Thursday, December 31, 2015

Reflections on 2015

Good Morning!

As I sit and think about what to write for this post, I can't help but be a little shocked at all the things that I have done this year...in a good way of course. I am a very shy person outside of my little bubble of friends and family. Last year I was a new mom to my beautiful baby girl trying to figure out how to be a mom, wife, teacher, friend, person, etc. It was overwhelming and then on top of all that I decided to step way outside of my little bubble which is what is so shocking to me.

One year ago a good friend encouraged and helped me get this blog up and running. It was so far out of my element I didn't think it would last, but as you can see so far so good. Then a few months later she invited me, the rookie blogger, to be a part of the amazing Hello Sunshine Blog. For some reason unknown to me I said yes. Why not throw another blog in the mix. As it turns out that was a smart decision, those ladies are amazing and have been so welcoming and encouraging over this last year. Even when I miss a post or freak out because I feel like I have nothing to say, they are still there to pick me up and keep me going.

Around the time that I joined Hello Sunshine, I also got an instagram account to go along with my personal blog. Now lets keep in mind that at this point I still barely know how to blog and still don't understand all the parts of Facebook but I signed up anyway. Oh my goodness I had no idea the world that would open up for me. I have gotten so many great ideas and come across so many amazing teachers on instagram that its mind boggling. From there I was introduced to Periscope. That is even more amazing. I love watching teachers share ideas and tips on there. My personal favorite is Ashley from Schroeder Shenanigans in Second. She has some great tips and tricks. I still have yet to do a Periscope myself but who knows what 2016 will bring.

All of these things are amazing to me. I have never put myself out there like I have with the blogging and instagram. I am so grateful for Mrs 3rd Grade for encouraging and helping me along this journey and for the ladies of Hello Sunshine. I am achieving things that I never dreamed were possible thanks to the journey that are helping me walk along. Thank you to all the other teachers out there who have shared ideas, triumphs, and failures with all of us. It is more encouraging and uplifting than you could possibly know.

My final thoughts are of my goals for this next year. My goals are to become more consistent in my blogging for both my personal and Hello Sunshine. My other goal would be to attempt a Periscope. I would love to find the courage to let you all see me as I share something fun that I do with my kiddos. We will see how long it takes to find the courage.

Thanks for reading my ramblings. Have a wonderful New Year's Eve and a beautiful beginning to 2016!

Ashley

Sunday, November 29, 2015

Peek at my Week: Christmas Week 1

Hello Again!

I can not believe that we just finished celebrating Thanksgiving or that I only have 14 and a half teaching days until Christmas break!! That seems crazy to me!

I do love this time of year though no matter how quickly it seems to come or how crazy it can get. There are just so many fun things to do in the classroom and I absolutely love Christmas and celebrating with Christmas activities. Thankfully may teaching partner and our third grade teacher friends love it just as much as I do because we have teamed up on some awesome activities for this month. To show you what we will be doing I usually link up with Mrs. Wills Kindergarten for her peek at my week linky but it is not happening this week. I am still going to share my plans and some of the fun we are having just because I am so excited.

We begin our festivities tomorrow with Elf on the Shelf. Our Elf Cocoa (we named our elves to save a little sanity this season) will make his appearance somewhere in the room introducing himself with a special note. We will be writing letters to our elves that we will leave out for our elves to take tomorrow night. The kids will have to write the top three things that they want and then the three reasons why they feel they deserve those presents. We will then team up with our third grade friends to make an elf and watch the Elf on the Shelf movie.

On Wednesday we team up with our third grade friends again to begin Christmas Around the World. We will visit 6 countries over the next three week. We have a book, passports, luggage, etc. to make it all as fun and interesting as possible for the kids.

On Thursday we will be reading Mooseltoe and finishing up our Mooseltoe themed math centers. We will also partner with our third grade friends to make Mooseltoe and watch a Christmas classic: Rudolph.

As you can see we have some exciting activities planned and this is only the beginning of the fun that will be coming. My lesson plans are below and any packets that I am using will have links underneath my plans.
Mooseltoe Math and Literacy Activities
The Nativity
Second Step
Christmas Around the World

Have a great week!

