Wednesday, August 31, 2011

Classroom Library and Freebie Sign

When it comes to the classroom library, I have to admit that I don't have one anymore. I used to use the 3 small bookcases we get in our rooms for book baskets, but that left me with no other storage at all (I am sooo envious of all the cupboards and storage in some classrooms! I can't believe they take up a wall in some rooms!). Since those book cases are all we get, I had nowhere to put word work materials, math manipulatives, student book boxes etc. My room is small as well, so it didn't leave me many options to bring in my own things. So, my library is really all throughout the room and not in one designated spot.

This is where most of my books are. It was a bargain on ebay. This is one side, it's th same on the other. It holds hundreds of books, even it if doesn't look like it! I got the book stand for $20 on ebay too. I've used Kristen's labels  (Ladybug's Teacher Files link).
This is a little table I brought in. Some chapter books are here. There's a little rocking chair right next to the table the kids like sitting at.
Here are some of our book boxes. Kids can have 7 books in them at any one time. I just bought some cheap magazine holders for them.
I do have some themed baskets as well, just not enough to take up all my book cases! They are also placed around the room. This one is with all the math manipulatives (not sure where I got the label from).
 This one is near the couch.                        
These two in the science area.  We are learning about weather/seasons, so I've got a Fiction Book/Poetry box and a Non-Fiction box.
Student made books. 
Some more chapter books. 
 One of the two new book displays I bought recently. This one holds new books. 
This is a new box I made today to hold our big books. I just taped construction paper to a sturdy box some of my new things got delivered in!  Sorry about the pic - I took it today and it was already dark outside so the light is not the best.
Here's a sign I made to stick on the front of the box tomorrow. Download it by clicking on the image. 
Circle thing(?) by JustSo Scrappy 2.

Font: Pass the Chex by Kevinand Amanda.

If you own any of the labels I've used, please let me know so I can give you credit!

Tuesday, August 23, 2011

Teacher Week: Advice for New Teachers

Today's Topic: Advice for new teachers!

1. Find a way to connect with and build positive relationships with every student. Whether it's a short chat as they come in or you remember to wish them luck at a swimming comp on the weekend, try to have a chat with each one of your kiddos. You'll find they have amazing insights and can be so funny!

2. Be a teacher, not a friend. Yes, we do want the kids to like and respect us, but gain that respect through having clear expectations and consequences (positive and negative) applied fairly to all students and not by being too chummy with them. If you let them get away with the little stuff at the beginning of the year, then you'll find it hard to stop those little behaviours developing into bigger ones. Don't let them walk all over you.

3. Have a behaviour management strategy. Do whatever you feel comfortable with, but do something! You need to know what you are going to do when certain behaviours (small and big) happen. Many people are using those clip charts at the moment. Personally, I haven't used anything like that since I had one boy who refused to do anything unless he was given a 'prize'. He expected the same from his parents!  But I do have clear expectations, clear consequences and use lots of specific praise for students who demonstrate appropriate behaviours.

3. Plan with a buddy - you'll come up with heaps of amazing ideas you wouldn't have thought of alone, and save you both time in the process.

5. Use the web - particularly blogs! I've never been so inspired to try so many new ideas as I have since I found teaching blogs! They rock! Websites are also good for lesson ideas.

7. Explicitly teach routines and procedures you expect until kids can do so independently. 

Above all, have fun, laugh at the silly things and don't worry if everything doesn't look cute!

Saturday, August 20, 2011

My name is Kylie and I'm a shop-a-holic

I've been at it again. More shopping. My son says I have an addiction..... sometimes I have to agree!

This is some of the new bargains I've picked up recently.
I bought two of these table-top book racks. I'm going to use one to display new books and the other probably for science books.
Remember the It's Getting Dicey Linky party hosted by Little Miss Kindergarten? Well, I loved reading about all of the different dice from other bloggers and had to go and upgrade my collection. So I bought this pack of  162 dice. In all there's 50 decahedron dice, 10 dodecahedrons dice, 72 hexahedron dice, 10 isosahedron dice, 10 octahedron dice, and 10 tetrahedron dice. I also bought a pack of 72 dice in dice and the Lakeshore Sight Word Practice Centre... only because it was on clearance - it is usually $89.99 here, but I picked it up for $26. Some of my kids really need to work on their sight words and I thought I could always make up my own sight word rings and just hang them on the stand.

What I bought that I didn't get pics of? 
  • Snap It Up math game
  • a new 24 pack of student magnetic whiteboards. The ones I have already aren't good for on the carpet, they aren't very sturdy. The new ones I bought are and they are magnetic where my other ones weren't. 
  • A BIG new clock to hang on the wall that displays both analogue and digital time
Here are some recent book purchases too. I put on Bones and contacted away so they are now ready to take in to school. 
Some picture books, some readers and some chapter books - a little something for everyone. My kiddos love it when I get time to contact and bring in new books. Does anyone else contact their books before taking them to school? If not, do they hold up ok? I've got boxes of books that are sitting here because I haven't had time to contact them.... seems like a waste, but I figured they would last longer if I contact them so it's worth it in the long run... Your thoughts?? 

