June 29, 2013

Currently in July

WHY? Why does it have to be July already!? I swear, summer goes by quicker than any other time of year (tear). Sometimes I wish I wasn't constantly on the go and could sit on my behind on the couch all day so at least it would seem to go by slower.
Even though it's not quite July yet, I'm linking up early because this girl will be on a plane July 1st!
Listening: As much as I love him, I swear, this man is on his phone talking more than any woman I know! Is it sad sometimes I get jealous of his phone...pfff!

Loving: You may or may not know the hubs if a fire fighter. The people he works with make up our second family and it is always so much fun to get altogether and go out with our second fam. Cheers to tonight!

Thinking: Read opening statement.

Wanting: Oh my word! Texas humidity is at it's worst in the early morning. Whew! Once you step outside, it's like you've entered a sauna. And within 5 minutes, you are in a steam shower. Calgon, take me away!

Needing: Whoop! Hubs and I are leaving (on a jet plane----the song's in my head now) next Monday! We are headed to Grand Cayman for a weeeeeek! I cannot wait to lay on the beach, snorkel, and escape the humidity.

Tips, tricks, or hints: The one thing I dislike the most is when someone leaves a comment, to which I reply through using email, and they are a "no-reply blogger". In case  you didn't know you were one and want to check simply follow these steps:

1. Go to your blogger profile (on homepage in top right corner)
2. Find the button that says "edit profile" and click it.
3. Find the box that says "show my email address" and make sure it is checked.

Now when you leave comments on blogs, the bloggers will be able to respond to you (especially if you have a question) via email! Ta-da!

Have a safe and happy 4th of July!


June 28, 2013

Making the Move to Bloglovin'

Forget about Bloglovin', what's Google Reader, besides something that is disappearing in a few days??
Seriously y'all...am I behind with the times or what!? I never knew there was another way to read my blog reel other than using Blogger Dashboard (shocker I know). Change, who doesn't love change? So, since I am already a step behind I'm jumping on the Bloglovin' bandwagon with a most confused look on my face! I would absolutely have some sort of attack if I woke up July 1 and my list of beloved blogs had....poof....vanished!

 If you don't want that to happen to you, follow the instruction below. Once you have an account created, head on back and follow me by clicking on the button below!
Click on the button above to follow my blog on Bloglovin!
If you haven't signed up yet it's quite simple to do. Follow these steps below:
1. Visit bloglovin.com
2. Sign up for an account (it's free!)
3. A request to import your blog reel from Google Reader to Bloglovin' will pop up. Click yes. {All blogs you follow will magically be displayed (similar to Blogger Dashboard)}

Hope this helps to answer any questions!


June 27, 2013

Throwback Thursday {Alliterations}

I've been blogging now for {almost} 1 year and think it's a perfect time to link up with Cara Carroll at The First Grade Parade for a little Throwback Thursday!!
 Today I'm visiting a post from April 2013 inspired by...you guessed it...Cara! When studying Poetry this year, we spent a week learning Alliterations. This was --by far-- my students favorite type of poetry. They ate it right up! Take a look at our learning below!
This pass week we focused on alliterations. These, by far, have been my kiddos favorites. I shared some well know alliterations {more like tongue twisters for me since our writing block is at the end of the day when my brain is fried} like "Peter Piper....." and "Sally sells sea shells....".  Of course they had heard of them before but had no idea they go by the big, bad name of alliterations.
Here are a few activities we had fun with this week:
We have been learning about adjectives the past six weeks, so this activity from the amazing Cara Carroll, fit perfectly into our plans! Read her post about alliterations {HERE}. Each students came up with an adjective that described them and started with the first letter of their name. Some needed assistance from their peers (who described some of them well...needless to say) and a few came up with theirs on their own.
My friend Seth, who says he is selfish, needed a little less than 3 seconds to think of his. Seth is selfish.  Then asks the question "Mrs. Griffith, what does selfish mean?" My answer: "Selfish is when you don't care about anyone but yourself." Seth's reply: "Oh, well that doesn't describe me at all.  But I still like the word!" Needless to say, that's what we wrote on the chart!
Here are a few alliterations put into artwork.

Another day, I put some magnetic letters in a paper bag and had each student pick a letter. I told them that with this letter, they had to make an alliteration sentence using at least 5 words that started with the letter they picked. Here are a few pieces of their work:

"Larry lobster loves lattice and lickerish."
"Allgader Alley like Allyson allgader and Allyson allgader like apples."
I wanted to leave you with a few good reads for teaching alliteration to your students.

