Saturday, November 1, 2014

Organization Station for Small Groups!

If you're anything like me, your small group area gets piled up with stuff rather quickly. As a first grade teacher, I'm always looking for fun and novel things to motivate my little readers. So where does one put all of this fun must have stuff???? Well.... I must admit, until this year I had no real system in place to store my small group materials. I'd find myself searching for my comprehension things, tearing apart a shelf to find my fun pointers, and had leveled books in a crate on the floor divided up with folders. I was so sick of feeling unorganized during my small groups time of Reader's Workshop. So I decided to create a little organization station near my kidney table. I went to Walmart and bought 2 three drawer carts (click on the picture to take you right to it!):

I wanted big drawers to keep each of my small groups' books for the week.  I usually visit our school guided reading library once every two weeks to check out leveled books for my small groups. This way, I'm all set to go for small groups for 2 weeks at a time.

I also wanted to have a place for my other small group goodies so I bought another Sterilite drawer cart, this one has 4 drawers:
I like the shallower small drawers on top for things like pointers and extra copies of my conferring forms. The bottom 2 drawers hold my comprehension stuff and word work materials. I took the wheels off of each cart so they would stay stationary and lined up in a row! 

I knew that I had to create some fun labels for my drawers and that Melonheadz kids would be featured. Click on the picture below to check out my Small Groups Organization Station in my TPT store.

You can see everything in this pack in my preview!

I love having all of my small group materials in one place!

I just used numbers for each group. But if you distinguish groups
by COLOR, that option is included in my pack.

I hope this organization station can help you organize your small groups too!

Thursday, September 25, 2014

Sensory Words w/ Applesauce :)

I'm excited to make applesauce in my first grade classroom tomorrow! I just love the smell of homemade applesauce on a cool Michigan fall day! Although the weather is going to be rather warm, 75 degrees... which I will totally take in September! During Writer's Workshop, we will be talking about sensory words and how writers use them to add PIZAZZ to any story. Click on the picture below to snag a copy of this applesauce sensory words recording sheet!
Happy fall!

Friday, September 12, 2014

Cultivating BRAVE young writers!

Well... it's week 2 and writer's workshop is in full swing! My first grader know how to get writing supplies, the noise level expectations, what to do in a writing conference, how to get a new pencil, where to get new paper, what to do when they think they're done, and finally.... what to do when they need to spell a tricky word! Which brings me to this post!

The first day of writer's workshop is always so exhausting! Kids are up out of their seats showing you their papers and all you can hear is, "How do you spell____?"  over and over again! I couldn't wait to get to the BRAVE lesson that I started doing last year. I thought that the song BRAVE by Sara Bereilles was absolutely perfect for this teaching point. I play the song for the kids (you can just find it on youtube) and we listen to JUST the chorus (there is a part at the very beginning that mentions the words "weapon" and "drug" so I skip that part and pause it right when the chorus is about to begin. The words ARE SO PERFECT for writing. The chorus says, "Say what you wanna say, and let the words fall out, honestly... I wanna see you be brave!" So many times, my first graders are hesitant to write because they don't know how to spell the words. When I conference with students and ask them to write what happened next, many of them say, "but I don't know how to write that." Then they end up avoiding writing just because they don't have the confidence to stretch out the words the best they can.

After this lesson, the chorus from the song is our mantra for spelling during writer's workshop! I love how it says to let the words fall out. I tell the kids to let their words fall out of their brains right onto their paper and to be BRAVE as they attempt to spell!

I made this little poster to post in our writing area as a reminder. Click on it below to download it for FREE from my TPT store. Don't forget to follow me so you don't miss my upcoming freebies!

Friday, August 29, 2014

Organizing Student Information!

I finally got my student information pack up and ready to go on TPT! 
Click on the picture below to check it out!

 Here's the cover I'm using for my student information sheets. 
I love anything with adorable melonheadz kids!

I use this "Getting to Know You" form at my open house to gather student information. I put them all together, put the cover on, and bind at the top! It hangs from a hook above my desk for easy access all year long!

This pack includes 4 editable cover pages, 1 complete getting to know you form, 1 editable getting to know you form, and a sample of my cover! Check it out!

Thursday, August 21, 2014

I Love IG Giveaway!

I was so thrilled to reach 500 followers on IG last week! To celebrate, I'm having my FIRST giveaway! I'm giving away a cute heart tote, an adorable pink & gold clip-folio (it's a clipboard/paper holder), a chevron J. Crew jewelry tray, and a hot pink polka-dotted hothairband (an awesome work out headband made by mom that DOES NOT MOVE off of your head). Could you tell I was kind of going for a theme with these goodies? You have the chance of getting 8 entries below!
a Rafflecopter giveaway

Sunday, August 17, 2014

Leadership Table Teams

Phew.... I finally finished my latest leadership project. It feels like it took forever, mostly because it was in my mind for a long time before it came to be!  I was so tired of referring to my tables as a "color." It was just so boring and I wanted something fun. I also knew that I wanted to bring the 7 habits into my table teams.

