Sunday, December 1, 2013

Conferences and December Currently! Ho, ho, ho!


Last week was a much needed break from my firsties. I feel more exhausted this year than in previous years. Last Monday and Tuesday brought parent-teacher conferences, which is always a lot of prep work and non-stop talking for 2 days straight! Eek! This year I created a new conference form to help guide my conferences and you can pick it up for free { here } in my TpT store!


As for the rest of my week - I am very proud of myself! I did NOT ONE school thing over my 5-day weekend!!! YAY FOR ME! I slept, enjoyed family, and spent time putting up holiday decorations. I'm already all caught up in lesson planning for the rest of 2013, so now I can focus on making things special for this season for my firsties (and myself!) 

I have been wrestling with the idea of having my Elf on the Shelf back in my classroom this year. I had him last year and it brought a lot of joy, but was also a lot of work. Plus this year I have more students that don't celebrate Christmas. We are teaching about a lot of holidays (Christmas, Hanukkah, Kwanzaa, Diwali, Las Posadas, Yalda, etc.), so I was feeling a little "off" about my elf. Alas, after much though and blog-searching for how to incorporate the Elf into other holiday celebrations, he will be making his annual appearance back at school tomorrow!


And now for my currently link up with Oh' Boy, 4th Grade!



Listening: I'm not proud of this one.....but it's my Sunday night guilty pleasure. I like trash t.v. that requires no thinking or analyzing on my part. I'm a Bravoholic and I can't help it. It's how I de-stress and relax before my upcoming week. So there! :-P

Loving: The Yankee Candle tart burner was my best purchase ever! I'm smelling an aromatherapy scent right now, but for the holiday season I bought Autumn Leaves, Cinnamon Stick, Cozy Sweater, and Balsam & Fir. 

Thinking: I wasn't in the holiday spirit until this very weekend. I wasn't even really looking forward to Thanksgiving this year, but now it's hit me and I'm baaaack!!! 

Wanting: I seriously need a floor length, double layer, down coat for the frigid Chicago winters. We go out for recess unless it is 15 degrees or below. However, I don't have $600 to spend, so I'm looking for sales, coupons, etc. I might have to wait for an after-Christmas sale.....hit me up if you know of anything reasonably priced right now!

Needing: More holiday cheer would be nice. It's been a tough year so we need a little Christmas! I'm looking forward to watching my favorite holiday movies this month. Especially The Bells of St. Mary's, It Happened on 5th Avenue, & Holiday Inn!

Favorite Tradition: Since my first Christmas, I have received 1-3 glass ornaments from my family each year. They are dated and beautiful. I also have some 1930s and 1940s ornaments that belonged to my great-grandmother. When I have children of my own, I will continue this tradition as I am filled with great holiday memories as I unwrap each delicate ornament each Christmas season.

Talk soon,
 

Friday, November 22, 2013

{ Five for Friday }: Thanksgiving and Holiday Mail for Heroes!


I'm finally back for another "Five for Friday" linky with Doodle Bugs Teaching!!


We've been super duper busy this week learning addition and subtraction strategies, crafting for Thanksgiving, and getting ready for conferences (okay, just me on that last one!).

1
Doubles Addition: I taught them the "Doubles Rap" and we made double scoop ice cream cones. They came up with some creative ideas for decorating their cones as well!



2
Two of my firsties showed up dressed like turtles this week. Love it! They didn't make these cool clothes when I was little!!!


3
My parents wedding song is "Colour My World" by Chicago. When my student showed up in this adorable tee I just had to snap a pic and send it along to my mom! 


4
Learning about the Wampanoag tribe and the first thanksgiving was a treat this week. We read Turkey Trouble and disguised our own turkeys in a class book. We also did a very complicated (but well worth the effort) and informational project related to the Wampanoags. I learned a lot about this interesting, peaceful group of people this week! It's always fun to have that teachable moment when I say to my class, "hmm...I didn't know that! I just got smarter!" so they see that we are all life-long learners.


I love Scholastic News!!!!

Our own version of Turkey Trouble that I will put outside of my classroom during conferences next week!

Disguise: A Rock Star
Reward: Popcorn

Disguise: A Unicorn
Reward: Stickers and a prize

5
Holiday Mail for Heroes: We designed holiday pictures to send to our wonderful servicemen and servicewomen overseas! This is sponsored by the Red Cross. If you want your class to participate, 
{ here } is the link! (The letters are due to the P.O. box no later than December 6th.)



Talk soon,

Thursday, November 21, 2013

Verbs: Anchor Chart Thursday!!!


I almost didn't make it! However, I'm back for another edition of "Anchor Chart Thursday" with The Creative Apple!


The inspiration for this one didn't come from a pin, but rather my own noggin'!! I will be teaching about verbs next week and all I could think of was action, action, ACTION! That made me think of the movies and voila (!) an idea is born. 


This is hot off the presses and I can still smell the Sharpie and lamination film in my nose. I hope it inspires you to create something meaningful for your class....
I also hope my firsties like it!

Talk soon,

Sunday, November 10, 2013

My 6 Day Color Coded Schedule!

Today I'm linking up with Thank God It's First Grade for her "What's Your Schedule" Linky Party!


I stumbled upon this really cool linky party through Erin over at The Short and Sassy Teacher! I've been looking through the schedules of people who linked up, and I realized that my school is *WAAAAYYY* different when it comes to scheduling! Instead of the traditional 5 day schedule, we have a 6 day color coded rotating schedule. It sounds complicated, but once you get the hang of it, it's easy! 

