Category Archives: Learning something new

How to get ready for Christmas without the STRESS!

I know…BUSY, BUSY, BUSY!

Folks..LIFE IS BUSY! Christmas time is BUSY!

Sorry to be the one to tell you that.

BUT…

30 days …from TODAY  (11.25.18)   4  SUNDAYS!   YES,  4 SUNDAYS…

Christmas will be here!

I  LOVE CHRISTMAS!

So??  

 How  to  get  ready??

PACE YOURSELF!

Think 

MARATHON…NOT  SPRINT!

 Where to start?

#1…..Make LISTS!

(I  LOVE, LOVE, LOVE   LISTS! )

List ALL ( YES ALL ) of the people you 

WOULD LIKE to give gifts to.

Now…

PUT A STAR next to the people you MUST give a gift to.

(I know that sounds weird..but..I would LOVE to give gifts to

EVERYONE…but…my bank account says I must prioritize).

It doesn’t mean I won’t give a gift…

just might be a “thoughtful”… not-as-costly gift.

Reality people!

If money grew on trees…

#2…..DO NOT PUT YOURSELF IN DEBT FOR THE NEW YEAR!

 So…there is officially  1 more PAYCHECK until Christmas.

( Or figure out HOW many PAYCHECKS YOU have until DEC. 24 )

Take the number of gifts YOU MUST purchase 

and divide by EXTRA $$.

***If you have been SAVING for Christmas,  which you WILL DO for NEXT year,  add that too!

That tells you HOW many GIFTS you MUST purchase and the amount you have to spend.

That’s important because

 now you can begin looking for a gift

for the PERSON…not just a checkoff on a list.

SLOW DOWN! Not ready to buy yet!

Now….start talking, texting, asking others…

#3…..DO YOUR RESEARCH PEOPLE!

ASK!!!!  

 What items do the people on your list WANT…NEED…LOVE?????

Add this to your LIST!

( If for kids…ASK THEIR PARENTS…sizes, likes, ages,etc )

Now…start looking…

online? Look for FREE shipping! 

(AMAZON PRIME ..I am speed dial!)

Friends & Family …FAR AWAY???  ( Sorry )

SHIP TO THEM!

Don’t ship to YOU & then pay to ship to them!

SHIP  DIRECTLY! FREE!

STOP!

YOU HAVE NOT MADE A BUDGET YET!

#4…..Figure out what you can spend..

AFTER PAYING YOUR BILLS & feeding your family.

They always come first…don’t forget to add them to your MUST list!

Your kids COME FIRST!

And NOT going into SEVERE debt!

Only charge what YOU can pay off the next month!

NO DEBT AFTER JANUARY!

OK..then..start listing whom you will purchase for.

After you purchase…keep the receipt! 

I write the name of the person I purchased it for on the back..

RETURNS?  Easy Peasy!

After you purchase…

or  it arrives from SANTA’S HELPER

 IN THE BROWN UPS TRUCK… ūüôā

WRAP IT  AND   ATTACH  A  NAME  TAG!

( This from a Santa’s Helper…who has forgotten and was wrapping WAY TOO LATE INTO CHRISTMAS EVE! )

After Thanksgiving..

#5…..I begin to look at my 

LIST of ” WANT to purchase for”

but NOT necessarily, 

 “Must Purchase For”

on my list!

 ( Yes I keep it in a little book in my purse! )

Now I have a better idea of “extras”…

Do I need to do “homemade”….giftcards…..”I thought of you- but have no $$ left” card? 

What kinds of gifts can you give for NO MONEY?

How about a picnic at the park?   A  TEA PARTY for kids?  A trip to the library to read books?  Take a young child to the ZOO???

Gifts of “ONE TO ONE” time…ARE THE BEST!  

And you can schedule them AFTER the holidays. 

The gift that keeps on giving!

Whatever fits YOU! 

RELAX!   

NO  GUILT!  

Christmas is NOT about who can GUILT YOU the MOST!

It’s about telling the people you care about..

THEY ARE IMPORTANT TO YOU!

