Wednesday, October 23, 2013

Conference Time

 I haven't been here for way too long! I cannot believe that it is time for Parent / Teacher Conferences already! This year is going by so fast! I love my group of kiddos by the way although 27 of them just feels like too many to really be able to reach each one of them.

Well, anyway my partner and I wanted to have practice sheets for the parents to take home and use with the students. I don't know about your district, but we have a ton of papers that we have to pass out to parents already besides our Standards Based report cards. So, instead of passing out ONE MORE paper...we made this nifty little thing to hang up where parents can take what they need. We also plan to direct parents to take specific packets if we feel a child needs one.

We made math facts that include adding, subtracting, doubles and near doubles. Handwriting sheets to practice letters and numbers. Sight words that go along with our Trophies stories and our Saxon phonics. And finally we made copies of passages that can be used for fluency practice.
Hopefully we will have a good turn out tomorrow! What are you doing to prepare for your conferences to make your life easier? Please share!

Saturday, August 17, 2013

Back To School Sale!!!

It is time for the big back to school sale at Teacher's Pay Teachers!  On Sunday, August 18th and Monday, August 19th you can save 20% off all items in my store and when you check out if you enter the promo code BTS13 you will save an additional 10% from TPT!  This is a great time to stock up on items you may want to use as we head back to school. I hope you will stop by my store and take a peek around. :) 



Wednesday, August 14, 2013

Teacher Week: Take a look at my finished classroom!

I am coming a day late to show my classroom tour...but better late than never!!  I am finished with my classroom other than names of students on name tags, clips and such. I put all my photos into a smilebox slide show. So take a look and then tell me what you think. :)   I will be happy to answer any questions as well if you see something you want to know more about! Enjoy!!

Click to play this Smilebox slideshow
Create your own slideshow - Powered by Smilebox
This slideshow design created with Smilebox

Linking up again with blog hoppin for Teacher week 2013...come by and share your classroom too!


Monday, August 12, 2013

Teacher Week Day 1: Come Meet Me!

I love Teacher Week! It is so fun to peek inside everyone's classrooms and get to know more about each other. So, I am linking up with Blog Hoppin for the first day of Teacher Week...Meet the Teacher!! Each day will be a different topic as you can see below so make sure you link up with the fun!

So, now about little ol' me...

My name is Alissa and I have been married for 10 years this year to the man of my dreams! He is the most patient, understanding husband I could ask for and we have so much fun together. He makes me laugh all the time and we love being silly together.

This is us on our wedding day and also on the gondola ride at the Venetian this summer for our 10 year anniversary.

I have 2 amazing children that have made me so proud over the years! I started motherhood a little younger than I should have. I had my son when I was only 19 but I still managed to raise an awesome kid and get the career I have always dreamed of. My son, Chase is 18 years old and heading off to college this week. This kid is an amazing pitcher and will be playing baseball for Eastern Illinois University and is also a super intelligent hardworking student who managed to get a 33 on his ACT and was chosen to receive the Presidential Scholarship during his 4 years of college. I am beyond proud of him and know that he will do great, but I cannot believe it is time for my baby boy to leave home. This Thursday is going to be a rough day for me as we move him into his new dorm room.

Chase when he was 4 in his t-ball uniform and his Senior picture this year.

My daughter, Kennady, is my best friend and I am so proud of her too! She is an amazing swimmer and performer in Show Choir. She works very hard to get good grades and she has the biggest heart in the world. I cannot believe that she is going to be a freshman in high school this year. If these 4 years go as fast as Chase's years in high school then I don't know what I'm going to do.

This is Kenna when she was 2 and now she is 14.


This is going on my 8th year teaching. I started in a rural school my first year, teaching 2nd grade. Then I taught 2 years in Kindergarten , 2 years in 4th grade, and this will be my 3rd year teaching 1st grade. I have wanted to be a teacher since I was just a little girl. I would make all my friends play school with me and I would be the teacher. I even would pretend to be a teacher to imaginary friends when I was alone. And one year,  I had to babysit my 3 younger cousins. I enlisted the help of one of my friends and we set up a complete schedule of different school activities we were going to teach them complete with lesson plans and everything!

