Monday, October 8, 2012

JOURNEYS Smart Board Lesson 6

    So, I just have to say that I am SO excited FALL is here!!  I just had my first Pumpkin Spice Latte from Starbucks this weekend, and it was fabulous!  I am also going to the mountains this weekend with my hubby and some friends and we're going apple picking!  I can't wait.. :)  I think I'm pretty much obsessed with apples and pumpkins.   I made pumpkin cupcakes this weekend for our Carolina vs. Georgia game party at our house, I have pumpkin decorations ALL over the house, and just thinking about apple picking makes me kind of giddy inside.  Fall is just happy, and it means Christmas is just around the corner, which is my favorite too.  Anyway....enough about WOW!  These JOURNEYS lessons are kicking my butt!  They are taking f-o-r-e-v-e-r to make. Blah!  My poor husband has to put up with a laptop glued to my lap for hours.  Haha.  I can't wait for Thanksgiving break so I can get ahead a little.  :)  I just finished Lesson 6, though, so if you teach Journeys, it is ready for download on TPT.  Have a wonderful week and God Bless!

Friday, October 5, 2012


   We are SOOOOO excited!  Life and teaching truly is SIMPLY SWEET! Katie won District Teacher of the Year last night for Columbia County, Georgia!!  Whoohoo!  She called me on her way home from the banquet while driving her brand new MERCEDES..what?!  I'm so jealous! Haha.  Congrats Katie!!  You're an awesome teacher and I'm so blessed have an awesome blog with you too!  Just make sure I get a ride in the new Mercedes..... :)


Sunday, September 30, 2012

1st Grade JOURNEYS Smart Board - Lesson 5

Hi fellow 1st Grade JOURNEYS teachers!!  Smart Board lessons for Lesson 5 (Days 1-5) are ready!! Click the picture to visit my TPT store and download.  Have a fabulous week!!         Love, Beth

Wednesday, September 26, 2012

Houghton Mifflin JOURNEYS Smart Board Lessons!!

   I'm finally done with my Smart Board Masterpiece (I think...)!!  I've literally been working 12 and 13 hour days on the weekends in addition to work after school getting these done (Can you tell I don't have kids?? haha), but now they are here for you all!  My school district adopted a new reading curriculum this year, Houghton Mifflin Journeys (the new 2012 Common Core Edition), and it has really been a big change for a lot of teachers, including myself.  Thankfully, though, I had taught a similar curriculum in another district (SRA Imagine It!) and had some experience using a more scripted curriculum.  However, at my old district I had made Smart Board lessons for each lesson to help me pace myself and make things more interactive for the kids, and I found myself starting Journeys this school year wishing I had the same!  So... even though it meant starting from scratch, I have started making Smart Board lessons for each Journeys lesson for 1st Grade, and it has been fabulous!  I am really keeping my kids engaged and also making sure that I am pacing the lessons well and getting everything in that I am supposed to in order to ensure my kiddos reading success.  I am SO excited about these lessons and I couldn't wait to share them with you!  I am kind of backtracking right now, because I just finished  Lesson 4 (Lucia's Neighborhood) and I am working on Lesson 5 now (Gus Takes the Train)..... so I will have to go back and do Lessons 1, 2, & 3.  But from this point forward, I will be making these each week and posting online to TPT.  So if you teach Journeys, stay tuned!!  I hope you find these as helpful as my team members and I have!  
    If you are a 1st Grade Teacher and teach JOURNEYS, please visit my TPT store.....just click on the picture.  I would love some feedback too from those of you who teach Journeys!  God Bless!
      Love, Beth

Saturday, September 22, 2012

Wonderful Word Families Word Work Game

     Whew! Every year I underestimate how exhausting and stressful the first month of school is....  I think it must be like what women say they experience after they have a baby.  They're quick to do it again.... because after it was over, they forget how hard it was! Hehe. I just have to keep telling myself that in about mid-October we'll be smooth sailing... :) 
    Anyway, I have been less than blogger-ific lately just because I've been so busy.  But I'm happy to say that I am working on some resources that I think will be very helpful to lots of teachers out there (Smart Board lessons to go with every lesson of the 2012 JOURNEYS Common Core Version Reading Series for 1st Grade)... so stay tuned! 
     But what I have been working on with my kids recently is Word Families!  We've been drilling short vowels like crazy, but what some children don't put together is that if they can read one word, they can read lots of words!  That's where Word Families come in...  Teaching children to make connections between words really helps them to feel more confident as readers and writers.  So I've been working on teaching my kids how learning the ending suffixes of words (-an, -at, - in, -ug, etc...) can help them to read LOTS of different words.  If they can read and write CAT, that means they can read and write HAT, BAT, SAT, PAT, RAT, FAT, and MAT!!  You get the picture...  So I made this Word Family game to use during my Daily 5 Word Work block.  My kids have really enjoyed it, and I hope you do too!  Just click the picture to go to my Teachers Pay Teachers store. :)
   Have a blessed day blog friends! 
                     Love, Beth

Monday, September 3, 2012

Handwriting Practice - Great Resource from GROWING KINDERS!

