Dr. Jean's post called The Return of Recess was my favorite read this week. I wish administrators all over the world would realize the importance of recess, movement, social interaction, and PLAY for students. I feel like we have to fight for and almost secretly let our children play because there is always something else we should be drilling or teaching or studying. I am lucky that our school still values recess and free choice time. But for some reason, when it is free choice, even though that's when I am working one on one with students or visiting different groups to observe their play, I like to shut the door. I have free choice at the end of the day for 20 to 25 minutes. I don't want people walking by thinking we are "just playing." Isn't that SAD? Play IS learning in so many ways- and I know that. I will always protect that.
Adults who aren't in primary classrooms would be amazed at the learning that takes place during free choice time- the character education, problem solving, language skills, math skills, life lessons that are practiced and learned in real life situations.
It reminds me of going to college for education. I attended all my classes, got my Master's Degree, did the paperwork, and graduated. Then, I actually LEARNED how to teach the moment I set foot in the classroom and did it. I didn't learn how to teach in college. I learned by doing, by playing with different ideas I had and by trying out different strategies and activities. I learned by playing.
Actually, truth be told, I think I learned how to teach by playing school with my dolls after school since I was very little. I even came home in 10th grade and did my geometry homework on my blackboard downstairs and "taught" that, to help me learn it better. I bet lots of you can look at your students right now and pick out some who will be awesome teachers. I know I can.
Just think how a mechanics, chefs, nurses, doctors, truck drivers, builders would perform their jobs if they didn't have the opportunity to practice the skills hands-on, and play with what they were learning. Children need time, without performance pressure, to try out skills and learn by doing. We all do.
Dr. Jean sent me another FABULOUS article about bringing children back from virtual worlds, and protecting real life interactions and "white space" or room to grow. I loved that, too.
I made this quick little activity for my class. They had a ball with it, so I wanted to share it with you. We have been working on our sight words and one to one correspondence, pointing to each word as we read. This was a good activity for both. First, I modeled the activity for the class. I pointed to each word and decided where I liked to go. I cut out the environmental print word and glued it onto my paper. When I was done with the "I go to" side, I pointed to each word as I read the page.
Then, I turned it over and did the "I like to" page on back.
This was great practice not only for reading sight words, reading environmental print, and pointing to each word, but also for cutting, using a glue stick, and completing the activity independently. They had a ball.
I printed out the writing on one page, front and back, and then gave each child a sheet of places to go and things to do. They could choose their favorites. When each child finished the activity, he/she had to read their paper to a friend and then to me. They also had to read the paper to someone when they got home. The conversations about the places and activities were so much fun to listen to at the tables, too.
Click HERE if you would like a copy!
I went to the Dollar Tree to get a pack of leaf stickers... a cart load (and... many, many dollars) later, I came out with lots of fun ideas. Oh, and no stickers. But instead, I found these great leaves (50 for $1).
We made fall trees with the leaves, and practiced writing a sentence correctly.
I thought they would also be fun for a Sight Word Write, so I wrote a sight word on each leaf, put a magnet on back, and made a tree on my white board. The children have to write the words on the leaves that have fallen from the tree. They do this after they finish their morning work. They can write the words on the back of their paper, or use this recording sheet. I just change the leaves that have fallen each morning.
If you would like a copy of the recording sheet, just click the picture below.
Don't you just LOVE these leaves from TypeInspire? They would be so much fun for making names or sight words in fall! I'm not sure what I want to do with them, but here they are if you can think of something fun. I just loved them.
I found this adorable activity from Literacy and Laughter that I love. I immediately made up several wooden cubes with a different doodle on each side. I made a simple worksheet entitled "Doodles." I put some markers in the bin, and I have a great activity for a substitute or for any time I need a quick center. The students can play this by themselves, with partners, or in small groups. It's great fine motor skill practice. (I had a second grade student who stops in my room in the morning do this sample paper for me by the way... my kids aren't doodle-pros!)
I made a Shake and Spill recording sheet if you would like a copy! This is a great activity for partner work and another fun way to practice addition facts to 5.
OH and I also posted about ESGI this week- and my love for it. I have been doing so many assessments whenever I get a chance, and it just makes me go back and think what it was like before ESGI...
and be so thankful that I am using it to assess this year.
If you want to try it free for 60 days, click here- that's what I did last year. I loved it right away and saw the complete value of it. Then, if you want to buy it, you can get $40 off the first year subscription using my PROMO CODE B1119 .
This year, our district bought it for our Kindergarten grade level, so we can all be on the same page, using the same assessments for report cards. It's awesome, if you want to give it a try!
Have a wonderful weekend! Thank you for stopping by!