Sunday, August 28, 2011

They Say It's Your Birthday!

Happy birthday to our amazing, hilarious, beautiful, inspiring and awesome friend Tina!  We adore you and hope your birthday is ROCKIN'!  There is no one like you and we feel so lucky to be your
partners in crime, chaos and fun!

Friday, August 26, 2011

Free For All Friday!

Okay, we are in total countdown crazy mode.  School starts MONDAY!  Yikes!  
Blog Hoppin' is free for all friday!  
Our district has turned the Common Core focus standards into "I can" statements.  We have made them into signs to hang on our focus walls and we would LOVE to share them with you.

* These "I can" statements are for the first 6 weeks of the common core.

Thursday, August 25, 2011

Three For Thursday

We are linking up with Blog Hoppin’ again today for “Three for Thursday”.  We are starting school on Monday and are CRAZY busy trying to get ready, so it’s just me (Ericka) posting today.  Tina and I loved seeing Kasey’s classroom on our blog yesterday, but we weren’t quite picture ready.future post coming.  We have also really enjoyed seeing everybody’s classroomshello, teachers are SO inspirational and creative!  Reading all the suggestions for new teachers, well the timing couldn't be better with our school countdown moving so quickly.  Hey folks, let’s be honest, we all need a little refresher on the things we need to be doing to keep things fun and fabulous!  Okay, so without further adieu:

My Favorite Font: Okay, so I thought this one was going to be hard to pick, but then I realized that I totally have a go to font, that’s DJ Chunky!  Woot, woot.  So cute! (You’re looking at it, isn’t it fun?!)  The other font I am using is ABC bulletin, LOVE!

Favorite Blog:  This one is an easy one for me.  I have to admit there are a ton (read:TON) of blogs out there these days that I love!  So many teachers have it going on!  When we first started our little “blog stalking” adventures I kept seeing this fabulous blog “What the Teacher Wants”.  Now, I love it for so many reasons.  First and foremost their stuff is great for any grade, but really applicable for 1st and 5th which is what Rachelle and Natalie teach, so makes sense!  I have used Rachelle’s ideas and printables for my classroom so many times I feel like I owe her royalty fees!  Then I kept thinking “I recognize her name”, it was bugging me bad.  So, let further stalking begin.  I looked her up on facebook.  Lo and behold we share a lot of friends.  Turns out, Rachelle and I went to the same University, we were both President of our local Alpha Phi sorority chapter (I think I was a decade, yikes, before her) and we teach one town apart in the same school district!  So fun! So short story long, we eventually met at a common core district training and I feel like I’ve known her forever.  If you have not done so (which does not seem possible) go check out  It is awesome!

Favorite Online Resource:  Ding, ding, ding!  Winner, winner chicken dinner!  PINTEREST is my favorite online resource.  I have posted of my addiction love of pinterest before, but SER-I-OUS-LY, if you are a teacher you can consider it your duty to be following all of the fabulous teacher boards.  So many great ideas in one place!  Amazing!  Click on our names to follow our boards!
Check out more Three for Thursdays over at the Blog Hoppin' Blog

Wednesday, August 24, 2011

Where it All Goes Down Wednesday!

We're linking up with Blog Hoppin' again today for teacher week.  Today is the day you get to see where it all goes down, where the teaching and the learning happen, my home away from home - also known as my classroom!  We don't start school until Monday, so today you only get to see my (Kasey) classroom.  Tina and Ericka will let you catch a glimpse of their classrooms later. 
I LOVE how clean and organized my classroom looks and feels at the beginning of the year. I probably should have done close ups on some of these pictures, but that's how it goes sometimes.

 Guided reading corner.  Those blue and red bins are usually filled with materials for each of my reading groups.

 Front Whiteboard
 Calendar/Rug - Where I teach from the most.

 The desk I RARELY sit at.

 My other whiteboard that I never write on but is good for putting posters on:)

 Reading Corner

 This leads to the first grade hall (please ignore the junk on top of the cubby cart).

 Word wall, cubbies and coat rack

What you see when you first walk in.

*Shout out to you if you see something from your blog that I've copied!  Let me know if you have any questions about anything you see.

Tuesday, August 23, 2011

Teacher Talk Tuesday!

Blog Hoppin
Here are some words of wisdom for all those teachers just starting out, from a few teachers who remember well that panicky feeling that comes at the beginning of your first year.  

