Wednesday, August 24, 2016

Getting Organized- Lunch Packing 101

Y'all I don't know what it is, but I just can't get it together with the lunch kit. I spend a ridiculous amount of time every night trying to pack my little boy's lunch.  I think about healthy food, lunch kit repeats (because heaven forbid  he has the same thing in there two days in a row), sustainability.  You name it, it's going through my head!!! Which leads me to my next problem........ spending 10 to 15 minutes every night packing a lunch was getting EXCESSIVE!! I mean I thought about it and all 5 nights I was totaling over an hour of lunch packing for the week. IT HAD TO STOP!
So, I decided to get myself in check and come up with a better plan. I had to take back my!

Here's the new plan.... I call it lunch box 101... partly because I took myself back to the basic idea of lunch packing.

Sunday night is the new let's get it all done night and Tyler (my kindergartner) helps.

So here's the plan....
Step 1: Get a plastic container with a lid
Step 2: Print labels and laminate with days of the week
Step 3: Laminate labels and staple on gallon size baggies

Step 4: Open all bags and add non perishable items...
  • drink
  • chips or popcorn
  • raisins
  • dried fruit
  • granola bar
  • sometimes a special treat (cookie, jelly rope,etc,)

Step 5: Add lunch love notes to each bag for the week

Step 6: Seal up each gallon bag and place the top on the container.
Step 7: Each night before school, open the bag and place the items inside along with the note

**Note: I add the cold food and cold pack to the lunch kit each morning**

And this is how I'm taking back my weeknights of lunch kit packing so I can be more productive and spend more time with my kiddies this year! 

You can find this in my TPT store for FREE! It includes days of the week labels, instructions, pictures, and love note templates.

Wednesday, August 10, 2016

Writer's Workshop- Setting Up for the Year

Hey y'all! I recently released Unit 1 in my writer's workshop plans- Tales of a First Grade Writer. This video is a glimpse of how we're getting prepared in the beginning for a successful year of writing in first grade.  A few years back, I was feeling a little uncomfortable with my writer's workshop. I wasn't really sure if what I was doing was reaching my kids.  I started reading up on writer's workshop and what it looks like to truly write everyday with first graders. I felt like my kids were just writing with no direction and like I was on a deserted island with no help!!!  Unit 1 in Tales of a First Grade Writer is all about setting up the writer's notebook and all the components that lead to successful writing.

You can find this unit in my TPT store.  I'm excited about this writing journey and hope you'll join me! I'll be releasing a new unit each month. Each unit focuses on a genre of writing and is full of revising strategies, writer's tools, buddy work, and so much centered around creating independent writers. 
Stay tuned for the scope and sequence of the monthly units and the author's that will be spotlighted. 

Sunday, July 31, 2016

The Big Sale... I can hardly wait!!

So, I actually have Christmas twice a year.... once on December 25 and once when I'm shopping on the TPT site for the back to school sale.  Y'all I love the back to school sale!

How I'm getting ready..

1. Previewed item I'd like to purchase...... check
2. Filled cart already with files I'm interested in..... check
3. Thought about clip art too.............. check
4. Have the code.... check........BEST YEAR

Friday, July 29, 2016

Getting to Writer's Workshop Everyday

Y'all I can remember when I first started teaching 10 years ago, I didn't even know what writer's workshop was much less how I was going to fit it into my school day.  As time passed, writing slowly began inching its way to the front seat.  I can remember knowing that I needed to do writer's workshop, but not really know what EXACTLY I was supposed to do.  I really don't like being unsure of what's going on in my classroom, so I began reading up on everything that had to do with writer's workshop.  I began to understand that this was important work that needed to take place in my classroom.  So about five years ago, I began putting writer's workshop on my classroom schedule.  Since then workshop in my classroom has evolved immensely. Last year I realized that I was still looking for a program that had it all there and was user friendly.  I thought about creating my own, but y'all know how exhausted you are at 4 months pregnant??? So after I had sweet Ella I set out to write a writer's workshop program for first grade that is researched based and full of best practices.

I'm excited to release the first unit of seven. The series is called "Tales of a First Grade Writer." It's completely aligned with all the standards for writing, speaking, and conventions. Each new unit will be released on a monthly schedule throughout the year.  This is the launching unit and it sets up writer's workshop for a successful year.   This unit is so much fun y'all. Our writers get to know the author of Pete the Cat and discover how he reaches his readers. We'll set up our writer's notebook, build an ongoing idea necklace (how fun is that? wearing your writing ideas), meet and learn to work with our writing buddies, conference with the teacher, and SO much more.  It's a unit that will definitely build of love in your classroom.
You'll find example anchor charts that bring the lessons to life.  I love the idea of building anchor charts with my class and then watching the students reference them as they are writing.
So in this unit we look at where authors get ideas for writing. Students will build the cutest authors and peek into their mind to see what they think about when they write. How cute will these look hanging all over the room?

