are awesome!
2 of my other HELPERS are the
CLEAN UP CREW.
They EACH choose a ‘friend’ to help them
STACK ALL OF THE CHAIRS
into stacks of 6.
Push the stacks to the back of the room, and clean all papers, crayons, pencils from the floor.
While these HELPERS are working SILENTLY..
the rest of the class goes to the carpet. Workers who are TOO LOUD..can be FIRED! If you don’t do your job in the real world with a “respectful” tone..YOU can be fired! #lifelessons
Each day 5-6 of my students can come to
AUTHOR’S CHAIR Routine.
( 5 color coded groups )
As we transition to the carpet, I ask “RED GROUP” if they would like to “READ…in the teacher’s chair” OR PASS (for this week).
They read one story from their JOURNAL. Their choice.
We LISTEN ( being a good audience )
and then they can choose 1 person to
“ASK THE AUTHOR A QUESTION”.
We must listen, to formulate a HOT question.
At the beginning of the year, we learn the difference between a HOT question…and a STORY!
After all 5 have read…I have one student bring me EVERYTHING from their cubby. (Student mailboxes ).
I go over ALL work we are taking home.
I open the BLACK HOMEWORK folder, where I have taken out last night’s HW and put in tonight’s HW.
I show them their RAH books to read tonight.
After all of our work has been reviewed,
I excuse them 3 at a time to clean out their cubbies, take everything to their desk, get their backpack & jacket, take it to their desk, LANDING PAD, and pack up to go home.
When they are ready ..
I start a GOODBYE CHANT…
“bye bye Butterfly..See you later alligator…etc”
They must be ready to go before we end the chant.
This takes a little practice.
NO… A LOT OF PRACTICE!
We can get out the door in 5 minutes!
This ends my
TOP 3 ROUTINES
Many more throughout the day.
I like routines in MY LIFE.
So do the KIDS!
What routines do you have that you do EVERY DAY?
Pick your top one & share in the comments.
We can ALL learn for each other!
Here are a few Classroom Management HELPERS to help YOU set ROUTINES!
It’s ALMOST HERE!
The leaves will be changing, sweaters & boots come out of the closet, & PUMPKIN SPICED LATTE!
The world will be “balanced” again!
To celebrate the
COMING OF THE NEW SEASON
I have a new product!
I LOVE APPLES!
Apple pie, apple cake, applesauce…apple everything!
September is the MONTH of celebrations!
We celebrate Johnny Appleseed’s birthday too.
We make… APPLESAUCE!
To add to this year’s celebration..
I have a NEW product.
Apples are the BEST!
Booklet style..2 on a page..B/W
21 PAGES of Reading, Graphic organizers, Word Work, Grammar, labeling, & Writing!
All in ONE BOOKLET!
Great for Whole Class, Small groups, Partner Work, Independent practice.
Early Finishers WILL LOVE THIS!
If you need more Literacy Products… follow 1stgradefireworks
- Nonfiction about pumpkins, apples, plants
- Biography about Christopher Columbus, Squanto
- Fiction about Fall, Halloween, Pilgrims, Thanksgiving
- “How To”..grow..carve…etc… about pumpkins, apples, plants
- “Informative” about Christopher Columbus, Squanto,Pilgrims
- “Narrative” about Fall, Halloween, Pilgrims, Thanksgiving
- Thank You cards, Invitations, Lists, Etc.
- addition / subtraction
- missing addends
- place value
- story problems
Calendar Time. I’m NOT sure WHO needs it more..
ME? or my students?
I Love Calendar Time.
I Love reading through the MONTH.
What’s happening THIS week
It keeps my “getting older” brain…
It helps my kiddos stay on top of events for this week and this month.
This week we are discussing:
My calendar is next to my focus board.
This is where we begin our morning meeting.
After vocabulary discussions, calendar,
days of the week ,months of the year, HFW cards..
Working on reading strategies!
All of this in about 15-20 minutes!
