Sunday, September 21, 2014

What's happening in my classroom

It has been forever since I've blogged. I have had a hard time this year getting into a groove and remembering to take some pictures so I have something to blog about. I keep meaning to link up with Five for Friday but by the end of the week I only have a couple of pictures. So I'm going to share all the pictures I've taken and give you a little update about my class. I have 22 first graders which is more than I've ever had in first grade. There were rumors that we might get a co-teacher in first grade but our numbers didn't quite grow enough for that. So one day I got 3 new students. It was challenging to have that many new students at one time. I think we're finally getting into a groove. Of course last time I thought that, then we added our formal RTI and things had to start over again. We've had a hard time getting into an independent routine. I know that is normal for the beginning of the year but I loop with kids so 16 of my students were with me last year. But I think we're getting there.
We finally have read to self up and going. It took a while to figure out a good schedule. But we read at the end of the day and it is my favorite part of the day. I love seeing the kids engaged in reading.

I love all the great cute things I find on Tpt but sometimes simple things are the best. A few weeks ago we were working on nouns. I gave each kid a half a sheet of white paper cut longwise. I had them fold it twice so they had 4 sections in their paper. They had to draw and label a person, place, thing, and animal. 
This week I did the same thing but they had to pick four spelling words, write them and illustrate them.
There are so many ways you can use this simple idea. They could write first, next, then, and last for stories and books. You could gave them write four facts on the paper about a topic on science or social studies. The ideas are endless. 
Another simple idea but not cute we did this week was in math. We have been working on decomposing numbers and getting ready for addition. I used KinderKraze's decomposing pack the week before and it was great but I didn't have time this week to get it ready. So I took large copy paper and wrote blank addition sentences for the number 9. The kids worked with a partner and used two sided counters to come up with all the ways to make 9. I was proud of how well they worked together. 

Our unit in a Reading this past week was all about neighborhoods which tied in pretty well with our upcoming field trip to Cade's Cove to talk about communities in the past. The kids came up with a list of places in our community and then picked one to draw. I gave them a piece of white paper they had to fill up and use labels. Some of the kids worked on their own and some worked as partners. Two boys wanted to makes the streets. So they cut up white paper and glued it down on butcher paper. Overall they did a great job even though it wasn't to scale of our town. I meant to take a picture but forgot. Maybe I'll add a picture tomorrow. 
So that is a little peek into what we've been doing. Centers are finally starting to run fairly smoothly. I have to work with a group for RTI during this time and haven't been able to take pictures. Maybe this week I'll have a little time. I'm headed into week 26 of my pregnancy and things are going well. My legs and feet have been swelling and I'm exhausted. Here's my week 24 bump picture.

Today we bought this cute dress for my little one. She's not suppose to be here until after Christmas but you just never know. I found this perfect dress at Osh Kosh so of she comes early it is a little Christmassy but not too much.

I have posted a couple of things to my tpt store recently you might want to check out. One is Math task cards for comparing numbers with everyone's favorite groovey  cat.  Check it out here! 
The next is reading fluency homework for first grade that correlates with Journeys reading series. It practices spelling words, high frequency words, and fluency. It works on the first 15 lessons.Check it out here!
Check it out here!
It is what I use for homework and I think it helps a ton with their fluency. 
Until next time, whenever that might be! 

Tuesday, August 12, 2014

Meet the Teacher Linky

I am joining the party over at Falling into First for a little Meet the teacher. Today is my last day before school officially starts and I'm waiting on the Air conditioner people to come fix our AC so I thought why not get a few things done on the computer.
I know I shared this picture on Friday, but it's my current favorite picture of me and my hubby.
I'm Kerri and I'm 33. I've been married for 2 years to Chris and we're expecting our first child in December. A little girl. I've entering my 11th year teaching, which I just can't believe. I taught 3 years as a 3rd grade self contained ELL teacher and loved every minute of it. But I missed my family and moved back to the mountains of East Tennessee. I've been at the same school I went to 7th and 8th grade for the past 7 years looping with kindergarten and first. I love my school I teach at. It is unique in so many ways. We're right downtown in a tourist town and we have a wide variety of students. My class the past few years has been over 1/3 ELL students and we have a variety of socioeconomic status. We also have a unique relationship with the Great Smoky Mountains National Park and my kids get to go on a park field trip 3 times a year.

A few of my favorite things . . .
God, church, family especially my nieces, friends, reading, books, my local library, coffee, teaching, walking in the woods, the beach

 If you weren't a teacher, what would you be . . .
a librarian (although that might be the same)

3 little words that describe you . . .
driven, loving, loyal

Finish this sentence "_________ said no teacher ever!!"
Sure, I'd love to give a test the first week of school.

