Sunday, July 5, 2015

Meet the Teacher {FREEBIE} for Back to School

If you're anything like me, you are already thinking about school.  You may even be prepping and getting things in order for Meet The Teacher or that first day!
I revised one of the first things I shared on my blog back in 2011...I kept the originals, but added a second version using MelonHeadz and borders by Graphics From the Pond (two super talented artists!)
 I love to add color to my classroom, and the banners below are a perfect way to welcome your new students!
The banner in the pack on TpT is totally editable with your own students' names =)
You can find it {HERE}
There is also a version that is NOT editable, but it is FREE:
I am prepping for Vegas, my flight leaves out Tuesday morning.  I will be traveling with my partner in crime, Angela from The Daily Alphabet.  
I'm presenting at SDE's I Teach 1st! and at the TpT Conference, wish me luck!! 

Sunday, June 28, 2015

Ideas for Using Chrysanthemum on the First Day of School {FREEBIE}

Who doesn't love the Kevin Henkes book, Chrysanthemum?
The adorable story is perfect for the first day or week of school, counting letters in our name or pockets... discussing how we feel and how to be a good friend.  Just plain perfect!
I am sharing a FREEBIE for you!  Get it {HERE} on TpT!
If you need the book:
 And in case you didn't know, Kevin Henkes has a website with downloadable activities for teachers!  You can find it {HERE}
And some ideas I found on Pinterest you might also be able to use:
This is a great activity by Cara Carroll from First Grade Parade.  Find it {HERE}
Adorable stick puppets...a freebie by Eva Robinson!  Find them {HERE}
LOVE this pack by Michelle at Fabulous in First! Find it {HERE}
Amy Lemons used it to create this board...LOVE!
See it {HERE} from Step into Second Grade.
How cute are these ideas from Pencils, Glue, and Tying Shoes? See more {HERE}
And a name/measurement freebie by Teach123 {HERE}
Super cute freebie craft by Wild About Firsts!  Find it {HERE}
And how about a bunch of Kevin Henkes character trait organizers?  Get them from my friend Lyndsey at A Year of Many Firsts {HERE}
Seriously, give it a try!
What are your favorite books or activities of the first day or week?

Sunday, June 21, 2015

What Will Your Students Remember?

The thing is, when you think back to when you were in school, what do you remember? Do you remember the day to day lessons?  Probably not.  Homework? Not fondly.  What I remember are the times when a teacher made me feel special or smart.  I remember my first grade teacher asking me to stay after school.  I, of course, assumed I was in trouble and tried to sneak out of the door without her seeing me.   She tugged at my jacket's hood as I walked by and after everyone was gone, she gave me  a little porcelain doll.  To this day, I have no idea why she gave it to me.  But it meant something.  It made me feel special and cared for...I had a (sometimes) difficult childhood, so to me, it meant she liked me.

Recently I was reading the book, Positive Discipline and read something that touched me.  It was talking about how so often we hear people (teachers and parents especially) complaining about "kids today" and how when they were kids 'you did what you were told,' you obeyed unquestionably and with respect.  The author suggested that kids aren't the only people who have changed. Adults have changed.  Wives no longer obey their husbands unquestionably, minorities no longer do "what they are told," husbands are less likely to work at a job where they have no input.  As a society we have changed.  Now granted, it is for the better mostly, but with change, there is always a little bit of nostalgia lost.  But do we really want to go back to a time when there was "obeying" with no feedback or input, learning with no reason other than we were told to?  

