Wednesday, November 25, 2015

Common Core Resources

Hello everyone!  Happy Early Thanksgiving.  I hope you all have a wonderful time with your family and friends.  I wanted to share with you a few products that I received and had the chance to review.

The first one is Real World Mats for Grade 1.  These mats, available in multiple grade levels, allow for the teacher to provide students with something extra - authentic experiences. 

 What I liked about these was that these mats contained topics that children recognize in their world's.  I liked how the mats were in color and can be used with dry erase/wet erase.  If one student or a pair were working together for an extension activity, the dry erase markings would answer the questions and it would be enough for assessment.  The boards fold out and are big enough for little hands to write on and have enough room :)
 There are also recording sheets that can be used for any work mat and these were easy to follow as well.  The recording sheets I used when we did a center rotation for related topics and they were unable to write on the mats.  An idea could be that if you wanted your children to still do dry erase they could erase before they go to their next choice center, however, it would be time consuming :)

Do what is best for your students and your classroom.  The positives I take away from Common Core and working at such a wonderful school are student choice and individuality.
 The Real World Mats are great for math and language arts centers and can be also used as extension activities for enrichment or early finishers.  I keep these in a reachable place so when students are finished with an activity, they can quietly choose a real world mat and have fun while working!

I also have the Carson Dellosa Reading Comprehension and Skills book (First Grade) - This was an important resource that really enhanced my curriculum.  What I liked about this book is that each standard appears in the upper right hand corner of each page.  The book is categorized and separated by skill and strategy, and I am able to pull from the book quickly whenever a topic arises.  The students are also getting a lot out of reading paragraphs, underlining and highlighting key details and words, and performing an activity based on main idea, retelling, sequence, opinion, grammar, etc.
Take a look at some of these sample pages.  These two examples are about writing opinions.  The students read a short little paragraph and answer questions about the passage based on what skill we are talking about.  Some of my kiddos are not fluent readers yet and the small readings help keep their stamina and attention.  
Some of the passages are short, but some are also lengthier.  It's a nice variety for different leveled readers.  I did not take more pictures of us doing this activity since they were so engaged and busy working as I was facilitating :)  Please let me know if you have any questions about these 2 products, but I highly recommend them! They have already helped my firsties a lot!

Monday, October 26, 2015

Best Pencil Sharpener
Classroom Friendly Supplies is a company created by an elementary school teacher (Troy Decoff) who understand the importance of a sharpener that will not interrupt students when they are doing their work, and gets the job done - the best.  The best points and the quickest sharpener I have ever had.
So far there are many amazing colors that this sharpener comes in.  
I am so lucky to be one of the first to introduce to you...

This color really will make your classroom POP.  I keep mine near my teacher supplies and my guided reading table.  My firsties were so adorable when I first introduced to them our new Classroom Friendly Supplies Popular Purple - they loved the color and how sharp the points got.  My kiddos could also not believe how QUICK it was compared to our very expensive electric sharpener.  Their smiles and squeals of delight made me so happy - your kids will also be so happy!
 Very easy to use.  After a pinch of the black knobs together and placing the pencil inside ready to turn the handle, voila - you only need a couple cranks of the handle, and your pencil is SHARP and ready to go.

 The picture above shows the before and after of already sharpened pencils (from my electric sharpener) and using the Popular Purple.  Definitely a difference - and some of my first graders might press a little hard when writing, but the sharp point of these pencils stays and is very durable.  That was important to me!

To order yours and check out other reviews and products, please visit Classroom Friendly Supplies.  You will not be sorry with your purchase for a great price that was cut in half from my electric sharpener.  :)  They also sell replacements in case you just need a small part and you don't have to buy another whole sharpener.  Troy and his company really thought of everything - You and your class deserve one. Check it out!

