Monday, February 11, 2013

Valentine's Day Countdown- 4

Valentine's Day is almost here.  This is my favorite non-religious holiday of the year!  I adore everything about this holiday.  Hearts, pink, purple, love, red- what could make a girly girl happier.  Below is this year's handmade Valentine's for my two different groups of students (Owls and Bears)

Here are last years.  I had my Owls and Frogs last year.  So much fun!!

This one I found on one of my favorite blogs- First Grade Parade

Sunday, February 10, 2013

Poetry Cafe

It is that time of year again.  Time to celebrate our poetry writing through a Poetry Cafe.  This is often a highlight of the year for both my students and myself.  First grade poetry simply makes my heart melt.  I have the students create individual poetry books filled with poems that have gone through the writing process. The students write 4-6 grade level appropriate poems that they write over the month of January. Having it this time of year keeps my focus on details and level of fun high. We all know fun= crazy times high levels of engagement.  No winter blues in my class!  To the left our scaled back version of the Poetry Cafe.

Last year I blew up the poetry cafe by making it a night where students read a poem in front of all the families.  We had it in the library with decorated tables, treats, coffee, hot chocolate and a sound system.  This year I had to down scale due to other professional commitments taking up so much time.  I realized that no matter how big or small I make special events in my mind, they are just as special and memorable for the students.  Here are a couple pictures from last year's event.

coffee, cider, & hot chocolate
delicious treats
student created flowers for tables

My original inspiration for this event came from the third grade teacher extraordinaire Beth Newingham.  She is so talented and last year I wanted to replicate her idea at a first grade level.  She has her blog posted on Scholastic.

Sunday, January 27, 2013

Oh Dear

Well.. it has been almost a year since I have blogged.  So much has happened in this short, but long time.  I have had so many blessing, as well as challenges. They have all made me stronger in not only teaching, but also in life in general. I will try again to blog, as that is all that I can do to start again.  I do have a sincere interest in keeping a blog for several reasons, but it is just never become part of my routine.  I am a serious creature of habit and clearly this blog is not in my "habit" list.  So here's to another try!

Updates from my classroom:

Sarah & I with my iPad cart
1. I am officially a flipped classroom teacher.  In short that means I video tape lessons for my students to watch at home.  They then show their understanding of the content by completing a short check for understanding assignment.  I am then able to use class time for re-teach, enrichment, project based learning, or simply moving on quicker with content. I could be wrong, but my guess is I am one of a few first grade teachers attempting this in the nation.  Most flipped classrooms start in upper elementary through high school.

2. I have 1:1 ipads for one group of my students.  They watch the teaching videos on the iPads and use the iPads for learning throughout their time in the classroom. AMAZING! To the left is a sample PDF of my assessments collected from Thursday's activity in class.  Each student read and e-mailed me the main idea and two details of the informational text they read. No big deal WOW! Talk about 21st century skills beginning to emerge.

3. I am working on my  National Board Certification in the area of literacy.  In the teacher field, that means that the next year is going to be tough, focused, and possibly my most challenging year career wise.  I believe the end result will make me a stronger and more reflective practitioner.  Right now I am taking part in a program called Take One.  This provides me the opportunity to begin my boards by completing one of the four portfolio entries required. This is due April 15th.  Oh my gooooooodnesss!  More to come as it is beginning to take up my weekends.

4. I took on our school yearbook this year.  In December, I was panicked, scared, and frustrated that I committed to taking on the task back in early August.  30+ hours of work later and I am actually enjoying putting it all together together.  The teachers I work with have been great.  I would say I am about half done and the end in sight.  I do think it will be a proud moment when I open up a final copy.  My one desire is for our school community to love it!  It is their memories and simply doing in putting it together.
I am ready for my first graders to arrive. Early August 2012

To leave you with some fun, here are some highlights of my class this year:
Always trying to grow my classroom library!

What can you infer about Ms. S by going through her trash?
The beginning work from our descriptive writing unit.

My sweet first graders loving books!
Summer School: Teaching the different verb tenses!

Sunday, February 5, 2012

Some Questions

I have just recently started up my blog again and one of my official followers is McKenzie, a sorority sister. She is so kind and sweet. Each time I run into her online or in person she makes me smile. She is kind, hardworking and we definitely have a couple things in common :) Thanks for reaching out and including me McKenzie! The challenge is to post 11 random facts about yourself and answer 11 questions. I know I am suppose to pass it along, but most of the bloggers I follow and know personally have already completed this :)

My Random Facts:

1. I always am doing laundry- I can't stand dirty laundry in my laundry basket- weird, I know.

2. I have run 5 half marathons and I am currently training for number 6.

3. I have been with my bf, Josh, for 5 years in August.

4. I am 100% a home body.

5. I wish I had all of my close friends gathered from around the country sitting in my living room right now (Portland, Seattle, San Fran, New Jersey).

6. I adore being a teacher- but being a high quality teacher is hard work! I can't imagine being a full time mom and teacher! Whoo.. hats off to those women.

7. My biggest fear is of the boogie man. I seriously am constantly watching my shadow.

8. I love to bake, but am a horrible cook.

9. Sometimes those close to me think I try to make everything "perfect". I know that I am not perfect, but one of my best friends once told me I am the type of person who will not give up on the things that I want completed or obtained. So true.

