Wednesday, January 30, 2013

Famous Americans Tic Tac Toe

With President's Day coming up, we are getting ready for our big Famous Americans Unit.  We teach Abraham Lincoln, George Washington, Benjamin Franklin, and George Washington Carver.  With this coming up, I created a game for a fun review.  This is a Tic, Tac, Toe game in which the kids choose a card and decide which Famous American it is and place their piece in that column.  The first kid with three in a row is the winner.  You can get a copy of this game here!


Tuesday, January 29, 2013

Groundhog Day

Groundhog Day is coming up and I usually don't have a whole lot of things to do to celebrate.  I decided to fix that problem by creating this pack!  It includes all the things we need to create a graph of our predictions, to write about our predictions, and some fun puzzles too! You can check it out here!

We also always read this book: Geoffrey Groundhog Predicts the Weather.  Have you read it?  Check it out!  Too cute!


Monday, January 21, 2013

100 Days Smarter!

The 100th day of school is coming up!  This is one of my favorite days of the school year (right behind Dr. Seuss's Birthday! lol)

We always do the normal activities:  skip counting to 100, hundreds chart games, 100 steps, 100 exercises, If I had $100, If I was 100 years old....

Each year I try to find something new to do.  We have made pictures with our 100 items.  We have glued 100 items onto hats that we have worn (I still have mine that I wear each year!).

This year, I am going to try the 100's day crowns.  I decided that I didn't just want to do stickers like I have seen on Pinterest.  I want to actually have the kids show that they are 100 Days Smarter!  So on each strip of paper, I am having the kids show 10 things that they know: 10 sight words, 10 pattern Spelling words, 10 addition facts, 10 subtraction facts,10 ten frames, 10 words to describe me, ways to make 10 cents, 10 stories I have read, 10 science/social studies words I know, and 10 friends I have made.

If you want to use this one, you can find it here for free!

I will post pictures of how they turn out!  Wish us luck! =)

Sunday, January 20, 2013

What Do You Think?

I just discovered how to add a background, headers, and post dividers to my blog.  I have been playing around with several different styles and I would LOVE to know what you think!!  Its it too much??

Sunday, January 13, 2013

Chunky Monkey

Here is the next decoding strategy.  It is the chunky monkey.  I think this one is my students' favorite!  This strategy is teaching students how to chunk sounds. I created several different activities to go with this activity since there are so many different ways that a student can chunk sounds.  In the first activity, students have to find the small word inside of the big words.  The next activity includes different chunks of sounds (onsets and rimes) that students can cut out and use to build words.  Then I have several different activities in which students cut apart the words to make chunks.  There is one for compound words, one for onsets and rimes, and one for syllables.  The students cut apart the words to make chunks of sounds and then practice putting them back together.


Friday, January 11, 2013

In Need of Some Inspiration

I am in need of some inspiration!

The last couple of weeks before winter break were tough and I definitely needed the break, but it was too short!  Don't get me wrong, I was ready to get off of my lazy backside and back into my classroom.  I just wasn't quite ready for the stress of it all!  Some days I just sit and wonder if anything I am doing is right and if I am making any difference at all.  Do you have those days?  Please tell me I am not the only one!

They Dibels tested my first graders the week before Winter Break.  Yep, that's what I said...the week before Winter Break!  It was a lovely time to test my 6 year olds on something that I was going to later be evaluated on, don't ya think?  Anyhow, I was so discouraged with my results because only half of my kids placed at core!  Some were SO close!  How discouraging though, to leave for Winter Break knowing this....

Well, this was our first full week back to school and guess what we did?  PALS testing!  So I have been stressing out all week!  I normally don't really stress when my students are PALS testing, because I love seeing the results roll in and all the growth that they have made.  I just feel like there is so much more pressure on us this year and I am so worried that all of my hard work is just not going to pan out.  Why am I second guessing myself?

So my friend's class was tested on Monday and her kids did so great! I went home and cried, convinced that my kids were not going to perform as well.  I was so proud of her and happy for her. What a great teacher!  How could I compare?  Then of course, I had to wait until Thursday, while all of the other classes' results rolled in!  How stressful!!  Why do we put so much pressure on ourselves when it comes to these tests?  I don't really pressure my students, but I take on all of the stress of it for them.  I want so badly for them to do well and I feel like I have let them down if they don't.  Well....they all did GREAT!  Of course they did!  I knew all along that they would, but why do I convince myself otherwise?

After all of this I decided that I was definitely in need of some inspiration!! I need to reassure myself that I am doing what is right.  I love each of my students so much and I put so much of my heart and soul into each of them.  I CAN'T let them down! (the perfectionist/mommy/teacher/giver/etc in me)

So I decided to RE-read this book:

I originally read The End of Molasses Classes at the beginning of the school year.  It was the perfect way to kick off a new school year (especially after having a difficult class).  I was so inspired and motivated to be the best teacher possible!  I felt like Ron was personally talking to me (and calling me out on all the things that I slack on!).  Then it faded....there was testing, paperwork, data analysis, child studies, IEPs, behavior problems, environmental situations for my students, school politics, not to mention TEACHING!  So now I am reading it again and it is so worth it!  I recommend it to all of you!  Ron Clark is such an amazing teacher, devoting every ounce of his life to his students.

One inspiring quote from the book:
"Being a teacher isn't a job; it's a call to serve a higher purpose, to give of ourselves until we can give no more, and to make the happiness and well-being of our children our first priority." - Ron Clark

It reminds me of why I became a teacher in the first place!  It was not a job that I chose.  It was a calling that chose me!  I put so much stress on myself because I have given so much of myself to my students and because they are my first priority.  I became a teacher to make difference in the lives of children and not just academically.  I don't want to be remembered as the teacher that taught me how to read or that 2 + 2 = 4.  I want to be the teacher that inspires!!  Inspires learning, inspires dreaming that anything is possible, inspires despite the fact that everyone else in their world and their life is telling them it isn't possible, inspires to keep trying and keep fighting!  (Do I sound like a teacher fresh out of college that is ready to change the world? I miss that feeling!)

It makes me wonder...why did you become a teacher?  What inspires you?

Wednesday, January 2, 2013

Flip the Dolphin

Here is the next decoding activity! I made an activity to go along with Flip the Dolphin. Flip the Dolphin reminds students to flip the sound if the word doesn't make sense. The Flip the Dolphin poster reminds students of the letters that make multiple sounds: vowels, y, oo, ow, ou, ea, ed, c, and g. The activity I made to go with this strategy includes all of these sounds. It includes word cards and picture cards that the students can match and sort by the sound. You can pick up a copy here.


 Hope you enjoy!