Sunday, October 25, 2015

 Hello my lovely blogging buddies! I hope your school years are going wonderful - whether you are a school teacher, home school teacher, or taking time with your babies at home :) 

I was very excited to be introduced to CHALKOLA.  Chalkola markers are used on chalkboards, whiteboards, windows, plastic, and mirrors - AND the ink is easily removed.. with the swipe of a wet wipe!
Instantly when I took the chalkola markers out of the case, my firsties were very excited.  They crowded around to see the fun paint-like substance that came out of these pens!  Easy to use, they were eager to try.  They LOVED that they could use these on our chalkboards and really liked the way the "colors popped!" 
See below for a few tips of how to use Chalkola:
 1. Have the markers ready for the students ahead of time.  Once each marker has the "paint" set and ready to go, students will be able to use with ease.  They take a minute or so to work after you press down on the tip to get the ink flowing.  Very similar to paint markers I have used.  Once the ink sets though, you are ready to go!  The bigger markers can get a little messy to prep, be careful :)

2. Depending on how much ink is being used, make sure your smaller kiddos have plenty of wipes to use to clean their boards.  One wipe did not always work for the white boards we used.  If the paint does get on clothes, it is easily washable :)

3. Show your students how to use first! Lots of modeling and discussing on the right way to use these and what surfaces they can use these on as well.  It will be a little while before I let my first graders use the BIG 15mm markers, but they are happily enjoying the 6 mm ones!

Here are the links to these liquid chalk markers - and LOOK!  Order using the code CHK20OFF for the 15mm markers or CHALK20A for the 6mm pens.  Let me know if you have any questions!
20% Off on Amazon - Use Code -> CHK20OFF

20% Off on Amazon - Use Code -> CHALK20A

Saturday, October 10, 2015

My 2015-2016 Classroom

Oh my goodness, it has been such a long time since I have blogged... over the past few months, I have worked so hard to make sure I was all ready for my first graders in September.  It has been a crazy, hard-working, and tiring summer but I would not change it for anything.  I got engaged in August and got my dream job teaching first grade :)
Here are some pictures of my classroom, before and after:
 I can remember taking the "before" picture and wanting my classroom to be finished, rushing to buy EVERYTHING I could, print on TPT and laminate, but there was so little time to make it exactly the way I wanted it.  I knew after taking that picture that I would see the progress over the months,  and make it my sweet children's second home.  (And by the way, my kids really are so sweet!)

These photos were taking just before our Back to School Open House night.  I am proud of the organized classroom it has become!
My calendar/reading/meeting area :) 
 Just a few different angles!  You will see in my writing area that I have A Cupcake for the Teacher's wonderful Writing Center Kit! Such a wonderful resource for the kids.

 My job chart has been a huge hit with my students.  I love this template from Primarily Au-Some on TPT - check it out! It also comes in different themes :)
 One of our first units was teaching all about apples.  We read apple books, made apple sauce, and discovered all about the life cycle of an apple tree.
Here are some amazing apple freebies for first grade!

Apple Unit FREEBIES {Interactive and Engaging Activities} {CCSS}

If I Were Johnny Appleseed {Freebie} 

Seasons of an Apple Tree 

Enjoy! Have a wonderful school year and happy fall!

Monday, August 3, 2015

TPT Sale!

I am so very excited about the TPT sale! August and Back to School is definitely when I search Teachers Pay Teachers the most.  As teachers, we all want to be prepared and as organized as we can be for our kiddos :) I look through my curriculum for the year, and make sure that I highlight important topics and activities that will be essential for my students' learning.
I wanted to highlight a few products of mine that have truly helped me, and a few purchases that I have absolutely loved and that have worked wonders for me.  Enjoy the sale, and let me know if you have any questions!

For my ladies and gentleman that are newer teachers, this will be a great little packet for you :) A little over 100 pages, I have included different lists, layouts, letters, and printables to help you stay organized for the year! 

My Close Reading Bundle has helped my readers think critically and follow along with the rigor of common core.  I loved that I stuck with nonfiction passages because that is what interested my chidlren the most.  I hope that you enjoy this bundle at an even more discounted price! :) 

Sometimes it's difficult to find science resources to teach your little ones this "big concepts" - so I created a Kindergarten Science Bundle just for my kids :) and just for YOU! I hope you find this useful!

