Tuesday, April 15, 2014

Cute and Cheap Mother’s Day Present!



This year I decided to try a new craft for my students to make to give to their mother’s for Mother’s Day.  The new craft idea turned out to be SUPER cute AND cheap – so I just had to share!
 
My students made these Shrinky Dink necklaces for their mom’s!



Here’s what it takes to make these super cute necklaces:

1. Shrinky Dinks Paper - I bought this paper from the craft store Michaels.  It cost 5.99.  (One package will make more than enough for a class set of necklaces.)

2.  Using a pencil, trace hearts onto the Shrinky Dinks paper.  You can download the heart shape template I used by clicking HERE.

3.  Cut out each heart you traced.  Using a hole punch – punch one (or two) holes in each heart.  The hole will become the perfect size to fit the string of the necklace through.

4.  Using colored pencils, have the students draw and color on the rough side of their heart.


5.  Follow the oven baking directions provided in the Shrinky Dinks packet to shrink the hearts.
 
 
(Here is a better look at the size the hearts start out at and the size the hearts shrink to.)
 
 
 

6.  Use some type of string (I used 1mm black string) or necklace chain to finish each necklace.  Finally, I tied the necklace ends onto the black string to complete the necklaces!



7.  I had each of my students color and decorate an envelope to wrap their mom’s necklace in!
 
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Saturday, December 28, 2013

First Grade Report Card Assessments

When report card assessments came along it was always such a stressful time.  We have checklist type report cards with many different skills to assess per student.  UNTIL I created assessment packets!!!  These packets have worksheet assessments that align to each skill.  I just pull the worksheets that I need for that nine weeks and staple them together.  I have the students work on their assessment packet independently at their desk (while they have their offices up).  When the students have finished their packet I just grade them and transfer how they did onto their report card.  It also helps to have a hard copy of how each student is doing.  You can use the assessment packets to show to parents during Parent/Teacher Conferences or just to keep in each student's records.  My first grade team uses these same assessments that I have created.  That way we know we are assessing the same skills and the same way!

This is a preview of just some of the assessment pages:





Here is how I have all the assessments organized....


I have all the assessments stored in a 3 inch binder.


All the assessments are organized by each 9 weeks.



I have made 9 weeks progress reports which lists the skills that need to be assessed at that time.  After the progress report I then put all the assessments I need for that 9 weeks behind it.  Each assessment page is in a clear plastic sleeve cover.  I usually have multiple copies of each assessment so I can easily pull one if I need to assess a student again.




Click HERE to Download my First Grade Report Card Assessments and Progress Reports on my TpT Store!

Sunday, November 10, 2013

Lesson Planning


Weekly Lesson Plans
I thought I would give you a little glimpse into what I do for lesson planning each year.  My first year of teaching I started by writing my lesson plans on a store bought lesson plan book.  When I realized how much work it would be year after year writing and rewriting each week’s lesson plans I decided to take things digital! 
 
I created this lesson plan template in Microsoft Word so I could open it up and work on my lesson plans at work or at home - since both of my computers had the Office software on them.  I created multiple text boxes and sized them into what I needed for my daily schedule.  (Each year I sometimes have to refigure my text boxes depending on my schedule and what I am adding to my day.) 

The thought of retyping lesson plans and starting from scratch year after year makes me cringe.  So I save my lesson plans on my computer on a week by week basis.  That way each year I can copy, paste, move, add, delete, etc. instead of retyping.  Here is a look at what my lesson plan files look like saved on my computer:
 
 Displaying My Lesson Plans

I print and place each weeks lesson plans in clear plastic sleeves.  Then I store them in a 1" binder.  I have placed my 1" binder on a plate stand and have it on my desk for easy viewing!

  
2013-2014 Lesson Plans
Thinking back to my first year teaching I remember how helpful it would be just to see a first grade teacher’s weekly lesson plans.  I thought it would be so helpful to see what lessons to teach, what time to teach them, etc.  So I decided to upload my weekly lesson plans here.  Hopefully someone will find them useful!  J

Click HERE to download my weekly lesson plans for FREE on my TpT store!

(I will be adding the rest of my weekly lesson plans as the school year continues.)

Yearly Outline Curriculum Maps
The district that I work in provides teachers with a math curriculum outline that lays out each weeks/days math lessons that are to be taught at that time.  


 
I saw how helpful it was to have a yearly look and perspective on things.  It helps to know if you are on track, behind, or ahead of the game with your lessons.  It was so helpful that I decided that I needed to make my own Language Arts curriculum outline for each year.  This week by week look into the curriculum really helps me coordinate my lessons together.  I try to align certain lessons together.  For example, my reading series story, phonics lessons, and spelling lessons are similar in what new skill is being introduced.



