Friday, May 27, 2011

Happy Birthday!

Summer is 3 long, short days away.  With that I wanted to share how I celebrate birthdays, as well as summer birthdays in my classroom.

I bought this blow up at Walmart a few years back for $6.  I also found a Scooby Doo blow up that I used last year for less than $10.  This stays beside the birthday child's desk for the day.  They also receive a certificate and a bookmark.  I found these cute visors for like 50 cents for a pack of 12 on clearance at Michael's.  All the students sign the hat with a birthday wish.
For summer birthdays, I celebrate their half birthday.  Having a summer birthday myself, I understood the importance for each student to have their own day and not be clustered as a group at the end of the year.  I'm very careful to write the 1/2 birthday dates on my calendar.  I think parents appreciate it as well, because they're not pressured to bring in goodies for their child,  in addition to all the other demands that the end of the year brings.  The kids love this and they all want to know when their half birthday is!

iPads Failures and Successes

I'm so excited to have my new iPad and I'm even more excited to have access to a class set next school year!  Right now, I'm just getting my feet wet and loving every minute.  Today I had a failure {a.k.a. lesson learned} and a success with the iPad .

I used the iPad to review our Bible verse.  I used the Penultimate app. I think this one was $1.99.

 Each student wrote a word of the Bible verse and passed it on to the next person.  We had two teams and we timed each one.  The problem was the students wrote too big (which is to be expected of 2nd graders) and couldn't fit in the Bible verse.  The parts that they did fit in were not really legible.  This caused alot of confusion to say the least! This idea would work with just 1 spelling word or other short responses: lesson learned!  However, they were engaged the whole time!

The end of the year is here, and the kids are feeling it!  I've had to get very creative with my discipline system to keep them engaged.  So, today I gave points to each of the four groups in my classroom everytime I caught them being good.  The team with the most points at the end of the day won a prize.  The reward was to use the Toy Story app (which is free). 

Oh, how they loved it!  Even better, the rest of the class vowed to win on Tuesday so they could get a chance to read a story on the iPad! SUCCESS!

Thursday, May 26, 2011

Math Differentiation (Thursday)

This week I am featuring ways to differentiate when teaching and drilling multiplication tables. See Monday's post here.  See Tuesday's post here, and Wednesday's post here.

Thursday is a glorious day! Today we used an iPad to practice our 4 times tables!
We used the app "Times Tables Lite".   It's a free app that only goes up to the 4 times tables. It can be upgraded to a paid app allowing access to the other times tables.

First, I used the audio part of the app to orally review the 4 times tables.

Then, we used the drawing feature allowing the students to come up and write in the correct answer to the math facts.  It is self checking so the students received immediate feedback.

Lastly, we had a competition using the shuffle and timed features.  I placed the students in two teams.  At each students' turn they clicked on the correct answer for the given math fact.  The app gives praise or says "nice try".  The students passed it on to the next student until all 13 problems were answered.  At the end it gives the percentage and time in which the problems were completed.  {*Tip* place the students beside each other not behind one another.  It makes passing the iPad easier and safer for the iPad!}

Wednesday, May 25, 2011

Math Differentiation (Wednesday)

This week I am featuring ways to differentiate when teaching and drilling multiplication tables. See Monday's post here.  See Tuesday's post here.

Today's acitivity is called "What's my name?" 
Each student received a stick-on name tag labeled with one of the 4 times tables.
All day we are calling each other by our new names.  I am "Mrs. 12". 

Oh, what fun we had!

{This is also an activity that can be used with any subject matter!}

Tuesday, May 24, 2011

Math Differentiation (Tuesday)

This week I am featuring ways to differentiate when teaching and drilling multiplication tables. See Monday's post here.

Today, I used an activity that I named "Shine Math".  As you read, you'll see that this same technique could be used for any subject area and adapted to "Shine Phonics", "Shine Science", etc.

First, I wrote the products of the 4 multiplication tables on the overhead projector.
I called out a multiplication fact.  For example, 5x4.  The student would then take an index card and position it so the correct answer "shines" on the index card.

After each of the students got a turn, we turned it into a competition.  2 students stood on either side of the number display.  When I call out a fact, the first student to make the answer shine on their index card got the point.

This is a fun way to increase their speed.
This activity is definitely a keeper!

Monday, May 23, 2011

Math Differentiation

Differentiation is the buzz word at my school this year.  Though it's been something that we naturally do as teachers all the time (hopefully).   I recently read that math drills are not enough for students to learn their facts.  Some students will quickly learn them no matter what and others will struggle no matter what.  The first priority in teaching students the multiplication facts is that they understand the process of multiplication.  Our math curriculum does a great job of helping the students master this.  So now we drill.  But just oral drilling and flashcards isn't effective for all students-enter DIFFERENTIATION!  
Each day this week I will post a math facts lesson that has been differentiated.  Most of these ideas can be used for any math facts: multiplication, division, subtraction or addition.

Monday: Today we made "math catchers" to practice our 4 times tables. First we followed these directions to fold the paper: Then, we labeled the flaps with the 4 times tables.
Next, we challenged each other!
We had lots of fun practicing our math facts!

Friday, May 20, 2011

The Last Week of School almost upon us! 8 school days left as I type this.  I enjoy having theme days that last week.  Days where fun AND learning can still happen.  Here's my plan for the last 4 days.
Last Week of School

Wednesday, May 18, 2011

Fantastic Father's Day Ideas

We had a fantastic Mother's Day Tea for the mom's. I didn't want to leave the dad's high and dry. So I've been on the hunt for some fantastic Father's Day crafts.  I found some great ones and of course I had to share since that's what this blogging thing is all about! Click on the links under the picture for instructions.

