Wednesday, July 29, 2015

Learning Objectives

I know posting learning objectives are nothing new, but for the last couple of years it wasn't a "have to". Until now! I knew when we learned that we would have to post our learning objectives I wanted to have them easily accessible, I didn't want to have to write a ton and I wanted them student friendly.  Vague enough where I wasn't changing them constantly, but focused! 

My white board and smartboard is something I use ALL. THE. TIME so I knew I didn't want to cover that up or use space on it with my objectives, so I had to change some wall space to make room for my objectives.  

I have used dry erase pockets for others things in my room and decided they would be great for putting my objective cards in.  

I found this wonderful template HERE! Love her stuff! I just purchased her template and then typed in my objectives for the year on different slides in powerpoint.  Print. And Viola!! 

I made them for the year and labeled them with the corresponding week that I will be teaching that topic so I could just grab it, slide it in and go!

I just put them in file folders for each subject in order that I will be using them. 

Now they are ready to go for the year!!! 

Another thing checked off my list... 

Friday, July 24, 2015

Writer's Toolkits

I must admit I used to not like teaching writing.  *gasp* I did it and I did it the best I could, but I knew there was always a better way.  After several years I realized it wasn't my lessons that were causing the issue, it was the way I organized my writer's workshop supplies.  I was fortunate enough to work with one of the most sweetest people on the planet my first couple of years, who also so happened to be a phenomenal writing teacher.  Lucky me!! I remember always wanting to watch her teach writing and I was always picking her brain for her writing ideas.  From her came my "writer's toolkits"

Writing toolkits are just a way I organize my students writer's workshop supplies. 

My toolkits are simply magazine holders from IKEA (5 for $2).  All of my students are assigned a number at the beginning of the year.  I label things in my classroom with that number for a couple of reasons... 1.  I can reuse them year after year. 2. If someone moves and I get a new student I don't have to change pictures or names, I just slide them in to that spot.  Makes my life way easier during the year. 

I have my students keep their toolkits on a shelf, that way they are easily accessible.  They can go grab them after my mini-lesson during writing or they may use these during Work on Writing during Daily 5.  Also like that my students can take their toolkit and write anywhere in the room and they will have everything they need with them. 

Inside my toolkits--- I keep a folder (which they keep the piece they are publishing in there along with writing paper), their composition book (which is used for pre-writing and drafting).  A spell check page which came from a spelling resource a couple years back and then a phonics dictionary resource that came with our phonics program and a nice sharpened pencil (so they are ready to write).   Through out the year they add things to their toolkits, i.e. mini anchor charts from mini-lesson, thematic vocabulary words, etc. 

I like that everything is together and organized, but not shoved in their desk. 

My writing bulletin board:  I use this as a way of keeping track of where my students are in the writing process.  Now, the process doesn't necessarily go in this order every time and many of my students bounce back and fourth from one stage to the other.  

I take and print all of my students pictures and glue them on jumbo popsicle sticks.  It takes several weeks, months to teach the entire process, but I like for my students to "publish" a story at least once a 6 weeks.  

They simple place their picture in the pocket of the stage they are at.  Either pre-writing, drafting, revising, editing or publishing.  So as I am conferencing with students during writer's workshop I can easily look up at the bulletin board and know where each of my students are in regards to their writing piece.  For example, if Johnny's picture is at pre-wrting I know he is drawing or making a bubble map, etc, and if Sally's picture is at editing I know I want to conference with her before Johnny because that is a more difficult task for them and I will need to get her started.  Hope that makes sense.  


(The pieces around my pockets are from HERE)

Does this take a lot of modeling and practice?!? YES!!! But after they get the hang of it, it's good as gold.  
Writing went from being my most dreaded time of the day to my favorite!

Wednesday, July 22, 2015

Staying Organized...Take Home Notebooks

My students are responsible for bringing 2 things to and from school during the week.  Their take home notebook and their reading folder.  These 2 things are my way of keeping my students organized and also staying in touch with their parents, whether it be grades, work or behavior.

Take Home Notebook:
I use 1/2 inch binders.  These are not on their school supply list so I purchase these every summer at SAMs.  These are used for notes, homework and their planner

When they arrive in the mornings they unload lunch money, signed notes, etc. and put them in my dropbox (just a basket on my table) and then place their notebooks on the entry shelf in number order.  It is an easy way for me to see who is here or not and keeps them from having to put it in their desk and take up space. 

I simply put labels on both of the pockets.


I have my students keep all important notes and newsletters in the front pocket.  This is for any notes from the office, myself and my weekly newsletter I send home on Mondays. It just gives them a peek into our week.  

The back pocket is for homework.  My students have spelling and math homework Monday - Thursday and short reading (which is kept in their guided reading folders).  

