Saturday, September 26, 2015

Bats, Spiders & Pumpkins FREEBIES

I'm excited that October is right around the corner!  I love decorating my classroom with bats, spiders, and pumpkins.

My first year teaching, I did zero crafts.  Poor kiddos.  I didn't see any educational value in them, BUT know I know better.  Get those students engaged, tie the craft to a standard and BOOM! Learning will happen.

Today I'm linking up with The Primary Peach for Sharing Sunday.  This post is jammed packed with teaching ideas to get you through the month of October.  There are a ton of FREEBIES, so be sure to check out the links below the picture.

I have a confession.  I love candy corn. Is there anyone else out there with me?  True candy corn lovers are few and far between.  Of course I have to bring this love of candy corn in the classroom!  Students get a baggie full of candy corn, Indian corn, and pumpkins to sort and graph.

By October, we've completed our addition unit.  Once they've gotten the basics, we move onto harder concepts like sorting facts into true and false piles.

Now, I don't start our place value unit until November.  By then Halloween candy has taken over, Thanksgiving is approaching and after that is Christmas/Elves/Santa.  It's so important to get this concept in, so I introduce it early through the pumpkin patch and bat craft above.  The bats are amazing to decorate the classroom with!

A few years ago, I started doing whole group reading instruction with holiday themed books.  Typically I do this to start off reading groups.  The students have to complete an activity about a book we've read together and then go to literacy stations. It's my way of sneaking in themed activities.

Let's face it, grammar can be a little boring to teach.  Practice is needed to cement the concept in the brain.  Why not do it with bats, spiders, and pumpkins?

Make sure to visit The Primary Peach for more ideas and freebies for October!

Wednesday, September 16, 2015

A Peek At My Classroom

I'm so excited to announce that I've joined The Primary Peach collaborative blog!


Come sneak a peek and see a glimpse of my classroom!

Friday, September 11, 2015

Five For Friday: 9/11/15

One of the best things about teaching is that every school year is a fresh start.  It's an opportunity to fine tune the craft and try something different to fix any issues.  And, if we're being honest, trying new things we see on Pinterest.

I decided to dedicate my Five for Friday to the new things I tried this year to share what worked and what didn't.

First up is my glue sponges.  I actually tried this the last month of school and loved it.  You can check out my pros and cons post here.

I was still a little hesitant to use on how it would go at the beginning of the year, but I have not used a single glue stick.

Stop the world. 

Your bank account will thank you.

Verdict: Do it!

I saw dry erase wall decals on Pinterest.  I thought they would go perfectly on my guided reading table.

They look pretty and I've only used the dry erase portion for a tutoring session.

I wasn't too impressed.  

But I do like how they designate a specific spot at a table. #personalspace

Verdict: Save your cash.

Last year I started making better use out of my interactive notebooks. I had always used a math notebook and a poetry journal, but I jumped on the band wagon and made things more interactive.

I combined some journals this year.  My students have a reading (it includes a dictionary, phonics skills, grammar, and reading responses), math, social studies/science, and Bible notebook.

I wanted the students to be able to find their spots quickly and keep everything in order.  I hot glued a ribbon on the back and made an easy bookmark.

The students are able to find their page quickly and they feel "grown-up" having a bookmark in their notebooks.

Verdict: Must Do!

I added lamps to my classroom.  I had been wanting to do this for years, but I didn't want to spend a lot of money.

I lucked out by finding these lamps at Wal-Mart for $10.96 each.

I also found these lights on clearance for $7 at Target this summer.

I usually keep my overhead lights on during the first half of the day and turn them off in the afternoon.

Honestly, I'm turning them off all of the time anyhow for our brain breaks on GoNoodle, so why not keep them off all of the time!

Verdict: Must Do!

Band-aids.  For those real wounds and not so real wounds.

I didn't tell my class this up front, but I put a container of band-aids at the back of the room.  When someone asked, I told them where to get one.

I really thought if I told the students up front, they would have to suddenly get band-aids all the time.  You know those classes, right?

They manage to open and put the band-aids on just fine by themselves.

Thursday, September 3, 2015

Making Your Bible Curriculum More Engaging

When I first started teaching, I remember reading that you should focus on mastering one subject area per year.  It's easy to get overwhelmed trying to fine-tune every subject.  If it's your first year, just try to make it through that!  

I've been lucky enough to be teaching the same grade for the last nine years.  However, the teaching standards have changed throughout the years!  I work really hard to make learning engaging and fun.  I feel a little guilty how un-crafty I was at the beginning, but those kids made it to high school.  :)

This year my focus is on our Bible curriculum.  It's a great curriculum, but the lessons can be drawn out and a little boring.  I've also noticed that Bible activities always seem to ask for you to find about 10,000 things around your house to tell the kids the story OR it's just worksheets.  

Days of Creation - Students color the story of creation (written using Bible verses), make a creation bracelet, and make a flip book about the days of creation.  There are also posters that show what was created each day.

Garden of Eden - Students color the story of the Garden of Eden (written using Bible verses), fill out a bubble map about Adam and Eve and make snake craft.

Cain and Abel {FREE} - I always found this difficult to teach when I first teaching, so I included tips on how to explain this story to young children. There are posters about Cain and Abel and students can fill in a bubble map about them.

Noah's ArkStudents color the story of Noah (written using Bible verses) and sequence the story of Noah.

My students are also required to learn a weekly Bible verse.  They have to be able to verbally tell me on Fridays.  Higher grade levels have to write it and their verses are usually a bit longer.  

I wanted the students to learn the verses in a more engaging way and be able to visually connect the meaning.

Last week's verse was Psalms 147:4.  I used precut stars and had the students sponge paint the stars.  You could always use yellow stars and just star stickers if you are limited on time.

For John 3:16, I had students use watercolors to paint the world.

Both verses and activities are available for free in my TpT store.

I hope that this helps you in your classroom, homeschool, or Sunday school!