Kid Kindness Month

Promoting kindness is a necessary skill a teacher must focus their students’ attention towards. Knowledge without applying kindness is pretty much useless since we want our learning to impact others positively. The contest, hosted by CouponBox, is an effort to help kids think of others in need. Details of the contest are below.

  • Kids aged 7-13 who live in the USA can submit an entry (with video, text and/or photos) describing how they would spend $1,000 to spread kindness or help a group of people or cause.
  • Kids can submit individually or as a group or class. Each entry must have a sponsoring organization (school, religious group, scouting group, athletics team, etc.).
  • There will be (3) winners chosen. Each winner will receive $1,000 to implement their idea and an additional $1,000 given to their sponsoring school or organization.

My class is so excited to submit our idea. Here is a link for more information: https://www.couponbox.com/kidkindness

Regrouping: Adding and Subtracting Posters

In our math centers, we have been focusing on adding and subtracting two and three digit numbers. To help my kids remember the steps, they reference these posters at our centers.

Adding:

anchor posters, chart

 

Subtracting:

math charts, resources, anchor posters

Since students need different levels of support, counters, number lines, and pictures are used to help students understand the concept. In particular, I found that using a 0-20 number line was very helpful for my students who were having a hard time. The other number lines featured can be useful if you teach students to estimate their answer.

manipulatives, regrouping

 

Story Elements

When reading, students need to think about the different elements that make up a typical story. Here is a poster we use when we do a read aloud or read a story in a small group. Students can write right on the poster or write on post-it notes. This poster uses the images found in the reading and writing program, Framing Your Thoughts, which is created by Project Read. The graphic symbols remind students of the different elements found in a story.

read aloud, comprehension, setting, characters, problem, wish, solution,

 

 

 

 

Place Value Centers

What is Place Value:

To teach children the numerical value of a digit in a number, students need visuals, models, and manipulatives to help them understand why the placement of numbers matter.

Visual and Kinesthetic Learning Tips:

To introduce the concept, I start with tens and ones to help my students understand that numbers can be built with place value blocks. I teach them that ten ones (in yellow) equal one ten rod (in green). Students practice creating numbers with the ones, and then the tens and ones.

visual learning,

The board is also extremely helpful when helping students understand how many tens and ones are in a number. Students who are experiencing difficulty could build the number on the board and then easily transfer their results on the paper to help them understand the concept.

tips for teaching, visual learning

Another feature I love about this board is how it is color coded. This becomes useful when I write numbers since I can stay with the original color scheme when writing a number. Although yellow can be hard to read, orange can be used as a substitute if students are experiencing difficulty reading in that color.  Once I write the numbers, I then ask students to tell me the value of each number. This introduction to place value begins at the main teacher table (in my classroom, we have three to four rotating centers throughout our math period).

Greater Than/Less Than: Comparing Numbers

At station two, students practice comparing the value of each digit by comparing numbers. Since some students confuse the greater/than less sign, additional visuals of a gator can help students remember the meaning of the sign (the gator eats the largest number). At this station, students do a variety of activities to practice. One of my favorite includes a ‘roll and make’ game that has students roll the number, make the number, expand, and then compare the number. A free sample of the game is here.

place value, comparing, lesson ideas, visuals

Read and Write

At station 3, students practice reading and writing numbers. Students are taught to not say “and” when reading numbers. They can practice this over and over again with new numbers written by other students at the table. A great resource I love are the write and wipe boards featured below. This is a highly recommended resource when teaching place value!

elementary math tips visuals

math tips, read and write

Week of Respect

Our school and many schools around the nation are celebrating the week of respect. To raise awareness, our school has special dress up days such as asking students to wear a hat, mismatched clothes and to wear the color orange. Weeks like this promote community awareness and discussions about important topics. My classroom brainstormed specific ways respect looks like in different settings familiar to students.

activities, respect week, classroom community, anchor charts, ideas

Since respect is an abstract concept that can be hard to understand and explain, specific examples help students visualize how they can be respectful. My students were responsible for giving examples and drawing pictures of the different scenarios shown below. Students who are older can be responsible for writing examples on a sentence strip to help in the process of creating the anchor chart. Interactive anchor charts can help students feel more ownership and responsibility.

This chart will now hang in my classroom so we can refer back to it as needed throughout the year. Other activities regarding respect can be found online on sites such as Pinterest (where I got the idea for this poster) and Discovery Education (where I found videos). To aid in the presentation and discussion, I showcased different examples of respect through videos and class modeling.

Spelling Word Practice

Practice makes perfect, especially when it comes to spelling words. Instead of boring repetition drills or using the outdated method of writing something 100 times, there are many activities students can participate in to practice weekly spelling words.

To start, I downloaded a great resource from teacherpayteacher that guides students to trace, write, build, find and use their spelling word in a sentence. Then, I have students use magnetic foam alphabet blocks and dry erase markers to write and build their words three more times during a rotating center.

elementary, early, dolch sight words

To reinforce the skills with an adult, my students can then practice writing their words in sand while saying the word and each letter of the word out loud.

activities, elementary, writing, learning

For homework, students can choose from a variety of activities that reinforces the words at home. Here are some ideas below:

  • Write the word 3x times using pencil, colored pencil, and crayon
  • Write the words in rainbow colors
  • Write the words in ABC order
  • Write a sentence for each word
  • Write or type a story using all your spelling words
  • Stamp the words
  • Build the words with legos, clay, dough, yarn or pipecleaners
  • String the words together using letter beads
  • Write the words in a verticle pyramid format. For example: l, lo, lov, love
  • Practice building the words using magnetic letter blocks
  • Type spelling words on the computer
  • Spell words in a sand or salt container
  • Trace words on the back of your hand
  • Spell words in shaving cream
  • Trace letters into the air (sky write)
  • Use ABC blocks to spell words (Scrabble)
  • Build words using ABC stickers
  • Use q-tips and paint words
  • Write words in glue and add glitter
  • Use newspaper and magazine to clip letters to build words

We use a spelling notebook to keep track of their progress and their words. All words are individualized so a spelling book helps everyone stay organized. Please feel free to use some of these ideas in your classroom! 🙂 Enjoy!

 

Rounding Using A Number Line

Rounding is a difficult concept to master for students who do not have strong number sense. In our classroom, we use wipe-off numbers lines for students who have a difficult time visualizing how a number fits within a framework of different numbers. The number lines that skip-count by 10s and 100s are used when my students are rounding to the 10s or 100s.The last number line, featured blank, is used for students who want to make their own number line to help them round.

elementary tips, visuals, manipulative img_4006

Back-to-School Highlights

I find the first week of school to be one of the most exciting parts of the year. Teachers are fresh, students are ready to learn, and the upcoming year is filled with endless possibilities. I wanted to highlight some of my favorite activities my classroom participated in during the first week of school.

This year, I decided to start each day with a morning meeting. I am following the responsive classroom approach, which outlines the morning meeting time with a greeting, sharing time, an activity, and a morning message. My kids and I have loved this time to connect! I am using Roxann Kriete’s Morning Meeting book to guide my practice.

responsive classroom, classroom community, teaching, early ed

My first homework assignment was for students to create a “Me Bag”. This gave them something to share during our morning meeting the second day of school. Students generally feel comfortable talking about things they like and activities they are good at. Students brought in gymnastic medals, dance shoes, toy cars, pictures, and special monuments bought while traveling.

homework, new teachers, back to school, first day

Next, we talked about how we wanted our classroom to run for the year. Together, we created “the great classmate is” chart shown below. Students in higher grades can write their ideas and children in lower grades can draw pictures of the words written on the chart. We had students drawing people being responsible, helping others, and saying kind words to others. After we completed the chart, we acted out different scenarios in which students could practice being a great classmate. The next day, a student in our class had the opportunity to do one of the scenarios we acted out the day before. It was a great moment for all!

back to school activities, community building, kind classroom ideas

During our professional days before starting the official school year, our administration emphasized the importance of goal-setting. My classroom used BrainPop’s “setting goals” video to introduce what a goal was and how to set a goal. I had to break down each SMART step for my students, but felt it was a good video to help my students set their own goals for the year.

brain pop, videos about goal setting, SMART goals, back to school activities

One of the goals for our classroom this year is to think before we speak. Our classroom talked about the importance of good communication and speech. I posted this acronym on a bulletin board close to my desk to help guide all of our talking for the year. This “think before you speak” practice is helpful when doing partner or group work, and creates a safe and friendly classroom environment for all.

think before you speak, classroom, kind, back to school activities

Another importance aspect of a great classroom is putting up functional posters and schedules that guide student learning. The “I love reading” bulletin board in my classroom outlines what great readers do, highlights our small group schedule which will eventually showcase our different stations and has a poster that records how many books each student will, in time, read throughout the month. During our goal-setting activity, my students’ individual goals are to read between 8-12 books by September 30th. To help achieve this goal, we are using our “We love reading” chart to record the number of books each student reads in class and at home.

bulletin board ideas, back to school, classroom decoration

We have had a great first week and I am looking forward to learning with my students throughout this school year. I am thankful for all the ideas I was able to pull from the internet and hope this post can guide your second week of teaching! Thanks as always for reading. 🙂

The Accessible Icon Emoji

Recently, a new emoji was added to the Apple iSO10 update, and the Accessible Icon team was very pleased to learn that the accessible icon was included for the social media world to use on a daily basis. With the new icon emerging into the digital world, people who were unfamiliar with the project wanted to know more about the icon that represents people with disabilities as active and engaged. In more detail, I wrote an article about the story of the accessible icon that was published here: http://www.disabled-world.com/disability/accessibility/ios-10.php. Please take the time to read why a group of people identify with the more active looking symbol and be sure to look out for the accessible icon on your phones!

iPhone update, symbols, disabilities, technology