About this blog:

This is a place to find resources, ideas, and links for a variety of first grade topics. Any document that is posted here is either my original work, or is linked directly to the source. Any resource created by me and posted to this blog is offered FREE of charge! Please link back to this blog as appropriate and properly credit work.

In my district we use the "Treasures" reading program (2011 National Edition) and the "Growing With Math" curriculum. Most (not all) of the resources posted here will be tied to those two programs.

Monday, August 15, 2011

Classroom Photos - Just Before the First Day

Door with the kids' names on strips of colored paper attached with magnets. I leave the names up for the first week, and then use the names during the year for other activities. I love that my door and whiteboard are both magnetic!

Tables ready for the first day. I have six table groups, but due to space issues, the tables are pushed together in twos. The small, brown strips you can see in the middle of the tables are the kids' nameplates - made with paint stir sticks! I saw this idea on a blog and loved it (of course, I can't remember whose blog, sorry)! I wrote the kids' first and last names with black Sharpie, added a couple of cute star stickers, and then painted over the stick with Modge Podge. The sticks are attached to the tables with Velcro, making them easy to move when the kids change table spots later in the year

Closer view of what's on the tables - name sticks as described above, a writing/coloring page to do as they come in on the first day, a pencil, and a box of Crayons. They'll be bringing their pencil boxes and we'll distribute supplies later in the day.

On the left wall, just as you come in the door, is the "Check-In" table.  I have a couple of calendar items hanging here, although we do all our calendar activities using the SMART Board and Kim Adsit's interactive calendar notebook (click here to see the calendar on her TPT store). I like having a physical calendar visible so that we can refer to it at other times besides during our calendar notebook work.  Also on this table is a basket for turning in homework/notes and a basket of items for parent volunteers to work on.  There is a big plastic jar for collecting Box Tops for Education and a smaller one for collecting aluminum pop-can tabs (which we donate to the Ronald McDonald house). On the left side of this table is the crate of materials for our "Super Star Math" math facts program.  This year I hope to have parent volunteers checking the kids' fact pages, marking their progress in their folders, and refilling the folders with the next fact page. You can see some colorful index cards toward the front. each student has a card with his/her name on it that they decorated either last May at "Meet Your Teacher" day or last week at our "Sneak Peek" open house.  A few kids are new and weren't at either event, so they'll color their cards on the first day of school. Each day when the kids come in they put their index cards in the pocket chart to the right of the table. There are two columns, one for "hot lunch" and one for "home lunch." This way I can quickly get a count for hot lunch and I can easily tell who's absent by which cards are left on the table.  There's also a sign for book order due dates and a lunch menu posted above this table.

The attendance and lunch chart. The cards on top say "Today I am having school lunch" and "Today I brought my lunch from home."  On the bottom are the bathroom and office passes fid kids to put on their desks when they leave the room to got to either of these places.

View of the attendance and lunch chart, ball bin, and one side of the small group area. 

Small group area - Treasures flip-chart on the left, my rolling drawer unit to keep groups' materials in, reading strategy wall directly behind the table, large standing whiteboard easel to the right (it has a pocket chart hanging on the other side). I traded my kidney table (HUGE!) for this round table. I think I can still get 6 kids around it if needed. It's much cozier and fits in the space better. On the table is one of the little pocket chart/whiteboard easels from the Target Dollar Spot. Also on the table is a mug I got for free from Vistaprint. It says "Mrs. Barton's Super Stars - Pencils from this mug must stay at this table!"

Reading strategy wall behind the round table. Lots of stuff up here from great blogs!

Table supply bins on top of the backpack cubbies next to the outside door. Each bin has markers, colored pencils, Elmer's glue, extra scissors, and four wash clothes for cleaning the kids' mini-dry erase boards. These don't need to be taking up space on the tables all the time, so they are stored over here until needed.