Ashley

Sunday, November 1, 2015

Currently: November

Hi!

I can not believe it is already November 1st! Where did October go? I love this time of year but it definitely goes by quickly.

This afternoon I am linking up with Farly over at Oh Boy Fourth Grade for her Currently linky.


I love that the Hallmark channel begins playing Christmas movies on November 1st and plays them all day and night until Christmas. Its my favorite time of year!

I am also so very excited that cooler weather is finally making its way to Arizona. It is now finally starting to feel like fall here. I'm hoping that the temp will drop even lower so I can pull out my sweaters and boots.

My want and need are the same today. I want another day to rest and relax to get over this bug. Both my daughter and I have it. I'm hoping I feel better tomorrow when I head back to the classroom. If not it will be a very long day.

I have not really eaten a whole lot this weekend but I love all the yummy pumpkin treats that come out during this time of year. I am a big pumpkin fan!

Have a wonderful week!

Ashley

Tuesday, October 27, 2015

Hello Sunshine

Good Evening!

Tonight I blogged over at Hello Sunshine about a few of the fun Halloween math activities that we have been working on this month. Go check them out if you can and look at all the other posts from my awesome friends about their favorite math activities or teaching tools.

Ashley

Sunday, October 25, 2015

Peek at my Week: Week 10

Hello Again!

I am returning again to join DeeDee Wills at Mrs. Wills Kindergartern for her Peek at my Week linky. Come join us if you can!

 Last week we ended our pioneer unit and we always end with a Pioneer Day. It was so much fun but it was incredibly exhausting. I wrote a post about it yesterday, feel free to read through that and see the adventures we had.

This week will thankfully be a little calmer than last week. This week we will be studying bats in science. We will be using two different packets to complete that unit. It will be lots of fun. We will also be celebrating our 50th day of school this Friday. Our 50th Day is actually Thursday but we pushed the celebrations to Friday because we were able to get a 50's Dress day approved. I work at a private school where students wear uniforms, so Halloween dress or shirts aren't allowed. Having a 50's Day helps alleviate some of the frustrations over that.

Here are my plans for the week. Links to all the packets you see on the plans are below the image.


Bats: Math and Literacy Activities
Thankful Thoughts
Number Sense to 100
The Pumpkin Prayer
Pioneer Unit
Bat Bits
50's Day: Activities for the 50th Day of School
Candy Corn Mathtivities

Have a wonderful week!

Ashley

Saturday, October 24, 2015

Pioneer Activities

Hi Everyone!

Yesterday was our Pioneer Day. We host this awesome day for our first graders every year at the end of their pioneer unit. It is crazy, super exhausting, but completely worth it when you see how much fun the kids have in their activities. This event is also made possible by the wonderful parents we have at our school and in our classes who step up and help us run the centers.

All our festivities start at lunch and go to the end of the day. We have a dad come on campus and grill hot dogs for our lunch. We pair that with popcorn, apple slices, and cookies. Once they have eaten and had a recess break we split the first graders into 4 teams. Each team will visit all 4 centers: Pioneer Chores/Cooking, Pioneer Games, Pioneer Crafts, and Pioneer School.

In Pioneer School the kids use feathers and ink to write the alphabet on hornbooks. Then they use rocks to help them solve math problems. They will also read a pioneer story book and have fun with a mini spelling bee.

At the Pioneer Crafts center they complete 2 crafts. First they make a mini wagon with popsicle sticks and paper. Then they make a yarn doll. This center takes the most volunteers because of the yarn dolls. The kiddos do great with the yarn wrapping, but the tying of the doll is difficult for them.

For Pioneer Games they have fun with Wagon Wheel races, hot potato, duck goose, musical chairs, and they drop clothes pins in jar while pinching it between their chin and chest. We do provide music for this center using a cd player because neither of us can play a fiddle.

Pioneer Chores/Cooking is the favorite. Several years ago a dad at our school built us a wooden goat that he rigged to be milked. His wife covered it with faux fur and gave it ears, eyes, and a mouth. The first class to have the goat for Pioneer Day named it Snowball and the name has stuck. This center is probable my favorite to because of the goat. It is amazing how little aim first graders have. Poor Snowball is usually soaked after being milked, yet the bucket is typically empty. They also have fun washing clothes using a washboard and then hanging them on the line. They sweep, collect wood for a fake fire, and then finish by making ice cream.

