Friday, August 26, 2016

Calendar Time Kindness

Hi! It's back to school time, and I thought I'd share some ways I like to use my calendar in the morning.  Sometimes people say calendar time gets boring, redundant, and feels like something you just "get through."  BUT there's so much learning that can happen in those minutes!

As you can see, I just have a regular, simple calendar set up.   I start with my calendar showing the days we don't have school.  The other days are turned over on the calendar.  Each morning, I turn over the number of the day, and we say the date together. Probably like all of you do!

We read the name of the month. I have the kids notice the capital letter that begins all NAMES (people, pets, street names, months...) I see if my students notice any other words that begin with capitals on the calendar (names of days of the week).  

Sometimes we spell the name of the month.  We might think of words that begin like the name of the month or clap the syllables of the month and the days of the week. 

We sing our Days of the Week song in the beginning of the year until everyone knows the days of the week well. Here's one of my favorites. 
                             
 Then, we move on to Dr. Jean's Macarena Months and learn those. 
                             

We always add a straw to the counter and keep track of ones, tens, and hundreds by counting them each day. The children really seem to understand ones and tens when we do this. It's and oldie but goodie, I think.


We also add a dot to a ten frame for each day.  This is great practice counting by tens. And basically, the kids like to see if my dot is a perfect circle on the ten frame.  (They will be like, "You made a really good circle dot last week!"  Some days... not so much I guess.)

Once we turn over the number of the day, we count to that number and then cover our mouth to stop. Here is where the fast math begins.  I have the children show me the number of the day with their fingers.  If it is the 6th , they can show me 4 and 2, 5 and 1, or 3 and 3.  We write these addition facts to 6 on the dry erase board as a great review.    If the number is 14 or 17, we take the ones number and use that only.  So I'll say, "Let's look at the 7, show me 7 on your fingers."  

After that, I may say, "How many more days until we get to # 10?"   "What number will come after #11?"   "Can we count backward?" "  


Other times, I randomly turn over a  number on the calendar, and ask questions about that number.  "What number comes before?" "What number comes after?" "Let's count on from this number to 50."  

                     

Another fun activity is our Kindness Calendar.  Randomly, I'll put a little sticky note on one of the numbers that will be turned over.  It says, "Random Act of Kindness Day."   

You can do this several ways.  I usually have some prepared, like a little bag of Hershey kisses to take to the nurse for all of her help, or to leave for our room cleaner at the end of the day with a note. Sometimes, I'll have the kids make cards at center time to deliver to the cafeteria workers, secretaries, bus drivers at the end of the day, or anyone they want.  

Other days, you can suggest the students do a Random Act of Kindness for a friend sometime during the day.  Take a few minutes at the end of the day to share what was done.  I like to have the children share if anyone did something special for them first, rather than having them share what they did. 
You can also have them do Cafeteria RAK, so they pick up garbage if they see it and take care of that. Or Playground RAK where they share or play with a new friend on the playground.  You can have several RAK ideas written on paper or popsicle sticks, and draw one if you want.  OR if  you have something in mind, have it prepared for when the day arrives. You can bring in donuts for the custodians or office staff if you may know a RAK is coming up, so you're ready for that. 

Sometimes, it will say, "Random Act of Kindness at home."  Then, the children have the day to think of their RAK  for home:  making their sibling's bed, helping with the dishes, giving the cat water, cleaning their room.  Before bus time, I take those few minutes to remind the children what special day it is, and ask what RAK they have thought of doing at home.  In the morning, I take a few minutes after calendar to let the children share what they did and their happy reactions.
"Grandparent RAK" is another fun one.  The kids call or facetime their grandparents when they get home to talk about their day or share a song with them.  

The list goes on!  It's just another fun way to incorporate the habit of kindness into the day.  Children are so excited to help and be kind, and need to be taught how important it is and how good it makes them feel.  It makes them feel good in a different, special way so they realize it's not always about "getting" but about "giving."
  
Here are my latest books I just got that are quick and simple ways to reinforce kindness.  I love quick books that encourage discussion and get the kids thinking of kind acts they can do. 

My 8th grade English teacher would cringe at this title, since she never let us use the word "nice" in our writing, saying it was "trite and overused." HOWEVER...  This book is right at the kids' level-simple and straight forward... Be nice to each other, and here's how!


This next book is a board book. It's a simple circle story of how Hen starts a string of kindnesses when she gives her egg to Pig.  Pig appreciates it, and decides he would like to do something kind as well, so he gives Rabbit a carrot...  finally the kindness makes its way back to Hen.

These books both have simple text and simple illustrations, focusing on the them of being kind in a way that kids will remember.

