Thursday, September 27, 2012


A while back, I mentioned that my principal had ordered some interactive whiteboards for our school and one was for me!

I now present my new best friend!
Aaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaamazing. Before today I didn't even have an overhead in my class. This is a big deal in my life.

Basically we played on it all day in between doing stuff we REALLY HAD to do. Only Scholastic News games though!!! All CCSS aligned. :)

I haven't actually used the software yet that came with it (it's a Starboard) and it seems sort of confusing. I'll figure it out though!

Moving on, in first grade we are learning how to add and today we worked on number stories!
We were only technically supposed to be learning how to write a number sentence based on a word problem, but they really wanted to draw out the problems. Definitely doable!

Do you like our little chalkboards? In Scholastic News this week, we learned that "long ago" kids wrote on slates with chalk. It made me laugh because I have a whole stack of these bad boys in the closet and the kids love them!! Not to mention the erasers I made. :)

And last, today I gave the first graders an emergent reader that I downloaded from Mrs. Wills. They went crazy over it! Our reading program is designed to be very challenging, which is fine for my high students but painful for anyone who doesn't read way above grade level. My kids felt so good and confident to be able to read the emergent readers! On the back page, they had to write something that they like to do, and I felt really happy when saw this:
I like to gow to the porc! Otherwise spelled as "go to the park", haha. Anyway, I feel absolutely PUMPED that my first graders are applying letter sounds to write phrases!!!!!! I think Writer's Workshop is paying off big time!!

Monday, September 24, 2012

What's Your Address?


I have been slacking big time on my blogaroo. :( Here are my excuses...

  • Everything I'm doing is incredibly boring right now. My reading program is scripted (maybe I've mentioned that 93847239847 times) so everything is workbooks. I'm infusing a touch of Phonics Dance-y business so it's a little less lame. Still doesn't help a lot though. Side note - I am teaching sh/ch/tch right now in first grade. Anyone else?
  • I started a classroom blog and the parents are loving it! It's a lot easier to post there because my families are happy with a picture and two sentences, haha.
Umm... that's pretty much it. Haha!

We did learn about addresses today!
I erased some of my kiddos' street names. :)

I like teaching things like this because my students are REALLY engaged since it is all about them, haha!

First we discussed what addresses are. Then I had them turn and talk to a partner about their own address. THEN, I turned the tables on them and said they could only raise their hand to share their PARTNER'S address. 

What a shocker! You mean I actually have to listen when my partner turns and talks to me?!

We had to redo our turn and talk, haha!

Speaking of turn and talks... I have a suuuuuuuuuuuuuper chatty class this year. I did last year too, but my class size went up exponentially so the chatting did as well. I'm on the hunt for strategies that will mesh well with my first and second graders' incessant need to talk allllll day long.

Turning and talking is going well. Anything else you'd care to share?

Monday, September 17, 2012

L'Shanah Tovah!

Today we learned about Rosh Hashanah in our classroom!
In Social Studies, we've been learning about families. One of our lessons was about holidays and how every family celebrates them - but that different families celebrate different ways or even different holidays all together! So the timing was perfect. :)

We started by reading a great book - Celebrate Rosh Hashanah and Yom Kippur. It's a National Geographic book, so it has beautiful pictures and the text was perfect for my class!
Holidays Around the World: Celebrate Rosh Hashanah and Yom Kippur: With Honey, Prayers, and the Shofar
Afterwards, the kids colored a Rosh Hashanah picture while I sliced up some Gala apples and poured out a few dishes of honey. We dipped our apples in our honey and decided it was the best snack EVER! Tomorrow we'll graph whether we liked or didn't like apples and honey - we didn't get to it today. :)

I love celebrating multicultural holidays with my students!

Sunday, September 16, 2012

Making Words

Hello and happy Sunday!!!

I want to tell you today about a sweet activity I do once a week (on Fridays) in my classroom - Making Words!
I first learned about Making Words when I was doing a clinical in a third grade classroom. My cooperating teacher did the activity once a week and I really loved it so I decided to do it in my own classroom!

If you aren't familiar with this situation, here is the scoop. Every student gets a worksheet with 5-6 letters on the top of it in boxes. They cut out the boxes and then I call out words for them to make with their letters! Typically, each week has one or two word families that they're working with. This week I think it was -an and -ack maybe? Anyway, as you can see in the picture, the words start easy - "an", for example. As you move on, they get a little more complicated - beginning blends, digraphs, what have you.

