Wednesday, August 28, 2013

I'm on Bloglovin!!!!

Okay, I'm hoping I did this right... I'll only know after publishing this post so here goes...

<a href="">Follow my blog with Bloglovin</a>

Come find me on Bloglovin and follow me to get automatic updates when I put up new posts.  The site is so convenient and easy to use!

Samantha :)

Sunday, August 25, 2013

THANK YOU!! and a little peek into what I do the first week of school

Wow!  Thank you everyone for all of the support and positivity towards my lil blog!  I must admit that I was a little nervous to put it out there, but all of your views and support washed that nervousness away.  Thank you again!  My next step will be to get on Bloglovin!

Okay, so how about that first week of school!?  We technically did not have a full first week.  My school does two half days, one Thursday and one Friday.  Tomorrow starts our full first week of all day every day.  That first week is tough to plan, for me at least, because I don't fully start my first grade curriculum yet.  I do a week long review of letters and their sounds and a number and number words review in math.  For the letter review I use the book Chicka Chicka Boom Boom (one of my personal faves, it's just so catchy!), and I just found this awesome Chicka Chicka pack to go with it.  Grab yours here:  I already copied, laminated, and cut it all out so it's ready to go!  Thank you Doodle Bugs Teaching for the unit.  Also, I used this pack last year and will use it again and again.  It is an alphabet review pack from the amazing Kerri B.  Get yours here:  I'm noticing that I have a little bit less work this year because a lot of the packs that I am using are already copied and laminated!  However, my fiancee was right when he said that I will find other things to make or buy haha he knows me too well.  ;)  Anyways, back to Kerri B!  I also use her I Know My Numbers pack:  As you can see, I love her stuff!  Great graphics and material.
Oh!  In addition, I will start our Writer's Workshop this week with some incredible ideas from the lovely Mrs. Cara Carroll.  Check out her post about Writer's Workshop here:  In fact, tomorrow I will read The Best Story Ever by Eileen Spinelli and work with the students to make a WHY we write anchor chart.  So excited to start Writer's Workshop from the beginning of the year this year.  Last year, I was taking Teaching Writing K-12 in grad school, so I did not begin Writer's Workshop until February/March.  Let me tell you tho, it is life changing.  I pride myself in being a pretty good writer, so I wanted to instill that in my lils too.  Unfortunately, our writing lessons were combined in our reading curriculum and not really great.  I would supplement with guided writings, but once we began Writer's Workshop, my students' writing improved dramatically!  I will have to make another post later explaining it more in depth.
Well, it's getting late so I'm going to shut down here and watch the rest of the VMAs!  How mind blowing was Justin's performance, by the way!!! :-D

Samantha :)

Thursday, August 22, 2013

Classroom Pics and Tour!

LOVE my new group of firsties!!  They were SO well behaved, listened well, followed directions, etc. etc.  Knock on wood ;)  Really tho, they are a wonderful group.  I'm very excited for this year and all of the new things I want to try.  I think they will be able to handle it all well.
Now, drum roll please........ Here are the classroom pics :) enjoy!

The door... love those paper fans in our classroom colors :)

Entering the room... the blue round table is the word work/writing center and the two shelves behind it hold supplies like dictionaries, thesauruses, letters of all kinds (foam, magnets, tiles, stickers, etc.).

Here are the desk groups.  There are 5 groups sorted by the cubby colors (purple, red, green, orange, blue) at the center of each desk grouping.  They hold their crayon baggies, scissors, and glue.  LOVE LOVE LOVE my new carpet with the squares labeled 1-25.  I can do a carpet seating chart now.  Woohoo no more fighting about who sits where... fingers crossed 

