Tuesday, August 27, 2013

First Day of School Morning Work

We survived the first day of school!! And I'm still standing (barely) and alive to blog about it. (also barely) Nobody cried, nobody got lost, nobody had an accident. I'm in love with my new bunch and all in all, I'm calling day one a smashing success! That said, the first day is still the first day. It's jam packed from the moment we walk in until the moment we leave. I think the two most hectic times of day on the first day of school are when the kids are first arriving and then again when they're packing up to leave. I offer no grand insight about the latter...pray!? But the entering part, that I might be able to help you out with. ;)

                                              {Click HERE to snag graph for your class}
  
  When my kids walked in this morning, this is what they found waiting at their tables. The table caddies hold enough crayons for the kids to share and also a handful of sharpened pencils. Also, a cup of pattern blocks and their first morning worksheet. I have all the kids bring their backpacks with them to their desk and help them find their name tags. Then, I quickly go over the directions for this activity, before letting them get busy. My favorite part about this very basic activity is that when they're done, they can build and create patterns with the blocks. This keeps them happy and busy at their seats while I take attendance, call tables over for breakfast, and bag all the supplies that are about to burst out of their backpacks...


"Sorting through all the supplies that come in the first day of school takes no time at all..." 

SAID NO TEACHER EVER!


I loathe the supply collection process the first day of school. My mission is just to grab it, bag it, and sort through it after school when the kids are gone. While my kids are working on their morning work, I quickly start scooping up backpacks and putting everything inside into super market bags. (I bring a ton to school the first day.) On a scrap piece of paper I write the name of the student whose bag I just emptied and put that into the bag too. Then I set it to the side and move on to the next bag. Any supplies I need my students to have day one I have ready to go so that I don't have to worry about individual student supplies until I have the time to sort them.

It works for me. :)


We did lots of other activities today. And stop the world- I remembered to take pictures!!!

 But I think I'll save the details for a first week recap this weekend.

Right now I have a one track mind.

Shower. Food. Sleep.

 Because it's training season all over again!!! ;)


Sunday, August 18, 2013

Schedule It!!


Dear Summer Vacation,

I will miss you. Please come back soon!

All my love,  

Teacher Going Back to Work Tomorrow
.......................................................................

Yep, this was my last official weekend of summer break. I'd spend a little more time being sad about it if I didn't have a million things to do between now and this time next week. Aint noody got time to be sad!! Ha! I worked on my classroom a lot last week. No big reveal pics yet because it's still big ol' work in progress, but I'm hoping to have it ready to go by mid week. (So check back soon!!) Here are a few peeks in the meantime from Instagram to show you how things are coming along...

{painting these bookshelves is on the above mentioned to-do list}

One of the things on my never ending "to-do" list was to  give my schedule cards a bit of a facelift. I've used the ones I currently have for the past three years and they have seen better days. So I decided to cross this one off the list! I find that my kids refer to our schedule all.the.time throughout the day. Which is fine until we get off schedule, and then, WATCH OUT! 20 plus little schedule stalkers let me know exactly where I slipped off course. Needless to say, the schedule cards help keep me us in line.



I wanted to post them for others to use too but I know that every school and teacher has different names for their daily events. I could have sat here and tried, unsuccessfully, to anticipate every possible one that would be needed. That sounded stressful though.


And then I thought....


So instead I did this....

 Just some examples of how you can customize these guys to say whatever you would like.


These  Schedule It! (Brights Cards) and Schedule It! (Primary Cards) are on sale today along with everything in my store fort he big TPT Back to School Sale!!


Whatever you do, don't forget to enter the code BTS13 at check out.

Nothing like a huge shopping spree to help me beat the end of summer blues!!

Happy Shopping!!!

Monday, August 12, 2013

Meet The Teacher Monday


It's Teacher Week over on Blog Hoppin! Today is Meet The Teacher Monday, so I'm sharing five things that you may or may not already know about little ol' me...

        {This is me now. Circa 2013}                {This was me in Kinder. Circa 1991}

1. I teach 1st AND 2nd Grade...

I'm a COMBO class teacher. I wasn't always a combo class teacher. At first, I taught straight 1st grade for three years. Then last year I accepted a job in a new district (the one I was pining to be in) as a 1st and 2nd grade combo class teacher. And I'll be doing it again this year. Last year I had more second graders than first graders. This year I will have a few more first graders than second graders. We all come together in one room and operate as ONE classroom team, the same as any other classroom. But sometimes (ok really, a lot of times) we have to learn different things at different times. So much of our day is spent learning in small groups! I plan for two grades and schedule two grades worth of curriculum into one day, everyday. And yes, I'm tiered just typing about it. ;)


2. My hair color has changed quite a lot over the years.

I've always been in love with red hair. Lately it's more brown.  I've never gone fully blonde.  
My husband likes to tease me that it's going to all fall out  one day if I keep it up. 
I tell him to Keep Calm and Hair Dye On.

