Monday, July 30, 2012

Two Back to School freebies!

Hi everyone! I've been a bad blogger the last week or so because I am starting to get a little stressed about going back this week. It's too early!!!!! Anyway, I had to start working on projects I need done for my classroom. I have a few freebies I wanted to share as well! I hope it will save you some time before school starts!
I saw this adorable "Where are we" sign on Pinterest and wanted to make my own version.
Cute!


 I haven't actually finished it with ribbon and all but wanted to post the link to Google Docs in case you want to download this sign for yourself.  Click here for the sign.


I also made new CAFE signs to match the black and white polka dot theme. I'm late to jump on the polka dot bandwagon but I really do like it! Click here for these signs.







I just finished my bulletin board for student work. The black spots on the fabric are mini paper clips already hanging on a thumb tack.( you can't tell but I actually found pink, purple and turquoise tacks and paper clips at Office Max!) I thought this was genius so you can just hang other papers over each other and have a mini portfolio until you are ready to hand back or file.


I also just finished revamping my math tubs. I really like how they turned out. I will post soon about how I manage them. I am trying something new this year and am determined to make it work. :)



When do you go back? I hope you are still able to relax and enjoy your summer for a few more weeks!

Erin



Tuesday, July 24, 2012

I am Unique! Back to School Unit

Hi everyone! This is a long post but hopefully worth it! Especially the last activity...
I know most of you have your ideas already for back to school but I wanted to share some of the ideas in my "I am Unique" Back to School unit. There are great activities that involve using Art in the classroom in order to promote uniqueness and individuality among your students. The directons for the activities below are included as well as some others!

 The first lesson is based on an all time favorite read aloud that celebrates uniqueness: Chrysanthemum by Kevin Henkes. I added a twist to the standard name sorting by letter and syllables by including an activity that adds more active engagement. The students sort and graph their names but with their bodies! It's called a Human Bar Graph! Much more engaging and concrete for our young students. I included the category labels for the Human Bar Graph that you would hang on a wall or a board so your students know where to stand in columns for the human graph. Just laminate, cut and use!




 After the Human Bar Graph, students make a class name necklace with everyone's names on triangles. They cut out the triangles, punch a hole and string the names. The master is included in the unit.  I wish I had a pic of the finished product. I'll snap one this year!

Another lesson in this pack is inspired by the book It's Okay to be Different. The students brainstorm ways in which they are unique and create a class anchor chart to record their thinking. Each student then chooses a way they are different or unique and creates a page of a class book.

The best part of the class book is the Fingerprint Mystery activity to be completed at home. It's a great way for students to see just how unique they are!

I also share a great idea on creating a Bulletin Board inspired by the book The Colors of Us. I love this book; it really celebrates all types of skin colors. The students have a blast mixing paint to find their skin color and making their face on the paper plate.



I also included everything you would need to make these cute All About Me people. They are great for an open house! Each shirt is a "page" of the book.










  Now to the best part of the whole pack! This is my favorite all time back to school activity! Share Kandinsky's Squares with Concentric Circles with your students and then make an artwork glyph! Put all the glyphs together to make a class masterpiece you can keep up all year!

 Not only will this be beautiful, it will really emphasize the goal of this unit: celebrating uniqueness and differences among students. Each student will get a square and the rings of color will represent information about the student. I included everything you would need to complete this activity... pages to print or project to make this manageable for kinder or first grade and a key so when others look at your class artwork they will understand what each color represents.
Here's an example of one of the pages you would use during the painting of the glyphs to keep students on track.


By the end, everyone will have a completely different square with stunning, colorful rings to be put together into the class masterpiece!
If you liked some of these ideas and would like more ideas and the resources to these lessons, click here to head to my TPT store to see all that's included!

Monday, July 23, 2012

Drama Queen Linky

I found a Linky Party for Drama ideas! Join in with Barbara at Grade Onederful. Thanks, Jessica @ Tales of a First Grade Teacher for recommending it!


My favorite drama strategy is called Tableau. Tableau is just a french word used in Drama that means "frozen picture". I first teach my students how to express objects, actions or feelings with their bodies individually. So we would stand in a circle and I would call out objects such as "tree" or "chair". The students would use their bodies to become the tree or chair. Once they can do this, we move through feelings and actions such as "happy", "scared", "running", "surfing" etc. When they can do all three with their bodies individually, I teach them how to work in groups to create a frozen picture or Tableau. After these initial lessons teaching them about Tableau, I use this strategy all year. Tableau works great for vocabulary words, stopping to check for understanding during a read aloud, or using a series of Tableaus for retelling a sequence. The uses are endless!

