Tuesday, January 31, 2012

Penguin Unit

I have been doing a penguin unit with my firsties for the past few years, but decide to step up my game this time around, with help from all the ideas I saw on Pinterest and TPT.  When the kids returned from Christmas vacation they found our door decorated like this.  I saw something similar on Pinterest, I only changed to say 2012 instead of winter.  The kids loved it!  Then I used Lindsey's Penguin Fareebie to introduce the unit.  The kids filled out their information about what they knew and wanted to know.  Through the month of January we read several penguin non-fiction books and watched The March of the Penguins.  I also read several stories with penguins as characters to the kids and to start our own penguin stories we watched Happy Feet.  This turned out to be a great way to help the kids brainstorm for ideas for the template Lindsey provides in her packet.  We also completed centers that were penguin based during D5 time.  The kids LOVED all the ones I got from Made for 1st Grade on TPT.  With our 4th grade buddies we made glyphs from Jennifer's TPT store.  I used the cute daddy penguin and the bonus glyph to create this hallway display.  We had the penguin buddies walking towards an igloo labeled Holy Redeemer and 3 larger penguins with our names.  Along the way we posted a speech bubble saying you can talk the talk but can you waddle the waddle it take faith, academic and service, which was this years theme to Catholic Schools Week.  They looked SO cute!!! 

As the final part I had the kids make their penguin reports.  I got this template from The Mailbox about 3 years ago and I love it!  I love how cute the penguins look all line up.  For these the kids just have to write one fact per page and then illustrate their fact.  I use this to discuss non-fiction text features.  I think the reason I love this unit son much is because penguins are so cute and it allows my kids to use so many their talents.  This years additions made the unit even more fun and tied in perfectly for the next post I am doing...


Saturday, January 28, 2012

Martin Luther King Jr.

     I teach social studies to both first grades at HR and have come to realize that there are not a lot of fun resources or ideas out there.  So in hopes of helping any other social studies teachers out will post pictures and links of anything we do.  For MLK Day read Martin's Big Words and showed parts of his I have  dream speech.  We also discussed segregation and touched briefly on Rosa Parks.  I then had the kids color a school bus and put people of all colors in the windows in random order.  My kids made the picture of Martin that Cara showed on her blog.  Lastly they wrote about their dreams for their family, school and world.  I picked one and had them write in on this paper from Classroom Freebies.  
     I have to be honest and tell you all that this years lesson was a bit harder because my own sweet AJ is in the other first grade and I couldn't really use my normal example of "if things were still the same I couldn't be your teacher".  I have always found it hard to explain to sweet innocent faces that in our countries past people were not as accepting, but this year to have to look at my little girl and tell her that she wouldn't have been allowed to do many things she enjoys so much was even harder.  Thankfully, as has happened every year since I started at HR, the kids think it ridiculous pretty silly.  This year I have decided to make Black History Month more about celebrating African American accomplishments than history.  I still plan to talk about Ruby Bridges because its one of my favorite stories and think it is the perfect example of someone living Jesus's teachings, I mean really she stopped and prayed for all those people screaming at her!  Anyone else have good social studies ideas/lessons?     


Thursday, January 26, 2012

A Day in My Shoes...

A Day in the Life
Hoping maybe if I keep joining linky parties I will blog more.  This time its Miss Klohn from Adventures of a 6th Grade Teacher and her day in my shoes party.  I actually have all the pics from a day in the life that I did at the beginning of January sitting in my camera and iPhone but can't seem to find the time to upload and post them so this is perfect timing!

Here is a typical Wednesday (actually yesterday wasn't typical) for 1B and Ms. Lovelace...

