Peek at my Week! Late Sunday night planning!

It's Sunday, so I'm sitting at the dining room table planning away.  I hear my husband's slightly annoyed sigh as he walks by my mess.  I know he just misses me in the living room watching the season premiere of Amazing Race, but alas, here I sit. 

You can take a peek at everyone's week over at Mrs. Wills Kindergarten

9 weeks in and you'd think I'd have this down but Reading Street is kicking my...well, you know.  There is just SO MUCH!  I'm trying to only include what I can fit and what my kiddos need.  So here we go: 

Word Work
I am sticking with Word Work stations from  
and a few ideas from  
These ladies have made my life SO MUCH EASIER! 
Here is a little preview of centers: 
Listen to reading, build a sentence, highlight the word

I also made rainbow write (using high frequency words for the week) available as well as a phonics cut, sort, and glue activity.

The kiddos will only have 4 rotations this week but that's ok because they have done these all before and they have had plenty of practice.  We will switch them up next week. 

Read to Self
These kiddos HAVE IT!  We are cruising along at 20 minutes of read to self time and conferences are starting up.  They are so eager to read outloud to an adult, Daily 5 is a wonderful thing.  Those face to face conferences with students make the biggest impact of all. 

Read to Someone
We are continuing 6 minute fluency during Read to Someone time.  Students use a passage that is on their level and read with a partner that is also on their level.  They read together for 2 minutes, then take turns reading 1 minute each.  Our focus is building fluency by rereading familiar text.  I know, I know, this is not how Read to Someone should look but we do still use the traditional D5 RTS time in our room for other things.  I just feel this daily fluency practice is so important.  We need to be able to read 47 words per minute by May....yikes!

Work on Writing (Writer's Workshop)
We do Writer's Workshop every day in our room and the kiddos will tell you it's because "Writer's Write Everyday!"  That could be the theme for our year!  This week we are focusing on parts of a sentence. 

I don't know!  No seriously, I do know but I have turned this one over to my student teacher.  She is planning out the math lessons from Investigations.  I wonder if she is sitting at her dining room table right now too? 

We are studying animals and how animals and people help each other in our Reading Street unit so in Science we are pulling in more about animals and starting a little first grade research.  This week we are learning about animal habitats and using our Interactive First Grade Journals.  These are a total experiment on my part. I want to use a journal I can use for reading/science/social studies as we work through our IB units and  I've been intrigued by the Interactive Journals I have seen online and wanted to try it myself.  I'm piecing it together one lesson at a time.
I do have a cover though....
 This is all I have created so far....the rest is in bits and pieces!

Here are my plans.  I love the feeling of having plans out on my desk and how bright and pertiful they are.  It helps me breath. 

Notice the big hole where math should go...I'll fill that in tomorrow!        
There's my week in a nut shell, and nutty it probably will be!

Hope your week is all set to go and you have a great one!
Happy Teaching,


Five for Friday.....the late Saturday edition!


I know it's Saturday night, but I really do have a great excuse this time!  I just finished 2 days of professional development and this is the first chance I have had to sit down!

You can still link up too!  Go to Doodle Bugs Teaching to link up or to check out all the other great blogs out there!

Speaking of Professional Development!


Friday & Saturday.....Balanced Leadership

 I  really overdid it on the meetings this week!  I am a PD nerd though, so it was a great week.

Daily 5 Word Work Choices
My Daily 5 is merging with Reading Street.  As part of this "new to me" reading series I have word work centers to include and a listening station.  I included 4 centers and 1 listening station for the kiddos to work through each day. To keep track of their choices I made these little gems with the numbers 1-4 and "Listen to Reading" on them.  When students choose a center they take a gem and put it next to their name.  This worked pretty well this week!  We have a few wrinkles to iron out but I think this will help them remember what they have already completed.  Remembering is so hard!

 Math Stations.....Tenmarks
We have been working through Math Stations each week and this always includes a computer station.  I started using Tenmarks ( last Spring.  My kiddos loved it and they were completely engaged in problem solving the whole time!  LOVE!  I wanted to start it up right away and I did, but after this week I think we will take a step back from this until I work out a few bugs.  Technology has not been my friend this week!  Updated sites and outdated computers do not mix!

Last weekend I got to spend the day with my sister doing a highway clean up on my nephew's memorial mile.  It was a beautiful day.
I'm beat!  I don't even have 5 things for Friday!  Most of my week was spent sitting and listening to other people talk so I have a renewed understanding of why our kiddos gets so fidgity!

