On the eve of June 1st I can almost taste summer vacation!  However; there are still 12 and 1/2 days of school left with my firsties before it is officially summer.

It is vital to keep my sanity during these hot and sunny days in June.

Bring on the June Fun Calendar!!!

There have been so many variations of these on Pinterest.  I love that each classroom can customize their end-of-year activities to meet their own needs.

Each year my first grade team comes together to update the June Fun Calendar.  We reflect on what worked, and what didn't (and what took FAR too much preparation to do again!)  We try to alternate the time-consuming, heavy prep activities with the easier ones.  We {almost} always save our June Fun Calendar activity for the end of the day.  Of course, the looming reminder "If we don't behave and get our work done, we won't have time for our June Fun Calendar activity" is often repeated throughout the day.  To date, I have not had to "take away" our activity at the end of the day.  

I sent this home with my kiddos today, so that they can be prepared for any days that they need to bring in materials.

This year our "Wet N Wild" day is new.  I'll be sure to let you know how that day goes!

Camp Skeeter is a first grade tradition.  It's our "in-school" field trip to camp.  We spend the day focused on camping activities.  We have different stations, and LOTS of parent volunteers.  More on that day to come!

One of my FAVORITE activities is the Who's That Baby? guessing game.  We ask parents to send in a baby picture of their first grader.  I compile all the pics into a Smart notebook, and we try to guess which baby picture is which first grader.  The kids LOVE to see their pictures on the Smart board.  I included a picture of the letter we sent home to parents if this is something you would like to try with your class.  Feel free to grab any verbiage that might help you!

12 and 1/2 more teaching days left.  


Though many of you are enjoying your first weekend of summer, we still have 16 and 1/2 days left of school (not that I'm counting).  And while, of course, I can't wait for summer, I still have a bazillion things to do before the school year is over.  (And don't even GET me started on my lengthy summer To-Do list, eek!)  This week I'll begin the long process of our final assessments.  Blech.

So as the year comes to a close, I am thinking about our fun activities, like our End of Year Awards.  I give out my awards on the very last (half-day) of school.

This year I plan to spice it up a bit with a fabulous red carpet like I've seen floating around on Pinterest. I am thinking some award music as well.  Got any suggestions?

I made two versions of my awards.  One is a brightly colored chevron theme.  I kept them pretty simple, but I'm psyched that there are 50 DIFFERENT awards.  So there just HAS to be one that is JUST RIGHT for every student!

{Click HERE} to Download

Can you tell I like alliteration?!!

Running low on colored ink?  I also made a printer-friendly version of the same awards.  They are black and white and can be printed on plain or brightly colored paper.

Want to snag a copy for free?  I'll give away copies to the first two blog followers who leave me some comment love!  How do YOU celebrate at the end of the year?  (Don't forget to leave your email address!)

For those of you still teaching like me... happy long weekend!  I'm off to a grad party, camping, and then a couple days of boating.  WAHOO!
Want to get to know me a little better?  Today I'm featured on Dana's blog  Fun in 1st Grade.

{Click HERE} to read all about it!

Dana has a great blog... and is about to make a BIG change in her teaching career!  Be sure to follow her journey if you are not already a faithful follower.

She so generously features new bloggers every Tuesday on her own blog.  What a great way to share the bloggy love.  Thank you, Dana!
This week we said good-bye to our beloved student teacher, Miss Palandro.  Major sadsville in our classroom.

This was my first experience with a student teacher, and it could not have gone better.  My class was so fortunate to have such a wonderful experience with her.  She will definitely make a positive influence on many young lives throughout her career.

I wanted to thank her in a special way for all the hard work she put into our classroom.  Many years ago when I student taught in a first grade classroom, I was so touched by the gift that my host teacher put together for me.  (Thank you Jen!!!)  I wanted to pass that tradition on to my own student teacher... a personalized teaching bag and picture books for when she has her own classroom.

A few weeks ago I secretly sent out a letter asking parents to send in a book for our student teacher.  I asked for either a new book or a gently used one from their personal collection.  I did not want to pressure parents to spend a lot of money.  I was so surprised with what my kiddos brought in!  They definitely really thought about the books they chose.  Parents were extremely generous and some even added some extra touches.  So thoughtful!

