Saturday, July 28, 2012

Creating and Preparing

Hi everyone!

This week my first grade team and I went to Atlanta! We had a blast bonding as we went to the aquarium, IKEA (AHH--any teachers dream store!), and the mall.  I highly recommend this type of team building trip, it was so great!

This tank of sharks is so incredibly peaceful!!!
Once we came home it hit me that school starts back in 3 weeks.  I’ve begun feeling rather overwhelmed by the number of things I need to get done, but I have begun crossing things off one by one. 

Here are some of my completed projects---

One thing I always like to do for my new students is prepare little goodie bags for them.  In the goodie bag each object has a special purpose.  For example, the pixie stix is to remind the kids that in our class we "stix" together.  I have these tags as a freebie in my TpT. 


I have also been hard at work creating new "bubbles" for my kids.  Our bubbles are really blinders or shields, but during my first year of teaching the kids nick-named them bubbles and it stuck!  They would always say "time to go into our bubble," which I thought was adorable, so I have used it ever since. 

I make a writing bubble and a math bubble for my kids.  Each one has a variety of anchor chart type resources for the kids to use while they are doing their work.  They really help the kids develop independence. These are in my store for $4 each. 


I must say finishing these projects left me feeling accomplished and excited.  I can't wait to meet my students and start a brand-new year! 

Wednesday, July 18, 2012

Books Galore

Hi everyone! 

My name is Olivia....and I am a children's bookaholic.   It's true.  I am!  I love garage sales, thrift stores, and former students that bring me their old books!   Today I went to my mom's school (she's been teaching for over 30 years, teaches kindergarten now) and we went through all of her books.  I was literally given an entire library.  It was like Christmas!  I brought them all to my classroom and spent several hours going through them all. It is definitely going to be quite the summer project. 

Being the very organized person I am it is driving me crazy that I now have so many of certain authors (such as Eric Carle) that even the one or two book boxes I have for each author/subject don't provide enough storage...and my bookcases are currently full....limiting my ability to expand.  Ahhh!I've only been in my room for 2 years, how can I have already outgrown three bookcases?!  Even though I will be sharing A LOT with my new team-mate, something tells me this is still going to be the summer of rearranging and getting clever! 

My 10 new boxes of books!

Anyway, my question for you is --- What are some of your favorite children's books of all time (I know---it's impossible to pick just one) 

Mine would probably have to be...
1.  The Lorax
2.  Jillian Jiggs
3. Love you forever
4. The true story of the three pigs
5.  Olivia the Pig
....and so many more!

Sunday, July 8, 2012

Organizing Math Games

Hi Everyone!

As a teacher I have so much stuff that at times I feel like a hoarder (can you relate?!). My team and I always joke that the show "hoarders" needs to feature classrooms because it is amazing how much stuff we can creatively cram in our rooms!  We are teachers, we are resourceful, and we save everything!  We can come up with 1 hundreds reasons to keep 200 coffee filters, a bag of broken crayons, or even a 10 pound bag of rice! 
Anyway, one problem I kept running into my first year was that I had so many great resources scattered all over the place, that I had trouble remembering to pull them out when I needed them!  Since then I have spent a lot of time organizing and rearranging my room.  It is has really helped maximize the use of my materials, especially in math.  I had so many wonderful games I’ve made and purchased from TpT that I didn’t even use my first year!  They sat filed in a filing cabinet (my first attempt at being organized) and were rarely being used all year!  So sad!
Here’s what I did to become more organized---

I realized that our math series (Go Math!) has 9 key chapters.  So I bought an inexpensive 9 cube shelf from target and 9 cute (durable!) bins to go in it.   I put numbers (1-9) on each bin and organized all of my math games by chapter.   Now after the kids finish their worksheets in chapter 8, they choose a math game from bin 8 and this provides reinforcement of the skills featured in their worksheets that day. 
It works great.  Best of all, this system allows the previous chapters math games to stay available all year!  The kids love playing games from previous chapters, which allows them to constantly spiral down and practice skills from earlier in the year.  All of my kids scored at the highest level on their math standardized test last year and I really credit this to the fact that they were constantly revisiting all skills all year! 

Numbers are velcroed on (hence why some are crooked atm!)

Bin 8 is all comparing and ordering games! 

So there is have it! That is how I organize my math games!  How do you keep track of yours??