Oh, How I LOVE my RED SOLO CUPS!
( I hear the Toby Keith song in my head!)
ALL mixed up. YUCK!
RED SOLO CUP!
I admit it.
I AM TIRED!
I am counting the days until vacation.
I am counting the days until I don’t have to leave the house by 7:15 AM.
I am counting the days…until I can have coffee at 8:00AM.
Ah…I Am READY!
My teacher BRAIN won’t
I want to start getting ready for
I know…relax, breathe…ENJOY YOUR SUMMER!
I can’t STOP! I want to plan!
We are getting a new reading program next year.
CA JOURNEYS here we come!
And so…I have begun. counting.
MY day, my month, my year!
I am starting my new projects today!
Here’s a PREVIEW!
Focus Wall Printables
The BEST PART???
These Packets can be used with ANY program!
( Just because it follows CA Journeys…doesn’t mean it will ONLY work with
Here is the FREE Focus Wall Headers… 🙂
More on the WAY!
Keep checking back!
I’m counting on it!
All available HERE.
Now…Where is my beach chair? 🙂
Time to relax! 🙂
5.5 days to go… 🙂
I am a VETERAN teacher.
I have NOT fought in a WAR.
I have taught in GRADE 1
( exclusively )
for over 27 years!
I have changed my “VIEW” on teacher appreciation.
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..
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!
No where 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!
…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!
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 21 years!
We are going to retire together
the same year…in 5 years.
( We “pinky sweared”…
..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..
We run homework for each other.
We share our students.
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 transfered to another school in MY district..many times!)
CRAZY TITLE 1 school!
Is it when you are passing out report cards?
Is it when they forgot their homework?
Is it when they have interuupted 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 ARE APPRECIATED! By ALL of US!
This is my newest FAVORITE thing!
I LOVE Lucy Caulkin’s
If you get a chance to hear her, see her, and/or youtube her…
I want them to be problem-solvers.
So, I am…
A HUGE THANK YOU to Lucy Caulkins!
So there you are.. Reading Workshop…
It’s Time! Roll your sleeves up, grab some garbage bags, & a cup of coffee!
Not your house..not your closets..
Now I don’t mean put on the gloves and scrub down the walls.
( Might not hurt to have some rags & cleaners though. )
So where, oh where, to begin?
I know…start here.
I have been called many things..
A “Professional” Piler..etc..etc…
But it’s time…time to
THROW IT AWAY!
Grab a JUMBO Garbage bag ( actually two )
and get started.
Here is my criteria:
If a paper can be printed from my computer
(I can always print another one!)
If I have NOT used it this year…
OR last year..I usually give myself two years..
( You won’t miss it..I promise!)
Clear out EVERYTHING..files, crates, BINDERS…
IT IS LIBERATING..and SCARY ( What if I need “that”? )
It’s on my computer..
that is NEXT!
I create file folders on my computer so I can find my documents fast & easy!
First I do ELA & MATH
Then I do this:
…Aug> Back to School
I create folders within folders.
This way I can go directly to BACK TO SCHOOL
WHAT AM I DOING IN AUGUST?
I can also go directly to Johnny Appleseed…
Same with MATH
…Beg Year Assessments
…Numbers to ten
Takes a little time…BUT SO WORTH IT!
Then when I need the masters ( because I already RECYCLED them)
Back UP all of your files on a memory stick!
Better SAFE than SORRY!
Do YOU have math manipulatives
YOU JUST DON’T USE?
The little teeny tiny ones some publisher somewhere thought kids age 6 would
LOVE to use?
( USE FOR WHAT? TEETHING..FLIPPING…THROWING???????)
I can teach most math lessons with a few cubes, white boards, & smartboard.
I don’t need 700 little beans!
The “tissue paper” booklets SOMEONE thought my firsties would need to practice fact families!
(PUBLISHERS…little fingers need CARD STOCK!)
And so…away they go!
I try to keep this to ONE box.
Don’t want to store this either.
and LAST for today..
Should be this…
Don’t let it go to this… 🙂
Can be messy!
Really take a look at WHAT KIDS ARE READING!
Old ones? DONATE!
Torn ones? FIX
Need to level? I suggest LEXILES!
( Redoing mine this summer..We use DRA/Guided reading levels)
CCSS is all about lexiles..
Learning As I Go! 🙂
And so ..a little cleaning will make your teacher heart happy!
There is MORE..under the cabinets, construction/ writing paper, the dreaded
Storage drawers…I really don’t know what’s in the BACK of those drawers!
And so on & so on!
I know. I said it.
WAIT! DON’T LEAVE!
It’s how to create a CALM…so you can teach!
And isn’t THAT our GOAL?
There are a GAZILLION places to learn how to do
When I was beginning my career,
was the JEDI of Classroom Management!
It’s a good read for ALL of us!
After a trillion different management attempts,
And it HAS to WORK ..
What the teacher next door is using
maybe the best thing,
“since sliced bread”.
If it doesn’t work FOR YOU,
So WHAT do I use?
Three step program.
