Saturday, 12 April 2014

Bright Idea #3 - Using Your Eyes While Reading

Yay another Bright Ideas Blog Hop. I love them greatly !! I have gotten so many great ideas from them each time.

For this month I thought I would share with you all how I motivate my students to track while they are reading. During my guided reading groups I felt like a broken record always saying "Remember to track with your finger." or "Follow along as we read." Well in a moment of frustration I decided I needed to come up with some motivation for students to track. That night I pulled out my craft box and created these cute popsicle sticks with googly eyes. Students pick one of the sticks and use it to follow along on the page. So far it seems to be working and they like picking their stick color.

The sticks also work great for pairing up students for partner reading. If you have 2 of each color the students with the same colors can be partners. If you only have one of each color they you can say blue and green (or any other color combination) read together.

Shortly after I made the popsicle sticks I came across (I think at Micheal's) these super cute rings that work perfectly. Our guided reading motto has become "Keep your eyes on your reading!" Students are now reminding each other of the motto and I don't have to sound like a broken record.

I will now always be on the look out for fun tracking tools to use.
Be sure to hop through these wonderful blog posts for more BRIGHT ideas!! 
An InLinkz Link-up


Friday, 28 March 2014

Spring Cleaning

Wow I thought we were moving into Spring here but Mother Nature had other ideas and we got a DUMPING of snow the other day. Since I am avoiding shovelling the driveway I thought it would be a good time to start cleaning out some closets. I actually went through some boxes in my son's closet that had not been opened since we moved in. Yikes.
To continue with the Spring cleaning I am joining a bunch of other Teachers Pay Teachers sellers to have a Spring Cleaning sale. I am excited to open up my wish list closet and purchase some of the items that have been waiting in there.

Many stores are offering up to discounts and so am I !!! Look at all those stores on sale. Wowzers :)

Everything in my store will be 15% off Saturday through Monday.

If you head over to Georgia Grown Kiddo's blog you will find a link to all these stores.

Before I go I thought I would share with you all my latest creation. It is an Easter addition to my Syllable Sort Literacy Centers.

There are 30 Easter words that students sort into 1,2,3, or 4 syllables.


Sunday, 16 March 2014

AHHH Spring Break

Well the week before Spring Break has come and gone. It was a challenge to keep the kiddos going but we did it. I think they might have faired (fared?) better than I did. I am definitely needing a break, especially after writing report cards. YIKES. There may have been a time last week that I tried erasing the smartboard with a chalk brush and was completely confused as to why it wasn't erasing. I may have even said "Hey, I have never seen it do that before!" As the lines on the smartboard just moved around with the brush. My students may have just had to explain to me that I had the wrong brush :) I'm just saying I am in need of some much needed sleep.
This past week we started handwriting or as some places call it cursive (what do you call it?). I love teaching handwriting and seeing how some students go from being frustrated with not being able to do it, to being proud that they can.
For my handwriting I use a mixture of 2 resources. The first one is beginner pages from Learning Pages and it is FREE !!! Click on the picture if you want to check it out. These pages are pretty basic so work great for students starting out.

The second resource I just found this year and I LOVE. Not only does it include individual letter practice, it also includes word practice pages and then sentence practice pages for each letter. It is a paid item on TeachersPayTeachers but I think it is worth all 138 pages. Again click on the picture to go see it.
I have 3 students in my class who are not learning handwriting because they are still learning how to print letters and words. I came across this AMAZING. Yup AMAZING resource and the best part is it is free. There are separate pages for each letter (upper case and lower case), word printing practice, as well as pages for numbers.
I am hoping with these resources my students will have great handwriting. I know there is some debate on whether students should even learn handwriting. I say yes. I feel that they have to be able to read something if it is given to them in handwriting as well as be able to sign their name. My son was not taught handwriting (he is in Gr 8 now) and we had to teach him at home because when we were applying for his passport he didn't know how to sign his name.
What do you think...should we be teaching handwriting in school?
Cheers from this Spring Breaker!!!!


