October 3, 2015

Currently!

It's October!  Finally.  I think  my class is settling in and we are starting to groove. Thank goodness.  Although most days I think I'm the one doing more grooving than the kiddos.  First grade is tough ya'll!  And throw in LOTS of rainy days, the blood moon, minor/major daily disruptions, and Hurricane Joaquin and you've get yourself a BIG ole' headache.  That hurricane may have never graced our presence officially here in SC, but we sure did get record breaking rain and floods.  In fact, we were out of school yesterday due to the potential of heavy rain and deadly flash flooding.  Thanks Joaquin!  Now head on out of here so we can get back to business!
 
Here's what I'm doing currently on this rained out, washed out, flooded out Saturday.
 
 
As I mentioned above, it has done nothing but rain the past few days.  The cooler weather that this storm brought in has been nice.  But the rain, I'm ready for it to go away!
 
Report cards go home in just a few short weeks.  That means I need to start scheduling parent conferences.  I'm planning only meeting with those that I NEED to meet with first.  Time is precious and I need to use what little time I have of it to set up plans of action for those who are not making progress.  Do you have that kind of flexibility?  Or, are you required to meet with every parent?
 
The only thing I want or need right is some sunny weather.  That's all.
 
I think my girls are boo-tiful!  I love them to pieces.  My oldest is a sophomore in high school.  She's smart, caring, loves the lord, and loves to play soccer.  She works hard and is taking a course load that I would have balked out when I was her age.  I'm so proud of her and grateful that she lets me participate in her life.  My youngest is a piece of work.  She's smart as well and has a vocabulary that rivals that of someone that is 20 years older than she is.  Thanks common core!  She is also kind, caring, and full of herself.  She comes up with things that makes us laugh and wonder where she came from!  I'm so blessed.
 
What are you up to currently?  How's the weather where you are?  Are you enjoying this beautiful Autumn season?
 
Head on over to Farley's and link up to share!

August 19, 2015

Week 4-Back to School Bash!

Well ya'll, I have survived 2 days of first grade.  That definitely called for a pizza and cat nap kinda evening last night at my house.  What was supposed to be a 30 minute siesta turned into an hour-ish nap.  I just couldn't help myself!  Back to school time is ROUGH! 
 
For the past several weeks I have helping host a fabulous linky series with some blogging friends.
 
It's our fourth and final week for this series.  And this week, we are sharing ideas about Parent Night and Open House.
 
 
Now I'll have to be honest with you.  My grade level doesn't host a Parent Night or an Open House. We have a Meet the Teacher night prior to the first day.   We have the option of hosting one after school starts, but in the past we have chosen not to.  At the beginning of the year we hold Fall conferences.  We use that conference time to go over any and everything with our parents.  We can be more detailed and specific with what we share with regards to individual children AND most parents are more comfortable asking certain questions during that time.  Yes, it obviously takes more time to conduct those conferences.  But, the payoff is far greater.  I feel like I can really talk with my parents about what is important about being a first grader.  Those individual conferences are also huge in building that parent-teacher relationship that we all know is key to the success of our students!
 
I would love to know your thoughts and ideas on hosting an Open House/Parent Night (just in case!).  What do you do to get ready?  What do you share with parents?  Do your students play a big role in getting ready for this special night?  Link up with us and share!  Then, check out some of the other posts in our linkup and share the love.  You know that some of the best PD we receive is from other teachers just like you!


Don't forget to enter our giveaway! Who wouldn't love a TpT gift card?!
 
 
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August 5, 2015

Back to School Bash-Meet the Teacher

 
 
Hey ya'll! 
 It's week number 2 for our Back to School Bash. 
This week we are all about Meet the Teacher.
 
 
 
 
With little over a week left before Meet the Teacher night, I've started to think about what needs to be done to get ready.  I like to keep things as simple as possible.  No speeches for me!  Tried that and nobody paid attention to anything I said.  They were all to busy filling out all of those dreaded forms we give to them.  So now, I mingle and chat.  Most of the time that gives me all the information I need!   It also gives me a chance to talk to parents who have major concerns or issues that will directly impact their child in my classroom. 
 