* Do NOT be afraid to ask for help.  It's hard sometimes, but we've all been there. 
*Write things down - funny/sweet things the kids say, successes, etc.  Look back at these things on hard days (cause you will have them).
* Teaching and loving the kids should be your priority.  If something has to give, those things 
should not.  Also, don't be afraid to let those kiddos know you care.--Kasey
*Don't hesitate to quit!  What?!  Yes, it's true, you can quit any old time you see that blank stare in those kiddos eyes.  Sometimes they just don't understand a concept the way you choose to teach it.  A good teacher doesn't keep plugging away at it.  Revisit it later or tomorrow even, when you have figured out a different way to go about teaching the concept.
*Laugh.  Laugh a lot.  Learning is fun, enjoy it with your kiddos.  Laugh at your mistakes (yes you will  make them) and move on, you will be teaching your students that it's okay to make mistakes as long as you push past them.
*Do what you can to develop a good relationship with parents.  Remember, you have their kiddos nearly 8 hours a day.  Be kind, courteous and professional and let them know how much you love teaching!  A great relationship with parents helps VOLUMES with the climate of your classroom.--Ericka
    *Love and care about your students. You are with them 8 hours a day, there should be a bond that forms between you. Make sure your students know you love and care about them. Make school somewhere you all want to be, learning together. If you don't like kids, please, please, please find a new profession. That also stands true for if there is ever a point in your career that you stop enjoying what you do, it's time to find something else. I don't mean to sound harsh, but we need to enjoy teaching and enjoy the students in order to make a difference. Back to loving those kids! There is something to love about each and every one of them. Even the stinkers (who usually turn out to be my favorites!) Find what you love about them and in turn they will love you right back and show you respect. Then you can have fun learning together with your little friends for the rest of the year!--Tina

Happy Teaching 
Good Luck!

Monday, August 22, 2011

Meet the Teachers Monday!

We're linking up with blog hoppin' for teacher week.  Head on over there and check out all the great teacher blogs and link up this week so we can get to know you!

If you haven't figured it out yet, this blog is done by three teachers.  Here's a glimpse of who we are (hopefully it won't be too confusing trying to tell about all three of us).
Ericka, Tina, Kasey

* Teaching Experience:

Ericka - 2 years in pre-k and 4 years in 1st grade

Tina - 6 years all in 1st grade

Kasey - 5 years all in 1st grade

* Education:

Ericka - Bachelors in elementary education and an early childhood endorsement from Southern Utah University

Tina - Bachelors in early childhood and special education from Westminster College

Kasey - Bachelors in elementary education from BYU-Idaho and Masters in Education with an emphasis in reading and literacy from University of Utah.

* Teaching supplies we can't live without:

Ericka - Flair pens and glue sticks

Tina - Colorful Sharpies and PaperPro stapler

Kasey - RED Flair pens and Post-Its.  Is Dr. Pepper a teaching supply?

* Favorite thing to teach:
Ericka - Math

Tina - Language Arts

Kasey - Reading and P.E.

* Family:

Ericka: Married for 15 years this Wednesday, 3 kiddos (1 son, 2 daughters) and one crazy dog

Tina: Married with 1 daughter and a little one on the way - (Woohoo!!!!) and 2 stepdaughters.  Oh and you can't forget the dog!
Kasey:  Living up the single life.  Seriously, I can't even commit to a dog (Ericka and Tina have tried).

* What we love (outside of teaching):

Ericka: Anything outdoors (camping, swimming, fishing, etc.), reading, sewing and movies

Tina: Reading, fishing, shopping, movies and vacations to Disneyland and the beach

Kasey: Cooking/baking, reading, country music, movies and football (Go Utes!)

Saturday, August 20, 2011

Alphabeastie Class Book

 Typefaces, fonts, typography....admit it, teachers have a tendency to be a little obsessed with the variety there is out there for us to use.  Although we stick to the standard Zaner-bloser for handwriting in my classroom, I definitely teach my kiddos that letters sometimes look different.  We are trying the common core theme "ABC Books and Children Who Read Them" for our first 6 weeks of school.  Now I know there are tons of ABC books out there, but Alphabeasties and other Amazing Types is one of my new found favorites! I shared it with my kiddos at the end of last year and they were fascinated.  An alligator made out of A's, an Octopus out of O's...truly AMAZING!  So perfect for a class book.  All you need is the printable Tina created for Common Core in this post, all 26 letters die-cut in black and a cute cover.  I hope you enjoy this book as much as I do, it's truly a work of art!