Better view of the word work/writing center.  There is the pocket chart with all of their writing folders, labeled and ready to go.  I have 5 crate seats that my mom and dad helped me make last year.  They survived last year's lils and are still going strong.  Great seats and storage!  Highly recommend making them.  I placed foam on top of a sturdy wooden board (a little over .5 in thick) and then stretched yellow vinyl over the top and stapled underneath.  This is where I needed help.  I stretched and held the vinyl in place while my dad used the staple gun to secure it.  Lastly, I looped a ribbon and stapled it on the underside too.  This makes it easier to lift the lid by pulling on the ribbon.  Lots of posters ala the lovely blog ladies that I found on pinterest. and oh gees can't find the blog where the A Sentence poster came from... sorry!  and the Bb Dd posters are from Mrs. Carroll  The alphabet is above this board and the Word Wall above that.  Quite a stretch to get those up there... :)

There's a better Word Wall pic!  I have 2 computers for the kiddos to use.  We only use them for playing educational games online (like  The Star Student board is up and ready to go!  I got those quote bubbles and stars from Pat Catans.  They are felt and were quite tricky to hang and make them stay hung.  Then you have my desk area (a mess right now in the pic :)).  The Birthday Board is up behind my desk.  I bought Erica Bohrer's Birthday Board pack  Can't wait to take their pics and post them on the board.  It may get a little tricky tho because I have 2 sets of twins, one set of triplets, and 2 sets of students (not related) who are born on the same day!  YIKES!  Thank goodness she included blank number circles so I can write the repeated numbers.  Whew!  And last but not least for this pic is the listening center with the lime green table cloth.

Here we have our mailboxes and math center area.  LOVE these carpets.  Got them from Big Lots.  The colors go perfectly with the room. :)  The shelves are sad and empty for now but will fill up with the buckets for math centers.  Thinking of putting a Boggle math board on the radiator... hmmm.  Got that amazing idea from....

Here is the leveled library that I made with our old reading series leveled readers.  The yellow bucket holds our Phonics Phones that my mom and I made with PVC piping.  The blue bin holds animal masks that the kiddos can use to help them focus on the words when they read at centers.  We'll see how that works... it sounds fun but could quickly escalate to the land of sillies.

This is our classroom library.  Last summer my mom helped me sort ALL of the books into categories.  Each bin has a label on the front and then every book in that bin has the same picture from the label in a smaller size taped to the top left corner.  This system worked wonderfully last year.  I didn't have to monitor it because the kids simply knew where to return the books.  Hopefully, the system keeps going strong this year.  LOVE my library!   

Here is the Boggle board (for making words).  I have worksheets in the folder above the door and clipboards in the blue bin.  The kiddos write down the words they make on the worksheet.  I update the letters on the board about once a week when we learn a new sound.  Our first sound is short a so that is why a is the only vowel.  Also, you can see some paper and art supply storage and our religious table.  

Here is the math info area.  It's across the room and diagonal from the math center carpet, but that's just how it had to be this year.  The Gumball Math wall worked wonders for last year's firsties.  They rocked their fast facts.  To learn more about that amazing idea go here:  While pinteresting over the summer, I say this behavior chart and loved it so much more than the regular traffic light.  I adore the fact that students can move up for good choices and even better and super behavior.  My lils seemed pretty excited about it today, too, so hopefully it will do its magic. :)  I got it here:  Oh, and you can see half of my SmartBoard.  So blessed to have one.  I use it every day along with an Elmo or document camera.  Life changing tools.

Here is our morning routine area.  We do calendar, the date, counting down to the 100th day, the number of the day, and the weather.  Sorry it is kind of tough to see all of the neat things in this area but the kiddos were arriving in the hall and I was snapping pics real quick before they came in.  It's hard to see but by the door are foam Die Cut hand prints.  I write our vocab words on cards and tape them to the hands.  They have to read and high-five a vocab word before they leave the room for a bathroom break, specials, etc.  This was not my idea... again pinterest but I can't find the link... :/  Oh, and the Schema anchor chart above the colors came from here:

If you have not discovered, you need to.  It is the coolest site ever.  You can make word collages of all kinds.  Found this idea on pinterest which led me to this blog:

Lastly, I made this lil craft over the summer. I got the frame and felt flowers from Michaels.  I painted the frame green and wrote the words with Bic Metallic permanent markers.  LOVE those things.  We did not have time to take our pictures in the frame today, so hopefully we can do it tomorrow!
Well that's it folks.  I hope you enjoyed my pics and tour.  As you can see, so many of you are an inspiration and all over my room.  Thank you again!  Here's to a GREAT school year!  Now on to typing up the class rules we made today and my behavior plan so that the families know what's up.  I should have done that before doing all of this, but I was excited to share with you.  :)

Samantha :)

Sunday, August 18, 2013

It's Crunch Time!

So many of you have been talking about how long your back-to-school lists are and as soon as you check off one thing, five more things get added.  Well, I feel ya!  I just do not feel prepared this year.  I don't know if it was switching classrooms to the other side of the school, but I still have SO much to do and my lils arrive on Thursday!  YIKES!  Monday through Wednesday will be long days/nights at school for sure.  I just bought and downloaded a whole bunch of goodies off of TpT, and they have me so excited to get this year rollin'!  Well, I don't know when everyone starts but, great school year to you all.  I'm off to write postcards to my lils so that hopefully they arrive before school starts! haha oops

Samantha :)

Tuesday, August 13, 2013

Helloooooo Blogging World!!!

Hello everyone!! Oh my, I am just too excited right now as I write my FIRST post!!  My name is Samantha Kearns, and I am a first grade teacher.  <3  I absolutely LOVE what I do.  Honestly, I do not know what I would be doing if I wasn't teaching.  In fact, that is partly why I call myself a teachernerd (the # is there because I wrote #teachernerd a few times on my facebook statuses and it just kinda stuck).  To me, a teachernerd is completely obsessed with all things teacher/school.  I love to teach my littles, buy loads of school supplies and books, create interactive lessons/activities/centers/etc., buy loads of TpT lessons/activities/centers, read teacher blogs, pin teacher/school things, laminate, etc.  I think you've got the picture.  My fiance and friends also concluded that I am a teachernerd because if we won the Powerball with the ticket we all went in on together, I would be the only one who would continue working.  :-D  I'm proud to say that they were correct with that statement; I would just have WAY more money to spend on my classroom and littles. ;)  Unfortunately, we did not win the Powerball, so all of the items on my wishlist will have to remain wishes...for now.
Before I go any further, I need to thank a few people.  First of all, thank you to the amazing Mrs. Cara Carroll over at  Yours was the very first blog I began reading/following my first year in first grade.  You have been such an inspiration, truly, thank you.  Then, Pinterest led me to a bunch of other awesome blogs, so in a way, thank you Pinterest!  Also, thank you to all of the lovely ladies who write these blogs.  Your advice, knowledge, and sharing have helped me grow as a teacher over the past two years.  Lastly, a special thank you to the 3am Teacher, Ms. Michelle.  Your most recent post about blogging came at just the right time for me, and your assistance with creating a hypertext link was so wonderful.  Thank you (I'm saying this a lot. I need a synonym, gracias perhaps?  I speak un poco Spanglish in my classroom so why not on here, right?!).
Okay, so this begins my blogging journey.  Buckle up for a crazy year!  I will be teaching first grade (with a brand spankin' new reading and language arts curriculum), going to grad school in the evenings to finish up my Masters to be a Reading Specialist, and oh yeah, planning my (our) wedding!! Cray cray I say!  (I like to rhyme, too.)  So, tomorrow it is back to school I go to continue organizing/setting up my new room (we switched rooms this year to make space for a new 7th grade class).  T-minus 8 days til my littles arrive (I'm counting the weekend too because you know I will fill up those days with planning and such.)  I'm also noticing that I like parentheses as well...
Alrighty, well good night (I'm not going to sleep until the end of this Buccos game, tho.  Let's go Bucs!) and good luck setting up your classrooms!!

Samantha :)