Sunday, 1 March 2015

March Calendar Cards - Freebie


I was looking around trying to find where I had shared these bad boys and realized it was on FB and that was the last freebie I posted over there!! Eek, feeling a wee bit guilty.

But if you did not snag them over there in the last 12 months : )  click on the picture below to grab a copy of these adorable monsters for March.

https://www.dropbox.com/s/f4a41dwxgclk79g/green%20calendar.pdf?dl=0

https://www.dropbox.com/s/f4a41dwxgclk79g/green%20calendar.pdf?dl=0


Saturday, 28 February 2015

Interactive Activities for Teaching Measurement



Linear Measurement is one of the math units that I really enjoy teaching. What's not to love - we get to use measuring tools, there are tons of real-life applications, you get to send your students scurrying around the school measuring objects and people. You get to try and point out the difference between perimeter and area over and over and over again. Sigh. Oh yeah, there are a few glitches when teaching measurement.

Last year I tried really hard to address some of the common misconceptions and difficulties my students encountered (year after year) during our measurement unit. I really tried to focus on 3 main problem areas:

1. what does it REALLY mean to measure
2. how to compare units of measurement
3. the difference between perimeter and area

Of course, I had to have a fun theme to tie it all together. So we had measurement monsters.

On the first day students brainstormed all the ways we could measure a monster. I displayed the monster on our screen but also had a monster stuffed animal (helpful for thinking about mass).
 
Then I directed the conversation into linear measurement. We created an anchor chart showing what we knew at the start of the unit. Then I gave each student a copy of the monster and had them measure the monster anyway they wanted. I wanted to check out their skills at using a ruler and recording their measurements (shockingly many did not record the unit of measurement and we still struggle with where to start on the ruler!! Ugh).
 
The next day we tried to work on what measurement really is: the comparison of an object to a known unit - it is not using a ruler. A ruler is not necessary at all!! We just need a known unit (paper clip, straw, centimeter, meter) and use it to make a comparison. We used this little activity with broken rulers to get a better understanding of how to measure.

 
No, I did not chew on and break all of our rulers!! I gave students paper rulers that had only part of the numbers showing.....like from 3 cm to 7 cm  or the ruler started at 11 cm to 15 cm. They had to figure out how they could use the ruler to measure. This lead to some great discussion and brainstorming.

Next we worked on selecting the best unit of measurement for objects in our world - a great way to develop benchmark measurements.
Students created their own interactive note for each unit of measurement. On each ruler they wrote an object they would measure with that unit (some even included an estimate - smarties!!)
Then the best day of all. We had a Monster Mash Game Show. There were two monster contestants. Each thought their unit of measurement was longer. Students had to construct the measurement, compare the measurement and prove who had the longer measurement. Students worked in pairs (Contestant A and B). Of course some people had cards with cm or dm or m!!
We used meter sticks, classroom rulers, centimeter cubes and base ten blocks to build our models.
We continued this activity by using the cards to do independent practice in our notebooks. We also created this note for our books.

Next we moved on to perimeter and area.
Students created their own monster - but it is a monster - it need to be in a cage! So we could figure out the area and perimeter of the cage!! Check out the heart monster : )

Next we created these one-eyed monsters, placed them around the classroom and found the perimeter of the object. They were placed on desks, charts, nametags. They were everywhere!! This lead to another great discussion on how the unit we use to measure effects the answer - some measured with centimeter cubes other with square counters.
 
Then it was time to build our monsters out of modelling clay. These monsters needed a home so we made plans for a Monster Manor. Students designed a floor plan and calculated area for the manor and each room.



All in all we had a great time and I feel that this was my most successful year teaching measurement concepts. If you want to check these activities out they are available in my TpT store.
Click on the picture to check them out.
 
https://www.teacherspayteachers.com/Product/Metric-Measurement-Interactive-Activities-and-Notes-1730249
 




Monday, 23 February 2015

Teachers are Heroes - A Few Thank Yous!


Recently in the media there has been discussion around teachers and snow days. While there are many funny memes and videos, there have also been some upsetting posts about teachers. While these type of articles usually get me riled up and ranting I am taking a deep breath and focussing on the positive.

I am going to focus on the teachers that I have come across that are my heroes - who have impacted my life for the better - who go above and beyond. Teachers who I need to say Thank You to!



My Grade 2 teacher, who made me fall in love with school, despite being sick most of the year. I will never forget seeing her at the mall - the day I realized teachers have a life outside of school - it was shocking!! I think Grade 2 was the year I decided I wanted to be in school forever, so I should become a teacher.

