Thursday, August 30, 2012

First Grade Myself Pictures

Today was our 6th day of school. It's gone by like a FLASH! The first few weeks of school always seem like a whirlwind. It's been busy and fun meeting all the eager to learn first graders in my class.

It's a getting to know each other time. The children write and share about themselves and create a "Myself Picture" to put up on our walls.

It's a 3-step process.

Step 1: I give the children a 12" x 18" piece of white construction paper. They draw a BIG picture of themselves. They color it, trace the outline of their body in black, and cut it out.

{I then glue them to a colored piece of construction paper.}

Step 2: The children glue precut squares of fabric to their pictures for their clothing. {This year I had them paint the squares on with liquid starch. I won't do that again . . . LOTS of dripping!} They take strands of yarn and glue the hair in place.

Step 3: It's time for embellishments.

buttons, sequins, jewels {They love these.}, ribbons
 Feathers are a great one to use, too.

The children use a variety of embellishments to decorate their pictures. It's usually a good time to use up some of the leftover craft items from prior projects. I was fortunate enough to have a volunteer who helped the children as they demonstrated their creativity on this last step. 

A few of the finished pictures:

The pictures go up on our walls tomorrow. I love displaying them. They always light up the classroom. I keep them up for parents to see on Back to School Night. The names are covered, and the parents try to guess which one belongs to their child. It's always a fun activity. 

Dont' you just love first graders' art?

Saturday, August 25, 2012

Twitter Link Up and Blog Hop

Twitter Linky

I absolutely LOVE learning new things. I think that's why I enjoy teaching. It just plain excites me when I find that a child is understanding something new, and I can see the delight on his or her face. 

Well, I wish you could have seen the delight on my face when I found this Twitter Link Up. It's just what I needed. I'm just beginning to learn about and use Twitter and not sure exactly how best to use it. Simply Kinder has a fantastic post on Twitter for Teachers and Teacher Bloggers. I've been looking for just this information. {Click on the picture to find out more.}

If you want to learn with me and link up your blog post, visit Simply Kinder. You can join the blog hop below. Just link a direct link to your Twitter. And find some great new people to follow!

Friday, August 24, 2012

Freebie Friday Link Up

I'm ending the Teacher Week by linking up with Blog Hoppin' for FREEBIE FRIDAY.

I use many of Margaret Wise Brown's children's literature books in my teaching. One of her books that I've had for many years is the Little Golden Book®, Things I Like. 

It's a great book to use at the beginning of the year as children are writing and sharing about themselves. I love all the adjectives she uses to go along with the things "I Like."

I created some book covers and pages that could be compiled into individual books and used as extension activities with Margaret Wise Brown's book, Things I Like. They can also be used as an "All About Me" writing activity.

Click on the picture to download the book covers and pages for FREE. I hope your students enjoy writing about the things they like. 

Wednesday, August 22, 2012

Back to School Expo

Don't miss out on the Teachers Notebook Back to School Expo August 25 to September 1, 2012.

Get inspired for the start of a new school year.

You won't want to miss out on this AMAZING deal. For a $10.00 contribution, you will get the following:

A ticket to the event ($19.95 value)
30% discount on hundreds of items
Over $100 worth of items in the Goodie Bag
and two teachers will get free tickets to the event.

Click on the picture to go to the VIRTUAL TEACHING EXPO site to purchase a ticket.

Five amazing speakers will present:

Reading Success by Annie Moffatt from The Moffat Girls
Technology Tools for Teachers by Cara Whitehead from Teaching . . . My Calling
Classroom Decorating 101 by Melanie Ralbusky from Schoolgirl Style
Classroom Environment and Back to School Procedures by Eric and Brian from Wise Guys
Creating a Fun Math Environment with Math Journals by Yvonne from MixMinder

Have a great BACK to SCHOOL!

Tuesday, August 21, 2012

Technology Tip Tuesday Link Up

Today I'm linking up with Blog Hoppin' for Technology Tip Tuesday.

I want to share two Internet sites we use in the classroom.

The first one is

This site has online language arts and math games and activities for children in grades K-5.

The students in my class use this site for language arts practice and review. It's a great site for word work activities, because children can work on sight word recognition, ABC order, letter recognition, word bingo, spelling practice, and others. They especially love using the magnet letters to make words on the refrigerator. The activities are engaging and include sound.

The students also use a writing/drawing program called Tux Paint. It's a computer art software program for children that can be downloaded for free.

I have the students type words, sentences, and stories using the program. They illustrate their writing and are able to print a copy of it. The program is easy and fun to use.

Check out all the Technology Tip links at Blog Hoppin'.

Monday, August 20, 2012

Must Haves Monday Link Up

I am joining the link up at Blog Hoppin' for Must Haves Monday.

I thought I'd show you a few items I used last year that are now on my MUST HAVE list.

The students use name tags the first couple days of school and are required to wear name tags on some of our field trips.

I love these plastic name tags and lanyards from Lakeshore®.

I like to make my own name tags to put in the plastic holders. I type the names and add graphics. The lanyards are ideal, because they have velcro in the back, so children can easily take them off and on without having to put them over their heads. 

They're also fun to use in the classroom for special group activities.

I also found a solution for moving name plates on desks. Periodically students change desks. I wanted a simple and {quick} way to move the name plates from one desk to another.

I use name plate vinyl sleeves.
This is a picture of a name plate vinyl sleeve from Really Good Stuff. The sleeve sticks to the desk. The name plates can easily be changed. 

