Back to School Booktivities

To kick off our Read Alouds for Back to School, we choose two of our favorite classics.

We will read The Kissing Hand and Chicka Chicka Boom Boom on the first days of school.
Most firsties are familiar with these stories, so it gives them comfort knowing that their new teachers know them too! 
Small world...

This is the moment when we show the book we are about to read and beginning first graders may begin to shout out all at the same time...
"I know that story!"
"HEY! My kindergarten teacher has that!"
"My dog ate that one yesterday!"
Whatever the case, it is enthusiasm for reading but still shouting out and not something we like to encourage... 
Especially in the first few days.
So, we have a rule.
If you know the story, give us a Quiet as Fish "Thumbs Up"...
That's Teacher Talk for, "I adore that you know this book. Please do not shout it from the hilltops, Friend. Just give me your little thumb and I'll smile, nod and move along."  It works...

Every year is different, so we may need to reread the story a few times aloud over the first few days of school. We think rereading a story not only builds good listening skills and reading fluency, but also instills the long lost art of patience in our students. It always amazes us how many kids believe if they've heard a story one time that they don't need to hear it again. WHAT!?!
So we read, read and then...READ some more!
We know they've got the story when they can chime in and we sit quiet. 
Like a rock concert, you know? 
The lead singer stops singing and the crowd continues. 
That's probably where the term, 
"Teachers are Rock Stars" came from...just saying.

Once they are "first grade" familiar with the stories, we will introduce our Back to School Booktivities.
We've created these units to extend the stories we read aloud in class.
They target essential first grade reading skills and are aligned with the Common Core Standards.
Click on either preview below to take a closer look.

To check out our "family" of Booktivities, click below.

Did you enter for your chance to win our August Mystery Box Giveaway?
Only 2 days left!
Click {here} to enter.
Good luck!

The Mystery Box Giveaway is BACK!

Guess who's back? Back AGAIN? 

The box is back tell a friend!!!!

That is right, friends! We are SUPER excited to announce the August Mystery Box is ready to ship! 

Where is this box going you ask? Well it could be YOUR house! 

Inside the box is $30 worth of fabulousness! You will also receive $30 worth of products from our stores! 

For those of you going back to school this month, this could be EXACTLY the pick me up that you need to get through the first quarter!

Enter the rafflecopter below for your chance have this box of awesome delivered to your doorstep. 

Just make sure that your doorstep has a U.S. address please. :)  

Good luck!!! 

5 for Fraturday

We're linking up with Doodle Bugs Teaching a little late because we've been flying in and out of town, trying to soak up our last rays of summer sunshine. But, we're back and gearing up for a great school year! 
Christy spent some of her last days of summer in Ohio for a huge family reunion. 
They had a great time catching up with family and taking in the sights.
Here's some highlights from their trip...

Tammy's family ventures to San Diego for a week each summer. Growing up by the beach usually takes them on vacation somewhere near water, so from swimming until their fingers were pruned to admiring yachts and sailboats at Seaport Village, they had a sweet family trip.
Who doesn't love Pinterest?
Who doesn't love winning free things?
Well, we're combining those 2 loves with something fun!


We're putting our own spin on the Pin It to Win It craze.

All you have to do is visit our TpT shop between now and Sunday night.
Find your 2 favorite items that you'd love to win.
Then, pin.
The two products, that is. 
Onto Pinterest...
Okay, just making sure we're making sense. :)
Leave a comment below with
1. Your Pinterest url (We love following teachers!)
2. The names of the 2 products you pinned and would love to win

That's It!

