Five for Friday!

Happy Friday all!  It's time for another FIVE FOR FRIDAY post!  Thank you again Kacey from Doodle Bugs Teaching for hosting this awesome linky party.  I love being able to share highlights from my week and linking back to see snapshots from other great bloggers' weeks!  It's a great way to peek into our classrooms and get a sense for what's happening.  Despite having only 16 days left of school we've been very busy.  Here are some of my favorite moments from the week.  

As part of our first grade curriculum, our students are required to complete a shared research project using a digital tool.  My first grade team put a little spin on this and assigned each class a different habitat for our projects.  My firsties were able to choose different rainforest animals to research using Pebble Go.  They were so engaged in their learning and truly excited to share new facts that they learned about their animals!

After we spent two days collecting our facts about our animals, we turned our notes into true research reports using complete sentences.  My little ones were so invested in the project.  It was a proud teaching moment for me to see how much they have grown in their writing.  One of my little ones who came in without any understanding of writing a complete sentence, started her research paper with different clues for her reader to guess her animal.  She wrote, "This animal has black fur and gray feet and face.  And it eats fruit, bamboo, and wild celery.  Can you guess who it is?  That's right it's a gorilla!"  She came up with this entirely on her own and I was so proud.  

Every year the incoming kindergarten students come to school for an orientation.  They're able to meet all of the kindergarten teachers, get a tour of the school, and practice riding the school bus for the first time. 
When they're in with the kindergarten teachers, the first grade classes get to meet and greet with the incoming first graders.  I love this day every year because it gives my students an opportunity to become the teachers.  They are paired up and assigned a kindergarten buddy who they give a tour of the classroom to, read stories to, and complete a craft with.  My students feel like such big important kids and I love hearing what they have to say about our classroom.  They have such a sense of pride showing off our room and explaining to the kindergarteners all they will learn in first grade.  It's so much fun for me to watch them in action.  
Friday night our school district sponsored a color run for all of our students.  It was so much fun!  Each grade level was able to race around the track while the kids and staff threw color on them.  We had a DJ, a color kick-off party, and tons of food and good times.  I didn't plan on getting too much in the mix and just volunteered to work a booth.  Well, that plan quickly went out the window and I jumped right into the mix running with my first graders and throwing color on anyone who crossed my path.  I have to say that my kids got me pretty good!  I was covered in color from head to toe!

Have you heard the news?  My sweet friend Diana from My Day in K! and I have teamed up to celebrate the start of summer!  We know that teachers work so hard over the school year and deserve to kick-start their summer break with a treat.  We're giving away a $50 gift card to Target and a $50 gift car to Michael's!  Make sure you head over to the original post here, for a chance to enter!  

I hope you all have a wonderful weekend!  I have a professional day on Monday with my Teacher's College writing workshop teacher leader group and I am so excited to wrap up the year with them.  It's been an amazing experience being able to learn from so many established workshop teachers and I can't wait to share what I learn from our last meet-up!  

Thanks for stopping by!

Wordless Wednesday--40 Things to Be Happy About!

I love Miss Decarbo's Wordless Wednesday linky party.  It's said time and time again but a picture is truly worth a thousand words.  This time of year is very trying for so many teachers.  Between end of the year assessments, countless meetings, and cleaning up or completely packing up our classrooms, we're bound to lose sight of what's important. I wanted to share this photo of one of my little firsties' shirts from the other day in hopes that it will bring a smile to your face.  

I thought this message was just perfect for this time of year!  It really made me stop and think, wow there is so much to be happy about even such small silly things.  My personal favorites from the list were chocolate, sleeping in, singing in the shower, and sand castles.  But icing and my new favorite song come in pretty close to favorites too!

So, I have to know what would your favorites be from the list? Let me know in the comments below!

I hope this list helps you to remember some of the simple things that bring you happiness during this stressful time!  If you need a reminder, just do what the list says and put on a pair of sparkly shoes and call it a day!

Thanks for stopping by!  Make sure to link back to Miss Decarbo at Sugar and Spice for more Wordless Wednesday posts.

Have a great rest of your week!

Summer Survival Giveaway!

Hello all!  Thank you so much for stopping by.  I hope you had a wonderful Memorial Day weekend spent with friends and family.  This is a difficult but exciting time for so many teachers!  Some of us still have a few weeks before that sweet summer vacation that is so well deserved.  Yet others are off enjoying their much needed break!  Regardless of when your summer starts all teachers know we NEVER stop working despite the time out of the classroom.  For this reason and so many more my friend Diana from My Day in K and I are hosting a Summertime, Sweet Summertime Giveaway!

Teachers may have summer vacation but we are all too aware that we just do a year's worth of work in 10 months.  It's time to kick back and celebrate YOU!  Let us make the start of your summer easier with a chance to win not one but two gift cards to a teacher's most frequented places!  By entering you will have a chance to win a $50 gift card to Target and a $50 gift card to Michael's!  I don't know about you but those two stores are my go-to for crafts, class gifts, classroom supplies, and also fun stuff for my home and wardrobe!  Small confession, I've had to steer clear of Target lately because it was getting WAY too acquainted with the inside of my wallet!

