December 2011 - Queen of the First Grade Jungle

A Year in Pictures and Resolutions

Just over a year ago I started blogging and my whole world changed! Blogging has brought nothing but positivity into my life. I am in quite a reflective mood today so I wanted to look back over the last year in my personal and teaching life (somewhere along the line it all got mixed together!)...
My very first project when I started blogging. I made these adorable little pointers that my students use ALL the time! They are SO cute and SO easy!

In February Nash and Mommy started working on letters together (Nash is now in Montessori and absolutely loving school!.
In March Little Miss Emmie turned 2 years old! LOVE that sweet smile!
In April I created some bookmarks to help motivate our Fourth Grade Buddies during Testing!

 In May we hatched some ADORABLE chicks. By far my favorite teaching moment ever. 
In June I had my hardest teaching/life moment to date. I lost an incredible student the last week of school. I think about this child everyday and he reminds me of the REAL reason that I teach and it has nothing to do with the curriculum.

In July Nash, Emmie, and I spent many hours doing Just.This. I took a break from all things teaching/blogging and escaped to Charleston.
In August I created my classroom library that I still am oober impressed with.
In September I fell in love with Math Work Stations!
In October my cuties were Pebbles and Bam Bam!

Sad to say, but about all I did blogging wise in November was create Place Value Scoot.

Well, December was consumed by all things green and red!

I think one of the most important things about teaching is being reflective. That is one of the things I LOVE about blogging (aside from reading Kristin's absolutely hilarious posts!). When I write about something, I am forced to think about why it was successful or on some occasions- why it bombed.  So in that spirit here are my New Year's Resolutions.

Personally- Be More Organized Around The House. Period.

Professionally- Don't Sweat the Small Stuff. Let me explain- I wish I could be one of those teachers/people that just lets little things go. Nope-not me. I exhaust my husband/friends/teaching partners by talking about it. Not anymore. If it doesn't matter in the big scheme of things... it isn't going to consume me!
 Happy New Years to you and yours!

your photo name


... not one of those things that you are required to do that reviews old content, but a flashback to one of my earliest blog posts! Okay so I am kind of cheating and not "really" writing a blog post--- but back when I only had myself and 2 others (okay my teaching partners) as followers, you might have missed this idea!  Here is how we motivate our students to read after a long week break...
So it's that time of year... our kids have had several weeks off of school and we need to be creative in coming up with ways to get them back into school mode. Commence the Snowball Fight!  The kids will get to color in a snowball for each book they read at home (kids who are in chapter books will fill out a snowball for each chapter).  We had four snow days the week before Christmas Vacation so I spent the better part of two days making this display (Not true this year, so I don't know when I will find the time to get this up!!!!).  Each first grade teacher has a penguin and a graph. The graph will fill up as the class reads more and more books! 
Here is my penguin! Notice the polka-dotted bow!
A close-up of the graph. We will celebrate the success of the snowball fight at the end of January.  We have a day called Camp Read-A-lot where the students are encouraged to bring their sleeping bags and favorite books to read with their buddies!'

Enjoy your last couple of days!

your photo name

Parent Volunteer Thank You

I am extremely lucky. My parents would do just about anything for me- and I mean anything! I have one mom that comes every Monday morning and stays as LONG as my newsletter, homework packet, and other weekly copies take. I have another mom who basically sticks her head in DAILY and offers to cut, laminate, bring me coffee :) (I said anything didn't I... she also knows a caffeinated teacher is a happy teacher). And the last mom helps me do special picture projects, grinch punch, or other crazy ideas I have. I also have a list of moms who I can send laminating home with or request items for projects and I know they will make it happen. For the moms that are in my room on a weekly basis and the Instructional Assistants that spend part of their days with me, I made these...
Of course I found the idea on Pinterest and changed up the fabric a little bit. If you want to find out how I did this project go HERE.

I hope I don't sound as if I am bragging... I just know my life is made ten times easier by these fantastic ladies! Please wish me luck on the madness that will be party/rally/last day before Christmas Break! YAY! Merry Christmas!!!!

your photo name

Dear Santa and Greater Than/Less Than

I think I can, I think I can... four more days :)

I wrote my students a letter from Santa Claus (find the link HERE for this great Santa letterhead) and had our custodian deliver it to my room during recess. The letter came with a bag full of presents. Each present is a wrapped Christmas book to open each day until Winter Break. It was so cute to watch the rumors start flying when my kids read the note from Mr. C. It has been our favorite part of the day for the last week or so. I have a student who has been extra good to go open a book for us.

We have been writing letters for a couple of weeks. I loved the idea of applying for jobs at the North Pole (elf/reindeer) so I tied that into our letters. We wrote to Santa about why we would make great reindeer for him and used our shoes and hands to make the ADORABLE reindeer!

My favorite letter below:

Yes, she said her shiny nose will lead his way :)

We have also been studying Greater Than/Less Than in Math. I found this fantastic game at Crazy in First Grade ! My kids had a blast!

I hope you are finding ways to make it through the last few days!

your photo name

Place Value Scoot

I am all out of excuses. But since my husband is working late and my kids are watching their new dinosaur movie, I decided to sneak in a blog post -or avoid laundry- take your pick. As part of my Review Friday, I thought I would play Place Value Scoot! I saw this idea HERE originally, but adapted it for my first graders. They are doing a beautiful job with place value so I think this will go pretty smoothly.
Here are some sample questions:

Click Here! to download.

If you download this activity you will also find 12 questions that cover place value. I have 24 kids in my room so we will go half way around the room. I am a firm believer in limiting the amount of practice my kids have to do so I can assess knowledge not stamina! If you have never played scoot it is very simple. The kids will answer the question at the desk where they are. They will then stand behind the chair to show me they are ready for the next problem. When everyone is standing I will say SCOOT and all of my kids will move in unison clockwise. It is a beautiful thing. The funny thing is they are tricked into doing great work while staying engaged! LOVE it! Check back soon, you may get two whole posts this month :)

your photo name
Back to Top