My First Grade Classroom Reveal

Hiya! I am so excited to be teaching first grade this year! I had to completely move rooms and redo everything and this summer was so busy! I taught summer school, went to ISTE, went to Disneyland and the beach in California and went to the TPT conference! Whew!
I wanted to give you the highlights of my new first grade classroom! 
Let's start out side! This is my bulletin board outside. Our school has a construction theme this year which I don't love and used very loosely! haha! The tassels above and both borders are from the Target Dollar Spot and then I made the letters and printed on astrobrights cardstock.

I love how it turned out!

Then when you walk in my room and turn to the left there is this narrow bulletin board which I thought would be perfect for my birthdays display.

I take pictures of all the students who have birthdays in a given month holding up the number of the date of their birthday! They love it! I even get in the November picture!
We have experts in my room as kind of jobs or helpers they are just name badges hung on command hooks.

On these doors I have my anchor charts with a heading for each one

This is our Writing Goals Clip Chart it is in my TPT store click the picture.

This is one of my very favorite bulletin board in my classroom it is behind my guided reading table! The reading buddies are a freebie in my TPT store! Click the picture!

Our building is setting aside 45 minutes every Friday for STEAM time this year so we have a bulletin board just for that. See my series on STEM HERE

This is the area just to the left of that bulletin board that will be some of the activities that we do on those Fridays my tinker tubs books and Brooke Brown's Basic Engineering Skills

This is my organized area behind my guided reading table. We shall see how long it stays this way.

Our Math Tubs - completely out of order! Ha #reallife

We are a required to use a clip chart this is mine along with our wall of fame and behavior bingo. It actually works quite well for me.

This is one of my anchor chart areas I staple them to this after we make it to refer back to. There is also some of my writing area below. You can see another shot of the writing goals clipchart. As well as my First, Next, Then, Last signs to try to drill into my firsties to write our standard of a story with Beginning Middle End!

This is a shot of that area and our crate seats and some of my flexible seating management.

And the last part of my room is the calendar morning meeting area which isn't finished but you get the idea! You can see my number posters just a bit below it.

Here is a picture from after school started to kinda give you an idea of my front wall.

I actually ended up moving that book shelf to open the room up more.

If you have any questions please do not hesitate to leave a comment or email me at

Here is a list with links of all the products shown for easy access!


7 of my Favorite Back to School Read Alouds

Hiya! Today I'm sharing my favorite read alouds for Back to School.  These are 7 of my favorite books to read aloud the first few days of school. There are so many good back to school books but these are my top 7 in no particular order. (this post includes Amazon affiliate links, which means I get a tiny amount if you click on one of the books and choose to buy it.) Just click on the picture of any book to add it to your Amazon cart.
1. Pete the Cat - Rocking in my school shoes. What could be more fun than the cool cat, Pete showing you around the school?
2.  How I Spent my Summer Vacation by Mark Teague - a fun take on the traditional How I spent my summer - sure to lead fun writing assignments.
3. Lily's Purple Plastic Purse - show your students why not to bring toys to school in this fun book by Kevin Henkes.
4.Chrysanthemum - another from Kevin Henkes to teach your students about kindness and compassion as well as a great starting point for talking about names and letters.
5. The Kissing Hand - It wouldn't be a back to school book list without the Kissing Hand by Audrey Penn from handprint activities to cookies there are all kinds of activities for this back to school favorite.
6. First Day Jitters - this surprising tale will delight all ages of students.  This book is great to introduce a discussion about how students feel about their first day of school.
I love this one so much I created an entire reader response unit to go with it! You can grab it HERE or by clicking on the picture below!
It includes vocabulary cards, a fun "Jitter Beans" activity and bag topper as well as response sheets for the story including character traits a story map and more! Check it out!

7. Giraffes Can't Dance - Teach your students the power of YET with this fun animal story about a giraffe that wants to dance and finally gets some help from a friend in this rhyming story!
I hope you found a book or two to add your back to school ready aloud list.  Leave me a comment what your  favorite back to school read a loud is!

How to Make Snow Dough

FSnow Dough another teacher at summer school made this and my own children begged to make it at home. It is super easy and so fun!
It's just 3 cups of baking soda to 1/2- 3/4 (depending on the consistency you want) of conditioner. I got both of those at the Dollar tree so only $2! 

Then of course my daughter wanted to add glitter which is totally optional but definitely fun! You just mix it all together and PLAY. 

It's about the consistency of moon dough and I made my kids play with it outside cause it's a bit messy! But it smells amazing. I like the conditioner I chose because it gave it a bit of a blue tint. How fun would this be to make in the classroom and send a bit home with each student?


