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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Thursday 24 March 2016

Explore Tubs for Living Things {with freebies}

Sorry for those of you waiting on my last post about Explore Tubs! This pregnant-teacher-momma has a hard time staying up past 7pm most nights!! lol. But I am back today to share my plans for my last science unit--Characteristics and Needs of Living Things. After Spring Break I will be doing a short Objects & Materials unit, then diving into Living Things! Here are some things I've been collecting...

Explore Tub 1: Living and Non-living Things

*Tub of random toys from dollar store, home, classroom, nature, etc.
*Living Things and Non-living Things Cards {free here}--Students sort the random objects into the two categories.
*Living Things Sorting Game {by me on TpT}--I used sticky velcro dots to make my sorting game. Students sort the picture cards by what it is: people, animals, plants, and non-living.
*Books about living things: Are You Living?, What's Alive?, Living and Nonliving, I Am a Living Thing, Is It a Living Thing?

Explore Tub 2: Plant Centre

*Seed Matching Activity--Buy a bunch of packs of seeds and small clear containers. Put the seeds in the containers, laminate the seed pouches, and label the containers and pouches so that students can try to match up which seed is which!
*Parts of Plants and Needs of Plants {free here}--Add sticky velcro to make it a matching activity.
*Bean Life Cycle by Safari Ltd. {from Michaels or Amazon}
*Books about plants: Seeds, Roots, Leaves, Flowers, Fruits, Stems

Explore Tub 3: Insect Centre

*Insect Toob by Safari Ltd {from Michaels} or any toy bugs from dollar store, etc.
*Variety of bug viewers/tools from dollar store, Michaels, etc.
*Butterly Life Cycle by Safari Ltd. {from Michaels or Amazon}
*Cootie Bug Game {Walmart}
*Books about insects: Spiders, On Beyond Bugs, Fly Guy Presents: Insects, What Is an Insect?, Magic School Bus Presents Insects, From Caterpillar to Butterfly

Explore Tub 4: Habitat Centre

*Four different habitat sensory bins:

  • Farm: yellow dyed rice, plastic farm animals (dollar store or Michaels)
  • Forest: green dried split peas, blue stones (dollar store), rocks (dollar store), North American Wildlife Toob (Michaels), Tree Toob (Michaels)
  • Ocean: blue dyed rice, blue glass gems (dollar store), Ocean Toob (Michaels)
  • Arctic: cotton balls, clear glass gems (dollar store), blue stones (dollar store), Arctic Animals Toob (Michaels)

*Books about habitats: Where Do Animals Live?, Animal Habitats, An Ocean of Animals, The Arctic Habitat, A Forest Habitat, Farm Animals

Explore Tub 5: Animal Centre

*Animal Track Book {by me on TpT}--Students can practice matching the animal tracks to the animals.
*Animal Movement Cards {free here}--Use the cards as is or place in a make-your-own dice such as these. Students pick a card or roll the dice and make the movement like that animal.
*Books about animals: How Do Animals Move?, How and Why Do Animals Move?, Big Tracks, Little Tracks, Whose Tracks Are These?, Move!, Who Was Here?

Explore Tub 6: Human Centre

*Magnetic Skeleton {from Scholastic Spring Catalogue 2016 or free printable here}--Students can practice putting the skeleton together and labeling the bones.
*Melissa & Doug Magnetic Human Body Play Set {from Amazon}
*My Body Puzzle Set {from Amazon}
*Books about the body: My Amazing Body, Me and My Amazing Body, The Best Part of MeThe Magic School Bus Inside the Human BodyYour Skin Holds You InInside Your Outside

You can check out my other Explore Tub posts here:

Saturday 12 March 2016

Five for Friday - March 11th

Look at me blogging. Must mean one thing... I'm avoiding my report cards!! They're due Monday, so that means Sunday will be a late night for me! lol. Well, I thought I would link up with Doodle Bugs Teaching for Five for Friday!

We finished up our senses unit with a popcorn party! We compared popcorn seeds and popped popcorn, then wrote about popcorn using our five senses. Of course we had to taste it too!! (I will be adding this to my Five Senses Interactive Journal unit soon.)

At one point in the last few weeks, we celebrate the 100th day of school. It's a pretty big deal to firsties. We made some sweet hats. You can get the freebie {here}. One of my teammates had her students make 100 tally marks on their crowns--I'm going to save that idea for next year!

I always have my students bring in collections of 100 and we sort and count them on my counting mats. This little guy gets the genius award for bringing in 100 marshmallows--he had groups of five on tooth picks. Made it super easy for counting!!

I had my students make a picture with the number 100. I was originally planning on cutting out a bunch of 1's and 0's with my Cricut, but I could not find my cord for the life of me!! It's still missing in action. Instead I printed them out on labels. The kids could just stick the numbers anywhere on the page and draw/colour right over top. They turned out pretty cute!

We made gumball machines and filled them in with 100 dot stickers. I found the pattern in Ashley Reed's 100th Day Hoopla Freebie Pack.

We practiced putting the numbers 1-100 in order on the learning carpet.

And we did these fun (but time consuming) 100 Chart Puzzles. You can download this for free {here}. I printed them on 11x17" paper.

We also learned about why we have Leap Year. This Veggie Tales video is the absolute cutest and explains it really well for the littles. Then we made these adorable little frogs and wrote some facts about Leap Year underneath his belly! We thought it was really neat that when the next Leap Year comes, we will be in Grade 5! You can download this freebie {here}

My division has been encouraging Play-Based Learning this year in K and 1, so after a few inservices I decided to give it ago. I've done it a few time now, a couple times a week, for about an hour or so. I put out about 5 or 6 centres at a time; each one has a question or "provocation" to entice and engage students. They are free to move about the centres as they wish. Some stay at one the whole time, others visit each centre. It's pretty neat to watch them work and play together; you get a lot of insight into their little personalities! Here's a few of the activities I've put out lately:

What can you do with only 3 colours? 
Inspiring Books: Mouse Paint. Little Blue and Little Yellow, 
White Rabbit's Color Book, Mix It Up!

Can you make a pattern?

Can you retell a story using the puppets?
Favourite Stories: Gingerbread Man, 3 Little Pigs, 3 Billy Goats Gruff, 
Goldilocks, Little Red Riding Hood, Pete the Cat, The Mitten

Can you pay for your pizza using addition and subtraction?
I am obsessed with thematic dramatic play centres. I kind of want to make one for each month. This Pizza Dramatic Play pack comes from Jamie at Play to Learn Preschool. Love her stuff! Maybe I should move to Kindergarten... hehe

What can you build with Lego?

Can you make a 3D shape structure?

Can you make your own stick puppet and tell a story with it?

And lastly.... the reason I am exhausted all the time and why I've been pretty absent from this blog. We're expecting!! I'm due in August with baby number two. Zoe is going to be a big sister! We just found out last weekend that it's a boy. We are beyond thrilled!

My class was so excited to find out if the baby was a boy or girl, so I threw in a little math before I would tell them. I also had them give me some name suggestions. However, I don't think we'll be naming our boy Fluffy, Hockey, or Totem Pole.

Well that's it for me tonight! It's past midnight. How did I even stay up this late?? Night everyone!