Wednesday, October 26, 2011


Ok so I have been terrible about updating this thing, but I still cant figure out how to upload my documents onto here successfully!! I have attempted like 6 posts already and it never works out, and with all the craziness of teaching, as well as trying to get a venue for the wedding reception booked, I haven't really had much time to sit down and fool with it!! I will get the hang of it I promise! However, I do have to ask all of you fabulous and creative teachers out there for some advice! My group this year is a very chatty one. At first it was nothing out of the ordinary and I could normally calm or quiet them down pretty easily, but now they are getting a little excesive with it and don't seem to care who tells them to queiet down or how many time they have to be told. They just keep on going like no one is in the room! Does anyone have any fun or clever incentive or consequence systems to help keep this under control? My smiley face chart and incentive charts only seem to work on a few choice kiddos, and I hate to have to keep punishing the whole class when there are a few who really are trying to follow the rules! So if any of you have any advice, I would GREATLY appreciate it!!
I have also been having a problem with their tidyness at the end of the day. I even have "sweeper" as one of my classroom jobs, but I still come back into the classroom after dismissal to pencil shavings, broken crayons, scraps, and other various objects all over the floor! So, once again my wise and creative blog friends, please PLEASE help me out if you have any clever ideas on how to manage this. I have a few incentives I have tried, but nothing seems to work!! Any and all feedback would be greatly appreciated!! :) I promise promise PROMISE I will post lots of cute and fun ideas that we have been working on really soon! Thank you so much for any help you can offer and I hope you have a great end to your week! I am sure you are all looking forward to the weekend just as much as I am!! :)

Friday, October 21, 2011

Fall Break and Blog makeover!!

Well my friends I managed to get through parent teacher conferences in one piece! I am officially now on fall break and while I LOVE my job, I have to say it was MUCH needed!! As you can see I m in the process of a new blog makeover!! I am still not quite sure how to navigate everything, so any feedbac you could give would be much appreciated!! I promise I will have much more teacher related and fun ideas on here once I get used to everything. Once again, any feedback you could offer to help get my blog going would be absolutely fabulous!!
Okay, one more thing that has absolutely nothing to do with teaching...

Remember that wonderful boyfriend that I mentioned who helped me cut all my pieces out for my door? Well he is now my wonderful FIANCE!! We got engaged last night and I couldn't be happier!! So now in addition to the craziness of being a first grade teacher, I now have a wedding to plan in the middle of it!!! But I am so excited about it! Anyways, I just had to get that out there!
So please let me know if you have any helpful feedback to help get my blog up and running!
Thanks and happy weekend!!!

Saturday, October 15, 2011

S.E.E.D. Binders

Hello Everyone!! Hope your weekend has been as fabulous as mine, with this BEAUTIFUL fall weather we are having here in Indiana! I have been so busy stalking everyone else's blog in my spare time (which is very limited of course), that I haven't taken the time to post my own!! I thought since I am new around these parts I would take a few more posts to show you the basics of my classroom, and then I can show you all the fun cute activities we do! Today's post is going to be all about the love of my life, our S.E.E.D. binders. Some of you may know them as M.O.O.S.E. binders. I snagged this idea from the teacher website The S.E.E.D. is a 2" three ring binder that contains valuable information  for us to reference at all times. It is a great way to keep my kiddos, parents, and (especially myself) organized. This has been the best thing I could have ever done for my classroom! The parents LOVE them, and they are eally easy for the kiddos to transport and keep up with. Mrs. Smith's site has all of the particulars, as well as printables for you to use as your own. There are also TON of acronyms to choose from that will fit with your personal classroom theme. I use S.E.E.D. because of our garden theme, and it stands for Student Excellence and Efficiency Daily. Here is a quick run through of our S.E.E.D. Binders.

Materials needed for each binder:
*A 2" three ring binder (I started this last year second semester and used a 1", and it got waaaayyy too full, and that was only for half the year!!)
* A HEAVY DUTY three way hole punch!
* Sheet protectors, or page dividers
* A plastic ziploc bag
* a pencil zipper pouch
* Incentive charts (optional)
* Homework or take home folder (whatever you normally use to transport homework and other papers back and forth)
*5 sheets of loose leaf notebook paper.
* All of the other contents are completely up to you. You can customize it to fit your school, classroom, and curricular information.
Here is a quick preview of how mine are assembled. Let me know if you would like copies of any of this stuff, and I will upload it for you! :) Enjoy!!

The front of our binders - I got the cover on - LOVE it!!!

This is our homework incentive chart, located on the inside cover of the binder. I laminated them, of course, and for every day they bring in their homework, and have their daily assignment page signed by a parent, they get a checkmark. When they forget something, I give them an X. When they get 5 checkmarks in a row, they get to pick a small toy from the prize box. If they fill up the enitre chart wih checkmarks, they get to draw a card from our incentive box. These are bigger prizes such as getting to sit at the teacher's desk for the day, taking their shoes off during class time, being a helper in another classroom, etc...

