August 2011 - Queen of the First Grade Jungle

Look at some new additions to my room and a Giveaway

Last night we had Open House. One of my little guy's tween sister told me she "LOVED" my room decor! Compliment? I'll take it.

My two sidekicks (Nash and Emmie) and I spent some time crafting at school on Saturday. I completed my Math Work Stations board in my classroom color scheme of course.

We tried full out Math Work Stations today, and it was a hit! The best part- my kids worked hard, not me. I actually almost stuck my head through the awful orange curtain to my teaching partner to have her come see, but I figured she might have been teaching or something.

What inspired this one last kick for my room decor was an amazing banner that I found on etsy.

I was in LOVE! I emailed Belinda (The Oh-So-Crafty lady that runs this shop) and explained to her that my classroom had a jungle theme and asked if she could help me get the banner of my dreams?? Well, not only did she try and interpret my not-very-clear instructions, but she came to my blog and looked at pictures of my room! Come on,you don't get better customer service then that!!!!
My students and I both love it!

It hangs above my guided reading table and inspired me to cover that book shelf and add the purple, black, and white boxes.

Find me Here!!

Here is a close-up!

I was so happy with my banner that I emailed Belinda and asked if she would be willing to help me with a giveaway and she said YES! Wahoo! She is offering one CUSTOMIZED banner to one of my followers. How great is that?!?!

So here is how you enter (make sure to leave a separate comment for each entry):

1. Add Belinda's Etsy shop HERE!

2. Blog about this giveaway
3. Become a follower of my blog or tell me that you already are
4. Add my blog to your sidebar

This giveaway will end on Sunday at 10:00 p.m.. Good Luck!


p.s. Did you notice the borders on my pictures... HERE is how I learned how to do that!


your photo name

Ready to dive in... to Math Work Stations that is!

We have been practicing/learning different work stations for the last two weeks of school, and I think we are ready to really try it out on Monday. Or at least I hope. I have to admit I get really antsy when just practicing routines... I like to get to the meat of it pretty fast! I usually finish DRA's within a week so I can start Literacy Centers immediately! I am ready to start knocking out some effective small group instruction :) Here is an example of one of the Work Stations that we will be trying CLICK HERE:

There are ten simple surveys that two of my kids will be conducting during Work Stations. The plan is that I will have these in clear pocket protectors, and the students will get to choose which they want to conduct!

Enjoy your weekend! P.S. our little secret- but I may or may not be starting a giveaway on Sunday!


your photo name

Follow up on Behavior Clip Chart and Freebie

I had read on Jodi's blog The Clutter-free Classroom that one of the best things she had ever done in her classroom was start a behavior clip chart. Well let me quote her BEST. THING. EVER. Flipping Cards-Sign the Book- Name on the board- no system at all. I have tried them all. The Clip chart is the best for the following reasons:

1. I hang it on the side of my lockers so that it is not a focus of our day, but I can easily move it to the front of the room to praise a child.

2. My teacher pleasers are rewarded-- and my stinkers. It is so easy to build a child up by simply saying-- "Ben, I love how you helped Jackson out with his problem. Go move your clip up."

3. I have record of their daily behaviors without all the hassle on me. I created a form that stays in my kids S.A.F.A.R.I binders and they color in their behavior for the day right before they pack up.

Click Here to download.

4. I can reward them without having a darn treasure box- never liked those things, ever. I am going to use my zebra-loving-soul-sister Christie from First Grade Fever's adorable punch cards to keep track of their progress. When they fill out the punch card they can pick a reward out of the binder. You should have seen their faces when I read swap seats with a friend for the day. You would have thought I promised them the moon.

Thanks for hanging out!

your photo name

Meet the Teacher Monday...or Tuesday

A little late to the party...

Something about me...

I am originally from Charleston, SC (aka the best place on Earth!) but I moved to Kentucky to be a student at small, liberal arts college--Centre. I had fully intended on moving back to the beach--- when a month before graduation, I met my husband Jon. Much to my parents' disappointment I started applying for jobs in KY and have not left. My kids are my life...

Meet Nash... 3-year-old. Nash just started at Montessori a couple of weeks ago, and I can already tell he will have his momma's love for school. He is all-boy and already has plans to play every sport offered in our small town.

Meet Emmie...

I think I got tricked by Nash... everything was just so easy! Well, with Emmie it is not... this little girl is FULL of spunk and sass and tomboyishness (yes, I know that is not a real word). Luckily, one thing we agree on is the fact that a bow is an absolute must in order for her to leave the house :).

How long have you been teaching?

This is my 6th year teaching and shhhh, don't tell--- but honestly the first year that feel completely confident in what I am doing. I have taught First Grade for all of those six years, and I don't foresee a time that I will want to leave this little piece of Heaven.

You might not know...

I love coffee. I played college soccer. I live for Kentucky Basketball. I really enjoy cutting out laminating. I am so inspired by teacher bloggers (okay you may know that)

What are you most looking forward to this year?

I want my kids to walk away from my classroom LOVING reading and learning in general. I couldn't believe it when I "met" all these bloggers who could incorporate everything that my kids needed with what I had to do as a teacher. I LOVE my job!

What do you need to improve this year?

Last year I really beefed up my literacy centers. This year we are installing Math Work Stations. I am so excited about it. We used to use a program that I was not very fond of, but now I feel like I have the freedom to do what I know my kids need (more on math soon!)

What teaching supplies can you not live without?

1. Cardstock
2. Brightly colored paper (really cutting down on my colored ink bill!)
3. Hot Glue
4. Mr. Sketch markers
5. My Smartboard/Elmo/Amplification System (technology is fantastic!)
6. My school's Laminator

Thanks for taking the time to learn about me! I will be back tomorrow with more-- I finally feel like I have my feet under me!

your photo name

Freebie and Quick Update

The first two days of school have been fantastic! Like the kind of fantastic that makes you think that the wheels are going to fall off at any second because no teacher gets it this good--do they? All 24 showed up looking adorable, only one with tears, and very enthusiastic. Every last school supply accounted for and every kid safely making it home. Despite having the dream team of a class, (I know-very premature) I am SO exhausted. In fact- I don't think exhausted really even comes close to describing how I feel. My husband works out of town (if we are lucky he comes home every other weekend in his busy season-summer) and my two-year old and three-year old have to be dropped off at two different places before I get to school at 7:30... thank goodness I have a HUGE pot of coffee ready bright and early. I don't mean to whine--- but that is what you all are here for right? Support! Okay since you listened to me vent, here is a little math freebie that my kids really enjoyed today! M&M Math. Can anyone guide me to a tutorial on how to insert a pic from google docs in the new version? Happy Almost Friday!


your photo name

Back to School Gift Ideas

If you love your teammates as much as I do... you are probably pondering how to make them feel special on the first day of school! My teammates-- Cathy and Ros-- have been my saving grace and my source of laughter for several years now-- we balance each other perfectly. They make me want to be a better person/teacher! Pinterest has been a fabulous recourse for my research for the ultimate gift! Check out some of my favorite ideas below:

This Jungle Clipboard comes from Mrs. Thompson

I couldn't find a link to this one--but I have seen them everywhere!

The source for this picture was Perfect Cadence-- but I wasn't able to link to the blog.

This idea came from Grey Grey Designs and has to be one of the cutest things I have ever seen!

These flower pots come from Cara Carroll at First Grade Parade

I know I could just buy my teammates something, but I want it to be special and homemade! I also need suggestions for a gift for a male-- we have a new-to-us first grade teacher, and I am not sure he would appreciate all my animal print! HA!

Hope you are inspired!

your photo name
Back to Top