Kindergarten and First Grade The First Week

I know I’m not the only one who is exhausted the first week the students are back in class! It is a given for teachers.  We put so much of ourselves into getting the classroom ready, planning and other school things. You think we would prepare ourselves better…eat more wheaties or whatever it takes to get through the first week without feeling like a limp french fry.  I’m an “On” kinda of person. You would never know I was tired in front of the kids. I dance, sing, make faces what ever it takes to keep them interested and focused. I’m only falling asleep on the couch when I get home.

I have been trying to find my footing in my class of kinders and first graders.  If you haven’t experienced it for yourself you would not believe the amazing amount of growth that children make from the first day of kindergarten to the beginning of first grade. It is incredible. When I moved up to first grade I thought I had moved to independence heaven. I mean really it was awesome!!! So it has been a shock as it always is when we start at the beginning again.  This year has been interesting in its own way. I have to keep reminding myself that for half of my littles it is their first rodeo so to speak.

As always I love the sweet spirit of those little kinders.  It seemed that today was the first day I was able to relax and enjoy the kinders. I also love the enthusiasm of the first graders.  We did a shared learning activity and the kinders and the first graders worked together. The first graders were wonderful teachers and the kindergarteners surprised me with their ability to cooperate with a learning partner.  Today I could see that I’m a lucky teacher this year. I’m sure we will have some bumps in the road but overall the year looks bright.  I can’t wait to see how much each group learns.

Sarah

Word Sorts Freebies and The Organized Classroom Blog

I am super excited to announce that I was chosen to do a monthly post on Charity Preston’s  Organized Classroom Blog. This is a wonderful opportunity! I’m planning something special so please be sure to check it out.

I’m busy trying to get the last minute touches on my classroom and my plans for the first day tomorrow. I know all of you all understand and the Mister just left to go work on his classroom! Gotta get cracking… I am teaching a Kindergarten/First Grade multi-age room this year so I have lots to do.  I met my little darlings last week and it looks like we are all set for a great year.  You can read my post about Open House here.

Photo Frame

I am creating a photo frame for photos of my children at school. I will be posting directions and more photos soon. This sunflower frame can be used throughout the fall for great photos.

I put together two quick freebies for you.  They are both word sorts. One is for nouns and verbs and the other is for number and color words.  Just click on the blue link and download them! Word Sorts

Please make sure to follow my blog. I am hosting a giveaway in September for a $50.00 Target Gift Card with my friend, Bex Mawn, the author of  Reading and Writing Redhead.

Sarah

Hearts and Minds..One more Open House

I just got back from Open House for my 28th year of teaching. Who would have thought there would have been that many? My Mom taught and was an administrator for 30 years. When I started this journey I was sure that I would never be in the classroom for that long. Well here I am looking forward to a new year. This year I am teaching a Kindergarten/First Grade Multi-Age class.  I have taught Kindergarten or First Grade for all of my 28 years. I have looped, taught a First Grade with 29 children in it, taught very poor children and taught children from affluent backgrounds.

It is easy to make judgements about folks just by what you see. Sometimes it is hard to look past the physical things and see into the heart of the matter.  Open House is mostly a meeting of minds and hearts.  Parents or other care givers are looking at the teacher to see if that person has an open heart.  They wonder if this person can love my child and teach my child.  This is the one constant in the minds of parents. My husband and I wondered the same thing  year after year at Open House and Back to School Night.  We would wonder if the teacher could see into the heart of our child and help our child learn. We would wonder if the teacher could love our child.  When a teacher and a parent connect at during the first meeting at Open House one of the major barriers to educating that child has been removed.

I talk to people and let them know that I am excited about teaching their child. I hug the children and I hug the parents.  I let them know they should tell me their concerns and to always ask questions if they need to. School years have their ups and downs mainly because they mimic real life but one thing is for sure we can always get through it together. I tell the parents we will work together and we will help each other.