This is where the overview page is located. This tells my parents everything about what their child's binder contains. The master letter is located at Mrs. Smith's site listed above, but you can tailor it to fit your classroom needs.

Next we have the pencil pouch, I had my kiddos bring them as part of their school supplies, as well as the binder itself. This little compartment is for all of our math and vocbulary flash cards. We keep our vocabulary words on a word ring, but you would be surprised at how many kiddos still seem to misplace them! This is a great way for them to keep up with their flashcards, and also to keep them looking decent all year long! (Well, as decent as they can look being in the care of 6 and 7 year olds :))

The ziploc baggie is for any money they may need to bring to school. Lunch money, field trip money, book fair, you name it!

This is our daily assignment page. Every morning when they come in, they are responsible for copying down the homework that we have for that night. The first couple weeks were rough, but it has really helped them become more responsible, as well as neater writers. The column next to it is where their behavior for the day goes. We use the smiley face pocket chart, so they can draw the color of smiley face they got for the day. If they moved past green, I usually write a brief description of why underneath. Parents love this because they get to monitor their child's behavior everyday, instead of receiving a surprise phone call from the teacher reporting that their child misbehaved that day!

This is the where the notes between myself and the parents are located. I don't know about you guys, but I have some parents that I never see other than open house and parent teacher conferences, so this is a GREAT way to keep in constant contact with all parents. I have my parents date their notes, so that I know when it was written, and I have them initial the notes I write to them, so I know they read them, even if no response is necessary.

This is where we keep our bi weekly lunch menu, so the kiddos know what we're having ahead of time, in case they want to pack their lunch! (If you look closely, you can see this little darling wrote "bring" next to the lunches she didn't like! LOL)

This is where our classroom rules are located. I put them inside of a sheet protector, so that they stay in good shape! 
The other side of the sheet protector includes my contact information, and a brief desription of the best way to get a hold of me.

This is our poetry section. One of my favorite parts! I pass out poems once to twice a week. I try to use as many seasonal poems to match the month/holiday as I can, but every once in a while I stick some anytime poems in there too! This really helps broaden their knowledge of poems and songs, and also gives them something to do when they have finished an independent task and are waiting for the next step.

Last but not least is where our homework folder goes.

I hope you enjoyed this little peek at our S.E.E.D. binders. Like I said, I HIGHLY recommend them! If you have any questions or would like any of the materials, let me know!!
I am finally off to bed! I need to rest up for this craxy week coming up. We have parent-teacher conferences Monday and Tuesday, but Thursday starts FALL BREAK!!  We only get two days this year, which is a bit of a bummer compared to the 3 days we got last year, and the whole week to TWO weeks the public schools are getting, but a break is a break and I will still take it!! Enjoy the rest of your weekend, and I promise I will get my life together and start posting more!! :)

Wednesday, October 12, 2011

My Classroom

Hey Everyone! Sorry it has taken me so long to get this together! Since I am new to the blogging world, I thought I would start by showing pictures of my classroom. As I said, this was the first year I have actually been able to do things the way I wanted, so I am very excited to show it off! :) If you couldn't tell from the title of my blog, we have a garden theme in our classroom. I worked really hard and had a lot of fun getting this together over the summer, so enjoy! :)

My classroom as a whole with my little darlings thrown in there :)

I couldn't figure out how to make it go the other way, but here is my pride and joy, my door! :) I worked so hard on this all summer! I have to give credit to my sister in law who helped me deisgn it, and my fabulous boyfriend who helped me cut out all the pieces!

Here is our meeting area and our classroom library. The hole is where my calendar is supposed to go, it is STILL on back order! >:(

Here is a book shelf at the entrance of of our classroom library.
 Once again, it took forEVER! The 6th grade teacher at my school just  purchased a Cricut machine this summer, and I had so much fun playing with it, if you couldn't tell!! :)

Bookshelves with reading and writing strategies on the back.
These are our little classroom critters that I let my kiddos take turns taking home. Look familiar? They are the critters from all of the Laura Numeroff books (If You Give a Mouse A Cookie, and so on) At the beginning of the year, I let my kiddos spout off ideas of names for each one. I  make sure to tell them to come up with names that start with the same letter as the animal name.  Once I have four or five good ones, we close our eyes and vote. This year, we have Petunia the Pig, Caroline the Cat, Mason the Moose, and Marvelous the Mouse..  I use them to teach responsibility, and also to help them with their writing skills. I go down the line alphabetically and let them choose which animal they would like to take home. Each animal has a notebook, in which the child has to write a paragraph about their night with the animal. My kiddos had a ball with this last year! We haven't started it this year yet, we will probably start second quarter, after fall break. :)

A closer look at my book baskets in our classroom library. I wish I could give credit to the site I got my book basket labels from, but I searched so many sites this summer, I honestly don't remember! :(

Here is a pocket chart that I display our weekly spelling words on. I have found this really helpful for the children to reference to, especially when doing reading centers or spelling sheets independently. At the top are their reading center groups and center assignments.