My calendar is in PLACE VALUE numbers!
I got it HERE.
I also have MELONHEADZ Holiday cards.
LOVE THEM TOO!
I try to “release” the CALENDAR instruction to my students as the year progresses.
By the end of the yer, THEY lead the calendar time.
But , I still get to do the READ ALOUD!
I LOVE IT!
Just a quick shout out to
Krista@Creative Clips Papers Collection
This is MY Calendar!
I use it every DAY!
My Preps, meetings, Notes, appointments, etc.
AND I GET TO USE MY FLAIR PENS! 🙂
One PAD lasts 2 years!
I LOVE MINE!
I do MATH Calendar after lunch.
We go back to number of days in school, place value, etc.
This begins my REVIEW of math concepts BEFORE we begin anything new!
We count to 120 by 5’s & 10’s ..2’s to 50 at the end of the year.
This is my FAVORITE!
It ALL begins with Calendar TIME.
First and Foremost,
Reading is the #1 predictor of academic success.
Consider this my DISCLAIMER…
I am NOT A College Professor.
I do NOT have a MASTERS ( or above )
I am just a teacher.
A first-grade teacher.
A first-grade reading teacher.
A Veteran (27yrs ), a first-grade teacher,
in a TITLE 1 SCHOOL!
I have seen a LOT! Done a LOT!
Hear me ROAR!!!!!
So, I repeat.
I am a teacher. I teach reading.
(Aren’t they cute????)
I have been through:
Leveled Readers ( DRA, GSP, AR, Lexile)
Words Their Way
High-Interest Reading Books
A MULTITUDE OF PUBLISHER’S CURRICULUM!
New sets every 7 years!
Next, having said this…
1 thing most curriculum’s have in common :
READ A LOT!
And then…READ SOME MORE!
My little sisters…
YES…both of my LITTLE SISTER’S are
We were discussing school.
Yes… we do that!
We are trying to WRAP our minds around the
and they will
“GET IT!” (way of thinking.)
I LOVE reading with kiddos!
See my post here about the
But then my concern is…
When I “release” them to read,
When I want them to become INDEPENDENT readers,
Where do they “learn” the skills to use when they “get stuck”?
Will they use strategies, when they don’t know what’s happening?
When a story isn’t making sense…do they keep reading?
If they keep reading…
At a recent PD, my little sis said she understood the
READ, READ, READ philosophy.
Integrate science, social studies, math, technology
Writing and Reading
COMPLIMENT and Coexist
WITH each other!
You can’t have one without the other!
THEY NEED EACH OTHER!
There needs to be a BALANCE of:
Skills & Strategies
in conjunction with independent reading & writing!
I said IT!
Reading & Writing SKILLS:
etc, etc, etc…
(I sound like my Education College Professors!)
I was listening!
ALL of these “lessons” MUST be taught
IN CONJUNCTION with
Reading & Writing!
Yes…To be a better reader…
YOU MUST READ!
BUT…to be a better reader who UNDERSTANDS…
You must have skills and strategies to use
WHEN you read and write!
Unless you are teaching ADULTS in a COLLEGE CLASS…
A 40-minute LECTURE on diagramming sentences
IS NOT…I REPEAT…
the way to do it!
If you WANT to spend 40 minutes discussing grammar…
Read a little.
Let it soak in.
And do it again. And again. and again!
Do 2-3 MINILESSONS over a few days…
Let it SINK IN!
What it looks like.
Where to find it.
How to use it.
Why we use it.
When to ask for help.
Kinder-Grade 1-Grade 2 teachers…
Mini-Lessons with a WORKSHOP!
Let kiddos have a chance to PRACTICE
what YOU have taught them!
Let it SINK IN!
LET THEM READ!
WRITE…and write, some more!
Skills, Strategies, Reading, Writing
They will become “BETTER”…
and isn’t that what we ALL want to be?
Need some HELP?
My friend, Alison, at
has a great post about
Here are some “HELPERS” for YOU!
