Tuesday, February 24, 2015

Word Work Stations

I believe in doing anything and everything to encourage and inspire my students to fall deeply in love with words! Each day we explore phonics, our spelling words {these follow a specific spelling pattern}, and sight words during word work time.  This fall I finally updated and spiced up our word work activities by creating one of my favorite new word work resources. It's made changing out stations EASY...like print and go easy...and my students can't wait to work with them! Of course, we still also enjoy word building games, letter magnets, letter tiles, dry erase boards/markers, etc., but our new and improved word work tower is a BIT hit!  It's where I organize 10 different word work stations every few weeks. There's something for everyone! Each station has a recording sheet to keep students accountable. 
Download my word work tower labels <here>!

What kinds of activities are in the word work station tower? I'll let these pictures do the talking tonight...

Click HERE to download a few freebies!

If you are interested, these activities are in my TpT shop right here!

Thanks for the adorable button, Amy Lemons!

Teachers pay Teachers is having a site-wide sale tomorrow to show their appreciation for all the heroic acts that YOU do each and every day! My entire store will be 20% off, but you get an additional 10% off using the coupon code HEROES at check out! 

"Not all SUPERHEROES have capes, 
some have teaching degrees!"


Wednesday, February 11, 2015

My Heart is Full {a writing freebie}

Are you ready for Valentine's Day? I can't believe it's just around the corner. My first graders and I have been busy celebrating everything about LOVE! 

Today we talked about the things we love most....the special things that make our hearts full! 
Me: "What fills your heart with love?"
My first graders:
"my family"
"the world"
"my teacher" 
"my dog"
"my cat"
"my house"
"my Barbie jeep" 
It had to be one of the sweetest {and funniest} discussions of the year...seriously loved every single minute of it!! 
After our amazing share time, I gave each student a big, pink heart to illustrate their ideas. To go along with it, they wrote about what made their hearts full and why it was special/important to them. You can download the writing printable freebie here!
So simple and sweet!!!
I just can't help but to smile every time I see these precious hearts! 

Happy Valentine's Day! 

Saturday, February 7, 2015

Watch Out for the Editing Police!!

When I was at RCA a couple of weeks ago, I observed Kim Bearden's middle school class having a blast with a "grammar police" lesson. It inspired me to find a way to tweak it to make it work for my first graders. Editing is challenging and sometimes a boring skill for them to practice, so I wanted to bring a little magic and fun to spice it up...Kim Bearden style!! 

 I divided my class into two groups-editing officers and offenders. I gave the officers editing citation sheets and the offenders each a sentence that needed editing. As I played the Chipmunks COPS theme song, the editing officers found an offender with a sentence. After they read the sentence together, the officer issued a citation for the error made {capitalization, punctuation, or spelling}. The officer corrected the sentence on the citation with the offender. Then the offenders were placed in their error's holding cell....haha! This is where I act as a judge and released the offenders if the sentence on the citation had been properly corrected. You could also assign students to be judges at each holding cell. We will probably try that next time.

Small, inexpensive props added just the right magical touch to the activity. The kids had badges and I bought a police light, hat, handcuffs {don't worry...I didn't actually use them...just for show} and crime scene tape. Fun!

I bought everything from Amazon!

During the activity, I made sure to switch the students up so they were able to experience each part. They had so much fun that they begged me to let them keep "playing". Now that's what I call a successful lesson!!! It's an activity that I will continue to use throughout the year with my class....perfect for a review! 
Want your students to become editing police?? 
Everything from my lesson is right here!

And a BIG thank you to Kim Bearden for inspiring me to bring editing to life with this lesson! I can't recommend her book enough to y'all! Every single teacher needs it!! 

Happy Editing!!

Saturday, January 31, 2015

My Ron Clark Academy Experience

  Last Friday, I had the honor to visit the Ron Clark Academy with some of my favorite teacher friends and bloggers. We spent the day participating in inspiring workshops, observing excellent teaching methods in real classrooms, and met students that LOVED, LOVED, LOVED being at school!!! We were also blessed to see our rock star friend, Hope King. She and her husband teach at RCA and oh.my.word., they blew us away with their skills!! I mean look at her classroom....amazing!!!!!!

