Wednesday, July 27, 2011

Open House Ideas Linky Party...

This is my first attempt at a Linky Party so I hope it works!

With August right around the corner, it is almost time to head back to work and get the classroom ready for our little ones! We all love this, but there is also another night we have to get ready for... Open House! This is when we get to meet our students and their families. I always try to have a treat of some kind for my new students (and this year the parents too)! There is also some important info that the parents need to fill out before they leave and some info to take home with them. I got these organizational ideas from a former teacher two years ago, and Open House goes so much smoother this way! Check out some of my pictures below for more info on my classroom at open House!

In these pictures you will see little signs, and these are just clear plastic picture frames. I simply make stations that will help both the parents and myself out during, and after, Open House. Next year I plan on tying balloons to each station so that they stop by them all. I think I only have four stations, I try not to overwhelm them.

This green table is what my students and their parents see upon arrival to the classroom. It has two signs, one for the students prompting them to find their seats and their treat, and the other for the parents letting them know there is important info for them at their child's seat.

This is what the students' desks look like. The papers that the parents need to fill out prior to leaving are laying on the desk itself (Emergency Info sheet, Volunteer Interest sheet, How do I get Home). Classroom info that they can take home to read over is in the Ziploc bag. The bag you see is the treat bag for the student. I make each student his or her own bookmark aligned to our classroom theme of Wild West! Inside the bag I give them a sheriff badge, a pencil, eraser and some kind of sweet treat. In years past I've used Hugs and Kisses or lollipops. 

How do I get home from school? The parents must let me know how their child will be going home on the first day of school and how they will usually go home throughout the school year.

This is the spot where the parents turn in the information that I've requested before they leave. All trays clearly marked so they know where to put each paper they've filled out.

This sign leads the parents to take a peek at our classroom wish list. We now call it a "Donation Station" because it is all about the wording. This is great for schools like mine where there is a lot of parent involvement and they ask you what you need for the classroom.

Here is the "Donation Station" I created for Open House. I simply write on Post-it's the things that we are hoping to get for our classroom that are not on the general supply list (dry erase markers, sharpies, clipboards, etc.). If they are interested in purchasing something, they simply take the Post-It for that item and carry it with them to the store. A change I plan on making this year is having them jot down their name and the item they are planning on donating to the class. That way I know who to expect it from and thank for it later.
 I also ask the parents to bring their child's supplies to Open House to help with First Day chaos. I read on a blog (I wish I remembered which one) about putting plastic containers out clearly marked by what goes into them (tissues, plastic bags, pencils, etc.). The parents and children can place their supplies in the correct container. They do the work for you! The best part, at the end of the night, you just put the lids on the containers and go home. When you arrive the next day, everything is already organized for you. Genius!

Holly Kaczmarek

Really Cute Ideas For Word Walls...

While at a Workshop last week, my colleagues and I explored the school to see the great ideas that the teachers at Caleb's Creek Elementary had to share. I believe all of these photos came from First Grade classrooms and I wish I knew all the teacher's names so that I could give them each the credit they deserve. We all thought the way they created their Word Walls were awesome! We are going to adopt/adapt this strategy in our classrooms. Some of us said we were going to redo our Word Walls like these, or that we would like to make our Word Family charts this way! So cute!

Another thing that we LOVED was this Writing poster below. We thought it would be great to post this in our classrooms to show the students (and parents that stop in) the difference between a Level 4 writer and a Level 1 writer.

While there I also liked the way this teacher posted the NC Standards around her classroom...

I hope you enjoy these ideas as much as we did!!

Holly Kaczmarek

Tuesday, July 19, 2011

Pinterest Addict!

If you haven't visited Pinterest yet....Go!!!!!! So very addicting!! I love it! Visit me while you're there and become a follower of mine!

Holly Kaczmarek

I finally finished my button!!!

I was sooooo proud of myself for figuring out how to make a button for my blog, but I was struggling with how to get the little code box to work. I just couldn't find the right code/combination. Naturally I have been Googling it, and I would like to say a HUGE thank you for the step-by-step directions that I found at:

Thanks to the awesome directions that you posted, I was successful at making my code work! Thank you so much! If you are having the same issue I was, head on over to her sight! And of course....
grab my button!! :)

Holly Kaczmarek

Sunday, July 17, 2011

My love for Post-Its!

If you love Post-It's as much as I do, stop on over at Create*Teach*Share! She's having a Post-It Linky Party and also a Giveaway! How do you use Post-It's in your classrooms?

Create Teach Share

Here are some of my ideas...

For the teacher:
I like to leave myself notes everywhere with Post-It's.
1. I leave them near my computer to remind me to email a parent, a new website/blog I want to check out, a new password, etc. I also found it helpful to move all of my Post-It's with passwords and important websites into a file folder that I keep near my computer.
2. I also use Post-It's to write down what I would do differently on a lesson in the future. (Easy Self reflection too!) I either put those Post-It's in my actual Lesson Plan book, or with the activity itself, or sometimes both places.
3. Speaking of Lesson Plan Books, I also place Post-It's in my plan book when we have a change in our regular schedule. For instance if we have Guidance, and Assembly or my students fav... Book Buddies! It's just like an extra heads-up for me!

For the students:
1. I like to use them in my Guided Reading groups for various things. Sometimes I write down a question that the students need to "Read to find out" other times I ask them to write down unknown words so that we can talk about them (I do this before and after the lesson depending on the level of the group).
2. I also like to use them as bookmarks for both Guided Reading groups and Silent Reading.

I can't wait to hear how else you use Post-It's in your classrooms!!! :)

Holly Kaczmarek

Friday, July 15, 2011

Did You Say Linky Party?!?

I have joined another Linky Party! I'm begining to fall in love with these! I first saw a list of linky parties on Yearn to Learn's blog. There is a grade level linky party that was created by Kim over at The Teacher's Lane! Thanks to you both! You are very organized and this is a great idea!


Holly Kaczmarek

New Blogger Linky Party!!

In exploring different blogs, I read on First Grade Glitter and Giggles that there is a Linky Party going on at Yearn to Learn's blog. This is my very first Linky Party that I am actually posting to. Here's how it works!

In your link up find the following:

1. A blogger who is a "New Kid on the Blog"
(Let's say someone who has blogged 2 months or less and has less than 200 followers)

2. Post a blogger in your same grade level

3. Post a blogger in a different grade level

4. It's all about the button. Find a cute blog button and post it.

So I hope I'm doing this right! Here goes nothing...

1. "A New Kid on the Blog" would be... First Grade Glitter and Giggles!

2. A Blogger at my grade level would be... Hello Literacy!

3. A Blogger at a differnt grade level would be... Ladybug's Teacher Files!

4. Really cute button...

Teaching in High Heels

Holly Kaczmarek

You have inspired me!!

There are so many great teaching blogs out there today that I have been inspired to join in the fun! Since my blog is still a work in progress, and this is my first post, I invite you to visit my website for school I have some pictures posted there of how my classroom typically looks and some great websites that I use with my students. You will also notice that I do have another blog that was intended to be used with my First graders and their parents. As you can see, I didn't utilize it very well. If you have any suggestions on how you use a blog in your classroom I would love to hear them!!

Holly Kaczmarek