Sunday 6 December 2015

What Have We Been Up To? Monthly Update

How is it December already?? I swear I was just getting my classroom set up last week. I can't believe it. I also haven't blogged in almost two months.... ugh! Sorry about that! I've had so many good intentions, but life just gets in the way! Oh well, here's a quick recap of some stuff we have done since I last blogged...

We had pumpkin day and costume day. I was the hot dog from the Pop See Ko 2.0 video! (Any Go Noodle fans here??)

I also presented my first solo PD session--Engaging and Interactive Science Ideas! Eeek! I got some positive feedback, so hopefully I didn't come off as nervous as I felt!

We learned about peace, war, and Remembrance Day. We made these scrapbook poppy artworks.

We had report cards and parent teach conferences. We put up a board of all the reasons why we Go Noodle so parents can see why we do it! It's also a place to keep track of our maxed out champs! :)

On December 1st our classroom elf made a visit! Santa delivered a present for us with our elf, the book, voting tags, and elf notebooks (from Mel D's The Ultimate Classroom Elf Kit). We voted and our elf's name is "The Good Elf". So creative. lol

We actually started our Christmas Around the World unit two weeks ago. We have been having so much fun!! We've traveled to Mexico, Brazil, France, Italy, and South Africa.

Each day we fill in a page in our scrapbook, add a stamp to our suitcase, and make a craft to go with it! Here's a look at our poinsettias, tinsel-tail birds, and yule logs! So much fun and a great way to keep the kiddos engaged until Christmas!

I also saw this life-size gingerbread house over at Mrs. Goff's Pre-K Tales and knew that the giant boxes sitting in my basement would be put to good use! I cut the pieces at home, shoved them in the backseat of my little Civic, and then assembled it at school. My kiddos love it! I printed out some decorations to colour and set out some scrap paper/art supplies for my students to make for the gingerbread whenever they have spare time. It's looking pretty cute so far. They even decorate the inside!

We're reading and comparing fifteen of my favourite gingerbread stories this month! It's pretty sad that I have even more than 15 versions though.... I can't help it! I just love the stories! :)

That's about it! We've got two weeks until Christmas break. I have not even started my Christmas shopping yet, so I better get on that soon. Have a happy Monday tomorrow!

Friday 9 October 2015

Five for Friday - October 9th

I can't believe it's almost the middle of October. How did that happen? I have totally neglected this little blog. I've been taking tons of pictures, but I just don't have the energy to do anything with them! Props to all the teacher-mom bloggers out there. I did not realize how exhausting this double life would be. I am loving being back at school, even though I miss seeing my little Zoe Monkey all day long. I know she is having fun at daycare and I love my little class of firsties. Here's a peek at what we've been up to this week... I'm linking up with Doodle Bugs Teaching for her Five for Friday linky party!

Monday afternoon we went on our first field trip to the local fire station. They were so excited and had a great time! The fire fighters did an excellent safety presentation and then we got to tour the fire station. We got to sit in a fire truck AND squirt water from the hose! How fun! We also did some work in our interactive journals about fire safety. I think we have drilled those safety rules into their heads after this week!!

It was all about fall, Thanksgiving, and some Halloween this week. I pulled out all my fall books and the kiddos just ate them up. We made fall patterns using some fall/Halloween foam shapes. We made counting by 10s turkeys and had our school-wide Thanksgiving lunch where we sported our turkey hats (idea from Miss Kindergarten).

Guided Reading and Math are in full swing and so far it's going pretty good! My kiddos love play-do, so whipped up this fun word work centre. There is a mat for each letter. They have to make the uppercase and lowercase letters and then there is a picture that corresponds to the sound the letter makes (a - make apples, b - make bees). I just put them on TpT tonight {here}.

Whipping out my fun tools to start reading off on the right foot. Witch fingers and laser pointers have been a big hit so far!

In writing we are writing personal narratives about a time we got hurt. These are our "ouch" stories. We will make our good copies look like a large band-aid!

I have been doing problem solving at least 3 times a week. So far we have only been doing addition and subtraction to 10 (result unknown), but learning a bunch of strategies such as draw a picture, use tally marks, use a number line, use a ten frame, and act it out! I hope to do a blog post soon about problem solving and the different types of problems we will be doing. We do some whole group practice on whiteboards and then do an individual problem in our journal.