One of my favorite units I have ever purchased on TPT is Rachelle Smith's Holidays Around the World Unit.  Perfect for grades K-2 and a beautiful way to introduce different cultures around the holidays!

Deanna Jump and Deedee Wills have the most incredible Writing Unit - here is Unit 1, filled with everything you need for your Writer's Workshop! Perfect for my first graders!


Sunday, July 19, 2015

Summer reads

I hope everyone is enjoying their summers.  For me, I am just about in the middle of my summer, but I know some of you are getting ready to go back - I hope that it is a peaceful and easy transition for you all.  And still don't forget to make time for yourself :)
I wanted to share a few books I have been reading this past spring and summer that I have absolutely loved-I tend to go for the YA novels that are quick and easy reads (I also love animals, mystery, and suspense!)
1. The Art of Racing in the Rain by Garth Stein
This book was probably my favorite on this list.  The story is told through the eyes of a wonderful golden retriever about life, tragedy, and the beauty and love in this world.  

2.Oogy by Larry Levin
What I loved about Oogy is that it is a true story.  It makes you really think about animal cruelty, but how one person can change the life of an animal.  You will easily fall in love with this sweet pup! 

3. The Cage by Megan Shepherd
The Cage was by far my quickest read.  This one is tied for my favorite with The Art of Racing in the Rain, but in a different way!  I loved how this whole story took place in "another world" and you really start to fall in love with each character.  I was completely absorbed.  Megan Shepherd has other wonderful books out such as The Madman's Trilogy, but I have not read them.  The only thing that made me angry about "The Cage" is that it came out this year and it is the first of its series!  Be prepared for a serious cliff hanger - I wasn't ;)

4. Bone Gap by Laura Ruby
 This book was longer than the others I have read this summer, but it didn't stop me from reading it cover to cover.  It is a story about a beautiful girl that has mysteriously "disappeared" from the small town, Bone Gap. Finn, the main character in the story, goes through so much to try and solve the mystery of Roza.  You will find strange characters, love, mystery, and an eery corn field!

5. We Were Liars by E. Lockhart
I just finished this book yesterday - what a thrilling and unforgettable story about a rich, upscale family called the Sinclairs who have lots of money, love... and secrets and betrayal.  This book is only a little other 200 pages, so you will easily be able to read this one in just a couple days.  I highly recommend it!

 6. The Truth about Alice by Jennifer Mathieu
I am not finished with this book, but this is such a powerful story on bullying.  The language is mature, so it is definitely not for younger students, but for YOU as an adult, it is a very easy read about a young girl Alice who is not called some nice names - the book has been switching point of view from student to student... maybe I will hear from Alice in the end!

I hope some of these recommendations help you find another book to read this summer :) They were all so wonderful and it was hard to pick a favorite!  Happy reading! 

Saturday, July 4, 2015

4th of July Sale

Hello everyone!  I hope you are all enjoying your 4th of July weekend.  For me, it's a time to relax a little bit (while still being productive) before my summer job begins.  It is my 13th summer working at a remedial reading and writing program.  I absolutely love it and the people I work with.  I have been reflecting on this wonderful year I had with my K-1 class as well - I miss them already but will hopefully keep in touch with their families as they continue to grow.  I am so proud of their hard work :) It makes me so incredibly happy to be a teacher.

I have linked up with Buzzing with Mrs. McClain on her wonderful 4th of July linky!  ALL of my products (including BUNDLES) will be 20% off July 4, 5, and 6th! I hope you can find something to use for either the summer or back-to-school!
 I am excited that I just posted my completed First Grade Vocabulary Task Card product as well - I hope you can check it out! Perfect for tutoring or using in your classroom :)  A few examples of vocabulary words include shout, alligator, after, stove, and practice.  Let me know if you have any questions!

Another product that I am SO excited to share is my Close Reading Bundle - these have been so helpful with deeper-thinking and comprehension with my readers. I hope you can check out this great 20% off price (already at a discount!)

I hope you are enjoying your summer.... Happy 4th of July to you, your family, and friends!