Sunday, 8 December 2013

Holiday Ebook 2013
I am very excited to announce that I am part of this years Holiday Ebook for Grades 1-2! I am on love with my freebie in there and my students have a lot of fun with it. There are 50 Teachers Pay Teachers sellers who have included a winter freebie and a teaching tip. There is also a bonus page at the end with a bunch more freebies (I have an ordinal number freebie there !!!)
I was looking through the book and I now have tonnes of fun activities to do with my class this year :)
My freebie is a Christmas Syllable Sort that students can use during literacy centers or if they finish their work early.

Happy Holidays, 

Sunday, 1 December 2013

Trouble with Colours

Some of my students are having troubles remembering the colour words, both how to read them and to write them. I created these signs to hang in my classroom and so far they are working great. Students know where they can look if they are stuck on a colour word!

I love the Melonheadz Kidlettes and the bright colour it adds to my room (not that I need MORE bright colour!) 

They come in both American and Canadian Spelling!!!

Friday, 29 November 2013

Daily 5 Word Work Ideas

Since I am in a primary classroom this year I needed to revamp my literacy program. I had the opportunity to go visit another primary classroom where they were doing Daily 5. I immediately knew this is what I had to do in my class.
I thought I would share with you the activities we are doing for word work.

I do Daily 5, three times a week (nothing else would get done if I did more) and each day we have 3 rotations. For the Word Work, which everyone goes to each day, students have to finish one page of their spelling worksheets and then they get to pick a Word Work tub to practice their words with. The benefits are...I only have one page to mark a day, rather than all of it at once, AND students get to practice their spelling words all week. Some never practice at home so this gives them the chance to practice.

For all the tubs that have students building words, they build the word then write them in their notebooks with a pencil (see below).
Here's what I have for tubs!
*Smell It -- smelly markers (this is the preferred tub)
*PomPom Words -- build words out of mini pompoms
*Magnet Words -- Bright colored alphabet magnets (easy to get from a Dollar Store) and the cookie sheet to build the words on
*Fancy Pens -- different colored pens, glitter pens, markers, etc.
*Spider Words -- For Halloween I bought foam spiders and wrote letters on them. Students build words out of spiders. Fun but takes up a lot of room.
*Bead It -- pony beads with letters on them. Students string them onto the plastic string. I have 6 different strings for students to build their words on.
*Stamp It -- alphabet stamps and stamp pads
*Rainbow Writing -- Another favorite! I found this FREE on TpT and students roll a dice. The number matches a color for students to write their word with.
*Clip It -- I bought colored clothes pins from the dollar store and wrote letters on them. Students find the letters they need and clip the pins to a popsicle stick.

Since I took these pictures I have rotated my tubs and I now have a few new ones.
*Sand Writing -- I found colored sand at Michaels and with a small wooden dowel students print their words in the sand.
*Wooden Letters -- I also found at Michaels, mini wooden letters. Pretty self explanatory ... students build the words with the letters then print them in their books.
*Say It, Write It -- I bought some Toobaloos from Amazon and students whisper into them and then write their word. They are amazed that they can  speak so quietly and still hear what they are saying.
*Doh It -- I have a tub with alphabet cookie cutters (I found mine at Michaels) and a couple containers of Play Doh. Students take a Play Doh mat (thin cutting board from the dollar store) and roll out a slab of Play Doh. They then "stamp" their words into the Play Doh using the cookie cutters. When the word is "Stamped" they then write it in their word work book, roll over the Play Doh word and go on to the next word. This is the most popular tub year after year. 
*Text It -- Can also be called "Call It". I have taken my old flip phone and put it in a tub. Students will write their word in their notebook and then find each letter on the cell phone. They will write the number that the letter is found on. When they are done with each letter of the word they will have the words phone/text number. This is another SUPER POPULAR bucket and kids love the old cell phone. 
*Cube It -- I found some foam dice at the dollar store and I wrote letters on them. Students have to build their words with the foam cubes and then write the words in their notebook. 
*Search It -- I have a blank word search template, a glue stick, pencil/pen, and a highlighter in a tub. Students create a word search with their weekly words. They then highlight the words and glue the page into their notebook. 
*Code It -- I have an blank alphabet code template, a glue stick, and pencil in a tub. Students will create a code for the alphabet and then write each spelling word in code. Some codes students have created are numbers for each letter, random letters for each letter, or small pictures for each letter. The code template will be glued into their notebook. 

Here is what my Word Work shelf space looks like. Nine tubs (rotating when I find new ideas or with the season), baskets with each groups words on the top shelf, and Word Work notebooks in basket. Hmmm.. maybe I should have straightened them BEFORE I took the picture :)

Close up of the spelling list baskets.  I have 4 different groups and when they are done with their Word Work rotation they put the words back so someone else can use them. This is a great way to save paper and not have to make lists for every student, every day.
Here are some close ups of the Word Work notebooks. Students have to print the name of the tub they chose and the date. If they finish all their words before the timer goes off they just write them again.

In this picture you can see the black construction paper. Each notebook has piece of construction paper in it and when students are working on their Word Work the construction paper is placed behind the page they are working on. This makes it so the sharpies, markers, and stamps don't bleed onto the next page.

I hope this was useful for you. As I find new Word Work tub ideas I will post them here. I would also love it if you had any ideas, if you could comment and share with everyone!


