August 18, 2012

Ready for the School Year

Whew! I just made it through a week of Trainings, another week of meetings & finishing my classroom and we had Meet the Teacher Day yesterday. The children come back on Monday. I can't believe Summer Break is over! It always seems to go so fast.
I have my room all organized, clean and ready for school. Here are some pictures:
My room looks very bare to me this year. We are implementing a new program to help our students, which involves not having as many things up which will distract them. I understand the thinking, but it has been hard not to decorate my room as I usually do. We'll see how this works. I do feel more organized since I went through everything and got rid of what I don't use. I am having the children share cubbies this year so I can use half of them for storage (hidden under fabric). This new storage really helped me to hide many of the supplies I teach with throughout the year.

August 2, 2012

Book: All About Me (Teacher)

Today I changed/updated an "All About Me" book that I read to the class on the first day of school. This helps them to learn a little about me and ,hopefully, they will find something that we have in common. This helps us to bond right at the beginning of the year and helps us to have a great year. I just used clipart that I already have on my computer and included pictures and images from the internet. This is what I ended up with:
The first week of school I also have the children make an "All About Me" book that they can share with the class. For the past couple of years, I have been trying really hard to have a sense of community in my classroom. It is much easier for the children to follow directions when they have good feelings about me and school right from the start.
Under the Reading tab at the top, I just posted info about 2 great resources I found for 1st Grade Common Core Reading Standards.

July 30, 2012

Excellent Center Resources

I added info about my "Work on Writing" Center under the Writing tab, but I wanted to mention these 2 great resources in case you miss it under the tab.
These are Writing Prompts I found that are so cute and perfect for my grade level. I got them from Mrs. Mabe on Teachers pay Teachers ($4).
Writing Task Cards & Topics to Write About
You can click on the picture to purchase them if you like. I found them after I downloaded her Free Word Work cards. Those are wonderful! I added those in that Area. Here are the Word Work cards:
Word Work Task Cards & Recording Sheets
I am loving all of the Back-to-School resources teachers are posting right now! It is so nice to find materials that actually work well in my classroom.

July 29, 2012

BUILD Math post

I just added pages to this blog. They are listed across the top- just click on a subject. So far, I have a post under "Math". I wrote about the BUILD Math Center system I have been learning about. If you are interested, click on "Math". I haven't yet posted anything under the other headings.

July 28, 2012

Somehow I didn't post the info about The Versatile Blogger I received from Melissa at Teacher Treasure Hunter.
Thanks so much, Melissa!
If I have passed the award along to you...
Here are the seven rules to follow when receiving this award:
1. Thank the blogger who nominated you.

2. Include a link to their blog.

3. Include the award image in your post.
4. Give 7 random facts about yourself.

5. Nominate 15 other bloggers for the award.
6. When nominating, include a link to their blog.
7. Let other bloggers know they've been nominated.

My 7 Random Facts:
1. I just finished making a "Movie Room" out of my son's bedroom. He moved out last Summer. It's not a huge room, but I have my own place to get away and all my movies (and crafts and school stuff) are in there.
2. I live in Florida, but HATE the Summer weather. July is miserable outside with the high humidity.
3. My daughter just got married on July 7th. The wedding was beautiful, but the preparation was stressful.
4. I taught my first 6 years at a private Montessori School. I loved it! I got certified in teaching with the Montessori Method and taught a 1st & 2nd grade combined class. My kids went to school there through Middle School. (They didn't have High School.) Then I went to public school for more money and benefits.
5. I loooove the color blue- any shade. And I really don't like Pink! My best friend who teaches next door to me, loves pink as much as I love blue. It's kind of a joke between us how much I dislike pink.
6. (Same friend as in number 5) We are in the process of setting up a blog just for the families of the students in our two classes. I have been adding buttons for kid websites they can do at home. I'll begin adding our personal info this week.
7. I got married at 18! Husband was 19. We will be married 23 years this September. Now a sI look back I realize how lucky we were, but when you know it's right, you know.
I have found many wonderful "new" blogs through this Newbie Blog Hop:) Here are ones I am nominating for this award:
Summer and Charles (husband and wife) at Teacher's Land
Stephanie at Back in Fourth
(I will add more new ones as I find great ones that don't already have this award.)

Another Award!

