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Tuesday, November 4, 2014

One is a Feast for a Mouse Free Writing Prompt

One is a Feast for a Mouse is an adorable story written by Judy Cox.
It helps us to remember to give thanks for the little things!

Enjoy this little freebie!

Wednesday, October 29, 2014

Halloween Teacher Costume

Today is over!  Boy am I tired!  
The kids come into school so excited they're hanging from the lights! 

"What time is the party?"
"When can I put on my costume?"
"What time is it?"
"I brought treats for everyone!"
"Is it time?"
"I'm not telling you my costume it's a surprise."
"This is the best day ever!!"

My team decided to go as dominoes.  We hot glued the felt pips to a black shirt!
We all wore our age!  I know I'm the oldest!!

 The kids wanted to tip us over!  So cute!

Tuesday, October 28, 2014

Little Red Hen vs. The Little Green Witch and a Freebie

One of my favorites and also of my class is the Little Red Hen.  
But have  you heard of the Little Green Witch?  
This story is absolutely adorable and it has a cute surprise ending!

I introduced the book this week during Halloween.  
There are many extensive vocabulary words to discuss before reading the book.  

Vocabulary: cauldron, twisted, hollow, reek, amid, scattered, soot, gruesome, gremlin, damp, potions, grumbled After we discussed the words the students raise their hand when they hear the word while I'm reading.  It keeps them being focused.

Retelling:  Students loved retelling this story.  The funny twisted ending keeps them laughing!

Compare and Contrast:  Of course this book leads to great Text to Text comparison.  Before I read I tell the class that this book reminds me of another book I've read but I don't tell them which one.  It isn't long into the book and someone catches on.  Use a venn diagram to compare the two stories with each other.  

Writing Ideas: 1) Would you help the Little Green Witch?  Why or Why not?  2)Write a recipe book for pumpkin pie. 3) If I could unclean my house this is what I would do.

On youtube this book can be found being read by some fourth graders!  
Great option if your school doesn't have the book.

Another way to compare and contrast texts is to use The Little Red Hen Makes a Pizza.

Grammar: I use this book to work on plural nouns.  This mini unit includes a noun sort using words from the book.  Then there are three levels of worksheets for differentiation and also include a writing option.  Click on the cover sheet to pick this up for your class.  Please leave a comment if you download.

Cooking: In the past when reading the Little Red Hen I've made bread with the class but making little pizzas is a lot more fun!  

Making Pizza in Class

electric skillet
jar of pizza sauce
mozzarella cheese
package of pre sliced pepperoni
box of Triscuits

Place the Triscuits on the electric skillet, spoon some sauce on top, add a piece of pepperoni if desired and top with cheese.  Just warm until the cheese melts.  Quick and easy! Yum!

Writing: Cooking is a great way to lead into "How to..." writing.  If this is your first How to... writing write it on chart paper as an example.  Or you can have students write the steps in their own "How to..." booklet.  Stop over at this previous post about How to writing!  You can pick up a How to... booklet for free.  Click Here.

"Would you help me share this post? said the blogger.
"I will!" said the author.
"I will!" said the parent.
"I will!" said the teacher.
And they did!

Monday, October 27, 2014

Fall Writing

Fall is my favorite season!  I love everything about it!  The leaves are all changing now and they are just gorgeous!

Our test scores have show that informational knowledge needs improvement so instead of using a cute Fall book I chose to read a nonfiction book on Fall. 
The kids couldn't contain their excitement in sharing what they've done in the Fall which was the same as in the book.  Then we brainstormed what we love to do int the Fall.

Students then wrote their own favorites things to do on lined leaf paper.
Each could start with In Fall I like ...
We cut it out and glued to Fall colored construction paper.  Then using squared tissue paper glued it around the border.  Such a beautiful project.

Some other October things we worked on were our fire safety facts.  After reading Miss Mingo and the Fire Drill and going to Fire Safety Day the students wrote facts that they learned about on the belly of their fireman.  We hung them on their lockers.

We started our space unit in October too!  Busy month!  Our new art teacher did these wonderful drawings.  They used craypas on felt and splatter painted white to look like stars.  
They turned out so cute.

Tuesday, September 16, 2014

Mirrors - Whole Brain Teaching and Daily Math Freebie

Using the technique Mirrors in whole brain teaching has been very helpful.  It gives me a very quick way to see who is focused on me and who isn't.  This has been especially helpful in getting the attention of one of my students who is ESL and ADD. 

