Category Archives: Classroom Organization

Classroom Organization. Everything from Teacher Organization, Classroom Design, labels, flexible seating, and organizing student materials. Here is where we find help in the “daily” activities of the classroom. Tips and Tricks help the classroom run efficiently and effectively.

How to get your Kindergartner Ready for First Grade

I hear it a lot.

How do I know if my child is ready for FIRST GRADE?

He /she will be six.
Is he/she ready?
 
Well..as a “veteran”  
 FIRST GRADE teacher,
 
there are a few 
lessons EVERY Kindergartner should know

BEFORE starting FIRST GRADE.

 
What should kinder students know before entering first grade?

5 Lessons to get ready for First Grade

Here are the 
5  MOST IMPORTANT THINGS
you can teach your
kindergartner
BEFORE
they enter FIRST GRADE.

How to be ready for first grade.

number one

Number One

First and foremost…
they need to be able to
TIE THEIR OWN SHOES!
And KEEP THEM TIED!
child tying his shoes

Learn to tie your shoes

There is NOTHING worse than kids running on the playground
tripping on 
THEIR OWN SHOELACES!
I cannot teach 25 students to tie their shoes.
Parents…please…teach your kids to tie their shoes!

How to be ready for first grade.

number two

Number Two

a loose tooth hanging in a child's mouth

Your child WILL lose a tooth!

In first grade…they will might..maybe will,
LOSE A TOOTH!
They will might have a “wiggle” tooth.
I WILL NOT PULL IT OUT!
“I promise not to put MY hands in YOUR mouth,
AND you will NOT put YOUR hands in MINE!”
Please..discuss this AT HOME!

How to be ready for first grade.

number three

Number Three

If your pants are too BIG…
get a BELT!
Not a belt with multiple straps, or a buckle that requires PLIERS!
PLEASE..a belt that can be put on
and TAKEN OFF…QUICKLY!
Odds are..if the belt needs to come off…it needs to come off  FAST!
Parents, please…teach your kids how to use it!
dark brown belt with buckle

A child’s belt

How to be ready for first grade.

number four

Number four

Pencils are for writing with..
NOT CHEWING ON!
They are NOT TEETHING RINGS!
Please keep them (and most other first grade tools)
OUT OF THEIR MOUTH!
chewed up pencils with erasers

Pencils chewed up

How to be ready for first grade.

 
and last…
and MOST IMPORTANT…
 
I am your TEACHER.
blonde teacher

I am YOUR Teacher

You may call me Mrs.
You may call me MOM.
I answer to GRANDMA.
may,  probably will answer to GRANDPA.

How to be ready for first grade.

number five

Number Five

Treat me kindly.
Say nice things.
Be Polite.
Follow our rules.
Smile.
Give me a hug.
 
And we will have a wonderful year in
FIRST  GRADE!
 
OK..kindergarten parents…
GET THEM READY FOR FIRST GRADE! 🙂

Classroom HELPERS…How do YOU choose them? Do you WANT to??

I want my kiddos to

HELP!

I am NOT your MAMA.

I am NOT your Grandma,

AND

I AM NOT YOUR MAID!

🙂

We ALL work & play in our classroom.

If you work here,,,you are a part of our TEAM.

AND ALL Team members HELP!

So HOW to

“Share the JOBS?”

Make it a

CHOICE!

I don’t

CHOOSE

daily helpers.

I let them choose what they would like to do each day.

Here are my helpers:

I write their names on

  a  cardstock strip.

I use a 12″ X 36″ pocket chart.

I have

2 Clean-Up Crew members,

2 Ball Handlers ( for recesses ),

and

2 Tech Teachers ( pass out / collect ipads )

1 line leader,

1 door holder,

and 1 messenger.

9 helpers each day.

My NUMBER 1 RULE!

If you are NOT quiet and  in your seat when the

BELL  RINGS…..

YOU CANNOT BE A HELPER

THAT DAY!

( Don’t be Tardy…or NOISY!)

My kiddos LOVE it!

(I’m HERE & I’m QUIET!)

Hahahaha

and then…

I ask the next person on the card…

“_(susie)___ “,  would you like to be _( ball handler)_  or __(tech teacher)_”

( Go straight down the pocket chart…)

Until ALL the jobs are filled for the day!

They like having a CHOICE in their day!

and then…

I don’t have to do the JOBS!

And…I LOVE THAT!

Leave me a comment.

How do YOU choose helpers?

Wendy

625 Valentine Cards in our classroom. Where do we keep them BEFORE the big day?

625 Valentine Cards??? Where do we Put them ALL?

 VALENTINE  CARDS

It’s that time of year when we share Valentine cards!

