Friday, June 29, 2012

Freebie Friday!

Fridays are my favorite day of the week for many reasons and one of them is Freebie Friday over at Teaching Blog Addict! I have stumbled upon this (purposely) every Friday to pick up some great freebies and now share my own! You can grab my bucket filler coupons here!

Freebie Fridays

Here are a few of my favorite freebies that I have found!

Reading Strategy Posters from Wendy at One Happy Teacher

Reading, Writing and Math Workshop Planning Guides from Ashley at The Real Teacher

Handwriting Resources from What the Teacher Wants

Geometry Vocabulary Cards from Mrs. Patton at The Patton's Patch

And finally, to go with my Technology Theme I found these great iPhones for Work on Words during Daily Five from Traci Clausen at Dragonflies in First!

One of my new favorite blogs that I have been stalking all summer is Teaching Maddeness. Amanda has wonderful ideas for genre studies and how to make lesson planning easier! (I'm all about working smarter, not harder and she has go it down!) She is having an awesome give away for reaching 300 followers (you go, girl!) so head on over there to enter the give away and pick up some great ideas to add to your classroom! 

Also, my newest follower (THANK YOU!) Kelley from Teacher Idea Factory is having a give away for reaching 500 followers! Kelley's blog is also FULL of amazing resources just waiting to be implemented into your classroom! She has pulled in some other wonderful teachers to help her celebrate 500! Head on over there now, too! 


Thursday, June 28, 2012

Have You Filled a Bucket Today?

Have You Filled a Bucket Today

I would like to think I have! (I did help a friend move her office all morning...that counts right?!?) Have you read my favorite book to use for character education? Have You Filled a Bucket Today by Carol McCloud is a wonderful story that is perfect for any age classroom! You can add it to your beginning of the year (or anytime of the year) character education lessons! It promotes positive behavior to express kindness, appreciation and love on a daily basis!

Even though character education is NOT a standard, it is something we are constantly teaching. People today need those character lessons to help improve themselves as individuals and learn the importance of kindness, appreciation and LOVE! It is so important to be a positive role model in our students lives so they have a daily reminder of what a bucket filler looks like. No bucket dippers welcome here!

This year my new school is a PBIS school (any advice, suggestions are welcome!) and I am not as familiar and I would like to be with the PBIS system! I am all about some positive behavior plans! Hello, rewarding the correct behavior! Yes, please! Now, don't get me wrong, I don't think a student should be rewarded all the time for meeting high expectations but I do think a student should be rewarded when they go above and beyond!

To incorporate positive behavior and "Bucket Filling," I can't wait to read the book to my new batch of nuggets! Each year, we begin by discussing how we treat each other. To help with alphabet review we create a list of a something positive for each letter of the alphabet. (A=applaud others B=be kind to everyone C=cheer for others, etc). This helps the students think of creative ways to go out of their way to do random acts of kindness, show appreciation, and love each other! Now it's time to read the story.
After the story, we complete a Venn Diagram (together) to compare and contrast Bucket Filler's and Bucket Dippers. The comparisons help students to really analyze the differnece between the two and understand how to be a "Bucket Filler." Lesson over. Forget about Bucket Filling for the rest of the year. WRONGGGGGGGGGGGGGG!!! We continue this lesson for the rest of the year! Wahooo!

At the front of the classroom we have a bucket (well a circle box but you get the point!) where students can write down the name of someone that has been a "Bucket Filler." Then, if I need a special errand or to choose a student for something special, I go straight to the classroom bucket to choose a special student. (BAZINGA! Positive behavior=reward!) Mission Complete!

Since I'm feeling SO appreciative for your sweet comments in this blog's short life and I LOVE gaining new followers and reading your BLOGS, I'm going to give you my bucket filler card that the nuggets fill out! Click on the picture below the grab these cute little coupons!

I would LOVE to know how you incorporate bucket filling or positive behavior in your classroom? Comment and let me know!

Tuesday, June 26, 2012

Music in the Classroom

I LOVE music. I love singing at the top of my lungs (WARNING: I am tone deaf). I love singing in the classroom and making up songs. I wish I had a dollar for each time a child laughed at me because my voice was so horrible. But hey...they are Laughing and LEARNING! They may think I'm CRR-A-ZZZY but whatever works, right!?!  So, you can imagine my excitement when I came across Amanda's post from Teaching Maddeness when she created a Linky Party all about MUSIC! I am thrilled to share with you some of my musical inspirations in the classroom!

