Saturday, August 18, 2012

Dolch "Ball Words"

It's been days in the making (literally)....printing, laminating, cutting, and placing on rings, but I'm finally done!! I'm using the "Ball Words" from A Differentiated Kindergarten to help my students work toward mastery of all 220 words. With such a fun little program (complete with student recognition and awards), it shouldn't be a problem at all! I am certain students will take full initiative to want to practice their words and play all of the fun little games included.

I can't even begin to tell you how many games you can squeeze out of these fun little cards---and many of the other printables included but not shown here. How awesome!! 

If you get this printable, here are my recommendations: 
  1. 1. Get a ton of card stock & ink (worth the money you will spend!...better yet if your school has a color printer you can use!!)
  2. Stock up on your caffeinated beverage of choice and throw it down the hatch often!! Maybe even order a pizza & throw on some comfy clothes - you'll be there awhile.
  3. Gather several of your closest friends and relatives to help. (I got mine done with the help of some chatty work sessions with my friends and colleagues & paying a small fee to my 9 year old for each page cut out...and to my 5 year old daughter for sorting the words into piles!'s not child labor if they offer, you pay, and they love it! Right?!---OH, and not to forget my dear husband who cut the very last set that I "just couldn't muster up the energy to do!)
  4. Find a place to hang all these in your classroom - child accessible! 
  5. Have fun and keep in mind the smiles & excitement you know your students will have learning with colorful, aesthetically appealing, learning materials!! ---which is why we do what we do! 
In other words, "Have a Ball!" 

Wednesday, August 15, 2012

Ready, Set, GO: Essentials!!

At the beginning of the year, there are some particular essentials that I must have to help keep my students organized AND keep the ever-so-important lines of communication between home and school open!

My essentials are (but not limited to): 
  • Home/School Folder - sent home daily & returned daily. I prefer daily communication, rather than Friday folders. As a parent of three children, it's hard to get an over-stuffed folder on Fridays with work that my little ones may not even remember. So, as a teacher and parent, I think it's easier to send home whatever needs to go home on THAT day. Granted, there's great pieces of work to display in the hall, or art that needs to dry, or writing that may take a few days to get through the whole process....but you get the gist. 
  • Money/Notes Pocket  - for inside the home/school folder
This year, I am also using writing folders. My Pre-Kinders did not need it...but now that I'm moving on up to first, we are going to need somewhere to store our writing pieces as we are working on them! So, that's another essential to stay organized. 

And...of course, there's the typical essentials to stay organized: student name labels, labels, labels!! 

Today, much to my surprise while I was putting together & making these essentials, I stumbled across the best label designer!! Did you know that Avery (the maker of all the self-adhesive labels) - has an online design and print area on their website?! Am I the only one who has just found this little gem of a free design tool?!?!?!?! If you want to check it out, click HERE. You can create your labels, save them online or to your computer, create PDF's & totally rock it out---so simple!! 

Here's what I made today....

CUPCAKES stands for: Children Using Practical Communication And Keeping Everything Safe! 
The ones I made for my students have their names on them under the cupcake. If you'd like to grab this FREEBIE, click on the photo! They go great with my other Sweet Shop Theme in my TN shop.

I also made this Money & Notes Pocket label for inside the CUPCAKES Folder. The label goes on the zipper pocket with the clear window. No more missing lunch money, popcorn money, book orders, or notes from parents. It's in one safe place, rather than jiggling around the bottom of a backpack! Want this label, too? Just click the photo--it's FREE! 
Lastly, here's the writing folder label. All the labels are made for Avery Shipping labels 58164. 

I hope you get a chance to design some great stuff on the Avery Design and Print Online site. 
It's a great teacher's helper!!!! 

Tuesday, August 7, 2012

It's CrUnCh TIME!

Does anyone else feel like it's CrUnCh TIME?! I know some of you bloggers out in GA, FL, and even Texas are just about ready to start school any day now---if you haven't already! I still have until after Labor Day, but am suddenly feeling like it's crunch time!

I've spent quite a few hours in my room already....but having moved to a new building, and new grade level, I was feeling a little panicked. In order to focus on the curriculum, I really wanted to have my room in order. Because, you the saying goes....

Source: via Keri on Pinterest

I'll be sure to get some pictures up of my classroom soon! I'm not a big fan of work in progress I will post when everything is done (or at least will look done to anyone besides me!) I think I'm really going to enjoy my new room this year....and with all the Pinteresting ideas, TpT purchases, crafts, and the like that has consumed me this summwe, it should be a fun, bright, cheerful place for me and my new first grade friends!

But, speaking of CrUnCh's some schedule cards that I made to keep track of our daily schedule. I have to say that I am pretty good about keeping to the schedule in my lesson plans, especially if I post it for the kids to see. And while I can be flexible whenever needed, a good schedule will keep our day running smooth and with focus.

These schedule cards do not have cute little pictures on them for emergent readers....but rather I wanted the focus to be on the word, and the TIME! I notice that the Common Core doesn't hit time too much, and I don't really like when concepts are covered in a unit and then not revisited. We all know that learning needs to be circular---come back and re-visit skills and concepts often. Use it or lose it, right?!

By including working with time at Calendar/group using Every Day Counts math, and with our daily schedule cards, we will be off to a good start practicing telling time each day!

Click the picture below to grab your copy in my Teacher's Notebook Store.

I've also recently added quick daily reading practice for students!

Are you a first grade teacher that uses Harcourt Trophies?  Click HERE to see how I've aligned it!