Tuesday, December 18, 2012

Christmas Comes but Once a Year

....and P.S. IT'S HERE! At least, it definitely was in my class today! Our day was jam-packed with Christmas fun, and I just couldn't wait to share with all of you!!

To start, today was gift exchange day for the first year teachers at my school (there are 3 besides me). I was so touched after reading the poem Erica Bohrer shared on her blog Sunday, that I just knew I wanted to share it with my teacher friends, too! For part of my present to them, I typed up the poem, added a snazzy chevron background, printed it on cardstock, and framed it using a Target 5X7 frame. I loved them so much, I made one for myself too :) Only problem is, that requires me to have free space on my desk to fit it! Maybe one day?

We also continued our gingrebread unit today by doing a little simile activity. I plan to do Cara Carroll's Grinch simile activity on Friday, so I knew I wanted to introduce the concept early this week. That way, they can be total pros by the time Grinch day rolls around!
We started off by reading a book on similes, and then we used a circle map to brainstorm gingerbread adjectives. We then created a few  similes together, and I sent them off to work on making their very own. I found a gingerbead man template on google images that I quickly printed up and had them decorate to glue next to their similes. I have to admit, I think theirs came out even better than mine.

For your free copy of Gingerbread Similes, click the link below.

To continue our unit on measurement, I introduced my class to four new friends, Milly Mile, Franny Foot, Ingrid Inch, and Cindy Centimeter. Or as I like to call them, "The Standard Sisters". I used these ladies to introduce my students to standard units of measure, and easily made them out of scarpbook paper, construction paper, and yarn. We talked about what each unit meant and looked like, then brainstormed what we would measure using each unit. You can see a pic of three of the girls below, poor Franny didn't make the picture.

As silly as they seem, my kids fell in LOVE immediately, and I'll do whatever it takes to help them get it! It was so great listening to them discuss why we use certain units to measure certain things. I could really tell they were catching on to the concept, and that always makes my day!

We wrapped up this crazy busy day with an ornament making activity for our parents. They came out PRECIOUS, but they aren't quite done yet! So I'll save that post for another day. :)

Can't wait to share them with you, sweet friends! I'm off to shop for my last Christmas presents!
Have a great evening!

Monday, December 17, 2012

12 Days of Freebies

One day down...four more to go! I can definitely see the light now!

As promised, I am delivering you yet another day of Christmas- themed freebies, and this one is definitely my favorite! I adapted my activity from Cara Carroll's super cute measurement activity. If you're interested, you can check our what she did here.

I started with a discussion on non-standard units of measurement. My cuties and I brainstormed a list of items that could be used and discussed when small units would be more helpful instead of big units. Then, I introduced my students to Mr. Gingerbread Man, set out of a few non-standard units (gingerbead flavored and shaped marshmallows, peppermints, and unifix cubes), and sent them off to work!

It was SO wondeful to see their brains tickin' away! For the last non-standard unit, I let each group vote on what they would use. My favorite was using mini-Judy clocks we used last week for our time unit.
Mr. Gingerbread was approximately 8 mini-Judy clocks tall, for your information.

My only regret is that Mr. Gingerbread Man would have been infinitely cuter, had my school NOT been out of brown bulletin board paper. (sigh)

You can downlaod your copy of Gingerbread Measurement by clicking the link below.

Have a wonderful Monday!

Thursday, December 13, 2012

12 Days of Freebies

Good afternoon, sweet friends!!

We are almost through the second to last week before the holidays...phew! Let me tell you...this girl is ready for some rest! Things have been pretty non-stop in my classroom lately, so I know I will definitely enjoy a little (and I mean very little) vacation....thanks Hurricane Issac :(

Our class celebrated the holidays a little early with a small party hosted by our local Kids Hope organization. The kids LOVED the party, and it was all for a great cause. One of the activities at the party was creating cards for young children in Haiti still recovering from the earthquake. Teaching my students that this season is about giving not receiving has been a real challenge, so the party definitely came at just the right time! It was so cute to see the super sweet messages my students came up with for their cards. 
Here is one of my favorites.

