Monday, April 29, 2013

My Space Unit is Updated

When I pulled out my Space Unit this year to teach it, I realized that it desperately needed updated.  What I thought would be a fairly easy task, took me forever!  I just kept adding more things.  Even though it was time consuming, I am so happy with it now!  It may even be one of my favorite units.
 
I have completely updated every single page and then added almost 30 more pages.
 
You can check it out by clicking on the pictures above.


Sunday, April 28, 2013

Teacher Talk Tuesday

Are you on Instagram?  I just started a couple of weeks ago, but it is so much fun! {I'm still not very "instagram savy", but I'm getting better.}
To get more teachers linked together, there will now be Teacher Talk Tuesdays.
 
Follow me on Instagram at FuninFirstBlog and join in on Tuesday.
 
Also, my May Morning Work packet has been posted!!!!

 
 


Saturday, April 27, 2013

Five for Friday

I'm linking up again for Five for Friday.
 
1. I have to start with the BEST news! 
Katelyn, the little girl I had the fundraiser for in January, received her new heart this week!!!!  She's doing amazing!
The whole entire school was delighted to hear the news.  Katelyn Facetimed with her class and told them the news, "I'm getting my new heart today."  Her and her friends gave each other virtual high fives.  How sweet is that!!
 
2. Last week, we were learning about ou/ow.  We used my "Ouch! What Happened to My Teacher?" activity.
The students had to collect clues with "ou" and "ow" words to find out what happened to me.  I loved listening to their predictions. 
 
3. Last night, I thought my husband and I were going to dinner with some friends from work.  Little did I know, they had planned a surprise party for me.
 I had NO idea!  I work with the most amazing people!  It was such a fun night!
 
4. I do have my May Morning Work packet finished.  I have someone proofreading it for me right now, but hope to get it posted today or tomorrow.  I will let you know when it's up and ready :)
 
I'm also working this weekend to update this unit.
From this:
To this:
 
5. Finally, does your room look anything like this right now?
This is my reading table where I pull small groups during station {center} time, but right now it is covered in "end of the year assessments."  Holy cow!!  Feeling a little overwhelmed with everything that needs to be finished.
This picture that Katie posted this week sums it up.
 
 
 
 
 


Monday, April 22, 2013

Spreading Kindness

Can you tell it's almost the end of the school year in your classroom?  Most things move really smoothly by the end of the school year, however, tattling is definitely an issue.  These little darlings have spent 155 days together and some of them are not so friendly to each other anymore.
So....in comes the Kindness Chain.  I have used this in the past and blogged about it 2 years ago, but I wanted to show you again.
I hang the sign from the ceiling.  Then, everytime I catch someone doing something kind for another student or teacher, I write it down on a strip and attach it to our chain.  As soon as our chain touches the ground, the students will earn a reward.
What are your secrets for spreading kindness during the last month of school?
 
Also, I had shared on my Facebook that I opened up an Instagram account.  You can search for FuninFirstBlog to find me.  I have to admit, I don't know for sure what I'm doing yet, but I'm trying ;)
 
Just a reminder that my Insect Unit is finished.  You can find it by clicking on the picture below.
 


Thursday, April 18, 2013

Interventions - Fly on My Wall Linky

First off, I wanted to let you know that I just posted a new unit to TpT.  We have been learning about insects!  Click on a picture below to check it out.

 
Thanks so much to those that linked up for their entire day.  Feel free to keep linking up :)
 
