Sunday, October 13, 2013

Potato Head Fun

Ok well obviously I'm not the first one to incorporate the oh so popular spud into the classroom, but I just can't turn down a good theme! For me, it all started with the behavior incentive.  I've been using Mr. Potato Head pieces to collect classroom compliments for a few years and a handful of ideas have developed from there. So we'll start with a freebie...I created this printable to frame and sit beside my potato on my desk. My class begins with a blank spud and shoes and as they receive compliments from others in the hallway, library, etc. we add one piece for each compliment.  When he is complete, we have a potato chip party!

Along the way, I've collected several fun pieces to jazz up my Mr. Check out these sparkly options...
My family visits Disneyworld pretty frequently and the Once Upon a Toy store in Downtown Disney has a ginormous selection of potato parts...

Of course I HAD to have the Potato Peeps set from MelonHeadz!
Now on to the work...I wanted to find more ways to incorporate this fun fella into our work (a few years BP...Before Pinterest) and Mrs. Meacham set us right up in Writer's Workshop. She developed a lesson about the parts of your writing journal (we actually use a writing folder) using this hilarious Tedd Arnold read aloud.

After we read the book (and a handful of giggles), I use my giant stuffed Mr. Potato to talk about "parts." We label his parts with post it notes.  He's a permanent fixture in our room and the kiddos just love him.  A teacher was looking to get rid of him a few years ago and I was happy to adopt! My firsties draw and label his parts.

Next, I introduce our writing folders and discuss it's "parts."  I use the statement,  "Mr. Potato Head has parts and our Writer's Workshop folder has parts" multiple times during our discussion.  This year, after reflecting on the lesson, I wished I'd had a recording sheet for the activity.  As an extension, I'd have the students draw and label the parts of their folder.  I decided to go ahead and whip one up to have ready for next year. Here ya go!

This could be used for so many different lessons. Parts of a book, parts of a friendly letter, parts of a number sentence.  Oh the possibilities! I love it!!

And of course there are other fabulous activities in blog world and on Pinterest that use the Mr. as well!! I found activities on sequencing, the five senses, and a s-mashing book display.  

If you have a fun potato packed activity, I'd love to hear from you.  I'll add it to my spud file!

Monday, September 2, 2013

A Few Classroom Changes...

Well I survived week 1 and I'm gearing up to begin week 2.  I'd hoped to be able to join the teacher week linky and share some classroom photos.  However, my campus was last on the summer floor waxing tour and I didn't get into my building until the week before school.  It was CRA-ZY!! As many of you have seen HERE I totally redecorated my classroom last summer and changed to an owl theme.  So my plans this year didn't include a lot of change but I did update a few spaces.

Update 1 was my calendar / meeting board area.  I was totally inspired by a classroom that Schoolgirl Style decorated and decided to change my area up a bit.   The fab quatrefoil rug was my major investment for the year which I purchased from Overstock.  Here is a pic of the before and after. The tissue poms in the corner are from Party City. The stacked scalloped border is from Mardel.

My calendar headers were frog themed (which is what my room was decorated with 8 years ago!!) and it was time for them to head back to the pond. (aka...the storage closet) I made new month headers in my owl theme. (The months are not available to purchase at this point.)  I didn't just leave it at that though.  I'm currently obsessing with the whole mustache theme, so I added staches to my owls.  I've actually done that on a few things now and I'm lovin' it. 

Update 2 was my built in shelf area.  Although it was fairly organized with my books and math manipulatives, it was the only area in my room with primary colors.  I just couldn't handle it anymore.  I also moved the rug that was in front of my calendar before, to this area and added my daughters outgrown Ikea table.  Wala!!

Here's a closer pic of the upcycled book boxes.  I was not ready to purchase all new boxes, so the pink are spray painted and the blue is duck tape!  

The changes were much needed and are working out great! Hope everyone is off to an excellent start this year.

PS-I totally forgot to mention that I was able to attend the North Texas Blogger meet up a few weeks ago and LOVED it.  The food was fabulous and I was in celebrity blogger heaven!

Wednesday, July 31, 2013

Sarah's Elephants...Adorbs!

Holy cuteness. I just finished up a new classroom decor set and I am just lovin' it!

Ok, let me give you a little background first. Last year our first grade team received a new member. She was a veteran teacher and fit in right away.  I made the Birdies & Bunting set for her.  Well, a few weeks in to the year she was needed in a special needs classroom at our school and was excited to return to her passion.  At that point, we had a 1st grade class with no teacher!!! OMG!  I was so nervous about what we would do. Luckily Sarah, a brand new college graduate, had taken an aide position on our campus at the beginning of the year. She agreed to go take her certification tests and step into 1st grade immediately.  I was so thankful to have her.  But she didn't have the typical first year teacher experience.  Don't get me wrong it was hard tough challenging like all of our first years, but most importantly she didn't get to do all of the things that we get excited about doing in our first classroom. No choosing the theme, decorating the bulletin boards, or setting up the layout.  She basically moved into someone else's room.  I know that it never felt like "hers!"  She wasn't there at the beginning of the year for "Meet The Teacher Night." She didn't get to teach beginning of the year procedures. All of that, while trying to learn the 1st grade content.  I assured her, almost daily, that it would never be that hard again.  And she made it one piece...and doing a great job.  Along the way, she also became a critical asset to our team. Of course she will miss that group, but we were so excited to celebrate the end of school and the completion of her first year of teaching. 

