Tuesday, August 30, 2011

Pete the Cat and Daily 5

Thanks to some pretty cool people (Deanna Jump & April Larremore @ Chalk Talk) and their recommendations, I am now the proud owner of both Pete the Cat books.
Pete the Cat: I Love My White Shoes
& Pete the Cat: Rocking in My School Shoes
My kiddos absolutely L-O-V-E-D these books! The You-Tube videos are so cute and the kids (let's face it, me too) liked to hear the melody by the author. 
Click {here for the link} & Click {here the second book's link}

Just the most enjoyable way to start the year! The books are short, they have a pattern, they review color and school words, and the positive message is hard to miss.
*I'm in love*

I found some cute ideas to go along with these books on Pinterest. Also, I purchased Deanna Jump's newly revised Pete the Cat Literacy and Math pack from TPT.

Here's what we have done so far:
I used Deanna's Bubble Mat anchor chart ideas and them added the essential question, "What is Character?" We added the bubbles and talked about what they thought character means. It was nice to discuss a character with positive qualities and how my students should try to be positive as well. We all would much rather hang out with Pete than Little Rabbit Foo-Foo!

Then we made our own Pete the Cat's. I loved to see how well each child could follow directions, his/her fine motor skills, and her/his reading ability with this activity. Some little cuties would spend all of their time on Pete and then spend 2 seconds adding the words and not even read it was mixed up.

Here are two average papers:

AND here's the paper from my little sweetie who wants me to call her "Palm Tree."
I love the eyebrow whisker!

It always amazes me how young they are at the beginning of the year!

Daily 5:

For those of you new to Daily 5 or frightened to use the management system here's my Day  6 update:

So, I didn't get a chance to begin the Daily five on the first day of school, but I did begin the first week. We begin with Read to Self. We talked about the three ways to read a book and completed the I-chart together.

We modeled what it won't/will look like a few times. Then, I picked their spots around the room, and we worked on building our stamina for 3 minutes. It took about 4 tries and then we finally did it.
*You WILL get some students who think the rules don't apply to them. You want to nip that in the bud right away!*

Also, the most important thing for you to do is to sit at your Reading Table (alone with your own book) and BACK OFF! Read your book and sneakily look around the room for any rule breakers. The second you hear a rule breaker bring EVERYONE to the rug and model the incorrect/correct way because they need the reminder. After a few times of not meeting their goal and having to stop and come to the rug, most of the kids are annoyed and will speak up about trying harder to meet the goal.

After we met our goal, we had share time. We shared our favorite parts of books. Then, we were done for the day.

The next day, we reviewed the I-chart, incorrect/correct modeled what it looked like, and added a minute to our goal. The same thing will happen again about the rule breakers. So, we stop. Come to the rug. Review the I-chart. Model and try again.
Also, we discussed where the appropriate places to sit in the room are.
Please don't laugh at my AWFUL drawings!
The next day was the same routine, bumping it up a minute. Also, we discussed the I PICK method for shopping for new books. I let them pick their spots on their own, too! Read to Self still took a few tries before we hit our goal. Don't expect perfection right away. It takes practice to build that muscle memory!!

After another successful day, we added shopping for new books into our routine. I showed them where to put their old books (3) and had them pick three new books from my library. It took some time, but I really wanted them to be excited about their book choices. We bumped it up a minute and practiced until we met our goal.

Today, we added Work on Writing into the mix. We started with the I-chart.
I love the comment: "Doing teacher stuff."
We incorrect/correct modeled what it would look like (just like Read to Self.) Then, I placed them around the room and practiced for three minutes. We had to stop twice, due to talking, and then we made our three minute goal.

Tomorrow, we will discuss what our writing tools are and how important it is to have the things we need before we begin Work on Writing. And, of course, bump it up a minute.

Make sure to chart their results!
It's hard to see but there is 3 minutes filled in for Work on Writing.

Sorry this post is soooooo long. 
I hope you find it helpful. :)

Saturday, August 27, 2011

Freebie Alert!

Happy Saturday!

Well, I didn't get around to posting on Friday, but hopefully this will do. My freebie is for anyone who uses Harcourt StoryTown {First Grade} as their reading series. I've created handwriting/spelling sheets to go along with all 30 weeks worth of sight words. These sheets can be used for homework or in the classroom.
Sorry, I don't know how to embed my Google docs!!
Google docs is too difficult for me to use right now!
*If anybody has any tricks on how to embed your docs user the newer version of Google docs, I'd really appreciate the help!!!*

Click {here for the link to Google Docs}


Thursday, August 25, 2011

Three for Thursday

Happy Teacher Week!

