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Showing posts with label #mysillyfirsties. Show all posts
Showing posts with label #mysillyfirsties. Show all posts

Calendar Time in our Classroom

Hi teacher friends! It's Haley from My Silly Firsties. I wanted to stop by today and share with you about our Calendar Math routine. We follow Everyday Math and I really like that the program hits so many skills in a short amount of time. When I first started teaching 1st grade, I thought the point of calendar math was to teach calendar skills, ahha! But I was SO wrong. There is so much that can happen during these few minutes! My favorite way to complete calendar is on the Smartboard, but my district asks that we have our calendar activities displayed on a bulletin board. I'm going to be completely honest and say I took these pictures a few months ago, but our routine remains the same. :) I just never got around to blogging about it until today!

I change out our activities frequently, and we don't do them all everyday. My kiddos LOVE this time, and are always quick to remind me when we forget! Here are a few activities we have done in the past! :) 

I think the main reason my kiddos like calendar is because it is led by them! Calendar helper is definitely the most coveted job each week! I lead it for the first 3-4 weeks of the year...then I lead it WITH a student, and by October, they are doing it completely on their own! 

You can see my sweet little one holding the day's calendar card. Every Day Math has a different type of pattern each month, so I use these. We also add birthdays and important holidays at the beginning of the month. He has his friends tell what the card looks like and how they know. Then we discuss the pattern unit. For this month, you can see it's A-A-B. (Triangle, triangle, square.) This is a great opportunity to show that triangles can look many different ways! 

I have no idea the source of this song! I learned it years ago when I taught preschool and the kiddos love it! 

We keep track of the days in school 2 different ways. We use the post its and a 120 chart. I like using colored post-its because it's easy for them to see patterns, but you definitely don't have to!

This seems like such a simple task, but little ones need so much practice writing the date!

I purposefully set up my Word Wall next to our calendar wall. It is a quick reminder for me to make sure we review the words each day!

This is one activity that never changes. I think it is SO important and such a powerful number sense activity! I give them the sum (like 12) and they ALL must think of a way to make 12. We take about 45-60 seconds of think time so that everyone is engaged. After they come up with a number sentence, someone else comes up with a story problem to match. :)

Like I said, I change out the activities regularly so here are some other activities we might complete. :) You can click the picture to grab these printables in my TPT shop!

What do you do during calendar time? 

The Power of Do It Again

Hi friends! It's Haley from My Silly Firsties. I'm sitting at the Detroit airport after a fabulous weekend with my sweet sister. I flew up to surprise her for the Aaron Watson concert and some sister time! We had a BLAST! I am definitely excited to be home to my sweet husband, puppy, and my 19 little monsters that I missed today! 

Here's a picture of my sister and I! Please excuse the eyebrows...whoa, hahaha...

Anyway, I thought I would do a short little post about one of the most powerful tools I have used this year! If you try it, and give it time to work, I promise it will make a huge difference in the way your classroom runs! 

So a little background...our summer reading from my district was the book Teach Like a Champion. 

If we're being real here, I will tell you this book is NOT my style. I am not the kind of teacher that shoots out be honest, when I first started reading it, I felt like a drill seargent! BUT...implementing it wasn't optional, so I figured I would do my best to use it in my room. There are tons (49 to be exact) strategies to implement, but these are some of my favorites. I do feel like this book is geared towards older kiddos...especially middle school and high school. BUT the ones below...are applicable in absolutely any classroom. 

No Opt Out means a kiddo can't say "I don't know." They can ask for help...they can ask a friend. But ultimately, they should give the correct answer. The way I implement is a kiddo can say "Can I get some help?" and I call on another friend to answer. THEN (and this is super important) I go back to the original student and ask them to restate the correct answer. 

100% made me go "yeah right...come on..." when I read it. The expectation is that 100% of your students comply to your directive. To be honest, this year, I have a sweet little friend on a BIP and sometimes he just does not comply, hhahah. But he is a special circumstance, and my kiddos KNOW they all must "do it right or do it again." 

What To Do is giving very specific and understandable instructions. 
"Class, take out a pencil and your math notebook. Then put your head down and sit at a level 0." It tells them EXACTLY what to do and HOW to do it. 

Format Matters is SOO important. My sweet friend Christina Decarbo is the QUEEN of oral language, so I am so not the go to for this! But, I have tried really hard to have my students answer my questions in complete sentences. The right answer is great...but the right answer is a complete sentence is better! on to "Do it Again." Like I said, the expectation is 100% compliance. SOO...if we are walking down the hall, and 2 sweet friends start jumping over the white squares becaause they are lava...they do it again. Sometimes the whole class does it, but usually the few students who need the extra practice do it again. 

