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First with Franklin

Sunday, January 13, 2013

MLK, Jr. Day & Random Acts of Kindness


Every year during Martin Luther King, Jr. week, my class also does Random Acts of Kindness.  Our goal is normally 100 RAK's by Valentine's Day.  I send home a letter to parents describing what RAK can look like at home and in the community.  Then, they can send me notes any time they see their child performing a RAK.  I love that parents are praising their children at home AND we also celebrate at school.  When parents send the notes, we write the student's name and RAK on a heart and hang it it in the hallway.
This year, I decided to cut out a step and we're sending home 10 hearts with each student.  If all students bring back all 10 hearts, we will easily surpass our goal.  In my note, I also tell parents to let me know if they need extra hearts.  It was one of those hard decisions for me.  Am I okay with all of the hearts not being perfectly uniform?  I decided yes... because I probably spent over an hour last year writing on those darn things.  Plus, I think they will mean more to the students.  <3
I have a really cute letter that goes along with it, but I borrowed some of the language from another sweet blogger and now I can't remember who it was.  If you do a project like this, please let me know so I can give you credit!

Along with our RAK activity, I also made this new pack for MLK, Jr. week.  You can find it on TpT for just $3.






Hope you enjoy! If you do download and enjoy it, please pin it!  Thanks!


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Wednesday, January 9, 2013

Wowzers! & Parent Communication Pack

How much have I missed?  We have had some craziness going on in our lives, so I haven't had much time for the blog world.... and oh, how I have missed you!  I have barely even been creating things for my own classroom.  Thank goodness I follow so many great teachers on TpT!
Our school got a new evaluation system this year, and it requires us to keep a ton of paperwork on file. One big part of our new tool is keeping track of parent communication.  I made a handy little log to keep me easily keep track of my communications.  They are free!  Click here.  Here is a an example:

Remember my classroom theme this year?  Our class ROCKS!  Well, I made these cute little "good news" notes to send home with students.  Want them?  They are also in the FREE pack!  Yeah!
Do you maybe have some students that didn't quite earn the "good news" note... maybe even need to do a little self-reflection?  Here is a little something for them.  I use these when students make some not so great choices.  I have created and use other forms in the past, but this is simple and to the point.  I now prefer it over my others.  It's also part of the FREE pack.  :)


I hope you enjoy these and maybe will forgive for being MIA for the past few months.  In case you missed my Facebook post (you do "like" me, right???), here is a link to my editable (in powerpoint) newsletter templates.  ~FREE!~  Enjoy!

If you do enjoy these things- please pin them and share the love! <3


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Friday, November 9, 2012

Second Grade Common Core

I have taught first grade for several years and I feel fairly comfortable implementing the CCSS into our curriculum.  However, many of you know that this year I'm teaching a split first and second grade classroom.  I have never taught second grade so I sometimes having a hard time aligning our current curriculum with the new CCSS.
I found this cool giveaway (ends Sunday if you're interested!) and I would love to try out this new resource.  This workbook has almost 600 pages full of common core worksheets, activities and posters.  This means when I feel like I need a little extra reinforcement on a skill I won't have to create something on my own.  Yesss!
I can't wait to try it out - I might even order the first grade version, too.  Who doesn't need additional resources, right?  You should definitely check out the Second Grade Common Core Workbook.  

We're getting ready to start an all-new curriculum map including Common Core standards.  Oh, what fun! Has your school/state adopted the new standards?  


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Tuesday, November 6, 2012

Student Blogs

A couple of weeks ago, I started blogs with my students.  I took a day just to let my students pick out a blog design and add a picture to it.  Then, I let students write things on paper and I scanned them in and let them record themselves reading on Audioboo.  This was pretty time consuming for me because I was doing most of the work (besides their actually writing).  Well, yesterday, I got smart.  (Finally!)
The classroom website that I use is by Weebly.  Since I signed up for the educator website, it came with the option to set up websites for students.  They also have a handy app that students can use to easily upload new posts.


Now, students are able to use our iPods and iPads to easily take pictures of their writing, type new posts, and record themselves reading their writing and tons of other ideas.
This guy hated writing with a passion at the beginning of the year.  I noticed that he loved reading Super Diaper Baby comic books, so one day I mentioned to him that he should write a comic book.  He looked at like I was crazy and asked if I was serious.  When I told him yes, he got right to work... and worked everyday for 2 weeks on this.  Now, it maybe be very hard to understand what is going on in this picture, but he can explain every detail to me.  The sequencing was beautiful and best of all he feels like a writer now.  Sweet success!
Yesterday, my first graders were practicing measuring with non-standard units.  After they measured several items around the room, I let each child choose one item to measure and then make a blog post about it.  Look at what one of my kids wrote:
In case you can't see it, it says "Your pone was six subs tall."  My kids love my poor, busted up phone. haha  Another teacher asked what happened to it one day in the hallway and a student answered, "She just drops it a lot."  So. Very. True.  

Here is a glance of his writing in the app:

I let them write things for their blogs during our Daily 5 writing time.  I am trying to use one Daily 5 session a day as a writing conference time.  They love writing time soooo much now!  It's fun and who wouldn't love getting great comments from parents, friends, and classmate on their blog?  I know that I love it!

How do you incorporate technology into your classroom?

