Saturday, September 15, 2012

Kindergarten & First Common Core Workbooks

Attention Teachers! Looking for common core resources? These workbooks include over 550 pages of worksheets, activity centers, and posters that teach all the English Language Arts Common Core Standards and all the Mathematics Common Core Standards. Check them out!

Monday, October 17, 2011

Just Thinking...

Warning! This is a LONG post because I have a lot on my mind that's been building up since my last post. :)

I recently finished two time consuming, rounds of evaluations. Whew! I finally feel like I'm coming up for air. This school year our state has started a new, rigorous evaluation process and it's literally "kicking our butts"! (Pardon the language, blog friends!!! :) There were some times over the past month when I was in tears over the lengthiness, time, and considerable effort it took to complete the planning and paperwork in order to meet the criteria of the scoring rubrics. Not to boast, but I've always worked VERY hard as an educator and have always gone above and beyond a typical 40 hour work week. With this last evaluation lesson, I would say I probably put in an additional 25-30 hours of work time for planning, creating, and filling out paperwork. That's just for ONE lesson!!! Both evaluations went very well but I can not stop thinking about how the expectations for educators continues to grow to a point of just plain impractical and unreasonable. I love teaching but this year I'm really trying to create more of a balance in my life. I've had a strong and serious commitment to my calling as an educator for the past 14 years but I feel God is leading me to do more outside of teaching. I've been thoughtfully reflecting on the gifts I feel God has bestowed upon me and how I can use these gifts to serve Him and others. My family, friends, and colleagues all know I love to teach, I love to organize, I love to create, I love to decorate, and I love to entertain. How does all of this translate into opportunities of service in my church, community, and school???? Well, that's what I'm trying to figure out but here's some things I've been doing...

Mission Work 
The Lord blessed my husband and I with the opportunity this summer to go on a mission trip to Anchorage, Alaska. What a beautiful place! While there we participated in service projects on a military base, retirement home, community parks, VBS, etc. The fun teacher came out in me and I convinced my husband to dress up like a clown with me to help entertain the kids at one of our VBS block parties.  He was such a good sport! One of our little buddies who liked "clowning around" with us sported his own clown look. LOL!!! What a character! I love that kid!

I posted earlier how my husband and I made goodies for the local firefighters and police officers. We've also both become more involved in our neighborhood. My husband is serving on our Home Owner's Association and they have been working on creating a more family friendly community. We'll be working at a Neighborhood Fall Festival soon and I've been creating welcome baskets for new families moving into our neighborhood. 

Student Teacher
I was blessed with a student teacher for the first 8 weeks of school. Wow! I've never had one at the beginning of the year before. She was such a BIG help!!! I wanted to help her out as much as I could and ensure she had a good experience in our classroom. Just a few details to help welcome her to our class...

Supporting/Serving My Colleagues
I don't know about you, blog friends, but the teachers I work with are like a second family to me. I feel so blessed to have worked with so many great people over the years and have formed some terrific friendships. We learn together, listen to each other, and most importantly laugh (a lot) together. I love to find ways to show my appreciation and love for these wonderful people. Here's a few of my ideas (some a bit crazy...but fun. :)

Baby shower for one of my former colleagues...

Teacher Retirement Party...Western Style

(even our administration joined in with the theme...surprised all of us :)

First Grade Teacher Get-Together for Team Building 
(We added 3 new teachers to our team this year.)

Sweet Treat for my Sweet Colleagues ( I got the idea from Pinterest...which I LOVE!!!)

Our Very Own "Olympic" Award Ceremony
 (for our school 5K we had done the weekend before)

Coming soon...ideas for turning a boring teacher lounge into something warm and cozy (with help from your principal and colleagues, of course) and what we've been up to in the classroom (besides evaluations :).  Thanks for taking the time to read my blog and share in all my thoughts and ideas! 

