Wednesday, August 27, 2014

Bulletin Boards


When I saw this adorable bus bulletin board I knew I had to have my firsties do it. It's just so cute. I had all the pieces ready for the kids to put together. When we were just about done with it and ready to hang up one of my lovelies said, "Hey, where is the window? All buses have windows" Low and behold I completely forgot to give them the window piece and by now there was no room for it. Oh well, it turned out cute anyway. As a matter of fact our second grade class purchased it also and they did put the windows on their buses.  I found this over at  Firstgradeblueskies if you are interested in making it too.
This is one of the cutest back to school boards I have seen in a long time. Our wonderful second grade teacher has this outside her classroom.

Since our back to school theme is to be kind I decided to start the year off with a Kindness unit. I saw this poster on Pinterest . As we go along and make a few kindness projects I will staple them up on this board and fill it in.

So of course the heat is on here in Chicago. We have not had many warm days this summer and of course here it is now. Monday was in the high 90's and our classrooms were also in the 90's so we had to do the next best thing and spend the day in the air conditioned church. It's really interesting trying to teach in the pews of the church especially when many other classes are in there. Now every morning as my firsties say their prayer intentions there is always one of them who prays for winter to get here. I just pray for 60 degree weather (we all know how brutal Chicago winters can get). More pics to come soon.  Stay cool!!

Wednesday, August 20, 2014

First Grade Begins!!

So today was our first day of school. And of course summer decided to begin today too. All summer we have had very cool and rainy weather (not pool weather). So today summer decided to return with temps in the high 80's, humidity, and no relief in site. Of course!!  Anyway, we had an awesome first day. Only one crier for only a few minutes. This year I have 16 firsties which is the lowest I have ever had in my many (25) years of teaching. I really hoping that means we will be able to get a lot more done this year. Here are a few pictures of my room. Sorry about the lighting. I will be posting more pictures soon as soon as I can get some projects up and the lighting is much better.  
As I was doing my usual blog stalking this summer I came across Maria Manore's blog and her AWESOME classroom. The first thing I thought was I GOTTA HAVE IT!  I was on a mission all summer to recreate her room or at least her library. This is what I came up with. I just love my new class library and have had many compliments on it. I am still planning on getting the boy and girl silhouettes but as we all know there is only so much time to get ready.

 This is the same clipchart I used last school year. It worked wonders last year so I was not about to change it out. My firsties were all over it today.

Here is a view at the back of my room. This is my calendar/math board, word wall, and the yellow board is going to be our Kindness board. We will hang our kindness projects on that.

Here is a view from my door. As you can see we are loaded with windows which I usually love but not when the temps are up. The sun is beating down on us since we our right outside the blacktop parking lot. I plan on hanging our anchor charts on the screens as we make them together.

I just love my door decs this year. I got the phones from Molly over at Lucky to be in First. They turned out adorable!

Here is the bulletin board right outside my room. It's the same one as last year and I still love it. This idea came from Kacey over at Doodle Bugs Teaching.
 Here is another shot of my library before I picked up the bench cushion. I was lucky enough to find a lady in the neighborhood who sews for a second job so she made the red cushion for it.

I will be posting more pics in the next several days, but in the meantime I want to show you some of the awesome bulletin boards you will find throughout our building.
I want to explain this Kindness board. Our school's theme this year is kindness. We have a little girl (2 year old) who lives in our neighborhood.  She was born with Apert syndrome, which is a cranial facial syndrome. Her name is Mary Cate Lynch. Her parents did not know before birth that anything was wrong so when she was born they were totally surprised. It is so rare that one a few babies a year are born with this syndrome. Her parents decided to embrace her and her differences and wanted to educate the public about this syndrome. Therefore, her mother, Kerry, goes around to all the local school and brings Mary Cate with to talk to the school children about being kind and that just because she looks different doesn't mean she is different. Kerry is incorporating the book Wonder into her speeches. It is incredible what she is doing. So far Kerry has visited over 50 schools, been written up in the Chicago Sun-Times, and even did the Today show over in Australia. If you would like to she has a blog and a facebook page which you can read all about her , just go to  or Mymarycate facebook page. Her story is really touching. Kerry and Mary Cate came to our school on the last day of classes in June and talked to the whole student body. Therefore, we ended the school year with kindness and now we are beginning our year with kindness.