  Hi blog world!!  I've missed you...  I seriously haven't laid eyes on my own blog in weeks.  I just can't do it all. :)  School is off to a good start, though.  Things have been VERY busy.  And I was out of town throwing my mom a surprise 60th birthday party with family and friends, so that was a blast....but planning for that has also kept me from blogging. But anyway, enough excuses.  I have officially NOT been working on any amazingly fabulous teaching resources for all of you, but I DO have a great resource that I've been using in my classroom this week that I found on TPT from the GROWING KINDERS blog.  It has been incredible for my kids!!  Every single year I am always secretly frustrated/annoyed about how poor some of the students' handwriting is.  Many of them form their letters completely wrong (write from the bottom up, write them crooked, not on the lines, etc) and about a 1/4 of them are always flipping letters (particularly b's, d's, and p's).  My assumption was that they were getting handwriting instruction in preschool and kindergarten, but I'm not really sure if they are.  So I just decided to take matters into my own hands and make sure that I spend an entire week on explicit handwriting instruction so I can feel confident about my expectation for handwriting. If I haven't taught them the correct way to do it, I can't expect for them to do it correctly, right??  Anyway, this FREE handwriting booklet from Growing Kinders has been great!  I've done about 5-6 letters a day with the kids, and it's been a great opportunity for me to tackle individual issues/confusions that some of my kids have with letter formation and fix them fair and square!  Click on the picture to download this awesome resource!!

       God Bless!!   - Beth

Monday, August 20, 2012

Back to School Classroom Tour!!

I just got home from Meet the Teacher/Curriculum Night!! Whew....I'm tired....and hot!  Having 40+ people in your classroom and having to get up and speak in front of all of them will certainly give you hot flashes. haha.  But I had a lot of fun meeting all of my new kids and their parents. It made me really excited to start the school year.  So....the time has come!  I am finally done (yeah right.... I'm never done) with my classroom, and I'm so happy with how everything turned out.  I worked REALLY hard on a lot of different projects, but all the hard work and $ was worth it!!!  Thanks to my FANTASTIC husband who came to help me get ready for Curriculum night tonight, I got my last and final IKEA bookshelf put in and all my books arranged.  My work here is done! Enjoy..              - Beth

Front of my classroom.

Math Shelf - Trofast Frame from IKEA labeled with all the different math manipulatives.

I LOVE how this turned out! This shelf is amazing!

My calendar and class Focus Wall.  This is my first time using a focus wall...I'm excited!

My PRIDE AND JOY! Rotating classroom utensil holder.  And this is NOT the lazy susan from IKEA.  I had to actually make this one with 18" round pieces of craft wood, ball bearings for the rotating part, spray paint, clear lacquer, a compass to measure out the angles from the center, and a ton of sanding!! Ahhh.... it was a pain.  But I flipping love it!   The bins and plant in the middle are from IKEA. 

Classroom library & mini-lesson area.

IKEA Besta Shelf with my Target book bins.

Back wall of my classroom with my guided reading table/teacher area.

This is where I organize all my teacher stuff, supplies I use, and everything for my lessons.  I have a drawer labeled for each subject and put all the printable stuff I need for each lesson in the drawer.  The little things with the apples are the dividers for each of my reading groups.

Our school is a Leader in Me school, and one of our focuses this year is on teaching our students to be leaders.  So all 22 of my kids have a job this year!!  After seeing a little roach friend in my room, though, I think I need to add "bug squasher" as a job!  What do you think??

My read aloud book baskets.... I organize my read alouds by what comprehension strategy/subject I use to teach with them.

Magnetic word wall & computer stations.

This is where extra student supplies are kept, my extra crayon organizers, writing paper for Writer's Workshop, clipboards, etc.

Our "Family Tree" that's outside of our classroom.  I am going to put all the kids pictures on the tree after I take them on the first day of school so it will look like a real family tree.  I got my tree at Hobby Lobby.  And I LOVE the sign at the top. I found it on TPT.  It's going to be a LONG time until my kids are going to graduate high school.....Class of 2024!

My little bakers!!

