Thursday, September 22, 2011

Center Updates!!!

So, I am LOVING using the center checklist I created – it makes managing centers so much easier.  I am still having some minor management issues, but I have finished with my assessments and am ready to really begin teaching guided reading and guided writing, and some day guided math – lol.  Math centers are a little rougher, because they are at the end of the day, and we don’t have the same time slot every day, so the routine’s not as consistent.  Here are some pictures of my kiddos hard at work at writing centers:

Sight Word Center – matching the letters to their sight words


Handwriting center – writing a sentence, using finger spaces and capitols.


Free Write Center – I can’t wait to see the story that goes with this picture!



Don’t forget to enter the FB contest – the last day is Friday – and win all of my cute clipart.  I used some of the Halloween stuff to make calendar numbers yesterday, and I can’t wait to put them up for October!

Sunday, September 18, 2011

Do you “like” Raki’s Rad Resources?

Hey there – are you on Facebook?  I am addicted to FB in a MAJOR way, and I even have a Raki’s Rad Resources page on FB.  On my FB page, I appletree5put updated pics of my classroom, post little snidbits about my classroom or products, and ask for advice – like what do you do for your listening centers?  Jump on over to my FB page and like it – then post a comment telling me that you did and I’ll enter you into a contest to win ALL of Raki’s Rad Resources’ Clip Art for FREE.  Entries end with the work week – Friday September 23rd at 5:00 pm for me – 1:00 pm EST.

I also follow a bunch of blogs using FB.  Don’t know who’s on FB?  Check out the Lesson Plan Diva’s Linky Party for all kinds of blogs that also have FB pages.

Center Struggles

So, two weeks in and I’m already struggling with centers.  I am so used to teaching upper grades that are so much more independent than these children.  Plus, I have short chunks of time with which to work.  Here is a look at my schedule:


I have 3 good sections of time for centers, but figuring out how to manage them has been a challenge.  I was originally trying to rotate my children through 3 centers, plus me.  However, this amount of movement caused chaos in my room.  Then another teacher said that her kids stay at one center for the whole time and switch each day.  I tried this, but apparently my centers aren’t long enough, and my kids lose interest.  So, next week, we are trying a compromise.  We will be using the schedule below (click on it to get a schedule and the forms that I am using with it for FREE) and kids will switch centers once, so that they should go to 2 centers a day (except for Math on Tues. and Fri).  I am hoping this will allow enough movement to keep them focused, but not so much that they lose it.  I will let you know how it goes as the week progresses.


BTW – If you haven’t seen the TPT newsletter, my Reading Logs were chosen to be a part of it!!  I am super excited!  I am also having FB page contest, so don’t forget to enter!

Thursday, September 15, 2011

Celebration Sale

After 3 years on Teachers Pay Teachers, I have accomplished a milestone!  I have earned enough this quarter for a paper check.   (I won’t actually get a paper check because I can’t cash it in Morocco, but still, it’s a milestone!)  This money will help to pay for my Grandma's ticket to visit us in Morocco. To celebrate - I am putting everything at my store on sale for the next 2 days!!! Take advantage – my gain is your gain!

Also, I am in need of advice taking myself from an intermediate (3rd grade) mindset to a primary (1st grade) mindset.  Do you have any advice?  I’ll blog more about details later – must go cook dinner now!  (I do love being a working mommy! – Here is a picture of two of my three beautiful boys!)100_5648

Monday, September 12, 2011

My First Week

Well, I survived my first week teaching First grade (sorry this post is a little late – busy weekend), and unbelievably, it went really well!!!  We worked very hard on developing our routine and getting management under control.  For management, I am using a star chart.  Each student has a Dr. Seuss hat that they move up or down to earn stars – they start on 3 stars each day.  If they earn 15 stars for the week, they get to go to “Friday Party”.  Then, those with more stars can go to special centers (18 stars for Kids’ Yoga; 20 stars for computer time).  It was very helpful to motivate my students, and hopefully it will motivate the 4 boys who missed the party to be on their best behavior next week!

