Sunday 21 October 2012

Bus Safety Week!

This week my school is putting on...


We will be practicing bus evacuations, talking about bus safety rules, and learning how to be good bus riders! I put together a pack of activities for us to do this week... Click the picture below to check out this "School Bus Safety Pack" at TpT.

I created a ten-page, full colour book that goes over nine important bus safety rules. This book can be printed out and bound into a book or you can project it from the computer. Inside the pack you also get a half-page student version of the rule book, in b&w, with a blank to fill in on each page.

There are a variety of other fun, bus safety activities to complete: bubble map, labelling, tree map, word search, poem, cut & paste sentences, roll & colour ten frame game, pattern page, and board game.

Friday 19 October 2012

Splat the Cat!

So today was our big professional development day and I just had to share this fabulous art lesson! My morning was about math games from the company Boxcars and One Eyed Jacks. They have a lot of neat math games involving cards, dice, and dominoes. The afternoon session I attended was put on by a grade 1/2 teacher called "Creating Art Through Children's Literature" and it was FANTASTIC!! She showed us a bunch of different ideas then let us have some make and take time to create some of the art projects.

This was my favourite project: Splat the Cat!! So simple, yet so cute! I am definitely doing this with my firsties.

Students take a teaspoon of black acrylic paint and dump it in the middle of the paper. Using their finger, they spread it around to make an oval (the body). Then they dragged the paint out from the oval to make the arms, legs, and tail. You can talk about the different ways to "pose" Splat. He's never in the same pose in the book. Then, while the paint is still wet, use the end of a piece of pipe cleaner to scratch around the edges of Splat, to give him that scruffy look. Then just add details using coloured paper: white for eyes, grey for muzzle, pink for ears and tongue, and black sharpie to draw details. You can stick the paper right on the wet paint or wait until it dries to glue the pieces on. It was very simple and a lot of fun! I love how mine turned out. :)

That's it for now! Happy weekend!

Thursday 18 October 2012

Morning Meeting Ideas and Fall Freebies

Thank goodness for Thursdays that are Fridays! :) We have a professional development day tomorrow, so no kiddies! It's a nice little break.

I'm going to admit that the beginning of this year has been difficult for me.... combine moving to a new school with a large class of needy/weak students, and I have been stressing out since September. I just haven't been able to get into the groove of things and feel like I'm constantly one step behind! After my resource teacher popped in for a few lessons on personal safety, she commented on how emotionally needy my class is. I think that was the moment I decided to make some changes--for myself and my students.  

I really want to work on creating a strong sense of community, so we are starting each and everyday with a morning meeting. There are three parts to our meeting:

1. Greeting--We gather in a large circle to say good morning to each other. Today our greeting consisted of turning to the person beside us, shaking their hand, looking in their eyes, and saying, "Good morning, ___!" Very simple, but important skills for students to practice! I have eight EAL students in my room, so practicing oral language skills daily is super important for them as well! I have been collecting a variety of fun greetings, so we will change it up every few days or so. Eventually I might let the star of the day choose the greeting. Responsive classroom has some great ideas for greetings you can download here. I found some other cute greetings here too.

2. News & Announcements--This just consists of going over the daily schedule and talking about important upcoming events. Pretty simple!

3. Activity--My school is using the program Second Step this year. It is a social-emotional learning program that focus on learning skills, empathy, emotion management, and problem solving. I really like this program so far... it comes with cute puppy & snail puppets and large scenario photo cards. So far we have finished the first unit on learning skills. We have talked about good listening, focusing attention, following directions, and asking for help.

I found that the morning meeting really got us off to a good start! We started the day smiling, laughing, and talking about the things we wanted to accomplish that day. I found that the rest of the day just flew by and everyone seemed to be in a happier, calmer mood.

At the end of the day I implement the 3 H rule: "Say goodbye with a hug, handshake, or high five!" It ensures I make a connection with everyone at the end of the day too.

