Tuesday, July 21, 2015

My New Writing Center!

I am so excited about my new writing center!  I have been working hard on it this summer trying to get it finished before the upcoming school year.  
Here are some pictures of the final product!
I plan on slowly adding each writing type to the center as we learn it during writing time.  By the end of the school year the students will be able to choose from the many options to write about during their writing center time.  Hopefully this will help keep the writing center fun and motivating for my students.  It will also help the students review and practice all the different types of writing we have learned throughout the school year.
Each pocket is filled with a different writing outline page. 
There are also helpful writing posters in some of the pockets to help the students as they write.
It's hard to see in the picture, but there are writing prompt cards for each type of writing hanging on the hooks next to the writing type.
The students will take a writing outline page, choose a writing prompt, and begin writing!
Here is a look of the activities for each type of writing.
The students will use the writing prompt calendars to help them think of a topic to write about if they are struggling with an idea.
Click HERE to download my Writing Center Board Setup and Activities from my TpT Store!

Saturday, July 18, 2015

Writing Prompt Task Cards

This summer I have been working on updating my writing center.  In the past, my writing center would consist of some type of writing outline page and then a writing prompt.  I hate to admit it, but my writing prompt would be a last minute idea that would be written on a sticky note and stuck to the center tub.  After a couple of weeks I would end up forgetting what prompts I had used before.  Many times the students would get to the writing center and have to remind me that they had already written about that before.  So I made it my mission this summer to update my writing center! 
I have created these writing prompt task cards that will make planning and changing out my centers so easy!
I can pick one writing prompt for all the students to write about or I can let the students choose a prompt off of the ring. 

I can't wait to use them this year!  I made writing prompt cards for opinion writing, step writing, personal narrative writing, fictional narrative writing, and letter writing/postcard writing.  I plan on changing out my writing center throughout the year to each type of writing as we cover it during our writing lessons. 
Click HERE to download my Opinion Writing Prompt Cards from my TpT store!

Click HERE to download my Step Writing Prompt Cards from my TpT store!

Click HERE to download my Personal Narrative Writing Prompt Cards from my TpT store!

Click HERE to download my Fictional Narrative Writing Prompt Cards from my TpT store!
 Click HERE to download my Letter/ Writing/Postcard Writing Prompt Cards from my TpT store!

OR Click HERE to download ALL of my Writing Prompt Cards from my TpT store in a bundle!

Friday, July 3, 2015

Morning Work Drawer System

I have had a lot of questions about my morning work drawer system that was seen in my classroom tour pictures so I decided to go a little bit more in depth on what I do!

Years ago for morning work I would have a worksheet on each student's desk for them to complete each morning as their morning work.  It was very time consuming planning each morning's worksheet - not to mention having to make all those copies.  I also found that for some of my students their morning work worksheets would begin to pile up in their desks as unfinished work. 

That's when I decided to scrap the worksheet idea and do something different!  I came up with the idea of morning work drawers! 

I purchased two of the 10 drawer carts from the store Michaels.  I labeled each drawer with a different number.  (Since I have over 20 students I had to add baskets on top of the drawers for the additional drawers I needed.) 

Then I decided that I wanted to put activities (not worksheets) in each drawer that would be meaningful and would review math and language arts skills that we learn in first grade.  I love file folder games!  So I spent one summer making as many as I could.  I purchased the Carson-Dellosa File Folder booklets online like the ones below. 
Not only did I make file folder games for my morning work drawers, but I also found many other activities online on TpT that I could put in each drawer.

To start planning my morning work drawers I took my school calendar and counted out 24 school days (for the 24 morning work drawers).  For the entire school year I had to make 8 different sets of activities for my drawers.  I like to have 12 activities that review math skills and 12 activities that review language arts skills for each morning work drawer set.

So I took my Language Art and Math curriculum guides and started laying out the activities for each set of morning work drawers.  Here is an example of 12 LANGUAGE ARTS activities for a set of morning work drawers.
Here is an example of 12 MATH activities for a set of morning work drawers.
Each file folder game has Velcro attached to it so the pieces stay on the game and do not slide off.
So how does the system work each morning? 
Each morning the students walk in and open their "Work in Progress Folder" that is located in their desk.  In their folder I have a Morning Work Calendar stapled in it.  The morning work calendar tells each student what drawer to get and complete for that morning's work. 
Each student takes their drawer back to their desk and completes the activity.  When they have finished their activity I come around and check it.  The students get immediate feedback on how they did.  Any questions that a student misses on their file folder activity I usually have them redo.  Each student receives a small sticker on their calendar on the complete line once their activity is finished and has been checked by me.  If a student does not finish their activity by the time our morning work time is over then they receive an X on the incomplete line on their calendar.  At the end of each month the calendars go home for their parents to see.  The calendar is a great way for parents to see if their child is having a hard time getting their work complete each morning.  After every 24 school days each student has completed all 24 morning work drawers so I change them out to the next set of activities.
I have been doing this morning work drawer system for many years now and love it!  The students also love doing these games and activities instead of paperwork each morning!  I was afraid that teaching my first graders how to find their drawer each morning would be so hard for them - but it wasn't!  Each year they catch on so easily!  Most of the students usually have it down by the second day.  This morning work system saves me so much time planning and copying.  I have all my morning work activities organized and stored in boxes and ready to use year after year!
I also write down the activities I place in each drawer and the skill that they review on a planning page.
I have the teacher planning pages, number labels for the drawers, and each month's morning work calendar page for the students for sale on my TpT store!
Click HERE to download it!


Wednesday, June 24, 2015

Classroom Transformation in Progress!

After eight years of the same old classroom décor - it's time for a change!  I am in the process of changing my classroom décor to black and white polka-dot with a red accent color.  There isn't much polka-dot themed bulletin board décor at any teacher store so I have had to make most of my new décor.  Today I went up to the school for the first time this summer and got started with the transformation.  I definitely have a lot more work to do, but I thought I would share a sneak peak.  I can't wait to post pictures of the final project!

Out with the old bulletin boards and in with the new!
It's hard to tell in the pictures, but each board has a polka-dot border.


New birthday banner!  Each month will have a picture of the students with a birthday in that month.  They will also receive a birthday balloon treat on their birthday!
Click HERE to download my Happy Birthday Unit!

My new How We Go Home clip chart!  All I need to add is the student's names on clothes pins.  I think this will be very convenient to have displayed in the classroom for my first graders who forget how they go home at the beginning of the school year and also any time we have a sub!
Click HERE to download my How We Go Home chart!
My new welcome banner for my door!
Click HERE to download the banner for any grade level!
More pictures to come in the next few weeks!


Tuesday, February 24, 2015

New and Improved Blurt Chart!

I had to redo my old Blurt Chart because my class size has grown from 22 to 25! AHH!  Anyways, I made this super cute polka dot Blurt Chart so I thought I would share it!
New Blurt Chart:
I use Velcro dots to make the stars easily go on and off of the chart.
 Old Blurt Chart:
Here is how the Blurt Chart Behavior Management System works in my classroom:

The B.L.U.R.T system discourages students from interrupting the teacher from teaching or interrupting other students from learning.  Each day the students start with three stars next to their number on the chart.  Anytime a student Blurts out, makes a Loud noise, interrUpts the teacher from teaching, a student is out of theiR seat talking to others, or Talking too loud they will lose a star.  If a student loses all three stars they will receive a consequence.
Click HERE to download the Blurt Chart from my TpT Store!