Enjoy the season.

Spend time with friends & family!

TAKE LOTS OF PICTURES!

Make Memories!

And when JANUARY comes around..

SMILE!

(And maybe  a mani / pedi  for  yourself?)

But…remember…

Christmas is from the HEART..not the WALLET!

Have FUN!  

Elf on the Shelf… FAILURE!

Do OVER!

What do YOU do to get ready for CHRISTMAS????

My October Dilemma…What to teach? Freebie!

So my dilemma.
We have a two week vacation
 from Oct. 1-Oct. 15.

(NO COMPLAINING HERE!)
BUT…

We return on Oct. 16.

 MONDAY

15 days (exactly ) until….

YOU  KNOW  IT

TUESDAY, October 31, 2017

HALLOWEEN!
Parties,
CANDY,
Kids who can’t wait to get home ( highly DISTRACTABLE!)
(some schools…not mine….)
COSTUMES!

So …
My  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 “HOLDIAY” stuff…and Promote the FALL  stuff?
Do I  add  THANKSGIVING?

Should I keep it ALL going until THANKSGIVING?

What to do?  What to do?????

BTW…   I  LOVE, LOVE, LOVE   FALL!
My favorite  season.

YUMMY!
But…
CONTENT is EVERYTHING!
My student’s 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?

INTEGRATE!

I must teach SCIENCE and SOCIAL STUDIES!

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

So here is MY plan:

Reading:
  • Nonfiction about pumpkins, apples, plants
  • Biography 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 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!

I want MY Mummy!  ūüôā
Sorry….couldn’t  resist.
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 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 MATH??
Lots of Graphs, addition & subtraction, problem solving, story problems
ALL ABOUT THEMES!

How many apples, pumpkin seeds, candies, turkies, 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…

BATS! 



Black  Cats

Growing  Pumpkins

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!
To those of you who hung in there to the bottom of this LONG POST…
A FREEBIE FOR YOU!
Happy FALL!

Helping FIRSTIES become Better Writers

Can First Graders become BETTER WRITERS?

Hello everyone!

My name is Wendy McCarty.

I am the creator behind…

1stgradefireworks

I create classroom and homeschool materials

that engage young minds and help the teacher to support instruction.

You can see my products in my TPT Store:

1stgradefireworks

Today’s Topic…

Writing in First Grade

Now… I wish I was PERFECT.

I wish my kiddos were PERFECT.

There are NO Perfect PEOPLE!

NO Perfect KIDDOS.

No  Perfect.

Now that we have gone there…how do we get close?

We get  BETTER!

Better Readers.

Better Speakers.

Better Writers.

Better..Better…Better

( My Mantra )

HOW?

We write EVERY DAY.

Usually..more than once.

We write about our day in school

…things we like

…stories we have read

…new words we have learned

…new thoughts we have had

etc.etc.etc.

I try to do a mini-lesson on a strategy.

I add new vocabulary.  In CONTEXT.

We make connections.

We expand our thinking.

We TALK!

And it can be noisy.

It’s OK.

Sometimes LEARNING is messy.

And loud. And busy.

It’s OK!

We do writer’s workshop.

My kids write.

AND they LOVE IT!

HOW?

Give them paper, pencils, markers, colored pencils, etc…

Give them…TIME!

And … LET THEM TALK!

My classroom is NEVER quiet!

Talking

about writing,

 during writing,

and after writing.

TALK, Write,  Create!

Are they perfect?

NO.

Is that OK?

YES!

*(Update)

I have added new

VOCABULARY BANNERS

to my

Writing Center.

Fall Vocabulary Banners for WRITING

Fall Vocabulary Banners for WRITING

The banners

help my

 beginning writers

( HOW DO YOU SPELL…..??? )

and my

EL students

(LOTS of VISUALS )

See how I use the

VOCABULARY BANNERS

Here.

For¬†WRITER’S WORKSHOP

 If you need a starting point...

Monthly Writing Pages

WITH

VOCABULARY Helpers

at the

bottom of EVERY PAGE!

