Wednesday, August 10, 2011

Back to School Activity: "What's your name?"

Fun in First Photobucket
I can't believe back to school is right around the corner. I'm not sure if I'm ready yet (can't I just spend a couple more days in my pajamas?) But ready or not, here it is. I thought I would share one of my favorite back to school activities. Click here for more back to school activities...

I think it's ESSENTIAL to read
 Chrysanthemum Big BookIn case you haven't read this book, it's about a little mouse with a really big name, Chrysanthemum. It teaches children that everyone's name is special to them and it's not nice to make fun of anyone's name. I often catch myself reminding the students with one word if I do catch someone making fun of anyone's name by just saying, "Chrysanthemum." Very important book for 1st graders! Other good books for the 1st day of school.

Then I pass out a half piece of colored construction paper with their name already written on it (see my post on handwriting for further explanation on how I teach children to write). Their homework that night is to ask their parents how they got their names and to decorate the piece of paper.

When the students return to school, they share their decorated name and how they got their names. It really helps me get to know the students. After everyone is done sharing, I tape their decorated names over a clothes pin I hot glue on the cabinets. These pins I use to display their classwork or their writing. I keep their names up there all year long, I love looking at their special names and the unique way they decorate them. :)

Word Wall

I got the idea to write about how I use my word wall after reading about Ms. M's Word Wall. It's so interesting to hear how different schools/teachers do things.
This is what my Word Wall looks like...

Here is a picture of my Word Wall. I got the idea from a substitute who took over a class from a teacher who was on maternity leave. Her classroom was very small and she turned a small space into her Word Wall. When her time was done, she gave me this ABC train.

Pros: This is set up on a dry wall, so I simply staple (shhhh, don't tell) the words to the wall as we add them each week. You can't see it from the picture, but my Writing Station is actually located under my Word Wall. Sometimes during writing time, I let my children sit at this table so they can add one of their new words to their writing.

If I see them looking back at the Word Wall, I make a huge deal of it.
"Did I just see you looking at the Word Wall? That is so smart! You are using your resources to help make your writing better!" :)

My co-worker did this every week last year, I think I'm going to borrow her awesome idea. She CLAPS out all her word wall words.

"A (clap) is for... a, and, as
B (clap) is for... be, because, been"

Cons: I have to step on a chair to reach the top of the alphabet and also sometimes the space can get limited towards the middle to end of the school year. Also, my Word Wall is located at the back of the room, this is a good thing and bad thing because my students have to turn around to see it BUT it helps them start to memorize how to spell their high frequency words.

This year, I typed out all the high frequency words in colorful paper. I did write the words on a sentence strip (cut it to fit), but I think this will make it look more professional and will be easier to read.

Monday, August 8, 2011

Top Ten Reasons Linky Party

Wooohooo, Mrs. Tunstall's having a linky party! Link up, what are your top ten reasons you know it's back to school time?

10. Blood pressure starts to go up again :)
9. Like Mrs. Bainbridge said, the nightmares about things going terribly wrong my 1st few days occur
8. Difficulty sleeping, too many ideas running through my head
7. I begin stocking up on easy 5 min or less lunches
6. The school's laminating machine AND the copy machine run out
5. My school e-mail springs back to life
4. Lakeshore, ReallyGoodStuff, TeacherDirect, OrientalTrading, Scholastics boxes litter my classroom
3. The crayons are new!
2. You're tempted to peak in your co-workers rooms to see their new bulletin board/classroom theme
1. There's a fight over the limited supply of travel coffee mugs, between me and my hubby ;)

Nervous/Excited About New School Year Linky Party

It's a brand new school year and to celebrate, let's have a linky party!

Now apart of TBA's Ultimate Linky Party!

1. Post a link to this blog on your page mentioning this linky party
2. What's one thing that you're nervous about for the upcoming school year?
3. What's one thing that you're excited about?
4. If you're linking up, post a link to your blog in the comment section
5. Click a link of someone else's blog (in the comment section) and comment

I'm nervous about a lot with this new school year fast approaching. One of the biggest things is that one of my co-workers requested me to be their child's teacher! I'm nervous that I won't live up to her expectations! Any tips? Please comment! :)

I'm excited about doing the Daily 5 instead of Literacy Stations. I tried it this summer during summer school and I think it worked wonderfully! I can't wait to see how much growth my class shows in reading this year!

Thanks for linking up!

Tuesday, August 2, 2011

Currently, I am...linky party

Linking up with Oh Boy 4th Grade for their "Currently, I am" linky party!

listening Adele, can't get enough of her CD

loving- "The Help"

thinking- about getting ready for the new school year

wanting- to make my very own linky party

needing- some new followers! :)



Mrs. Bainbridge
Teaching Blog Addict
Funky in First Grade

Sunday, July 31, 2011

Snack Time

In response to Mrs. Bainbridge's Tasty Linky Party here is my classroom procedures during snack time.

Each month on the back of my behavior plan I used a simple grid in Microsoft Word that I turned into a calendar (I added clip art with my classroom theme). It had the date and a name in each box.  If I had lots of snacks in reserve, I would have a "Teacher" day and I would pass out leftovers with the iconic 1st grade motto, "You get what you get, and you don't throw a fit."

In the morning of each child's snack day, they simply took the snack from their backpack and placed it on the counter for when we had snack time. This way, I could check the snack and make sure that it didn't contain any peanuts (we have a peanut allergy in the classroom). We would have snack right after P.E. in the last hour of the day. While the children were eating, I would continue my lesson or they would eat and work.

Easy to pass out, no mess
Contains no peanuts
No drinks required (Capri-suns or juice boxes OK if desired)
Health snacks preferred

Parents only had to worry about bringing snack once a month
We did not miss any instruction time
We had a variety of snacks every day
The extras were saved for a day we didn't have snack brought in
Birthdays could be celebrated during snack time (birthday child's snack day & birthday were the same, in case they wanted to bring in something special

Sometimes parents would forget (especially towards the end of the year or during baseball season)
If many students forgot in one week, we would be out of reserves
Checking for allergies

What I would do to improve it
Send a snack schedule more than just once a month, bi-weekly
Provide a list of acceptable snack, perhaps even budget friendly snacks

At the end of the year, I surveyed the parents and most of them said that they just needed a little more reminding but they did really love the fact that they only had to worry about snack once a month.

Saturday, July 30, 2011

Class Pet Peeves Linky Blog Hop

Guess who's hosting a Blog Hop! Check Out The Bubbly Blonde Teacher!

I love my job and it was very difficult thinking about the different things that annoy me. It comes with a little training in the beginning of each year.

1. Hearing my name a million times a day. "Mrs. Luna, Mrs. Luna, Mrs. Luna." Sometimes I say, "Stop Mrs. Lunaing me!"
2. TAPPING! There is nothing more annoying than feeling a little tap tap on your leg, shoulder, arm, back, tummy. (It's usually accompanies "Mrs. Lunaing me")
3. Being coughed on or sneezed on. Gross!