10. I love Jesus.

11. I almost super glued my eye shut when I was little. I found super glue and thought it would be fun to act like my parents by putting eye drops in my eyes.

Mackenzie's Questions

1. Who or what inspires you?
I am inspired by people who believe in their goals, set their mind them and reach them.

2. What is your favorite hobby or one you would like to start?
My favorite hobby is teaching (my career too). I count it because if I didn't love teaching I probably wouldn't spend so many early mornings, late evenings or weekends working on making my lessons and classroom stronger.

Other favorite hobbies are bike riding and running :)

3. What would you do if your day had a few extra hours in it?
Definitely spend more time with friends and more time working out!

4. What is your go-to, last minute dinner you always have on stand-by?
Right now (trying to loose about 12 more lbs)- Veggie burger, green vegetable and brown rice.

5. If you could buy a vacation house anywhere, where would that be?
HAWAII- no question. We often vacationed to Hawaii when I was a child and everything about it appeals to my senses. I can smell the salt water, taste the fresh coconut, feel the soft sand, see the beautiful fish and hear the waves crash against the beach.

6. What is the best gift you have ever received?
My baby blanket. My sister gave it to me when I was born. It is a security thing, but has definitely helped me through some tough times (weird and silly, I know).

7. What is your favorite childhood memory?
Playing outdoors all day, everyday. Growing up we had a few acres, a garden, a tire swing, a tall wooden swing, and a pretty little farm house with wrap around porch. I had no fears growing up- I hope that I can provide that kind of childhood to my own children.

8. What is the best party you have ever been to?
I think I had an awful lot of fun at numerous college parties- many I can't exactly remember, but they were fun :)

9. What is your signature karaoke song?
Karaoke- yeah right. I only sing to those 5 years and under. I spent 2 years singing to special needs preschoolers- everything was paired with a song in my classroom. Even my first graders would laugh at my horrid vocals.

10. What is your signature drink- coffee or cocktail
Coffee for sure- nonfat latte.

11. When did you start your blog, and what made you start?
I started this blog about a year ago. It has been touch and go. I am so inspired by many fancy teacher blogs. I just want to be able to remember my highlights of each year in the classroom.

Thursday, January 26, 2012

100 Day!

Where did the first 100 days of school go? Oh my goodness this year is moving fast! I had duty this week and I had to wear my down jacket! Yes, even in Phoenix it gets a little chilly in the winter. Sooner than we know it, it will be 90 degrees at 7am and barely tolerable to stand outside for more than five minutes by 10am. I am going to soak in the next 60 days and enjoy the chilly weather :)

Okay, so I only have about two hours and fourty-five minutes for language arts with my first graders (I teach in a bilingual program). The other half of the day my students are with my Spanish counterpart for math, science and enrichment/intervention. I never feel like I have enough time to finish everything I want to get done in a week!

Here are the three fun activities we were able to fit in (in addition to a couple of routine activities) on Monday, our 100th day of school.

A 100 POEM


(Warning: These are really cute)

What a fun little day! Enjoy your 100 day, whenever that may be :)


Room 201 Mail & Amazing Adjectives

Well.. it's been a while since a post, but Room 201 has sure been busy! I went ahead and took a picture of some new pieces in my classroom to share via blog world (I officially have 2 followers- woohoo!).

Welcome to our Room 201 Post Office! The students earn daily stickers for being on "blue" at the end of the school day (going above and beyond schoolwide expectations) and every sticker they earn provides them with a stamp for the Room 201 Post Office. I use a sticker chart to keep track of student's stamps. I simply place a line through the sticker to note when a stamp has been used. I attempted a more realistic version of stamps and gave them to the students to keep, but then realized that expecting first graders to keep track of tiny stamps was unreasonable.

The idea is that students first write a friendly letter, place in in an unsealed envelope, then drop it the green basket for teacher review. My job is to ensure it has all 5 components of a friendly letter, place an official stamp on the envelope and send it off to the mailbox (if it isn't missing required components). Letters can go in during the week (and can easily be worked on during Daily 5), then are delivered on Fridays! Who doesn't like getting mail from your friends? It does take time to keep up on my Roo 201 Mail-- I read many sweet letters every week.

Our Amazing Adjective board in an interactive display that has been up since December when we first began to focus on word choice and synonyms during our writer's workshop mini lessons. I found the idea on pinterest and the kiddos love to get up and look for stronger adjectives and what I term as using "fancier" words in their writing. Students add more words to the board every week. It definitely assists my stronger writers in stretching their ideas and details.

Alright, well I will be back soon with our fabulous 100th day celebration activities. Yes, the 100th day has come and gone. That means we are officially over halfway up the mountain- 2nd grade is far away, but definitely in our field of vision.

Have a lovely Thursday evening,


Monday, December 26, 2011

Reindeer Applications

I had seen this on the blog What the Teacher Wants, and thought it was a great idea for the last day before the break. It was a successful impromptu project that the kiddos seemed to love. My favorite part was that they were able to put their writing skills to use and share them aloud with one another. Oh, and the last day before break was a schoolwide pajama day- They all looked too cute!