Morning Routine

So, after reading The Brown Bag Teacher's post on her "morning work" and when my friend Jodi, Fun in First, shared her morning routines,  I thought I would share my Morning Routines....

So... I'm not a huge fan of having students do morning work first thing in the morning when they get to class. I never really have been.  I mean - don't you want to say hi to your friends and do things in the morning before you come in and just start laying down the work??  Some of my little friends don't even come in the room until RIGHT before (or after) the bell rings, so if there's morning work, they don't have time to do it and then they're already starting their day behind. Not the way I would want to start my day either.

Instead, I have some activities for them to be able to socialize while also waking up their little brains.

Here's a little look at what our morning routines are like...

They come in - I'm standing at my door to greet each and everyone with a name and hug.

They get to their desk and start doing their morning jobs...

I made little visuals for them so they could remember/read since they can't really read

Changing books means to change their book baggie books out - they know their level bucket they get books from. 

They put back their old and get 2 new ones.

They get out their snack and binder and put their backpacks in the bins... Pink for the girls, blue for the boys. I just happened to have those colors on hand - it worked out perfectly! haha

Their lunch goes in the lunch bin...nothing fancy. We "dump" it when we go to lunch and they walk by and get their lunchbag on the way out the door.

Then they head to their seat and put their binder on their desk, or in their desk....just so it's there so that when it's time, they all open it once and check their return to school said and I collect it all at once.  

At this point, they finish their work they have in their blue folder (unfinished work from throughout the week) and then they can get out their morning buckets.  Each group has their own bucket. To keep it "fresh," I change the contents in the bucket each week.

There are {small personal geoboards}...

There's also a Play-Doh bucket and a {Quisinaire Rod} bucket.

I have other buckets to rotate out.... 

In those buckets, I have the {Banangrams}, {DK Silly Sentences}, {Picture Stencils} from Oriental Trading, and {Imagination Patterns} from Oriental Trading.

I have all kinds of different themes for them to choose from - and I got the big ABC stencils to use for Word Work centers too.

I am so excited for these! The case doesn't fit into my buckets, but that's ok - they don't need to make them magnetic.

The kids are able to get out their jitters, and social bug in the morning, while getting their brains warmed up for the day. 

You can check out {THIS} post I did a few years ago on doing "Social Hour" in the morning.

I feel like it is SO important for kids to be kids... we have so much to cram at them throughout the day, they need to have time to learn how to socialize - to learn social skills. Kids need to have time to have freedom of creations.... I learn so much about my kids just by letting them be creative the stories they have to tell as they're creating things, and they're so proud of their creations! They need to learn how to socialize, solve problems, and explore - and to be kids.  You'd be amazed at what kids can learn just through the power of play!


Gold Medal Students

In our first full week of school, we talked about how to be a {Gold Medal Student}. It went perfectly with the Olympics that happened this summer. 

Check out my post I did on them {HERE}.

Then I had a thought.... why not do a "Gold Medal Student" award?!  How perfect would that be!? I must admit... I don't do "Student of the Week" in my room. I never have. We give out character awards during our awards ceremony each 9 weeks, but that's all I have done...

  But I felt like this was something that went with what we have talked about and it could mean something to them.

So I got these gold medals from {Oriental Trading - they have lots to choose from!}. 

I made these "awards" to give out to the students each week with the medals. 

I'm pretty excited about it!!

I don't do much after this though. haha... I take their picture and "frame" it and hang it on our window of fame. I don't send anything home for the family to do with it or anything. 

If you would like the Gold Medal Student award, click {HERE}.

Do you do something like this? I'd be interested to hear what you do!


Clifford Activities

I wanted to share what theme we are working on this week....

It is short o, so I wanted to do a "dog" theme (last week was short a, so we did a CAT theme).

Well, one of my favorite dogs, is Clifford, the Big Red Dog! I mean, who doesn't love him??

I finally finished my Clifford pack.... it's filled with all kinds of reading and writing activities to go along with the books - most books can be used with this pack.

There are 48 pages of FUN!

Here's what's included:

Folder Cover
Story Structure
Story Sequence
Describing Clifford
Character Trait
Compare and Contrast: sizes, stories, and pets
Opinion writing
Sentence Building
Writing - planning pages
Writing - recording pages
Clifford craft - a no-tracer craft

Here are some ways that you can use the craft, and previews of some of the writing activities. - you can do just the head....

or you can do the full body craft.

