Tuesday, September 30, 2014

Tried-It Tuesday: Pencil Sharpener

I was was thrilled when I saw my little package from Classroom Friendly Supplies sitting on my doorstep one Friday after school.  I quickly opened the box and couldn't resist posting my excitement on Instagram!

As I read the feedback, I only got more excited to get this little guy into my classroom-so many people said this was their "favorite" pencil sharpener! One person replied saying she had "3 in her classroom!" For a teacher to purchase 3 of anything, you know it must be good!






1. Cute and Colorful


I am a first grade, elementary school teacher with polka dots borders and bright colors surrounding my classroom...so YES cute and colorful is something that makes me happy! Having this bright pencil sharpener is a great addition to my room.  I have gotten so many compliments on how cute this pencil sharpener is and I couldn't agree more! It has been a perfect for classroom and I love the bright blue color.  Here is my favorite little sharpener "mid-sharpen!"


Another fabulous thing about Classroom Friendly Supplies' Sharpeners is that they come in a wide variety of colors! I must say, if I didn't have the blue I probably would have gotten that hot pink-I do love that color too...hmmm maybe I should just get two for my classroom?!?!

2. Makes Pencils Sharp (and I mean SHARP!)



Oh my goodness, do you see that point?  I mean really...that is the definition of a sharp pencil!  Sometimes with my old sharpener it would create a "sharp point" but then the point would easily break....NOT with this sharpener!  My Classroom Friendly Supplies' Sharpener creates tough and sturdy points, which is perfect for my first grade beginning writers!

3. Created by a Classroom Teacher

This sharpener is created by a teacher for teachers.  When things are created by teachers, I have so much more confidence in buying them.  Even before purchasing, I felt confident that this sharpener had been through the ringer and been "kid-tested" and "kid-approved." I was right!  It is wonderful!

As stated above, the pencil sharpeners come in many colors and you have the option to buy in bulk to help save you money which is really nice.  Make sure to click on the picture below and check out the website!





I am linking up with Holly from Fourth Grade Flipper for her Tried-It Tuesday!  This is my first time trying this pencil sharpener and I couldn't be more excited.  Head on over to Fourth Grade Flipper to see the other projects and things teachers are trying this week.


Happy Tuesday!
Amanda

Sunday, September 21, 2014

Balanced Literacy Components

There are so many parts to teaching literacy on a daily basis, it's amazing we are able to fit it all in one day! A Balanced Literacy Framework is one key way to ensure your students are being given plenty of opportunities to make progress as readers and writers throughout the year. I think most teachers have heard of Balanced Literacy, but since there are so many components to it and specifics about each part, I wanted to put together a little explanation reference page that covers what you as the teacher can be doing for each aspect. You may even notice that you are following a Balanced Literacy model without even realizing it!

Here are the components of a Balanced Literacy Framework: 

...and here is a breakdown of what each component looks like!


Of course this is going to look slightly different based on the grade level you teach, but overall, in any elementary classroom, these are the parts you want to include in your literacy block. I'll be back someday soon to break down each part even more in relation to how I implement them in my classroom. Hope this post helps clarify the components of Balanced Literacy for you...you can download these reference pages by clicking here or the pic below!


Have a great day!
Aylin

Saturday, September 13, 2014

Sparking Student Motivation: How many stories will your class read this month?


Sometimes all it takes is a friendly little competition to spark some student motivation!  I mean, competition gets adults going so why not use this with students as well?!?  This year in first grade that is just what we are doing to help encourage our students to read (and be excited about stories) each and every day!

My team partner and I each have these posted in our classroom. With each story we read aloud in class, our star student,  makes a tally mark on the page below in our own separate classrooms.

We only had about a week in August but we were able to do a lot of read alouds these first few days of school-which I absolutely love! 

Then, at the end of the month we tally them up for our total and post it on our doors!  This is a display by Teacher Created Resources and can be found by clicking here



It is a fun easy way to encourage students to read.  Although we are the ones doing the reading right now-at some point the competition might change to have students do more of the reading.  Right now, I am loving how excited my first graders get to add another tally to our chart because we read a book!  As we are approaching the middle of September, my students are saying, "When can we read another book?" Simply because they want to beat our "August Score."  I can only imagine the math activities too we will be able to do with this information later in the school year!  

Grab your copy of the "Monthly Book Challenge"  by click here or the picture below.  

This is one way I am "Sparking Student Motivation" by putting a friendly competition behind our read alouds.  Thanks Joanne at Head Over Heels for Teaching for hosting this wonderful linky!  Head over to Joanne's blog to see how other teachers are engaging their students!  


Happy Saturday!
Amanda


Sunday, September 7, 2014

Contraction Action!

Contractions can be a difficult concept to teach to kids...especially to struggling readers...so the more interactive the lessons can be to teach contractions, the better!