At the end of the day we have very happy but tired children. We also have very exhausted grown ups. It is so worth it though watching them have fun in each group all dressed up like little pioneers. I have included a few pictures below.






Thanks for reading!

Ashley

Sunday, October 18, 2015

Peek at my Week: Week 9

Hello!

Well fall break as come to an end and we are now returning to what I feel is the craziest part of the year. We have 5 weeks until Thanksgiving break and in that time we have our PT conferences, Pioneer Day, book fair and the activities that go with that week, Thanksgiving units, and our 50th day of school celebrations. It is all a lot of fun but it is a little crazy and exhausting as well.

I am excited to be sharing all these things with you this year. I am going to give you a glimpse as I link up with DeeDee Wills at Mrs. Wills Kindergarten for her Peek at my Week linky.


Prior to fall break we had been in our second week of our pioneer unit. We had a lot of fun that week. We started by learning how to Square Dance. They had so much fun! We then talked about the types of homes that Pioneers would build when they got to their new land. We then learned about patterning as we made our quilt squares from different size triangles. Some kids were very serious about their squares. Others were very free in their pattern creations. At the end we made a lumber house and added our own artistic touches to the picture. Those are now hanging on my classroom wall. The kids did a great job with them. Here are a few pics of them in action.



This week will be even bigger though. We are closing our pioneer unit. To close the unit we have a Pioneer Day. This is a day where they come to school dressed as pioneers and we go through centers with pioneer activities: games, crafts, school, and chores/cooking. We also have a first grade only barbecue before the fun begins. The kids love it because it is a special, fun event just for them. Little do they know they are actually learning as they go. Look for a post this Friday with some fun stories and pics about how the day goes.

That is are biggest activity/lessons this week. The rest of our plans are laid out on the plans below. The links to all the files you see can be found below the image.


Number Sense to 100
Pioneer Unit
Thankful Thoughts

Have a wonderful week!!

Ashley

Thursday, October 15, 2015

Sharing Sunshine

Good Morning!


This morning I am linking up with my friends over at Hello Sunshine for the Sharing Sunshine linky. Come over and join us if you can.

I love this time of year because of all the holidays. I also love that I work at a Christian school and can do fun Bible projects. I know that most of you work in public schools and probably won't use this but I just had to share it because it always makes me smile this time of year.

Every year I have my students write the pumpkin prayer and do a project that goes along with it. Unfortunately I do not have a picture of my sample. I am on fall break this week and did not want to make the 40 minute drive to my classroom for one picture. Sorry! This will also be the first time I have shared it with anyone. I used fall break to actually put all the pieces in one file. I do have the pics from my freebie so that you can get an idea of what I do.

It's a fun activity for my firsties and it looks great up on the wall with their little kid handwriting. If you want a copy it's a freebie in my store. The link is at the end of the post.



The Pumpkin Prayer

Thanks for joining me today! Have a wonderful evening!!

Ashley





Sunday, October 4, 2015

Peek at My Week: Week 8

Good Afternoon!

After a two week break from my blog I am back. It was a crazy two weeks filled with a wedding, a sick toddler, and a sick mommy. Things are settling down now though just in time for our final week before fall break. So excited for a week off!!!!

This beautiful Sunday I am linking up with Mrs. Wills Kindergarten for her Peek at My Week linky. Join us if you can and get some great ideas from some fellow teachers.


This week we are continuing our Pioneer study. I am loving the interactive notebook component I added this year. The kids seem to like it too. We are also setting up all the volunteer information and sign ups this Monday and Tuesday for our Pioneer Day. That will be the week we return but it takes a small army to make the event a success.

We will also be using our reading time and our half day on Friday to study Christopher Columbus. We have a mini book and writing craftivity that they will complete along with some comprehension and vocabulary activities.

Those are our two big things this week.  Everything else is pretty much the same. We don't want to start too much because of Fall Break the following week. Below is a copy of my plans and links to the products that I am using this week. The only link I don't have yet is to my pioneer unit. Hoping to have the finishing touches done tonight and then I will add a link here.

