April 15, 2017

1,2,3,4....10!

Top Ten
My students love completing the Top Ten topic of the week.  They can’t wait to see what the next topic is for the week.  I let them choose their own topics every now and then. Top Ten can be used across the curriculum.  There really is no limit to what you can use it for. 
How we use Top Ten in the class
A new topic is introduced each week.  I like to pick topics that we are currently studying or may have previously studied.  I do have a collage of pictures and words to help with those writers who have a hard time coming up with ideas. 
My students must show me the list first before moving on to the other activities.  I may correct some of the spelling if a student cannot read the word. I don’t want to take the pleasure away from the writing by correcting spelling errors. Approximations are welcomed and celebrated!
They are allowed to complete the remaining activities in any order they wish.  They have to put the list in alphabetical order, illustrate each word, and write a sentence using the word. 



I may keep a set of activities for each student and put it in their Writing Binder to show at conferences. I allow some students to work together to complete their lists.
 We have create Top Ten list on the following topics:
  • ·      Things that are green, yellow, pink
  • ·      Weather words
  • ·      Things you see in Spring, Fall, Winter, Summer
  • ·      Insects
  • ·      Animals
  • ·      Things we love
  • ·      Places to take a vacation
  • ·      Landforms
  • ·      Favorite movies or TV shows
  • ·      Favorite songs
  • ·      Healthy foods
  • ·      Christmas words
  • Things that produce light

 Students who are hesitant to write enjoy completing the Top Ten activity.  I work with students who have a hard time completing the sentences or coming up with ideas.  We take it a step further and work with one sentence each day.  They write the sentence, read it to a friend, then put the sentence in order.     

                       










I also have some students work with word cards to help with putting the words in alphabetical order.  
Two words, same letter?  What to do?

Checking out the alphabet chart
Success!
ideas are endless with what you can do with this activity.  Have you used Top Ten in your classroom?  Let me know how your students enjoy it!!



April 8, 2017

Get Your Teach On Orlando

I attended one of the best teacher conferences ever!  The Get Your Teach On conference in Orlando, Florida was motivating, encouraging, and filled with ideas on how to set the stage to engage my students!!
First I have to give a big shout out to my class that helped me win the registration to the conference by submitting a video about why I should receive a scholarship to the conference. 


Thank You to my Awesome First Grade Class!

 Get Your Teach On Video
Get Your Teach On Video

I want to share my 10 takeaways with you!

10  Engagement Enhances
We all know that everything can’t be a bucket of fun when it comes to the content that we have to teach, however, there are little things we can change that will bring excitement to each lesson.  You may not want to undertake a large room transformation but you are willing to bring in extra props to help engage the students.  Any of that EXTRA is definitely going to help the kids remember the content just because you have created a happy or funny memory. 

 


 9  There is a difference between a
       worksheet and a recording sheet.
  I really enjoyed Deanna Jump discussing the differences between the two.  A recording sheet is meant to log the students’ ideas and conclusions.  A worksheet is truly meant to fill time.  There is a time for both so don’t beat yourself up!  It depends on what you want your students to do.    


 8   Do you!
If you want to change your room to look like an excavation site because you think it would tie in with a lesson you’re teaching on fossils, then do it!  Don’t let other teachers try to dissuade you because it’s something they wouldn’t do.  That’s okay.  Everyone has their own style of teaching and you should not feel bad either way.



7   Laugh at your mistakes
I hate to say it but I’m a horrible speller!  Sometimes I will get caught up in creating a word bank on the dry erase board and forget to check my spelling.  There are times when I have lined my students up to go to specials and we walk to specials and then I remember there are no specials that day, so I just tell the kids we went for a leisurely stroll.  I flash a big smile and keep it moving.  I truly believe that my students like the fact that I laugh at things so much.  Or maybe they just think I’m crazy.


 6   Become an expert in your field
I don’t think you have to go back to college and get a higher degree to do this.  I believe conferences and good professional development will help with this.  You can also read books by authors who have completed the research or have used a certain strategy in their own classrooms.   I think we need to be constantly learning and improving.  You will never know it all!  However, try to stay abreast of trends and techniques that are changing in education. Keep learning what works!



5   Connect everything
We have a lot of standards!   On the positive side, it’s a great way to integrate the subject areas.   That’s one thing that I like when I see teachers use room transformations and the activities assess about 15 different standards from various subjects.  That’s some major learning going on.  Connecting the learning is not only efficient but it just makes sense.  We always want to get more bang for our buck!


4   Know the why
There are days or maybe weeks when you think to yourself, “What else can I do with this degree?”  Go back to that moment when you wanted to save the world by educating children.   Remember the reason why you wanted to become an educator.  We know it wasn’t for the fame or fortune.  Find that passion again!

3   Approximations are accepted and celebrated
      Deanna gave an example of how a parent responded when her child’s writing was not fully corrected.  I’ve had this happen to me as well.  I know from experience that my students will shut down and their writing will come to a halt if they get held up on spelling a word.  Let them get absorbed in the story!


2   Don’t hide behind I can’t
This is another big one because I know I have complained about too many standards that are taught too soon to kids that are too young.  I have not met a teacher yet who just loves scripted curriculum or curriculum where one size fits all.   I always tell my students to solve the problem!  What can we change?  How can I take this boxed program and make it more engaging for my students?  It can be done!  Your superpower is your creativity!!



1 Choose joy
I know this almost sounds cliché, but it’s so true.  Wake up every morning and make the decision that you will choose joy.  Put a smile on your face going into the day knowing you have bus duty, no planning, and three parent teacher conferences when you know only one will show up.  Count it all joy.



I learned so much at the conference.  It was also the motivation that was needed and right on time.  I want to go back and attend the 2-3 sessions.  I didn’t know I was being moved to second at the time of the conference so I attended the K-1 session.   I’m almost sure that the 2-3 sessions will be just as wonderful as the K-1 sessions. 
If you get the opportunity to go, check it out. 


What conference or PD have you attended that motivated and renewed your passion for teaching?