Sunday, 9 March 2014

Bright Idea Blog Hop #2

Yay Another Bright Ideas Blog Hop. I got so many great ideas from the last one!!!!
As soon as I heard about the next bright ideas blog hop my brain started working over time and not on the report cards I should be writing. I was going through all the possible ideas I could think of and the one of my colleagues was mentioning how she had art in the afternoon and needed paint containers but didn't have any. I knew instantly what my blog post was going to be about.

I am not sure exactly when I had this idea but I know that it has made painting in my classroom a whole lot easier and clutter free. Being a teacher I like to "collect" many old things. Yup you know the saying "a teacher can find use out of someone else's garbage." Well that is exactly what I do.

Many of my students bring in lunchables for lunch time and there is SOOOO much garbage. One day I thought there has to be a use for them. Well there is !!! I have my students save them and we use them as paint containers. Genius I know :)

Instead of students carefully putting multiple containers of paint on their desk or table and hoping it doesn't get knocked over all they have is ONE container with multiple paint colors in it. Yay! Less mess. The plastic containers are super easy to clean and stack nicely in the cupboard. I have used both tempera and acrylic paints in the containers and they both wash out easily. I love finding useful tools and even better that this one can be recycled and avoid the landfills for a little longer !

If you want more awesome bright ideas head on over to The Perks of Teaching Primary by: The Write Stuff to see what brilliance Shelley has for you on teaching beginning , middle, and end strategies.

You can also browse through any of the blogs below for more grade specific bright ideas :)


Sunday, 2 March 2014

David Bouchard and Pink Shirt Day = A Great Week

We had a fabulous week this week. It went by so fast but it was packed full of activities.

On Tuesday our school had the honor of an author visit from the AMAZING David Bouchard. I have read his books to my students for years and it was so neat to actually have him come and visit our little school. His visit was broken up into 2 parts (the primary and the intermediate grades) so I only had the chance to see the primary presentation. I told my class that maybe if we sat really quiet and still in the gym then maybe they wouldn't notice us in there for the second part :)

He played his many instruments, shared some of his life stories, and left students with an important message: TV is no good. Listen to peoples' stories, especially grandma's. She knows best and never lies (Grandpa lies just a little so be wary of his tales, especially if they are about fishing!).
We had library the next day and ALL of David's books were signed out.

On Wednesday, we had the junior high school band come play for us in the morning and we got to dance to songs from Taylor Swift, Star Wars, and The Pirates of the Caribbean. Yes it was quite a mix of music.

Later that day, we all gathered in the gym again to celebrate Anti-Bullying Day (aka Pink Shirt Day). We watched some great videos. I think the one that had the most impact was this one:

Even though there were no words everyone understood the message loud and clear. We then had a gallery walk so everyone could see the pink shirts or inspirational messages each class created. Here are a few pictures of some of the shirts my kiddos designed.

They are hanging next to one of my favourite classroom posters! 
 To end the assembly, we all sang along to this video:

To top off the excitement we had, students only had a 4 day week. Friday was a Non-Instructional Day and all the schools gathered to talk about the districts Aboriginal Enhancement Agreement and how we can better serve our First Nations students.

Even though it was a fun week, I kind of hope next week will be a little less busy :)


Saturday, 22 February 2014

Setting the Stage for Narrative Writing

This week we started looking at story elements in hopes that soon my students will be able to write their own story with well developed story elements. I decided to start with teaching them setting.
The first day I introduce setting with this anchor chart.
As I was going through the anchor chart, I went around the room and had students give me examples of a place, time, and environment a story could take place in. I do have to say there were some very creative ideas as students tried to one up the precious response :)
After we went through the mini lesson students were given a chance to design a setting and brainstorm words to describe their setting. I used a page in Sarah Cooley's super cute Setting Scavenger Hunt Activity to inspire my students. They had to take a character from the ones provided and create a scene for the character. The character was then glued onto the scene to finish it off. My students were very excited to complete this activity.

