Thursday, July 19, 2012

For o-FISH-al Teachers Only

I found a neat little item during a recent trip to Walmart that I plan to use for a back to school goodie bag.  It goes perfectly with my plans for my welcome back bulletin board.  I believe the price was under $2 also.  I found it in the cleaning aisle (of all places) hanging on a little tab strip in front of the shelves.  Thought I would share in case anyone else is using the slogan "We are O-FISH-ally in First Grade!". 

Thursday, June 28, 2012


Yay!!! I finally created a grab button for my little blog!!!  I had been looking on line for tutorials on how to accomplish this task, but I couldn't find one that I could understand.  That is until I saw Michelle's tutorial from The 3AM Teacher!  Her PDF file can be downloaded and saved for future reference.  She does a fantastic job of breaking the steps down in a reasonable manner.  The code that seems so daunting is made super simple with her help!  I was able to complete my button within an hour or so.  My lack of ability with Photoshop kinda held me up a bit, but I did it!  So if you need help, please click on the link above and follow her tutorial.  Oh, and please grab my button...I worked soooo hard on it!

Thursday, June 21, 2012

More Labels to Share

Since I shared my Later Gator labels a few days ago, I thought I would share a few more things that I have used the last few years.  Jodi over at Fun in First Grade has been sharing her awesome binder covers for communication folders.  Her great work reminded me about the labels I created for our students' take home folders.  A few years ago during a summer afternoon of surfing the web for great ideas, I came across the idea of MOOSE binders.  I knew instantly I wanted to do one based on our school mascot which is a tiger.  I created an insert page for my fifth grade students at the time and they loved the look.  When I moved to first grade, I knew I had to make the design more appropriate for the little ones.  I have shared both designs below. The other item I am sharing is my label for the students' center work folders.  Again, I used 2X4 label sheets for printing. 

First grade TIGER folder labels (printed on full sheet sticker paper so you get 2 per page)

Fifth grade TIGER binder covers                               Center Work folder labels

Monday, June 18, 2012

Later Gator...a freebie

Wow...time sure flies in the summer!  It is amazing at how fast time goes when you are NOT at work!  I can't believe it has been so long between my posts.  I know I am probably breaking many proper blogging rules of etiquette.  I wish I could say I have been out of town or super busy on summer tasks, but nope...just relaxing! 

Since it has been a while, I thought I would return to blog world with another freebie.  I create labels for all of my students' folders.  I did this for their notebooks too when I taught fifth grade.  I felt it kept things consistent.  In addition to the labels, all of the folders and notebooks HAVE to be the same color for the subject.  I know that is a little over the top, but it is so much easier to say, "Get out your poetry notebook.  It is the green one," with little ones.  Even the bigger students needed the color cue because they were to lazy inconvenienced to read the label! 

Since last year was my big return to first grade (yippee!), I had to consider what folders and notebooks the little ones would need.  My teaching partner mentioned that she had a folder for students to keep unfinished classwork in so that they could come back to it later to finish.  She called it their classwork folder.  Well, that name was just to boring for me, so I came up with the idea of Later Gator folders.  (These had to be green by the way!)  She loved the improved name and stole borrowed the idea for her own folders.  I always tease her about stealing my stuff!  Students really bought into the idea also and loved reminding each other to put incomplete work into their Later Gator folders so they could finish it later. 

Click HERE to get your copy of the labels I made for the folders.  I used the 2X4 labels and the picture is something I found somewhere on the Internet doing an image search. 

Thursday, June 7, 2012

How About a Freebie?

As I have mentioned in earlier posts, I am learning about this world of blogging a little bit at a time.  Today my goal was to figure out how to post a document so others could download it.  I think I found a way with google docs which is now called google drive (?). 

Last year, I piloted the Singapore Math program in first grade.  Our building was doing several pilots in order to determine what program would best meet the needs of our students.  The committee and administration decided to adopt a different program, however I am thankful for the time I spent exploring the Singapore philosophy.  I believe my math instruction has improved due to my work with Singapore, and I plan to use many of the same practices within the framework of our new program.  Because Singapore is very limited in support material for teachers, my teammate and I had to create many things ourselves to use in the classroom.  One of the items I created was Ten Frame Posters to display in the classroom.  The posters have the ten frame, the number, and the number word.  I know that many other math programs are using ten frames as well, so I thought this might be a nice freebie to share. 

Click HERE to download your copy of the Ten Frame Posters.  The last page will have the headers TENS and ONES that I used for a place value t-chart.  Below is an example of how one poster looks.  Each is a full sheet of paper and there are grid lines around the dots on the posters.

Wednesday, June 6, 2012

Daily Five Book Study

It must be my lucky day!  Kelli at Castles and Crayons posted news about a book study for the Daily Five.  I have spent the last week pinning resources and ideas for implementing this method during my guided reading block.  My understanding of the approach is very limited so this book study could not be happening at a better time!  I have already ordered my copy from Amazon.  Click HERE to visit Kelli's blog to find out more details.  Many other awesome bloggers are hosting discussions about each chapter of the book.  I can't wait to hear all of the great ideas.

Tuesday, June 5, 2012

Dollar Tree Finds...Yeah, I'm Already Shopping for Next Year

Yep, I am already keeping my eyes open for any great deals for next school year.  Let's be honest though...I never really STOP looking and shopping for school!  One of my goals is to construct many of the centers and games that I have pinned and downloaded, so I have started to gather some of the materials for that chore. 

These are some pencil cases with a plastic window and lima beans.  I plan to make the idea I pinned that came from here and use it as a word work center.  I will write sight words on the beans and then seal the bag.  As students flip and turn the bag they will search for sight words they can read.  They will highlight the words they can read on an accountability sheet.  Perhaps I will have them highlight the words they find but cannot read with a different color.  The activity could serve as a self-assessment tool in that sense.  The other items may seem a little cube trays and muffin tins...hmmm?  Well, I remember seeing some great ideas about using these items in a center for word work or math.  Put a word family chunk in the bottom of the section and toss a cotton ball.  Students then have to create words for that family.  You could also put numbers and create addition and subtraction sentences.

The next two pictures show the baskets I found.  The Dollar Tree has all kinds of great colors out now with their summer merchandise.  I know, I know, I know....went a little crazy with the baskets!  However, we all know this is what happens when you have an idea of what you want to do, but you are not solid in exactly HOW you want to do it!  Anyway, I had to get them now or they would be gone by the time I figured it all out!  (insert nodding husband here) I believe I will use the larger ones for some type of center storage and the smaller green and blue ones for individual book baskets.

The last two photos show some of the extra things I found.  First I found the dry erase schedule posters I used this year.  I needed to buy them again because I put the other ones on the window sill after they fell and they were totally faded!  We have two different daily schedules (every Wednesday is an early release day for PLCs) so I got two colors to help me remember which is which.  The other shot is of some really cute items for displaying student work.  They were called paper grabbers (or something like that) and they hang on the wall with a student's paper under or beside it.  They had several cute designs so I got a few.  Again....not sure exactly what I NEEDED, so I bought what I liked just to be SAFE!  Besides, there were 15 in a pack and at a dollar a piece you can't beat it!  The last little package in the picture is a set of writing templates to describe a field trip experience. 

Well, I guess that sums it up!  My first of many school-related shopping trips of the summer.  Everything I bought was from the Dollar Tree (except the beans), so I think I got a lot for my money.  I just need to remember to check out this store during the school year when I need odds and ends.