Head on over and link up! Can't wait to see some great posts I may have missed!


June 24, 2013

MIA and Whole Group Instruction

Summer is in full swing and going by w--a--y too fast! I mean, 3 weeks already!? Last week I was MIA but for a good reason. I took a girls trip with my mom, grandma, and second cousin on an Alaskan cruise!!! I definitely packed way too warm (did you hear about the heat wave). It was in the high 70's and made it to 80 two of the days we were there. So much for escaping the Texas heat for a week...although the humidity was nice to get away from for a few days! Here's a peek of last week!

I must admit, getting back to reality...rather quickly with a training this morning, was harder than I thought. I really did miss reading my blogs though (tear). Having a weeks worth of reading to catch up on is rough!
I'm starting off the week by linking up with The Applicious Teacher for her weekly summer linky party.
This week focuses on whole group teaching in your classroom. Here's a peek at how I teach whole group style!
 Calendar/Carpet: Our whole group meeting area is called "The Information Hut" or better known as the carpet. After announcements each morning, we meet in this area (I put duct tape on the floor to enclose this space so they have a "box" to sit in). This is where we do read alouds, shared reading, calendar time, Smartboard interactive lessons, etc. We also do a lot of graphing and making anchor charts in this area to record our learning. We spend the majority of the day in this area when we are learning new concepts.
Desk Groupings: I teach phonics daily and during this time students remain at their individual desks which stay in groups of 4-6. I like to make this whole group learning interactive.  They each get a sock and marker and we write words on our desks after I introduce our sound pattern for the week. I also call students up to share their work on the Smartboard at this time.
I also have a document camera (ELMO) that is on my desk and can project what is under it onto the Smartboard. I use this for whole group practice and for checking independent practice, normally with math and grammar worksheets.  They love to come up and see their hand writing...to them it's one of the coolest things!
Those are the 2 main places where the students or I am located when we are having whole group instructions.  Make sure to head over to The Applicious Teacher's linky to read about other whole group teaching areas through the eyes of other teacher bloggers...and go ahead, link up too!


June 14, 2013

What's Your Classroom Decor {Linky Party}

I don't know about you, but everyday I walk into my room I get a smile on my face!  I just adore the cuteness I created this year for my firsties and I.  There is just something about getting to decorate your own classroom that makes you happy! Enough of my random rambling and onto my classroom tour.  By the time you get through all the pictures you will probably notice 2 things: my favorite color is red and I am crazy about animal prints!

Here we go:
We'll start with my desk area, bookshelves, math manipulatives and awesome desk skirt my sweet mom made for me this summer!
Next up is my guided reading area where I meet with small groups for teaching reading strategies or doing tutorials. And I'm very lucky to have my window : )
Computer and Listen to Reading Centers.  New this year, I left a blank space on the wall to hang anchor charts for the kiddos to refer back to after new instruction is introduced.
On top is the Writer's Eye bulletin board with the writing process steps and punctuation station. 
On bottom is actually where the students will sit when they are working on their writing.  There are all different types of writing utensils (pens, markers, crayons, pencils, crazy scissors) and I will put out different paper once writing styles are introduced. Can't forget the crate seats I made with the help from my hubby!
My new and improved library for this year! I actually ended up moving it mid year due to having a Smartboard installed!!
Daily 5 book boxes (giving credit to the hubs again for building me shelves to store them on--love him)!
This may just be my favorite part of the room, our meeting area/calendar which I call the "Information Hut". I also moved this meeting area mid year because of the Smartboard also.
I've disguised my cabinets...on the left is where the kiddos will make their Daily 5 choices. On the right is where I display their good work, which I call the "Pride Board". I made their individual displays with scrapbook paper.
Word wall is a must.  We also make a class promise at the beginning of the year which I will write on the blank chart after we come up with it together.  I also have their cubbies as well as our specials schedule/school map/lunch menu right beside the door.
 Here is part of my behavior management system (clip chart). It also just got a new revamp. Check that post out {HERE}.
This is where I have the students turn in their work.  This year, to start off I am going to have them highlight their name because what 1st grader always remembers to put their name?  I also put a little reminder for them to check their work for capitals, periods, and finger spaces.
 Last but not least, is my happy birthday bulletin board and a space for the safari super star of the week!
I hope my classroom tour has given you some ideas for the future! Feel free to ask any questions you may have. Don't forget to stop by The Applelicious Teacher's Blog for this fun linky party that changes weekly!