That's Five for will already be time for scheduling Sunday tomorrow and then the weekend is over!  Don't let it slip away friends!

Happy Teaching!


Best Selling Writing Linky!

Caitlin and Carrie from Table Talk with C&C are hosting a very exciting *TpT Best Seller Linky Party and Giveaway* this week.  I am very excited to be donating my best selling writing activity for this linky and giveaway!  They wanted to have a linky and giveaway that showcases all of our hard work that goes into making meaningful and engaging products on TpT.  We all know how passionate we are about blogging and TpT product making, that we wanted to also celebrate all your hard work and accomplishments as a TpT seller.  The countless hours of creativity you put into these beautifully and thoughtfully made products deserve a little bit more love!  Why not celebrate them right here, right now?!?! Who's with us?  

The best part is that we connected with some very generous TpT Sellers who have donated their best *writing activity*  product and we want you enter to win them!!!    
 You will have a chance to share your best writing activity seller through the linky AND enter the rafflecopter to win all of these amazing products!

Here's how it's going to work.  
1. Take a look through your TpT Store and sort your products by "Best Sellers."  
2. Find the product that is your best selling   "writing " related product.
4. Enter the giveaway for a chance to win all the *FREE* best selling writing activities from our donators!
5. Spread the word about the linky and giveaway through all your social media!!

The *best selling writing activity* linky will be up for one week and then we will share the winner from the rafflecopter!   

We hope you will all join us and we celebrate the hard work, creativity, and countless hours that we have put into making teaching and learning more fun and engaging!! :)

Five for Friday: September 20th

Yes, it's the best day of the week!  FRIDAY!

That means it's time to sum it up in 5 easy steps....

Five for Friday!

Click the pic to link up with Doodle Bugs Teaching!

 #1  Reading Street

This was week 1 of a new reading series for me and I think it went pretty well!

Here are a few highlights!
 Students working hard at centers!
 The listening station was a big hit!  I have 3 different listening stations in my room.
More centers!  The kiddos loved this one from Look Who's in First Grade!

#2 Writer's Workshop

I love listening to my students share their stories during Writer's Workshop.  It's my favorite part of the day!
#3  Full Moon

Did it make your kids crazy?
#4  Beautiful surroundings....

I am so happy I get to see this sight every morning when I get to school. I was even happier this week all the rain went away and we had wonderful blue skies all week long.  This is why I live in Arizona!

#5  Teamwork

It takes a team to make things run smoothly.  I'm thankful for my team this week.  It's such a blessing to work with people I enjoy spending my time with!  These little guys reminded me of that as I finished up my work day today!

Happy Friday!  I hope your week was as awesome as mine was!  

Happy Teaching, Heather

Peek at my Week: Reading Street...Daily 5 Style!

This is my first time linking up with Mrs. Wills Kindergarten for her Peek at my Week Linky.  
I had so much to say today because
starting a new series is hard work ya'll!  Our district just adopted Reading Street and I have worked non stop for the past two weeks trying to figure this whole thing out in preparation of starting Unit 1 Monday (I didn't do Unit R).  Phew, I'm exhausted, but I think I have a plan in place.

Here's the plan, Stan!

Morning Work

Click pic for a link to my store.  The first week is free in the preview. 

Ok....I am not giving this up.  First off I worked too hard on it to just throw it away and second I think it is valuable.  It gets my kiddos in the door, straight to their seats and working right away.  They actually seem excited to do it too!  I am keeping this in my plans but cutting it a little short.  I used to give my kids from 8:00-8:30 to complete this (they go to word work if they finish early) but now they will have from 8:00-8:15.

Word Work Centers/ Listen to Reading
8:15-8:30 (probably more like 8:40)
I found this fabulous set by Look Who's in First Grade that has plenty of centers to get me going.  This week I am making 4 centers available to choose from and a listening station.  Students will complete a different center each day. 
Click on the pic to link to her store.  These are amazing and she has one for every Reading Street Unit!  I thought I was going to have to make all of this!

 Phonics Word Sort (short a/short e)
Quick Write: What does an animal do when it plays?
Make a Sentence
Short A Highlights  (from Life in First Grade)

I started the year out getting my kiddos into the Daily 5 routine.  So this will be a seamless transition as we start using the series.  I'm just sneaking it in and they will never know the difference!

