Sunday, October 9, 2011

A Hodgepodge of Info

Sorry I  have once again been missing.  My own class has been keeping me so busy.  We have had spirit week, grandparents day, and conferences.  I feel like I finally have time to breathe.  I haven’t even had a chance to check in at all my favorite blogs that I follow!

So here is what has been going on in my Fabulous Class…

We are finishing up our Daily 5 introduction period.  Which means I now get to start working with those small groups of readers.  I have so many different levels that I  have yet to figure out how I am meeting all their needs.  My co-grade level teacher and I are creating a book club packet for our higher level readers.  We are so excited to start this!  We have a few students that already read at a 2nd – 3rd grade level.

Words their Way is going well.  Most of my class is doing short vowels but I have a group of 5 that are working on diagraphs.  Those spelling lists for diagraphs are really hard but the parents are studying at home and most of the students are doing really well.  Each week they get to do speller’s choice activities for their homework.  They choose 3 of the activities and turn in the paper on Friday.  It shows me who is studying at home and gives me insight if they don’t do well on their test.

Last week we started our first Author Study project, Kevin Henkes.  The students will learn about the author and his books for the rest of the month as well as do a take-home project with their families.  The plan is to do an author a month during our Daily 5 reading block.  I can’t wait to see how they turn out.

My fabulous parents bought me a Flip Camera off my teacher wish list!  I have been busy recording my students and posting their videos to our classroom blog.  The parents and students love going to the site and checking it out.

Sorry for the long post with no pictures!  I hope you are all doing well in your own classrooms and remembering to not sweat the small stuff.  ( I have to remind myself of that everyday!)


Saturday, September 17, 2011

After our First Week of Words Their Way

Well my fabulous students just finished their first week of our Words Their Way program.  Most of my students did a fantastic job.  Their test was comprised of the following:  Studied pattern words, New pattern words, and high frequency words.  Even on the words they spelled wrong they got the pattern right.  That gives me hope that this program might be beneficial and worth the effort.  As I start creating word work activities for Daily 5 to go along with WTW I will post them on here so everyone can see.

On another note this week has made me feel like a fabulous, well-appreciated teacher.  Our Home and School asked us to fill out wish lists on  This is great since as a parochial school teacher I cannot utilize Donor’s Choose.  My parents have gotten me almost everything on it!  I had some great items such as; beanbag chairs, Flip video camera, printer, clipboards, and twistable crayons.  I have never had a class spoil me as much as this group.  One of the dads is even building me a custom shelf to house my Daily 5 bins.  I can’t wait to see it.

Last but not least… a little pep for tomorrow.  My 9 month old finally gets to wear her cheerleader outfit and cheer….



Sunday, September 11, 2011

Words Their Way

This week First Grade is starting Words Their Way.


Our lower grades have adopted this program to replace the traditional spelling program.  The idea is that students are given a spelling inventory and given list specific to where there are in the spelling and writing scheme.  Most of my students tested in the short vowel or diagraphs range.  To keep it simple this year we are only starting with two groups.  The trick is that students will not move on until they pass their list (2 or less wrong).  So in theory we could have as many lists as we do students within a few weeks (I am praying that doesn’t happen.)

This along with Daily 5 has been a lot of work to set up this year.  We are using a model by Beth Newingham for guidance as we move forward.  Students will have various stations throughout the week that they will have to complete based on their spelling list.  It involved doing word sorts and word games to not only memorize those words but understand how they are built so that students learn spelling skills which will be great when coming up with unfamiliar words. 

Each student has their own word study folder that they use throughout the week to keep their word sorts in as well as any response sheets or worksheets they have completed throughout the week.  They will also be given a copy of the word sort to take home as well as a traditional spelling list. 

Here are some photo's of our Word Study Folder:

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The front of the folder that envelope will hold their word sort words they miss on their test so they can be tested later

As for High Frequency Words.  We took an inventory of that using Fry’s List as well.  Students will go in order on the list and add 5 words they missed on the test each week to add to their spelling test. 

We are really trying to make learning effective for each student but I am already getting a little scared of how this could all turn out.  I could end up with way more work than I ever imagined but if my students gain fabulous spelling skills I think it would be worth it!

If any of you use Words Their Way and having any advice please comment!


Monday, September 5, 2011

Sorry I have been MIA...

So sorry I have been missing. Work has been absolutely crazy! I am working on finding a balence between work and home especially now that my son is in his first year of middle school football!

So here is whats been happening in my First Grade Class. My 19 wonderful students are doing great at the Daily 5! They are finally excited about building stamina and working towards becoming better readers.

This week I will be sending home our first weekly reading log. My studnets are expected to read for 15 minutes every night. I feel this is the most important homework they can have. Now, don't get me wrong.. I do send home other homework as needed. I am just moving towards sending home projects for the students instead of weekly worksheet packets.

Here is a sample of our weekly reading log:

Fabulous First Grade Weekly Reading Log

(it looked better on my computer)

We have also been busy at work using our I WONDER statements... Here is my students board where they share their post-its with their I WONDER Statements:


(I was running low on bulletin board space. I hope to pretty it up soon!)

I am also sending out my first Scholastic Book Club letters of the year! Our class goal is $275 which would get my class 5000 bonus points! Thats alot of books. I will hopefully post more about that this week.

I hope you all enjoyed your Labor Day Weekend!