Thanks so much to Patti at Primary Pizzazz for this new award! Be sure to check out her great blog.
These are the rules for the award:
1. Thank the person who gave you the award and link back to them.
2. Copy and paste the award on your blog.
3. Present the award to 5 other bloggers who have less than 200 followers and leave them a comment on their blog.

I have been busy checking out some of the blogs I have discovered through the Newbie Blog Links. They have all been great! But...the ones I have looked at so far have this award. I will post the blogs as soon as I can.
Thanks to Kim at Lessons, Learning and Laughter for giving me this award! That was so nice!

The Guidelines for this award are:
1. Follow the person who nominated you.
2. Link back to the person who nominated you.
3. Pass the award onto 15 new bloggers and let them know you nominated them.

I am looking trough a lot of the new blogs I have discovered through the Newbie Link Up. There are so many teachers with blogs. I love all the great ideas. So far, I am nominating...
I will add more blogs to this award when I find great new blogs that don't already have the award:)

American Symbols

For many years now, I start the school year with American Symbols. I started that because we talk about rules, responsibilities and the Pledge of Allegiance. Last year, I bought a set of small books- each covers a different American Symbol. I bought them from Amazon. They are about $5 each. Here is a link to one:
Product Details
For this next school year, I have made a book for my class to read with me about the American Symbols. I also created picture cards and labels to match. There is also an assessment page. We work on American Symbols the first couple of weeks. It is a good time to incorporate some arts & crafts activities and writing with this unit.
Here is a link to my American Symbols items on TeachersNotebook ($4). My items inclue the symbols: American Flag, Liberty Bell, Statue of Liberty, Bald Eagle and the White House. The student book includes the Pledge of Allegiance, but the cards don't include the Pledge (but does have the flag).

American Symbols: Book, Webs, Fact Sheets and Matching
There are many ideas on the internet about activities to do with American Symbols. I have even downloaded a couple of Power Points to use this year about the Symbols. I think they were even free on TeachersPayTeachers. I know this is a unit that many teachers kind of gloss over and teach it quickly, but I have found that the kids are engaged in this topic and throughout the year, they have a good understanding when references are made to any of the symbols or the President. Last year, each child made a book with a page for eac h symbol- some type of picture/paper craft and facts for each symbol.
If you haven't spent much time on the Symbols in the past, you may want to try it this year and see how your kids enjoy learning about them.

July 27, 2012

New Blog List

Newbie Bloggers Blog Hop

Just joined this list! It looks great! I have already found several great blogs I will be following.
When you join, be sure to include the following:
1. State you teach in.
2. Current teaching position.
3. Teaching experience
4. When you started blogging
5. Share a blogging tip/blogging resource

For me...
1. I teach in Florida.
2. I teach 1st Grade.
3. I have taught 1st grade for 15 years. For the first 6 years, I had a combined 1st and 2nd grade class at a private Montessori School. I also taught only 2nd grade for one year.
4. I started blogging April.
5. Blogging Tip: Visit lots of other Teaching Blogs. I have picked up a lot of great tips from other teachers/bloggers, as well as, found great resources to help enhance my teaching.

Beginning of the Year Reading

I have been focused on planning for beginning of the year reading activities this week. I always start with Nursery Rhymes and Fairy Tales. I have discovered over the years that many children did not hear many of the rhymes and fairy tales that I heard growing up. They usually heard some in Kindergarten, but I like to start with them. They are a familiar review for some children and an enjoyable way to start the year for others.
I created some printable pages to go with Jack and the Beanstalk. I like to read multiple versions and have the children compare them. You can download my unit for free by clicking on the picture below. Enjoy!
Jack and the Beanstalk Literacy Activities

July 25, 2012

Reading Area

I have been back up at school this week starting to organize. My school will be implementing the suggestions Max Thompson gave us when he visited our school in the Spring. (If you haven't heard of him yet, look him up.) He said we have too many things up in the classrooms for the
types of children we have in our school. (I work at a Kindergarten-2nd Grade school.)
So, we had to remove EVERYTHING from the walls in June. They set up some "Model classrooms" and we are to make our rooms look similar to those.

I don't mind reducing the visual noise, but I must say, it is not as much fun getting ready for the new school year for me. I always enjoy decorating and coming up with a theme and colors to use. I am keeping some of the last theme- "Jungle-theme" and I am using color where I can.
Yesterday, I worked some on the Reading Area and where to keep the Book Baskets. For the last 2 years, the children used tote bags and kept them in
their cubbies. But, I have decided they won't have cubbies this year (due to a lot of stealing the last couple of years) and I will use the cubbies for storage. The kids will put their backpacks in 2 large tubs I will put in my office and lock. (I am one of the lucky ones that has an office:)
Here is a picture of my Reading Area.

