Wednesday, June 27, 2012

Teachers hear all..or they can with this! HUGE GIVEAWAY!

Do you ever feel like you wish you could hear what the group of kids across the room are saying to each other as they work together at a center? I know I sure do. Often times while I'm meeting with my small group, I'm trying to keep an eye on my kids at Word Work or at Comprehension and making sure that they are actually discussing the center and not something that happened at soccer practice the night before. Then I feel like I'm not giving my full attention to the group of kids I'm working with. It's like you need to be in two places at once, but of course you can't. Well, now you can with this neat gadget:

HearALL Assessment Recorder by Learning Resources
It's seriously the neatest thing, y'all. You simply place it wherever you want to recorder and hit the red button. That's it! It records what the kids are saying so you can hear for yourself. To hear what was recorded, just plug it into your computer and click on the file. It has five speakers, so it really picks up the kids voices and allows you to hear exactly what is recorded. And the best part? NO BATTERIES. That's a huge plus in my book. 

This product will work perfectly a center that I had two years ago called Story Chatter. Here's what it looked like: 
The kids would come to this area and sit with each other and discuss the decodable reader that we had just read. Each time we learned a new comprehension skill like character, main idea, setting, etc. they would have to discuss that skill. This center was close to my small group area, so I thought it would be easy to keep them on track and make sure they were talking about the book. But usually when the time came for the group to go to story chatter, I had to answer questions from the other groups or check awaiting center work. I never had time to truly listen to what they were saying. So I did away with the center the next year. How perfect will the HearALL recorder work here??? I can't wait to bring back Story Chatter and  use the HearALL recorder at it! 
I also have been reading Debbie Miller's Reading With Meaning and I love how she takes all the students' responses to certain questions and creates charts with them. This recorder would certainly come in handy to make sure all the responses were recorded accurately. You could even upload the recordings to your class website, blog, or wiki for parents to hear! This is just so much you can do with this neat little product!

Now here's the best part! Learning Resources is giving away one HearALL Assessment Recorder!  
Here's what all you can do to enter:

*Follow Life In First Grade and share how you would use the HearALL recorder in your classroom. Just comment below and leave email!
*Follow Learning Resources on Facebook and say Life in First Grade sent you
*Follow Learning Resources on Twitter 
*Follow Learning Resources on Pinterest
*Follow Learning Resources on YouTube
***BONUS: for 2 more entries, blog about this giveaway! Be sure to leave the link to your blog post in the comments section
And don't forget to add your email in case you are the lucky winner! The winner will be drawn next Thursday (7/5)! :)
**One last thing, thank you so much Amanda for your help in creating the Rafflecopter! I would have been completely lost without your help! :) 

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Tuesday, June 26, 2012

Classroom Makeover: Day 5

The biggest accomplishment so far is the focus board. Which is good, because this is the biggest and most important board in my classroom. I'm happy with the way it turned out :)

The letters are from Hobby Lobby. Aren't they cute? Love them!

The decorative paper is from Office Max and then I used 12x12 scrapbook paper underneath each header

Isn't this paper pretty?? It reminds me so much of Blair Waldorf's dress seen here:
I have to find a way to incorporate it into my classroom. This is one of my favorite Blair Waldorf looks. :)
Found a place for our "finding a good book for you" chart. It looked a little plain just by itself, so I trimmed regular size border and used it to create a narrow border that works perfectly for this chart. 

Finally finished the title for the theme board. I originally wanted to call it "Unit Exploration", but after making each letter and attaching each letter to the plate, I found out that the title was waayyy too long and didn't fit. So I downsized to just "The Big Idea". This will be where we display anchor charts and writing activities about our reading themes
The last thing I accomplished today was bordering the marker board. This is a small task, but makes the board look so much better to me. 

I *hope* to get the word wall boxed off tomorrow, but I'm not making any promises. Be sure and check back in the next few days....I'm teaming up with Learning Resources for a big giveaway that you don't want to miss!!!!

Friday, June 22, 2012

Create a French Fry Notebook!

While sorting through all my centers during my classroom makeover, I came across my French Fry Notebook and realized I'd never finished sharing the packet with y'all. This was a favorite in our classroom and it is perfect for buddy reading. The kids always get a kick out of reading french fries. And the best part is it's super easy to create. I've put together a pack that includes all of set 1, which are the easiest. Click below to check them out!
***Due to Miami's great win and Lebron James' 1st championship win, I've extended the sale through tomorrow, which still includes my $2 Math Madness centers!!!