I know that noise can be a deterrent for using Drama in the classroom. That's why Tableau is so great; once the initial group planning of the Tableau is over, the students are quiet and frozen.
You can extend from the frozen picture to have students explain their thinking and what was going on in their scene either orally or in writing. In first grade, we mostly discuss orally but by the end of the year they write as well.
When students are creating Tableaus, they are working collaboratively, employing higher level thinking skills and engaging in learning conversations ( insert other education buzz words here). This strategy also fits in so well with the new Common Core expectations.
Here are a few pictures of my students in Tableaus.

These two students are working together to make a question mark.







These next two tableaus are during our learning about the jobs of bees. The girls to the left are a nectar flower and the group below are showing the Queen Bee along with her guard bees.


I also wanted to share a video of my students performing Stellaluna in October for another first grade class on our school stage. Notice their concentration while performing; it's amazing!

I've found that my students have a deeper understanding of sequence and characters when acting them out in this way. They have to think about what the characters were doing/ feeling in each scene when they create a tableau.

I hope you can use this strategy in your own classroom! I will be posting more about it throughout the year.

Sunday, July 22, 2012

Three Little Words to describe our classroom

Hi friends! If you read my first post yesterday, I mentioned that I was able to get canvas on sale at Joann's and it sparked some inspiration! As you read my blog, you'll notice that I am completely sold on Arts Integration as a way of teaching- not just a few lessons here and there but everyday. I started my blog to share those ideas because I know that students who are creating, collaborating and evaluating the Arts ( poetry, dance, drama, visual art and music) are developing critical thinking skills and an appreciation for learning. I just went to a fabulous Arts Integration workshop this past week that focused on using visual art in the classroom and I will be sharing ideas from that experience this next week. We also talked about how to share the creating process with others and parents because many times the process of creation is undervalued and just the product is recognized.
      This got me thinking that I want share my core values and beliefs as a teacher who uses the Arts somewhere in my room.When others walk in, I want them to know what is important to me as teacher. I also want my students to understand my hopes for them and to see these beliefs put into practice within the classroom.

So... I decided to think of three words that I thought would encompass the type of classroom I want for my students.

I thought of "inspire" first because obviously every teacher wants to inspire. We definitely aren't in it for the money! However, I also want my students to inspire others and have the desire to make a difference.

The second word I thought of was "create". This really is about my belief that students should be creating in the classroom. Students should be doing something with the information we are giving them. Creating stories/poetry, art, dance, music and drama that demonstrates their understanding. I also like thinking they are "creating" memories in our room. The meanings could go on and on.

After that I was stuck! I called my friend for help. We were coming up with words and then out of nowhere it came to me... "imagine". I love it! I wanted "think" but "think, create, inspire" just didn't sound as powerful to me. Imagine fits perfectly because in order to create, one must use their imagination. I also like that it can by synonymous with "think". By the end of the year, I just hope that I have taught my students how to think.

So that is how I came up with " Imagine, Create, Inspire". The three words can stand alone or they fit  well together because the three words actually describe the process of creation. When someone "imagines" something and has the motivation to put that idea into action, he or she "creates". When the creation touches someone emotionally, that person will hopefully become "inspired" in their own way.

I added foam stickers, spray painted the canvas black and then when it dried, I sprayed it with glitter. 

When I peeled off the letters, it wasn't clean and I wanted some color so I spray painted the foam letters.


This is a canvas that I'm going to hang on my wall. I think I am going to brighten the blue though.The words Imagine and Inspire are pink so it will be a nice contrast! I may be adding more to these... any suggestions? What words describe your classroom?

Saturday, July 21, 2012

Newbie blog hop!

I am a newbie blogger so this blog hop is at a great time for me! I'm also breaking a rule and posting twice tonight! Well, I didn't see the blog hop until after I posted so it's really not my fault! :)



This is all you have to do if you're interested in joining! Click above to go to Grade Three is the Place for me!


Grade Three is the Place for Me!
1. what state you are in
2. your current teaching position
3. your teaching experience
4. when you started blogging
5. 
share a blogging tip / blogging resource



1. I am in Arizona. I have lived here my whole life!
2. I currently teach first grade and have always taught first grade. I love it! I was offered a couple other positions this summer and just can't leave my first grade classroom.
3. This will be my eighth year teaching. I have a passion for teaching reading and using arts integration.
4. I started blogging at the end of February 2012 as a way to share ideas with other teachers. I have grown so much since I started reading blogs and connecting with teachers.
5. I have learned a lot from the Ladybug's Teacher Files. She has lots of video how-tos!


