Thursday, October 15, 2015

Keep Calm

Do you like your classroom to feel calm and relaxed?  I sure do!  One of my favorite ways to impact the mood of my classroom is through music.  Each morning, we start the day in a quiet, relaxed way by listening to calm music.  Over the years, I have amassed a YouTube playlist of great calming videos.  There are three major criteria for the videos I play.  First, all of these videos are longer than one hour, so you don't have to worry about them ending. Also, I like to play music that has no sudden drops or peaks in volume.  And of course, the music has to be calming.  :)  I am sharing my playlist with you today in hopes that you'll find some new quiet music to enhance your classroom environment.  Feel free to share your favorite videos, as well!

When can I use calm music?
-morning arrival time
-writing time
-reflection time
-silent reading

Wednesday, June 25, 2014

School's Out for Summer!

Whew...what a whirlwind of a year!  The 13-14 school year was my first whole year with the same group of kids and it was, overall, AMAZING.  Of course, no class is perfect...we had our fair share of struggles and meltdowns, but it all worked for good.  I am definitely missing my 21 kiddos!

Now that we are in the middle of our summer, I've really gotten good at the whole "relaxing" thing.  ;]  School stuff is getting done, albeit slowly.  A highlight of my summer was becoming the Class Dojo mentor for my school.  It's pretty cool to get some inside looks at the company and talk with teachers all over the world who also use Dojo.  I've already heard some awesome ideas that I will implement this fall.

What are you up to this summer?  School?  Reading?  Relaxing?  Make sure to enjoy the free will be upon us before we know it!

Monday, February 10, 2014

Learning Words with Boggle

We have recently started playing Boggle in our classroom.  This is one of the choices students can make when they are finished with their assignment.  To play, the student will take our their Reading Journal and copy the letters at the top of the page.  Then, they will attempt to make as many words as they can from the 16 letters in the squares.

This is a great open-ended activity, because it can be as challenging as the student needs it to be.  Some students will stick to finding two and three-letter words, but others will challenge themselves to find longer words.  In the few minutes we used to introduce this new activity, the students had found the words and, am, and man.  How many words can you find?  :]

Monday, February 3, 2014

Writing a Pro/Con Chart

     For the third nine weeks of the school year, we are working on writing about our opinions.  Last week we asked the question, "Is winter the best season?"  As a class we created a Pro/Con chart to help us organize our thinking.  Below you can see our completed chart.  We talked about the fact that pros are good things and cons are bad things; the smiley and frowny faces help the students remember what the words mean.

     When students are writing opinion pieces, ask them to start with a pro/con chart.  Once they writing in all of their opinions, they should decide what they think.  For our writing, the opinions are either, "I think winter is the best season," or "I do not think winter is the best season."  When they know what their opinion is, they will write it across the bottom or their pro/con chart.

Tuesday, March 26, 2013

Brain Breaks

If you teach young kids, you understand how much energy they have.  It makes me jealous...can I have just a bit of that energy to help me get going in the mornings?  Seriously, they have about 10x more energy than me.  While all of that energy is great, I'm sure you also know that it makes it hard for them to stay focused sometimes.  Enter...the brain break

My kiddos love when we do brain breaks.  It even helps if some of us are feeling grumpy (teacher included!).  Somehow dancing just makes the grumps float away!  I've pinned several videos on my pinterest page and loaded it on our computer desktop.  That makes it easy for the kids to pick videos, too.  A couple of our favorites are "What's That You Say" by Koo Koo Kangaroo, and "Ants in Your Pants" by Eric Herman.  Check those out and all of the other videos we use on my pinterest page!


P.S.-  Sorry for the really long blogging break!  I changed jobs (twice!) and got married, so needless to say, I've been a bit busy!  :]

Thursday, May 24, 2012

Absent Teacher

This teacher has been very absent from the blogging world.  Seems that everything gets CRAZY during May.  Lots of family stuff and school stuff. 

Well, now I'm ready to relax because yesterday was the last day of school.  This is what I've been up to:

My room yesterday...

...and my room today.  So bare looking!
Tomorrow is our last day of postplanning and then I'm outta here!  Mr. Biz and I are going on a much needed trip to visit friends.  We both need a break!  Because, of course, when I get back, I'll start thinking about school again...a teacher's job is never done!  :]

Happy summer, everyone!  And if you aren't done yet, you can make it! 

Monday, April 30, 2012

Count the Room freebie

Hi guys!  If you're reading this, then you probably survived one more Monday at school!  Only three more to go for me! 

Today I did a fun little activity with my Kindergarten kiddos that they loved.  I've been seeing this "Read Around the Room" activity all over blogland, and I really wanted to try it.  So, I modified it for my K ELL's, and came up with this "Count the Room" activity.  I stuck sticky notes all over the place (some easy to find, some more challenging) and they had to find as many as they could, then mark them on their paper.  I stuck the gameboards in page protectors so I can use them over and over.  (Sidenote: this really isn't a game, but the second I called their pages "gameboards," I could see all of them perk up and think, "OHH! A game!")


These are some examples of the sticky notes I put up.  The different ways to represent the numbers was fantastic...for my kiddos that struggle a bit more, they could find the numbers written regularly (like the 3), and then just match.  For the kiddos who needed a challenge, they could do the simple addition problems.  They all loved searching around the room to find as many of the numbers as possible.  We did this for about ten minutes and no one finished.  I think I'll leave the numbers up tonight so they can try again tomorrow.

So this really is a simple "game," but it was great for us (especially since one of their goals in K is to recognize the numbers to 30).  I've uploaded my little "gameboard" to share with ya'll.  I'd love to know if you use it and enjoy it!  Click here to download it for free.

Happy Monday, friends!