Here's a few examples of our journals. Right now they just have to show work (picture, tallies, etc.) and a number sentence. Soon they will also have to write their answer with a number and word (ex. 9 acorns).

Science is in full swing. We have been doing a bunch of work on the four seasons and will be starting some SUPER FUN weather activities after the long weekend. We started off with our question chart... what do we wonder about weather or seasons? We're going to touch on these questions as we continue our learning this month.

Here are some of our Science interactive journal pages. The season wheel was a big hit.

And here are some kids enjoying the Explore Tubs (early finisher activities for Science). These girls are dressing up the boy for different weather!

These kids are learning about light and shadows AND are telling very creative stories! :)

These adorable girls are playing teacher while they match up the seasonal activities. Find this activity on TpT {here}.

You can read more about my Season & Weather Explore Tubs {here}. The only thing I did differently was put all of the topic books into a big tub (kind of as it's own tub) and just put the activities into the tubs. They have been a huge hit! :)

Happy Thanksgiving my Canadian friends! Enjoy your three-day weekend. I know I will! :)

Sunday 20 September 2015

Classroom Reveal 2015

Wow, it's been three weeks since I've been here on the blog. What's happened in the last three weeks? For starters, I have hardly sat down this whole time!! It has been quite the whirlwind. Zoe started daycare (and loves it!), I moved my entire classroom from my old room to the science lab (plus some stuff from home), set up my entire classroom, had Meet the Teacher night, a few meetings, and started teaching 16 sweet, little first graders. They are seriously a super sweet bunch. We are having a lot of fun so far! Throw in an out-of-town wedding the first weekend after school started and a sick baby and mommy this weekend, and here we are! It's been an adjustment returning back to school as a teacher and mom, but I wouldn't have it any other way.

Here's a little reminder of what I was walking into after returning from mat leave this summer--the old Grade 9 Science Lab (Grade 9's moved to the high school this year, so the room was vacant). There are three hallways in my school: K-2, 3-5, and 6-8. We get to be in the hallway with the big, big kids. It's a little intimidating, but my kiddos are doing amazing! I really wanted to provide them with a comfortable space that would help ease the transition a bit!

Be prepared for picture overload. Here is my home for the 2015-2016 school year! (Maybe longer. I'm building a house right now. I know how delayed the construction process can be. lol) Some of my favourite decorating ideas this year: layering borders, enlarging my favourite clipart, and making my own bulletin board letters (I gave the Sketch Block font a black "glow" on PowerPoint to get the look I wanted).

I commandeered one of the bulletin boards in the hallway and this was our welcome back bulletin board. My mom and I had fun coming up with forest themed puns. I liked this one the best. {Credits: Moose & Friends Cut-Outs by Carson-Dellosa, Lime Chevron Border by Teacher Created Resources, Dots on Chalkboard Lime Border by Creative Teaching Press, Tree Clipart by KPM Doodles, Sun Clipart by Creative Clips, and letter font: Sketch Block

The 6-8 students all have lockers. There were no extra lockers for my class and there are obviously no hooks in the science lab, so my principal bought some Command hooks for me to hang on the wall in the hallway outside our room. It's been working good so far. They hang up their jackets and backpacks here, but bring their agendas and lunch kits into the classroom. They leave their outside shoes on the floor under their hooks. Name tags are still going strong on the wall too. Woo hoo!

I saw this adorable Instagram poster from Teach Create Motivate. I love it! Everyday though I hear some junior high kid asking, "I wonder if that's a real Instagram account. I'm going to check it out when I get home." lol. One grade 8 girl told me she loved it though. I already printed some pictures of activities we did the first week back to school. I love that it's a place to broadcast what we're working on. Parents can check it out if/when they drop off or pick up their child! {Instagram Poster by Teach Create Motivate, Where Are We? Posters by First Grade Garden}

Bulletin board as you walk in has a welcome sign and our class rules. Also there are the students' cubbies (for indoor shoes and lunch kits), leveled bins for home reading books, and student mailboxes. {Dots on Chalkboard White Border by Creative Teaching Press, Painted Palette Rainbow Paint Chip Border by Creative Teaching Press, Back to School Bulletin Board Set by Simply Kinder}

Here's a view of the classroom from the doorway:

The science lab has these high-up display shelves (most have glass doors). I used these two to house some of my favourite book and stuffy combos. I love how it turned out. I might use these special stuffies as a reward of some sort.

