Have I mentioned…
I LOVE FALL!
I live in NORCAL.
We don’t have the TRADITIONAL
DID YOU KNOW THERE ARE 4 ????
Summer ( 90-100 degrees )
Fall ( 80-90 degrees)
Winter ( foggy… 60-70 degrees…sometimes cooler )
Spring ( 70-90 degrees )
It’s OK…I LOVE my HOMETOWN.
And so on.
SO now that it’s 80 degrees & FALL..
What’s UP in ROOM 3??
We use Brag Tags on rings during the month.
They earn BRAG TAGS
following classroom / school rules
At the end of each month…
They transfer their earned BRAG TAGS from RINGS…
To string necklaces.
They get to wear their necklaces ALL DAY AT SCHOOL
( Parents are told at BTS night to
REWARD their kids for necklaces
at the end of the month!) 🙂
English Language Arts
Word Sorts…NO GLUE!
Pick 3 crayons.
Color the words according to the KEY!
Back from 2 week vacation.
TEACHER…..CLEAN YOUR TABLE!
I don’t have a teacher desk. #bestdecisionever
Reading ROCKERS! #alternativeseating
On each student’s birthday ( or close to ),
We make a class BIRTHDAY BOOK!
We do these during MUST DO TIME!
We have a “FRAME” style we use.
Everyone makes a page.
We STAPLE together and VOILA!
CLASS BIRTHDAY PRESENT!
We sing and dance as we PRESENT ( haha ) it to the birthday student!
LAST..( whew..what a week !)
My newest & favorite time of the day!
We are doing
MATH MUST DO’s & MAY Do’s
( Same format as ELA centers in the AM )
KEEP YOUR ROUTINES THE SAME!
We go the the MATH Calendar ( next to ELA Calendar )
After we go through the “math board”…
We NOW ( Quarter 2) do MATH MUST DO’S.
( Approx. 45 minutes )
#1 MATH JOURNAL
Story Problem with illustrations & number sentence.
#2 Math Paper
A Workbook Page FROM YESTERDAY ( review )
#3 MATH TUB (center) with a PARTNER
I do the whole class MATH lesson BEFORE centers.
SOMETIMES we do the workbook page together…sometimes they do.
Depends on the Lesson. We have a district curriculum to follow.
( Approx. time 45 minutes )
What am I doing?
GUIDED MATH GROUPS!
I meet with 2-3 kids at a time.
We work on a STRATEGY.
They need to have independent strategies to do ON THEIR OWN!
I can’t take the assessments FOR THEM!
Here is what’s UP in room 3 in the FALL?
Need supplements for ELA or MATH?
Check out my store for GOODIES!
So my October dilemma.
We have a two week vacation
from Sept. 29-Oct. 14, 2018.
(NO COMPLAINING HERE!)
We return on Oct. 15.
16 days (exactly ) until…
YOU KNOW IT
WEDNESDAY, October 31, 2018
Kids who can’t wait to get home ( highly DISTRACTABLE!)
(some schools…not mine….)
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 “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!
I love October!
My favorite season.
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?
I must teach SCIENCE and SOCIAL STUDIES!
( Living things…life cycle…Plants/animals…Lifestyles Long Ago..)
So here is MY October plan:
- 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 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?
Required spelling skills AND thematic vocabulary words.
Because…I want them to have some INTRINSIC vocabulary to use easily in their…
I want MY Mummy! 🙂
Sorry…. couldn’t resist.
- “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!
I want crafts! I want CUTSIE! I want products!
I Love October BOOKS!
And so…we will make CUTSIE lapbooks, paintings, charts, stories & crafts
Fall, Halloween, pumpkins, apples
, plants, Christopher Columbus,
Squanto, Pilgrims, Thanksgiving
DON’T tell our FIRE MARSHALL.
I might HANG THINGS UP!
I won’t tell if YOU won’t tell.
- addition / subtraction
- missing addends
- place value
- story problems
And October MATH??
ALL ABOUT THEMES!
How many apples, pumpkin seeds, candies, turkies, indians, etc, etc.
(Math Journals are GREAT for this!)
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…
Happy Birthday Johnny Appleseed!
I WILL LOVE EVERY MINUTE OF IT!
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!
Build It..and they will come!
They said STEAM.
They said kids will build in STEAM.
It’s about never giving up.
When others tell you that YOU are CRAZY…
BELIEVE IN YOURSELF!
Recently, I have been exploring STEAM.
During STEAM, I tell them they are building a city.
Create, problem-solve, share, plan, explore. STEAM
MAYBE…We can read a book on building, BUILD IT, and then WRITE about it!
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In a BALANCED LITERACY classroom,
This is my
My next favorite
I use my
for Guided Reading Resources.
Guided Reading 101
Repeat. Repeat. Repeat.
1. Assess your students. Check data frequently.
2. Sort students into groups ( 4-6 student per group is perfect!)
3. Reteach skills and Strategies.
4. LET them READ! They need PRACTICE!
This week’s theme…
Student desk plates.