(NO… not a 12 step program…ONLY 3)
As every primary teacher knows,
Consistency is the key to success.
Young kids like to know what is coming next.
They like to know ” IF THIS…THEN THAT!”
And they keep ME on my toes!
And pulling my hair out!
It lasts about a month.
After they figure out which “friend” is going to be a problem in THIER group…
points don’t count.
Great kids move up.
Those who need more “attention” moved down.
I had a great visual
of the “cans” and the “cannots”.
Not for me.
And so began ..
1. CLASS DOJO
2. GOLDEN TICKETS
3. BRAG TAGS
These 3 management strategies work for me.
If they help YOU…JUMP ON IN!
* I am NOT receiving ANYTHING from DOJO…
I JUST LOVE IT!
Class DOJO has allowed me
to connect with
quickly and effectively!
Isn’t that the point of classroom management?
“manage” a situation
and correct it,
or support it,
Dojo is an online program where each student has an avatar. They gain or lose points as they follow the positive or negative
attributes that YOU set up.
I had a BIG problem with tardies.
8-10 kids tardy…daily.
One of my positive attributes is
ATTENDANCE ON TIME.
Every student gets a point for being in their seat,
ready to work when the bell rings!
I am down to 2 tardies..average..daily.
FOR me? Success!!!
Dojo also sends an automatic email to parents on FRIDAY, detailing their child’s points for the week!
INSTANT PARENT NOTIFICATIONS
..and I didn’t have to do ANYTHING! 🙂
After parents have signed up for texts
THAT IS THE HARD PART…GETTING THEM TO SIGN UP
(I AM RELENTLESS…I BUG THEM OVER & OVER)
I can text them at a moments notice.
AND I DO!
I also do class messages and send pictures.
I am just learning DOJO, too.
#2 Golden Tickets
THIS IS MY “GO TO” PROGRAM!
IT WORKS LIKE A CHARM!
Run a copy of Tickets on YELLOW OR GOLD PAPER.
CUT UP into tickets.
Keep in a box.
Kids earn them for ANY positive interaction, action, or reaction.
Help a friend? TICKET!
Pick up the floor? Ticket!
Say kind words? Ticket!
A friend helped YOU? Give them a TICKET!
And so MY STUDENTS start looking
for ways to give positive feedback
to each other.
They have to tell their classmate what
they SAW or HEARD
that earned their ticket!
After they get their ticket,
they write their name on the back.
Twice a week we COUNT tickets.
If they have 10
they can choose
I am NOT spending ANY $$$$$$
NO need to!
Here are there rewards…
Tech Time …15 minutes on the ipads!
They can choose whatever app they want!
Friendly Lunch..ALL TIME FAVORITE:
I purchased 8 plastic placemats – 4 sets of 2
They choose 1 friend to give a placemat to, and they sit next to each other at lunch in the cafeteria, and eat lunch with their placemat and their friend. AFTER lunch, they sanitize the placemat, and put it in the office so I can pick them up after lunch.
ROYALTY for A DAY..
Students can choose to WEAR A CROWN, and be KING____ or QUEEN _____ for a day. The crowns? BULLETIN BOARD borders I have
used, scrounged, saved, begged for from others,
on hand. Measure, staple, VOILA..instant CROWN!
Wear it, take it home. I DO staple a golden ticket to the front. EVERYONE will ask WHY DID YOU GET THE CROWN?
They can explain about GOLDEN TICKETS.
They get one of my BIG SQUISHY chairs at their desk for a day. They will spin, moved, be tall, and LOVE their BIG chair.
Change desks with a partner FOR A DAY!
Use their books & stuff and THEY use YOURS!
Must clean each others desk
( put things back better than they were
when YOU got there..)
at the end of the day.
FREE Homework PASS!
NO homework for 1 night!
I write a note and put it in the HW folder so parent’s know.
They can bring a stuffed animal to school for 1 day.
Sits on their desk, works in teh classroom, cannot go outside.
If kids don’t have one..they can choose 1 of mine.
First graders LOVE to “cut in line”. The LINE JUMPER can cut in line ANYWHERE they want, for 1day. They MUST tell the person behind them…”Excuse me, I am a LINE JUMPER!”
(You can NEVER step in front of someone
without using the words EXCUSE ME
..and tell them WHY!)
Here we are in action.
LONG POST… sorry
We LOVE BRAG TAGS!
Many THANKS to
We started using the LINK necklaces for Brag tags.
TOO HARD to OPEN for our little fingers.
BRAG TAG storage 🙂
Now we use RINGS instead of link chains.
At the end of the MONTH,
we take ALL of our Brag TAGS and BEADS
OFF of our RINGS
and string them on a STRING.
Make a BRAG TAG necklace to WEAR HOME!
Most kids say they save them
at home for the whole year!
Great HOME connection!
WHEW! Long post…SORRY.
I just want to give you all of the details so
YOU can choose
what works for YOU!
Here are some other posts I have on
Get YOUR Golden Tickets HERE:
For your time…
Here is a FREEBIE
from ME..to YOU!