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Sunday, October 28, 2012

Bead Spelling

I blogged about Word Work activities a week or so ago.  I mentioned our Bead Spelling and the fact that my kiddos love it.  I wanted to find a better way to store our beads for the activity so that students could find beads more quickly and be able to complete more words.  Here was my solution:
First, I bought four of these containers.  Each one has 12 compartments.  I was originally thinking that I would use two of them so that almost every letter could have its own compartment.  I changed my mind and decided I would consolidate letters so that more students would be able to do this activity.  They will be happy. (Walmart did have bigger organizers that would easily fit all of the letters, but they were $9/each and these were only $2.  Cheap wins.)
Then, I bought some letter stickers- only $1!
Then I sorted and sorted... and.... 
Voila! Bead Spelling is ready to go!
I got both sets of beads at the 'ol Walmarts- I like the top set better, but they didn't have any when I went back to get more, so I got the wood bead set. (below)

I have another fun Word Word idea to share soon- stay tuned.

Here is something else I'm going to be working on.  This scary area is getting a makeover (I hope!).  
Share some pics of your Daily 5 organization- I need some inspiration!!!
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Thursday, October 25, 2012

Tech Tips!


I attended a great technology seminar today with Meg Ormiston.  If you get a chance to attend a conference with her- go!  I have been to two of them now and learned lots of new info both times.  If you can't get to a seminar with her, then check out her book:

I'm going to share a few quick things with you right now.

1.  Reflection app
This is not free, but it is going to be well worth the money I spent on it.  With this app you can mirror your iPad or iPhone to your computer screen (or SMARTboard, etc) so that all students will be able to see it.  It is also possible to record with it.  You actually put the app on your computer instead of the iPad (weird, huh?).  Then, it magically (I'm sure it really does make sense, but I choose to believe it's magic) displays your iPad on your computer screen- I can't wait to use it with my SMARTBoard.  The kids will love it!  You seriously have to check this out if you have an iPad in your classroom.


2.  Symbaloo
Symbaloo is a great way to arrange and save bookmarks.  I love the looks of it because it reminds me of an iPad screen with the little tiles for each webpage.  You can make different web mixes (or tabs) to keep different collections together.  This will be great for the classroom because I can easily keep links for students in one spot.  The ability to have more than one webmix will enable me to have a page for each class (because I teach two grades this year).  I love that I will be able to easily add/change the website available for students.  You can use some pre-made tiles or use your own pictures and create custom tiles.  Here is a shot of a quick page I made for my students to start with.  I made tiles for our class website, school website, AR, SpellingCity, and TumbleBooks.  Pretty empty now, but I'm sure that we'll quickly fill it up!  I'm planning on making it my homepage so that students won't have any problems accessing it.

3.  Today's Meet
This is a fun (and useful) way for students to communicate with you and each other.  Very much like Twitter in that you can only use 140 characters at a time.  (Great way to practice summarizing!)  Click here to join my page and chat.  Leave a comment on how you think you could use this in your classroom! :)

We covered so much more than just these 3 things, but these three are things that I had never heard of before today.  I love learned new things and Meg is such an energetic and fun presenter.  Have you learned any cool technology tools lately?  Please share!
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I almost forgot to update you- I survived my three 5K's in October and I have two scheduled for November.  I have decided that I don't really love running, but I love to run races.  I guess my competitive side is stronger than I thought.  I would much rather run a 5K race than to run by myself.  Good thing I have plenty of them to keep me busy!  
I got a new pair of earbuds today (thanks, Ab!) and I'm in love!!!!  I have never been able to run without my earbuds constantly falling out.  I now have an answer- yurbuds!  They. Are. Awesome.  Seriously.  
If you have a hard time with earbuds, you should definitely check them out.  
Love.

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Wednesday, October 17, 2012

Booed x 2!


Two sweet bloggers have visited my blog and "Boo-ed" me.  This super cute linky party is from Tori at Tori's Teacher Tips.  So fun- and such a great way to get many awesome October ideas!  Thanks so much to Kelly at Teacher Idea Factory & Growing Firsties.  
If you've been Boo-ed here are the rules:

If you've been booed, copy and paste the above pic and these "rules" into your post.
1.  Give a shout out to the blogger who booed you and link back to their site!
2. Share 3-5 October activities, books, products (yours or someone else),
or freebie(s) that you love!
3.  Share the Boo love with 5 bloggers- make sure you check this link to make sure you don't boo someone again:
 http://toristeachertips.blogspot.com/2012/10/ive-been-booed-fun-october-linky.html
And don't forget to tell them that they have been BOOED!
4.  Link up {here} so that others can find you and read about your October ideas!  And while you are there... check out the other great blogs!

Here are the October activities that I love!
1. So, I don't own this one yet, but it's on sale right now, so I'm heading there soon!  
The Candy Corn Bandit is from Abby at the Inspired Apple.   It looks so cute and I think my kids would have tons of fun with it!  What a great way to practice making predictions!

2. Halloween Pack Freebie- I love this freebie because we are just starting to work on fact families in class and this has a cute candy corn fact family section.  There is also a trick-or-treat making words activity. 

3. Witch Crash Craftivity- This is so cute!  This set also includes several printable activities that go along with the craft.  It's only $3 in Valerie Young's TpT store.  
Here are the people that I've BOO-ed:
1. Teaching Little Miracles
2. Second Grade Math Maniac
3.  First Graders From Outer Space
4.  Forever in First
5.  Marvelous Multiagers

Hope everyone is having tons of fun with the Linky.  I think I might go broke from all of the cute ideas I now want to purchase!  haha

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Congrats to Cassandra from Adventures in Room 5 for winning my Roll and Cover Sandwich Pack!
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Wish me luck this weekend- I'm running my 3rd 5K this month!  It's also the first one that I'm doing with my sister, so it should be fun.  (Plus we're wearing some ladybug costumes that my mom made us when we were about 8 and 5 years old... bahaha!)  My darling husband is dressing up like the 90's Andre Agassi... his outfit is scarily similar to this (complete with the mullet wig):
I'm not sure I'll be able to run because I might pee my pants from laughing so hard.  Looking forward to the weekend!  :)
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