Mrs. B's First Grade

Wednesday, September 28, 2016

Teaching Young Students Explicitly How to Use iPads!

Do you have iPads in your classroom? Have you taught your students to properly use them? I have learned that investing time in teaching skills to use the device properly helps your students to use them seamlessly throughout the school year! Read on to learn how I do it.
I have worked with iPads in the classroom for several years now. I started with just a few and then gradually worked up to 1:1. To use them seamlessly, I have learned that you have to think about them as a part of your curriculum. You need to map out what skills you are going to teach and when you are going to introduce them. You should do this with this whole school so that you are not using time to repeat with different grade levels.
I have thought about exactly what skills my students will need to be able to pull out their iPad and work on a creative project independently. This mainly includes the native apps which include the camera, notes, etc. When I introduce a new app, I first teach the specifics of that app. I believe on just using a few core apps though and not having tons of apps for students to use. I feel that this is best for students, and avoids taking the time to teach new apps all of year long.

I teach these skills in a specific order at the beginning of the school year. I look at it similar to setting up my readers and writers workshops. Putting in the time at the beginning, pays off during the year. I start by teaching iPad expectations, then move into parts of the iPad, native apps, and being a digital citizen.
I have creating a pacing guide so that you can teach these skills in your classroom! The pacing guide has two different options. One five day guide for older students or students more familiar with iPads. Then, there is one 12 day guide that is more suitable for younger students or students less familiar with iPads. After my students have demonstrated mastery in these skills, they have the option for earning iPad licenses that can act as a behavior tool!
For teachers less familiar with iPads, I have created a Native App Boot Camp. This guide includes projectable lessons with step by step instructions for learning the native apps of the camera, photo, notes, and clock. You can teach each of the 16 lessons, or print out the lessons and have available for older students as reminders. Each native app includes a "show what you know" page to asses if students learned everything!
To use these two guides to teach your students, just click the graphics below! I would love to hear about how incorporate them into your classroom!

Wednesday, August 31, 2016

Personal Word Wall for Students

Do you have a word wall in your classroom? How accessible is it to students? I have a moveable and interactive word wall, but I find that even that is not enough support. That is why I created a personal word wall. Read on to learn more!
In my classroom I have a workshop model for writing. My students have folders that they use daily. They store their writing in their folders and other reminders that I have for them. They personalize their folders at the beginning of the year to get ideas for writing (read more about that here!) Their favorite resource though? Their personal word wall!

I can not tell you how often I see my students reference their personal word wall. All. The. Time. The convenience of it makes it so easy for them to just pull out when they are unsure how to spell a word. Over the four sheets I have included 400 of the most commonly used words in writing for my young students. Therefore, they often find what they are looking for!
There are a variety of ways to use the folders.
-Print out all four sheets and glue on a file folder. You can glue one on the cover, two in the inside, and one on the back. Then, laminate for durability. You can make one for each of your students or a few to put out at your writing center.
-Print out all four sheets and combine with either staples or rings. Then, laminate for durability. Again, you can make one for each of your students or a few to put out at your writing center.
-Print out all four sheets and send home with students to use as a reference for writing while at home.
To see more about my $1 resource, just click the picture below!
How do you have your word wall set up in your classroom?

Saturday, August 27, 2016

LuLaRoe with Ali Vu!

Have you heard of LulaRoe before? I had, but did not quite understand how I could get my hands on these clothes. I heard that they had the best "buttery soft" leggings in tons of different prints. I had also heard that teachers LOVED teaching in them. When my college roommate Ali decided to become a LuLaRoe Consultant I was so excited to give the clothes a try!
You can find Ali's Facebook Group at!  

In my opinion, teachers should get to wear comfy clothes that are easy to move around in to school. We rarely sit down, work with students on the floor, and bend down to pick things up while managing a class of 20+ students. This is best done in workout clothes, but those would not be acceptable. The next best thing? LuLaRoe!

Ali sent me leggings and a Classic T to try out. The leggings were just as soft and comfortable as I had heard. Even though they were "one size fits all" they fit me perfectly. I LOVED the print. In fact, they are called Disney's Small World! How perfect for a Disney lover?! I could see them being perfect in both the summer and winter and easily dressed up for wearing to school. The best part was how well they flattered my "post baby" legs. No dimples showed through! ;)
Just like the awesome leggings, I loved the Classic T. They have a large variety of tops to pick from, and even some dresses, skirts and kids clothes. The Classic T is perfect for a teacher. Easy to dress up for school, but also easy to throw on for the weekend. I am wearing an XXS here - and trust me I am not currently an XXS. The clothes traditionally run big...and I can't help but love what the tag says!
Want to try out LuLaRoe for yourself? You do not have to go through and search for a local consultant in your area. Ali has a Facebook group where she posts all of her inventory. You can join her group and shop from there. She gets new inventory every week for you to shop from. You look at her albums, decide what you want, and she ships it to you. How easy is that?!

