Where it all goes down Wednesday!

Welcome to my first grade classroom! I am in a room that connects to one other classroom in an older building without storage or windows, so I've had to be a little creative with my space! As you can see, pretty much every surface is used!

This is the view from my front door.  To the left is the word wall and our Working With Words board.  
These are our Rainbow Names, which are the fantastic creation of Mrs. Deanna Jump! Loved that activity!
This is a view across our room from the entrance. Computers are in the back corner near the library. Mathstations are along the back wall, and I've used clothespins to hang my song and anchor charts.

Just a closer view of our Nonfiction Library near the carpet.
Math Work Stations...yay!
Our Calendar Area...could use a little work!

Guided Reading Table and FACE board.  I love the way this turned out!

Every day is a story...our Writing Center. This was an idea found on Pinterest. Just noticed the open drawer...oops!

Thanks for visiting! If you'd like to see close-ups of my Classroom Library, click here! And don't forget to join the fun at Blog Hoppin'.

Math Tree Maps and Cooperative Groups in First Grade? You Bet!

    Today was the thirteenth day of first grade, and unbelievably, it was also the day of my first official observation of the year! Talk about jumping into things full blast! Our new teacher evaluation rubric talks a lot about cooperative group activities, so I decided to give it a go even though I was a bit hesitant to try doing this so early in the year. 
     To make things more manageable, and for my own sanity, I made my students some Cooperative Group Role Necklaces to wear--this was the perfect use for my freebie nametag necklaces earned from Highlights Magazine orders.  I printed sets of role cards for 5 groups (each set on a different color cardstock), and the roles include jobs such as Group Leader, Writer, Cutting Expert, Glue Helper, Materials Manager, and more.  For this particular activity, I put my students in four groups of five, and tailored the jobs to the task the students were performing.  Overall, it went pretty well, so I thought I'd share! If you would like to download my free Group Role cards to make your own necklaces (or, you could put them in id badge clips) click here!

     To practice working in cooperative groups and to teach some beginning number concepts, my students created a Numbers Tree Map that turned out really well, so I thought I'd share it as well! (Just a warning--I have not taught the Tree Map as a part of our Thinking Map curriculum yet, so this Tree Map is not an "official" thinking map with all of the verbs and frame of reference--I simply wanted to use it to help my students learn to sort and to practice groupwork). 
     I came up with idea after Fran at Kindergarten Crayons shared her wonderful Number Circle Maps during the Math Workstations book study.  To extend the Circle Mapping activity, I decided to challenge my students' thinking by asking them to sort the number cards into a Tree Map. 
     To make the Tree Map, I first put the students into cooperative groups and assigned them roles using the necklaces described above.  Then, I gave each group a baggie with two sets of Fran's spectacular number cards (I gave one group the cards for 3 and 7, another the cards for 2 and 9, and so on).  I also gave each group two pieces of construction paper with their numbers labeled at the top. 
     The students sorted each number picture onto the correct piece of construction paper to make a mini tree map.  After the groups sorted their numbers onto their mini-tree map, we gathered as a class.  Each group shared their thinking regarding their sort, and then they separated their mini tree map to put the numbers in the correct sequence on our large class tree map.  Here is how it turned out! (Sorry about the lamination glare).

Meet the Teacher Monday!

I'm linking up at Blog Hoppin' for Meet the Teacher Monday! Head on over to check it out!

Blog Hoppin

Tell us a little something about you...
My name is Brooke. I've been married to my wonderful husband and best friend for four years, but we've been together for ten--He was my high school sweetheart and my very first date. We have a sweet baby girl named Elliotte who was born this past February, and we've also got two furbabies, Sampson and Sophie. 

How long have you been teaching?
This is my fifth year teaching--I've been in first grade from the start, and I love it!

You might not know...
I was a cheerleader and a golfer in high school and a bowling state champ in elementary school.  I only played softball one year (in 3rd grade) and have very (I mean VERY) little athletic ability, but I recieved a local softball organization scholarship my senior year.  My family and friends still like to tease me about that.

What are you most looking forward to this school year?
I was out on maternity leave for twelve weeks last year, so this year I'm excited to have a full year of teaching ahead of me! This will be my first full year using the Daily Five and Reading and Writing Workshops, and I cannot wait to see how they all impact my students' learning when used every single day (I used each of them last year and for part of the year before, but not consistently). I also love building community with my new students and teaching them to read. I love the excitement as that lightbulb turns on and they start to really grow as readers!

What do you need to improve?
This year, I am looking to improve in a couple of areas. First, I would like to include more small group instruction and differentiation in my teaching.  This is why I'm really looking forward to starting math workstations! Also, I am hoping to improve my time management this year-- I have a new baby to spend time with (and my dh, too!), so I'd love to find a better balance between school time and family time.

What teaching supplies can you not live without?
Mavalus Tape - I have all cinder block walls--I have used six rolls since summer started!
3M Hooks and stickies - I use these to hang all of my pocket charts and my clothesline that goes around the classroom!
Post-it Notes - Love them for workshop time!
My Personal Laminator - It is so much more durable than the school's laminating.
Avery Labels- I love to organize, and labels are definitely my friend!
Books, Books, and More Books! I love them and am so thankful my sweetie lets me have a book allowance each month!

Back to School with The Kissing Hand

I'm finishing up my first week of school, and boy, has it been busy with meetings almost daily and lots of changes among our team and faculty! Hopefully, when things calm down, I'll have more time for blogging! Anyway, I have a pretty good class of twenty firsties this year, and we had a lot of fun getting to know each other this week! We did some Kissing Hand activities the first day, and lots of Deanna Jump's wonderful activities including her Rainbow Names, All About Me people, Chicka Chicka Boom Boom Name Trees, and more! It was a blast! Here are some pics of our Kissing Hand activities...we made a hand/heart shaped circle map of our First Day Feelings. Then, we did a predictable chart telling how we felt on the first day. We also made some handprint art to send home with the parents this week at Parent Night.


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