End of Year Unit

Well, I'm still in school until July 2nd (year round), but I know some of my cute friends around the country are counting down their last days! I hope this one can help you.  It's a fun one, for sure.  Who doesn't want to have a MOON balloon countdown in their classroom?!?!

I've made a packet that is full of end of the year fun!  This alien/space themed packet has lots of fun activities for you and your kiddos to take a walk down memory lane and then get ready for the next year!

Included in this packet:

* This grade was out of this world {writing}

*My teacher is a star {writing}

*Blast off to ___ grade! {writing}

*Blast off to ___ grade questionnaire {writing}

*Blast off craft
*Alien headband craft
*Was this year over the moon? {survey and graph}
* I spy a moon pie! {spelling and/or sight word practice}
*Moon Pie, Moon Walk {poetry walk}
*Moon Pie taste test {graphing}
*Stars bubble map
*Stars informational writing
*Moon bubble map
*Moon informational writing
*Pop the Moon Balloon with memory book

My favorite activity:

Teacher T-Shirts

I got the cutest teacher t-shirt that I wore on Friday to school. 

My students even commented... 
"Mrs. Smith, I like your shirt!"
"You really are a superhero to me, Mrs. Smith!"

I LOVE this shirt because who doesn't really think they are some sort of hero standing in front of 1st graders all day, teaching them oh you know... TO READ! ;)
The t-shirt is so soft and the quality is on point.  It's not a heat-transfer so when you wash it...it holds it's quality! I just love companies that support teachers as well.  Pink Box Studio supports teachers!

Check it out {here}!

I bought a small and it fit great (I really like the unisex cut)!

I also have got my eye on this one for the gym...

End of Year Teacher Problems

Yesterday Rachelle posted this picture on Instagram:

And we immediately started getting comments from people who all said the same things! No tissues, no hanitizer (our favorite 1st grade word), no glue, etc. 

So, I came up with a cute little poem asking parents to send in supplies to help you get through the end of the year.

Simply print this off (I included a full page and a quarter page version) and send it home with your students. Hopefully you'll have a few parents who will be happy to donate supplies to help get you through until the end of year!

(You can thank me later. Ha!)

So… we want to hear from you! What are some more of your end of year teacher problems? Which supplies are you out of? Have you ever added water to your hand-sanitizer or glue bottles to help them last longer? 

Please share your ideas in the comments!

Thank You Gift

Today is Secretary's Day and we have some pretty AMAZING secretaries at our school.  They work so hard and deal with so much... and yet they smile and laugh through it all.  To show them how much we care, we (my first grade team and I) bought them each a gift card to a local sandwich/soup cafe.  I thought this could be a fun gift teachers can give their teammates or principal or secretaries.  It can even work for parents to give to their teachers during teacher appreciation week! I made them customizable as well.

There are a few different tag options as well! Enjoy!

Spicing Up Daily 5 {blast from the past}

It's that time of the year when your students are getting SPRING fever and it's not too long until they get SUMMER fever {but who isn't, right?}!  You might need to spice things up during your literacy block. :)  Aside from going over your anchor charts again and reviewing your expectations, I like to add a few "ooohhhs and ahhhhhs" to my Daily 5.  {You have GOT to read Daily 5 from The Sisters, if you haven't} We call them the bells and whistles and I ONLY bring them out when I'm in dire need.  I haven't pulled these out quite yet, but it's coming in due time. 
*PLEASE NOTE: each of these items come with a lengthy explanation on how to use them properly. You must teach the expectations for each item BEFORE you set them free to use them. :)

To spice things up in Daily 5’s Read to Self, I let my students pick a stuffed animal to read with.  The animal must stay in their lap or sit next to them and they are not allowed to play with it.

I bought these glasses at the Dollar Store and I just popped out the lenses. They LOVE to wear these to read with because they are MAGICAL!

These are whisper phones.  They LOVE these.  A middle school student made them for our school as an Eagle Scout project.  You can also purchase some here.  I make sure to teach my students how to hold the phone so it doesn’t touch their mouth and I give them tips on how to do it without hurting their ears. I also have them quickly wipe them down when they are finished.