My Grade 7 teacher who showed me the importance of making connections with your students. She made the class a community, based not only on learning together but growing as people. People that she cared about. I will always treasure the way she responded to each journal entry with interest, compassion and a little push.

My Grade 9 English teacher who pushed me into Enriched English - believing in me, when I did not really believe in myself.

I also need to thank the amazing teachers I have worked with.

I had the privilege to learn from an amazing Grade 1/2 teacher for 15 years. She showed me what true collaboration looks like, how to communicate with parents, how to take a breath and decide what was really important. She also reinforced that I should always sing inside my head only : )

I also had the privilege to work with another amazing teacher for 15 years. She showed incredible dedication to her students. She showed me what it means to "step up" and do whatever needs to be done.

These two ladies are my heroes - they not only go above and beyond for their students. They went above and beyond for me. They became my family.

Becoming part of the teacher-blogging community (first as a stalker) has introduced me to so many amazing teachers, who are not only heroes to their own students - but to students around the world. They inspire us to try new things that will make our classroom a more engaging and vibrant place to be. They share resources and ideas and I am thankful everyday to be able to click on my blog feed and gain inspiration, confirmation or some days... commiseration.

As a seller on TpT I have been humbled by peoples' thoughtful feedback on my products. I love the thought that students in classes all over are using things I created - it is really thrilling. Hearing from teachers that it was a hit, that is an amazing feeling.




During the Christmas season, I received a lot of positive feedback on this product.

https://www.teacherspayteachers.com/Product/Elf-Applications-A-Persuasive-Writing-Activity-1020980
Click on the picture to check it out!

 



You may be thinking "That is nice, but not really helpful to me right now" BUT it may be something you want to pick up early during the TpT sale this Wednesday. Or you can check out the Easter version....

https://www.teacherspayteachers.com/Product/Easter-Bunnys-Assistant-A-Persuasive-Writing-Activity-1184716





 Both of these products will be on sale, along with my entire store, during the TpT sale this Wednesday.



Browse around the linky for other heroic products, or feel free to grab the graphic and link up your own! Link to a post containing one heroic product and its feedback. Use the graphic if you wish. (No direct links to stores or products, please.) Include the linky button and link it back to this post so others may find great heroic products.


    Monday, 9 February 2015

    100th Day Fun


    I know, I know...I blog and post things too late!! But today was our 100th Day of School celebration and I thought I would share a few photos with you (even though you have seen very similar ones on Pinterest - since that is where it all comes from!!). One day I will be one of those super organized people and I will blog before an event or unit or special day and you will be in shock. Until then....

    We started with this bulletin board (inspired by this bulletin board - which was inspired by Mailbox Magazine). Students wrote 1 thing they have learned so far this year.



    We also put 100 (ish - who can count that many) balloons in the space between our classrooms for the students to walk through (inspired by this school)  It was not as crazy as I thought it might be, but I am not sure I would do it again next year : )




    We made a 100 Piece Snack - that was high in sugar and took a lot of concentrating and counting!!.

    We made a Froot Loop necklace. We used the planner sheet found in this awesome freebie from Mrs. Jones Creation Station




    I highly recommend the planning page for the necklace, it kept students organized and on track. I also read an awesome tip on a blog (but I can't remember which one) about tying one Froot Loop to the end of the string before students start - this is a great way to keep the loops from sliding off - it was perfect!!

    We did stations, we made 100 Year Old Me portraits (which I will share when they are on the bulletin board because they are so stinking cute!).  

    Hope you had a great Monday! Maybe, just maybe I will be able to post some of our Valentine's Day activities before March : )


    Sunday, 8 February 2015

    Bears in the Igloo


    Happy Sunday! I am actually pretty happy as I am finally finished writing my report cards. Unfortunately I need to go in to work today and spend a few hours setting up for our 100th Day of School celebration tomorrow.

    On Friday we did a really fun math lesson to work on addition and subtraction strategies.

    First we watched this video, to remind us what we had learned about bears and hibernation in science. We talked about what they eat and how they live alone too!



    Then I read the book "The Very Hungry Bear". We talked about why the bear might be hungry and discussed why the polar bear had to find just the right place to live (habitat and adaptations!!).



    We talked about what an igloo was and why it was the perfect home for the polar bear.

    Next I brought out a coffee filter and placed it upside down on our carpet (in the middle of the students) and explained this was our igloo. I took some bears (the manipulative ones!). I told the students how many I had altogether. I put some under the filter and some outside of the filter. I asked students "If there are 9 bears altogether and 4 are outside of the igloo, how many are inside the igloo?"  We focused on how they found their answer - if they were counting up or counting back (the two most popular strategies right now).

