Sunday, September 1, 2013

Almost Ready!

Most of my classroom is ready!  I am so pleased with the environment I've set up for this school year.

View to the back from the door.

I'm still over the moon about the fabric that I put up this summer.  I really love it!  This may be the first year where I don't feel like I have to take down my boards for summer.  When I used paper, it was always so faded by June.  Here's hoping!  

I've got twenty-four desks forming six tables of four each.  Each chair has a pocket that I made this summer with what I learned from Kelly at First Grade Fairytales.  They turned out so great!  I made them green to match the chairs to cut down on distractions.  Here's a close up with a student's book baggie in it.  If you do reading workshop, you might use book boxes instead.  I've done book boxes for seven years, so this will be a change for me.  I'm trying to avoid all the boxes getting dumped when kids open their desks, and it will free up three bookshelves for our class library.  I'll let you know how it works out.

Chair pockets made by yours truly!

My classroom library is in front of the center windows, which I added curtains to this year.  My windows face the playground, and it's just so distracting for the first graders to see other kids outside!  Even when I remind them that they JUST CAME IN FROM THEIR RECESS, they still cry, "NO FAIR!"  So, I'm hoping that these calming blue curtains will do the trick.  My library is really a two-for-one.  I have books that are leveled, for when they "shop for just right books," and books that are organized by genre, author, and character.  I also have some numbered tubs that are favorite picture books.  The students can choose one NON-leveled book to take home in a special bag daily.  I use THESE.  We call them CHOICE BOOKS.  I have a sticker label on them "Choice Book:  Parent reads to child."  Here's the library...

I shortened the table so kids can sit on the floor or kneel at it.

Here's one section of the pennant banner I made after Andrew at Mr. First Grade posted about making one with foam rectangles from the Dollar Tree.  Love it!
Both my upper windows now have decor!

The "Read Like Crazy" sign is from last June.  Our school has helped kids set summer reading goals for two years now.  Kids who reach their goal get to have a reunion lunch with their previous year's teacher.  My staff made the BEST video to motivate them.  We were even on the news!  You can see it HERE.  I'm in the way back, holding Three Hens and a Peacock.

I spent a good chunk of time this summer looking for deals and steals on Craig's List.  One of my hunts was all about Beanie Babies!  Our 5K uses animals to teach reading strategies, so I was on the look out for an eagle, fish, snake, monkey, dolphin, frog, lion, and owl.  I found them all, including a pile of dogs (to match my Top Dog theme, of course) from one person, for $20.  Unbelievable!  BTW, some people out there still think that Beanie Babies are worth hundreds of dollars!  What?

Reading strategy animals with labels by Lisa at Growing Firsties.  So cute!
(The Wise Owl is for checking to make sure it looks right, sounds right, and makes sense).

Cute book crates were at Wally this summer.  One dollar each, and they fit four on a shelf so much better than the old Dollar Tree tubs I was using.  I do have to turn one tub sideways, but I'm OK with that!

Come back soon to see the rest of the place!  I've got to get back in there to be ready for Tuesday morning!

I hope your Labor Day is "labor-less!"


Monday, August 19, 2013

Setting Priorities For a New School Year

I'm so excited for another new school year.  Another chance to tweak my craft!  I have enjoyed working on projects for the classroom this summer, and I had a half-day conference with Sarah from CTCRWP that has me psyched up to teach persuasive writing again this year.  My new SmartBoard has been installed, and I spent a day reviewing its amazing capabilities.  So, yes, I'm excited, but also a bit hesitant.

From September through May, my family misses me.  We are all out the door by 7a.m., and I'm the last to return to the nest, usually at 6 p.m.  I'm a bit embarrassed to admit it, but I usually go back to school on the weekend for a couple of hours just to get ready for the next week.

