Saturday, August 31, 2013

Five For Friday- First Week of School!!

Whew!!!  The first week is over and I am exhausted!!!!

Our numbers are crazy high this year (which is unfortunately a reoccurring pattern at my school), so I've got 28 firsties squeezed into my room!  The other two general ed teachers are at 27 and 29, but our bilingual teachers are at 18 and 19!!  Soooo jealous!!  We're keeping our fingers crossed for a 6th teacher soon.  I've managed to get some teaching in, even though we don't even fit onto our carpet!  I'm linking up with Kacey from Doodle Bugs Teaching to share some pics from this week!!

Here we go! 
I shared this picture on my facebook page, but this was my mountain of school supplies on the first day of school!  I know a lot of you have wonderful systems for students sorting school supplies at Meet the Teacher, but it's rare that I have more than 2 or 3 families bring supplies to Meet the Teacher.  Most of them bring them on the first or second day of school, and with 28 firsties all piling in between 7:00 and 7:30 am, my hopes of organization flew out the window!  Can you see the green baskets buried under there??  That was my starting point for sorting, but they quickly were hidden by the mountain!  Luckily, I recruited a former student of mine to come help me sort after school!!

We all have our go-to First Week of School books and I know The Kissing Hand is definitely on that list for a lot of teachers!!  We read it and discussed all of our different feelings.  I was so happy when my little friends were raising their hands and telling me that they were feeling "ready" or "awesome" or "super" on the first day of school!  I love the excitement that first graders still have for school!  We picked 5 of those feelings and made a graph of how we each felt- look how excited my class is! 

We jumped right in this week with our math time!  We are integrating new standards this year, since the TEKS are changing next year, so our lesson plans are going to be very different this year!  We started off with ten frames, the concept of "10 and some more" and comparing numbers.  We used this freebie from Jessica Travis and had a lot of fun with it.

Does your school use Kelso's Choices?  Mine does, and while some teachers don't utilize it as much, I LOVE IT!  We always start with discussions about Big Problems vs. Small Problems and make charts and class books about each.  Then we learn about the choices we each can use when trying to solve a Small Problem.  We have a poster in our room and I encourage the students to "take them to the poster" if they have an issue they want to talk about with another student.  It's my go-to response for tattling and I love seeing them working out their problems together.  Here's the link to Kelso if you ever want to check him out!

On Friday, I had a lot of fun activities planned and we almost finished them all!!  We painted ten frames with Q tips (more about that in THIS post), made 'School is Cool' hats and read Chrysanthemum.  After we read Chrysanthemum, we took a few minutes to think about our names.  We talked about the number of letters in our names and went over the difference between vowels and consonants.  We made these pages to hang outside our classroom, each with information about our own names.  (I've been cutting letters off of cereal boxes, pop corn boxes and pizza boxes all summer and even got my teacher friends to save their boxes for me, too!)  A few friends are still missing a few letters, so I'll be cutting more this weekend so we can finish up on Tuesday!!  I've also got the animated version of Chrysanthemum from Weston Woods on United Streaming, and I know they'll love to watch that!  Click here to get the name pages for yourself.

Thanks for staying with me through this long First Week post!  Be sure to link up with Kacey and read all of the other great Five for Friday posts!!  Just click the image below to go to her blog.

(For my pictures, the background images are ©Ashley Hughes and number images are ©Blair Turner Click their names to visit their amazing blogs!)

Keep Teaching and Planning,
Katie :)

Friday, August 23, 2013

Back to School is exciting! (and overwhelming!!)

I just got home from Meet the Teacher and I rewarded myself with an Icee on the way home!  (Hello, my name is Katie and I love Icees!)

I don't know about you, but Meet the Teacher leaves me with mixed emotions sometimes.  On the one hand, it's so exciting to start a new year and meet all the truly adorable kiddos who are coming through my door.  (And I love to get visits from my sweeties from the previous year, too!)  On the other hand, when the parents start listing their issues and concerns about their children, my head starts to spin a little!  Of course we all love the parents who come in, hand over the school supplies and say "I'm here for you, let me know what you need, call me if little Junior does anything he shouldn't!"  Truly makes my life easier.  I know there is no other profession like teaching and no one else can understand the emotions we run through in first meeting all the families.  What other job requires you to create plans for 30 individual responsibilities that all come with their own baggage and specific needs?  What other profession requires you to be "on" all day long, doing your best to meet those 30 sets of needs at all times?  Whew, it wears me out just thinking about it.

I shared a graphic like this on my facebook page yesterday, when I was at the height of my "running around like a crazy person, trying to get ready" stage.

But enough with the stress talk, it was not my intention to write a negative post!  I got my classroom clean and presentable for Meet the Teacher, but only managed to get 2 pictures taken!  I snapped a few during a break between kiddos and meant to take more after, but once it hit 6:00, my brain was ready for me to head straight to the door!