3. My husband and I met studying abroad in Australia 7 years ago.


 "I'll never be the same having seen the moon from the other side of the world." <33

4. I'm a lefty.

Writing on a white board was something I had actual nightmares about in college. 

5. I am adopted.

From Santiago, Chile. When I graduated from college I gifted myself 8 weeks of language classes and travel in Chile. I'd always wanted to spend some time living in the place I am from. It was an incredible country to explore. The hubs joined me for the final two weeks too! Best trip ever.

If you want to know even more about me you can check out my Meet The Teacher page!!


Friday, August 9, 2013

Calling All Busy Teachers + MPM Supplies Winner


Are you a busy teacher?

 Yes?

Excellent. 

I like being amongst friends in that category. 

I've got two packs to giveaway today that are designed to help make the lives of busy teachers just a little bit easier. We're talking print and go while still meeting the standards all month long easy!


Common Core Writing Galore 
I posted my August/September CCS Writing Galore pack this week! So far I have packs for March, April, May, and June/July. I'll continue adding a new set each month until I have a whole years worth. It contains six writing cards for each of the Common Core Writing Types in 1st-3rd grades: Opinion, Informative/Explanatory, and Narrative. It also includes four Creative Writing cards. I keep them in the mix because they're fun and still have my kids practicing things like topic and conclusion sentences, beginning/middle/end, adding details, etc. to their writing. These packs make their way into my writing center at the start of each month and then my kids pick different cards to write about during Writer's Workshop or Work on Writing during Daily Five. They don't even know that they're practicing Common Core Writing Standards, they just LOVE getting to choose what they get to write about next. And I LOVE that I can keep them standard focused without eliminating the element of choice. It's a win-win!!

                                                                    

Busy Teacher's Best Friend
Miss. Katie King from Queen of The 1st Grade Jungle moved to South Carolina this summer.  She is also moving to 2nd grade!! Second grade teachers, I already know that Katie is going to seriously rock out at 2nd grade literacy next year! If you aren't already, make sure you are following her so you don't miss any of the fresh ideas she will be bringing to the table for 2nd grade. Another thing Katie rocks at is creating her  Busy Teacher Packs. I own all of her First Grade Busy Teacher Packs and I am THRILLED that she has now gotten started making Busy Teacher Packs for 2nd grade! They work great in both small group instruction and independent centers. Also, they came to the rescue more than once last year when I needed some quality sub plans in a pinch. Katie knows I teach 2nd too and has offered to give away her first Busy Teacher's Best Friend 2nd Grade pack to one of you sweet readers today! 


Wanna win both packs? Just follow this blog and leave a comment below with your e-mail address. I'll draw and post a winner right back here on Sunday night! :)

Congratulations to #43 Donna!! Thanks to all who entered! :)


Speaking of winners....
 Congratulations to Jennifer Kelley for winning the $50 gift card to MPM School Supplies!!

 If you didn't win, there is still good news! MPM School Supplies has generously offered all readers of Falling Into First a 10% discount for the next seven days. Just follow the link below to automatically claim your 10% discount. Thank you MPM!!


Last but not least, it's FRIDAY!!!

One of my best friends from childhood is visiting me from Texas this weekend! We go all the way back to diaper days, in a land where things like the internet and caller ID didn't exist yet. (Sometimes I have to remind myself that yes, we're older than the internet.) I haven't got to hang out with this girl in person since my wedding two years ago. I know, say what!? So I'm dialing out for a few days. But I'll catch you bright and early next week with my Back-to-School prep in FULL swing!

Happy Weekend!!

Thursday, August 8, 2013

Throw Back Thursday- Head In The Clouds...

I'm not sure what it is with my and clouds but they seem to be one of my favorite things to make in the classroom. Today I'm working on making Paper Pom Clouds to hang above one of my bulletin boards. I promise to post a tutorial (and link to it from here) as soon as I get the whole board finished. But for right now, it's still a work in progress. So this is just a sneak peek at the first cloud I made.


In the meantime, let's do a Throw Back Thursday. Making Clouds in the microwave during our Weather Is Wild unit was hands down the most favorite activity we did in my room last year.  My kids were still talking about it at the last week of school. So since I've already got clouds on the brain today, I'm gonna run with this one today!


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Want to see complete and utter amazement on the face of every student in your class? 

Make them a cloud in the microwave.


 But to make it even better, I would highly recommend that you DON'T tell them you will be making a cloud in a microwave. Just tell them you will be putting a bar of soap in the microwave, and ask them write down a  prediction of what's going to happen next. They will tell you you're crazy!! It's going to melt or even better, it's going to explode! 

I just shrugged and told them, we'll see. 



First, I put a bar of ivory soap on top of some wax paper in the microwave.

