Monday, 23 September 2013

Summer Scoops Bulletin Board

Yes, I realize I have been slacking on my blog posts.  While laziness has definitely played a part in this, I have also felt minimal motivation.  I began this blog mostly for myself - something for me to enjoy, hoping that others will gain inspiration from my enjoyment.  I don't want it to become simply work.  Today, I feel like that motivation has slightly returned!  :)

About two weeks ago I put up a bulletin board to display my students' writings about their summers.  The bulletin board was my welcome board at the beginning of the year, which I turned into the students' summer reflections. You can see both below!

You may notice I have a mere 7 students this year in my class :).

I had the students write their reflections on ice cream scoops.  This idea worked well as the students wanted to write more so that they could fill more scoops!  What a great motivation to keep them writing! :)  While it might be a little late to do this project in your classroom now, it could be a great one for the end of the year!  Leave a comment if you would like the template for the scoops!

Wednesday, 4 September 2013

September Read Alouds

 The weather is getting cooler, I no longer have time for cooking 'exciting' meals, and I wake up with the sun once again - Ah, yes, it is September already! I have a wonderful new set of Grade 2's, eager to learn...(well, mostly) and a freshly decorated classroom ready for full use!  While I kind of disappeared for a while in August, I am back ready more than ever to blog! :)  By the end of this week I hope to have pictures up of my Safari Themed classroom.  While it may be too late to post these pictures for any of those who were itching for helpful ideas, you never know what you could add to your classroom in later weeks :).

As for today, I want to blog about the children's books that I have decided to use in my classroom for the beginning of this school year.  I found it difficult to know which books to chose, but after much research I think the ones I chose are working well.  While the first day book may no longer apply to you, the others will still work well for the month of September.

First Day

Back to School Rules by Laurie Friedman

This book is an excellent choice for the first day of school as it is a fun hook to talking about the classroom and school rules with the students.  Talking about rules can be 'a real drag' on the first day of school, so I am always looking for ways to spice it up a bit.  It was a fun way to start the talk and thinking about ways for a good student to act!

First Week

How I Spent My Summer Vacation by Mark Teague

I like to make a point of talking about the summer vacation with my students the first week (As I am sure many of you do)  As my students are writing journal entries about their summer vacations, I plan on reading this book to the class before the students share their journal entries with the class.  If nothing else, it is simply a great book for a laugh, and to get the students' imaginations rolling.

My Mouth is a Volcano by Julia Cook

I have some wonderful, imaginative, and excitable talkers in my class this year.  This book is a great way to help students understand the importance of not speaking out when you are not supposed to.  As an activity to go with it, I found a great idea at Thank God It's First Grade .  

Beyond First Week

Recess Queen by Alexis O'Neill

Recess is a time where bullying and mistreating others can happen easier than in the classroom.  To remind students the importance of treating each other with respect, this book is a great one to read.  It is not only good to to read at the beginning of school year, but any time it seems that there is some bullying during recess time.  Post-reading I would chose to do a type of group activity as opposed to a writing assignment, as I feel this would be most effective for such a book.  There are some great ideas found here for discussion and group activities.

You Are Special by Max Lucado

This is another book that is great to read both at the beginning of the year and if your class struggles with bullying or self-confidence.  This book can also be found on Youtube:  You Are Special by Max Lucado

Hope these helped you with some ideas and here's to a smooth, sailing year ahead! ;)

Wednesday, 24 July 2013

Organized Binders

There are a ton of different ways to organize a teaching binder - many found on Pinterest :).  Instead of focusing on only one binder, I decided to use 3 different binders this year.  Last year, I felt very unorganized and all over the place with my binder so I'm hoping this will help.  Personally, I hate lugging around a massive binder with everything in it, which is my other reason for splitting up my information and notes.

This is how I decided to split it up:

Obviously, my teaching binder is my main, every day binder.  These are the sections I used in each binder:

Teaching Binder

1. Important Info - Where I place all the extra important information I need for the day or week.
2. Schedules - Where I place daily schedules, including AEA, and schedule changes.
3. Day Plans - The obvious
4. Monthly Plans - This is something new I am adding this year in order to help me see an overall view of the month ahead.
5. Class Lists - This is used for daily reminders, field trips, etc.  (This is not used for marking - see below at the student binder)
6. Long Range Plans
7. Meeting Info

Student Binder

1. Class Lists - This will be used for marking and assessment.  I believe having this in my student binder will help me, as it will be the binder I will take along with me when marking and will also have students' information in it.  A clip board will be added to the front of this binder so I always have that to take with me as well.
2. Parent Teacher Interviews - Any information I need for these.
3. Student Info - I will have a section for each student in my class to keep anecdotal notes, report cards, etc.

Idea Binder

 As stated in my Summer To Do post, I made an idea binder.  However I decided to add more sections then I had originally stated:

1. Overall Notes - General idea notes for the class
2. Management - Any ideas to improve classroom management
3. Language Arts
4. Mathematics
... And possibly to add other subjects I teach as well.

Hopefully this will make everyday chaos, into a bit more organized chaos :)