This week, I decided to focus on my Intervention time.  This is from 8:30 - 9:05 every day.  Our entire school {except Kindergarten - they do it a little differently} has reading interventions from 8:30 - 9:05.  We use all of the teaching assistants, special education teachers, Reading Recovery and Title One teachers, Art, Music, and PE teachers, the Media Specialist, the Speech teacher, etc. during this time.  This allows for the intensive students to be in smaller groups. 
During the first few weeks of school, we DIBEL all of the students.  Thankfully, our Reading Recovery/Title One teachers take on the daunting task of grouping the students by their needs when the testing is finished.  We can adjust these groupings as needed, but it at least gives us a start.
In our 1st grade, we have 6 total groups.  We had a pretty large group of benchmark students this year, so we have 2 benchmark groups with about 18 kids each.  The other groups are strategic or intensive students and those groups are smaller.
I have a benchmark group of students.  We decided that it would be beneficial to them to work on science activities as well as nonfiction reading and writing. 
This was my week in Interventions!
On Monday, we read the nonfiction book "From Seed to Plant."  We talked about the text features of nonfiction books.  Next, we filled out this great sheet from Katie's April Busy Teacher.  The students also drew a picture of a flower in their notebooks and labeled the parts.
On Tuesday, we got out our Science books.  We looked for the Table of Contents, Glossary, Index, and Headings.  We read about plant needs and parts, then looked for other nonfiction text features. {captions, photographs, labels, and diagrams}
Next, we broke up into groups of three to work on rereading text and fluency.
On Wednesday, we used the leveled readers that came with our science series to read more about living things and plant and animal needs.  The students rotated through the different books while I went around and discussed vocabulary. 
On Thursday, we wrote about plants.  We used all of our knowledge from the week to fill out a graphic organizer about plants.  Then we used this organizer for our writing. (We will finish our writing tomorrow.)  This writing and organizer came from Katie's Busy Teacher again :)
Tomorrow, we will finish our writing.  Then we will take a look at the seeds we planted last week and fill out the "observations" and "conclusion" section of our Science Journals. 
 
If you have Intervention time at your school, I'd love for you to link up below.  If you don't have a blog and you want to tell me about your Intervention time, leave a comment.  I'd love to hear about it!
 


Saturday, April 13, 2013

Come Be a Fly on My Wall

Haven't you always wanted to be a Fly on the Wall in certain classrooms?  As I have read teaching blogs over the years, I have wanted to be a fly on the wall in so many classrooms.  Could you imagine everything you would learn if you could take a year and go to a different classroom each day to observe and take notes?!?!
Well, I am inviting you on a virtual day trip to my classroom.  Then I will be hosting this as a Linky Party so others can link up with a day in their classrooms. 
 
Welcome to a day in Mrs. Southard's 1st Grade Classroom!
My students begin coming into my classroom at 8:00.  The tardy bell does not ring until 8:15, so my students do not all come in at once.  They turn in their SPACE books with their homework and begin working on their morning work.  When they finish their morning work, they may read a book quietly while everyone else finishes.  Our principal comes over the intercom around 8:20 for the Pledge, a moment of silence, and morning announcements.
 Once most of the students have finished their morning work, we go over it using our Elmo visual presenter.
At 8:30, students go to Reading Interventions.  The entire school has Interventions at the same time.  This allows us to use every available adult (classroom teachers, teaching assistants, special area teachers, etc.).  It also allows for students to cross grade levels for Interventions if needed. 
I have a group of benchmark 1st graders.  We decided that these at and above grade level students would benefit from more Science and nonfiction reading activities.  Interventions in my classroom look different each day of the week.  On Monday, we complete a science experiment and fill in part of our Science Journals.  Since we are learning about plants this week, the students planted seeds in sand, clay, potting soil and rocks.
At 9:00, students return to their regular classrooms.  During this time, we review our skills and objectives for the day and week. 
Now it's time for our Reading Block.  We begin with phonics.  We were learning about er, ir, and ur this week.  My students love using their own dry erase boards!
We use Treasures from McGraw-Hill to guide our reading instruction, but I like to add some extra learning opportunities as well.  We used my Meet the Bossy R Triplets unit this week to help them learn those tricky spellings.
As we move on into spelling, the students are introduced to the words and practice the words.  We also move while we are spelling the words.  Today, the students were doing pushups as they spelled their words.
We are learning about synonyms this week.  I wanted to get the students up and moving, so I gave them each a card.  Each card had a synonym match.  Students had to find their partner without talking.  I tried to include some challenging "Fancy Nancy Words" to keep increasing their vocabulary skills.
After squeezing in a restroom break, the students were ready for their healthy snack.  We have an AWESOME grant from Dole this year.  Three days a week, our school is provided with a fruit or a vegetable snack for the entire school.  Then, once a month, the students are invited to a Tasting Buffet where everyone can try a variety of fruits and vegetables while learning all about each of them.  {These pictures are from a couple weeks ago, but you can see them eating pears and spinach.  I mean...seriously, who would have thought 6 year olds would love spinach!  It is amazing how many fruits and vegetables my students are trying now!}
For our writing today, we made a list of some different types of flowers.  Then we began filling out our graphic organizer about our favorite flower.
To continue to integrate science into our reading, our fluency passages were about flowers this week.  We discussed our Power Words and read it together a couple of times.  Then the students practiced in groups of 3.  After practicing, we completed the rest together.
During stations and small group time, the students are in groups of three.  They do a variety of independent activities while I pull small groups of individuals to work with.  I pull my station activities from a variety of places.  {I will be discussing this in another "Be a Fly on My Wall Linky.}
We use Everyday Math, which I have a like-dislike relationship with.  I like that it spirals back to things, but I dislike that the students don't master something before we move to something new.  I like the variety of skills my students learn, but I dislike that I have to supplement math facts.  I like the games, but I dislike that the workbook is soooooo boring! 
 
