Open House and More

Hello! I'm  linking up for the first time with the talented group of bloggers called the Weekend Warriors!
If you haven't checked out this link up before, it's a group of talented bloging teachers that shares tips and advice at the end of the month.

This month, we are bringing you Open House tips and More! 
I was so excited about this post because I'm moving to a new school in the fall and I'm most likely going to be needing some ideas for open house.  I'm looking forward to picking up some ideas from you all!

Here are some ideas that might help you for Open House or Meet the Teacher Night:

1. Prepare a PowerPoint presentation with all the most important information for your classroom such as: 
  • Classroom Expectations
  • Classroom Management Procedures
  • Homework Policy
  • Birthday Parties
  • Contact Info
  • How often newsletters go out
  • End of the year goals
2. Have your parents fill out a form with:
  • Contact Information
  • Emergency Contacts 
  • Allergies
  • Major likes/dislikes for the child
  • Any information parents would like to share with the teacher (this one can contain some very important information for you).
3. Show off your students' work: (Since I don't have open house, I display these around conference time to make sure all parents see our special projects. These dates align with our the science fair and usually some other type of parent meeting.)

I put up some of my most personal projects to display.  When possible show off projects with their child's picture.  Parents love personal touches like that!

Here a couple projects I display around this time of the year:

Parents love both these projects because they show case their child.   My students loved showing them off to their parents!

4. Now that you have all your parents in your classroom, it's the perfect time to gently ask for some donations.  Not sure how to do so?  Well, I've found the cutest way from the Pinspired Teacher.  I saw this originally on her Instagram many months ago and wanted to give it a try.  Check out her idea below:
The requests are on the cupcakes and those cupcakes are placed on the stand.  The parents can stop by the cupcake stand and pick out an item or two that they would like to donate.  I am loving this creative idea!

Do you have Open House at your school? If so, what do you do to get ready? Please link up and share your tips and ideas!


Using Alarms in the Classroom

I've got a Bright Idea that will help you avoid some #TeacherProblems :-)

Right around this time of the year, I get forgetful about taking attendance (we take attendance twice a day).  I was getting two phone calls each day to take attendance.  That gets embarrassing real quick.

I then thought about my phone and my alarms on my phone.   I set them 10 minutes before attendance is due.  They are working like a charm!  

Afterward I thought of other ways to use alarms in my classroom.  My alarms now look like this:
Each one has a different sound so the kids are recognizing them and know what time it is right away.  The beauty of using alarms on your phone is that you can adjust them as much as you need and delete them when you don't need them anymore.  And, you can create as many as you need.

There are just so may things to remember that it gets really hard to keep it together, especially at the end of the year.  Here is a small list of ideas for classroom alarms:
  • Attendance both AM and PM.
  • Intervention time (time to send students to interventions).
  • Resource (Time to send students to the resource teacher)
  • Recess Time
  • Lunch Time
  • Pack Up Time 
  • Specials Time
There are so many ideas! Have you used alarms in your classroom before?  This is my first year trying the out and I wish I had done it sooner.  Please share if you have any ideas:)

If you enjoyed this bright idea, please consider joining me on Instagram and Pinterest for more great ideas.

For more bright ideas from a variety of other bloggers, please browse through the link-up below and choose a topic that interests you.  Thank you for visiting!


Test Motivation and Testing Freebie

It's that time of the year...Testing time.  Wether you support testing, or not, it's here to stay so teachers do their best to make the best of it for the kids.  

Our school is going to be doing multiple things to pep the kids up for their BIG test.  Something that we always do is write letters to a buddy class.  Each grade level in the lower grades gets partnered up with an upper grade classroom.  This year my first graders will be writing to a 4th grade class.  

We send them treats throughout the week and send letters encouraging them. This year I wanted to change it up a bit and have my students write brochures giving advice and tips for rocking the test.  I created this brochure below and the kids all loved them!

Our buddy classroom is always so excited to read their letters.  They keep them and read them throughout the week.

Are you testing soon?  Make sure to pick up my testing sign (also a freebie) to hang outside your door. Click on the picture below to pick up this sign.


Five for Friday

It's been a while since I linked up for Five for Friday.  Time to join in the fun!  Here is a recap of some things that have been going on in our classroom!

1.  Field Trip to Butterfly Wonderland.  If you ever visit Arizona, make sure you stop by here!  It is amazing!  The butterflies are everywhere. Make sure you bring a camera with you!  This is one of the pictures I took while there. 
Just a word of warning if you are iffy with insects…they land right on you if you wear light color clothes.  All my kids were so excited about that, but there was one child there from another class that was having a panic attack.  

Quite a few landed on the kids and some of our chaperones.  
Seriously magical! 

