Saturday, April 19, 2014

Spark Student Motivation: Letter Plates

It's Saturday and I'm on spring break!!!

I am so glad to have some time off.  Last week, was too insane with finalizing the team of people coming to India with me this summer, going to meetings after school, having a post-observation conference on Thursday etc.  I was sad not to have any time to blog.

Now, I am home for a few relaxing days in Ohio during which I will celebrate my birthday and more importantly the resurrection of my Savior, Jesus Christ.  Then, I'm heading to San Diego to visit my sister and brother-in-law.  Can't wait to get away from it all in the California sun.  Aaahhhh...

Anyways, I'm popping in to share a simple trick for phonics/spelling for Spark Student Motivation.


This really is a very simple activity, but it makes practicing phonics sounds, sight words, and spelling patterns much more engaging.  At grade level meeting this week, another first grade teacher shared this idea with us and by that afternoon, I was trying it with my kiddos.

All you have to do is write the letters, glued sounds, suffixes etc. on the back of paper plates.  Then, each student gets 2 or more plates.  

When I called out words, the whole class had to pay attention to what letters they had, so they knew whether or not they had to get up.  If their letter/sound was in the word, they got up and arranged themselves with the other students until they made the word.

This is a bad picture, but the word is "batches."
I knew the students would enjoy this, but didn't realize how engaging it would be.  Every student was calling out and giving instructions about how to spell the word and they were all so excited when they got to get up to be part of it themselves.

Definitely a fun break from regular dictation.  So cheap and easy too.

Hope it works for you too!  

Wishing everyone a Happy Easter!!


Tuesday, April 15, 2014

You Will Fall in Love with This Child...

Hello Blogging World,

I am so busy, I can barely take a deep breath, let along blog, so I am only popping in quickly.  Despite my busyness, this kid made me stop in my tracks.  Please take a few minutes to meet Judah.



Friday, April 4, 2014

5 for Friday, Fuel Your Faith, and a Freebie

What a fabulous Friday!!

Today was just great.  My kiddos came in, got started right away, worked hard all day, listened well, and enjoyed a super special assembly I will tell you about in a second.  I am heading into the weekend tired, but thankful for a great week.

Before I elaborate on the good things that happened this week, I do need to be honest and share some hard news I got yesterday.  As of yesterday, beautiful Aline, one of my sponsored children, is no longer in the program.  Apparently she was refusing to comply by some of the rules of the Compassion center.

My heart is so torn about this matter.  Logically, I understand that rules need to be enforced.  Emotionally though, my heart is breaking.  Although I only sponsored Aline for 3 years, I feel a great sense of loss.  For me, this is a glimpse of what it is like to parent teenagers who rebel and must be disciplined.  

I do not tell you all this to speak negatively about Compassion or Aline.  I still firmly support Compassion and will continue to pray daily for Aline, trusting God to work in her life.  The reason I tell you this is to be real and honest.  Compassion is an organization committed to their mission.  They do not make compromises and they understand that discipline and integrity must be upheld or child sponsorship will never make a true and lasting impact.

Anyway, now that I have shared that, I want to get on to the positive happenings in Miss Hoffman's class.


Reading Party

To celebrate filling our class marble jar, we had a reading party complete with blankets, stuffed animals, flashlights, and lots of great books!


Prizes and Incentives

Besides having the whole class marble jar incentive, my students earn tickets for showing respect and making smart choices, which lands them on green, blue, purple, or pink on the behavior chart.  They earn the following tickets depending on the color:
Clip chart from Teaching with Love and Laughter
Green-1
Blue-2
Purple-3
Pink- 4

Plus, they earn a jewel on their clip each time they land on pink.  5 jewels = a trip to the Clip Hall of Fame.

I found the chart and this idea from Teaching with Love and Laughter.

Why am I sharing this for Five for Friday?

Because this week, I added a new prize to my supply.  For most of the year, my students have been spending their tickets on stickers (5 tickets), pencils (10 tickets), prize box prizes (15 tickets), and coupons (20 tickets).  

Recently, however, some of my super savers have been asking, "What can I get for 100 tickets?"

