Happy 1st Day of School & Happy 9th "Anniversary"

Recently when my co-blogger, Jana, and I were at the Austin Blogger Meet Up someone asked us "how long we'd been together?" While our blog is a new adventure for us, we've been teaching together for 9 years. This year brings a unique situation for us since I'm not actually at school for the beginning of the year. I'll be spending these first few weeks at home on maternity leave not sleeping loving on my new baby girl. Since I'm missing the first day of school I thought I'd do a Happy 1st Day & Happy 9 Year Anniversary to my "work wife" post.

So here's a quick shout out to Jana for helping out with my little sweeties while I'm away. Since we've been "together" for 9 years here is a little look into the past 9 years for us…


Well, apparently we don’t have many pictures from 2006 (obviously pre-iPhone). I’ll keep hunting and add to the post if I find something. This was our first year working together and we became friends very quickly!


2007 was a fun year for us…given that we weren’t moms yet we spent a few nights out on the town.


While I’m not much of a singer my co-workers managed to talk me into a little karaoke fun! This is us with Freddy singing Don’t Stop Believing… definitely a crowd pleaser.


I can’t recall how we ended up at this concert, but here we are with our team before watching Paula Cole (Where Have All the Cowboys Gone?). 



Every year our school has an auction for the staff and parents as a fund-raiser. In 2010 the theme was 80’s. Since we enjoy a good costume party dressing up was a no brainer. But more importantly, Jana loves any excuse to wear a wig. I know those brunette curls had you fooled for a second. 
Had to throw in this extra pic of Freddy and me too cause his costume was the BEST of the night!!!


In 2011 we didn't need wigs for our Halloween costumes, but we somehow managed to get our husbands to wear them.
 Sookie Stackhouse & Bill Compton
Clive Bixby & Juliana (aka Phil & Claire Dunphy from Modern Family)
We also choreographed a lip-dub for our staff to do to Katy Perry’s Fireworks that year! 


Here's a picture of us from Halloween 2012. I was just a week away from delivering my first daughter so I dressed up as Juno (Pauly Bleeker is photo-bombing) and Jana was a flapper...of course with a cute wig.


Every year we have an “I Love to Read” day fashion show. Our students dress up as their favorite book character. In 2013 we did a Kevin Henkes author study and dressed as Lilly from Lilly’s Purple Plastic Purse and Wemberly from Wemberly Worried.



So here we are 9 years later...still teaching 1st grade and loving every minute of it! Here's some pics of our babies!
Noah is staring 1st grade today!
Charlotte (20 months) Claire (10 days old)

So happy first day...it's such a magical day. I'm definitely missing my students today. Here's to an exciting school year to you all!!!
And Happy 9 Year Anniversary to Jana...here's to many more.

We Heart Teaching
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Word Work Made Easy!

I had big plans to link up with Bloghoppin' for the "where" part of teacher week, but I'm just not ready! I think I will be soon, so a classroom tour is coming in  the next few days!
I would, however, like to share a little about word work (spelling/phonics practice) in my classroom.
I was prepping my new word work bins today, and I thought I should take a few pics and blog about it! I absolutely love the Daily 5, and one thing my first graders really like is word work! This year, word work will be a "have-to" each day (along with read-to-self.) I decided to make WW bins for my kiddos. This way, when they choose WW, they have all the supplies that they might need. (I read about this idea on another blog, but I cannot for the life of me remember where!)

For now, the bins have magnetic letters and a magnetic dry erase board, dry erase sentence strips and play-doh. I'll be adding and changing out the goodies throughout the year to keep things interesting.
One additional option to the items in the word work bins is iPads. There are a few apps we use for spelling practice, such as Spelling City and ABC Magnetic Letters. My co-blogger also created these awesome QR codes for us to use at the beginning of this year when we introduce short vowels. 

The codes will reveal a picture and the students will write the word on a recording sheet. We love using QR codes because we post them around the classroom so it gives the kids an opportunity to move around. 