I hope this giveaway helps you kick start your vacation the right way.  Whether that's spending the money towards stocking up on goodies for your classroom or yourself OR a little bit of both!  Make sure to complete the Rafflecopter below for your chance to win!

Don't forget to follow along with our blogs too while you're here.  Diana and I are so excited to be kicking off a summer linky party to keep us all connected throughout the summer vacation!  Each Tuesday we'll be hosting a Tell All Tuesday Linky Party to give everyone an opportunity to stay connected and introduce themselves to the blogging community.  The school year gets so crazy and with so many new and wonderful bloggers coming onto the scene in the last few months we want the chance to get to know ALL of you!  

Come back Tuesday, June 10th for the first Tell All post!  Each week we'll have a different topic to help get you blogging and a chance for us to all get to know each other throughout the summer months!  Link-up with us for the first one and Tell All About Yourself!  We can't wait to learn more about you wonderful bloggers!

Thanks for entering our giveaway and good luck to everyone! I'd love to know what you would use the money towards if you win! Let me know in the comments below!
 a Rafflecopter giveaway

Five for Friday!

Hi all!  Well, we made it!!  I didn't think it was possible but Friday has arrived.  As the summer gets closer, I am having a harder time keeping it all together.  This teacher is tired  and there were several moments throughout the week where I was seriously concerned for my brain activity!  I saw this image on Pinterest and I had to share.  End of the year teacher problem, just too much to remember!

There is a light at the end of the tunnel though!  My DRAs are complete and our math SGO end of the year assessments are done!  Both are analyzed and my SGO goals have been met. Woohoo!  Yannuzzi-1, Danielson-0.  Now, I'm hoping to just enjoy my firsties and the activities we do together until that last day. June 19th you're out there, aren't you?!  Here's a recap of our week with my favorite linky party, Five for Friday with Doodle Bugs Teaching!

I've said it before and I'll say it again, I love writing workshop.  Whenever we start a new unit, my students literally cheer, whoop, and holler!  It's too funny.  But, just like me they share a passion for creating stories and sharing them with their peers.

This week we started our last writing unit, Scenes to Series: Writing Realistic Fiction.  My firsties were beyond excited when I told them that they were going to be taking a break from writing about things that they know a lot about, poetry, and writing about themselves to create pretend characters!  The first two days we spent discussing our characters and creating back stories for them.  We drew them, talked about who their friends might be, and created a back story for them.

This little love above created Michelle.  A little girl who's 5 years old who loves to wear dresses but with NO leggings.  I found this too funny because this little one comes to school EVERY DAY wearing dresses and leggings!  I know there's a story there!  This just goes to show that first graders are so capable of using moments from their own lives to inspire their writing.

The narrative writing that my first graders have begun to create is just too entertaining not to share!  I can't wait to see what kind of adventures my first graders create for their characters.  At the end of the unit, we'll publish all of our pieces and put them in a cut out cereal box to look like a real book series!
My little guy above created a character named Dr. Coloso!  He loves to experiment in his basement but has been getting into LOTS of trouble with his mom and being put into time out!  His first page had so many examples of things we've worked on in writing workshop throughout the year.  My favorite is the last line, "He was in the middle of it then what happened..." To be continued.  These firsties know how to keep a reader guessing!

This year I have tried to really take a step back and come up with activities to set the stage for my learners instead of jumping right into a new topic.  This fantastic idea came from none other than Reagan Tunstall from Tunstall's Teaching Times.  I could spend hours on her blog and use it for professional development.  Her original idea shows her students asking questions and commenting on photographs before beginning an ocean unit study.  Our final first grade project is going to be an animal research report.  Each first grade class has adopted a different habitat.  The students will be researching animals in their habitats using Pebble Go.  When our reports are written we're going to use Audio Boo to record our reports and turn them into QR codes.  Once this is all done, the first grade classes will decorate the hallways as our habitats and the students will go on a tour around the habitats by scanning the QR codes and learning about all the animals that live there!
I can't wait for this to happen!  

Before all of this could happen we needed to set the stage for our learning.  I put out butcher paper with real photographs of animals and scenes from the Rain Forest (our class habitat).  We took a gallery walk around the room, in absolute silence, as to not disturb the other museum visitors!  When we came across a photograph we had a question about or comment, we stopped and wrote it down.  We will continue to use these questions to guide our research.

Now that my students have asked questions about their new habitat and the animals that live there, we're ready to jump into our research!  I printed our animal report forms out and showed them to my students yesterday so they knew what would be in store for them.  Today, we'll assign animals and partners and get to research on our iPads using Pebble Go!  If you're not familiar with this awesome database, check it out here!  It's so user friendly and easy for students to use!  My students will be paired up and use the student directions page from my Animal Research Reports packet to help them easily research their Rain Forest animal.  

When we're all done celebrating with our habitat hallway adventure, we're going to compile our animal reports into a class book!

