Monday, August 24, 2015

First Grade Friends and Fact Fuency

This week our quest continues to bond our first graders into a first grade family.  For as much as they chat, you would think it would be an easier task!  One of our activities this week is "I can be a friend!"

 I made one with areas of the school and one without!  You can click on the picture to download a copy! {or here}  (I love the Whimsy Kids clip art!)

I am also beginning our departmentalizing this week!  We start with thirty minute sessions so we have time to teach routines and to develop some classroom bonding!  I am starting this week with Amy Lemons's Unit:
Let's Get Started {Beginning of the Year Math Activities}

We worked on the mathematician  craftivity last week and this week I am excited to start our Interactive Notebook with the tools vs. toys sort!

I am also starting my newest unit on Addition and Subtraction Fact Fluency! {1.OA.6}
Addition and Subtraction Fact Fluency {Common Core Aligned}
I start with testing my students to find their level and then each student sets their own goals so that they become fluent in their addition and subtraction facts. 
(example of test)

I use observation instead of time keeping to determine if a child is truly fluent.
(this is the form I use to to record observations)

After I find the correct level for each student, I conference with each one to help them set their own goal.

(goal sheet)

Then each child works on activities based on their level. (also included)

(some examples of practice pages)

 Each level has a booklet, a sort, a set of flash cards, and another way to practice!  I store all the activities in an expandable file that I have for each level.

I also store the tests in a similar file.

It takes a little time to set up, but once it is ready to go, differentiating in your classroom is so easy!
Last year, I had 60 students all working on their correct level of fluency and getting targeted practice exactly at the level they need.  I also use the file folder labels as tub labels for other centers and games.

I will post more this week about the other games and activities I use to practice fluency!
Have a great Monday!

Sunday, August 23, 2015

Getting back to it!

There are so many emotions that run through me in August.  There is a hint of sadness.  I love being able to spend my summers playing in the pool with my children, staying up late, playing games, visiting friends... The list goes on and on!  But there is a feeling of excitement!  We just finished buying all of the fun things on my children's supply list! (I realize I might be the only parent excited to do this!)  The closets have been cleaned, the cupboards reorganized, and the projects checked off one by one!  Now that my home is getting close to ready, I have a little time for a classroom project: File Cabinets!

My classroom is in a building built in the 1950's and some of my classroom furniture is probably original!  For the past ten years I have collected several mismatched filing cabinets.  This year, I finally had enough and decided that updating them a bit was my summer goal!
The hardest part? Emptying 8 file cabinet drawers!  Stuff was everywhere! #keepingitreal
Next, I took out the drawers and lined them up on a large tarp. Helpful hint: don't pick the hottest day of the summer! #lessonlearned. 

Notice the three colors of drawers!  I scrubbed them up a bit with some wipes!  65 years of dirt I am sure!  

I taped the handles and hardware.  It took a while, but I did not have the right tool (nor would I have a clue what tool to find) and I only had a day that would work before they closed the school for waxing.  I should have used painters tape, the masking tape baked its way into a very sticky mess!  #2ndlessonlearned. 

I sprayed the drawers a teal that matches my room.  The cabinets were sprayed black.

It took about 3 thin coats for each.  I used 4 cans of black, one of blue. It took a little over 1 can of black for each of the short and the rest for the tall cabinet.  

The painting itself was simple, the prep work took the longest!  Here is my finished product!

I have gotten tons of compliments!  I love how they look like one piece of furniture when you put them together!