Thursday, September 5, 2013

Social Contract

Our district uses the Capturing Kids' Hearts process to promote positive behavior. One aspect of this process is building a Social Contract. The students brainstorm in small groups how they want to be treated by their peers, how they want to treat their peers, how they want to treat the teacher, and how they want the teacher to treat them. The groups then share those ideas and we add them to the contract. The ones with check marks were said by more than one group. This shows that those words are most important to our class. Each student then signed the contract to show that they agree to follow it. In our class the students also make happy faces of themselves to show that positive behavior is happier behavior.

School Rules

We have been spending quite a bit of time going over and practicing school rules and procedures. In one of those lessons, students wrote and illustrated one rule they could follow. They then shared their work with a neighbor and discussed additional ways that could follow school rules.

Wednesday, September 4, 2013

Koo Koo Kangaroo

As brain breaks and to get the wiggles out, we have been dancing to online videos by Koo Koo Kangaroo. I learned about these videos in a Gifted and Talented training this summer. Fellow teachers, if you have not seen this or done these with your class, you should. They have a YouTube channel and their own website. Our class favorite so far is "Dinosaur Stomp." The picture is a little dark because we turn off the lights so we can see the Promethean a little better.

What Do You Want to Learn?

As a class the students brainstormed things they wanted to learn in first grade. We charted those responses on a Circle Map. The students each completed a sentence about the one thing they old most like to learn. Then, as a part of a lesson on following directions, the students followed multi-step directions to color a Moseley Thunderbird.

This Summer

Last week the students drew a detailed picture of at least one thing they did this summer. They then wrote a personal narrative about their summer.

David Goes to School

We read Dvid Goes to School by David Shannon to practice following directions and to identify finding the parts of a book. After reading, the students created their own book with a title and author on the cover. On the inside, they wrote at least one rule they could follow from our class Social Contract.

Wemberley Worried

We recently read Wemberley Worried by Kevin Henkes. After reading, the students brainstormed their favorite parts of the story which we charted on a Circle Map. They then completed one sentence to record their favorite part and illustrated it.


We have been learning the poem "Crayons" to practice reading color words. We have also been working on our fluency. To hear the students reading, click this link: I have found that when the students know I am recording them and that they will have an audience besides their friends and teachers, they tend to worker harder on reading goals.

A Hunting We Will Go

We have been learning to read and sing "A Hunting We Will Go" as a way to practice fluency and identifying rhyming words. To hear a recording of the students singing, check out this link:

Monday, September 2, 2013

Phonics Genius iPad and iPhone App

One of my favorite phonics apps is Phonics Genius. The app has flash cards of short vowels, long vowels, blends, and digraphs. You have the option to have the words read aloud. This is great for introducing the specific sounds. The sound can then be taken off to have the students practice reading the words independently. The app also allows you to add your own phonics words. I plan on using the app for Daily 5, to introduce the weekly phonics focus, and in guided reading.

Sunday, September 1, 2013

Classroom Tour

If you've followed my blog for a while, you've already seen my classroom pictures over the years. The class is mostly the same as last year. If it works, why change it? I did switch out some fabrics to make it less distracting, created a larger word wall and calendar area, and sectioned off the white board. Other than that, not much has changed.

 This is our guided reading and math area. The student computer station is behind it. The built-in shelves contain our math tubs (red boxes), tutoring lessons (blue boxes), and teacher books (beige boxes). The rest is miscellaneous storage.
 This is our fluency work area. Our weekly poems are written on chart paper, laminated, and taped to clothes hangers. The students can practice reading to one another or alone. The baskets contain familiar nursery rhymes and songs.
 These are our Daily 5 book boxes. I purchased these from Steps to Literacy.
 The affirmation station is a place where students can write notes to one another for things such as good behavior, being helpful, doing well on a project, etc. Affirmations are a part of Capturing Kids' Hearts.
 This is when you first enter our class. The students place their homework folders on the shelf. It also stores our clipboards and treasure chest. Thanks to my dad for building this shelf!
 For safety, it is important to be able to cover the door's window in case of emergency. Since I do not sew, I was trying to think of a way to cover the window quickly. So, here is what I came up with. Using two Command Strips, I hung up an extendable curtain rod with wedge ends. I then used a tier length curtain to hang on it that I purchased at Target. In an emergency, all I have to do is pull the curtain over and untie the ribbon.
 Here is our helper chart, hand signals signs, and voice level meter.
 This shelf is where we keep our writing supplies for our Affirmation Station and Daily 5 Working on Writing.
 My students sit at individual desks that are put together in two long tables. We do most of our work around the room and on the floor so keeping the desks in tables gives us more space.
 For the first week of school, the students had a crayon writing and coloring book to work in upon arrival. For "Meet the Teacher" night, they were given a treat bag of high bounce balls. Fellow teachers, you can download the gift tag from my TpT store for free.
 This is our creation station and recycling area. Above the sinks is our math focus board.
 This is our classroom library. The book boxes are from Steps to Literacy and the shelves are from Target. I divide my books by themes except for the blue boxes. The blue boxes are divided into our favorite authors. The board above will be used for our Daily 5 anchor charts.
 I love this sign that I got for our classroom library from a local shop in Arlington, Texas.
 This is our new behavior clip system for K-2. The chart is from TpT.
 This is my new word wall area with book and manipulative storage below.
 This is our calendar wall. Below the calendar is a couch made out of a crib mattress, a crib sheet, and a body pillow. On each side of the couch are our Big Books and Buddy Books that we use for Read to Someone.
 This is the shared reading area. I display our daily objectives on the white board. My team types our objectives and print them to save time.
 This is our Promethean Board. I love integrating technology into our lessons. The teacher station is to the left of the board.
 This is the view from the front of our room.
 This is the view from the back of our room.
 This is the view from the front door of our room.
 This is the view from the teacher desk area.
 These are two bulletin boards outside of our classroom to welcome the students to first grade.
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