Adventures in First Grade

Thursday, September 29, 2011

Life Cycle of a Monarch Butterfly

Okay...I am beginning to think that my monarch caterpillars are, well, "special."  They hatched at the end of August.  It was really cool: we got to see the egg, the caterpillar.  We are STILL waiting for a chrysalis.  I think that the kiddos think that I am making up this whole caterpillar to butterfly thing.  And, to make matters worse, my neighbor mowed his field where I get my milkweed!  I mean, how DARE he mow his OWN field!  Doesn't he know that I have very hungry caterpillars?

HELP!  Has this ever happened to anyone else?   The children will be so upset if Ella and Kevin (don't ask), heaven forbid...go up! 

Praying for a caterpillar miracle.

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

The School Bag

I am LOVING this fun linky party!  Two of my fellow first grade teachers sell 31, so you can imagine where a chunk of my budget goes!  I carry the Organizing Utility Tote in Black Parisian on a daily basis.  If I have something special going on one day that requires more stuff, I'll carry my Large Utility Tote in Circle Spirals.  My lunch bag is from one of my sweet firsties as a first day of school present!

Inside, you will find many things.  The first being my Debbie Diller small group book.

I also have my new, fabulous Erin Condren planner!

Here are several center games and anchor charts that I have discovered in blog land:

I have a couple of alphabet books that I am reading with my kindergarten son and my firsties for when we start to talk about ABC order.

Then there is just some random stuff that I keep in the pockets:  stickers, smelly markers, and Sponge Bob Crabby Patties because the Homework Fairy (THANK YOU Rachelle at What The Teacher Wants!) will be making a visit tomorrow, and my son wanted a few to take home!!

For a final piece of randomness, I have my pick sheet for the football pool I am in at school! 

This was such a fun post for me!  I can't wait to see what everyone else has in their teacher bag!

Happy Wednesday!

Tuesday, September 20, 2011

Small Groups

Last week we finally finished going over, and over, and OVER procedures with workstations!!  I have actually been able to meet with groups this week, and...gasp...not be interrupted!! 

I wanted to share my jumping off point with one of my groups.  I ordered from Scholastic the Fall Sight Words Books.  They are great!  Each book focuses on two sight words with an autumn theme. 

Well, I noticed that the size of these books would work perfectly with Nicole, from First Grade O.W.L.s', folder holders! is my folder holder:

On the inside left hand pocket, I made sight word flash cards that correspond with the books:

The right hand pocket holds the sight word books:

I was inspired by The Moffatt Girls to create color by number sight words to go with each book:

This small group of firsties really enjoyed their book (I assigned each child one title) and the color by number activities.  These books have really boosted their reading confidence. 

I hope that you have enjoyed this glimpse into my small group time. 

Happy Tuesday!!

Wednesday, September 14, 2011


I have been waiting for this day for about two weeks.  My Erin Condren Planner  is finally here!  I first heard about this website from Cara Carroll at The First Grade Parade.  I am ALWAYS looking for something to better organize my life, and IS IT!  I highly recommend checking out this website.  This is the product picture from the website because I forgot my camera at school.  Isn't it bee-utiful?!  It is shipped in a really pretty box, too!!

2011-12 life planner -kaleidoscope

I've got to go get organized!!

Happy Wednesday!!

Sunday, September 11, 2011

Remembering 9/11

On this day, reflecting back ten years ago, not only am I thinking of all of the people who lost their lives, but how to address September 11 in the classroom.  On Friday, our school had Red, White, and Blue Day as a way to remember what happened to our country. 

It is hard to explain, not only to first graders, but ANY age person how and why something so terrible could have happened.  A couple years ago, while I was working on my masters, one of the professors shared the book Fireboat:  The Heroic Adventures of the John J. Harvey

It has since become one of my favorites, not only for the amazing illustrations, but for the way it tells the story of Septemember 11 through a fireboat called the John J. Harvey.  If you have not had a chance to read this book, I HIGHLY recommend it.

May we never forget.

Friday, September 9, 2011

Open House

Last night we had P.T.A. Open House at my school.  Which made me stop and wonder, what do you do in your classrooms when the parents and your students come to visit? 

For the last couple of years, I have taken LOTS of pictures of my firsties in the days leading up to the big night, and have made them into a slide show that plays on my SMARTBoard.  We also borrow individual mirrors from the art teacher and the children draw their self-portraits.  We write a hint so the parents have to guess which portrait and clue matches their child.

As a grade level, we assign a time line project the week prior to Open House.  The projects are displayed around the room for the parents to see.

I'd love to hear what you do for Open House!

Happy FRIDAY!!

Tuesday, September 6, 2011

Classroom Library

Hello!  It has been such a crazy day!  I don't know about you, but it felt like a Monday all day long!

This evening, I have a couple of things that I want to share with you.  First, I would like to invite you into my classroom library.

Here are some cute reading monsters that my mom made for in the classroom library.  She and my sister are the creative  Well, I can barely draw a stick figure!!

On the back of the same cabinet with the reading monsters, I have a visual of how to tell if you are choosing the right books.  I have had these for years, and I can't remember where I got the idea.  If it's yours, let me know!

My books are arranged in tubs by either series, author, or subject.  Each tub of books has a colored dot that is unique to that tub.

This is the bulletin board that I have in my classroom library:

Okay...that is my classroom library!

I know that I mentioned earlier that I'm not crafty, which is mostly true.  However, this weekend I was motivated by Runde's Room: A Week of Pinterest-Inspired Crafts: Day 2.  On this particular day, she posted her decorated READ letters.  Well, I just LOVED them.  So, I decided to brave the elements and head out to Walmart.  Here is the final product...I am pretty surprised and pleased by the results!

The last thing that I would like to share this evening is my poster of "A Successful 1st Grader."  I would like to make a new one, because the original isn't very...dazzling, but here it is:

With that, I need to get my eldest in the tub, my youngest in bed, and myself some sanity!  Until next time....

Thursday, September 1, 2011

ABC Word Study Station

Today I would like to share my ABC Word Study Station with you.  This area is tucked between the back of a metal cabinet (perfect for magnet letters) and a small two-shelf bookcase.  It is the perfect space for two, and sometimes three, first grade bodies.

On the bookshelves, I have items that the students can use to build words.  I change them out every so often.  For example, I put out letter stamps later in the year because I learned the hard way that firsties cannot handle ink pads and stamps at the beginning of the year!  Trial and error is an amazing thing!

I have on the top shelf a basket of books.  Right now it holds mainly ABC books and books that use the word families that we have studied so far.  Later in the year, I will add parts of speech books.

I have a tub of teddy bears with lower case letters on them that they can use to make words.  The kiddos really like the bears in the beginning of the year.  But, as they become better spellers and readers, I switch them out for the alphabet stamps.

On the bottom shelf, you will find my handy dandy tackle box used to house my magnet letters.  They LOVE to use the magnet letters!

I hope that you have enjoyed my ABC Word Study Station.  Classroom tour:  To Be Continued.......

Happy Almost Friday!!