My firsties did a FANTASTIC job of keeping our surprise a secret from our student teacher.  I had them bring their books directly into my teammates classroom as they came into school.  I interrupted my class during specials to explain the surprise and reminded them to keep it QUIET!  They succeeded, and I know Miss Palandro was very surprised!  There wasn't a dry eye in the house as she walked in.  We enjoyed cookies (of course) and my kids took turns reading their cards to her and showing her what books they brought in for her.

My contribution was a personalized bag from Thirty-One and some of my favorite read aloud books.  In each book, I wrote a personal message about why I chose that book and how I thought it might help her during her career.

If you are interested in a gift like this for your student teacher, you can download the parent letter I sent.  I made a version for both a female and male student teacher.  
{Click HERE} for this FREEBIE

We will miss you Miss Palandro!!!

Do you Scoot?  As in, do you use ScootPad with your class?

This is a fantastic Common Core resource!  It is a website (and a FREE app) allowing your students to practice reading and math Common Core skills.  I introduced this a few weeks ago with the iPads during small-group reading.  Whenever I introduce a new app or website, I like to do it in small groups so that I can really make sure my kiddos understand what they need to do.  This was a HIT from the start!

First you'll need to go to ScootPad.com. and register your class.  

You set each student up with their own individual log-in and password.  You can also print their log-in cards so they have a copy.  
Class Roster

Then, once your students log-in, they Launch Practice!  They can choose Math or Reading.  All the questions are based on the Common Core for whatever grade level you register for.  If the students cannot read the question on their own, they can click "Listen" and have the question read to them.  
Launch Practice
Sample Reading Question
Sample Math Question

As a teacher, you get weekly reports emailed to you with your student's progress.
Reports Page

Students can also practice at home.  You can generate Parent Letters with all the information parents need to get started at home.  My kiddos LOVE practicing at home!
Parent Letter

We love to SCOOT!
It's FINISHED!!!  My Money Mayhem pack, that I have been working on for what feels like FOREVER is finally done.  And just in time for the TPT Sale.  Woot woot, I'm officially on fire this week with my productivity.

{Click HERE} to Download

The activities in this pack focus on coin recognition, coin values, and coin counting.  Though coin counting is not in the Common Core standards, I know that my class is ready for it and I'm guessing other first grade classes are as well.

There are 45 pages of money goodness in here.  Check out what you get:

Want a copy?!  Leave me some love telling me what is most difficult for your students to understanding when learning about money.  I'll send a copy to the first three blog followers that leave a comment with their email.  

And, of course, a reminder that the GINORMOUS TPT Sale starts tomorrow and runs through Wednesday, May 8th.

Happy Shopping!
Blogging two days in a row?!  I'm on fire!  So much to share this Sunday morning.  I have been productive this weekend, woohoo!

Teachers Pay Teachers is having a HUGE two-day Teacher Appreciation Sale this week.  The sale runs May 7th-8th.  Everything in my store will be on sale.  You could save up to 28% so start filling up your cart NOW!

I have recently updated some of my products in my TPT Store.  My Word Work Activities got a MAJOR overhaul.  This was originally my first paid product on TPT.  I have learned so much since then about creating products, and I'm so excited with my revisions.  There are now eleven Word Work activities included.  There are also more detailed explanations for teachers on how to implement the activities.  If you have already purchased this product, simply go to your Purchases page and re-download for the updates!

I also decided to bundle some of my math products.  This way I can offer them at a discounted price.  And who doesn't like more for less?!  {Click HERE} to check it out.

Last, but certainly not least, my bloggy buddy Melissa over at First Grade Smiles is having a fantastic 200 Follower Giveaway.  Do you know Melissa?  If not, you should definitely start following her.  She has great ideas I am so happy to be a part of her celebration.  You could win my newly updated Word Work Activities among many other fabulous prizes.  This giveaway is AH-mazing!

I have a new obsession... BooksApp!  

(FYI... get ready for my own personal infomercial.  I am LOVING this app and want to tell the world about it, heehee.  I am not being paid for my own personal advertisement, though that would be cool.  BooksApp, are you out there reading this?! haha!)

BooksApp 2 Pro

This app is AMAZING!!!  My friend and teammate Mel showed it to me recently, and I have been obsessed ever since!  With this app, I am able to scan and categorize all my books.  There is a Lite version that is free, but I paid the $3.99 to upgrade to BooksApp 2 Pro.  I knew after using the free version for a few days I would get sick of the advertisements in that version, plus I wanted the option to export my book lists, which you get with the Pro version.

