Sunday, 27 September 2015

BOLO...Be On the Look Out for my newest product!

I am linking up with Ashley from Just Reed, Brooke from Teaching Outside the Box and Stephanie from Principal Principles for their BOLO link up ~ Be On the Look Out!  We are all sharing a product that we are currently working on.

My newest product is something that I will be using with my first graders as soon as it is done.  We are working hard on our vowel sounds and this will be a great review.  I loved this fish clip art from Whimsy Workshop and knew I had to have it and I knew exactly how I was going to use it.

The idea is that the students can create a "pond" of the fish cards and take turns putting them in the water with the matching vowel sound.

The students can "catch" the word on the hook or it can be swimming around in the water on the matching sound mat. I am thinking you can use the cards as is or if you are feeling really motivated (or have great helpers) you could cut each of the fish out.  I think my students will really love this - especially those who tell me about fishing on the weekends with their families.

This set will include 10 words for each of the short vowels and 10 for the long vowels.  I will be using just the short vowels now and using 2 mats at a time.  Later on I see my class using all the short vowel mats and sorting all of the short vowel words with a small group.  We can then progress to differentiating between long and short vowel words.  I love that I can keep bringing this center back to use at different times of the year.

I would love to hear about other things kids could "go fishing" for besides short and long vowels.  I have a few more ideas in the back of my mind but I would love to see what you come up with.

Thanks for stopping by and be on the look out for this in my store soon!

Tuesday, 15 September 2015

Dot Day 2015


Happy International Dot Day!  We had a blast celebrating today in our classroom.  Read on to find out about all the different things we did to celebrate.

I had sent home a note asking the children to come dressed in dots and they did not disappoint.  This group of girls were covered in dots.  How cute is this little sweeties hair?   Her mom used M&M barrettes and used cupcake liners to make dots around her buns.  It was just too cute.  One of my little boys came with orange dots all over his face.  It was great to see them get into the spirit of the day.

We started our day listening to Peter Reynolds The Dot on the Smartboard.  I have shared the link on my Facebook page but you can also find it here for future reference.  This is a great animated version.  
We spent a bit of time afterwards talking about the message in the story which I think is to persevere and don't give up.  This is a great lesson for first graders who are prone to the "I can'ts".  We discussed how Vashti kept trying and discovered that she really was a good artist.  We talked about how that works for learning to do anything in the classroom too.  I will continue to revisit this valuable lesson over and over again.  

Next, we listened to the Dot Song.  You can find it {HERE} or {HERE} with actions.  It is a catchy little song that the kids enjoyed singing.  

Next up it was time for dot fun.  Our first activity was a dot scavenger hunt.  Everyone looked for dots and then I took pictures of the dots they spotted.  They had not problems finding them in our classroom.  Here is a collage of a few of the dots we found.  In the past I have had the students draw the objects but I decided on the pictures this year.  

After a short break for recess we were ready for some dot art!  I set up 5 stations with items the students could use to make a dot art piece.  I did provide some direction but left it somewhat open ended as well.  These were the stations:

1.  Trace a circle - Students traced and coloured circles to create a dot picture.  

2. Dot pictures - using circle counters (bingo chips and two sided counters) make a picture on a piece of paper. They were able to draw a background or add detail and then I would take a picture of their creation.  This one was the most difficult.  None of my students were able to really make anything here.  

3.  Kadinsky circles - I precut with my circle punches 3 different sizes of circles and showed them some Kadinsky circles.  Many replicated his work while others made totally different and beautiful dot art with these circles. 

4. Paint a dot We used little plastic shot glasses from the dollar store and water bottle lids glued on to corks to make circles on our paper.  The children could create any design they could imagine.

5. Marker dots -   Draw a dot with markers 

At the same time I worked with a few at a time to make a page for our 10 Black Dots book.  I never took any pictures of the pages but will do so tomorrow and update the blog.  

Here are a few of the masterpieces they created.  

We also celebrated Dot Day in Math.  Part of that time was the 10 Black Dots book page and the other was graphing with Smarties.  