Book Cover

*When you download the book cover, please choose "download original" or the octopus doesn't show up. If anybody can tell me how to rectify this I would appreciate it!

Thursday, August 11, 2011

The Number March

I love singing silly songs with my kiddos. One of my favorite songs to do is The Number March  by Dr. Jean. It's on her Totally Math CD.  I have made a little booklet to go along with the song. We learn one verse of the song each day and then the students illustrate the corresponding page in their book. They turn out soooo cute! Especially when they have to draw the horses. Just a fun and simple number review that we do at the very beginning of the year to show my new students that first grade will be awesome! First grade is full of changes for our little ones. This activity is one they can look forward to and one that they LOVE to do!

Saturday, August 6, 2011

How Many Letters In Your Name?

Cover Image
I love stories by Kevin Henkes.  One in particular that I use every year is Chrysanthemum.  I always use this story in the first few days of school.  A little writing, a little math, more getting to know you time and some transitions result from sharing this book with my first graders.  So if you haven’t read the book, it is about a little girl (um, mouse) named Chrysanthemum.  She loves, LOVES her name until she goes to school.  Then dreadful things happen and she isn’t so sure.  Oh, don’t worry, as usual, an amazing teacher comes along and saves the day.  That’s how most stories go, right?  At one point in the book another little mouse teases her, shocked that Chrysanthemum has 13, yes THIRTEEN, letters in it.  So begins our learning.
First, I have students come up and take a quick grab of unifix cubes.  They are trying to estimate the amount of cubes they need to match the amount of letters in their name. 


Then they go to their seat and “spell” their name out loud using one unifix cube for each letter.  The students then have to either return cubes if they have too many or come and ask for how many more they need.  Once they have the amount of cubes matching letters in their name they collect a unifix strip,match it to their amount of cubes, cut the strip and then write their names. I always have them check with a neighbor to make sure they have only 1 letter in each box.

 Now we sort.  I say things like if you have 2 letters in your name sit at the circle table, if you have 3 letters in your name stand at the rug and so on.  I do this until everyone is sorted.
Next, we graph.  I have a classroom chart labeled “How Many Letters In Your Name?”  Each group glues their names in the area showing their amount. Don't forget to analyze your data! 
We leave this chart posted in our classroom and I use it for transitions.  “If you have 6 letters in your name, you may wash for lunch” or “If you have 4 letters in your name you may line up for recess”.  They love it and so do I!
I am adding an activity this year.  We are going to do some shared writing using their names and number words.  Each child will take turn filling in a chart that will look like this:
There are ___letters in the name_____.
There are six letters in the name MaCree.

I am adding an activity this year.  We are going to do some shared writing using their names and number words.  Each child will take turn filling in the chart that will look like this:
I plan on doing a separate post about my approach to shared writing, with details and examples, but here is a quick glance.
Mon-Wed: We take turns coming to the chart and filling in our portion.  For the Chrysanthemum lesson students will fill in the number words and their name.  Then Wednesday after school I do a quick type up of each sentence, print and cut the sentence strip into words for them to put back together. Then I put it in their shared writing bag (aka:Ziploc with their name on it).  Thursday: Students take their bag to their seats, glue their sentence in order on their writing paper, rewrite the sentence.  Then they check our chart to make sure everything looks correct, if so, then they illustrate.  Friday I have all the papers bound into a ‘book’, we do a shared reading of our published work and then it goes into our class library.

Analyze the data

Unifix cube writing

I know lots of teachers use Chrysanthemum in their classrooms. I hope that there is something new that you can use from this post or if I sparked an idea, leave a comment so I can add it to MY Chrysanthemum plans!

Wednesday, August 3, 2011

Paperwork, Paperwork!

You gotta love all of the paperwork that has to be done at the beginning of the year.  Here are a few of the forms that we send home on that first day when we meet with the parents and students.  Parts of these forms are pretty specific to our school/classrooms, but feel free to take from them what you can and make it work for you! 

 Parent Volunteer Form

Information Sheet

School Supplies