Prior to this, I had an Excel spreadsheet with all my Teacher Read Aloud books in it.  It was always a pain to update when I got new books, and I didn't like all those pages taking up valuable space in my lesson plans binder.  And of course, I never had it with me when I actually needed it.

Now I'm so psyched to have all my books in my iPhone!  That way when I'm lesson planning at home I can just look up what books I want to use for my whole-group reading lessons.

What's even better is that now I won't buy DOUBLE of the same book.  Have you ever done that?!  You know, you go to Barnes and Noble and see a great sale and stock up, only to realize you already have those books?  Now I can just check my iPhone when I'm at the store to see if I already have the book.  And now that I've scanned my books I am realizing that I need to beef up some of my author collections.

Yesterday I stayed late to finish scanning all my books in.  Did you read that right?!  I stayed LATE.  On.  A.  Friday.

That is how obsessed I am with this app!

At school, I have all my Teacher Read Aloud books organized in my file cabinet.  This prevents them from getting dusty, and keeps kids hands OFF them.  LOVE my kiddos, but not their germs.  I have them organized in monthly folders, holiday folders, mentor text folders, character ed folders, author folders, etc.

This is what it looks like when you open the app.

You scan in your book using the app's built in "Barcode Scanner," and it searches Google Books for the book's information.  If your book isn't in Google Books, you can manually add it in there.

You can view all your books by title.  I LOVE how you can see a picture of the book's cover.  So cool.

You can add books to custom-made "Collections."  I set up my collections just as they are labeled in my file cabinet so I know EXACTLY where my book can be found when I open my file cabinet drawers.

Last night I started dabbling in the "Subjects" section of the app.  I started adding custom subjects.  I'm thinking of these subjects more as "Skills."  That way, when I'm looking for books to use to teach a certain reading or math skill (i.e. cause/effect, inferencing, predicting) I can just look up books by skill.  The best part that I've found is that you can add multiple "Subjects" for each book.  So if you have a book that is great for teaching both Cause/Effect AND Main Idea, you can put that book in both subject categories.  How cool is THAT?!  

I plan to add to the subjects section as I go.  I often get done reading a story to my class and think, "Oh this would be great when I'm working on Author's Purpose, too.  I need to remember that for next year."  So I'll be updating this a lot for the remainder of this year, and all through next year as I teach.

I'm so excited about this app!  It's definitely worth checking out... especially since there is a FREE version.  Woohoo!

Okay, informercial over.  You may now go back to enjoying your weekend!

Yay May!  Time to link up with Farley at Oh Boy 4th Grade for this month's Currently.

LISTENING - The other week I was in my sweats, on the couch, on my Mac (shocking) and was absentmindedly listening to Dancing with the Stars.  It's not one of my favorite shows, but it's usually good background noise.  They had a Stevie Wonder-themed night and I have been listening to my Stevie Wonder favorites ever since.  Love me some Stevie!

LOVING - The weather is gorgeous in Central New York right now.  Yesterday I got into my car and it read 80.  Woohoo!  Warm and sunny... getting closer to summer.

THINKING - Tonight some friends and I are going out to celebrate my best friend Deb's birthday.  We are headed to a great restaurant downtown with a beautiful outdoor garden in the back.  Good friends, good wine, and relaxation, ahhh.

WANTING - Last weekend I was back in Chicago for my niece Hailey's baptism.  I'm scheduled to return on June 24th after school lets out... but I'm not sure I can wait that long for more Hailey and Taylor time.  I might be biased, but I have the BEST nieces in the WHOLE WORLD!

NEEDING - Okay so I have been a little distracted lately.  I seem to be getting a lot of inspiration, but my problem is that I have like 27 different projects in the works right now.  I just need to FINISH what I've started!  I'm still working on my money unit, I'm bundling my math games, and I'm updating my word work packet.  My list of impending blog posts is growing rapidly.  This weekend hopefully I can wrap up some projects and get organized.

SUMMER BUCKET LIST - Chicago (duh), boating (of course), and running.  Running?!!  A few weeks ago I joined a beginners running group.  GASP!  I am NOT a runner, but I have always wanted to be one of those people who comes home from a stressful day of work and goes for a run to clear my head (instead of sitting on the couch with an endless array of snacks and a glass of wine, haha).  So a few of my friends and I have started running and I think I might be starting to like it.  DOUBLE GASP!  I'm hoping to keep it up over the summer.  We shall see.

What are you currently up to?
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