When I was in elementary school
No flexible seating, here.
They said STEAM.
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When I was in elementary school
( Way back in the DINOSAUR days )
We sat in rows.
All of us looking straight ahead.
At the teacher, at all times!
No flexible seating, here.
We kept our hands & feet to ourselves.
We kept our books in our desks.
And we read QUIETLY to ourselves.
Some people enjoyed it.
Some people just pretended.
Most did what we were told.
We didn’t ask…WHY?
Is there ANOTHER WAY?
Because at home…
I would lay on my bed and read for HOURS!
(picture by Dreamstime.com)
And that is how I LOVE TO READ!
I want my students to LOVE to read!
So I have “changed it up!”
I have added flexible seating options in my classroom for kids to
read in a comfortable, relaxed, enjoyable experience.
Every day after lunch my first graders do
READ TO SELF.
If you have not read the book
from “The 2 SISTERS” YOU NEED TO!
My first graders read to themselves.
Not to me,
Not to a partner,
JUST TO THEMSELVES!
I set the BIG TIMER!
I use THIS one.
We start the year at 6 minutes. Read.
We work on increasing our reading STAMINA.
Today, we are at 18 minutes!
18 minutes of uninterrupted reading of books
BUT there is MORE!
They don’t sit in rows.
They don’t sit at their desk.
We have flexible seating choices for reading.
SHORT STOOLS at SHORT TABLES
CHAIRS by themselves
FLAT OUT ON THE FLOOR
And when we are done?
Stools under the tables.
Rockers stacked in baskets.
Rugs in the tub.
And chairs stacked.
They MOAN when the timer goes off.
They ask during other times of the day
to Read in the Rockers.
I have taught them to LOVE to READ..
ANY HOW…ANY WHERE!
Flexible seating choices have made a HUGE difference
in the reading choices my students make.
They want harder books.
They want to read MORE!
It’s hard to walk into a first grade classroom
But the “whispers” of reading are heard, daily!
More flexible seating CHOICES!
I won ..yes…won these
4 AMAZING Stools at our recent
NorCAL Teachers Meet UP
in Pleasanton, CA!
Check out the fun at:
I was the BIG..WINNER WINNER! 🙂
Yes…I won ALL 4
And these Bad boys…
They are wooden rocking chairs,, and they SQUEAK!
I love to hear the squeak, squeak as they rock & READ!
Thank You Donor’s Choose!
Now to “arrange” it into
I absolutely LOVE IT!
( SO DO THE KIDDOS!)
If you want to learn MORE about reading
check out these blog posts:
Quirky is defined as…
” something that is strange/not normal but cool. Unconventional, surprising, odd.”
You mean ME? I am… ODD?
We like to “DRESS UP”!
Now in most professions, there is a RULE of PROFESSIONAL ATTIRE.
In Teaching…we are a little “QUIRKY”!
We tend to “go the extra mile!”
And it’s a GOOD thing!
( May have to add that to THING 1 & THING 2).
You get MY drift!
How many TEACHER Tshirts do YOU own?
Do YOU wear SCHOOL shirts on FRIDAY?
Do YOU OWN a Dr. Suess HAT?
Do you DESIRE a pair of shoes or socks that look like a PENCIL?
See? Just a LITTLE QUIRKY!
Who can chase little ones
or grab the glue bottle
before it puddles
on the floor..
Who doesn’t LOVE to walk into a room smelling of…
We all DO!
And so we PACK IN THE SMELLY STUFF!
And then …24 LITTLE ONES go outside for RECESS.
AND they come back in…
SMELLING LIKE WET PUPPIES!
And SOME of those 6-year-old WET PUPPIES…
And so…we retreat to our OLD FRIEND…
* in MY district you NOW must obtain a 1 hr. PD and get a “CERTIFICATE” to use CLOROX wipes in the classroom.
A Little QUIRKY!
But…we do what we need to do to survive!
Myself…I prefer cookie dough candles…
DON’T LIGHT THEM…
JUST SMELL THEM!
First, it has to have pieces that can be held in
I always laugh when someone says,
” You HAVE 40 minutes for LUNCH?”
Yeah…after I get 25 kids to the cafeteria.
AND…one doesn’t forget their lunch and we have to walk back & do it AGAIN!
AND…if I don’t have to call a parent.
AND..if I don’t need to run off papers.
AND..if I don’t need to correct spelling tests, prepare the SCIENCE EXPERIMENTS, write a note,
GO TO THE BATHROOM!