Now for the fun part, I am hosting a giveaway where you can win your own pair of leggings! Want to enter? Just join Ali's Facebook page. The giveaway will end next Saturday, September 3rd at Midnight EST! 
Are you a LulaRoe fan? Never heard of it, or totally obsessed? Let me know!

Thursday, August 25, 2016

Welcome to the World, Leo Paul Barnett! Part Two - The First Three Months & Nursery Tour

Welcome, friends! I am finally back with part two of Leo's first months with us. I seriously can not believe he has already been here for three months. I feel like it has flown by and snail-crawled by at the same time! In this blog post I will let you know how his first months have gone, my favorite products we have, and pictures of his nursery!
Someone told me that the first three months are the one of the most difficult times. Oh boy were they right. They also told me that they are some of the most precious moments you will have with your baby. Oh boy were they right on that one too! They definitely were not easy, but somehow we figured it out. I have read several books - What To Expect the First YearBaby WiseSecrets of the Baby Whisperer, and 12 Hours of Sleep by 12 Weeks Old. I have found each helpful, but the most helpful tip I have received is to not listen to what everyone says and do what is best for your baby.
Although I have a background in child development, I have never been around a baby for longer than a few hours. When we brought Leo home I seriously had no idea what I was doing (anyone felt the same?!) However, I was surprised about how easily it came to me. I learned his cries, what he liked/didn't like, how to hold him best, and how to quickly change that dreaded diaper. This is where my best advice came into play. There were things that I read you should or should not do that just didn't work for me. I was so happy that I felt empowered enough to go with my gut. All moms need to do that.
I can not tell you how much I loved to have him sleep on me at the beginning.
After we got passed the first six weeks give or take, we started to see just who Leo really was. We didn't realize what we were missing because we were caught up in the baby snuggles. Getting to know him as a person though has been oh so fun. It makes all the sleep deprivation and "no-time-for-yourself" worth it. He is just so happy to be here, his smile is contagious.
I want to share some of the products that have made our first months so much easier. When I thought about what it would have been hard to live without, these things came up. I could have made this list SO much longer than it already is. I was lucky to have a good friend help me with picking out the best car seat, stroller, pack n play, bouncer, etc. If you want to know what we have for any of those, just leave me a comment or email! I have added clickable links in the caption for you!
DockATot Deluxe - This little bed SAVED us! Leo kept startling when we put him down and woke himself up. He sleeps with it in his bassinest, crib, bed, wherever. Seriously worth the money!
Halo Bassinest - We were lucky enough to be gifted this. It is so sturdy and has so many features that make it so great to use. I feel so much more comfortable when Leo is sleeping right next to me. This eased my fears!
Motorola Monitor - I researched a lot of monitors and this one was the winner. I love all the features. I can talk through it, play music through it, and even check in from my phone! Don't tell my husband that I may or may not spy on him while I am away!
Babies R Us Cool Breeze Fan - Okay, this may seem silly, but this has been SO important! I love to be outdoors and take Leo on walks daily. There have been some hot summer days. This makes me feel so much better about taking him out! I bought another one on Amazon that quickly broke. This one has been great!
Little Einstein's Caterpillar and Friends Play Gym - Leo LOVES this play gym. I think the reason he loves it so much is the light up sun at the top. Many do not have that. He can just sit and stare at it all day!
Boppy Newborn Lounger - I originally just bought the regular Boppy. I figured I wouldn't need both. Then, I had a friend come over and tell me how much she loved her newborn lounger. I ran out that day to buy one and haven't regretted it! It makes "lounging" in a good spot so much easier.
Tag Blanket - When it came time for Leo to actually "play" I had no idea what to do with him. Luckily my friend had given me two of these awesome tag blankets from the Etsy shop (StitchingbySam) in the link. They were his first "toy!" He loves eating and playing with them. We don't leave home without them! They may not be listed in her shop - but she can make them. We also have bibs from her! 
Baby Brezza - Leo could not latch and I therefore could not breastfeed. That is a story for another day... Formula feeding is such a breeze with this device though. It makes a warm bottle in seconds. Seriously love it!!
I could talk to you about baby products all day, but I'll leave you with a few pictures from our nursery. I seriously had the best time putting it together. I didn't really want a "theme" of something like airplanes or dinosaurs. Instead, I just wanted bright colors with geometric prints. I had to add in my collage of children books. I know that it will not be long before he is making his own choices, so I am going to soak up this room for as long as I can! 
Crib - Amazon, Dresser - Local Painter, Chair - Buy Buy Baby, Lamps - Pottery Barn Kids