12:05 - 12:45 - RECESS and LUNCH
 
After lunch, we have our Calendar time.  We count money, write addition and subtraction facts, skip count, etc.  Then we read a chapter from our chapter book.
Next, the students get their Math Notebooks.  We use portions of Cara's Calendar Companion first.  Then students get out their Math Journals and we complete a word problem.  We use our school wide strategies (on the blue cards) to solve our word problems.
As much as I love teaching science, I always feel like I run out of time.  This is why I try to integrate it elsewhere into our day as much as possible.  Today, we read "Oh Say Can You Seed?" and completed a "Plant Needs" booklet that I had from an old Teacher's Helper magazine.
At the end of the day, it's time to clean up and fill out our behavior charts.  These are sent home in their folders each week.  We walk students outside for dismissal at 2:40.  There you have it...a day as a fly on the wall in my classroom.
 
Here is where your part comes in.  Take pictures of a day in your classroom.  Post it on your blog, grab the button below and link up. I would love to be a fly on the wall in your classroom.
 Clipart and Fonts from this post are from the following: Kimberly Geiswin, Ashley Hughes, Cara Carroll, A Cupcake for the Teacher, Teaching in a Small Town, and Scrappin Doodles.
As I started taking pictures, I realized it was very hard to show you how I teach certain subjects by just showcasing one day. {Each day may look a little different.} So, each week I will be choosing a different portion of my day to highlight! For example, one week I will focus the entire week on teaching reading in my classroom then the next week I may do only math.  Then, I will have a different "Be a Fly on My Wall" Linky Party for each area!
 
For this week's Linky Party, just post about a "normal" day in your classroom, grab the picture above, and link up below.
 


Friday, April 12, 2013

Five for Friday

I'm linking up for Five for Friday again.
1.  My first one is really exciting {at least for me.}  On Monday, I was awarded Vigo County School Corporation Teacher of the Year!  We were at our faculty meeting after school when all of the sudden, the superintendent, deputy superintendent, director of elementary education and the director of secondary education came in the door.  I still don't think it has really sunk in, but it is a huge honor and I am unbelieveably grateful that I work with such amazing people.
 Our Superintendent
 


My Principal
 

 
2. More great news!  My husband had his mastoidectomy on Tuesday and it went really well.  Hopefully, this will be the final chapter of his ordeal. 
 
3. We went to Vegas last week and had a great time.  We were able to spend time with my brother and his wife.  My brother is in the Air Force and we don't get to see them very often. 
 
4. Speaking of Vegas...we went to Cirque Du Soleil Mystere.  AMAZING!!!!!
I have always wanted to go to a Cirque Du Soleil show.  It is even better than I imagined!  In the words of my 5 year old, "It was so good that I didn't even want to blink."
 
5.  Be on the lookout {hopefully tomorrow} for a fun new series of Linky Parties I will be hosting.
 
Haven't you always wanted to be a fly on the wall in classrooms that you see online?  Now is your chance.  I'm inviting you to be a "fly on my wall."  Then, other bloggers will have a chance to link up giving you the opportunity to be a "fly on the wall" of numerous classrooms.  I hope you're excited to check it out.

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