These are the actual name plates I use:

Picture from Lakeshore® 

The students have larger reference tools they use, but I like that these are a quick reference. 

Be sure to visit all the Blog Hoppin' blog links to see more Monday MUST HAVES.

Sunday, August 19, 2012

Morning Message

I will be back to school on Monday, and our students start back on Thursday. Most of the time will be spent at trainings and meetings, so I've recently been at school preparing the classroom, making copies, and preparing and laminating materials.

In preparation, I wrote our first morning message.

On the first day of school, our day will start with the students reading the MORNING MESSAGE. This will become a daily ritual.

I start the year with a simple message:

It's a choral reading. I use a pointer and point to the words. I will have students who can read the entire message independently, some who may recognize a few words, and others who are just beginning to sound out the beginning sounds of some words. 

I always have students who are surprised to hear me ask them to read it. I've even had some respond by saying, "But I can't read!" But, they "read" along as we read together.

It doesn't take long before most students are reading the morning messages with confidence. Some students even eagerly sit down as the morning begins to see how much they can read on their own. I'm always amazed by their growth and enthusiasm.

Most of the time the morning message is on the board before the students enter the room. Sometimes I write it as the students watch me. I give them opportunities to see "how" I write. I think out loud as I write and talk about content, language conventions, spacing, the structure of sentences, and vocabulary.

As the year progresses, I include specific spelling patterns, vocabulary, and sight words that the children are learning. The students participate in identifying specific sound spellings, sight words, vocabulary words, and conventions. I use the morning message for a variety of writing mini-lessons.

The students use wikki stix, highlighting tape, markers, highlighters, and other tools. These help to engage the students.

Wikki Stix can be used to circle and underline. They will stick to a surface but will pull off easily. They can be used over and over again. These are from Lakeshore®.

Highlighting tape can be used to cover a specific letter, word, or mark. The students can see thru the tape, so it can be left on and used for extra practice. The tape can be reused. These are from Lakeshore®.

I have the students use these when working with text in big books and independent reading books.

Two resources I use for morning message "ideas" are:

Quip Tips! Morning Message

Getting the Most Out of Morning Message and Other Shared Writing

The morning messages are left on the wall to be read over and over again during the week. Each Monday, we gather all the morning messages from the prior week and raffle them off. I hear from parents that the children take them home and put them on their bedroom walls and "play school" with them. I LOVE that . . . especially knowing that they're READING them.

Will you be starting the first day of school with a morning message? I'd love to hear your ideas!

Saturday, August 18, 2012


I have another GIVEAWAY to tell you about! Patti at A Series of 3rd Grade Events is celebrating her over 300 followers. Some of her blogger and TpT seller friends have come together to help her celebrate by having a GIVEAWAY of items from their TpT stores.

You have until midnight, August 20th to enter. The winner will be chosen on Tuesday, August 21st.
Click on the picture to see all the items and sellers and enter the GIVEAWAY.

Thursday, August 16, 2012


I am excited to be helping Tammy at 123 Teach with Me celebrate her now over 400 followers on her blog. CONGRATULATIONS TAMMY!

A lucky someone will win 20 free TpT items. Click on the picture to find out all the sellers who have items for the winner. Check out all the stores and blogs and enter the giveaway. The winner will be announced next Thursday, August 22nd {at noon EST}.

I would love for you to follow my blog, FacebookPinterest, and Twitter.

Saturday, August 11, 2012

Blog Fonts and Back to School Sale!

Have you ever thought about changing the fonts on your blog?

Blogger has different fonts available, but did you know that you can also use Google Web Fonts?

Once you're on the site, click on "New to Google Web Fonts?". {You'll see it on the upper right hand side of the screen.} This window will pop up:

You can go thru the 3-step process to choose, review, and then use the fonts you want. It allows you to view the fonts in word, sentence, paragraph, and poster forms. It even gives you information about the readability and best use for the fonts. You will get the html and CSS codes to add to your blog.

I'm relatively new to html and CSS codes, so I used a blog post by Carrie:

Carrie Loves Life, Love, Design

Her post is titled: "How to Add Google Web Fonts to Your Blogger Blog." Click HERE for the post. I found her directions to be simple and easy to follow. I hope you find it useful.

Remember to shop the two-day Back to School TPT Sale that starts tomorrow. I will have my items marked off 20%, so you can get 28% off when combined with the TPT sale. Use the PROMO CODE BTS12.

Three of my featured AUTUMN products:

I've linked with Lisa at The Lower Elementary Cottage for a Back to School Sale Linky Party.
Click on the picture for more TPT sellers and their DISCOUNTS!

I have 9 more days of summer before going back to school. I'm off to enjoy this beautiful, sunny weather. Enjoy your Saturday!

Thursday, August 9, 2012

Back to School TPT SALE!

I am linking with Teacher Tam and other TPT sellers at Teacher Tam's Educational Adventures to announce:

You won't want to miss the TEACHERS pay TEACHERS annual Back to School Sale!

Shop on August 12th thru 13th. All items in my store will be 20% off. Use the PROMO CODE BTS12 to get 28% off.

Feature Back to School items in my store:

Graphics by JW Illustrations ©JESSICAWEIBLE.COM, Miss Tiina Fonts,

Graphics by JW Illustrations ©JESSICAWEIBLE.COM, Miss Tiina Fonts,

Two new Back to School CLASS BOOK packets:

Click on each picture to take a look. Our Class: A Getting to Know You Class Book is a FREEBIE!

Check out all my products HERE.