 
I usually work and prepare my curriculum outline map during the summer months in preparation for the upcoming school year.  It helps by giving me a general overview on what I am teaching each week.  It also helps me stay on track with my lessons and make sure I get everything covered each year.
 
When Common Core was implemented and I saw how much writing was stressed I made my own writing lesson curriculum outline as well.  You can view my writing curriculum and outline HERE.
 
I look at all my curriculum outlines each week as I type up my weekly lesson plans to make sure I am on track and covering everything that I need to!  :)
 
Click HERE to download the lesson plan and curriculum outline maps on my TpT store!
 
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Thursday, October 17, 2013

Ready for Parent/Teacher Conferences!


I decided to share a little glimpse into how I put together my Parent/Teacher conferences each year!

First, I start out by sending home this parent/teacher conference request form.


When the parents return this form requesting a parent/teacher conference I schedule their conference and send home an appointment notice letting them know the day and time their conference is set for. 





I also send home this parent questions and concerns form.  This really helps me make sure I am not caught off guard by any questions the parents might have and make sure I have all the resources available to answer their questions during their conference time.  



Before conferences I put together a folder for each child that has all the information, paperwork, etc. that I am going to discuss during conferences with the parents. 





Each folder has….

...a benchmark note that explains to the parents the different tests and data we use to measure how a child is performing academically.  It explains the data and where a first grader should be at this point in the school year.  It also lists how their child is performing at this time.





...Printable reports such as their child’s Accelerated Reader reading report, STAR Reading level report, report card, etc.

 

...An evaluation of how their child’s work habits and behaviors are at school.


...Handouts and ideas on how they can help their child at home.  This might include sight word practice pages, handwriting practice pages, math fact practice, reading fluency pamphlet, writing prompts, non-sense word practice, syllable count practice, etc.
 
 
 
 
 

 

 

During conferences I set out this bulletin board outside my classroom door.  This bulletin board has helpful information for parents to read while they are waiting for their conference time.  The bulletin board includes handouts and practice pages they can take home to help their child at home.  Many parents want to help their child at home, but just don’t know how.  These handouts and practice pages give the parents easy ways to help at home.




Click HERE to download my Parent/Teacher conference forms, bulletin board, and practice pages on my TpT store!
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Monday, September 23, 2013

Using old iPhones in the Classroom!


I was super bummed when I found out at the beginning of the school year that I had to turn my iPad back in to the school.  Since our school only has 10 iPads the teachers have to share the iPads between each other every year.  I was really upset that I was losing my iPad because I had planned to have one of my literacy centers be an iPad learning center.  On my drive home from work I couldn't help but think, “What in the world am I going to do for that center now?!?!"  Then it hit me! I could use my old iPhone that was sitting in a drawer somewhere. All I had to do was erase all the stuff on that old phone, download some learning apps, then I could have my center idea back! Not only that, but I asked my mom and brother if I could have their old iPhone's too!


Now instead of the students having to share the iPad between each other – they now have their own iPhone with the learning games!  The iPhones don’t even need wifi for the students to play the games.  I just download all the apps from home.  Not only do the students LOVE to go to this center – but it works as an awesome center.  The students are actively engaged the entire time and they are learning the whole time.  This really helps while I am reading one-on-one or with a small group of students during the literacy center rotations.  I don’t have to worry about the students at this center.  They stay quiet and engaged the entire time! J




Here is how I cleaned off my old phones to get them ready for my students:


Click on SETTINGSGENERALRESET



Then, click on ERASE ALL CONTENT AND SETTINGS
After I erased all the content and settings I put all those extra apps that my students don’t need to click on in a folder labeled Misc.  I sent that folder to the last screen page on the iPhone.  When I was teaching this center to my students I made it a rule that the students cannot click on anything but games – or else they would lose their iPhone game privileges.


Next, I added restrictions to the iPhone. This will make it where the students cannot click on apps, such as Safari, YouTube, etc. that would not be appropriate for them.
To turn on these restrictions click on SETTINGSGENERALRESTRICTIONS.
Click on ENABLE RESTRICTIONS
Then turn off any apps you do not want the students to have access to.  It will even remove the app from the home screen.  I turned off Safari, YouTube, camera, location, and mail accounts off.  If your school has WiFi – I would make sure to turn off iTunes after you have downloaded your apps.
Since my old phones were 3G’s it was a little more difficult to find apps for these phones.  Not all apps are compatible for this old of a phone.  But with a little bit of searching I found plenty of apps that would work.  I made sure that all three phones had the exact same apps so there would not be any fighting over the phones!
 
Math Game Apps

 
Literacy Game Apps

 
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