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.

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!
 
 

I Needed a KICK IN THE PANTS!

I can tell it’s SPRING…

I’m getting

LAZY!

But I have FINALLY, updated one of my MOST Valued PRODUCTS!

BOOK CLUBS! 

HURRAY!

Now…I work 3 jobs…

I get up at 5:00 AM and go to bed at 9:00 PM.

I think I deserve some DOWN time!

BUT…

Then…I..get…really….complacent…

procrastinate…LAZY!

So every once in a while,

I need someone to give me a little

PUSH    SHOVE

KICK IN THE  PANTS!

Time to git ‘er DONE!

This has been one of those weeks!

So…

I have a packet I made that I use in my classroom

A  LOT!

If any of you already have this…

DO NOT FEAR!

Help is on its way!

Now,

MY KIDS LOVE THIS!

The packet is full of independent activities, comprehension questions, word work, etc

ALL related to the BOOK OF THEIR CHOICE!

I can use it with ANY book.

My independent readers can read a book

 and as a GROUP

( can we say COLLABORATE )

they can DISCUSS & complete the pack TOGETHER!

Now I don’t use it daily…maybe once every two weeks or so.

It takes them awhile &

I really want them to “get into it”.

Lots of rewards, positive notes, specials when completed.

It’s a GOOD THING!

BUT…

It’s OLD. Really OLD.

It was in need of “A LIFT” ( in all the right places ).

Sounds like me! 🙂 

I DID IT!

I GOT ‘ER DONE!

And here she is.

ALL gussied up and purdy!

She has grown from 14 pages to 44!

She is ALL GROWED UP NOW!

I added a booklet style because

PAPER & INK ARE AT A PREMIUM!

So now…less paper… less ink… more productive teacher & students!

My Little LOVE…

Book Club

 is available

at my TPT store

1stgradefireworks

You will  LOVE this!

What is TRUE Teacher Appreciation? It might SURPRISE You!

What is TRUE Teacher Appreciation?

I am a VETERAN teacher.

NO.

 I have NOT fought in a WAR.

I have taught in GRADE 1

 ( exclusively )

for over 30 years!

WOW!

( Never “graduated” to second grade..as my students tell me!) 🙂

But…

I have changed my “VIEW” on teacher appreciation.

We ALL want to be appreciated.

We want to be recognized for

SOMETHING “GOOD”

 we have done!

But..

things can get a little …

OUT OF HAND!

I believe..

YES…

I believe there are

those who

are APPRECIATED

and those who

WISH THEY WERE!

What is TRUE Teacher Appreciation?

I will say this ONE TIME…

IT  IS  NOT  ABOUT  TEST SCORES!

The teachers 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 my parents were arguing LOUDLY!

___ No one would help with homework/reading ( for the past two weeks!)

or

___  not in a good “mindset”  today.

BUT…

these are kids!

This is life!

To attach a “number” to a student, 

based on “today’s testing module”

is NOT  what teaching is all about!

( Ok sorry…OFF my soapbox!)

So,

What is TRUE Teacher Appreciation?

Where? How? When?

Admins…

Please… I don’t need a new pen with my school name on it.

What is TRUE Teacher Appreciation?

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!

THAT’s  APPRECIATION!

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 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!

What is TRUE Teacher Appreciation?

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”…

( I said “partner” one time..it took on a WHOLE DIFFERENT meaning!)

and I have taught next to each other

( rooms 3 & 4)

for 24 years!

We are going to retire together 

the same year…in 3 years.

( We “pinky sweared”…

..as long as nothing catastrophic happens before then).

Her mom works in her room.

I call her MOM!

Our students think we are

SISTERS!

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!

NOPE!

WE DO!

Together.

Feel appreciated? YEP! Daily.

( I could have transferred to another school in MY district..many times!)

NOT LEAVING!

LOVE MY CRAZY TITLE 1 school!

and then…

Your students…

What is TRUE Teacher Appreciation?

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?

Probably NOT!

It’s when that SAME little girl walks in EVERY morning

and says…

“Can I have a HUG?”

or

When the little boy who STUTTERS ( severely )…

asks if he can READ his newest story

TO THE CLASS!

( And EVERYONE cheers  for him!)

or

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!)

and last…

the “older students” who come back…

just to say HI!

or…

“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!

Spring gardening 101 and a FREE CHICKEN DANCE!

I love SPRING!

DID I MENTION…

I LOVE SPRING!

And I Love to GARDEN!

This Spring I taught my students how to recycle water bottles into seed germinators!

I Love Spring!

I am an AVID  Gardener!

 
LOVE to get my fingers in the dirt.
 
We call my hubby “FARMER WITHOUT A FARM!”
 
We are “suburbanites” with a backyard farm.
Chickens included!
 

Black Chicken

Sunshine – white chicken

 
 
More on that later.
 
 

This year we installed

PALLET  GARDENS!

Grow plants in a PALLET GARDEN!

So easy!  
Lay down wooden pallet.
Fill with potting soil & steer manure.
Plant!
 
We did seeds.
And more seeds. (Rotate your crops)
 
We didn’t have a lot of room for “vines”.. so we did NOT grow pumpkins.
 
We did grow some BEAUTIFUL SUNFLOWERS in the back.
They need A LOT OF room. They got 10-12 feet TALL!

             Check out my Sunflower Seeds Plant Unit.          AWESOME!

 
Grow vegetables that you eat.
I wanted to show the kids
ROOTS, STEMS, LEAVES, FLOWERS, etc.
Choose plants that will help with that!
It’s SPRING!
Time for new growth!
 
