Monday, September 1, 2014

Sit Spots - Assigned Classroom Seating

Sometimes you don't know what you have until it's gone. 
For years I've had a classroom carpet with alphabet squares for my students to sit on.  I always assigned students a letter to sit on and they did.  End of story.  They had a pretty colorful box all their own and they stayed inside of it. 

This year after moving to a new school, I no longer had that carpet.  At first, I thought how bad can it be?  I'll just assign spots.  
They'll remember I told myself.  
We'll practice self control and personal space I thought.  

Well, we're only 5 days in and my Sit Spots saved my sanity arrived Thursday when I got home from work.  
I may have done a happy dance in the driveway. 

After 4 days of bumping into each other and crooked rows, we spent a few minutes Friday morning arranging our Sit Spots.  These are INCREDIBLE, LIFE CHANGING, GENIUS,  little pieces similar to Velcro that stick to my carpet and don't move.  They are however removable if you pull them up hard enough.  They won't leave any residue on the carpet like tape would and they come in a lot of colors and shapes.  You can also wash and reuse them or even write on them.  I chose the pocket shape because I always remind my kiddos to "Put your pocket on your pocket." 

I gave the kids a few minutes to just fell them and play with them so they wouldn't be doing it during instruction time.

Up close you can see my pocket shape better. I can already think of other ways I'll be able to use these on my carpet and can't wait to play with them.  

Seriously, these little things have changed my life this week with my little ones.  We now know exactly where to go and how much space we have because we put our pocket on our pocket.  I'm in love.  The company did send me a sample Sit Spot to make sure it would work on my carpet. 

To buy your own set of Sit Spots click the picture below. 

Saturday, August 16, 2014

Grab & Go Birthday Gifts!

Birthday Cups

I wanted to make sure to do something this year for the kiddos ahead of time since I will be out on maternity leave.  I love these simple birthday cups that I made.  All ready to grab and go! Since not everyone's birthday falls during the school year, we will have a class vote whether to celebrate 1/2 birthday's or have one big party to celebrate all birthday's not during the school year. 

I'm sure you get the idea from the pictures but some details are below. 

I went to Starbucks and I asked for 24 cups for a class project since I'm a teacher.  They were generous and grateful and handed them over. Make sure to ask for the cool whip lids with them. 

I went to the Dollar Tree and Walmart and purchased goodies that are in packages for birthday parties.  Some items: stamps, mini bubbles, bouncy ball, jumping frogs, yo-yo's, and candy.   I filled the bottom with some colored paper crumpled up and the top with some cellophane.  I topped them with a red Tootsie Pop to represent a cherry.  The straws I had on hand but I think they would be cute with a pencil or crazy straw sticking out too! The labels I made myself, printed and hot glued on.  The labels are on the outside not laminated. Nothing fancy. 

The finished product!

For more bright ideas more than 100 different 
bloggers, please browse through the link-up 
below and choose a topic/grade level that 
interests you. Thanks for visiting! 

Monday, August 11, 2014

Back to school video party and GIVEAWAY!

I am SERIOUSLY excited (and a little bit nervous) about this post. 

You see, my blogging friends and I at the Primary Chalkboard wanted to do something BIG for back to school for you.

BIG I'm talking, BIGWe decided to throw a party.

YES! It is a YouTube Partaaaaay!

Have you ever wondered what I sound like? Well now is your chance to hear and see me in action.

Well, I get by with a little help from my friends and we are here sharing lots of tips -- organizational, DIY, helpful ideas-- lots of things you can do RIGHT NOW to make your back to school a little easier!

Would anyone like a....

$100 Amazon Gift Card
$100 TeachersPayTeachers Gift Card
A fabulous Michael Kors bag 
(you know, the one you want but can't justify spending the money for)?
I thought so.

You can EVEN gain EXTRA entries in the giveaway by watching our videos and entering our SECRET WORDS into the Rafflecopter (but I know you were going to do that anyway, so... 2 birds, 1 stone).

We will be linking up 5 new videos every day this week... so you can come back, watch, and enter every day!

Here is my back to school video tip! Click the picture below to be taken to my brand new YOU TUBE channel!!!

And don't forget to head over to the Primary Chalkboard to enter our giveaway!

You can come back every day this week to watch more fabulous videos and gain more entries!

Sunday, August 10, 2014

Weekly Word Lists

2014-2015 WORD LISTS

Click on each picture to be taken to the downloadable file.  

4th Quarter words are not listed.  They will be based on student ability and need as individuals and as a class.  

-Dates are aligned to my school year
-Words are from the FRY word list
-The 1st 4 weeks have 10 words because they are K review words and should be known

Teachers if you have any questions please feel free to contact me!

What's on my school supply list???

2014 - 2015 School Supply List
You might be asking what I do with's the answer! 

Note: I use pictures because I'm used to teaching a high Hispanic population and this helps with translation issues.  

Supply List
1) 4 Boxes of Crayons - I give each student a new box of crayons at the start of each quarter. Crayons are the cheapest during back to school season. 