This summer we've been talking about her new room and how she wants to set up and decorate. We checked TPT, looked to Pinterest for a little inspiration, and discussed a handful of themes. While at a training a couple of weeks ago she said, "You know I've really always liked elephants!" And that was that.  I was so motivated. I was going to make exactly what she wanted. We were going to create a set fit for her. 

Now that the set is finished and printed I feel so much excitement for her.  I sent her a picture yesterday of her goodies ready to go.  I hope that it will help make for an amazing 2nd, 1st year of teaching!!

PS- Did I mention that I am IN LOVE with these darlin' elephants too?

Here are the sets added to my tpt...

(Graphics/Fonts By: Erin Bradley, Cara Carroll, Nina's Design Studio, JW Illustrations, DreamlikeMagic, Ms. Talley)

I will post pics of her classroom in a few weeks, once we get it all going.  Be back soon!

Friday, July 5, 2013

Favorite Pin Friday!

This linky over at Cara's fabulous First Grade Parade is just perfect for me today.  I worked this morning to begin the process of re-organizing my Pinterest page.  Previously, I only had one education related board called "Teacher Style." It had about a gazillion pins and was not real easy to find what I was looking for based on memory.  So today, I created a few more boards to help me (and you!) stay a little more organized with my pin obsession.  Perfect!

Since I've been organizing my teacher related board, I start with my new favorite education pins.

I am lovin' this craftivity by A Cupcake for the Teacher. I can't wait to make this the first week of school.

This vowel pack by Teacher to the Core is just adorbs.  The color and design have my name written all over them! And come on, as a first grade teacher, I've always wanted to figure out a way to use the cute Chicka Chicka books on a level appropriate for my firsties. BAM!

 At first glance, this pin may not seem education related BUT I am in need of a new read aloud chair since I'm afraid mine won't make it another year! Tear.  I would love to have this cute little chair added to my classroom posted by F is for First Grade

In the "take me shopping" department, I pinned this fabulous little return address label that I plan to order from MoxyPaperie on Etsy

The hubbie and I have been daydreaming of adding a pool while battling the Texas summer heat and I saw this amazing design pin linked to IZI Funny. *Disclaimer-I'm not sure about the content of the remainder of this site, but did enjoy the Beautiful Nature Made by People tab.* I mean Oh. My. fun would this be!?

A little home decor...This is actually from Walmart and is called the Emily Accent Chair!

This quote is posted on my "Wonderful Words" board and is very humbling to me! I kind of like to switch it around for me though and think about not comparing my middle to someone else's beginning!

And I've always wanted to post this one of my sparkly little blog so here it is...

I hope that everyone has a wonderful weekend!

Thursday, July 4, 2013

I "Mustache" you a question...

Who loves summertime...I do!!!  Sleeping in, catching up, family time, reflecting on the past year, and getting ready for the upcoming school year.  Also summer is a perfect time to give my blog and TPT store some TLC!

As I logged on, I noticed that I am 2 followers away from 1,000. Woohooo! That is so exciting.  I'll need to put together a sparkly little giveaway.  

A year ago, I shared this post with a picture of my door all decorated for college & career week.  This year I focused on career instead of college and I really wanted to figure out a way to incorporate my new obsession with mustaches. The result...
We took a picture of each student wearing a neon mustache and they wrote what they wanted to do/be when they grow up.  I loved the way that it turned out.  giggles
(Bright letters are from Frog Street Press)

For all of you owl lovers out there, check out my bff's door... at 3rd Grade's a Hoot! Too Cute!

Back soon with classroom photos, new products, and that 1,000 follower giveaway.

In the meantime, I'm working on setting up my blog in blog lovin.

Sunday, May 5, 2013

Math Flashcard "Monstage"...with Freebie!

Well earlier this year I posted here about storing word wall flashcards into our daily binders.  After cleaning out my own first grader's binder, I realized that I never posted the math flashcard pics and printable!!! This one actually took me awhile to figure out. I knew that I wanted to use the super cute alien/monster duck tape.  I also wanted to figure out how to incorporate the word monster or alien into the label.  The results....
So I did have to explain to my firsties what a montage was, in order for them to pick up on the "mon-stage" reference.  I really don't think they were as concerned at that point with the words as much as they loved the super cool duck tape! giggles
The labels turned out too fun!
(Graphics & Fonts by: Springhill Graphics, Kevin & Amanda)

Of course you can grab your own set of labels by clicking here!! They are made to fit Avery 5163. 