At the beginning of the year, I believe you should explicitly teach and practice routines over and so many times you want to punch something. But that is the way to ensure our little guys know exactly what is expected of them. If they don't do it right, I don't take away a point or anything like that...the consequence is "do it again and do it better." If they don't do it better, they do it again. Here are some times I implement it a LOT because it's times that I need their focus and attention so we can transition smoothly. 

I believe Do It Again works for several reasons. I truly believe that consequencces should be as natural as possible. If you break something, you have to fix it. If you hurt someone, you write an apology note. For things like walking down the hallway silently, it's hard to come up with something "natural," but I think "do it again" is pretty close! 

I present it like "oh...I think we forgot how to walk. Can we do it again so our bodies get even better at it?" It's all about muscle memory and practicing the RIGHT way over and over. 

I wanted to share one thing that has worked REALLY well this year. Each time we transition, we have a very specific way of doing it. 

I call out each step, and we ALL do it together. If we don't, we do it again. :) 

I hate talking about really hate it. I try very, very hard to teach my kiddos WHY I ask them to do things and show them the correct way so I don't have to do it very often. But when I do, I always try to give consequences that aren't humiliating or ruin their entire day. I truly believe that "do it again" is the most powerful and EASIEST consequence I have ever used in my class! :) 

I'm curious if any of you have read Teach Like a Champion!? Comment with your favorite strategy if you have!  

Making the Most of Your Planning Time

Hi friends! It's Haley from My Silly Firsties! I wanted to stop by and share some tips I have been trying to really use my planning time effectively. Like everyone else, I am constantly trying to use my time well so I can go home, be with my family, and relax! My first few years of teaching I was totally okay working all night and all weekend...but I have so much going on now that's just not feasible! 

Soo...I have been on the hunt for ways to maximize the time I do have so I can leave and really LEAVE after school! :) Of course, some nights I stay way too late...and I almost always have things to do on Sunday evening. But these things really have helped, and I hope they help you too! :) 

The first thing I would say is have a plan!! When I don't, I literally play on Facebook my entire planning time, hahaha!! Anyone with me?!?! 

Here is the plan that has been working for me for a few months! It took some tweaking at first, but this schedule really works for me! 

My bestie, Miss Decarbo, has a more detailed schedule on her blog. She's WAY better at planning ahead than me!! 

Something else that keeps me going is constantly keeping a To-Do list. This seems like such common knowledge, but I'm telling you, it helps! When you have a few extra seconds, you can check something off your list! You can grab these To Do lists and tons of other organizational forms in my Editable Teacher Binder! And when something crosses your mind but you can't do it right then...add it to the list! That way you won't forget things! :) 

This is HARD for me. But it does help me stay accountable and know when I need to stay after school. It helps with the constant "I'm never done..." feeling! I just worry about what I needed to accomplish that day! 

This is probably my biggest tip...if you don't get anything else done, get your week paced out. You don't have to know exact activities, but I promise it feels so much easier to plan activities once that is laid out. My team and I work on this every makes it so much easier for me to plan when I have more time. 

And last but not least...

I am the worst about chatting my entire time away and then being frustrated when I have to plan on my own time. BUT...if I lock myself away during my planning, get things accomplished, and THEN go to happy hour, I feel refreshed and relaxed! :) 

These are just a few tips I have for guys are the true experts do YOU make the most of your planning time? 

Morning Messages

Hello friends!! :) It's Haley here from My Silly Firsties! :) I wanted to blog a little bit about Morning Messages today. It's such a fun way to start our day, and my kiddos are already loving it! 

Here's the reasons I came up with for doing a Morning Message! I'm sure there are tons more! I'd love to hear them!! 

Here are some ideas for what to include! :) Of can do what feels right for you and your class!

And here are some examples! :) 

I hope this little post was helpful to you!! :) Be sure to check out the calendar for our upcoming posts! 

Getting a Handle on Dismissal

Hi friends! It's Haley from My Silly Firsties. I am knee deep in preparation for the little ones coming back, but I wanted to stop by and give some tips on dismissal!! 

This is SO important, and I encourage you to figure out EXACTLY how you want them to get ready to go home. If you know what you want, it will be much easier to explain it to them! :) Then practice over and over! When they can do it perfectly, practice until they can get faster! :) 

There are so many great ways to show where/how your kiddos go home. This is especially important during the first few weeks of school! I love having this up all year long in case a substitute comes in or someone else needs to dismiss my kids!