Our discpline chart. I found this little guy on, which is basically where I LIVED over the summer, and where half of my life savings went! :o

Another sideways picture... grr >:(
This is our Awesome Author Award Board. Each month, we honor a different author by learning fun facts about them, as well as reading various books written by them. 

My word  family caterpillar! Another fun reallygoodstuff find! It comes in handy every day, and the kiddos love finding words to put on there! :)

This is our vocabulary word wall, or "Garden of great vocabulary", as we call it! :)  This is where we put all of our weekly vocabulay words. I put them up at the beginning of each week as I introduce the words.

Here are my birthday flowers...You can't really see them because of the glare, but each pot has the month written on them and the petals have the students' names who have birthdays in that month, followed by the number date of their birthday. My boyfriends mom made me the valance to hide all my junk on my stoarge shelf!

Our computer area

This is where they keep their book bins for reader's workshop. They have a blue folder that they keep their reading center papers in all week.
This is also where they keep their guided reading book, and one other book they are reading for fun!

Our tooth chart and my guided reading pocket chart. I keep each groups guided reading lesson plans in a different folder. It helps me keep my head on straight! :)

Our sticker incentive chart. This is where I reward the kiddos who are showing extraordinary effort or behavior. I give them a sticker every time I "catch" them doing the right thing. When they fill their chart, they get to draw a card out of a little box. The cards have various incentives printed up on them, such as "get a drink whenever you want for a while day", sit at the teacher's desk, lead morning meeting, etc..

Our 100 day chart! Gotta love!! :)

This is where all of our materials and manipulatives  for our reading centers go.

This is where all of our extra writing supplies are kept. Extra pencils, crayons, markers, per, glue sticks, etc... I also have a bin for their rulers and scissors that they bring in at the beginning of the year. I found last year that some of them cannot handle having such fun objects in their desk, so we just keep them all in the same place. The bottom shelf stores our pennies, nickels, and dimes that the children are asked to bring in at the beginning of the year for math!

Ok I swear this is not an ad for reallygoodstuff, but I love LOVE this purchase! Each morning I post a different question they can answer about themselves. (Sample questions are listed on the back of each piece)  This has helped tremendously with our graphing skills!!
Each morning when they come in , children are expected to read the question, and put their name in the appropriate column. One of our end of the day jobs is to clear the magnets off of the graph, and as you can see, my kiddos love putting them in crazy patterns and formations!

My teacher's guide shelf. This is motly teachers guides, but I have a few extras on there, such as linking cubes, pattern blocks, and a basket full of stickers! :)

These are our "mailboxes" where I keep their weekly folders that go home every Monday.This is also where I file their graded papers that also go in the folders. 
My filing cabinet wit hthe best hole punch EVER on top! It can seriously take like 100 pieces at a time and hole punch them perfectly! My paretner teacher gave me the cute little C as a back to school gift! :)

Our indoor recess toys

This is where they hang their coats...

My desk! Yes, I konw flowers is not centered and it drives me crazyyyy! I can't get it to fit and still have room for the flowers though.... :(

Weekly drawers to keep my papers for each day in, along with our Saxon Math tubs, a fun little three-drawer organizer, and our recyling bin!

Our guided reading station!

Our board that tells us which specials are which days, "Miss Sims, when do we have "m usic today?", or "What tme is P.E.?" I got the ladybugs and little vines around them at a teacher store in Louisville called KSS :)

So there ya have it! Theyre kind of in a random order, but I just thought I would post a few things from my classroom to share with you guys. I found all of the customized garden printouts and such on They have some great printouts and posters of almost ANY classroom theme for only 99 cents! Let me know if you would like more details and I can give clearer directions of how to find the materials!
Thanks for being patient with me during my first official blog! I am sure it looks a little rough, so any advice or feedback you have would be appreciated! :) Happy Thursday tomorrow, that means it's almost FRIDAY! I hope you all have a great end to your week, and I look forward to hearing any feedback or comments! :) 

Saturday, October 8, 2011

New Comer!

Hi everyone! Welcome to my blog! I have been browsing around for a few months and have seen all these incredible teacher blogs, and it has inspired me to try one of my own! I teach first grade at my old elementary school and I absolutely love it! This is my second year teaching. Last year I literally got thrown into the position. I was hired two days before school started, so I didn't really have time to set up my room and do things the way I wanted to. This year I feel SO much more prepared and had a great time this summer getting everything together and being able to do things the way I had always dreamed! :)

 This is my first blog, and I don't really know how to navigate it yet so it might look a little rough! I am hoping to post pictures and ideas from my first grade class on here, but not sure if it will be successful or not! :p I have been looking around, and seen some pretty awesome blogs out there, so any advice you guys could give me would be great!