Friday, August 24, 2012

Read to Self and Behavior Chart

YEAH!!!!!  We did 9 minutes today of read to self with the Daily 5.  I was so excited because the kids did a great job!  I will say that I was a little nervous to start this, but they have really done a great job with it!  We were going to start the work on writing today but ran out of time so I plan to start it on Monday.  I'm excited to see how it goes. 

I've started a new behavior clip chart this year as well.  This is how it goes:
1.  Toad-ally awesome student
2.  Frog-tastic Outstanding
3.  Jump for Joy
4.  Ready to Learn
5.  Slow Down
6.  Hitting Rough Waters
7.  Frog Overboard

I was curious on those of you using this type of behavior chart, how do you use the positive part of it?  I have been using the positive part quite a bit as a motivator to follow the rules at this point of time .  When do you have them move up on your chart? 

Hope all of you are having a great beginning of the year.  I look forward to hearing how you are using your behavior chart.  Have a great weekend!  Kristi

Wednesday, August 22, 2012

KABOOM and Craft Project Ideas!

Look what I came home to yesterday? Surprise!
Another goodie box from They sent these out to us for FREE! Check it out:

Poms – will be great for craft projects and even Kristi’s POM POM Critters

Paint brushes – these will be great for our Extra Fun Thing or Fun Friday…not sure what we are calling it this year, one of our choices is water coloring.

Construction paper – what teacher can’t use construction paper?

Beads – fine motor skills practice by stringing them or craft projects

Craft sticks – teachers can never have too many of these! I just used a lot of these to make KABOOM! games with math facts - idea from the Teacher Tipster...

Pipe cleaners – WORD WORK – WOOHOO!

Magnetic buttons and magnetic adhesive roll – just love to make things magnetic to stick on my white board

Remember you can find all these ideas at Wal-Mart and they have some great ideas on the Craft Project Ideas website.

Go make a KABOOM game - super simple and the kiddos will love it! ;-)


Tuesday, August 21, 2012

Building Stamina!

Okay, I keep forgetting to take pictures while we are doing Read to Self, but I thought I’d pop in to update you all on how we’re doing anyway. Kristi and I were both nervous about starting the Daily 5, but we went for it!
We both launched Read to Self on Friday. We were more than a little surprised at how well our new little Firsties did – even if we did only do it for 3 minutes! Today we made it 6 minutes – hooray!
We also taught the I PICK Good-Fit Books lesson today with the shoes. The kids loved it! In fact, they were the most attentive during the shoe lesson than any other day. Apparently, watching us try on shoes is very interesting. LOL!
I do have to tell a little funny on Kristi though. Sitting at the small group table has been a little difficult for both of us. We’re both used to walking around and keeping an eye on things when students are working independently. As the D5 book suggests, we have not done that.
Today when Kristi asked her kids what she would be doing during Read to Self, one little girl raised her hand and said, “Sitting.”
Of course, Kristi explained that once they build stamina and the D5 is up and running, she would be teaching and working with students – not just sitting. J
Tomorrow I’ll be launching Work on Writing. Kristi has to start a day after me because we share books that we use for our writing lessons. We plan to launch Work on Writing using the mini-lessons we have used in the past during our Writing Workshop.
I’m really excited about getting the D5 up and going so we can start our small group instruction. I think the kids are really going to benefit from it!
Hope you all are having a great start—or enjoying your final weeks of freedom!

Friday, August 17, 2012

Classroom Ready

It always seems like there is so much to get done at the beginning of the year to prepare for the new little ones.  It also seems like it will never get done and be ready in time (at least that is how I feel every year).  BUT, in the long run it does get done and ready for the little ones on the day that they arrive.  Here are some pictures of some of the things that I have in my room this year. 

Writer's Eye

Daily Five

Daily Five Clip Chart

Job Chart

Behavior Clip Chart

Calendar and to the right is my Behavior Catalog and Mystery Person Bag

Ways to Write

We have had two days in school now and spent the last couple days having fun getting to know each other.  We read David Goes to School and they loved it!  They asked me to read it again to them several times LOL!!  :-)

Have you started back to school yet?  Hope you have a great weekend.  Kristi

Thursday, August 16, 2012

Back to School Jitters Linky!

Kristi and I thought this would be a fun linky party - especially since we are back to school TODAY!

So we put this together and scheduled it to post today - we knew we would be way too busy and stressed for fun today - LOL!

Back to School Jitters Linky Party

Looking forward to reading all of your Back to School Jitters!

Kristi and Crystal

Wednesday, August 15, 2012

Crystal's FINAL Classroom Tour

Okay, this is it! The final tour of my classroom. Woohoo! This is what parents and kiddos saw when they came in last night for Meet the Teacher.

View from classroom door...See my workfolders on the side of the desks? I'm excited about those!

View of word wall (on cabinets), mailboxes, and hooks for backpacks and coats. PE shoes go on the floor below - ugh!!! I'm going to have the tall kiddos put their shoes on the top of the hooks this year. Maybe that will help with the mess...

View from back of the room of my main teaching area. I had a PPT running for the Meet the Teacher - it was come and go. On their desks, I had my parent handbook and a "survey" that I ask them to fill out to tell me about their kiddos.
This is my...well, I don't know what yet. Right now I have it set up for turning in papers and sharpening pencils. See the clips on the basket? That was a Pinterest find...when we have homework, they put their clip on as they put it in the basket, so I can easily see who hasn't turned it in. Thanks to Kristi for sharing it with me!

I may be moving these things to the shelf under my windows and using this table for laptops -- if I can get them checked out each day.

Those flip charts are Moutain Math and Mountain Language lots of skills on each page.

Lunch check-in...the kiddos move their sticks under Hot Lunch or Sack Lunch.
This is like my command center. The blue wire basket is where I put all the handouts and materials I need for that day. The Good Morning folder holds my Morning Routine (remember you can grab it for free at our TPT store). The orange magazine file is for important notes that are passed out at the end of the day. The black bookshelf holds my teaching manuals, CD player and CDs, calendar materials, and if you look really close you can see our class pet - Duke (a stuffed pug - ha ha).
All-Star Behavior Catalog - No PRIZE BOX. HOORAY!
My cleaned off desk...wonder how long that will last? I just had to get a picture because it will probably never look that way again this year. :-)

This is the frame I my hubby made for my first day pictures. I'm going to put them up on my bulletin board in the hallway. These are my two kiddos modeling...learned that I can't do it in front of a white wall and hope the students don't wear black. LOL!

That's it! Okay, I really need to get back to work. Our new batch of Firsties comes tomorrow!


Saturday, August 11, 2012


Oh, I can't even believe that we report back to work on Monday!


Where did the summer go?

I was trying really hard to stay away this last week of freedom. Then I found out my son had a youth activity with the church on Thursday evening, so why not go get some work done?

Well, I spent four hours up there and accomplished very little.

This is my 3rd year of teaching and the same thing happens every year. I get overwhelmed thinking about everything I need to do. I start one thing, walk by another and think, "I need to do that." Then forget what I was doing in the first place!

Thursday night I came home and thought I didn't get anything done. I have to focus on one thing at a time. My mind was filled with thoughts of how messy my room looked, parents and kiddos were coming on Tuesday night, and we have no scheduled work time in our room before then.

So what did I do?

I went back on Friday morning. Ugh!

This time I had a goal - CLEAN MY ROOM and GET IT READY for the Back to School Night.

First day activities - NO!

Lesson planning - NO!

Daily 5 launch plan - NO!

Stressing about my new batch of Firsties - NO!

Blog stalking (oh, how I miss the carefree days when I could do this every morning - NO!

Words with Friends (my new obsession) - NO!