Music in the Classroom Guru: RON CLARK

Almost 2 years ago, I had the opportunity of a lifetime to visit the Ron Clark Academy in Atlanta. My OH MY was that a life changing event! We had professional development on creating songs! Connecting songs the students are listening to and creating new content for the different beats. If you have never heard of Ron Clark STOP what you are doing and youtube, google, facebook him NOW!

The video below if from the students from the Ron Clark Academy signing a current hit with mathematical lyrics. What better way to ENGAGE students than with something they LOVE. Ron Clark is my teaching hero!

Independent Work: CLASSICAL MUSIC

Another CD that I SWEAR by is "Classics for Quiet Time." I use classical music in the classroom because it soothes the students and sets a calm tone while they are focused. 

Morning Routine: I use classical Music. It sets a CALM tone for the day so the students don't come in all WILD & CRAZY and allows them to get into the groove of the day quietly.

 While students work independently during guided reading, guided math, writing workshop, etc...I ALWAYS have classical music playing. It really allows them to focus and provides an EASY classroom management tool. The nuggets know their voices should never be louder than the music during independent centers, writing, etc. 

Educational Music: MUST HAVES!
Have Fun Teaching- I am ALL about the title of this website because I love to have fun and I love to teach and those works are synonymous to me! (And I'm sure if you are reading teaching blogs at home, the same is true for you!) My students and I fell in LOVE with this site. Our favorite song was the adjective song. We even came up with hand motions to remember all the words! 

My kiddos LOVE songs during phonics time, too. Here is one that engaged one of the boys (who made his mom play it on repeat after school for like a month...)

To help the sweet nuggets skip count, they loved all the Have Fun Teaching songs! 

My students also went crazy every Friday because our principal would download the latest and greatest (Justin Bieber) songs and play them during lunch. It was a GREAT incentive for the students (some students were devastated when their behavior wasn't up to music on Fridays! This ended quickly when the found the correlation between music and behavior! ;)) 

I incoprorated this positive behavior management into my classroom also. If the students had a great day, we would do their/MY FAVORITE dance at the end of the day...THE WOBBLE! I mean, who DOESN'T love to wobble?  

Ok, I won't judge...put the computer down and get up and WOBBLE!! It's summer and you deserve it!

How to you incorporate music in the classroom? Link up with Amanda to let us know!!

Don't forget to enter my giveaway below! 

Monday, June 25, 2012

Wired for Success

If you have just started reading, which I'm sure you have since my blog is brand new, then you know that I am switching schools this year. Same grade level, FIRST!, just a different school that is closer to home! No more one hour (ONE WAY) commutes! My new school is just a few miles from my house! Wahooo! Another reason I am SUPER excited about this year is to work with a new set of wonderful teachers! We have already started planning some exciting activities and an amazing field trip!

Well with a new school, comes a new theme. I was am in love with my old camping theme that I have had for three years (even though I am NOT the best camper). It all started with an adorable tent my mom picked up for my brand new classroom three years ago and it just GREW into "Camp Lane!" I will have to post at another time to share my old room that I loved! It was so sad to rip it all down and have to start from scratch. However, starting from scratch means new ideas and my wheels have been turning! Our school theme is "Wired for Success!" and boy am I wired! (It could be that iced latte I had to have earlier to cool me down in the HEAT wave).

So far, I've just been working on the random odds and ends...labels, table numbers, job labels, journal labels...LABELS! LABELS! LABELS! I love to be organized and I love when it comes with COLOR! This will be the first year I am on ink watch...My old school spoiled me with UNLIMITED color copies! (I know...I know..)

To show you how EXCITED I am I want to jump in on the GIVEAWAY fun! I am having a give away with all my latest "Wired for Success" labels!

How to Enter:
1. Follow my blog and leave a comment to tell me you are.

2. Follow my TpT Store and leave a comment to tell me you are. 

3. Leave a comment to tell me how you incorporate classroom jobs in your room. 

4. Leave a comment with your favorite iPAD app!

5. Have your own give away and link it to Teaching Blog Addicts Giveaway Galore

I will use the random number generator from to announce the winner on July 1st!