  • 5:35- Alarm goes off for hubby and "supposedly" I grunt to turn it off.  
  • 5:50- Time for my shower, getting dressed and since Jan 1st... MAKEUP 
  • 6:20- Start doing girly hair for my little ladies and make sure teeth are brushed well.  
  • 6:45-7 Get downstairs grab my egg muffins and jump in the car.  (I am lucky that my dh normally loads the cars and warms up breakfast for me and the kiddos).  On a good day I am out by 6:50 but some days, there are kid emergencies and we aren't pulling out of the driveway till 7.
  • 7:10- Yesterday was a good day and we were in the car early so I was able to stop for a Red Bull.  FYI Red Bull = Happy Momma/Happy Teacher
  • 7:45:  Get to school and begin unloading all my 88,000 bags.
  • 8:00: Greet my sweeties and finish chatting with my awesome coworkers.  Yesterday 3 of us were discussing Catching Fire.  The Hunger Games are my guilty pleasure, well that and Red Bull.
  • 8:15-8:20:  Morning Prayer and Announcements
  • 8:20-8:45: I have the kids do morning work, yesterday they had D.L.A and a long i worksheet.  Meanwhile I had the genius idea to rearrange my desk on the way to work and decide to implement it throughout the day.  Why I do these things to myself I may never know.
  • 8:45-9:45: Reading Groups/Daily 5, yesterday we discussed "Super Sneaky Silent E" and Generating Questions.  During one round the kids got to pick there center and during the second I had them work in pairs to read our weekly story and generate questions.  They totally LOVED Super Sneaky Silent E and using my smelly markers to make our anchor chart for question starters.  
  • 9:45-10;00:  Morning Snack during this time I pretty much kept moving my desk to the back and started rearranging our listening center.  
  • 10:00-10:25:  Morning recess, thankfully I did not have duty and was able to run and make some copies for later in the day.
  • 10:30-11:05:  French, 2nd semester my kids have French.  We have foreign language in our classroom and I normally try and get out the room for a bit but yesterday I was busy moving things around and sorting through my stacks of papers.  
  • 11:05-11:50:  Reading/Grammar,  I finished reading Inch by Inch.  We had stopped the part where the inch worm starts measuring the mockingbirds song so each kid could draw and write a prediction of what they thought would happen next.  We discussed predictions and reviewed is vs. are.  
  • 11:50-12:20:  Kids Recess= my lunch, yesterday we had our team meeting and discussed Catholic Schools Week and different service projects we could do.  
  • 12:20-12:50:  Kids Lunch, I am normally with them during this time but have recently spent my Wednesdays discussing students and strategies with our reading specialist.  
  • 12:50-1:30:  Math which was super exciting for my firsties yesterday as I handed out their rulers and we began making line segments.  Though I wasn't too fond of Saxon Math when I started 5 years ago, I can honestly say I do love their guided practice and homework sheets.  Each one seems touch on almost every skill we have discussed.  
  • 1:30-2:10:  PE for my class and my planning period.  While I finished my move and started construction paper for Jenn Bates's Me on the Map social studies project, my aid finished our Catholic Schools Week/Lent bulletin board.
  • 2:10-2:40:  Penguin Unit time--- we read another non fiction penguin book and used a measuring stick to see how tall different penguins are.  I also gave the kids the penguin templates for their penguin reports.  Somewhere during this time we had a l-o-n-g discussion about why I was moving my desk and getting rid of a table.  I also realized at this point I hadn't eaten anything since having a cheese stick at snack and promptly opened a bag of chips I found.  
  • 2:40-3:00:  Pack-up and dismissal
  • 3:00-3:45:  Tutor 
  • 4:00 leave to pick my littles and return to my Mommy duties.  You know homework, dinner, stories, yadda yadda yadda

And that friends was my Wednesday.  I can't wait to pop over and about other teacher days!!  I am sooo nosy, I swear I blog stalk instead of watching TV.

Hoping to post

  • room update with pics, as soon as I finish
  • pics from our penguin unit
  • MLK display


Monday, January 9, 2012


I am participating in Oh' Boy 4th Grade's "Currently Linky Party" in celebration of her 1000+ followers!  Congrats to Farley and thanks for all your great ideas!    

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Saturday, January 7, 2012

New Year, New Me?

Couldn't help but use such a title!  This year I decided to take some time and evaluate what I really wanted to change and improve on during 2012.  I decided to take a week (cough, cough) and see what I need to change to have a bigger impact on my day to day life.  I am posting a day in the life pre-resolution on my family blog and hope to do a if everything goes as planned day in the life next Tuesday.  I decided to make a resolution for every aspect of my life.  I hopes that making it all public will help me stick to it--- Here goes

  • Physically- I am going to run 3 times a week and reach my goal of running a 10k this year.  Hey who doesn't start with looks?  This year I am focusing or my running goals and hoping my weight just falls into place.  I can't complain since I had my youngest I have done a good job getting closer to my goal and I think it is all because of running.  Now if for some reason my feet don't allow me to run much longer then I will find a way to work out 3 times a week.  
  • Professionally-  I am going to be better organized and dedicate more time to my guided reading lessons.  I think I have finally found a way to organize my materials and classroom so I am happy there.  (Thanks Erica Bohrer for all the tips!)
  • Blogging wise I just want to post more regularly.  I have a post coming on who I really am as a teacher that will alleviate some of the stress I have about what I need to contribute to this "teaching blog business".  I also want to post more on our family blog as I hope to one day make it into a book for my kids of their childhood.  
  • With my kids (AJ, Ko and Pie) I am going to spend more time doing the things they like.  I am not sure if this is case with all children of teachers but sometimes I feel like I give so much to my students all day I really don't have the energy to make meaningful connections with my true number ones.
  • With my Guish I am going to focus on making decisions together and dedicating some time each week to us.
  • Just for me- 
    • I am work on getting out of school before 5:00, so I don't rush to pick up the littles.  
    • Not bringing work home during the week.
    • meal planning 2 weeks out 
    • wear makeup! 
    • seeing my girlfriends once a month  
And there you go my resolutions for 2012.  I could throw in lots of other areas I want to improve but that would require me to type all night.  I will however post some pics from Christmas break.  What can I say I can't help but brag and show off my sweethearts.  

 The girls and I at the National Zoo's Zoo Lights

 Guish and the "Terror Squad" as my Mom calls them 

 My Koey and me

 Ko on Christmas Eve

My 3 on Christmas Eve