So to start, I typically put all of the necessary paperwork that I have for parents in pocket folders.  On one side I put a label that says Please Sign and Return and on the other I put a label that says Please Keep at Home.  I have found this to be the best way to get back what I need. It also keeps everything organized and in its place, especially when you are handed another stack of papers 20 minutes before Meet the Teacher starts!
 
I typically place those packets on a desk right by the door with a container of pens.  I also place a welcome sign along with those things.  When parents come in, I guide them straight to this spot.  I don't put packets out on desks for parents to find simply because I don't have nametags on desks yet.  I have been burned to many times doing it this way.  Students don't show up or I've unknowingly written the wrong name on the tag.  After the first few days I go back and create nametags.  That gives me time to see who shows up, to check names, and to see who can sit next to each other (or not!).
 
 
One of the things I personally include in the packet is a student information card.  Our school requires that students have one on file in the office, but I also like to have one on hand in my class.  I run them on cardstock, punch a hole in the corner, and place them on metal ring.  I then hang it on a hook next to the phone in my room.  Easy access!
 
You can download the student information sheet here.
 
As my students leave, I like to surprise them with a little gift.  Each year I try to do something different.  This year on Pinterest I saw the cutest bubble gift and knew that was what I was going to do.  I found a 24 pack of bubbles at The Dollar General Store for $3.50.  I recreated the tag and hit print.  I had my daughter put it all together for me and now that's one more thing I can knock off my long list of things to do!
 

 
You can download the bubble tag here.
 
If you haven't registered for our giveaway yet, do that now! 
 
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Now that I've shared some ideas for Meet the Teacher, why don't you link up and share yours.  Once you have linked up, please remember to visit 3 other posts to share some love! 


Thanks for stopping by! 

August 1, 2015

Currently!

Well August has arrived.  Can't do anything to change that.  So now I must embrace it and get my rear in gear for this new school year!  Here's a little bit of what I'm doing Currently!
 
 
 
I'm so hoping that I can get into my classroom to work this week.  This is my last week off.  I don't really want to spend every minute of it working at school, but it's the only way to get myself ready before the madness starts.  I have list after list of things to buy, make, and do.  I take one and crumple it up to only rewrite it again on a bigger piece of paper. I have stack of "things" to look at and read.  I have professional books I "need" to finish.  Hmm, a little bit more summertime would be nice right about now.  But in all honesty, I don't think it would all get down even if I had more time!
 
My baby girl is back from music camp.  So my little family is all back together again.  Both my girls have had a busy summer going here and there.  I've been nothing but a glorified cab driver and personal ATM.  Wouldn't trade it though! It's been a good summer with my family.  So blessed.
 
This year I want to really work hard at sharing words of encouragement.  It's free and doesn't cost anything.  But the impact of those words have the potential to be huge.  This year my first grade team will really need to rely on each other and be supportive for several big reasons.  Those words of encouragement will be NECESSARY.  I also want to try and just surprise my teammates with fun treats every now and then.  Again, just little things that could be so meaningful at any given time.
 
What are you Currently doing?  Head on over to Farley's and link up!
 
Happy August!

July 29, 2015

Back to School Bash Linky Series and Giveaway

Hey ya'll!  It's hard to believe that we are rapidly approaching a new school year.  I'm so excited to kick this new school year off by co-hosting a FABULOUS Back to School Bash with some of my favorite blogger friends. 
 
 
 
Each week we will have a Back to School topic for you to link up with and share.  We also have a fantastic giveaway planned for you to participate in as well!  What a great way for all of us to share what we do best and hopefully spark some enthusiasm for this new school year.
 
This week we are all about classroom set-up. 
 
 
Now as overwhelming as it is to get back in gear after summer vacation, I do get excited about getting back into my room and getting it prepped for my new first graders.  Unfortunately I haven't been able to get into my room to work, so I'm gonna throw it back to the beginning of last year.  And I'll let you in on a little secret, my room this year will more than likely look a LOT like my room from last year.
 







 
Can't wait to see what you all have planned for your rooms!  I would love some new ideas for my classroom this year. 
 
You can link up right here.  Once you link up, don't forget to visit 3 other posts and share some love!  Feel free to grab any of our images to use in your own posts.

 
But that's not all! 
Don't forget to enter our giveaway!  There are some pretty amazing prizes involved!
 
 
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Now get busy linking up!  And for homework, start thinking about next week's topic!
 
 

July 28, 2015

Get to Know Me!

 
I'm linking up with The Tattoed Teacher today to share some different things about me.  This week's theme is a fun Yes or No checklist.  Here goes!
 
 
 
 
1.  Yes, I do talk to myself.  Not all the time though!
 
2.  I'm not superstitious.  Or at least I try not to be!
 
3.  Yes, I crack my knuckles on occasion.  I think I mostly do it out of nervousness!
 
4.  Yes, I'm hungry.  Pinning all those fabulous recipes doesn't help with this at all!
 
5.  TV is on, it's always on!  It's actually on something that I chose this morning.  Doesn't happen that often though!
 
6.  Yes, I still have 3 out of 4 wisdom teeth.  I had 1 removed last summer.  I have a big fear of the dentist and anything to do with my mouth.  That was about all I could handle at that time.
 
7.  No, haven't showered yet.  Don't judge.  It's summer!
 
8.  I've been to Disney several times.  Love it!  My girls are so ready to go again.  Hopefully we can plan a trip for sometime in the future.
 
9.  No more glasses for me.  I had lasik surgery 14 years ago.  Best thing I ever did.  I had such poor eyesight, it was really bad!  In fact, I went into labor unexpectedly with my oldest and had to have an unplanned c-section.  I had to remove my contacts prior to the surgery.  Because this happened so fast, I didn't have my glasses for after the surgery.  Which meant that I couldn't see my precious baby girl after she was born!  I was like, "Bring her closer, I can't see!"  My sweet father in law had to go all the  way to our house to bring my glasses back to the hospital for me so that I could see.
 
10.  Yes, I still live in the state where I was born (SC).
 
 
What a fun linky! 
Head on over to Rachel's blog to link up yourself.  Next week will be a fun fill in the blank activity!
 

July 18, 2015

Show What You Know!

I'm trying real hard to wrap my head around the fact that it's almost time to go back to school.  It's not hard to do that though when it's all you see when you walk into Wal-Mart or Target these days.  Thanks guys for sucking the life out of what's left of my summer!  In all serious, I have been doing a little bit of work.  I'm trying to get ahead of the game a little bit because once it starts, it won't stop again until that last day!   
 
Once we make it through the first day, and the first week, I always start thinking about where my kiddos are academically.  Cum files, last year's report card, IEP's, and teacher talk are great ways to learn more about your students.  But I know with me, I don't feel like I truly know their potential until I sit down with them and start to work with them on an individual basis.  That's so hard to do.  I  mean, it's the first few weeks of school.  You more than likely haven't started any "formal" centers or stations.  And the likelihood of them working independently for any amount of time is next to none!  So after some brainstorming on my part, I can up with an idea to assess my kiddos in small groups.
 
 
In this activity, I've included 20 task cards and 1 recording sheet.  The task cards contain several different ELA and Math concepts. 
 


 
With this activity I want to find out if my kiddos understand the language of the task cards, AND, if they can complete the tasks independently.  Thus, the reason why I chose to use it in small group setting.  It will give me immediate feedback on who knows/understands what.  My fantastic teaching buddy, and editor, even suggested using white boards for this activity in place of the recording sheet.  I think that's an absolutely GREAT idea!  That's even BETTER feedback.  And for time's sake, because we know the attention span of our new first graders, you could just pick and choose which task cards you want to hit first.  This activity would be great for you Kindergarten teachers to use at the END of the year.  And for you Second grade teachers, maybe you want to use this as a Scoot! or Walk the Room activity to assess what your new kids remember from 1st grade. There are so many different ways you could use this activity.  It all depends on the type of class you have.
 
If you would like a copy of this activity, head on over to my TpT store and download it for free

July 12, 2015

The Sunday Scoop!

Happy Sunday! 
 
 I cannot believe that we are almost at the halfway mark for July.  Summer is flying by for sure!
 
Today I'm linking up with The Teaching Trio to share with you my Sunday Scoop! 
 
 
I'm hoping to be real productive this week.  We shall see!!!!! 
 
What's your scoop for the week?  Head on over, link up, and share!
 
http://teachingtrio.blogspot.com/2015/07/sunday-scoop-71215.html
 
 

June 28, 2015

New Teacher Advice

I'm linking up today with the lovely Chandra, from Teaching with Crayons and Curls,  to share some helpful advice for those new teachers who will be entering the classroom for the first time this new school year. 
 
http://www.teachingwithcrayonsandcurls.com/2015/06/how-to-rock-as-new-teacher-linky-party.html


I just finished up my 20th year of teaching!  20 YEARS!!! It is unbelievable how fast that time has flown by.  During those years, I have grown as a teacher and learned so much about myself and the students that I have taught.  While I have learned through my own mistakes and mishaps, I have also learned through the wisdom and knowledge of those teachers much more experienced than me.  As an educator, I am not afraid to admit that in the least!  It has all been a part of the growth I have experienced as an educator. 
 
 
 
1.  Find a mentor within your grade level!  Find somebody that you can plan with, talk with, cry with, ask questions of, etc..  If you can't connect with another teacher in your grade level, look within your building for SOMEONE that you can look to for support.  During my first few years, I was lucky to have experienced teachers within my grade level that I could seek out for support.  I couldn't even imagine getting through each day without somebody to talk with or vent to.  Even now, I still have a group of teachers that I turn to daily.  They are my support system and I couldn't do it without them!
 
2.  Don't be afraid to ask questions!  There is no such thing as a dumb question.  If there is something on your mind, ask it!  That's why you need that support system.  Don't be afraid to ask your admin either.  Establish a rapport with them.  Ignorance is not always bliss.  You don't want to find yourself in a bad situation simply because you didn't ask about something.  I have 20 years under my belt and I still ask questions daily.  I would rather be safe than sorry in the long run!
 
3.  Get to know your students and their families! Take an interest, get to know your parents.  Show them you are interested in establishing a positive rapport with them.  As a first year teacher, you will more than likely be judged by just that.  Be confident, consistent, and respectful.  No matter what.  You are not going to always like what a parent says or does.  They in turn may not always like what you say or do.  But showing them you are willing to work with them will help in alleviating any potential problems that could arise.  Being a first year teacher is hard enough.  When you have problems with parents, that only makes things worse.  Remember though, if you have issues with parents, seek out help from your support system.  If you have parents that are threatening or bullying you, seek help from administration asap!   
 
 
 
 
1. Ignore that you have a life outside of teaching!  Teaching can be all consuming.  It can suck the days, nights, months,  and weekends out of you.  You will have enough on your plate as it is.  Make sure you are taking care of yourself and your needs.  Leave your bookbag in the car, don't bring things on home every weekend.  You will burn out by November if you don't take care of yourself.  Remember your support system from above.  Look to them for advice on how to manage your time before, during, and after school.

2.  Try to keep up with Mrs. Jones down the hall!  You are you and Mrs. Jones is somebody different than you.  Mrs. Jones may be absolutely fabulous, well respected, and the best of the best.  You may want to be like her, act like her, teach like her, create fabulous materials like her.  That's all fine and dandy.  But you have to remember  what works for Mrs. Jones may not work for you.  It's great to look to others for advice and lesson ideas.  But the minute you try to start running your classroom the way another teacher runs hers, is the minute you rob yourself of establishing your own identity.  You will be miserable and will burn out very quickly.  Comparison is the thief of joy.  Write that quote down somewhere you can see it each and every day.  Let that be a reminder to you that you are yourself and your joy is going to come from what YOU implement and establish in YOUR classroom.  I've been doing this for 20 years now and I STILL struggle with this. Especially now that social media is right in our faces daily.  It's hard, sooooo hard.  But you will not be happy trying to be someone you are not and your student's will see right through you.