2) 1 inch binder - This is the take home binder that goes back and forth each day.  The binder allows me to fit the school agenda in it and page protectors to keep needed items handy (word lists/lunch menus).

3) Glue sticks - The reason I request 4 or more NOW is that during back to school time they are the cheapest they will ever be.  We do many learning projects and glue sticks are a must.

4) Pencils - because the kids eat them...and seriously, I don't really know how we go through so many...

5) Clipboards - each student needs one because we are always on the go with our learning.  Laying on the carpet to write, sitting with groups to gather information, or searching around the room for problems I've taped to every item possible.  

6) Tissues - because snot is gross and the toilet paper at school will tear up a little ones nose.

7) Composition Notebook - Used as a writing journal and/or interactive notebook. To begin to learn to write on notebook paper. 

8) Zip Lock Bags - So many yummy leftover food from a cooking project, a random lost tooth, a broken piece of jewelry...the list goes on. 

WISH List 
This list is just that.  It's my wish.  If  items do not get purchased,  I will eventually buy them because they make my classroom work.  

1) EXPO markers - I use them daily AND the kids use them daily in small groups.  If a lid gets left off, then the marker dies a slow death.  We need a lot of these. 

2) Lysol Wipes - germs, germs, and more germs.

3) Watercolor Paints- occasionally I wake up feeling brave and let 24  7 year olds the same time.

4) Skittles - I have an amazing candy machine in my room that takes real quarters.  I use it as a reward and it's incredible what the kiddos will do to earn a quarter for the machine. 

5) Hershey Kisses - I reward students and say "Kiss your brain and make it sizzle!" and "You deserve a Kind Kiss for being kind!' - when this happens they are allowed 1 Hershey Kiss.  This one Hershey Kiss is a big deal...I promise!

6) Paper Products - we will eat to learn a lot and we will party like there's no tomorrow when we work hard and reach our goals.

7) Extra Erasers- because mistakes happen a lot when you're learning to write! 

8) Colored Paper - For parent letters that need to stand out, for learning stations, for learning projects, for mothers day cards etc...


Parents: You may download the PDF file to print by clicking HERE
Teachers: You may download the editable file by clicking HERE

Friday, August 8, 2014

1st Grade Curriculum Maps

Life & Curriculum 

This school year, I will be moving back to first grade, changing schools, and......having a baby BOY!  

I'm sure you've already forgiven me for being MIA on the blog.  The back to school season is here and I do have a lot of teaching tips, ideas, and products ready to share with you.  

I want to start with my curriculum maps that I've created for 1st grade.  Every year my teammates and I set out to align curriculum after reflecting on what worked and what didn't.  Sometimes I have text books to use with the curriculum and sometimes I don't.  So...these maps are a reflection of skills, not any specific text.  

I believe that each year is different and each group of students bring different challenges.  I alter my "plan" as I see a need to.  I am not locked into this curriculum but I know that to start a new school year, I DO need to have a plan so I can start somewhere.  Another thing you will notice is that the curriculum only goes to February and then stops.  This is because at that point in the school year, you will need to really look at the big picture and decide what skills your class needs the most practice with.  You may be behind, you may be ahead, or you may be gearing up to re-teach.  Either way, heading into the last quarter of the school year has always been different for each class I've taught.  Some groups have different strengths than others and you will need to do what works best for you.  I also want to mention that this curriculum is based on monthly skills.  In the past, I've used curriculum maps that are aligned weekly - I think this is too much.  At some point especially when team planning...someone gets off track.  It always comes down to a decision of what to teach and what to let go of because of a time crunch.  This method doesn't make sense to me since all of what is laid out needs to be done since the material is a scaffolding of the monthly curriculum is what works for me.  As I begin my month, I know what I need to get done similar to a checklist.  If I'm a day or two off from last's not big deal and not stress-worthy.  I have time. I can get to it and even reteach it needed. 

I am offering these as free downloads and I truly hope they will be useful to someone.  They are specific to my school year and my needs but the downloads are editable to fit your needs. Please note: Fonts will change what you download on the editable document.  I am also attaching the PDF so you can see the document without formatting changes. There are gaps in what is outlined for reading. I will assess where the kids are and then fill in a plan from there.  I will always focus on building reading levels in conjunction with comprehension skills.   
I know when I first started teaching this is what I needed.  This information would have saved me many late nights and early mornings.  If you decide to download or share please credit Randi @ Teach It With Class. Also, leave some love in the comments so I'll know! 

Friday, August 1, 2014

Back to School Giveaway!!!

Hello friends! Are you ready for a HUGE giveaway? I have gathered together with some AMAZING teacher bloggers and we have put together a fantastic set of prizes for you. We have 42 bloggers participating, so we are giving away a prize pack of 14 products each to 3 winners! :) You can enter on the Firstie Friends Facebook Page, and you can earn a LOT of entries. Go to the tabs under the header picture and click the tab that says "Giveaway". The giveaway will end on Sunday, August 4th at 8pm CST. At the bottom of this post you will also find links to ALL of my Firstie Friends' stores! :)


Thank you so much for reading! Good luck in the giveaway!


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