I love this activity for several reasons, and here they are!
  1. It gives all of my students a chance to practice decoding, encoding, and reading skills in a low-stress environment. Their affective filter is low, so to speak, because they are doing the activity in a large group and can lean toward a friend if they need a little help.
  2. The kids LOVE coming in the front of the room to make the words. As you can see in the picture, I have magnetic letters that I use to have the kids demonstrate the correct spelling.
  3. The activity is differentiated in and of itself. The "easier" words are challenging for my low first graders, and the harder words are just right for my second graders. I can call on lower students to show the first few words and I can call on higher students for the last few. Nobody has any idea that I am handpicking the kids for certain words... :)
  4. It is great for kinesthetic learners! They get to manipulate the letters on their desks AND on the board if they get called up! It hits visual and auditory as well - the visual learners SEE the letter magnets on the board, and the auditory learners HEAR us spell it together out loud!
  5. It touches on vocabulary if they give you some weird words to make!
  6. It gives some of my students some MUCH NEEDED cutting practice. That's all I have to say about that......
I bought a book to just print the pages out of. Here is what I have (except I have the first grade version...).
There is probably a new or updated version without a lady in a denim jumper on the front but whatevs. :)

You can also make your own letters and lists of words if you are focusing on a specific word family or spelling pattern for the week.

Yay for Making Words!

Sunday, September 9, 2012


For the first few weeks of school, we have been short a Technology teacher. I missed having my planning time, but I did value the extra teaching time!! Especially during the first weeks of school!!

Anyway, last week I took my class to the computers so that we could do something technology-related. I am (supposedly) getting an interactive whiteboard sometime soon, and I REALLY want to incorporate more Web 2.0 business in my classroom. :)

Here's what we started with - Wallwisher!
Wallwisher is essentially an online bulletin board. Anyone with the link can post ideas or thoughts to a pre-made board. Just to get started, I set up a Wallwisher page asking the students about their favorite colors. With two clicks and a bit of typing, many of us were able to get our thoughts published! As you can see, some of us didn’t quite get it in time (and some of us did our very best spelling those difficult color words!), but overall it was a success. If nothing else, it gave me a little heads-up as to who my tech-savvy students are! :)

It was a really fun and simple thing to do!

This was just a little intro to Wallwisher, but you could definitely use this for other things! Can you think of any cool uses?

Wednesday, September 5, 2012

What I'm Loving Wednesday

For being such an obsessive picture-taker, I have been TERRIBLE at taking pictures this year so far. And my battery died suddenly! Oh wells, time for What I'm Loving Wednesday!
I'm loving that we started legit curriculum this week. Although I am sort of not loving it. I love it because it makes planning a million times easier. I don't love it because I don't like scripted programs. Ah well.

I'm loving that my boyfriend and I take cute pictures.
I'm loving writer's workshop. Writing workshop? Whatevs. My high second graders are writing multiple page stories. My very low first graders are creating detailed picture stories. One of my girls who, up until yesterday, was drawing only pictures with no words, suddenly wrote a page and a half of words. I can't read them, but I am just pumped. Everyone feels empowered and excited about writing and no one is complaining. I love you workshop model!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

I'm loving that I bought tickets for a preseason Bulls game!!!!!!!! Yeah! So pumped!

I'm loving the awesome Prezi I made for our teacher institute today. Want to watch it? (Shout out to Jennifer and Kelli for their amazing resources!)

I'm loving that I'm getting together with Laura and Krista for dinner tomorrow! Yum and yay!

I'm loving that my school was chosen as a Girls on the Run site for 2012-2013!!!!!!!!!! HOORAY!

I'm loving that the best way I could think to explain an interactive whiteboard to my students was to call it a big iPad for the wall. They understood. :)

What are you loving today?

Monday, September 3, 2012

September Currently

Happy September!
Yesterday, I spent the day with my BTF! Part of our awesome day was me baking these muffins:
OMG. Super delicious. Here is the recipe I used - I just made them in a muffin tin and reduced the cooking time to about 20-25 minutes. :)

Happy Labor Day! Hope you are able to relax and enjoy your 3-day weekend. :)
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