Table Captains

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One of the ways I keep my classroom running smoothly is by the help of my “Table Captains.”  I have 4 tables in my classroom, and they are organized by color; red, green, blue, and yellow.  Each table has 4 or 5 students.  At the beginning of every week, one student is named the “Table Captain” for the entire week.  This picture shows how I organize the rotation of the students.  I turn the top of the star to the child who comes next.  I will describe below how I made the Star Spinners.  The Table Captain is the student at each table who is in charge of getting and putting away any materials or manipulatives that are needed for their table during a lesson.



Here is a close-up of the Star Spinner for the blue table.  I cut out a white circle and laminated it before writing on it.  I wrote Table Captain on the blue star before I laminated it.  I used a brad to attach the star to the white circle, and this allows the star to spin.  I wrote the names of the students who sit at the blue table.  Willie would be the Table Captain for this week, Ian would be the Table Captain the following week, and so on…

After I choose the student to be the Table Captain, he/she will put this Star Cone at his/her desk as a fun reminder that they are the Table Captain for the week.  This also helps to remind the other students that want to take over the job! I found these cute cones at Party City in the circus section.  The stars are out of a pack of cut-outs.  I hot-glued the stars to a popsicle stick, and I punched a hole in the top of the cone to poke the popsicle stick through.

Start Your Day the SMART Way!

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Last year I decided to try something a little different.  I wanted to make my calendar more interactive, but my bulletin board with my calendar just wasn’t cutting it!  What better way to make it more interactive than with the SMARTBoard.  I looked on SMART Exchange and found an adorable notebook that a teacher had created with a calendar and many other activities.  I downloaded it and edited the notebook by adding my own personal touches.  I added my own pages as well to incorporate things I was already doing during my Morning Meeting/ Calendar Math.

This 36 page SMART Notebook Activity will engage your students as you start your day with the following activities:  Attendance/Calendar/Days/Months/How Many Days in School-Place Value/Weather Tally/Lost Tooth Graph/Venn Diagrams/Survey Question/Counting Money and Coin Review/Addition and Subtraction/Number Line/Numbers and Number Words/Fact Families/Shapes

There are 12 calendars included with interactive number cards and holiday cards to label your calendar.  The kids love to manipulate the pictures on the calendar!  The other activities can be used on different days of the week to introduce, review, or reinforce the skills you are teaching in math. Throughout the notebook you will see empty boxes with a music note.  This is where I inserted my songs that I use during my calendar time.  The songs are not included due to copyright, but most of my music came from my trusty Dr. Jean and Mr. AL CDs.

I start off on the first day of school with this notebook by teaching the students how to move their name on the attendance chart and completing the calendar activities.  I always do the daily routines like calendar, weather, counting how many days in school, and tooth tally every day.  I don’t do all of the other activities every day.  I pick one or two extra each day and change it up throughout the week.  Directions are included in a pull down tab on each page, but if you have any questions let me know.  The original version of this can be found on SMART Exchange under Calendar.

The Kissing Hand Back-to-School Activity Pack

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Are you ready for the First Day of School? You will be with this Kissing Hand Activity Pack to use with your students on the first day of school! You will find over 80 pages of presentation pages, worksheets, literacy and math center activities, parent notes, and writing activities!

Click here to get my latest PDF download for FREE

The Kissing Hand Title

This Back to School Pack is focused on the book, The Kissing Hand, by Audrey Penn. It supports the Reading & Writing Common Core Standards for K-2.

Included in the Back to School Activity Pack are the following:
Essential Vocabulary Flashcards
Color Word Flashcards that can double as a Memory Match Game
I Read Closely Worksheet- Two Types
First Day Feelings Worksheet- Five types
Chester Character Web
Retelling and Sequencing- Beginning, Middle, End Worksheet
Who, What, When, Where, Why, and How Worksheet
Characters/Setting Worksheet
Character Comparison to Student
School Settings Comparison
Story Elements- Characters, Setting, Problem, and Solution
First Day of School Opinion Writing- Graphic Organizer
First Day of School Opinion Writing- Writing Format
Beginning Sounds Matching Game
Ten Frame Numbers Matching Game
Great Day Notes to Send Home
Kiss Goes On Poem
Little Raccoon Poem


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Fun With Vinyl!

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I love my Cricut!  If you are a scrapbooker and have a Cricut Machine, you can have so much fun with vinyl in your classroom.  I use my Cricut to cut out letters for bulletin boards on cardstock too!  But my favorite thing to do is cut out polka dots and letters to decorate all of those plastic containers in my classroom.  These hand sanitizer bottles were so much fun to play with.  I peeled off the Purell label, tied coordinating ribbon around the top, and used my Cricut to cut out the letters for my name and inital on each bottle.  These would also make great teacher gifts!  If you have a Cricut, share how you use your Cricut for your classroom.  I love hearing new ways to use mine! 


