Monday, September 1, 2014

Parent Contact Log

I remember back when I first started teaching, I would try to keep track of all the parent contact I had.  We all know that the first year of teaching is a blur!  Just trying to teach is plenty, let alone tracking parent calls/meetings!  Each year since then, I would think about how I could track the contacts.  Last year I came up with a parent contact folder.  I use a cheap, 3-prong folder and copy the parent contact log for the number of students I have.  I write each student's name on a page in the log.  I keep my log near my phone and computer.  It reminds me to make a few phone calls each week.  Although most of my calls are for behavior, I like to make good phone calls, too!  This helps build rapport with parents and kids alike.  For a free copy of the contact log, click the "Formula for a Good Year" image below!

How do you track parent contact?

Wednesday, August 27, 2014

Back to School Centers

We've been back at it for a week and a half now and I'm slowly moving into some curriculum and working towards our daily schedule.  One of the first things I like to start at the beginning of the year is centers.  I do both Literacy and Math centers.  You can read more about them here and here.  I devote 20 minutes a day to each and the kids and I both love them!  I spiral my center activities, meaning I only put things in centers that include concepts I've taught already.  I want the kids to be independent during this time, so it's crucial that the activities I select are ones that they are familiar with.  I start the year with my "Back to School BBQ" centers.  It has very simple skills included in it, such as beginning sounds, number order, color & number words and lots more.  I start out by grouping children heterogeneously and observe them to see how well they can work together.  After a week, I make changes to the groups, depending on what I notice in terms of behavior and academic level.  I really try to mix my high students with those that need more help.  Peer coaching is a great thing!

Below is the picture that will take you to my shop check out this center pack.  I also have bundled all of my first grade literacy and math centers together for a discount!  You get any new center additions for free!  *I am working on a new set that will be added in a week or so!

I'm so excited to start centers soon!


Sunday, August 24, 2014

First Week!  I survived the first week back.  We started on a Monday.  Whose bright idea WAS THAT? Each night this past week,  I was in bed by 8:30.  That's insane.  I did, however start working out before school so I get up at the crack of dawn to make it to the gym.  It's amazing, btw.  When I leave school for the night, I'm finished.  No gym.  No working at home {says the workaholic}.  *We shall see how long that lasts {working at home that is}!  Obviously I had to take a selfie at the gym!

So back to the first week of school.  We had a decent week.  The kids are really chatty, so the constant reinforcement contributed to my exhaustion, I'm sure.  The bulk of the week was spent on teaching and reviewing procedures.  Making sure procedures are taught and constantly reviewed in those first few weeks of school is crucial to having a successful year.  I've never been one to "rush" into teaching curriculum/standards the first few weeks of school; I prefer to ease into it and spend my time going over our classroom expectations.  I learned this trick from a book I was given 11 years ago, my first year of teaching. It's Harry Wong's The First Days of School: How to Be an Effective Teacher.  I must say, I have pretty darn good classroom management and always have.  I seriously attribute it to this book.  I would review it the nights prior to my first day of school for my first 5 years of teaching.  I highly recommend it to new teachers or those who want to tighten up their classroom management.

Ok, so on to the fun part of the post: my first week in photos!!!  Monday morning my classroom was ready and everything was in place.  {Click here in case you missed my classroom reveal!}  In walked 24 brand new first graders!  They kinda came in with a bang, chattin' it up like they'd been in the room for years.  In between all of our procedural reviews, we did some fun activities!  Most everything I show here is included in my "Back to School Printables" pack.  We did a few getting to know you activities.  One was a Skittle activity where kids shared something about themselves.  Another was drawing ice-breaker questions out of a bag.

Here's us reviewing some of our procedures!

We read Chrysanthemum and did some activities with it.  The mice turned out so cute!  

We also read No, David and David Goes to School and talked about good behavior.  We made little David's as a follow-up activity.

Of course we HAD to read First Day Jitters!  If you follow me on Facebook, you saw this picture below! My mom and dad gave me the book prior to student teaching.  I still have it and read it every year, on the first day!  We made jitter juice and did some writing.

We made our first day of school mini-book and played with play-doh a lot for breaks.  *This is a must for me!  I give my kids a play-doh break each day for the first few weeks.  It's a great time for me to start my beginning of the year assessments.  

Speaking of assessments, towards the end of the week, I began some.  I try to start with the simple ones first.  So far I've done rhyming, number writing, and letter writing.

We learned a few new songs and practiced singing them each day.  I heart these lap books by Dr. Jean/Creative Teaching Press! 

We read How Full is Your Bucket? and made nice pictures for one another.  The kids keep their notes in the popcorn buckets under my white board. 

We played a little school supply dice game from Jennifer over at "Rowdy in First Grade."

On the first day, my hubby sent me a beautiful bouquet of red roses!  He always surprises me with flowers the first day of school!  He even made the dinner on the first night!

Overall, it was a fantastic but exhausting week!


Wednesday, August 20, 2014


O.M.G  TpT is having ANOTHER sale for back to school TODAY!!!!!  Eeekk!!  I felt like I shopped a lot at the last sale, but now that we are starting school, there are more things I need/want!  I am super-excited about this sale!  It's a one day sale, so you have to hustle to get your goods!  Here are a few things that I have to offer for back to school time!

I love my Back to School BBQ Centers!  These simple centers are perfect as an introduction to centers in your classroom.  They are available individually as a pack or in my First Grade Center Bundle {shown next}.

My First Grade Center Bundle is a bundle of 13 centers for the year!  Holidays, themes, and non-holiday specific center packs are included.

I'm excited about this Back to School Printables pack that I created this past summer!  I'll be using most activities from it this week, for my first week of school!  There are literature connections, writing, craft, and mini-books included! 

You guys know that I love to teach Writing Workshop!  If you are new to teaching or a veteran wanting to switch up your writing instruction, I recommend my Writing Workshop Resources Kit.  It has everything you need to start up your Writing Workshop.  If you are interested in detailed lesson plans, you can check out my Writing Workshop Bundle {shown next}.  The Writing Resource Pack is included in the bundle!

This is the mother-load!  9 writing units {all of my writing products} bundled for a discount.  This pack will get you through a year's worth of writing instruction!  Lesson plans, printables, paper templates, and more are included.  I love this pack!!!

These things and everything else in my store will be 20% off on Wednesday, August 20th!  If you use code ______________, TpT will also give you an extra 10% off!  Woo Hoo!