So....I have to give my teammates credit for this ingenius idea!!  How can the kids pick and pull at their name tags if they are behind them??  No stickiness or mess on my tables any more!  I just used metal rings to attach them.

Side wall of my room with cubbies. 

My hallway display.  I HATE di-cutting letters for hallway displays, so I got a frame and painted a piece of wood with chalkboard paint to make a hallway chalkboard.  So now I can update the title of my hallway display on the chalkboard!  NO MORE DI-CUTTING LETTERS!  Whoohooo!!  I also used ribbon to cover up the not so pretty cork strip in the middle of my display.

Saturday, August 18, 2012

Back to School Student Gift followers!! I'm so very sorry I have been MIA.  I have been crazed by the back to school whirlwind and have had less than adequate time to think about posts.  Just for the record, I had a goal to get my classroom preview up by August 1st.  Hahahaha!  Hilarious....  That SO did not happen.  Me being, well, me....(a.k.a. a combination of lots of flowing creativity & un-diagnosed classroom-induced OCD), I came up with about 10 million other things I needed to do to my room before I took pictures, so that's why you haven't seen my classroom yet.  But I PROMISE it will be up ASAP.  I should be done now with classroom purchases (after my 4th trip to IKEA Charlotte in the last 2 that bad??!).  
   Okay, so I have a little goody for you.  I found little bags of Oreo cookies on sale at Publix this week B1G1 FREE, so I bought two boxes and am attaching these little tags to them to give out to the kids at Meet the Teacher/Curriculum Night this Monday. I changed the wording for grades K, 1, & 2, so all you primary teachers out there can utilize them. See you in a couple days with my newly decorated, arranged, and IKEA-fied classroom! 
  PS:  As lots of you know Katie got Teacher of the Year for her school and the latest is that she made it into the TOP 5 for her entire county!! She won't post about it because she's too humble, but that doesn't mean I can't!  Yay Katie!!
         - Beth

Sunday, August 5, 2012

Classroom Tour and Setup Tips

I had open house Friday... I can't believe it's already back to school time! I took some pictures of my classroom, so I could share my classroom setup, organization, and decorating ideas. I sure hope it stays this clean and organized all year long :)  I would love to hear about how you set up your classroom!

In this picture you can see my back reading carpet and library. Also, I have a positive behavior clipchart by the bathroom door (I love this system!) I know it's small in the picture... but a friend made me a super cute alphabet that i have posted at the top of my back wall! At each group of desks I have an organized station with 4 drawers and a basket on top with six cups. I have group helpers who pass out  and collect group materials to make for easy transitions and clean up. 

In the picture to the right you will see my front carpet by my interactive white board. Above my white board are my SRA sound cards (they will be flipped over as each sound is introduced). Also, I have baskets on the front wall with early finisher activities. The numbers over each group are a management strategy. The numbers 1-30 are written around each square and I move a clothespin around the square to keep up with group points. when they get to 30 they earn a reward :)

The picture to the left is my classroom library. I am so blessed to have great friends! Another friend made me this beautiful bookshelf, and I got the baskets from hobby lobby about 3 years ago on a 90% off rack. I LOVE A DEAL!!! My books are organized by genre. Within each genre, I have colored dots on each book with AR levels. The students know what colors are best for them, so it makes it easy for students to find a "Just Right Book." 

Are you a PBIS school? Does yours school have a school wide ticket/money system? If you answered yes to one of these questions, then I have great way to help you easily manage your students dollars, tickets, loot, etc. I laminated library pockets and put student numbers on each pocket. As the students earn "eagle feathers" (Our school's name for a "dollar") they place it in their library pocket. Since I start this management system I have not had students loose or steal feathers. Also, it's easy for me to see who has earns lots and who I need to spy! 

Are all teachers OCD or is it just me? This little shelf is one of my favorites! I have classroom supplies in the green buckets for students to use if they need extras. The folders are color coded by subject area. I have found that if I only have the students keep a few things in their desk, they stay organized and clean! On the bottom two shelves are my math manipulatives and math tubs. My math tubs have activities that use manipulatives, so I keep them by each other so the students always have easy access to the materials they need. 

I would LOVE to hear ideas about how you set up your classroom and organize materials!

Top Teaching Takeaways

I just got back from meeting up with hundreds of first grade teachers in Chicago... Yes, it was a blast!! I attended the SDE "I Teach 1st" conference in Chi-Town. I learned so many new teaching strategies, management tips, technology  ideas, etc.  I went through my pages and pages of notes, and I thought I would share some of my favorites with all of you. I hope that some of these ideas you will be able to take back with you to your classroom.  Oh by the way... I am already thinking about a summer trip to Vegas for a conference next summer!!!