I hope this wasn't too long and boring for you. As soon as I take more pics they will be posted. Now back to school for our back to school ice cream social ( the teachers do all the scooping and the kids love it)!!

Thursday, July 10, 2014

Wishin' I Was In Vegas!!

So, I'm sitting around the house tonight really wishin' I was in Vegas along with all the other awesome teachers and bloggers when I decided to clean out my lesson plan binder. I'm not sure about any of you but my school bag was still sitting right where I left it the last day I left for the summer vacation. I knew I had to empty it but kept putting it off until tonight. As I was cleaning it out I came across this paper that I took away from one of my little darlings. I take it he was really mad at Cheyenne. Don't you just love the picture with the fangs and red tongue not to mention the spelling of meany. This note is one of the reasons I stay down in the lower grades and don't teacher the older kids. If this is how they show their anger I'll take it. I think this is a keeper for my folder of special notes the kids write me for my collection. I love it!
Summer is going super fast. Before you know it we will all be posting pics of our classrooms and planning what to do on the first week of school. I'm anxious to see everyone's awesome rooms this year. It's always one of my favorite things to see on the blogs. My wheels are tuning already for the new year, especially since I will only have 16 firsties compared to 23 from this past year. Woo Hoo!! Now, on to more Pinterest and more ideas for the new year.

Wednesday, May 28, 2014

Insects, Bugs, and Bucket Lists

These shoes are just so adorable. My firsties wrote about what they hope to do this summer. I found this project from The Bubbly Blonde blog. 4 more days left but whose counting?  Me, me, me!!!

Since we are finished with all our science and social studies I decided to do a short unit on insects and bugs (tis the season after all). My firsties are lovin' it. Together we made an anchor chart about what insects can, have, and are. We also made a huge list of insects they know of. It was amazing what kind of bugs they can name. Some of them I'm not even too sure they really exist. After that we did some directed drawings from Kacey over at Doodlebug Teaching.  I have never done a unit on insects before and after seeing how much my kiddies know and want to know about them I may have to squeeze this unit in next year.

Non school related
My brother has the most adorable, pleasant, easy going labradoodle. Two weeks ago they noticed how he was bumping into everything. So they took him in for a check up and found out he is full of cancer. It is sooooo heartbreaking. Canyon isn't even ten years old. Everyone just loves him.
So my brother and his family decided to fill Canyon's bucket list before they have to say goodbye ( who knew dogs have bucket lists)! Well, one of the items on his bucket list was to take a ride in the firetruck.  That was an easy thing to do since my brother is a fireman. Here is Canyon getting his ride. We laughed so hard upon seeing the pictures.

Now they are going to have a birthday party this coming weekend for Canyon and anyone can come and bring their dogs. They will have the yard fenced off and a piƱata filled with dog treats. What a hoot!!  Item number 2 on his bucket list.
They took Canyon to Petsmart and let him roam the store and sniff all the dog toys. They bought him his favorite toys that he pulled off the shelf. Item number 3 on his bucket list.
They are feeding Canyon anything he wants to eat (he always had such bad allergies he was on a strict diet and now prednisone takes care of that) including a huge steak. Item number 4 on his bucket list.
It's going to be one sad day around here when everyone has to say goodbye to him. He is an awesome dog and great friend to many!!

Here is the latest selfie my daughter and I took last weekend. Thanks for stopping by.