Normally I'm not used to teaching about contractions so early in the year, but my 2nd graders were ready for it and it fit right along with our guided reading texts, so we dove in last week, learning all about contractions! Most of these ideas I found on Pinterest, so I'm not claiming these ideas as my own, but they did work super well in helping my friends understand contractions. :)

First we made an anchor chart and each day repeated "A contraction has an apostrophe that takes the place of letters you see." It's a nice little rhyming sentence which helped my friends catch on quickly.  We then made contractions out of the various examples at the bottom for practice taking two words and turning them into the shorter form.

 I then read Alfie the Apostrophe. Both my friends and I just loved this book- Alfie is quite the apostrophe! This story gives great ideas about how and when to use apostrophes.
We also loved the apostrophe page in this book- after I read this short story to my little friends, we used highlighter tape to find different examples of apostrophe's in the text. We'll be doing that in our guided reading texts next week as well. It's a super way to make sure my friends are actually reading the contraction forms of the words rather than the longer format because that is definitely a common problem when reading!

We then made these two contraction foldables- super simple, but so useful! My little friends loved making their own too- I told them to make sure they quizzed their parents at home this weekend to see if they could figure out the contractions. :)

Of course it's always fun to practice contractions with QR codes too! All my friends do is find the matching long form for each contraction and then scan the QR code to make sure they grabbed the correct card. You can check out this pack here!
Have a great day!
Aylin

Tuesday, September 2, 2014

Close Reading

Wow! My year is well underway now with 3 weeks already gone. If you've stopped by our blog before you know that I can go on and on about a few things, including: Evernote, QR Codes and Close Reading...mainly because I'm totally obsessed with all three of those things and I incorporate them a whole lot into my room. Since we've already got 3 weeks down, I'm ready to begin Close Reading with my friends.  This year I'm introducing close reading with anchor charts that will focus on the ideas below so they can get an idea for what we'll be doing when we close read and why we are going to be close reading all year long. It is important that both we as teachers and our students understand why there has been a big push for close reading lately.  By including all the components listed in the first pic below, we are helping our readers become deeper thinkers and getting them to rely ON THE TEXT to support their answers. 


One of the reasons I incorporate close reading into my weekly lessons is because I want my readers (even if they are struggling readers) to truly pay attention and understand the text they are hearing. By making them think more deeply about a text and listening to it repeatedly, I feel much more confident in their abilities to truly comprehend a text when reading on their own, with a partner, at home, etc. This in the end will then only make them better readers as the years go on.

Take a look at how I outline my close reading lessons for each read & reread! Our daily close reading lessons last 3 days and for about 20 minutes for each reading and responding activity.




Close reading passages and the follow up activities have been a great way for me to make sure I'm exposing my students not only to a variety of text types but also we are covering so many Common Core standards along the way!



If you are looking for some passages to use throughout the year like the examples above, please check out my passages and activities that I love using with my kindergartners and 1st graders by clicking the pictures below!





This is everything that is included in each pack for each passage.
Thanks to i Teach, What's Your Super Power for the graphics and Hello Jen Jones for the fonts!

Have a great day!
Aylin

Monday, September 1, 2014

September Currently

It is always exciting to start a new month-I love flipping the page on my calendar and starting over on to-do lists...it always seems like a fresh, blank canvas to me!  AND I must say I love starting this new month with a day off! There are so many things to get done and so little time especially at the beginning of the school year-this extra day gives me the opportunity to start the school week off fully prepared and ready for my little ones (or so I hope!)


It is fun to connect with new bloggers over with Farley at Oh' Boy 4th Grade!  Thanks for setting up this great way for us all to get to know one another! I am heading over now to meet some new bloggers! 


I hope you too enjoy your day off and are able to relax and cross things off your to-do lists as well!  Thank you for stopping by!

Happy Monday!
Amanda


Friday, August 29, 2014

First Week in First Grade: Expectations and Anchor Charts

The kids started on Monday which means I have officially began my 8th year teaching first grade!  Still sounds a little crazy to me to know that I a. graduated from college 8 years ago and b. that I have been so blessed to work with this age level for the past 8 years.

I say it every year but first grade really is a super fun age because of the tremendous growth students display academically as well as socially and emotionally.  The level of independence from a beginning of the year first grader to an end of the year first grader is amazing! I remind myself of that often this first week, as my little first graders come into the classroom each day!

This year, our first week consisted of modeling and teaching many of the routines students will need to know in first grade.

Goodbye Summer/Hello School

This anchor chart has been all over Pinterest and I couldn't wait to do it with my new firsties!  It is so much fun to hear about the things they did over the summer as well as to hear about the things they are excited to do this school year! 

Class Promise

This is my first year creating a class promise with students. We read the book Swimmy to start and talked about the importance of working together to accomplish a goal.




How do you go home from School

This was an important first day activity not only for the students but also for me! We did this activity at the end of the first day of school on Monday which helped me to know exactly how students were getting home.

Groups

Students began working in partners (and groups) this week.  This poster was a perfect reminder for them on the expectations of working with classmates.  Grab your free copy by clicking on the image below!

To see some of the other activities I did with my first graders this week click here! Many of my first grade activities for the beginning of the year can be found in the pack below!


I hope you too had a great week-- whether it was your first week back or you are in full routines by now!

Happy Friday!
Amanda

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