Here is where authors will keep all of their work, ideas, and writing tools. Throughout this unit we'll build a writer's notebook that students will use daily as they write.
This has to be my favorite!! Authors wear their writing ideas around their neck and the necklace grows throughout the school year.  They can go back to their necklace to gather ideas for writing as they begin a new story.  I guess I've always thought of keeping important things near and dear to your heart. And I love the ideas of wearing your most prized writing ideas. 

 This cutie was having too much fun making his own idea necklace! (How pretty is that new picture my sister just painted me for my den) Now I just need to get a frame. White or Gold??? Any suggestions???

This is the first unit and it's on sale now in my store.  It will be on sale today and tomorrow only.  I'll be posting the yearly unit layout later this week.  Stay tuned to find out what the other six units are and who the author spotlights will be.  Happy Writing in First!

Saturday, June 25, 2016

Morning Meeting..... It's a great way to start the day!

Do you feel as though your morning wouldn't be complete with out that delicious cup of hot coffee? I can't get my day started without one or two cups. Well...... I feel the same way about morning meeting in my classroom. It's the only way I like to kick off the day! Morning meeting is a staple in our classroom and a time to share, collaborate, and think with each other.  We begin on the carpet in our central meeting space with a song..... I can't really explain the tune...
It's MORNING MEETING time come on....
do do do do do do do do do......
bring yourself and your super smart brain....
come on...
do do do do do do do do

We add fun hand movements and laugh together as we sing and get our day started. Then, we direct our attention to the morning meeting anchor chart. I create an anchor chart to mimic the morning meeting booklet my students have in their laps. The anchor chart takes the booklet to a new level... it goes from just a booklet to now a class wide conversation piece.  I like to have the anchor chart each morning the accompany our work, because it promotes strong community in our class. 

Each child then has a booklet for the entire first semester (quarters 1 and 2). I take the skills from that page and create an anchor chart. We go through the learning together and it allows all to be a stakeholder. 
Here is what their booklet looks like.....
As you can see, their booklet page matches the anchor chart pictured above.  
Students then work with a buddy in the meeting area to talk and work through the thinking for that day. Then we talk about and check their thinking as a class.  Each morning meeting builds upon what we are currently learning in the classroom in math, reading, and work work.  The booklet is set up to follow our phonics mapping.  It focuses on one word work skill for five days and also has a math focus and reading or mechanics on one page.  It's such a rewarding way to start our day! 
 My students are always eager to begin the day with morning meeting.

Side Note: You might be wondering what is the name on the right side of the chart and the PE for? I always put the helper of the days name on the chart that way everyone knows who our helper is and on the left I place where we are headed for enrichment that day. I also send the chart home with the helper that day.  They LOVE to take it home and look forward to carrying it on the bus to play school.

The booklet is on sale in my TPT store just for the weekend. Grab your copy so you can run them over the summer, staple, and get ready for exciting mornings with your class.  The prep work is done for you, all you have to do is create the deep learning community centered around morning meeting.
Link to store....Morning Meeting Booklet.... Quarters 1 and 2

Tuesday, August 18, 2015

Reader's Workshop Curriculum Mapping... The First Four Units

 I love to sit and plan all my teach points for each unit then come in and build the anchor text and anchor chart for support.  I've been working this summer to map out our first grade teach points in reader's workshop.  I've finished the first four units.
Unit 1- Launching Reader's Workshop
Unit 2- Adventures of a Fiction Reader
Unit 3- Comprehension Strategies in Fiction
Unit 4- Non- Fiction Readers Explore the Words
             in Books

Each unit has targeted teach points to drive the overall unit theme.  I'm attaching the 4 unit map out for reader's workshop.

Unit 2- Adventures of a Fiction Reader
I've completed an entire unit using these teach points.  It includes a lesson plan for 20 days of teaching, anchor charts for each day, and a suggested mentor text.  This will bring you through and entire month of planned reader's workshop lessons.

 Theses are some of the anchor charts that I used in Unit 2- Adventures of a Fiction Reader

Click here to download the reader's workshop curriculum maps