Tuesday, January 3, 2012

Happy, Happy New Year!!

Happy New Year bloggy friends! I have had the best (laziest) winter break in a long time. I got to spend time with family and friends, sleep in, bake cookies (or watch B bake…), exercise, read, and even clean! I loved every single second of it. But all good things must comes to an end, right?! So back to school I go (tomorrow)…

I always get a little anxious about going back to school after long breaks. As if I’ll forget what to do or something. I just keep reminding myself “Erin you can do this, you know how to do this, you are good at this.” I know…I’m nuts…oh well haha!

 I find it is much easier to transition back to school if I over plan. That way I always have an extra trick up my sleeve just in case something gets thrown at me. 

I’ll start by having the kids write a recount of what they did over winter break on mitten shaped paper. I plan on using this as a template to cut notebook paper into because these lines are little too big for my students. Next I’ll have them illustrate their winter breaks on the blank mitten template and staple them into little booklets. oh.my.word. There are so many fun shapes for writing on this site. Why am I just finding this now?!

For Reader’s Workshop we will be starting our Jan Brett Author study. How stinkin' creative is Cara from The First Grade Parade? I’m really excited for this one. We will also be using the many resources from Jan Brett's website. The plan is to discuss text-to-text, text-to-self, and text-to-world connections. It is always easier for my little ones to understand connections when related to an Author Study. They are able to see that most authors have a “style” and then are able to make really great connections to them. Do you do Author Studies in your room? I’d love to hear how you set them up? I know…dork alert.

As for math…we are moving into a new unit…Solving Story Problems. Oh boy! This is our first year using TERC Investigations and I have to say it is much better than what we used to use. The only thing about it (and it’s like this with anything new) is it takes serious time reading through all of the teacher books, implementation books, and student activities. So I really can’t blame the program for making me read…that’s my job, right? I guess you know what I’ll be doing tonight… 

What math programs do you guys use? Do you like them?

Well folks that's about all I have time for right now...be sure to check back to see what craziness is going on in J1W this week. Ohhh and check out my fun new little Pinterest button over there on the right hand side. Fun, right?! 

Saturday, December 10, 2011

Class theme song this year...

Every morning my principal sends out daily agendas. It keeps us all in the loop of what to expect that day with things like "oh heyyy watch out for a fire drill in the next few days" and "don't forget today is picture day." Every once in a while she will send out links or videos and a few days ago this was the video she sent. OMG. It has now become my class' theme song. My little people are OBSESSED with it. They danced around to it all afternoon yesterday. I should have videoed it because it was way too cute. Not to mention it has a super message. 

Have a listen and I bet you will be dancing around in no time! Have a wonderful weekend. :)

Monday, November 21, 2011


So last year our principal went into high gear about technology integration. She was able to get us about 40 ipads and a technology integration specialist! We now have meetings every few weeks called Tech Café after school where our specialist, Francesca either shows us cool stuff to do with our kids or we share what is really working in our rooms (or NOT working at all)! Haha. It has been so awesome! 

A few weeks ago Francesca shared an ipad app called ShowMe. OH MY WORD!! This little app has changed my teaching in such a fabulous way! You can take a photo (if you have the newer ipads) and record the kids’ voices sharing about their work. The kids can also “write” on their work by using their fingers. HOW FREAKIN’ COOL?! It is easier to explain if you just watch this little ShowMe presentation I had 2 of my kids make.

I’ll wait until you are finished watching…. ;)

Awesome- right?! I love ShowMe SO much that I wanted to share the kids’ learning process at Parent/Teacher conferences. I was able to use this as an assessment AND I could show parents during conferences exactly where their children are. It was fantastic! It helped me to see where I had lost the students who were struggling. It also showed me how their little minds were working. The best part about ShowMe is that you can play it back again and again to improve your teaching and lessons. Parents LOVED that they could hear their kids explaining their work. I would definitely recommend this app and plan on using it again! Oh I almost forgot to mention something super important!! ShowMe is FREE!! That's right my friends...one of my favorite words- FREE! 

Here is also an article on how another teacher is using ShowMe in the classroom. Interesting stuff! 
What are your favorite apps?!

Hope everyone is having a good start to the week! :)

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Shape-Tastic Turkey!

Thanksgiving already?! REALLY?! In my mind we are just coming off summer vacation and I am still tan -- then I looked in the mirror...AHH! is all I have to say! haha... Here is a little something that got me in the holiday spirit! 
Totally stole this idea from The First Grade Parade. OMG they came out SO adorable.