I can’t do it any other way because the most important person in all of this is the child. I have had my ups and downs with parents just like any other teacher. During the 28 years I have had many more ups than downs because I simply refuse to accept the downs as permanent I keep working at parent relationships throughout the year. I phone, I write and I always have a positive before I give any concerns. When the hearts and minds of parents and teachers can connect the children are the winners. The first meeting whether at Open House or some other time is critical. Make the most of it so you can be the teacher that connects with parents and children. A child’s educational success depends on it. Game on!

Getting Started with Whole Brain Teaching

I am so excited to use Whole Brain Teaching activities in my classroom this year. It is really a big deal to me since I am teaching a Kindergarten/First Grade combination this year. So many people are asking me if I am worried about it and I’m telling them no. I am looking at it like a great adventure.  I have been teaching for 28 years and most of that has been in kindergarten and first grade. I’m sure there will be ups and downs but I’m committed to building a classroom community and providing opportunities for learning.  Whole Brain Teaching is going to be a big part of our classroom

community. I put up these wonderful posters today in my classroom. They are perfect for me because they feature a good font (readable for kinders and first graders) and I love the Melonheadz Doodles.  I always look at the font before buying anything and I rejected several products today because of the font. Fancy fonts are hard to read and I want the children to be able to read everything in our classroom. They were created by Owl About Education.

Whole Brain Teaching Posters

I’m so looking forward to saying Classadoodle? and the children answering Yesadoodle?  I have always incorporated hand signals in my class so using the Mirror Activity looks like great fun.   I picked Whole Brain Teaching for this year because it provides structure for learning in classroom. It is repetitive and children learn to manage their learning. I am not an expert on Whole Brain Teaching. I have done a lot of reading and visited the website to learn more.   I will post a tour of my classroom this year. There will be lots of pictures! If you have any experience with Whole Brain Teaching leave a comment below and let me know how it is working for you.

Pigeon Presents Mo… on the Go! Mo Willems and the iPad

Who doesn’t love Mo Willems books? The only folks who would not love them are folks who haven’t read them yet.  You can visit Mo Willems page here. These books are written in the style of the early readers series. There are not many words on a page and the words are often repeated. Using this app you can let Pigeon Drive the Bus, you can turn a scribble into a drawing and much more. A favorite is Elephant and Piggies Dance-O-Rama.  I know my kids are going to love this app. I can’t wait to use Dance-O-Rama in my class. Children love to engage with the characters in the stories they read. But be forewarned…whatever you do stay away from the Mad Cow!

The app is Pigeon Presents Mo…On the Go!

Sharing Maybe?? with the Cookie Monster

As children little and big head back to school their teachers are thinking about how to keep classrooms running smoothly.  Classes develop their own personalities over time and some work together better than others.  Regardless of whether a class “gels” or not teaching still has to go on. I have never been one to give up and I believe that teachers can get most classes to work together.  Wise teachers will not give up because after all it is our on sanity we are saving.

One area I work on is sharing materials.  Squabbles over materials can disrupt the most well planned activities.  All children benefit from practicing the skills needed to share materials.  If teachers model the skill set the teacher would like to see in the classroom students can be held accountable for the performing the skills. We often forget that many children need very specific directions for sharing and it doesn’t come naturally. I have stopped lessons and gone over my expectations for sharing materials many times. Sometimes we all just need to stop and regroup.  Classrooms can create anchor charts, role play, write an instructional brochure or make a commercial using an ipad or digital camera about sharing in the classroom.  If teachers don’t give up neither will students.  Students often become the best teachers for other children.

Take a peek at Cookie Monster singing to Share it Maybe.  This is a great video and would be a perfect inspiration for a class. Plus it will make everyone smile.

What strategies do you use for sharing in your class?

Free Numbers in Base Ten Math Poke it Game

SNIP 1

This is a sample from my Practice in Base Ten with the Base Ten Kids Unit. You can download the sample game by clicking on the link here. POKE IT GAME

The full unit is 65 Pages long with many games, centers and worksheets. It is a 4 Star Unit. You can see the unit here on TPT.

SNIP 2

My Happy Kids School Banner can be found on TPT. It features children from many cultures.  This banner will bring smiles to the faces of the children you teach!

SNIP 1

http://www.create-with-joy.com/2012/07/inspire-me-monday-week-82.html