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Welcome To Our New BLOG!


Hi!  Welcome to my main BLOG!  I'm so glad you popped in!

If you look to the right you'll see some of the other categories to my BLOG!

  • Arts-Crafts & Activities offers several fun things to do with your children each month complete with patterns, directions and pictures.  
  • Books of the Month, lists a few of my all-time favorite childnren's seasonal-books and a newer realease with a lesson, activity, + how to jazz up your story time with this book. It also includes a few skill sheets, + a magic trick that I do! 
  • Hot Tips & Cool Solutions is just that, a bulleted check list of interesting information to help make your day run smoothly. The 1st three columns will start with September,  but I'll post in late August in time for BACK-TO-SCHOOL.
  •  Right now, Dishin' Up With Diane has a yummy recipe waiting for you to try. And...
  • Care To Share features a "Hot Topic" for discussion each month. August's is: How do you keep things organized? 
  • So don't forget to check out the TOP side-bar!

Also featured on the Main Blog's front page each month are:

  • Chuckles & Heartwarmers: Cute things my students have said. Hopefully they bring a smile to your day or warm your heart.  If you have a giggle from your classroom or home please take a moment to "grin & share it!" with us. Contact me at diane@teachwithme.com with the header: Chuckles. Thanks in advance. :-)
  • Quote: I used to write one on the board every day when I taught high school. The girls in my class often wrote them down in a special notebook. Often one of those quotes became the graduating classes' motto! Consider them the "Apple Seeds" on my site!
  • A Peek At Next Month: Give's you a sneak preview.  It's intent is to FYI you to get you excited about what's up-coming so you WANT to come back! I do this same thing with my Y5's. At the end of the day I tell them 1 or 2 wonderful things we'll be doing on their next day of school so they can't wait for another adventure in learning!
  • Freebie Of The Month: Your little ones will have fun tracing the basic shapes each month in this adorable booklet and then have a nice keepsake at the end of the year! This feature is simply my way of saying "Thanks for stopping! I appreciate you!" And thanks to my daughter Kelli who designed this sweet smilie button for me. Look for it in the shopping cart.
summer, teacher tips
I can't believe it's August!
Do you say that every summer too?

I hope you're having a super summer! I know many of you will be getting your classrooms ready for school in the next few weeks. I have some terrific tips to share in my September Stuff II where you can look at my handbooks and handouts and see how I do things with my Y5's. Hopefully this will give you some great ideas to add to your own, or be especially helpful if you've just landed a job.

You can also check out my decorating tips  and TWM 500 where a picture is worth a 1000 words. I like to keep things less cluttered by having my shelving units turned sideways and backwards. When someone enters the room things look nice and stream lined. They don't see lots of tubbies with "stuff" in them, but a slim side of a unit or the smooth back with a colorful poster on it! My tubbies are all the same size and only bright primary colors. This also makes things look neat and organized and less messy. Drawer units are nice to help little ones become perfect "picker-upper's"! Mine simply pull out a drawer or tub, dump it out, and when the timer rings, toss the things back inside. getting organized, open house, back to school

Some of you may even have your Open House in August like we do. I made mine extra fun by turning it into a Treasure Hunt! I send an invitation to my students to get them excited. They receive a list of 10 things to find like their locker with their name tag on it, their monkey on our Chicka Chicka Boom Boom Welcome To Our Classroom bulletin board, and even me! When they find me they need to introduce themselves and their family. They get a strip of stickers to paste to their treasure map and when they've completed the list they can crawl through our wiggle worm tunnel, throw a coconut bowling ball at the pineapple pins, and go for a ride around the block on the school bus.

I have the "how to" including my letter home to parents, a cool countdown to class and my summer welcome letter to my students included at TWM 432. I hope it gives you lots of great ideas to get you and your children excited for this fall too! I've been doing The Open House Treasure Hunt for 10 years now with rave reviews from kids, parents, and other teachers.  Many of my fellow lower elementary teachers have also adopted it. It's an easy and fun way to generate excitement, dispel fears, and get children to find all the things they'd need to find on the hectic first day of school anyway.

After they've completed everything on their list they get their treasure, which is a treasure box filled with all kinds of goodies like school supplies, little McDonald toys that I've collected at garage sales all summer, stickers, candy, etc. including a crayon cake! What's a crayon cake? It's a great way to recycle broken crayons and makes a wonderful coloring or writing tool because when you use it, it makes things many colors! It's great for those fall leaf rubs!.Here's How:

  • To make some for your students, peel crayons and break them into small pieces.
  • Spray a large or small muffin tin with cooking spray like PAM so that the crayon cakes will easily slide out later.
  • Fill each hole to the top with multi-colors of the broken crayons.
  • Put on the bottom shelf of a pre-heated oven at 250 degrees.
  • Depending on your oven, bake for 15 minutes 'til the crayons are melted.
  • Let cool and then tip over. I leave my tins lying face down. Crayon cakes will plop out.
  • If they don't, run face down, so the tin is under warm water, but not hot or you will melt the crayons again. 
  • I've also put the pan in the freezer for a few minutes to pop them out that way too.
  • I used to use the big muffin pans, but later bought the mini ones because they take less crayons and are easier for my Y5's to hold.
  • I make an extra set to use in my classroom. My students think they are "Way  cool!"
  • So that I'm not spending hours peeling crayons during the summer, in June when things are winding down, I have my students help me with this project! They enjoy doing it, and it's a great fine motor skill for them.