I LOVE TEACHING!

I am currently headed into my 27th year teaching…ALL of them in first grade!

My kiddos ask me “WHY don’t YOU ever GRADUATE to Second Grade?”

I tell them

“First Grade is IN my HEART!”

You can follow me at:

https://1stgradefireworks.net

https://www.facebook.com/1stgradefireworks

https://www.teacherspayteachers.com/Store/1stgradefireworks

https://www.Instagram.com/1stgradefireworks

https://www.pinterest.com/1stgradefirewor

Follow me:   TPT    FB   IG   Pinterest

1stgradefireworks

3 Steps to Sight Word Fluency

3 steps to sight word fluency.

Not exactly steps..a hop..a skip..and a JUMP!

When teaching my kiddos to read,

I use MANY tools!

Books, whiteboards, markers, pocket charts, flashcards, etc..

But… when teaching sight words

or

high-frequency words

or

FRY words, Dolch Words etc, etc, etc.

It ALL comes down to this…

IF YOU CANNOT READ  SIGHT WORDS, 

You WILL NOT read at grade level!

Scary??    YES!

 HOW  DO  WE HELP???

We research.  We try. And we try AGAIN!

There are MANY resources on Pinterest

to help you find lists, and lists, and lists of words!

27-awesome-sight-word-activities-for-kids-pin

Awesome Sight Word Activities

27 Awesome Sight Word Activities

sight-words-pin-700x1000

Sight Word Activities

Learn Sight Words Through Play

And LOTS of OTHERS!

HFW Dots from 1stgradefireworks

Awesome Sight Word Activities

HFW Dots

NOW I know what to teach…

 HOW  do  I Do  IT?

Here are your

3 steps to Sight Word FLUENCY!

steps

Step 1

Matching  Game

Each student makes their OWN word cards on colored paper.

(Practice sounding out, spelling, & writing EACH word)

I use 8 Р10  words.

Then they cut them apart.

Find a friend who has a different colored paper.

Both friends turn their word cards face down.

Rock, paper, scissors…winner goes first.

Choose one of YOUR word cards and one of your friends.

READ BOTH CARDS…friends help if needed.

If they match…keep BOTH cards. If not, turn them over and partner’s turn!

Winner has the most matches at the end of time

( or when ALL cards are  turned over)

PLAY  AGAIN!

Kids playing Sight Word Matching Game

Awesome Sight Word Activities

Great PARTNER work!

steps

STEP  2

Pocket Chart

MAKING WORDS

and

MATCHING WORDS

I use

MAKING WORDS

 GRADE  1

Making Words for Sight Words

Awesome Sight Word Activities

for my word study WORD WORK.

I make the letter cards and the word cards.

We pocket chart them ( my kiddos like to play SCHOOL during MAY DO time).

One of the Activities is

MAKING  WORDS!

Pocket Chart for Sight Words

Awesome Sight Word Activities

After MAKING WORDS

we play

MATCH IT!

Pocket Chart Match Sight Words

Awesome Sight Word Activities

Turn them over & MATCH IT!

We also invented

SPEED READER

(NOT SPEED RACER!)

I turn them over & as a class,

we read as FAST AS WE CAN!

Step 3

steps

Word Wall for Sight Word Fluency

We play

I SPY

They use their whiteboards

and I call OUT…

I SPY A WORD ON THE WORD WALL that

starts with a “_____” ¬†and RHYMES with “____”.

They find it on the all…and write it on their boards.

Sometimes I will change it up with

“A verb that starts with a “__”, etc. etc.

¬†The main theme here is PRACTICE…PRACTICE PRACTICE!

No matter how many “steps” it takes…

they need practice activities & time

to HOP, SKIP, & JUMP  into FLUENCY!

Balanced Literacy for the Primary Classroom

ALL Classrooms should be a BALANCED LITERACY Classroom!

ALWAYS  begin with BALANCED  LITERACY!

And so we begin.

Matching Words

Making Words

I Spy

To help with Sight Word Mastery
CLICK on the links for help!

