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Classroom Tour Part 1

I spent a while in my classroom today and finished some small areas.  I still have a bunch of things to do but I'm REALLY trying to not just hide those random piles this year...I know you have those piles too!  I usually just hide them away and then get mad at myself when I find them a month into school.  

Of course, I don't sort through the piles when I find them...I just walk away.  Anyone else do this?

This year will be different!
(I hope)

Anyways, here are the few spots that I've set up so far!

Let's start outside the room where I have 2 bulletin boards

 (Sorry I couldn't stand back far enough to get both in one shot)  I love love LOVE the burlap and orange chevron together.  The little fish and mermaids are from this Schoolgirl Styles collection.  The banner I made.

I put my rules on flags and hung it above the smartboard.  Under the rules I have my homework chart.  Last year, I didn't do homework. This year, I am sending home a small packet each week.  Every night, students have the option to do 3 tasks: Read for 20 minutes, Respond to Reading, and do a math activity from their math bags (more on this later).  They get one star for each task they complete.  I will color the stars that everyone earns during our morning meeting.  If the class meets the weekly goal, they get free time Friday!  This post inspired my homework system.

Under the smartboard I put my math wall.  I only have a few minutes to get through calendar but I wanted to have my class read the date together each day "Today is (day of the week) (Month) (date) (year)".  I put those things on the banner...just to switch it up.  The other cards are days we've been in school, different ways to show a number, comparing 2 numbers, money, rules, more/less, and a fact family.  I have another set of cards that I will rotate in and out throughout the year.  Each day, we will do the date and days we've been in school and 1 or 2 cards.  I put them by the floor because that's where the class will be sitting so it's in their line of sight.  I may decide to project the cards on the smartboard later but for now, I like the idea of them seeing all of them at once.  If you are interested, you can grab them here.

This is my filing cabinet area.  I put the prize box, lollipop tree, and cd player on top.  I know it's not much but it is a completed area :) 

As I finish my areas in my room, I will continue to give you a tour through my room!
I LOVE looking at other people's rooms, don't you?

First Week Math (freebie!)

Hi friends!  I wanted to share with you what I do for math the first week of school before the rest of you go back.  The first week of school is usually a short week for kids in my district.  I use the first few days to teach the rules and routines of the room.  I also want them to get comfortable and make friends.  I don't want anyone worrying about the work being too hard.  Those first days can be rough on kids, especially the shy ones!

During math, I talk to them about math groups and the different centers they will do (Math games, seat work, work with me).  By the time we talk about what math will look like and sound like in the room, we don't have much time left.  I do put them in groups and give them a basket of manipulatives to explore.

They LOVE this and it's a great time for them to make friends in their new class.  Last year, I only had a few kids on the first day so I just let them play together.  This year, my class has doubled in size so I wanted to add some structure to this time.  I made 4 slightly structured activities:
For this, students grab a card with a counting bear pattern on it.  They copy the card and then continue the pattern on their own.  If they run out of cards, they can make a pattern and have a friend continue it.

Here students have a picture of a clock and they make their clock match it. 

My class last year loved snap cubes and they always tried to outbuild each other.  For this center, the students grab a number card and build a snap cube tower with that many cubes.  I included numbers 1-50.

Students make pictures using pattern blocks.  I made 6 pictures for them to copy.  If they finish all 6, they can create their own image with the blocks.

While the class is busy using manipulatives, I can observe them, do 1:1 assessments, or take care of those 19035098 first week tasks that get thrown on my desk.  I love that I don't have to overplan for math that first week because this can be done several times and for varying amounts of time.

Because we are prepping WAY too much getting ready for school, everything but the counting bears activity is in black and white.  I printed mine on colored paper.  If I don't get to laminate them before school, it's not a big deal because I didn't waste much ink or paper.

If this is something that you could use, grab it by clicking the picture below! (It's free)

PS. My goal this school year is to post more blog-only freebies as a thank you to my readers (so make sure you follow if you don't already).  

BTS Shopping Part 2

I had my cart full hours before the TPT sale started and once it did half the items I had in my cart weren't on sale so I looked around and found the most AMAZING items.  I'm actually happy that the original items I wanted weren't on sale now haha.

Click on the pictures to be taken to the item. 
Fall Word Cards {and writing practice}
Last year, I tried to do a typical word didn't work.  Word walls with just text and no visual cues is not-so-great in a room with a range of kids between non-readers and level M.  So I decided to make a picture based word wall.  I grabbed this to add fall words to my wall. 

First Grade Common Core Language Activities & Printables [
I was not prepared to teach the language standards at.all.  I had zero resources and this looked amazing so how could I not buy it?!  I am so relieved to know that I am covered when it comes to the language standards. (She has part 2 coming out in the fall).