Math Key Words
Number Sense to 100
Columbus Mini Unit
Pioneer Unit

Have a wonderful  week!

Ashley

Sunday, September 20, 2015

Peek at My Week: Week 6

Good Morning!

I am linking up once again with Mrs. Wills Kindergarten for her Peek at My Week Linky. I love this linky!! It is a real motivator to keep me focused each week and not wait until the last minute to complete my lesson plans. I am also getting so many wonderful ideas from the other teachers who link up. Come join us if you can!

This week is our Apple Week. We are doing all kinds of awesome apple activities in honor of Johnny Appleseed's birthday on September 26. My teaching partner and I have activities in every subject area so its a little crazy but fun.

 Our week also gets crazy at the end when our little firsties go on their first field trip of the year. It is 1-8th grade bowling trip run by our Athletic Director. In Arizona its too hot for outdoor PE the first part of the year so he does an awesome bowling unit with our kids and ends it with this field trip. This will be the first time we all go at the same time though. There will be a lot of children and parents!! Unfortunately I am leaving a sub to handle this for me as I will be in SoCal celebrating my little sister's wedding!! Hopefully the sub will sub for me again after such a crazy day.

We will also begin our Pioneer unit this week. We will only cover the vocabulary so as not to interfere with all the apple awesomeness.

Here are the plans for the week. All product can be found using the links below my plans.

Thankful Thoughts
Johnny Appleseed Math and Literacy
Pioneer Interactive Notebook

Have a wonderful week!!

Ashley



Tuesday, September 15, 2015

Sharing Sunshine

Good Morning!

Today I am linking up with my friends over at Hello Sunshine for the Sharing Sunshine linky. My little bit of sunshine for this month comes in the form of Thankful Thoughts. I am blessed to work at a private school and share my faith each and every day. One thing that I have noticed through this journey is how easily people brush off the many blessings in their lives; myself included. I decided that this year I would try to fix that with my kiddos.

This year right outside my classroom I have a large wall that says "Our First Graders are Thankful for..." and each week I will be posting thankful thoughts on this board. Each week all the first graders have to write one thing they are thankful for. It needs to be something different each week. They keep their old sheets in a folder in their desk to help them keep track of what they have already done. At the end of the school year, with 34 thankful thought pages, each child will make a Thankful Thoughts book to take home with them to remind them of the many blessing they have in their lives. We are on our second week of this and I am loving it. They are doing so well with it and they love that I write and color one with them each week.

I have included pictures of some of our pages from this week as well as the link to the pages I use for the Thankful Thoughts below in case you would like to take a look. This is just one of those activities that brings a smile to my face as we do the writing and as I pass that board every day. Its always nice to be reminded of all the wonderful things that we have in our lives.


Thankful Thoughts pages

Ashley

Sunday, September 13, 2015

Peek at my Week: Week 5

Hi Everyone!

This morning I am linking up with Mrs. Wills Kindergarten for her Peek at my Week linky.

Last week was a crazy week! So much happened in 4 short days that I am hoping this coming week is a little calmer. I may be asking too much though as we have a crazy theme and a few new things to debut to our firsties.

Our theme for this week is Pirate. We don't do any huge activities for Pirate week. Our second grade does that. We just have pirate themed stories and mini activities. We will be ending the week with another huge project. We will be painting our apples for our Johnny Appleseed week. We are a little nervous about giving our firsties paint again as this past week a kiddo in my class painted another kiddo. We will see what the final decision is Friday morning.

Along with these two things we will be beginning Second Step in our classrooms. I found a wonderful packet on TpT to go along with our lessons that I am excited about using this year. I have included the link below.


Apple Verse Craft
Thankful Thoughts
Second Step Printables
Pirate Activities
Number Sense 100 Numbers
Science Key Words 

Have a wonderful week!!

Ashley

Sunday, September 6, 2015

Peek at My Week: Week 4

Hi Everyone!

I am returning again to link up with Mrs. Wills Kindergarten for her Peek at My Week linky. I love this linky. I have only been linking up for the past few weeks and I have already gotten some great ideas from other bloggers and TpT sellers. I encourage you to link up if you have not already.


This is another four day week for us. We attended a conference as a school this past Friday and now we have Monday off for Labor Day. I am definitely not complaining. I feel pretty worn out after the last few weeks. I always forget how crazy exhausting the first few weeks of school are and chasing my sweet little toddler around when I get home takes even more energy away. An extra day of rest is nice!

This is a pretty tame week for us. Friday will be the most exciting. Friday for math I will be introducing math groups for the first time. I will spend the next three weeks working on training them to do groups on their own so that I can meet with different groups of kids during this time. One item that I have students work on for several months is the number packet. This is an at your seat activity that has them look at different ways to show a number. The packer goes from 1-100. A link to the packet can be found below.

Along with introducing math groups both first grade classes will come together to do a special project. We don't talk too much with our kiddos about the events of September 11, but we do focus on the heroes of the day and how we should always let them know that we are thankful for them and that we are praying for them. Each student makes a fireman and a policeman and then they write a thank you note to them. We then have students deliver them personally to the different fire stations and police stations in our city over the weekend. A letter goes home to parents prior to this explaining the activity. We have always had wonderful results with this project and great support from the parents.

Number Sense 100 Numbers
Math Key Words
Fire Safety Kids

Thanks for checking out my week! I hope you all have a wonderful week!

Ashley

Saturday, September 5, 2015

Together We are Better: Classroom Reveal

Hello Again!

 

Today I am excited to be linking up with Angie from Lucky Little Learners and Ashley from Schroeder Shenanigans for their monthly linky Together We are Better. This month is the classroom reveal. I am several days behind, which unfortunately is normal for me but I am super excited! This will be the first time I have ever shared photos of my classroom.

My favorite color is blue and I love things that are bright. I also love the jungle so you will see a little of all three in my classroom. I changed my room a lot this year. I really love it and I hope you do. Just keep in mind that I am not amazingly creative like so many of you out their. I am a pretty simple girl.

This is my reading area, although a lot more than reading happens here. We also use this area for morning meeting, calendar time, and any stories I read. I made this area much larger over the summer. This is probably my favorite area in my room. I love when we are all gathered here for calendar or stories. I also love the addition of my bible wall. I work at a Christian school so we teach Bible lessons every day. I love to do special projects to go along with those stories and now I can display them as a reminder of those lessons for the kids.


This is my desk area. We call this "The Lion's Den." This is the only part of the room that is off limits. This is where I will prep projects, sort, plan etc. and I can sometimes get a little messy. I switched everything over to drawers and bins this year to take away some of the clutter on my back counter. I have a drawer for each subject and that is where all the upcoming activities are stored. The bins are labeled Monday through Friday and that is where the week's work goes. This way if I have a sub they can just pull work from that day's bin. I keep all my teaching books and teachers guides on the white book shelf and then the tan one that is off to the side.


This is the back of my classroom. I always post the schedule every day so my students know what they are doing and the order we will be completing each subject. In a few months I will add mini clocks next to each one so that they will be able to tell the time we would like to begin each subject or activity as well. We are also adding brag tags this year to our first grade classrooms. These are hung on the other closet door. Our cubbies hold a variety of items this year because our students switch between both first grade rooms for different subjects so we don't rely on our desks very much.

The bulletin board that you see in the bottom corner is our Thankful board. My students will be writing a Thankful Thought every week until the end of the school year. This will hopefully remind them of how truly blessed they are. 

This is my teacher group area. Any time I meet with a group for math it is back here. As you can see I also use the back wall to display activities from science and social studies lessons. I keep all my math group materials in the four baskets on the counter. The baskets are underneath Little D the healthy dragon who teaches my little firsties the importance of eating healthy. It is a really awesome curriculum that I purchased through the state of Arizona. I have used it now for seven years.

I was able to create my own labels this year and I love them. You can see some on my math group bins, manipulatives, and supply drawers. I labeled everything I could label. I also store items in the crate seats. These crates hold all of my student flash card sets. 


