Friday, August 28, 2009

I went to another school today for a meeting and they had really cool artwork up in their library. Each grade level painted a picture of The Cat in the Hat using a different style:

Kindergarten - Pointillism

First - Collage

Second - Fauvism

Third - Cubism

Fourth - Pop Art

Fifth - Expressionism

I'm in charge of the Art Show and I plan to do something similar this year. I'll probably pick something other than "The Cat in the Hat" (even though he's very cute). The Art Show's in May, I'll post pics then.

Friday, August 14, 2009

Thursday, August 13, 2009

Where is Everyone?

A great way to keep track of your students is to use a chart like the one in the picture. Every student has a clothespin with their name on it. The first thing they do when they come in, is to move their clothespin over to "I'm Here". This is an easy way to take attendance. If a student needs to use the restroom, go to the office or nurse, etc., they move their clothespin to that section on the chart. It's an easy way to keep track of your students.

Tuesday, August 11, 2009

Book Hospital

I always have broken/ripped books that need to be fixed. They're usually all over the place. I decided this year to create a "Book Hospital". It's just a simple tub that I or the students can throw a broken book into. I also have packing tape in the tub, that way parent volunteers can check the tub and fix any books that are in it.

Wednesday, August 5, 2009

Justin Pierce Art Mural

I met Justin through some friends and immediately loved his work. He painted a mural at a friend's studio and I asked if he would be willing to paint a mural at my school. He said "Yes" and I was very excited. Justin started the mural today and will finish it on Friday. I took a picture of the finished results of Day 1 and I will post more pics tomorrow.

Check out Justin's website:

Follow him on Twitter:

Tuesday, August 4, 2009

Brag Board

Every month I send home a note to parents asking them to fill out the "Brag Board" paper for the month. The paper is then displayed on the bulletin board and at the end of the month it goes into the student's scrapbook (Scroll down to read about my scrapbooks). I try to make every month go along with the holiday of that month. Here is what I do:

August - School House or Crayon Box - The parents write a "Good Luck" message.

September - Apple - (Child's name) is the apple of my eye because...

October - Pumpkin - (Child's name) is my pumpkin because...

November - Turkey - I'm thankful for (Child's name) because...

December - Christmas Tree or Snowman - The parents write their child's
favorite holiday memory.

January - Penguin - Parent's write their child's New Year Wishes.

February - Heart - (Child's name) is lovable because...

March - Shamrock - I'm lucky to have (Child's name) because...

April - Ladybug or Butterfly - (Child's name) is as cute as a bug because...

May - Flower - (Child's name) blossomed in first grade because...

If your school does Character Counts, you could replace some of those and say - (Child's name) is Trustworthy because... and so on.

The children love this and they love when I read their parent's note to them.

I've attached a picture of my current Brag Board. Before and after I put their photos in the Fish Bowl.

Sunday, August 2, 2009


Workshop is a different approach to centers. There are 20 tasks that the students need to complete, this allows the students to go at their own pace. I place the tasks on a bulletin board and number them 1 - 20. The first 8 tasks are on a worksheet:
  1. They write their name, date and day.
  2. Handwriting Practice, either a letter or word.
  3. Fact Family
  4. Alphabetical Order, they put letters or words in ABC order.
  5. Complete the Pattern
  6. Write how many days they've been in school in ones, tens & hundreds.
  7. Dictionary Word Find - They find 4 words in the dictionary, write the page # and definition.
  8. Pencil Illustration - Draw a picture using only a pencil.
Once they've completed the worksheet, they can do activities around the room. Here are the ones I use:

  • Read the Room
  • Calendar
  • Art Center
  • Listening Center
  • Finish 1 paper in their Work Folder
  • Practice Spelling Words
  • Phonics Center
  • Math Center
  • Journal Writing
  • A.R. Book
  • Clean Desk
  • Free Choice
You can choose any activities you want and switch them throughout the year. I usually do workshop 2 times a week. At the beginning, we go through the worksheet together and only do a few activities. As time goes on, the worksheet becomes easier and they become more independent.

I learned about workshop 6 years ago and I believe it's made by a company. However, I made my own and customized it to my students. I recently tried to locate a website for this, but could not find it. If you know of the company that makes "Workshop", please let me know.