This will also be where we do our group Reading lessons. Before, I had 2 separate areas.

I think I have decided to keep the book baskets on the back side of the book shelves. They are the colorful baskets. I had these from when I used them a few years ago. I went yesterday to the Dollar Tree and they still sell the same kind so I got more so I would have 20.
I found these adorable (free) numbers on Teachers Pay Teachers done by Michelle McIlhinny.

Since the kids will all be assigned a number, I thought this would be the easiest way to mark the Book Baskets. Here is where I think we will keep the Reading Baskets.
I have used Book Baskets before and they worked very well. We'll see how this set-up works.

July 17, 2012

Common Core Math

I love Math! Of course, I enjoy Reading and teaching reading, but I love teaching Math. I think because it can be so hands on, especially in 1st Grade, and the children enjoy it. I love that my struggling readers usually understand Math Concepts well. Some of my lowest readers (due to learning disabilities) have been my highest Math students. It just involves a different part of the brain. My son Jake (22) had a wonderful grasp of Math Concepts almost from birth, but he really struggled with reading. He had such a hard time learning the letter sounds that I briefly considered trying to help by giving each letter a numbers and having him associate numbers with the letters. (And I read to him from birth). He finally caught up and excelled in Reading, but never Spelling. Thank goodness for Spell-Check.
Anyway, I was on my school's Math Committee which studied the Common Core Standards and correlated it with our resources. I created a Daily Math Journal for my school that we used last year and will use again this year. I like it because it starts as a review and continues to spiral review through the year. It follows the order of our Curriculum Map. I posted the Math Journal in 4 parts on Teachers Pay Teachers and Teachers Notebook. I removed the dates so you can change the order to follow your own Curriculum Map. You can click on each picture to see one of the parts of the Journal at Teachers Pay Teachers.
If you are looking for a Math Journal, these may work for you. I had time last Summer to go through the Standards and make sure they are covered in the Journals. Enjoy!

July 16, 2012

Getting Ready for Writing

Today I have been busy buying (& finding free things) and printing resources to get ready for the school year. This past school year, I had to follow the Common Core Standards as well as the Sunshine State Standards that were not covered by the new Standards. This year, we will only be focusing on the Common Core Standards. So, with one year's experience with the Common Core Standards, I know better what resources I want to find.
I am looking at Writing today. Writing has always been the hardest for me to teach. I have always enjoyed writing and found it easy so it is hard for me to help the struggling writers because I am not sure why they are having a hard time.
So, I am putting together a Writing Notebook that includes divider for all of the Common Core Standards. I found 2 great resources on Teachers Pay Teachers that I printed out. I divided the papers by which Common Core Standard they cover and put them in those sections. I am providing links to the 2 resources I bought. I am sure there are more great ones out there and I will continue looking for them. I'll post them as I find them. I would love to hear of other Writing resources you have found that relate to the Common Core Standards.

July 15, 2012

Class Organization

In between Wedding planning this Summer (for my daughter) I have been trying new crafts. I have always enjoyed being creative and with both of my kids grown, now I have time to find crafts I enjoy. I always helped my children with crafts, but they weren't necessarily things I would have chosen.
Anyway, these are pictures of 2 glass canister-type containers I decorated for my classroom.
I used my new Cricut machine to cut out the "H"s and "Mrs.Hogle" as well as some of the small dots. I used a 1" circle paper punch for the larger circles. I am having a blast with this Cricut machine. It is the mini one- since it was cheaper than the large one and I wasn't sure I would like it. For Becca's wedding, I made some personalized cups for people who helped in the wedding. Everyone loved them.
The large container holds 52 oz and I'm not sure about the little one since I already pulled the sticker off the bottom, but it was the smallest one of that type. I got them at Walmart in the kitchen section. It was about $5 for the large one and $3 for the little one. I plan to use them near my "Teacher Table" (for lessons) to help with organizing small items. I ordered the adhesive vinyl from Amazon. You could even do this without the Cricut machine and cutting out the shapes (or name) you want out of the adhesive vinyl.