These are the supplies the kids use after finishing up any required spelling practice for the day. Here are some of the things that we do throughout the week. I always start the week with an anchor chart. When I introduce a new sound, I let the kids brainstorm words that they think fit that pattern.
(This is my beautiful co-teacher last year filling out the ou/ow chart.)
We have lots of activities that we work on throughout the week. Some are completed whole group, and some are done with me in our guided reading group.

This is a favorite game for guided reading groups. I call out a word, and they try to be the first student to find it. I also have cute fly-swatters that they use for this game. We call it "Slap It!"

Each week I add words that follow our spelling pattern to the word wall. I switch them out when we begin learning a new pattern, but the more exposure to the pattern, the better!

Throughout the week, students will work on many different activities that provide exposure and practice with the spelling pattern we are working on.

As they finish these activities, they may do an activity from the word work tubs. This worked beautifully last year. One thing I added to these units are my play-doh mats. I am super-excited about these! I plan to trade out the play-doh for different things like wikki stix, beads, buttons, etc.

Are you looking for some products to get you started? I have lots of word work activities in my TPT store. All of the units include the same activities and cards so that students can quickly build independence. I recently added a Short Vowel CVC Bundle and plan to continue adding units to include all phonics skills taught in 1st grade. I have units for all of the vowel teams and diphthongs as well! These can be purchased individually or as a bundle.


You can also get the QR codes from Ashley's TPT store. 

They can be purchased individually for each vowel or there is a bundle package available too. 

If you're interested in learning about guided math, check out my recent blog post on the topic!


Thanks for tuning in! All of the items in my store will be ON SALE tomorrow during the Teacher's Pay Teachers BTS Boost Sale! Don't miss out!


We Heart Teaching
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Teacher Week: WHO

Hi friends! We're linking up with Blog Hoppin' for Teacher Week!
 This is a super-crazy-insanely-busy week for me, but I just couldn't resist this linky! This is Jana...I'm hoping Ashley will be able to add a little about herself as well, but she's kind of busy with her new baby girl.
About Me

 My name is Jana Guerra. If you don't speak Spanish, you pronounce my last name "G-air-a." (This is not official, but it's the best I can do to explain it.) If you can pronounce Spanish words, you'll be doing a lot of r-rolling. :) I can tell you that the u is silent. That much I'm sure of.
My Family
I've been married to my hubby, Robert, for almost 10 years! When he told me this a couple of months ago, I didn't believe him. I can't possibly be that old!! But sure enough, he was right. Sigh...

We have one little monkey. His name is Noah, and he is 6 years old. He is super-hilarious and cracks us up on a daily basis. I think he's pretty darn cute, too!

I'm super-lucky to have my parents close. When my dad retired, they moved to the area and help out with Noah all the time. They are the best!

School Life

I teach at a fantastic school in Austin, TX. This will be my 9th year teaching 1st grade, and I love it!
I have awesome teammates.

Extra Tidbits About Me

One thing I really enjoy is music. I love going to concerts and have been known to wait a REEAALLLY long time in order to be front row (or close to the front) for my favorite bands. Some of my faves are The Lumineers, The Avett Brothers, Kings of Leon & The Kopecky Family Band. Oh---and I love Adam Levine, but I've never seen Maroon 5 live. :)

 I'm typically a pretty healthy eater, but there are 2 things I love that I know are soooo bad: Dr. Pepper and Taco Bell. I can't help it!! Dr.Pepper is just so delicious with its 23 flavors (especially a FOUNTAIN DP.) And who can resist a bean burrito with no onions? Not this girl!

Reading is also something that I love. I am a major Twilight lover, and I'm not ashamed!

That's me in a nutshell! I hope to be back tomorrow for Day 2 of Teacher Week! Hop on over to Bloghoppin to check out more teacher blogs!

We Heart Teaching
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