This next one...  is so precious.
Here is a little sample of the sweetness:
           
This book made me think of this saying that I love.  I made this  little picture for it. My students are really good about not calling names or being mean.  I think it's because we do so much talking about kindness, that they know it would break my heart most of all if they were mean to another student in the class.  

NEXT is the SWEETEST book.  
  I found this video to share with you so you can see it-
              

What a great way to bring up topics like being kind and including EVERYONE.  How would you feel if you were the invisible boy and nobody chose you or asked you to play?  What is one way you could think of to include someone who may feel left out?  


My Character Education Prezi is free at my TpT Store, if you'd like it.  I use it a lot especially in the beginning of the year. It's got a lot of videos about being kind friends, as well as classroom rules. AND I love the clean up songs!

I wrote ALLLLLLLLLL about my favorite Character Education ideas HERE if you'd like other ideas. It's so easy to fit these important lessons in throughout the day.  Have fun!




I hope you're all off to a wonderful school year if you're back. If you're like me and don't go back until September, enjoy, enjoy, enjoy this next week!
Thanks for stopping by!

Friday, August 19, 2016

Five for Friday August 19

I am linking up with Doodle Bugs Teaching for Five for Friday. Thank you for hosting, Kacey! 


       
I posted all my favorite name writing activities I use in the beginning of the year. (And throughout the year...).  I hope you find some great things.  There are some great freebies from TpT in the post, too!

I made this simple little back to school journal that I use as we begin Writer's Workshop. If you would like a copy, just click on the picture below.  I did a page or two as a whole group, but then worked on some pages with small groups.  I love activities like this in the beginning of the year in small groups, because they are very non-threatening. They give me a chance to get to know my little ones better and just listen to their stories as they draw and write.
These FREE Pattern Block Cards from Erica at Confessions of a Homeschooler are FABULOUS! I'm printing them on cardstock and laminating them so they last.  My kids love working with pattern blocks, and having these cards to help practice numbers and letters will be wonderful.


 She also shared these great Alphabet Pattern Blocks Printables! Thank you, Erica!


I made this quick little activity for my class and use it early each year. It's a great way to introduce the children to  pointing to each word as they read- and to see that they, in face, CAN READ! 

First, I model the activity for the class.  I point to each word and decide where I liked to go.  I cut out the environmental print word and glue it onto my paper.  When I'm done with the "I go to" side, I point to each word as I read the page.  

                                  
Then, I turn it over and complete the "I like to" page on back.  
                                  
This is also great practice for for cutting, using a glue stick, and completing the activity independently.  

I print out the writing on one page, front and back, and then give each child a sheet of places to go and things to do.  They can choose their favorites.  When each child finishes the activity, he/she reads their paper to a friend and then to me. They also read it to someone when they get home.  The conversations about the places and activities are so much fun to listen to at the tables, too.  

Click HERE if you would like a copy!




Finally, I finished my MORE QR and Writing Prompts Packet- Author Studies!  I have been working on this forever.  It has over 100 books with writing prompts and QR codes to go along with 8 authors: Eric Carle, Donald Crews, Kevin Henkes, Laura Numeroff, Amy Krouse Rosenthal, David Shannon, Mo Willems, and Karma Wilson.  It includes cover pages for your students' author studies and a biography page for each author.

All the QR codes are also at the end of the packet to make it easier for you to print only these out for a center activity if you'd like. 

Each section has prompts with the QR codes right on them, a set of QR codes for a listening center, and a set of prompts without QR codes if you prefer those.  The preview for the listing has some you can try!



My kids LOVE to be able to take home a paper with a QR code of the story right on it, so they can listen to the story again and again at home, whenever they want. It's like magic!  

I love to use writing prompts with my students, too.  The prompts meet almost all of the CCSS in ELA.  They provide great insight into students' thinking and understanding after we read a story. They also provide great opportunities for authentic, purposeful writing.

You can choose the books you want to use for each author to make an Author Study packet (I have cover pages for that.) or just use several of the activities independently as you study an author.  They can also be used as a center activity with the QR code, as a follow up to the story. 

The packet also includes my Author Prezi.  This Prezi has links and videos to go with each of these 8 authors, so you can do whole group lessons on the Smartboard or Smart TV.  The Prezi also includes videos and links for Jan Brett, Norman Bridwell, Theodor Geisel, Robert Munsch, and Shel Silverstein.  

I also have a packet of Writing Prompts and QR Codes for over 100 OTHER favorite books (completely different books!)  that I use all year long!  These  have prompts written with both traditional and  non-American English (colour, favourite). 

These all make fabulous sub plans, too!  They are ready to go and easy to use- plus the kids love them.




I hope you found some things you can use in your classroom. Thank you for stopping by! Have a perfect weekend. 

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