Tuesday, July 28, 2015

Welcome Notes




 Well, this was truly a sign that summer vacation is coming to an end.  Today I had to send out my Welcome letters to my new first graders.  I decided to do something totally different this year.  I decided to make it a Welcome Flyer.  I found this adorable idea on Teachers Pay Teachers.  
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Kristen at Chalk and Apples created this wonderful pack that you can edit.  This is so great.  I was able to come up with the topics I wanted my new students to know for the first week of school. 
  • Class Information--Let the children know that they are in my class.
  • Morning Snack--I wanted to make sure they had a snack for the first day of school.  It is so sad to watch a child rummage through the entire backpack and not be able to find a snack.
  • Daily Schedule--Remind parents when school begins and ends and what time lunch is.
  • The First Grade News--I wanted to make sure the parents understood the importance of the newsletter.  It is the only place they will find the spelling words and math homework.
  • Homework--Here I explain the homework expectations for the year including the Reading Log.
  • Webgrader--This will be the first year the parents will be able to view their child's grades online.  I want them to be careful not to through away the note that comes home the second week of school with their username and password.
  • School Supplies--I feel you can never have enough copies of the School Supply list.     
My only disappointment and maybe it is just me being computer challenged but I was not able to save my changes.  
I am going to enjoy what time I have left with a nice cool drink and a good book in my air-conditioned house.  

Sunday, July 26, 2015

First Grade Writing Workshop: Chapter 4

Chapter 4 is entitled, The Publication Process, however I found lots of mini-lesson ideas that I intend on using in my classroom. I wrote about three of my must do items.   


  1. Create a list of verbs on flash cards/pocket chart have the students act out the words.  That is the lesson!   Now leave the words up in the pocket chart and the students can add them to their writing.  
    Here is another great idea from First Grade Blue Skies.
2.  Another great lesson is called the Synonym Stretch, I found two great ideas from Pinterest to follow up the activity with.  
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3.  I don't know about you but I struggle with teaching my students how to revise their own work.  Judy Lynch has several ideas on how to approach this.  I am going to start with a couple of her suggestions:
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  • Reading Phones.....have the students reread their pieces in their reading phones.  I think the kids will have fun with this and it may slow them down long enough to reread.  


  • Use Red Pencils as you reread and correct your own rough draft.  I know my students love to be the teacher.
  1. Words left out
  2. Cross out extra words
  3. Check for punctuation
  4. Check for capitalization
  5. Circle shaky spellings

She also suggestions the book Punctuation Takes a Vacation to use as you teach a mini-lesson.  

Well this book is over so it's time to find a new book to read.  

Friday, July 24, 2015

Five for Friday -- July 24

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Believe it or not I did not do much school work this week. However I do have a couple things to share.  

1.  I enjoyed several sunsets by Lake Michigan and lots of reading. I finished my books, First Grade Writing Workshop and Initiative Eating. 

 2.  We did lots of bike riding.  There are some beautiful bike trails in Michigan.  We also did some wine tasting.

3.  The rest of the week I did lots of washing.......
I washed all my math center manipulatives and my letter tiles. 

4.  One day I took my mom to see my beautiful grand-daughter.  We had a great day playing and singing.  
5. I created this Healthy Living list for myself.  I am trying very hard to work on changing my habits.  I am refined my goals and created a bookmarks for myself. I generally reading at least three different books at a time.  
Thanks for stopping by to read. 

Friday, July 17, 2015

Five for Friday -- July 17


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1.  I created a Writing Folder for myself.  It has all the writing resources I will need for conferences.  I am excited to teach writing this year and try all the new ideas out.  


2.  I created a bookmark for myself to help me focus on what it important to me each day.  If you click on the image you can copy it and make your own as well.  
3.  I gathered together my bulletin board accents/pads of paper/name cards and organized them by themes.  The best part of the system is that the basket fits on my Ikea shelf tuck away in my craft room.  
4.  I have planned out my big Christmas project for my grand-daughter.  My mom and I are making her an Advent Calendar. Each little character or object will be made my hand with lots of love.   
5.  I finished my Welcome Bags for my students on Open House day.  I love doing my projects ahead of time so that when I am busy setting up my classroom I don't have these little fun type of projects hanging over my head.  


Thank you for stopping by to read my Five fantastic projects of the week.  Thank you Kacey for hosting the Five for Friday Party.  







Thursday, July 16, 2015

First Grade Writing Workshop Chapter 3


First Grade Writing Workshop:  Chapter 3 Keep It Going

First of all this chapter is intense.  It covers so many important topics:  Involving Parent/Buddy Volunteers, Training your Helpers, Assessing the Writing, Procedures for the First Grade Audience, More Mini Lessons Beyond the first six weeks (This was the bulk of the chapter.), and Conferences. 

There are so many wonderful ideas in this chapter there is no way I can write about all of them.  Seriously this is a “Must Read” book for Writer’s Workshop. 

What did I take away from this chapter that I want to incorporate in my classroom?


I created my own Writing Workshop folder.  Just like the folders I created for the students, I made one for myself.  A place to keep all my notes and record organized.  

At the beginning of my binder I have stickers for rewards when needed.  I have the same word reference sheets the students have so I can model using them during a conference.

Next I have the conference sheets that Ms. Lynch has in the back of her book.  I plan on copying them and putting them right in the binder.  
Next, I have several more pocket folders containing graphic organizers I might use during a conference with a student.  
  • My Topics
  • Description: 5 senses
  • Writing Rubric

Finally at the back of the binder I copied mini-lesson ideas Ms. Lynch suggestions. She has great mini-lessons that hit all the common core standards.  I know I will be referring to this book often throughout the school year.   

I like that Ms. Lynch has used a mini-lesson to talk about The Audience’s Responsible during book reading, especially how to ask questions.  I made a quick poster to hang up behind the “Sharing Chair”  as a reminder of how to start your question. 

I also took Ms. Lynch’s suggestion and I am adding my graphics to my Teaching Notebook for Writing Lessons.  I really want all my tools in one place. 

Ms. Lynch provides the idea of “Juicy Words” in one of her mini-lesson ideas.  Teaching word choice to make the stories exciting.  Making a list of juicy words during shared reading can help build vocabulary.  This is a great idea I want to incorporate into my teaching as well.

Books Ms. Lynch recommends for Mini-Lessons:
(She has several recommendations in the book.  I am only writing down the ones I think I already have in the classroom.)
Leads:  Ira Says Goodbye
Details:  Skippy Jones Series
Organization:  Edward and the Pirates
Problem/Solution:  Nate the Great
Point of View:  Somebody and the Three Blairs
Setting:  The Three Little Hawaiian Pigs and the Magic Shark
Voice:  Hey, Little Ant
Word Choice:  Click, Clack, Moo: Cows That Type

One more important idea I want to make sure I remember for conferencing is what to do when a student is stuck.  She uses a topic sheet (which I put in the writing folders) and helps them get started by drawing the hand graphic and filling it is with notes about the who, what, where, when, why of the story.  I know this will help a struggling writer. 

She also uses the story, Aunt Isabelle Tells a Good One, by Kate Duke, to teach her students to plan out the story.  I just purchased it on Amazon.  


I am looking forward to trying out some of these great ideas in my classroom.  
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