Sunday, August 17, 2014

Ants Close Read {Giveaway}

I've had one of those weekends where I find myself sorta "over" being an adult.  I am wishing my biggest worry and responsibility was doing my homework and whether I can get by not cleaning my room.  Since when did I become the person responsible for EVERYTHING?  When did I grow up?  
I'm just over it.
But, I guess I AM an adult…and I am responsible. 
So between mowing grass with a push mower, insurance adjusters and quotes for our tree removal and storm damage, birthday parties, prep and planning for next week, I also managed to complete my Ants Close Read {here}.

I added it to the Close Read Bundle #1 {here}…so if you purchased that bundle, you can go and download it again to get the new pack.  For those of you that also bought Bundle #2, I appreciate your patience and I should be adding the first pack to it next weekend =)

To go along with my ant close read, why not try out First Grade Parade's "Hey, Little Ant" Activity, which we did this week and my kids LOVED!
 Even my Jack liked it…look what a great job he did:
Let's all have a great week and try to be ok with the fact that we are adults!
Leave a comment if you'd like a chance to win my Ants Close Read =)

Wednesday, August 13, 2014

Should Kids Play in School? {Stretch and Connect Builders Review}

Lakeshore Learning asked me recently if I would like to review one of their products.  I decided I wanted to try Stretch and Connect Builders, they looked fun and I wanted to breathe new life into my Free-Time Fridays!  Yes, I allow my students to have about an hour of free time on Fridays.  
They play.  They have fun.  They talk.  They laugh.  They interact with each other in an unstructured way.  They enjoy it.  Shhh….please don't tell anyone!
They create.
It makes me sad to know that I feel guilty for letting my kids play.  I think play is one of the most valuable ways children learn, especially in the early grades.  I understand rigor and standards…I understand kids need to learn more than they've ever been expected to learn at an earlier age. I get that it's important.  But so is play!
Ok, I'm getting off my soapbox (temporarily, more of it at the end of this post!!)
Back to the review:
The first one to test them out was Jack.  He didn't really pay attention to the box at first, but once he did, he was SOLD.  He built a turret.  He refused to let anyone take it apart.  I think that means that I made a good choice, don't you?
Then he made adjustments:
Jack tested, Jack approved.  Thank you Lakeshore for giving me the opportunity to try them out and give my kids another way to play!
Now before you go tattling on me about allowing my kids to play, take a moment and watch this 
TED Talk about the four letter word we don't allow in schools enough: PLAY!


Monday, August 11, 2014

Reading Corners {Oriental Trading}

When Oriental Trading contacted me about creating a Reading Corner in my classroom, I was a little surprised.  I know their company mostly for their party supplies and craft goodies…but after visiting their website's special section for Reading Corners, I realized I hadn't been paying very close attention to their site!  I spent a lot of time looking at all the different products and I finally decided to not do just a single "theme"…instead, I wanted to create a space that helps make reading fun!
I got this great circus "Big Top" canopy, perfect for a reading spot…I even got the big, bright pillows from Oriental Trading!
 The reading strips are perfect for kids like my son who need help focusing on a single line of text.
 I found a Cat in the Hat Pointer and Word Swatters, too!
Did I mention that I decided to get a Reading Tunnel, too?  It's perfect for reading…I can fold it up and store it easily and then open it when we need a special spot for reading!
Oriental Trading had everything I needed to create a Reading Corner that reflect my bright classroom…and fun approach to learning!

Sunday, August 10, 2014

Classroom Reveal 2014 {Meet the Teacher FREEBIE}

Ok, so here it is (so far)…we started school last Thursday and I figured I needed to go ahead and share the pictures before my room gets that "lived in" look!
My new balance beam from IKEA works perfectly for seating at my carpet area:

All my rugs are from IKEA!
My new desk pockets…I am IN LOVE with them!  They are from Really Good Stuff {here}
IKEA's rug and balance beam are perfect for my Word Work Area!
 Listening station:
Math Cart:
My writing station:
 Letters and Sounds:

 The loft:
 Word Work:
Behind my desk:
My guided reading table:
Station Rotation Chart:
The chalkboard banners and frame are from Hobby Lobby.
The banner over my windows is from Target's Party Section.
For Meet the Teacher I got my students large magnets that I found at Dollar Tree and attached a tag that says, "Let's Stick Together in First Grade!"  They were a huge hit as the kids were occupied walking around the room trying to see what was magnetic and what was not.
I created a file that has a tag for 1st, 2nd, and Kindergarten…and a generic "Our Class" tag…Get your
And my hallway displays (previously shared on instagram)
And yes, there are only 16 names…and 2 haven't come yet, so my roll is actually 14 right now =)  I can't complain!
I hope you enjoyed this year's tour of my classroom and that I didn't bore you too much!
Oh, and if you have purchased my Dice Games Bundle, do download it again, I just added the Back to School Pack!  You can find the bundle {here} and the new pack {here}
One more picture, me and my favorite first grader: