Tuesday, August 30, 2011

I (barely) survived my first week!

Hats off to all you teachers who have been able to blog nightly during your first week or two back. I had the WORST first few days. Can I be honest? I came home and cried the first two nights. For the first time ever I thought that maybe I wasn't cut out to be a teacher. Our school has made so many changes, I was really stubborn, and didn't have the best attitude. Then I had a few kiddos that really gave me a run for my money. I'm happy to say though that things are going much better in that area. THEN yesterday my little boy was super crabby and broke out in a rash all over his body. Turns out - he has Strep! Ugh! It's been a rough week and blogging was just about the last thing I wanted to do.

Anywhoo...I thought I'd share a couple of quick and fun things we did today in first grade.
1. Salt Writing - instead of practicing our numbers on paper we wrote them on some salt. It probably would have been better if I had got the red or blue plastic plates to make the numbers stand out, but this was all I had. It worked just fine. A little messy, but fine.

2. Noodle Letters - To spice up our alphabet review I had the students make the letter N out of different noodles. They turned out cute.

Hope your first week of school was better than mine!

Sunday, August 21, 2011

Meet the Teacher Monday

Tell us a little something about yourself:

This is me, Rachel. I'm a wife, teacher, mother, and dancer (just a few of my titles in no special order). I'm also a non-cook. I've tried and failed many, many times. Luckily I'm married to a wonderful man who loves to cook and he's great at it! He's also a English and Spanish teacher at a nearby high school. I graduated from BYU-Idaho, but I'm originally from Ohio so by nature I'm a Buckeye's fan! I LOVE going home to visit my parents, my four siblings, three nieces, and four nephews. Our family's so big and fun that it's always a party. That's only MY side of the family. My husband is from California, right by the coast, and his hometown is basically my dream town. So picturesque and beautiful. My little guy was grand-baby #4 born in one year, so it's just as crazy and fun when we visit there.

We've been married for 7 1/2 years and have this little man. I may be bias, by I think he's the cutest boy EVER!

How long have you been teaching:
This will be my sixth year teaching (all in first grade). I also was an aide for kindergarten before I got my teaching job.

You might not know:
You know that student of yours that REFUSES to hold her pencil the correct way? That was me. My first grade teacher used to give me those triangle grips that go on the pencil and I used to throw them away. I was a stinker! Okay, maybe I still am a little bit of a rebel.

What are you looking most forward to this year:
I've been collecting some fantastic ideas through all these great blogs that I can't wait to put into action. The kiddos will LOVE them!

What do you need to improve:
Soooo many things! I need to do a better job teaching creative writing, being a better cook, actually folding laundry instead of just throwing it into the basket (anyone else do that?)...

What teaching supplies can you not live without?
I love sticky notes of all sizes. I also need an assortment of colored Sharpies. A coke makes me a happy teacher, too.

Now tell us one random thing about yourself:

Okay this is totally random, but when I was in high school I lived across the street from Bizzy Bone of the rap group Bone Thugs n Harmony. That was pretty crazy and I have lots of stories about him. One being when I was in my driveway washing my car and the whole group pulled up and asked me to wash their car too! In case you're wondering... I said no!

Linking up with Blog Hoppin'!

Ta-Da! Class Pledge!

Wow, thank you to everyone who submitted ideas for my class pledge. I really enjoyed reading through them. In the end though, I kept coming back to the same one, so a special thanks to Vanessa Wilde for the winning idea! Want to see the final product that I'm going to hang in my room?
Click {HERE} to see it.

Tomorrow is my first work day and then school starts on Wednesday. I think I'm ready! I'm also excited to join in on the fun at Blog Hoppin'. Check back tomorrow to get to know a little bit more about me.

Thursday, August 18, 2011

HELP! (prize included)

This year I'm going with the celebrity theme and I've got my bulletin boards done, the 'celebrity of the week' planned out, but I'd like to do a class pledge or saying that I need some help with.

I'm asking for some ideas that can relate back to my theme, and still motivate the students to do their best. I teach first grade at Lincoln Elementary (not necessary to include in the pledge).

Please leave me a comment with your cute saying or idea and together, with my teacher husband, we'll pick our favorite. I'll send the winner 3 Smencils! These things are awesome - they work just like a regular pencil, but they're scented, so they smell great! Really, what teacher could say no to a fun, new writing utensil?!?

You have until Friday night (sorry, I want this ready for my students next week!) so please send me some ideas!

Tuesday, August 16, 2011

I pray for them

***Please note that this post is not intended in any way to offend anyone. I am not trying to push my beliefs on others or say that what I do is what others should do too. I just wanted to share one of the things I do to get ready for my new students.

At my school we get our list of new students for fall on the last day of school. I usually stuff this list in my teacher bag and don't even really think about it until August. That's when I make an effort to start learning their names. Since I don't know the majority of my incoming first graders, and I really want to have a connection with them from the beginning, I include them in my evening prayers. I ask that I will quickly learn their interests and that I can be aware of special needs that I might otherwise miss.

Now, I can't say for sure that this helps me with my students, since it's something that I've always done, and I know plenty of other teachers who don't pray for their students and they are just wonderful. This is something that I feel is best for me. I think I especially need it this year. In the past, I've had siblings of my former students, so there are students that I've seen grow up and I already have that love for, but this year I only have one student that I know! Only one! That's really strange for me, so I'm hoping my prayers will help me form strong relationships with my students and their parents quickly.

Click here to learn more about my religion. Again, I really hope no one was offended. Can you tell I'm super nervous to click on the 'publish post' button???

Thursday, August 11, 2011

Poppin' Popcorn (bulletin board)

I spent most of the morning in my classroom working on the outside bulletin board. Seriously, this took me almost two hours (granted, I was chatting with some co-workers during this time). Once again, I forgot my camera, so this picture was taken with my phone and it's a little blurry.

Okay, so I bought the Poppin' Popcorn bulletin board set at a local teacher's store, but decided it needed something more. So, I made the large popcorn container just with some red and white poster board (sorry - no template since I just free handed it). Then I glued on the saying 'Look who's POPPING into 1st grade!' Click {HERE} for that saying. After that I stapled on some popcorn bags I bought from Dollar Tree and stuffed in some yellow tissue paper to look *kind of* like popcorn (I really like 3-D bulletin boards).

This isn't even the final product, though. I'll add each child's name to a piece of the popcorn, when I get my final list (next Friday) and then I'll put up a first day of school picture behind their name.

It was a lot of work, and I probably should have been putting together the student's workbooks or something more productive, but I wanted this to be done for registration next week. I hope you're either enjoying the end of your break and having a great start to your year!

P.S. Have you checked out First Grade Connections, yet? It's going to be a great resource for first grade teachers!

Monday, August 8, 2011

Just a Few

Let's think of these as my "before" pictures, alright? I've been enjoying my time with my little boy too much to take him to a sitter so I can get some work done, but I know I need to get my act together this week. *sigh*
Here are a few pictures of some of my bulletin boards. This is my 'beginning of the year' board and I'll have the kids cut out and then decorate their hand to go on our board.

This year I'm going with a "celebrity" theme - with a lot of my ideas coming from the First Grade Parade. Here is my my "Bravo Wall" and I'm going to post the students' work in page protectors.

My focus board.

My artwork above the Reading Corner.

Thanks for taking the time to see some of my classroom pictures. Hopefully I'll have more to show soon. For more great ideas check out...