Quick post tonight... just wanted to share some of the photos from what we have been up to in our classroom and recommend a new product!

Sneaky has an important job... watching over us!

Hiding in our marbles... what team will fill their cup first?!

We made our own elves with this glyph.  Click HERE to download the patterns.

Hard at work!

Love those polka dots!

All done!

My bloggy buddy Lisa over at Growing Firsties just came out with her S.T.A.R. Readers pack.  And guess what?  She asked me to be one of her contributing editors.  I was so flattered!  S.T.A.R. Readers is a foundation for a reading workshop.  It stands for Study, Think, Ask, Respond.  It is 82 pages of goodness!  And the best part?  It's on sale right now.  Hop on over to her TPT Store and check it out!

On another note... I am one follower away from 50.  So excited!!!  When I hit that magic number I'll definitely need to have a giveaway.  Hopefully I can figure out that Rafflecopter thingamajig!  

Ten more days of school until Christmas break... we can make it!  
It is officially the holiday season!  There are 23 days until Christmas.  (And 19 days until we begin our Christmas break at 3:30... but really, who's counting?)  This week I'm kicking Christmas into full gear in my classroom.

Click HERE for Natalie's FREEBIE

I'm makin' my list, and checkin' it twice!  I started my holiday preparations by stocking up at the TpT Cyber Sale.  Here are some of the goodies I snatched up for December...

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And I picked up a few things for future social studies units...

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This weekend I got my stockings ready to hang by the chimney with care.  I always label each stocking with a student's name in puffy paint, and hang them on the windows at the beginning of December.  Then on the last day of school before break I fill them with my Christmas gift (a book from Scholastic) and yummy treats.  My firsties go crazy when they see them all filled up!

And, of course, I wrapped my holiday read alouds.  I found this idea on Pinterest in the spring and have been waiting all year to do it!  I added date labels to mine, because I have a certain order I like to read my December books in.  

A lil' "Home Alone" action on the TV.  LOVE my holiday movies!

All wrapped up!

Our Elf on the Shelf will be making his debut tomorrow...

I am so excited to start all the holiday fun in my classroom!!  Now hopefully my kiddos can have fun learning and not go TOO crazy...
Productiveness prevails during Thanksgiving break.  I finally had the time to finish my Morning Meeting Greeting and Activity Cards, woohoo!!!

Click Here to Download

I love Morning Meeting in my classroom.  It's such a positive way to start the day, and really builds a strong classroom community.  We begin by greeting one another around the circle.  This is a great time to teach about eye contact and respect for one another.  After our greeting, we move on to calendar and weather.  Our calendar activities include learning about our current date and showing the number of days we've been in school in different ways (using tallies, base-10 blocks, and money).  We close with a whole-class activity that combines learning and fun!

I use my Smart board each day for my Morning Meeting.  It is a great visual and very interactive, so it really keeps the kids engaged.  I have a slide with a spinner on it for my greeting and another for my activity for the day.  I often forget to change up my spinner, so the greetings/activities get stale pretty fast!

I wanted to make some cute cards (and laminate them of course!) so I could use those to change up my greetings and activities more often than when I used the spinner.  I plan to put them on a ring and keep them with the rest of my Morning Meeting goodies.  Hopefully this will eliminate the "Oh no, high five greeting AGAIN?!" whining that I often hear from my little angels!

Check them out in my TpT Store and download them if you like 'em!  I'll email a copy for free to the first two people that leave me some comment love.  Don't forget to include your email address!

I hope you all have a wonderful and relaxing Thanksgiving and be sure to...

Notice anything different today? I have a fancy new blog design, woohoo! When I started blogging in July, I chose the best looking template in Blogger I could find.  Let's just say it left something to be desired...

Through my dedicated blog-stalking I stumbled upon Erin at Creating and Designing.  She has a great portfolio of custom blog designs and I signed right up to be on the waiting list.

The look is a lot more fun and fearless, don't ya think?  Feel free to "grab my button"...because I have one now... just sayin'.

Thanks Erin for making my blog beautified!
I had to share one of the many little things that make this tough job all worth it!  One of my firsties wrote this story and stole my heart forever.  Sweeter than sweet!!!

"My teacher's name is Miss Dembs."

"My teacher is very very very nice."

"Everyday I don't want to leave school but I have to."

"When I come back to school I am very very very happy to see her again."

Last week Susan over at T.G.I.F. blogged about using Scrabble Junior Cheez-It's to make CVC words.  As soon as I read her post I knew I had to try it out!  She so generously shared her idea, as well as her sorting mat and recording sheet.  Check out her original post HERE.  Easy and brilliant!  Thank you, Susan!!!

Today my firsties got a chance to try out "Snacking on Words"... and they LOVED it.  

The room was silent.  

I'm talking, hear-a-pin-drop silent.  

They were so focused, and really trying hard to come up with real words.  I will most definitely be using this activity again.  Delicious AND educational.  SCORE!

