My mission is to provide a positive learning community for both my students and myself every day in every way. I believe each of my students is an individual and has a right to have their needs met academically, socially and emotionally, to the best of my ability. In this class we are proud to do our best every day and in every way!

Tuesday, August 31, 2010

Our Specials Schedule is Ready...

Visit our class web page and click on the "Specials Schedule" butterfly to find out what days we have our specials on...
Also learn about our September Author of the Month...
Do some fun September Activities...
Practice reading your sight words...
Do some math fact flash cards...
Visit the Web Quest and be gone for hours...

Then let me know how you liked your visit!

Our Class Web Page

A Day in the Life of a First Grade Teacher...

I belong to a mailring of first grade teachers where we ask questions, look for advice, share great ideas and generally support each other. I just had to share this direct quote from a fellow first grade teacher...

"My 3rd day of school I had the EI child run away, one child throw up, miss the waste basket and hit my shoe. I cleaned up diarrhea which also landed on my other shoe! The craziness upset one of the PPI kids who hid under a table while the other one "gently" banged his head on the carpet. I don't think they have enough paper to fill out a teacher's job description anymore."

I have a sudden urge to go shoe shopping...

Saturday, August 28, 2010

Classroom Photos

Our classroom is almost ready...just missing one thing...students!!!
Here are some photos of our classroom:

Almost ready!

Friday, August 27, 2010

Welcome First Grade Class of 2011!

Yesterday I mailed out my welcome letters to my new students and anxiously await hearing back from each one! I am looking forward to an exciting new year full of wonderful memories...

If you are visiting this blog for the first time make sure you vote for your favorite season. We will be using the data from that survey in class. If you become a "follower" of this blog you will be sent updates as I post them.

Please visit some of the sites listed and feel free to write to me with any questions, concerns, or comments.

I am off to the classroom this morning to add some fun - I will post some pictures so you can see what our classroom looks like...

See you soon,

Friday, August 20, 2010

Time to clear the cobwebs...

If you are or you know someone who is in grades K-12 and you aren't back to school yet - you will be soon...

I found a great web site that provides printable worksheets in any topic at any grade level to help you clear those cobwebs and great refreshed for the new year. Maybe you just need to practice in a certain area... Check it out!

The widget for the site is the blue one on the left side of my blog under my picture -Education.Com-Click on "Kids' Worksheets and Printables". Then choose a grade and subject...
Let me know how you liked it!

Printable Worksheets

Tuesday, August 17, 2010

Let's Talk About Math...

I have posted a few comments about learning to read but have not yet mentioned math...Like reading, math is developmental, so if you want to help your little one to succeed in math you need to make sure all parts are in place or they just won't understand what they are doing. In "our day" we did a lot of memorizing - if you forget the rule- you are out of luck. Research says that the way students should learn math is through developing an understanding of the mathematical process- developing number sense- while applying mathematical skills to everyday learning. No more "why do I need to learn this"!

Here are some activities to develop the beginning stages of mathematical understanding of numbers:
  • First have your child simply count - try to get to twenty - do not forget about 13 & 14! 17 either!
  • Now have them identify the numbers in order 1-20 simply written in a row.
  • Now mix those numbers up and have them put them in order.
  • Now you are ready for the number grid. Play with the interactive number grid at the site below.
Interactive Number Grid

Here are some number grid activities you can do to develop number sense:
  1. Call out a number and have your child color it.
  2. Find patterns: count by 2s, 5s, 10s. Numbers beginning with... ending with...
  3. Count to a number and back from a number.
  4. Race to 100 with a roll of dice.
  5. Roll two dice use the number grid to add...subtract.
Have fun and contact me with questions or problems...

Saturday, August 14, 2010

We love a gimmick!!

All I'm saying is that you give a kid a piece of paper with 5 words on it to study and learn and they say "Do I have to?" but put those 5 words on a carabiner clip and they say "Let me read my words"! I am the same way myself maybe that's why I relate so well to my 6 & 7 year old students!I sent my soon to be first graders home from my summer enrichment class with a garbage can from the dollar store to be their "I Can" collector of learned skills like sight words and math facts and they kept saying we can have it?! We can take it home?!! They made a kite as long as they are tall to study their spelling words and they are looking for their first list...

Ahhh the gimmick...

Well, I have to go run my robotic vacuum cleaner...

Tuesday, August 10, 2010

Why Can't I Skip My 20 Minutes of Reading Tonight?