This is the other side of my classroom. I love that row of cabinets. It holds so much. I have one section for art supplies, one for science, one for math, and the left over cupboard space goes to kleenex boxes, ziploc bags, and social studies. I am still building my social studies materials. My mth and science supplies are a little out of control though, which makes sense because those are my favorite to teach. The cupboard doors will eventually display math, science, and social studies Key Words. We just introduced our first set of math words this week so they are still being used in the pocket chart.

The front table is where I keep our science intereactive notebooks, good work baskets for both classes and our I Can statements board. You can also see my math group baskets hanging off to the side. The I Can board is new this year. I am excited to start displaying these for my students to see.


Well that is my classroom. It is simple, bright, and perfect for me. Hope you enjoyed my first ever classroom reveal, I did!

Ashley

Sunday, August 30, 2015

Peek at My Week: Week 3

Good Morning!

It is a beautiful Sunday morning and I am actually done with my lesson plans for this next week. I am very excited for this week, not just because it is a 4 day week for us, but because we are starting a Science unit. I love teaching Science and doing experiments with my firsties.

To show you my plans I will be linking up with Mrs. Will's Kindergarten for her Peek at My Week linky. I love this linky! I have already gotten great ideas from others who join the party and it has really forced me to have my lessons done earlier, instead of 10 or 11 Sunday night.


This week I will be starting an Earth Science unit. We will talk about landforms, rocks, and soil this week. We will also be continuing to learn how to use our math interactive notebooks. We began them last week and will add a few more pieces this week. I will also be introducing our math key words wall. I want my students to learn the meanings of all the words that we use in math. I believe that learning the terminology and understanding it is just as important as learning to manipulate numbers in different ways.

Links to all available packets can be found below.

Math Journal Prompts Set 1
My Remarkable Rock Report
Math Key Words
GeoBoard It

Thanks for letting me share my plans for the upcoming week! Have a wonderful Sunday and a wonderful week!

Ashley

Sunday, August 23, 2015

Peek at My Week: Week 2

Hello Again!

This morning I am linking up with Mrs. Will's Kindergarten for her Peek at My Week linky. I am loving this linky. It is motivating me to complete lesson plans earlier and provide images of the packets I am pulling things from. This proved very helpful last week when I forgot what packet held what I was looking for.


I am very excited for this week. Last week was the first full week of switching for the different subjects with our little firsties and it went really well. I am loving only having to focus on half of the subjects that I used to teach.

This week our theme is Arizona. We spend a week looking at Arizona symbols and history so that students can become a little more knowledgeable about the state they are growing up in. We will start by reading The Three Little Javelinas and then work through a state symbols book from Melissa Schaper. We will end it by making the Arizona state flag to hang in our room.

I am also introducing number bonds this week. Our school uses Saxon math but I weave as much Singapore math in as I can because I love how much easier it is for students to master things when using those methods. I am using pieces from two packets this week. Both packets are from Brenda Cosby and the links can be found below. 

Math Journal Prompts Set 1
Math Journal Prompts Set 2

Have a wonderful week!

Ashley

Sunday, August 16, 2015

Peek at My Week - First Full Week of School

Hi Everyone!

Well it has been over a month since my last blog post. I have had many adventures with family; some planned and a few unexpected. I ended it all by heading right back to the classroom. Life is finally starting to go back into a routine so with the encouragement of some dear friends I am returning to my blog. For my return I decided to try something new. I am linking up with Mrs. Will's Kindergarten for her Peek at My Week linky.

This will be our first full week of school and we are diving right in. I am excited. This year my teaching partner and I have decided to do the teacher switch, so I am only teaching math, science, social studies, and handwriting. It definitely is making lesson planning a lot easier.


We start off our week with a lesson in Creation. We make a book for the days of creation and then we follow it up with a coloring activity the next day. In previous years we have used the book template that allows for our kiddos to draw the pictures but this year we have less time so we are using the book template that already has pictures for the kiddos to color.

We use Saxon math and it starts off really slow for first grade so we spend several days learning about Mathematicians. We did two activities last week (books about what good mathematicians do and the numbers of me) and we do the parts of a mathematician this week. This helps make the first part of Saxon math a little more exciting as well as the beginning of the year assessments that we have them take.

