Thursday, January 23, 2014

Tub For The Sub

Writing sub plans is in my top ten list of things I dread doing. Mainly because, I feel compelled to spell out every last detail. Which means they only take, oh f.o.r.e.v.e.r. to write and prep for. But since I was out today and had to leave evreything ready for my sub before I left yesterday, I thought today would be a great time to blog about my SUB TUB!!

I finally crossed this one off of my forever long and ever growing classroom "TO-DO" list about a month ago!! It's one of the most un-complex things I have ever put together haha. But it's perfect for keeping things easy and organized for the sub and me!

I've got a bunch of these manila folders labeled for every subject. Then  put whatever the sub will need for plans that day into the folders. I like that I can even just stick my read aloud books right into the folder with the lesson it goes with.

I've got a folder full of, "Helpful Notes" with things like extra rosters in case of a fire drill, our classroom rules & behavior management system, and any other bits of information I think the sub might find helpful but wouldn't explicitly know,  like this indoor recess schedule for the too cold weather days.

I also have a folder titled, "Emergency Plans". I print off a variety of printables that would be good for my kids any time of year in math, reading, and writing. Then keep them in there for that day when you wake up out of nowhere kissed by the stomach flu or something along those lines. (And planning is the last thing even want to begin to think about!!)

 The last thing I do is put in my plans, roster, and lunch count sheet - front and center!

And I leave all the extra supplies the sub will need for the day behind the tub.

This is how my teacher table looked when I left yesterday afternoon!!

The actual tub is one of these file organizing boxes from the Container Store. 

If you like my "Tub for the Sub" sign you can download it HERE.

Sunday, January 19, 2014

Ideas for MLK Day

Another week has flown on by! Here's a peek at our MLK studies from the week...

We jumped right into our MLK Jr. studies this week! His birthday {real birthday} is January 15th so whenever possible that's the day I like to get started. It's a unit that's near and dear to my heart as Martin and I are actually birthday buddies.

This week we spent a ton of time focusing on who Dr. King was. After reading about Martin Luther King Jr. this week, we were able to complete this Fact vs. False sort today.

 The little one at the chart was celebrating a birthday, so the class agreed it would be fair to let her be the pocket chart Vana White for the activity. She'd read them out loud, then as a class we would decide where the card should go.

As luck would have it, our Scholastic readers also included an MLK timeline. This isn't a text feature my first and second graders are very familiar with. They wanted to know, "What's a timeline?" Well by Friday, my class knew exactly what a timeline was!

I'm so proud of my kids for the work they put into their Timeline Reports of Dr. King's life!! This is one of my very favorite projects to watch them complete every year!

One of our finished timelines on proud display!

{Using the vocabulary words on display as she worked on a page} 
The class knows if a word they need help spelling is displayed somewhere in the room it HAS to be spelled correctly. So I do a little internal happy dance when they start getting up and referencing these words on their own, like this sweetie did!! 

Both of these are activities are included in my MLK Mini Unit
Next week, we're going to focus more on defining these very important words. 
We'll also write about our big dreams!

 Here's a quick idea for painting a picture of segregation in a way your students can relate to. I don't really have the heart to be "meaner" to one group of students than another just to make a point. But an easy way to quickly and temporarily illustrate segregation is to set aside a tub of books from your class library. Put a small number of books into the tub. Pick a group of students (you can do all the boys, all the girls, or all the people with blonde hair, etc. ) and tell them that they are only allowed to read books from the tub. Everyone else in the room can still go in and pick books from your class library but the new law is that *this* group is no longer allowed to because they are ______. {boys, girls, brown haired- whatever you picked.} Let them know that you will switch out the books in their tub every 6 weeks or so. Now see what they think about that! When they tell you how unfair it is, ask the whole class, "Why would that be unfair?"

 It's a great way to get that dialogue started in a way that makes sense to them.


Celebrating my birthday was a great time all around too! Twenty-eight, baby!!

My family knows there are two easy ways to my heart - cherry pie & ice cream cake. 

And I got some new birthday loot to boot!!

Also, this all too perfect birthday card from one of my girlfriends came in the mail. 

I bet you can  guess what she does for a living too. ;)

Sunday, January 12, 2014

Arctic Adventures

Want to win over a room full of children in mere seconds? Show them this video of E.T. the Walrus practicing his Arctic sounds. I'm pretty sure they could hear the laughter coming from our classroom all the way down in the the front office!!

                                                              {click here to watch}

This guy made for the perfect introduction to our Arctic Adventures unit!!

I was super excited to display these vocabulary words with the vibrant real life pictures.

Like all of my For The Common Core Classroom Units, this one comes with lots of different text passages to focus on developing close reading & text based evidence.  They use their reading detective skills to go back into the text and find the "evidence" they need to answer each question on their sheet. I like to have my kids use a highlighter to locate their evidence before they respond to the questions.

 There are two versions of every passage to allow for easy differentiation. They will read about the Arctic Tundra, Polar Bears, Walrus, Arctic Fox, Arctic Hare, Harp Seal, and Caribou.

There are a few new this one!

  And of hands on activities that merge writing &  the non-fiction studies we've been up to!

 You can preview the full unit HERE in my TPT Shop!!

Happy Weekend Ya'll!!!

Tuesday, January 7, 2014

Place Value Penguins & Planning

Let's talk for a moment what planning was like for me the last few days of break.

Seriously. It was rediculous. 

I became hopelessly hooked on Revenge & Nashville over break!!!

If you're looking for a highly entertaining new time suck, I'd recommend either. ;)

But I did pull myself away long enough to get some work done. I've been staring at my Arctic Unit for what feels like  forever. It's coming. Really. I promise!! But until then I also promised a freebie in my last post, so for now let's focus on that one! :) I'm using using these Place Value Penguin Centers this week to review what we learned just before our break.  There are three hands on centers for both first & second graders included. You can grab your copy here in my TPT shop

Have you gone back yet or are you still snowed in from Snowpocolyspe 2014!?

Wednesday, January 1, 2014

One little word in 2014

Hello, friends!! Happy New Year! I hope the past few days of break have been as relaxing and rejuvenating for you as they have been over in my neck of the woods. I've been trying to find the right place to jump back into things over here. One little word just seemed like the easiest place to start!

My one little word for 2014 is CREATE
{I hope to create some fun pictures with this new camera of mine, once I learn how to use it.}

In 2014 I plan to CREATE....

A beautiful home in this house we were so blessed to build in 2013.

 Many new personal goals to set and reach. Hello, 5K! Today, I'm looking at you.

More resources to teach with. It fuels my creative nature in the classroom!

{January "For The Common Core Classroom Unit" -Posting Soon!!}

Most importantly, I plan to create even more memories with my friends & family. For the past eight-ish years I've found myself hopping on a plane multiple times a year for trips both near and far. So many sweet memories made!! 2014 will be no exception. I'm already mentally packing for the ones I've got on the 2014 radar.

 {2013 Memories captured on film}

Thank you Denise, for the perfectly timed linky!!

This Christmas I gifted myself with a little b.r.e.a.k. from all thing school. It felt great and I've enjoyed every minute of it. However, tomorrow I'm getting back in the swing of things. Coming soon I have some new units, freebies, and organizational ideas to share.

 Here's to a Merry 2014!!!