 
 1.  Establish your classroom community!  Start on day 1 building that community by setting rules, consequences, procedural expectations, and the tone for the classroom.  Continue to do this everyday.  Consistency is the key here!  Even if things start to feel smooth and just right, DON'T stop with the daily review of expectations.  Role play, review, sing songs, read books, and TALK with your kiddos.  Don't assume they know how to do something.  Most of the time, they don't!  Your life will be so much easier and the tone of your classroom will be so much nicer if you have established a solid classroom community. 
 
One of the hardest things to do as a teacher is to be reflective.  It's hard sometimes admitting that we stink at something or we did something wrong.  Keep a notepad or sticky notes around, jot down things throughout the day that pop up that might need to be changed.  After lessons, think about what went really good or what really wrong.  What caused those things to happen?  Share with your support system.  Find other first year teachers and reflect with them.  You will become a better teacher each and everyday if you take the time to just reflect on what happened.
 
Want to check out what other teacher's have to offer?  Head on over to Chandra's blog and check out what she has to share!

 

June 26, 2015

Hello! Let me reintroduce myself......

Hey y'all!  It's been awhile, a long while!  I've spent the last few months trying to stay ahead in this real game of life.  The struggle has been  real.  Blogging and doing any serious creating for my TpT store got pushed aside.  I'm a mom and wife first.  And, a woman who now knows I CAN'T do it all. Trying to be Superwoman was killing me.  And as along as I'm keeping it real, I really didn't want to do all those things that kept me from enjoying the life that I have been blessed with.
 
Let's start with these 2 blessings.  My girls.  Y'all, there's NEVER a dull moment in my house.  If you have teenage girls living in your house, you  absolutely know what I mean!

 
My other girl, Bella.  This sweet thing is just as rotten as her 2 human sisters are.  Couldn't imagine our life without her!

 
And Mr. M., my husband of almost 18 years.  He's a good, good man.  After all, he lives in a house full of girls!

 
And this is how I spent late winter and spring, the soccer field.  I'm so proud of my oldest.  She stepped out of her comfort zone this year as a freshman and went out for the girls soccer team.  What an experience for her, and me!  I didn't know anything about soccer prior to her making the team.  I now know enough to kinda understand what goes on during a game!  We've been watching the USA Women's soccer team compete in the World Cup these past few weeks.  I've enjoyed that time with my girl participating in something that she is passionate about.

 
And my youngest.  She keeps us in stitches with her quick wit!  She turned 10 this spring and that terrifies me.  She's a baby anymore.  Time needs to slow down.
 
 
 
Now that it's summer, I'm ready to jump back in and start connecting again.  I've missed blogging and creating.  There's so much potential for collaboration.  My teaching has definitely been changed due to what has been shared on social media.  I love that I can find answers, lessons, and suggestions with just 1 click.
 
So I hope you will continue to join me as I reacquaint myself with the blogging world.  I had to make a change with my url, I am now www.anappleadayin1stgrade.blogspot.com.  I had some very frustrating issues with blogger and could not access my original blog site because of password issues.  The result was creating a new url and having my blog template reinstalled.  Courtney, from Blogs Fit for a Queen, is just amazing.  She updated my blog last summer and thankfully had my template on file.  She was able to work me in her busy schedule and reinstall my template. So hang in there with me as I get everything readjusted.   You can still find me on Instagram under my blog name.  While I may have taken a break from blogging, I surely didn't from Instagram!  I still have my TpT store, same name as my blog.  I'm currently updating some of my old products.  I hope to add some new things before school starts back.
 
Thanks for stopping by.  I hope you will come back and visit again!