Wednesday, August 29, 2012

Phonics Dance- Day 1

Last spring after seeing the good things that so many bloggers had to say about the Phonics Dance I decided to go to a training offered here in Austin. I was completely blown away by Virginia Dowd's presentation and I knew immediately that this was the kind of program I wanted to implement into my first grade routine. If you aren't familiar with the Phonics Dance it's a series of chants and movements that go with each letter sound and "hunks and chunks" of letters. (There are a few cute videos on You Tube of classes performing the chants if you want to see an example.) I'll be writing about my Phonics Dance experience with my class all year and will label each post if you want to catch up.


Day 1-

In the Phonics Dance manual you are supposed to start the chants on the first day of school. Let's just pretend today is the first day of school instead of the third. I brought out my magic wand and my "magic sound glitter" as suggested by Mrs. Dowd in her training and her manual. My magic sound glitter was really glitter eye shadow from Claire's for $2.50. The magic sound glitter helps my first graders know their letters and sounds apart. They all got a smudge of glitter on their foreheads. It was so fun!  At the end of the day an aide came in and the class decided that she needed some magic sound glitter too so we did the whole chant as a class. *I wish I had emailed parents this morning telling them to notice that their children seemed smarter when they picked them up after school. *

I'll tell you I was nervous about remembering all the chants. I listened to my chants cd all the way to school. I'm sure I looked strange to the other drivers making a sad face or digging in the air with one hand! I can't wait until my whole class has the chants down pat!

*Products I'm Using:
"The Phonics Dance- Six Steps to Literacy in the Primary Grades" manual and audio cd $55.

Monday, August 27, 2012

I survived

I survived the first day of school! I have such a cute bunch of kiddos. And my babies from last year all looked so grown up and so tall today. For all of you who had your first day today I hope it was a good one!


Saturday, August 25, 2012

Book Adventure- great resource!

Have you heard of Book Adventure? It's an online reading program created by Sylvan Learning. If you have AR (Accelerated Reader) at your school it's somewhat similar except it's FREE and has so many more cool features!

First, as a teacher you can go in and create a class to include all of your students. You can create teams which would be great for different reading levels. I especially think upper grade levels can use this particularly if you are departmentalized and have several classes. You can create contests with students as well as create incentive plans. Teachers can also set up booklists. How awesome, right?! The incentives for kids are very kid friendly- temporary tattoos, candy bars, books, etc. There are online quizzes for more books than you can think of and new quizzes are added. Teachers can even create quizzes!

The site includes very cute mascots like Rex Reader and Bailey Bookmark that I know my first graders will fall in love with. There are tons of resources for teachers as well as parents. AND parents can join Book Adventure too and set up an account for their child.

And seriously people- IT'S FREE! Our school cut Accelerated Reader out of our budget because it was thousands of dollars. I know you're all too familiar with budget cuts. But I really think this program is much better than AR and certainly more appealing to children. Go check it out and set up your free account for the new school year!

Tuesday, August 21, 2012

Tough time

Whew! I've been working hard to get my room ready for meet the teacher on Thursday night. I admit I am a perfectionist so it takes me a long time to get things "just right." I am so excited to be back in the classroom and I can't wait to meet my new little firsties! 

BUT this year already is a bit tough. There haven't been any positive messages from the leaders of my campus and when you combine that with budget cuts and other stresses of starting a new school year it can be hard to remain positive. (People at my campus have been in tears- me included.) So I was thinking I would like to start a monthly linky party around mid-month called "Tell Me Something Good" so that we can all focus on the good things going on in our teaching lives as well as our personal lives. Would y'all want to participate in that? Please leave me a comment and let me know!

Friday, August 10, 2012

Team Gifts

Well- I've been getting my crafty-craft on while escaping the ridiculous heat here in Texas. I made camouflage clip boards for my group of best girlfriends. We took a girls weekend trip to the beach at stopped at a Buc-ee's to pose with the giant brass beaver outside. It kind of became a thing!


Then I made a quick gift for my teammates. It started with me thinking how I'm so fortunate to work with such an amazing group of ladies. Then that led to this idea...

Little chinese food containers from the craft store. I used my Silhouette to make the labels. Inside I put little necessities for the school year: travel deodorant, gum, wisps (to brush teeth), hand lotion, and hand sanitizer. And of course I added a fortune cookie!
I made the paper fortune cookie with a super easy tutorial from eHow. HeI just tucked the fortune inside the cookie so it's easy to pull out.
I chose the number 5 because there are 5 of us and 12 and 13 because this is the 2012-2013 school year.

Wednesday, August 8, 2012

Is there such a thing as "Classroom Brain?"

I know that there is pregnancy brain, but is there CLASSROOM BRAIN? Where your mind is set on only classroom ideas and crafts and ways to organize and so you forget everything else-including buying t.p. at the grocery store?! I'm thinking there is. I've been working so hard the past couple of days making signs for class, laminated alphabet letters, etc. Mid-craft just moments ago I wanted something I had bought at Hobby Lobby before vacation. I searched the WHOLE HOUSE. What the heck?! Finally I searched the car. It was RIGHT THERE! Now y'all- I looked for that bag yesterday in the car. I could swear it wasn't there! I must be losing my mind because of classroom brain!

Saturday, August 4, 2012

How do you leave a link to your blog in comments?

When I first started blogging I used the tutorial from Ladybug's Teacher Files. She has amazing tutorials for everything! She used Hey Paste It. But I've been having trouble with Hey Paste It lately so I went in search of another solution.

It's super simple. Here's the basic code


<a href= "http://yourblogaddresshere">your blog name here</a>

I just saved my code so I can access it anytime. Super simple!

Friday, August 3, 2012

Currently and I'm a Naughty Blogger

It's August people.
HOW CAN THIS BE?!?!?! I could swear it was just the last day of school. I have been a bit of a naughty blogger. I have hardly blogged because I've spent every free moment at the pool, in the sun, reading trashy novels. (I did read some teaching related materials too so I didn't completely corrupt my mind!) I poured over style magazines and bought loads of stuff from 31. I obsessed over buying and Erin Condren lesson planner, and finally bought one. I got addicted to the new Dallas television show and then made the theme song my ringtone. And then I went on vacation.......I did not make one item for my classroom until MONDAY! This is so not like me. I usually spend all summer creating. But I just couldn't. I'll confess my selfish reason....Hubby and I want to start a family and I knew this may be my last summer to be selfish. So I was.

Whew! Feels good to get that off my chest!

Now onto Currently by the FAB.U.LOUS Farley at Oh Boy Fourth Grade! Rule of 3 if you decide to participate- read and comment on the two link ups before you and the one after you. Spread the love y'all!


Costco has a JUMBO set of Post-Its in all different colors every summer. It has like 15 sets of post-its in it. My husband buys them for me every summer because I use Post-Its EVERYWHERE in my classroom. For writing. For reminding. You know.... And I always use the pink ones first!

Everyone need Mr. Sketch Markers. They make writing anchor charts so much more fun. Plus, it's hilarious watching your students read the room and stop to smell the paper!

Now for my promise:
I, Jennifer, do solemnly swear to discontinue my naughty behavior and blog again on a regular basis....after next week! Ha! Gotcha on that one! One week left to chillax in the pool!

Now go link up!
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