Check back tomorrow for my new positive behavior Incentive idea! (Spoiler's a CHEAP way to reward the wanted behaviors!

Friday, June 22, 2012

Freebie Friday & Spelling Dictionary

Happy Friday! I am beyond excited about this weekend. My mom is coming for a visit (LOOVE when she visits!) We have a busy weekend planned with shopping to add some new decor to the house and the Lady Antebellum concert with a great friend and her mom! Girls weekends are my absolute fave!

Since I am so happy it's Friday, I think its time to link up for Freebie Friday over at Teaching Blog Addict!  Do you use spelling dictionaries in your classroom? I swear by them and have really seen the benefits. Now, it doesn't work if you students just record the words during your Word Work block. They have to be INTERACTIVE! My students use them in every content area to help with their writing. During Writer's Workshop, social studies, science, and even math the students have their journals out when they are writing and reflecting in their journals. It's such a great tool and since they are personalized for each student, the really take ownership  of their spelling! If students are struggling with words individually, when I help them correctly spell it, they will add it to their own personal spelling dictionaries!

This year I have even created a vowel spelling journal where my students can sort out long and short vowel sounds. This will help the students during word study time and allow them to sort out he different vowel sounds! Ok, now time for a FREEBIE. You can grab my Spelling Dictionary: Vowel Edition here!

I have added my spelling dictionary that I use in my classroom to my TpT store. Each page has a picture of an object (the animals are my fave!) that begins with each letter. It is SO important (especially in the early years) to help students make connections to letter sounds with pictures. I will be teaching in a school with over 50% of English Language Learners so I am depending on pictures to help connect the new words they are learning.

How do you use spelling dictionaries in your classroom? Please comment below and fill me in! The first two people to comment will receive a FREE copy of my entire spelling journal! Don't forget to leave your e-mail!

Also, if you have not linked up or checked out Primary Inspired's Book Study of Guided Math, do it NOW! I have purchased my copy and have dived right it! It has opened my eyes to see what I have done really great with my math instruction and what are a few areas that could use some improvement! Each year I have chosen to focus on one subject area that I want to really improve and finally after three years of focusing on reading (my master's is in reading so that was a HUGE focus for me for the past three years) it is time to give good ol' math some attention!!!

Remember to comment to get your FREE Spelling Dictionary!
Have a FANTASTIC weekend!

Wednesday, June 20, 2012

A Little Dose of Economics

Happy First Day of Summer! Even though my summer really started June 7th! I wanted to share one of my favorite units that I have taught in my three years. This year the district I was teaching is started our focus on Project Based Learning, so my teammate and I decided that our First Grade Economics Unit would be a great place to experiment with some PBL. I was so happy how well my students did with their projects. Here's the breakdown of how the unit worked in my classroom!

Week 1
LOTS of front-loading with Smartboard Lessons and thinking maps. (FYI: I am HUGE on thinking maps and have seen amazing results from using them in every content area!) We discussed and analyzed the basic needs of humans, compared and contrasted needs vs. wants, goods vs. services, and finally consumers vs. producers. We even included a few BrainPOP videos after our lessons to solidify and review our new material! The kids ate up the material and loved learning the new information. But...they were ready to get their hands busy! On Friday, the kiddos shared the results from the person they interviewed about family economics. It was so precious to hear the students discuss how their parents make decisions and explain what their real families wants and needs are! (The kiddos discussed how they didn't need all the toys from the toy aisle and they need groceries more...hopefully this stuck that weekend when they made their way to the store with the parents....)

Week 2
The second week brought a little bit more front-loading to determine why and how to save money and to also evaluate the best ways to make a family function economically. Once the students were STUFFED FULL of knowledge they were ready to APPLY what we had been learning. The students were put into groups of 3 to make their "First Grade Family." We brainstormed a list of ways to earn money in first grade (so their family could earn an income) and then determined the value of the service. Within the family, they had a checklist of what was expected of them from their project.

Their task - create a product and market it! They created a  product that was either a good or a service that would meet the needs and wants of their consumers. They were SO excited to be the producers. After they brainstormed their ideas, they worked together to use materials they needed to create their products. Once their product was complete, they designed a poster to display in their "store."