It's your birthday and you can invite anyone dead or alive. Who would it be?
Chris's mom. She passed away before his senior year and I never knew her. I wish I did. My famous person I would invite is Agatha Christie. Love her writing!

If someone wrote a book about your live, what would the title be?
Life at Full Circle - I feel like my life has come full circle to some extent. I live in the town I went to high school in and am married to a friend from high school. I teach at the school I went to.

You get to pick a Superpower, what is it?
You think I would have this figured out. My hubby is a Geek and we have lots of superhero discussions. I sometimes feel like Penny, from Big Bang Theory. In fact, I found myself explaining something about Marvel, X-men, and Spiderman and their movies to these college kids in front of us in the movie theater. It was definitely a moment. I think I would like to be able to transport myself other places. I'm kind of borrowing from Harry Potter here. I have always wished I could apparate.

Favorite Quote or Saying:
I used to collect quotes in a journal which I'm sure I have somewhere. But now I collect quotes on Pinterest. So here a few of my faves. 

If you had to sing one song on American Idol, what would it be?
No one would want me to sing on American Idol. I sing terrible. It would probably be something like "The Wheels on the Bus" or something like that. 

Morning Person or Night Owl . . .
Morning person - I get tired in the afternoon and evening. Especially since I've been pregnant. I just can't do much in the evening

Favorite Resource on TPT . . . 
It would have to be my Weekly Fluency Homework. This was a labor of love and I firmly believe in fluency practice for homework.  

Something that you might not know about me . . . 
I have no idea what to share here. I think a lot about starting my own school or mother's day out program. It is a thought I have that I continue to do what I love and have flexibility to be with my kiddo. I love teaching but it isn't something that lends itself that well to part time. 

So that's all about me. Be sure to head over to Falling into First and check the party out.

Friday, July 18, 2014

Five For Friday

Well I set a goal for myself to blog three times a week and this week I just haven't done well with that goal. I'm not even sure what I've been doing this week. Oh yeah! Getting ready for VBS.
I can always count on the Five for Friday linky party at Doodle Bugs Teaching to get a blog post in.
So here's what I've been up to this week.

1. My sister has been working part time since she had my youngest niece, so this summer I've been taking advantage of that and spending Tuesday with my sis and my girls. These two are a mess. Soph is pretty interested in my belly and what is growing in it. She is convinced it is a girl and wants to name her Flower or Rose. Ck has been growing so much this summer. She's five months old and is trying so hard to crawl but instead looks like she's swimming.

2. Vacation Bible School starts on Sunday at my church. We don't do things like other churches and buy a kit for VBS. My pastor and hubby work together to come up with a theme and then Chris writes skits for each night. This year it is all about Sci-Fi with a Doctor Who flair. Monday and Tuesday we worked on decorating our Sunday School room to do some taping for the skits. This is my handiwork, covering the robot in aluminum foil. Chris is trying the costume on. VBS should be a lot of fun. I'm working with crafts so I've been busy with the other group members to get all our crafts together. All I can say is thank goodness for Pinterest. 

3. Our reading outreach program with our public library is going really well this summer. We started with 10 kids the first week and this past week which was our fourth week, we had 20 kids. It has been amazing. I'm am so proud that our local library lets us take books out in the community and allows kids to check them out. I'm also so proud of how the teachers I work with are willing to give up time in their summer to read with the kids.  This little girl is 3 or 4 years old and she has been so interesting to watch. 

 4. I finally finished a Teachers Pay Teacher project for the summer.  If you've been following my blog for a while, you know that I loop. Last year I was in kindergarten and we adopted the Journeys reading series. I created materials to use with it for homework and word work. So this summer the plan was to create what I needed for First grade. So far, I've been slow going. But I did get this big project done. It has activities for each lesson and every sight word in the series. You can check it out on TPT here. 

5. I finally finished a project I brought home over Thanksgiving break. Organizing my Kindergarten Journeys materials and my letter work into notebooks. But it didn't happen. I just kept adding to the crate until it was a crazy mess. I finally started the project this past week. I organized all the papers and then this week I put all my Journeys Kindergarten stuff in a notebook. It is organized by lessons with homework and sight word work. I don't have a cute cover for it or anything but I need to!
So that's what I've been up to this week. I've got to get my rear in gear and get some things done today. Like starting on my homework pack for next year and finishing up the bookshelves I was organizing in the soon to be nursery. Be sure to head over to Doodle Bugs Teaching and check out the rest of the party.

