Tuesday, April 17, 2012

Motivation for the end of the year!... CAMP WEEK! :)

Oh boy- today was quite a rough day.  It was so rough that I was extra motivated to make a new motivation chart for the end of the year.  I am going to have my students start this chart in May.  We have an annual camp week.  A lot of time/ planning goes into it.  This year we have discussed canceling it due to many behavior issues in our classes.  I just can't bare to cancel due to the kids who have earned it and deserve it.  I made these charts so that I just take away privileges from students instead of punishing all of the others.  :(  It is too often that students who are almost always making good choices get lumped into a group punishment just because of 5-7 students that are having trouble. 

Here is my chart:  (If you need a Microsoft Word copy to manipulate for your behavior needs to help you through the year- just email me and ask for a copy!)

When I was student teaching, I was lucky enough to be a part of camp week in first grade.  I loved it so much that I "borrowed" the idea and brought it to my school ever since my first year of teaching.  It is an exhausting week for the kids and teachers both but is packed full of fun and learning!

Here are a some of the fun things that we do:
1.  Send home a secret parent packet 2 weeks in advance with stationary, envelopes and a donation request letter.  We ask parents to send in donations for snacks during the week.  We also ask parents to secretly write letters for their students to read while they are at "camp."  (This is totally stolen from my rockin' student teaching days!)  These letters are adorable!  The parents get really creative and often include pictures, write them from their animals etc.  Parents send these back to school in the secret envelope.  If students do not have a parent send back letters- I have generic templates that I use if I don't have time to write personal letters for them.  We then borrow the K teachers play mailman bag and hat/ slap it on the custodian and he delivers the mail daily to the kids during camp week.  The students practice letter writing as they respond daily to their mail.  ;)

2.  We have at least three speakers come in and do presentations for the entire grade level.  We use a local bird santuary and they bring in a large bird and have an activity like owl pellets for the students to explore.  (YUCK!)  We also use a local state park naturalist- she is a retired teacher and comes in and goes on a fake hike and acts like she found previous planted types of plants (like poison ivy) and stops and discusses the items with the students.  We finally have Passport to Fishing.  This program use to be the program hooked on fishing- not on drugs.  They come in and teach the students all about fishing and also give the students a free gift bag and their own fishing pole to take home!!!!!!

3.  I have fiction and nonfiction camping movies.  We watch these while eating snack and then practice comprehension and writing skills with them.

4.  We have a daily snack (well see above)- we work on measurement skills with our snacks.

5.  I try to have a daily mystery reader to read a camp book to the students.

6.  I invite parents to come in and teach skills like star gazing etc.

7.  We start out each morning with the entire first grade standing around the flag pole.  We say the pledge of alligience and sing 1-2 camp songs.

8.  The week before camp- we learn about animals.  We make scenery making sure that we have animals, their habitats and food sources on the scenry.  I hang these on the walls as well as hang paper insects from the ceiling to help set the "mood" for camp.

9.  We push away their desks and allow students to bring in sleeping bags/ blankets during the week.  I also set up 1-2 tents that can be used for a reward for reading during the week.

10.  I take pictures all week.  On the last day of camp- I have the students make a camp scrapbook.  They glue in the pictures (or draw them!) and write captions for the pictures.

(I hope to beef it up this year with cute clipart!)

Here are some cute camp themed items from Oriental Trading. 

This campfire tissue paper ornament is ADORABLE!  I need to try to make it myself!  :)

I have used a construction paper fire for 5 years.  I need to order this one this year:

I also need to head on over to TPT and pick up Cara Carrolls camp themed unit to supplement some of the items that I use as well!  :)

Perhaps you can use some of these ideas for a fun camp week!  ;)  (As an added bonus- it makes a good excuse to take down and pack up things early in your room because you HAVE to set up for camp.  :-) )

***This feels funny to be blogging NOT on my phone!  Lately it has been midnight from my bed!  ;)  ***


Monday, April 16, 2012

Crunch time- 32 days left of school! And randomness!

I always know when 4th quarter has begun... Fun night which is only true to name for the kiddos :-), end of Rti fluency, a desperate attempt to catch up those kiddos who seem to have a tough time focusing and trying to jam all uncovered content into one month! Once May comes along- it is time for diagnostic assessments, grade card testing, camp week and cleaning up my room for the year.

This year I feel like I wish I had one more month to get some of my students to where they should be academically.... Then on the other hand... sleeping in sounds rather appealing. :-)

Our annual school fun night was last week and I will soon compile all of the fliers, organization pieces into a file and post it on tpt.

I also am almost finished writing the first grade common core standards into super kid friendly terms. Boy- oh- boy is that a task! I swear some of the standards have taken me quite a bit of time to eliminate some of the adult language! I will be adding these as an option to use in my recording common core mastery tpt item. If you have already purchased it- watch for updates soon! :-).

I feel so bad that I have been neglecting my blog lately- I've just been a busy girl! :-)

To add a little fun to this post- the first person to comment- leave me your email and the name of a product from my tpt store that you would like. :-)

I have another personal day on Friday (I am using up all three for once this year!!!) so hopefully I can "stop on by" for another giveaway and perhaps some tidbits.

I hope you all have a wonderful week!


Sunday, April 8, 2012

Happy Easter!

If you celebrate Easter- I hope that it was fabulous! If you don't- I hope that your day was fabulous!

It has been a while since I've posted. Our annual Fun Night is on Friday and I have been working away trying to make sure all t's are crossed and i's are dotted.

I always ran a game in my room for the first three years of teaching but never was on the planning end. My mentor ( who was the most patient and kind person that I have ever known) was always heavily involved in Pto. One summer just a few weeks before school started- I received a phone call from my principal and could tell something was wrong. He told me that Lana, my mentor, had been snorkeling in Florida and was found in the water unresponsive. :-(. My heart sank. She had been teaching for 37 years and still loved every moment of it. She was always there to lend a helping hand and was very involved. She was an amazing person.

Well... Three years ago to honor her I started getting really involved in PTO ( about 5 people). My first big task was to take on volunteers for our annual fun night. Let me tell you- I did that job for 2 years and gladly turned it over this year! Finding about 140 volunteers is not an easy task. The job starts about 4 months prior to the event and doesn't end until after the night is over. A lot of people cancel/ don't show up or forget to go to their shifts. The first year was a complete learning experience. The second year- I felt much more confident but it was still a lot of work.

This year I am the game and donations person (which I share the responsibility with two lovely teachers.). I am loving it so much more! I have made game direction posters which almost mimic lesson plans from materials to clean up. I have posters outside the doors. I purchased tubs to organize and keep the games in. We made new and more fun games. We also have a lot of donations for raffles ( after hours and hours of dropping letters off and calling companies), advertisements, thank you posters, thank you cards, pocket chart sized typed up descriptions to place winning tickets, and a lot more!!!

I plan to compile all of the information into a file soon and post it on TPT so that you can use it/ adapt it to make your own fun night.

Working on all of this made me think about how much I'd love to plan/ coordinate a blogging conference. I'm just detail ordinated enough to pull it off. I was thinking about how I'd organize buses to take local teacher store trips, shopping trips, organize the speakers, block rooms, make folders with local attractions and teacher coupons etc. I think that I like teaching so much for the planning and organizing aspect. So- if any of you want any planning done- you know who to contact!! I just live for it!! Just to think- it was all my mentor that inspired me to first start coordinating and planning large events. If it wasn't for her- I never would have truly found my hobby/ passion.

Well- it is off to bed for me! I took a personal day on Wednesday- so I'm sure that I will "see" you around soon!

Have a great Monday!