Saturday, June 30, 2012

HELP! Blog Dilema!

Hi Friends!
I recently received a Versatile Blogger Award from Tamera at
It was so sweet of her to choose to pass it on to me after receiving it herself.  Here's my dilema.
I don't know how to add the award to my blog page.  I also have to choose 15 other new bloggers
to give this award to.  I don't know how to put the buttons of the ones I choose on my blog with a link back to their sites.  I feel so "technologically challenged" when it comes to doing these things.  I had a professional designer set up my blog for me, so I don't know how to add or change anything.
I've talked to other new bloggers who feel the same way.  I've often thought that it would be
really nice if someone who knows how to do "all things Blogger" would write a how to booklet
and sell it on TPT for new bloggers like me.  It would have to be in easy to follow steps for PC
and/or MAC users.  I also have questions about "linky parties."  I would like to join some of
them, but I just don't know how to do it.   Finally, I would like to make some freebies to give
away on my blog, but I don't know where to begin.  So, now you know my big dilema. 
For those of you who know how to do all of these things and more, please consider putting something
together for all of the newbies like me. I am willing to pay MONEY!!
Thank you!!
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Tuesday, June 26, 2012

Very Hungry Caterpillar

Hi Friends!
Don't you just love Eric Carle's book The Very Hungry Caterpillar?  It's one of my favorites!
Last summer I was on Pinterest and found a picture of the Very Hungry Caterpillar made out of
tissue paper.  It was a decoration for a Very Hungry Caterpillar theme birthday party. 
I liked it so much that I decided to make one to hang in my classroom.  It was very easy to make.
Here's how it turned out. 

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Thursday, June 21, 2012

Singing in the Classroom

Hi Friends!
Can you carry a tune?  I can't! I am probably the worst singer I know! However, it doesn't keep me from singing with my students.  They love to sing!  We start our morning with singing and sprinkle it
throughout the day.  Lakeshore has a really nice set of song charts that I've used for a few years now.
My students really like singing them.  Here's a sample.

We also sing songs by Dr. Jean, Heidi Songs, and Wee Sing to name a few.
I also like to play classical music while my students are working and upbeat music
 when we need to stand up & get the wiggles out.  Thank goodness for music!!
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Tuesday, June 19, 2012

Sight Words

Hi Friends!
We all know how important it is for our students to know sight words.  In my school
district we have a list of sight words for each grade level.  There are 50 words for kindergarten,
174 words for first grade and 100 for second grade.  It's my job to make sure my students
master all 174 words by the end of the school year.  I practice these words with my students
in a variety of different ways.  I'd like to share a couple of them with you.
I have a Power Point slide show that I play on a big screen every morning that has sight words or sight word phrases.  The kids read the words as they appear and then disappear, one by one, on the screen.  I play a game with them called "Beat the Teacher."  They have to say the sight word before I say it.  The Power Point slide show is set up by quarters;  Quarter 1 sight words
 are first, followed by Q. 2 and so on.  We work on one quarter at a time until it is mastered.
Another thing I do daily to practice sight words with my students is simply have them read a list of the words. I have a list of sight words by quarter that I pass out to each student before I begin my
guided reading lesson.  We read the words aloud together.  At first we read them in order and then
we mix it up.  We also practice sight words in context through a variety of different
 reading and writing activities every day. 

Here is a picture of my Q. 1 sight word list.

Here are a couple of good books for practicing sight words in context.


Friday, June 15, 2012


Hi Friends!
I was on Pinterest today and saw something that made me laugh out loud.
It was a suggestion about what to do if you are bored.
It said to take a marker and draw eyebrows on your dog!
When I saw the picture I couldn't help but laugh!!
I am a huge dog lover...I have 5 of them, give or take
one or two if my daughter decides to take them home with her.
Here's the picture:)

It made you laugh, didn't it!!
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Thursday, June 14, 2012

Data Folders

Hi Friends!
As teachers we have to collect lots of data on our students throughout the year.  This data
drives our instruction.  I work in a district that requires teachers to have a data center board
and data folders showing student growth.  The data center board can be simple or elaborate. 
Mine is somewhere in between.  The data center board shows class goals and
 averages, not individual scores. Today I'd like to share the folders that my students use
to store data about their own growth.  At conference time, students share what's inside their
data folder with their parents.  In my district we have student-led conferences.  This basically means
that students come to the conference with their parents and they must share their work with
their parents.  As a first grade teacher, I have my kids share parts of their data folders and
I discuss other parts.  My kids do really well, but we practice a few times before the actual
conference so they know exactly what to do.  Here are some pictures of my data folders.

