Friday, April 29, 2016

Five for Friday April 29



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

Isn't it funny how one little change can make all the difference sometimes? The kids have been loving reading to each other in the mornings.  Yesterday, they each read four books to friends, and were quiet and excited.  I can't really ask for more. We had about 20 minutes to read, and this is what we did to make it extra fun (and so simple).

I came up with 8 reading spots.  I numbered sticks so the kids didn't know what number went to what spot.  (I took out number 6 because I only had 14 in the room so I only needed 7 spots.) We have computer lab every other day, so I send part of the class to that and work with part.  This activity is great when I want the kids reading, but I need to do bench marking or one on one work with the kids.

I also made three different sets of partner cards to use for different times, and chose one for the day.  I paired up a higher reader with a lower reader this time.  First we explained the rules.  Each partner gets one book, reads it to the other partner, then listens to his partner read her book, then they return the book  and get another if there's time.  They have to be reading together.  That's basically the rule. 

Other times, I have them read the book to a partner, and have the listener tell the reader his/her favorite part or something for a follow-up.

After I name the groups of partners, each group comes up to pull a stick to find their reading spot.  I tried to find fun spots- like behind the easel(the "fort)," under any table (which they call "the office" for some reason), housekeeping, by my desk,  in special chairs, and in the hall.  

After about 10 minutes, we gathered back on the rug, returned books, and I had them change partners, draw new spots,  and do it all again.  
The fort!

 The coveted spot... in the hall!


Here's a tip I have learned over years of teaching reading.  Ready... it's a biggie...

I think as teachers we want to teach.  We want to help, solve problems, and fix things.  But during guided reading, I've trained myself to be able to just sit there and wait when I'm reading with a student, especially this time of year when they have heard and used the reading strategies hundreds of times.  It's hard.  I WANT to say, "What do you do next? What do you look for?  What are you going to use?  What sound does that letter make?  Did you notice anything in the picture? blah blah blah." It's so tempting to prompt while you're sitting there waiting for them to find those strategies in their sweet little heads, decide which one to use, and give it a try. But I know they hear my voice saying those things in their heads if I sit there quietly. Maybe they need time to try two or three. They can do it- and they do.  It takes a little time, and patience for me to wait quietly and give them that time. 

Obviously, I don't me to sit there mute, forever, and make the child frustrated- but sometimes the kids are just a little nervous and get in their own way.  Sometimes they are just playing the waiting game, trying to wait you out so you'll do the work.  When they know I'm not going to jump in, I can almost see them saying to themselves, "OK- pull it together.  I can do this. I know what to do."  Sometimes it's hard and awkward to just sit there. But that's ok, because when the child comes up with the strategy, it is so much more powerful than if I have prompted it.  So, as hard as it is,   I just sit and smile. And wait. The smile on that little face when they figure something out, and see they can do it,  is worth the wait! 
Dr. Jean and I had so much fun putting together our Bugs and Insects Packet.   My kids absolutely loved the activities and are loving the QR codes and singing her song all the time.  It's an easy, fun way to teach and learn about Bugs and Insects.
Here are some of the highlights:
Dr. Jean's  Insect Body song download
Insect's Body Song Download with Lyrics
Bug and Insect Prezi
QR Code Packet for Listening Center
Writing Prompts with QR Codes
 
Favorite Bug Activities



Here are some fun crafts I found that are great to add to the bug fun.

Crafty Morning shared this bubblewrap painting beehive with fingerprint bees.  So cute. 

                              Bubble Wrap Beehive + Fingerprint Bee Craft for Kids! #Bee art project | CraftyMorning.com:                  
Or how about this cute bubblewrap bug?!
                  Bubble-Wrap-Bug

Bubblewrap also makes GREAT compound eyes when you have out materials for the children to build their own bugs!

Pink Stripey Socks shared these great egg carton bugs.  I love the ant because you can really see those three body parts! 
make egg carton insects (bees and ants)- easy and fun craft
What a fun celebration after the Bug and Insect unit these would make from The Crafting Chicks!
Back Yard Bug Snacks
Dr. Jean and I also put together this Summer Fun Journal Writing Prompts Packet to help keep our students writing over the summer.  It's FREE at my TpT store if you would like to make some books for your students this summer.

Each prompt has 3 versions:  one with all the same font (black and white); one with different fonts(black and white); one with fun fonts and colored clipart.

There are 4 different covers you can use for the book- OR you could print out some prompts, put them in a pocket folder for each student, and encourage the children to add "summer treasures" to the folder.  They can include things like ticket stubs, pamphlets from trips, or pictures.
Finally, this picture.  I've always loved this picture for some reason.  

