Check out the snowy sight words...
There's nothing better (or easier) than shaving cream on a table for working on sight words!
After all the shaving cream fun ~ we shifted to Hot Chocolate Math. First, we made the two mugs with hot chocolate inside. Next, we rolled a die to see how many marshmallows to put in the 1st mug. After we glued them in, we rolled to see how many to put into the 2nd mug. When we had everything glued down, we wrote the number sentence at the bottom of the paper. The best part was getting to eat the leftover marshmallows! :)
I love doing these hands on activities! I know that these types of lessons have much more meaning to them. I try to incorporate them as much as possible, but they usually require a lot of prep work or for me to buy supplies and, unfortunately, I don't have much extra time to prep, and I have very little $$ to buy the supplies!
My class is really loving learning about winter. I just love teaching with a theme. I think that the students have genuine learning experiences that enhance the concepts that I am trying so hard to teach them. One of my favorite activities is interactive writing. Unfortunately, I am having a hard time working this in on a daily basis. I did manage to get it in during my teaching of winter clothes. We worked on this writing as a class, and when it was finished we made paperdoll kids & dressed them in winter clothes. The students really LOVE this activity! I am able to talk about so many different teaching points with writing...spacing, capital I, letter sounds, periods, formation, sight words, one to one correspondence, etc....It really is an activity that has a huge impact on their learning!
I read the students Jan Brett's version of The Mitten and then we decided to do a mitten glyph for math. Here is a picture of the glyph's directions.
Here is a picture of the finished mittens:
This was another activity that the students really had a good time with. They were comparing their mittens and having rich conversations about the similarities and differences between their mittens and their friend's mittens. It is always great to see them so engaged in an activity!
This is that time of year when it is time to do the mid year assessments for math & literacy. Thankfully, I finished all the math assessments before the holiday break, so... I am banging out the literacy portion of the assessments. I have been pleased by the growth that my students have shown thus far, I am just kind of bummed because I know that when I had a full time assistant my students were a little farther ahead by this point of the year. What am I going to do??
Well, I have slowed down and backed up with reading and writing. I have decided that I am going to slow down and teach them at their level/ ability. I have already begun to see improvements and I think that I will be able to speed back up in the next few weeks.
This has been our first full week back since winter break. I have been working like crazy to make up for some lost time in the classroom. It has come to my attention that my kids are not doing as well this year with reading and writing! I feel like they should be a little further along than they are. So let's see...
Things that I am noticing in my students:
I have taught them their letters & letter sounds, and the majority of my students are able to identify them all. Yay!
I have taught high frequency words, most of the students can read them, but most of them are not trasferring this knowledge into their writing.
I am enlisting parental help with the above concepts.
I do not have an assistant during my reading time, and I am having a hard time meeting everyone's needs on a daily/weekly basis.
My writing block is at the end of the day and my students are having a hard time staying focused during my mini lessons.
Ideas to improve my readers & writers:
More interactive and/or assisted writing early in the day.
Having my assistant work on targeted skills with small groups instead of individually.
Modeling my thinking...I have been trying this one out for the last couple of days, and I am starting to see some changes in my students. I am hoping that doing this more frequently will trigger their higher level thinking skills.
Expecting more from my students!
I am hoping that I can get everyone back up to the level that I expect them to be at at this point in the year. I know that they are capable, I am just going to have to push them a little harder..
Okay, so since we had 4 snow days in row, we have lost all workdays until Spring Break! I admit that it was nice to have almost 4 straight weeks off, but going until Spring Break without a break...whew! It's gonna be tough! I am happy that we are back in session and getting back into routine. The students were really ready to get back to school.
Today I taught about Dr King and why he is important. I always love to teach about him because the kids are completely fascinated with the fact that there was a such thing as segregation. They are always apalled with how people were treated unfairly before civil rights came into practice. I love to see the reactions that I get from them when I tell them that the black children & white children were not allowed to go to the same schools, playgrounds, water fountains, etc. They really get into the unfairness of that time & are thankful that things have changed today. I love to have discussions with them and see them getting fired up about the treatment that African Americans received. They really grasp the fact that we are all just people regardless of the color of our skin. This is one lesson that I feel the point gets across to them as clear as a bell!
As a side note I would like to say that today I got another new student, a boy,... that brings my numbers to 5 girls and 12BOYS!! I am so thankful that ALL of my boys are calm, sweet, caring, little guys. (My girls are great, too!)
Ok, so with all the craziness of the end of the year and holiday activities, I haven't had time to post.
I just love our school on the last day before winter break because it is full of fun surprises for the kids. We get to go to the multi purpose room to hear singing from our school choir, a presentation from a church that sort of sponsors our school at Christmas time, singing from our principal, and other little fun things. Then, at the end of the day we get to open presents that were brought to our school from Team Church. They make sure that EVERY kid in our school receives a gift and knows that he/she is special. I LOVE to see their faces light up when they get their own gift. The gifts are pretty awesome, too! The get remote controlled cars, playdoh sets, art kits, Barbie dolls, etc! It is amazing.
It is hard to believe that the first half of the year is already gone. I am very proud of my class and all of the progress that they are making. I know that the second half of the year will be as great as the first half. I am going to really be pushing them to achieve at high levels and to accomplish all the things that I am expecting of them. I find that if you expect great things, you will get great things.
Here's to a great new year!
Happy 2011 everyone!!