Fun in First Clip Chart
Easy Magnetic Dismissal Chart
A Modern Teacher Transportation Tags

I try to make sure we always end of our day on a high note! We usually do a fun video from Go Noodle or The Learning Station! I also LOVE this good-bye poem! I have done it for several years and the kiddos LOVE it!!

Go Noodle
The Learning Station
Goodbye Poem

Exit tickets are a fabulous way to make the most out of dismissal time. Your kiddos will choose 1 thing that they learned, were surprised by, etc. These are 3 adorable ways to display exit tickets!

Teacher Treasury What Stuck With You 
Teach a Roo- Ticket Out the Door
Texas Teaching Fanatic Exit Tweets

I created an Editable product to show how my kiddos go home and also backpack tags to keep them safe! :) Click the picture to check it out!

End of the Year Parent Survey

Hey friends! It's Haley from My Silly Firsties. I wanted to stop by today and share something I tried for the first time this year. I think this year has been the most challenging year of my teaching career so far, and I have definitely worked hard to keep a growth mindset this year. It's not always easy for me since I can be pretty hard on myself...can't we all?!? But I truly have tried to look at each setback as an opportunity for growth..just like we ask our sweeties to do. 

So, I decided to send out a survey to my parents this year. I prepared myself for the absolute worst, but was pleasantly surprised by the responses. I also found it to be incredibly helpful in validating what I think my strengths are, and also in seeing what my parents wanted a little more of!

So, first off, I used Survey Monkey to create the survey. I wanted it to be completely anonymous so parents would feel comfortable being honest. I know people always wonder "is that REALLY anonymous?!" But I'm telling IS! Each response is just labeled a number and you don't know what email or anything it comes from. I would definitely encourage you to do it this way, but I know lost of people have great success sending one home on paper. :) The free version only gives you 10 questions, but I think that's actually best. Otherwise it can be overwhelming! 

Now you need to decide what's most important to ask. Since you only get 10 questions on Survey Monkey, that's even more important. :) I know that I don't like taking 100 questions surveys so I think keeping it short is best. :) I also think it's important to ask questions that will help you GROW! If there is an area you are sensitive about, maybe don't ask that question. You just gotta be honest with yourself! :) 

There are several kinds of questions on Survey Monkey, but I only used 2 types. :)  I used a Rating scale on 9/10 questions. BUT...I forgot to add a neutral option, and I really wish I had. So my advice for you, is don't forget! Hahha!! 

Here are some examples of Rating Scale questions you could use. Remember, some people will never put "strongly agree" on everything! That's okay! The important part is that you see trends on what parents think. :) 

Here's an example of how the responses look. You can see them by respondent, or by question. 

And here are some examples of open-ended questions you could ask. I chose to only use the 1st one, because I felt like it was the most important for me. 
Remember, feedback makes us better! We are constantly telling our sweeties that their brains grow everyday and we can always learn something new! :) 

Celebrating Easter in the Classroom

Hi friends! It's Haley from My Silly Firsties! I wanted to stop by and share a little bit of Easter fun we have had and things we will be doing for the rest of the week! :) I have babies of many different religions in my room so I definitely keep it very non-religious! We still have tons of fun though! 

First, we did a fun little skip counting activity! We are working hard skip counting by 2s and immediately I thought of bunny ears! We used Jennifer's directed drawing. First, I showed them how to do it once. Then I gave them a LONG sheet of butcher paper and let them go to town!

Then they skip counted above the bunnies to count the ears! It really helped solidify not counting each ear, but counting by 2s to make it more efficient!

We had state testing today and it was a LONG day for us. My babies had to be quiet and that just does NOT come natural to them, hahaha. I needed a fun "break" this afternoon that would still let them practice their writing! We did this precious craftivity from Cupcake and I'm so glad we did!! I barely ever do crafts where they just cut/glue but it was too cute to pass up. Plus, like I said, I just needed a break, haha!

 A few years ago, I made this simple little write the room freebie that you could easily print and use this week!

I also made these SUPER fun math and literacy centers! My sweeties LOVE them! I can't wait to use these this week! You can click the pictures to see it on TPT! :)

Here are some of my favorite Easter read-alouds!

And finally, if you want some more holiday ideas, be sure to follow my holiday board on Pinterest!

I hope everyone has a fabulous Easter! I'd love to know how you celebrate!