Friday, August 31, 2012

Grandparents Day Resources

 Grandparents are special people. There isn't a day that goes by that I don't think about my grandfather who was the sweetest and kindest man and who was always there for me when I needed someone to talk to. When I taught in Alaska we had a program called "Grandparents in our Schools" where Seniors helped teachers and students several times a week. We were fortunate to have 2 wonderful "grandpas". Many of you teach in Title I schools where many of your students come from single parent homes or dysfunctional ones and these "grandpas" filled a much needed void that was missing in their lives. The Sunday after Labor Day is the day we celebrate Grandparents and I wanted to share some great resources for celebrating it in your classrooms. You can find this great Grandparents' Day Diamond Poem by clicking on the image below.

There are other Grand Activities for Grandparents Day resources at Education World. Another great website is National Grandparents Day .com  where you can find a cool song,free lesson plays, song lyrics, and activities for grades K-5. Apples 4 Teachers is another great website for grandparents day activities. If you are looking for some great craft ideas you don't want to miss the ones at DLTKs by clicking on the image below.

Hope you all have a wonderful and safe Labor Day Weekend! Thanks for all you do to make a difference for your students.

How do you celebrate Grandparents Day in your classroom?

Saturday, August 25, 2012

Where's the Teacher? Connecting Poetry and Punctuation

 I found that when I used chants to teach, my students would be chanting all day. It's like a catching tune or song that you can't get out of your head. I wrote a fun chant, "Where's the Teacher?" which has lots of different types of sentences and said, "Ah Ha"- I can connect punctuation and poetry. This is just one of the many poems, chants, Mini book "Fall Leaves" and activities as well as a fun fall play "How Will  I Know When it is Fall" you will find in my "September Poetry, Chants, Fall play and Activities"  packet. There are also fun Back to School poems to teach during the 1st few weeks of school. You can check it out by clicking on the picture below and downloading the Preview file to see all the materials and Activities in this packet.

After I wrote this chant I realized that it would be a great way to practice punctuation.( CCSS ELA for 1st and 2nd grade).So I decided to offer this free poem and punctuation activity to my wonderful followers. Just click on the poem "Where's the Teacher?" " to download your free poem. Graphics are by Dillydabbles.

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 Thanks for making a difference for your students.

What are some other ways you can use this chant?

Tuesday, August 14, 2012

Class Meetings with Talking Chips

One of the best ways to build class community is with a weekly class meeting. Although I've seen it used very effectively in elementary intermediate grades it is just as effective in the primary grades. For younger children it is a great way to either begin your week or end you week but it always should be scheduled on the same day and time each week as students like to follow a routine. Your 15 to 20 minutes a week on a class meeting will go a long way in creating a warm and caring class climate for the whole school year.

Here are some good rules for class meetings:
  • Respect for everyone
  • Put ups- (no put-downs)
  • Be a good listener
  • Student's right to pass when it is their turn    
You may also want to use a special signal to keep the meeting under control. One idea is to use "talking chips." There are always students in your class who do all the talking and those that talk at all. It may take a few times to practice this technique but they catch on really quickly and really think it's fun. Give each student a talking chip. They can only use their chip one time during the meeting. After starting the meeting with a prompt for everyone to share, pick a student to begin. Once they have finished talking, they put their chip in the middle of the circle. Students are not allowed to talk if they don't have a Talking Chip. It is a fun way to teach and practice good listening skills.Here are a few ideas for prompts for the primary grades:

  • Say something nice about someone in our class.
  • One thing I like about our class is.......
  • My favorite activity was.......................
  • Something nice that happened to me was...............
  • Something I am good at is........................
Class meetings are also good for resolving problems that have occurred and teach about problem solving strategies. Many Title I schools have Guidance Counselors that do activities like this once a week but even if you do, I feel that it is such an important part of  creating a sense of community in your classroom where students feel valued for their feelings and opinions. It is not only a way for you connect with your students but for your students to connect with each other.

I've created some "Star" awards for your students which you can download by clicking on the pictures above. There is a page for "Star Speaker", "Star Listener" to be given out by the teacher and a "Thank you for Being Helpful" that students can give each other. One is blank . Have a Great Year!!!! Be sure to check out other great ways to create a caring classroom by visiting Corkboard Connections.

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What do you do to create a sense of community in your classroom?

Monday, August 6, 2012

The Effective Elementary Classroom- Managing for Success

Teachers know that class management during the first few weeks of school is critical and sets the tone for the rest of the school year. There is so much wasted teaching time when teachers have to deal with disruptive students and discipline problems throughout the year. I was fortunate to have Geoffrey Colvin give an in-service at my Title I school one year and give us some wonderful step-by-step information  from his book about helping teachers prevent problems through carefully planning and organizing their classrooms and teaching students routines and what you expect of them in the classroom. It was great to see the 5th and 6th grade teachers practicing walking in the halls without talking and behaving appropriately for the first 2 weeks of school until they got it right. It made a huge difference in student behavior that year.

As you know I love to write Chants and Poems so I have 2 fun Raps about Behavior and Respect at school to use with your students while managing your classroom and students for success.Just click on the picture below to download your free copy. I wish each and every one of you a great start to the school year.

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What is a great classroom management strategy that you use?