**NOTE: Do NOT use just any bar of soap. It HAS to be a bar of Ivory soap. If you choose to ignore this very important detail I will not take any responsibility for the not so pretty end result!!**

Next, turn on the microwave for about a minute and a half. Then sit back and watch their faces.

{the cloud is forming}


90 seconds later.....

BOOM!! A Cloud!


Oh how I wish I could show you their happy little faces!! Everyone got to hold it.


The bottom stays very soft and spongey like. It's everything you imagine in your head a real cloud would feel like.  The top hardens a bit, but becomes flakey and will fall apart at the touch. So just resting it on top of flat palms is best. By the time the 25th kid had held it, we had lots of soapy "snowflakes" around the room. Unfortunately, due to the non-durability, I can't make a cloud for every kiddo to take home. If it weren't for that I SO would!!

Instead I'm going to let them make my newest craftivity, which they can carry home no problem!


This cloud craft is just one small part of my Weather Is Wild Unit that I am SO very excited about!!  The boys are all super impressed with his lightening bolt. And by "the boys" I mean all my 1st/2nd graders and my husband. 





Here is a peek at just a few of the other things included in this 103 page unit.




Speaking of weather, ours has been un-seasonably dry all winter.

The teacher wants a snow day!! :)

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See you soon with my new clouds on display!!!

Wednesday, August 7, 2013

Back to School E-Magazine


Last year Melanie and April put out their first ever Back to School E- Magazine. It was full of  items selected by teacher bloggers that they loved to use in their classrooms. Well happy day everyone - because this year's edition is now here!!

 {You can pin this image to SHARE with teachers everywhere. See the actual magazine below.}

They've asked a fabulous group of teacher bloggers to join them again this year by sharing their top three "Back to School Must Haves" for a successful year! I was even lucky enough to come on board this year as one of the contributors.  (Check me out on the bottom of the first page of goodies!) Can I just tell you how hard it was to only pick THREE items!? Insanely hard!! Flair pens and  the scotch laminator are both also at the very top of my list. But luckily just about everything I didn't pick was selected by one of more of the other contributors. Which is how I know teachers are just a special like minded breed!
The items I selected are just things that I truly LOVE and help make my teacher life go round!!! Click on any of the products in the magazine and it will direct you to the sites where you can find more information about that item. Also, there are lots of familiar blog buttons and faces to see. You can clik on those to see more of each contributors ideas and classroom resources.

Happy browsing!!

Monday, August 5, 2013

MPM School Supplies Giveaway

Tis the season friends. You know which one I'm talking about. It's the... Back to School Season!! Like it or not, it's upon us. If you're anything like me right now, your scampering to collect all your BTS must haves for your room and to help your teacher life go round! And in my house, it involves a tiny bit o' shopping to say the least. Well how would you like to win $50 to spend in YOUR classroom this Back to School Season?


 Last year, MPM School Supplies was kind enough to let me do a little shopping on them for some new supplies for my classroom. I reviewed their site and found it to be incredibly user friendly!! I spent a ton of time browsing in their classroom decorations section. This year, they have offered to give one of my readers the same lucky spree!

A few items that made my wish list this year are the turquoise & lime chevron borders, the hot pink bordette, and the magnetic tens frames!!



Use the Raffeclopter below to enter. I will pick a winner this Friday!! Good luck! :)

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Sunday, August 4, 2013

FAN-TASTIC Freebie

I had a list of things I thought of blogging about today. But then last night (waaay past my bedtime) I got sucked into this little time warp called...setting up a Facebook Fan Freebie. And seeing as I passed a big two oh-oh-oh mark last weekend, figuring this out just felt long overdue! So I put the rest on hold for now so that I can share this one with ya today.


Truth be told though I had NO IDEA what I was doing when I sat down to try and get this all figured out. Enter one of my favorite people, Ashley, to the rescue!! She totally saved me with yet another one of her awesome video tutorials that showed me just how to handle business- THANKS ASHLEY!!!

So without further adieu...

This month's Back To School Facebook Fan Freebie is a set of mini color posters for your room!!

 **If you tried grabbing this before 11 AM EST and got the "need 25 friends to like message" please excuse my temporary technology fail. I've fixed that issue and you can now scoop this up without having to harass 25 of your closest friends and family!! :) **

I haven't decided yet if these are going on the wall or in my writing center. But one way or another I know they will find a home in our classroom this year. Hopefully they can find a spot in yours too! Just a quick FYI about future Fan Frebbies...I'm planing to change them every month and after this I will only be announcing them on my Facebook page. So if you're not already a fan, now would be a really great time to "like" Falling Into First on Facebook! Since that's the only way to stay in the know about when the new ones are posted each month.


Speaking of color, I'm keeping this one short today because I've got a date with this guy. Hoping he can help me make some magic happen in my classroom. I'll let you know if he gets a second date or not, depending on how it all goes.