We are in the middle of our Making Shapes and Designing Quilts unit (my school uses investigations) and I was trying to find a way to assess if my little friends know the names of the shapes we have been working on (trapezoid, thin rhombus, thick rhombus, square, triangle, and hexagon). We are also working very hard on finding the sum of multiple addends with small numbers. Sooo I created this little bad boy to go along with it.

I didn't use the shape pictures, but instead I used the words. I thought this would be more challenging for my students, and I was curious to see how they would do with it. I color coded the words according to the pattern blocks -- except silly me mixed up the triangles and squares! Don't worry a little boy corrected me in about 30 seconds. ( I fixed it before uploading it on here) This little assessment told me SO much about each child's thinking! I could see who was using the strategies we have been working on in class like making 10. I could see who organized their thinking and how their minds were working. I was AMAZED at my little people!! Of course there are some who are still counting one by one on and on...and that was apparent, but now I know who and what I need to zone in on...tomorrow is another day, right?! 

I hope you can use this in your classroom!

Wednesday, November 2, 2011

Transitions (in more than one way) ahhh!

OMG we got engaged!! I am the luckiest girl in the whole entire world! However, I am super stressed and busy as all get out trying to find a reception venue to fit about 170 people in Manhattan for this August. Oh did I mention I can’t spend $100, 000,000?! Let’s be real people I’m a teacher! Can you say anxiety attack?! B has been super helpful about the whole process, but it is a full time job! I refuse to let it take over my life and keep repeating “it will be fine, it will be fine…”

us minutes (maybe even seconds) after! Say CHEESE!!!

On another note- I have been using this really cute song I randomly found on youtube to transition my kids from an activity to the carpet. They LOVE it! I hear them singing it all the time! Plus it really works…they hear the first few beats and get so excited that they actually come straight to the carpet! How do you transition your little people?

Thursday, September 29, 2011

Sometimes it just takes ONE...

Long time no blog world! I am missing it terribly! I think I am finally up and running with my 18 beautiful new little kiddies. I kept saying I didn’t want to jinx myself this year because they are seriously the sweetest little things ever. Well it’s been a few weeks and they are still AWESOME! I am one happy girl. 

Anyway, tomorrow my school is having an anti-bullying assembly. The focus is going to be on not only bullies and their targets, but also on the bystanders and what their role is. I didn’t have a clue how I was going to introduce this to 6 year olds without it going over their head. THEN I remembered a book I had read to my class last year – One by Kathryn Otoshi. It was the PERFECT story to open the discussion about bullying and what bystanders should do. My kids LOVED the book so much they asked me to read it over and over again. I found a youtube clip of Kathryn Otoshi reading One while a group of elementary students acted it out. My kids thought this was the greatest thing ever and are now begging me to let them act it out…of course my answer was YES! Hopefully tomorrow we will have time to do this. I wanted to share this great read and clip. How do you deal with bullying in your class/school?  

P.S Otoshi also wrote the book Zero which is all about self-worth and liking yourself. This is also an excellent book that I highly recommend! I love her and want her to write another book NOW NOW NOW!! 

Wednesday, August 17, 2011


Sooo on Monday I was very brave and decided to go into school to assess the situation in my classroom. I knew there would be A LOT of construction going on. I had packed up my ENTIRE room in June so I wasn’t quite sure what I was in for. HAAAA! 

Cubby areaish…that giant orange thing is a tool box...crazy big right?!

Door leading to main hallway…

Doorway leading to first grade corridor…

The back wall filled with glorious windows overlooking our beautiful garden…I will be able to see it once again I promise- haha!!

More of the back of the room…

So as you all can see....I have my work cut out for me!!! The very nice men working on the rooms said they should be finishing up this week so I've decided to not go back in for a while. No point in re-arranging, cleaning, organizing, and decorating while construction is still taking place. I must say I am loving the brand new white walls I'll have this year. The good side of having to re-do the whole room is starting off fresh...like a blank slate. I hate getting stuck in my old ways of thinking especially when it comes to the layout of my classroom. Wish me luck and I'll be sure to post pictures of the finished room!! 

Now onto a MUCH brighter note- I have found the cutest online shop! I know sometimes I end up wearing the same type of outfits just in different colors because let's be honest...it's easy and at 5 something am...easy is what I am all about!! This e-shop has ADORABLE accessories at AMAZING prices. These are the kinda things I need to make my wardrobe more fun without sending me to the poor house! 

I have a serious scarf obsession and I'm loving this bright number!!

How stinkin' cute?! 

Love day time clutches! I think I need it. 

Nothing like a little bling to brighten your day. 

These are only SOME of the fab finds over at La Mode Accessories. Go and have a look for yourself!

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