Saturday, December 29, 2012

100th Day Linky Party

I can't believe the year is officially half-way done!  My kiddos have come so far, but still have so much to learn! The 100th Day is quickly approaching for some districts!   Please link up with your favorite 100th day activity, craft, game, etc.  Grab the picture and link away!

Tuesday, December 25, 2012

Merry Christmas! Freebies!

Merry Christmas Everyone!

It has been an insane few weeks!  I am exhausted!  I didn't want to jinx myself by posting this last week, but my kiddos were AMAZING!  Of course it helped, that I had several darlings out each day, but they were still wonderful.  I was impressed.  

Two weeks ago the private high school adopted the first grade classes.  One dressed up as Santa and handed out presents to each child.  The rest of them made cards with our kiddos and passed out snack to each class.  It was so much fun!

We also had our music performance two weeks ago which was fun.

One little one was in the hospital because he was sick and not getting better, so I went to go see him.  Talk about hard!  He looked so tiny in that big hospital bed.  Hopefully, he will be back to school in January.

One of the highlights of my week:  A kiddo, who is normally a handful, was struggling to make a good choice.  All of the kiddos looked at each other and started chanting her name, she made the right choice, and everyone cheered for her!  It was the most wonderful thing they have done.  

In the wake of the Connecticut disaster, I simply asked if anyone had any questions for me (not mentioning anything specifically related to Connecticut).  One kiddo of course asked why Connecticut happened, I explained that the person made a bad choice, and that's why I encourage everyone to make smart choices now, so that they learn to make smart choices later as well.  I asked if there were any other questions and the entire discussion turned to Santa!  "Why is Christmas on December 25th?"  "Did anyone ask Santa if it was ok that Christmas was on December 25th?" "How does Santa make it to every house in one night?"  "Why is Santa fat?"  "Why do reindeer pull his sleigh?" It was the most innocent and adorable conversation we have had.

On Friday, we got to have a school wide sing a long which was a lot of fun.

Ok, enough rambling!  I posted several freebies on TPT.  I made skip counting puzzles for my kiddos, and they loved them.  They aren't fancy, but they are fun and effective.  Check them out for each holiday!

Saturday, December 8, 2012

Center Overhaul!

It was time for a center overhaul!  Our first grade team meets each week and discusses our concerns.  We were all complaining that our kids are messing around during centers.  Any work we give them turns into a game or a mess.  Nothing is being completed properly and we aren't able to meet with our groups because we are dealing with issues.  I thought it was because my kids get bored easily with the same old centers, but I didn't want to spend half of every center time on Monday explaining new centers.  I wanted to teach them once and then just change the design each month.  I want them to become experts at it.  My brain never shuts off and it was getting tired of thinking about centers.  I hated having to choose centers each week and trying to keep track of whether or not we had already done them.

My kiddos had center maps for literacy stations

However, I was making groups on the spot for math which was once again eating up time every day.
I broke down and made center maps for math as well.  Not nearly as cute, but just as effective.

Then I came up with a master plan.  The basic idea is that this is the plan for every month, the only thing that will change is the theme.  (Winter, Valentine's Day, St. Patrick's Day, etc.)
Short and Sweet Explanation:
*P.C. - stands for pocket chart
*Name It - is a game where kiddos have a topic and come up with one word for each letter of the alphabet
*Buzz - sight words are on popsicle sticks and there is one stick with the word "Buzz" on it.  If the kiddo gets the Buzz stick, they have to put all of their sticks back
*Power Towers - Words (or math facts) are on cups and they read/solve them and build a tower
*D.O.L. - sentence correction
*Library - they will choose one book for the whole week and complete the activity that is listed.
*M.F. - stands for math facts, they will sort them or play a game with them
*Technology - either computers or smart board
*Desk - Sight word packet
*Table - small group time with me!