At the end of the day we went outside and played with bubbles since they are round and look like a dot too.  The kids enjoyed blowing bubbles to end the day.  Dot Day was a huge success.  Here is a look at our Bulletin Board to celebrate and showcase our Art.  

Did you celebrate Dot Day?  I would love to hear about your day.  Link up your blog below and include the image at the start of my blog in your post and link back to this post so that others can read all about your Dot Day.  

Thanks for stopping by! 

Sunday, 13 September 2015

5 for Frunday!

Hi All... As you can see from the title I am just slightly overdue to join Kasey at Doodle Bugs Teaching  and post my Five for Friday.  I love reading A Teeny Tiny Teacher's Five for Friday posts that are usually Five for Fraturday.  I can do one better by being 2 days late!

This was my first week back with kids and it has been a whirlwind of activity.   Here is a peek at how my first week went down.

It was hard to leave this view behind.  I spent Labour Day packing up our cottage and heading home at a more reasonable time so we would be well rested and ready to start the first week of school.   My daughter is heading into Grade 7 and my son in Grade 10.  She was super excited to start and had packed and repacked her backpack and chosen several outfit options.  My son, on the other hand, put his books in his binder and found his lock and that was it.  Both were happy to be heading back though.  

Today I meant my new firsties!  I had planned for 18 but SURPRISE a new little guy showed up that morning.  This group is the first group I have taught that has been at school full days in both Junior Kindergarten and Senior Kindergarten.  There were no tears or clinging parents.  This has NEVER happened before!  It was such an awesome start. We had a great day together.  We learned a poem to start the day and then they did their first day picture.  It is great tool to see both their drawing skills and how they print their name.  It is very informative.  I also make sure to read the Kissing Hand on the first day too and make this cute little craftivity.  I can't take credit for the poem but I did modify this one to fit first grade.  At the end of the day I was wiped out!
Today we started with Class Dojo and GoNoodle.  The kids got to pick their little monsters for Class Dojo and we voted on our Champ - this is our winner Penny Gee!   My students love GoNoodle but had never done any of the calming ones that I swear by.  It was amazing to watch them during a FLOW doing deep breathing exercises.  I think I have them hooked!  

Check it out for yourself by clicking {HERE} 

Today we got to know each other better with some fun activities.   In the morning we did a little Find a Friend activity that I found on Pinterest (I can't remember who the author is) and then in the afternoon we had more get to know you time...with chocolate!    Who doesn't love to eat chocolate while hearing a little about a friend.  We also worked on our Classroom Promises today.  I asked them to draw on a post it what they thought were important rules to follow.  I got lots of the NO hitting, kicking, punching etc but a few of my little dears talked about using kind words and being nice to each other.  It is nice to see them going beyond the No's and thinking positively.

 We made it to the end of the week.  Boy were the kids tired and I can't say I was much better.  Today I introduced bucket filling to them.  We read the book and discussed how we could fill each other's buckets.  They had some great ideas.  We started our booklet today but stuck to the easy parts - writing sentences seemed like too much work for a Friday with no extra help.  The kids are very excited to start writing bucket notes to their friends.  They are super simple for first grade.

Thanks for stopping by for a peek at my week!  I hope you had a restful weekend.  I will try to make my next Five for Friday on a Friday (or a Saturday at the latest!).

Wednesday, 2 September 2015

Classroom Reveal!

I'm {ALMOST} done classroom reveal.

I am so glad you stopped by to check out my Grade 1 classroom.  I am happy to be joining Angie @ Lucky Little Learners and Ashley @ Schroeder Shenanigans in Second for a Classroom Reveal Link up.  

I teach Grade One in Ontario, Canada and we start back much later than many of our American neighbors.  Our first day is not until September 8th.  When I joined the link up back in July it seemed like a great opportunity (and it is) until I realized that my room is rarely ready the Tuesday before I start back.  Hence the {ALMOST} ready classroom reveal.  

This is my bulletin board in the hallway that will greet my students.  I am excited to be sitting at 17 students and hope that the numbers stick as we continue through this week of more possible registrations.  