Outside door to the parking lot. 16 backpack cubbies on the left, 8 more on the right. You can see some of the kids' book/folder bins on top of the right-hand cubbies. There is also a Little Tykes chalk board/paper easel that I plan to integrate into our work work and spelling centers.

The "BINS" - and lots of 'em! Right hand section (white bins) is math manipulatives, Legos, and wooded building blocks. The next section has my new math work station bins (11 bins - the 12th station is computer/iPad). In the middle are several shelves with different kinds of paper. The smaller blue bins have supplies for the kids - extra markers, glue, crayons, etc. Next to the supply section are reading manipulatives - magnetic letters, phonics phones,  magnet boards, etc.  On the far left are board games, card games, Play-Doh, puzzles, etc. for "Star Time" on Fridays and inclement weather recesses.  Each bin is labeled with both words and photos, and a matching label in attached to the shelf the bin goes on.  The board games shelves have photo-labels for the games that go on that shelf. On top of the bin cubbies/shelves are my Lakeshore science center tools (far left in back), a large plastic organizer with letter tiles for word work activities (far left in front). Each section of the bin area is labeled up above on the edge of the counter - you can see the yellow labels.  On the counter above are my *lovely* copy-paper boxes full of math supplies, which are organized by NCTM strand.

Part of the class library - baskets of books on the counter and down below on the carpet.

Looking at the class library area - shelves with book baskets, book baskets on the floor, and book baskets on a wire cube unit that's behind the (fake) tree in the window.

Another shot of the class library.

Book display in the class library.

Easel, pocket chart, and teacher chair at the rug.

Treasures focus wall on the whiteboard. SMART Board is to the right. I just got a new 800 series board and it is awesome - dual-input! My old board went to another first grade room - the rest of my team finally jumped on the bandwagon, so now I am not the only SMART Board user at my grade level.

Partner names, monster noise level chart (from  Little Warriors) team points chart, team roles chart, and daily schedule on the whiteboard to the right of the SMART Board.

Behavior clip chart and some awesome decor signs I've printed from blogs.

Teacher reference books and Treasures materials above the filing cabinets.

Area behind my desk. LOVE all my plastic drawers! They are labeled for supplies and paperwork (small and medium), by days of the week for materiels (medium), and by subject (two sets of large drawers below the medium ones).

Second table for small groups. This will be used by the push-in reading interventionists and by parents working with groups.  You can see our "bucket fillers" chart in the background (hanging on the front of my desk).

Close-up of bucket-fillers chart. The slips for kids to write on are on the little desk to the left, in the purple bucket.

 Clip boards hanging on the cabinet wall behind my dek. LOVE the Command hooks! The "sharing bag" is hanging on a hook to the right.

Listening center, pocket chart center, and job chart.

Well, that about sums it up!

"Let the wild rumpus start!" ~Mrs. Barton

Tuesday, August 9, 2011

Last day of summer

Well, teachers report back tomorrow (Wednesday). Not that I haven't already spent HOURS and DAYS in my classroom, but tomorrow it's "official" - summer will be over. :(

The room is allllllllmost ready, and I will be taking lots of pictures in the next couple of days to share.  I wish I could say that I spent the last night of summer break doing something fabulous, but alas, I am modge-podging/spray painting/Googling/printing/blog-stalking/etc. - all for the classroom! Sooooo glad I have a wonderful husband who is both understanding AND helpful (technically, HE is the one who's spray painting).

"Let the wild rumpus start!"

Saturday, July 30, 2011

Getting started...

I spent many hours in my classroom this past week, starting the sorting and organizing process for a NEW school year! I left things in a bit of a mess at the end of last year, plus the custodians did a LOT of moving and shifting as they cleaned this summer. I also had several areas that I wanted to rearrange, so my work was cut out for me! Here are a few photos of the BEGINNING of the process:

I started with chaos - tables up-ended and piled with stuff, book display case on its side, rug rolled up after cleaning, etc.