Friday, 8 November 2013

A Bear in War

We read A Bear in War and coloured poppies for our Remembrance Day wreath today. A Bear in War is one of my favourite picture books for talking about Remembrance Day. It is a true story and showcases Canadian history.
After we read the book we visited the website for the Canadian War Museum to see the real Teddy Bear!!!
What are your go to Remembrance Day activities?


Thursday, 7 November 2013

Halloween Art and Mini Pumpkins

Wow things have been crazy this week. We had our student led conferences on Monday, Tuesday, and Wednesday night. The earliest I left the school was 8pm. Thursday I was there until 9pm. It was so worth it though. I was sceptical that student led conferences were the way to go. I had never done them before and at my new school everyone was doing them. Well I succumbed to peer pressure :) and did them also. The week before I kept saying how much work it was and didn't know if I wanted to invest that much time into conferences.

Well Monday night came and I was able to see how my students took on the task of teaching their parents about our classroom and how they are working. It was fantastic to see how engaged the parents were with their child. I had parents sitting on the carpet playing math games and others trying to figure out how they can get a smartboard for their homes. My students were beaming and the parents were so proud of all they had been doing.

I am sold...student led conferences are the way to go and I will forever (hmmmm forever is a long time) do conferences this way. Do you do student led conferences and what are your thoughts on them?

Since I have been so busy getting ready for the conferences I didn't have time to post any more pictures of some of our Halloween activities. Here are two words that describe our Halloween...q-tips and oranges!!!

We made Skeletons out of q-tips and my students had a blast. They were way more creative than I thought they would be. One student even made a dog for her skeleton.

 I wanted to give my students treats that were not just sugar so I saw online cute jack-o-lanterns made from oranges. I decided this was perfect and started drawing!!! I think they are very cute, if I say so myself. I almost made them each 2 because I was having so much fun. I think next year I might let them decorate them.

Saturday, 26 October 2013

Halloween Cats

I think that Halloween is my favorite holiday to decorate my classroom for. This week we finished our Halloween cats and I put them on the bulletin board in the hallway. I may be bias but I think it turned out pretty good.

Usually I have a flat tree but this year I wanted to have something with texture and that was more 3-D. To make the tree I just took bulletin board paper and crumpled it up then stapled it to the board. I did the trunk first and then added branches.

After I had the tree ready to go I stapled on the old, rickety fence. I had painted and cut this out a few years back and have been packing it around from school to school. It has many tears and wrinkles in it but I think it adds to the rickety image!

Once the fence was up it was time to add the cats, the moon/bat, and the wording. Whoola (hmm not sure how to spell that...) the finished product!

Here is how we made the cats:

Students picked a cat outline (printed on regular 8.5 x 11 paper) and ONE color for the designs. For the younger kids I have the sections already drawn in but for older (Gr4+) I let them draw the sections in themselves. Some of the older kids might want their sections to go horizontally or diagonally.

My only rules for the designs is they must be with one color, neat, and I want them to try and do a pattern in each section.

To get the outlines click on the pictures here. The Google Doc. includes the outlines with and without lines, as well as the example I show my students.

This is a quick, easy art project that can be completed in one 45 minute block of time. Some students will only need about 30 minutes so have something extra for them to do :)

Want to save this post for later? Here is an image to pin to your Pinterest boards. 

Cheers and Happy Halloween,

Saturday, 19 October 2013

Harris Burdick Writing

I love introducing students to the Harris Burdick Mystery Pictures. They make awesome writing prompts and tools for inferring. After we take an in-depth look at all the pictures I always have my students choose one to write about.

To start off I bring my students into the gym where I have scattered the posters around and the lights are dimmed. The posters are all flipped over so no one can see the pictures ahead of time. We gather in the middle of the gym where I have one of the pictures. I read my students the story of who Harris Burdick is and why the pictures are such a mystery. We then look at the poster I have with us. We talk about how the picture makes us feel and what other emotions it evokes. We make some inferences as to what is happening.
 I then send students off to do the same thing with each of the posters that are scattered around the gym. At each poster is a pack of sticky notes for students to record their responses on. Students rotate freely throughout the gym until they have seen all the posters or time is up.

 The next day I scatter the posters around the gym again and spread out their sticky notes by the posters. I get students in pairs and they are to take their partner to the poster that they connected with the most or the one that they had the strongest reaction to. They are to tell their partner why they chose that poster and then together they read all the sticky notes to see what others thought of it.

Once both partners have shared, we all gather as a group. Students are given a chance to share any thoughts they had about the posters. Before we leave as a group I explain to students how they are going to be writing a mystery about one of the posters and I give students one more chance to walk around and observe the posters.

For the next block of time, I again spread the posters in the gym and this time students go to the poster they want to write their mystery about. Students are given time to read the sticky notes and brain storm ideas for their story. Then it is writing time.

During our next few writing blocks students are working on their mysteries. Each time I give a mini lesson on features of mystery stories and have students focus on improving their mystery writing skills. I was absolutely shocked this year in the final products. Not only did ALL my students stay focused during writing time but they were fantastic stories. I wish that I had kept a copy of a few of them to share with you.

After all the stories were printed, students shared them with the class and then I created the following bulletin board.

 We completed these in the spring for our Family Art and Writing night but they would be perfect for around Halloween time!

If you want to get the Harrick Burdick posters you can get them here .

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