Name tags. Desk Plates. Whatever YOU call them.
Do you have name plates on your student’s desks?
To write their names ON THE DESK!
But…HOW DO I GET Desk Plate OFF???
BLACK EXPO MARKER & a Good eraser
will take off ALL PERMANENT Marker
Oil-based Paint pens!
Now…No papers on their desks.
I LOVE IT!
You can change it whenever you want!
( add cuties for the changing seasons!
And so easy the add or change
when a new student enters your classroom community!
Check out MORE about
Primary Teachers are QUIRKY!
Quirky is defined as…
” something that is strange/not normal but cool. Unconventional, surprising, odd.”
You mean ME? I am… ODD?
Here are the top 5 reasons PRIMARY Teachers are QUIRKY!
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!
A Primary teacher’s lunch is a LITTLE QUIRKY!
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!)
Are you QUIRKY about BAGS?
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!
- Balanced Literacy
- Close Reading 101
- Flexible Seating
- Flexible Seating: Stools, rockers, rugs, and seats…For READING??
Pin IT! 🙂
How to get ready for the dreaded “PARENT’S ARE COMING!” Night!
AKA BACK-TO-SCHOOL Night!
We ALL get nervous speaking to a room of parents! I can speak to a group of first graders all day every day…but a roomful of parents?
My palms sweat & my brain “freezes” up!
(Wear good deodorant, use a breath mint, and wear comfy shoes!)
So..THEY are coming.
Today’s tip is about getting parents to sign up for everything you need at BAck to School Night.
I work in a Title 1 school.
Most parents DON’T WANT TO COME to SEE ME!
So I have to make it very “inviting”.
I tell the kids to “drag” their parents to talk to me.
(Not literally!) Two hands!
I give stickers to kids who “hand their parents the BTS night NOTE!
Have Food at Back to School Night.
A bowl of apples, a plate of cookies, popcorn, Mini bottles of water!
They will come for food!
I also put the Class DOJO sign-up link on a BIG POSTER
NEXT to the FOOD! Eat, text, and make the teacher HAPPY!
Even though parent conferences are MONTHS away..
MAKE a chart of dates & times YOU are available,
AND HAVE THEM SIGN UP FOR A CONFERENCE at Back to School Night!
(You will send a reminder note as it gets closer..let them choose first!)
Put out sticky notes & pens for those who want to write it down AND
a poster to remind parents to TAKE A PICTURE WITH THEIR PHONE of the conference chart, to remind them!
If you have any WISH LISTS or things you might need…
HAVE THEM SIGN UP TO PROVIDE CLASSROOM ITEMS and/or VOLUNTEER at Back to School Night!
( We can always use glue sticks, expo markers, tissues, etc)
If YOU want volunteers for classroom work, parties, field trips, etc…
HAVE THEM SIGN UP!
This is the ONLY night they will ALL be in YOUR classroom!
Sometimes a CAPTIVE AUDIENCE…is a good thing!
So.. Just a quick reminder
- Rewards for students whose family attends. DANGLE the CARROT!
- Bring FOOD and/or drinks.
- Have ALL Sign-UP charts READY
DOJO, Conferences, Wish Lists, Volunteers, etc.
4. Breathe, bring water for YOU! Smile.
For more info on BACK TO SCHOOL NIGHT:
The End of the school year is coming up fast!
May 1 begins the RUSH to the Finish Line! As of May 1, we have 23 school days left!
After the calendar changes, I start getting ready for Summer vacation.
Spring Fever is kicking in.
I daydream of the beach, family barbeques, gardening… Ahhh…
But WAIT! I am NOT ready for the end of the year.
I have things to do!
STRESS is kicking in! So what? What do I need to do?
End of the Year Report Cards.
All end of the year paperwork for my students needs to be completed. We have to sign off on cum files. Put papers in files. Purge student portfolios so the second-grade teachers only get current information.
Our Open House for parents is in May. The end of the year is a good time for them to visit our classroom, see their child’s projects, and let their child “teach” them. I step back and become the “visitor”. The kids run the show. I teach them how to properly introduce their parent to me. “Mrs. McCarty, I would like to introduce you to my mother, Maria ” and we shake hands. ( Practicing good manners ALL the time!) The kids are the “guides” and they WALK THE ROOM (start at the door & show them ALL the things we do and then to their clean desk ( cleaned that day). EVERYTHING ON their desk goes HOME with them. MAKE SURE NOT TO PUT ANYTHING ON THEIR DESK THAT YOU WANT TO STAY. We have ALL of our end of the year projects completed and ready to go.
Our End of the Year assemblies are WONDERFUL! Our school talent show, sing-alongs, class sharing, etc. happen this month.
At the end of the year, we celebrate our families. We have a LUNCH on the LAWN for our families. They can bring a lunch (McDonald’s is ALWAYS a favorite), a picnic blanket, and have lunch with their child. They can bring Grandparents, siblings, cousins, whomever. It’s at their regular lunch time, just a fun time for all. ANY student whose parent cannot come, ( like ME..I was always working..dad went) they get to sit on MY picnic blanket and have lunch with ME!