Click HERE for more reading & writing products!
What is TEACHER APPRECIATION?
I am a VETERAN teacher.
I have NOT fought in a WAR.
I have taught in GRADE 1
( exclusively )
for over 25 years!
( Never “graduated” to second grade..as my students tell me!) 🙂
I have changed my “VIEW” on teacher appreciation.
We ALL want to be appreciated.
We want to be recognized for
we have done!
things can get a little …
OUT OF HAND!
I believe there are
those who are
and those who
WISH THEY WERE!
I will say this ONE TIME…
IT IS NOT ABOUT TEST SCORES!
The teacher’s with the SUPER highest test scores
are NOT, always,
the teachers who are
APPRECIATED the MOST!
Now…disclaimer…teachers work WAY TOO hard!
I got that!
Some are SOOOOOO focused on the “data”…
they forget, or can’t “document” the traits of the child the “data” came from!
Nowhere is there a box to check that says:
___ Didn’t have breakfast ( or dinner the night before ).
___ Couldn’t sleep because parents were arguing LOUDLY!
___ No one would help with homework/reading ( for the past two weeks!)
___ not in a good “mind set” today.
these are kids!
This is life!
To attach a “number” to a student based on “today’s testing module”
what teaching is all about!
( Ok sorry…OFF my soapbox!)
Where? How? When?
Please ..I don’t need a new pen with my school name on it.
If YOU really want to show me your appreciation…
HAVE MY BACK during an IEP
when ‘the team” says
I NEED TO DO MORE!
By the time I have gotten to his stage…
I HAVE DONE ALL I CAN DO!
Take the stand that I AM DONE!
SEND ME SOME HELP!
Now I have great admin’s…
I know they have my back!
If you want to “give” me something…
…TAKE MY RECESS DUTY!
…Take my class for an hour at the end of the day, if MY child is at home sick!
… Come in and do reading groups once in a while
( an extra adult doing centers is ALWAYS appreciated).
You see…it’s NOT about the “things”
it’s about WHAT you DO!
How do you know if your “team” appreciates YOU?
Do you “share”?
Do you “follow through?”
Do you “care” about each other?
My “teaching partner”…
and I have taught next to each other
( rooms 3 & 4)
for 20 years!
We are going to retire together
the same year…in 5-6 years.
( We “pinky swore”…
..as long as nothing catastrophic happens before then).
Her mom works in her room.
I call her MOM!
Our student’s think we are
See the family “resemblance”?
In my heart…SOUL SISTERS!
We run homework for each other.
We share our students.
We laugh, we cry, we CARE about each other!
We are NOT the ONLY grade 1 teachers.
We have 1-2 others who teach with us.
( Depending on the year and student numbers).
We ALWAYS include them!
This is NOT a
CLOSE YOUR DOOR & DO YOUR THING!
Feel appreciated? YEP! Daily.
( I could have transferred to another school in MY district..many times!)
CRAZY TITLE 1 school!
When do they make YOU feel appreciated?
Is it when you are passing out report cards?
Is it when they forgot their homework?
Is it when they have interrupted you for the 1000th time that day?
It’s when that SAME little girl walks in EVERY morning
“Can I have a HUG?”
When the little boy who STUTTERS ( severely )…
asks if he can READ his newest story
TO THE CLASS!
( And EVERYONE cheers for him!)
The “behavior problem” child
who knows ( his MAMA tells him a lot )
that he is a PROBLEM…
and he hands me a heart he made with a picture of me & him!
( Melts my heart..right before he hits another student!)
the “older students” who come back…
just to say HI!
“I got my driver’s license & I promise to be safe..just like you said!”
“I got a full-ride scholarship…to HARVARD!”.. yes it did happen!
“I want to be back in first grade so I can PAINT!”
“Thank you, Mrs. McCarty, for listening to me!”
Giggles, Grins, Hugs, & High Fives to
ALL of YOU!
YOU make a difference!