School Supply Storage

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WOW!  I can’t believe it is that time of year again!  We went back to school for our professional development and teacher workdays this week.   I still have several things to do in my classroom before the big day on Monday! I know it will all get done, but the process can be so stressful!  This weekend I will be labeling folders, making BEE Binders, and sorting school supplies.  I thought I would share with you my favorite way to store all of those extra school supplies that will be used throughout the year.  A few years ago I was on a teacher site (I can’t remember which one), and I saw a picture of  how she stored her materials.  I thought this would be great for storing my students’ supplies, and it turned out to be perfect.  I found these 3-drawer containers at Walmart, and I still see them all of the time.  I used apple nametags from our local school supply store and wrote numbers on each drawer.  After I get my roll, I assign a number to every student.  All of their extra supplies go in their numbered drawer.  I love this system because I can quickly check to see what students need extra supplies when I send a supplies reminder home. 


Back-to-School Hershey Wrapper

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 Are you looking for a little something to give to your students on Move-In Day or the First Day of School?  This Hershey Wrapper is an easy way to turn a simple treat into a personal gift!  Instead of the traditional sucker, I wanted to give my students something they could keep after the treat was gone. After attending a baby shower where I saw the He/She Hershey Wrappers, I decided to make one for my students.  I tried to find one that I liked, but couldn’t find one that used minimal ink in printing.  I made this one, and it was a hit with my students and their parents.

Kindergarten Hershey Wrapper Teacher Hershey Wrapper

There is a Hershey Wrapper for Preschool through Fifth grade. You will also find a back-to-school wrapper that can be used for a student to give to a teacher. Have fun making your students a fun back-to-school treat that they will remember!


Literacy Centers

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Recently I’ve had a few people interested in how I manage my reading group rotation and literacy centers.  This is the chart that I use in my classroom.  I got the idea from a teacher at our school (Cindy) and I love it!  I have used it for 2 years, and it is the best that I have tried.  I’m going to try to explain it the best that I can.  If you have any questions just let me know. 

When I am doing my reading groups, I have the class divided into 3 groups of 6 or 7 students each.  The wheel shows the 3 groups and how they rotate.  I have one group of 6 at their seats doing independent practice activities.  I have another group of 6 students with me at the reading group table.  The remaining 6 students are at a literacy center.  I only have one student in a center to cut down on noise and play.  Some teachers like to have a pair in a center, so you could have only 3 centers.  The blue pocket chart shows my 6 centers: 

1.  Computer
2.  Computer
3.  Listening/Writing Center
4.  SMARTBoard
5. Word Study/Spelling
6. Class Library
These centers are represented by the pictures on the left of the pocket chart.  Next to the pictures I have my 3 groups-blue, green, yellow- I only move the picture cards 1 time at the beginning of the reading group time.  Whatever picture that is in front of their name is where they go that day.  Each student only visits one center a day.   It is a little confusing at first, but the students catch on very quickly and after awhile, we don’t even have to turn the wheel. 
I always start with yellow group in reading group, then yellow goes to seatwork, then they go to centers.
Green group starts in centers, then comes to me for reading group, then goes to seatwork.
Blue group starts in seatwork, then goes to centers, then comes to see me last.
I really hope this makes sense!  Let me know if it doesn’t and I will try again! 🙂


Poetry Journal Labels

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My students love their poetry journals!  Each student in my class has a regular 3-prong folder in a designated color.  We don’t ask for these on our supply list, so I just watch the sales to see when I can get them cheap! I don’t like the 3-prong plastic folders because they are extremely hard for my first graders to open by themselves.  (I even have trouble.) I use these labels so when I tell my students to take out their poetry journal with the crayons, it helps them distinguish between all of the other folders. Every time I introduce a new poem, we add the poem to their poetry journal sometime during the week.  The copy of the poem that I give them has no pictures, so that my students can  illustrate the poem with their own meaning and creativity.  We use highlighters to find our word wall words.  Their poetry journal stays in their book browsing box to read when all of their other work is finished.  This also makes a great literacy center activity or independent learning activity!   Use Avery template 8163 or Office Max OM99062 White Shipping Labels.

 Labels- Poetry Journal


Label Mania!

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I LOVE LABELS!  Are you as crazy for them as I am?  Ok, I will admit that I am a little OCD when it comes to my students’ folders.  I like for all of their folders to be the same color with the same labels and their names all in the same place.  It just makes it easier for my first graders to transition from each activity, which in turn makes my job easier!  If you look under the Resources tab above, I have added a new page called Classroom Labels.  These are the labels that I use in my classrooom.  I would love to hear about what you label in your classroom, so please comment and share what works for you!  Check back often, as I will always find more things to label!  (I know, it is an addiction!)


A SMART Word Wall!

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A Word Wall on the SMART Board?   I found this notebook on SMART Exchange, and I love this idea!  I thought you might like it too!  When you click on each letter it takes you to another page with a few pictures and words.  I am going to use this in my classroom and add our first grade high frequency words.   Great time-filler resource! - free web fonts download. See this Wordpress fonts plugin