Sunday, March 30, 2014

Spring Cleaning & More!

I have to admit, I caved under the pressure to have a sale. I'm so happy I did! I haven't showed too many pictures of my little nuggets in action this year so I thought this would be a perfect opportunity.  Packing up 10+ years of a classroom...perging.....packing...unpacking.....decorating....redecorating...I have been a tad busy.
Now here I am at the very end of my Spring Break.....WAH! It actually snowed.............
Who let him here? I just look at this pic & laugh! This is Chicago my friends. It snowed on Spring Break & we grilled. Yes, when it's March....we grill no matter what. And we stop wearing coats. Am I right my Chicagoland friends????

I will be planning all day tomorrow. Part of my plans are pulling out more of these bad boys for the 4th quarter....BAM! What a great way to start off the Monday after Spring Break..with a little teaser of what's in store. They WILL take the bait.

So here is one of my nuggets counting up her fuzzies right before Spring Break. Did you know when they don't have fuzzies, I take coupons. That was no accident that they traded them all in right before break.

After we count 500,000 fuzzies they have collected, I put the date on the chart below along with how many fuzzies they earned. This helps me see if they are really trying to earn more or if they slacked off a bit. Most of the time, they get about the same or more. The little boy above is better at math than I am so he keeps track of how many coupons they get & how many they have left. For example, she had 230 fuzzies. He let her know all the different combinations she could get. Future President..not kidding.
Here is my "teacher's assistant" making sure this one didn't take any extra coupons. She takes her job very seriously. She kept track of everyone's totals & called them up one at a time. After they were finished, she would highlight their total & call the next student up to trade.
With over 100+ choices, this might take a while each week so I call in my little troops for help.
As you can see both sets have 10 coupons per page, full page option & organization ideas & tips.
Someone turned in a brain break coupon ....the whole class gets to enjoy this! Cost=Nothing!
This little one cashed in his fuzzies in order to bring his Ipod to school. That costs 200 fuzzies!

These girls cashed in the "Buddy Read Aloud" coupon. They are really into Wayside School right now so they chose to read our chapter for that day.

These cutie pies turned in the "Comfy Spot" coupon in order to pick their spot first.
She is showing us her talent! She handed in the "Got Talent" coupon. I used to be able to do this!
If I tried now...the ambulance couldn't get to me fast enough!

These boys turned in a "We've Got Talent" coupon. They were going to tell some jokes & then they got shy. Too cute!

This one is my coupon queen! She loves the ones worth "10" so she can have a HUGE stack! She guards them with her life! Anyway, she handed in a "Line Jumper" coupon so she was able to cut everyone in line to take her AR test first.

I don't know if I ever blogged about Moo Moo before. I will this summer, I promise. I purchased Moo Moo, because she looks just like my Moo Moo (Olive). The girls earned coupons for a sleepover with our babies. They each have their own carrier....of course.
Sorry...she looks like a hot mess here. She is on top of Bentley right So since I don't have kids I talk about my furry babies all the time. Our classroom elf, Cubert, decided to bring them a dog & I somehow talked them into naming her Moo Moo. They are obsessed!
My girls above are holding Moo Moo & her babies. Yes, our fake dog had puppies! We had our Scholastic book fair & I had to buy them another one! Then, they said she felt like she was still pregnant. Guess who went to buy another one??? $24 later...we have 3 dogs in our classroom. I.AM.NOT.BUYING.THEM.CLOTHES! I figure if I type it on here then I won't buy them clothes which they are asking for! I put some little bandanas on them, now they want more clothes! Look what I start! I can't help it...they are my babies :o)

These two are two peas in a pod...always together & never them! One of them gave me the "Borrow a Furry Friend" coupon. Of course, guess who they borrow???

Check out my Reward Coupons Set 1 HERE and Reward Coupon Set 2 HERE.
The feedback on these is beyond amazing. Is it too late in the year for you to start???? UM, NO! Start and see just how much the atmosphere changes in your classroom. Get out the kinks now & start fresh. Do you have to print all of them out?? Um, NO! You know your kids & you know what will reel them in...print those out ;o)

I have a mile long Candy Land to do list friends. I am just so busy...wah! Candy Land will be my main focus this summer. I will get to all of your requests. Click on any cover to grab any of these games on sale!
Here are my kiddos during math stations. At least once a week I will pull out all the Candy Land math games & they can pick their partner & pick which game they want. I will rotate them every 7-10 minutes. I will be introducing the Time Candy Land game tomorrow.

I finally finished all of the Journey's first grade games. You can click on the pic above to grab it for a big discount.

Now that we have learned all of our long & short vowels...this is a great review for them!

Do you know what you are doing for Mother's Day??? If you are ambitious start the project above. I will be updating this year after year. This was an incredible gift to our parents. They absolutely LOVED it!
I can't really express how much my kids LOVE writing now. I have NEVER had a year where I actually reached them & kept them engaged and interested in writing all year long! I am patting myself on the back. I have finally given them the love of writing in first grade....that is a very hard task! I am working on set 2 right now but I am pretty sure it won't be ready until the summer. I work painfully slow.