Small Groups

Those Crazy Word Walls

Hi Ho Hi Ho..It’s Off to High-Frequency Work we GO

Ready to TRANSFORM your Classroom 

into a 

BALANCED LITERACY Classroom?

Here you are! 

Balanced Literacy 

If you need more help, check out my TPT Store. LOTS of goodies in there!

Wendy

Can reading be the #1 predictor of academic success?

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 ) 

in ANYTHING!

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.

circle of students looking at books

(Aren’t they cute????)

I have been through:

Whole Language

Environmental Print

Interactive Writing

Phonemic Awareness

Leveled Readers ( DRA, GSP, AR, Lexile)

Phonics

Words Their Way

HFW

Sight Words

High-Interest Reading Books

SIPPS

Read Naturally

Daily 5

And 

A MULTITUDE OF PUBLISHER’S CURRICULUM!

New sets every 7 years!

Next, having said this…

1 thing most curriculum’s have in common :

READ!

READ A LOT!

And then…READ SOME MORE!

Young girl reading a book

So …

My little sisters…

YES…both of my LITTLE SISTER’S are¬†

PRIMARY TEACHERS!

We were discussing school.

Yes… we do that!

 We are trying to WRAP our minds around the

“READ…READ…READ more”

and they will 

“GET IT!”¬†¬†(way of thinking.)

happy baby

Well, maybe

I  LOVE reading with kiddos!

See my post here about the

 GUIDED READING TABLE!

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…

Will all the skills and strategies come TOGETHER?

At a recent PD, my little sis said she understood the 

READ, READ, READ philosophy.

Integrate science, social studies, math, technology

INTO  literacy!

YES!

Writing and Reading

COMPLIMENT  and Coexist

WITH  each other!

You can’t have one without the other!

THEY NEED EACH OTHER!

BUT…

-Me  SPEAKING-

on my soapbox

There needs to be a BALANCE of:

Skills & Strategies

in conjunction with independent reading & writing!

THERE!

I said IT!

Reading & Writing SKILLS:

Letter Sounds

Blends

Vowels

Word Families

Chunks

Grammar

Punctuation

High-Frequency Words

Capitalization

Handwriting

and MORE!

Comprehension

Questioning

Summarizing

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!

NOW…CAUTION!!!

baby with glasses

Unless you are teaching ADULTS in a COLLEGE CLASS…

A 40-minute LECTURE on diagramming sentences

IS NOT…I REPEAT…

NOT

the way to do it!

If you WANT to spend 40 minutes discussing grammar…

CHUNK IT!

Read a little.

Discuss it.

Let it soak in.

And do it again. And again. and again!

READ!

Do 2-3¬†MINILESSONS¬†over a few days…

Let it SINK IN!

Show  kiddos:

  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…

UNITE!

Mini-Lessons with a WORKSHOP!

Use SMALL Groups for STRATEGY & Skill Groups!

Let kiddos have a chance to PRACTICE

what YOU have taught them!

Let it SINK IN!

And Then…

LET  THEM  READ!

and 

READ!

and

READ!

and then

WRITE…and¬†write,¬†some more!

2 kids reading books

readl to self

independent reading

small group reading

Skills, Strategies, Reading, Writing

They will become “BETTER”…

and isn’t that what we ALL want to be?

BETTER!

Need some HELP?

My friend, Alison, at 

Learning at The Primary Pond

 

Button from Learning at The Primary Pond

learningattheprimarypond.com

has a great post about

What Does Reading Workshop Look Like In The Primary Grades?

what does reading workshop loolk like in the primary grades?

Here are some¬†“HELPERS”¬†for YOU!

go to: https://www.teacherspayteachers.com/Store/1stgradefireworks

Click HERE for more reading & writing products!

   

  

Close Reading 101

CLOSE READING

What exactly is CLOSE READING??

You mean I need to “scoot forward” and put my glasses ON?

Veteran teacher with glasses on.

You mean I should put my glasses ON?