1) Turn your blog into a book!
        - I saw some super cute books that people had made from their personal and classroom blogs. You can turn any blog into a professional looking book for around 20 bucks. It will take all the blog post and pictures and turn them into a book to keep. I am thinking parents would LOVE to have this from a classroom blog, or this would also be super cute as an easy scrapbook from a family or teaching blog. It's called blog2print. If you have blogger you can go directly to 

2) SMARTBoard/ Interactive White board can be a QUIET center 
         - I want three of these soooo bad!! I have tried turning my interactive white board into a center rotation (which my kids LOVE), but it tends to be more of a distraction to the rest of the class. I don't know why I never thought of this before, but these BLUETOOTH HEADPHONES just plug into your computer and will allow students to listen to games at the board while other students are not distracted by the sounds. I found these at amazon for 29 dollars. So simple... anyone want to buy me some?

3) No more... "I quit because I am losing!"
        - Anyone ever played the game "bang/boom" and heard a kid say NO!!! I don't want to put all my cards back because I will lose. Well, here is a wonderful solution :)  In order to keep ALL students engaged throughout an entire game, you can incorporate a winning dice. So how does it work? Create a "winning  dice" by writing on a foam cube or dry erase dice a combinations of numbers and rules (such as: more than 5, less than 5, even number, odd number etc). After you play a game were students try to earn cards you roll the "winning dice" to find out who the winner is. Any student who has the number of cards that matches the winning dice or rule on the winning dice wins! You may have 1 winner, multiple winners, or no winner. No matter the results, kids all have a fair chance to win and will stay engaged until the VERY END! The foam cubes in the picture were only 1 dollar from the dollar tree- Wheeew.... I am making a winning dice for all my center games :)

4) Easy replacement to Scratch and Sniff Stickers :)
         - What kid doesn't love a scratch and sniff sticker? Well, I learned about a cheap new replacement to scratch and sniff stickers. All you need is a couple of cheap tubes of lipstick (fun flavors).  As you are teaching and walking around your classroom, you can give a child a "Sniffy" by just marking their hand with a small swipe of scented chapstick for positive behavior or critical thinking. It's a cheap idea and the students can't lose it. You could also try this with glitter lip balm and give kids a "sparkle." I am going to try this in my room for sure this year! (I have seen all different flavors in the dollar spot at Target) 

5) Sign Up Genius 
         - This site is a great way to easily organize classroom holiday celebrations and parent/teacher conferences. The free website will allow you to create sign up sheets for parents so you no longer need to send out emails with 20 replies from parents. Just send an email with the link to your sign up, and parents can sign up for food or conference times without you having to do any work! I am not sure how I lived without this before.
*Want a free Latte on parent conference day?? - One teacher said that she always writes by the first conference time (Must bring mocha frappucino). She said that the parents always want to sign up for this time, and they think it is hilarious. Plus, she always starts her day out with a free coffee. That's genius!!!

6) Early Finishers?? Try Bean Boggle
       - Create a 3x4 grid on construction paper. Write different letters on dried lima beans. Place 12 lima beans in a small ziplock bag. The students will shake the bag, place the lima beans (letter side up) on the bean in each square. The students will then try to make as many words as possible, just like boggle. What an easy way to have LOTS of boggle games going on at one time. Also, you can make different levels by using uncommon letters (z,w,y) or making a larger grid. Yes... My earlier finisher will be seeing this game next year :)

7) Concentration Dominoes (No prep math center!)
       - Sometimes I just wonder why I never thought of things like this before! I learned about an easy math center that takes absolutely no prep. All you need is a box of dominoes :)  In a ziplock back take out different domino combinations that equal ten. For example, the students may add the dots on one domino and have six and then add the dots on another domino and have four. If they flip over two dominoes whose total dots equal ten then "They Made a Ten!"  The students continue to practice making tens by flipping over dominoes just like a game of concentration. So easy, no prep, no copies... I LIKE IT!

Friday, July 27, 2012

100 Follower Giveaway: Get ANY Item from our TPT Stores FREE!!

   100 Followers!! Yay!!!!! We just want to thank all of our loyal followers for being so fabulous!  You have all been so sweet and supportive and always have great things to say about all of our teaching ideas and resources.  So we want to reward you by giving you things for FREE! 


 1) Follow our blog
 2) LIKE our Facebook Fan Page
 3) Visit both of our Teachers Pay Teachers Stores and pick 1 item you want for FREE!
4) Comment on this blog, tell us what you want for free, and leave your email!