I took some pretty strategic pictures because there is still a lot of chaos in my classroom.  I am the type of person who makes a big mess and jumps from job to job during my week of set up.  It is a bit stressful!  Today I was focused on the walls of my room and doing some more decor type things. These are the things I LOVE to work on.  So without anymore explanation here are some pics of my space.

This is my Guide Reading/small group teaching area.  There is a horseshoe table in front of this space but it was rather cluttered with stuff so I moved it out of the way! I love having everything I need right at hand - things like my reading phones and reading lights.  The Reading Decoding strategies posters were updated this year and I am still on the hunt for an eagle to add to the collection of our decoding buddies.  They sit at the table with us when we are learning about/practicing one of the strategies.  I also have these posters as decoding wands that kids can use as well.  I have to print them out yet!  If you are interested in them just click on the picture to head to the product.  
My kids love using these reading lights {AKA finger lights from the Dollar Store} while reading to track the print.  They are incredibly motivating!  

This is my coat area and entry.  I am actually showing you last year's photo as I didn't have my tree ready yet with my new names.  

I am blessed to be in a former Kindergarten space so I have my own washroom and a huge coat area. I love that we no longer need to make trips as a class to the washroom.  That was not an enjoyable part of my day!  

This storage area is in the main part of my classroom and is a bit of a catch all for organizing things. It's not the nicest set up but I am keeping it a little bit real and showing this too.  I keep all my paper here and, as you can see, I do need to replenish the construction paper and card stock/colored paper on the top shelf.  This is also the new home for my reading mats that the kids use for daily Read to Self.  On the second bookcase I store all of my personal books.  I have them organized by theme.  I took the time to do this when I moved into this classroom.  It has been a blessing.  My next job is to make a list of all books in each bin so I know what I own. #ihaveabookobsession.  I also have an extra crayons drawer organizer and a larger draw organizer for scrap paper.  Both need updated labels.  The rolling cart holds lots of needed supplies like markers, scissors etc.  

This is my carpet area and the hub of our classroom.  The shelf with the baskets holds our math/literacy centers and the bottom shelf holds student's individual book boxes for Read to Self. Our class mascot Ellie is hanging out on my stool.  As you can see there are no books on the shelf yet - again {ALMOST} ready.

This is my Math word wall and subject focus area.  Right now I have put up my backdrop for our first day pictures and set the frame there.  I want to create a new sign to go on the frame.  I have so many things to get done yet.  I love my new number posters above the bulletin board.  They have a rainbow border but it is hard to see in the picture.  I love that it is going to make teaching skip counting by 10's easier.  Having the 10 frame representation will be helpful too. Click on the picture to find it in my store.

This is my library.  The top shelf is sorted by theme and genre.  I am in need of a few new labels there.  The bottom shelves houses my leveled library.  I am grateful to have a well stocked library. Beside the shelf is our collection of reading buddies which are stored in my stools.  I use these seats daily for my "stool stars" who are 2 students I randomly choose each day to have a special seating spot.  

One of the things I like to use in my room is bucket filling. I do it slightly differently because first graders aren't able to write a lot when they start the year but I still want them to be able to acknowledge each other though.  My bucket notes are set up so the students just have to write their name on a note and then put it in their friend's pocket.  As the year progresses I have notes that have a space for a bit more writing.  The kids love filling and having their buckets filled!  

This is one of my favorite parts of my classroom.  I love the word wall.  I am a firm believer in using it every single day.  I also use a Word Jail - something else I firmly believe in.  You can read more about the Word Jail {HERE} and {HERE}.  If you are interested in checking out the the Word Jail product click on the picture.  My new alphabet posters are above.  The pictures on the alphabet posters match the pictures on the word wall headers so there is no confusion for the kids. They both also match the name tags I use too.  You might have noticed some colored circles under certain letters on the word wall.  My vowels are red and have a bright yellow circle behind them to help students located them quickly.  I have placed a purple circle behind the digraphs to make those sounds easier to find too.  

I hope you have enjoyed touring my classroom as it is right now.  By Friday it will be fully ready for students.  If I get a chance I may edit the blog post to add a few more pictures.  

I am also going to link this post up with the team at Bloghoppin for Teacher Week and there Wednesday Classroom Tour.