Thursday, September 20, 2012

Writing to Learn & Learning to Write!

We are learning so much already in First Grade, including how to write more!  After having several students copy exactly what I had on the board during writing time, it dawned on me that some of them don't realize that they can make up stories!  They can think of things that happened to them and write them down!  In a class where getting all 25 to pay attention to me at once can be difficult, hearing this golden nugget of information was captivating to them!  They were so excited to hear that all of the information they have in their minds could be put on paper and shared with others!  Today we talked about a way to get those ideas out on paper in a writing strategy called "Sketch-to-Write."  The idea is to make small sketches (beginning-middle-end) of their writing idea and then to write a sentence (or ten!) next to the sketch to explain what is going on.  For some students this idea was the next best thing since sliced bread....or has it always come sliced for them? 

Tuesday, September 18, 2012


I know, I is NOT the picture of health, but it IS the picture of Teacher Survival 101.  There are times when I have to break the glass and reach for my tools to get me through the rough days....and when that happens I reach for chocolate and Coca-Cola or Coffee.  In fact, this morning I dreamed that I had a coffee maker right on my desk -- one of those fancy ones where you put the little cup of coffee grounds in and it instantly makes you a hot, delicious cup of joe.  I'm in need of one of those.  So, excuse me as I take a moment to inhale this chocolate and caffeine -- is it Friday?

Wednesday, September 12, 2012

Bubble Mania!!

Today in Science we discussed whether we could make square bubbles if we used square-shaped bubble makers.  The prediction was an overwhelming YES.  The verdict was an overwhelming NOPE!  :)  We had fun, learned how to work as teams, and enjoyed the challenge of making bubbles on a windy day!

Tuesday, September 11, 2012

Introducing Bloose the Moose!

Our second week of school is off to a quick start!  Monday we had a great day back and got lots of work accomplished.  Tuesday was a little challenging -- perhaps it's the sunshine outside our windows or that distant calling of "reeeeceessss! reeeeccceeesssss!"  I'm not sure, but our behavior today needed a little work!  Speaking of behavior....let me introduce you to Bloose the Moose!  Bloose is one of my best friends.  How does he work?  If students have a tattle (and we first discuss what a tattle is) they know to come and write in Bloose's notebook.  Bloose hears a lot of stories!  Some kids get pushed in line, some students feel they have been robbed of their rightful place in that same line, and some students think that others are being too loud in line!  Whatever the tattle is, Bloose gets to hear about it.  I read Bloose's notebook weekly and find out if there are any tattles that require more than Bloose can offer, but for the most part...they are just that: tattles.  So, let's hear it for Bloose the Moose!  Hip Hip Hooray!  Hip Hip Hooray! Hip Hip Hooray!

Thursday, September 6, 2012

It's a Heat Wave!

Flashes of the Wicked Witch of the West flood through my brain during hot weeks like this, and I just keep repeating, "I'm melting!  I'm meeeeltiing!"  It's just too hot!  I look at the weather report every morning hoping for a cool down, but it hasn't come yet...hopefully tomorrow.  In the meantime, we will continue to melt away and push full force through our day! 

The new first grade students have been doing very well considering the heat -- they get a little squirrely at times, but it's to be expected.  I'm happy with how things are going so far -- moving through the first week or two (or three!) of school always keeps  me nervous.  I want to move into "the work" but I also want to make sure they have "the rules."  Today, we moved on and did some work in Reading -- reviewed the sounds for short /a/ and /b/.  We added the word my to our word wall and practiced writing it on our white boards.  We have started our daily calendar routine -- parents might be surprised to see all that first graders will know with calendar by the end of the year -- it's not just about names of days and counting!  I found a very cool calendar routine on Pinterest and made one for my own room.  Here is the one I copied from: 
So onward and upward we move!  I'm looking forward to cooler weather where students aren't melting into their seats and walking across the classroom doesn't cause me to breakout in a flop sweat.  :)

Tuesday, September 4, 2012

Phew! What a RUSH!

We had our first day of school today and boy was it awesome!  Each one of my 26 students came filing into their classroom, found their seats and happily shared exciting stories together.  I saw cameras going off, parents giving quick reassuring hugs to new students and teachers helping others get into the right rooms.  It is a busy, busy day on opening day of school!  There is so much excitement and so much happening!  I just read recently that it would be nice to see that much excitement for EVERY day of school!  Can you imagine taking a picture of your child for every day of school?  There's a project for someone out there!  But, seriously the message is not lost on me.  If we can instill the love for school and the respect for education into our children now and forever, they will be that much better off in the long run.  I firmly believe that 100%!  And that love and respect for school and learning doesn't just happen at home -- it happens at school, too.  I hope that each and every day I leave my students with the feeling that I love being here for them and that school excites me.  It's the truth!! 

So how did your children do on the first day?  They were awesome!  It was a long morning of listening and sitting and they pulled it off like pros!  Please remember to pack HEALTHY snacks -- we actually had a Twinkie make it past my classroom door today. I showed it the door again....  :)  If snacks are forgotten, I do have some pretzels and things in my closet that I happily share. 

Also, if your child has any ALLERGY, now would be a great time to let me know.  Especially food allergies! 

Thank you for having your child to school today!  I am looking forward to many more good days to come!