Sunday, November 17, 2013

Trying to catch up Part 2

Hi there - me again!

  I've just been having the hardest time keeping up with timely blog posts with all the rest of life that is happening that I had to do some quick catch up posts.  So this is part 2 of them.

Here's one thing I've realized about myself - my brain maxes out at 10.  

I've thought long and hard about it and I've found that I am only capable of doing about 10 things well and if something else comes in, then that means something on my list of 10 has to go.  I'm not proud of this, nor do I think it is a very good excuse, but it just seems to be the way things have been lately.  Let me give you the rundown of what I consider my daily list of things I do:

#1. Keep myself and my two girls clothed by doing laundry.  Not my poor husband because he does his own laundry.  Now I'm not even saying all our laundry gets done --- but we do all have clean clothes when we need them.  
#2. I keep food in the house by going grocery shopping
#3. I plan and cook the majority of our meals.  Which will sometimes be frozen chicken nuggets, but dangit I planned it and cooked it - so it's a meal!
#4. I drive and pick-up my kids at day care
#5. I keep our house somewhat picked up and clean 
#6. I pay the monthly bills
#7. I spend quality time with my husband and kids
#8. I spend time with the rest of my family and my friends
#9. I teach (that's like the black hole of time commitment - am I right?) - planning, creating, teaching, assessing, REPEAT!  This should count for more than 1, but I'll let it slide.
#10. And finally, I try to keep up with my blog and other social media like Facebook, Instagram, and Pinterest

So there's my list of 10!  I know there are actually more, but those are the main ones I try to do on a daily basis.  

In the last month I have had some interrupting chickens (have you read that book - it's adorable!).  

 Anywho - I have been placed in charge of planning our school Christmas party (talk about pressure) and I also got a student teacher.  So when those two new items moved in - I guess my brain just kicked #10 right out of there to make room.  Or at least, that's the way I'm telling the story.  I just can't handle more than 10 important things I guess, and when it comes down to it - the other 9 things really are my priority so they cannot go anywhere.  I want to also make the note that I realize there are many people in the world who do all this and SO much more. I guess it just seems like there aren't enough hours in the day sometimes and I was just searching for a reason why I couldn't get everything done.

So without further ado -- here is part 2 of catching up on what's been going on in my classroom.  (I should have taken WAY more pictures, but that also was too much for this girl to handle I guess).

Veteran's Day activities from my Proud to Be an American unit



Handmade flag and Thank You Veterans necklaces.



This is a page out of a mini-book we use to introduce Veteran's Day.  Then the students wrote thank you letters to a veteran.



In reading we have been focusing on informational texts lately.  I made a little pack that is perfect for my first graders as we venture into informational texts called Be a Fact Finder.    In this pack you will find resources to use during guided reading, whole group reading, and independent reading.  Here are just a few pictures of what we've been using in guided reading, but I will post more about this pack at another time when I have more pictures to show.





In math we have been working very hard on strengthening our number sense.  Every day we do a number of the day in our Daily Math workbooks.  We also worked on some awesome number collages in the beginning of the year.  Our latest activities to help build our number sense come from my new Number Bond Books pack.  


The kids make a number bracelet for each number 1-12 using a pipe cleaner and beads.  (By the way, this comes from Singapore Math.  I've only been to one training on this, so I am no expert, but the number bracelet idea was one thing I took away from the training).


With each page of the book students use their beads to find the number bonds to that number, in this example it's 5.  


They draw the beads on the page in two different colors and then color in the tens frame with those same two colors.


Then they fill in the number bond and create the fact family that goes with it.


Once these are created I will be using them during whole group and in centers to work on true/false equations and number sentences with missing addends.  The bracelets are the perfect manipulative for kids to see how these numbers are all bonded together -- get it?  

If you are interested in these books, but don't have the time or resources to make the bracelets, I have also included all the books without the number bracelet part.  

For my last bit of information, I just want to talk for a minute about how much I LOVE Mr. Clean!!!!  More specifically, I love these Mr. Clean Magic Erasers!!!!  If you didn't already know it, these things really are magic.  I use them ALL the time to erase dry erase marker on anything laminated like our Number of the Day poster that I change each morning.  


The kids use them in centers, too!  When the tables and chairs in the classroom get really gross, I get the magic eraser wet and go to town cleaning up.  If our white board isn't erasing the best with the regular erasers, these will do the trick.  I use them on our flip chart that we have from our reading program Treasures, too.  I also use them at home to clean little kid's handprints off the walls and scuff marks off the door.  They really are amazing!  I just had to spend some time talking about it on the off-chance that anyone has yet to discover their amazingness!  

Ok - that's it!  Have a fantastic day!!!!  =)

Trying to catch up Part 1

Hello my friends!  

I am going to give a few posts here where I'll let the pictures do most of the talking.  I don't know about you, but life has been cuh-raaaaaaazy lately and unfortunately I haven't been able to blog like I've wanted.  I can't really throw ALL the pictures in just one post, so I'll spread them out in two. 

Here we go....

Observing the magic of Fall with our five senses





We used our handprints for the tree and painted on the trunk.


Then we used sponges to do the leaves.  My little firsties went NUTS over the sponge painting and many of their trees didn't come out looking like trees.  Oh well - they had TONS of fun so that's what matters.




Here is part of a project I am working on.  Yes, still working on it!  Maybe next year I will have it complete and ready to share, but for now here are some pictures of a very small part of it - our Witches' Brew!


I prepped these bags with the ingredients above.  The kids were so grossed out, but loved every second of it.  Of course they knew what they really were once they saw them, but it was still fun.



We mixed it all up and then scooped it out.  


While they munched, we talked about making our own witches' brew and what ingredients we would include.  We brainstormed a list of Halloween adjectives and nouns.  I typed them on the computer to make it a quick brainstorming and then they could see them at their seats.  


Then we put them together to fill in this recipe for witches' brew.  


 

One more little activity was a quick compare/contrast activity with these two picture books.  


We had some great discussion about story elements, character traits, and so much more.  It was such an easy way to bring in a little common core.



Be sure to jump over (or up) to part two of my catching up blog posts!  I have some deep insights as to why my brain cannot handle too many things.