Friday, April 24, 2015

Perfect Awards Ceremony

Today we had our quarterly student awards assembly and I was worried about how a few of my students would behave during the assembly. It is long (about an hour) and not exactly engaging for a 6 or 7 year old. They are expected to sit in their seat quietly and not move a muscle while about 85 other students get their awards read off as they go up on the stage. The ones you expect almost always end up with their feet on the chair in front of them or talking to the person next to them. Today I randomly came up with a really great idea. I happened to bring some sticky notes and a pen to the awards and sat the ones who I thought might have a hard time near me. Every few minutes I would write a note to them on my sticky note like "You're doing a great job sitting quietly!" or "You aren't getting this award (honor roll) but it's OK." They looked like this: 

(I just used sticky notes that I already had on their awards folders but next time I will bring extras just for this)

I would tap them gently with my pen and show them the note. I had never tried this before and honestly I wasn't sure if it was going to do even an ounce of good. Surprisingly, every time I showed them the note, their face lit up with a big smile or they nodded their head and went back to doing an amazingly great job. I saw other teachers fussing with their kids while mine just kept looking at a new note every few minutes, smiled, and continued to sit quietly. Now I'm not saying I'm a miracle worker but it definitely worked much better than I ever though it would. I just wanted to share it to anyone who wants some peace at their awards ceremony. Hopefully it will work for you too. Let me know if you had any success or if you made any changes that worked even better!


Saturday, April 18, 2015

Plants, Plants, Plants!

The birds are chirping and Spring is in the air. It's about time! No more snow to be seen. Trees and bugs are waking up from their long winter nap. Sounds like a good time to start learning about plants! We've learned about seeds, roots, and stems so far. My students love seeing our plants grow. They've enjoyed all of the books and experiments so far. Their favorite was the headband but there is so much more to come...

Inside you will find headbands, necklaces, pennants, a small book, experiments, and worksheets for each of the different plant parts (seed, root, stem, leaf, and flower). Free product in the preview! It doesn't hurt to look (: Have fun learning!


Sunday, April 12, 2015

OR Sound Song

This week we learned all about the OR sound. I like to let my students watch a video using their new sound to get them engaged in the weekly phonics skill. When I went on my quest, I became extremely frustrated with the selection. There were a total of 2 videos for kids with the OR sound. One with a giraffe where it found 4 things around the house with the OR sound. Another with the OR and AR sound. Pretty slim pickins. I always make up little chants for my students to help them remember a phonics sound. There are just so many  rules for the English language that they can be boring and hard to remember. We always sing our chants every day and practice blending words. I am by no means an expert song writer. In fact, several of them are not even songs but the kids love them and before the end of the week they know their phonics sound. Now will they apply the chant every time they read with 100% accuracy? Well, that's another story. I decided this week I was going to make a video of the chant that we did and then how we blend our words to read. Check out the video and pass it along (: 

Let me know what you think! Have a great week (:


Friday, April 3, 2015

Reading Buddies

When I started teaching first grade five years ago a friend of mine, Ms. Finlayson, enlightened me to the wonderful idea of reading buddies. It started out as just a friend for students to read with during DEAR (Drop Everything And Read) time but has evolved into so much more. Over the years my students have become very creative with their buddies and those small, cuddly bunches of fluff have helped my students to become more fluent, use expression in their voice while reading, and to just plain love reading. I don't hear the ugh when I say it's DEAR time. I hear the ugh and the groans when it's time to stop. Check out how I use reading buddies in my classroom: 

I hope some buddies make their way into your room. My kids love to read with them at their desk or around the room during indoor recess too! Grab a book and have fun reading (: