Tuesday, September 23, 2014

Behavior Plans and Getting to Know Our Students

Hi Friends! I’m here today to post about a personal experience I'm having this year with student behavior.  Let’s face it....I think every year I wouldn't mind the class from the previous year even if I was so happy sending them off for summer vacation!  New classes definitely have challenges but this year is different for me.  I think more in a humbling way.

I started the year with a few students that struggled with their behavior which was also having an impact on them academically.  I decided to try a weekly behavior plan.  Yes it was a PAIN at first!!  Like I wasn't busy enough, right?  I sent it home every day and they would bring it back the next day.  Yes, it was an extra effort, but let me tell you how this humbled me as a teacher.

4 weeks into this plan, these students began to change.   I grew to really “know” these little ones.  One student’s father is out of the picture and his mom had brain surgery and is cared for full time by her mother.  Just by knowing this, it helped me adjust my teaching and he has blossomed so much that it brings tears to my eyes.

The second student also blossomed!  She started out very angry.  Well, it turns out she had her second surgery this past week to remove tumors.  She wasn't so lucky this second round and will need to start Chemo this week and won’t be able to return until January.  Breaks my heart!  She's six years old! 

As teachers, please get to know your students no matter the behavior.  They have lives outside the classrooms and it often follows them to the classroom.   They need us! 
I hope you will see the “good” in your students this year as I have!  
If you want a copy of the behavior plan I use, just CLICK HERE.  

Have a great week!!

Saturday, August 23, 2014

Sentence Scramblers

Happy weekend friends! Here with a quick post giving you a little snippet from my Writers Workshop! 
Let me start by saying I have 23 English Language Learners in my First Grade class this year!  All but 2 are labeled intensive and many are still acquiring the language.  It’s going to be a busy year!

As I introduce our Writer's Workshop, I start the students out by having them draw a picture and then move to words to describe their pictures.  This is when I realized they did not have much sentence structure or enough vocabulary to make a sentence.  I came up with a way to make sentences they could manipulate.  They LOVED this!
I used sticky back Velcro and the big dice you can find at the Dollar Tree.  I laminated 5 different
colored cards with white labels so students could write with a dry erase marker.  Each Di would have one of each color.  The students would make sentences using one color for each word in their sentence.  

I put the students in groups to work together.  Each group got a different color to work with.  Since we were talking about pets, I used pictures to help them as they wrote. 
After they finished the sentence, they put one word/color on each of the Di.  We scrambled them and the students got to unscramble everyone’s sentence together as a whole group.
With the sentence scramblers being a foundation, our next activity was introducing Nouns and Verbs.  They got to choose another pet and work in groups.  

After drawing a picture for the Noun and Verb, they generated a sentence using the nouns and verbs they drew.  I'm planning to use this for centers and may write sentences for them to unscramble as well.
If you’d like the Noun and Verb page you can download HERE.

Hope you all have a great weekend!

Friday, July 18, 2014

I'm Finally Back....and with a Freebie

I feel like I'm blogging for the first time!!  Last July I started to redesign my blog (which I'm still working on), posted once during the 2013-14 school year, and then took a very long break from blogging!  Why?  Well, I needed a wake up call I guess.  I was getting too wrapped up in social media and teaching to the point of exhaustion!  I was running from the fact I have Multiple Sclerosis and was in full denial of it.  I was still thinking I could do anything on 5-6 hours of sleep.  And it caught up with me physically and I have spent this past year getting more educated about my disease and spending more time with my family.  I don't regret it one bit!  On that note, I have some catching up to do!

Speaking of catching up....is it really that time again??  Back to School already??  We start back up in about 2 weeks and this is my classroom!  I went in yesterday, looked around, moved my desk, and left.  I really went all out didn't I....hee hee! Oh well, maybe tomorrow...

Okay, here is something else I wanted to blog about today....I'm still an author at Blog Hoppin and we are getting it up in full swing with new designs, new authors, and a scavenger hunt.  Some of you might have already started, but if not, you need to head over to find out how to have fun taking pictures and winning some really cool prizes!!  Start by clicking the picture link below.

