Saturday, September 29, 2012

Long Time No See

So I finally finished up jury duty on Friday at about 5:30 pm. I've never been so glad to see a weekend come in my life. I knew I was going to be out on Wednesday and I guess in the back of my head I knew there was a possibility I'd be out on Thursday. But I didn't really believe it. I didn't think I would get picked for this jury for a variety of reasons. One being I just didn't think it would happen. The other reasons having to do with the fact that the incident that the case was about happened in my small town in the county and I personally know one of the police officers that was a witness in the case. Like he's our resource officer at school and I've worked with him for going on 6 years now. I told all these things to the lawyers. I even told the defense attorney I trusted the police officer to take care of me and my students and was still placed on this jury. So I missed Thursday too. This case was so slow. I don't know if all cases are like this because my only experience with legal proceedings is all the crime shows I watch on tv and they are all wrapped up in an hour. So by Thursday afternoon it looked like I was going to miss Friday too. I was so upset. We were going on a hayride on our first field trip of the year and I really didn't want to miss it. But too bad for me, I had to miss it. I've heard through my assistant and other teachers that my kids were really good the three days I was out but they missed me a lot. Well Friday afternoon, I got an email from one of my sweet girls' dad asking if I was ok because she missed me so much. I informed them I missed her too and would be back at school on Monday. I had the possibility of being out 3 more days this coming week with jury duty but the clerk said she would excuse me since I had already served on a jury and my kiddos were getting behind.
Now I'm really behind on school work, blogging and creating. I am sitting at our local library now blogging and trying to figure out what I need to do today. My husband is still working on getting us internet at the house at least he better be. Later today we're suppose to have an avengers movie marathon with some friends. We're watching Captain America, Thor and the Avengers. I think they watched Ironman 1 and 2 last night, but we have date night on Fridays. I plan to take my work with me. I think it might embarrass my husband a little that I'm taking my laptop to work on things and he had to ask our friend if he had wireless. But oh well. He's getting use to it.
Anyway, on to something of some kind of usefulness. I've been wanting to link up with the Halloween Picture book party all week. So today is the day.
I love fall. I'm so excited that the leaves are starting to change and that there is a little chill in the air in the mornings and evenings. I've always loved Halloween as well. Up until last year, my school always had a big celebration for Halloween. The kids would wear their costumes and we'd parade through part of downtown Gatlinburg. I'm not exactly sure what changed as to why we don't do this anymore but we don't. It's pretty sad and a lot of the people who work in our downtown are sad about it too. But we still have some Halloween fun at school. Here are some of my favorite books to read:
This is my all time favorite book to read at Halloween. The kids love it and it teaches a great lesson on being different.
This book has great photographs. My kids love seeing the life cycle of a pumpkin through the real pictures. We're huge fans of nonfiction in my room this year. I think this is going to be a class favorite.
We read this one last year and wrote "reports" on bats. It's good one when you can't really celebrate Halloween but want to get in the spirit.
The last book I want to share I can't find a picture of. It is one of my books from when I was a kid so I guess Amazon doesn't have a picture of it. It's Halloween by Jack Prelutsky has great poems that are funny and spooky. It's one of my favorites.
Be sure to check out what other people are reading for Halloween by going to First Grade Found Me and joining the party.

There's a chance I'm going to post again later today about the First Grade Common Core workbook. I can't really decide yet. But I know I'll be back on Monday with a big giveaway to celebrate 500 followers. I've gotten some great things from some fantastic bloggers.