Now, to work on our noise level, I picked up this awesome idea from Teacher Tipster! Today we started the whisper bell. Just an ordinary bell. When the voice level gets a bit too loud, I ding the bell and the students whisper "whisper bell" (accompanied with jazz hands). The first time it happens is strike one. If they get three strikes/dings, then it's five minutes of NO TALKING! Eek! If we make it through the day without getting three strikes, we get to pick a number for our prize bingo (fantastic idea taken from the lovely Miss Kindergarten). We are hoping for a pajama party!!

This week we have been talking about fall. It's been a lot easier since the snow melted! Now we're just stuck with gloomy rain. Yuck! So I made up this little five senses fall book. It's called "Fall is here!" and each page has a sentence frame: I see, I hear, I feel, I smell, I taste. We brainstorm a list of ideas together, then students choose one to write and illustrate. You can download the book {here}.

I found this cute fall poem on Kinder Latino's blog. You can download the student version (in English and Spanish!) from her blog {here}. I made some larger poetry cards to use in the pocket chart. You can download them {here}. We did some shared reading together, then students glue the poem into their poetry book. We keep our poetry notebooks in our book bins. I love seeing the kids take them out during read to self or read to someone time!

That's it for tonight. Off to watch Grey's Anatomy! :) Happy Friday!

Saturday 6 October 2012

The Magical Product Swap


I am so excited to be participating in the Magical Product Swap, hosted by Jessica Stanford from Mrs. Stanford's Class. I was partnered up with Samantha over at Ms. Smarty Pants. If you haven't checked out her blog before, go now!! She has some amazing ideas!

I chose to check out Samantha's Penguin Literacy Unit and Math Unit because I just love teaching about penguins! I think they are the cutest birds ever! And kids just love learning about them. Click the pictures below to check out Samantha's units at her TpT store. They're only $5 each!

Look at all this penguin goodness I printed out!! I can't wait until January to add this to my penguin unit.

Here are some of the fun activities from the Penguins Fiction & Non-fiction unit:

Love the pocket chart poems! Super cute! And here's a few of the math centres I plan to use with my firsties:

The unit comes with a few more centres, about double-digit addition/subtraction, greater/less than, and even & odd. My firsties are not quite at that level though, but the centres look great! I might use them for some advanced students/differentiation though!

I'm super excited that I got to test out these products for Samantha. Make sure you stop by her blog to check out her review of my Non-Fiction Writing Unit!

Friday 5 October 2012

Happy Thanksgiving, eh?

So excited the long weekend is finally here! Happy Thanksgiving to all my Canadian followers and fellow bloggers! Can't wait to eat some turkey this weekend! We have been talking about turkeys all week, so I can't wait to enjoy some! I just realized that I use a lot of exclamation marks. I'm going to have to work on that. Not today though, because it's Friday!!! Woo hoo!!

I don't know what it was today, but my kids were just in a silly, giggling mood right from the get-go. Maybe it was the snow? Maybe it was the fact that it was the Friday before a long weekend? Maybe it was a full moon? Something in the water? I don't know, but we had fits of laughter going on throughout the day. Well, silly me... I decided to read the book, "10 Fat Turkeys". Now, usually I pre-read books that I am going to read to the class just to be prepared, but I kind of skipped that with this book. Right after I read the title and the class exploded with laughter, I knew this was going to get interesting. My favourite line was, "Looky!' said one floofy turkey.... even I burst into laughter. Floofy?? Is that even a real word? I almost couldn't read the page. I kept cracking up at floofy. But we made it to the end and the kids really enjoyed this silly, counting down book.

We finished up our paper bag turkeys and they turned out so cute!! I love when one student comes up with a silly idea though, and everyone thinks their turkey should look like that too. That is why about 7 kids are going home with turkeys wearing pirate hats and eye patches. There were a few bikini wearing turkeys too. And one in a tutu. Gotta love their creativity!

