Thursday, April 17, 2014

What time do we go home?

When is lunch? When do we have PE? Even though I have visual supports with their personal picture schedules, it's just natural for kids to ask those questions. I use (Dollar Store) foam clocks and list the events with the clock set to the appropriate time. It gives kids another visual support and it also helps to have it posted for anyone else who needs to know:)

Saturday, March 15, 2014

St. Patrick's Day Fun!

We got to use mirrors yesterday to read sight words (flipped text) and the kids LOVED it! I bought Dollar Store mirrors that had bendable stands. I reviewed expectations on safety and how we can use them with the kids before I gave them out. I differentiated the sheets, some kiddos could Smart Copy the word from the mirror, others needed to color the word (already written on worksheet) to match. A few of the kids figured out on their own that they could see the word (with the text unflipped) on the back side of the paper. This helped if they couldn't Smart Copy and look at the mirror at the same time. One kiddo had a blast just looking at himself as he stuck his tongue out in between words! This can actually an appropriate Speech strengthening activity, I was okay with it and he was on-task as soon as he got a new word:)
Click on one of the pictures below to link to the activity pack these came from.

Thursday, March 13, 2014

Staying On Topic: Social Skills

We had an amazing group discussion about staying on topic in a conversation in the first grade class that we are included with. I started by reading the social story I wrote for staying on topic you can find it here.

I had written up comments that were on topic and off topic for high interest topics in our class. The teacher that I work with loves Hello Kitty and the kiddos love to wear Hello Kitty, too:) Soccer, Star Wars, My Little Pony and Angry Birds were the others I chose. Some other suggestions for the younger grades would be MineCraft, Pete the Cat and Lego Movie.

It will work best if you allow students to go to the topic of their choice. You want them to be excited about it and know some things to generate conversation. I am lucky enough to be in there to support inclusion with my Para Educators so we had enough adults to monitor and shape the conversation. You could do it in small groups, one topic at a time if it is only you.

Although my students have specific needs, this is really helpful with any student and for classroom management as well!

We love finger flashlights!

During BEAR (Be Excited About Reading) time today, I brought out the finger flashlights for the kids to use. Since it was a new activity during that time (tends to be distracting), I had them read their Edmark words so they could play a little bit. We turned out the lights and the kids had a blast! If you watch this little guy, he draws a C in the air with his flashlight, I think it helps him remember the word see:)

Thursday, March 6, 2014

Number Words

This has been a fun center for my kiddos lately. To practice spelling number words, I have them use letter beads. I got plastic pencil boxes (the ones that open up like a drawer) at the Dollar Store and put a foam number on the front. I placed the beads they would need inside with a pipe cleaner. A few kids have needed a sheet with the number and the word written to check their spelling. I could even differentiate it further by just having the foam letter stickers spell out the number on the front and they can match letters. I think I might make some more with the first 20 Edmark words, too!

Using Word Wizard with Journeys

My students have been responding well to using word wizard to explore their sight words for the week on Monday morning. I place them out on the table and they get their iPad, open up the Word Wizard app and spell out the words. Word Wizard reads it back to them. I like that they are exploring it on their own the first time they see the word. I'm not worried about them spelling it incorrectly (putting b for a d, etc.) because they are noticing that they word doesn't sound right. I cue them in that it doesn't make sense and prompt them on what letter they need to correct to get the right word. They love it!

Tuesday, February 4, 2014

Some of My Favorite Tips

One of my favorite tips that helps with classroom organization is to have timers on plastic coil keyrings. They are inexpensive (from Walmart) and can just be set in the back of these clip timers. The timers you would use would have to have something on the back (like a clip) for the keyring to hook into. I have them hanging on magnetic hooks all around the room and keep one on my wrist when I need to time something.

Sunday, February 2, 2014

I Love My Burlap Pennant Banners

I purchased three adorable burlap pennant banners from Etsy at the end of the summer. I get so many compliments on them when people see them. I purchased them from Gifts by Gaby. She created them so quickly! I have the two below as well as a READ banner.

Absolutely love them and I already see some more products I may have to get for next year!

Thursday, January 30, 2014

I just want to play with this!

We recently finished our unit on matter. We used the FOSS kit and got additional beans for the soup mix activity. We had small group centers that we rotated through and we wanted each kid to get really hands on. I had some of the beans left over and put them in one of my Sterilite Target containers. Today I added some of my letter stringing beads (two of each letter). Tomorrow I will just introduce it to the kids, but I will work on some type of recording sheet for them to use during centers.

Tuesday, January 28, 2014

Quiet Spot

All classes could use a quiet spot, but over the years, it has come to be an essential behavior management tool for my students. I use papasan chairs that I bought from Target a few years ago. I have seen similar ones from WalMart. I have some posters that I printed from Boardmaker Share with pro-social language and a mirror. When I first have to implement it with a student, they don't realize that it is something I WANT them to do, that I am okay that they are leaving the activity. I let them blow off steam and once in a while ask if they are ready to talk. Based on the child's needs or if they have a behavior plan, we work through the problem and discuss alternatives to what they could have done. I use a lot of the following language:

  • big deal/little deal
  • solving the problem
  • let's move on
  • First....Then....statements
It's been a place that the kids use when they are feeling fine and when they have something going on that is really making the moment/day hard for them. Hope it works for you, too!

Tissue poms on bulletin board corners

I saw all of the poms that teachers were making on different blogs and wanted to make smaller ones that I could put in the corners of my boards. I found a cute, bright polka dot tissue paper print at the party store that went well with my Eric Carle theme. I used 8-10 sheets and only separated the sheets until I made half of a sphere. You can Google directions and find a ton, but here is a link to how to make your tissue poms. I love them!

What to do with book jackets...

If you are anything like me, you think that having book jackets with little ones just.doesn' They have difficulty handling the book with it, and it ends up hanging off most of the time.

I had a wonderful professor for the Children's Lit course for my Reading Specialist cert and I asked her what she thought, especially for the award winners with medals on the front. She suggested cutting the teaser and the info about the author, and especially any awards, and use shipping tape to put them on the inside of your books. Try it and see if it makes your library organization easier!

Sorry about the glare from my phone:)

IKEA in the Classroom

Over this past summer, I finally purchased some IKEA shelving units for my classroom. I went with the Trofast ones, planning on using them for centers and organizing manipulatives and some leveled texts. If you happen to be thinking about if it would be worth it to make the investment of buying the units, it is so worth it! I love mine:) My kids are able to be independent with getting the bins and they hold all of the materials needed for each center. The only thing that is still on my to-do list for these shelves is to change the Reading center bins to be labeled A through E, keeping the Math ones numbered.

Another fabulous find was this under-bed storage bin decorated with numbers. It holds my 3D Touch Numerals perfectly and slides right under the SMARTboard so the kids can access it during center time.

There are also wonderful storage nets (6 compartments) that hang on the wall. I used command strips to hang mine. I have one behind my kitchen area and two on the back of the bathroom door holding random teaching tools. They come in an orange/red set as well.
It was a lot of hauling out of my car this summer, but I'm done with it now and will reap the benefits of it each year! So worth it!