Sunday, 17 April 2016

Explore Tubs -- Social Studies Edition!

Explore Tubs have been a huge hit in my classroom. I love them because it gives my students a chance to play and explore, but keeps the activities related to the science curriculum! Basically Explore Tubs are early finisher tubs that are filled with science related activities. You can read more about my explore tubs here:

This is how I have them set up right now.We are in the middle of our "Objects and Materials" unit. The purple tub houses our books for the unit, the middle tubs are my six Explore Tubs, and the last two tubs are LEGO and Blocks from our indoor recess shelf. They fit with our unit, so I let my students "explore" with those as well!

Here are my students in action exploring with these science tubs:


I have only planned my science tubs so far, but half-way into the year I thought, "I need to make some tubs for Social Studies and Health as well!" I teach these three subjects in blocks, so when we don't have science, we don't have explore tubs! Well that is about to change. I have started planning my social studies tubs for next years! Here is my first set for our unit on Manitoba & Canada.

*Canada Books: Why I Love Canada, Our Canadian Flag, Good Morning, Canada, Goodnight, Canada, ABC of Canada, M is for Maple, Canada from Above, Oh, Canada!, Canada 123, I Am Canada

*Canada Puzzles: I found mine at the local dollar stores... check yours! But I also found this neat floor puzzle on Amazon.

*Canadian Symbol BINGO {by me on TpT}

*Pick a Stick Canada Game {freebie found here}: Students choose a stick and have to find that province/territory on the map and place a cube on it. You can also play this game BUMP style--just keep putting the sticks back into the cup or make a couple sets of the sticks.

*Book about Canadian Money: Loonies and Toonies
*Canadian play money {Amazon or Scholar's Choice}
*Canadian Money Pattern Cards {by me on TpT}: Students use the play money to finish the repeating patterns.

*Provincial & Territorial Symbol Puzzles {by me on TpT}: Students match up the flag, flower/tree, and animal/bird to the province or territory. The names of the provinces are on the back of the card so it's a fun self-checking activity!
*Canada Word Search {found on -- you need to sign up to download}

*Find It Canadian Edition {found from Scholar's Choice or Amazon}
*Question Cards {freebie found here}: Students choose a card and have to try to find the object inside the game tube.

Stay tuned for my Community Tubs (teaching this unit next month!), my I Belong Tubs (for September), and my Christmas Around the World Tubs (December). My health units will be Safety Tubs (Fire Safety & Bus Safety in October), Nutrition & Health Tubs (March), and Dental Health (April).

Tuesday, 29 March 2016

Daily Schedule - Author Study

Each month I focus on a different author and read lots of books by them. I try to expose my students to authors they might not know or gravitate towards. I find that after our author study, students look for those authors at the library or fill their book boxes with books we have read in class. Here is my general yearly plan for which authors I like to study:

I try to pick my author of the month for February based on the theme for "I Love to Read Month". For example, this year our focus was on oral reading, so I chose to do Robert Munsch for February seeing as he is an amazing oral storyteller. You can hear him read most of his stories on his website. I invited parents to come in to read their favourite Robert Munsch story to the class. It's fun for them to hear other adults read out loud! Then I'll just fill in June this year with someone different--maybe Laura Numeroff.

There are other authors that I love that I might do instead--it all depends on the year and my mood! I also like: Laura Numeroff, Curious George, Franklin, Splat the Cat, Doreen Cronin, Leo Lionni, Fancy Nancy, etc. I have a bulletin board in my classroom library that I switch up each month with our author:

Some days I just read and discuss a book by the author, and other days we might do a writing activity or craft. Here are some of my author study packs I use:



Don't forget to check out the other parts of my Daily Schedule posts. Just click on any part of the picture below to check out how I structure my day:

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Monday, 28 March 2016

Daily Schedule - Theme

I teach my science, social studies, and health in blocks. I try to make sure I cover one unit from each subject each term (Sept-Nov, Dec-Mar, Apr-June). Here's a little monthly break down of how I split up the different curriculums: 

I usually have about an hour for theme (some days a half-hour), so I usually break my time into three parts: the lesson, interactive journals, and explore tubs.

I tend to read a lot of books to introduce topics and ideas. Then we might do an activity, such as these below, to reinforce the concept.