Shopping Shares

I went shopping! It's really bad I need to stop; I've spent way to much money. I wanted to show some of the items I picked up/ made over the last few days.


First, I picked these up at Party City. I love bright colors in the classroom! I have  a super star theme but my classroom is mostly tied together with bright colors.

Aren't the poofs cute? I could have also chosen these polka dot lanterns. It was so hard to decide but eventually went with the poof. Lol!










I also got these beads. Did you see the idea on Pinterest about giving your students beads to wear during the day when they do something kind or helpful? They turn the beads back in at the end of the day for a note home. I totally want to do this because it will force help me to remember to send more positive notes home.


I saw this idea on Pinterest also. I thought it was genius! When students leave for the bathroom, they place the sanitizer on their desks to help the teacher remember where they are ( I can't be the only one who forgets that a student just asked to go to the bathroom and then wonders where they went!) and to remind the student to squirt with sanitizer when they return. Other students can also look for the bottle to see if someone is already using the bathroom. 'Cause if someone is... they better not even ask! :)

I picked these foam cubes up for $1 at the Dollar Tree. There are so many possibilities! Number dice, letters, word families... but I'm thinking sight words! They could be used for roll-a-sight word... I'll let you know when I figure it out!

I also got these foam sticky letters and some canvas from Joann's. All the canvas was on sale! I got three 11x14 for 9 dollars!  I'll share my projects for these items tomorrow!


Tuesday, July 17, 2012

Back to School Freebie!

Hi Friends!
I just got back from San Diego. It was so fun! My dad takes us to stay at the Hard Rock in dowtown every year. We got to go to the beach, Sea World and Legoland. At Legoland, everything is really made out of Legos! Here are my boys in the Egyptian themed part of the park.

My dad even gave us a night out by ourselves! Priceless!
Now on to the freebie!
I was blog reading tonight and saw such a cute activity from Amanda at Teaching Maddeness.
She uses dum-dums to group her kiddos on the first day for a friend interview. Just make sure you have two of each color dum-dum in a bag, pull them out to make partners and the kids get to eat the dum-dums during the interview! I bet it helps with their listening skills if they have something to do when it's not their turn! She teaches second so I needed an interview sheet that would keep the students on track as far as which questions to ask since they can't read yet.
I made this interview sheet to go along with her activity. Thanks for the great idea, Amanda!
You could have them write or just complete orally.

  I am so sorry I had to post it to TPT but Google Docs wasn't working :(
Click the picture if you want to try this when you go back! Let me know how it goes!

Thursday, July 5, 2012

Ready to Print Word Problem Labels!

I hope everyone had a fabulous Fourth of July! I spent the last four days at my Aunt's beautiful cabin in Northern Arizona. It was wonderful! There's a pool, golf course, kids rec center, tennis, fishing, a playground and a horse ranch. There's so much to do! My boys have a blast every year!

At the end of my last post about math notebooks, I mentioned that I use address labels for my word problem lessons. I wanted to explain how I use them and why.

When I started pre-making word problems, I copied and pasted each problem a bunch of times on a page. Then I would have to cut them all apart before a lesson and have the students glue them into their math notebooks. This was easier because at the beginning of first and all year through Kindergarten, it took the students forever to write a problem. Not to mention it wasn't legible once they had finished! Why care if the problem is in there? Well, I think it's nice for parents to understand the problem and see their child's thinking and approach to a variety of problems.
Last year, one of my teammates suggested we use labels for our word problems so we wouldn't have to cut them, glue wouldn't be stuck between pages and to save prep time. It helped so much!!!
I loved using them. I had them pre-made for each type of problem and could pull them out whenever I needed. We implemented Common Core last year so we really needed to focus on the various types of addition and subtraction problems and it was great to have them done in advance.

I used the pre-made labels to teach a specific type of word problem. For example, when I introduced change unknown word problems, I used the pre-made labels to focus on change unknown word problems for two weeks so students could practice their strategies and become familiar with the structure. Once students had practice with the change unknown problems, I would build on that with longer lessons. We might act out change unknown word problems, create our own for others to solve or work with buddies to help each other solve and share strategies.

I have a word problem labels pack that includes over 60 word problems on label templates so all you have to do is print! It has word problems for each type of addition/ subtraction problem as listed in the Common Core. If you are interested in problems already made into labels, click here! to go to my TPT store.













I'm off to San Diego on Sunday so I won't be posting for awhile unless I get some posts written before then! Have a great weekend!