Five for Friday and a FREEBIE!

Already a month into the new year, can you believe it?  We have been busy, busy, busy bees in our classroom learning about how things change.  It's been a fun month!  Here are some highlights from our week courtesy of Doodle Bugs teaching and Five for Friday. 

#1 It's all about change!

We are 4 weeks into our "Where We Are in Place and Time" unit and learning about documenting personal histories.  We have been reading all about changes in our Reading Street unit too.  They go so well together!  We wrote about what plants's a little sample. 
I {love} that she remembered to give it time!  Timelines have been pretty important to us in the past few weeks!  More on that in a minute....

We also worked in teams to write about what changes happen in a garden.  I always have the kiddos write an answer to the question of the week but usually on post its.  They are so tiny we can't read them so this week I had them pair up and write an answer together on BIG paper.  They loved this activity!

#2  Timelines
 Our main focus for this unit is putting our life on a timeline but we have had lots of discussions about how timelines work.  This week to solidify the concept we made a classroom timeline.  It was fun to reflect on how much we have learned together in 1st grade!

I hung it up because it was very loooooooong (we've learned a lot!) and I'm totally out of wall space!

#3 Professional Development
We are starting a new science program in our district called Engineering is Elementary and we had some fun PD to learn more about it.  My team is (kind of) competitive so we had fun with this little challenge.  Our cards had to be 18 inches high and hold the stuffed monkey.  Any PD that involves fun is a win win!

#4  Have Fun Teaching!
Quick highlight on a website I love! has GREAT learning videos that are perfect for little brain breaks.  We have been using them this week to celebrate our "WINS" on the score board (part of Whole Brain Teaching).  My kiddos love the counting by 5's video and it may or may not get stuck in your head for the rest of the day.  Yes, many nights this week I was singing the 5's song as I made dinner each night. I posted about my rebirth to WBT teaching on Monday and I am happy to report that this week went GREAT!  Our behavior was so much better than last week! 

#5 Sweet Love Giveaway
I'm super excited to team up with Kristen at Easy Teaching Tools for another great giveaway.  There are so many fun Valentine's products in this giveaway! Click on the pic to link up with her blog!
  I've included my new ELA/Math centers "Sweets for my Sweets".  You can see it in my store by clicking on the pic!

Is that 5?  
Wow that was fast!  
Almost as fast as the month of January!

 I'm including a little freebie from my Valentine's packet in celebration of making it to February!  Click on the pic to get to the Google doc :)
Before you know it we will be kicking back in June soaking up the sun (one can dream right?).  
Until then stay warm, smile, and have fun teaching!

Giveaway WINNER!

Congratulations to Heidi Bergman Zick!

She was the lucky winner of my 200 follower giveaway!  Thank you to everyone who entered and also a HUGE thank you to these lovely ladies that helped me out!
Visit their stores to see how AMAZINGLY talented they are!  Click each pic for the link!
It was fun teaming up with these ladies! 

Wednesday WOW!

Any excuse to share great ideas is a win win situation in my book.  Coast to Coast Kinder put together this wonderful Wednesday linking to share great ideas in the middle of the week. Win!

To be honest here....I am ill prepared for this post. 
I don't have any WOW ideas on short notice. 
I need atleast a week or two to put together something WOW worthy. 
Don't fret....I'm having a good week so I have a something to share!

So.....I've been on my Whole Brain Teaching kick this week and I realized today that I needed to use the Teach-Okay technique to the fullest extent.  I do use this regularly but not often enough to get my kiddos talking in the middle of a lesson instead of just poking each other in boredom.  Here is how it works. 

Ideas are taught in {tiny} increments and the kiddos teach each important points through Teach-Okay.  First, introduce a topic (sentences have a capital and a period) and then you ask students to teach their neighbor.  Say "TEACH" and they respond back "OK!" (with a ton of enthusiasm!) and then they teach.  Here are my kiddos today teaching their neighbor about where a period should go.  

