Tuesday, April 29, 2014

To All the Moms

Today, friends, I just wanted to share a few sweet and also funny links about Mother's Day.  It's coming up you know and I love when I find things like this to share.  I've been collecting these as I come across them and now I just needed to pass them along.  I took a little screen shot for each one and if you click on it you can go right to the sites where these are.  

First up is for the moms out there that are reading this.  When I found this touching post I knew I had to share it with other moms, especially moms with daughters.  It's just so sweet!  
This is from the blog Confessions of a Stay at Home Mom.  


Next up is a funny video.  Moms will definitely appreciate the sarcasm in this one.  It's from Youtube but there is also an article that goes with it.  I tried to directly link to YouTube but for some reason it wasn't working.  So I will link this screen shot below.  


Finally is this list of things we forget to thank our Moms for.  I'm always a sucker for a Top Ten type list, and this one is so true.  You can click on the title below to read it.  



Now raise your hand if you need to leave the computer and go call your mom.  Me too!  

So in the spirit of all things MOM, I finished this little pack for Mother's Day and it's on sale for the next 2 days.  


This pack includes this craftivity where the flowers flip up for students to write.

       

A Flower shaped gift book with 3 different versions.



And some printables.


 Wishing you all a Happy Mother's Day!


Saturday, April 12, 2014

Bright Ideas for Kinesthetic Learning

Here we are again - another month of AMAZING bloggers getting together to share some Bright Ideas.    This time I'd like to share some ideas for those wiggly, bouncy, chatty, energetic, wonderful, kinesthetic learners.  
We all know 'em.  We all have 'em.
  
I think kinesthetic learners would pretty much describe almost every child in my class in 1st grade.  Maybe it's the age, or maybe it's just my group of lovelies this year - but either way, I think all primary teachers can agree that it pays to have some strategies in your back pocket to break out when you see the wiggles start kicking in.  Not to mention that most children learn best by doing.  

All of the ideas I'm going to share are ones I use in my classroom.  I'm not claiming to have created these ideas, and I'm sure many teachers use the same ones, but I just wanted to share what I do. 
I hope you will see something that inspires you and you can try out in your own classroom.  I named these ideas just to help explain, but if there is another name for them that maybe I don't know about or if there is an original creator, please feel free to let me know.  I will always give credit where credit is due.


So let's start with some ELA ideas:

 Whole Body Spelling is using your whole body to form letters to spell a word.  You could do this with sight words or other spelling words.  You can do it in the classroom, but my students love going outside to do this.  We even go out in the winter and do this in the snow.  

Write in the air is just a quick way to practice spelling.  We use our fingers in the air as if we are writing and spell words out loud together.  This is a hard one to capture in a picture, but here is my attempt.  Maybe you can tell that they are spelling the word again.  :)

Listen and Jump is something we do when reviewing sight words, rhyming words, or vocabulary words.  In this picture all the kids have sight words and when I say a word that they have, they jump up in the air.  They LOVE this one!  
Sometimes I will give them other words and say if your word rhymes with "cat" then jump up or if your word starts with a "b" sound jump up.  This is also fun because a couple kids might jump up at the same time.  Again - simple, but gets 'em moving.

Lifesize Making Words  - We use letter cards to spell words.  As we stretch out the sounds the kids will either stand up or hold up their letter.  Sometimes we have vowel teams and those kids link up their arms and say their sound together or we put a Super E at the end of the word and have him/her flip the vowel sound.  The person holding the vowel turns around in a circle and says the long vowel sound instead.  Acting out phonics is something that really helps my lower readers.  They seem to remember things like flipping the vowel and linking arms and so on.  Great visual for the whole class.


Finally, and probably our MOST favorite, is a variation of the game Hullabaloo.  This is such a cute game and my 3 and 5 year old girls really love playing this at home.  

In the actual game there are rubber mats that have pictures and words with things like animals, food, instruments, etc.  You spread these out on the floor randomly.  Then you turn on the "announcer".  The announcer says things like "Slither over to a yellow mat" or "Hop over to a food".  The kids move around and find the mats he's talking about.  Then he will say something like, "If you are standing on the elephant you win - take a bow."  It's super cute!  

So I decided to make this into a classroom game to practice word families and as we learn new spelling patterns.  I use these pack of foam shapes that I got from the Dollar Tree.  

Then I write words on them using a sharpie.  Right now we are working on long vowels so the pack of words I'm using has CVCe words, vowel teams, and also includes blends and digraphs.  But in the beginning of the year I just use CVC words and slowly add in blends.  


We spread out the words on the floor and I will give directions like, "Tiptoe over to a word that rhymes with feet" or "Crawl over to a word that has a long e sound."  We just stand next to the word instead of on them and then I have them read the words they chose.  I play this with small groups of children so it is more manageable and because I don't have a ton of room, but it could be played as a class too.  In the actual game kids can share mats, so sometimes we do that too.  

I also use these same cards at our reading table with fun fly swatter to swat the words if we don't have time to spread them all out on the floor.  This is also a class favorite and super quick to set up when I don't have the time for the full thing.

Now for some kinesthetic ideas to use in math: 

First up is skip counting.  We use numeral cards that I quickly printed on the computer and laminated and each child has a number.  We sit in a line or a circle.  If we are counting by 2s for example, we will count around the circle and whisper the odd numbers and then shout (not too loud) the even numbers while those children stand up.  Then we switch it up and count by other numbers.  If we're counting by 3s, we would whisper 1,2 and shout 3, whisper 4,5, and shout 6, and so on.  


