Tuesday, October 27, 2015

Chart it, Show it {October}

It was a Wednesday, a lovely half-day, and I was doing guided writing with a small group of 4 students on the carpet. We were only 2 weeks into the school year, and my students were still constantly coming up to me to ask questions, give predictions, tattle, and many other things.  Well that day was no different.

One student came up to me and asked me how to spell 'recess.' That's one of my least favorite things that students come up to me for, so that is why I make my classroom rich with text. It was so early on in the year, so I decided to help her sound out the letters. Before I even started, one of my guided writing students shot up from the carpet, rushed to shared writing anchor chart, and pointed at the word 'recess.'

The student yelled out, "It's here, recess," and continued to track the letters and sound them out. Even though my excited student yelled out and distracted every student in the room, my heart was still bursting with joy.

At that moment, I was knew that these anchor charts are way more than being a part of a lesson.  Once they are created in the class, posted somewhere in the room, and constantly being referred to, they transform into something much greater. This little story is the reason why I push hard for anchor charts in the room. Anchor charts are the Google for our students.

Here a student is using one of our anchor charts for a syllable activity that we were working on. I try to hang up some examples of writing from our writing workshops so the students have access to what good sentences look like.

The anchor charts are spread around the room, and I try to keep them neat and clean looking. I do not like a cluttered looking room, so I am very careful of this.  In our school, almost every teacher has anchor charts hanging, and you see them all of the place. Check with your school before you start posting anchor charts everywhere, because some schools are more relaxed on the fire codes compared to the others.

I have anchor charts hanging from the windows too! Our classrooms are still really bright despite that we have huge pieces of paper hanging in front of the windows.

When I did this 'Short a' anchor chart, I realized that I needed something more permanent because I eventually take anchor charts down, but these words are crucial to have up in the rooms all the time.  So I had another solution to my problem.

Here is my solution to that. I will keep those word family anchor charts up for the entire school year so the students have access to them all the time. 

The tape totally looks ugly, so please bypass that. :)

This short vowels anchor chart took us one week to complete.  Each day we wrote out words for a different vowel.  My students use them all the time! It will definitely be up for a while.

Every day I do a read-aloud and we learn about story elements and reading comprehension. This anchor chart is still in the process of being finished. So far, we have only discussed two of the four reasons why authors write. I reference this every day with every literature, and I can happily say that my students get it!

Here is another vowel anchor chart. My teacher friend taught me this song for vowels, so we wrote out the lyrics of the song on this anchor chart while we learned them. We sing it maybe once a day, and I track the words with a pointer. It is awesome! The vowel song lyrics are the following:

(Sung to Three Blind Mice)

A has two sounds 
A has two sounds
a a a (short)
a a a (long)

E has two sounds 
E has two sounds
e e e  (short)
e e e  (long)

I has two sounds 
I has two sounds
I I I (short)
I I I (long)

O has two sounds 
O has two sounds
o o o  (short)
o o o  (long)

U has two sounds 
U has two sounds
u u u  (short)
u u u  (long)

Not going to lie, this isn't the best Syllables anchor chart, but we were short on time, and we stuck to what we needed only. It may not be pretty, but the focus on creating these anchor charts are to keep is neat, not have too many words, have visuals, and to keep referencing them.

I always ask my students which anchor chart is their favorite in the week, and my students went crazy with this main idea one. We were learning about main idea, and we read a book on stick-insects. Very memorable!

Here I have a couple of different anchor charts that I use almost on a daily basis. At first, when I was teaching them the concept, we focused on one idea for the entire week, now that we have gone over them and have a better grasp of what they mean, I use them more quickly.  We use post its to update the poster with whatever read-aloud we have for the day. The vocabulary words are always there, and I've notice the students use them more often.

This one is very used as well.  It's a very simple Addition Strategies Anchor chart that we added to every time until we completed it.

I created a Word Problem of the Day product for my class, and I noticed that my students had a tough time with the subtraction word problems, so I helped them with this anchor chart. Those daily word problems are also a lot easier to complete with the addition/subtraction vocabulary anchor chart. 

As you may have noticed, my anchor charts aren't glittery, but they are simple and hand-drawn.  It's amazing to see how something so simply makes an impact on our students' success. 

I can't wait to see your classrooms' anchor charts. 

Link-up Procedures: 
Link up down below, and be sure to include the Chart It, Show It Graphic at the top of these post. 
Thank you!

Featured Teacher Tuesday: Amber Unger

Grab your beverage of choice and settle in for another exciting round of Featured Teacher Tuesday!  

