Wednesday, June 26, 2013

Bloglovin', Blackhawks, and Math...Oh My!

Hi, All!

It's been a couple of crazy days living in Chicago with the Blackhawks winning the Stanley Cup!  I in no way, shape, or form consider myself a diehard Blackhawks fan but it sure has been tons of fun celebrating the big win and partaking in all the absolute craziness that has filled this city!  This picture is just a quick idea of what Monday was like on the streets of Chicago for all you non-Chicagoans.  I can't even believe I was in that crowd at one point!  I think I've lost my mind.  Yep, yep, I've lost my mind.

So, onto more teacher-related things.  If you have been living under a rock and managed to miss the BIG NEWS (!!!!) that Google Reader is no longer starting July 1st, then I can only assume you've also missed out on the new hot Bloglovin' trend.  I originally converted all my google reader things over to a different app called Feedly, but decided to give Bloglovin' a try (because why not have multiple sites for literally the exact same reason?).  Anyways, I have added the "Follow me on Bloglovin'" button to the side of my blog page here.  It's a really organized and easy way to follow all those blogs you normally do and I've really been enjoying how user-friendly and simple it is.  Please follow away...I don't want to miss a single thing and promise I am already following all of you!  No, but seriously, I already follow over 200 blogs.  Is that crazy?

The button on my sidebar looks like this.  I also have it posted below.  All you have to do is click it, follow, and, guess what?  YOU, my friend, are an instant follower! 

While you are all busy adding me to your Bloglovin' page, I want to link up with Just Reed for her Ten Pin Linky Party!

This week, her linky party is focusing on your top 10 math ideas that you have found on Pinterest!  This is so perfect for me, as my school is really diving deep into common core next year and math will be looking totally different!  I decided for this linky party to focus on ideas that would make my common core transition easier and I've found some totally fabulous ideas out there!  Some of these things I have tested with my kiddos and some of them I hope to try next year!

1.  The way that Ashley over at That's So Second Grade! is organizing her math tubs for next year.  I'm obsessed.  I've been trying to figure out a way to keep everything organized and ready to fit right into common core to (hopefully) eliminate some stress for myself and I think this just might be perfect!  Love it!  Not to mention her blog template/layout is super cute...she must have really fabulous taste :) (hint: it's the same as mine).

2.  Measurement Olympics from Step into 2nd Grade with Mrs. Lemons!  So creative!  I think I will do something similar this year if we have extra time.  I will have to adapt it to first grades' non-standard unit standard, but I'm sure it will be tons of fun!

3.  This Solid Figures chart freebie by Kinder-Craze.  I used this with my kids last year and it was perfect for learning about the attributes of a shape.  Instead of cutting them apart and gluing them onto an anchor chart, I wanted to make it interactive.  So, I cut all the pieces out, glued the headings down, and put velcro dots on all the rest of the pieces and on the chart.  The kids took turns coming up and putting things where they belonged.  They loved it and the chart really helped as a reference point throughout the unit.

4.  I also was able to use this "Rainbow to 10" sheet from A Cupcake for the Teacher last year and it was super helpful.  Definitely one of my favorite math ideas found via pinterest! I made one into an anchor chart and then each one of my kids got to color their own and keep it in their math folders for help!  

5.  I haven't yet been able to commit to spending the major bucks on individual Judy clocks for my kids and I'm always looking for a way to see if they are able to draw/show the time.  I stumbled upon these awesome clock paddles by 2nd Grade Ponderings.  Perfect and simple!

6.  I have always wanted to make Power Towers for my math stations but have never gotten around to it.  I think my kids would love them and they can be used for anything from fact fluency to number recognition to place value!  This picture is from Mrs. Gilchrist's Class.

7.  Love this idea from BlogHoppin' for having kids match clothespins to their sum.  This is a fabulous idea for math stations next year!

8.  Found this cute picture from The Teacher Wife and can't wait to use something similiar next year when teaching number bonds/fact families.  I think this will be a great way to reinforce the idea that you can mix up the same 3 numbers to make different number sentences!

9.  Cute little non-standard measurement book I found from Joyful Learning in KC!

10.  And last but certainly not least...The Teacher Wife's Math Wall!  I've always had a math wall in my classroom but I'm hoping to keep up with it a lot better this year and to really put all the main teaching points up on it.  This is my inspiration to do so!

PHEW!  That was a long post, but one that I will most definitely be referring back to when I start my math planning! Ugh, the fact that I need to start planning soon sounds CRAZY!  Summer is flying by and I'm not okay with it moving so quickly.  Guess this means I should start putting some of these ideas into action and really get moving on the 10,483 item long to-do list I have for next school year...

Saturday, June 15, 2013

Fabulous Freebies!

Hi All!

I am excited to have stumbled upon the Fabulous Freebies on the Fifteenth linky party that Lucky to Be in First hosts!  I can't believe I've never seen this before.  What an awesome way to share freebies with other teachers and to snag some up myself. :)

This freebie is nothing too exciting but it worked really well with my first grade readers.  They thought it was so cool to do a "book report" after they finished reading a non-fiction book.  It also aligns well with all the new fun non-fiction text standards in common core, so I am excited to use it next year as well!  Just click on the picture to be linked to it...I hope you all can use it with your kiddos as well!  

