Sunday, July 27, 2014

I hit the mother load!!!! Keep calm and craft on!

Okay- I have had these ideas floating around in my mind ever since I have seen teachers post their classroom pictures on Pinterest or Facebook and I am SOOOOO happy that I was able to do some similar projects today!!
This morning, my mom and my twinkie girls and I headed out to Michael's in search of cupcake ribbon and anything that would go with my SWEET TREATS theme....I hit the MOTHER LOAD!!!
The cupcake Duck Tape is going to be used to make their writing folders.  I use BLUE folders for their English writing and RED folders for their Spanish writing and I put the tape on the spines of the folders to keep them together! I did this last year and at first, I was skeptical that they would last all year but they did!  
I also used the tape to make my cardboard baskets that I purchased from Target look nice and pretty! 


Then, I found the ribbon!!! I still have some baskets at work that I need to do but I did the ones that I had at home!

I am planning on going to my building tomorrow to drop some stuff off into my classroom and maybe I will be able to grab some more bins to work on!

Also, I got this GREAT idea to make an "oven" for a storage display in my classroom.  My daughters helped me paint today!

Here is what it looks like now:

I have to give it some touch ups and then I am going to add the designs and templates to make it look like a real oven!!!!

I also purchased aprons, thin cupcake ribbon, and fabric markers plan is to make an apron that I can wear when I am meeting with my guided reading groups so the students know that I am working with a group and I can't be disturbed unless there is an emergency...I used a crown last year but I had to throw it away because it broke. I think the apron will be cute...maybe I can even find a chef's hat to add to the outfit!!!!

I still have a little over a month of summer left and even though I am getting a lot accomplished, I still have a lot to do!  Hope I can get it all done!! 
When do you go back to work?

Happy teaching!

Alyson Hennessy

Saturday, July 19, 2014

Back to school ads already?!?!?

So as we all know, our local stores, such as STAPLES, Walmart, and Target have their back to school areas already displayed with new notebooks, crayons, glue sticks, and much more! It is crazy that it is only the middle of July and the supplies are out!  But...this is also the time of year when I start to look for items that I can use in the classroom to help make teaching easier or to help organize my supplies better!  This is when I  LOVE the Target $1-$3 section!!!! They always have such cute baskets or organizational tools that I can use....and the fact that it is all so cheap makes it even better!! I picked up 5 of these the other day:
My plan is to use these for notebook/journal storage on the tables so the students can easily take out their interactive notebooks and writing journals.
I don't have a picture of the but I also purchased these great plastic wire baskets that I use for guided reading and for handing in student work. I saw a pin on Pinterest where a teacher purchased ribbon and used the ribbon to make the basket all pretty!! I am going to try and find some SWEET TREAT themed ribbon so that I can do this! If I can, I will post pics as soon as I complete them!

I also completed two products today that I hope will really help my new group of firsties to remember and retain their sight words, not only when they read but also when they write.  In the past, my students  were able to identify the words in books but would have difficulty writing them independently.  I hope that these booklets will help them because not only are they a great activity for centers or class work but it is a tool that they can take home for practice!

My plan is to keep making these units...we use the Treasures program in my school and I am hoping to make the sight word booklets for every unit in the series.  I also plan on working on the rest of the FRY sight words and eventually get to the DOLCH list.  They are 1/2 off until Tuesday so please go check them out!  Here are some pics of what is included:

Hope to go find some SWEET TREATS ribbon for my baskets so I can make them pretty and show you how I made them!!! Stay tuned!

Happy teaching!

Alyson Hennessy

Tuesday, July 15, 2014

Already with the 1st day of school nightmares!!

(courtesy of MyCuteGraphics)
See that face above?? It is supposed to represent the fact that I had a back to school nightmare in the MIDDLE of JULY and I still have over a month of summer left!!!!!! Usually I have them every week during the last week of my summer vacation when I am always worrying about things....I am hoping that this is not a sign of things to come and I don't have one every night for the next month and 1/2! Yikes!!! 
It started like every other 1st day...we all met for a quick meeting to discuss and review procedures and how we can help the new Kindergarten students and what not...the bell rings and I go to my classroom.   My classroom was not the one I have now but that is not what REALLY had me panicking-the students waiting for me in the hallway were not my students!  I know the group I am getting already because of the program I teach so I have already met their parents and I know every single kid I am getting...that was shock number one...THEN I realized, my classroom was not even ready-no bulletin boards, no name tags, no activity for them to do while I got the supplies collected and organized-which lead to shock number three-NO SUPPLIES-I had nothing, the kids did not bring in anything-it was a disaster! I had no idea what special we had to go to, did not know the lunch for the day...I remember feeling like I was running around in circles and then I finally woke up sweaty and gasping for air!! I could not fall back asleep after that! I was too afraid!  
Now, I KNOW this would NEVER happen because those of you who know me are aware of the fact that I am a little OCD when it comes to my room. I start to set up the bulletin boards before I leave for the summer and as soon as we get the ALL CLEAR to go in, I start to go in and set up!  