What do kids remember?  Probably a mix of their (and your) best and worst moments, like getting in trouble or being embarrassed and those moments like field trips or science experiments.  I'd like to think my students remember more than worksheets.  When I speak to my former students, usually they have some story to tell about something funny I did or art project we completed that they still have.  My middle child struggles at school.  This last year as his teacher, I worked harder than I ever have in the past to make school a positive, fun environment for him.  I worked harder than I probably ever have in the past.  And it worked (for the most part).  Jack is way less negative about school.  He sees school as a place where he can ask questions, find answers, and have fun.  He sees school as a place where he was successful and had good "grades" and good behavior.  Is that to say he never got in trouble?  Of course not, there were some really tough days.  But I chose as a teacher to focus on the good days and not make a big deal about the bad ones. I chose to give him chances, more than I can count to improve his behavior.  He likes school, as much as an 8 year old boy can. I want every student of mine to feel that way.  And to remember a lot of fun and positive experiences at school.
Like the time we...
launched Alka Seltzer tablets in photo canisters or inflated a balloon with yeast
 or the time we spit watermelon seeds and measured the distance
 or when we made bread in class and ate it!
What do you remember most about school?  I bet it isn't a worksheet or memorizing facts...I bet it's an occasion or a feeling, positive or negative that was special or tragic.  Let's try to make our students' days special.  Let's do our best to focus on the positive and not let the negative take over.  What we do in the classroom will either have a positive or negative impact on them for the rest of their lives.  Let's do our best for them.

Sunday, June 14, 2015

Good Bye and Hello: Moving, Conference Presentations, and Life

Not sure if anyone has noticed, but I've not been blogging recently...although I have plans to change that (I hope!)  Life has sort of gotten in the way. For one thing, say GOOD-BYE to this:

And HELLO to this during the last week of school:
And now HELLO to this:
 And then this...
and some of this:

 Yep, you guessed it.  I am changing rooms.  Not only that, but the room had to be painted (by me) and new flooring has had to be installed (not by me).  So it has been a hectic few weeks.  Did I mention it is down a flight of stairs.  Apparently I am a bit of a there is still A LOT that needs to be moved, including one giant sized loft (by me)! #scared
 Exhibit A:
But what else have I been up to?  Well, we went to the beach.  We ate well, saw dolphins, celebrated Emma's 14th birthday, and...
 even visited a battleship!
 We celebrated Jack's 8th birthday with some dinosaurs.
As for my upcoming week, I have math trainings all week and I also plan to return to a book study that I started and never finished during the school year with this book:

Anyone else read it?  If you haven't, get it!!
AND then there are also two other minor things (#sarcasm) I've been finishing up:
 I am presenting at I Teach 1st in Las Vegas on July 8th all about what I have learned after 18 years in the classroom!  I am so excited to participate in this SDE event! (there's a button on the sidebar for more details!)
 I am also presenting at the TpT Conference on July 10th  in Vegas about how to manage everything in life and "do it all!" I love meeting other TpT sellers and seeing all my bloggy friends!  I've already had a nightmare that my sessions are empty and it's just me, talking to this empty room....sad and lonely.  #cuckoo #becausemyfriendangelawillbethere

Sunday, May 31, 2015

Father's Day FREEBIE and 'How To Do It All' Session Handouts

Mother's Day is such a huge thing for us in first grade with our Mother's Day Tea that it's easy to forget that Father's Day is important, too!
Get your "It's All About Dad" FREEBIE {HERE}  It also includes the same pages for Grandpa, too!

I've been super busy getting ready to move classrooms and a bunch of other changes...PLUS I am prepping for my session at the TpT Conference in Las Vegas this summer.  
I finished the handouts that are available in my shop {HERE} in case you're interested!  Leave some feedback or a comment below and let me know what you do to keep balance in your life!

Sunday, May 17, 2015

Turtle Close Read FREEBIE & End of Year Survival

Most of us are in survival mode as we near the end of the school year, or at least I am!
Our last day is Thursday and one of the things on my list is to use my Turtle Close Read FREEBIE  
You can find it {HERE}

It is just a little taste of what my other Close Reads are like. You can find out more about them {HERE}

And speaking of survival, I will also be busting out my First Grade Survival Pack to get through to Thursday!  This year FLEW by!  I'm sad to see my kiddos move on to second grade, especially Jack.  I'm going to miss him being in my class every day =(
If you'd like more information about it, you can find the Survival Pack {HERE}

Let's all dig deep and get to that last day!  Although I know some of you still have a while to can make it!