Wednesday, September 26, 2012

Jury duty

I'm sitting in a court room waiting to see if my name is called for jury duty. I'm hoping and praying that my name is not called so I can get back to my class. To pass time I'm attempting to blog on my phone. I can't seem to keep up with everything including blogging lately. I really need to get Internet back at my house. My husband is suppose to be working o.n it.
I've been wanting to blog about things that are working in my class and things that aren't. This is a good time as any.
What is working:
1. Read to self and read to someone is going great. I think my kids are getting better at reading everyday as we practice. I'm probably doing more of a reader's workshop than daily 5. I am loving Kim Adsit's packets on TPT for readers workshop and the things I've learned from Growing Readers.
2. Math work stations are slowly starting to come together. Yesterday it gave me a chance to work with a couple of kids that needed some more practice with what we had been working on.
3. Journal writing is going pretty well in my class. We write every morning as their morning work. I love not having to copy work for them everyday and that they are working on skills they need to work on.
Things that are not working:
1. Writing instruction - I feel like this is an area that I'm not very strong in. I just don't feel like I'm ver good at teaching writing. I am thinking of investing in deedee wills and Deanna jump's writing units. Anyone have any suggestions?
2. Incorporating the whole daily 5. Ihad one week where we got to work on words but this past 2 weeks we haven't ha time. Time management is one of the things not working.
3. Blogging. I haven't had time to blog like I would like. I don't know how to find time for everything. I don't know how moms do it all.
I ended up getting picked to serve o. N the jury so I'm finishing this post up while on a break.
What are things that are working and not working in your class?

Saturday, September 22, 2012

Fall sale!

This post is going to be short since I'm blogging from my phone. I'm not really crazy about blogging from my phone. There has to be a better app for it then just the blogger app.
Anyway, just wanted to let you know I'm throwing a sale at my Tpt store. You can get 20% off on all my store items through the 25th. I'm super excited about the start of fall today so let's celebrate! Plus i'm hoping to meet my goal for my Tpt sales this quarter. I'm hoping to sell 50 items this quarter. I'm about 14 items away.
My second exciting news is that I just reached 500 followers and I'm working on a great giveaway for you! So be sure to check back next week!

Tuesday, September 18, 2012

Tell Me Something Good

I saw this linky party over at Rowdy in First Grade last week and wanted to link up. But after my afternoon yesterday, I decided I needed it. My doctor's appointment didn't go so well about my knee. I have a torn ACL and a torn meniscus, no cartilage left in my knee which is causing arthritis. The short term is actually not that bad. They are just wanting to repair my meniscus which is a minimally invasive surgery. But the long term is not so hot. I'm looking at dealing with knee problems for the rest of my life and no more running for me.
On top of not a great diagnosis, the doctor was kind of rude and and he and Chris kind of had a little argument. So I think we'll be getting a second opinion sometime soon. With all that said, I need to focus on the positive.
Something good at school:
My kids are sounding out or stretching out words like crazy. Some of them it is like things are finally clicking. They are doing a great job building stamina with daily 5. Couldn't be happier with how they are doing.
Something good at home:
I have the best husband. I know I know. I've said it every time I have had the chance. But he really is. He was right with me at the doctor yesterday which I needed. We waited for like 2 hours and he was supportive the whole time. Plus he took me to eat dinner last night because I needed some cheering up. He came up with some alternate goals for me since I can longer have the goal of running a half marathon.
Anyway, I needed to focus on the positive today. Check out Rowdy in First Grade for other positive posts.

Monday, September 17, 2012

Manic Monday Freebie

This is going to be a quick post but I had to share a couple of things. First I'm super excited because I got my materials from my donor's choose project today. I had asked for some non fiction books that were on my students' level.

I can't wait to get them organized and put out for my students to use. My kids love non fiction books and with the adoption of the common core there is push for using more nonfiction books. I'm pretty excited to use these books with my kids.
The second thing I wanted to share is a freebie. I'm getting ready to start with some reading groups this week. We've built up our stamina with read to self and we've been working on stamina in the other areas. I read several posts this summer from other bloggers about using a warm up for reading groups. I have some fry phrases to use but I wanted something a little easier for some of kiddos. I made some sheets that have the phonics patterns we've worked on or are coming up in the unit. (If you use treasures reading series this would be perfect.) The last page is all the popcorn words we've worked on for the unit. I'm hoping that if we practice these, they will become more fluent with these words. Anyway, I wanted to share these with you. If you can use them, please leave me some comment love. I'm really trying to get better about blogging more often. I have my knee appointment today and will find out what my treatment options are. I'm thinking surgery is in my future. The x-ray tech at my doctor's office goes to my church. She told me that my x-rays were crazy. Eeek!
Here's the freebie:

I have linked up with classroom freebies manic Mondays.
Classroom Freebies Manic Monday
Be sure to check out other freebies there!