5 Inexpensive Resources for STEM materials

Welcome to my Getting Started with STEAM series!  If this is your first visit be sure to check out my other posts:
What is STEAM?
5 Components of a STEAM Lesson
Essential Engineering Process
Starting a STEAM program in your classroom or at your school can be overwhelming especially the cost.  However there are resources available for little to no cost that can have a BIG impact. STEAM doesn't have to be expensive Robots and 3-D printers to be effective. Popsicle sticks and straws are just as useful!  Many of these items can be gotten for free by asking parents nicely for donations. 
But if you don't get what you need from parent donations here are 5 free or inexpensive ways to build your STEAM material supply!
For around $10 you can load up on several products at Dollar Tree or the Dollar Store
Items such as straws, paper plates, coffee filters, pipe cleaners, brads, balloons, marbles, plastic spoons, plastic baggies, cotton balls and more!
Recyclable materials that people want to get rid of are FREE! Take up a collection at your school!
Card stock scraps, bottle lids, paper towel rolls, fabric, ribbon and yarn scraps, as well as cardboard boxes, cereal and other food containers provide lots of materials for no money at all!
Also check out thrift stores and yard sales for inexpensive or less expensive toy items such as KNEX, Legos, Lincoln Logs, Tinker Toys, Gears sets, Marble Run sets, blocks and more!
Using your 40% off coupon at craft stores can help you build up a supply of cardstock, popsicle sticks, clay or playdough and pipe cleaners.
Even the hardware store has supplies! Think nuts and bolts and washers! All of those are fairly inexpensive!
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If you do have some more money to spend here are some products I have used in my classroom or that my own children have and LOVE for STEAM! I have added Amazon affiliate links so they are easy to add to your cart. Simply click the pictures!
Zoob Builders with STEM challenges
Both my students and own personal children LOVE these! This set in particular comes with 5 instruction books with different things to build, 26 STEM challenge cards, 175 Zoob building pieces and more!  These were a great deal when I bought them so hurry and click and see if they still are! (I'm talking like half off!) 
Snap Circuits
My son received the arcade set for Christmas and absolutely loves them but this is a great school set with excellent science connections for STEAM!  It has 100 projects!  We have several of these on loan from the local university and the students love them as well! I wish I would have had them when I taught 4th grade electricity!!!!!!
this is the most expensive on the list but they are AMAZING! I got lucky and got a really good deal on some for my daughter for Christmas and she LOVES them (so much that I ended up buying more at a much higher price). The Math connections with these are worth the price in my book. The same day she got them my daughter laid out flat the pieces for a cube and then pushed it together and said look a cube! She was almost 5 at the time!! Younger children love using these to build because of the magnets holding them together allow for more stable construction.  The ones linked are the best deal at the time I wrote this - I will try to update if I see deals!

The Engineering Process and How it Works in the Classroom

Welcome back to my series on STEAM.  To read the first two posts you can click the links below.
What is STEAM?
5 Components of an Effective STEAM lesson
Ah the E in STEAM, the Engineering Process, to me this is the most integral and essential piece of STEAM.  Science, Technology, Arts and Math are all options to pull in but the heart of STEAM lies with Engineering.
As I mentioned in my 5 Components of an Effective STEAM lesson the engineering process is essential.
I like to introduce the Engineering Process with a book (I am an ELA girl at heart), Rosie Revere, Engineer. The book is about a little girl who loves to invent crazy gadgets and gizmos. She collects "stuff" to make her creations, one day she makes her uncle a hat which he says he loves but he laughs at it and it hurts Rosie's feelings so she hides her inventions away until one day when her Aunt Rose comes to visit.  Will Rosie be able to create a flying machine for her aunt?  Or will she give up? I absolutely LOVE this book, it actually made me cry the first time I read it because it is my middle child to a T! He is my inventing, junk collecting, tinker!  You may have a "Rosie" in your life or classroom!  
Click on the picture to go straight to put it in your cart on Amazon! (Affiliate link)
We read the book and do all of the great ELA activities I created to go with it!  These are just three of them! There are several more including sequencing, beginning, middle, end, a Venn Diagram and more!

Then we start talking about the engineering process!  How engineers solve problems and they create solutions and test them out and then make them even better!!! The kids really get it using this book! I have included and Engineering Invention planning guide for you to use with your students as well! It really gets them thinking about the Engineering Process and Inventions.

We also do our first STEAM challenge after reading this book.  The challenge is to create a "Flying Machine" just like Rosie does in the book.
If you would like to grab this Reader Response Unit to introduce the engineering process you can click the picture below.

This really sets the tone for the year with our STEAM lessons including the Engineering Process and using a Growth Mindset all year long!

I have the Engineering Process up on our STEAM bulletin board as well.

to grab it and the other STEAM posters click the picture below!

Be sure to check back soon for another STEAM post! Thanks for stopping by!