Witch fingers. I mean… who doesn’t love for their finger to look like a witch? They love tracking their words (and never picking their nose with it)!

Each day, my students can pick from one of these activities:

I also like to add “Weekly Activities”. This is an activity that changes every week.  This week we are “scrambling” our spelling words.  This activity comes from my 123 Spell with Me pack.  Each week, it changes.

For Read to Someone, I like to give my students their Word Helper bookmarks to help when doing “coaching or time”.  You can find the bookmarks here. I just laminate them and keep them in a bin. When the students pick their partner for Read to Someone, one of their partners can grab a bookmark.  As they are reading, they can help one another by telling them what word helper to use when they come to a tricky word. They love pretending to be the teacher.

My students absolutely love writing letters to one another.  All I have to do is put writing stationary in the Work on Writing file and they are good to go! You can download lots of writing paper {here}.

Click {here} for the writing stationery {clipart from djinkers.com}

Also, if you don’t do journaling for bell work, then it would be a great thing to spice up your Work on Writing by making them some fun journals!  My students love to see what their cover will look like this month. It’s also great because you can differentiate how many lines are on each page.

My students will love this one and they are always on task. BUT, it is just nice to change it up a bit.  So, what I did was buy a bunch of headphone splitters so that they can listen to the same book at the same time. They love laughing together, singing together, and just sharing a good book together.  I only have about 3 students per book though.

Another great tool to spice up Listen to Reading is an iPad. I use the app Epic (can also do on a computer).  It is FREE for educators and has tons of options! Many books are read to the student so you can use it for listen to reading.

I also use Brainpop Jr. app (also available on a computer) for Listen to Reading.  The great thing about this app is that it has the subtitles at the bottom of each educational video! It's just like reading a book!  If you don't have a subscription, your students can get the free video of the week.

Need to spice up your guided reading lessons?
Perfect for kinder and 1st grade! But don't go...I have one for 2nd and 3rd (see bottom of post)

Here's 2nd Grade's:

Here's 3rd Grade's:

Worksheets Don't Grow Dendrites: Chapter 11

Are you loving this book study so far? We are talking about Chapter 11 today which is all about using Music, Rhythm, Rhyme, and Rap in the classroom. Going into this chapter we felt like we were pretty strong in this area, but after reading through the research and examples we see that there is always room for improvement!

We are both big proponents of music in education and this chapter explains why music is important. There is research that shows that:

- Music has an effect on the brain that helps with memory and it's relationship to mathematical ability.
-Music has the ability to energize, relax, and make learning fun.
-Classical music stimulates brain waves that help with brainstorming and problem solving. 
-Studies show that some types of music can boost intelligence.

Here's a look at how we use music in the classroom:

Anytime I'm going to rap, I always put on my special glasses that help me become Mrs. Smitty! She's the best 1st grade teacher turned rapper in the city. ;)

Here's a rap I did a few weeks ago that helped my students with 3 addend addition (there really is no tune... it's more of a rap/chant):

Memorizing doubles facts can actually be super fun!  I alway use this song from Harry Kindergarten to practice at the end of the day for a few weeks.  After just a few days, they've got the facts memorized. 

Each week we have a new spelling rule.  My students learn about this rule through games, practice, picture books, and SONGS! I love when our spelling rule coincides with song from Heidisongs! She's got the cutest songs and actions that help my students remember the spelling rule so they can write it AND read it. Each of the phonics rules comes with a cute song on the CD and a poster that you can hang in your classroom as well. Check it out!
Here's a video of Heidi's class singing one of my favorite songs... ING!

Behavior Management:
I use music in transition every day.  When I want my students to partner up (without actually picking their own partner), I play music and that signals for them to stand up and walk around the classroom. When I stop the music, they FREEZE.  They look around and find a person that is closest to them and sit down with them (which indicates they have a partner and are ready to work).  If someone does not have another person near them, they walk to the middle of the classroom and find someone there. I make sure to tell my students that they are only partnering with someone near them and that they don't "seek out" their best friend! The music gets my students excited about partnering because they can't wait to hear what I play.  I play a variety from classical music to Kidz Bop!