Friday, September 14, 2012

Math Workstations

So I spent some time this afternoon getting my math workstations set up so we're ready to go on Monday. I'm pretty excited to get this started. I've pre taught almost everything I want them to do. There will be a couple of things I need to go over with them and we need to discuss management. But I think this is going to be great. Here's my list of math workstations I have set up:
1. computer
2. Ipod
3. games
4. Graphing
5. Games
6. Ipod
7. Problem Solving
8. Exploration
I don't have a lot of wall space or board space to display a management board so I plan to use my promethean board to keep track of who goes where. Here's a picture of what that looks like:
I only plan to have them go to one workstation a day for right now. I can move the black rectangles with their names on them each day to show what station they go to.
Here are the ipods. They have a couple of different math games. There is Bugs and Buttons which is good, a math bingo and rocket math. They can choose to play one of those games.
This is the graphing center right now. This activity came straight from Debbie Diller's book. It is called grab and graph objects. I have put a variety of halloween erasers in the bag. They take a handful out and graph them. Then they have some math talk cards to answer questions about the graph that they made.

This is how I have my games stored. There is a different game for each drawer. These are all games that we have played in class already. There will be 2 sets of partners at this station so there are mulitple copies of the games in each drawer. This is the center with the most choice right now.
 This is the problem solving. For right now, students are working on finding ways to make 10. I have a sheet for them to record their findings and 10 counters. I also think I might add some unifix cubes to give them something else to work with.
 This is exploration. They  have a geoboard each and in the purple folder there are different designs for them to make on the geoboard.
I didn't take a picture of the computer because I didn't' see the point. But I'm going to have them play math games at for right now. Eventually I'll add some activities from our math series and other things.
I have partnered the children up with someone who has similar math abilities. I want to be able to pull kids to work on things with them so I thought that would work best. My long term goals with math work stations is to be able to differentiate more and to be able to give them more choice. But I think this will be a good place to start.
Do you use math workstations in you class? How is it going? How do you have it organized?
I'm pretty excited I blogged two days in a row. Right now I guess my goal is to blog at least twice a week. I will hopefully get back up to 4 times a week soon. But my life is too crazy and I no longer have internet at home. Anyway, hope you had a marvelous Friday. I'm so glad it's the weekend. We had early dismissal today due to a rod run in town and the amount of traffic that causes. So I'm all ready for the next week at 4 pm in the afternoon instead of after 5.

Thursday, September 13, 2012

Daily 5 update and questions

This is week  4 of school. It's the first week in about 3 weeks that I've been at school everyday. My life has been way too crazy lately on top of short weeks. We have had testing this week and last week that have disrupted our flow, but we've been working on daily 5 since day 1. I have my same kids from last year and they did really well with read to self. So building up our stamina wasn't too bad at all. We've built up to 20 minutes and I think sometimes we probably go a little longer if I'm reading with a child. But I just haven't gotten my rhythm yet. I'm trying to meet with my students and read with them. I need to be starting on some groups but I can't seem to get it all together. I think I'm not using my time wisely enough yet. I'm not sure what I need to do to get myself organized better. I'm having a couple of issues that I was hoping someone out there in the bloggy world would have some wisdom about.
The first is that my students don't pick out books that are on their level. We've talked about good fit books. We review the concepts before choosing our books. But I can't monitor each of them as they pick books. I redirect them to books that they need to be choosing. I have an issue with making kids read certain books. I want them to choose books they are interested in and want to read as well as books that are on their level. Anyone else having this problem?
We've been practicing read to someone for about a week now. It is not going as well as I would like. I'm having a hard time matching my students up. I don't really want them to pick their own partner because I have some pretty big discrepancies in abilities in the class. I have been encouraging the I read, you read method of read to someone. I was hoping that would help my students that aren't great readers yet be a little more confident if they were listening to someone read first. But then that means pairing up readers who aren't on the same level. Do you pair your students up? Do you do it where they are on the same level or where one is obviously a better reader? Then I have 2 students that won't do what they are suppose to do at all. They won't read with anyone. They just sit there or they argue with their partner. Right now I'm not letting them practice read to someone. They have to just read to self. Anyone else have problems like that?
I think we'll get there. It is just taking more time than I would like. I need some patience. Next week will be good because there won't be any interruptions. No testing and a five day week! Maybe we'll finally get some things done.
I would love to hear how daily 5 is going in your room. Be sure to leave me a comment and let me know.