My husband and I have already discussed my coming home sooner.  We're toying with the idea of having a "family work hour" after dinner.  We would clean up the kitchen and all set up our homework on the kitchen table.  One hour, everyone, even if you don't have homework (read a book!)  I've never been good at getting school work done at home.  My kids are very busy and noisy, and they like to engage me in conversation when I'm concentrating.  My small dogs are very neurotic and insist on being on my lap or under my feet at all times.  So it's just easier to stay at school until I'm done with paperwork, etc.  Plus my husband has become a wonderful cook!  But I'm going to try to be home by five most days.  Anyway...

My mom sent me an e-mail that I thought was going to be something funny, like the things we usually send each other.  But this one was different.  It reminded me of my hopes and dreams for this year.  Maybe you'd like to watch it and think about what you can do differently this year to balance work and school.

Click  HERE to watch it.

I'll be back soon with pictures of my classroom.  I just can't bring myself to take pictures when it looks like a tornado has been through.  But I'm making progress! Two weeks left until school starts for me!

Have a great week!

Monday, July 29, 2013

Restyled Stools for my reading table!

When my students come to a guided reading lesson, we sit together at my reading table.  Some people call it a "kidney bean" table.  One of my teammates calls it the "rainbow" table.  Whatever you call, it, it fits five chairs nicely, six chairs if we squeeze.  Some teachers at my school have gone to IKEA and found really cute plastic stools shaped like two cones, point to point.  I looked on the IKEA website, and found THESE.  They would be so CUTE in the blue color in my room!  But, I really like the idea of reusing... you know, going green.  I don't go around hugging trees, but it just makes sense to me.  So I checked on Craig's List and found six bar stools from a family that was moving.  All six for $30!  SOLD!

But wait... much too high for first graders.  And the fabric?  Ew!  So, I picked up some indoor/outdoor fabric at JoAnne's (half off PLUS my teacher discount).  I watched some videos on youtube about recovering bar stools, enlisted my husband to cut the legs, and viola!

Here's how I did it:

Get yourself some tools.  (Please note the $2.99 staple gun from St. Vincent DePaul.  I told you I like the idea of reusing.... OK, and saving money too).  This is all I needed.  Remember, JimDear did the wood cutting with an electric saw.

First, I spread my fabric out.  It comes folded in half, and I left it folded.  The pattern matched on both the top and bottom layers, so I knew I was getting the same design on both layers.  I looked around for something round to trace and choose a cooking pot lid that was 12 inches (the same diameter as the seat on the stool).  I placed the center of the lid over the part of the fabric I wanted to be in the center of the seat.  Then I measured out four inches from the lid all the way around and made dots with a marker.  I wasn't worried about the marker showing.  I knew it would eventually be trimmed off.  If I bothers you, mark a bit farther out and cut inside your markings.

Then I cut the fabric.  I put one circle of fabric right-side-down and put the stool on top of it, centering it just the way I wanted.

(Weird how the people who owned these bar stools for who-knows-how-long, never took the bar code off.)  Anyway, according the youtube video, you should put one staple on each side to start.  Hope you don't mind that I'm going to use the term "side."  I realize that circles don't have "sides," but just go with it, for my sake.

Then I stapled the four "corners."  I know, I know, just go with it!  The photo below has eight evenly spaced staples.

Now that I knew my fabric was held in place on all "sides," I began to work the fabric in between the staples, scrunching it and spreading it out, so that there were no big folds or bunched up spots.  Here is a picture of the bottom with all the staples in it.

The next job is to make sure all the staples are in all the way.  That's what I used my hammer for.  I DO NOT want any student's fingers getting pricked!  The needle-nose pliers was to pull out any staples that went in crooked.  All that was left to do was to trim the extra fabric off.  This picture was taken AFTER I trimmed it. (The dots I made earlier are now gone.)

Done!  I just love it, and I think the kids will be excited to come and read with me at my reading table. Many times when the kids come to sit on the chairs at the table, they sit on their feet or they kneel on the chairs.  I think it's so important for kids to have good posture when they're working at school, especially for reading and writing.  So now, just five more to go!  I don't start school until September, so I know I can do it.  I really didn't take long at all!

One done, five more on the way!

I'd love to hear what your kiddos sit on when you do guided reading lessons.  Feel free to comment!