Here's my classroom library. I have an Author Study bulletin board to display our author of the month. Kevin Henkes is up first. I love the chevron pillows, my bucket of reading buddies, and my old beanbag chair that I rescued from m parents' basements. That is becoming a favourite place to sit and read. {Dots on Chalkboard Orange Border by Creative Teaching Press, Library Labels by First Grade Garden, Alphabet Rug from Target, Table and Stools from IKEA}

On these glass doors I taped up some colourful, laminated 12x12 cardstock with Stikki Clips, so I can hang student work on them easily. These papers are also hiding some rocks, fossils, skulls, and a real stuffed duck that I couldn't really pack up and move anywhere. I did put the other dead animals and bugs into storage though. #sorrynotsorry I displayed my shape and number posters underneath the upper cabinets. {Chalkboard Classroom Posters by First Grade Garden}

 Bucket Filler bulletin board. This was one of our first lessons in our Social Studies/Health notebook. {Dots on Chalkboard Blue Border by Creative Teaching Press, Editable Buckets by Primary Graffiti, Clipart by Melonheadz and Teaching at the River}

Guided Math bulletin board and Writing Goals display board. {Dots on Chalkboard Yellow Border by Creative Teaching Press, Guided Math Rotation Cards by First Grade Garden, Writing Goals Pack by First Grade Garden, Melonheadz clipart, Black Pocket Chart by Scholastic}

My guided reading area. My crate seats turned out awesome! I used actual milk crates because they are sturdier. They are great storage spots too, but with all my cupboard space (a plus with this room), I don't have anything in them! I also hung up my torn ribbon garland across my window. {Dots on Chalkboard Green Border by Creative Teaching Press, Guided Reading Rotation Cards by First Grade Garden, Melonheadz clipart}

Here's a view of my room from the back:

Here is a close up look of my table supplies. Classroom supplies are colour coded in the centre caddy: whiteboards, dry erase markers (and baby socks for erasers), scissors, and glue sticks. I have a green table, blue table, and pink table.

Each student has their own pencil tray with matching cup to keep a pencil, eraser, and pack of crayons. They have been doing soooooo good so far! No lost pencils or crayons. They are all taking care or their own supplies. The crayon cup is velcro-ed to the tray so they can take it out. The tray is also velcro-ed to the table so it stays in the same place, but they can remove it to take to a different spot in the classroom or music class, etc. So far it is working out great! {Table Caddies from Dollarama, Black Pencil Trays from Dollarama, Cups from IKEA, Free Name Tags from First Grade Garden, Free Table Labels from Facebook Fan Freebies}

Here is the other side of the wall. I have the other 8 students' work display up on these glass shelves. On the counters are their individual book boxes. I hung up my alphabet and colour posters underneath the top cabinets. {Chalkboard Classroom Posters by First Grade Garden, Book Boxes by Really Good Stuff--I have the Neon Set and the Purple/Orange Add Ons}

Birthday Display on upper cabinets and word wall on lower cabinets. {Birthday Display by First Grade Garden}

Here's my teacher area. Book shelves full of binders. Small IKEA desk and computer that I barely sit at. I love my larger teacher and students up top. Makes me smile!

And lastly the front of my room. There is a large counter that is in the way of the whiteboard and SMARTboard. The SMARTboard is way too tall for my students to reach, even with a stool. So I covered the back of the counter with purple paper and hung up my calendar area there. I got a garment rack for my large pocket chart and have my IKEA bench as my seat at the front. I love how it turned out, but I do use that counter to spread out all my stuff. I have to be better at keeping it cleaned off! At least I have it all at my fingertips! ;) {Dots on Chalkboard Purple Border by Creative Teaching Press, Calendar Pack by First Grade Garden, Stuva Bench by IKEA, Large Black Pocket Chart by Scholastic, Black Calendar Pocket Chart by Scholastic, Circle Carpet Spots by Sit Spots, Welcome Banner by First Grade Garden, Voice Level Posters by Tunstall's Teaching Tidbits, Question of the Day Pack by First Grade Garden}

And that's about it! I will be back soon to finish up some of my daily schedule posts, tell you a few of my favourite tips & tricks so far this year, and show you what we've been up to the first couple weeks of school! Enjoy the rest of your weekend! :)