When I do the pet comparison activity, I try to have the students bring in a picture of their pet! Obviously, it's cuter when we can have a live comparison (love my Pete!), but alas, pictures will have to do. haha

Click the picture below to grab your copy. 


First Week Math Centers for 1st Grade

So, now that we have our Reading Centers practiced, I decided to give our math centers a whirl. So today was our first attempt at math centers. Oh, lordy.

But that's why I choose really easy activities. 

Today we just did a QUICK run through of ALL the centers. That way I know they know how to play them when they get there.

First up, number sense. Basic stuff. Match the number to the word and then use the bears to represent the number, and make it into a number line, starting with 1, and keep going. I have 1-10, but also 11-20 just in case some were ready to go that far. 

Another favorite (all year long) is {Katie's Pattern Pictures}. We start off just using the shapes to make the pictures, and then I add in the graphing part later on in the year.

We also did some Kindergarten Yatzee, where they roll the dice, add them together, and then mark off the box. They go until the mark off all the boxes. This little girl just did tally marks every time she rolled that sum. GENIUS! I like that extension!

You can grab this activity for free {HERE}.

This fun Roll and Build activity was a favorite. They loved what their board looks like.

This activity comes from Susan's {Number Sense} pack. It's so great - lots of great activities in it!

Another fun Unifix cube activity we did was Race to 100. 

This comes from my {Unifix Cube math pack}.  They love using Unfix Cubes.

And then, for "Teacher Table" we did the bottom portion to our Ten Frame Names.

This is one of my favorite activities to do every year. And it's FREE {HERE}.

So now, they are in the tubs, ready for the kids to choose to do.

For Math centers, they just choose which center they want to do, and mark their name or number off the list. I used to do them like {this}....

But then I switched to {numbers} instead of names because of all the coming and going (the revolving door sometimes, can be a lot!).

So, now tomorrow, we will try the real way we do centers during math. We shall see how that goes. 


All About Me Week

So this week, we did a LOT about "Me."   We did activities on their names, their number, and the way they can be the best they can be!

One of the packs I used this week was Deanna and Deedee's Science and Math pack that go along with their Guiding Readers sets. 

We did a lot of math with our names this week.... we weighed them...

We compared their height, with this super cute flower garden!

We also made our Tear Art Names - I always LOVE how they come out! I usually leave them hanging up all year, just because I love the colors!!

They did their Jersey's this week too. It is time for them (and me) to finally remember their number!

Check out {THIS} post to see what I use numbers for. 

And this is how I make them... I just trace and cut out the jerseys. We used to have a diecut pattern at my old school, which was much easier, but this school doesn't have it. Darn. 

To learn a little more about each other, we did our {Me Bags.} 

We're still not finished sharing the bags, but we're almost there! We only get to about 2 a day, so it takes about 2 weeks. Oy!

Halfway through the week, we switched gears a little and talked about how they can be "Gold Medal Students."

First, we read {Olympig} - it's such a cute story!

I actually didn't get the book in time, so I found a really good reading on YouTube for it {HERE}. 

And we brainstormed ideas on how they can be Gold Medal Students....

Then they wrote it out and did the craft using {Kelley's Caught Going for the Gold} pack.

I'm pretty in love with them!!

Then we made our theme snack for the week!

Olympic Torches!

It was so cute - they kept "Cheersing" each other as a group....and some were even "running around" as if they were the Olympic runner in the opening ceremony. 

Super easy and they loved it!

We've really been focusing on {handwriting} this week, too.

And since we were talking about handwriting, we talked about spaces for writing. I found this idea a few years ago, and the kids "eat it up" every year! (ha - I'm so punny!)

Our {memory books} are also in the works!

Right now I'm just keeping them in file folders until I get the books cut and bound together, and then we will go through and glue all the first week pages down.


Call me crazy, but I already started centers with them!  I started the first full week. I like to get them started so we can have some practice following the {powerpoint} before jumping in to our "real" routines and take up that time.

I used my guided reading time this week to do the {differentiated spelling tests}, to find everyone's spot in the list, so they can have their independent words on Monday with their first list of words.

I also did the {sight word} assessments. Some of my friends have already finished the whole 1st grade set! Wowwy!

Now that I got that ALL accomplished last week, I am pretty exhausted. haha! I might go veg out by the pool for a little bit.

Oh wait. We need food. Grocery store it is, then.

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