( Don’t forget to EAT…it will be ANOTHER 4 hours until you are FREE!)
So…bring a lunch that can be eaten in ONE HAND!
The other hand MAY BE BUSY!
A LITTLE QUIRKY!
Those DREADED WORDS!
Do It YOURSELF…NEVER! NOT GOING TO HAPPEN!
I don’t think I have EVER started a DIY where I didn’t involve someone else!
Thank YOU to my WONDERFUL HUBBY…
He puts up with my QUIRKINESS!
Did YOU feel your hands get clammy?
How your heart rate INCREASED?
Do you have a smile on YOUR FACE?
NEON SPRAY PAINT!
Do YOU feel the “NEED”…to spray
I know..it’s OK…
I think some people are “wired” with it.
The NEED to PAINT!
And we do…
We will SPRAY EVERYTHING!
( I’m sure SOMEWHERE…there is a 12 step program for this!)
No.Not grocery bags.
I mean BIG, LONG HANDLED, BRIGHTLY COLORED, (maybe) on wheels,
“I Like BIG bags & I cannot lie…”
(I think it’s a SONG)
LOOK AT THE BRIGHT COLORS!
We will carry 50-80 POUNDS of STUFF in ONE BAG…
GOTTA keep MY hands FREE!
And not think twice about it.
I AM NOT walking BACK to MY classroom AGAIN!
Yes…I can carry it ALL in one trip!
(Why do my shoulders & my back hurt so much?!)
But LOOK at the BRIGHT COLORS! So cute!
No…I will NOT buy 24 folders at TARGET for 17 cents each!
I just bought the CUTEST “31” BAG.. 🙂
A LITTLE QUIRKY!
Some of us were meant to be PRIMARY TEACHERS.
AND some are NOT!
To those who are…
HOLD YOUR SPRAYPAINTED FINGER UP HIGH…
WEAR YOUR T-SHIRTS PROUDLY…
AND SMELL the QUIRKINESS in YOUR WORLD!
WELCOME to the CLUB!
If you have HUNG in here for this LONG POST…
Here is a FREEBIE for YOU!
Check out OTHER fun things from 1stgradefireworks!
Pin IT! 🙂
I am such a SLACKER!
I think I have it all together..
My Grandmother & MY MOM
raised a family, worked at home & outside the home,
and we always had stuff when we wanted it.
This is my GMA & GPA…
I miss them both.
They lived on a dairy.
My GPA taught me about cows, HARD work, & what “silage” tasted like! ICK!
My Gma always wore a dress & heels. She was a petite little thing.
She wore toilet paper around her hair at night, so she would look “good” in the morning.
My Gpa didn’t give us candy.
When we left his house, he would give us a teaspoonful of brown sugar
, from the jar in Gma’s kitchen.
Nothing fancy..but it meant EVERYTHING to us!
They owned a peach orchard.
40 acres of peaches.
I never really thought about it when I was little.
This is my MOM & Dad ( I just found this engagement pic.) HAHA
They worked hard.
My dad went to work every day.
Dressed in his suit & white shirt
( that my mom ironed..I know ..with an iron & ironing board! )
And my mom worked a self-owned business,
was ALWAYS there when we got home form school,
and helped us with EVERYTHING we ever did ( sports, clubs, school, etc).
How do you do it ALL?
And now this….
Both my GMA & My MOM canned fruits, made pickles, and baked goodies!
Now I don’t bake ( leave that gene to my sister, Susie).
I have NEVER made pickles..& probably won’t..BUT
I CAN FRUIT!
I CAN FRUIT, A LOT!
I remember walking into GMA’s garage & seeing shelves FULL of canned goods.
I grabbed bottles of canned fuits from my mom’s shelves in our garage.
Peaches, pears, cherries, etc, etc, etc,, whenever we wanted!
Winter, Spring, Summer, Fall
It didn’t matter…it was always there.
I never asked.
So now..I apologize to GMA & MOM.
I should have asked to help you peel, or slice, or wash, or……..or….or……
But, I cannot take it back.
I will follow in your steps.
I will teach MY DAUGHTER to can!
And my granddaughters!
I will continue the family tradition.
Only…we will use the recipe on my laptop.
( I know GMA & MOM didn’t do that!)
So here was my day TODAY ( from start to finish ).
Wash the jars ( hot water & heated dry) in dishwasher.