I also just created all the materials for my "brighten up your word wall!" pack on TpT, so why not provide part of that as a freebie!?  I'm loving the whole set of brightly colored headings and words and how each level of words is on a different colored background, but I'm especially loving my new A-Z circle letters to match my room!  Grab these headers for free below!

You can check out the full word wall file complete with my bright colored and leveled words in my TpT Store by clicking on the picture below!  

Well, I hope that you guys can use my freebies and I'm excited to check out everyone else's products in the linky party!  My weekend plans are to watch the Blackhawks game tonight and go to the racetrack tomorrow for Father's Day!  Even though I'm not a huge hockey fan, I have to admit the spirit can get contagious living in a city with a team in the finals.  I mean, how cool is this?  I love this city!!

That's about all for now but I hope everyone has a fabulous weekend and a very Happy Father's Day to all those dads out there!

Tuesday, June 11, 2013

My New Daily Schedule Cards

Hey everyone!

Well we have been super busy working on common core for next year and I'm not gonna lie...I'm a little nervous about how different everything is going to be!  Since it is kind of our kick-off year it will be interesting to see how the kids do not having had the same intensity and format of instruction in kindergarten.  But, I guess that's what pilot years are all about, right?  We have a couple more days before summer work is over so hopefully we can squeeze in tons of productivity these next two days.  Oh and then maybe I can soak up a little bit of sun during my days off because I sure need it!

In an effort to feel somewhat accomplished and not totally overwhelmed by all the changes next year, I wanted to check off one of the many things on my to-do list for the beginning of the year.  My first year teaching I made some daily schedule cards and they were definitely on their last days this year!  I decided to make some new ones to match my color scheme in my room.  My classroom matches my blog template (all bright green, bright blue, pink, and white) so these schedule cards will be perfect for my board!  They make it super easy to just quickly switch around everyday depending on what we will be doing and they work as an awesome reference for the kids throughout the day.  I mean, don't get me wrong, I LOVE hearing "when's lunch?" 1000 times before 9:00am, but having a schedule up just makes it a lot easier!  I've uploaded my new schedule cards to my TpT Store and you can get to them by clicking on the picture below!  


My next thing on the to-do list is to create all of my word wall words and letters in my bright colors for next year and to recreate my behavior chart!  Stay tuned!

Thursday, June 6, 2013

Common Core and "Morning Must-Haves" Linky Party!

Hey there, bloggers!

I'm about nose deep in common core and can't believe how much work syncing all of our routines and curriculums to the new standards is!  I had last week off from school and signed up to do summer work at my school this week and next.  Basically, we get to work in grade-level teams to look closely at the new common core standards and, well, pretty much ditch everything we are used to doing to start fresh!  I know I'm behind on the whole common core thing compared to all of you blogging people out there but, nonetheless, am excited to start from scratch and will most definitely be digging around everyone's blogs to find some great resources to use next year with my first graders!

We have been working a lot on the math standards and looking at how incredibly different our methods of teaching will be this upcoming year.  Lucky for me, I work with an amazing team of incredibly passionate and rockin' teachers, so we are all able to support and turn to one another for help.  Did I mention how amazing my team is?  No, but seriously.  They make having the stress of aligning everything with common core fun!  Okay wait.  "Fun" is probably a dramatic overstatement but HEY at least I have some cool people to be bored and stressed with and to grab a drink with afterwards! :)

I will admit that I got a little spoiled with the whole sleeping in thing for that week we had off in between.  I am not a morning person in any definition of the word and literally let out a small sob every time my alarm goes off.  Which makes this reality-check of having to wake up for summer work the perfect opportunity for me to participate in the "Morning Must-Haves" linky party hosted by Across the Hall in 2nd!

So here goes!

1.  OBVIOUSLY my need/desire/reliance on coffee in the morning can get a little out of hand but that's the reason it tops my list!  Typically I make my coffee when I wake up and then grab it to-go in my travel mug for the commute.  There's just something about the appeal of a noisy Chicago traffic-filled commute that draws me to always have coffee nearby :).  If I treat myself or am lucky enough to have received a gift card from one of my kiddos, I prefer Starbucks or Dunkin' Donuts.  Oh, and I have a totally irrational hate for McDonald's coffee for all those out there who are just dying to know.

2.  Another one of my morning must-haves is my outfit to already be picked for the day!  If you know me personally at all then you're well aware how long it takes me to pick out an outfit and how much I analyze if I have worn something before.  I have wayyyyy too many clothes and spend wayyyyy too much time selecting an outfit to wear in front of 6 and 7 year olds.  At least I'm aware of my problems, right?

3.  Speaking of outfits, I need to check the weather first thing in the morning to make sure I'm dressed appropriately for the weather that day.  Living in Chicago, I'm never entirely sure what we're gonna get.  Last week it was 85 and then 3 days later it was 54.  A girl's got to be prepared!  So naturally, the weather channel app is a must-have for my mornings!

4.  My sister recently told me about a website called theSkimm.  Have you heard of it?  It's my new obsession!  Every morning, it e-mails you a brief (and witty) version of that day's news.  Their tag line is "theSkimm is the daily newsletter that simplifies the headlines for the educated professional who knows enough to know she needs more."  That's totally me.  So lately, I've been keeping better informed by checking my e-mail when I wake up in the morning and taking a couple minutes to read theSkimm.  Love it!

That's all for now!  This weekend I'm going to the Zac Brown Band concert and am hoping to create some stuff for the beginning of the school year!  Have a great Friday tomorrow!