We begin at 8:35 a.m. and end at 3:05 p.m. Each day of the week corresponds to a color on the rainbow. So, for example, red day is always PE day, purple day is always art day. Some weeks we will have PE 3 times, some weeks only 2 times. This coming week starts on an orange day so we will have orange, yellow, green, blue, and purple days. Next week will start back at red so we will have red, orange, yellow, green, and blue days.

This schedule is unique and special because no one *ever* misses a special time due to assemblies, half days, etc. Half days are always "no color" days and assemblies are scheduled into the teaching blocks, usually during our "WIN" (What I Need AKA, RTI block). So here's what my firsties are accustomed to!








Enjoy your Sunday!!
Talk soon,

Friday, November 8, 2013

Telling Time to the Hour {Must Read Mentor Text Linky!}


Is anyone else having a hard time adjusting to daylight savings time? I FELT EXHAUSTED ALL THIS WEEK!



Today I'm linking up for the first time with Collaboration Cuties for their "Must Read Mentor Text" Linky Party!!! I'm featuring the story The Grouchy Ladybug by the *fantastic* Eric Carle as a mentor text to introduce the concept of telling time to the hour.



This week my firsties were hard at work for 5 days on this concept!! We pre-tested before the unit so that students who knew the concept received enrichment services and I had the rest of my group in my room during math time. Here's what we did:

We began the week with the story of The Grouchy Ladybug by Eric Carle. We not only learned about time to the hour from this story, but also about being a good friend and sharing with others. Double whammy!


On day 2 we learned the poem "Chloe the Clock" <-------a freebie on Ashley Reed's TpT account! I was happy it incorporated some TPR (total physical response) into our day. We made our arms into the long minute hand and the short hour hand, then moved them around clockwise. Students *loved* decorating Chloe in their own way and displaying them in the hallway!




On day 3 we started to explore the question "How much time does it take?" (also from the *free* Chloe the Clock packet!) We discussed seconds, minutes, and an hour. We made guesses as to whether we could stay quiet for a second...and we did! Then a minute....HARD but we did it! An hour?!?! NO WAY, JOSE!!!


On day 4 we reviewed writing the minute and hour hands on the clock and made a stack book together noting how many seconds in a minute, minutes in an hour, hours in a day, and finally days in a week. Students made their own "wristwatch" from cut toilet paper rolls. (I used this as a mini assessment to see if they could correctly write a time to the hour with a long minute hand on the 12 and a short hour hand on whatever hour they chose. Then they had to read the time to me!)


My favorite was the creative "Minion Watch"...

My own creation...

Lastly, day 5 was a review using the game "I have...who has..." and we had our final post test! 
I love that we are able to get deeper into topics using the CCSS. I think they will have an easier time when it comes to time to the half hour later this year! Fingers crossed!

Talk soon,

Thursday, November 7, 2013

Commutative Property of Addition {Anchor Chart Thursday!}


Just a quick post today!
I'm linking up for the first time ever with Terri over at The Creative Apple for her "Anchor Chart Thursdays" Linky Party! 



I just love me a good anchor chart...they come in oh' so handy for my little firsties (and also for me so that I'm not repeating myself 24,025,746,123 times!) The inspiration for this anchor chart is from (duh!) Pinterest. Here's what it looked like:


And here is my copycat version!


I can't wait to use it with my class next week!!

Today was also our 50th day of school so I thought I'd share my 1950's penny loafers I wore. So fun!


Talk soon,

Saturday, November 2, 2013

Math games, Pumpkin Party & My November Currently!


This is a big one because I think I think I must have dropped off the Blogosphere for a bit in all the craziness that is October. It's my favorite time of year, my wedding anniversary, my favorite holiday, *and* (just to throw more into the mix and make myself nutty) this year I had a "Pumpkin Carving Party"!!! 

Today, I want to share a few pictures from my class. We are lucky enough to pre/post test for each concept in math so that students who need more assistance can receive it and those who need enrichment can receive that! Is it a pain in the behind?? WHY, YES IT IS! Is it worth it for the students? AN EVEN BIGGER *YES IT IS*! I'm still working on finding the best way to administer pre tests without over assessing students all the time....

Anyways, this concept allowed us to have our wonderful enrichment teacher come to each class to teach us some extension games going along with our unit on counting to 120. The students played games with cards, dice, and solved number puzzles. 

The card game consisted of students drawing 2 cards, making a number with the digits, then counting up 5 numbers from there.


The dice game consisted of students rolling two numbers, making a number with the digits, and counting *back* 5 numbers from there. (Whoa, tough!)


The puzzle page was a jumbled looking 120 board and students needed to find the missing numbers.


Next, here are some photos from our fabulous pumpkin party!

Snake calzone: 

Mummy hot dogs:

Zombie Eyeballs (meatballs/olives):

Deviled Egg Eyeballs:

SWEETS, SWEETS, & MORE SWEETS!!


Lastly, I'm sharing my November "Currently" and linking up with Farley over at Oh' Boy 4th Grade!


Listening: Ari Hest. He's my favorite artist of all time, and such a dreamboat!!! Check him out { here }! You won't regret it :)

Loving: Elle & K Boutique is super cute, affordable, and quality stuff! I now own 3 shift dresses, some boots, a beige blouse, and if I name any more pieces that I've purchased my husband will disown me...

Thinking: I need to plan our addition/subtraction unit. I will be searching the blogosphere for ideas this week!

Wanting: My shoulders are not the best so I need a new cross-body bag. Unfortunately, I can't find one that I like and is not $500. (It also needs to be bigger than teeny tiny.) Anyone have any ideas for me?

Needing: This was the craziest month of me, so I will now start relaxing and living in the present moment rather than 6 months ahead of myself like usual!

Yummy Pin: Warm, vegetarian chili from Kirsten's Recipes for cold November nights!

Talk soon,