First three to comment get a free copy!

Thursday, June 21, 2012

Short E Literacy Activities...TpT!

Click the pic to get my Short 'e' literacy activities. On SALE now! And if the Heat wins tonight, I just might extend the sale, which includes everything in my store and my Math Madness packet for $2.
**First three to comment get a free copy! :)

Wednesday, June 20, 2012

Classroom Makeover: Day Three and a BIG SALE

*** Scroll down for some big sale news!!
At this point, almost all the boards are up. Not decorated yet, but up nonetheless. I started the word wall today and goodness gracious y'all. Is this not a hard board to create? It takes me forever to measure each box and line up the ribbon straight. That's on the agenda for tomorrow, but first I've got to find ribbon. I had picked out a golden yellow color bulletin board paper for this board, but when I put it up it just looked awful, so I decided to create it to look like Morgan's over at First Grade Fresh ( this is one of my FAVORITE blogs y'all. She has the best style and it shows in her adorable classroom). Morgan's classroom has been featured on Debbie Diller's website so you seriously need to go check it out. 
I've also got my desk area set up. I moved the two shelves from Lowes and I like the way it is now so much better! 

I can't remember if I already posted this board. If I have, sorry for the repeat! This will be the theme board for reading where we will display all the charts and activities that go along with the theme of each story/unit.

The beginning of the word wall. The picture appears crooked. Sorry! :)

Has anyone been watching the NBA finals??? Any Heat fans out there? In honor of Miami's 3rd win last night, I'm throwing a TpT sale! Everything in my store is 20% off now until Friday. And the best deal........ My Math Madness Basketball centers, normally $8, are on sale for $2!!! Click the pic below to get them!

Friday, June 15, 2012

Classroom Makeover: Day Two

Slowly but surely, the classroom is coming together. It still looks like a teacher supply store exploded all over my classroom and I don't know where in the world it's all going, but it is coming together. :) Here's what I've accomplished so far.
Focus Board started. I found these two cute cupcakes in my cabinet that I had bought a loonng time ago at Pier One. I decided to use these for this board and create a "Sweet Treats" theme. I should have taken a close up pic of the cupcakes...they kinda look like pineapples in these pics :)

Aren't these shelves neat?? I am loving how they look and how much storage they added. I found them at Lowes on sale. The baskets are sold separately, so it was a little more than I planned to spend since I bought two, but I think it will really help keep everything organized for my centers. It also helped form the reading area. 

Something will be on top of these shelves, just not sure what yet.

Mailboxes. They will look much better when I get the names and labels on each box. I'm also not loving the three buckets I have on the top, but I like the idea of the buckets, just not these.

Small group meeting area. The word wall will go on the wall behind this, so that'll help make the space cozier. Check out my spray painted chairs :) I've got two more to add to this area, but they are currently being painted by my dad.

Don't be fooled. Those books may look like they're sorted into themes and categories, but they're not. :D That's on my to do list. The board behind the cubbies will be a student work display like the bee board in my old room.

Math board: The theme for this board is Curious George, which I'm really hoping turns out as cute as it is in my head. Does anyone use the series Go Math! ? We just adopted this program and they incorporate Curious George, which I didn't know until after I had decided to theme the board like this, so I thought that was kinda neat. Any thoughts on this series? I'd love to hear them! It looks good, so I'm excited about it.  

This board is really cute, but the picture of it isn't good. It will be the concept question board.

Hope everyone has a great weekend! :)

Thursday, June 14, 2012

Reading Street Page

Hey y'all! Just a quick note. I've created pages to my blog to organize things a bit. If you are interested in Scott Foresman Reading Street creations, be sure and click the 'Reading Street' link. I've taken all my questions of the day documents off of TpT and created Google Docs out of them (which is so stinkin' easy y'all!) Just click the link and you can download a copy. :) Let me know if there are any problems. All units are up except Unit 1 and it should be by tomorrow. I'll also transfer all free patterns that go along with any story in the Reading Street series. 
I'll be back tomorrow with classroom progress updates! :)

***Update as of 6/21: Unit 1 questions are now uploaded.

Monday, June 11, 2012

My First Science Lesson

I must confess: I don't like science. It was always my least favorite subject throughout school and once I started my education courses in college, I avoided having to create any science lessons (I ended up having to create some eventually, but believe me, they were not my finest work). I felt the same way about math until last summer when I vowed to become a better math teacher. I sat down with our math curriculum, looked over it and decided how I needed to teach it better and how I needed to design my math centers. Once the children came, I observed what they were struggling with and created center activities for those skills. WOW! Did our math abilities ever improve! I was so happy with how many math skills my kids learned. And I feel that my concentration on this subject had a little something to do with this great feat. Not only did the kids learn more, but I could tell that they really enjoyed math more. Now, I actually enjoy teaching math---something I never thought would happen. I've decided that I'm going to have the same attitude about science this year. I've just finished my first science lesson and I gotta say, I'm enjoying the content more than I thought I would. I even created my first emergent reader for this lesson packet, which I'm super excited about. :) Click the picture below to check it out.