We also have our end of the year BOOK FAIR! Families are encouraged to purchase books for their child to read over the summer. We usually have a good turn out. If you have NOT had a Book Fair at your school, try it!
We are winding down with our books and curriculum. Workbooks are almost empty, journals are full, and the crayons and markers have had it! The end of the year has taken its TOLL on student materials! 🙂 But, I have to get ready for NEXT YEAR!
Before the end of the year…START NOW!
- Have students sort through classroom library books. THEY CAN SORT! Add labels to any books not labeled and have your books ready for next year.
- Sort writing center materials ( papers, markers, etc) and make sure everything is in working order. Have your students check markers. Any that don’t work..TOSS!
- PURGE your FILES! ( Yes…I said IT!) If you haven’t used it, seen it, or are not even sure where it came from…RECYCLE IT!
- OPEN YOUR CUPBOARDS! If you have NOT opened the cupboard this year…YOU DON’T NEED ANYTHING IN IT! Don’t store stuff because you MIGHT need it. If you aren’t using it… BYE BYE!
- Take out EVERYTHING from drawers and closets. DON’T PUT IT BACK, if you haven’t used it! ( I found 10 computer cables for the technology we don’t even have anymore!)
- Have students CLEAN! I give them a paper towel and SANITIZER! Wipe everything you can touch! NO PAPER OR BOOKS! Chairs, stools, door, tables, desks, TOPS & BOTTOMS! CLEAN CLEAN CLEAN!
- Think about YOUR bulletin boards for the beginning of the year. Put ALL of the things you will need in one box. Don’t forget a stapler, tape, etc. MARK IT for TEACHER IMPORTANT! Keep it with YOU.
- Don’t take home a ton of stuff over the summer. I allow myself ONE box. THAT’S IT! You are NOT going to do a lot of school work over the summer. Don’t FAKE IT!
- I begin to pack at the end of the year, as soon as OPEN HOUSE is over. A little EVERY day. My goal is to fill one garbage can a day for the rest of the year. Purge a little every day. You have digital files…use them!
- Runoff your first-week materials. Have them in a box ready to go! I am working on my lesson plan frames for next year. I do mine on the computer. Wouldn’t it be nice to open the lesson plan binder and already have the first week DONE??!!! I already have my year-long plans for ELA and MATH. My BFF teaching partner has done that.
SEND HOME STUDENT MATERIALS
I send ALL workbooks ( with pages we didn’t get to), BRAG TAG necklaces, student-made books, etc. on the last week. If I change the routines, I must deal with behavior problems. AND WE DON’T WANT THAT! We have a game day the last day. They can play our rainy-day classroom games. Then we write a letter to the kindergartners telling them about First Grade.
The end of the year is a fun time, a stressful time, and a time to organize for next year. Don’t “over-do” it. Remember…it’s YOUR vacation TOO!
When you are getting ready for Back To School… check out these HELPFUL resources:
Check out this great BLOG POST from LAURA at www.thecoreinspiration.com on setting UP your classroom library.
My friend, CHRISTINA DECARBO will help YOU get organized for the END of the YEAR!
CAN WORK WITH ANY CURRICULUM
YOUR WHOLE YEAR… DONE!
JOIN THE BOOK CLUB
These posts will help ease your stress:
HUG your kiddos. BREATHE. Think ahead. Enjoy your SUMMER VACATION!
“Creating a Community of Readers”
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…
When I teach reading, I don’t want my students to stop and ask for help.
I want them to have skills to be independent readers.
I want them to be problem-solvers.
So, I am…
Take a picture walk.Cover the words.
Make them use the visual cues in the story.
Frontload any vocabulary that may change thinking,
distort comprehension, or unfamiliar to them.
Have them make predictions PRIOR to reading.
After reading, check their predictions.
I LOVE this!
After reading..then what? DO SOMETHING!
Reread it for NEW information. Retell it to yourself or a friend. We use our 3 fingers retell. I love this part…DIGEST IT! Just as a good meal…when you are finished, appreciate it. Think about it.
You are NEVER done!
When you finish…read more! My kiddos love to stack ALL of their books on the left..as
they finish reading a book…place it in a pile on their right. Keep reading! Their goal is to
read more every day! STAMINA! Reading MATS are used to make goals.
Our goals are to read MORE!
We want kids to quit using their fingers to read.
Good readers use their EYES!
“SCOOP” up words (phrases) with your eyes. When reading, put 3-4 words together
and read the phrases! GREAT time to teach prepositions & prepositional phrases!
You will see more, read more, and understand more when you reread a story. Read it to a partner, a
parent, a friend. The same book can sound new when you are reading it the second or third time!
A HUGE THANK YOU to Lucy Caulkins!
So there you are..
When in doubt…
ALWAYS make it
For more early literacy reading and writing resources