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 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 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'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!

Wednesday, August 3, 2011

Teachers Notebook: Ideas worth sharing...

OK I just found an amazzzzing website similar to TpT. Most of you probably know about Teachers Notebook already, but if you don’t- go now!! Some of my favorite blogging ladies sell their items and some are even FREE!

Just thought I’d pass along my newly learned info…Hope you are all enjoying this beautiful day!

Sunday, July 10, 2011

Taking a little break...

How sweet is summer time?! Ahhhh I am loving every single second of summer vacation this year. A few girlfriends and I rented a place on a tiny little island off of Long Island for the month of July. I am having SUCH a fabulous time, but since there isn’t any internet access (ahhh can you imagine?!- haha- it is actually REALLY nice to be cut off from the world) I won’t be updating this little blog until August when I am back on mainland for good.

A beautiful sunrise....

Bottling up moments like these for the fall/winter time! 

I hope everyone is enjoying their time off and recharging!! See you in a few weeks my friends!

Monday, June 27, 2011

Ed Emberley!!

Math and art oh boy!! Two of the books that were shared at the recent math conference I attended were Picture Pie 1 and Picture Pie 2 by Ed Emberley. OMG. What great ideas for teaching geometry, parts of a whole, spatial sense and so much more! Not to mention excellent fine motor skill practice with all of the tracing and cutting involved!! He shows you how to divide shapes into fractional pieces to create animals, designs, flowers, clowns and SO MUCH more!!

 Some cute creations from the conference. Us adults had so much fun-haha!

The activities in these books sort of remind me of TLC Art projects except now I am looking at them through a math lens. Isn’t it funny how lessons/activities change based off how you are looking at and thinking about them?!

I plan to use these books next year to teach shapes, fractions (fold the circle in half once and what do you have? ½ …fold that in half again and what do you have? ¼) The creativity and brilliant visuals of these activities are sure to get my students excited about math!! Look at this and this and this!! Again, you can find these activities and many more over at Ed Emberley's website. Click on activities and have a look around!! 

How do you get your students excited about math while teaching these hard to understand, yet oh so important concepts?! I'd love to hear! 

Wednesday, June 22, 2011

Math on The Brain!!

 I have been attending a math conference this week and man oh man…I never thought I could spend 8 hours a day learning about math AND then coming home to want to work on how this is really going to look in my classroom, but here I am!! 

Again, my school is going to start Investigations in the fall. So far I have noticed that there are 2 major points that are different in Investigations than what we are used to and currently doing.

1 WHAT concepts are taught (quality vs. quantity) Number sense is done over and over and over again because research shows this is where kids get completely lost in the older grades if not mastered in the beginning. No more fact memorizing…this does not transfer when kids are asked to do higher level thinking. I honestly wish I was taught with a bigger idea concept in mind way back when I was a little one. I feel as if I have to un-learn most of what I know about numbers and their relationships with each other. 

2. HOW the concepts are taught. Investigations is taught through the Math Workshop format as opposed to whole group instruction.

What does this mean for the teachers at our school?! I think it means we really need to re-learn mathematical concepts to make sure we are confident in the content we will be teaching. The leaders from the Institute of Math Teachers have really emphasized that perseverance is a giant component of math. They keep telling us to not be so quick to “help” the child that is struggling because students need to understand that working towards the answer is a KEY part of the process. If they don’t get the answer the first, second or maybe even third time they need to have the resilience to continue trying. Patience will need to be a priority for sure!

 I also think it means we need to be ready to experiment, practice and MAKE MISTAKES! For many of the teachers at my school (myself included) this will be the first time doing a true Math Workshop format. It is much less teacher based and MUCH more student centered. I know I’m behind on the times, but hey it’s never too late…right? :/

That sounds all great, but WHERE DO WE START?!

I think the first place I need to start is setting up the classroom to fit a Math Workshop learning environment. This is where I come to you my bloggy friends…How do you organize your math manipulatives? Does each table/group of students have their own container with each different set of manipulatives or do you have math tubs with baggies of the manipulatives separated for each group?

Investigations is big on student choice stations. Again, that sounds wonderful, but how do you manage and track which station each child has visited? A work board or individual tracking sheets?! I’m sorry if I sound like I am over thinking this…I just know come September I am going to be so overwhelmed with setting up my classroom, back to school routines, meeting my new little babies etc. I want to try and map this out now and not wait until then. 

In preparation for the first unit: How Many of Each? I have taken the game Collect 20 Together and tweaked it a bit. I hope you can use this with your kids!