Thursday, July 25, 2013

My Three Wishes for My Top Dog Students

This year, I am really going to town with the top dog theme.  My school mascot is a husky, but I love ALL dogs.  I found these cute painted portraits in mats at Michael's, along with some simple black frames.  I used stickers from the Dollar Tree to write my three wishes for my students :  Work Hard, Be Nice, Learn Lots.

Every day this past year, I would drive down the little main street in our town.  I would (of course) get the red light at the main intersection.  One day I looked over into a little shop as I waited for the light to turn.  There was a big wooden sign with painted lettering saying:  WORK HARD, BE NICE.  I thought, that would pretty much sum up what I'd like my students to do.  Well, the sign would have looked silly in my classroom, being wooden and HUGE, so I took some butcher paper and made two long strips.  I penciled on bubble letters of the exact saying.  Kids painted them in one day, and I hung them from the ceiling in front of my windows.  I didn't take them down at the end of the year, and they're still up!  I will probably take them down when I get ready for the new school year.  I want to start fresh, and now I have these three great signs to hang up.  

I plan to introduce them to my class and talk about what each one looks like, feels like, and sounds like.  Each student will make a Top Dog Promise to do his/her best on these three big ideas.  Last year my students each colored and signed a paw print, which hung by our class rules.  I can't exactly call these my rules, as our school is involved in PBIS, and so we have a set of school rules.  But I'm going to tell my class that these are the things I expect from them.  Then I'm going to have the class help me decide where to hang them with command strips.  They don't have a stand in the back, but I could put each one on a book stand, if we decide not to put them on the walls.  I'll have to wait and see how the room turns out.  I have a new arrangement this year, and it's hard to picture everything in its place right now, when the room is bare.

I did get a fourth matching frame (it was a pk of 4).  I'd like to get a matching mat for it and put a picture of the student of the week in it.  Perhaps it could say, "Top Dog."  I also thought of hanging them up in this order with pluses and an equal sign between them:  WORK HARD + BE NICE + LEARN LOTS = TOP DOG.  The TOP DOG pic would be of the student of the week.  What do you think?


P.S.  Take a look at Trixie Woo in this photo bomb!  Yes, Trix, you ARE a top dog too!

Tuesday, July 23, 2013

The Fabric is UP!

Hi!  I was able to stop in at school yesterday afternoon to put up the fabric on my bulletin boards (walls).  Last year, someone at my school discovered that WalMart was selling fabric, precut in the size we need for the big divider walls in our school.  I already had paper up by that time, so I didn't really think much of it. Here is a picture of the back wall of my room, taken yesterday, before I put the fabric on.

There are eight panels, connected in pairs.  I have the side of the wall with the hinges.  As long as I don't cover over the metal edges without the hinges, the doors can be opened and folded together.  But can I be honest?  We haven't ever had to open the wall for first graders.  We are all self-contained classrooms, so the need hasn't arisen.  We share a common area outside our doors that has tables and chairs, and if we need to meet as a grade (all 100 kids), we move the tables out and have the kids sit there.  So anyway, this summer I got fabric to cover these panels at WalMart.  

These panels are slightly wider than my boards, so I started on the outer edge, and pulled the fabric until it was smooth.  I used a regular stapler.  No special tools required.  Because the fabric was a bit wider than I needed, I was able to pull it across the hinges, hiding them from sight.  I'm pretty happy about that, because I want two panels to make one big board.  Here... take a look at what I mean:

Instead of 8 skinny boards, it looks like four wide boards.  I'm so pleased!  It didn't even take me an hour to put all of these up!  Thank goodness for my height.  I just climbed from a chair onto a desk and that was that!  I called a couple of my teacher friends to say, "I am NEVER using paper again!"  Really!

Monday, July 22, 2013

It's Never Too Late!

It's true!  I didn't even know there were awesome teachers out there sharing their fab ideas with others until this last winter!  And no, I don't live under a rock.  I've just never been tech savvy.  Well, anyway, I'm into it now, and I have a lot of catching up to do!