Thursday, May 15, 2014

Chicks and End of the Year Boards

 So, our chicks have arrived!! After 21 days of turning the eggs three times a day and keeping a close eye on the temps our little babies have hatched. Out of a dozen eggs we hatched nine cute, fluffy chicks. We were so surprised to get black chicks this year. We were expecting the traditional yellow and a few brown chicks. Certainly not black ones. They are adorable. Each one has their own yellow spots and markings so my firsties can tell them apart. Sooo cool!! The other first grade class in my school has seven, mostly black chicks. If these days haven't been loud and crazy enough the chicks just add more excitement to first grade. As you can probably figure out, there isn't much learning going on these days. Tomorrow the chicks will be going on a fieldtrip to hang out with the kindergarten kids for a while. Maybe then we can squeeze in a little teaching.


We did get a chance to complete this project about all our first grade favorites. Each year I usually have my firsties make one of those booklets of all their favorite things about first grade and it takes so long to get each page done. This year I just loved this project when I saw it and I thought it would be much easier  and less time consuming. Don't get me wrong, I do love all the other booklets the kids make and I know the parents love them too, but this is not the group to do that with. It would take forever to get many of them to finish the pages. Each group of kids brings it's own set of rewards and challenges and this group likes to take their time completing their work OR they rush through so fast it is quite sloppy. Therefore, I thought these little people would be perfect and they were. Thanks to Lyndsey Kuster over at A Year of Many Firsts for this adorable project. 

I found this cute board on Pinterest. It's perfect for our summer board. This is the first thing our parishioners see as they enter our building to attend mass. The tree does look much bigger in person.
So needless to say, it's done and now let's move on to summer.


Tuesday, May 6, 2014

Mother's Day Spa Treatment!!

So we've been busy with our eggs and Mother's Day projects. I just LOVE this awesome Mother's Day project from Dragonflies in 1st. She had a giveaway and I was the lucky one to win it. I think I can truly say this is one of my most favorite gifts we have made for our moms over the years. The unit includes coupons for moms, grandmas and aunts. So versatile. My students wrote all kinds of special things about their moms under the top sheet. Love it!!

We've also been busy getting ready for our eggs to hatch. We are expecting them to hatch on Monday and my firsties are unbelievably excited about the big day. Monday we are going on a farm fieldtrip, which is a ton of fun and the easiest trip with first graders. These windsocks have the chicken life cycle on it and I found it from Robin Sellers on TPT. Too cute!  The chickens came from Christie at First Grade Fever. They are a riot and we have had a ton of compliments on them.

We have 19 days left before summer break (but who's counting)  and I don't know about you but my kiddies are more than ready to go. All I can say I thank goodness for outdoor recess these days. Have a great rest of the week!!

Wednesday, April 23, 2014

Eggs, Eggs, and More Eggs!!

As you can see our eggs have arrived. I picked them up yesterday and much to my surprise they were colorful!! Every year the eggs I get are always white with maybe one brown egg. This year we have a variety of brown eggs and white. My firsties will be thrilled to see these. This week we are on spring break so needless to say the eggs are at my house. Since we have to turn them 3 times a day I didn't want to go into school all week. Therefore, they are all set up and comfy in my family room. As much as I can't wait to show the kids the eggs I really don't want spring break to end. We are having wonderful weather and I have a ton to do at home, like paint my son's bedroom and clean the basement so my son and daughter can bring more stuff home from college. Yuck!! On to more chores around the house. Thanks for stopping by!!

Monday, April 14, 2014

Plants, Anchor Charts, and a Selfie!!

So we've been crazy busy with our planting unit. Here are just two of the activities we did last week. I saw this sure fire way of growing plants in a baggie without soil. Every year we do this activity and every year they don't seem to do well and we end  up with mold in the bags and no plants. Well, this year was successful. I found this little trick on KFundamentals blog and it really did work. We were amazed how easy it was and my firsties LOVED it!! Today they took their bags home to replant the seeds. 