Mirrors technique is when you are asking the students to imitate your motions to help them remember what you are teaching about.  It keeps them focused.

One of the mirror actions that I have been doing daily is when we are working on the daily math page.  

This is what I say and (students say)
Mirrors (mirrors) (hold my hands up)
Mirror Check (Mirror Check) (I make a movement and they follow me)
The minute hand is long (The minute hand is long) (Spread arms up and down motioning long)
The hour hand is short (The hour hand is short) (Move top hand down and stop quickly near the other hand showing short).
I do this three times.  When I say long and short I also use my voice to emphasize the word.  I stretch out the word long and snap the word short.  

When I ask a student to tell me how to draw 11 o'clock, they are able to use the words minute and hour vs. long and short!  I'm so proud of them.  

My goal is to use mirrors more often but I feel like this was an easy way to start with this technique.  Please share in the comments how you use mirrors.

I bet you want to use these fantastic math pages in your daily routine!  I'm only happy to oblige! I have two versions.  One for the beginning of the year which only has tens and ones.  The second version has 100s and greater than and less than.  I make these into monthly booklets.  

Tuesday, September 2, 2014

The Scoreboard - Whole Brain Teaching

I just love my class!  They are the best class!

I have been trying out Whole Brain Teaching for a few years but I haven't done more than the rules.  This year I'm expanding to using more of the system.  It went super well!!  The kids were loving the action and they were very focused. 

This is my Scoreboard.  I used a wipe off board and used Washii Tape.  One section is for the morning and the second section is for the afternoon.  I used sticky velcro to attach the dry erase marker!  This is important for me.  I tend to put things down and can't find them again!!  I love that the board is portable.  This will be especially nice when I'm working with a small group and do not want to keep getting up to emphasize their behavior.

The Scoreboard was a fantastic way to get the children to focus when they started talking with each other.  Visit www.wholebrainteaching.com.  There are webcasts and tons of videos.
Every time you catch them following the rules they get a point. (smiley)
When they are breaking the rules you get a point! (sad)
Your job is to keep the points within 3 points of each other to keep the interest!  If they are ahead at the end of the day they win a few minutes to play a class game.  

I hope you try it out - you'll be happy you tried it!

My baby started high school today!!  There were tears shed - mine!!

Saturday, August 30, 2014

10 Ideas to Survive Your First Week

We are all excited for school to start - we actually have trouble sleeping the night before just like our students.  I wonder who is more scared of the first day?

So how do we get through this first week?

1.  Reduce your caffeine intake so you can give sleeping a good chance!  I'm a night owl but I know I won't be able to function with all the problems that will hit me during the week and there will be many.  So get to bed at a reasonable time!  If you're like me, my brain has a hard time shutting down.  Keep a notepad by your bed (not your phone, you'll be tempted to Google!)

2.  Pack your lunch with healthy foods and waters.  My new favorites are carbonated flavored waters so I can feel like I'm having a soda!
I love the Pink Grapefruit!  Very refreshing!  I got them at Pick n' Save.

3.  Be Organized!
  • Get your desk the way you want it!
    • Have a place for everything!
  • Make your copies and put them in a daily organization bin.
  • I love when my closet is even organized!!  Love my paper organizers!
4.  Wear comfortable shoes!  You will thank me for this later!  

5.  Don't plan too much to do on the first day!  Everything will take longer than you think!  Start your day off light with with a get to know you activity.
    • Beach Ball Questions:  Write questions on the ball stripes such as What is your favorite color? What did you do this summer?  Tell us about your family.
    • M&M Buddies:   Put a few kids in a group with a card with a question for each color of the M&Ms.  After they answer the question they can eat that M&M.  You can do this with Skittles or Starbursts too.
6.  Bring a snack for the whole class.  Many will forget to bring one and this will help them get through the long day!  

7.  If you're as unfortunate as I am to not have air conditioning, it always seems to get hot when we go back to school!  Let the students have water bottles, get drinks and take extra bathroom breaks - you do not want unwanted accidents. 

8.  Reward them with an extra recess.  They will love it and you can see them in a different environment. Provide some fun outside toys like hula-hoops, Frisbees, sidewalk chalk and bubbles.

9.  Take time to go through the rules.  Keep it short and simple but repeat it throughout the week.
I love this video that a principal did.

10.  Leave on time to go home to your family, friends or pets!  Give your brain a break!  You deserve it - you have worked very hard!

Have a great week back!
Share your tips for a great week!
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