Last night I made myself a teacher toolbox.  The box is from Home Depot, the craft paper is from Michael's, and the labels are from a great post by Rebecca Rojas TWO YEARS AGO.  You can see her post HERE.  I can't wait to empty my top two desk drawers!  They have cute divider bins in them, but I usually just toss things in together.  I always feel so rushed for time.  One of the things I'm most excited about is separating big and small paper clips.  It's the little things, people!


Anyway, I am quite tall, and bending over to open my desk drawers every five minutes will NOT be missed.  This year I put my desk in front of my windows, looking out into the room.  I know this box will fit perfectly on the windowsill behind me.  I never sit at my desk during the day, anyway.  I left two little drawers unmarked, and I plan to decide on those when I get the box to school.

This afternoon I'm off to my classroom to put up the fabric I bought at WalMart.  I'm also needing to measure the height of my kidney table.  I picked up six old bar stools for $30 total (thank you Craig's List).  I need to know how short my husband should cut the wooden legs for my students.

Being a tall teacher with such young students is tricky.  If I put the table too low, my knees won't fit under it.  You know what would be cool?  Getting one of these for myself...
A kneeling chair!

It would lower my knees, and I'm always leaning over to get closer to the kiddos, anyway.  Does anyone have any experience with one of these?  I'd love to hear your thoughts!  I worry about trying to get up and falling on my face.  YIKES!  

That reminds me of a funny anecdote I read  in an education magazine a few years back.  A second grade teacher was sitting on a bar stool at the front of her classroom, reading aloud.  Without warning, the stool gave a loud crack and broke.  Of course, the teacher fell to the floor.  As she lay there for a moment with her eyes shut, not believing what had just happened, she heard one of her students whisper to a friend, "I think she's dead!" 

Kids say the funniest things!

Sunday, July 21, 2013

A spoonful of BACON helps the broccoli go down...

We're going to my sister's in Milwaukee for a cookout today.  My parents will be there, too.  Sissy asked me to make this "salad" that she's been wanting.  We just call it broccoli salad.  It's made with raw broccoli, red onion, crumbled bacon, and shredded cheddar (hey, this is Wisconsin, people).  The dressing is mayo, cider vinegar, and lots of cracked pepper.
Broccoli Salad

Neither of my kids will eat raw broccoli.  Too bad for them, 'cuz this is soooooooo yumm-O!  Even with the bacon, they won't try it.  My daughter (11) said, "Why waste bacon on a salad?" And once in the McD's drive through, my son (16) said, "Do you think they'll give me couple pieces of bacon for 50 cents?" Yeah, ...NO!

So, daughter ate a slice of BACON plain (no salad) and son made a mega-sammy with ham, salami, and BACON to take to work this afternoon.  Oh well, more salad for us!

Here's the recipe:

4 cups broccoli tips, cut small
1/3 C mayo, mixed with 1 tsp cider vinegar and cracked pepper to taste 

Toss broccoli in dressing.  (Important to toss broccoli BEFORE adding additional ingredients or cheese and onion will clump.  Ew.)

Then add:
1/2 C shredded cheddar
1 Tbs finely chopped red onion
4 slices of thick bacon, cooked crisp and crumbled

Toss and serve.

Happy Sunday!

Friday, July 19, 2013

Wally Online Order Info....oh, look at those great books!

Hey, I have to admit, I got a little distracted with my post yesterday.  It ended up being more about the books than about how easy it is to order them from Wally.  What I SHOULD have shared was that when you order online from them, they send you an e-mail when your order ships to the store and another one when the order is available for pick up at the store.

Here's a tip... only the person whose name is on the order can pick it up.  The first time I ordered, I did it under my husband's name, as he already had an online ordering account with them, and I didn't see a need to make one for myself.  So, I show up at the store, and they won't let me have MY SMOOTHIE MAKER, because HIS name is on the order, not mine.  So, before that happens to you, make sure you put both your names on the account.  Even though I'm a "Catherine," I changed the name on the account to "Jim and Cathy" (as a first name).  So now either one of us can pick up any order we submit. (You can also add an alternate pick up name.)  When I picked up my book order, the Wally associate actually complimented me, "Both names, very smart."  Well, thank you!