My response: "Uh....uh...um..."

Not wanting them to buy out my entire supply of supply of little things and knowing they deserved a bigger reward for their perseverance and respectful behavior, I came up with the 100 Ticket Mega Prize!


It took me awhile to think of something affordable and meaningful.  I did not want to go with food, bigger toys, or technology, so I decided on...BOOKS!!  How can you go wrong with those?  Plus, I have Scholastic points to use, so why not spend them on rewarding my kids?

Pick up your own Mega Prize certificate below.  I made two different varieties.  Hope you can use one.


Place Value and Addition


During math, we've begun adding tens and ones with values up to 40.  My students enjoy being able to choose their manipulatives from the following options: straws, popsicle sticks, and cubes.

I recently revamped my storage of these manipulatives because my students are not the best at cleaning up and putting things away correctly to say it mildly.  Rather than having a large bag of the items, I made small baggies with 4 tens and 10 ones in each.  That way, my kids just have to pick up a baggie or some cubes on their way to the carpet for math.


Character Study

We are deep into our character study unit.  This week, students got baggies of colored cards representing different feelings.  As I read Chrysanthemum, they held up the different cards to show how they thought the character was feeling.  This sparked great discussion because students picked different emotions or chose more than one at a time.  I plan to do this with different books next week.


Here's the color code:
  • Yellow- Happy
  • Purple- Excited
  • Blue- Sad
  • Red- Mad/Angry
  • Orange- Scared
  • Pink- Embarrassed
  • Green- Jealous

On their own, they listed character feelings, dialogue, and other characteristics on a a graphic organizer from The Mailbox and a great freebie from Primary Paradise. 



Author Visit

Last, but certainly not least, our school had a very special opportunity to hear from a visiting author today.  See if you can guess who.

She has published exactly 100 books (learned that today).

                               She illustrates her own books.

                                                            She writes personal narratives.
     
Repeating characters in her books include a... rotten, red-headed older brother...

Yep.  That's right.  

Today I met, listened to, and got autographs from...Patricia Polacco!!!!

Though her books are a bit above first grade level, my principal still jumped at the chance to have her come and my kiddos had a wonderful time listening to her books all week and then hearing her speak today.  She told stories and motivated the students to reach out to the students they see sitting on the edge or having trouble learning.  Plus, she brought a piece of the meteor from the book Meteor and each kid got to touch it and make a wish on it!  It was so magical!

I got two books signed.  So cool!


Now, that I've shared about my week, I'll leave you with a verse that my Bible study group discussed at length this week for Fuel Your Faith.



Tuesday, April 1, 2014

Brownies, Currently, and Spring Cleaning

I hate April Fools!  Ugh.  It's so annoying.


April Fools!  

Okay so that was lame, but I really do enjoy April Fools.  Growing up, my mom would constantly fool me with stories of terrible things happening that somehow she made seem believable.  She is the queen of April Fools.

In honor of my mom's love of April Fools, I played a little joke on my kids today.  I am sharing it for...


Would you like a brownie?

To fool my kiddos, I borrowed an idea from Casey over at Second Grade Math Maniac.

During Morning Meeting, I told my kids that I brought brownies for them to celebrate the first day of spring.  All day my firsties kept asking me when it was time for the treat.

When it was finally time for snack, I pulled out a pan covered with foil and revealed the brownies.  



Or should I say "Brown E's!"

My kids were so confused!  Some were disappointed.  Others ripped their "E's" to make it look like they took a bite.

However, they were much happier when I pulled out a real pan of homemade brownies.  A delicious ending to a fun prank!

-----------------------------------------------------------------------

Besides enjoying some brownies to celebrate the start of April, I also plan to do some Spring Cleaning this month and I don't just mean sweeping and dusting.  I'm going to clear out my closets and shelves to help out with E & Co.'s Spring Cleaning Project.

"What is that?" you ask.  Let me tell you.

E & Co., a company with the mission of helping Indian street vendors by selling imported, handmade jewelry has decided to help out at home in the U.S. too.