    Next I gave my students each an igloo and some bears. They had to create a problem for their partner to solve and then switch with their partner.

    This was a big hit!!




    At the end of the day I gave each student a coffee filter igloo and some gummy bears. They created a problem, recorded their problem and then brought it all home to share with their parents.

    KG Fonts and Kelly B Frame

    We had loads of fun with this activity and of course it can be adapted for any theme (and food item!!)

    Hope you had a great weekend, I'll be back to post pictures from our 100th Day !!

    Sunday, 1 February 2015

    Learning Goals, Achievement Levels and 2 Stars and a Wish



    I have to say, moving grades has been a steep learning curve for me this year. While the curriculum expectations may not seem as intense as other grades there is a lot of heavy lifting to be done in the Grade 1 classroom. Some things I was not expecting, some I forgot about and some surprise me.

    One thing that I had sort of forgot about is the fact that my students don't really know what achievement levels are...this year is the first year they will be getting letter grades on their report card. Sure we have been talking about our learning goals and how we know we are successful since the beginning but just recently I introduced the "2 Stars and a Wish" feedback strategy. While going over this we started talking about how we use this feedback to help us improve our work and then I stumbled onto the fact that achievement levels meant nothing to them!!

    So a min-lesson arose. What do we do with feedback. How do we really use a checklist (not just to put checks on!!! Although that is fun). What are the levels - what do they mean.

    So....I had to add some more info to my board (okay, it is not a real bulletin board, it is my cupboards, I don't have enough room!).



    I had printed the achievement levels out on regular size paper but I will be making them larger for students to reference (just as soon as I change my ink).

    I added these to my Student Success Bulletin Board set, so if you own it, go and re-download it. If you want to check it out, click here.

    https://www.teacherspayteachers.com/Product/Student-Success-Bulletin-Boards-and-Student-Organization-Editable-1351713

     
    
     
     
     
    I have shared how I use 2 Stars and a Wish before (click here to read about it and pick up the stickers I make). This year I made a feedback page that I can attach to student work, use for students to give feedback to each other or send home for parents to provide feedback. Click on the picture to save it and insert it into a page - you can make one large page or put 2 on a page.
     
     
     
    (Font from KG Fonts, Border from Creative Clips)
     
     
    Well I am off to cross my fingers for a snow day tomorrow - which will make it very hard to work on report cards : )
     
    Enjoy the game tonight!!
     

    Friday, 16 January 2015

    Snow Time Five for Friday


    Happy Friday!! Today was a loooonnng day - we had lots of fun but some other craziness in the school made it a little tricky to stay focussed. The end of the day could not come quick enough - and then some of my students were dawdling when getting ready for home. How to impress upon them the importance of being quick on a Friday at the end of the day without getting hysterical is something I am working on for next week. I am linking up with Doodle Bugs Teaching to share some of our "snow time" activities from this week.








    We made adorable snowman clocks. I used a free clock template I found here. We glued it to the bottom of a blue piece of construction paper and then I gave my students freedom to create the snowman that they wanted - no templates, no tracers. I love how they turned out. We added an I can statement to the top because they were going home and I wanted to be sure parents new the expectation.





    We cut a pineapple! Big deal you say, wait there is more. We followed the procedural writing given to us by a Grade 3/4 class and used their success criteria to give them two stars and a wish feedback. The pineapple was delicious and it was really fun to go upstairs to see the big kids and give them our thoughts. We graphed our feelings about pineapple with a yes/no survey. I used my awesome thumbs up sticky notes I got at Target, which is now closing in Canada!!!!! Ugh!






    We stacked mini-marshmallows to collect and organize data. We did this earlier with large marshmallows but we did not organize our data - this time we talked about how to show our data so that it was easy to understand and talk about. And we ate marshmallow, hello, who can resist!

     




     

    We did a telling time scavenger hunt. We are working on telling time to the hour and half hour. We did a find your matching card activity (analogue and digital clock match). Then we did a find and record hunt. They had a blast.







    We made a mini-snowman! We are working on procedural writing (that is why we did the pineapple cutting - it was a writing swap!). So I made a mini-snowman as the students gave me instructions. We recorded each step. Then we watched the snowman melt away throughout the day - this was to introduce the concept of elapsed time!!


    You can check out the telling time task cards here if you are interested. The include a recording sheet to do the elapsed time snowman melting activity too.

    http://www.teacherspayteachers.com/Product/Telling-Time-Task-Cards-to-the-Hour-and-Half-Hour-1653544