I use a plastic 8 pocket organizer.  I add a piece of decorative
computer paper on the inside pocket for the cover. I put
student's picture under the title.

The first pocket holds a behavior graph.

The second pocket holds the spelling graph. Kids
graph their spelling test scores every week & then place
the test behind the graph. 

The third pocket holds writing samples to be
shared at conference time.

The fourth pocket hold a leveled reading graph.  I fill this out a
and share it with parents so they can see where our district
expects a first grader to be reading each quarter to "meet" expectations.

Pocket 5 holds a list of district sight words that students are expected to know each quarter.
Pocket 6 holds Math tests which are graphed by students.

Pocket 7 holds Math Fact tests which are graphed by students.

Pocket 8 holds a homework graph.  Students have to color in a box
if they don't return their homework.  Students get a homework grade
on their report card, so I use this for a grade.

This is the the brand of folders I use.

***Click {Here} to see data sheets.***

Above is a link to the forms I put in my student Data Folders.  Some of them are generic in form and can be used by anyone.  Others are specific to my district and would have to be modified.  Here’s what’s included and a short explanation of each.

Behavior graph:  My school has the same classroom rules for every classroom.  You’ll see them listed below the graph.  Purple should be on the list for “Complete your homework” but I use a different graph for that, so I didn’t include it here.  I have a behavior “caterpillar” in my classroom with these rules written on it.  If a student breaks a rule, he writes his name on the segment of the caterpillar with that rule.  At the end of the day, I pull the student’s behavior graph and write the date above that color on his graph. I keep all of my students’ graphs on a clip board for easy access.  At the end of the quarter, students must color their graphs only where dates have been written above the color word.  The bar graph then shows what specific behaviors are problematic.  Some teachers may have their students color in their graphs daily, weekly, monthly or quarterly.  There is a new graph for each quarter.  I copy this sheet for each quarter on regular copy paper.

My Spelling Progress Chart:  In first grade in my district, there are 34 spelling tests for the whole year.  On this graph, students must record the date next to the list (test) number and then color horizontally the number of boxes to represent how many words they spelled correctly on that particular test.  This graph on has enough room to graph 28 tests.  I copy the graph back to back on cardstock.  I got this form at a workshop many years ago.  I don’t know who created it.

My First Grade Writing Rubric:  This is a form I use to evaluate a student’s writing.  I take 4 samples throughout each quarter which is about every 2 weeks.  When the quarter is over, I use this sheet along with a current writing sample to come up with a grade.  This was created by a teacher in my district named Becky Comp.  The letters at the bottom of each rubric mean (BE) Below Expectations, (ME) Meets Expectations, and (EE) Exceeds Expectations. The numbers next to each quarter represent the number of points need to “meet expectations” for each quarter.  This is still a work in progress.  I copy this on regular copy paper.

My Reading Progress Chart:  This represents Fountas & Pinnell guided reading levels for each quarter for first grade.  A students “meets expectations” if she is reading at a level where the stars are for each quarter.  I copy this on cardstock.

District Sight Word Chart:  My district has sight words for each quarter.  This is a sample of Quarter 1 sight word list. 

My Math Progress Chart:  This is used to record Written Assessments Scores in Math.  I copy this back to back on cardstock.

My Math Facts Chart:  This is used to record Math FACT Tests.  I copy this back to back on cardstock.

Homework Chart:  This is very specific to my classroom.  I have to make a new one every year.  When a student doesn’t return her homework, she must color in the box for that day.  At the end of the quarter, I use this information to give her a grade on her report card.  I copy this back to back on cardstock.

I hope this has been helpful. 

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Monday, June 11, 2012

Lamps, Lights & Plants

 Hi Friends!
Do you have any plants, lamps, or other decorative lights in your classroom?
I have all three and feel they make my classroom very cozy and inviting.
I found a really cute owl lamp at Target last summer and used it this year behind my reading table.
I also like to hang up decorative seasonal lights around my holiday book displays.
I've collected some of the Chalie Brown/Peanuts holiday lights and hang them up
around the room.  I only had one plant in my classroom this year, but it was pretty big.
Normally, I like to put 4 or 5 of them around the room.  They look good and help clean the air.
Here are a few pictures of some of these items.

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Saturday, June 9, 2012

Giveaway Winner!

Hi Friends!
Thanks to everyone who participated in my Giant Stems giveaway.
I did my drawing the old fashion way by putting your names in a bag bowl and drawing one.
Your odds were excellent because only 9 people signed up.
The winner is MEGAN TURNER.
Congratulations & thanks for playing along!!

