Wednesday, August 12, 2015

New PD book and a project!!

Hi everyone!! So...*sigh*...I was a little bummed this week.  My parents took my twin girls on a mini vacation to Dutch Wonderland in Pennsylvania and when they first planned this I thought, "GREAT! Yes I will miss them BUUUUUUT I can get SOOOO much done in the classroom without the constant interruptions!!" Well...all was well with the world until....the dreaded email from my secretary..."Teachers will not be able to work in their classrooms until the 17th..."
WHAAT?!?!?!?!?!!?!? But, but...that was NOT in my plan AT ALL!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
I was mad, sad, devastated, crying, you name it!  I was NOT a happy camper!
Before you say it, I know that there are teachers in predicaments worse than mine but I am still mad!!!!!!! (To those teachers-I hope that all goes well for you and that the PREPPING CLASSROOM FAIRY visits you and grants all of your preparation wishes!!!!) now what?
Well, while I miss my girls, I was able to get a lot done and finish daily errands in less than  5 hours!
It is awfully quiet but I went to the beach today ALONE!!!! It was relaxing!! Music in my ears and of course, a PD book in hand!

Only on the 3rd chapter but so far, what a great read!!!!!! I wish I found this book sooner!!!!

I was also able to complete a project without too much mess (let's just hope the cat doesn't jump on them and leave little red cat footprints everywhere)
I purchased the original letters to spell READ in my library from Michaels and I was hoping to find the word LEER in Spanish but every time I went or no matter which one I went to, I was always short a letter.  So next stop, Joann's Fabric! Bingo! Cardboard letters that I painted RED (Red is my Spanish language color).  Yay!! I was able to create this for about $14, including paint and brushes.  While it doesn't match  my color scheme, it is something that I can use for YEARS so that is why I chose the red!  
Also, on Periscope I watched Aly from Just a Primary Girl make crate seats!!! She is so creative and great at explaining things for the artistically challenged, such as myself.  (I print out pictures for my anchor charts-can't draw *hangs head in shame*) Check out her amazing blog by clicking the link above to see pics of her classroom!!!!! I LOVE her colors!!!!!! =)
To those teaching already-You are amazing!!!!! 
To those planning or prepping-Good luck!!!!!!!

Friday, July 24, 2015

Curriculum Writing leads to Organization!

Today, my dual language team from my building met to enhance and improve our dual language Spanish curriculum maps.  We created these documents last summer using a technique that is similar to the "backwards by design" model.  We want our students to be success as they learn their L2 (second language) and we needed to focus on key concepts, rather than just cover what the curriculum says.  Each grade decided they were going to focus on certain key phonics and writing concepts to ensure positive success and self-esteem as they learned Spanish.
My director purchased this book for us and I LOVE it!!! It has some great tips and information that I can't wait to implement next year in my classroom!

So as we create our maps and we work on our phonics and writing/grammar focus, I think how I can have the students practice and reinforce these skills during centers or independent practice.  In years past, I have had bins upon bins of bags full of papers and worksheets and centers and I honestly would forget about some great items or products or just keep adding to the pile until my bins were unorganized and out of control.  I did some MAJOR cleaning in my classroom before the school year ended and I won't even begin to tell you how much I had to recycle or trash. I created this instead:
Inside, I have 4 different sections-phonics, sight words, writing, and seasonal.  As I work on my maps, I can take out my games and activities and place them in the correct order of how I will teach the skill. Right now, they are not in the correct order but once my curriculum map is finished, I can move the sheets and sheet protectors around.
You may see some great products form Bilingual Scrapbook, Gracieface learning, Lidia Barbosa and Nicole and Eliceo, as well as some products I have created that are in my TpT store.  There are also products that I have found on The Learning Patio.  If you are a bilingual or dual language teacher, I REALLY suggest you check out this site!! There is a membership fee but it is worth every penny!!!! They have interactive activities and TONS of printables!!!!! 

This flip book is from The Learning Patio-I print out this page and a page with pictures.  The students highlight the syllable and then they cut and glue the pictures to the correct syllable. 

As I use things and print them out, I plan to add to this binder as the year goes on.  My English binder is a mess but I am doing a similar thing with those centers.  
On a side note-I am really stressing about my classroom.....I know I have a month but I feel that that is not enough time!!!!!!!!!! Anyone else feel the same way????? 

Monday, July 20, 2015

I have the BEST hubby!!!!