I would not be distracted!

Well, maybe a little. I may or may not have spent time making those handy dice containers, lined with felt, and magnetic.

Did they need to be done for Back to School Night?


But, hey, my room is CLEAN and READY.

Now maybe I can focus on those other things - ONE at a time!

Okay, on to some exciting news (as if you haven't heard - HA)! TPT is having a Back to School sale. Kristi and I have put everything in our store 20% off and if you enter the coupon code, you will get another 10% off. Woohoo!

I just listed a Math Skills Pack that you may want to check out. You'll probably notice it is Pack 2. I'm going to try and get the first one ASAP so you can grab it at discount too. I'm just finishing the preview for it. :-)

We'll also have our items at Teachers Notebook marked down 20%!

Enjoy your Saturday!


Wednesday, August 8, 2012

Name Tickets

My first year teaching, I noticed that my students needed some extra practice writing their names. They would often leave out letters or misspell their first names and many had little experience writing their last names. I ended up printing handwriting practice pages with each of their names to try and help them.
Last year I found something that I liked even better...

Name Tickets.
Kristi and I bought the cheap name plates from the Target Dollar Bins and wrote each of our students’ names on them. We laminated these and some blank sentence strips cut to the same size. Then we put the name plate and sentence strip on a ring and hung it on the side of our kiddos’ desks.
Every morning when the students came in, they had to write their name on the Name Ticket with a small Expo marker. If they made a mistake or it was sloppy not their neatest work, they had to try again. We used baby wipes to erase the tickets so they were ready to go again the next day.
Check out these cute frog name plates I found at Target for Kristi…the frog theme is so much more prevalent than the sports theme. She is always telling me that I just need to switch to frogs – LOL!
I had to write in a big EXPO for this picture (that's all I had at home), but the kids use the small ones so it feels more like a pen or pencil.

These will be her Name Ticket examples for this year. This shows only the first name, but we write first and last names on the tickets for the kiddos.

This year, I found the “wipe-off” sentence strips and it seems like they will be much easier to erase!
Last year we had a few issues with the laminated strips erasing…found out that it kind of depends on the markers (even though they were all Expo – weird).
I was experimenting with using eyelets to hold the ring so it won't tear. The blank sentence strip is under the name plate on the ring. This way they can refer to the example if needed.

Okay…back to work. So much to do, so little time!
We have “Meet the Teacher” next Tuesday night…eck! Where has the summer gone?
Have a blessed day!

Tuesday, August 7, 2012


Here they are-aren't they cute?  :-)
Every year I have given each student a little stuffed animal and told them that their job was to teach their animal.  I tell them that they need to teach them rules, math, reading, etc.  I let them know that they have a big responsibility and if they aren't doing their job, I will have to take the animal and do it myself.  They love this, but I always think they take up too much room on their desks-SO this year I decided to do little pom pom critters.  They are a lot smaller and won't take up as much room on their desks.  I hope they like them!  Check them out:

Thanks so much for all the thoughts and ideas about keeping to a schedule.  I have decided that I am definitely going to need to invest in a nice timer this year to help me out!  :-)
Hope you have a great night!  Kristi

Monday, August 6, 2012


The countdown is on!  Last Monday off before going back to school.  We start back next week on the 13th.  How much time do you have left before you go back? 

I am a little nervous and excited at the same time due to a lot of changes that will be occurring this year.  Here are the changes:

1.  Starting Daily Five
2.  Starting new behavior plan-going to the clip chart
3.  Adding in more MTSS
4.  Math Rotations

YIKES!!  I am definitely one that doesn't like change and likes to have a routine-so this year is going to be a little challenging for me.  Although, I will say that I believe that once it is all going and a routine is established-I think I'm going to really like it!

So, my question is this-with all the changes, I know that I am really going to have to stick to the time schedule.  In the past, I have had a really hard time sticking to the time schedule :-(.  I know how important it is to do so this coming year and was wondering if anyone had advice on how you are able to do it?  Do you ever set a timer etc.?  Anxious to hear your input and ideas on this! 


