Thursday, July 28, 2011

Doodle Book Cover

I make each of my kids a doodle book.  I bind together this Doodle Book Cover, the idea page, a whole lot of white paper, and voila!  The kids love to doodle, and I love that they are using those little hand muscles while getting those creative juices flowing.

Thursday, July 21, 2011

Mrs. Tabb's Shoe Unit Giveaway

Mrs. Tabb is giving away a fun Shoe unit.  Jump on over and check it out at Just Another Day in First Grade!

Lesson Plan Book Template

I just started creating my 2011/2012 plan book.  I have used this format for the past several years and it works really well for me.  I use a word document and insert a table.  Super easy.  You can access the template here.

Monday, July 18, 2011

"We do. . ." Art

"We do. . ." artwork is popping up all over the place.  I love reading all of the different versions for the classrooms and homes.  This is the one I whipped up for my classroom.

I will add this copy to my back to school packet, but I also plan to paint it onto a board so that it will be permanent art in my classroom.

Friday, July 15, 2011

Pinterest really is all that!

Pinterest is as fun as everyone is saying. You can get a glimpse of the boards I've started here.  Let me know if you need an invite!

Thursday, July 7, 2011

Second Things First? First Things Second?

With a move to a new school comes a move to a new grade level.  Second graders, here I come!  While I am sad to be leaving the littles I am excited about picking up the pace and digging a little deeper.  So what is a novice blogger to do?  Change my blog?  Change the name of my blog?  I am leaning toward keeping it simple and just doing first things first, but in second ;)

Tuesday, June 7, 2011

Field Trip Scrapbooks

These mini books are crazy fun for the kids.  They consist of three paper bags folded in half and stacked on top of one another.  The stack is hole punched then bound with a rubberband and a stick.  

The kids get a kick out of the built in pockets and peek-a-boo pages.  The book itself inspires creativity.  I take a ton of photos on our field trip to the zoo, then order a ton of wallet photos from Costco.   I divide up the photos making sure each child has a few common photos and a few of themselves.  Then I make all of the extra photos available to the kids so they can choose a few favorites of their own to add to their scrapbooks.  I cut up a whole lot of scrapbooking paper and let the kids get to work

.  They work on these off and on for the last week of school.  It is fun to see what they come up with and to watch them inspire one another as they share stories and ideas.

Sunday, June 5, 2011

1st Grade Classroom Photos

An opportunity arose to transfer to a school closer to my home so I've decided to go for it.
Before the boxing began I took a few pics of my classroom. . .

I have been informed I will have desks at my new school instead of tables.  Sad, sad, story!  I feel I have SO much more space, flexibility, and community building/cooperative learning opportunities with tables.  I will work with desks, but switching them out for tables will be high on my wishlist.

calendar corner

teaching area

small group teaching area

Daily 5 Book Bins.  These are ice cube bins I bought at Target.

Library corner tucked behind my teaching area.  The kids love to get cozy with a book in here.

picture books galore

I am leaving great friends, great families, and an amazing Principal.  Am I crazy?
But I love the thought of teaching closer to home so I can do a better job of
balancing working life and Mom life.
Let the adventure begin!

Friday, June 3, 2011

Mask Masking

The end of the school year means paper mache mask making.  
What a job. . .but the results always make me smile.
Step 1:  Tape a balloon to a large can.
Step 2:  Begin painting on the newspaper strips (1" x 6") with 1 part water/1 part Elmer's glue
Step 3:  Repeat step 2, 4-5 times.  Alternate newsprint with white paper so that the kids can easily tell which areas have been recovered.  This eliminates weak spots.
We use wadded up newspaper, paper cups, poster board, and a whole lot of masking tape to form the masks.  Each child chooses the animal they want to create and then parents & I help them form their masks.  
Some parents are quite talented!

And then come the smocks & acrylic paint. . .


This project is QUITE the project for first graders and every year, mid-project, I wonder what I was thinking.  But once the masks are complete, I know that I must do them again next year.  

Monday, May 30, 2011

Summer Reading Blog Hop

 I have a few new reads and several re-reads (Daily 5, Literacy Workstations, CAFE) on my lists.  Here's where I am starting:

Proust and the Squid: The Story and Science of the Reading Brain
I've tried to read Proust & the Squid during the school year, but it requires too much re-reading on my end.  I'm excited about having the time to read it slowly so I can take it all in.
Object Lessons
I am judging this book by its cover.  It screams "you'll love me!"  We'll find out!

Math Work Stations

The Castle in the Classroom

Report Card Comments

If you have not tried Teachers' Report Assistant, you should.  It is a great resources for comment writing.  All you have to do is download the FREE program, create your own comment bank (I've saved a different bank for each quarter), and then start clicking away.  It even uses symbols in place of names and pronouns so that all you have to do is type in the name once and check whether it is a boy or girl.  Comments are easy to individualize.  My comment bank tabs are usually: intro, reading, language, math, social skills, recommendations/closing.  I have about 10 comments per tab to choose from.  Of course I always have a few students that don't fit with what I have in my bank, so I just write new comments for them and add them to my existing bank.  Here is the link:  Teachers' Report Assistant .

Tuesday, May 24, 2011

Giraffe Art

I saw this project on Mrs. Brouwer's Art Blog and had to give it a try.  
love . love . love

Monday, May 23, 2011

Ice Cream Art

Ice Cream Unit fans need to check out this awesome art project by

Monday, May 16, 2011

Versa Tiles?

I am considering purchasing a set of Versa Tiles for my class.  Anyone out there have them?  Like?  Dislike?  Opinions please!

Saturday, May 14, 2011

Ice Cream Sundaes

My class earned an ice cream party so I turned it into a fun writing activity.   And that fun writing activity turned into a huge editing/descriptive writing lesson.  They had to list their ingredients (maximum of 6) and then write out the recipe.  But it wasn't that simple.  Another student was going to be reading their recipe and creating the ice cream sundae for them.  I modeled writing my own recipe and the kids wrote theirs.  Then I called the kids up in pairs, they swapped recipes, and the sundae building began!

I made picture cards of the ingredients available to them.

I printed off a recipe card for each child:


Reading another student's writing. . ."Hmmm. . .THAT's why
she's always talking about perfect printing."

the joys of spraying whipped cream from a can

and a cherry on top

Only one child forgot to add ice cream to his recipe. . .fortunately he thought it was funny and knew there was an easy fix.