Sunday, August 2, 2015

The First Days of First Grade

Its' back to school time in Tennessee.
I've already got a week of school behind me in the 2015-2016 school year.
Last Monday was registration day.

My new first grade team and I decided to go with a Superhero theme.
We each picked a superhero, I'm obviously Batman, and wore our superhero's shirt on registration day.
We also each created a superhero bulletin board outside of our rooms so that the families would know which room was ours.
I'll have to take pictures of our boards and add them later because I totally forgot to get pictures.
Tuesday was our teacher work day.
And then Wednesday was the first full day of school.
I'm used to teaching kindergarten where we phase in our students for the first 2.5 weeks of school.  So having all of my class all day was new for me.
But we made it through the day and had tons of fun!

First up for the day, we took our first day picture.
This super cute sign is a freebie from Teacher to the Core's TpT store.  Check it out here.
I also finally got smart and bought some black material from Hobby Lobby over the summer to use as the backdrop for my many student pictures.  I just stapled it to the bulletin board of the classroom next door, it's being used for storage, and had the kids stand in front of it.

I am super excited for this school year because I'm looping.  So I only have 6 new students this year, the rest were in my class last year.  This made for a great first week of school because my kiddos from last year already know our routine and my expectations.  My hope is that they will help the kids new to our class learn these routines and expectations.

I made sure that I over planned these first 3 days of school because I hate trying to fill time.  We didn't get to everything on my plan and that is perfectly okay.  I would rather have way too much planned than not enough.
Thursday night was our back-to-school night.  So I wanted to make sure we had some fun work activities to put on display for our families.
First up was this super cute bus craft from First Grade, Blue Skies.  Check it out here.
As you can see from my desks, I didn't have any nametags on the desks yet.  I let my kids pick where they wanted to sit for the first 3 days so that I could see how my newer kids mixed with my last year's kids.

One thing I love about First Grade, Blue Skies' craftivities is that she always includes a ton of writing pages to go with the craft.  So I always have a lot to choose from.

Then I hung them up in the hallway.

This says: Wow!  I am in first.  Which is awesome because Miss Kristina is my teacher again.
I am so excited to be this group's teacher again.  They are pretty awesome!

I also had to get a handbook ready for our back-to-school night.
First grade decided to go with a flip chart this year since it would hopefully be less intimidating than a handbook.
I also love that it's colorful, has fun fonts, and parents can access important info in a snap.
It was also only 4 pages each so it saved a ton of paper.
There are lots of flipbook handbooks on TpT right now.  This one came from Ashley Reed.  Check it out here.
At first I was a bit intimidated, but once I read her step-by-step directions and looked at her picture directions, it was super easy!

After picking headings and typing in the info, I printed the pages front and back at home.
You have to print it front and back so that when you fold over the top, the text is going the correct direction.  This took a little trial and error, but I wanted to make master copies of each page at home, where it was a bit quieter and I could concentrate more, so that once I got to school all I would have to do was run it double sided through the copier.

This picture above is of one of my masters.

Then I copied each page onto different colored paper and put them in order of how they would be stacked.  The page on the left would go on the bottom and then I would go down the line adding each additional page to the top of the stack.

After I stacked the pages, I made sure that I could see all of the headings.

Then I folded over the top pages, creased them down, and then put a staple in the each top corner to hold the flip book together.

I love how they turned out.
I also had some extra magnets, so I put a magnet strip on the back of each flipbook so that my classroom parents could put it on the fridge.

So here we are on Thursday night.
The entire school went with a pirate theme.
I hate worrying about putting a costume together.  So I went the easy way and bought a pirate t-shirt, headband hat, and stuffed parrot on Amazon.
I was so thankful that I bought these as soon as I found out our back to school theme, which was about 2 weeks before we went back to school.  Because then I wasn't running around at the last minute worrying about what I was going to wear.  (Instead, I was running around worrying about what I was going to do in my classroom on Friday.)
I had actually brought black capris to wear, but the air in my classroom doesn't work.  So I've been living in dresses and skirts this past week and probably will continue to until the end of September when things start to cool off.

My classroom, ready for families.

In addition to my glue tubs that I started using last November, I've added Tidy tubs to each table group.  (I saw these all over Pinterest this summer and thought they were a great idea.)  I bought these little baskets at the Dollar Tree and made some cute labels.  I love how they turned out.  And I also love that my kids aren't going back and forth to the trash can whenever we do a cutting activity.  They just throw their trash in the tidy tub instead.  And then I designate someone to empty the tub when we're finished. 
This also helps when you have kids that accidently throw away the pieces that they've cut out.  They can easily find their pieces in the tidy tub instead of having to dig through the trash can.

Glue tubs!
These things are so awesome!
I did a quick training session on how to use them so that my last year's kids could get a reminder while my new kids learned how to use them.  So far, so good.

Since I made a list a few weeks ago of things that I'm going to miss about teaching kindergarten; I thought it would also be good to make a list of things that I'm looking forward to about teaching first grade.
Things I'm excited about in teaching first grade:
  • Teaching kids who have already been in school a year and know about rules, fire drills, how to line up, how to sit on the carpet, writing their name on their paper, etc.
  • Kids who already know how to write their name.
  • Giving my kids more independence with our routines and with their learning.
  • More kids who can tie their own shoes.
  • They're older but still love school and love their teacher.
  • Going deeper into math and reading topics.
  • Looping - I'm so excited to be with these 14 kids for another year.
  • My new first grade team!

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