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This week our featured teacher is Amber Unger, a first grade teacher who shares real estate with the Milwaukee Brewers, Green Bay Packers, lots of cows, and many beer breweries.  Yep!  You guessed it; Amber is a proud educator in Wisconsin.  She is in her 7th year of teaching: 4 years in Kindergarten, 2 years in ESL, and 1 year in first grade so far.  Amber never thought she would find a grade level that made her happier than Kindergarten, but she quickly learned this school year that first grade is the place to be!


Her “home” away from home looks like this:


And she shares her real home with these men:


Amber has been blogging since 2011.  You will definitely want to stop by her blog, Mrs. Unger's Unbelievable Elementary Experiences, for years worth of great teacher tips, student-centered ideas, and fun photos!

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You will also want to swing by Amber’s Teachers Pay Teachers store, as all of her products are free!  Amber has a dream to find TIME to make products that she feels are worthy of selling, but until then - enjoy the freebies (currently 59) in her newly updated TPT store.  Here are a couple of examples:

You can also follow Amber in these ways, too:

Be sure to stop by our Featured Teacher Tuesday linky party next week to learn about another fabulous first grade teacher: Misty!  (Can you believe next week is November already!?)

Monday, October 26, 2015

Monday Made It {October 26}

Welcome to my very first Monday Made it with Tara from 4th Grade Frolics!  I always love reading these posts, and it makes me happy to be writing for it this time around. It always amazes me how creative and inspirational so many teachers can be! For some of the things, I couldn't even imagine coming up with it on my own! 

For this week, I thought to showcase one simple thing! I promise to be more creative in the future! For the first item, I would like to show  you my very beautiful bulletin board. It may not seem much to you, but let me tell you, I am not creative when it comes to these suckers.  

I bought this amazing Owl Bulletin Board activity from Kindergarten with Susie and you can find the product here.  We were working on an owl unit, and it went perfectly with our unit. The kids enjoyed the cutting and pasting.  

Putting up the bulletin board took about 40 minutes, and this is why I don't usually spend so much time on bulletin boards. I feel like I can spend that much time on something that is more important like creating something for the classroom or reading a book.  But looking at these pictures and imagining the expressions of my students face when they see it is amazing.  

All you need for this bulletin board is background paper, stapler, lots of staples, scissors to cut brown paper to make tree branches, and preferably a step stool. If you have all of those things, then you are set.  

Until next time!

Saturday, October 24, 2015

DIY Privacy Boards Tutorial + a FREEBIE

I teach first grade, and I'm so sad to say that with all this standards-based instruction comes a lot of standards-based assessment. Thankfully, my school builds great rapport with the students on test-taking, so it is not so cringe-worthy.  

On a weekly basis, my students take a spelling test, ELA performance task, math test, and a reading record. Needless to say, Fun Fridays are very much needed.  We take tests in between Fun Friday activities.  It's so easy to trick the kids that they are having a Fun Friday! :) 

Well, today's post focuses on the privacy boards that allow my students to take those assessments in a comfortable way. It's my first tutorial, so I decided to make it a simple one. 

All you need for this tutorial are folders, 2 per student, and a stapler.  It took me about 10 minutes to build 25 privacy boards. It's so easy, you really shouldn't get the store bought privacy boards. 

To start off, you need to get two folders, and align the end of the boards to one another. This makes a very long folder. Stable the bottom  while holding the top part. Then staple the top part. 

Once you have those 2-4 staples in, you can laminate the folders to keep them in good condition. My job is not yet complete, because I want to add pages inside the boards to give my students confidence during these assessments. 


I will be printing and gluing the pages on the inside in this order. I decided to not put any more information on these printables because I didn't want them to get overwhelmed with information that may not be pertinent at the moment. 

If you need these FREE printables to glue in your privacy boards before you laminate them, then click here.

I hope this tutorial is clear to copy! Let me know if you have any questions! Leave a comment below letting me know what kind of tests/assessments/quizzes your little ones have to take in the week. 

Friday, October 23, 2015

Five for Friday {October 23}

I'm back, I'm back, and you can't hold me back! *in the loudest singing voice* Once again, I'm pairing up with Doodle Bugs Teaching  for Five for Friday Linky Party. 

