Saturday, March 1, 2014

Literacy Station: Theme Poems

Everyone has early finishers in their classroom. One of the stations I have available for early finishers is for the students to copy and illustrate a poem on story paper. Each month I have at least one poem to go along with the season or theme. Here are two examples.

I write the poems on easel chart paper and embellish them with die cuts or illustrations. Sometimes I also back the poems with bulletin board paper before laminating them. Last year was my first year back in first grade so I had to make a lot of new things, which was extremely time consuming. It's nice this year just to pull out my seasonal things and have them ready to go.

What are some of your favorite literacy stations?


Sunday, September 29, 2013

Beginning of School Bulletin Board Ideas

Usually at the beginning of the school year each teacher has a bulletin board that welcomes this year's students. Many times it has some sort of catchy saying and includes the students' names. The kids get excited to find their name on the bulletin board. Here are a few bulletin boards that I found in my school. I wish I would have taken more pictures, but now you know how the beginning of school can be. ;)

Look Who's Popping Into First Grade - Last year was my first year using this board. I used bulletin board paper for the popcorn tub and simply painted white stripes on it. I printed my name and attached it to the middle. A teacher friend of mine drew three different popcorn shapes for me and I made enough for each student's name. This year I was back in first grade again (and not so overwhelmed) so I laminated the popcorn and wrote the students' names on them with a dry erase marker so that I can reuse them. Now each year will be even easier.  :)  My hubby likes to put this bulletin board up for me. He puts tissue paper behind the popcorn tub to make it have a 3D appearance. 

We are O-FISH-ally in Third Grade! - Of course you can use any grade level for these bulletin boards. I love how colorful this board is. I wish you could see the details on these handmade fish. The fish bubbles have students' names on them.

"WHALE"come to Mrs. Gray's Class - Of course, this one could say a particular grade level or teacher's name. This teacher used two different colors of blue paper and cut a wave-like pattern.  The little whales have students' names.

Do you have any back to school bulletin boards to share? Leave a comment below.


Saturday, September 7, 2013

Word Wall Makeover

Last year was my first year back into first grade. There was a lot to do in a short amount of time. Not only did I have to set up a new classroom but I had to declutter and clean from previous teachers that were in the classroom. There was a whole lot of "What is this?!".

Thankfully one of my teaching friends helped me put up my bulletin boards. One of them we just put fabric and border on for open house and beginning of school until I could decide how I wanted the Word Wall to look.  I knew I wanted it to be frogs.  My room seemed to have a lot of green, blue, and frogs so I decided on blue and green. 

I picked a pretty aqua blue color and couldn't find frogs anywhere. I looked at a local teacher store, Michaels (they sometimes have beginning of the year teacher stuff), Walmart, Staples, and the Dollar Tree.  No frogs.  Finally I decided I would trace some die cut frogs I had from a previous school.  It wasn't exactly what I wanted, but it would do for now.

Here is the before picture.  I like the blue and I like the frogs but I didn't like the two together. I think the blue is too dark with the frogs.

This year I kept looking at the Word Wall bulletin board and trying to decide what to do. Once the words are on the wall, the blue and green don't bother me as much. I almost decided to live with it. And then a parent brought me some things from the teacher store and in the bag were three rolls of border. I spotted some green border with colorful dots.

My hubby came to help me with the bulletin board and I asked his opinion. After much thought, discussion, and walking around the school for ideas, we decided on an orange background. We put up the orange bulletin board paper and it looked horrible!  You could see through it!  All of my other boards have fabric on them, so the paper looked even worse.  We decided to make a trip to Walmart.

Walmart had some orange fabric but it was $5-6 per yard.  Eeek!  We looked at the sheets and found a flat twin sheet for only $4.  Woohoo!

I told hubby that I wanted some wiggle eyes on the frogs. They needed a little something to make them look happier.  I had ordered a frog notepad in hopes of using some cutesy frogs but they were too big.  We just added wiggle eyes to the frogs I already had and I think they are cute. 


Here is the after shot.  Hubby decided to add larger wiggle eyes to the vowels to make them stand out.  I think they are funny.  I like the large eyes better. Maybe all of the frogs will have large eyes soon.  I'm still trying to decide if I will add mouths to the frogs.  What do you think?


Where I Have Been?