The rug is in postion (at the front of the room, under the SMART Board), with one easel in place, along with my little "at the rug supply cart" and teacher chair. My teacher chair is a folding camp chair I got at Costco several years ago. I love it! It's comfy and not super-low to the ground, so it doesn't kill my knees as I get up from it a million times a day. The easel has one side that is a magnetic whiteboard, one side that holds additional whiteboards on hooks (lined, and large for drawing) or a pocket chart, and there are storage bins that fit into the bottom.  In the bins I keep Treasures and Growing With Math supplies, along with flashcards and card games of ALL SORTS.  After this picture was taken I added a second easel with a pocket chart facing the rug for words sorts, etc. The magnetic whiteboard side is facing the Book Nook and will be used for Daily 5 activities by the kids.

Close-up of the stroytime lamp by the rug. Those are planets on the clear disk under the shade!  This is a different lamp than I've had before, and I was worried that the base would be too big to fit on the top the my supply cart, but it was perfect - yay! My chair is out of view to the left, one easel is to the right, and the Book Nook is behind. The kids looooooove being gathered at the rug for a read aloud, with the overhead lights off and the story lamp ON. So fun and cozy!

 Tables cleared off and in postion. I ended up turning the back table of the middle section to that it is perpendicular to the front table (in a T shape).  I have 6 tables that can accommodate 24 kids, though with the one in the middle turned 22 spots would be more reasonable. Right now there are 20 on my list and I don't expect to have more than 22.  

To the left is a table against the wall - this is the "check-in table" which I'll explain and show more of in another post. The kidney table is my small-group instruction area, and has had many things added since this photo. Up above on the wall (which is covered in carpet-like stuff that velcro sticks to - so awesome!) you can see the Treasures sound-spelling cards.

 This is the beautiful board that my colleague Kelsey made for me for our bucket fillers program. SOOOOO EXCITED to implement this! The board is waiting to be laminated. I'll then add the kids' names with clear labels (which can be peeled off and replaced for next year!). A box cutter works great to slit open the library pockets after lamination. Kelsey made one of these for everyone on our team, according to each classroom's theme, and they are ALL gorgeous!

I spent a looooooooong time on my hallway bulletin board (which is right outside the door to my classroom). Last year's just wasn't quite perfect, and I was determined that THIS year I would be happier with it!  The border is the "dots on black" from CTP, and the letters are super-cute stripes and dots called "alpha beads" from Trend.  The kids' names will be added to the stars with clear labels. The stars are attached to clothespins with mounting squares. SOOOOO easy to clip up kids' work, and I NEVER have to change out the background again!

I got everything cleared out of the deeeeeeeeep shelves in the big closet. I've since refilled it in an ORGANIZED fashion with supplies, tools, etc.

I took all the Treasures guided reading books out of the cardboard organizer they came in (and in which they lived for all of last year). I rubber-banded them and organized them by unit and week, and amazingly, they all fit on ONE shelf in a cupboard. I'm really happy about this, because in their cardboard organizer they took up a huge chunk of counter space last year, which can be better utilized for stuff the kids need to get to themselves.  On the top shelf are the sets of decodable books from Treasures, and I've since added some other small-group reading books and materials.

Got my banner from Vistaprint hung up on the wall between my door and the "Super Star Learning" bulletin board (yay for Command picture hanging "stuff"). If you have not jumped on the Vistaprint bandwagon, do it now! There is AWESOMENESS to be had for free and super-cheap!

I've made a lot of progress since these pictures were taken, so there will be more to come SOON!

Thursday, July 28, 2011

Daily Schedule 2011 - 2012

This is my proposed daily schedule for the coming year. I'm attempting to combine our district-mandated "core curriculum" program, Treasures, with the Daily 5. We'll see how it goes!

I am certain that I will have five guided reading groups - the "approaching," "on-level," and "beyond" groups that Treasures expects (and provides resources for), plus "way below" and "way above" groups - this is based on my experience with guided reading after many many years if teaching first and second grade. So, I have to juggle groups during the week (I do always meet with the below and approaching groups EVERY day), and sometimes fit groups in at odd times during the day.

As you can see, we'll be doing more of a "Daily 3" with perhaps a 4th round after lunch during the Treasures writing period.

Anyway, like I said, we'll see how it goes!

Proposed Schedule

9:00 – 9:10 Book Browsing (morning business – attendance, lunch, take-home book check-in)

9:10 – 9:25 Interactive Calendar Notebook (math and literacy)

9:25 – 11:00 Treasures:
9:25 – 9:40 Whole group instruction
9:40 – 9:55 Guided reading groups/Daily 5 literacy workstations
9:55 – 10:10 Whole group instruction
10:10 – 10:25 Guided reading groups/Daily 5 literacy workstations
10:25 – 10:40 Whole group instruction
10:40- 10:55 Guided reading groups/Daily 5 literacy workstations

11:00 – 11:15 Recess

11:20 – 11:50 Content Rotations/Math Camp

12:00 – 12:40 Lunch

12:40 – 1:10 Treasures: Writing – modeled, shared, independent

1:10 – 1:40 Specials (PE, computers, library, drama)

1:40 – 2:15 Math Whole Group (teach Growing With Math lesson)

2:15 – 2:30 Recess

2:30 – 3:15 Math Small Groups (workstations, GWM independent page, math journals, guided math groups)

3:15 – 3:30 Closing (stack & pack, read aloud)

Sunday, May 29, 2011

Summer Reading List

Teaching Happily Ever After is having a blog hop for summer reading. I mentioned these three books in my to-do list post, but here they are again (with visuals!):

I think that's enough to keep me plenty busy (in addition to everything else on my to-do list!).

Summer To-Do List

Here are my summer to-do lists:


  1. Go through my Treasures weekly SMARTBoard Notebooks - reorganize and "clean," prep to share with teammates who will now also have SMARTBoards.
  2. Go through my Growing With Math topic SMARTBoard Notebooks - reorganize and "clean," prep to share with teammates who will now also have SMARTBoards.
  3. Prepare calendar notebooks for students.
  4. Prepare math journals for students (and learn more about using them for effective teaching).
  5. Finish reading The Daily 5 and work on ways to integrate the structure with Treasures.
  6. Read the giant Kagan Cooperative Learning book.
  7. Continue reading Debbie Diller's Math Work Stations and follow along for the book study blog party.
  8. Work on re-designing lesson plan binder sheets.
  9. Work on organizing in the classroom.
  10. Attend PD on Common Core at the end of June.
  1. Clean out and reorganize pantries (two), cupboards, and food storage.
  2. Work on garage.
  3. List hojillions of books on PaperBackSwap.com.
  4. Walk with the husband - daily!
  5. Hike our favorite parks - weekly!
  6. Re-do photos that are hanging on our walls.
  7. Sew some throw-pillow covers.
  8. Make sure Niece is reading EVERY DAY so she doesn't back-slide going into third grade!
  9. Clean out closet and dresser drawers.
  10. Enjoy our wonderful patio and yard EVERY DAY!!!
There's lots more to read over at Littlest Learners - tons of linkies to other teachers' to-do lists!

Thursday, May 26, 2011

Last day of school!

Teachers and staff (and the principal - she's on the far left) doing a kick-line, singing, and waving as the buses pull out on the last day of school. I'm in the middle of the line, three to the right of the big green guy. The buses honk and the kids scream - it's quite a scene! Thanks to my sister-in-law for snapping the pic on her phone. :)

Wednesday, May 25, 2011

Math Work Stations

Today was the last day of school, and tonight... well, NERD ALERT! I started reading Debbie Diller's Math Work Stations book.  I'm really excited to follow along with the "hosted book study" blog party originating on Mrs. Willis's Kindergarten blog.  I'm part-way through chapter one, and already am bursting with excitement and ideas!