So let me know…
What do YOU use for YOUR classroom MANAGEMENT?
Share your story in the comments.
I will choose 1 person this week
for a FREEBIE.
I will choose from my comments!
Leave me your email! 🙂
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.
Each of us is a flower… Growing in Life’s Garden (by Charlotte Diamond)
One time per week, I will post a TIP, a TRICK, and/or a HACK to help YOU, the teacher, nurture our students into thriving blossoms of learning! My hope is that through support, trials & tribulations, and time-saving tips, YOU may grow YOUR RAINBOW!
First, My number 1 goal in MY classroom is to make INDEPENDENT LEARNERS!
HOW? Model…TEACH…Model…TEACH…I DO. WE DO. YOU DO! Then, RELEASE THE KRACKEN!
In order to help support the independent learning, I give each child the OPPORTUNITY to be a HELPER.
A Leader. The person “in charge”.
For some this may the first time they have ever been given the WHOLE responsibility of a JOB!
(Think HELICOPTER PARENTS).
For some, it is a responsibility they take on JOYFULLY!
For others, they embrace the position, but NOT the RESPONSIBILITY!
And so, to help nurture the independence of each of my little “seedlings”,
I CHOOSE DAILY Helpers. I know, some classrooms have weekly helpers, some permanent helpers, but for ME? I choose them daily. In my class of 24, each student SHOULD be each of our helpers by the end of the month. I say SHOULD. I make no promises. We are in a continuous state of growing!
If you go to pinterest there are thousands of samples of
in a MULTITUDE of classroom themes!
These are a few I have found on pinterest….
But…putting up the cards and
USING THEM TO YOUR ADVANTAGE
are two different things.
And that is THE OBJECTIVE…
Helper ( JOB ) Cards are a way for students to take RESPONSIBILITY
HELP THE TEACHER! 🙂
Each morning our bell rings at 8:20 AM.
We are working at 8:21.
My students put HW folders in the basket,
backpacks & jackets on the shelves,
and get ready for chromebooks.
(Don’t be tardy…you will miss computer time)
While they are “waiting patiently”..Ie: staring through my back, grinning quietly, hoping I call their name…
I take name cards ( nothing FANCY…3 X 5 cards with THEIR NAME ON IT 🙂 )
change the helpers in a small pocket chart at the front of my room.
My pocket chart came from the $1 section at Target. Nothing FANCY!
MY JOBS are:
Clean Up Crew (2 students)
Ball Handlers ( 2 for recess)
Tech Teachers ( 4 students )
They change daily.
They biggest change I have made is..
YOU MUST BE
“ON TIME AND IN YOUR SEAT” – To be a HELPER!
WOW…no more tardies!
EVERYONE WANTS TO BE A HELPER!
AND after JANUARY… They can choose their job!
(I wait until January because I want to make sure they ALL know EXACTLY what the job is, and may have had a chance to be that “special” helper once before. I want them to see it in action, before they have CHOICE!)
When I turn over the name cards…
(Yesterday’s names to the back of the pile,,)
“Do you want to be a ____ OR _____?”
Whatever the next two jobs available are.
They CHOOSE what they want to do.
That choice allows them to take personal responsibility.
AND THEY DO!
Allow the little ones to be a PART of the classroom!
They LOVE IT!
I hope YOU check out the blogs and pins online to find the HELPERS that fit YOUR classroom and YOUR style! If you need a SPECIAL order HELPERS CARDS SET, email me. I do special orders, too!
Whatever JOBS you choose…let them take RESPONSIBILITY! Don’t do it for them!
NO HELICOPTER TEACHERS! Even when YOUR OCD kicks in!
Come back next week for ANOTHER round of …
Here is a little “HELPER”
to help YOU get started… 🙂
See YOU next week! Wendy 1stgradefireworks
WHAT???? AGAIN???? NO!!!!!!!
So, How many times do I have to do it..before I LIKE it??
Here is the BEFORE…
So, why? Oh, why?
Why mess with a GOOD thing? ( Can you hear the shame in my voice?)
BECAUSE. Because I know what wonderful books are in the tubs.
They don’t search. They just go to what they know.
SO…I am expanding their KNOWLEDGE BASE!
WHAT???? I know…you with OCD will HATE ME!
I am going to dump EVERY book in a pile in the middle of our carpet area.
AND WE WILL SORT!
Common core says NONFICTION is a PRIORITY!
My kids don’t even know WHAT Nonfiction books we have!
Fiction…Nonfiction…author study…science…etc..etc..etc…NOT ME!
Not my SUMMER! (again )
OURS…ALL OF US!
(Do not do this the day your admin is observing YOU!)
This will take time…time well spent!
My thoughts are to have the kids make labels.
And put them right ON THE SHELF!
YES…ON THE SHELF
WOW! A Classroom library that mimics a PUBLIC LIBRARY!???
They will know HOW to USE a PUBLIC
Not “What tub is LIBRARY——- book in?” Hmm…
Food for thought.
So…if you are thinking of RAISING THE BAR in YOUR classroom library…
LET THEM DO IT!
They might surprise YOU!