More randomness..... Last year I spent most of the school year trying to get students motivated to do well in their academics.  While student of the month and student of the week are great motivators, it doesn't always target the students you really need to do well, especially the ones whose behavior will never grant them access to being a star student.  So I created a little incentive to ALL the students and tailored it to THEIR own weekly goals...student Super Star Certificates.

Whether that means a reading goal or behavior goal, I wanted the goals to be reachable to encourage them to keep trying even if they think they could never be a student of the week or month.
Every student gets one each week based on a goal they set for that week.  I gave one out to a student who was always getting in trouble and could NEVER stay in his seat for longer than a few minutes.  He was so excited when he started to get one of these each week!  He ended up being such a great student by the end of the year!

Thanks for taking the time to read my poor neglected blog!  By the way, these certificates are free at my TpT store.  Click the picture link below to download.

I hope you all have a wonderful school year!

Monday, August 12, 2013

Teacher Week 13 Linky:: All about me

 This week we will be kicking off Teacher Week '13 over at Blog Hoppin.  The great thing is you can be a
 part of this too!  Every day this week there will be a teacher topic.  Today is "Meet the Teacher" and I'm linking up with 10 things about myself.  Boy was this hard given that I'm doing this with teachers far more interesting than I am!  Nevertheless, I S-T-R-E-T-C-H-E-D and came up with these!

#1  I'll start with my wonderful family!  My husband and I are both teachers and our daughter Olivia started 1st grade this year!  My husband is from Montana so fishing is what he grew up with.  Now my daughter LOVES it since she caught her first fish!  Yes, that fish is still alive because we just like to fish for fun here in southern Arizona:)

#2  It's hard to believe my husband and I will be celebrating our 10th anniversary in a few months!  It has been an adventure for sure but well worth it!

#3  We have 3 pets in our household.  Our dog Chloe turned 13 this year, our cat PJ is now 8, and we have had the hamster, Nikki, for about 4 months.  We rescued our cat from some bushes in the middle of nowhere when he was only about 4 weeks old.  He weighed only 12 oz!!  He is such a sweet little guy!!

#4  I'm including a shout out for my wonderful grandmother, Kathy, because she's the inspiration behind a few hobbies I have.  My grandmother is in her 80's and still enjoys her wood carving!  She has taken a break this past year due to a hip surgery, but her carvings are still well loved in the art community!  Her last major piece was a meditation booth which is shown below.  It took so much detail to re-size her drawings to fit 14 large panels!  AMAZING!!

#5  This brings me to the table and chairs I found.  They were antiques from an old resort that someone just left at the home we bought 3 years ago.  They were in bad shape.  Since I'm a few miles from the Mexico border, I wanted to try to give them a southwest look.  I painted and reupholstered the chair.  With the helpful advice from my dad who has been a general contractor for 40 years, I tiled the table to match the chairs.  It was a lot of work but also a fun learning experience!

#6  Since the table and chairs, I decided to try something a little less physically challenging.  I love to draw!  And since I teach first graders, I loved the idea to create clip art graphics for my classroom!  So, I bought Adobe Illustrator and a Bamboo tablet and set to work.  It took me 6 months just to learn the program!  It is so much easier and faster to draw with paper and pencil!  But, it was well worth it!  I make scrap booking stuff for my family pictures and memories now.  This makes it all so much more personal.  I did add a few of the graphic sets I finished to my TpT store if they interest you:)
Big thanks to The Honey Bunch for putting my graphics on my new blog design!

#7  Something I haven't shared about my husband and I is that we did a documentary about wild horses who were being slaughtered and shipped out of the country.  It was illegal in the US at the time but a few slaughter houses were still running and claiming they were old horses needing to be put down.  That wasn't entirely and our documentary helped close 2 of the 3 slaughter houses here in the US.  We entered the documentary into some film festivals and 15 accepted our entry!  Santa Fe Film Festival was one of them. While we were there, someone from Cowboy's and Indian's magazine interviewed and took our picture.  I didn't even know we were in the magazine until 6 months later when our aunt sent it to us!  Since we have a daughter now, our documentary interests are put to the side.  We now make DVD's of our life story instead!