Here's a few turkey freebies for ya... Heather over at Heather's Heart had an adorable ten frame cover up game that I just loved! Unfortunately, the school I am at does not celebrate Halloween, so I will have to save her games for another year. I decided to make one similar to hers though, featuring turkeys! It's called Turkey Trouble. Students roll two dice, add the dots, and cover up (or colour in) the turkey with the matching ten frame. First one to cover (or colour) all the turkeys is the winner! I have included a colour and black/white version for you. Clipart is from the ever fabulous KPM Doodles. Click the picture to download yours! (Font looks a little funny in Google Docs, but it's fine when you download the pdf!) And check out Heather's blog to get her adorable Halloween ones too!

So I am in love with Mr. Harry's Kindergarten videos on YouTube. We use a bunch during our calendar time. We also starting practicing counting by 10s, so we love Climbing Up this Mountain to practice! We actually stand up and climb as we sing. Lots of fun. Anywho, we also enjoyed the 5 Little Turkey song. I typed up the words so that we could glue it into our poetry notebook. We add a new poem every Friday and the kids can read their poetry journals during Read to Self or Read with Someone time. Click the picture below to get your own copy of the poem (half page or full page sizes included). Words by Mr. Harry, clipart by KPM Doodles.

Well, enjoy your weekend or long weekend. In celebration of Thanksgiving, I decided to have a little sale! Everything in my TpT store is 20% off from now until Monday! Click to picture below to check it out! :)

Thursday 4 October 2012

October Currently, Snow, and Listen to Reading

I feel like such a bad blogger... So many things to do, never enough time, right? This school year has been kicking my butt! I can't seem to get caught up with anything. It's hard being in someone else's classroom, too. I'm such an organizational freak and I just can't get everything organized. There's just too much stuff everywhere! Can't wait to find a permanent spot... Cross my fingers for next year!!

So first up: October Currently from the lovely Farley over at Oh' Boy 4th Grade. I can't believe that it's October already. Scary! Report cards next month :S Eek!

Yes, you heard me right. It snowed here today. The snow didn't stick at my house, but my school is 30 mins. away and there must have been around 2 inches of snow there when I left at 4:30! I was not prepared for winter this early... I didn't even wear boots to school! Just flats. Not even socks! What was I thinking? Look at this picture I found on CTV News:

Isn't that crazy? It's only October 4th! Poor geese just didn't know what to think. It was +27°C last weekend! What a jump. The poor kids just wanted to go outside and play in the snow, but we had inside recesses all day. Boo!

I wanted to share with you how I do "Listen to Reading" in my class. It is always such a favourite with the kids. Here's what my listening station looks like. I have one basket of books and 6 little baskets with headphones/mp3 players. The poster I created to help the students become independent with turning the mp3 players on. These are just cheap $15 players from Walmart. Definitely high quality and kind of finicky too. I hope to upgrade one year.

I have a collection of about 40 books/CDs that I have collected over the last couple of years. I get them all from the Scholastic Book Orders. They always have great deals! Each book has a sticker label with a number on the back. I keep them all in one basket. The kids can choose whatever book they want to read, and if they have time, go back and choose a second book. I don't do any recording sheets or anything. They are just happy (and quiet) to be listening to a book.

To make it easier for the kids to find the book on the mp3 player, I change all the file names to numbers (to match the stickers on the books). Then I go into the properties of each file and remove any text (title, author, genre, etc.) and just put the title as the file number. That way the kids just have to scroll through the numbers on the mp3 player and find the matching number, instead of worrying about reading all the titles. It makes things a lot easier!

Here's what we're up to tomorrow. Paper bag turkeys! We went for a walk yesterday to collect some dry leaves to fill up our paper bags. Good thing we did that before the snow today or we'd have some wet turkeys!! :)

Well, I will be back on Saturday to participate in Jessica's Product Swap! Very excited! Have a happy Friday everybody! Oh, and don't forget to stop by Barbara's blog at Grade ONEderful (if you haven't already) to say congrats on 500 followers and checkout her awesome giveaway! Some fabulous bloggers donated some awesome prizes!