In other news, we have been reading some of my favorite holiday stories these past few weeks. Most recently, we read The Snow Globe Family by Jane O'Conner .  Have you read it before? If not, you definitely should!
Of course, after reading, we did a little writing activity to practice making text-to-self connections. We talked about how the snow globe family had been waiting and wishing for something exciting to happen in their lives, and then brainstormed ideas about what exciting things we have been waiting and wishing to happen in our own lives. Naturally, we  followed it up with a cute craftivity!

The kids did a WONDERFUL job connecting their lives to the book. One of my most popular responses was "I am like the snow globe family because I have been waiting and wishing to lose my first tooth!"
I have a feeling many of those wishes just might come true this year!

You can download my second holiday freebie using the link below :)
To make the craft I simply pre-cut the circles and attached contact paper to the back. Then, I had the kids draw pictures of their wishes and place them on the contact paper facing out. This just might be my favorite craftivity to date!
Hope you enjoy!
Check back soon for more of the Twelve Days of Freebies!

Tuesday, December 11, 2012

12 Days of Freebies

Happy holidays bloggin' friends!!

I am so sorry I have been MIA as of late, I pinky promise to be SO much more on top of my blogging from now on. 
Christmas is by far my most favorite time of year, and teaching at Christmas time has added even more happy to my holidays! In honor of my most favorite season, I am celebrating with giving you 12 days of freebies that will hopefully help to get you through these last few days until a much deserved break! So let's get to it....

On the First Day of Freebies, Ms. Johnson gave to me....

How To: Catch a Gingerbread Man

This past week, our class has read our fair share of gingerbread themed books, so I decided to put all that gingerbread catchin' talk into a little writing activity. I placed this activity in my writing center for the week and let me tell you...the kiddos went to town on it! They LOVED devising creative ways to catch that cookie, and I loved watching them practice using transition words and matching illustrations to their pictures! 

Click the link below to download your copy :)

Afterwards, of course, we celebrated with a little gingerbread themed scavenger hunt, and my kids FINALLY caught those darn cookies! I will try and post scavenger hunt clues soon, and please stay tuned for more of the 12 Days of Freebies!!

Monday, October 29, 2012

Little White Lies

While I love my class, I have to be honest with you...they sure are one chatty bunch! These past few months with them has definitely kept me on my toes, and it's been a constant battle to get our procedures and behavior management strategies down.

However, the other week (when I just so happened to be out of school for CCSS training) I had a behavior management epiphany. Now, don't get me wrong, I am  absolutely positive that I am not the first teacher to come with and use this strategy. But I have to admit, I was pretty darn proud of myself when it came to mind. Naturally, I thought I should share one of my very favorites with you!

Meet "Mr. Mike". Clever, right? I was so excited to introduce this strategy to my firsties, that I even wrapped it up with a cute little bag and bow. My students may have been slightly less impressed with the gift than I was...but they were excited nonetheless! Mr. Mike is the star of our rug time meetings, and has really helped my cuties understand the concept of taking turns. The best part of it is...they love Mr. Mike so much that they don't even realize my ulterior motives! Of course, this could I also be due to the little white lie I may or may not have told them.

You see, when I returned to school from my training, I told my class that I had my ears checked while I was away and learned that my hearing is downright HORRIBLE. I then introduced them to Mr. Mike and explained that he would help me to hear them while I teach. Now my kiddos think they have to hold the microphone in order for me to hear them. If they try to speak without holding the mic I simply say "I'm sorry, what was that?! My ears can't hear you without the microphone!". The kids eat it right up, and I get to enjoy the benefits of my little fib. 

How do you handle behavior management in your classroom?

Sunday, October 28, 2012

Meet the teacher

Hi new friends!!

My name is Haley, and I am a first year/ first grade teacher in Louisiana. I know what you're thinking... I must be crazy taking on this new responsibility in my very first year! Well, my hope is that this blog will serve as a tool for me to share (and borrow) ideas with each of you!

I am the proud teacher of a terrific group of 14 students. Seriously...they are just great! Such smart kiddos. I feel so lucky to have started my teaching career with such a wonderful class. I can already tell the end of this year is gonna be a tough one!

I will be posting pictures and updates of what's been going on with my class since the beginning of the year soon. We have so much to catch up on, so stay tuned!

Thank you so much for stopping by my blog, new friend, and thank you for sharing this crazy fun journey with me!