Saturday, August 30, 2014

A Little Math

We finished up week 2 and I can finally say I *think* the new littles are beginning to understand that this school thing is going to be happening for a little while longer, so they've hunkered down and really started shining with our routines and procedures.
One area we jump right into is math. We start the first week doing the numbers 0 and 1 and learning about circles. This past week, we worked on number 2. Let me say that we do not have a math curriculum that we have to use and it is HEAVEN!! My friend Deeanna does a great job coming up with creative math lessons and our kids learn so much with the way we organize math. We take a number each week and really focus on it...learning to write it, count to it, count from it, and decomposing it. Doing just one number a week really helps the kids form a great number sense!
Every week, we rainbow our number then glue cheerios or pretzels on it. {I love rainbowing numbers and letters!!}.

 We also always make a ten frame for the number. I didn't snap a picture of ours this week, but it looks like this. I let the kids use pictures of whatever theme we're doing {this week, they glued Jack and Jill on the ten frame}, then they practice tracing and writing the number.

Speaking of ten frames, we use this floor ten frame at least 3 times a week, if not more. It is probably one of my favorite math tools! For 0 and 1, the kids acted out Humpty Dumpty. We practiced making Humpty Dumpty go to the #1 spot {I am a stickler for making the kids use the ten frame starting at the top left - just like we read!}. Then, when he fell, we talked about how the ten frame now showed 0. The kids had a blast!

Starting with #2, we start decomposing. I have had sooooo many people question this, and when we first started the idea of doing it so early, I questioned it too! However, it works!! A lot of our kids come in with little numbers sense, poor handwriting, etc., but I am telling you, about week 5, magic happens and all the hard work pays off when you see them finally get decomposing! I strongly urge you to just give your kids a chance to show you what they can do! This week, we used Jack and Jill to decompose. I let kids pretend to be Jack and Jill going up the "hill," then we also decomposed another day where each child had their own hill and Jack and Jill to manipulate.

Something I've added this year to our math routine for each number is sorts. I made them this summer, and so far, I love them. I have large sorting cards that we use to sort whole group, then individual sorting pages to sort by number/not that number.
This week, we also started our number guys. I was so excited about these, but to be honest, I knew the first one was going to be a struggle, and it was. I helped the kids come up with the representations this week, and I probably will again next week, but I definitely think it helped them! They turned out so cute!
Because we take so much time with each number, I usually wait until we've taught #5 to start math centers so that the kids are comfortable working independently.
Along with numbers, we also teach shapes on the week that coincides with the number of side a shape has. So, the first week, we teach circles. One of our favorite things to do is use marshmallows to paint circles!
We also sort shape cards and do an individual sort {that I didn't snap a picture of!} and make a circle guy. For the shape people, the kids have to cut out the body, eyes, hands, and feet, so they get lots of good practice cutting a certain shape!
Next week we're moving on to #3 and triangles! Most of the above activities, can be found in these packs:
I'd love to hear more about how you teach math...are you required to use a series? Do you teach numbers slowly? Fill me in!

Wednesday, August 27, 2014

First Week Wrap Up {a little late!}

I had high hopes of getting this post done Sunday and making visual plans, but our internet didn't agree with me. Lightning hit and since we live in the sticks basically, we had to wait to get up and running {and by up and running, I mean I'm connected with a phone cord to the modem because we don't have wireless again yet :/ }. So, it's a little late and the pictures are not edited, but here's just a little of what we did last week {it's so hard to remember to snap pics when you're teaching little ones how to sit, stand, line up, etc. for the better portion of the day!}
We did a lot of fine motor activities from my back to school printable pack. I'm shocked at how well my kids already cut and glue just from practicing for a week!

For morning work, we've been doing a little alphabet page to practice cutting and gluing also. When the kids finish, I have them tell me the letter and its sound.
Of course, we read all about Pete the Cat. First, we read Rocking in My School Shoes and the kids loved it! We took a tour of our school, stopping to take pictures of each place with our rockin' school shoes. Here we are with our principal and assistant principal. I seriously work for the best ladies ever!!

We also practiced our names by making these rockin' guitars my awesome friend Kelley created. The kids loved these! Her craft has different letters, but I had these stickers hanging around, so we used them for this.

Then, we read Pete the Cat Too Cool For School. This might be my new favorite Pete book! We retold the story, dressing Pete the way his friends wanted him to dress, then dressed him the way he liked. We learned that if you want to be cool, just be you!