Hi everyone! I just came back from celebrating my 10 year anniversary with my hubby at Lake was beautiful.  My daughters stayed with  my in-laws and we were able to relax and just go with the flow and not have to worry about a schedule! It was nice!  I  missed my girls but it was nice just to go and not worry about certain things like, "Did I pack a snack?"  "Is there a bathroom nearby?" There was even one day where we had a late breakfast and completely skipped lunch and had an early dinner. When you have kids, there is no way you can do that!!! =)
So now we are back to reality and I still have a month until school starts but my brain is always working so I like to get into my classroom as soon as possible to I can plan, organize, and all that fun stuff!
So the entire trip, I was joking with my hubby saying, "If we see a Target we have to stop" and he really couldn't understand why until I explained it to him.  I was telling him that through Periscope and Instagram, I  could see all of these great things that teachers across the country were finding in the $1 spot bins.  I had to then explain that our $1 bins by us are different from the other $1 bins and he eventually understood my enthusiasm.  When we left Lake George, we had extra time before we had to meet my girls and in-laws for lunch so he said, "Google search the nearest Target and we can stop."  I squealed (yes squealed) in joy.  We had to make a few u-turns along the way but we found one that was close to our meeting spot and I was so happy!
We headed inside and got to filling up the cart-he was actually worse than me! He kept putting things in the cart that I already had and trying to help me find uses for certain things as well!! I love it!  He then said this magical phrase:
"Okay, if you have the storage space for it, do you see anything here that you could use for your theme for the NEXT school year?"

I may have fainted.

He knows that I am doing a SUPERHERO theme for the NEXT school year (this year is sweet treats again) and he was helping me plan ahead!!!! I could not believe it!
 Well I then took the cart and filled it up some more!!!!!! =)  I have SOME storage space in my classroom and what I can't fit, I will put inside a big tub and store in my basement at home!
Here are some of my purchases and what I plan to use them for:
These are for my SUPERHERO theme-I will put pens, pencils, scissors and other materials inside and then label the bins.  They did have some superhero bins as well but not enough for a set...don't worry...I have 2 Targets in my area to check out ;) 
I am going to use these glass jars to erasers and other things in my classroom. I also purchased a few for my house to store some items in.
Okay so every year I purchase a notebook to take my PD notes in and this Ice Cream one is perfect for my theme!!! I love it!!! I am also trying to find the matching folder!!!!!!!! 
More bins for my superhero theme (for papers and centers) and some Happy Birthday pencils and Dr. Seuss erasers for my Prize box.
These lanyards are going to be for my "SWEET SUPERSTAR READERS" I am going to take out the "Hi my name is" tag and put in a card that my reading teacher made.  The cards have the different reading strategies that we focus on in 1st grade and every time a student is able to use the strategy independently, they get to wear the lanyard for the rest of the day and they earn a DOJO point for achievement.  Strategies include, "I can reread for meaning" , "I can use pictures", and "I can sound out the word".  I had ones from the dollar store last year but the plastic pieces kept falling out and the cards were not staying in and it was a mess!! In this one from Target-the cards can slide right inside!!!! 
Okay I will be honest...I didn't really NEED this rules decoration-I always make a poster with the class and a rules book with them but I thought this was really cute!!!! I am going to hang this by my door so that every morning, they can see this as they walk in the room and hopefully, this will help them to make good choices for the whole day! 

So those are my TARGET purchases for this week!!! I know I am going to be back there this week so I will keep you posted!  I will also be doing a Periscope on this as well and show you some other things!! Follow me @dynamicduallang!

(I also want to add that we passed a Five Below and a Hobby Lobby but we had no time because we had to meet our was VERY hard to drive past those two places....)

To those that go back this week, happy teaching and good luck!! You will be amazing!

Sunday, July 12, 2015

An amazing product that I can't wait to use!!!