For Greater than/Less than we use the same numeral cards.  We make numbers between 0 and 120 (first grade common core standards).  Then I have a student stand in the middle and hold their arms like the sign.  We practice reading it together.  For example: 57 is greater than 46.   We will also make numbers and put them in order from least to greatest or vice versa.  Sometimes we turn the numeral cards into necklaces using sheet protectors and string and they don't have to hold up the numbers.  


This next one is something I am planning on getting when I have the money, but wanted to share it with you.  In my classroom I have made a Lifesize Tens Frame out of a dollar store plastic tablecloth and washi tape for the lines (sorry no picture).  We have kids stand in the tens frame to practice counting, adding, and subtracting using our bodies.  But I also just found online this giant 120 chart and blow up dice that I think I will HAVE to get.  I also saw another one that was even bigger where the kids move around on it.  How fun!  


Finally is my version of Math Hullabaloo.  This is the same idea as the reading version, only using numbers.  Again, I write a bunch of numbers between 0 and 120 on the foam shapes using sharpie.  Then we spread them all out.  I give clues such as, "Dance over to a number with 6 tens" or "Slide over to a number greater than 30."  Super fun!


Thanks so much for stopping by and checking out my Bright Ideas for Kinesthetic Learners.  If you enjoyed these ideas, please consider following my blog on Bloglovin' over on the side or following me on Facebook or Instagram.  

Also, if you're looking for more Bright Ideas right now, you'll definitely want to check out the links below.  I know I'm going to!  



Saturday, April 5, 2014

Why is it snowing outside in APRIL??

I just want to start by saying, if you are not on Instagram I highly recommend it.  

One reason is because there are people (like me) who take pictures in the classroom, post them on Instagram, and forget to blog about them.  Oops!  Guilty.

It's just so easy to take a quick snapshot and quickly post it.  We all know that life seems ever so full and sometimes the quickest options win out.  

That being said, regardless of how much I love Instagram, I still LOVE, LOVE, LOVE reading blog posts.  True, there isn't always time to read many of them, but it is always worth the time after I've read them.  There are some pretty stinkin' amazing teachers out in the world!  

Ok, moving right along.  My title of this post is about how it is snowing outside and it's APRIL, people!!!  See, we're learning about Spring in the classroom.  Why can't mother nature just get the message?


Disclaimer: I've said it before, and I'll say it again --- I am certainly no Cara Carroll when it comes to anchor charts. No lie folks - Cara's anchor charts are TO DIE FOR!!!  If you are ever in need of some visual inspiration - go there for sure!  So, as I post my own anchor charts, please know that I am totally aware that they are a little amateur, but I am so proud of myself for even attempting that I just HAVE to share.  

On that note, here is something else we worked on this week --- 
PUNCTUATION... with none other than the PIGEON!   


Mo Willems is so great!  The kids love him and P.S. So do I!
We read 4 different pigeon books and charted some things we noticed about the punctuation in these books.  We then practiced using them with some shared writing.  It turned out to be such a fun lesson.  I know we will be referring back to the Pigeon again in the future, along with some other Mo books.

In math, we were working on telling time this past week.  First, we made paper plate clocks.  Last year we did time a little earlier in the year and it was still winter (the real winter - like on the calendar) so we made these Snowman Clocks.  They were super fun!

But as you've already realized, I am D-O-N-E with winter so I refused to make snowman clocks this year.  We just made them without the heads.  

We did many things to practice telling time, but the kids and my favorite game to play with these clocks is what I call Teacher/Student.  I know, it's lame - but I hadn't thought of a name for it when I introduced it to the class and this was all I could come up with.  Creativity isn't always available on demand for me!

Anywho - here is how you play Teacher/Student.  First, I modeled for them, seeing as I am the teacher and they are the students.  We all have our own clocks.  I would turn my clock away from them and say a time.  I would make the time on my clock and they were supposed to make the time on their own clock.  After a minute or so, I say Flip!  We all flip our clocks around and hold them up.  The great thing about this is I can quickly scan to see who's got it and who doesn't.  The students can also look at my clock to self-check at the same time.  Many figure it out and fix theirs.  If the student's clock matches the teacher's then the student gets a point.  We do this for many different rounds.  

Then I group them with partners (or groups of 3) and they get to take turns being the teacher.  This game is a win-win because both the "teacher" and the "students" have to make the time on their clocks.  It's funny when the student then says, "Hey, the teacher got it wrong",  because yes, sometimes that happens.  I really monitor this as I'm walking around so I can catch the ones who need help.  Here are a couple snapshots of my kiddos playing.




If you're looking for the templates to make this clock it is a FREEBIE in my store and it includes this quick little snowman center to help practice too.  Yes, I did use this center even though I am anti-winter right now.  The kids didn't mind!


Finally, to get back to spring.  We started just a couple of my Spring centers this week.  These two were perfect.  Leapin' Lily Pads was a contraction match center (perfect to go with our punctuation discussion) and Buzzing About Short Vowels was a perfect review for my firsties.  It amazes me that some of them still struggle with these short vowel sounds.  You can never practice them enough!


We will be continuing to work through this huge pack of centers over the next month and I'll try to post pictures (both here and on Instagram) as we do.  But if you'd like to check them out on your own, you can click on the pictures below.  



Thanks for checking in!  Hope to see you around Instagram, too! :)