***First three to comment get a free copy. 
***To the first three commenters on the Curious George Fry Phrases, I promise I'll send your free copies! 

Sunday, June 10, 2012

Classroom Makeover: Day One

Just got my stuff moved back so I thought I'd update with pictures. I won't be able to start setting up areas and decorating until the hallways are waxed but here's how the room looks now:
Future Word Work Center

My desk and front meeting area

Future reading center

Future small group meeting area

Future Comprehension Center

Mad Men Time! Hope everyone had a great weekend. I'm working on *are you ready for this?* science units! :) I'll be back tomorrow with my first one. 

Thursday, June 7, 2012

Curious George Fry Phrases

I'm a huge fan of Curious George, so these might just be my favorite Fry phrase flash cards. I've included full page size and flash card size after many requests, which I have to say, is such a smart idea! I'm going to teach with the full size ones at small group and use the flash card size ones in a reading center. 
**Please note: these are the same fry phrases that I used in the Alien Fry phrases. This is the beginning set of Fry Phrases and the easiest ones so I always start off with these. 
Full page size

flash card size

****Click the pic to get them! First three to comment get a free copy
Have you liked the Life in First Grade Facebook Page yet??

Wednesday, June 6, 2012

Life in First Grade Facebook Page

Aren't I hip?...I created a Facebook page :) I'm not a huge fan of Facebook (I much prefer Twitter), but I have started realizing how helpful it is to see when some of my favorite blogs have added new things, so I thought I'd create one. And since this is a "tech-y" post, I am excited to announce that this blog will be getting a whole new makeover very soon! I think we can agree that this is long overdue, right? I've contacted a wonderful company and can't wait to get started with a whole new look! Look for it soon and in the meantime head over and "like" my new page. :)

Tuesday, June 5, 2012

New Classroom Paint Color

Isn't summer great? I could really get used to this. Just wanted to take a quick second to share with y'all my new paint color and to also show y'all just how packed up my classroom is. They are about to wax the floors, so everything has to be up on the counters, in the cubbies, or on top of the cubbies. Just looking at these pictures makes me a little nervous about how long it's going to take to put the room back together lol 

Hope y'all are enjoying summer! :)

Sunday, June 3, 2012

Classroom Makeover Before Pictures

Hey y'all! I haven't posted in awhile and thought I'd keep y'all updated as to what's going on in my classroom since summer is here :) :) :) I have some exciting news... I'm getting a new classroom! If y'all know me or have been reading my blog for awhile, you'll know that one of my favorite parts of teaching is decorating my classroom. While I like to take time for myself and enjoy summer, I usually spend a great deal of time working on my new room. So y'all can imagine how happy I am to have an entire new room to plan for. :) It's just right across the hall, but it has two windows that look out to the snack area and road whereas in my old room, we just had two windows that looked out to a huge maroon fence. The new room is also not across from the bathrooms which is a huge plus for me. 
I thought I'd share some before pictures to show y'all what it looks like now, before my new paint color is up. The room belonged to a friend that decided to stay at home with her precious little boy. She had a honey bee theme, which was so cute. I wish I had pictures to share with y'all from her classroom. Here's what the room looked like as of Friday night, before the painters came in today to paint.

Please excuse the mess. :) I just wanted to show y'all the color before. I hired painters to paint this time. Did I ever share how hard it was to paint my yellow room??? My mom and I are horrible painters and after the 4th coat of yellow paint we were near tears. I decided to pay a professional to do it this money I ever spent ;) I went up to school earlier and they were just about finished. It's different.... but I really like it. I'll share pictures soon! 

*** I'm about to start working on several new units for TpT. I'm also creating some new themes for Fry Phrases and Nonsense Words. If you have a request, just email me 
Also, thanks to everyone who has sent me their blog address. I've seen some great ones and I can't wait to share with everyone!