Friday, April 26, 2013

8 More Fridays To Go {but who's counting?}

As I have trained my kids to say during our morning calendar routine, "It's Friday - My favorite day of the week!" If I say that 8 more times, it will be summer vacation!  Can I get a WOOP WOOP!

Friday also means, FIVE FOR FRIDAY!  So here it goes...
Five For Friday

1. Tomorrow is this big guy's birthday:

I can't believe our first "baby" is going to be 7 years old tomorrow. We just love him to pieces. He still acts like a giant goofball most of the time, but he can also be a giant mush. Doggy Birthday Parties in our house always mean the same thing - Carvel Ice Cream Cake. YUM.

2. We had a half day of school on Monday for Parent-Teacher conferences. I scheduled my conferences last week for before school, lunchtime, and after school so I had my Monday afternoon free to work in my classroom. I REALLY wish I would've taken a "before" picture of my supply locker. I emptied the whole things out onto my tables and cleaned it up all nicey nicey. It's the little things that make me super happy. {happy sigh}

3. We are all about our EGGS right now. It is Day 10 of our egg incubation period and we have been busy learning about what is happening inside of those eggs of ours. One of center activities this week involved choosing an oviparous animal and writing a riddle about it. We are going to share them on Monday and the little loves will get to practice their inferencing skills. They came out super cute and I cannot wait to watch them present their riddles to the class. You can pick up a copy for yourself by clicking the link below.
4. I am so unbelievably proud of myself for getting my act together last week and linking up with Jodi's Fly on My Wall Linky Party. It was so much fun to share so much of my day. You can see my blog post {here}.
Fun in First

5. Our school uses the Fundations program for phonics instruction. It can a little, ummmm, boring. I am trying to spice it up a bit. Check out this fun Suffix Sort I created for practicing adding -s and -es to basewords. It's on sale for only 50 cents for the rest of the weekend!
Click HERE for Suffix Sort

Have a great weekend filled with lots of LOVE!

Wednesday, April 17, 2013

Come be a fly on my wall!

Be a Fly on My Wall

I have been wanting to join in this awesome linky since the first time I saw it!  I have LOVED reading about a day in the life of my fellow bloggers. I am excited to try and paint a picture of a typical day in my life.

5:15am - WAKE UP. ugh. When my alarm goes off every morning, I ask I myself the same question: "Seriously?" I roll out of bed and head to the kitchen to let out the dog and give him breakfast. While he is outside, I find something I can inhale enjoy for breakfast. Then the whirlwind of showering, dressing, getting my two little loves up and dressed, last minute bag packing, loading the car, and driving off. I typically forget to breathe until 6:28am as Mr. First Love and I are halfway down the road.

7:30am - My day officially begins HERE:

BLISS. My friendly D&D staff know exactly what I want before I order. Except for those 2 weeks when they had irish cream flavored coffee. Delish.

I'm usually one of the first 3 teachers to arrive at school each morning. I chit chat with my FAB-U-LOUS secretaries, mostly about reality TV and my little loves at home. I leave my "To Be Copied" folder in my mailbox each day when I leave, so I can hijack the copy machine before everyone else! Once I'm in my room, it's another whirlwind of activity and I log on to the computers, set up the SMARTBoard files for the day, make sure my calendar, small group charts, Daily 5 Center activities, etc. are all ready to go.

8:25 The Little Loves have arrived! The classroom teachers have to stand outside the classroom doors during arrival to make sure the kiddos are being safe in the hall. My Little Loves come in, get unpacked and organized for the day, and get to work on their assigned Bucket Brain Booster activity. The activities include reviews and reinforcement of previously taught ELA and math skills. I do morning "housework", circulate through my small groups to check on everyone, and pull kids as needed to finish up missing work or do a quick intervention.

8:50 We do our calendar routine on the SMARTBoard. By this time of the year, my weekly calendar helpers can lead this completely unassisted. They love playing teacher!

9:00 Fundations. This is our multisensory phonics program. We are currently working on reading and spelling two syllable words. We use magnetic letter boards, dry erase boards, interactive SMARTBoard activities, sound cards, and do daily dictation.

9:45 So SPECIAL!

10:30 Snack Time! While the kids are eating snack, we either watch a Tumblebook on-line and take the follow-up quiz or watch a fun math video on Discovery Education. These are two of my favorite and most-used websites!

My content area instruction takes place from 10:45 - 12:15 and looks something like this:

10:45 Time to do some MATH! I really really really really (get the idea?) wish I had more time for math each day. I started my morning Bucket Brain Boosters this year because I was so desperate to get math tubs going in my room and this was the only way I could find time. Our whole class math lesson is from our new My Math series. There is an on-line component that has videos, games, and virtual manipulatives that work great on my SMARTBoard. We usually only have time to work through the lesson as laid out in the book, but sometimes I can squeeze in an extra hands-on activity.

