Lovey Dovey Valentine's Day

Hello, hello!  We're back with some fun ideas for this month.  We decided to share some LOVE for Valentine's Day this month for I {heart} January!

Here are a few things I've done for Valentine's Day over the years.  First up, of course we must focus on the academics as we lead up to Valentine's Day.  It can't ALL be candy and games, right?

We do a little How-To writing on How to Make a Valentine and put it together in this fun flip book.

We also do some reading, of course.  Here are some of the cute books that I love to read aloud around Valentine's Day.  

We do a variety of activities with these books, but sometimes we just read for fun.  Imagine that in the common core days.  That's right - I'm a rebel.  Haha!!!  

This is a little writing and craft that goes with The Day it Rained Hearts.  I love tapping into the kids imagination and asking what they would do if things from books happened to them.  It's that great way of modeling for our kids that reading is all about getting lost in a book and becoming part of the story. So we put them into the story as often as we can.  For this quick writing I have the kids think of "the most amazing thing" that could happen after it rains hearts.  They always come up with some fun ideas!

Around Valentine's Day, it's fun for kids to talk and share about all the different things they LOVE.  I mean, really, any time of year 1st graders want to talk about themselves.  Am I right?  So here is a cute heart shaped book that we make and they love sharing with their friends.  The pages have People I love, Things I love, People who love me, and How I show my love.

The next thing we love to do is make valentines and cards for the people we LOVE.  Here is a cute card we have made for parents and other loved ones.  

On Valentine's Day we love to play games at our classroom party.  I compiled a quick little list of some of the simple games we've played.  Maybe you will be able to use a couple of these at your next party. 

Here is a little Valentine Bingo freebie if you'd like to use it.  The kids create their own bingo boards.  Click the picture to grab it.  

Side note: Years ago when I started creating these bingo boards I would have my students generate the words we would use.  One of my favorite little boys wanted to use the words: Lovey Dovey.  The whole class erupted in giggles!  I will never forget it!!  So in honor of him I titled this post Lovey Dovey and of course included it in the bingo board.  :)

I can't forget to mention that throughout the week/weeks before Valentine's Day we also do a variety of themed literacy and math centers and activities.  

All of what I mentioned above and much more is included in my NEWLY UPDATED Valentine's Day pack.  If you already have it, you will want to re-download it - I added over 50 pages!!!  If you don't already have, it's on sale for the weekend so go grab it.  

Here's some more of what's included in the pack.

Thanks for stopping by for this edition of Weekend Warriors.  My friends below have more amazing ideas to share with you so check them out!

Have a great weekend!!! :)

Organize My Life...Please!

Hello there!  Coming at you this time with my fellow SUPER teacher/bloggers over at Primary Powers for a fun Organization Blog Hop.  

If you read the title of my post then you might be thinking I am not the most organized person.  
Well, you are absolutely correct!  

I don't know about you, but I am constantly looking for ways to be more organized.  I even have 2 Pinterest boards - one for the classroom and one for home - where I pin all those fabulous ideas that I plan on doing probably will never do, but they look so pretty!!   So I am just as excited as you might be to be hopping along here because I cannot wait to pick up some more tips on how to be better organized.  

My organizational post is about how I organize my student data in my classroom.  
In the days of Common Core, RTI, APPR, and whatever else is out there that I'm forgetting, a teacher can go a little bonkers trying to keep track of everything and have the evidence needed to support student performance.  It can be exhausting and stressful just gathering all the data you need, but it can also be challenging finding a way to organize that data once it's collected.  Last year I decided to keep an all-inclusive Student Data Binder.
To get started, I went to Office Max and got a large binder - mine is only 2 inches and I think I need to upgrade to a 3 inch binder.  I also got these numbered dividers.  In my classroom, I assign numbers to students from the first day of school and we use those numbers for a lot like our lunch choices and behavior chart.  The dividers come with this Table of Contents page, so I laminated that page and each year I will just tape in a copy of my student's names and numbers into it.  This way I can reuse it for as long as it will last.  

I have tried to include as much into this binder as I can so I have one place to go when I need information on a student.  One thing I keep in the binder is any and all parent communication (that is not in an email).    
I bought this 3-hole punched, plastic zipper pouch at Dollar Tree this summer and they are awesome.  They are very sturdy.  This one is in the front of my binder and I put any notes that parents send in throughout the year.  I keep them all!  The only ones I don't keep in this pouch would be excuses that go to the office.  I'm always surprised when I need to go back and look at a note, whether it's to grab a phone number or email that I can't find anywhere else or if I just need documentation of correspondence with parents- I am always happy that I keep them.  Under each student's tab I also put in the parent letters I have parents write to me in the beginning of the year about their expectations, goals, and concerns.  I also keep our parent conference notes and other notes I take when making phone calls.  This is so helpful during report cards to remind myself of what our goals are for each child and what I've already discussed with parents.  

I also keep each student's assessment data in my binder.  This includes running records and other testing documentation like AIMSWEB or informal assessments.  I also tend to write anecdotal notes on post-its during guided reading or math and then I can just stick them in the student's section so I don't lose them. 
I don't keep copies of the actual assessments in my binder because they take up way too much space.  I keep these in a crate with numbered file folders.  So in my binder I do keep any grading sheets that have the scores for these assessments on them, but the tests themselves get filed away.  (I don't have a picture of my grading sheets, but they are very basic).
The last thing I keep in my binder is behavior data.
 I use a card system in my room for behavior.  Each day I very quickly take some markers and document what color card each student was on.  I will often write a quick note as to why they were on a different color or again use a post-it and stick it in there.  I keep these so I can look back at trends, for report cards, and so I can share this with parents if I need to.  I allow students to earn a sticker when they are on green and then earn a reward when they get to 5 stickers.  It might seem like it would take a lot of time, but actually it is only about 2 minutes at the end of the day and it is SO important to reinforce the child's behavior for the day - especially the positive!

 So that's about it for my Student Data Binder.  It has really helped me stay a little more organized this year.  I can grab it when I have conferences or if I need to bring a student up for intervention support.  This week as I am finishing up my report cards for the quarter, I am so, so happy to be able to grab this binder and just get to it.

If you would like to start your own binder you can find the binder cover in this download below.  There are also binder covers for Lesson Plan, APPR, Common Core Assessments, and more!  Just click on the picture.

Thanks so much for visiting.  I'd love to hear any other great ideas you might have on how you organize your student data or really how you organize anything.  I'm always looking for more ideas!!!  

So it's time to hop on to the next tip from Valerie over at All Students Can Shine.  (I just love her, so I know she'll have something great to share).