Kindness cards, Friendship Celebrations, Valentine Parties

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

Valentine STEM Activity fro The Trendy Science Teacher

Valentine STEM Activity fro The Trendy Science Teacher

Valentine STEM Activity fro The Trendy Science Teacher

Check out this fun  Valentine Post  about

Valentine Resources

You need NOW!

 

Kindness Cards

Kindness Cards


CLICK HERE FOR FREEBIE

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!

Just remember…

ALWAYS…ALWAYS…make 1 extra!

(That student who was absent on CRAFTY day…will want a bag on PARTY day!)

ALSO….

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!

MANNERS COUNT!

So good luck.

Check your CRAFTING SUPPLIES.

Find our where you want them be..they will be there for two whole days.

AND enjoy!

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?

Can You Make 10? Valentine Math Canter

Can You Make 10? Valentine Math Canter

Can You Make 10? Valentine Math Canter
Missing Addends Math Center for Valentine's Day

Missing Addends Math Center for Valentine’s Day

Missing Addends Math Center for Valentine’s Day
109 pages of Math Task Cards for Valentine's Math Center

109 pages of Math Task Cards for Valentine’s Math Center

Happy Friendship Day!

Wendy

1stgradefireworks

It’s National PUZZLE Day! Do YOU play GAMES??

GAMES!
 
Today is NATIONAL PUZZLE DAY!
Wahoo!
Fun times with friends.
 
Do  YOU play games in YOUR classroom?
I  HOPE  SO!
 
What a better way to practice academic skills & strategies.
The BEST way to learn social skills of sharing, taking turns, winning and losing.
AND..most importantly….
IT BUILDS YOUR CLASSROOM COMMUNITY!

Checker

Checkers

Board Games for kids

Boars Games for kids

Chutes & Ladders Board Game

Chutes & Ladders Board Game

Candy Land Board Game

Candy Land Board Game

 

I also have the children make their OWN games..
We play the “matching” game..A LOT!
 
Use spelling words, vocabulary words, math facts…whatever!
I give 1/2 the class 1 sheet of colored paper.
I give the other half  
1 sheet of colored paper, too 
BUT a different color!
 
We fold it into 8 rectangles.
EVERYONE writes the same words on their paper.
THEN…cut the cards apart!
 
When we are ready…find a partner
 WITH   DIFFERENT COLORED PAPER!
 
Turn over all of the cards. 
Pick one of YOURS,
 then choose one of your partners!
 
With different colored papers
…no mistaking whose is whose.
 
When game “time” ( set a timer ) is done
..pick up YOUR cards!
No mixing them up!
Take the cards HOME & PRACTICE!
Here WE ARE at WORK:

Kids in classroom playing learning games

Kids in classroom playing learning games

Partner students in classroom playing learning games

Partner students in classroom playing learning games

Kids in classroom playing learning games

Kids in classroom playing learning games

I hope you play games!
Have FUN!
 
Here are some MORE blog posts about
CLASSROOM  GAMES!
 
PLAY ON
 
 
 
Here are some games 
for YOUR classroom:
 

CVC Scoot Game

CVC Scoot Game

Who Am I Flapbook Game

Who Am I Flapbook Game

What's a SMORT? A SMART Sort!

What’s a SMORT? A SMART Sort!

Shelves  of Board Games

Shelves of Board Games

Check out my 
Pinterest board
for MORE fun GAMES!
 
 
Here is a FREE game..to ENJOY!
 

FREE Game CHICKEN DANCE from 1stgradefireworks

FREE Game CHICKEN DANCE from 1stgradefireworks

On the Blog...Work Smarter not Harder

Surviving December by Working SMARTER not HARDER

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!

Spelling BUNDLE

Here is SPELLING for the WHOLE YEAR!

Kinder Spelling

I Am in KINDER…see me SPELL!

KINDER SPELLING

We use MUST DO’s & MAY DO’s for centers.

MUST DO’s & May Do’s

Must do's & May Dos

Must do’s & May Dos

 Work SMARTER, Not HARDER

Have you ever used

REPOSITIONAL VINYL LETTERS??

OMG!  I LOVE THEM!

I got mine…at STAPLES

http://www.staples.com/Cosco-098135-Vinyl-Letter-C-N-1-Helvetica-Black/product_712405

BEFORE…last 23 YEARS…

I would write the numbers & Content areas

EVERY WEEK..

 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

AND

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!

Balanced Literacy – Week 1 of 8 – READ ALOUDS

How to Fit it ALL IN?

The Guided Reading COMMAND CENTER

FREE from me to YOU!

