Tuesday, July 31, 2012

Summer Shopping Linky Party!

Hey there! I'm linking up with Kristen over at Ladybug's Teacher Files for her Summer Shopping Linky Party.
This linky party came just in time, because last night I went to Target and this morning I stopped by WalMart and The Dollar Tree.  Here are my awesome finds:
Yes, that's right.  There are FIVE purple pocket charts in the picture.  I could not help myself.  I know they have these perfect little pocket charts every year, but I honestly was in awe over the purple!  I truly don't think I've seen purple pocket charts before.  Anyway, I had to pick up the cute star border and the sponge brushes.  I love the glitter pom poms and will use them for many things throughout the year.
On to WalMart...surprisingly I've found way more at WalMart this year than Target.
WalMart haul

Love these name tags in rainbow-ish colors!
I could not resist these folders.  I don't {love} all of them...I bought them for the striped rainbow pattern and the polka-dotted pattern.  I am OBSESSED with the striped one.
These were just way too cute to pass up.  There are about a zillion things I can imagine using them for.
These are for my "jewel jar."  It was broken at the end of last year, so one of my projects is making a new one.  I'll share that with you when it's finished.

Last stop, Dollar Tree...

Why so empty?  Well friends, sadly I found not.one.thing. at Dollar Tree. I've been so disappointed with their teacher materials lately.  I used to go in there and find all kinds of unique stuff to put to use...but this summer, nada.  Anyone experience that? 
Hope you enjoyed reading about my shopping! 
Keep sparkling!

Sunday, July 29, 2012

Books, Batman, and Bane

For this post, I've linked up with Amanda at One Extra Degree

So, I spent my first afternoon of many in my classroom yesterday.  I've been in and out all summer, but usually with my 17 month-old son (who gets into EVERYTHING, that's why there is a beachball on the floor) or meeting with the new teacher I'm mentoring.  Yesterday was the first I could really dig in and try to get some order back in the place.  At the end of last year, I had a SMARTboard installed which is awesome!  But, I never really got my room the way I wanted it.  So, now my goal is to make all of my things work around the SMARTboard.  Here's what I walked into...ugh, cue shortness of breath, rapid heartbeat, and flat-out anxiety attack:

I walked in there with a to-do list, but of course got side-tracked.  I was putting supplies away when I finally admitted that my closet was an absolute mess.  So I completely re-organized it and now I am in LOVE with that closet.  Since I didn't plan on doing it, I don't have any before/after shots.  Blast!

But, I did get my classroom library back in order. 
Here's the before, notice the shelves are still covered from when I packed the room up in June:

Here are some after shots:
Classroom Library

Classroom Library

Leveled Book Baskets

Tomie dePaola and Eric Carle baskets

I organize my library with tags I've made in a pink/green theme.  These tags probably have about one good year left in them and then next year I'll be doing something new.  The books are sorted either by level (if they are the type of book that are easily leveled, ex: Magic Tree House, Rookie Readers), by the month that I use them, or by subject area. 

Onto Batman and Bane.  So, my husband and I saw Batman Friday night and I left there completely obsessed with Bane's voice.  Has anyone else been intrigued?  The jury is still out on whether I like it or not.  I did my best Bane impression the whole way home and ended up sounding like Ross from "Friends" saying, "I'm the holiday armadillo!"  My husband then informed me that I sound like Ross every time I do an impression.  

If you haven't yet downloaded my freebie high-frequency word packet, check it out in my TPT store.  I've also added a few new products that will be really helpful in starting the school year off on the right foot.  I have newly added everything you'll need to create a class directory, so helpful for parents.  And the best news is, it's only $1.00!!!
Click here to visit my store!
Keep sparkling!
(Speaking of sparkling, check out this super sparkly, super pink tree I got at Michael's for $1.80. I heart it.

Thursday, July 26, 2012

Back to School with Chrysanthemum by Kevin Henkes


Kevin Henkes is one of my favorite author/illustrators.  Making connections to his books comes naturally to my students.  He really seems to understand the feelings of many young students, such as pride, embarassment, anxiety, loneliness, and excitement.  These are all feelings students might experience as they head into your classroom in the first few weeks of school. 

Books like Wemberly Worried, Chyrsanthemum, and Lilly's Purple Plastic Purse are great books to use at the beginning of the school year in kindergarten, first, or second grade. I personally make soooo many text-to-self connections with Wemberly Worried!!!  Not only are they good for students to use to make connections, but they also lend themselves well to many cross-curricular skills. 

I have created a packet of five activities to use with Chrysanthemum and posted it in my TPT store.  These are unique activities which focus on graphing, the alphabet, comparing/contrasting, and more. Included is a parent letter and class book page for each student to complete to tell the story of how their name was chosen.  What a special book this is for the class to treasure!  It makes EVERYONE feel special.  I include a page for myself to help my students relate to me on a personal level.  Check out a free preview of this packet HERE.  It includes a usable freebie page.  If you like what you preview, download the packet today, so you'll be ready to head back to school with a packet of activities that are engaging and ready-to-use.

Keep sparkling!

For this post, I've linked up with Chrissy at First Grade Found Me.

Tuesday, July 24, 2012

Making the Most of High-frequency Words and a freebie!

Back to school, back to school, seriously, back to school???? 
One important skill to review in the first few weeks first grade are kindergarten high-frequency words.  My district uses the Houghton Mifflin reading series to guide our curriculum.  We are pretty much "required" to teach the skills from the series, although we are fortunate to be given a lot of freedom in our delivery of these skills. 
Therefore, we teach the high-frequency words used in the series.  At the beginning of first grade, our theme is called, "Back to School."  There are 18 high-frequency words reviewed from kindergarten in this theme.  I use the word cards provided in the teacher's manual like in the photo

Then I photocopy them for my students to cut, have them find and circle them (or write them) in their student dictionaries, and send them home in their "words to learn" envelope.  Here's a picture of that envelope:
I also have created a really useful resource to review all of these words.  It contains 18 pages of a variety of activities to review the high-frequency words.  And hooray, it's free in my TPT store. 

Click here to head to my store to download this great free product!
Now that school is just around the corner, I'll be posting frequently!  Check back often for more great ideas!
Keep sparkling!

Monday, July 23, 2012

Welcome to Shining and Sparkling in First Grade! I am a first grade teacher who loves to relive my childhood by showering my firsties with glitter, stickers, rainbows, and unicorns.  Even with the increased rigor and workload on our young first graders, I'm passionate about keeping some SPARKLE in first grade.  I'm excited to start the 2012-2013 school year as a blogger!  I teach in a small town, but big school, on the east coast.  I'm excited to share my ideas with you and to link you to the awesome ideas I find on other blogs.  This year will mark my 12th (!) year teaching.  I have improved so much as a teacher since I started following blogs.  I hope you will be able to leave here with an idea or two that you can use!
Keep sparkling!