Those are not the best pictures and my desks look so plain, but that's all I've got for now!  The first picture shows the mountain of school supplies on my reading table that will be waiting for me to tackle on Monday.  And if everyone shows up, then I will need to have 4 students sitting at said reading table, so that should be interesting!!  Cheers to 30 students on my class roster!  :)

I hope everyone has an enjoyable weekend and I'm keeping my fingers crossed for a low-stress first week of school!!

Keep Teaching and Planning,
Katie :)

Saturday, August 17, 2013

Best and Most Linky!!

Well, it's that time of year again!  The big Back To School Sale at TPT!!  Woo hoo!  It's time to empty out our wishlists and fill up our shopping carts!!

Graphic courtesy of Krista from Creative Clips- thanks Krista!!

My entire store will be discounted during the sale, and I'd love to show you a few products that are perfect for getting prepared for Back to School!  (And those of you who have already started school, I'm sorry, but I know you'll be laughing at the rest of us when we are still going strong mid-June!)

Here's where the fun part comes in- it's a Best and Most Linky Party!  (I just love linky parties!)

 Up first, my "Teacher's Pet"!  My Owl Reward Binder is part of the classroom management system that I use in my classroom!  My students are so motivated to earn something from the Reward Binder and it makes my classroom run so smoothly!  If you have a different classroom theme, don't worry- I have several other versions including Monsters, Bees, Cowboys and Superheroes!  I use the Reward Binders in conjunction with my punch cards, which I blogged about here.

Here are a few examples of the rewards included in the Reward Binders-
Click the image to see all of the Positive Behavior Incentive products in my store!
Next up is my contender for "Most Likely to Help Your Students Succeed"- my Word Work Start Up Pack! This pack will help you set up your Word Work center and the activities will quickly become some of your students' favorites!  I've included choice cards and detailed explanations for 22 center ideas, in addition to printables and clickable links to amazing Word Work blog posts, products and websites.  It will be a lifesaver for setting up your Daily 5 system and will really help your students jump right in with the Word Work practice!
Click on the image to view details of the start up pack!
 Last but not least is my "Best Couple"- my Sentence Scrambles and Writing Prompts for Back to School!  The students in my classroom use these on a daily basis!  Each team visits the Writing Center twice a week, during our Daily 5 rotation.  I give my students a choice of 2 prompts to do first.  Once they complete their prompt in their writing journal, they grab the month's sentence scrambles and get to work!  I love seeing their progress as they year goes on- their writing really improves!

Here are some samples of the writing prompts that you can use for the whole year-
Click on the image to view September's Writing Prompts in my store.

Here are some samples of the sentence scrambles that you can use for the whole year-
Click on the image to view the Back to School version of these Sentence Scrambles.
My entire store will be 20% off today, August 17th through Tuesday, August 20. On the 18th and 19th, use the code BTS13 to get an additional 10% off on top of that!

Looking for more amazing products featured in the Best and Most Linky Party?  Click on over to Bunting, Books and Bainbridge to see them all!
Keep Teaching and Planning,
Katie :)

Thursday, August 15, 2013

Teacher Week '13: Classroom Management

I'm really loving this week of linky parties!!  Have you seen all of the great posts so far?  Be sure to visit Blog Hoppin' to see everything from the 4 days so far!

Today's topic is Classroom Management.  I'm starting my 8th year of teaching and have seen my share of behaviors through the years!  I have used a variety of things from clip charts to behavior contracts to table points to Champs, just to name a few!

Whatever system you choose, the important thing is to be consistent.  If you say that you will call parents when a student gets down to red, then you need to follow through and call.  If you say that a student can earn lunch with you if they complete their contract, then you need to follow through and have lunch with them!  Follow through is key!  Your students need to know that you mean what you say and then they can begin to understand and respect the systems you have in place.

I've been using punch cards in my classroom for the past few years and they really do work!  Each student gets their own punch card and we keep them all together in an extra school box.  

When I notice great behavior or respect and responsibility from a student or two, I make a big deal and tell them to go grab that punch card!!  Each card has 20 spots for me to punch with my single hole puncher.  Once they fill up their card, they get to chose something from the reward binder.  

One of the greatest things about the reward binder is that the rewards cost me nothing!  I include things like 'Lunch with the Teacher', 'Read to the Principal', 'No Shoe Day' and 'Bring a stuffed animal to School'.  The kids are so motivated to earn punches on their cards!!!  I do it up really big during the first couple months of school.  After that, I use it less frequently, but still keep my hole puncher nearby!  Sometimes even just picking the hole puncher up gets a few eyebrow raises and looks of excitement!