We'll pick 2 winners to win the 2 items of their choosing on Sunday night!
PLUS, each winner will receive a copy of our latest Booktivities for the Common Core Classroom before it is released in our TpT store next week!
So, if you're in a pinning and winning mood, leave us a comment and check back tomorrow night.
We are looking forward to getting back into our classroom finally this week!
Carpets and summer cleaning have run a little behind schedule at school, 
so what's a teacher to do?
Answer ~ See #1 Above
Once we get in, the first thing we're planning to do is to update our class decor.
We're looking to take our walls to the next level, and continue to tie in our under the sea classroom theme again this year.
So, we came up with our Class Decor & More packs.
For as much time as we spend in our classrooms as teachers, we should LOVE it! 
Engaging our class in a theme not only makes for an eye catching classroom, but it also sets the stage for building a community of learners. 
Our Class Decor & More! sets provide student centered, teacher friendly decor to fit the themed classroom.
Here's What's Included:
-3 Styles of Name Plates
-Name Tags
-Table Signs
-Word Wall with over 200+ words
-Welcome Banner
-64 Class Supply Labels
-Blank Supply Labels to make your own
-Person of the Day Poster
-Months of the Year Cards and Poster
-Days of the Week Cards and Poster
-Calendar Cards
-Birthday Month Cards and Name Labels
-Monthly Memories Poster
-Incredible Equations Poster
-Individual 100 and 120 Number Grids
-Class 100 and 120 Number Grids
-15 Classroom Schedule Cards + Blank
-36 Classroom Job Cards + Blank
-Number Words Poster
-0-10 Class Number Posters
-7 Money Posters
-26 Alphabet Sound Cards
-4 Digraph Sound Cards
-5 Long Vowel Spelling Cards
-11 Class Color Posters
-18 Class Shape Posters

Along with Under the Sea (above), we have 3 other themes up in our TpT Shop just in time for the Back to School Sale.
Click any of the pics to take a closer look. 
Plus, download any of our Class Decor & More previews in our TpT shop to find a freebie for your own classroom. 


We've had tons of requests to package our monthly Sharing Pages together and since we aren't packing for summer vacations anymore, we've packed them up for you!
all of our Sharing Pages have been bundled at a discounted price in our TpT Store. 
One of our absolute favorite programs that we run in our classroom each school year is our Sharing Pages Program.
Here's a quick snippet on how it works... 

Each week, our students are assigned a sharing page as part of their weekly homework.
Like This...
We also print and laminate a cover  for the week's sharing book.
Like this...
Each student is assigned a sharing day, which stays the same for the entire school year.
On their assigned day, they return their sharing page to be read and shared it in front of the class. 
Like This...
 With only a few students sharing each day, this takes about 10 minutes of time Tuesday through Friday (Sharing Pages are assigned on Mondays in our class), but the development in reading, writing and speaking skills lasts them a lifetime. 

Once the class has shared, we gather all of the pages together, print and laminate the book cover and bind all of the pages together to create a class book.
We add to our collection of books all year and leave them accessible in our classroom library for reading.
The kids love reading them!
On the last day of school, we raffle each of our sharing books off, sending each student home with 2 to keep forever and ever. 

Our Sharing Page Bundle will only be available for a limited time.
If you are really looking for a deal, it will be on super sale through the TpT Sale on Sunday and Monday if you use coupon code BTS13 at checkout.

Ending the school day on the right foot is just as important as beginning it on the right one.
We also have learned over the years, that the end of the school day can be a little nutty.
Kids, backpacks, mail, loose papers, trash, chairs...The list really could go on and on.
So, we bribe them.
With a rap.
We use The Classroom Rap at the end of our day.
Think Army Sound Off.
You know?
Sound Off...
Sound Off...
We put our best drill sergeant voices on and make them repeat after us.
Stomping feet and marching like soldiers is completely optional, but some days we they need it. 
It's fun and it's great fluency practice. Enjoy!


Throwback Thursday ~ Stickerboard Style

Throwing it back to you, while we're throwing back as much summer as we can. The countdown is on people! We must squeeze every morsel of sunshine in before the school bell tolls.

But, we've had a few midsummer nightmares about our new batch of firsties in recent weeks...Which can really only mean one thing. We are further from the end of school and closer to the beginning. Ouch. That hurts to even type... 

We are dreaming of things like wild lines where nobody stands straight...And, shouting out in class over and over...and over again. 
And, it worries us. 
We need control. 
The upper hand, if you will...
So, we thought this throwback would help us stay in peaceful summer slumber.
Maybe it will help you too, because it really does work like a charm in our class all year long. 

And, it may even throw you back to your own sticker collection as a kid. You know...The puffies, smellies, and googly eyes? We all had them. Loved them. Some of us still do...

Here's an oldie, but goodie from not so long ago...Enjoy!