Thank you for listening to my rant-haha! Sometimes I just need to get it out and then I am ready to plan my next move!

I am looking forward to this new adventure, but definitely have my work cut out for myself!! DEEP breaths Erin- I can do this!! ;)

Monday, June 20, 2011

Math Madness!!

So school ended on Friday and it was REALLY hard saying goodbye to my babies!! I did it though and made them all promise to come and visit me when they are big bad second graders. I don’t know what the heck I was thinking, but I had signed up for a math conference starting today and going all the way until Thursday. AHHH!!! I spent the entire day with Mathematicians and math teachers from the Institute For Teaching Mathematics. Who ever knew math could be described as beautiful?! Man they are a different breed!!- haha!

My school will be switching to Investigations in the fall and it seems to be very different than what we have now. I am eager to see how it will go. What program do you guys have at your schools?

Anyway, I have A LOT of new ideas and projects I am working on, but I wanted to post a GREAT video I just found on If you haven’t been over to that site yet….GO NOW!!!

I hope to share with you some of my creations this week. I hope everyone is resting, relaxing and enjoying their summer break!!

Monday, June 13, 2011

Math Websites/Games

Hi friends! This is my last week in school and man do I have A LOT to do!! My entire first grade team and I need to pack up our classrooms because they are re-doing our ceilings. UGGGH!!! This is SO not going to be fun! :(

Over the course of the year I have sent home math websites on my weekly homework letters. They are typically games for the kids to play to review the topic we are covering that week. I had a few parents request all of the sites on one piece of paper. They said they really liked them and wanted their kids to use them over the summer.

I also plan on putting together a list of suggested ipad apps for those parents who have them. Hopefully I will post that list this week also.

Hope everyone is enjoying their week!

Thursday, June 9, 2011

ActivBoard Conference

So it is a whopping 94 degrees here in NYC and I feel like I am MELTING!!! My friend Nancy (Hi darling!) and I went to an ActivBoard conference today. We had to go all the way uptown to Harlem and just in case you were wondering...there was NO AC!!! EHHH-YIKES! However, we did manage to learn a few tips and tricks. Plus we had amazing soul food at Harlem’s BBQ and highly recommend it if you’re in the area! 

One of the ActivEducators told us about an author on Promethean Planet who makes awesome resources for flipcharts at NO COST!!! Those of you that have ActivBoards need to become familiar with Promethean Planet because it is a wonderful resource for already made flipcharts and accessories if you want to create your own. The best part is most of them are FREE!!! Anyway, I am constantly on there searching for flipcharts I can tweak to fit my students’ needs (why re-invent the wheel…right?!) The author’s name is Kelly Gilchrist and you can search for her resources right where it says Search Resources (I promise it’s that easy!) I don’t know who this Ms. Gilchrist is, but I am glad I found out about her. I cannot wait to use her ready-made stuff next year!!! Thank you Kelly!!

Do any of you have ActivBoards in your classrooms? What are some of your favorite things to do with them? 

I cannot wait until summer break so I can finally have some time to blog, and create new learning materials for my new group of little people! Oh and let's not forget some time to relax and recharge...ahhh sooooo excited!  :)

Wednesday, May 18, 2011

Family Unit

We only have a few weeks left of school, but we still need to cover our Family unit. I am feeling very rushed this year, but the show must go on! During our Family Unit the students will write family stories, poetry and share special family moments with our class.  
I cannot attached photos right now- Jeez Blogger you're killing me over here! However, you can download the Family Journal cover I have created here.

and the list of topics I will have the children write about here.  Our writing genre for the end of the year will be recount so true family stories fits right in. We also have the kids make timelines of their life from the ages of 0-7 which turn out so super cute. I will write a seperate post of those little bad boys later this week!

Do any of you teach a Family Unit and if so what is your favorite learning activitiy?

Saturday, May 7, 2011

Happy Mother's Day

Happy Mother’s Day to all the mommies out there!! I have my students Authors’ Reading this morning where they will be sharing their AMAZING poetry with their families. It is also the book fair and international food festival. It is always such a fun day.

Yesterday my kids made the sweetest Mother’s Day portraits of their moms. I got the idea from Lesson Plans SoS and Oh' Boy 3rd Grade. I also had the kids make the top ten reasons why their mom was the best (from What the Teacher Wants). 

 I love how this little cutie created a veil for his mom's portrait!

They turned out SO freakin’ cute!!! I was dying at some of their choices for their moms. They made them look so close to the real thing it was unbelievable. I will definitely be doing this project next year!!! 

Have a lovely weekend friends!!

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