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Friday, June 8, 2012

Mother Goose

Hi Friends!
Don't you just love Mother Goose rhymes?  I do!! I am always picking up Mother Goose books
at bookstores, Goodwill, and yard sales.  I don't care what condition they are in when I find them;
I buy them anyway.  Some of the really old ones are my favorite.  I found one at the Goodwill that
turned out to be worth $250.00!  The pictures in it are awesome.  You can take a peek at it below.
I use rhymes all the time in my classroom.  Several years back I came across a funny version
of some of the most popular Mother Goose rhymes.  It's called The New Adventures of Mother Goose: Gentle Rhymes for Happy Times by Bruce Lansky.  He puts a funny twist on the rhymes that kids can't resist.  My first graders are always asking me to read the "funny" one!
  I think kids of all ages will love the funny rhymes in this book. 

Goodwill find

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Wednesday, June 6, 2012

Punches & Stamps

Hi Friends!
Do you have lots of teacher or scrapbooking stamps or decorative punches?  I have way too many
of them!  Why so many?  Well, I was once an avid scrapbooker and I've been teaching a long, long time!  I decided to let my students use them & they love them!!
Here are a couple of ways to use them.
Kids can make bookmarks with scraps of paper.

Kids can use paper punches and make patterns.

This is my tub of small stamps.  I usually buy them at Hobby Lobby when
they are half-price.

Kids can stamp patterns and label them.

Kids can stamp math fact pictures and write a number sentence to match.

I am sure there are many other ways to use punches and stamps in the classroom.  I know my kids
love using them and I bet your kids would, too!

Just a reminder that my giveaway ends on Saturday, June 9th.  Check out my post on Word Work to enter.

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Monday, June 4, 2012


Hi Friends!
During the school year, teachers are the busiest people I know...wouldn't you agree?
I keep track of all of my meetings, due dates, days off, etc. on a large academic calendar that
I buy every year at Staples.  It's  about 15" x 22" in size and it's the kind you hang on the wall.
I hang mine right next to my desk so that it is always visable.  I just bought mine today and plan to
get as much info on it as possible while I have some free time.  I use colored markers, stickers, and stamps to make it look all "fancy."  I not only include school info, but  I also add some of my personal family info like birthdays, anniversaries, and celebrations.  Once school starts, I just have to add things as they come up.  I also have a small academic calendar that I fill out just the same, so I can take it with me.  I've tried using the large desktop calendar, but I always end up covering it up with all of my junk teaching materials.  I know all of you can relate:) 
Here's a picture of the calendar & some other goodies I found at Staples today.

The stickers are from the Dollar Tree.
Not sure how I'm going to use this, but it should be fun.
When you push the button it says, "That was easy!"

These were only $1.00 & thought I might use them as
decorations rather than gift card holders. 

I love buying old calendars just for the pictures.  It was only $2.00.

These are all the pictures/sayings on this calendar.

These little sign holders were on sale for $3.00.  I use them for signs around
my classroom.

Saturday, June 2, 2012

Word Work & Giveaway!!

Hi Friends!
Do you have a center for word work?
I've seen a variety of ways to practice sight words, spelling words, or other important words.
Here are some of these ideas.
1.  Read, write & stamp the words
2.  Use playdough to make the words
3.  Build the words with magnetic letters
4.  Write the words in a salt tray
5.  Put shaving cream on a surface and write the words on the shaving cream
6.  Cut up the word and put it back together
7.  Make rainbow words by writing the word in one color and then going over it with other colors
8.  Smelly words - use scented markers to write the words
9.  Write the words on a dry-erase board with colored markers, on a chalkboard with
colored chalk, or on a Magna Doodle.
10.  Write the words outside on the playground with chalk
11.  Use craft sticks to build words
12. Use Wikki Stix to build words
13.  Use dot stampers to make words
14.  Cut letters out of a magazine to make words
15.  Use an old computer keyboard and have students type the words 

I could go on and on, but I wanted to share something new I added this year to my Word Work
     Center.  They are called  GIANT Pipe Stems.  (I'm sure you are all familiar with pipecleaners.)     The kids have to bend the stems to make each letter of the word. 
 I've also used them in math to make numbers and shapes. 
 You can use them for letter sounds.  For example, ask you students to
make something that begins with the letter "b." 
 Kids can bend their stem to make a balloon or a butterfly, etc.
There are lots of ways to use these GIANT Pipe Stems in your classroom.
My students really liked using these this year, so I'll keep them in my Word Work Center
for next year.  I'd love to hear what you do for word work in your classroom.
Now for my giveaway...I am going to give away one package of Giant Pipe Stems.
Here's all you need to do to enter:  Follow my blog, leave me a comment telling me
you are following my blog, tell a blogger friend about the giveaway,
 and include your email address in case you win!!
 I will post the winner on June 9th.  Good luck!!

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