July 13, 2012

Common Core Math Activities

I have been looking through my Math Activities at home and organizing them by Common Core Standard. I love making my own class materials and I made some new Centers this week focusing on Common Core 1.OA8: Determine the unknown whole number in addition or subtraction equation...
I made a Center for Addition and one for Subtraction. I posted them on I will probably also post them on Teachers when I get a chance. The words under the pictures above have links to the Teachers Pay Teacher page for each item. Each Center is $1.50. I have a lot of other sets that are based on the Math Common Core Standards for First Grade. I have really enjoyed making the lessons and activities. Most of them I used with my class this past year.

July 12, 2012

Welcome Letters to Students

I’m home recovering from my daughter’s wedding last Saturday. It went well and was beautiful, but it was A LOT of work! Thankfully, I have a great family who helped so much.

Anyway, as I am taking it easy this week, I have started looking through papers and files I have at home for the beginning of the school year. I always mail a Welcome letter to the students in my class. This year, I have decided to print a Welcome letter on cardstock and glue them to the left over magnets I have from my daughter’s “Save the Dates” she sent out several months ago. This way, the students can put them on their refrigerators and see the Important Dates for the beginning of the year. The above image is a draft of what I plan to send. (Still have to get the exact dates). On "Meet the Teacher" day, I give the students an Orientation Packet with detailed information about me and classroom polices and routines. My Welcome Letter is really just to say "hi".

June 28, 2012


I'm back! My Lyme Disease has been flaring up for a while, but at least it is summer and I don't have to worry about working at school. My daughter is getting married next Saturday, so I have been helping with that. It's been a busy few weeks.
Anyway, I wanted to put a few pictures up of things we did the last few weeks of school.
For some reason, the pictures went above the beginning words. We did a 2 week unit on Sports. The children LOVED it! I had mostly boys (14 boys and 5 girls) and most of them (and some of the girls) were on Sports teams already. We focused on 2 sports a week- Football and Soccer the first week and Baseball and Basketball the second week. I read a book by Gail Gibbons for each Sport (shown above) and showed clips from YouTube of children playing each sport. We went over vocabulary specific to each sport. We were working on writing directions so the children wrote to explain how to play 2 of the sports. They also did narrative writing with each sport. We created large charts (one shown above) and the children labeled the pictures. We started with Schema charts for each sport and the children added their New Learning to the charts.
At recess, the children were able to play each sport (except baseball) and they had a lot of fun. It went really well and I plan to do this again next year at the end of May.
If you are interested, I posted the Sports Unit I made to
You can click on the picture to get to the unit.

June 5, 2012

End of School Year

If you have been following my blog, sorry I haven't posted anything in a while. My Lyme Disease has been flaring up and with the end of school, I have been crashing as soon as I get home. I have been taking pictures of activities at school, so I will post them probably next week when things calm down. Our last day of school is this Friday.
We did a 2 week unit focused around the Wizard of OZ. The kids really enjoyed it! I will explain more about it next week.

May 10, 2012

Graphic Organizers

I love using graphic organizers in the classroom. I have found that they really help focus the children's thinking. This is a picture of one we did when we were studying penguins.
First, the children thought about what they already knew about penguins to answer the top questions. As we learned about penguins and found information to answer the question, we wrote down the "truth" and the children checked to see if their prediction/schema was correct.
I use graphic organizers all the time- almost everyday. I will post more pictures of them in the future when I download more of my pictures.

May 8, 2012

Class Organization

Woo Hoo! What a day! The kids are crazy! I can definitely tell that it is May.
My class was wonderful this morning (for about an hour) and then they went to their Special Area class. I don't know why, but it was crazy after that. Luckily, our testing today was first thing this morning. I think my mistake was in having them work in groups on comprehension activities. Right now, they are getting on each other's nerves and/or they are such good friends that they are acting up together.
Sooooo, tomorrow they will have lots of independent work to do. They had been doing well at that lately.
Anyway, at the end of each year, I start thinking of how to better organize my classroom for the following year and what worked well and I want to be sure to keep.
Here is a picture of how I helped my kids keep track of their AR tests. I think I downloaded it from Teachers pay Teachers last fall. (I changed the word "points" to "books" just so it was simpler.

This has been a good visual for the kids. Our First Grade goal has been 3 points for the past 2 9-weeks. (which would be 6 tests if they got 100%). Unfortunately, I just found out that since the AR program is going to be web-based next year, the cost is going to increase A LOT and my school can't afford to spend the money on it. My kids really enjoy taking the quizzes on the computer and it makes them feel so grown up. I hope to find a website that has quizzes for the kids based on books they read- hopefully for free:) If anyone knows of anything, I would appreciate the info.