I enjoy spending time with my family and friends. I love to read and watch movies. Kenna and I love to watch complete sets of old TV series on Netflix. We have completed all the Charmed shows and most of Dawson's Creek. Right now we are watching Supernatural with those 2 hotties in it! LOL 

We have two fur babies at home. Our cat, Tiger is 10 this year and our dog, Teddy Bear, just turned 4. They are the sweetest animals ever!!


Anything else you wanna know? Just ask! Can't wait to learn more about you guys so remember to link up!


Sunday, August 11, 2013

Classroom Setup Day 2

I am linking up today with Leigh over at The Applicious Teacher for the last installment of an Apple Day Linky Party.


I went back to my classroom on Friday to finish up a few more things. :) It is coming right along and I am hoping to not have to go in again except for a couple hours so I can enjoy my last days of summer. Here is how it is looking so far:

This is a view of my carpet area/ ENO board. Here you see my items for calendar time. That pad of chart paper will be hanging on hooks soon once I get some new ones. My classroom job pockets are on the other side of my ENO board. The desk will hold my document camera and the tall shelving unit is where I put my laptop.
As we move a little further over you can see my decoding strategy cards...I found these at Oceans of First Grade Fun. They are adorable! I also have my new table captain chart and my literacy work station chart hanging in this area. On top of my filing cabinets (that still need a little TLC) you will see my teacher toolbox that I made last summer.
Now we move to my teacher / small group area. On the black bulletin board area I have hung a blue small pocket chart. This will be used for my guided math rotations. The whiteboard directly next to that has a couple of phonics posters and this is where I will write anything my groups need to use. The board next to that is where I will hang the anchor charts we make together. You can see my Alphabet cards that are from Virginia Dowd over at The kids love this!! Also you can see my beautiful 10-drawer cart that I just got. LOVE it!!
This board is my "I Can..." board. This will have my daily objective I can statements posted for Reading, Phonics, Math, Writing, and our Character skill we are focusing on for the week. My pink chair I roll over next to the carpet area when I read aloud. The green board that you only see part of is going to be my math board that posts our essential questions and vocabulary for the topics. You can see the back of a white shelf with another teacher toolbox on top. This is my mom's area. She is my personal classroom volunteer everyday. :) ( I am so spoiled lucky!) These areas are put together and ready to go.
I still need to hang up my new table signs I made, shampoo my alphabet rug, put student names on items once I get my class list, and make my copies for the first week. I will be back next time with the overview of the entire finished classroom. I would love for you to comment on what you think!

UPDATE!  Final overview pics of my room!!

Make sure you plan to link up for teacher week over at Blog hoppin or Erica Bohrer's starting next week!



Thursday, August 8, 2013

Classroom Setup Day 1

Well, Tuesday was the first day we were allowed back in our rooms to start setting back up for school. Our first day back to school is August 22nd and the kids don't come back until August 26th so I have plenty of time, but I want to get done and try to enjoy what is left of my summer. :) I went in for about 3 1/2 hours Tuesday and it didn't look all that bad from the get go. This will be my 3rd year in this same room so it is starting to get a little easier for the tear down and set up again. Here are 2 views of what I saw when I walked in...


View from the doorway as you walk in....
View from the front of the room toward one of my coat hall entrances.
They had my tables and shelves relevantly close to where I wanted them so it was pretty easy to get started. Last year I had my funky frogs borders and decided to add some polka dot things. This year I wanted to join in on the chevron bandwagon. I am really starting to love that stuff! I decided to make some new word wall letter cards. I really like how they turned out. :)
I decided to go ahead and get these babies hung up! :)
Here's a closer look at them...
I got my furniture all placed around the room, most of my centers put away and a lot of my tubs unpacked. I was in a hurry when I left so I forgot to take pictures. I plan to go back tomorrow and try to finish it up until I have to go back on the 22nd. I will take some pics tomorrow so you can see the finished project. :)


Monday, July 15, 2013

My Deal of the Day!!

I am so excited!!! I don't use a teacher's desk because 1. I don't have time to really sit at it anyway 2. It takes up extra space that I don't want to give up! So, I use my kidney table as my area and also as my small group area all in one. I love it! But, since I don't have a desk, I have to have some where to put all my junk important materials! I have been using 3 of the sterilite carts like the one below to house all my goodies and also my teacher toolbox that I made last year.