Read to Self
I'm keeping with my regular schedule of Read to Self.  Now my mini lessons will be from Reading Street and this week the comprehension focus is Character and Setting (we will add this to our CAFE wall) and the Phonics skill is short a and the -ck blend.  I have the decodables from the series ready to hand out as an extra practice during Daily 5.  I actually experimented a bit with this last week and the kids loved having the extra books in their book boxes to practice with.  ESPECIALLY the kiddos that need decodable words to practice with!

I also found a few things from Leslie Ann at Life in First Grade to organize my lessons.  I am using her Comprehension Posters and Comprehension Response Sheets

Her Reading Street posts on her blog have really helped me as I start this new adventure.  I couldn't even begin to wrap my brain around this until I read through her blog.

This will be the time I will meet with my small groups.  I have my kiddos set up in the following groups: 
Group 1: Low
Group 2: On Track
Group 3: On Track
Group 4: High

Read to Someone
I introduced Read to Someone after we had a good handle on Read to Self.  My kiddos love it!  We have used this to introduce ideas like "Check for Understanding" and teaching them about fluency.  Now we are using this time as our "6 Minute Fluency" practice.  6 Minute Fluency is a program that I was introduced to years ago through our district.  It gives kiddos practice reading (and rereading) the same passage all week long with a partner and on their own as their partner listens for accuracy.  It looks like this with my kiddos:
2 minutes: Partners read together
1 minute: Reader #1 reads passage, Reader #2 offers support
1 minute:  Reader #2 reads passage, Reader #1 offers support

With a minute to get set up and a minute to come back together it should all be able to done in 6 minutes.  Yeah right!  It only takes us about 10 minutes though.  Students circle where they got to each day so they can track their own progress throughout the week.  They love seeing that they got further each day!  Students are paired up by me, and they read a passage on their own level.  I am using the Fresh Reads for Fluency from Reading Street and the Advanced Selection for my kiddos this week.  

Writer's Workshop (Work on Writing)
I'm NOT giving up Writer's Workshop.  It is the best thing I do for my kiddos in a day and it's their favorite part of the day.  My plan is to use the skills covered in Reading Street in my Writer's Workshop mini lessons each day.  This week the focus is all about sentences so my Writer's Workshop mini lessons will be: 
Writer's use a noun and a verb in every sentence. 
Writer's use interesting verbs to describe action.
We will focus on these for a day or two each, depending on what my students need. 

Of course all of my writing examples will be focused on caring for pets, responsibility, and needs to stick with Question of the Week, What do pets need? 
My time is getting scrunched during Writer's Workshop.  To fix that I am drawing my picture and writing SOME of my story before we sit down.  I am having the students finish the story with me to focus on the skill for the day.

Here's what it looks like on my plans:

That's my morning and 90 minute block!  It should only take me about 2 and half hours to do it all!  I want everything to go perfect this week so I can set up a good model for my student teacher.  She will be taking over the morning block soon and I want to get the routines in place before I hand this puppy over!  Do you teach from Reading Street?  How do you set up your day and do you have any "MUST DO's" to share?  I would love to hear about it!

Happy Teaching!

Five for Friday

6 weeks of a new school year are in the books and so are my Parent/Teacher conferences.  I am exhausted and I don't think I could talk any more if I wanted to.  The good news is everyone showed up and I only have 2 make ups.  One of my sweets was out sick so her mom had to cancel and one of my student's family had a baby!  What a great reason to miss a P/T conference!

So now it's time for 5 for Friday!  Yay! Click on the pic to link up!


#1:  Rain....rain....rain....

Ok, I know what you might be thinking.  Yes, it rains and we just have to live with it.  The kids go crazy, we miss recess, and things get a little muddy.  Ok, I get it.  Now just imagine that you live in the desert and it RARELY rains.  We get rain but never for days upon days.  This week has been days upon days of rain and my little Arizona kiddos are so confused.  We don't know what which way is up!  Monday, Tuesday, and Wednesday were rainy.  I love the rain but I hated this week.

 We finally got a little blue sky on Wednesday afternoon. 

 #2  Math Stations
This was week 2 of math stations and my kiddos loved being able to make their own choices this week.  I usually rotate through but we had a short week due to Parent Teacher conferences so I made a few changes.  They loved it!

#3 Wednesday is college shirt day! Yay!
Our reading theme is Read to Succeed with a focus on colleges around the country.  Teachers and students are encouraged to wear a college t-shirt on Wednesday.  I finally got around to ordering a new one and it came in Wednesday afternoon.  Now I can't wait until next Wednesday!
#4 Swim Meet in the rain!
My daughter had her first swim meet on Tuesday and yes, it rained.  Just like every other day.  I got to see her break some personal records and anchor a relay to win.  It was great!