Friday, August 19, 2016

Jord Wood Watches - My must have watch for back to school!

What teacher doesn't love a good watch? Why not treat yourself with a unique gift of a wooden watch for back to school? Read on to learn more about my favorite new place to find woman's watches AND enter a giveaway!

We all know that keeping track of time is vital to the success of our days in the classroom. Getting off schedule can lead to the whole day being thrown off. To get yourself started on the right foot, I suggest you "treat yo self" to a new ladies (or mens) watch!
I love Wood Watches by Jord. I recently ordered a new watch for the school year. The one I picked out (it was SO hard to decide) was the Cora Series Purple Heart & Mother of Pearl watch. Check it out here! When I ordered I submitted my size, so when it came it was perfect for my wrist!
I wore the watch to school while I was setting up. Each teacher that I saw commented on how unique and cool it was. They loved the wooden elements, but also that you could see the mechanics inside. It kept me on schedule and was a fun distraction to look down to. I can not wait for my first graders to check it out. They always notice my accessories - so I am positive they will love it too.
Here comes the fun part! I love the watch so much, I am hosting a giveaway! To enter the giveaway, just CLICK HERE!! You can win a $75 e-certificate to a watch of your choice. Listen to this though...ANYONE who enters will receive a $20 e-certificate! The giveaway will end August 26th at 11:59 pm!

Wood Watch 

Thursday, August 18, 2016

Learning Targets for First Grade

Having your students understand what they are learning is essential to helping it "stick." To do this, I post learning targets for my students to have a visual reminder. I do it in a very simple way though... Read on to learn more!
Posting learning targets is something that is being asked of teachers more and more. Although it is "one more thing" we have to do, it makes sense. Just like stating the objective to start the lesson, having a visual reminder of exactly what students are learning reinforces the teaching. This is a great book by Mike Schmoker on the topic.

I post learning targets for the week. I post one or two targets in each curricular area in an area that my students can easily see. We go through the targets on Monday so that they can get a glimpse into what they are learning and what the targets are.
As I am teaching, I move the learning target that we are working on to my focus board. It helps me to remember to state my objective. Let's get real here, does it always happen at the start of every lesson? No. There are times when it is the end of the day and I still have the target from the first lesson up. I don't worry though because I still have them up in my weekly overview.
After starting this process I have noticed my students understand exactly why we are learning so much more. They can grasp that I have a reason to teach them and that I have a goal skill for them to be able to do at the end of our lesson.

Do you use learning targets? I have posted my resource in my store for you to use in your classroom. You can click the picture below to download a free sample!

Friday, July 29, 2016

Using a Writing Folder for Inspiration in Writer's Workshop

Back to school is upon us! Are you thinking about changing your writing to a workshop model this year? Already have a workshop happening? Read on to learn about a fun activity that I use to start my workshop off with a bang!
How many times have you heard, "I don't know what to write about!" As a teacher it is a priority of mine to get to know my kids personally. At the beginning of the year we are still getting to know each other and it is difficult to help remind them of people they know or experiences that they could write about. That is where my favorite activity comes in handy!

My school purchases folders for each of our students to use during writer's workshop. We use Nicky folders, you can find them here! They have a clear pocket in the front and back that is just perfect to stick a piece of paper in. Instead of having the paper just be their name, or something I have made, I send it home for students to decorate! My students are free to add anything they would like - stickers, ticket stubs, pictures, menus, anything that will fit on the sheet of paper and lay flat! When they bring the two pages back (I send home cardstock for durability) they put it in their folder and use it for inspiration. It also makes a great jumping off point for conversation between the students and I as we are getting to know each other.
Want to give this idea a try? Click the picture below to check it out in my store. It is only $1.00!
How do you start off your writer's workshop? I would love to hear!
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