Tuesday, August 14, 2012

New Year = New Fun!

I have to admit that when I think in terms of "years" I always think of August as the beginning of the year. It is just the teacher in me. January just seems to be right in the middle! This August has brought me a fun new year in first grade and I am so excited to spend the next 10 months with my 24 new friends! I started the year with 27, which was a bit too much for first grade. I hated to see three sweeties go when we hired a new teacher, but 24 is proving to be a nice number!!

I have been neglecting my blog lately, mainly due to school starting and finishing up summer class. I have been working on some new classroom management and classroom displays that I have posted up in my TpT store. The first one is a FREEBIE that I hope you all enjoy, it is a set of clock labels that go along with the pastel dot/owl theme.

Click the picture to download from google docs, 
or click here to visit my TpT store to download this freebie!

Since school has started, I have also created a new set of job posters that I am absolutely loving! I love to incorporate real world applications as much as possible into my classroom and these jobs are perfect for that. The jobs include a teacher's aide, nurse, electrician, housekeeper, custodian, meteorologist, sanitation monitor, librarian, mail carrier and messenger. I display the job posters with the "Handy Helpers" sign and use hand decals with the students' names to change the jobs out weekly. My kids love these and it really helps them to develop a sense of community in our classroom. Check them out in my TpT store!

Click here to check out these posters, along with the others!

Since I have been away from my blog for so long, I have several other things to update. The first are some before and after photos of some classroom projects. Here are some things I have been working on:

My Favorite Bookshelf: Before

My Favorite Bookshelf: After (Black Paint, Vinyl letters and Painted Polka Dots)!
I use this shelf to display books that are relevant to the curriculum and time of year.

{Ugly} Table with Wheels (consignment store find for $5): Before

{Not So Ugly} Table with Wheels: After...The fabric matches my bulletin boards!

Black Chair: Before

Black Chair: In Progress

Black Chair: Still in Progress, but now a "Star Reader" Chair
I still have some work to do, but this will be the chair that the "Star Reader of the Week"
Sits in throughout his/her rein!

This concludes the DIY before and after projects for now. I would also like to share my treat bags for open house, which turned out super cute! I used trail mix (which I thought coincided with the "Owl" theme) and added the tags "First Grade is a Hoot!" You can find these tags on my pinterest page or on the first post of my blog. 

Trail Mix and  a Pencil

One more thing to add and then it is off to bed for this tired lady! I have started the Daily 5 in my classroom and we are now on day seven and up to NINE minutes of Reading to Self and building stamina. I am incredibly proud of my kids and I can really tell that they are working so hard, even if they are not quite reading the words in the books they have chosen. We started off with a lesson to introduce the "IPICK" chart and how to choose "Good Fit" Books. I believe I am on my third or fourth time reading "The Daily 5" by The Sisters! I love it! I used the exact shoe lesson with my students and it seemed to really click. I also found a cute "IPICK" rap online that we have been doing. Here are some ideas that my students brainstormed (please excuse the really ugly "Purpose/Interest" poster, I haven't had a chance to make it pretty)!

My smart little ones came up with some great ideas and have done an excellent job selecting "Good Fit Books". They are allowed to check out books (5-7 at the most) in the morning and then the classroom library is closed for the remainder of the day.

The beginnings of book selections

We brainstormed ideas and have been building stamina daily. We have since moved onto "Work on Writing", but are continuing to do "Read to Self" daily. The students are doing so well with working independently and not asking for help. I can definitely see that setting a purpose and a sense of urgency are crucial for the Daily 5 process! I hope to post more pictures of our Daily 5 journey in the coming weeks!

Students hard at work on "Read to Self"

Students hard at work on "Read to Self"

"Read to Self"

*Coming Soon*....."Work on Writing" updates!!! STAY TUNED!


  1. Thanks for the comment on my blog and my new freebie! Im your newest follower! Good luck this year!
    Flying Into First Grade

  2. Everything looks wonderful Calli! I love your Star Reader chair and your adorable polka dot bookshelf. Your kiddos have such an amazing place to learn. =)

    Heather's Heart

  3. Could you please tell me where I could get copies of the things you have displayed on your Read to Self min board?
    I can't see the top left one very clearly- but all of it looks perfect for what I would like to achieve.