2.  We are required by our school to wear name tags when going on field trips.  There weren't enough of the schools ones around for everyone to get one, so I whipped some up for my kids.  They were thrilled with the idea of keeping them to remember their field trip! P.S. my husband had an idea that they should look like backstage passes.  So that got my wheels spinning to create these :-)
Link for these field trip badges HERE.

3.  We read one of my favorite rabbit read alouds and the kids made these cute creepy carrots to go with them:
You can find the craft HERE and the writing paper HERE.

4. My April newsletter and calendar went out on time!  I consider it a huge victory every time that happens :-)
Newsletters HERE
Calendars HERE

5.  I finally got around to making my own schedule cards and I of course had to put them on ribbon :-)   It's so nice knowing I don't have to write up my schedule on my board anymore!
Schedule Cards HERE

I have some more things to share, but that will have to wait until I find my memory card.  How was your week?  Make sure to link up for Five for Friday!


My Schedule - Together We Are Better Linky

Hello!  I'm so excited to join Schroeder Shenanigans in 2nd and Lucky Little Learners for the 2gether We Are Better link up!

This week all the posts are about schedules.

Before I begin to explain my schedule, I do want to mention that I'm in Arizona and I teach in an ELD class, so my schedule is focused around my ELD block of times that are required by the state.

So let's get started:

My morning begins with breakfast in the classroom:

We have breakfast in the classroom.  I usually let the kids come in around 7am in order to unstack chairs, pass out breakfast and finish eating everything.

Listening and Speaking/Grammar
Part of our ELD block consists of us having a listening and speaking time.  There are very specific standards required during this time.  We are also required to teach grammar every day.  I end up going over my allotted block of time for grammar because I think it's important to teach it within reading and writing and not just in isolation.

During this time we send some of our struggling readers to our reading interventionists for additional support.  I also do whole group interventions with my class.  I usually do literacy centers and pull small groups, but with 31 students this year, that wasn't feasible.  

I taught 2nd grader for seven years prior to teaching first grade this year and we never had recess in second grade.  It took me a while to get used to it, but I see how great it is for the kids.

Science has got to be one of my favorite times of the day.  We have a program, but it's not good at all, so all I use are TpT resources.  Thank goodness for TpT!  Some resources that help me tons during this time are:
This bundle was costly, but it was worthy every penny!  It's seriously like a text book complete with student readers, graphic organizers, teacher read alouds, cut and paste activities, etc.  It ties in beautifully with my science, social studies, and reading themes.

And this one:

We are piloting Journeys, which I happen to love!  It is aligned to the common core and most of the stories are great for first grade.  During this time I like to do lots of interactive notebooking and I try to tie the theme in with our science.
Lots of our time is spent with basic reading skills, but comprehension is so important.  I was so happy when I discovered these reading comprehension passages!
They are perfect for emergent readers! My kids love them.

Lunch and Recess

We use our district adopted curriculum.  I like to spice things up with TpT once again :)
This bundle is incredible!  Every single standard is covered for first grade!  Blair also has them available for other grades too!

We have week long specials.  It's not bad, except that I think kids should have P.E. every week.

We don't have a program to follow for writing time.  We do writer's workshop free writing every day for 20 minutes (my favorite kind of writing) and we switch over to guided writing afterwards.  I teach a skill for a few days and focus in on that during writer's workshop.  My guided writing time is focused on one area per quarter (narrative-quarter 1, explanatory quarter-2, opinion quarter-3, and research reports-quarter 4). 
One of the resources I use a lot for my guided writing time is this one from Thank God It's First Grade:

Social Studies
I am sad to say that we don't always have time for social studies.  SS isn't required throughout our district, but I love to teach the subject!  So I squeeze it in as much as I can.  This time often gets eaten up by writing, math, and reading or...testing and test prep.  But when I get a chance to go a full week teaching social studies, I'm one happy teacher!

When looking for social studies resources I go straight to one of my favorite teachers, Teacher to the Core.  She teaches first grade so her stuff is perfect!  I even used her materials in second grade and they worked well.

These are a couple of all time favorite SS packs:

Pack Up and Dismissal
At the beginning of the year, packing up takes forever.  Now it takes just a few minutes.  We clean up the floor real quick and pack up our backpacks and out the door we go.  About 90% consists of bus riders so most of my students ride the bus home.  This makes it really easy to get everyone out the door and get them home safely. 

It can be difficult sticking to everything, but what I've found that helps is keeping a schedule up somewhere in the room.  I was writing it up every day, but I finally made one myself. I'm thinking of attaching a clip to it and having a child in charge of moving it when we are moving onto another subject.

I also love it when things match, so these had to coordinate with my objectives:

These schedule cards are in my store if you are interested :-)

So what does your schedule look like?  Please link up and share your schedule!

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