Thursday, May 23, 2013

Who LOVES Class Dojo?

      I know I am a little late on this bandwagon, but  better late than never!  Every year, for the last few weeks, I do a contest with my students.  They work really hard to try to "act like" second graders.  We give them second grade points when they are caught making good choices.  The last day of school, the boy and girl with the most second grade points, wins a summer themed surprise gift. 
      Usually, we make tally marks on a piece of laminated construction paper, hooked on the back of their name tags.  However, this year, we are doing things a little differently.  I had heard about Class Dojo a while ago, but had never really looked into it.  I finally set it up for my class and it is AMAZING!  The kids love it and are really excited to give themselves points!
    If you are not familiar with it, you need to take a look.  You can pull it up as an app for an iPad or iPhone and it works on PC's as well.  It allows you to give awards/points to specific students, multiple students, or all of the students in your class.  Setting it up is very easy and only takes about 5/10 minutes.  Each child has an avatar that symbolizes them.  Awards can be positive or negative, however, we are only using the positive awards in my room. 
Click on the picture below to get started!   If you already use Class Dojo, I would LOVE to hear how you use it in your classroom and what you like/dislike about this app. 

Oh, and the best part is that it is FREE!! What teacher doesn't love free stuff?!

Tomorrow is Friday and we only have 10 days left!! 


Sunday, May 19, 2013

Budding Blog

I am linking up with I Heart Recess for a Budding Blogger linky.  This is a showcase of bloggers who have 200 followers or less.  So here are the questions that are being answered by all the budding bloggers:

1.  Why did you start blogging?  I started blogging about two years ago.  One of the teachers at my school and I both had student teachers.  We would see each other in the computer lab almost every day. She has an amazing blog and she kept encouraging me to start one as well.  I started it up and would blog every once in a while, but it wasn't until this past year that I really got back into the swing of things!

2.  What is your favorite subject to teach and why? 
This is a very tough question for me.  I LOVE teaching reading and I LOVE teaching math.  They are both  my favorites and for different reasons.  I actually enjoy teaching phonics and sounds in words as well as reading and working on comprehension activities.  I love using novel studies with my advanced readers.  What I love most about reading in first grade is the growth the students make.  Teaching reading allows me to really see their progress throughout the year and most of all I love watching students develop a love for reading.  As far as math, I know it took me until I was in middle school to like math.  I I like watching those light bulb moments listening to students explain their reasoning for how they solve mathematical problems.  

3. Describe your teaching style.
I have very high expectations of my students.  I think the more you expect, the more they will achieve.  I like to have fun and joke with the students.  I try to give my students time to learn and explore on their own,  yet provide them with clear parameters for my expectations.  

4.  Give three interesting facts about you.
  1. I had a double major in Spanish in college.  I have lost a lot of my abilities with reading and writing, but I can still carry on a basic conversation.
  2. I have ran one half-marathon about five years ago.  After that half-marathon, I stopped running in races for a while.  I had only ran in a few races here and there until this past fall.  This past year, I started running again with some of the fabulous teachers from my school.  I am getting ready to run in a Warrior Dash in a few weeks! Wish me luck! I ran in one two years ago.
  3. I am obsessed with Pinterest.  In fact, one of the people from our Curriculum and Instruction department came to our grade level meeting a few weeks ago.  The meeting was in my classroom.  She looked around and said, "I see you like Pinterest".  Yes,  yes, it is that obvious!

5.  Do you have a TpT store?  If yes, post the link:)
I do have a TpT store!  I opened up my store in November and have learned SO much since then.  I have a lot of novel studies.  I try my best to create things that I find useful in my classroom and I hope that they are helpful to other teachers as well.  Please check out my store!

My store is under my name Michelle King. Just click HERE to go to my store.

Thanks for stopping by my blog!  


Saturday, May 18, 2013

Five for Friday on Saturday!

Five for Friday on Saturday!  

1.  Ready for this... only 14 days left!  That is right!  Actually, for me it will only be 12 because I will have to miss two days due to a trip.  WOO HOO!  I am ready for summer!

2.  Every year we make these pretty flowers!  My friend made a template in our first or second year teaching and I have used it every year.  The kids LOVE their own flowers and I LOVE them too!

 2. and 3.  This week all of our centers were about plants as we finished up learning about what plants need and how plants grow.  So, numbers 2 and 3 are both center activities.  In the picture above, the students create a setting that shows what plants need to grow.  Then they label the picture.  They turned out really cute.  We glue real seeds in the "dirt". The picture below is the cover of a lapbook.  The students completed plant lapbooks and they turned out great.

4.  This week our story was Alexander Graham Bell.  It was a basic biography that provided the students with some good information about how the telephone was invented.  It is SO hard for the kids to imagine a time without a telephone.  I used this adorable template from Leslie Ann at Life in First Grade.   They had a ton of fun making their phones.  They wrote facts about Alexander Graham Bell and what they think he would have thought of the cell phone!  Some thought he would like the cell phone so he could walk around and talk and a few thought he would be confused by all of the buttons and not know how to make it work! 

5.  This year, the way they have done testing, we have had some sort of testing going on constantly for two weeks straight and we have it continuing for two more weeks!  Our literacy facilitator began having people share their happy places with each other to keep a sense of calm in the building.  I shared a picture of the beach.  Just looking at a picture takes me back to the soothing sounds of the ocean.  
     If your school is anything like mine, I know testing time can be crazy. For the younger grades, we have benchmark testing but we have to be SILENT in the halls because of the other people benchmark testing and EOG testing.  SO, during these next few weeks, I will be sending myself to this happy place and hoping that my kiddos follow suit!  