Wednesday, August 17, 2011

Vocabulary Development Song

As you may know, we are doing a weather unit in Grade 2 this term for science. I found this great idea in Building Vocabulary with Familiar Songs. Click on the pic to check it out at Amazon.
It takes everyday songs that our kiddos are bound to know and uses them to build vocabulary. One song it uses is The Itsy Bitsy Spider. I've typed it up because part of the Word Bank title got cut off on the photocopier. Because of copyright, I can't share it here but thought you might like to check it out and perhaps use the same idea with poems or songs that you use in class.
I'll be doing this one with my kiddos later this week after we learn about the water cycle (so they can confidently choose 'evaporation' and 'precipitation' to replace 'dried up' and 'rain'). 

I've added this as part of A Day in First Grade's poetry linky part (it's a song, not a poem, but I still think it's a great idea you can use with poems!). Check it out here

Tuesday, August 16, 2011

Freebie - Planet Hop oi oy words

I hope you have picked up my latest freebie which was posted as part of First Grade Fanatics 14 Days of Summer Giveaway
The goal of the game is for students to read oi/oy words and 'planet hop' back to Earth. It has three levels of play and you could even just substitute with your own cards (spelling or math) and you've got another game. Such a versatile board! To grab it, just click on the board. I sometimes put out this game for students to play during Word Work (as part of Daily 5) with cards that focus on the spelling pattern we are learning. It's always a hit and so easy to differentiate.

Monday, August 15, 2011

Freebie - Eggs-Act Sums

Here is a quick freebie called Eggs-Act Sums.

This is a favourite in my class - I think it's the novelty of using egg cartons! It's very easy to play and takes hardly any time to set-up. 

Basically students roll two dice, find the total and add one of their counters to the space with that number. It's impossible to roll a 1 with two dice, so the first space has a star. This is a free space, so the second time a student rolls a number they can add a counter to this space since the other one will already have their counter in it. The first player to have 1 counter in every space wins. 

Click on the picture to download the instructions for the game:
Here is a quick one I did up in about 1 min using an egg carton I had a home.
No, I didn't paint the egg carton! It's a free range pack that supports a breast cancer foundation. It does look prettier than the grey ones though!  Also, in the pic I used 10-sided dice because that's all I could find. Since the highest number you can roll with two 1-6 sided dice is 12, you'll just need the standard dice. 

I hope you can use it! Also my freebie will soon be available on First Grade Fanatics as part of their 14 Days of Summer giveaway. Here's a sneak peek: 
The cards it comes with focuses on the 'oi' and 'oy' sounds, but swap the cards for any of your own (math or language) and you can use it for anything!

If you're not following them already, get to it so you don't miss out on the next week of freebies being listed by a range of bloggers!

Sunday, August 14, 2011

They're done - Ikea Frames with Quotes

I hopped straight onto making my pretty frames. Here's how they turned out. You can see my little (well, not so little anymore - he's way taller than his 5ft 1 AND A HALF mother!) cutie behind them!

Sorry about the glare. Can't wait to get them to school! Thanks again to Simply 2nd Resources for the idea and Shannon from Sweet Blessings for the awesome quotes!

Saturday, August 13, 2011

What have I bought?

I've never been to Ikea... that is until I saw these cute photo frames over at Mrs Morris' Simply 2nd Resources blog. Click on the photo to go check out some of her other awesome classroom photos.
She said she got them Ikea so I looked them up and was happy to see that they were sold here in Australia too! And they were only $2! So I headed out there today and even though it's only about 10mins away I've never needed to go in. OH. MY. GOD. What have I been missing! There is so much stuff there! I'm definitely going back. After seeing Ikea I feel like re-decorating my whole house! 

So I'm going to steel her idea and make up some of these frames with some inspirational quotes to pop around my classroom - all Pinterest inspired of course. While I was there I also bought this warm colours wall hanger organiser thing. Don't know what I am going to do with it yet but it was only $7 so I picked one up. Under the frames are the must have clear pockets and laminating sheets. 
I also popped into Bunnings Warehouse and picked up this 20 drawer organiser. I'm going to use it for word family tiles like the one at Mrs Bond's Fantastic First Grade website. Click on either photo to check out her website.

I've recently bought 3 of these too. I've two of the 10 drawer ones and 1 of the 5 drawer. This one I've still got to put together.

Anywho, that's my shopping for the day (not countng the Ikea things I bought for home.... it is very easy to spend a lot of money there!).