I also finally got my word wall and calendar area up!  Here are some pictures, get the word wall labels here, or by clicking on the picture.  We are using some of my husband’s lovely clipart in our calendar numbers, get them by clicking on the picture.  The rest of the calendar stuff came from – a great site my lovely friend Barbara turned me on to.


Now the really exciting part – my kids rotated through centers 3 times in 1 day!!!  We did reading centers, writing centers and math centers!!  Here’s hoping that the center rotations go as well this week, then I might be able to finish my assessments! 

Monday, September 5, 2011

First Day of School & A Flash Sale

Wow!  I survived my 1st day of teaching 1st grade in Morocco.  It was a 100_5641crazy, busy day, but it was also a good day.  Of the 18 students on my list, 11 showed up.  One little boy almost didn’t make it and kept trying to run out of class because he decided none of his friends were in my class and that wasn’t fair, but he settled down after an hour or so.  Today, we did our number aerobics, read The Cat in the Hat, made Cat in the Hat Glyphs and did our September writing (Grab a copy by clicking on the picture below).  Check out the pictures of our work.  (Yes the glyphs are hanging from the ceiling – I love not having to worry about the Fire Marshall!!)  Every month, on the first day of the month, I am having my students do a writing piece.  This pieces is 100_5642going to be hung up for a month, and then put away for a memory book that I will make  at the end of the school year.  We got a lot accomplished, and I am quite happy with how it went. 

Here are a few more “differences” between my school here and the school I taught at in the states:

1.  My kids get 2 recesses, one in the morning and one immediately after they finish lunch.  Both recesses are “group” recesses where they are free to play with kids from other classes and other grades.

2.  My kids receive 40 minutes of French instruction every day.  (In 2nd grade they will receive 40 minutes of Arabic AND 40 minutes of French.)  The French teachers comes to my class and speaks ONLY French to the students the entire time she is there.

3.  The day is an hour longer than I am used to.  In Georgia, my school day run from 8 am to 2 pm, here my school day runs from 8 am to 3 pm.

Okay, now for the FLASH sale.  I am late to the punch on this, as I was EXHAUSTED when I got home and did not get on the computer and find out about it until just now.  However, aparently on September 5th – if you go to TPT and use the Coupon Code FLASH you will get 5% off.  I quickly ran to TPT and put my store on a 10% off sale, so that you can get 15% off!!!  Since I was running late, I even extended my 10% off sale until September 7th, so hurry over and stock up.

Thursday, September 1, 2011


How many of you would LOVE someone to make your copies, do your lamination etc. etc.?  When I started this year and they said that there was someone to do all these things, I was so excited.  However, after waiting for those people to do these things and not being able to just get in and get them done, I’ve decided I am not excited anymore.  It’s not the fault of the people who are in charge of printing, copying and laminating – they work very hard.  But it is not the only job they have.  The person who can print in color (yes there is only one) is also IT support.  The person who copies and laminates is also in charge of supplies.  So both of these nice gentlemen are EXTREMELY busy, and I understand why my stuff is not done.  However, I would really, really, really like to hang up my word wall and my calendar BEFORE my kids walk in the door on Monday.  However, without these items and no teacher stores handy, I do not think this is going to happen.  Sad smile  Oh well, teaching will go on regardless!

aerobicsNeedless to say, no pictures today – but here is a link to the Number Aerobics Poster I made (and sent off to be printed in color – still waiting to get it back).  I can NOT take credit for this idea.  A FABULOUS Kindergarten teacher at my old school did number aerobics to get her kids going every day.  Each group of ten from 1 – 100 gets a movement and kids move while they count.  All I did is make a pretty visual poster to go along with the movements.  (Click on the picture of the poster to get a copy from Google Docs.)  In my version of Number Aerobics 1-10 is clapping your hands, 11 – 20 is stomping your feet, 21 – 30 is jumping (like you would with a rope), 31 – 40 is jumping jacks, 41 – 50 is spirit fingers, 51 – 60 is the Twist, 61 – 70 is the Funky Chicken, or the chicken dance, 71 – 80 is Disco Fever, 81 – 90 is the Robot and 91 – 100 is Criss Cross (jumping legs across and back out).

Cross your fingers for me that tomorrow I will find copies done and laminated and tape to hang them on my walls!  Smile