We also start with a Social studies unit all on routines and rules within the home and school. It is a really short unit and allows us to purposely spend a week reviewing routines and rules while covering needed material within our curriculum.

The Days of Creation and I Am a Mathematician packets can be found in my TPT store if you want to get a glimpse of what we do.

Have a wonderful week everyone!

Ashley

Wednesday, July 8, 2015

Together We Are Better: Making Improvements

Good Morning,

I am continue to catch up by linking up with Schroeder Shenanigans in Second and Lucky Little Learners for this months Together We Are Better linky.

 

This month's linky topic goes along perfectly with thoughts that have been swimming in my head all summer. This coming school year I will be doing a teacher split with my  partner teacher. I will be teaching all the little firsties math, science, social studies, and handwriting. She will be teaching the rest of the subjects. This requires some big changes in my room. I no longer need all the reading, writing, and phonics posters in my room. Along with this I have been reading Mindsets in the Classroom, Teaching with Intention, and Learn Like a Pirate. These books have also given me lots of ideas for my classroom.

Unfortunately I don't have any photos at this time. I have only been in my room twice since school let out a month ago so it is still a disaster. It is also slow going since I bring my one year old with me.

All of my bulletin boards/covered wall spaces are receiving face lifts. I have chosen new colors (blue, green, and purple) for my room. One of my boards is becoming an "I Can" wall where I will post the statements for science, math, and social studies. I am adding a space near my classroom library for a bible wall. This will be where I post bible projects and verses throughout the year. Outside my room I am turning one of my walls into a gratitude wall. I will be having my kids write what they are thankful for once a week and then posting their thoughts on that board so that we can be reminded of all the wonderful gifts we have all been blessed with. I have not decided quite yet what the other boards/wall spaces will be yet but pictures will be posted when I finish my room.

I am also excited to have expanded my library/meeting area. It has always been small and in a corner of my room. We have always struggled to fit in that space so this year I have moved furniture around and made it larger so that we can easily fit in for class meetings and they kids have more reading space too.

That's all I have for now but I will be in my classroom all this week so I will try to add a few photos to show a little of what I am talking about above.

Ashley

Tuesday, July 7, 2015

Learn Like a Pirate: Chapter 5

Good Morning!

I am continuing to catch up this morning by finally linking up with The Primary Gal for chapter 5 of Learn Like a Pirate.

 
This chapter was all about the different ways that Solarz gives the responsibility of running the classroom to his students. He has a group of formal jobs that are assigned to students and everything else is considered a collaborative responsibility. I like that he teaches his students all of the things that need to be done to keep the classroom running and then empowers them to jump in to complete these tasks on their own when they see that they need to be completed.

I have thought about how to accomplish this with first graders and I haven't come to a conclusion yet. I have decided to expand the jobs that I assign to students this coming year which will give them more responsibility in their classroom. I will have to think a little longer on how to instill that collaborative responsibility in my little firsties because I love the idea of them being more observant and concerned about how their classroom looks and runs.

Solarz continues on to talk about rituals vs. routine. He states that rituals are activities that follow the same pattern but are motivational for students and make students want to be a part of it. Routines are activities that follow a similar pattern but are not motivational to students. After reading his descriptions I could clearly see the few parts of my day that are ritual and the larger amount that are unfortunately routine. I do like how he pointed out the routine parts of our days can be turned into rituals for our students. My goal will be to turn those routines into rituals for my students. I am hoping that by doing that I can make things easier for subs when they are in my classroom. I try not to be absent but I do end up staying home more with my sweet girl when she is sick and feel that my subs would have an easier time if my students took more control of the routines.

My goal for this coming year will be to expand the classroom jobs and work on making rituals within my classroom versus routines. Solarz is excellent in painting such a wonderful picture of a student led classroom that you can't help but get pumped up and ready to dive in to changing your classroom. I look forward to reading all the other thoughts and ideas over on the Primary Gal's blog.

Ashley

The inLinkz code is:

Monday, July 6, 2015

Teaching with Intention: Chapter 5

Good Evening!

I took last week off to deep clean my house and then spend time with visiting family so tonight begins catch up. Tonight I am finally linking up with From Kindergarten with Love and The Kindergarten Smorgasboard  for chapter 5 of Teaching with Intention.
 
