Friday, September 30, 2011

New Recommended Site! ABC TEACH

There's a whole slew of free stuff to download and use! I've also added the link to my Recommended Sites on the left side of this blog.

Wednesday, September 28, 2011

A Useful Art Project - Sun Visors!

I got the visors at the dollar store (packaged 3 to a bag). Then I pulled out all my self-gluing decals, letters, and gemstones, and let them have a field day decorating their own visors. They keep them inside their cubbies and wear them when it's time for recess.

Monday, September 26, 2011

Teaching Independence

One of the things my "gofer" is responsible for is to keep the music playing during work time and nap time. As you can easily see from the photo, I've used a permanent marker to make my STOP button red and the PLAY button green. What's not so clear is the volume adjustment knob on the top left. One side has a face with a closed mouth (for softer), and the other is a face with a big open mouth (for louder.) These quick visuals mean I only need to teach it once, and the new gopher next week can be quickly taught by last week's child.

Friday, September 23, 2011

Use Your Computers' Slideshow Screensaver

I find lots of interesting and thought-provoking pictures on the internet, which I download and save on my classroom computers. I then set the screensaver to the slideshow presentation mode. That way, even when the computer is not in use, it provides an array of photos. This is one example of a new shot I just discovered that I'll be uploading. (Hint: Always try to find a jpg or gif file that is at least 500 pixels large. Otherwise the picture will be too small to be seen across the room.)

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

Add a Bit of Whimsy to Your Day

I drink coffee. And later in the day I may want some hot tea. I really enjoy taking unusual mugs to school for the children to see, like this Cookie Monster Dunk Mug that you can get here. Sometimes the mug can even be the topic of that day's writing assignment!

Friday, September 16, 2011

It's as Easy as 1-2-3

To give my students a little something different, and to challenge them to think in ways other than laterally, I started having them make "number boxes". Each child gets a sheet of large construction paper.

* Fold it in half "hamburger" length, then open and fold "hot dog" length.
* In one box, they cut out a picture from a catalog that contains the number of items they're studying
* In another box, they write/copy the name of the number
* In the third box, they get one of the numbers (large and tracing) to color, cut out, and glue on
* In the last box, I have objects that they can glue - the number of objects depends on the number

As you can see, we glued a cotton ball for 1, toothpicks for 2, and paper clips for 3, but you can use any items you want. I'm planning on having gold stars for 4 and buttons for 5.

The best thing about this activity is that it reinforces their cutting and other fine motor skills, as well as helps them with their counting.

Wednesday, September 14, 2011

Artwork Counts, Too!

Don't forget to include artwork in those portfolios. Sometimes a child who has difficulty reading may be more artistically inclined. And a child who has problems expressing himself creatively may have other problems as well.

Note: Never "grade" papers and place ALL of them up where everyone can see everyone else's grade. Either give no grade, or give everyone the same grade (like a check mark or a happy face).

Friday, September 9, 2011


I have a big purple crate with hanging file folders in it. Each folder has a manila folder with a child's name and his "recognition stamp".

Whenever I have my students do something that I need to keep - a completed assessment, a coloring page, a math worksheet, handwriting sample, or whatever I may need to show how that child is doing in class - all I have to do is tell them to put it in the purple basket.
They love to file their own work, and the portfolio is great to show parents during report card conferences, or to pass along to another teacher in the event a student has to be retained or referred for special testing (like speech.)

Friday, September 2, 2011

September Cheer

September! September!
A wonderful month!
The fall leaves are falling
And go crunch! Crunch!