Check out my new writing center HERE! The feedback makes my heart melt!
Here is a peek into my Spring-a-licious ELA & Math unit! It's so colorful & fun...I just love it!
Is that the sun peeking through our window? Why yes it is!

Finally, if you didn't see my candy bar end of the year awards...check them out HERE. I stole borrowed the red carpet idea from my blogging buddy Reagan over at Tunstall's Teaching Tidbits. I literally whipped these together at the last minute & had no idea how popular they would be with my students & parents. I have something up my sleeve for this pack...hint..hint.



Friday, March 14, 2014

National Craft Month

Did you know that March is National Craft Month? I sure didn't. I am teaming up with Lakeshore Learning, my favorite teacher store, to show you what I did with their 3-way easel.

As you know, I am a first grade teacher. This 3-way easel has been such a life saver during this Polar Vortex in Chicago. My little nuggets haven't been outside for recess since before Thanksgiving! Poor things. I am very resourceful with ideas for them but I was running out of options.

Once I UN-boxed this fine quality beauty they were fighting over it. Then, of course, I had to make them earn it. They have been trying to earn fuzzies like crazy to be able to use this during indoor recess! They love to actually be able to use chalk! They are used to sidewalk chalk & don't really get to use a chalkboard in today's world. THEY LOVE IT! It's like giving them finger paints or play-doh! On the other side is a dry-erase board. They love this as well since they aren't allowed to use our big classroom dry erase board during indoor recess...long story.

So here is what I came up with............

I always do holiday photos & I like to change it up from year to year when I have siblings. These pics turned out so cute! The easel comes with the blue clips so this photo shoot idea was perfect. I also have something up my sleeve for Mother's Day as well!

The good news is that Lakeshore is offering a coupon for 20% off! Yee Haw! 
It is ONLY valid until 3/31/14 so snatch it & save while you can! 
Click HERE to grab your coupon! 

Sunday, March 9, 2014

Bright Ideas

Today I am joining over 180 bloggers who are sharing their bright classroom ideas. Unfortunately, I did not participate last time but I found wonderful ideas that I am using already!

Do you do AR in your classroom? I do & I promote it heavily. My students are obsessed with taking AR tests. We currently only have two student computers in our classroom. This has caused major arguments when someone cuts in line. It drove me cray-cray. I used to have my students write their names on the board & erase it when they were finished taking a test. This was not working well at all.

There has to be a procedure in place for this to run smoothly. I get asked a lot how my class accumulates so many AR points. I truly believe having this system really helps! I DO NOT let my students take tests while I am teaching whole group. They take tests all day long. I do let them take tests if they are in "Read to Someone" or "Read to Self" during our Daily 5 rotations. They even take tests at recess although that is not required. My students are required to take at least one AR test daily. They have to have their test done by recess otherwise they lose it.

Here are the steps that I teach over & over until it is running smoothly.
 I have a small container that houses their class numbers. These are calendar numbers that I laminated. This is usually filled with numbers by the bell & throughout the day.
Each of my students have their own book bins. These stay in place unless we are in Daily 5 or silent reading time. All of my classroom books are AR. I teach them how to choose a "Just Right" book in order to successfully pass each AR test they take. I like them to have the books that they have read & plan on taking a test on to sit on their desk so they are ready.
It is truly amazing how fast they learn to take these tests independently. They type in everything themselves. Sometimes there are typo issues. I don't have time to help with these when they do come up. One of my classroom jobs is a "tech assistant" that helps with this. If the tech assistant can't help then they come get me which is rare.
After they are finished taking their test & successfully pass, they press the "easy" button from Staples. I have one on each computer & tell them that is my favorite thing to hear all day!
After they press the "easy" button then my AR Patrol student makes sure they put their number up & get the next person. If they forget to put their number up or get the next person they owe a big fuzzy. They don't forget.

This photo was my AR line in the beginning of the year. I switched to the circle numbers so we could fit more in each row. Until my students got to know everyone's student number, I placed a class list next to the AR line for them to refer to. They simply walk up to the person & tell them they are up for AR.
This is a big motivator to take AR tests. For every test they pass they get a BIG FUZZY! I have students that take 5-10 tests a day just to earn a big fuzzy for each one!
After they get their big fuzzy they have to return their book & grab another one. This is the only time they are in the library bins other than their book shopping day on Monday.

Even if you don't use AR in your classroom this system can work for many other things. I hope you are able to use some of my ideas.

Since this is a blog hop, you're not done yet!  There are over 180 bloggers with bright ideas posted and you can hop all the way through.  Next up on the hop is Stephanie from Teaching in Room 6 . Head on over to her blog to check out her Bright Idea!