May 6, 2012


We are starting our math unit on Fractions. In addition to the resources I already have, I have created some more in my "Fractions are a Hoot!" packet.

You can click on the picture above to look at it on Teachers Pay Teachers.
It includes fraction cards for centers and student worksheets.
These activities help meet the new First Grade Common Core Math Standard 1.G3.

May 2, 2012


As we get ready for lots of testing in May, my kids are reading a lot. They are doing lots of comprehension papers and they have to read the passage and all questions by themselves. They have been doing one a day for a couple of weeks to help build up their stamina. For the most part, they are doing really well. Some of my lower readers don't know some of the words, but they have learned testing skills to try and sound out the word and then to skip if if he/she can't figure it out. Most of them have learned that they can figure out what a word means by the other words around it.
Anyway, I have them do the passage and questions all by themselves, then I talk with any who missed some questions and explain the skill they missed. This seems to be helping as they are missing fewer correct answers overall.
Friday, my class begins the FAIR test (Reading skills test in Florida) and next week they will take the GATES test and they have to read it all by themselves. I think they will do very well if they just try to do their best. I will try to keep things positive and help them believe they will do well. They are easily influenced at this age.
Concerning stamina, here is a picture of a Daily 5 bulletin board in my classroom.

We have worked on this all year to help build stamina in reading. For a while, we graphed how many minutes everyone in the class could focus on reading before someone got off task. Eventually, we got to over 25 minutes regularly. All of my kids have become wonderful readers! They are at different levels, but I am very proud of all of them. Today, on the way back from the library, I had 5 kids who kept opening their library books to read as they walked. I know they're not supposed to be opening the books as they walk, I just couldn't fuss at them for wanting to read.

May 1, 2012

Earth Day & Vocabulary Activity

We did several activities around Earth Day last week. Over the course of three days, we read The Lorax,
The Lorax Helps the Earth, and Fancy Nancy Earth Day (I think this is the title. The book is at school.)
Before we read any of them, I had the children fill out post-it notes about their Earth Day Schema. Here is a picture of the Earth chart we made.

On the bottom of the chart is where the children wrote about what they learned about Earth Day.
Here is a web one of the groups made about Earth Day.

Today we did  a fun vocabulary activity. This is an idea I got from my friend Kelly, who teaches next door to me. I gave each group (5 groups total) a set of picture cards and word cards in a bowl. I told them to mix them up and dump them on the table. (They loved that part!) We had a contest to see which group could match up the words and pictures. They were so engaged in the activity! They higher level readers helped the lower level readers and some of the lower level readers actually have a better vocabulary than the higher level readers and were able to help their group with the names of the pictures. This worked so well- especially right now when they are already antsy for summer. I plan to do this each week with different words. Here are pictures of a couple of the tables working.

April 28, 2012

Math Material Organization

Here are some more pictures of my Math materials area.

These are the shelves my husband built. I have 5-6 baskets of the most frequently used manipulatives since I have 5 tables the children sit at. This makes it very easy to pass out materials and I don't have to get them ready ahead of time. The empty shelf holds the baskets of pattern blocks that we were using when I took these pictures. After trying many ways of organizing the items, I have found that this works best for me. I do have a few other materials put away that we don't use as frequently such as Base 10 blocks.
We start using math materials the very first day of school and go over the rules and procedures for getting them out, using them and putting them away. The children are very good at taking care of the materials. They love using them and this set-up has helped me avoid many headaches concerning the mess that materials can make.

April 26, 2012

Wizard of Oz Unit

This afternoon I finished a packet of Activities and Worksheets to go with The Wizard of Oz. I plan to do a Wizard of Oz unit the last week of school. I have seen many great ideas on other blogs such as having a "yellow brick road" in the classroom and making a rainbow cake on the last day.
I found this adorable set of clipart from Jessica Weible on I put 2 of the images here to show how cute they are. In my papers I used all the characters, a picture of the Emerald City, yellow brick road and red ruby slippers.

I posted my pack of Activities and worksheets on Teachers Pay Teachers. You can see it in my store: 
SDH Creations. It is called "Wizard of Oz Activities & Worksheets". SDH Creations TpT store