But...I didn't do it! {Classroom Management}

I know we are in the heat (no pun intended) of summer and teachers don't really want to begin thinking about next year already...ok maybe some of us do...but being the "planner" that I am, I had to revamp my classroom management plan.
For the past 2 years, I have used a clip chart in my classroom for managing behavior. I implement it starting day 1.  I think it is SUPER important to explain and identify your classroom expectations and rules right away. This promotes consistency and lets the students know what they are held accountable for.
 Old to new!
On the first day of school, we read the story David Goes to School and afterwards make a list of things that David did that we wouldn't do in the classroom (do not) and the things that he did correctly (do).

Next, we brainstorm together as a class what the students think would be good rules for our classroom. Believe it or not, after seeing the outrageous things David did in the story, they come up with almost all rules that I have in mind for them to follow. We put together a classroom promise that includes these rules, and each student signs it.
After they know what is expected of them behavior wise, I introduce the clip chart to them.  We talk about what would happen if they broke one of the rules we created. They learn that they will move their clip down, and depending on the severity of the action, they will receive a consequence for their action. They also learn that they can do positive things in the classroom (helping others, being a model citizen, etc.) which would lead to them moving their clip up.
With all this in mind...here is how I implement the final product. Introducing....my *NEW* behavior management plan!!! It's available in a primary color scheme or bright color scheme.

Discipline: Each day, students begin on "Ready to Learn". Students move their clip down when a rule is broken. They receive a consequence depending on the rule broken. Behavior is communicated with the parent by a communication log that goes home in a daily folder for the parent to check and sign. Students will start over on "Ready to Learn" the next day. {If students continue to exhibit poor behavior, they may be asked to move their clip multiple times in one day}.
Positive Reinforcement: When students are seen doing something good in the classroom, they will be asked to move their clip up. How I manage this is explained below in the next 3 slides. These go with the "Roar About" packet. The directions for the "Hoot About" packet are the same with colors changed:
I have uploaded this classroom management tool which includes the clip chart and coupon catalog with coupons and tickets to my TpT store for you to purchase if you feel it is something that would work for you!


 I would love to hear how you manage behavior, both positive and negative, in your classroom!
{And for sticking with me this far through this L-O-N-G post I will give this away to the first person who leaves a comment}
Theywill also be on sale this weekend only!


June 8, 2013

Surviving the Last Week!

Our school year came to an end this Thursday! It was a happy moment for us all...teachers and students. We did a lot of celebrating throughout the week. Here's a peek at some of the fun we had!
 We had our end of the year party and awards celebration on Monday. My much creative room mom made these precious snacks for us to eat after our awards presentation in the classroom. {If you look closely, the bear is in an inner tube!} They thought they were so cool!

These "Silly Awards" were to die for and a B-I-G hit with all of the kids and parents. A few of them had us really laughing! Check them out {here}. Along with a silly award, each students also got a gift from myself and their classmates. If you missed my post about EOY gifts check it out {HERE}.
I also wanted to keep the little wheels in their brains turning this summer. So I snatched up this "Ready Made for Second Grade" packet from A Year of Many Firsts for them to work on a little a time this summer.
We had a little LOT of fun with shaving cream on our desks. We watched a few movies, had some free draw time, held a dance party, and played games all day. What do you do to keep your kinds "under control" the last few days to survive??

I saved the best for last! My favorite part of the year ending is actually looking forward to the next year. After 2 years of not really having anyone my age and in the same stage of life as myself at school, I was SO excited to find out there is not only 1 but 2 amazing teachers joining our school next year! I was SUPER stoked and asked them to dinner. I prepared a little welcome gift for them. Here's what I put inside:
*Purple and Gold Bucket (our district's colors)
*A to-do list for a place to write down everything they have to do as a 1st year teacher
*A G2 pen (my favorite) for filling out their lists
*A nail file and polish for the days they need to go home and pamper themselves
*Apple Hand Sanitizer to stay away from all the germs they will encounter
As another year comes to an end, here is to summer and the 70 days of relaxation that wait ahead!