 

Happy Holidays from 1stgradefireworks

Wendy

Elf on the Shelf- FAIL!

I Failed at ELF ON THE SHELF!

I admit it…I failed..

I tried the ELF thing…FAILED!

I forgot to move it.

I didn’t want to spend the time moving it to who knows where.

My kiddos didn’t find it!

OH…exhausting!

I went to PINTEREST and saw ALL of these AMAZING ELF activities.

I GIVE UP! 

And so…I QUIT!  I am NOT  “ELFABLE!”  

Change..inevitable
THINK POSITIVE!

Change my mindset.  Change is good. Change is necessary!

So maybe I don’t ELF this year. Maybe I will “ELF” a different way. 

Maybe I focus on a DIFFERENT type of KINDNESS. I think I might look at…

Sharing ORNAMENTS!  Or presents, or smiles!  Or handshakes, or time. 

 
Maybe my “LESSON” to my students isn’t about THINGS…    

So I think I will focus on content.

I will share the GOODWILL of the ELF ideals,  through lesson content.

I hope my students’ families will give them the “warm fuzzies” they deserve. I do EVERY DAY. 

But for now, we will focus on learning.

Are YOU a HELPER ELF?

( BORING I KNOW…BUT NECESSARY!)

So…next in my list…MATH!

UGH! I know. HOW CAN THE ELF HELP US IN MATH?

THIS ELF IS NOT ON THE SHELF

1 more..1 less…10 more..10 less

So…to help with my “ELF FAILURE”

AND

to maximize my math time…

This ELF is NOT on the SHELF!
This Elf is NOT on the SHELF

This can be made into a booklet, used as math centers, individual practice, assessments…

ENDLESS possibilities!

It may NOT be as EXCITING as finding the ELF each day.

The ELVES are WORKING OVERTIME!

The Elves are Working OVERTIME!

The Elves are Working OVERTIME!

BUT…my students won’t be confused or saddened because they think the ELF doesn’t care.

They know I care. And that’s better than ANY ELF!

And so my friends, I admit it. I am an ELF on the Shelf failure. 

But…my student’s did REALLY WELL on their math assessments and we 

giggled, grinned, hugged, & gave high-fives all through the year.

Now…where did I leave that ELF?   🙂  

Elf on the Shelf taped to classroom clock.
HELP ME!

Holiday HELPERS for YOU! 🙂

Classroom Literacy

Data Collecting

Guided Reading

Leave me a comment…help me be an “ELF” convert. How do YOU use the “ELF”???   There must be a support group SOMEWHERE! 🙂  Happy Holidays!

 

What does READ AT HOME really look like?

I am a BLOG STALKER!
I admit it.
 
I am ALWAYS trying to find the BEST, FASTEST, & EASIEST ways
to make my classroom run smoother & more effective while being 
academically successful.
I want my students to continue to practice their reading & writing skills and strategies 
AT HOME!

BUT..What does Read at HOME really look like?

 
Aren’t we ALL?
 
So each year I try to “change” a few things for the better.
NO THROWING THE BABY OUT WITH THE BATHWATER!
 
(  For YOU youngin’s…  Don’t get rid of the good stuff while trying NEW stuff! )
 
So here is something “NEW” ( or New to ME )  that I am doing this year!
 
I am NOT ( Ugh…),
NOT  
choosing the Student’s TAKE HOME BOOKS each week.
( Let it go! Let it go!)
 
I LET THEM!
The power is in the CHOICE. 

I thought if I chose reading books that were ON their reading level

THEY would MAGICALLY fall in LOVE with READING!

NOT!
I have RAH ( Read AT Home ) envelopes…
Purchased at REALLY GREAT STUFF
BUT ANY envelope will do!
 
Each WEDNESDAY and FRIDAY they bring their RAH folder back.
I have them choose 2 books…YES…2 books to put in their folder.
( I place a pile 20 or so, of books at each level …
 
*disclaimer…right now I have 5 Guided Reading groups..I group their 
PILES of books by the Guided Reading group level…
 

So they really are taking home books at THEIR reading level.

Just a little teacher “nudge” in the right direction!

 
They choose two books, put them in their envelopes, and put them in their cubbies.
They keep them for 2 nights..hence bringing them back WED. & FRI. 
We change them for two NEW books … and here we go again!
 

Some nights I add a READING RESPONSE page to their homework.

USE ONE OF YOUR RAH BOOKS!

( Your choice!)

