Monday, January 28, 2013

Helpful Hints to Save the Day!

Every afternoon we end the day by sharing "Something Good that Happened Today".  Our microphone is used to show the speaker (believe it or not, it is just a fake microphone...a real one would be much more fun!) The students love standing in front of the smart board so that they can be in front of the lights with the microphone speaking.  This keeps everyone calm and quiet right before the dismissal bell.

Germs kind of give me the yucky, icky feeling.  When our bathroom passes started to come back wet, it was a little unnerving for me.  To keep my worries at bay, we have gone to the necklace pass.  That way, students don't have to worry about dropping the passes in the sink (or who knows where else?)  The students simply wear it down to the restroom and back.

My Little Warm Fuzzy Jar  is simply a must in my classroom.  The whole class can earn "Warm Fuzzies" when they display good behavior.  I simply place a warm fuzzy in the jar when everyone is listening on the rug, or standing quietly in a line, etc. When the jar is full, we have a little celebration.  I also hand out warm fuzzies to individual students at times.  For example, if Johnny helps his friend pick up his dropped school box, I will give Johnny a warm fuzzy to keep and take home.  We always talk about how positive behavior makes everyone feel good inside.  Thus, the meaning of the Warm Fuzzy!

And finally, colored cups are an awesome management strategy  to color code our tables.  For years, I taped colored shapes or tags to label each table.  Not anymore......cups are a great visual, they can easily be changed, and cups are cheap!  Cups can be seen from anywhere in the room and no more peeled off tape.  When tables need washed, cups can be removed and returned.  So simple!   Simple equals sanity in my mind.  Have a great week!

Wednesday, January 16, 2013

Organization Saves Time!

Have you seen those dry erase wall clings at your neighborhood department store or on the internet?  They make a great place at the guided reading table for students to write a word or to jot a thought down.  No need to pass out dry erase boards....they are already at each child's spot.  Students use a dry erase marker and a sock to wipe it clean.  Personally, I enjoy the bright decor it adds to our little reading nook!  

I found this little shelving unit at Sam's club.  It organizes everything the student's need during Daily Five.  Paper, charts, story journals, etc. are available for the students to get on their own.  No more passing things out, the students get what they need as they need it.  Again, love the bright colors and affordable price   that brings organization to our classroom.  Another way to save a few minutes time!

Our calendar area keeps us organized throughout the day.  The daily schedule keeps questions of "What are we doing next?" at bay.  

One of my best finds yet, I found these little book shelves  to keep our writing folders and notebooks in a place that would be easy to keep track of for the students.  The students know exactly where to place their items each day based on the color system.  This saves a lot of time and keeps our classroom organized.
It is the little things that keep our day running smoothly and it is so worth it each day!

Sunday, January 13, 2013

Winter Fun!

We finally had our first big snow of the season a couple of weeks ago and the students were so, so excited!  We had a great unit focusing on How to Make a Snowman and we also wrote Snowy Day stories.  I have been trying to get the students to use "fancy first grade words" in their writing so I created an activity to encourage them to use adjectives.  I read All You Need for a Snowman by Alice Schertle.  We then made a list of things a snowman needs.  The students had to add a describing word to each thing.  For example, All you need for a snowman is.....
a fuzzy scarf,
brass buttons,
and a carrot nose.
But most of all you
need soft, purple earmuffs!
The students came up with a variety of different items and every child's writing turned out so unique!  The hallway is decorated with the cute snowman crafts and even though the snow has long since melted, we have our snowman to help keep the winter fun alive!

We also had a great time making snow globes of our favorite winter activities using plastic plates to add a 3-D look.  This activity was Pinterest inspired and a quick classroom favorite!
Now, I am on the countdown until spring!