Most of them got it right away but there are a few who still need practice.
The next day, I read the class one of my favourite books, The Great Kapok Tree, and students had to brainstorm adjectives to describe the setting and then write me 3 sentences all about the setting.
In other classroom news, I received some new books for my classroom library from Scholastics. The Boy Who Cried Ninja is way too cute!
We are getting very close to our goal for a class pet.
Each day the class is given a score, 1-4, for their lunch behaviour. I told them if they could get 40 fours I would get them a class pet ( a moment of weakness or desperation). Well they are going to make it and now I have to think of a good class pet. I would love some suggestions if you have any.


Saturday, 15 February 2014

A Busy Friday

Wowzers !! Friday was a busy day for us. Not only did we celebrate Valentine's Day but we also had our 100s Day celebration. It was a fun filled day and I was proud of by kiddos for keeping it together and not being to wild and crazy (especially when candy was involved).

This past week we finished up our Valentine's art and I got it displayed on the walls. Here are some pictures of the final products!

For this first project we worked on our cutting skills. No tracers were used to make the hearts, just paper folding and cutting. I was impressed with how well they turned out.


I got the inspiration for our door art from the Bright Ideas Blog Hop I was part of recently. Blair, from Change the World One Lesson at a Time, had this brilliant idea.

I was very giddy about the project I planned for 100s Day. A couple days before I took all my students pictures and used the app Aging Booth to age them so they looked older. I couldn't stop giggling as I was working on them. I then put their pictures on a worksheet. You can see a picture of it below. I couldn't post their pictures here (they are super cute by the way) so I made one with my scary picture.

I knew that they would all want to see each others' pictures and I didn't want chaos when I handed out the worksheets so I created a PowerPoint to introduce the activity. They had NO idea why I took their pictures earlier in the week so they were very surprised when we got to the part in the PowerPoint where their pictures started to come up. It was great to see and I would love to have video taped their reactions. The PowerPoint gave students prompts for their writing. Where will they live? What job will they retire from? How many kids will they have? What will life be like?

It was fun reading the responses. There were comments like: I will retire from working at McDonalds, I will have no kids or a wife...Life will be good!, and my favourite... I will retire from being a teacher :)
A couple days before this I read my students the book 100th Day Worries. The girl in the story is worried about not finding 100 things to bring to school on 100s day. It is a cute story showing how she solves the problem in a creative way. After the story was read I gave my kiddos a Ziploc bag for them to fill with 100 items and return to be displayed. Not everyone returned a baggie but that was okay by me. 14 of my 19 students brought a bag in and only 2 were the same.

Well now to enjoy my weekend and find new ideas for this weeks teaching.

Sunday, 2 February 2014

Bright Idea Blog Hop

I am super excited to be part of this blog hop. I am always looking for new ideas and I know I will be hopping around collecting them today!!!

For my bright idea I thought I would share something that has changed my classroom routines so much this year. Usually when students were leaving the classroom they just left unless it was to go to the bathroom. If they were leaving to go to the bathroom they had to write their name on the board under my cutely designed boys/girls headers.

What kept happening was students spent way too much time writing their names and doodling. Or they decided that their line separating the two sections was better than the last person who drew it so they would erase the old one and draw a new "straight" line. I was tired of constantly saying "Just write your name and move on!" I just got my new shipment of washi tape (newest obsession) and bought some more magnet strips and the bright idea just came to me !!!

That night I created name circles, printed them, laminated them, and stuck magnets to them. The next day after school I created my students leaving board. Not only did I have a place for students to move their name if they were going to the bathroom but I added a spot for the adults who they left the room with. I have more than half of my students leaving the room to work with learning assistance at some point in the day and it was getting hard to know where all my students were.

This board is AMAZING. Yup all caps worthy. Let me say it again. This board is AMAZING!!! There is no longer a student doodling on the board, I don't have to replace markers, or have student scream dramatically when the container falls on the floor. Oh yeah and I can easily see where my students are. I will be doing this every year for sure.

If you are looking for more great ideas, please visit the next blog on this blog hop, written by Rebecca ! She is the wonderful author for Darlin' Little Leaders and is sharing some great tips on accountable talk.
You may also want to visit the link-up below and choose a topic that interests you!

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