Oh, and by the I typed this post, I'm listening the beautiful sound of the ocean waves and I'm about to head out to the beach to enjoy another beautiful, relaxing day of vacation at the beach. :)

Monday, September 12, 2011

Snack Mix Assembly Line

Over the past week we've been studying needs & wants, goods & services, and producers & consumers. To culminate our Economics unit, the students participated in a snack mix assembly line. To help introduce the idea of an assembly line, we watched that hilarious clip from the "I Love Lucy" show where she and Ethel work at the candy factory.

We discussed how a real assembly line is designed to work (unlike the antics of Lucy and Ethel :) and how we were going to use the process to produce our own snack mix. Each student had a job either spooning items in the bag (white & dark chocolate chips, Golden Grahams cereal, Cookie Crisp cereal, Kix cereal, & marshmallows), labeling & zipping the bags, or team supervisor (in charge of monitoring workers, materials, and quality control). We divided into two teams and tried to see who could produce ten bags first. The kids had a blast and got a hands-on opportunity to experience being a producer and producing a good. They also got to be a consumer when they took the snack mix home to share with their families. Since I have a student teacher right now, I got to participate in the assembly line myself. What fun we had!!!

Afterwards, we reflected on the activity and the students completed a response activity sheet. I love activities like this where we all get to participate in fun, meaningful learning experiences. :)

Sunday, September 11, 2011

We're Wild About Our Heroes

In honor of September 11th, we had a Hero Day Parade at our school. We made banners and waved flags as community firefighters, police officers, military personnel, etc. paraded around the front of our school with their families. It was such a great time to see our students walking with and cheering on these wonderful, everyday heroes.

My husband and I also wanted to do something for some of our local firefighters and police officers so the hubbie cooked up several batches of cookies and brownies ( I made the cards :) and delivered them. He made a comment that made me really think, though, about how we shouldn't just honor those who serve and protect on special days/holidays. Why not do something special to show our gratitude on any random day of the year??? Great idea! I've really felt a calling to do more service and outreach in my church and community.  Even our school motto this year highlights our support for the community where we live and getting involved in community service projects. Just think of the possibilities if we all get involved to support and serve!

Monday, August 29, 2011

Internet Inspired Ideas

I've been walking down memory lane as I look at some photos from last school year. I love searching the web for new ideas to use in my classroom.  I have been so inspired by the wonderful teacher websites and blogs out there. Many times, though, I can never remember where I saw all these cute ideas. However, my newest obsession (Pinterest!) helps me keep track of great ideas and their sources. Here's a few of my favorite internet inspired ideas...

Noun Town - Inspiration came from First Grader at Last blog

R Control Posters - another idea inspired by First Grader at Last blog. She drew the pictures for her posters but I'm not as talented an artist as she is. I cheated and used clip art instead :).

How To Blow a Bubble Art and Writing Activity - They had so much fun doing this project!!!

Grammar Garden Sign

Example of Grammar Garden Project - incorporated use of noun, verbs, and adjectives

Funny Faces Plants - idea from The Teacher Wife blog...her blog even includes a download of the face parts

Lincoln and Washington Art and Writing Projects - Inspired by First Grade Parade Blog

Viola Swamp Art & Writing Activity - We just did this one! I recently saw the TLC art project on Pinterest and incorporated a venn diagram and writing activity with it.

Wednesday, August 17, 2011

Chicka Chicka Boom Boom Review Game

I made this game to help my students review the color, number, and sight words during our readiness period at the beginning of first grade. They LOVE playing the game! We sit in a circle and play it as a whole group first with the girls vs. the boys. Then, I add it to my Puzzles & Games station as one of their first buddy activities. Hope your kids enjoy it as much as mine!

Chicka Readiness Review Game

Jungle Colors and Shapes Posters

I'm back!!! :) I've had a couple of requests for some of my jungle posters so I thought I would go ahead and post them. I love the jungle/safari theme because there is so much out there that you can do with it. I will try to take pictures soon of some of the new things I have added to my classroom for this year. Just click on the labels to download the posters.

Safari Colors Posters

Safari Shapes Posters