So, okay, this one {Three for Thursday} is really difficult for me!!
I can only pick THREE! There are so many resources I love and use all the time. However, if I must choose only three, here it goes:

Favorite Font:

Fonts 4 Teachers has a lot of great fonts to choose from and I can get the lab technician to download them to my Teacher Workstation at school. *Our school computers have restrictions on everything and I'm not allowed to download all of the cute free fonts I find online.* {sad} As much as I love to be creative, I can't do all of my school work at home!

My favorite font from this pack is called ABC Print.

ABC Print has three different types and this has been great for creating homework/classwork sheets.
Favorite Blog:

This one is truly soooooo hard. I love so many blogs. I decided to narrow it down to the ONE that I look forward to reading the most every week.

Deanna Jump is a rock star and teaching genius. I wish I be a fly on the wall of her classroom!

Favorite On-line Resource:

Again, really difficult to choose from so many resources. This resource I have been using for years and just like Deanna Jump I think she is a rock star and teaching genius.

That's all! Just 3! So hard!

Keep hoppin' along and singing your song..

Wednesday, August 24, 2011

Where It All Goes Down Wednesday

I can not believe it is ONLY Wednesday.
Is this the longest week ever or what?

Alright back on topic...

My classroom.
My sanctuary.
My home away from home.

It is the one room I have total control over.
(Despite what my husband thinks about our house!)

Our school was used for summer school this year, so I wasn't able to redecorate or even organize it.

To view my classroom, click {here}

However, I did make a few changes:

New Writing Bulletin Board and Math Tubs.

Whole Brain Learning Rules, Deanna Jump's Common Core Standards,
 & Clutter Free Classroom's Clip Chart
Happy Teacher Week!

Tuesday, August 23, 2011

Teacher Talk Tuesday - My Advice for Newbies!

It's a new year and we have 3 *BRAND NEW* teachers at our school. The past few years have been horrible with budget cuts.  I was beginning to think I'd never see a new teacher again. I was thrilled to see three squeaky clean new teachers on our first day back to work. These girls are sooooo cute! Totally clueless!! Ha! {Just kidding} They are totally "with it" and I only wish I could have had them as interns.

The past week and a half has probably been really overwhelming for these three, and I've been trying to think of things to say that will be helpful because I'm sure their heads are full to the brim.
1. Make sure to have a system in place where you have weekly (or daily) communication with your parents. Your school might have one set up or you might have to make one up on your own. I've used B.E.E. Books for the past seven years and they are fabulous. Not only do my parents love them, but they have gotten me out of hot water a few times. {"I put that note in the B.E.E. Book." or "I check the book every day and nothing was brought back to me." sort of things}  C.Y.A.

2. Change out of your school shirt before you go out on Friday nights. Seriously, we had a group of teachers drinking in the bar at Chili's with their school shirts on in front of everybody! Hello!?!

3. Keep your student information private, especially when you are out in public. You never know who might be related to whom. Another incident when a teacher said she had the class from h*#$ at a party and a mom from that class was there and heard it. Needless to say, it was not a good outcome!

4. Act like these kids are your own. This is their only year to be in that grade (hopefully.) Make it special. Think about how you would want your child's teacher to teach and behave towards them.

5. If all else fails, your excuse (for ANY reason at all) is a "Safety Issue." *We have to push in our chairs all the time? Yup, that's a safety issue. *We have to go to recess now? We went at such and such time last year. Oh, yeah. It's for your safety.

**If you are a newbie or not read all of these links for today (I know I will and I've been teaching for a while!) Teachers have the best advice!**

Monday, August 22, 2011

Meet the Teacher

It's Teacher Week 2011!

Meet the Teacher Monday

Tell us a little something about you...

I'm Andi, and I blog here at Pencils, Glue, & Tying Shoes.  I teach first grade at a big elementary school (709 students, yikes!) in a tiny Florida town. We live on the east coast of Florida. Yep, you heard me right. Not only am I stressing out over "beginning of school" nonsense but I have to worry about Hurricane Irene, too! GERRR!

How long have you been teaching?

This is my twelfth year teaching.  I taught fourth grade for four years. I really enjoyed teaching fourth grade, however I did not enjoy teaching to the FCAT and Florida Writes. Talk about stressful!!
Luckily, when another teacher retired from my school, I was granted my wish of moving to a lower grade and entered the fabulous world of FIRST GRADE! I just love first grade.  They are lovely little cuties. Just so sweet and fun. I've had my fair share of stinkers, though. I've learned that in my school, kindergarten and first really don't get a lot of support when dealing with difficult children. I wonder if "they" think we jump rope all day long? I've gotta get them to read and write, man! That is not easy! We are a Title 1 school with a lot of struggling families. My students come to me not even recognizing all of the letters in the alphabet never mind their sounds. Getting some of them to decode c-v-c words is a HUGE step for them. Never the less, we have our work cut out for us and our kiddos do rise to the challenge. I love them so.