Here are some of our best sellers on TPT! Click on the TPT buttons below to visit our TPT stores.


                                    Beth's TPT Store                           Katie's TPT Store
 First - First -

Wednesday, July 25, 2012

One Lovely Blog Award and 100 FOLLOWERS!!

    So...there are pretty much no words to describe our excitement!!  We've literally been blog stalking our own blog for the last 3 days (pathetic I know...) because we were at like 90 followers and now, the time has come.  We finally have 100 FOLLOWERS!! Yay!! top it off, we just received another award from Mrs. G at Ms. G in Grade 3.  She so graciously awarded us with the One Lovely Blog Award.  So go check her out at her fabulous blog. But seriously..two awards in one week! Wow! We are so blessed and grateful to all our fellow bloggers for these honors.  And we have something great coming up for all our readers in celebration of100 followers, so stay tuned! Thank you for supporting us over the last few months as we have begun our journey through the teacher blog world! We have enjoyed every minute of it and learned so much from all of you.  God Bless!

     Our Nominations for the One Lovely Blog Award......

We will get to this ASAP! :) We promise...

Carolina Bloggy Meet Up in My HomeTown??! What?!

  Calling all Blogger GRITS (aka Girls Raised in the South)!!  This is the best news since McDonald's made Large Sweet Teas $1...we're having a blogger meet-up in my good ole hometown of Columbia, SC!!!  I have to say, when I read this post on 2nd Grade Shenanigans I almost peed my really.....I'm not kidding.  Katie and I always read these posts about all of these big time bloggers (and when I say "big time" I mean the ones with like 3,000 followers) meeting up in Vegas or New Jersey, etc.  And I always feel so left out.. :(  We kept saying, "Geez!! Why are there no bloggy meet-ups around here in the South??"  But alas...there is!  I'm smiling inside right now as I write this.  Anyway, if you're a blogger from SC, NC, GA, etc. come out to (unknown location TBA) and meet up with us on Saturday, September 15th in Columbia.  More details to come from 2nd Grade Shenanigans!  Yay!
   - Beth (Very Excited SC Blogger!!)

Tuesday, July 24, 2012

Newbie Blog Hop

   Can I admit that I'm kind of addicted to Linky Parties now?!?!  At first....I have to say.... I thought they were ST*PID (first grade teachers aren't allowed to say that word, you know?). that I've kind of seen the usefulness of them, they really do help you to find out about new bloggers and collaborate on important topics to teachers.  So here I go with another one!!  Katie and I started blogging just 6 months ago and are still technically "newbies," so I thought we'd link up with Janis at Grade Three is the Place for Me and share a little about us!!

     1. What state you are in
            Beth - Columbia, South Carolina
                  Katie - Augusta, Georgia

We are proud GRITS (Girls Raised In The South)!!   

    2.  Your current teaching position
            Beth - 1st Grade (This coming year will be my 2nd year at the school I'm at.  I've been to 3 different schools in 3 different districts in 5 years, so I've truly seen it all!  Whew! I hated moving so much, but I've gotten to meet great teachers and have learned A LOT about different curriculum and different styles of teaching from district to district. Hopefully I'm here to stay...)
                  Katie - 1st Grade (The school I'm at is the 2nd school I've ever taught at.  I moved to the school I'm at now when it first opened, so it was really neat getting to start up a whole new school and be involved in decisions made about how it would be run.)
    3.  Your teaching experience
            Beth - This coming school year will be my 5th year
                 Katie - Ditto (we graduated from college together, remember) :)
    4.  When you started blogging
           Beth & Katie - We started getting addicted to the teaching blog world at the end of   last year around November/December and then started talking about maybe starting out own blog. (I have to admit...we kind of idolized Cara Carol from The First Grade Parade...We STILL just don't know how she does it all! Basically...we're just a little jealous of her mad crazy awesome teaching ideas and super mom abilities! haha).  We made a goal to have our blog up and running by the first of this year, but we didn't really know what we were doing at it took a little longer.  But basically in January 2012 was when we started.  Boy have we come a long way since then....whew!!
    5.  Share a blogging tip / blogging resource
          Beth & Katie - Basically, if we don't think it would be useful to others and beneficial to others' teaching, we don't post it. That's generally our rule of thumb.  Of course, we post SOME "fun" personal things every now and again, but overall we like to post tried and true teaching ideas and resources that we actually use in our own classrooms, post pictures of things we have made, do giveaways of our new units, etc.  If you've read our blog mission statement, you know that we're not into "fluff."  While we love a good craft every now and again around the holidays, we make it our goal to thoroughly teach the standards in an engaging and creative way!