It's taken about a week for me to process what I personally experienced at RCA. It was so powerful that finding the right words has been quite the challenge. Let me first start off by saying that I love teaching. It has always been my calling...my god given passion if you will. But to be completely honest with you, I've been struggling lately. I just constantly feel like I can't keep up. I know I'm not alone. Many of you reading this are probably feeling the same way. Sadly, I see teachers dropping like flies all around me because their passion for teaching is buried somewhere under standardized testing, data points, endless meetings, no time to plan lessons, unappreciative people, evaluation demands, and many late, sleepless nights just.trying.to.keep.up. This struggle is very real for so many of us. Do yourself a favor and start saving up now to visit RCA! It's a wonderful place to rediscover your love and passion for teaching! 

From Ron Clark and Kim Bearden's motivational talks that had me laughing and crying, to watching powerful lessons where EVERY student was engaged, I have never felt more inspired to think outside of the box and make learning fun in my classroom. Maybe, just maybe, we wouldn't have so many problems in the educational world if all professional development days were just as informative and empowering...#justsayin 

 After such an amazing experience, I couldn't wait to see my students on Monday! My energy level and excitement for being at school was out of control. I put a big smile on my face, took making learning fun to the next level, and incorporated more movement and music into our lessons. We chanted about prefixes, adjectives, place value, and giving compliments....they were short & sweet chants, but so much fun!! I *might* have also replaced our classical music in the mornings with Kidz Bop while my kiddos unpacked and completed their wake up work. I wish you could have seen their faces when I cranked it up for them the first time! I think they were shocked. HA! Just these little "out of the box" changes have made my students more engaged and excited to be at school! 

I can't thank everyone enough at the Ron Clark Academy for empowering me to be the best teacher I can be!! If you haven't experienced RCA, I hope you can go! You won't regret it!!  

If you want more information on RCA:

Also, I highly recommend these books...

Sunday, January 18, 2015

Five for Friday...on a Sunday :)

I'm linking up with Doodle Bugs Teaching for a little Five for Friday  Sunday fun!

Can't believe we celebrated the 100th day of school on Friday! Some of the highlights were making our annual 100th day snack, building in small groups using only 100 legos, making words with the letters in one hundred, and of course our 100 year old portraits! I also found the cutest cookie tags over at First Grade Fancy's blog here. They made the sweetest ending to a wonderful day!! 
Click here to download the 100th day making words activity! 

We also learned about verbs this week.. 
I just loved how our verb flip books turned out! 
We watched a Brainpop Jr. on verbs....
and enjoyed these verb songs on YouTube!!

Our January Scoot games have also been a big hit this week! With the rain and freezing temps, scootin' around while we practice math and literacy skills has kept us from going crazy! 
We are also loving our no-prep January printables for morning work! They make the perfect morning work activities! 

I'm so excited to have an extra day home with my babies tomorrow! I hope you are off, too!!
Happy MLK day!! 


Saturday, January 10, 2015

Five for Friday....on a Saturday! {

I'm linking up with Doodle Bugs Teaching for a little Five for Friday fun!

It got very cold in Georgia this week!
Thank you, Jesus, for GoNoodle! 

EEEEEEEK!!!! I.am.SO.excited!!!
 In less than a couple of weeks, I will be at THE RON CLARK ACADEMY!!! 

 After having a two week break, I was SUPER proud at how hard my students worked during the Daily 5!! Isn't the growth that takes place between August and January AMAZING to witness?? My kiddos are becoming such wonderful, independent learners!! 
Look who turned 4 months old on Wednesday!! Time needs to slow down right NOW! 
Love my sweet, fast growing Ella!! 

I posted my newest packet this week! It's a set of January/winter themed Scoot games to get your students up and moving while working on important skills! Click here to check it out!

 Hope you have a great weekend!!