You might not know...

I'm a big band/music nerd. I love everything music. Can't play a lick of music on an instrument, but I have major respect for anyone that does. My bestie plays the oboe professionally and she is amazing! My husband plays various percussion instruments and has been in a few bands as an adult. He even did two tours of the US and one tour in Europe with one of his bands. We go to little concerts, big concerts, operas, symphonies, and plays. I've seen some unbelievable talents.  My favorite so far has been Morrissey. He's too cool for school and has a rockin' band.

Here's a picture of me in high school with my band girls. (I was in the color guard. We were awesome!!!)

Okay so this little fact about me isn't quite unique or original, BUT I love my family! My husband, Scott, is the light of my life. He is my everything! My soulmate.
Halloween 2009
Even though Scott and I don't have any little ones of our own, we love spending all of our time with our families. We have several nieces and nephews from our siblings and are always enjoying their company. We love them and are very blessed.

What are you looking most forward to this school year?

I'm most looking forward to conquering this Fundations program (with fidelty.) I am super nervous and utterly confused to teach anything so scripted. It's just soooo not me. I'm easy/breezy, not structure/structure.   It is overwhelming for me to think about right now. AND I really should be studying that Teacher's Guide instead of playing on the computer. 

What do you need to improve?

EVERY YEAR I SAY THIS:   I will get my work completed during the work week and not spend my free time & weekends at school.
So far, I spent 9 hours at school on Sunday. Not good, Andi! 

What teaching supplies can you *not* live without?

Rich literature, chart paper, construction paper, and Mr. Sketch markers!
I love them so much, I won't share with others! 

My list could be a lot longer, but I've survived teaching with very little supplies (a week without power.)

Those on my list are the supplies I really need.

* * * * *


Love, Andi

Monday, August 15, 2011

WeLcOmE ScHoOl 2011!

I wish I could say I'm totally ready for school, but I'm not. AAAHHH!
There are some bits and bobs completed, but I've got a long way to go... Plus, we are still waiting on the carpet cleaners. I guess our school is last on the list this year and our Orientation is this Thursday night. Nothing like waiting till the last minute!

Anywhoo! I did make little welcome gifts for my new team. I'm still the team leader "Grade Chair" so I feel compelled to spoil my girls. Plus, we've gone from a team of 5 to a team of 7 (maybe 8) first grade teachers! Yikes, our school is getting HUGE! Gifts can get a little expensive when you have such a large team of teachers, so I tried to come up with something nice yet affordable.

These baskets I found at the Dollar Store. I tried to find some nice colors that will hopefully match their rooms. Then, I used my Cricut and some self adhesive vinyl to make it look cute. I added their last names to both sides of the basket, some polka dots, and matching ribbon.

Inside the baskets are some pens, pencils, note pads, reading rods, a little Sponge Bob, and some sugar-free mints. {One of my team mates is diabetic, and I wanted the treats to be friendly for everyone.}
That's all. Just a little something. I hope they like it!!!

\ * * \ * * \ * * \ * * \* * \ * * \

Pinterest has been both a curse and a blessing. Honestly, it's really only a curse because I spend so much dang time on it! But, oh-my-word, there are just so many great ideas to be found lurking on the inter webs! Mrs. Larremore over at Chalk Talk found this bulletin board on Pinterest and posted it on her blog.


 I loved it instantly. Looking around my classroom, there's plenty of wall space dedicated to reading and math but nothing for writing. Gotta change that, for sure! Today, I made some space and tried to recreate the Writer's Eye Glasses for my kiddos.

I really like it and I hope my kids will find it useful when they are writing.
Ta ta for now. First day of school for teachers is tomorrow! :)

Wednesday, August 3, 2011

Currently, I am ...

Come join the party!
Farley from Oh Boy Fourth Grade is hosting a Linky Party! Inspired from a pin on Pinterest, this Linky Party is all about what you are doing CURRENTLY. Honestly, I should be in my classroom organizing this crazy FUNdations kit I just received. However, I'd much rather blog stalk. Which is pretty much what I do everyday. {I wish summer could last forever!}
Here's my list:
Well, I guess I have to go and be productive. I won't have this free time for much longer. Sad :( 
What are you doing?