Basically they are repeating exactly what you said to their neighbor.  However....this solidifies the lesson like you've never seen before!  It's like magic!

Well, I'm off to read all the other WOW posts for the week.  I'm excited to see what great ideas are hiding out there in bloggy land.  If you are interested in Whole Brain Teaching check out my blog post {here}.  
Check in tomorrow to find out the winner of my 200 follower giveaway! 

Technology Tuesday!

It feels like once we get caught up with technology everything changes again.  Just when you have it figured out, there is more to learn.  I love this about technology and hate it at the same time.  Yes I said the "h" word.......but it's true. 

We have been very fortunate this year to get iPads for our 1st graders and Kindergarten classrooms through grants and tax credit programs.  Without these 4 iPads in my room my kiddos would have zero technology to work with (besides my classroom proxima and mimio).  The programs we use no longer work on the old desktops in my room and we have no computer lab. 

Ok, so there is my sob story, what I really wanted to say is I'm super fortunate to have these 4 gems in my room.  My neighbor and I were very worried thought the moment they arrived because we have no cart to store them in or cases to put them in to protect them.  I almost didn't want my kids to touch them!  So scary!  Here are a few ways we have made them classroom safe. 

My neighbor made this sign for us and these are the rules we introduced with the iPads. 
We cut squishy drawer liner stuff (technical term right?  I have no idea what this stuff is called) in a square and the iPads must stay on the placemat at all times. 

To store them and charge them at night we created this charging station out of a dish rack. 
This really helps keep them put away nicely, always charging, and protects the screens. 

My goal is to have atleast one class set and I continue to write grants every time I get the chance and I am contemplating Donors Choose.  It's a little overwhelming when you read all about it but it's my next "big thing" I'm going to take on.  It may take me until summer time to get up the nerve though!

What types of things do you use in your classroom to assist you with technology?  
Any great apps I need to know about? 
What technology can you not live without?  
Mine is the Proxima and Mimio! 
Happy Tuesday, tomorrow is hump day...hooray!

You have 1 more day to enter my 200 follower giveaway! 
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Whole Brain Monday!

Have you ever heard of Whole Brain Teaching?  I discovered this little gem about 6 or 7 years ago and I know a lot of bloggy friends out there that use it too.  
It's a behavior management "system" (I'll put that in quotes because I'm not sure what the creators would actually want me to call it, but I call it a system).  The basic idea is that if you keep students 100% engaged,  100% of the time there is never any time for bad behavior.  It really does work but it takes 100% commitment part on your part.  Today I pulled out all the stops and put WBT to the test again.

Here are the major points of Whole Brain Teaching: 
1. Class-Yes
2. Teach-Okay
3. The Five Classroom Rules
4. The Scoreboard
5. Hands and Eyes
6. Switch
7. Mirror

I already use the Class-Yes part of the program and the rules but we tend to slack off somewhere around, oh I don't know.....October?  Once the class is rolling along and everyone is eager to please their teacher there is really no need for any extra incentives.  By January the need is great!

I use Teach-Okay all the time.  It's basically a way to get students talking {in other words engaged} with each other.

The Five Classroom Rules are practiced daily in many different ways.  We have hand motions and everything and today we pulled them back out because we have not been practicing them and even though they "know" the rules, they had forgotten them.   

Today I pulled out the Scoreboard. I'm telling you works!  Students do a lot of responding throughout the day for positive behavior and it reinforces community building. We're all in this together right?  That was my focus today, it's all about teamwork!  We encourage our friends to follow the rules and celebrate when we do.  If we get off track we give a mighty groan (part of the program) and move forward.  My toughest kiddos today stayed on track all day.  They won (they had the most points) which really just means I won in the end.

I've always used Hands & Eyes (you just say it and they are ready to go, hands in lap, eyes on you) but I've slacked on this too.  I'm going to revisit this one tomorrow. 