These aren't mine just a close replica lol.

This one is mine! :)
So, when I saw this 10-drawer cart with the rainbow drawers I was like...HAVE TO HAVE IT!!
I got the Really Good Stuff catalog and was like no way I am willing to pay this much!
Really Good Stuff price w/ shipping...$95
But then I went to Sam's Club and found the EXACT SAME CART for $24.98  and I had a $10 gift card that I received for getting my new membership at the club so it only cost me $15 plus tax! I cannot wait to get this puppy put together and get it to school to fill it up with all my goodies.
What I love about this cart besides the fact that it is beautiful, is that each drawer comes completely out with no trouble at all, will hold materials the size of paper, yet deep enough for my baskets of highlighter, dry erase markers, etc.
I plan to use a few drawers for items that I use daily when planning or grading or those items you just like to keep handy. And then I will have a few drawers that I can use for my group materials too. I will let you know exactly how it turns out when I get it into my classroom. :)


Sunday, June 30, 2013

Missing Numbers and a Freebie!

I have been planning to create some new centers this summer to use in my classroom that go along with the common core standards and with our EnVision math program. I created my first one today that I think is especially important because our students are assessed on missing numbers for Aimsweb as well. This is an easy center activity or small group activity. Simply laminate and cut strips apart and have students use dry erase markers. The worksheets can be copied and used as worksheets or you can save on paper by placing them in a page protector and having students use a dry erase marker with it.

The Hunt for the Missing Numbers
I hope you all have started following me on bloglovin by now...tomorrow is the end of Google Reader as we all know. :(  If you haven't followed me yet, you can click on the button on the left hand side. And because I love all of you...I am adding a missing number freebie for you!

Tuesday, June 18, 2013

I'm Bloglovin!

Thanks to everyone who has been posting about the end of Google Reader as of July 1st. I would have been SO depressed if I woke up one day and all the blogs that I follow were just GONE!!  So, today  I joined Bloglovin and made the easy switch. Really it is SO simple!! Just create your account and import the blogs you already follow from Google Reader and everything is good to go! If you currently follow me please be sure to transfer my blog over to your new Bloglovin account. If you are new to my page and want to follow me, please click on the Follow Me at Bloglovin button on the top left of my page! Thanks!!

Join the bloglovin hop!!
Teaching is a Gift


Monday, June 17, 2013

Ten Pin Linky Party: Classroom Decor

I am linking up with Ashley from Just Reed to show you my ten favorite pins from Pinterest that I have pinned for Classroom Décor. :) I am totally addicted to Pinterest so it will take some picking and choosing. LOL

1. Objective Wall
I have to post student-friendly "I can" statements each day to match my objectives for reading and math. I like the way this one is taped off with a space for each subject. I am thinking of using the subjects of Reading, Math, Writing, and our Character Goal.

I don't think that I have room for this in my classroom unless I rearrange a lot but I absolutely LOVE this idea!! Instead of toys I would put books in the baskets and make this my library area. :)

I wish that I had thought of this myself! I have these chair pockets from when I taught Kindergarten and had a much smaller class size. I don't have enough for my whole class now with having 27 students but I could use them at my guided reading table and put a dry erase board, marker, eraser, etc. in there for easy access.
If I don't go with idea 3, then I like this idea for my guided reading table. I used 2 of these circles for my daily objectives this year, but sometimes they don't erase that well. That would be my only drawback.
5. Math Tubs
I LOVE LOVE LOVE the look of the way she organized her math tubs. :) If only I had an unlimited amount of money to spend in my classroom! lol
Love the colors with the white wicker chair and the lanterns just top it all off!
I love the organization of this teacher area and it looks so sharp too!
I really wanted to find some cubes like this last year but I couldn't find cute ones. And the ones I did find were just too pricey for me. :(
I love the look of this area also.
Would love to have matching, colorful tables like these and the bookshelf along the wall too!
So, there you have it! 10 of my favorite classroom décor pins. Please head on over to Just Reed's to link up and share some of your favorite pins. :) And if you want to follow me on Pinterest, feel free to click the link on the side of my page!


