Saturday, November 16, 2013

I like it! (Things I like from the Math Modules)

We did an activity yesterday that I found really interactive and the students LOVED it. "This is the best game I have played in math yet!" was from one of my students who does not particularly love math.

It was called "Shake Those Disks". The students are working with number bonds for 6. They worked in partners and had 6 red/white disks. They would shake them in a cup and record the partners on their bar graph. They had so much fun and really learned the partners for 6!

Thanksgiving Crafts

With our new curriculum we are using our occupational and physical therapy time to do more hands on crafts and holiday related activities. The OT was here to help with tracing & cutting and the PT helped the students to move between stations using their gross motor skills and building their school muscles. They did bear walking, wheelbarrow walking and all kinds of other yoga poses while they waiting their turn at the craft stations.
The first project was designed by my student teacher and uses the students hand & foot prints to make a turkey. This activity required a lot cutting so it was excellent practice using their fine motor skills. It also required the students to plan how to put the parts together to make it look like a turkey. This was inspired by this pinterest post.

 This 2nd project was designed by my co-teacher's long term substitute. She mixed equal parts shaving cream and Elmer's school glue to make these puffy shapes. The kids loved getting all gooey to mix it together and create a blob on their paper. They then needed to rip paper feathers and stick them in the glue mixture in the shape of the turkey. The teacher added the eyes, beaks and legs to finish the project. We thought next time maybe we would have the kids stick googly eyes on the blob before it dries. When it dries, they remain puffy and soft.

Sunday, November 10, 2013

Modules, Modules and More Modules!

Well, we are one week into the math modules and it is a little frustrating, challenging. The contents of the lessons are not terrible, but the amount of time I spend collecting, purchasing and creating the materials and correcting errors is a bit much. Since I teach a multi-age classroom I am teaching the kindergarten and grade 1 modules from the website. There are many simple materials and items that need to be collected for each lesson, such as an egg carton for each of my students. Thank goodness I read that lesson plan well in advance!

We have been told many times that although there is a script with this program, we should only use this as a guide for our instruction. There are however, no suggestions or recommended accommodations for students with special needs, only that need to be exposed to all of the content. The pace of the program seems to be the most challenging so far. My 1st & 2nd graders are working through the first grade modules and this week we are trying out splitting the lessons over 2 days so that we can ensure the students are understanding the concepts and not just getting through it. I also only have a 45 minute block and the lessons are set up for 60 minutes. The kindergarten group seems to be doing okay with the pace so far. Since we started late in the year and this first module is intended to start on the first day of school they have a good base of knowledge for these lessons from our work earlier in the year.

Check out the link to my TPT page for some of the materials I have made to help my students understand the concepts of the program. It really is NEW math!

Tuesday, October 15, 2013

Ahh...It's October!

Wow! Here we are in October and I am just getting to this blog for the first time this school year! We have become completely overwhelmed with CCSS Core Knowledge Listening & Learning and will begin the math modules next month. This new curriculum has really cut into our ability to be creative with our students learning styles, but I'm not here to complain. We have done some really neat things this year and I hope to be sharing more regularly. 

First, based on my evaluation last year I needed to create a way for my youngest students to evaluate themselves. Since they really can only consider their effort I created these 1/2 sheet evaluations for them to complete on random activities of my choosing. With practice, this will hopefully help students to better meet my expectations and complete work that makes them proud. 

As a multi-age classroom, every couple years we end up with a large split in our classroom. This year we have 4 second graders, 1 first grader and 4 kindergarten students. This makes creating effective independent centers difficult. So we created a set of 5 centers for the kindergarten students and word work stations for the 1st & 2nd graders. We use their first day of school pictures as a management system so we know who has finished which centers. The small pocket charts are from the dollar store and I just used picture frame stands to hold them (also from the dollar store). 

 This is the beginning of our Alphabet Museum. I found this idea on pinterest and put my own twist on it for my classroom. We collect objects through the week that begin with the letter of the week and save them in shoe boxes. We also use our bodies to create the letters and take pictures to go in the box. This is a large bulletin board outside my classroom and it will be filling up as we move through the alphabet.

Thursday, June 20, 2013

Last Day of School!!

It's the last day of school for the kiddos and boy are they excited! Mrs. Moody made these cute little end of the year treats to send home with them today.

Have a great summer SMARTIE Pants!!

Monday, May 6, 2013

Diary of a Spider

Today we read the story Diary of a Spider as a follow up to Diary of a Worm both by Doreen Cronin. The kids really enjoy these stories and I find them great for helping to teach the kids about perspective. During this language group, the OT often pushes in so today we did a craft that required them to cut and plan how to make their web. We just made cuts into a paper plate around the edge and made a hole in the middle to give a starting point. The kids then needed to pull the string around the plate and criss-cross the strings in order to build a web. We then just used a little puff ball, google eyes and pipe cleaners to make a spider for the web.

Unrelated student quote for today: While looking at a dinosaur book during free reading:

Student: I really like the veggiesaurus!
Teacher: The what? Which dinosaur is that?
Student: The one that only eats veggies so they won't eat me!

Friday, April 26, 2013

We Love Spring!

We are so excited that spring is finally here! Our Physical and Occupational Therapists took the group outside today to collect objects for a reverse scavenger hunt. The students were asked to pick out 5 different  objects from the school yard. They found sticks, rocks, grass, bark, moss, pine cones & needles and even a little dog poo. (Yes, you read that correctly) When we returned to the classroom, they needed to spread out their items and create the scavenger hunt list of objects. This activity integrated their PT & OT needs as well as the classroom theme.