It has been an extremely difficult September and October for my family and me! Regardless, our trust and faith in God have gotten us through such a difficult time, and I am so happy to be back blogging for my wonderful teacher friends! And yes....teacher friends are the words I use when I speak to my students about you. :) 

After my grandma's passing, I thought I wouldn't be able to smile and laugh for months ahead, but today at work we had the 11th Annual Jog-athon.  And laugh, I did. :) It is is the most awesome thing to happen at a school. Kids raise money for their classrooms, run for exercise, and parents bond with their kids while they run together. It doesn't get any better than that. 
To gauge the laps students ran, I safety pinned this paper on the back of the students' back, and marked their lap as they ran. It's so much easier than carrying a clip board! :) Next year, I might even run with them. :) 

My students are going to poop their pants when they see that I got them these books as gifts for Halloween. Yes, they will. My students are so sweet! Anytime I get them anything, it could be a pretzel, they get so excited!! That's one of the best things about teaching in an underserved community. The kids are so thankful! Anyways, I got each book for a dollar from Scholastic Book Orders, and I love them! I plan on wrapping them in paper and giving it to the students Friday the 30th. 
Don't mind the grainy photo. I took it with my phone and posted it on my Instagram.  :)

Let me just start off saying that I am normal. :) Whatever that may mean. I may be 26 years old, but I am so in love with this Disney TV show.  I grew up watching Boy Meets World, so I thought to give this show a go.  Netflix made it too easy!  It was an attempt to cheer up my mood from the situation mentioned above, and it worked wonders. It may have been created for kids, but the episodes are so deep. Every episode gets me so close to tears because of the wonderful message it delivers every time. Plus, Cory is a history teacher, and it's hilarious to see how unreal they made the teacher position. 

I was gone for a a week and a few days, and this math packet I created for my class was a life saver! My sub left notes of how my students asked to do this packet, and they chose it as one of their centers! That's what success feels like to me...when I create something and my students love it while being challenged all the same. If your students have trouble with counting forward, counting backwards, counting up to 20, and writing numbers 1-40, then this might be perfect for your class too. Find it here.

The craziest thing happened! I opened my youtube channel up, and noticed that I had over 500 subscribers!!! That is insane because I haven't added any new videos, and it's just something I do when I'm super bored. :) Since I moved schools, I haven't had any time because my job is so much more demanding now. I say this is the best possible way. :) I love me my tasks. :) 

Anyways, that was my week in a handful. Til next time! 

Tuesday, October 20, 2015

Featured Teacher Tuesday: Jenny Kramer

Do you use songs in your classroom? If not, now’s the time to start! Introducing Jenny Kramer, also known as “Miss Jenny.” Her “Edutunes” make singing with children as simple as pressing “play”—No musical experience necessary!

Jenny began creating her “Edu-tunes” nineteen years ago, after learning about the research. According to study after study, children learn more, remember more, and ENJOY learning more with educational songs. Along with teaching full-time for almost two decades, “Miss Jenny” has piloted her songs with 80 teachers and 1500 students South Bay Union School District in San Diego, CA. She has also given professional development speeches across the U.S. for the Bureau of Education and Research, the Institute for Educational Development, and Staff Development for Educators. Her work inside the classroom, along with her work with other professionals, has helped her to make the songs truly teacher-friendly, fun for kids, and effective as learning tools.

Jenny just created a NEW “Halloween” song, along with lots of materials to promote literacy. Preview her new song here , or click here for her giant DELUXE “Halloween Literacy Fun” package, including the song and dozens of additional materials—currently on sale for 50% off!

Miss Jenny’s “Edutunes” educational songs help children to learn every aspect of the curriculum. Common Core 1st Grade Math teaches EVERY SINGLE first grade standard in 38 songs. You can listen to song samples here

Her Phonics Time CD-book set teaches everything from simple letters and sounds to advanced phonics concepts through 28 songs.

Ready for some FREEBIES?

Miss Jenny has posted the “Magic E” song from Phonics Time for FREE here.  She is also giving away her “Butterfly” song and packet for a limited time here. 
 This fun song—complete with motions—makes high-level concepts comprehensible to young children.

***Miss Jenny has started giving MONTHLY $25 TpT Give-Aways. You can enter to win in 5 ways:
1.     Follow her on TpT: https://www.teacherspayteachers.com/Store/Miss-Jenny-And-Edutunes
2.     “Like” Edutunes.com, Inc. on Facebook: www.facebook.com/edutunes
3.     Follow her boards on Pinterest: www.pinterest.com/edutunes
4.     Follow her on YouTube, where she has over 1,000,000 views!!! www.youtube.com/edutunes
5.     Check out her BLOG here: http://edutunes.com/category/blog/
Finally, send a note in response to her blog, or to missjenny@edutunes.com, to let her know you want to enter 5 times.
Happy Singing!