5x Language Arts Dominoes

I've just uploaded a new Language Arts Dominoes pack to TpT and Teachers Notebook. This pack includes 5 sets of dominoes for language arts - perfect for centers, work stations or rotations. I have used them for Expanding Vocabulary games for the Daily 5 which I sometimes use as part of Word Work for my higher students and during Writing Workshop and for grammar activities.
The dominoes sets you get are:
1. Antonyms
2. Synonyms
3. Homophones
4. Contractions
5. Compound words

I've also included a label to add to a zip-lock bag to store the contractions in or add to the top of a pile and secure with a rubber band.
My class absolutely love dominoes - we have a number of sets for English and Math. What I love about them is that once they know how to play, I only need a minimal introduction for each new set! Saves heaps of time explaining new activities and games!

Here's a screenshop of 2 pages for homophones and contractions: 
Students play just like they do normal dominoes - they match one side of a domino with the matching side of another. 

For a limited time only I've got this pack on sale! Check it out at TpT and Teachers Notebook!

Friday, August 12, 2011

Freebie: Similes Poster

This week my class has been working on similes. We read the book Quick as a Cricket on YouTube - I've now ordered a book from Amazon! The kids absolutely loved it!

Here's a little poster I did up for when I introduced similes in case you could use it.
My students have had a blast writing similes about themselves to create a booklet. We've tried to add more description to our similes. For example, we thought the simile 'Busy as a bee' was quite boring and so they came up with ones like 'as busy as a hive of bees', 'as busy as a buzzing, bumblebee' (this will be a good one when we look more at alliteration and onamatopeia in the coming weeks!) and lots of others for their own and well-known similes. They are using pastels to record and illustrate their books ending with 'Put them altogether and you've got me' - just like in Quick as a Cricket.

We are then each choosing our favourite simile and illustrating it on a larger piece of paper to create a class book titled '2A are as wise as owls'. They are having heaps of fun working on these projects. I'll get some pics when they're done.

For some of my lower and special needs kids, I used this pdf from KidzClub to help them to form their similes. They really enjoyed this. I just printed, cut, laminated and cut out the pictures and labels. I have it available for all kids when they finish set tasks and it has been very popular! A few were even playing with it during Golden Time today (free time on a Friday afternoon that has been earned by the whole class). 

In our class Similes are like a cold, refreshing drink on a sweltering Summer day - we just can't get enough!

Sunday, August 07, 2011

Short and Long Vowel Frog/Circus Dominoes

I have a couple of students who are are needing practise with short/long vowels and blends and digraphs so I've made up these dominoes games. 

You play these games like dominoes - you match one side of the card to the opposite side of another card. For these games, students match words that have the same phonogram/word family - so they are rhyming words. 

First up short vowel CVC  and VCC words (circus theme): 
Froggy short vowels with blends and digraphs: 
Finally, Beach Froggy long vowel dominoes: 
These games are great because students practise a whole heap of word families as well as review blends, digraphs, short and long vowels! My kiddos love dominoes games so I am always making more! Once they know how to play I can introduce new sets of cards with minimal explanation so I'm not wasting time explaining activities! 

I will also use these cards for spelling practice - students can play the game with a partner and then take turns to read each other a card while the other records the word on mini-whiteboards. A great word work activity for the Daily 5!

You can grab them at my TpT store or Teachers Notebook shop in the one pack.

Saturday, August 06, 2011

Picture Books that Lead to Science Inquiry

I love teaching science. I love that it is hands-on. I love that kids get to ask questions, after all, they are naturally inquisitive! I love that kids love to learn science and want to become entomologists, astronomers, and most recently in my class, little meteorologists. Most of all, I LOVE how science pops up in picture books and how these quality reads lead to authentic science learning experiences.

Last term we read That Magnetic Dog by Bruce Whatley. This lead to a discussion on what 'magnetic' means. They were so interested and had so many questions that we ended up doing a mini-unit on magnetism even though it wasn't in our planning!
We explored a baggie of different materials and created a T-Chart of those things that were magnetic and those that weren't. .

In pairs or small groups of 3, students made an hypothesis about why the magnetic items were attracted to the magnet and shared with the class. All groups hypothesised that all metal objects are magnetic.

Next, I visited the library and got out some non-fiction books which students read to research magnetism. From our research, we found out that only metal objects that contain steel or iron are magnetic.
After that, students had heaps more questions which they invesgated in groups like 'Are larger magnets more powerful than smaller magnets?' and 'Does magnetism pass through other objects?' etc. Sorry I don't have any pics, we finished this right before I started my blog so I didn't take any :(
What fiction books do you use as a springboard into science inquiry in your class? I'd love you to leave a comment and tell me all about it!

Monday, August 01, 2011

Text Clues + What we Know = An Inference poster

This is just a quick post to upload a poster I've just made for school tomorrow. Click on first pic to download.
I'll put the up first poster, then the addition sign, the second poster, equals sign and then the inference sign. Hope you can use it. 

Be sure to check out TpT's sale - heaps of sellers have 20% sales in addition to TpT's 10% - including me. Check out my store. I've grabbed myself heaps of bargains!