If you've got another fun idea for a play on the word monster, alien, or space that would work for flashcard storage...I'd love to see your comments. Perhaps I can re-vamp for next year!

Wednesday, April 10, 2013

Sloth Love...with a freebie of course!

I absolutely adore spring and everything about it.  It is probably my favorite time of year for themes... rain forests, insects, ocean....just love!! Well right now we are in the midst of the rain forest.  We've written about crocs, explored research questioning, and now my personal favorite, THE SLOTH!!  These little guys make me smile. I just think they are 7 kinds of cute.  Now on to the work...

This week our scope and sequence focuses on story elements.  We've touched on these elements throughout the year in isolation but now we are drawing attention specifically to comparing these elements in stories by the same author. I was excited to be able to introduce and post these fabulous posters from Leslie Ann at Life in First Grade that I'd purchased earlier in the year...
You can get them HERE!
I chose to focus on characters, setting, main idea, theme, and sequencing this week for my firsties.

 Story elements, an author study, plus our rain forest theme meant one perfect combination...

My kids love hearing this story every year! And it was a fabulous fit for our Shared Reading lesson.

Today, I divided my kiddos into groups and had each group illustrate or record an assigned story element onto chart paper after hearing the story again. I whipped up this freebie to record our group work and display with our sloth craftivity which we will create on Friday.

And just for giggles, I MUST include this little guy that I fell in love with during our visit to the Dallas World Aquarium a few years back.  He just hangs out above the visitors. Totally head over heels for him!

I hope that you all are able to enjoy a little of the glitter that comes with this time of year and the fast approach of...dare I mention... summer break!!

Sunday, March 3, 2013

Math Strategy Posters...Plus My NEW Favorite Thing!!

Oh my word...I am all giggles over our campus' newest purchase! A COLOR POSTER MAKER!!! I am completely obsessed and having to pace myself to keep from running every single glittery printable that I can get my paws on through the thing. It is just amazing! (more on that in a minute...)

I don't post very often about math.  I have a huge passion for literacy and I'm sure that's evident by my previous posts and TPT products.  The other reason, is that we team plan on my campus.  My fabulous first grade teammates do a wonderful job of covering the other subject areas. A week or so ago we created anchor charts for our addition and subtraction strategies. My chart paper is quite large and I was worried about finding a spot to hang them on my shrinking wall space.  I figured it was the perfect opportunity to put the new poster maker to use! Soooo...I created a set of printables with the strategies.  Check them out...
You can get them HERE in my TPT store! ($2)
(Graphics & Fonts by: JW Illustrations, Melonheadz, DreamlikeMagic, Print Candee, Kevin and Amanda)
*Unfortunately at this time, I will not be able to make any custom changes to the strategies.  Sold as is.)

Now back to my new obsession.  Time for the magic...
Oh my!! Just amazing.
 And a perfect fit for my space! (Sorry for the pic quality on this one!)

Since I'm in a math-y kind of mood, I can't leave you without a freebie.  Here's a little doubles poster that I made to add to my meeting board!

You can get your own copy by clicking HERE!
(Graphics & Fonts by: ErinBradleyDesigns, DreamlikeMagic, Small Town Clipart, Kevin and Amanda)

I hope that everyone has a wonderful week and is looking forward to an upcoming break!

Monday, February 11, 2013

Pinkalicious & Cupcakes!

I love the week of Valentine's Day. Yes party day makes for a crazy afternoon, but it's the week that we read one of my FAVORITE books...Pinkalicious!! I just adore this book.  How could you not with this amount of pink in one place?  Even my boys get into it.  I had a little giggle today when after reading her call herself "Pinkerbell" one of the boys spontaneously yelled "Red-erbell" after she turns red.  haha.  Our theme for this week and last is cupcakes, so this fits perfectly. I use and just adore this little pack from First Grade Fanatics...

Click HERE to grab your copy.

We are also reviewing long a word families this week. I made a little gameboard for practice that matches our theme and thought I'd share as a freebie.

That's it for now Pink-tastic friends. Enjoy your Valentine's Day!!!

Monday, February 4, 2013

I'm back...Plus Owl Punctuation

Well I took a little unintentional blog break! It has been a rough cold/flu season for both my classroom and home.  In my house alone, we had 5 cases of strep and 2 cases of the flu...and I only have 3 in my family. YUCK!  Anyhow, the point is I'm refreshed, moving forward, and ready to throw a little glitter....

Let's start with a fun product that I added to my TPT store.  In my classroom, we've been working on punctuation. I needed to re-vamp my punctuation anchor chart this year to match up to my owl decor.  Here is a picture of the final anchor chart.
(I can't find the original author of the punctuation statement. If it's yours, let me know so that I can give you credit!)

I've put together a poster pack which includes the 3 signs above, a punctuation definition poster, and the 3 sample sentences. Check it out...
Click HERE to head to my TPT store to grab your set!

I hope that everyone is doing well and looking forward to Spring as much as I am! Back soon with a freebie!