Monday, September 10, 2012

A peek at my week and a freebie

It has been too long since I've posted. I no longer have internet at my house so it makes my blogging time difficult. I'm hoping my husband is on getting internet at our house again. Life has been kind of crazy lately. I don't think that I've shared on here that I was called for Jury duty. So far I've only had to report one day for orientation. I was suppose to report tomorrow and Wednesday but we're testing so I'm excused. On top of that, I have been having issues with my right knee. It's bothered me off and on since I was in high school after I had a skiing accident. But this past month and half it's been awful. So I went to the doctor and was told I have arthritis in my knee and referred to a specialist. Friday I saw the orthopedic doctor and got some bad news. The arthritis is caused by a torn acl. So I've had a torn acl for the past 15 years. I knew when I had my skiing accident I was hurt but I really didn't think it was that bad and I was scared to tell my parents. I was afraid they wouldn't let me ski. I continued to ski and play soccer throughout high school. Whoops. So now I'm looking at a total knee replacement if I don't correct this problem soon. I have a MRI Wednesday and meet with the doctor again a week from today. So hopefully I'll know more then. Chris is going to go with me since I didn't think of all the questions I needed to ask. Anyway, so that's the craziness that is my life. I really want to get back into sharing what's going on in my classroom so I thought I would share what we're up to this week.
In reading, we're still working on building up stamina for daily 5. We've built up to 20 minutes for read to self and we're holding steady there for a little while. We've slowly been building up stamina for read to someone. I think we're up to 8 minutes. We've also been working on building stamina for working on writing. I'm not sure how I'm feeling about daily 5 so far. I think I'll be more on board once everything is in place. This week I'm introducing some working with word activities. We're going to use magnetic letters, stamping, a game, and a magazine hunt. (These activities can be found in my Words that Pop Up unit) I think that by introducing some of the activities I want them to choose from, it will help us when we start building up stamina. We're also working on incorporating some reader's workshop ideas. I have been enjoying Kim Adsit's Reading workshop units. They have some great lessons in them. This week we're working on some mini-lessons from the book Growing Readers. The kids have brought in their favorite books and we're going to share them and look for things that are the same and things that are different. We're also going to work on sketching our favorite reading memories.We started the reading series last week but in the midst of all our testing we didn't quite finish what we needed to do. So we're continuing with that.
In math, we're working on addition. We've been working on different ways to make numbers so adding in addition sentences isn't too much for them. I'm pretty disappointed in myself though. I haven't been able to get math workstations going yet. We had some introductory time with the manipulatives but that's about as far as I got. I have a few activities that are set up and ready to go but I need to just bite the bullet and finish getting them together. I did make a game that I'm super excited to use this week. It's called paw prints addition scoot. It's a scoot game with three different versions working on addition problems with numbers 0-5. I have it up on my TPT store for $3.00. You should check it out here.
We started some science last week. We just talked about what scientist do and then did the mentos and coke experiment. I was definitely the coolest teacher Thursday afternoon. This week we're talking about what tools scientist use. I plan to use the mystery box to introduce a few of the tools to them. We're also going to be working on using our senses and being scientist. They are going to find something outside to observe and recording their observations on the following sheet. (This is where the freebie comes in)

I'm so excited to be sharing a freebie with you. Maybe this means I'm getting the hang of school again. At least for now. I hope to be back later this week with some more information involving math work stations and a science experiment. So be sure to check back.