Wash..rinse…BLANCH ( Boil whole peaches, then put in pan of ICE WATER!)
Their peels just slide right off!
Slice, Slice, slice!
Too hot to cook inside!
Set up our campstove OUTSIDE!
Pan on the left is a sugar/water mixture.
Cook the peaches in for a short time, then pour into jars!
Hubby is sooooo good at this!
Boil in a water bath ( 25 minutes ) to seal.
There we go!
11 quarts of fresh canned peaches!
They will be sooo good this winter!
(Daddy gave us more peaches
…so I am thinking peach cobbler for dinner!)
I SHOULD MAKE JAM!
Gma made jam……so did MOM….WOW!
I should THANK them. 🙂
Here are some more posts to help me “get it all together!”
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! 🙂
MOST..not all..but MOST have enough English to communicate
everyday NEEDS to me.
BATHROOM, Recess, and When is LUNCH?
We are OK.
WOWZA! Another WORLD!
We begin…BEGIN…with Phonemic Awareness.
Letter Sounds, Vocabulary Words, Rhymes, Alliterations,,
and LOTS OF THEM!
Alphabet, HFW, Word Families, emergent readers, etc.
For those who make READING a priority…
For those who don’t have a LOT of support at home..
It can take LONGER…
We write well and we write A LOT!
The problem occurs when they don’t have an ENGLISH word to attach to the “word” in their head!
We use Step Up to Writing…
Click HERE to see it…
We use my
papers because they have
My kids are doing GREAT!
(Most could only write their names at first!)
Daily PROGRESS! 🙂
And HERE is a FREEBIE to Help you on your way!
But wait! THIS IS 2020!
Did I miss it??? NO!
2020 is a new decade!
We get a BALANCED LITERACY “do-Over”!
The Why? The What? and The How?
Balanced literacy has been defined as “an approach designed to help individual students learn how to process a variety of increasingly challenging texts with understanding and fluency.” (Fountas & Pinnell, 2001)
It is an approach to teaching. NOT a curriculum. It is HOW we teach our students to be independent readers and writers. It is NOT what books we use to teach them.
Balanced Literacy has been defined in “components” or “pieces” of literacy instruction.
The 8 components we will focus on are:
Each week we will focus on one area of Balanced Literacy and share experiences, teacher tips, and resources to support and expand our Balanced Literacy repertoire.
During Word Work, students experiment with spelling patterns, memorize high-frequency words, and develop a genuine curiosity for and interest in new and unique words. By playing with words, word patterns, word families, prefixes, suffixes, and so on, students hone their knowledge of words and increase their speaking and writing skills.
Word work is a hands-on time to explore the spellings and/or meanings of words (vocabulary). Making time for word work is vital because it helps patterns and words move into long-term memory. Word work can help our learners become better readers, spellers, and writers. Depending on our learners’ developmental stages, they might use this time to focus on letters and their sounds, read and spell words, or work on word meanings. At the same time, learners have time to explore sight words.
Here are a few suggestions:
1. Before a Small Group Reading Lesson – Before small group reading lessons, I review a previous word study, based on my learners’ word work needs. Beginning sounds, short vowels, ending sounds, etc. The key to these is that they should be quick and easy.
2. Spelling word practice. During our guided reading lesson, I might focus on our spelling words for the week or the word families we have reviewed in previous lessons. I always start with what the kids know…and then add new information.
3. A Small Group Lesson – Frequently I have strategy lessons just to focus on a particular phonics or spelling strategy, especially if we notice several learners struggling with the same thing.
4. Whole Group Instruction – I recommend a simple phonics lesson for all learners in the classroom each day. This isn’t a long lesson (10-15 at most) and covers phonics material that is on grade level. I have a district required curriculum. I use the curriculum phonics as my MORNING MEETING lesson. I can expand on it during my small group time.
I incorporate word work mini-lessons into my writing lessons, when appropriate. If we are working on multi-syllabic words, we will edit our writing for those words, also.
Always be on the lookout for opportunities to support your students! When we are doing interactive writing, we incorporate MANY literacy practices!
Word Work can be integrated from ANY curriculum and ANY resource.
Use science, social studies, reading, writing, and ANY vocabulary experience to support your WORD WORK studies.
2019 is the year of BALANCED LITERACY!
Pronoun Word Work FREEBIE![/caption]
How to be ready for first grade.
How to be ready for first grade.
How to be ready for first grade.
How to be ready for first grade.