  #5 Parent Teacher conferences were this week.  It took hours of prep to get the information together for my parents but they went really well!
That's 5 for Friday!  Enjoy your weekend!

Happy Teaching! Heather

September 11, 2013

On September 11, 2001 I was sleeping in my bed when the attacks on the World Trade Center began.  My husband woke me up to watch what was happening on TV but even now it feels like a dream.  That day is one that I will never forget.

I wasn't a teacher in 2001.  I was working at a bank and we had to go to work no matter what was happening.  I remember thinking all I wanted to do was go pick up my kids from school and go home.  I was so worried about my girls and how their teachers were dealing with this day.  Now that I am a teacher I know how they dealt with it.  The day went on.  They stayed with their routines, they took attendance and taught reading and did Writer's Workshop and practiced math facts.  They walked their students to lunch and watched them play on the playground.  That's what teachers do, they make the unimaginable manageable.

I struggle with this day as a teacher now because I'm torn between teaching the history and meaning of this day and protecting my littles from the tragedy that happens all around us.  I feel guilty that I didn't put together a patriotic lesson plan to teach my children the importance of our community helpers and the sacrifices of those who  put their own lives before our own.  However....I do this every day.  I do an entire 6 week unit on community helpers and I do teach my children the importance of being part of a community.  I also teach them about respect, cooperation, and empathy on a daily basis.  How should we spend our time on this historic day?

Today I took attendance, taught reading and did Writer's Workshop. We practiced our math facts and the students had lunch and they enjoyed their recess despite the rain that has been hanging around our state the last few days.  We had a completely regular day in 1st grade today because that's what I do now.  I make the unimaginable manageable.  Maybe I am doing them a disservice by not teaching about the events that happened on 9/11, but all I ever really want to do as a teacher is protect my littles from all the scary things out there in the world.  

I will never forget the events of 9/11 and my students will know more about this day when they are old enough to process what happened and their parents are ready for the questions that follow.  Today I am thankful for my family, my country, and all those who serve to protect us and keep our community far and

Monday Made It! I've been waiting for this!

So I got a little spoiled with Monday Made Its all summer long.  I was super excited when I finally made something and went to post it last Monday.  Guess what?  No Monday Made It!  It took a little digging but I found out that during the regular school year Monday Made It only happens on the second Monday of the month.  Who knew? maybe you did but I did not.  I'm new, that's my excuse!

So if you are new too maybe that will help a little.  Here is your link up to participate with 4th Grade Frolics!

  Here is my project that took me forever to put together!

Monday Made It #1

Attendance Chart:
I am sooooo tired of interrupting morning work to take attendance and ask who is eating lunch in the cafeteria or lunch from home.  I'm hoping to train my kiddos tomorrow and get them into a routine so I don't have to ask :)
The little "gems" are my kiddos faces.  I made magnets using the glass pieces with a little modge podge and a magnet on the back.  If you follow me on IG...sorry, I shared this last week!  My hope is when they come in they can find their darling little face and choose Cafeteria lunch or Home lunch.  (HOPEFULLY) this will be simple!

Monday Made It #2
DIBELS Goal Chart
 I need a way for my kiddos to be motivated to move up in DIBELS.  I decided a clip chart was the way to go.  Now, don't get me wrong, I don't agree with public displays of achievement.  However, I needed a way to motivate my kiddos to be focused on our year end goals.  I put it in a semi-private place in the classroom so it is personal.  Just our classroom family is involved in this process. :) 

Here is a link to the chart in my store: 

I am a HUGE believer in letting your kiddos know what their goals are.  If we have it in front of us all year long they know what they need to do!  I progress monitor each week so there is never any question in where we are or where we need to be! 

Monday Made It #3....seriously?
Ok, I already posted this yesterday, but after a little interest on IG I thought I would post it tonight too.  It's free, so that's always good right!  We have been in school 5 weeks (already?) and it is time for Parent/Teacher conferences.  Here are some forms that might help you out.  Especially if you use DIBELS and you teach 1st grade.  Even if you don't there are reminder notes that might be helpful to you!

 That's my Monday Made It!  I've been waiting for this one and so happy it's finally here!  I can't wait to go check out all the other blogs and get inspired.  I can't tell you how many times people come into my classroom and are impressed by my creativity that really has nothing to do with me.  I'm a total thief!  I steal ideas from all these wonderful teachers that blog about them.  So thank you ladies (and a few gentlemen) for inspiring me to make my classroom learning environment the BEST EVER!

Happy Teaching!