Wednesday, September 5, 2012

Currently September

Check me out! Blogging 2 days in a row. Can't believe it. And I even hope to be back later this week with a reading update. Here's an update from yesterdays post, if you downloaded my freebie you  might want to do it again. I had a couple of typos. Thankfully someone was nice enough to let me know. (check it out here.)

Here's a little bit of an explanation. I'm sure everyone thinks their husband is the best. I've only been married 2 and half months so I'm still in the honeymoon newlywed phase. I hope that I don't get out of it anytime soon. I can still smile and Chris won't be mad at me for spending money on school stuff (as long as I keep the receipt). But yesterday he made my class a poster and that's why he's my fave currently.
We were suppose to add words to it yesterday but we ran out of time. Hopefully today we'll have a chance.
Here's my TOMS that I love so much.
Well these aren't actually them but they look just like them. I can't believe how comfortable they are. I'm already thinking about another pair.
This is my B cup that I love. The art teacher (she was also our wedding photographer) gave it to me as a shower gift. I love it because it has B on it and because it helps me to drink my water.
Ok, that's enough about me. Hope you have a great day and be sure to link up with Farley if you haven't yet.

Tuesday, September 4, 2012

Math ideas and freebies

Oh my! I have been absent from blogging for way too long. I've been missing it big time but I just haven't had the time or energy to get a post done. Then this past weekend for the holiday Chris and I went camping. It was so nice to be away from everything for a little while. I thought we wouldn't have cell phone service but we did. So I kept up with some of my blog stalking through an app on my phone. I haven't found an app that I like to actually blog on yet but I do love my app I use for Google reader. It's great. Anyway, I've had lots of ideas for things to blog about so hopefully this week I'll get back into. (Plus there's Farley's currently and I have to participate in that.) We've been in school for about 12 days now. My kids are doing a great job and it's hard for me to not get ahead of myself. We're starting real first grade reading today with spelling and everything. I'm pretty excited to start getting into the nitty gritty of everything. But we also have testing today and tomorrow and then next week. So it's going to be hard to get too much done. Say a prayer for me and my students. We're taking a Discovery Education Assessment this morning on the computer and I have no idea what to expect. We haven't done it on the computer before so it should be interesting. Anyway, this post is suppose to be all about math. I'll be back later this week hopefully with a post about reading and our progress with Daily 5.
Most of my kids seem to have a pretty good handle on identifying their numbers 0-20. There are about 2 or 3 that don't. (Just a reminder, I had my kids last year so we're kind of ahead of the game.) So I decided to start working on decomposing and composing numbers. We started with 5. I had them shake and spill 5 red/yellow counters and then record number sentences. I thought I had modeled this enough but it was a huge disaster. So the next day we did it again. We did it all together and I recorded number sentences on the board. Then I gave them a piece of paper with the number sentence frames written on it and they worked with a partner to come up with the different ways to make 5. This time it went a lot smoother. We've now worked on numbers 5, 6, 7, and 8. This week we're going to finish up with 9 and 10. Each day we review the ways to make the number before. They seem to be internalizing the patterns. I feel like if they can get this then their number sense will be great and they will do awesome with addition.
Here's an example of one of the sheets.
The next step we're working on is math journals focusing on these concepts. Last year, I used Mrs. Wills's math journals for kindergarten and loved them. I haven't found what I want yet for first grade so I've started making my own. I've made a math journal for each number and you can download it free from my Teachers Pay Teachers store. The file says preview because it's a work in progress. I think I might add to it as we go along in math. If you download, please consider following my store and leaving me some feedback. I would love to hear what you think of them. Click above to get to the file. Ok, I better go finish getting ready for the day. Hope you have a fantastic day. What are you doing in math right now?