     If you read the alphabet book Chicka Chicka Boom Boom to your class and want some adorable ideas, visit one of my favorite sites at: www.makinglearningfun.com/themepages/ChickaChickaBoomBoomPrintables.htm. My favorites are Build a coconut tree shape, and Make a paint stick flet board. Too cute! She also has a printable for 3 coconuts in the coconut tree using bingo dot markers which I use every day in my classroom for one-to-one correspondence. My Y5's LOVE them.

     For an easy Monkey Maze click here.  I tell my students that I found 4 ways to get to the banana. They only have to find 2. I just LOVE this site because it's interactive.. It's one of the places I send my Y5's on their Web Quests! (Find out more in September.) This site is Colormountain.com where your students can connect the dots and color right online. Great fine motor and computer skill practice for young children.

What’s Happenin’ ? Summer is for vacations! I hope you had a chance to take at least one, even if it was the now popular “stay-cation!” My husband’s brother got married in New York so we had a great excuse to extend our stay and see a bit of the east coast. I took some great pictures you may want to show your students if you study RAINBOWS (We went to Niagara Falls and saw a beautiful one!),Niagra_Falls_Rainbow Mayflower then journeyed on to see PLYMOUTH ROCK, and a replica of the MAYFLOWER and later PILGRIM’S PLANTATION where we also saw a WAMAPANOAG village. You may want to print off the pix, laminate them and make your own booklest or bulletin boards or use them  in a mini slide show. They'll be great for a November unit during Thanksgiving week. I'll repost then too!

Last summer we had a chance to see the Grand Canyon (A long time on my “bucket list” of things to do.) We stopped at a piece of property that advertised: “See real dinosaur footprints!” To get my Y5’s excited right at the start of school,  dinosaurs is my first science theme, so of course we had to check this out.  (Click on the green writing to see my fun dino stuff!)  Our guide armed with a milk jug of water took us around and poured the water on the prints. He didn’t tell us what kinds of dinosaurs left them, but they couldn’t have been too big, as they were about the size of a shoe box. I have only his word as to their authenticity; but it was fun and my students enjoyed seeing pictures of    dinosaur footprints. I hope yours do too! dinosaur footprint  In the meantime I hope you enjoy the site. If there's something you're looking for, and you didn't find it, drop me a line (diane@teachwithme.com) and I'll see what I can do!

Educationally Yours,

teacher tips        

          I hope you can REST, RELAX, and REJUVENATE for what's left of the....



  • Comment Link Diane Tuesday, 17 August 2010 17:16 posted by Diane

    Hi readers.
    Just to clarify: I LOVE to hear from you and all questions are welcome, but they should relate to the specific Main Blog posts. I answered Bonnie's post here, because I thought she would return here.

    If you have a question that does NOT relate to the Main Blog, please ask it in the Care To Share section of our Side Category Blog. It's just my way of keeping things organized plus people can source and follow threads easier.

    Thanks much! I look forward to your comments, opinions and questions!
    Diane :-)

  • Comment Link Lynne Tuesday, 17 August 2010 00:01 posted by Lynne

    Terrific site and really helpful blog.
    Thanks for sharing!

  • Comment Link Diane L. Henderson Monday, 16 August 2010 23:41 posted by Diane L. Henderson

    Hi Bonnie, Thanks for your comments. Try and relax and take a deep breath I know exactly how you feel. I too absolutely freaked out the 1st year I taught 1st grade. NONE of my students could read, and some of them didn't even know all of their letters!

    So to answer your 1st question: NO most 1st graders will NOT know how to read unless your school had a really good pre-reading program for them in kindergarten.

    #2 Most of them don't UNDERSTAND what a sentence is, let alone be able to write one. You need to model this EVERY day. I put part of a sentence on the board each morning. I'd call on a different student to come up and "fix" it. They'd add punctuation, fill in a word, make a contraction, capitalize a letter etc. I also gave them sentence starters in the beginning and had them fill in the rest of the sentence, so that they understood that they needed a subject etc. and that their sentences made sense.

    I covered a huge amount of sentence "stuff" in my "morning messages" which I wrote with them on a flip chart.

    Check their kindergarten report cards to see what standards if any, that they did not pass. Assess letter and sound recognition on everyone. Don't take for granted that they know all of their letters and sounds.

    When you get your assessments done form your small reading groups based on ability.

    I could write for an hour. If you have not heard of teachers.net they have an excellent 1st grade chat board. Post your question there and hopefully some other seasoned teachers can add to this.

    Everything takes time. They will catch on fast and be reading and writing in no time, one step at a time. I hope this helped.

  • Comment Link Bonne Monday, 16 August 2010 22:31 posted by Bonne

    Great site and blog! I'm new to 1st grade this year - have a couple of questions and concerns. First, should 1st graders know how to read? I'm formally assessing students for sight words, but informally I haven't observed any of them really "reading" with the basic phonic/sight word readers I have in the classroom. Second, I'm a little concerned that they don't know what a sentence is - I asked them to write a sentence for me in response to a question - I even provided word cards for them to use, but all of them just copied the words they liked - no real attempt to write out anything close to a sentence (no phonic spelling, etc.- many of them still have handwriting issues) just words and a picture - I'm really concerned at this point - a.k.a kinda freaking out about where to begin and my lead teacher is pushing me to use the textbooks already (we just started Aug. 9) but my students can't read....Help....

  • Comment Link Daniel Henderson Saturday, 14 August 2010 16:19 posted by Daniel Henderson

    At long last!! Congratulations on the launch of TeachWithMe.com. You should be very proud! (and I am of you)

  • Comment Link Susan Saturday, 14 August 2010 14:34 posted by Susan

    What a great blog. Please add my e-mail address to get your blog. Thank you. Susan

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