If you're interested in this activity for some end of the year fun with your kiddos, there are 118 pages  of animal report templates from 4 different habitats!  Check the packet out in my TpT store here!  I'll be back with a more in depth post when we complete our projects!

my husband, me, my brother, and my sister

My little brother, who's not so little anymore =( turned 21 last week!  He's finishing up his final semester at the University of Washington in Seattle and I haven't seen him since December. I'm so incredibly proud of him because he'll be graduating in a few short weeks an entire year early.  I can't begin to explain how impressed I am of him every day.  

This weekend he's coming home to celebrate my cousin's wedding with the entire family.  I'm looking forward to celebrating so many wonderful things with my family and being all together. Seattle, I'll be seeing you in 3 weeks.  It's such a great city!

I hope you all have a wonderful long weekend.  For those of you out for the summer, congratulations!  Kick up your heels, you deserve the break!  For those of us that are in the home stretch, we've got this!

Thanks for stopping by!

Five for Friday!

Happy Fri-Yay all!  We are almost ready to finish out the week and I am looking forward to some serious down time.  This week has been jam packed and it felt like my little loves were on a constant sugar high so this teacher is T-I-R-E-D tired!  I'm a pretty big homebody and the last few weekends I have not been able to be in my favorite house.  This weekend, I'm really looking forward to it!  Here's a peek at what we've been up to with Doodle Bugs Teaching!  Make sure to link back to Kacey's site and check out all of the other blogger's fantastic weeks.

I always teach vocabulary throughout the year, but at this point in first grade vocabulary development is at the utmost importance.  I want my students to not only be able to read these words but I want them to understand their meaning, recognize synonyms and antonyms, and apply them to everyday life.   So, we've been amping up our vocabulary instruction recently!  Lots of vocabulary charades, draw a word, synonym and antonym matches, and vocabulary four square activities.  I want my firsties to have fun with word play.

It may be the end of the school year and we may only have 24 days left but I am so excited that THIS GIRL finally has a real writing center!  Up until this point, I had been piling all of our writing supplies onto the little table in the photograph.  I'm so excited that I now have a full space to put out all of our writing supplies.  This baby will be STOCKED next year with post-its, black and blue pens, different colored pens for editing, writing paper choices, and task cards that will match our Journeys Lesson of the week to use during Daily 5.  Can you tell I've been doing a lot of planning?!

On Wednesday my school was lucky enough to be visited by The Brain Show!  In the words of my kiddos it was, "the best assembly everrrr!"  Our school was split into two groups so everyone could participate in the gameshow like assembly.  Our students were called up to the buzzers in teams to answer questions about TV shows, movies, music, and sports. Their favorite part though was the dancing in between rounds to hit pop songs that all the kids knew!  
It wouldn't be an assembly at our school if the teachers didn't get in on the fun too.  We were called up for a special round to compete with some of the kiddos.  My team didn't win but we sure did celebrate with some stellar ballet moves to a classic Whitney Houston tune!  

I shared some of these pictures on Instagram the other day but I had to talk about it here too.  Part of my classroom management plan is the clip chart.  I know many people have their opinions on the clip chart and I understand those who are against it.  However, I use mine primarily as a way to celebrate behavior and positive choices.  There are very few times throughout the week where someone moves their clip down.  It's merely a way to reinforce appropriate behavior with the whole class.  
Before I veer too much off topic, when my students reach the top of the chart or "super student," they collect a paper bird and keep it in a bag in their desk.  When they have collected five birds, they get to choose a reward.  Not a reward from a treasure box or any other toy but an activity that my students can participate in.  This year, becoming the teacher's assistant has been a huge hit!  
When students choose to be the teacher's assistant they get to sit at my desk, use my supplies, tell other students to move their clips up, and give directions throughout the day.  These little cuties took their jobs very seriously!  
One was so excited about the job that he went "clip happy" and had a bunch of his classmates move their clips to the top of the chart.  He was so proud to wear their names around on the teacher's necklace all day!  
My other assistant came to school dressed and ready for the job!  He came into this year as a shy little one so I was so excited that he took this opportunity so seriously.  He looked like the most adorable teacher I have ever seen.  It warmed my heart!

This. Is. Happening.  I have been looking forward to this sequel for months and tonight is finally the night!  My husband and I (yes you read that correctly) pre-ordered tickets to go see it the first night it's in theaters.  NERD ALERT!!!  I can't even tell you how many times I've seen the original and I'm looking forward to another aca-awesome time with the Bellas!  My husband is a huge fan too, he claims it's because of Anna Kendrick but I know the truth.  He's just an a capella boy and I'm an a capella girl and we're going to have aca-children, it's inevitable. No not yet but really looking forward to this movie!  

I hope you all have a wonderful weekend and are able to relax and escape from the craziness that is the end of the school year.  I will be enjoying my time at home with this cutie.  Tell me you'd be able to get up for work when this little guy is snuggled next to you?! It is a struggle!

Thanks for stopping by!