Wednesday, August 24, 2011

First Days of School

Sorry I have been MIA for awhile. The students started this week and it has been crazy! Our enrollment went up by almost 100 new families. We have been having so much fun but with a new school wide rule program and so many new to the school children I have barely had time to sleep. (Not to mention an 8 month old who is going through mommy withdrawl)

Our first day of school went without a hitch. We are learning about our 3 B's (be respectful, be safe, be ready to learn). We created first day of school pictures and learned all about our school.

We also started the Daily 5. This is my second year using this for my reading block and I love it! All my Fabulous First Graders learn to become better readers and independent workers. So far this week we have learned about the 3 ways to read a book, and building staminia during Read to Self. It takes about 5-6 weeks to fully introduce all the steps but taking your time pays off in the end.

Sorry I don't have any pictures to post today. I promise there will be pictures coming later this week! Have a great night in blog-land.


Saturday, August 6, 2011

First Day of School Activities Linky Party

So I finally created my very own printable for my class.  Actually I created 2.  We are using the 3B's (Be safe, be responsible, be ready to learn) along with PBIS at our school this year.  So in the spirit of the 3B's I created Bee Real and Bee Mine.

Students will recieve the Bee Real sheet at our back to school night and return it on the first day of school.  I have always done something like this and it helps me to get to know the students quick.  I also intend to use it for some planning of units based on their interests.

The Bee Mine will be used the first day as an ice breaker so the studnets can get to know each other.  To set the example I will also participate with them. 

Anyways... in the excitment of creating my own printables with clip art for the first time I would like to have a First Day of School Linky Party.  I would love to hear and see some of what you all are doing!

Here are the two I created.  I used DJ Inkers so click the link below to get your copy.  (I was told I could share them for free from another blogger.. if I am mistaken please let me know... ).  This is also my first time using Scribd since Google Docs would work for me.  Link Up and Enjoy!

Bee Real Survey

Bee Mine Get to Know You Game


Thursday, August 4, 2011

My New Design!

Yippee!  My blog is my own!  I feel like I am officially part of the blogging world and I am ready to share.  Thanks to Jenn from Finally in First I have a great new blog design!  She walked me through every step of the way and I got exactly what I dreamed of.  Her design company Dream Team Design did a fabulous job. 


Thursday, July 28, 2011


Just in time for the beginning of the school Erica Bohrer and friends are hosting a HUGE giveaway.  There are 12 files up for grab and several ways to enter!  Head on over to Erica Bohrer's First Grade and check out all the great units.

I hope to have my first giveaway soon.  I am working on ideas to host my own before the school year starts!


Wednesday, July 27, 2011

It's Almost Time!

I looked at my calendar and realized that next week is the first week of August.  Most of the teachers at my school start heading back to do the usual to get ready for the students.  School starts for us on August 22nd and our school has grown by about 70 kids this year.  This will be our second year in operation and it is so exciting that we are growing.

Hopefully when I get back our Mimio boards will be ready for us to try out.  If you haven't heard of Mimio it is an interactive board system that will work on virtually any service.  Just think of all the ways that I will be able use this. 

This week I will spend time updating my BEE books (the daily folder I use), gearing up for our first year of Words Their Way (another folder to put together), and putting together a floor plan since I have a brand new room this year.  Isn't the beginning of the year so exciting!

Here are a few pictures of the folders I am putting together to keep my First Graders nice and organized:

This is my Bee Book:

Most of the printables I use I have gotten off of other websites such as Meachams Classroom snapshots.  She has some of the best First Grade resources.  I could run most of my classroom off of her ideas.

Instead of word notebooks I am using a Word Study Folder.  Students will keep all of their Words Their Way items in here and paper to use as a word notebook. Keeps them all organized and tidy:

The brown envelope will be for their word sort pieces and a graph to help them keep on track of their required tasks for the week.

I can't wait to share these with my new studnts. 


Saturday, July 16, 2011

Making Your own Units

I see all sorts of gorgeous printables and units on the various blogs that I visit.  They are intricate units and simple printable that look absolutely gorgeous.  My question to you is how??  Where do the graphics come from so that you can give away your packets or even sell them.  How do you make sure that you aren't copying someone else's idea?  I would love to start doing this for myself so I guess I am asking.. where do you start?

Please share any ideas you may have.  If I can learn how to jump into this great trend I would love to share my own ideas with all those that have given me inspiration.  YOU!

Watch for my next post on the classroom environment.  I am reading Teaching With Intention and want to share my ideas as well as yours!


Thursday, July 14, 2011

Storing all those files!

I was checking out a linky party on Kinder Kraziness  so here goes my first linky party.  I am so excited to have ideas to share with everyone out there since I have gotten so much from all you other bloggers out there!

It is all about how we save all those files we find online or create.  Many people use an flash drive or external hard drive.  I got tired of having to remember to bring it with me, so while blog hopping one day I found this great resource.  It is called Dropbox.  You can use their free storage program or pay to have more storage.  I haven't had to pay yet and still have room to grow!  The best part is you can use any computer and access your files as well as share them with other users.

By inviting others you can even get more free storage.  If you want to help me out and get more storage leave your email in the comments or just head over to drop box and create an account of your own!

Dropbox - Secure backup, sync and sharing made easy.


Sunday, July 10, 2011

My First Post

So I am on summer break right now but have decided to dive into the world of blogging.  I have become addicted to reading blogs and thought why not try it myself.  I see all the great resources that others have shared and thought that maybe I would have something to contribute.  Who knows.... 

So here begins my journey into the blogging world.