I used a box and a half of Cheez-It's for my class of 23.

The ever-popular CAT -- found on most papers today!

BOW -- nicely done!

PAN -- keep up the good work!

A great play by this lil' cutie -- JET!
I have been a very poor excuse for a blogger lately!  Back-to-School has overwhelmed me, and I'm fighting cold #2 of the year.  Yuck.

I've been wanting for a while to blog about my latest creation... my math cards!  Math cards have been a source of frustration for a VERY long time now.  Our district uses the Everyday Math program.  The Everyday Math cards are convoluted obnoxious busy... see for yourself.

Dots, shapes, fractions, oh my!

Needless to say, these were NOT working for my firsties.

"What side do we look at?"

"What are these weird colored-in lines?"

"Why do they have shapes?"

UGH!!  I just want them to play the math game already!

So then I tried a standard set of playing cards that I got at the Dollar Store.  But, of course, these were lacking too.  After you take out the Jack, Queen, King, and Ace, there aren't really too many numbers to practice with!

So... I made my own!  I really wanted a set with ten frames on them for the kids to use for the beginning half of the year.  The ten frames help build their number sense, and really help the kiddos who can't quite get those math facts down yet (they can count the dots on the ten frames to help them).  Then, later in the year I'll change out the ten frames set with the plain ol' number cards I made.

I printed my sets on different colored card stock.  That way, if a card is found on the floor after we clean up, it is easy to return to the correct set.  I made sure to have the numbers 0-10 in each set twice, so that our doubles facts will turn up in our games.

Then I had some laminating/cutting fun!  Does anyone else enjoying cutting laminating?  Anyone?  Bueller?!  It's like my therapy.  I find it relaxing.  I know I can't be the only one!

If you want a copy of my math cards, head on over to my TPT store!

Nine days in... I am EXHAUSTED!!  I am hoping to get back into a routine of blogging more... once I find out where I left my energy.

We have been busy, busy in our classroom!  Check out the pictures to see what we were up to last week.

Hoping to have some goodies to share soon  :-)

Our Whole Brain teaching is well under way.  Class/Yes was a hit from day one.  Today I introduced the Mirror routine.  So fun!  Once again, if you haven't checked out Whole Brain Teaching, GET ON IT!!!  Seriously people.  You won't regret it.  ((My posters are a FREEBIE from 3rd Grade Thoughts.))

We have started Daily 5 by introducing Read to Self.  We have been working on our stamina all week and tracking it on the white board... we made it (just barely) to 20 minutes on Friday!  ((My CAFE and Daily 5 signs are a FREEBIE from Ginger Snaps.)) 

Those empty bulletin boards are starting to fill up!  In Writing Workshop we learned how to draw a boy and a girl (woohoo, no more heads with arms and legs sticking out!).  ((The posters for drawing a boy and girl are a FREEBIE from Kindergarten Smiles.))

Math Workshop has begun!!  This is something new I am trying this year.  I plan to blog more about it once I assess how it's working in my classroom and get all the kinks worked out.  We practiced "Math by Myself" and "Math with a Buddy" this past week.

Friday we played Top-It... one of my favorite math games!

And, of course, I have to mention the BEST pencil sharpener EVER!!  My teammate found this at the end of last year, so each of the first grade teachers bought one.  I have seen them on countless blogs since then and the reviews are all accurate.  This thing ROCKS!!

It's super quiet and easy to use.  My first graders caught on very quickly after a short tutorial.

Perfect point, EVERY TIME!!!  Want one?  Check out Classroom Friendly Supplies.  It looks as though they are all sold out at the moment, but keep checking back.  It is SO worth it!!!

Oh-my-word.  This week has been a whirlwind!  Thank goodness tomorrow is FRIDAY!

Yesterday was the first day with the kids and I had great intentions of posting my final classroom pics... and of course I didn't take into account the exhaustion that comes at the end of the first day of first grade.  Oh well, better late than never!

I am happy to report that I have a fantastic new bunch of 23 firsties!  They came in all smiles yesterday morning and NO TEARS!!  Not ONE parent came into the classroom.  My kids came straight off the bus or their parents dropped them quickly at the door.  Hooray for their families for building that independence right from the start!  They will be making my job much easier this year.

The day went by in a flash!  My first grade frame was a hit and I can't wait for their parents to see their adorable lil faces in the pictures at Curriculum Night next week.  Play dough on the desks as an opening activity when the kids arrive is GENIUS.  They were engaged and the kinesthetic aspect helped to channel any first day jitters.  Thanks Clutter-Free Classroom for the idea!  {Click HERE for the original post on CFC's blog}

Below are the final pics of my classroom set-up.  I've very pleased at how the room turned out this year.  It's very open and spacious, and there is A LOT of blank bulletin/wall space to hang our anchor charts and amazing first grade work.

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