Thursday, August 28, 2014

Book Leveling - Freebie Labels

When I moved to my new school, I was informed that they don't do A.R.

I was bummed.  I love A.R. I have been doing A.R. for the last 10 years.

This school does Fountas & Pinnell.

It's only a K-2 school, so I get why they don't do A.R.

But still. When I heard that, I'm pretty sure my eyes bulged out and my jaw dropped. If you've seen pictures of my extensive classroom library, you can probably understand why I was kind of freaking out about leveling my whole library....again.... for the THIRD time. 

So I racked my brain and tried to come up with a "simple" way to do it. 

You know that I'm quite OCD (LABEL IT ALL!), so there had to be a system. I didn't want my bins organized by levels because I like the kids to look through my books as they would a real library. PLUS I already have them beautifully organized.

So I came up with a system.

Here's what I came up with.

I made labels and printed them on the Avery mailing labels

I made it so that TWO labels print up on each ONE I'm getting double my bang for my buck. When I cut the labels in half, the fit perfectly around the bind, with the letters showing on the front.

And then I had a WONDERFUL parent volunteer come in and do all of my books. Let me tell you, after 3 days of 4-5 hours of leveling and labeling, she's about halfway finished. Seriously. She's amazing. I need to give her a major gift afterwards.

For real.

She's sitting outside my door in the hallway (using the extra desks of kids that didn't show up because I don't' have any room in my actual room for her to sit) looking books up on the Scholastic Book Wizard website/app and labeling them. I feel very blessed to have her.

And now my books are labeled so beautifully!

So did you see the other labels on my books?? Yep. My books are now leveled three times....

One for A.R.
One for 100 Book Challenge (do any of you do that!?)
And now one for F & P.

Hopefully, since these all have letters on them, my kids won't get confused easily! ha!

Anyway,  if you want them, you can grab them for free from my store.

Tomorrow is Friday.

It's a 3-day weekend.

I'm sure you know where I'll be!

Sunday, August 24, 2014

First Week of Centers - How We Do Them

Last week, I showed you my plan for centers.

In the midst of our first week, I decided to introduced centers to my kids.

I know. I'm crazy. But I wanted to get them started so I could do my assessments starting the next week.

I was expecting total chaos.

But I was pleasantly surprised. It went pretty well! The first day I had to just keep walking around making sure that everyone went to where tehy were supposed to go, doing what they were supposed to be doing, all the fun stuff.

The 2nd day went much better.

The 3rd day? I was able to actually sit and start assessing some kids!

Are we doing them full-blown yet? No. But we are off to a great start!

Here's how it went.

I taught them how to pick centers. That was like a 30 minute session. THEN, I walked each one through the process AND then I walked around to make sure they wrote the date on the correct center. So the whole process took about 45-60 minutes.

Here is how they picked their centers. They put their number cards next to the center number. Right now I'm only allowing up to 2 people to a center. BUT, eventually, we'll be doing 2 centers each day (they will have a green number card to show the 2nd center they choose), but right now, we're just working on one center a day.

Sorry about the lighting... the pocket chart is in a corner with bad lighting!

I gave them their seatwork (right now it was just the activities from my First Days of First Grade Freebie).

After they filed their seatwork, they were allowed to get their buckets for the their centers.  This set up looks a little different now (I've changed it up after we started using it), but the buckets are the ones on the bottom. they correspond with the center numbers in the pocket chart.  When they are ready, they grab their bucket and head to a spot in the room to do their center. Eventually, their partner will meet up with them and they can work together. 

Here they are at work at a few of our centers.

Poetry center.

Reading the clues.

Sentence scrambles.

Pocket chart center.

Sight word play-doh (a quick favorite!)

Um....I was SUPER impressed with one of my girls who loves to use resources already! I passed out their Spelling Journals last week and explained how to use them because this week we're going to dive into them. so when she didn't know how to spell a word, she got out her journal! Say what!?

Following directions center to make a book.

The centers this first time takes a LOT longer than they should... and they probably will for a while, which is why I'm only doing 1 center a day instead of 2 centers a day. 

When my timer goes off (yes, I have a timer set, otherwise I would go FOREVER!)  It's the best timer in the world. I got it when I took a training over the summer. It's the Kagan Mega Timer. Best thing EVER. Not only is it a timer, but it's also a team selector, student selector, stop watch....the list goes on! AND it gives warnings when time is almost up. 

Anyway, sorry, I get side tracked easily.

The timer goes off, and they clean up their centers and return their buckets. They go to their seats and put their menu on their desk and if their center had a paper to go with it, they put that out too. I come around and check off their centers. If they finished it (most of it) and did it correctly with their best efforts, they get a star, sticker, whatever. If they didn't? I circle the box where it says T.S. (teacher signature). They will keep them all in their centers folder until we are done with the round, and then I'll staple them all together and send it home. This is the same format I've use in 2nd and 3rd grade too; it just works for me! But I've even had a Kinder teacher friend adapt this format for her classroom (I'm pretty sure using pictures instead of words).

I didn't get a picture of all the centers they were doing this week, so here is my "visual plan" for centers.

And the links of where to find them all....

2.  Label a Picture (these come from my Label It! pack and my August Center Menu for 1st grade)
3. Read the Clues from my August Centers
4. Lori's Sentence Puzzles
5. Lori's Walk the Room
6. Poetry Center from my August Centers
7. Sentence Scramble from my August Centers. I'm only using 3 of the 6 sentences, and the other 3 will be next round of centers.
8. Pocket Chart Names. This is a center I just came up with. I wanted them to get to know their classmates' names, so maybe this will help? It's a freebie if you want it. Click {HERE}
9. Follow the Directions - I wrote steps of directions on sentences strips, and I'm using Teeny's Back to School Foldable Books
10. Big Book - writing an evaluation on the book from my August Centers.