In the rings they keep their planner.  The planners are paid for through the schools supply fee that is collected at the beginning of the year.  Not all teachers use them so if a teacher wants them they are bought with her classroom supply fee money, which can also be used for construction paper ect.  A class set runs about $75.00.  

This is where we write down important reminders, parent notes, i.e Book fair tomorrow! and behavior log.  I like it because it's all in one place.  

Each of my students is given a number at the beginning of the year.  It main purpose is to help us line up in line order, but we also put our things away (notebooks, writer's toolkits) in order. 
I write the number on the side and use a die-cut to write their name on to place in the front sleeve.  I've tried different things over the years and this has worked the best for us! 

On Friday's my students take home their "Friday folder"  This is just a colored file folder that they keep in their desk.  As I give out graded work or they finish things I want them to take home and not turn in they will slide it into their "Friday Folder". I grade things the same day they turn them in.  It helps with feedback and it keeps me from having a stack of papers to grade on the weekend.  That is one thing I do before I leave school.  Has made my life so much easier.  It also keeps me from having a stack of papers to hand out and their parents receive their work each week so they can see how they are doing, but it doesn't make their take home notebook messy. They take them home on Friday's and returned emptied the following Monday.  

Their reading folder is kept separate because I like for them to turn these in and bring them to my guided reading table when they come during Daily 5 time.  I like to check reading logs, change out vocabulary or sight words that child might be working on, etc.  At one time, I put their take home book and reading log with their notes and things, but it got to clunky when they would bring it to my table and one folder really wasn't big enough for all that I wanted them to use it for.  I will be back later with how I organize their reading folders. 

Organization is my thing! I can't function without it and nothing makes me happier than organized students! I would love to hear how you organize your take home notebooks or what you use! Please leave me comment!

Tuesday, July 21, 2015

Student Birthday Gifts

I wanted to get ahead this summer to make my life easier during the school year, because the Laymance schedule is about to get crazy with daddy's high school football coaching schedule.
In years past, my kids have always been a fan of sunglasses.  They are always the first to go when they spend their earned behavior tickets, so I knew I wanted to incorporate them when I was making their birthday gifts this year.  

I went with these glasses from oriental trading.  

Completely trendy aaannndd glow in the dark! Yes, please!

 CLICK HERE to get the printable tag! 

What do you do for birthdays in your class??  I love for you to leave a comment about what you do.
Enjoy the rest of your summer!

And for fun... A picture of my sweet girl! 

Monday, July 20, 2015

Staying Organized... Classroom Library

I am going into my 7th year of teaching first grade and over the years I have added to my library book collection.  It's not quite where I want it to be, but it gets better every year.  

I have many other book baskets that I will add and change out after I read them.  Some books I want to be a surprise.  :) 

The categories on those baskets are 1. fiction favorites 2. non-fiction 3. holidays ( valentines, st. patricks, etc.) 4. winter 5. fall 7. social studies

The way I keep all of the books in the correct basket it by colored codes.  Each basket a label and on that label there is a colored sticker. 

Every book in that basket has the same sticker on it.

So as my students are returning books to and from their read to self baskets they just match up the stickers. 

Cheap, simple and keeps our class organized.  WIN WIN! 

Sunday, July 19, 2015

Reading Logs

Every summer while I have some free time I like to look through my files and see what I want to keep for next year, what I need to throw out, and what I need to give a little update.  I have used the same nightly reading log and A.R. log for quite some time now.  They got the job done of course, but were bland.  I decided to keep them simple, but just update them a little. 

CLICK HERE to get your copy of the NIGHTLY READING LOG

CLICK HERE to get your copy of the A.R. SCORE LOG

This log is for the students to write on to log their A.R. scores on after they take a quiz, so I wanted to keep it super simple and not clutter it.  I like to keep track of their A.R. points and scores.  I am looking for a great way to show off when they get to certain A.R. points.  If you have an idea you love I would love to here about it!

I keep both of these in my students reading folder.  I will be back in a few weeks with how I keep folders, take home notebooks, and different subjects journals organized.  

I also wanted to update my school teacher webpage for the new school year.  Every year, each 6 weeks I normally have to update it with the objectives for that 6 weeks.  An low and behold, 2 weeks in to the new 6 weeks I remember I have to update it! So I decided I wanted to have the entire year up from the beginning.  1.  I don't have to remember to update it every 6 weeks. 2. Parents see our entire year at glance.  Because I send home sight words, spelling list, etc. as they are learning them, so I didn't really want to flood the page with a ton of words.  So I made the 6 objective pages for each of the 6 weeks in our school year.  I kept them some what broad to leave myself some leniency week to week, but I also wanted them to have some focus of what they big ideas were that we were learning. 

I also wanted to have a few reminders.

And just for fun, my family pics from my page! :)