NO, silly!¬† It’s a reading strategy for gaining information from a reading source.

Here are some helpful resources:

Some blogger friends have great information, also.

We Are Teachers has a great blog post

¬†“What Exactly Do We Mean By CLOSE READING Anyway?

My friend, Susan Jones, explains how to do

Close Reading on First Grade

And, 1stgradefireworks can help with

Reading is the 1 Predictor of Academic Success

When doing research…

when I  need more reading information,

just ask  PINTEREST!

From HANNAH @ The Classroom Key

https://www.pinterest.com/pin/430164201886627298/

https://www.theclassroomkey.com/2014/12/taking-the-rocket-science-out-of-close-reading.html

From Jen @ Teacher Karma

http://www.teacherkarma.com/2015/01/close-reading-free-resources.html

and from

Kristine @  Young Teacher Love

She has a GREAT blog post about

CLOSE READING!

Gotta know YOUR standards!

https://www.pinterest.com/pin/275212227205716679/

Susan Jones SAYS…

Close Reading strategy

What is Close Reading? by Susan Jones

It’s a chance for students to ask/answer questions by returning to the text for answers.

We want them to INTERACT with the text.

Reread, highlight, use sticky notes, etc.

and then use the text for answers.

Close Reading is not about the PHYSICAL PROXIMITY to the text!

It’s about diving INTO the text for answers to prominent questions ABOUT the text!

WOW!¬† Finding out their own answers to questions AND being able to “PROVE IT?”

NOVEL IDEA!

Just imagine the writing that can be created from a CLOSE READING lesson?

Writer’s Workshop in…FIRST GRADE???? Breathe…YES, YOU CAN!

What a prominent strategy to use in a BALANCED LITERACY CLASSROOM!

Balanced Literacy

What is a BALANCED LITERACY Classroom? This resource will show YOU!

BALANCED  LITERACY

Balanced Literacy in First Grade! Let’s start with READ ALOUDS!

Here is a little FREEBIE

from ME  to  YOU!

Enjoy!

 

¬†Have YOU tried CLOSE READING? Leave me a comment and let me know how it went! ūüôā
Wendy   1stgradefireworks

Flexible Seating: Stools, rockers, rugs, and seats…For READING??

Why flexible seating?
When I was in elementary school
( Way back in the DINOSAUR days )  
1970’s
 
flexible seating in the classroom
 
We sat in rows.
Many rows.
All of us looking straight ahead.
At the teacher, at all times!
No flexible seating, here.

 
flexible seating in the classroom
We kept our hands & feet to ourselves.
We kept our books in our desks.
And we read QUIETLY to ourselves.
Shhh…whisper!
 
We read.
Some people enjoyed it.
Some people just pretended.
Most did what we were told.
We didn’t ask…WHY?
or
 
Is there ANOTHER WAY?
How to bring flexible seating options into my classroom?
 
Because at home…
 
I would lay on my bed and read for HOURS!
flexible seating
(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
The Daily 5
 
from “The 2¬† SISTERS”¬† ¬† ¬† YOU¬† NEED¬† TO!
My first graders read to themselves.
 
Not to me,
Not to a partner,
JUST TO THEMSELVES!
 
Therefore…READ¬† TO¬† SELF!
 
I set the BIG TIMER!
 
online reading timer
 
 
I use THIS one.
 
We start the year at 6 minutes.  Read.
We work on increasing our reading STAMINA.
 Read longer.
Today, we are at 18 minutes!
 
18 minutes of uninterrupted reading 
of books THEY choose!
 
BUT there is MORE!
 
They don’t sit in rows.
They don’t sit at their desk.
 
We have flexible seating choices for reading.
 
flexible seating reading rockers
READING  ROCKERS

 

flexible seating stools
TALL STOOLS

 

flexible seating short stools
SHORT  STOOLS

 

flexible seating chairs
SHORT  STOOLS  at  SHORT  TABLES
flexible seating
 
CHAIRS  by themselves

 

flexible seating rugs
READING  RUGS

 

flexible seating
 
CORNER  NOOKS

 

flexible seating floor
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.
 

