Wednesday, September 2, 2015

Teacher Week Day 3: Classroom Tour!

Our teaching philosophy is that education should be a positive experience which empowers children to feel successful and have good feelings about themselves and others, while taking responsibility for their own choices and actions.
We chose the colors green and blue several years back for our classroom color scheme and we haven't looked back since! They are such calming colors and they keep our wandering classroom shopping eyes focused. :)
We adore Sit Spots! With unpredictable and ever growing class numbers, they are perfect for us. Plus, no more tripping over the classroom rug (us, not them)!
We like to keep everything at the kids' fingertips. They have all their supplies on their table, books for quiet reading time, a trash bin and water bottles which you can see how we manage {here}.
Our Promethean Board was a welcome addition a few years back. We use it for everything, but one of our favorite times to use it is when we do our Listen Up activities. After working on their papers, they practically beg to listen so they can come up and show what they know on the big screen. It's been a great tool to keep our class focused!
Our classroom catch all...Mailboxes, class rules, Whale of the Week board, announcements, etc.
Best work board...
Our Word Center...
If you've been following our blog for awhile now, you know that our class fish tank is a highlight. It's a community building project at the beginning of the year, becomes one of our writing centers (they write notes to our fish), calms kids down when they need a little breather, and is just an all around one of our favorite spots in our classroom. 
We snagged these handmade jellyfish from near disposal after last year's Book Fair to add to our ocean themed classroom. Score!
Are you ready to show us your classroom? Head over to Blog Hoppin' to link up for Day 3 of Teacher Week!
Blog Hoppin

Tuesday, September 1, 2015

Teacher Week Day 2: Make Ahead Meals

Make ahead meals are life savers for us Teacher-Moms. There is nothing worse than coming home from a day where you've been observed by your principal, rocked your math lesson, got your fingers stuck together during your art lesson, took the kids out for a rousing game of kickball and just when you muster up enough energy to drag your exhausted body through the door, you hear the dreaded words..."What's for dinner?"

Having a game plan is half the battle. On Sunday nights, we sit down as a family and brainstorm a few meals that are quick and easy sound delectable and construct a shopping list for the week. Monday night is a stop at the market on the way home from work. Grabbing an already cooked chicken and some veggies for Monday night is our go-to. We also do "No-Cook Fridays" which means the Momma ain't cooking! Pizza or take-out tacos from our favorite Mexican restaurant all make our tummies happy.

Crock Pot recipes are an ideal way for teachers to have a warm meal on the table when they get home. A favorite crock pot recipe of ours is Polynesian Pulled Pork. It's so easy that you can put all the ingredients together in a gallon size Ziploc the night before and then dump it all into the crock pot as you whiz out the door in the morning.

Here's what ya need...

2 lbs boneless pork cutlets
1 small onion chopped
1 minced garlic (1 tsp or to taste)
1 8 oz can crushed pineapple

Sauce: *to be added before serving
3/4 cup ketchup
3 Tbsp hoisin sauce (or bbq sauce can be substituted)
3 Tbsp brown sugar

Spray crock pot and place pork on the bottom. Cover with onion, garlic, pineapple and juice. Cook on low for 8 hours. 30 minutes before serving, drain liquid from crock and discard. Shred the meat in the crock pot, mix in the sauce, and cook on high for an additional 30 minutes. Serve on hoagie rolls or over brown rice.

The best thing about this meal is that our kiddos devour it=Kid tested, Mother approved! Do you have a delicious, quick and easy recipe that you love? Link on over with our Blog Hoppin' buddies and Let's Get Cookin...

Blog Hoppin

Monday, August 31, 2015

Teacher Week is Here!