Let's figure it out -- mathematically!

Student A reads 20 minutes five nights of every week;
Student B reads only 4 minutes a night...or not at all!

Step 1: Multiply minutes a night x 5 times each week.
Student A reads 20 min. x 5 times a week = 100 mins./week
Student B reads 4 minutes x 5 times a week = 20 minutes

Step 2: Multiply minutes a week x 4 weeks each month.
Student A reads 400 minutes a month.
Student B reads 80 minutes a month.

Step 3: Multiply minutes a month x 9 months/school year
Student A reads 3600 min. in a school year.
Student B reads 720 min. in a school year.

Student A practices reading the equivalent of ten whole school days a year. Student B gets the equivalent of only two school days of reading practice.

By the end of 6th grade if Student A and Student B maintain
these same reading habits, Student A will have read the equivalent of 60 whole school days Student B will have read the equivalent of only 12 school days.

One would expect the gap of information retained will have widened considerably and so, undoubtedly, will school performance. How do you think Student B will feel about him/herself as a student?

Some questions to ponder:

Which student would you expect to read better?
Which student would you expect to know more?
Which student would you expect to write better?
Which student would you expect to have a better vocabulary?
Which student would you expect to be more successful in school....and in life?

(Source: U.S. Dept. of Education, America Reads Challenge. (1999) "Start Early, Finish Strong: How to Help Every Child Become a Reader." Washington, D.C.)

Interesting hmmmmm...

Sunday, August 8, 2010

Widgets and Gadgets - Oh My!!

I spent last night adding an assortment of widgets and gadgets to my site- as if I have not proven myself a geek enough...

Have fun checking them out,

Saturday, August 7, 2010

Read to Me Betty White!!!

A very important part of learning to read is listening to stories. Although I love to read aloud to children I am also a fan of stories on CD, DVD (with subtitles or follow along book), and using the computer as great opportunities for my little ones to hear good literature read aloud. The Screen Actors Guild has a great site online where - yes - Betty White- will read Harry the Dirty Dog to you and your children along with many other famous actors/actresses. They do a fantastic job so check it out and let me know how you enjoyed your online visit!

Friday, August 6, 2010

Tricky trick...

Here's an easy and effective way to get your kids to read... change your TV settings to show subtitles. Research has shown that leaving the subtitles on for preschoolers greatly enhanced their sight word vocabulary.
Give it a try and let me know how it goes!

Tuesday, August 3, 2010

Read it Again!

Today I would like to address the importance of rereading.

How many of us have watched a favorite show or movie more than once? You often hear people say "I missed that the first time" or "I love it more every time I watch it" or "every time I see it I see something new". Now how many of you have reread books you love? I'll bet that number goes way down! The exception to this - in my experience- are those that have a deep love for the literary world so much so they have read and reread the classics countless times and the young child...If you have children around or ever did you are familiar with the phrase "read it again" (and again, and again...).

Research has shown that rereading text is a very important component of not only learning to read but becoming a better reader at any age. Let me share with you some hands on research I conducted on my favorite guinea pig - my daughter Angela. She was in 8th grade at the time of my completing my graduate studies in Reading and Literacy. One of my assignments was meant to prove how powerful rereading was as an instructional tool. I choose a text that was too difficult for her to read (it was difficult for me as well-). I had her read a short passage three times with no instruction between readings. The first reading she made 28 mistakes and was in absolute tears. I felt terrible, she was angry, felt humiliated and frustrated and I was not earning any Mother-of-the-Year awards. I asked her to have confidence in the experiment and try a second read and when that didn't work I tried bribery. Ok -so the second read she made 14 mistakes - what!!! Yep - she fairly quickly went into the third read and made 3 mistakes - with no instruction!!!

In my classroom I have post-its on the back cover of their readers and have them put a tally on after each reread. They are so excited to share with me their totals as they turn in their readers each week.

Try it at home and let me know how it works for you!!!

Monday, August 2, 2010

I'm Back...

This morning I went into my classroom for the first time since June. I wasn't sure what I would find... What I did find was that my room was clean and ready to set up! What a huge undertaking our janitorial staff takes on every summer to empty and clean out every classroom in the building. I am so very thankful for their hard work!

I told myself that I was not going to do any unpacking or setting up but once I got in there I didn't want to leave. I left a few hours later feeling so lucky and blessed to have a career that I truly love, to work with a group of people that feel the same, and  feeling so excited about the new possibilities a new year brings...