Saturday, July 30, 2016

Target Dollar Spot Goodies!

I found some great things at Target today!  These are just the items that I bought but they had a lot more.  I had to tell myself over and over "I do not need more bins, I do not need more bins!". I love these small pocket charts, they are perfect for center time when I have something like word sorts that each child needs to do on their own.  It is hard to tell in the picture but they are really cute colors (turquoise and purple). 
I also got a dry erase board, birthday notes and decorative binder clips.  I ran out of birthday cards last year and these will be perfect.  It is a pad of paper that you can just tear off one sheet at a time. 

I thought that these chalkboard blocks were too cool to pass up!  I like that I will be able to change the letters that I want the students to be working on to make words or just to roll and write,  I am a little worried about the chalk staying on every time the students roll them, but I still like them. 
I am thinking that I will use the dry erase board to model for the students what I want them to say to their partner during math stations.  Here is an example.
I usually just write it on paper but this is much cuter!  I will hold it up between my partner and I while I model this concept.  The chalkboard blocks, pocket charts and dry erase board were $3 and the other items were just $1.  I love finding new things, especially things that are cute! 
Thursday, July 14, 2016

Back to School Activities

This is my 100th post!  It took me forever since I have been gone for so long but I finally got there!  I wanted to take a look back at some of my posts that include ideas for the beginning of the school year.  Especially that first week of school when it is so hard to get everyone's attention.

School Starts Today!

Every year we sing a special song on the first day of school.  It goes like this ( I think the tune is The Farmer in the Dell):

School starts today!
Hooray, hooray, hooray!
We get to go to school today!
Hooray, hooray, hooray!

The kids love this song and it is a simple, fun song that they can quickly remember and we sing it all day!  We print it out and have the students draw a picture of something they like about school under the words to the song.  They take it home to share with their families and they have a memory of their first day of school. If you would like a copy of the words click HERE.

 "If Your Name is on a Plate"
I would like to share a simple game that I like to do at the beginning of the year to have the children learn each others' names.  I use plain white paper plates and write one student's name on each plate.  Then, we all stand in a circle and I sing a song while I place 3-4 plates on the floor in the middle of the circle.  When I am done singing whoever has their plate on the floor picks it up (it also lets me see who can recognize their own name) goes back to their spot in the circle and holds the plate so that everyone can see the name.  Then I point to the children holding their plates and they have to say their names.  I continue until everyone has had a turn.  This is the song that I sing while putting the plates on the floor:

If your name is on a plate, pick it up.
If your name is on a plate, pick it up.
If your name is on the plate, then you're really doing great!
If your name is on a plate, pick it up. 

Name Song for Initial Sound Practice

 Bailey on the bus says /b/, /b/, /b/
/b/, /b/, /b/
/b/, /b/, /b/
Bailey on the bus says /b/, /b/, /b/
all through the town.

I am not sure where I originally got this song from, it is one that I have used for many years. I like to sing it at the beginning of the year with my students to help them understand what letter they start with but also to incorporate initial sounds.  The children love to hear this song and sing with me and they will get very quiet so I will use their name in the song (I pick the quietest students). After we have sung it in class a few times and the children can sing it independently I make a class book.  I write the students' names and the letters because I think it is important for them to be able to read it and I think it would get too confusing for them to write it.  Then I let the students color the bus and add their picture to one of the windows.  Then I bind the pages and make a book.  The children love this and it usually becomes a favorite book that they will go back to all year!

Click on the image below to download a copy of the page I use for the class book.
Here is a picture of a page from our finished book.  You can see the picture of the child in the bus window. They love this book!

Color Posters

At the beginning of the year I read Brown Bear, Brown Bear and we talk about colors.  We pick one color each day to focus on.  Everybody has to wear something for that color, we learn the color song and each child isasked to bring in an item that they no longer need so we can put it on the color poster.  The students love doing this and it ends up being a great display for the classroom too!  I cannot take credit for this though, my good friend and fellow teacher Judith shared this great idea with me!  Here is a picture of what the color posters looked like when we were done (click on the picture to enlarge it and you will be able to see it better):

Sorry it is not the best picture, I had to hang them really high because I do not have a lot of good wall space.  We did orange too but it wasn't done when I took the picture.  As you can see we got a good variety of objects (even some trash). I think they turned out pretty good! 

Wednesday, July 13, 2016

Center Anchor Charts

At the beginning of the year my students and I create anchor charts at each center.  These are created as I introduce one or two centers at a time.  The charts list what the children can do and/or expectations for each center.  A few years ago after these charts had been at the centers for a few weeks they started to get a little tattered so I wanted a way to display our "Can do" charts so they would last all year.  I had a bunch of old clear plastic frames from a family event, the kind that stand up on their own (see below).  These are small enough so they do not get in the way while the students are working but big enough so I could type what the students and I had agreed could be done at each center.  I even added pictures to help students to encourage independence.  As I continue to model the expectations at the centers I point to these displays so the children will make the connection.  When the students are at centers and I hear them say "what do I do" I point to the chart in the frame. 
 Here is  a close up of what one of the charts looks like:

HERE is a link to where you can buy a set of 12 of these! You may even have some laying around your house like I did!
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