Tuesday, July 8, 2014

What I've been reading

It has been a couple of weeks since I've shared what I've been reading. Since I've been home from the beach I haven't read quite as much. But I still have a few books to share with you. I'm linking up with Deanna Jump's We love books linky party.

First up is the book The Life List. This book starts with the main character's mother passing away. Brett goes to the reading of her mother's will thinking she's going to be taking over the family business only to find out that she has to complete a life list she created in middle school.  I got it as a deal of the day on one of the kindle emails I get and it sounded a little cheesy but an easy read. But I was surprised to find that it was a heart warming story and I was very invested in the main character, Brett.

Next up is another Agatha Christie. I've talked before about how much I love mysteries. Agatha Christie's are by far the best. No gore but a good puzzle. I am trying to clean my bookshelf off and read books that I have on it. So I picked up the Body in the Library. It is a Miss Marple mystery. Her friend has a body found in the library and they don't know who the pretty girl is. So Miss Marple makes it her mission to solve the mystery. 

In an effort to clean off my shelf, I found the book The Last Original Wife by Dorthea Benton Frank. I love her books. They are all set in the Lowcountry of South Carolina. The main character, Leslie, is the last of her group of friends who is still married to her husband. This is the story of the end of the marriage really. It is told by both her perspective and her husband's perspective. I liked that. It made for a little different story. 

My current read is Voyager by Diana Gabaldon. It is the third book in the Outlander series. It continues the story of Jamie and Claire across different times. Claire and her daughter are trying to find out what happened to Jamie after the bloody battle of the Jacobite uprising. This is another story told by different perspectives. So far, I'm loving it. But I'm hooked on Claire and Jamie's love story.

So that's what I've been reading and am reading. What are you reading right now? I would love to hear about it and get some new books for my ongoing list. Be sure to check out the linky party for some good children's books. 

Sunday, July 6, 2014

Sunday Smorgasbord plus a Journeys Freebie!

So I was going to link up with Doodle Bugs Teaching but I just didn't get my act together. I went to see Chris and the boy scouts on the fourth and then got back kind of late in the afternoon yesterday. So I thought I would like up with Fabulous in First for her Sunday Smorgasbord party.

So I really didn't get all the things I wanted to get done this past week done at all. I haven't even started on the nursery yet. But I did have a good week with my family and friends. So this week it is on. I have to get busy on the guest room or I won't get it done before school starts. And we all know once school starts it is going to be hard to do the clean out I want to do. My sister in law was talking about having a yard sale next weekend so I'm hoping that's the motivation I need. This is what I'm working with:
I need all this stuff cleaned out and whatever can go somewhere else or I can get rid of I need to do it. (I kind of can't believe I'm sharing this on my blog. So embarrassing how bad it is) Be sure to ask me how it is going. Maybe that will keep me motivated and accountable.
I did finally sit down and work on a couple of things for school. Nothing earth shattering but what I needed to get done before I could move on to my homework. I took all the teacher's editions of the first grade Journeys series and put together an outline for me and my team to help us with planning. I don't have that to share because there are similar things my blogging friends have come up with to sell. But I do have the sight word list for you. Last summer I made some sight word sheets for Journeys Kindergarten to help you with planning and assessment. I finished the one for first grade. I put this sheet in my students' notebooks at the beginning of the year and then parents had the sight words for the whole year. For kindergarten, I was able to fit all the words on one sheet. First grade, it takes two. These sight word list are for the Common Core aligned version of Journeys that was adopted in our county last school year. I think it is the 2014 version. So that is why it might seem like there are a lot more words in kindergarten. I promise I didn't add any words to the list!

It isn't much accomplished on my to do list but it's a start and it makes me feel better. This week I've got to tackle the homework pack. I want to have that ready before school starts too. Last summer, I did the first half of the year in the summer and the the second half when I needed it. This summer I really need to get them both done. Since I'll be on maternity leave the spring semester. So I might just have to hole myself up with the computer rather than having so much fun everyday. 

There is one thing I have to make time for and that's the reading program I'm part of with our local public library. We have partnered up with a local church and we bring the books to the church and the church runs a van to pick up kids. The kids are part of our ELL population in the county. We had 14 kids this past week and 6 volunteers. The volunteers read with the kids or listen to the kids read. Then those kids who have brought back the form, can check out books. We haven't had a ton of success with getting the forms back but we do have 3 kids checking out books. It is pretty exciting stuff. My partner in crime, Cassie and I are on the local library board so we're really representing the library but using our connections as teachers to make the program happen. All of our volunteers were either teachers or parents we know through our school. Our librarian suggested this week we submit this to a conference in the Fall which is kind of exciting. Here are the kids listening to a read aloud. We were trying to engage all the kids in it. 