I also love to use Rhyme/chants while we are in line. It pretty much lets my students know it's time to be in line and ready to go, once they hear the chant.
 Here is a sample from my line up chants book..
 Download the book here
Clipart/Fonts are copyright djinkers.com

 I have my chants hanging right next to my door!

Music in Social Studies:
In the 5th grade classroom, I (Natalie) loved to find ways to incorporate music in my social studies lessons. It's a great way to teach abut the mood of the the country during each time period. It can be a powerful way to help history come alive for your students. You can find a lot of great songs and lyrics on the Internet. Here are a few I've used in the past:

Slavery - Follow the Drinking Gourd
20th Century - We Didn't Start the Fire
Evolution of Music -

Thanks for joining us today for our book study! Please share your ideas with us in the comments or link up with us below. We'd love to hear how you use music, rhythm, rhyme, and rap into your instruction!

Next up to host:
First Grader At Last Chapter 12 (April 11th)
Erica's Ed Ventures Chapter 13 (April 14th)
KinderGals Chapter 14 and 15 (April 18th)
A Rocky Top Teacher Chapter 16 (April 21st)
Mrs. Wills Kindergarten Chapter 17 (April 25th)
Little Warriors Chapter 18 (April 28th)
Falling Into First Chapter 19 (May 2nd)
Kickin' it in Kindergarten Chapter 20 (May 5th)


Come See Me This Summer!

I'm presenting again this year at I Teach 1st conference!  I'd love for you to check out some of my sessions.  I'll also be doing a little "surprise" session that you can check out if you are registered for I Teach Kinder, I Teach 1st, or I Teach 2nd!  

FC03-Tuesday, July 7th (8:30am)
Individualized Learning:
Having trouble meeting the needs of all your students? It can be done! Come learn how to start providing individual instruction for each of your students. Rachelle shows you how to confer, set goals, and get parents involved at home. Once you get this hands on experience in individualized learning, you won't want to go back to the "old way!"

FD03- Tuesday, July 7th (1:00pm)
Organize Your Classroom
The more organized you become, the more time you'll have for instruction, and the more space your students will have for learning. Rachelle shares classroom proven strategies and techniques for organizing the books and materials in your room so that you and your class spend more time teaching and learning and less time dealing with "stuff."

FD10- Tuesday, July 7th (2:45pm)
Math Games
Hands-on learning is great for connecting abstract math topics to the real world. Get hands on with Rachelle in this fast moving session! She introduces fun, new ways to practice 1st grade math concepts, along with easy to implement math games that engage students and reinforce math skills all year long!

But wait... there's MORE!
How about a bunch of teachers get together and DANCE?  I certified to be a Jazzercise Group Fitness Instructor and I'm bringing it to you at SDE! Come dance with me (no dance background necessary, of course).

FE00-Wednesday, July 8th (7:00am)- I Teacher Kinder, 1st, and 2nd attendees invited!
Jazzercise is a pulse-pounding, beat-pumping fitness program that gets you results...fast.  It's a calorie-torching, hip swiveling, Shakira'd-be-proud dance party with a hot playlist to distract you from the burn!

PLUS, I am so excited to be presenting at the TeachersPayTeachers Conference at the end of the week with my sweet friends and blogging superstars, Michelle and Hope.

The Superpowers of PowerPoint - TF11 
Michelle Oakes, Hope King, and Rachelle Smith
Bring your laptop and join in an interactive workshop where you will harness the full power of PowerPoint for product creation. Get cozy with clip art. Bring it with borders. Pack your products with extra pop! This hands-on experience led by Michelle with Hope and Rachelle will benefit beginners and established Sellers alike. (Encore TT01)


And you can't forget about our 4th annual Teacher/Blogger Vegas Meet-up! RSVP here (and NO, you don't have to be a blogger to attend... all teachers welcome!)

Come to our 4th annual Teacher/Blogger Meet-Up in Vegas in accordance with the SDE conferences going on! You do NOT need to be a blogger in order to come and there is NO CHARGE to come and no registration (just RSVP here)! 

We will chat, hang out, and even raffle off some great prizes! Last year, we had over $3,000 worth of prizes. We won't disappoint this year either! 

This event is sponsored by SDE and Teachers Pay Teachers. 
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