Sunday, April 29, 2012

KEEP CALM AND FINISH STRONG


 I have 22 days of school left. TWENTY-TWO.
And it's all set it in.  You know, the fever.  I have symptoms like, I can.not.get.up. in the morning.  I've stopped making my lunch everyday. I'm wearing ponytails everyday.  I no longer care what my outfits look like.  That's just to name a few.   

 I'm just plain tired.  I'm in survival mode.
Can you relate?

Well, today I've made a resolution-kind of like a New Year's Resolution-but the opposite. :) 
I'm resolving to make these the best 22 days I can for my students and my family (because let's face it, my family definitely gets the short end of the stick this time of year.)

And why shouldn't I put it in overdrive right about now? I have 22 days until I have 2 months off!!! I have so much to look forward to! Non-teachers would kill for 2 months off! And I do LOVE, LOVE, LOVE my job.  Why should that stop just short of the finish line.
It shouldn't.  It can't.  I won't let it!

Here's how I'm going to do it:
(I know you're wondering "How in the world..."):

1.  I'm going to get up early-15 minutes earlier than normal. 
You know, like I did back in August and September...Then I can make a good breakfast for my family.  I can actually fix my hair and look and feel presentable for the day.

 Afterall, I have 60+ days ahead of me that I can sleep until whenever I want!!!

2.  I'm not going to buy lunch at school more than once a week.
I 'm going to pack a nutritious lunch.  I need to feel good in the afternoon and not loaded down after eating chicken fingers and fries for the 4th day in a row.
3.  I'm going to complete my lesson plans for the remainder of the school year this week.
I want to be prepared and be one step ahead.   The worst thing about this time of year is the feeling of being overwhelmed by so much to do.  Getting my lesson plans done will make for one less thing on my plate.
4.  I will implement a new behavior motivation for my students this week.
This will keep them motivated and help me with my patience.  I'm implementing "Brownie Points".  Click on the pic to see this great idea from First Grader At Last.


5.  Lastly, I will SMILE.  I will have joy. 

  I will love these 23 sweet boys and girls with all my heart 

until they walk out of my classroom door 22 days from now. 

Blessings to you,
Kris



  

Friday, April 20, 2012

Helping Students Transfer Their Learning

I can't count how many times I've taught a concept and then wonder if the kids will remember it a week or even a day later.  Obviously, our goal as teachers is not just to impart knowledge to our students, but for them to transfer what they've learned days, weeks, and even years later to real world situations.
I've found a practical way for this to
 happen with my second graders.
A few months ago we were learning about American symbols.  We studied in detail about the U.S. flag and all its attributes.  So to help this information "stick" I asked the students to have their parents email me a picture of any American flag that they see over the next week.  With the availability of smart phones, this has become an easy task for most families.  Many of the parents told me about how their child spotted the flag and took the picture themselves.  I didn't send any information directly to the parents.  I'm relying on the students to make the learning their own.
Here's some of the pics that I got:



Then, last week we studied evaporation and condensation.  Here's the great pics that they sent me:




This has proven to be an easy way to help the students connect what they have learned in the classroom with the real world!

Blessings to you,
Kris



Thursday, April 5, 2012

Conference Day Idea

We had our final conference day for the school year today.  YAHOO!  At my school, we have 3 mandatory conference days.  By the 3rd quarter, we (and the parents) sometimes feel like "been there, done that". So I always try to go the extra mile to make the last conference meaningful and special.

One way that I make the conference meaningful is by giving each parent a top 10 list of what their child needs to know walking in the door of 3rd grade.  You can easily compile this list for your grade level by talking with the team members of the next grade level at your school.  Parents always value this information.  It's also a great springboard for me to be able to address areas of strength and weakness in their child. Top 10 3rd Grade Skills

One way that I make this conference special is with a fun folder to store the information I'm giving them.  This quarter I made this cover sheet.  The folders were all laid out on a table and the parents had to pick which smile belonged to their child.



Now I'm off for SPRING BREAK!!

Blessings to you,
Kris

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