This summer has been fun and exhausting-especially with two 5 year old twin girls!! The attitudes and drama have already begun-I am in BIG trouble!
While trying to get them ready for Kindergarten and also keep them busy with fun activities and play dates, I also have school on my brain! I don't go back until September but I am always trying to reflect on the past year to improve for next year.
I finished my advanced certificate in Reading last year and learned A LOT!  Being a 1st grade teacher, we know that kids have to make SO many leaps and bounds from the start of 1st grade to the end of 1st grade and kids come in at all levels.  I have had some kids who do not know all of their letters and sounds, some who know basic CVC works, some who have no sight word vocabulary and some who can read chapter books.  It makes guided reading planning and center groups often difficult and time consuming!  Add to the fact that I am also a dual language teacher in a stand alone program and also need to teach guided reading in Spanish and well, you can probably just imagine what my guided reading table  looked like by the end of the day!
So one of my goals this year is to find activities that are not only engaging but easy to prep and plan and are ready to go.  I know and I am sure you know that we can plan this great guided reading lesson with a certain level and then when we meet, we find that the group, or one student, is struggling with a skill and then we have to search and find an activity to help them and at this point almost 10 minutes is gone from the lesson and less time is spent engaged and reading.  I get so frustrated with myself when this happens.  So at the end of the year, I thought, "What can I do? I need to make sure these kids are working and engaged and reading during the time I have them. I need to have things ready and organized."  Guided reading time seems to fly by (yet cafeteria duty DRAGS...hmmmm....) so I NEEDED something and bad!!!!
So I began my TpT search.....I came across this....
I was hooked right away.....yes it is a lot to plan and print and laminate and prep but once it is all done, you will have EVERYTHING you need RIGHT THERE!!!!!!!!!!! I mean, come on!!!!!!! That is amazing!!!!!!  This, I decided in June, would be my summer project.
So I began printing and laminating, even before school let amazing aide (who I won't have next year =(  )  cut out everything for me! The FIRST (yes, the first) night of summer vacation, I was that crazy teacher at the $1 store hunting for cute bins and boxes to store all of the materials in...and I a no where near done!!!!!!!! I can't wait to use this product and I can't wait to see how my students do during guided reading groups with the AMAZING and ENGAGING activities!!!!! JD's Rockin' Readers-You are the best!!! Thank you so much for sharing your amazing work!! Click the picture above to be taken to the product and to also see other products!!!

-Alyson Hennessy

Thursday, July 9, 2015

Amazing APP!!!! And new products!

Wow! Two posts in a row!!! What is the world coming to?!?!?
Ok so like I said yesterday, I could not go to #tptvegas2015 and following on Twitter and Facebook has bummed me out because I REALLY wanted to go but.......
*cue drum roll please*
Look at this!!!!! 
This AMAZING app was introduced to me yesterday and I am HOOKED!!!!!!! You follow teachers, similar to how you do on Instagram or Twitter but as they broadcast live video, you can watch it and comment!!!!! I was able to go to the beach today and the gym and watch three broadcasts!!!!!!!!!!! Once I get back to my classroom, I am going to start broadcasting live feeds too!!!!!!!!! You can even watch previous broadcasts for up to 24 hours (you just can't comment).  I am IN LOVE!!!!!!! =)

Now, I am doing the SWEET TREATS theme again in my classroom.  I usually do a theme for 2 years-it makes setting up the second year so much easier.  I was able to invest in some coordinating library bins that I can't wait to set up!  But of course, we teachers...always planning ahead!
The following school year, my team and I are planning on doing SUPERHEROES and because summer is the time to create, I have already worked on creating things for the SUPERHERO classroom!!!!!!
Here is my rules booklet! this was a big hit last year with kids and parents!!!!!!! I sent it home and also printed out the color copies for my classroom rule display!
Here are my picture direction cards-so helpful for those visual learners!!!
Again, another helpful tool for visual learners-activities for those early finishers!
And of course....classroom labels!!!!!!! English and Spanish!!!
I love the graphics from Creative Clips-Krista Wallden-her products are AMAZING!!!! (I really like the word Amazing-can you tell??)

-Alyson Hennessy

Wednesday, July 8, 2015

I know I know...I'm so bad at this!!!

I know...I really stink at blogs!!! I don't know why!!! I just have such a hard time keeping up with it!!! Let's try and see if I can do better this year!!! *fingers crossed*
So I'm super jealous of the AMAZING teachers who are at #tptvegas2015 and I'm REALLY REALLY hoping to go next year!!! I also want to go to the I teach 1st conferences!!! I follow a lot of fantastic teachers on Instagram and I saw some cool stuff!!!!! (Follow me-twinkiemom23)
Ok so school has been out for two weeks and my twins and I have been pretty busy-beach, play dates, park, and of course shopping....
This is my "back to school" bench that I have-living with my parents, two brothers, hubby, twins,  2 dogs, and a cat leaves for little space in the house....not a good sign that my area is over hubby and I look for houses I will make sure I get an office!!!