 

flexible seating stools

 

flexible seating stools

 

flexible seating guided reading stools

 

flexible seating reading rockers

 

flexible seating chairs
They MOAN when the timer goes off. 
 
They ask during other times of the day
to Read in the Rockers.
 
THEY  WANT  TO  READ!
 
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
 
and hear…SILENCE.
 
But the “whispers” of reading are heard, daily!
UPDATE
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:
Instagram
 
flexible seating storage ottomans
I was the BIG..WINNER¬† WINNER! ūüôā
Yes…I won ALL¬† 4
WHOOP!  WHOOP!

 

flexible seating wooden rocking chairs
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!
 
My “flexible seating” is complete!
Now to “arrange” it into¬†
WORKSTATIONS!

 

 

 

I absolutely LOVE IT!

 

( SO DO THE KIDDOS!)

 

Some of my “bloggy friends”
have also posted about
their experiences
with flexible seating.
Check them out.
How to fund and implement flexible seating
 
10 things to know about flexible seating
 
flexible seating
 

 

If you want to learn MORE about reading
check out these blog posts:
 
STEAM

We jumped into STEAM…and the building began!

Build It..and they will come!

They said STEAM.

They said kids will build in STEAM.

Build WHAT?
Has ANYONE seen the Kevin Costner Movie…
FIELD OF DREAMS?

Build it and they will come.

Field of Dreams

On MY top 10 of ALL TIME GREATS!
Yes…I love baseball ¬†( ¬†GO ¬†SF ¬†GIANTS! ¬†)
But
This is SOOOO  much MORE!

It’s about never giving up.

Keep trying.

When others tell you that YOU are CRAZY…

BELIEVE IN YOURSELF!

I  LOVE  THAT!
SO How do I give my 6-year-old FIRSTIES
a chance to EXPLORE their dreams?
To “think OUTSIDE the BOX”?
To go the extra mile?

Recently, I have been exploring STEAM.

30 minutes of FREE PLAY???
NO.
I don’t call it that!
( Even if it makes my OCD heart skip a beat!)
STEAM!
Now…this is NOT your
“Teacher KICKS BACK while kids DO WHATEVER THEY WANT!”
This is a structured time of the week
( ANY DAY WILL WORK…
add this to your lesson plans)
where kids get “tools” to BUILD!
They make a PLAN, they put their plan into action,
they learn from failures and their successes, and they do it again!

During STEAM, I tell them they are building a city.

We brainstorm
(chart with pictures – Lots of EL students )
ALL of the things WE want
in a PERFECT city!
(They want LOTS of PARKS…grass…Ice cream stores…etc )
And then I group them into groups of 4.
I switch them each week.
I get out their “TOOLS”…

Toy blocks

Toy Blocks for kids to build STEAM cities.

Blocks…Garage Sale & “FRIENDS” donations

Building tools for STEAM

MArshmallows and toothpicks for ENGINEERS!

Their FAVORITE!
Toothpicks & marshmallows.
Engineers in ACTION!

Math blocks

Math Blocks for STEAM

Math Blocks…Want to learn about “sides”, “corners”, “flats”, “rolls” ?
Use them!

Lincoln Logs

Lincoln Logs for STEAM

Oldie but a goodie!
They LOVE to follow the picture DIAGRAMS!

Math Manipulatives

Math Manipulatives to use for STEAM

Get out your MATH Manipulatives…and let them PLAY!
NO! Not “PLAY” ūüôā ¬†…BUILD!
Build a CITY!

Cubes

Cubes for STEAM

CUBES!

Legos

Legos for STEAM

And the ALL TIME ¬†FAVORITE…..
LEGOS!
Giant TUB!
I ask Parents to donate a small baggie of their “extras” from home.
We add them to the tub!
I may need a LARGER tub! ūüôā
And so… don’t forget.
If you want to encourage kids to DREAM BIG!
We have to let them do it!