Sunday, June 16, 2013

Classroom Management

I am linking up with Leigh from The Applicious Teacher to talk about classroom management. This is a subject we all want to know more about. Wondering what is really working for others in their classroom because your system isn't working anymore? Or maybe you are just looking for some new ideas? Well, this is the linky party for you!


I have tried many different management ideas in my 7 years of teaching because we all know what works with one class may not work with another. During my last two years of first grade, I have used 2 different ideas and loved them both. So, if I loved one why try something new? Well, I like to change it up because sometimes I get bored but also because my second system involved technology and I thought that would make it even more awesome.

My first year in First grade (2011-2012), I used the clip chart. This was all the rave on the Proteacher Message boards. I used to spend my whole summer on that website before I found all you wonderful bloggers!

I found the clipchart idea at this website and it even gives you a free e-book to explain more about it. You can order a clipchart from them and it is made from a nice vinyl that is awesome once you get it to unroll and lay flat. Or you can simply make it from different colors of construction paper and laminate it. This is what I chose to do when I first gave it a try. Then our PBIS team bought the vinyl ones for anyone who wanted them because they were working so well in our school.


Here is the basic idea of the set up and you use the clothespins with it.
So, to use it each student has their own clothespin that starts on green every day. If they make smart choices they can clip up to good day, great day, or outstanding. If they make poor choices they clip down to think about it, teacher' s choice of consequence, or parent contact. For me parent contact would depend on the reason they ended up at the bottom. It might be a note or call home or it could be as bad as a detention or office referral. Throughout the day there is a steady flow of movement. Just because the student moves down to think about it doesn't mean they can't turn their day around and end up at the top of the chart. The only time I told my students they could no longer move was if they made it to the "sticky pink bubble gum". If my students did something to end up there then they were stuck until the next day. Otherwise if they made it to purple I would be encouraging them to make smart choices and get their day turned around. Same thing with the top. Once you make it to the top you have to hold steady with your outstanding day or you can move back down the ladder. The kids really bought into it and it worked well. Here is why...
You have to tie some kind of reward to the chart. Sometimes the simple act of moving to outstanding is enough for a child. But in my school, most of the kids need something tangible. The year I used it they would earn so many reds for extra recess, computer time, or a prize from the prize box. If they had any pinks or purples for the week they missed out. But there was always next week to work harder. If they made it to red each time they would get a good note home. I made them on business cards from Vistaprint and could easily send them home at the end of the day. I also would just jot a quick note on post its but that takes much longer!
Here is one of them that I made at Vistaprint and ordered when you could get 250 free.
This coming year I am going back to the clipchart and see how it goes. The Kindergarten classes used them this year, so I am thinking that keeping the kids on the same system might make for an easier transition. So, we will see...
Now this past year, I tried something different that I also loved. It was Class Dojo. It was free and easy and the kids loved the avatars! I used it with the same idea in mind of rewards based on points. The students who had at least 4 points at the end of the day got the good note home card and also got to put a sticker on a sticker chart. Once they earned 5 stickers they got a piece of candy from the candy jar. Then when they filled up their chart they got a prize like a pencil or bookmark and also a positive referral to the office for a treat. Points could be earned and lost the same as the clip chart moves your clip both up and down.
If you want to know more in depth about this program, visit my previous post about it here.
One thing I really like about this program is that it keeps track of the data for you which I will miss with my clip chart. I could see my whole class' percentage of positive behavior for the day, week, month. Or I could also view an individual student's percentage as well. Also, on Friday it would email parents with a report automatically if you input their email addresses. :) Bad thing with my school was that I only had a minimal amount of parents who had email that actually checked it. Also, we had an issue with our internet towards the end of the year so I couldn't easily access it from my laptop and had to keep track on paper. I really did like that I could access it from my iPhone wherever we went but the app doesn't always sync with the classroom like it should. I'm sure it is a simple bug that they will work out. Overall, I was really happy with the program and the kids like it too.
I am thinking of using the clip chart maybe first semester and then guiding them into class dojo after Christmas break if we need to change it up a bit. I will have to see what this new little group is like to decide.
Well, I hope you will head on over to The Applicious Teacher to link up so we can here more ideas of what classroom management works for you! And be sure to check back for the following week's ideas as well!
Happy Sunday!!