I hope you are enjoying your weekend - especially if it's the first weekend of back to school for you! I now must go finish my plans for this week.... figure out how to teach 1st grade - ha!

Saturday, August 23, 2014

First Week of School - Wemberly and Freebies!

First week. 

I'm done.

Yes... done, not finished. I'm finished too, but I'm done, mostly. Done - like a turkey. Stick a fork in me. 

My calves hurt. My heels hurt. I haven't gotten much sleep. My brain won't stop. BUT, I haven't lost my voice yet. And I lose my voice EVERY year in the first few weeks. 

I always forget how much work it is to get the kids doing my procedures that the kids were doing SO WELL at the end of last year. lol. I know. But I forget EVERY year how hard it is. Please tell me I'm not the only one!

So, here are some things we accomplished this week. I am saving my first week of centers for a different post. But we did them. And it turned out pretty good!

One of the first things I always do every year is our name activity.  This goes along with one of the first books I read of the year.  Chyrsanthemum. Chrysanthemum. Chrysanthemum.

This activity came from one of my favorite scholastic books...

When I taught 2nd and 3rd, I had the kids trace and cut out their own letters, but I knew I couldn't have my 1st graders do that, so I used the dye cut at school to cut out all the letters (and extra!) for them to choose.

I just love how they come out every year!

I also had them make their jerseys. I do this every year. This is my way of learning their numbers really quickly. I keep the jerseys up all year, usually. What do they use their numbers for, you ask? TONS of things! Check out my post on them HERE.  I just use the dye cut machine to make the jerseys and then I write their names and numbers on them... they get to decorate them however they want.

We also did our Time Capsules. This is one of my favorite beginning of year activities to do. It was a little more work getting the kids to fill out the writing part, so I didn't get any pictures of that, but the good news is, I have a post from last year that you can check out HERE to see what the whole thing is about. Download the freebie HERE

And I measured them all with the yarn and labeled each piece of yarn with their number, rolled up the time capsule papers, and tied it up with their measurement yarn. 

Download the freebie HERE

AND we did Wemberly Worried. This is one of my favorite activities that I use with this book. This activity always turns out SO cute!!

Yes, I busted out the watercolor paints the first week. I can't help it. I love them. We go through A LOT of watercolor paints at my house, and I really like letting the kids at school paint too.

I had them trace the shirt on some purple scrapbooking paper that I had laying around my house. It made it really cute, I think! But you could just do regular purple construction paper too.

I let them either choose white or gray for her head. I couldn't decide which color I wanted, so I did both. Although some were really creative and did the white and added the gray to her! Brilliant kids, I tell ya!

Click HERE to get the tracers and writing papers.

AND.... one more thing. I'd like to thank Teeny for introducing me to these BRILLIANT name tag holders from Really Good Stuff. She has been taunting me teasing me  showing off these name tag holders for about 2 years now, and after her latest post on them I finally broke down and got a class set. Worth it, my friends. Worth it.  They are called Desktop Park and Props. They were delivered today at school and I immediately put them on with velcro and I love them. Already. No questions asked. So, Thank You Teeny, Thank you!  The name tags are a freebie from the summer. You can get them HERE.

Tuesday, August 19, 2014

First Centers of the Year...and ANOTHER TpT sale!

I have been back to school for 2 days now, with kiddos. I'm not exhausted as I thought I would be. And I've actually got a lot accomplished. However, my pile of "in case of emergency" and "time fillers" sets of papers is getting bigger and bigger. Which is good,  I guess. That way I have them when I need them, right?!

So, tomorrow, I've decided that I'm going to introduce how to do centers.

I know.

I'm crazy, right!?  But I figure, better to get them started now than when I'm trying to do all of those one-on-one assessments and really need them to comfortable knowing how to do centers.

I've changed up my center menu a little bit since I'm down in 1st grade... at least for the first go 'round.  You can check out how my center menus looked like before in {THIS} post.  It's actually changing all the time, but I essentially keep it the same "format" with every change.  Here's a "visual plan" on my centers for the week. I'm not going to  do a whole planbook of visual plans because, well, let's face it... I'm still kind of working on just the basics of procedures. BUT, I will be sure to come back at the end of the week to show you what we HAVE done. 

Anyway, so here are my centers I'm introducing to them tomorrow. (no, the pictures are not on the menus that the kids get.... although, now that I'm thinking about it, that's a good idea - ha!)

I'm trying to stick with "easy" centers for the first time, just so they get the procedures down.

Here are the centers I'm using for the week:
2.  Label a Picture (these come from my Label It! pack and my August Center Menu for 1st grade)
3. Read the Clues from my August Centers
4. Lori's Sentence Puzzles
5. Lori's Walk the Room
6. Poetry Center from my August Centers
7. Sentence Scramble from my August Centers. I'm only using 3 of the 6 sentences, and the other 3 will be next round of centers.
8. Pocket Chart Names. This is a center I just came up with. I wanted them to get to know their classmates' names, so maybe this will help? It's a freebie if you want it. Click {HERE}
9. Follow the Directions - I wrote steps of directions on sentences strips, and I'm using Teeny's Back to School Foldable Books
10. Big Book - writing an evaluation on the book from my August Centers.

I will be back at the end of the week to show how centers went and my set up this year, if it works, that is. It's basically the same set up, but just a little tweaking here and there.  

So, think of me tomorrow. Pray for me....for my sanity. ha!  

OH!! And have you heard??


Another BTS sale!??!  Sweet!!

You can get almost 30% off my store for ONE DAY ONLY!!

Check out THIS post to see everything everything in my store that can help you for BTS activities! I did big post for the "visual people" that could help get your year started!