Another tip... you have to print out the e-mail that says your order is ready for pick up and TAKE IT WITH YOU!  I usually just print the first page, as it usually has all the necessary info on it.  When you enter the service department, look for a big sign overhead that says "Order Pickup."  DO NOT stand in the line with all the returns!  Yikes!  You could be there forever, just to find out you're in the wrong line.  If there is no one at the order pick up counter, there will be something there to notify an employee of your presence.  I think you push a button on the credit card slider (what's that thing called, anyway?).  Someone will come and help you.  They'll get your order in the back and then open it so you can see everything.  If you decide not to keep something in your order, they will refund your credit card on the spot.  In my recent book order, I accidentally ordered two of the book by Stuart J. Murphy, so I only kept one, and later that day I got an e-mail from Wally showing that the money was refunded to my credit card.  Nice.

So, there you go.  All the information I wanted to share about ordering from Wally.  I just got so excited (and distracted) about the great books!

Thursday, July 18, 2013

Ordering Books at Wally Online

I've really enjoyed getting to see new books that other teachers are using in their classrooms.  Usually, during the school year, I'll check Scholastic book clubs first, to see if they offer what I'm looking for.  Hey, any time I can use my bonus points is a good time!  Some of the books I've seen posted about this summer would have been perfect to share with my previous classes!  So, each time another teacher blogged about a great book, and I thought I wanted it, I added it to a list I keep in my "summer ideas for school" notebook.  When I finally had quite a number of them listed, I check out Scholastic, but they didn't have what I was looking for.  I know a lot of people who are HUGE Amazon shoppers, but I've never really been one, so I turned to... you guessed it, "Wally!"

I have had so many good experiences ordering from them online and using "ship to store."  I need to save money whenever and wherever I can, so free shipping is a must.  And who doesn't stop into Wally at least every other week?  Every week?  I suppose it depends on how close the nearest one is.  So, what I LOVE to do is put every book I want in my cart.  Then I see my total.  And then I start eliminating books based on the following criteria:

1.  It just looks really cute.
2.  It's not really a topic I teach about.
3.  I don't know how I'd fit it in.
4.  My class probably will not like it.

And then I order what's left in my cart.  Unfortunately, they didn't have a couple of the titles I was looking for, but still, seven books for about $40.  I think that's pretty reasonable.  Here are the books I chose to use with my math curriculum:

Don't you just love Stuart J. Murphy books?  I'd love to have more, so I bought this one about grouping in tens and ones.  Also, I'm surprised every year by one or two kids who can't master the even/odd numbers. I'm hoping that the characters of Even Steven and Odd Todd will help. On of my first grade team mates and I are going to try to read  math picture books at least three times each week.

Other books that I just had to have include:

I can't believe that I've taught for 15 years, seven of them in first grade, and I have NEVER owned a copy of Where the Wild Things Are?  Unbelievable.  Well, I have it now.  The other four books will help in teaching my class about expectations in first grade.  You might own and use some of these in your classroom already.

Do you know this book?

Hunter's Best Friend at School has been a favorite of mine for several years.  In this book, Hunter and Stripe are best friends.  They do EVERYTHING together, and most things the same.  Except that Stripe is naughty at school.  And he gets Hunter to be naughty, too.  Hunter feels terrible and talks it over with his mom. She suggests that Hunter doesn't have to do everything like Stripe.  Maybe Hunter should try to get Stripe to do what he does, which is behaving.  I bet you can guess how it ends.

Isn't it fun getting ready to go back to school with new ideas?  It's a fresh start every September.  I love it!

Saturday, June 29, 2013

Three Days, Four Dollar Trees!

As all you teachers know, the Dollar Tree is a great place to shop for school.  Well, I've been to four different Dollar Trees since Thursday!  On that day, I took my kids to visit my parents.  My folks live an hour northwest of my home, so we met up at a Culver's halfway between.  We talked, laughed, ate hamburgers, waited out a rainstorm, and then the kids and I headed back home, except that we passed a Dollar Tree before we got very far, and since there was a GameStop in the strip mall, my sixteen-year-old son was interested in stopping too.

