Sunday, 16 March 2014

AHHH Spring Break

Well the week before Spring Break has come and gone. It was a challenge to keep the kiddos going but we did it. I think they might have faired (fared?) better than I did. I am definitely needing a break, especially after writing report cards. YIKES. There may have been a time last week that I tried erasing the smartboard with a chalk brush and was completely confused as to why it wasn't erasing. I may have even said "Hey, I have never seen it do that before!" As the lines on the smartboard just moved around with the brush. My students may have just had to explain to me that I had the wrong brush :) I'm just saying I am in need of some much needed sleep.
This past week we started handwriting or as some places call it cursive (what do you call it?). I love teaching handwriting and seeing how some students go from being frustrated with not being able to do it, to being proud that they can.
For my handwriting I use a mixture of 2 resources. The first one is beginner pages from Learning Pages and it is FREE !!! Click on the picture if you want to check it out. These pages are pretty basic so work great for students starting out.

The second resource I just found this year and I LOVE. Not only does it include individual letter practice, it also includes word practice pages and then sentence practice pages for each letter. It is a paid item on TeachersPayTeachers but I think it is worth all 138 pages. Again click on the picture to go see it.
I have 3 students in my class who are not learning handwriting because they are still learning how to print letters and words. I came across this AMAZING. Yup AMAZING resource and the best part is it is free. There are separate pages for each letter (upper case and lower case), word printing practice, as well as pages for numbers.

I am hoping with these resources my students will have great handwriting. I know there is some debate on whether students should even learn handwriting. I say yes. I feel that they have to be able to read something if it is given to them in handwriting as well as be able to sign their name. My son was not taught handwriting (he is in Gr 8 now) and we had to teach him at home because when we were applying for his passport he didn't know how to sign his name.
What do you think...should we be teaching handwriting in school?

Cheers from this Spring Breaker!!!!


Sunday, 9 March 2014

Bright Idea Blog Hop #2: Recycling in Art

Yay Another Bright Ideas Blog Hop. I got so many great ideas from the last one!!!!
As soon as I heard about the next bright ideas blog hop my brain started working over time and not on the report cards I should be writing. I was going through all the possible ideas I could think of and the one of my colleagues was mentioning how she had art in the afternoon and needed paint containers but didn't have any. I knew instantly what my blog post was going to be about.

I am not sure exactly when I had this idea but I know that it has made painting in my classroom a whole lot easier and clutter free. Being a teacher I like to "collect" many old things. Yup you know the saying "a teacher can find use out of someone else's garbage." Well that is exactly what I do.

Many of my students bring in lunchables for lunch time and there is SOOOO much garbage. One day I thought there has to be a use for them. Well there is !!! I have my students save them and we use them as paint containers. Genius I know :)

Instead of students carefully putting multiple containers of paint on their desk or table and hoping it doesn't get knocked over all they have is ONE container with multiple paint colors in it. Yay! Less mess. The plastic containers are super easy to clean and stack nicely in the cupboard. I have used both tempera and acrylic paints in the containers and they both wash out easily. I love finding useful tools and even better that this one can be recycled and avoid the landfills for a little longer !

If you want more awesome bright ideas head on over to The Perks of Teaching Primary by: The Write Stuff to see what brilliance Shelley has for you on teaching beginning , middle, and end strategies.

You can also browse through any of the blogs below for more grade specific bright ideas :)


Sunday, 2 March 2014

David Bouchard and Pink Shirt Day = A Great Week

We had a fabulous week this week. It went by so fast but it was packed full of activities.

On Tuesday our school had the honor of an author visit from the AMAZING David Bouchard. I have read his books to my students for years and it was so neat to actually have him come and visit our little school. His visit was broken up into 2 parts (the primary and the intermediate grades) so I only had the chance to see the primary presentation. I told my class that maybe if we sat really quiet and still in the gym then maybe they wouldn't notice us in there for the second part :)

He played his many instruments, shared some of his life stories, and left students with an important message: TV is no good. Listen to peoples' stories, especially grandma's. She knows best and never lies (Grandpa lies just a little so be wary of his tales, especially if they are about fishing!).
We had library the next day and ALL of David's books were signed out.

On Wednesday, we had the junior high school band come play for us in the morning and we got to dance to songs from Taylor Swift, Star Wars, and The Pirates of the Caribbean. Yes it was quite a mix of music.

Later that day, we all gathered in the gym again to celebrate Anti-Bullying Day (aka Pink Shirt Day). We watched some great videos. I think the one that had the most impact was this one:

Even though there were no words everyone understood the message loud and clear. We then had a gallery walk so everyone could see the pink shirts or inspirational messages each class created. Here are a few pictures of some of the shirts my kiddos designed.

They are hanging next to one of my favourite classroom posters! 
 To end the assembly, we all sang along to this video:

To top off the excitement we had, students only had a 4 day week. Friday was a Non-Instructional Day and all the schools gathered to talk about the districts Aboriginal Enhancement Agreement and how we can better serve our First Nations students.

Even though it was a fun week, I kind of hope next week will be a little less busy :)

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