We also made individual planters for the kids to take home.
 
As we had been studying EARTH DAY…
 
We RECYCLED 
water bottles as seed planters!

Recycled Water bottles for planting.

Start with water bottles.
Cut them in half.
Poke a hole in the lid.
Tie a knot in string & thread through the hole.
When lid is ON…string hangs DOWN.
Flip the  TOP of bottle..into the  bottom.
The bottom will hold the water.

Cut bottles in half. Add soil.

Add soil.
And seeds to top.
Fill the bottom with water.
The string acts like a wick…to water itself!

Recycled water bottles with seeds.

We have sprouts!

Soon… sprouts!
We took them HOME at OPEN HOUSE!
The kids were SO excited to show off their garden.
Maybe THEY will become MASTER GARDENERS some day!
 

Happy Dance!

 
In honor of my 
CHICKENS…
 
Chicken Dance is FREE!
 

Chicken Dance Word Game from 1stgradefireworks

Happy Spring to all!
Wendy

The “WEE” Little Ones are a’WATCHIN … What time is it?

 

What TIME is it?

It’s McBLARNEY TIME!

 
‘Tis the month of MARCH!
 
The “WEE LITTLE ONES”..
are a’watchin..
 
 
 
(Like my Gealic?) HAHA
 

What TIME is it?

 
ALREADY?
 
BTW…
There are 294 days 
…until CHRISTMAS! 
Just wanted to  FREAK YOU OUT!!!!!

What TIME is it?

It’s ONLY  MARCH!
Whew!
 
As an “official” IRISH LASS.
 Well… kinda…married a McCarty…
IRISH TO THE MAX!
And…I carry Scottish/Irish genes.
 
So I AM an “IRISH  LASS” !
 
One of my fav. poems..I know it’s a song!
I love the lyrics!
 
 
 
The chorus…
 
When Irish eyes are smiling, 
Sure, 'tis like the morn in Spring. 
In the lilt of Irish laughter 
You can hear the angels sing. 
When Irish hearts are happy, 
All the world seems bright and gay. 
And when Irish eyes are smiling, 
Sure, they steal your heart away.
 
 
Awwww…
Makes me heart HAPPY!
 
I have been to the “EMERALD ISLE”.
I have “KISSED THE BLARNEY STONE”
…kinda gross.
( Story another time )
What TIME is it?
It’s McBlarney TIME!
 I want to share some “Blarney” with YOU!
 
 
 
 
 
And
 
 
 
 
Celebrate the WEARIN OF THE GREEN
on St.Paddy’s DAY!
 
Go n-éirí an bothar leat
(May your journey be successful)
 
* Don’t forget to wear YOUR GREEN on St. Patrick’s Day
…don’t want to get PINCHED! 
 

 

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!”  

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 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!

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?   🙂  

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!

 

Teacher Tips! Look What I FOUND!

Sometimes I find something ( or do something )

that I think..

“DUH!!! 

 WHY HAVEN’T I BEEN DOING THIS FOREVER???”

This is one of those teacher tips for classroom organization!

Teacher Tip:  Spelling Words Template

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

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!

Teacher Tips…

WORK SMARTER…NOT HARDER!

So remember… time is IMPORTANT!

Do what YOU need to do to streamline YOUR day! 

For more TEACHER TIPS…

Routines Help Us Get Out the Door!

10 Teacher Items YOU NEED TODAY!

Balanced Literacy HOW TO?

 

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!

Sreaming Child

There!  I said it!

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

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

 

I SEE PUMPKINS! Meet the “little ones”…

I SEE PUMPKINS! Meet the “little ones”…

My hubby, AKA  Farmer Without a Farm, is growing pumpkins!
In our backyard.
On the fence.
Across the lawn.
In EVERY garden we own!
And FINALLY…Yes, I say FINALLY…

WE HAVE PUMPKINS!

2 to be exact!
Meet the “little ones”.
Clara the colorful…
She is turning ORANGE the fastest.
Sidewinder SAM.
He is growing SIDEWAYS ON my ladder!
Just like the “STEPS” he can take to grow!
HAHAHA
Pumpkin  HUMOR 🙂 
And this is Junior!
Junior is was growing in our garden at school.
I work at a TITLE 1 school…someone STOLE him!
RIP junior.
You would have made a great  PIE!   🙂

To help my FIRSTIES get into the FALL  SPIRIT…

I have brought out the FALL GOODIES!
 Remember…it’s 95 degrees in NORCAL this week…
hard to feel FALLISH!

Fall BUNDLE

Falling for NOUNS ( Common Core Grade 1 )
and
FALL Fluency
BUNDLED TOGETHER to save $$
FALL  THEMATIC   UNIT
Includes:

Reading-
Reading Passage
Comprehension Printable
Reading Response Printables
Vocabulary Pocket Chart Cards
Poem ( And Cut a part printable )

Writing-
Spelling List Forms
Word Family Charts
HFW Lists
Journal Pages & Covers
Interactive Journal Pages
Flap Book Graphic Organizer

Assessments-
BPST printable
Fluency Assessment
HFW List

Grade 1 / 2

AND…
BRING ON ANYTHING  HALLOWEEN “ish”…
Finally,
MORE TASK CARDS
These are  ADDITION ONLY!
Good starting PACKET
Now…If I could just get the PUMPKINS
to
CARVE THEMSELVES!
( I Hate the SLIME!)
Oh, well.
Stay COOL my FRIENDS!