Here's how E & Co. founder, Emily, describes the project:

"Spring Cleaning" for your Community!
This event was inspired by a conversation I recently had with a young lady named, Tinashe. Tinashe started a ministry called Rise Malawi in Malawi, Africa that gives children in a remote village the chance to go to school! We talked about how some of the children in the village may only have one shirt to wear meanwhile my closet is filled with them. :/  I felt really convicted about where my priorities lay and how I could do more. It’s too costly to send the items overseas, but there are also needs like this right within our own neighborhoods. This is how we came to the conclusion that we should do some “Spring cleaning for our Community!” 
Here’s how it works:
We want to encourage everyone to clean out their closets and pantries and donate to the nearest shelter and food pantries. Our goal is to donate a total of 1,000 clothing items and 500 food items altogether. We would love for you to post pics of your spring cleaning experience on our FB page and then tell us how many items you donated so we can tally them up!
We know we can make this goal if we work together! (That’s my closet in the picture above!)
Let the cleaning begin!
That's right!  It's time to clear out our closets and pantries to share with those in need right here in the U.S.  

E & co.LIKE E & Co. on Facebook and share your photos as you donate your items throughout the month of April.


Helping those in need is no April Fools, so let's get cleaning!




I will leave you with my Currently for the month.


We have to report to school at 8:15, but I usually get there between 7:45-8.  I try to leave right at 3:30 when we are allowed to, so I can go home and relax before lesson planning etc.

Also, how gross is it that we go until June 24?  Wish that was an April Fools!



Friday, March 28, 2014

5 for Friday and 2 Freebies!

It's Friday!

Where in the world has March gone?  Only three days left and we've still only seen glimpses of spring.

Unfortunately, you've also only seen glimpses of me.  I keep wanting to blog, but not having or taking the time to do so.  

Anyways, I'm here now for Doodle Bug's Five for Friday.


Persuasive Writing Ideas

my kiddos brainstormed ideas for what to write about.  I made this quick and easy chart for them to use to list their ideas.  They thought of things that they Want or Need, what they think is the Best or Worst of some category (e.g. ice cream flavor, book etc.), and Changes to Make (recycle, throw away trash etc.).  To say the kids were excited by their lists is an understatement.  They were all laughing and shouting as they tried to show me and and each other what they wanted.

Pick up the free graphic organizer here.


Fact vs. Opinion

Opinion and Persuasive Writing UnitOnce again, we are persuasive writing!  My kiddos could not be more excited to try to convince me and their parents to give them everything they want.  After introducing the genre with some great read alouds (Pigeon books, I Wanna Iguana etc.), we began to investigate fact and opinion.  I wanted my kids to solidly understand that they will be using facts to persuade others of their opinions.  To help them differentiate facts and opinions, we used a cute sort from Brigid Ann's pack.  


Character Study

Along with starting a new writing unit, we also began our new reading unit: Character Study.  Last year, I shared a ton of great resources in this post.  You should check it out to get some great freebies.

This week, we began the unit by reading A Weekend with Wendell by Kevin Henkes.  He is our mentor author for the unit because his characters have such clear traits.


Character Education Performance

Today was an exciting day for all the first grade classes at my school.  Each one performed a short skit for our grade level Character Education Assembly.  All the parents were there snapping pictures of their kiddos as they recited Aesop's Fables, The Sandwich Swap, The Crayon Box That Talked, Do Unto Otters, and The Boy Who Wouldn't Share (my class).


Math with Technology

My class this year has trouble in whole class settings, but does quite well in small groups and independent work.  Therefore, I have been doing versions of the Daily 5 for both reading and math.  Actually, both are really the Daily 4 due to time constraints.  Math only became 4 centers this week when I added a new rotation: Math with Technology.

For Math with Technology, I have the kids using the desktop, laptop, and iPad.  A few kids have to share each one, which is not ideal, but seems to be working okay so far.  These are some of the apps they have been playing on the iPad:

Penguin Math

Subitizing Flash Cards
To make up for the fact that I haven't posted in so long, I'm throwing another freebie into this post.  Get your own Math Daily 4 cards by clicking the picture below.



So, that's it for me this week.  Have a great weekend everyone!