After a few years staying at home with my children and then teaching pre-k again, last year I went back to first grade. It had been 10 years since I had taught first grade. With Common Core, a new grade level, no teacher assistant, and many other family factors, life was crazy.

I posted more details at my other blog. If you'd like to read it, click here.

I hope you'll see more of me this year and maybe the blog will get the make over it desperately needs. :)


Saturday, March 17, 2012

St. Patrick's Day Activities

Yes, it has been nearly a year since I have posted. I'm sorry about that. Life has been incredibly busy. At the end of last year, I was one of the many teachers laid off from my county. I spent a good part of my summer looking for a job and my husband and I were praying about if/where we should locate. We ended up selling our house and relocating near my hometown so that we could be closer to my parents. Now I'm teaching full-time again and I'm also taking some college courses so that I can add on to my teaching certificate. I'm desperately longing for some lazy summer days!

I hope you enjoy these St. Patrick's Day crafts!


1. Green Collage

These green collages are a simple activity to do and each one is unique. I simply looked through our craft supply cabinets and pulled out a bunch of different green items. We used green pom poms, foam stickers, sticks, sequins, tissue paper, feathers, etc and glued them onto a green shamrock.

2. Gadget painting

I have mentioned these gadget/cookie cutter paintings before. They are cute, easy, and each one looks different. The kids enjoy the gadget painting. In January we made one with snowmen, in February we made one with hearts, and as you see here we did shamrocks in March. In April we will probably paint with baby chicks, eggs, and bunnies.

3. Shamrock necklace

We were going to make these shamrock necklaces, but somehow time got away from us. I'll save this idea for next year.

4. Tissue Paper Shamrocks

We made the tissue paper shamrocks last year. It is similar to the green collage.

What kinds of St. Patrick's Day activities have you tried?


Wednesday, April 27, 2011

Wordless Wednesday: Our Classroom Butterflies

My computer is being repaired so these pictures are from my phone. I hope to post more pictures soon.


Monday, April 18, 2011

Simple Spring Flowers

I was looking for something easy and springy to put on our classroom bulletin board. These flowers were easy and each one is unique.

To make the flowers I had each child paint a piece of white construction paper. They were able to choose which color they wanted. After the paint was dry I took a light colored marker and drew a flower design on the back of the paper to use as my template and then I cut out the flower. We put glue in the center of the flowers and the children were able to choose what they wanted for the inside. You can see the choices which included various colors of glitter, colored sand, sequins, and pom poms.

Cute, simple, and easy. Enjoy!


Sunday, March 20, 2011

Organizing Manipulative Bins

Every now and then there are projects that you want to get done in your classroom but you know how time consuming they will be. What a great feeling it is do get those projects off your list and see some of your work being used.

Last week I decided to conquer another project - labeling all of our manipulative bins. It wasn't too difficult and I'm pleased with the results.

Each day as I would pick up bits and pieces of toys I would get irritated searching for the correct bin. If this irritated me, I can only imagine how the kids felt.

For this organization project I simply took each bin one at a time and took a picture of the content inside the bin. For most of them I was able to put a few pieces on the table and take a picture. For smaller items (such as the bears) I left them inside the container when taking the picture. I printed the pictures on the color printer at work, cut them out, laminated them, and taped the pictures onto the bins. Like I said, it wasn't anything difficult, it was just time consuming.

I'm sooooo glad it's done. :D

What kind of classroom organization projects have you conquered?


Lion Paper Craft

My son brought home this lion from school and so I thought I'd share it with you. Everything is made from paper. The mane of the lion is made from paper chains.

You might also like this Lion and Lamb Handprint Craft.


Wednesday, March 16, 2011

Tissue Paper Shamrocks

Since I teach special needs preschool I am always on the look out for easy craft ideas that all of the children can do and that will help them improve their motor skills. Since St. Patrick's Day is this week we made these tissue paper shamrocks. They were so simple to do and the kids seemed to enjoy it. These shamrocks were still a little wet when I took the picture, but you can imagine how the finished product looks.

To make the shamrocks: I did a google search for a shamrock template and used it to cut out shamrocks from green paper. Then I let the kids paint the glue onto the paper. Painting the glue works much better than squeezing it on. It allows for better control and avoids a big glob on the paper. Then the children put little green squares of tissue paper onto the paper.

Simple and easy. :)