Switch goes along with Teach-Okay and it just gives everyone a chance to talk.  Some of us talk too much......yes I am talking about myself. 

Mirror deals with mirroring gestures and I do this a lot, but I had forgotten it was part of the program!

If you want to read more about Whole Brain Teaching check out Whole Brain Teaching for Challenging Kids by Chris Biffle.  I think there was a time when I taught Kindergarten that I stalked Chris Biffle on the web to find out every single new thing he had to say or video he had posted.  He will change your life if you have challenging students in your classroom.  I promise.   I borrowed my FOR FREE because we  have Amazon Prime so you can check it out for free too if you have that.  If you don't it's worth every penny to buy the book. 

Thanks for stopping by.  I just had to share this because I was reborn into WBT today and reminded myself of why I love it so much.  Here is one more sweet moment from today that reminds me of why I love first grade.  This sweetie read the last chapter of Junie B. to the class.  It doesn't get any better than this!
  I hope your Monday was as lovely as mine!

AND.....since you read all the way to the bottom ;) here is a chance to enter my 200 follower giveaway! Good luck! 
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Peek at my Week January 27 
This weekend flew right by and it's already time to plan for the next.  
Stick to the routine.  
That's my theme for this week!
Here's a little Peek at my Week, link up with Mrs. Wills Kindergarten to be inspired!
You can click on the picks to see the Google doc.

Here are a the products I am using this week!

Thanks for stopping by and taking a peek at my week.  If you haven't already, here is a chance to enter my 200 follower giveaway.  7 wonderful Instagram/Blogger friends have joined with me to celebrate.  You could win a product from each of these stores, 11 products in all! 

Five for Friday! Giveaway!

A short week really messes me up!  I was a day off all week and I {think} my kiddos noticed.  We went on a field trip today to the high school to watch Disney on Broadway so the week was even shorter than planned. We got a lot done though in spite of all the distractions! Here is my Five for Friday, check out Doodle Bugs Teaching for all the other Five for Fridays out there!

#1  Measurement
We were all about measurement this week in math.  I even skipped math journals (against my will) to get some extra measurement time in.  The kiddos loved it so I guess I did too!

 We had a fun time measuring around the classroom with linking blocks.  We also measured with paper clips and tiles.  It was fun to see the difference between different units of measure.  This is the first class I have ever had that asked the question, "Why don't we just use a ruler?"  They are way ahead of me I tell you!

#2  Oral Reading Fluency
We are making leaps and bounds in the reading department!  We read to each other every day with reading passages from our reading series.  They are really getting it!
We practice these passages for 2 minutes each day together (choral reading) and then they time each other for 1 minute each and track their progress.  One kiddo told me this week how excited she was to make it to the next paragraph on her 3rd reading.  They love seeing their progress!

#3 My new love of Junie B.
I made a decision this week.  I'm going to keep reading Junie B. as long as they will listen.  I have only read one or two a year in the past because I don't want to ruin the surprise of a new book for them.  However they just love them so much that I know it can't possibly hurt to read as many as I want to them.  I am loving this time of the day.
#4 ELA and Math Centers for Valentine's Day
I just finished these up last night and now I can hardly wait for Valentine's Day.  It is my favorite holiday of the year (don't judge) and now I'll be able to celebrate it all week long!  You can click on the pick to see it in my store!
#5 Giveaway!
Last but not least, I am celebrating a huge milestone (for me) this week!  I reached 200 followers in my Tpt store at the beginning of this month and put together this giveaway to celebrate!

I am so incredibly thankful have the help from these awesome ladies!  Check out their stores to see how talented they are!  Here is the rafflecopter to enter the giveaway.  We will pick a winner next Friday! 
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Have a great weekend!  We are spending the weekend watching my youngest play volleyball.  It's been awhile since we have been to a tournament so this is exciting, I can't wait to watch her play!