I knew I wanted to get some type of big container for my "tables" (four desks pushed together) of students to put their scraps in, so I headed straight to the plastic container department.  I had seen another blog (can't remember/find it) where the kids used them... BRILLIANT!  I'm always teaching to the last minute of the day, and sometimes there is just NO TIME to pick up our cutting scraps.  My first year in first grade, the young man who cleaned my classroom for the district actually complained to his supervisor about me.  (Apparently it's the teacher's responsibility to pick up anything too big for the vacuum cleaner.)  OOPS!

Anyway, back to the plastic container department at the Dollar Tree:  So many colors!  So many shapes!  So many sizes!  I stood there FOREVER!  Here is what I finally decided on:

One set per table for projects that require cutting!

I also found these (4 in a pack) for our Top Dog classroom:
One per student to jot down ideas for writing.

My district follows Columbia Teachers College Reading and Writing Project, and they recommend a small notebook to jot down ideas for writing "small moments."  These will get passed out in October with a note to the parents explaining how I taught the students to use them.  They are kept in the students' guided reading bag that goes home every night.  That way, they go to and from school daily but can't fall out.  Putting them in folders did NOT work for me.

I got these three sets (8 per set) of cards, plus the set with the pug (that set is at school already).
I'm going to use them for birthday cards to my students.

I love dogs, which you may not have known, and the first dog my husband and I got as a married couple was a sweet puggy-wug named Peanut.  She was my baby!  She lived 13 glorious years.  Now we have two chihuahua rescue mutts.  What can I say?  My lap was cold without a dog, and the kids are WAY too big!  

Shammy and Trixie are VERY SMART!

Yes, I got more at the Dollar Tree!  You KNOW I did!  I also picked up four of these supply caddies for the "table" groups to share.
Why only four?  That's ALL I could find in this color! :(

If you have suggestions for how to use these for pencils, markers, crayons, glue sticks, etc., I'm all ears!  I was planning to label the students' supplies with their names and use this for storage, so kids aren't always digging in their desks.  See, at my school, one of the required school supplies EVERY YEAR is a clear plastic shoe box to keep art supplies neat in desks AND to carry art supplies to the art room once a week for instruction with our art teacher.  So usually the art box lid is UNDER the box, in the desk, and the kids can just lift the lid of the desk to reach in to grab what they need.  But there's a problem.  Some kids don't put things back in the box.  They just toss it into the desk.  I thought having a shared caddy out might prevent that.  Then when it's time for art, they will just pull their bag of crayons, colored pencils, markers, scissors, and glue stick out and put them in their clear shoe box to walk to art.  Does that sound silly?  It's only once a week, so I think it might be worth it.

For our school-wide theme of "Out of This World!" I found these, which have five of each shape in one package, which means 15 for $1.00.  You know what?  That deal is "Out of This World!"
Space-theme bulletin board decorations!

So, why did I visit four stores in three days?  Because when I got home with my "loot," I was showing my husband (yes, I know he won't be excited, but he loves me, so he looks and smiles), when I took the stack of six bowls apart and found that one of the bowls in the stack was cracked along the entire bottom!  Boo! Hoo!  Remember, this haul was from the Dollar Tree 30 miles away, on the way home from seeing my parents.  Should I drive 60 miles round trip to exchange a one dollar bowl?  No, there are tons of Dollar Trees in southeastern Wisconsin.  I'll just go to the one near my house and exchange it.  Except they didn't even carry those bowls.  In any color.  What now?  Wait until Saturday and stop at another one near the dermatologist's office after my daughter's appointment.  They didn't have them either.  OK, not a problem, we'll scoot off the highway on the way home and check another Dollar Tree.  NONE.  That makes four stores in three days, and I still need another bowl and two more caddies.  School doesn't start until September 1st around here.  Lots of time, lots of road trips, lots of Dollar Trees yet to be shopped.  Am I worried?  Goodness, no!