So while on the beach at Lake Michigan, it hit me! I started to think about the names for my table teams. This is what I came up with.... the proactive pirates, the end in mind astronauts, the first things first thinkers.... go check out the rest here.

Coming up with names was the first step in creating this pack. Then I had to choose clipart to match each name. Of course I went with Melonheadz clipart because they are all just too adorable AND she had clipart kids that fit each of my 7 habits names!

Because my students sit at tables, I have all of their materials stored by table. This means lots of bins around the classroom, which means lots of labels are needed! I have the following bins for my table teams: math journals, writing folders, snack baskets, and word study folders.
As you can see in the picture above, I did change the color of the scalloped frames in case anyone
wanted the option of referring to groups by color
I also wanted to have my table teams easily identifiable so I made table top signs that fit PERFECTLY in the IKEA TOLSBY 4x6 frames. Each table will have one of the 7 habits table top signs in the middle!

Just in case anyone wanted table signs to hang above tables, these are also included in the pack!

My favorite part of this pack are my table leader wheels. Here's the deal with these... every day I assign a "table leader" for each table. The table leader's job is to get their table's supplies for each subject area. For example, when it's writer's workshop time, the table leaders get their table's bin of folders. I teach the students early on how to hand out their supplies. At the end of writer's workshop, table leaders are also responsible to put things away for their tables. The arrow (see in picture) points to the day's table leader. At the end of the day, I simply turn the wheel to the right and it points to the next day's table leader.

In my classroom, I have students switch seats/table every month. This helps keep things fresh and also encourages students to work with new classmates. I created "team promise" pages for all 7 habits:
plain lines for upper elementary

primary lines for lower elementary

At the beginning of each month, when table teams are new, teams will work together to complete a team promise page. The idea behind this is to help students think about what being proactive looks, feels, and sounds like in a team. I'm super excited to use this with my students!

I use a data wall in my classroom to keep track of student progress. I have a section on my wall for behavior. So I decided to add teamwork tallies to this pack. 
You could glue the table group squares to a piece of poster board then laminate OR just laminate the pieces and put up on the wall. In my classroom, I give tables a tally when I see them exhibiting leadership behaviors, working quietly,  or coming to the carpet quickly. At the end of the week, the table with the most tallies gets our TABLE TALLY TROPHY! I put little goodies in the trophy for each student at that table.

If you are using the 7 habits in your classroom or school to grow a group of "leaders" then please check out this product!  Click on the picture below!

Tuesday, August 12, 2014

Meet the Teacher Linky!

Hi there! I'm a first grade teacher from Michigan. This is going to be my 10th year teaching... that seems so weird to say (and it also makes me feel old!). I am married to the love of my life and together we have an amazing little 2 year old boy! 

My best days are spent with my family, but I also love blogging, creating, crafting, and shopping whenever I can! This summer I've been busy working out (Jazzercise) and eating right. Our family spent a week together on the west side of the state relaxing and having fun on the water! I splurged this summer and got a custom blog design! I love it!

Getting ready to watch the sunset on Lake Michigan!


My family, Sunday mornings at church, playing cars with my boy, Jazzercise, wandering around Target, Chai tea Lattes from Starbucks, pizza, crafts, garage sales, a good breakfast, bright colors, all things chalkboard, first graders, the beach, shoe shopping, nail polish, LOFT

I love creating all things digital, so I know I'd love being a full time graphic designer! Creating things on my MacBook has become a serious hobby of mine!

ambitious...  dedicated...  busy body


"I wish summer was a little shorter...said no teacher EVER!!"


A Day in the Life... of teacher, wife, & mommy

Flying. As a child, I used to have continuous dreams about being able to fly... they were seriously the best dreams!


"Be the change that you wish to see in the world."- Gandhi


 "Eternal Flame" by the Bangles....

For some reason this is the one song I know all of the words to! It has something to do with singing it in my room as a child in 1988!


I am a complete morning person. The second my eyes open... I. AM. AWAKE!


 I really love my Leadership jobs and Leadership packs. I work at a school that is implementing The Leader in Me so these two products have helped me weave The 7 Habits into my classroom.


I have a huge collection of NRFB (never removed from box) Barbie dolls! I always thought I'd give them to my daughter, but things didn't work out that way, so I'm stuck with a rather large collection in my basement!

Join in the fun and link up below!