It is so much fun to be a part of this program and to get to read with kids one on one. I love it!

So that's my randomness for the week! I have plans to be back tomorrow with a Monday Made it! I would love to hear about how your summer projects are going! I hope they are going better than mine! 
Be sure to head over to Fabulous in First and check out the rest of the party!

Thursday, June 26, 2014

Lovin Summer and Creative Teaching Press!

I am loving summer! This week is the first week that I've really felt like I was on Summer break. At least the day to day summer break where I'm home. We have been out of school for about 3 weeks and starting this past Saturday was the first time, I've really been home. Monday was such a great day. I had my quiet time in the morning, went for a bike ride, ran a few errands, cleaned my kitchen really good, had lunch with some friends, met a friend for coffee, and then even fixed dinner. It was wonderful. Who knew that things like cleaning something really well and fixing dinner would make me so happy. Part of it is that I'm actually feeling pretty good. The first trimester was pretty rough for me. I think I only cooked once or twice the whole time. So needless to say, Chris is pretty happy I'm feeling better. The rest of the week has been pretty great too. It is just nice to have time to do things.  I saw this pin on pinterest today and thought it was perfect for how I was feeling.
Someone happened to mention yesterday how many weeks were left of summer. I won't speak of it here because it was unwelcome conversation. I still have a lot I want to accomplish. Mainly I need to get everything out of our guest room so we can turn it into a nursery. It is no small job. But I want at least that much done before school starts because once school starts it is going to be hard to do it.
So my brain hasn't really been on school this summer but I got this amazing package from Creative Teaching Products on Tuesday. (It was my birthday and that was a great surprise.)
Here is a snapshot of what I was sent. It has got me thinking about what I want to do with it all.
I am pretty excited bout these library pockets in chevron. There are large and small ones. I am not sure what I'm going to do with the large ones. They are 6" by 9". But the small ones, I think I'm going to use them for the kids to pick their daily 5/literacy centers for the day. What I'm envision is putting the choices on the pocket and then they can use popsicle sticks to make their choice. I haven't quite figured out what choices I want the kids to have yet. I loop with my kids and last year we did literacy centers but usually in first grade, I do a little more Daily 5. I do know I want to give the kids some choice.

I'm also loving these welcome postcards. I plan on writing notes to my students and either mailing them or leaving them on their desks when we have registration day. The nameplates are pretty self explanatory. We can't get in our classrooms until the first Monday in August and school starts on the 15th so I'm a little nervous about that. This is the first year I won't be able to start working in my room in July. So I'm glad to have this great chevron computer paper to work on welcome letters and other aspects of our notebooks so I can get some things done at home.

These 2 inch and 1 inch chevron stickers are amazing. I will definitely do some crafting with these this summer. I can combine these with the cool chevron posters they sent me. So be looking for a Monday Made it using all these materials. Another task I can do at home while watching Netflix or whatever Chris has picked, is to get all these letters punched out. I'm so excited. They sent my 4 packs of these chevron letters so I can redo all my headers for bulletin boards and update them with chevron. (Four Inch Chevron Letters)
This is the item I think I'm the most excited about. Book Buddy Bags. I am so excited to try these out with my kids. They seem to be made of really heavy plastic and I think they'll be perfect for the kids to keep their Read to Self books in. I think I'll probably make a label with the kids' names on them so I can use them for kids as they come and go. (As we know they will)
They sent me some other great stuff that I'll be using the decoration of my room.
Birthday Crowns

Jack O' Lantern Jumbo Stencil border

Birthday Mini Bulletin Board Set

Poppin Patterns Pennant Border
Mini Hexagon Border

I'm really excited to update my birthday board. I've had the same one up for the past 3 years and it's fine but not as cute as I would like. Updating the borders on my bulletin boards will be fun too. I love all the bright colors.
I might be a little biased because I've really enjoyed being an exclusive blogger for Creative Teaching Press and they are great to work with. But check out their stuff for back to school! I would love to hear what you would do with some of the products that I received. Like the letter stickers, large library pockets and borders. I'm starting to think a little bit about school. Although, I don't know what I'm going to do with all this stuff until I can bring it to school. My usual dumping ground is the guest room I need to clean out. I better get off this computer and get my bike ride in. Today my friend Cassie and I start our library/reading program. I'm so excited about it. What do you love most about summer?