Originally Posted September 21, 2012
Stick to Good Behavior
Even after 15 years of teaching first grade, we are constantly rethinking our behavior management system. What may have worked last year, doesn't quite pack the same punch this year. But suddenly, that circa 1999 teaching trick we thought we retired along with our potato sack dresses works like a charm! Kids are funny that way...unpredictable.

But, we have found one thing has stayed pretty predictable over the years ~
 Kids LOVE stickers!
Kids LOVE to collect stickers!

We start each school year by giving our students their own Sticker Board. We print them on construction paper or card stock for durability. They keep them in their desks, and whenever we're working in our seats, they know to take these puppies out. They place them on the corner of their desk because someone (that's us!) is always watching. We catch them left and right and have loads of stickers for the taking!
With Common Core in full force, we added 10 Frames to our Sticker Boards this year. should hear the math flying each time they get a sticker. Music to our ears! 
"I just got my 6th one! That means I only need 4 more!"
"I just filled up 10 plus 5 more. That's 15!"
A+ +
We're really glad we added the 10 Frames! Who knew?
Dare we say, thank you Common Core?!? 

Older students may not need the 10 Frames so much, so we made this blank option as well.

The 10 Frames Sticker Board is set up to collect 20 stickers. The blank board can be set at any goal you choose. In past years, we've increased the goal to higher numbers as the year goes on. 

Once our Friends collect their 20 (or however many) stickers, they are responsible for writing numbers next to each of their stickers, then turning it in for a trip to our class Trash Treasure Chest. We use the term "treasure" lightly, but to them it is super treasury. Mostly made up of donated fast food toys, cleaned out junk drawer goodies from former students, Mom deliveries of "please take it, I can't take the mess anymore!" and really anything *free* we can throw in there that they would like. They dig for the perfect prize!
 It definitely gives new meaning to 
"One person's trash, is another person's treasure."

Stickers are given out by the teacher, parent volunteers, or we keep a "Sticker Station" in our class where we invite kiddos to pick their own when they earn it.
 They love this, but we've learned over the years that some love it more than others. A little too much love, as in lingering love at the sticker tub...
So, what do us teachers do when little ones find the loopholes? We make more rules! Hahahaha.
We have a rule in our class when picking a sticker...
Take 2 from the tub (no peeking)
Take a look at both of them
Keep the 1 You Want to Keep
Put the Other 1 Back for a Friend

It's worked really well for us over the years, and
we're happy to share our Sticker Boards with you!

Click {HERE} to grab yours for free. 

Then, be sure to head back over to Cara and The First Grade Parade for more Throwback Thursdays.


2013-2014 Back to School Must Haves FREE eBook

We cannot contain our excitement any longer!
No. No. 
We are not that excited about actually going back to school quite yet. 
But truth be told, we may be just slightly obsessed with shopping for back to school.

Can you relate?

It doesn't seem to matter how many years we've taught...
They are always coming out with new, *cuter* things to tempt us teachers. And, it works!

So, when we were given the opportunity to contribute to the 2013-2014 Back to School Must Haves eBook created by Schoolgirl Style and A Modern Teacher for the best Back to School goodies, we nearly fell off our summer couches exercise bikes. 

Check it out!

This year's Back to School Must Haves eMagazine is chalk full of terrific teacher blogger favorites! Some practical...Some just for fun!  If you see something you like, just click on the pic from the eBook picture to take you there. Plus, click on the blog button on each page, and discover some amazing blogs too!

Here are our Top 3 picks for practical teaching...
But, you'll have to open the eBook to find the links.

This year's eBook is filled with tons of suggestions from lots of amazing teachers!

So, if you too are looking for some new goods to start the year, be sure to check out this year's Back to School Must Haves eBook today!

So, we're curious...
What is your Back to School MUST Have this year?
We haven't shopped in exactly 2 days, 4 hours and 51 minutes...
So, do tell!  

Homework Folder Giveaway!

Did you miss our Homework Folder Flash Sale? 
That's Ok!
 We're throwing an Early Bird Homework Folder Giveaway!

Now's your chance to take your pick.

We're giving 10 lucky winners their choice of any one Homework Folder or Homework Folder for Olders from our TpT Shop.

Whether this is your first set or your itching to try a new theme this year, now's the time! 

Board the copter below...
You've got one whole week to take your pick and cross your fingers that the Rafflecopter picks you!

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