We also worked on the life cycle of a seed. After reading several books and making a class anchor chart my firsties made their own plant life cycles. They did a great job and I really believe they understood it. We planted three kinds of seeds and estimated which ones would sprout the soonest. They loved this idea (from Cara Carroll at first grade parade) and that was the first thing they all checked every morning after they arrived. This is our last week (Thank God) before a much needed spring break so we are finishing up the plant unit and getting ready for our baby chicks. If you think the firsties loved the plant unit they are out of their skin waiting for the eggs to get here and the baby chicks to arrive. If you have never done this unit you really should try it. It has been a favorite of all my classes and to be honest with you, mine too. My firsties just love watching them hatch, we barely get any work done during hatching days.
Here are a few anchor charts our amazing kindergarten teacher created with her kiddies. I just love them I had to blog about them. She said that many of her anchor charts are actual projects she sees on Pinterest and instead of making the project she turns it into a chart. Love it!!

One last pic. It was family weekend last weekend at my son and daughter's college so we went down for the day. It was a beautiful day, in the high 70's and nothing but sun. I was soaking it all up since we had such a brutal winter. By the way, after having a week of 60 degree days now it is snowing again!! Yuck, Yuck, Yuck!!!

Like I said, this is our last week before spring break and it couldn't come soon enough. I feel like we are the last school to have our break. The only good thing about a late break is that when we come back there will only be five and a half weeks left of school (but I'm not counting). So, have a great week and a wonderful Easter!!

Friday, March 28, 2014

SPRING Has Finally Sprung!!

YIPPEE! Spring is here! However, it doesn't quite feel like it. We are still having some pretty cold weather but at least it's not that 4 letter word - snow.  Here is our first of many spring projects. It worked out perfect. I had a really cute kite for them to make when this kite just came to me as we were learning about drawing and measuring line segments. The kiddies really loved using the ruler and measuring items throughout the room when it dawned on me that they should draw their line segments on the kites and then fill them in, They turned out really cute and were much easier to do than what I had planned.
I found these awesome eggs on Pinterest one night and then when I went back to them I just can't seem to find where I saw them at. Sorry!! This was one of the easiest Easter eggs we've made. All the kiddies did was use blue painters tape to mark the lines, color it in with sidewalk chalk dipped in water, and let it dry. Once dried I pulled off the painters tape and this is what they turn out to be. So cute and colorful!! I have a bunch of them hanging in the hallway and have had so many compliments on them. If you are looking for an easy egg to make this is it.

So, here are two more projects we completed this week. Since we are a catholic school we can make these crosses. I gave each of my students a cross pattern and had them color the edges of their cross with oil pastel crayons ( $4.99 for a pack of 24 at Michaels). They then placed the crosses on another sheet of white paper and rubbed the crayons off the cross onto the new sheet. It was very simple to do and they turned out awesome.
Now on to our plant unit and a ton of fun planting.

Friday, March 14, 2014

Continents and STEM day!

We've been working on our mapping unit these days. It's always a favorite of my classes. I found this project on Pinterest from the Literacyminute blog
 and knew we had to do it. At first I wasn't sure how my firsties would do cutting out the continents so I blew up my copy and they did a great job. Much better than I expected. We also learned the song The Continent Song by Teachertipster on YouTube. It was such a catchy tune my class was singing it all day and all the way down the hall to the lunch room. They were so cute about it and now they can all name the seven continents.
So have any of your schools been conducting STEM activities? This was the first time our school did it. The kindergarten, first, and second grade classes rotated rooms every 30 minutes and we each had a different activity going on. I found some awesome activities on Pinterest (of course). This is the one we did in my room. How tall of a structure can you build using these tiny cups? (shot glasses but they didn't need to know that) It was perfect for the first time doing this and because we were switching classes all morning. The kids loved it. Some wanted to take the cups home so they could keep building. It was fun and by the end of the day we were all exhausted. TGIF!! 

So now on to St. Patrick's Day weekend. As the weather goes here in Chi town Sunday is predicted to be a high of 28 degrees. Perfect for all the parades, huh?! Today was a high of 55 but 2 days ago we woke up to this...
Yuck!! Enough!!
For those who can't fathom all this snow, remember it all has to go somewhere. So needless to say it's melting and sloppy and messy everywhere. Once again, YUCK!!  I'm keeping my fingers and toes crossed that this is the end of it until next winter. Have a great weekend and thanks for stopping by.