The day was finally here for my class to sell their products to the other first grade class. (They were working on the same unit!) The little nuggets did a wonderful job explaining their product (like a mini-commercial) and marketing them to meet their consumers wants and needs. The students made jewelry, lemonade, lollipop bundles, bookmarks, and magnets. After our class was finished selling their products, we took a little field trip to the other first grade classroom and took on the role of consumer. The "families" worked together to make decisions on what to buy based on how much money they had saved. What a great, hands-on project! Everyone worked so well together and I was SO impressed by the conversations I overheard about decision making!

After our busy day of buying and selling, we took some time to reflect on the choices they made in the store. The students worked together to discuss and evaluate their purchases and their decision making.

Take a look at the students in ACTION! 

Buying/Selling Lemonade

Their Magnificent Magnet Store

Explaining their Luscious Lollipop Store (a BIG WANT!)

I'm not sure who loved this or the kiddos! If you like what you see, you can head over to my TpT Store to purchase this unit! Please comment below, I would LOVE to hear how you incorporate PBL in your classroom! 

Happy Teaching SUMMER!

Monday, June 18, 2012

My New Love

My life has been full of "news" lately...a new house, a new job, a new school, a new blog, a new TpT store, a new classroom theme, and now a NEW PUPPY!!! I promised I would blog at least once during the weekends but this weekend was spent with my new little love bug. This is our new little man, Rudy! He is such a ball of fluff!

Anyway...enough about the cutest puppy I have ever laid my eyes on...back to thinking about what is happening in August. I am beyond excited about my new school and our new theme, "Wired for Success!"  I have spent the past few days getting things organized/made so that I won't be a complete basket case come August. To organize student writing journals and reading response journals I have created some labels that I will glue on. I used to use the good ol' sticky labels but I always mess them up somehow with the printer. This year, I plan on just cutting these out and using my handy Mod Podge to put them on. You can grab your labels from my new TpT store! Using the iPad labels will get the nuggets excited about writing and by connecting writing to something they love...iPads! (I mean who doesn't!) And we all know that it's about the connection! 

Putting the "i" in writing! 
Another idea that I found over at the awesome blog Kinder-Craze was this way to cutesify (is that a word?!!) your clear Sterillite drawers. Well, when I saw this, I shreaked, ran straight home from babysitting and went to work on my own drawer. I have HATED this because it is clear and I could always see my unorganized junk in it! Well, Maria just SAVED my life. So after some scrapbook paper, a bottle of Mod Podge and an evening with some Housewives re-runs, I finally had my own. Check it out here!

My version (to match my curtains!) 

Also, Amanda over at Teaching Madeness is have a little giveaway. She has a new and fantastic blog. Check it out for some AMAZINGGGGGGG reading resources! 

Check back tomorrow where I will blog about my Economics Unit and don't forget to check out my TpT store for some more great (cheap!) resources and some more "Wired for Success" goodies! 

Happy Monday! 

Teaching Together, 


Thursday, June 14, 2012

Hello Blog World!

I have been stalking these teaching blogs for a LOOOONG time now and decided it's about time to join in on the fun. This is the first summer where I have had some "free time" so to fill in those few hours I have to myself, I'm going to join the teaching blog world! 

I have taught first grade for three years now and in August I will be starting at a brand new school! I am beyond excited. I have already met my new team mates and I could not be more inspired right now! This is a scary exciting time considering I have been at my previous school since I student-taught, so I'm nervous about learning an entire new school. However, everyone at my new schools seems wonderful and very helpful, so my nerves are put aside for now! (Until a few hours before open house!...) 

I have had a camping theme in my classroom since I started teaching but with a new school comes a new theme. Lucky for me I don't have to steal create a new theme because the school gives us one! This year the theme is...."Wired for Success!" Each teacher was given an amazing gift at the end of the iPad and all the kindergarten classrooms have class sets. AMAZINGGGG! So we are wired for success and ready to go! 

Well in celebration of the new blog and a whole new classroom I am putting up my guided reading book bin labels that I plan on using this year. Since our theme changes yearly, I am hoping these will last a few years....(atleast I'm telling myself that until December when I feel like changing them...again!) Click here to get the labels in GoogleDocs! (Sorry for any inconvenience! I'm still learning!! =)

You can get them from my TpT store now, too! 

Have a wonderful Thursday!!  

Teaching Together,