After posting my Monster Reward Binder and Punch cards in my TPT store back in 2011, I have had many requests for other themes.  Click HERE to see all of my Positive Behavior Incentive products.

I have also been inspired by past Classroom Management posts from some awesome teacher bloggers out there.  Click the buttons to read these three great posts-

I'm also excited about new technology like ClassDojo and Remind 101.  There are some great resources out there to help with Classroom Management.  

Don't forget to link up with Blog Hoppin' and make sure to read all of the other great Classroom Management posts!  Just click on the image below!

Keep Teaching and Planning,
Katie :)

Tuesday, August 13, 2013

Teacher Week '13: Classroom Tour

It was so great to read all of the Meet the Teacher posts and I loved finding out fun facts about the amazing teacher bloggers out there!!  Click below to revisit Day 1 on Blog Hoppin'.

Today's topic is a Classroom Tour.  I've already enjoyed looking at so many of the creative and cute classrooms out there and I'm totally jealous of them all!

**Here's my disclaimer**  Today was the first day I have been in my room since the last day of school, so my room is NO WHERE near as cute as everyone else's!!  I had 2 meetings today and got a little work in afterwards, and all I can say is that I am making progress!!!

As of right now, I have 30 students on my class list, so I'm going to have to do some major work to fit them all!  I only have 26 desks, so it looks like my small group table will be occupied until we hire another teacher!

I'm headed back to school tomorrow and Thursday to try to make some more progress.  Friday is our first day of teacher prep, so my days will be occupied with boring informational trainings and meetings!

I'll leave you with this last picture that I shared earlier on my facebook page...I got lots of funny answers in response to this question--

Thanks for taking a peek at my messy classroom!!  Hopefully I can post some finished pics soon!!

Don't forget to link up with Blog Hoppin' to share your Classroom Tour!  Click the button below to see all the posts that are linked up already!

Keep Teaching and Planning,
Katie :)
all image backgrounds © Ashley Hughes

Monday, August 12, 2013

Teacher Week '13: Meet the Teacher!!

I’m so happy to be linking up with Blog Hoppin’ for their fun Teacher Week '13 Linky Party!  

First up is Meet the Teacher!  Let’s see...where to begin...I was born on a rainy, Monday afternoon...JUST KIDDING!  I’ll just stick to 10 things!

1. I am starting my 8th year of teaching.  Straight out of college, I taught Kinder at a tiny private school, but then moved to 1st grade in a big public school for my 2nd year and have been there ever since!  I love teaching first grade because I feel like they learn so much and I love getting to see progress in my kiddos’ reading skills!  Plus, I feel like they are still innocent and love their teachers- I could NOT handle attitudes and hormones from middle schoolers!

2. I went to The University of Texas and don’t plan on leaving Austin any time soon!  Love this city!!

3. My husband and I love to travel, especially to see concerts from a few of our favorite bands.  We just got back in town from this summer’s road trip, which involved driving through 12 states!  In the summer of 2010, we covered 33 states!!  We’ve seen some amazing places in this beautiful country of ours!

4. I collect Fiestaware!!  Actually, I am obsessed with it!!  I have two hutches full of it and it’s hard for me not to buy more!  I mix and match the colors and I think it is just so pretty!
5. Less than a month ago, my teaching bestie just moved across the country!  I miss her already!  :(  We’ve taught together for the past 6 years and I don’t know what I’m going to do with out her!  I’ve already got a trip planned for the fall to go visit her and I can’t wait!

6. I love ice cream!  Bluebell, soft serve, Dairy Queen- you name it, I like it!
7. I also love Mexican food!  Being a Texas girl, I definitely love me some chips and queso, enchiladas with charro beans and top it off with a nice, frosty margarita!!
Yes, I take pictures of the queso at Happy Hour!
8. My parents and sister and I all went to the same high school and the same college!  My parents were high school sweethearts and they actually still live in the same neighborhood where they both grew up.
The 4 of us in 2006 at a Homecoming game.
The 4 of us in 2009 at my sister's graduation!
9. I love my TOMS!  I have so many pairs and I wear them practically every day!

10. My biggest guilty pleasure is Bravo TV!  I can’t get enough of it!  Love The Real Housewives, Top Chef, Million Dollar Listing NY (high kick, anyone?) and so many more!  They keep my DVR on overdrive!  I faithfully record and watch TRH of Orange County, Atlanta and New Jersey and have seen most of Beverly Hills and NY.  Never really gotten into Miami, though.


Whew!  Now you probably know way more about me than you ever wanted to!  This linky is so fun!!  I’ve had a blast writing this and I’ve loved reading all of the other posts that are already linked up!!

Don’t forget to visit Bloghoppin’ to meet all the great teachers out there!  Just click the image below!

Keep Teaching and Planning,
Katie :)