Friday, August 3, 2012

a MVP or an MVP? and Random Thoughts

a MVP or an MVP?

Well, I just realized this morning that my behavior chart may have a grammar mistake. Help!

I had "You're an MVP" at the top of my chart (see pic below). It sounds good, but as we all know that is not grammatically correct. It should read "You're a MVP!" 

Or so I thought...but then I found this here:

Abbreviation verbalised

By this rule, if the abbreviation starts with a vowel-sounding letter, the article used is "an"; if it starts with a consonant-sounding letter, it takes an "a". This would give "an NHS hospital" and "a BBC documentary".

vowel-sounding letters (take "an"):A E F H I L M N O R S X
consonant-sounding letters (take "a"):B C D G J K P Q T U V W Y Z

So what do you think?

Should I keep it with "You're an MVP?"

I already re-uploaded my charts on TPT with "You're a MVP." Should I switch them back?


Donor's Choose

Awhile ago, I posted my first Donor's Choose project to try and get a nice set of "book boxes" as I kick off Daily 5. It is so close to being funded and nearing the "expiration date!" Check it out  here (and send all potential donors that way - ha ha).

Math Schedule

Kristi and I are exploring options for how to structure our math block. We will have math from 11:50-1:10. Here's our thoughts:

11:50-12:00  Calendar Math
12:00-12:20  Whole Group Lesson
12:20-12:35  Session I
12:35-12:50  Session II
12:50-  1:05  Session III

The three sessions will be a rotation of Facts Practice (computer), Math Games, and Math Journal (with us). That way we are able to help 6-7 kids with their math page as opposed to 20--many waiting for help.


Last year we were both frustrated with the way our math block any ideas are appreciated!

Happy Friday!


Thursday, August 2, 2012

Crystal's Classroom Tour (Part II)

Okay, I'm back with more pictures of my progress. No more glue gun burns - Hooray! This is Part II - I'll post the last pictures when I'm all set up and ready to go for Back-to-School Night.

This is my Daily 5/CAFE (FACE) board. The kids will make their faces to add to the top part so that it will look like my Pinterest inspiration (see it here). I have to admit as I was putting it up, I was starting to get a little nervous. D5 and FACE are new to me and I'd be lying if I didn't say, I'm just a bit worried about how it will go. 

Kristi and I are going to be the Daily 5 "pioneers" in our building which is adding to my stress - Ha ha! Everyone seems very interested and they are waiting to see if blow it like it.

The D5 clip chart (or magnetic chart).

Class Promise - Pinterest inspired here.

Hallway - Plan to hang student work below. BTW, this is what I was working on when I got that nasty burn on my wrist! Shh...Don't tell.

Hallway BB - I am going to try and see if my husband can make a frame that I can decorate much like the "First Day of First Grade" ones I've been seeing all over, but mine would say MVP (or something). Then take the kiddos pictures and hang them here.

 And finally, the morning routine. I'm so excited about this! It is going to be such a time-saver this year. Obviously, I won't have them all up every day, but I just put them up there for now until I decide where I will keep them.

At the beginning of the year, my list will look something like this:

1. Hang up backpack
2. Choose lunch
3. Homework - Phonics
4. Name Ticket
5. Work folder
6. Choices

Eventually, I'll be able to leave off the ones that become automatic (i.e. hang up backpack and choose lunch) and list will change depending on morning work. It could look something like this:

1. Take out homework
2. Homework - Math
3. SP36
4. Work folder
5. Choices

I think I'm going to love grabbing these and slapping them on the board instead of writing it every day! By the way, you can grab this Morning Routine for FREE in our TPT store (if you haven't already)!

Okay, all this classroom work has kept me from checking out my favorite blogs! I hope to do some catching up today. :-)

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