It's Teacher Week over at Blog Hoppin' and we're linking up!
We have been job sharing for 14 years. What's a job share you ask? Basically, we are 2 teachers sharing a contract and classroom...Also, a paycheck...But, we're each only in the classroom 50% of the time. So, Christy teaches on Mondays and Tuesdays. Tammy teaches on Thursdays and Fridays, and we alternate Wednesdays. We love it! 
Our birthdays are just 3 days apart. We didn't even plan it either! 
We sometimes feel bad that our class families go to so much trouble twice, but they are always so sweet to celebrate our birthdays in class.

We both love all things coconut!

 Our kids are the same ages. Our boys are 13 and our girls 11. Yes, you can pray for us...We are moms of middle schoolers...Who refuse to allow us to post a picture of them BTW. :)

We are obsessed with eos lip balm!

What 5 fun facts are you going to share? Hop on over to Blog Hoppin' to link up today through Friday!
Blog Hoppin

Plus, did you hear the news? Blog Hoppin' is spreading their wings on Twitter. Be sure to check us out there too. 

Saturday, August 15, 2015

Common Core Assessment Record Book

We're gearing up for our second year with Common Core and needed a quick and easy place to reference the standards and track student progress.   
Carson-Dellosa sent us this gem and it's going to be a great tool to keep us and our students on track!
The Common Core Assessment Record Book has all of the standards at our fingertips in an easy to follow format that helps us reference and record quickly as our class works through the standards all school year long.
It also includes a Standards Crosswalk for each core standard so we can see where our first graders have come from in Kindergarten and where we are sending them to come second grade. This piece is so helpful!
With plenty of space for recording up to thirty students' assessments up to four times during our school year, we have plenty of space to track their progress and align our instruction accordingly.
We're dying to fill in the blanks of this book! ;)
Here's a closer peek at Carson-Dellosa's Common Core Assessment Record Books.
You can also see it {here}.

Disclaimer: We participate in the Brand Ambassador Program for Carson-Dellosa and we received this product for free to try and review.

Wednesday, August 5, 2015

Ocean Themed Classroom & First Day of School Freebie

We posted this picture of our fish themed first day of school activity on our Instagram page the other day and had a lot of requests to share!
One of our favorite first day of school activities to welcome our new school of fish into our ocean themed classroom is to create these O-FISH-Al Welcome Back Bands. 
It gives our first graders a little down time during their long first day back to school, and it gives us a quick first day assessment to see how their coloring and cutting skills are from the get go. 
They are super easy to prep and assemble. The pride our new class feels walking around school with their O-FISH-Al first grade band on their heads is priceless. Ha! The parents get a kick out of their fish heads swimming out of our classroom door at the end of the day, plus they give us adorable class pictures for their memory books too!

We've just added this first day of school activity to our TpT Shop. You can follow our TpT Store and grab it for free below. Enjoy! 
Here's a few more ways we integrate the ocean/fish theme into our classroom each year. 
We have received a Pets in the Classroom grant for the past several years, which we use to replenish and set up our classroom aquarium. We set aside time in the first weeks of school to use our aquarium set up as a class community building activity. You'd be amazed how many ideas there are flying on what our class fish tank should look like! 
We set up a fish themed attendance system on our Promethean Board, which the kids start each day with.
We use this fish light during silent reading time. We call it, "Quiet as Fish Reading" and tell the kids they must be quiet as fish while they read. Our class helper is responsible for turning on and off the light at the beginning and end of our SSR time. 
Our Wish Fish board is a big hit with parents. We just use a class easel to stick our handwritten supply wishes onto and place the easel outside our classroom door. We set our Wish Fish easel outside at events like Back to School Night, parent conference week, Open House, special school events, or anytime we are running low and could use a few classroom donations. We just ask parents to stick the fish back onto their supply with their name on it so we can write a thank you card for their generous donation. :)
You can grab a copy our our Wish Fish {here}.

We've loved using the ocean/fish theme in our classroom for many years now. Here are some of our favorite ocean themed classroom activities.
Incorporating a theme in our classroom builds buy in for our students and makes memorable activities all year long! What's your class theme?

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