The following are ALL from Tracy Tegeler from Creekside Teacher Tales which has become one of my favorite blogs this summer (and now clearly, a favorite TPT seller since I bought half her store).
Find Us Forever Homes (Critically Reading, Analyzing Infor
This will be challenging for my oldest kids because they have to look at info on 4 different pages and decide which family is the best match for the dog.  But this is such an interesting assignment that I doubt anyone will mind working harder. It's not easy finding materials that will push my students without frustrating them...the activities have to be engaging and interesting and I think Tracy's products are PERFECT for that.

Main Idea Practice Pack {Nonfiction Passages}
Finding the main idea and details is a great skill for my younger students...and they all love animals so this is also engaging for them.  She has a winter version of this too which I will probably buy in the future.

Main Idea, Predictions, and Inferences Oh My! (Fiction Reading)
This is my favorite of the reading passages I bought from her today.  It covered so many things that my students with Autism need...and this year more than half my class has Autism.

Back to School Main Idea Practice Pack {Fiction & Nonficti
More main idea passages...these are school themed which is nice because we can all make connections to school. (Do you have those students who insist that they have done NOTHING ever when working on making connections?  Drives me crazy!  One student told me his mom never read to him...his mom is a reading teacher...........)

Cops, Crooks, and Coins: Math Task Cards (Common Core Aligned)
Last year, my students struggled with money.  This year, I'm going to review it early with my 3rd graders and add these to their centers.

Awesome Animal Articles {10 Nonfiction Articles with Activities}
Each year, we study animals in science.  It's in all 3 of my science curriculums. This year, I have 45-60 mins per grade level every 6 days for science AND social studies....that means that I have to teach science and ss to my 1st graders with only 45 minutes every 6 days.  This means that I really have to start doing a lot of my content instruction during guided reading groups...hence the articles.

Animal Wax Museum Project
This is so.freaking.adorable!  If you do an animal research project, buy this now.  I have 2 other projects from different TPT sellers but this one is hands down the best! 

Between these purchases and some projects I've been working on, I feel like I'm pretty prepared for the year.  Now it's time to print all of this out! 

Have fun shopping!!

BTS Shopping Part 1 {50% off edition}

I am a shop-a-holic and I'm pretty sure I need to join a support group or something because I constantly buy things on TN and TPT.  Please tell me I'm not alone in this!  I think becuase I can buy things and they don't take up room in my house, I don't realize how much I'm buying haha...well at least until I start printing, laminating, and cutting!

Today is the last day of the Teachers Notebook sale.  They have this awesome build your own bundle thing which I loved becuase I only purchased products that I wanted.  I looked through all 3400 items and bought way too much but it was 50% off!  Did I mention that already?  Everything in the build your own bundle section is 50% off!!  And of course, I'm still going to buy a bunch of things tomorrow on TPT's sale but 
50% > 28% 

Here is what I bought: 
(Click the pictures to be linked to the product...warning the links do not take you to the product in the bundle area!  But you can check out the products then go search through the bundle section)

Guided reading flip books that cover all Reading Literature and Reading Informational standards for grades 1, 2, and 3...since those are the 3 grades I teach, I couldn't resist! 

Since I will have my students for 3 years, I need to mix up the back to school projects (and all yearly projects!).  These are so cute and some are paired with picture books.

I had no centers for addition with 3 I do :) 

I seriously need to work on teaching the Language standards...this is a super cute way to teach prefix and suffix...very visual! 

I love class books.  When I saw this, I grabbed it!  It is class books for the entire year.  I use class books whenever I have a few minutes to fill.  They are easy, quick, and the kids can read their books in the library.  I'm going send them all home at the end of the year as a gift for the kids.

These are all color or cut worksheets that I'm using during "math at my seat" time for my firsties. 

Love love love this math journal for 1st grade!  This only covers OA standards and she didn't have any other journals (or I would have purchased all of them!) :( 

I'm hoping that all of my kids know the alphabet this year so we can start off with blends and digraphs and vowel sounds!  These were too cute to pass up.

Tomorrow I'll share all of my TPT purchases.  Have fun shopping :) 

Back to School/Birthday Sale!

Hi friends!  It's almost time to go back to school (or maybe you just started school).  Either way, it's the perfect time to stock up for the new school year and to make things better, there are TONS of sales and amazing bundles on Teachers Notebook this weeekend.  

To celebrate going back to school (and my Birthday which is Monday) everything in my store is 20% off!