I always try to make the 1st day go as smoothly as possible but for some reason, there are always hiccups.  I have yet to find a good strategy to help me collect and organize supplies for the first day.  I also tried a suggestion that I found last year which said to have containers of Play-Doh ready and allow the kids to play with it while you talk to any parents or console a sad child but my class last year did not seem to like playing with it...that is not to say that this year's class will feel the same-maybe they will like doing that this year so I think I will still go out and buy it for the class  and leave it at their seats but I was wondering if anyone had any different suggestions???

So I know that I put a picture on my last post of a FREEBIE with my reading strategies set...I am adding A LOT to it and to help me with a sample page, I had one of my 4 year old twins pose with a mustache-what do we think? So cute, right??
The mustache was way too big for her face but I thought it was adorable!!! =)  

Here are some pictures of some products I uploaded recently!
Sorry it is blurry! This is from my Tarjetas del septiembre packet...I have a small wall in my classroom next to my door and I use this wall to post monthly and seasonal vocabulary in both English and Spanish: Tarjetas del septiembre

Here is one for my classroom labels!

Labels for a SWEET classroom!

And here is another product that I can't WAIT to use! We are starting the ESTRELLITA Spanish phonics program in the dual language classes this year and I love the program! I only have experience with the K program and I teach 1st so my plan for the first few weeks is to get them used to the letter-picture associations and review the letters and sounds in Spanish...I created this cute watches for the class to make as a center activity or even as an interactive notebook activity!
Please ignore the pretzels..I was hungry while I was working!  

Next week, I start my dual language curriculum writing and I finish my math curriculum writing...I am really happy with all of the work we have done for the math and I hope that my 1st grade colleagues feel the same way-the final math CC workbooks look so much better and are much more parent/kid/teacher friendly! When we get a final copy of the product, I will post a picture! 

Happy teaching! I know a few of my teacher friends out there have started work or will be starting soon!  Good luck!

Alyson Hennessy

Thursday, July 10, 2014

Love to read!!! And a FREEBIE!

Ok so when I found this freebie mustache paper from Zip a dee doh dah Designs I thought of the cutest reading product that would help students to become independent readers!  I created these anchor charts to use as I introduce each strategy.  I am going to use them during guided reading groups and whole group instruction and the best part is, I can also send them home with parents to inform them of what is going on with their child's reading!  I also included a checklist that can be sent home so that the parents are aware of what strategy they are focusing on for the week.
Check it out!
On a different note, I am SUPER jealous of the teachers at the TpT and I teach 1st conference in Vegas this week! I am hoping to go next year!! Better start saving now!! =)

Until next time!

Alyson Hennessy

Wednesday, July 9, 2014

I am the worst blogger ever....

Ok my school year has come and gone and I did not blog as much as I swore I would and I am super super sorry about is amazing how time just passes by and how much needs to get done in a short amount of time...I missed over 7 days in June for testing and training purposes.  I am on 2 summer curriculum writing teams this summer and we started adapting and changing our math to make it more parent/student/teacher friendly for next year...we are also working on writing and creating a Spanish curriculum that implements the ESTRELLITA phonics program! I am very excited about that! I have been working super hard on creating new and interactive products for next year AND also products that go with my awesome new classroom theme which is...SWEET TREATS!!! I have been planning this theme since last summer! I used the HOLLYWOOD theme for 2 years and loved it but felt it was time for a change....I have even been working on centers that follow the theme!!!
My goal for next year with my students is to keep fostering independence in their learning and to make them confident readers and writers.  I want my students to not only know the reading skills and strategies but how and when to use them. I want them to be able to edit and improve their writing.  I already know my group of firsties for next year and most of the parents and I can't wait!!
Here are some pictures of my latest products!
My good friend who teaches K is SUPER excited about the watches and I can't wait to use them as review!
My next product in the works is going to focus on reading skills and strategies..I "mustache" you...are you ready for it?
I also joined Twitter....find me and follow me @dynamicduallang

Until next time (I PROMISE it won't be months!)
Alyson Hennessy