 
You can get my READING RESPONSE Packet HERE  
Some nights I have them do a page or two from my
Book Reports.
Accountability?
I do have a paper…lined…for parents to sign each night.
DO ALL OF THEM SIGN IT?
 NO!
If YOU take a horse to water…Can you FORCE it to drink it?
NO!
Let it go! Let it go!
So then what?
If you have a parent who won’t support reading at home…
 READ, READ, READ at school.
 
YOU may be the ONLY adult who reads with “THAT CHILD”..
We ALL have “that child”.
 
Don’t fight it!
Don’t PUNISH the child.
IF he/she could read it BY THEMSELVES…..THEY WOULD!
 
They can’t.
So
Let it go! Let it go!
BUT…
I do REWARD those who make the continued effort to read at home
EVERY NIGHT!
 
When they bring their envelopes back, I check the paper.
IF the parent HAS NOT SIGNED…I highlight in RED that date.
 
At the end of the MONTH,
I give a reward (and a SPECIAL BRAG TAG ) to those who have read
EVERY NIGHT!
 
I know…NOT fair for “that child”
Fair is NOT Always EQUAL!
 
I want my kiddos who 
DO THE WORK
to know…
I NOTICE!
 
And so my friends…
I keep stalking.
 
LOTS of great ideas out there in 
BLOGGY LAND.
 
And PINTEREST  LAND.
 
AND  INSTAGRAM LAND.
 
If you need some ideas..
 
 
 
 
Happy  Reading my Friends!
 
 
ME? Dress up for Halloween?

Do YOU Dress Up for Halloween?

I hate to wear hats when I dress up.

I don’t like things on my head.

I do enjoy a great laugh.

I want to participate with the group.

I am a TEAM PLAYER.

 

BUT… I don’t dress up for Halloween!

Screaming child

Sreaming Child

There!  I said it!

I am the “old teacher” who does NOT dress up for Halloween.

Old Granny

Old Granny

WHY?  I dunno.

Just never got “into it”.

The whole “make-up, costume, prop thing” just doesn’t appeal to me.

I don’t get the whole “dress up as someone else”, thing.

DON’T GET ME WRONG!

I love HALLOWEEN!

I dressed my kids up in HOMEMADE costumes AND store-bought costumes.

They were SO CUTE!

Teachers EVERYWHERE dress up and they are AMAZING!

I just can’t do it at school!

My kiddos are NOT allowed to wear costumes to school.

I will NOT, if they cannot.

I wouldn’t dress up, even if THEY could. Sorry, Not me!

Maybe I’ll dress up at home!

A cute T-SHIRT! YES!

Maybe.  Maybe not.

Maybe??

So for now… I will live in my “COSTUME”

vicariously through all of YOU on PINTEREST!

This post might help me…

My Fall Dilemma 

WOW! CUTE hat!… Maybe…  Gotta go…I think I found a HAT I LIke.

Stay tuned.  Check out my Instagram.

There may be a HALLOWEEN pic.

Maybe.  🙂

Do YOU “dress up” for Halloween?

Help me out…What do YOU dress up for on HALLOWEEN?

Leave me a comment. 🙂

Wendy

 

Fall Dilemma

My OCTOBER classroom DILEMMA!

 

So my October dilemma.

We have a two-week FALL vacation.

 

(NO COMPLAINING HERE!)

Celebrate!

WAHOO!!!

BUT…

We return on Oct. 14.

 MONDAY

21 days (exactly ) until…

YOU  KNOW  IT

THURSDAY, October 31, 2019

Trick or Treat Kids

Happy Halloween!

HALLOWEEN!

Parties,

CANDY,

Kids who can’t wait to get home ( highly DISTRACTABLE!)

(some schools…not mine….)

COSTUMES!

So … My October dilemma.

When we go back,

Do I put out HALLOWEEN themed centers?

Do I keep it OCTOBERish with Columbus, Halloween, Fall, Pumpkins, etc?

Do I just “touch” on the “HOLIDAY” stuff…and Promote the FALL  stuff?

Do I  add  THANKSGIVING?

Should I keep it ALL going until THANKSGIVING?

What to do?  What to do?????

Fall Leaves

FAll Leaves

BTW…   I  LOVE, LOVE, LOVE   FALL!

I love October!

My favorite season.

Pumpkins

Pumpkins

Starbuck's Pumpkins Spiced Latte

Starbuck’s Pumpkins Spiced Latte

YUMMY!

But…

CONTENT is EVERYTHING!

My students MUST take a BENCHMARK ASSESSMENT in December.

I want them to do well.

( I don’t think there will be a HALLOWEEN question on it.)

Unless it’s about 

HOW MANY CANDIES DID YOU EAT ALL TOGETHER?

So ..what to do?   What to do?

October INTEGRATE!

I must teach SCIENCE and SOCIAL STUDIES!