Create, problem-solve, share, plan, explore.  STEAM

I hope the future leaders of our country can do ALL of it!
(Better start teaching them HOW!)
And remember…you need to be a part of it also.
I  do.
We do.
You do.
WOW!
Excuse me.
I have some “creating” to do with those legos!

MAYBE…We can read a book on building, BUILD IT, and then WRITE about it!

INTEGRATE!

Here are some classroom resources to help

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Flexible Seating in First Grade

Why flexible seating?

When I was in elementary school

( Way back in the DINOSAUR days )  

1970’s

flexible seating in the classroom

We sat in rows.

Many rows.

All of us looking straight ahead.

At the teacher, at all times!

No flexible seating, here.

flexible seating in the classroom

We kept our hands & feet to ourselves.

We kept our books in our desks.

And we read QUIETLY to ourselves.

Shhh…whisper!

We read.

Some people enjoyed it.

Some people just pretended.

Most did what we were told.

We didn’t ask…WHY?

or

Is there ANOTHER WAY?

How to bring flexible seating options into my classroom?

Because at home…

I would lay on my bed and read for HOURS!

flexible seating

(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

The Daily 5

DAILY 5

from “The 2¬† SISTERS”¬† ¬† ¬† YOU¬† NEED¬† TO!

My first graders read to themselves.

Not to me,

Not to a partner,

JUST TO THEMSELVES!

Therefore…READ¬† TO¬† SELF!

I set the BIG TIMER!

online reading timer

I use THIS one.

We start the year at 6 minutes.  Read.

We work on increasing our reading STAMINA.

 Read longer.

Today, we are at 18 minutes!

18 minutes of uninterrupted reading of books

THEY choose!

BUT there is MORE!

They don’t sit in rows.

They don’t sit at their desk.

We have flexible seating choices for reading.

flexible seating reading rockers

READING  ROCKERS

flexible seating stools

TALL STOOLS

flexible seating short stools

SHORT  STOOLS

flexible seating chairs

SHORT  STOOLS  at  SHORT  TABLES

flexible seating

CHAIRS  by themselves

flexible seating rugs

READING  RUGS

flexible seating

CORNER  NOOKS

flexible seating floor

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.

flexible seating stools

flexible seating stools

flexible seating guided reading stools

flexible seating reading rockers

flexible seating chairs

They MOAN when the timer goes off. 

They ask during other times of the day

to Read in the Rockers.

THEY  WANT  TO  READ!

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

and hear…SILENCE.

But the “whispers” of reading are heard, daily!

UPDATE

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:

Instagram

#teacherstakepleasanton

flexible seating storage ottomans

I was the BIG..WINNER¬† WINNER! ūüôā

Yes…I won ALL¬† 4

WHOOP!  WHOOP!

flexible seating wooden rocking chairs

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!

My “flexible seating” is complete!

Now to “arrange” it into¬†

WORKSTATIONS!

I absolutely LOVE IT!

( SO DO THE KIDDOS!)

Some of my “bloggy friends”

have also posted about

their experiences

with flexible seating.

Check them out.

How to fund and implement flexible seating

Teach2Love

10 things to know about flexible seating

Two Sharp Pencils

flexible seating

SassySavvySimpleteaching

If you want to learn MORE about reading

check out these blog posts:

Balanced Literacy

Read  At  Home

Guided Reading in 20 Minutes

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Things Primary teachers do that are QUIRKY!

Primary Teachers are Quirky!

Primary Teachers are QUIRKY!

HUH???

Quirky is defined as… ¬†

” ¬†something that is strange/not normal but¬†cool.¬†Unconventional, surprising, odd.”

You mean ME? ¬†I am…¬†ODD?

YES! YOU!

Here are the top 5 reasons PRIMARY Teachers are QUIRKY!

one reason primary teachers are quirky

Number one reason Primary teachers are Quirky

We like to “DRESS UP”!

Now in most professions, there is a RULE of  PROFESSIONAL ATTIRE.

Teacher's dress codes differ from grade to grade and school to school.

Profession attire for QUIRKY teachers?