Have a great weekend!

Thursday, June 27, 2013

Word Wall Words

I've got several projects to work on this summer, and yesterday I took a look at the words I put on my word wall.  It seems that each year, I change how I choose them and use them.  For the last few years, I've been using the first 100 words on the Fry list of the most used words in writing.  The first year I used them, I organized them from shortest to longest, and introduced five words each week.  Last year my team and I decided to introduce the words in their order on the Fry list, most commonly used first, still in groups of five. We wanted all four of our classrooms have the same five words each week, as our classrooms often share twins.

Another issue, what to call these words?  We've been calling them NO EXCUSE words, with the thought that there is no excuse for spelling them wrong in your writing after learning them.  But, I know some teachers call them SNAP words, because you should be able to write them in a snap.  I think calling them No Excuse words is a bit negative, kind of harsh.  Snap words sounds positive and upbeat, so I'm going to ask my team if they'd be willing to rename them.

This year I'd like to go back to introducing the words from short to long, so that in the fall the kids are working on two-letter words with similar vowels, like in, it, if, is, instead of the, of, and, which are in the first five on the Fry list.   I have a set of word wall words that I bought as a set, and I keep them in an alphabetical accordion file.  I hate looking through all the words in each section for the five words for the week.  This year I'm going to buy a stack of 100 neon 3x5 cards and write them (with a wide sharpie marker in black) each week.  It will be SO MUCH  FASTER!  And since my word wall will be backed with black fabric, I think the words will really pop.

So I've rearranged the 100 words and made some word changes.  I took off the following words: number, water, oil, words, into, can, called.  I added:  me, should, why, house, friend, second, teacher, bus. 

Click here to view this google doc.

How do you choose word wall words?


Tuesday, June 25, 2013

New on Bloglovin'

Hi all,

Bloglovin' tells me to put this in a new post to claim my blog on their site.  Since I'm such a newbie, I'm just going to give it a try.  Here goes:

<a href="">Follow my blog with Bloglovin</a>



Hi everyone!  I am a first grade teacher from Wisconsin, and I've created this blog to share what's happening in my classroom with my teaching pals and bloggy buddies!  I have taught for over fifteen years, starting out in middle grades, where I thought fifth grade couldn't be beat, and then in first grade for the last seven years, where I have more fun than should be allowed :).   I was fortunate enough to take a seven year break when I became a mother.  Well, actually when my first child turned one, I took a one year leave of absence, and after that, resigned.   I have two children, a son who is 16 and a daughter who is eleven.  They are almost five years apart (both their bdays are in April).  I went back to work when my daughter was three and my husband's job was eliminated.  He became Mr. Mom for a year, and then began working part-time, which he still does.  Meanwhile, I got a job in fifth grade... for ONE year.   Then they needed me to move to first grade.  I was a bit nervous, but with my reading teacher's license, thought I could handle it.  Ha Ha!  And my principal said I could go back to fifth if I didn't like it.  So, I said I'd do it.

Well, I thought I'd die those first few months.  After fifth grade, it seemed like first graders couldn't do ANYTHING alone!  I don't think I really liked it until after Halloween, when they were becoming a bit more independent.  By January, I was hooked.  I laughed ALL THE TIME at the funny things they said and did.  And the hugs, let me tell you, the hugs are unbeatable!

Our school's mascot is the husky.  Last year, to help our introduction to PBIS, our PBIS team created a superhero husky named "Top Dog."  Hence the name of this blog.  Our phy ed teacher, a young man adored by all 500+ kids at our school, wore a headband with gray husky ears, a blue felt mask over his eyes, a blue cape with a red letter T on the back (electrical tape), and another T on his t-shirt.  The team made awesome videos to share with students about how Top Dog keeps his cubby neat and organized, uses a quiet voice in the bathroom, picks up his garbage in the lunchroom, raises his hand in class, etc.  You get the idea.  So this year I am going to do a lot of Top Dog work on my classroom.  I think the kids will love it!