( Living things…life cycle…Plants/animals…Lifestyles Long Ago..)

So here is MY October plan:

Reading:

  • Nonfiction about pumpkins, apples, plants
  • Biographies about Christopher Columbus, Squanto
  • Fiction about Fall, Halloween, Pilgrims, Thanksgiving

I am checking my district curriculum

( yes, we have one )

for REQUIRED (Tested )  Skills & Strategies for this quarter.

As we delve into our reading…I make SURE to incorporate TESTED strategies.

 

Questioning? Sequencing? Retelling? Etc..etc…

Vocabulary?   Again…check NECESSARY vocabulary for success!

 

I spend A LOT of time on the necessary vocabulary. I have 10-12  English Language Learners.

 

They need visuals, modeling, & practice before they can “TAKE ON” the new information

.

Phonics?   Spelling?   Grammar? 

 Required phonics skills for this quarter.

 

What to use for  Spelling? 

BOTH!

 

  Required spelling skills AND  thematic vocabulary words. 

WHAT?      WHY?

Because…I want them to have some  INTRINSIC vocabulary to use easily in their…

 

WRITING!

 

Bear wrapped as mummy

Bear wrapped as MUMMY

I want MY Mummy!  🙂

Sorry…. couldn’t resist.

October Writing:

  • “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.

Again…I am checking my district curriculum 

for REQUIRED (Tested )  Skills & Strategies for this quarter.

Whatever our REQUIRED writing prompt will be

( I already know mine  is INFORMATIVE)

We will practice, practice, practice!

 

I won’t skip the other genres.

 

Just FOCUS on the INFORMATIVE!

BUT wait!

 

I want crafts! I want CUTSIE! I want products! 

I Love October BOOKS!

And so…we will make CUTSIE lapbooks, paintings, charts, stories & crafts

 

 about???

Fall, Halloween, pumpkins, apples

, plants, Christopher Columbus, 

Squanto, Pilgrims, Thanksgiving

DON’T tell our FIRE MARSHALL.

I might HANG THINGS UP!

Definitely!

I won’t tell if YOU won’t tell.

MATH:

  • addition / subtraction
  • missing addends
  • place value
  • graphing
  • story problems

And October MATH??

Lots of Graphs, addition & subtractionproblem-solving, story problems

 

ALL ABOUT THEMES!

How many apples, pumpkin seeds, candies, turkeys, Indians, etc, etc.

(Math Journals are GREAT for this!)

and, yes..

I will need to keep it going until Thanksgiving.

 

And I will need to use EVERY MINUTE of EVERY DAY!

 

And yes… it will take planning, and prepping…

Bat craft

Bat craftivity

BATS! 

Black Cat watercolor

Black Cat Watercolor

Black  Cats

Pumpkin plants in garden

Pumpkin plant in the garden

Growing  Pumpkins

Crock Pot applesauce

Crock pot applesauce

Making APPLESAUCE!

Happy Birthday Johnny Appleseed!

And YES

I WILL LOVE EVERY MINUTE OF IT!

You see…

FALL IS MY FAVORITE SEASON OF THE YEAR!

Don’t you just LOVE OCTOBER?

To those of you who hung in there to the bottom of this LONG POST…

A FREEBIE FOR YOU!

Happy FALL!

BOO BANG!

Boo Bang

Boo Bang FREEBIE!

UPDATE! Math Practice for the WHOLE YEAR!

Really?

For the WHOLE YEAR???

YEP! YEP!
Math Practice …Common Core Aligned
Daily skills for kiddos to practice!
My newest packet requires..
NO   LAMINATING!!!
Really?
I mean REALLY?    YES!

I Mean NO! NO  LAMINATING!

HOW? Tell me HOW?
 

First…Print  the  cards  on paper  or cardstock.

I choose…FLUORESCENT!
Pink, green, blue, orange , & yellow!
BRIGHT    BRIGHT   BRIGHT
I have Black walls  ( Wal Mart  Twin  Sheets!)
LOVE THEM!
Bright cards LOOK GREAT!
So how do I put them on the walls?

Sheet Protectors!

Cut them to size….
( I added tape to the bottom of some to make a “POCKET”)
and
VOILA!
To see the whole wall….
Close your eyes!  READY??
Love Love Love it!
Here is a preview!
And here is the best!
The kiddos use this printable
doing 4 sets a day, for 5 days 
AND THEN…
take the cards out of the pockets…place a new card in front…
AND DO IT AGAIN!

New card…same skill!

Here is the student printable:
YOU SEE?

Work Smarter….NOT HARDER!

Now available at 1stgradefireworks