These are the things I'm using right away this school year from my store: 
{Editable teacher binder with over 40 different covers/dividers}

{Editable teacher binder with these adorable kids as the theme}

{My Father's Dragon book companion...perfect read aloud for the start of school!  An e-version of the book is included so you can print them for your whole class}

{My sub plans are free and the binder is my FAVORITE product in my store}

{My updated science kit is just what you need to get started with science}

{I love the new sight word list from Lucy Calkins!}

Editable Class Rules Super Hero Theme
{Tons of editable class rules and clipcharts in different themes}

Comprehension Prompting Sheet
{Comprehension prompting sheet to keep you on track during guided reading}

Rounding Roller Coaster
{My favorite way to teach rounding...what kid doesn't love roller coasters?}

{Math stations start up kit...if you have wanted to use math groups but weren't sure how to get started this is great.  Trust me, you can have these up and running in a day}

{This is my power point presentation for Curriculum night (our back to school night).  I am also working on a packet to hand out to parents that night and as soon as it's done, I'll add it to this but the price will go up so grab it while it's .80!}

Wow, I didn't realize how many things I had in my store that I use the first few days of school!  While you are shopping, don't forget to check out bundles that are 80% off! 

Choose your adventure sub tub!

I am soooo excited to show you what I made this week!

I FINALLY put my sub tub together {and sub binder}'s only been on my to do list for 4 years.  

I've put this off because it is not easy to prep for a sub for any teacher but add in that all of my students have special needs and many have autism and do NOT respond to change well and planning for a sub becomes slightly more than overwhelming.

I decided that I wanted to make sub plans for any time I'm out, not just an emergency.  It's just easier for me and now I'm all set for any meeting or workshop I have this year.

I also decided that I wanted to keep my routine the same when a sub is in the room.  All of the sub plans that I found/bought did not fit into my regular routine so I made my own (and you can too, for free!).

I'm going to walk you through what I did:
First, I scoured the internet and found FREE activities to fill the folders with.  
Don't have time to search for activities?  No worries friends, I did it for you.
I compiled this into a file for you along with generic plan's free here.  I'm not updating that file anymore so as I find new things I'm pinning ideas onto my pinterest board. Another great place to find materials is your filing cabinet.  I inherited a lot of random worksheets that seem good but I probably won't use them (because they are hidden in my filing cabinet).  I pulled a bunch of them out and tossed them into the sub tub!

Once I figured out what activities I liked that could be used all year, I wrote Choose Your Own Adventure lesson plans based on those activities.

Here is how it works....
I choose a few activities for each subject.  For science & social studies, I have 3 graphic organizers that can be used with any non-fiction topic (KWL chart, Bubble map, Fact Finder flip book).  For science, I bought the Magic School Bus dvd set from Amazon (that wasn't free but I wanted it for my classroom anyways).  
In my sub plans, I gave the sub a list of episodes that (s)he can choose from with instructions to cross off the one chosen.  Next, I give the substitute an option of what graphic organizer (s)he uses.  I explain all 3 in the plans.  This way, the sub can choose the option (s)he is most comfortable with.  I noted that the KWL chart will take longer than the other options so (s)he can choose a shorter option if time is short.

Here is what my science plans look like (large so you can read it): 

I keep the lesson plans in my sub binder under the lesson plan tab.  I am also going to print them and keep them in the front of the sub tub. 

Finally, I grabbed a file box and file folders.  I made a file folder for each reading group and each math group.  I also have a folder for each writing, science, and social studies activity.  I printed out the activities and made copies.  Just paper clip the copies together in the folder if you have multiple items in a folder.

Here is a look in some of the folders:
Reading mini books for reading groups from Super Teacher Worksheets.  I also printed reading comprehension packets from that site as well.  I am going to go back and put the comprehension packets in their own folder.  I'll label each folder with Opt. 1 and Opt 2 so the sub knows.  

Math folders have a lot of these coloring fact sheets (filing cabinet finds).  These take forever so they are perfect for a sub!

Science and Social studies folder...As I said, I have one folder for each graphic organizer.  I completed an organizer as an example for the sub and keep it in the front of each folder.  This organizer came from Ashley Reed.  

These are the writing prompts I used in my writing folder.  I printed about 8 of them for the class and paper clipped each prompt together.  You can get them from Creekside Teacher Tales for free!
(These folders look empty because they are...I didn't make all of the copies yet because I don't know how many kids are in each grade level).

I can't tell you how relieved I am to have this done.  If it's been on your list, do it now!  Grab your materials and set aside a few hours and get it done.  I seriously am prepared for 10-15 days and I could easily print more worksheets for more days.

Onto the sub binder.  Every page is editable so you can completely customize it to your classroom.  If you don't live in an area with tornados, you don't have a spot for tornado drills (makes sense right?) Here is a look inside (tons of pages are missing): 

Sorry that was so long...I think I was just overly excited that I finished this!  
Thank you Tara for hosting Monday Made It!!!