This Father's Day Trophy  is made from styrofoam cups!

I love this mug.  I have white tiles hanging around my classroom that I could use this idea for.

 Daddy poem card, simple but sweet.

I LOVE this Father's Day puzzle.

Simple Father's Day Medal with minimal supplies.

I would love to see your Father's Day classroom activities!

Saturday, May 14, 2011

Linky Party!

So the blogger malfunction was really frustrating! Can I get an "amen"?!  During all the craziness I lost a few posts, but I also reached 100 followers!  So exciting! So in honor of reaching the big 100 I'm reposting my "100 things I love about teaching" list!  Would you join me?
My list of 100 things I love about teaching:

1. little hugs

2. innocent hearts of children

3. bulletin boards

4. Sticky notes

5. being a professional.

6. Connecting with parents at conferences

7. Mailbox magazine

8. Instructor magazine

9. File folders

10. Colored flair pens

11. AR

12. my Brighton lanyard

13. Teacher tote bags

14. Glue sticks

15. Construction paper

16. Little scissors

17. Shirts & vests with apples and other teacher stuff on them (as cheesy as they may be)

18. my large desk calendar

19. Computers

20. Smart boards

21. Recess

22. Rainy day recess

23. Tying shoes

24. Songs to go with every skill

25. Lunch time

26. Breaks when my class goes to specials

27. Cute coffee cups

28. Summer vacation

29. Easter vacation

30. Teacher workdays

31. Getting ahead on lesson plans

32. Actually getting through everything in my lesson plans

33. Jeans days

34. Picture books

35. Graphic organizers

36. The staple & sort feature on the copy machine

37. Walking into the teacher workroom and seeing an empty mailbox

38. Being first in line at the copy machine

39. Rubber stamps with words-like “no name” , “completed together in class”

40. Brand new expo markers

41. U shaped tables

42. Class sets of white boards

43. Teacher stuff in the dollar section at Target

44. Field day

45. Field trips

46. 3 day weekends

47. Christmas presents from my students

48. Calendar math

49. Hanging art from the ceiling

50. Clothespins

51. Brand new pencil sharpeners

52. New school supplies

53. Specials teachers that say “Can I keep them a little longer?”

54. Colored copy paper

55. Sick days

56. When the last child leaves from carline

57. Parties

58. Student birthdays

59. Goodies in the teacher workroom

60. An empty “to be graded” tray

61. The day after report cards are completed

62. The beginning of a new unit

63. Comfy, cute flats

64. Teacher socks

65. The first day of school

66. The last day of school

67. Getting home at 4 o’clock

68. Timers

69. Filing cabinets

70. Label makers

71. Free books for my classroom library

72. Themed classrooms

73. Sentence strips

74. Velcro

75. Erasable pens

76. Cap erasers

77. Clipboards

78. NEVER having to go to work on the weekend

79. Blue painters tape for the walls

80. Bulletin board borders

81. Staplers

82. Personalized notepads

83. Baskets to organize everything

84. Magnetic white boards

85. Snack time

86. Really good stuff catalog

87. Out of uniform days

88. Special assemblies

89. Fundraiser contests

90. Kid art drawn just for me that says “I love Mrs. Hughes”

91. Cofffeeee

92. Story time on the floor

93. No emails in my inbox

94. Days with no discipline notes sent home

95. Finding great ideas BEFORE I teach the unit, not right after we finish it

96. Eating lunch with the winning group of students

97. Laminating everything

98. Overhead projectors

99. Educational videos

100. Knowing that everyday I make a difference in the life of a child.

I encourage you to make your 100 things list! It was a great way for me to reconnect with all the things I love about teaching!
Grab my button and link up!

Tuesday, May 10, 2011

Nurse's Day

Thursday is Nurse's Day.  It is celebrated on May 12th in honor of Florence Nightingale's birthday.
My class is going to go the clinic and bless our school nurses with this song:

“You Are My Sunshine” {Nurses Edition}

I praise the Lord who gave us nurses

she's always helped us from the start

the little things dear, you've done for us, nurse

You have such a caring heart.

you are my sunshine, my only sunshine

you make me happy when skies are gray

you'll never know dear, how much I love you

please don't take my sunshine away

I turn to you, Nurse, when I need comfort

you give me band-aids when I fall

you give me ice and take my temperature

you call my mom and that's not all...

you are my sunshine, my only sunshine

you make me happy when skies are gray

you'll never know dear, how much I love you

please don't take my sunshine away

we're throwing up sometimes and having headaches

promise I'll always cover my sneeze

to the great woman who heals our boo-boos

We are thankful for all you do.

We're also presenting them with this class book.

{This one's my favorite!}

Here are the printables just for you!!

You Are My Sunshine Lyrics   We Love CCA Nurses Class Book Cover Nurses Class Book Page

Wednesday, May 4, 2011

Fun Bulletin Board!

I decorated my daughter's teacher's door for Teacher Appreciation week.  I wanted to share with you because it occurred to me that this would be a great bulletin board as well!

I took pictures of the kids "hanging" then had my wonderful husband cut them out.  Make sure you don't leave any background.  This same concept could be used for a good work board or subject area board.
"Hanging around for Good Work"
Use your imagination!