Happy Saturday!


Sunday, May 12, 2013

Happy Mother's Day and a QR Code Freebie!

      Happy Mother's Day!  I hope all of the moms out there have had a wonderful Mother's Day.  I can't be more thankful for my fabulous Madre!  Here is a picture of me and my Mom this past winter! 
    For the last 5 years I have taught a camping unit during the last week of school.  It has gotten better and better every year!  For the past few years I have read the book Amelia Bedelia Goes Camping. We answer comprehension questions and even do a scavenger hunt through the building for idioms.  In the past, the students went to a room and a teacher told them the idiom.  One of the amazing teachers at my school suggested using QR codes this year, instead of the teachers giving them the idiom.  
     So, after a little help from our Tech Facilitator, I have used an app called Croak it to record myself saying different idioms.  I have created some cute camping posters with the QR codes that are linked to the idioms.  This year the students will complete the idiom scavenger hunt in groups like usual, but they will use iPads to listen to each idiom as they scan the QR codes.  I can't wait!  I know they will LOVE it!  
     Click on the pictures below to get your FREE copy of the QR code posters and if you are looking for some fun activities to go along with Amelia Bedelia Goes Camping, click on the second picture and head over to grab your packet.  This book study includes comprehension questions and a sheet for students to record the idioms they find on their scavenger hunt!

Only 4 more weeks of school!  I have seen other's with their countdowns!  I am ready to join in.  Only 19 days left!  Woo Hoo!  
Happy Mother's Day!  


Friday, May 10, 2013

I'm Back...Five for Friday!

     I am back to the blogging world. I had my match with allergies and I think they won for the last week!  So, I have not been around much.  I am back though and today I am here with another Five for Friday!  Here are five random things from this past week. Click on the picture to head on over to Doodle Bugs Teaching to link up!

1.  Plants, plants, plants.  We have spent a TON of time learning about what plants need, how plants grow, parts of a plant, etc.  Today I meant to send our plants home and I forgot!!  They must go home Monday.  Every year I plant extras in case some one's plant doesn't grow.  This year we had one that didn't grow.  The student said, "I think my seeds were duds".  We also had one that grew and then died.  I have a few extras so they will be able to take home one that grew if they want!

2.  Teacher Appreciation Week was amazing.  The kids were SO excited to bring in flowers, candy, sweet notes, and lots and lots of hugs.  I can't thank them enough for their sweet gestures this week.  It really means so much.  This week I wasn't feeling well, due to allergies, and my kids were even sweeter than normal.  I can't ask for better kiddos!

 3.  Have you heard of  My technology facilitator and literacy facilitator showed it to me.  It is an awesome site that works online on PCs but also can be used as an app on iPhones and iPads.  This is such an easy site to use.  The kids can even use it.  All you do is press a button and start talking.  It records the person's voice and waaaa la!  Check it out!  I am working on using it to create QR codes for Amelia Bedelia Goes Camping.  

4.  Teacher Appreciation Sale- Did you find some good deals?  I bought the CUTEST packet.  You will have to check it out.  It is called Candy Awards by Hope King.  It has End of the Year customizable certificates for all of the kids.  I have mine ready to print and go!  

5.  Every year I host a Mother's Day Tea.  My students create books about their moms and then we take video clips of the kids reading parts of their books and put it together to create a class movie.  The moms come in, receive their books, get served cookies and punch from their kiddos and then we watch the video.  Every year, without fail, I have had major technology mishaps.  This was the FIRST year that it went off without any issues.  The movie was not finished at the last minute last night (like normal).  Instead it was finished on Monday evening!  The reason is that I used iMovie.  What a difference between using iMovie and my iPad compared to Windows Movie Maker on my 6 year old PC!  

Happy Friday!


Monday, May 6, 2013

Teacher Appreciation Sale and a Thank You to a few Special Teachers!

Happy Teacher Appreciation Day and Week!  

       I am extremely proud to say I am a teacher! I can't imagine doing anything but teaching and I have known that I wanted to be a teacher since I was little!  I have always loved school.  I loved my teachers!  As I got older, I realized I loved anything that involved being creative and I knew that I worked well with little children.  
        I grew up admiring my Grandpa. He was a teacher, a coach, and a principal.  He actually told me in an interview I did with him during college, that he never wanted to be a teacher.  He just wanted to be a coach.  I remember thinking later, that being a coach is a teacher, just on a different field.  I can't tell you how amazing it was to see the floods of students and colleagues at his funeral.  He may not have been known for  engaging his students (I hear he was sort of boring during biology haha), but he did have a major impact on many lives.  
I'm on the left, my Grandpa is in the middle, and my cousin is on the right.  

      I know the other reason I am a teacher is because of my amazing teachers that I had in Kindergarten and First Grade.  The funny thing is that I can't really remember a ton of those two years, but I always knew that I thought they were amazing teachers.  They left a huge impression on me.  Mrs. Brafman was my Kindergarten teacher at Kilgour Elementary School and I found out today that she is retiring this spring.  Mrs. Trame (Now Mrs. Wilkens) was my first grade teacher at St. Mary's!  These teachers will forever have a place in my heart!  
      Thank you to the parents, community members, colleagues  etc. that support teachers every day!  Thank you to my Mom who has been a huge supporter of me and my teaching since day one!    
      In honor of Teacher Appreciation Day, I am joining in on the sale.  Head over to my Teacher's Pay Teachers site and check out the sale!  What a great reason to shop!!  
     Thank you to for the cute button.

Happy Teacher Appreciation Week!
Follow on Bloglovin