What a great chapter! This was a beautifully laid out lesson plan to help students comprehension grow and develop. I love the idea of using a poster board as a folder to post our schema (what we think we know), new learning, and misconceptions. I also love that she uses post it notes (in different colors of course) to post the thoughts of the students throughout lessons and readings. That is a great way to show them an example of moving thoughts around or evening "deleting" a thought if it is not accurate. It is also a great way to teach them to pull thoughts from their reading and write them on post it notes to share with the class. This will help them remember the information from the reading and it will give them the power to teach/share something with their classmates. This will be a great tool to use this year for my science and social studies classes.

Ashley


Friday, June 26, 2015

Five for Friday

Good Morning!

This morning I am linking up with Doodle Bugs Teaching for her Five for Friday linky party.

So this was a big week in our house. My sweet 1 year old daughter has been sleeping in our room since March. She was sick every few days the last three months of school so we just kept her in our room since her room is on the other side of the house. Well that changed this past weekend. Our sweet girl is finally back in her crib sleeping the nights away. Now if I can just get the fur baby (90 lb golden retriever) out of the bed we will be sleeping peacefully again.
I was able to completely redo one of my favorite units. I have so much more clip art now that it was really fun to go back and make my Johnny Appleseed product look nicer. It also motivated me to go back and start updating the products that I put on TpT preclipart and boy do those products need a little TLC. I am excited to see how different and more professional they look when I am finished.
I had the privilege of spending the afternoon with some amazing Arizona teachers at the AZ Teachers Brunch and Bubbly. It is humbling to be a part of a group with so many creative and talented women. I am learning so much from them and I look forward to all the things they will be able to teach me about TpT and blogging.
I got to spend another week at home with my sweet girl. My favorite part of summer vacation has been being a stay at home mommy. I love spending time with her even on those challenging tantrum filled days. I will definitely have a hard time going back in August. I love my job, but I also love being a stay at home mommy.
I love music and I love Christian music. My sweet girl and I jam to Air 1 whenever we are in the car. This is another one of my recent favorites. Enjoy!



Ashley

Thursday, June 25, 2015

Learn Like a Pirate: Chapter 4

Hello!

This afternoon I am linking up with The Primary Gal for chapter 4 of Learn Like a Pirate.
I love the focus of this chapter: improvement focus vs. grade focus. My teaching partner and I have been trying to move away from the heavy focus on grades. We teach first grade and it is hard to see our kiddos getting letter grades and OSN's. We would love to send something different home to parents (more skills based) since we know that something has to go home. We just haven't quite figured out what that is yet. Hopefully we will be able to come up with something that we can get approved so that we can eliminate extrinsic forces like those Solarz states below.
I work in an affluent area so I hear students talk about rewards or punishments that they receive based on their grades. For starters, I still can't believe that I hear it from my little firsties. They should not be paying attention at all to their grades. They should only be focused on learning and having fun. When a reward or a consequence is applied to their grades then they are only working hard to receive the reward or avoid the consequence. I want them to work hard because they want to learn and because they are having fun learning.
To ensure that our students are learning we need to be present. We need to make sure that we are walking around listening and observing so that we know what our students are thinking. It enables us to give them the feedback they need to understand better and make their learning more effective. This is so important no matter what grade level we teach. Being present will also help us guide students through conflicts or observe as they use a strategy that we have taught them to solve a conflict. Either way observation, being present, is important for us as teachers. 

These were my two most prominent thoughts from this chapter. Solarz also discussed a really fabulous idea called ePortfolios, but unfortunately I don't see that as being something my little firsties could handle at their age. I think its a brilliant idea for older grades though. Having students write their assignments and reflections on a blog so that peers, teachers, etc. can read it is fabulous. Although as I watch my one year old figure out how to unlock my iPhone and play music (who would have thought) I can't help but wonder if sometime in the future my firsties will be doing something like an ePortfolio. Either way coming up with some form of reflection for my class will be something I look into for this next year. I like how it gets them to think more about what they are learning. 

Thank you for letting me share my thoughts. Have a wonderful evening!

Ashley