#8  My Neurologist put me on a Gluten free diet last year and I HATED it!  I had no idea that pretty much EVERYTHING has gluten!  Soy sauce, bread, dressings, and seasonings are just a few.  I had to read ingredients on everything just to find out if it was gluten free or not.  I finally just went with those labeled "gluten free".  Bread was the hardest to find.  Most tasted like dirt!  I FINALLY found one brand at Trader Joe's that I really like!  The brand is Udi and now many more grocery stores carry it.
I found THE BEST gluten free brownie bites the other day!  I keep them readily available in my classroom!! LOL

#9  When we bought our home a few years ago, we had no idea we had almond trees!  They never produced any until last year.  June and July are when they are ready and my daughter loves to help pick and eat them.  They do take forever to peel but they taste great!!

#10  And finally, I became a night owl over the summer and discovered the funniest show!  Anyone watch Hollywood Game Night?  If not, it is one worth staying up for!

Now it's your turn!  Tell us about yourself and link up this week at Blog Hoppin!  

Thursday, June 27, 2013

Follow blogs in Bloglovin'

Happy summer to most of you now!  I've been laying low and really enjoying the time off with my family!  My daughter has learned to swim (thanks to mom...lol)  and now the attempt to get the training wheels off the bike!  My husband says..."Good luck with that one"  Oh well! In her own time I guess!

Not sure if you caught on to the whole Google Reader thing, but I guess Google is updating once again and Google Reader is said to be going away.  This means all the blogs you currently follow in Reader will no longer be there.  There is a way around it though.  You can sign up with Bloglovin and have all the blogs you follow uploaded there.  It was SUPER easy for me and I'm not the most tech savvy person on the planet.  BUT YOU NEED TO DO THIS BEFORE JULY 1st!!!  It may not transfer if Reader is gone already. 

Click the link below to continue following me in Blog Lovin!!


Thursday, May 23, 2013

And That's A Wrap!! {Freebies}

I am so excited that our summer vacation has officially begun!  And what a fun week this was!!  Here is a quick peek of things we did during our last days of school.

Reader's Theater: Three Billy Goats Gruff
I love saving this play for the last week of school.  The students are such great readers by this time and they have lots of fun with these kinds of activities!

Click the link below to see all the masks available for Readers Theater.

Wacky Science
We had a half day of fun science experiments with the students using Jamie Woodward's Wacky Science Unit!  We blew up balloons, made slime, pierced bags with pencils full of water, and much more!

 Inflate -A-Balloon

Wacky Slime

Piercing Pencils

Click the link below for more on this science unit.

End of Year Posters
My students wanted something to remember their first grade year besides a memory book so I made these for the students to take home and frame if they wanted to.  The pictures were of students holding a frame with a tag that said "Last Day of School".  I took a picture of the class and attached it below.

Click the link below to download the K-5 versions.  There are also versions for 2013-2014 school year.

Student/teacher gifts
I LOVE Pinterest!  Here are a few student gift ideas I found.
Click the pictures to use for your class!

I will miss you Beary much!
These are cute tags from "What's the Buzz in First" 

"Owl Miss You!  Hope you have a great summer!"
These were so cute and fun to do!

I'm saving the best for last!
My baby girl graduated from Kindergarten this week! {Sniff}  We will also be celebrating her 6th birthday!  Both these events fell on the same day!  I was knee deep in end of year activities and clean up, birthday planning, and graduation celebrations!  I am one tired Mama!!


My room is now ready for summer cleaning and I'm going home!!
Have a wonderful end to your school year and a great summer!

Monday, May 6, 2013

End of Year Memories and a Sale!

I don't know about you, but we are on the official countdown with 2 weeks left!!! We already have plane reservations for the family and home remodeling scheduled to begin June 1st!  I think my plate is going to be pretty full!!  The kids worked hard and I am very happy with how they are ending the year.....a little on the hyper side at times though!
Let's face it, we as teachers have worked our TAILS OFF and are in need of some great resources to get us through the hardest times...the beginning and the end of the school year.  I'm already stocking up for August and for the last few weeks of school. 
The teacher appreciation sale is on at TpT so be sure to stop by for up to 28% off some awesome resources that will save you what you need the most....time!

Also, if you are looking for End of the Year activities, this is a memory book I'm using with my students again this year.  Just click the link below to download.

Hope you all have a wonderful week!!