11:15 Social Studies/Science. We do one science unit and one social studies unit each quarter. We are in my FAVORITE time of the year - CHICK HATCHING!!!!  We are spending the first week of this unit integrating science and ELA. We are exploring non-fiction text features. The Little Loves are making their very own Non-Fiction Notebooks to help them learn how the different text features help us read to learn. We are using non-fiction books about chicks and other oviparous animals to help us with this.

11:45 Whole-Class ELA Lesson. We are using a brand-new teacher created CCSS aligned district curriculum this year in ELA. I was one of the teachers who worked on it, and boy, was it tough work!  I learned so much about the CCSS and am enjoying leading my colleagues through this first year of implementation. We are learning about inferencing this week during ELA. Using poems from Georgia Heard's Creatures of the Earth, Sea, and Sky, my little loves are putting on their detective caps and making inferences to determine what kind of animal each poem is about. I LOVE listening to them explain their thinking!

12:15 My Little Loves head off for their 30 minutes of recess and 30 minutes of lunch. I know, don't hate me...I have a duty free hour for lunch. Sometimes I keep little ones in during some of their recess time to work out problems or catch up on missing work. We have weekly grade level planning meetings. But usually, I am running around my classroom getting organized for the afternoon before heading to the Teacher's Room for some much needed adult conversation.

1:15 We're in the home stretch! I spend the first 15 minutes after lunch doing a quick FOCUS Skill lesson. These are great little workbooks that focus on one reading comprehension skill at a time. There are 25 mini-lessons with a reading passage, multiple choice questions, and a short written response. We just finished Cause and Effect and are moving on to Sequence of Events.

1:30 Daily 5 Time, baby! My Daily 5 is my own little modified version. We used to do very involved centers that we had to prepare each week and then make sure every student completed every activity, yadda, yadda, yadda. I convinced my team that we needed to start transitioning to more of a Daily 5 model after hearing Mr. First Love go on and on about how awesome HIS Daily 5 was in his classroom. I have to admit, I can be a little competitive. *wink* I am TOTALLY looking forward to going to a more traditional Daily 5 model next year. I can't wait! This last hour of the day is also my intervention block, so the Academic Support Teachers pull out small groups of students for targeted reading and math support. I pull guided reading groups and hold individual reading and writing conferences during this time.

2:30 We made it! Whew. Another exhausting day. But of course, it's not over yet...

Thanks for being a fly on my wall. I hope you enjoyed it! I would love to hear your thoughts!

Friday, April 5, 2013

T.G.I.FFF (Five For Friday)

Wow!  I cannot believe an entire week has gone by. 1 down, 11 to go (but who's counting?)!
 It was a very busy week as usual. It's time to link up with Kacey from Doodlebugs Teaching and share my Five For Friday!
Five For Friday!

1.  I hosted a girls-only Easter baking party last Saturday for my girls and their cousins. We baked and decorated so many yummy treats to bring to Easter Dinner on Sunday. We had a blast!  These were my favorites:

2. It was C.O.L.D. most of this week. Finally today it started warming up. When I came home from school I noticed this in our yard:

Yay!  Our first sign of Spring!  Thank goodness, because I have had about enough of this winter weather. My other surprise when I got home was not such a happy one. Both of my Little Loves are sick with fevers. BOO. DISLIKE. NOT FUN. Our first afternoon of beautiful sunny Springtime weather, and they are both snoozing with red cheeks on the couch watching the new Lalaloopsy show on Nickelodeon.

3. I have completely changed my morning routine. I have tried chit-chatting, quiet reading time, book shopping, morning work - I have tried it all!  I think I finally found something that I am LOVING. I have written about my Bucket Brain Boosters before, but now I have a solid routine in place and my little loves are doing awesome! They are so quick to get unpacked and started on their assigned bucket activity. I can't believe how much extra reinforcement and practice they are getting with our previously taught skills. Here are some pictures of this week's Bucket Brain Boosters:
Corinna Curry's Silent e Goes to Hollywood
Corinna Curry's Silent e Goes to Hollywood

Floating Through First's Greater Than Less Than Work Mat and Game
Silly Sentences from Babbling Abby's Parts of Speech Centers

Race to 100 from Cara Carroll's Place Value Packet of Fun!

4. I went all out during one of my ELA lessons this week. We have been learning about synonyms this week and I decided to try and show the little loves how they can use synonyms to make their writing more interesting. I went a little old school and broke out the thesauruses. They had a BLAST! We created an anchor chart and I am super proud of it. Today, two of my girls came running over during Daily 5 to show me that they replaced the word "nice" in their writing. They were so excited and proud of themselves. I'm filing that one away in a happy place for when I am having a "not so happy" day!

5. I always thought I was really good at time management. Now that I am following so many of your amazing blogs, I am totally second guessing myself. I have been working on a new Working with Words unit for what feels like FOREVER. I just cannot find the time to get it done. I'm putting that out here in blogland so that MAYBE it will make me a little more accountable...LOL. Sunday night - that's my deadline. I hope I can make it!
Have a great weekend, friends!