In Teaching…we are a little “QUIRKY”!

Elementary teachers dress up to enhance student engagement.

Elementary teachers dress up in tutus. QUIRKY?

Elementary teachers dress up to enhance student engagement.

Minions teacher costumes. Thank You https://teachinginroom6.com

Elementary teachers dress up to enhance student engagement.

Yo Gabba Gabba! Thank You https://teachinginroom6.com

Elementary teachers dress up for Halloween to enhance student engagement.

Character costumes…QUIRKY? Thank You https://teachinginroom6.com

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!

¬†AND …HEELS???¬†

 Who can chase little ones

 or grab the glue bottle

 before it puddles 

on the floor..

in heels?

You see…QUIRKY!

Number two quirky

NUmber two things that teachers do that are QUIRKY!

SMELLS..

Who doesn’t LOVE to walk into a room smelling of…

LAVENDER

COFFEE

FLOWERS

COOKIE DOUGH

etc.,  etc.

We all DO!

And so we PACK IN THE SMELLY STUFF!

Strategies for making the classroom SMELL sweeter.

Sweet smelling sprays

Strategies for making the classroom SMELL sweeter.

Air fresheners are NOT QUIRKY!

Strategies for making the classroom SMELL sweeter.

Quirky teachers make the classroom smell sweeter.

And then …24 LITTLE ONES go outside for RECESS.

AND they come back in…

YUCK! Wet puppy smells need strategies for making the classroom SMELL sweeter.

UGH! Quirky teachers DON”T like the smell of WET PUPPIES!

SMELLING LIKE WET PUPPIES!

UGH!

¬†And SOME of those¬†6-year-old¬†WET¬†PUPPIES…

NEED  DEODORANT!

And so…we retreat to our OLD FRIEND…

Strategies for making the classroom SMELL sweeter.

Yeah CLOROX!

* 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…¬†¬†

JUST  ME.

DON’T LIGHT THEM…

JUST SMELL THEM! 

Number three

Number three for Quirky teachers

Lunch.

A Primary teacher’s lunch is a LITTLE ¬†QUIRKY!

First, it has to have pieces that can be held in

ONE  HAND!

Teacher multitasking.

The Quirky teacher can do more in one lunch period, than most people do ALL DAY!

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,¬†

AND…HEAVEN FORBID…

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!

Number four

Number four for Quirky teachers

DIY? 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!

Spray PAINT!

Elementary teachers LOVE to use NEON spray paint for DIY centers and classroom workstations.

Quirky teachers LOVE NEON SPRAY PAINT! Raise your colored finger!

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

SOMETHING?

I know..it’s¬†OK…

I think some people are “wired” with it.

The NEED  to PAINT!

And we do…

Reading center storage drawers for guided reading centers.

Sterlite drawers

Reading center storage drawers for guided reading centers.

Tool Kits for BRAG TAG drawers

Teacher storage areas for centers, materials, and guided reading books.

Ahhh..organized storage for ALL. Quirky or NOT!

We will SPRAY EVERYTHING!

And…it’s OK!

( I’m sure SOMEWHERE…there is a 12 step program for this!)

QUIRKY?

YEAH!

Number five

Number five for the quirky teacher

Are you QUIRKY about BAGS?

No.Not grocery bags.

I mean BIG, LONG HANDLED, BRIGHTLY COLORED, (maybe) on wheels,

BAGS!

“I Like BIG bags & I cannot lie…”

(I think it’s a SONG)

Me dancing…

Lesson plans, lunch, grading papers...bags for teachers

Quirky teachers LOVE big bags…and I cannot lie!

BIG bags for teachers

Colorful Big Bags!

Bags that have files for grading papers, lesson plans, balanced literacy materials.

Organized BIG Bags…be still my heart!

Big Bags for teachers

Bags on WHEELS! OH YEAH!

But…

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.. ¬†ūüôā

A LITTLE  QUIRKY!

And¬†so…

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…

Keep GIGGLING…

Here is a FREEBIE  for YOU!

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