I don't even know why and never really thought about it. It just "spoke to me."   One year my kids got it for me for Christmas.  I was so excited!  We moved it the other day, and when Jeff was putting it up he said, "I'm always surprised you like this, because who do you identify with in the picture? I can't see  you wanting someone to hold an umbrella for you in the rain while you danced and had fun." 

Not sure if he was expecting me to say, "OH NO- I identify with the maid.  I want to be the umbrella- holder!" or what.  But I do think there is something romantic about this dance in the rain and me  this girl in my her red dress.  

And of course I would hope that the maid and butler were secretly in love with each other, and after I danced, I'd trade places and hold the umbrella for them.  So there you go.  My dreams aren't all selfish. But I'm still going to be the one in the red dress.  I don't even feel guilty about it.


Thank you for stopping by!  Have a wonderful weekend!












Tuesday, April 26, 2016

Summer Fun Journal!


Dr. Jean and I had so much fun putting together this Summer Fun Journal Writing Prompts Packet to help keep our students writing over the summer.  It's FREE at my TpT store if you would like to make some books for your students to use this summer.

Each prompt has 3 versions:  one with all the same font (black and white); one with different fonts (black and white); one with fun fonts and colored clipart.

There are 4 different covers you can use for the book- OR you could print out some prompts, put them in a pocket folder for each student, and encourage the children to add "summer treasures" to the folder.  They can include things like ticket stubs, pamphlets from trips, or pictures.






These packets are a great way to show students how useful, fun, and creative writing can be.

Enjoy!

Friday, April 22, 2016

Bugs and Insects



It's that time of year again... the time to find it in us to embrace bugs and love them as much as the kids do!

Come on! We can do it!  My Five for Friday with Doodle Bugs Teaching is all about my new Bug Packet because we loved it this week.  Thank you, Kacey for hosting!

Dr. Jean and I made this new unit about Bugs and Insects. We wanted it to be 100% useful, practical, fun learning.  My kids now know so much about bugs- and they loved learning about them.

The packet includes a Prezi about Bugs and Insects (of course, cause I love using Prezis, you know!); QR Codes about insects, insect life cycles, and various children's books about insects; writing prompts to go with books (which also include a QR code, so the kids can listen to the stories again at home!); and hands-on activities and games that are tried-and-true.  It also includes a download for Dr. Jean's song The Insect's Body. These are all activities I love to use in my classroom, so we put them all together in one place for a great, easy to use unit.

This packet was fun to put together because what's not to love about bugs?  OK- well- there may have been a wasp in our classroom on Wednesday,  that MAY have caused quite a commotion.  I think he just knew we'd been learning all about him this week and came as a guest appearance.  Thanks, Wasp. Luckily he was "bug related," because all learning stopped as every little head followed his every move around the room. I'm just surprised it wasn't time for my pop in observation, because that would have been about right.

Here are some of the highlights of the packet:
Dr. Jean's Song!
Insect's Body is such a great way to learn the parts of an insect and move at the same time.  The kids love it and sing it all the time!
Insect's Body Song Download with Lyrics
The Prezi
This Prezi has songs, scientific videos, stories, games, and a few anchor charts about bugs.  This is great to use to introduce or reinforce all sorts of insect information.  We watch the videos  or sing the songs anytime we have a few extra minutes. So much learning happens in those minutes!

The QR Codes
Many of the same videos from the Prezi are in the QR Code packet.  This way, you can show them and talk about them whole group, and then the kids can watch them over and over until their hearts are content during a Listening Center.  I made these books this week, and the kids have been using them during Free Choice time, too.  They love them.
Writing Prompts
Many of the QR Codes have writing prompt to go along with them.  This way,  if you want a recording sheet for the listening center, you can use these writing prompts.  We did some together after we read the stories aloud.  They had fun writing their opinion pieces about what bug they would like to be and why.  We combined the stories, listening center, and nature walk and then did The Very Quiet Cricket and In the Tall, Tall Grass.
One of his favorites is Sesame Chicken.  YUM.
I like to put the QR Code for the story right on the Writing Prompts.  That way, the children can listen to the story again at home.  I send a little note home to parents about how they can download a free QR Code reader on their devices at home.  The kids feel so grown-up being able to listen to the story again with the QR Code.  It's just another fun reinforcement.
ACTIVITIES
Dr. Jean and I put together some of our tried-and-true favorite activities about bugs.  We both love hands-on learning and believe it's the way children take on information and really learn and remember best.  My kids had a ball with the activities this week! 
The "compound eyes" are circles cut from cupcake liners that had dots on them! Perfect!
Insect Journals!
I hope you found some things you like.  It's fun to have something different to do as these weeks sort of seem longer and longer when the weather is nice. 

Thank you for stopping by!  Have a wonderful weekend!




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