And what beginning of school would be complete without jitter juice?? {thanks Abby!} My kids loved it and it was the perfect end to the first day!
 We also started numbers and shapes, but I'm going to save that for another post {my bed is calling my name and my sweet baby girl has allergy testing in the morning - boo!}. If you're already in school, I hope it's going great and if not, rest up!

Saturday, August 23, 2014

My Home Away From Home

Whew! The past three weeks have been CA-RAZY!! Going back to school, inservices, getting my room ready, meeting my new sweeties, and having a full first week back {who really thinks it's a good idea for the first day to be on a Monday??} have had me out of commission, but somehow everything magically came together and my room was ready for parent orientation. That was over a week ago, but I'm just getting time to finally show it off!
I don't really have a 'theme.' More of a primary color scheme, stemming from the chair pouches my grandmother made me. I call my tables by colors, so everything else is primary colored for the most part. 
Ready for a lot of pictures? ;) Excuse the lighting on many of them...I have great natural light in my classroom, but for some reason, it doesn't show in pictures!
Here's the outside area of my room...I LOVE my new rug from IKEA!
 Here are a few shots from around the room. The first is a picture from the door I snapped right before Open House.
View from the front of the room

 View from the back of the room

Now for the close ups...when you walk in the door, the writing table is in front of you
{Posters on the sides are from Lyndsey at A Year of Many Firsts and the posters and cards on the board are from Lori at Teaching with Love and Laughter}
This year, I decided to put three caddies at the center, so that each child had their own utensils. Hopefully, now I won't constantly be telling them to share ;)
Just past the writing table is my reading area. I also got this rug from IKEA and it is so soft! The bookshelf is one my granddad gave me my first year of teaching.
{Posters are from Lyndsey at A Year of Many Firsts}
Above my reading center, is my word wall. If you follow me on Facebook or Instagram, you may remember my ugly wall picture. I fixed it by buying a big piece of insulation at Lowe's, using heavy duty double sided tape to attach it to the wall, then treating it like a bulletin board. I'll use clothespins to attach our words. I love how it turned out!
In the closet beside this, is our house center. I love having an extra closet for this! It's nothing fancy, but it serves its purpose!
Beside that, I'm blessed to have a big sink area. Above it, is where I hang our "Wow Work."
On this wall, I have all windows, which is a blessing, but it looks out on one of our playgrounds. To solve the problem of my kids looking out all day, my sweet grandmother made me some curtains. It's hard to see, but they're black and white polka dots. Under the windows, is my art table. I love having a variety of tools for the kids to use and I'm so excited about the crayon jars I made! No more "I need a red!" The kids can just get up and get whatever color they've lost!

Next is my guided reading space and my desk area...I love my two canvas pieces in the windowsill {one was a Christmas gift and the other was a project done by the same sweetie's mom last year}. I'm working really hard this year to not let clutter take over!

{The banner is a freebie and my alphabet cards are in my TpT store.}
This little part of my desk area cracks me up! A mom gave this picture to me this summer that was taken during our field day...I guess you could say I get a little intense! That intensity and some motivated kids won that little trophy though ;)
A few more pictures of my desk area. I'm well aware that I have too many pictures of my child, but I can't help it ;). I love these stickers I got at Hobby Lobby...great for sprucing up a boring desk!

Past that is my whole group area...calendar, board, etc. My tubs underneath my board hold our workshops. When the kids aren't facing the board, they turn to the left and face my rocking chair/easel/teacher shelf.

I love having all my Pete the Cat books out to begin the year and I really love the little pails I attached to my easel with S hooks. They make it where I have everything I need when doing an example or making anchor charts.

Behind that is a big wall with 2 huge bulletin boards. One I use for work and the other I change throughout the year. In the middle is my birthday bulletin board. Our cubbies are underneath where the kids keep their backpacks and stuff. On the counter, I have my folder and snack baskets, and our files where we put finished work.
{Bulletin Board inspiration from Doodle Bugs Teaching}

And, last is this little area beside my door. It holds all my little trinkets I've collected over the years along with our emergency bucket. Beside the shelf is our how we go home chart.
All of my color, number, shape, and alphabet posters can be found here in my TpT store.
Sorry for the overload of pictures, but I finally feel like after 11 years, I've almost created my perfect teacher space. Now let's hope I keep it organized!
I *hope* to be back tomorrow to link up visual plans with Deedee..cross your fingers that it happens!