Bucket filling/bucket dipping sort in pocket chart.

Thinking of questions or wonderings we had about weather or seasons.

Rules/laws sort on the SMARTboard. 

Watch a music video about a topic such as plants. 
(Harry Kindergarten has lots of great science videos!)

Make a graph about our class eye colours.

Then we usually do a page in our interactive journals. My students have two journals--one for science and a combined one for social studies/health. I use these packs for our journals:


Here's an example of a design project we did. Students made their plans in their notebook, then got to build a device to protect one of their senses!

Then when they are done their journal (because some are often faster than others!), they get to choose from one of six explore tubs. Right now I only have them for science, but I'm planning how to incorporate these in social studies and health as well!!

You can read more about my explore tubs here:

Exploring shadows.

Seasons puzzles and sort.

Dress the weather kid.

Check out the rest of my daily schedule posts by clicking the picture below.

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Sunday, 27 March 2016

Daily Schedule - Morning Routine and Pack & Stack

Here is just a quick peek into how I structure the beginning and end of my school day. I keep my morning routine posted on the wall for all to see. By this point in the year, everything is pretty automatic, but it does take a lot of modeling at the beginning of the year to get the routine down pat. I don't introduce the "Question of the Day" for the first few days and home reading doesn't usually start until the second or third week of school.

The bell rings at 8:45am and students come in. Our hooks are in the hallway for this year (juniour high science labs don't have coat hooks in the room... go figure!) but it actually works out great. Less clutter in the room and I can make sure that nothing is leftover at the end of the day. The only downside is we are using plastic Command hooks and they break ALL. THE. TIME! Anywho, students take off their outside shoes/boots and leave them on the floor. They take out their agenda, home reading, and lunch kit from their backpack. Then they hang up their backpacks and jackets and come in the room.

First they hand in their agendas to this blue basket on my front counter. I check the agendas for any notes while the students are reading quietly.

Then they change their home reading book (from the colourful book boxes on the shelf) and place their home reading bag and lunch kit in their cubby (white dish tubs on the shelves). Their indoor shoes are in the cubby, so they put those on as well.

Then they go answer the "Question of the Day". I keep each month's questions on binder rings so that each day I just have to flip it to a new question! You can find my "Question of the Day" bundle {here}! The oil pan is from Amazon {here}.

Then they go grab their book boxes and read quietly at their table. I have a few students who go to morning reading as soon as they are finished getting ready (they go read leveled books with an EA). At 9:00am students who have signed up go down to the gym for a bible story and the Lord's Prayer. I supervise the rest of the students in my classroom.

When they come back, we listen to the announcements on the intercom system and then stand and sing O'Canada. Once I am ready to begin, students put their book boxes away and we meet at the carpet for calendar.

At the end of the day (about 3:25-3:30pm) we clean up whatever we were working on and go back to our tables to write in our agendas. I try to have them write something everyday, such as when book orders are due or something special thing that happened. If there is a lot of information to send home, I will just stick a label into their agenda instead. But for the most part I will write a sentence on the whiteboard and they will copy it into their agenda. Parents are expected to check the agendas everyday.

When they are done writing, they stack their chairs, come check their mailbox for any mail (that's where I leave work or notes to go home), and pack up. They get their lunch kit and home reading from their cubby, then leave their indoor shoes in the cubby for the next morning.

Then everybody goes into the hallway to get ready. My EA stays in the classroom and reads a story to the walking students that are ready (they are dismissed last) and I supervise the students getting ready in the hallway. My bus students are dismissed first, so they line up in the hallway when they are ready. The bell rings at 3:43pm for the bus students to leave. Then after the buses are all gone, by walking students get to go.

Then I usually make sure everything is tidied up, close the blinds, change my guided math/reading rotations, plug in the iPods, change the question of the day and the leader/caboose, change the daily schedule, turn off my computer, and go get Zoe from daycare! I try not to stay too late. Some days I am gone by just after 4:00pm, but others I might work for a bit. :) It's all about balance, right? I'll try to be back with the last few posts about my daily schedule this week: Theme, Author Study, and Problem Solving! In the meantime, click the picture below to check out the other posts in my daily schedule series!

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