Friday, December 16, 2016

Secret Santa Blog Hop {with the Elementary Entourage}

I have joined my fellow blogging friends to share with you some fun, secret santa treats!  Check out this fun gingerbread counting activity I did in my classroom. :] 
I love how my student's gingerbread men turned out!  We worked so hard on learning our shapes, so I thought this would be a fun way to review them!  This activity also allowed my students to practice one-to-one counting.
I did help with some of the preparation.  I wanted them to focus more on identifying shapes and counting them.  Therefore, I cut the small shapes out before they started decorating their gingerbread men.  I gave each student a gingerbread man, and then I laid the shapes on the table.  The students glued them on and completed the shape worksheet to go with it. 

You could also have them color and cut out the shapes.

You can find this cute activity for FREE in my TpT store.  

Here is my hallway display!  They did a great job decorating them!

Thanks for stopping by!  Be sure to check out my other friend's post by clicking below. Merry Christmas! 

Thursday, December 15, 2016

Advent in Kindergarten

During the Advent season, I try to teach my kids the meaning of Advent and Christmas.  We talk a lot about preparing our hearts for Jesus and getting excited for Him to come on His birthday.

Here is our Religion bulletin board.  We have the poster that came with our religion curriculum.  There is one small chapter about Christmas and Advent, so I've done a lot of supplementing. 

We completed this page together as a class.  I found scriptures that go with each candle and we read them from the Bible together.  Then, we talked about what each candle means and why this is so important.

We also talked about the colors of the calendars and how the Christ candle is white because Jesus is pure.  We discussed how our wedding dresses and Baptism dresses are white also.  Then, we talked about the meaning of candles and how Jesus is the light of our life.  The advent wreath is made of evergreen leaves because they are everlasting like God and Jesus. 

Each student also wrote what gift they are going to give Jesus this year.  Since God and Jesus give us gifts every year, we wanted to give back to them.  These little papers are placed on the Religion board.  We talked about all the things we can give Jesus and how we love Him so much!

Merry Christmas!

Wednesday, December 14, 2016

Teaching Kindness

In the classroom, one thing that is so important to teach is kindness.  This is something I have been focusing on this school year because I hear so many students speaking harshly to one another.

One way I decided to help promote being kind was to do random acts of kindness.  I taught my students that kindness is when you do something from your heart, and not because you want something in return.

When someone does something kind for someone else, they feel good about it.  They are welcome to share it with me, but they aren't able to write their name on the chart.  I want them to do nice things because they want to, not because they want their name on the chart.

In order for kids to put names on the chart, they must have had someone do something kind to them.  For example, if Billy helps Suzie pick up trash.  Suzie can put Billy's name on the chart for doing something kind.  Billy can then be excited that she acknowledged him, but he is not putting his own name on the chart. 

I love how my students have really been excited about this!  They are constantly doing nice things for one another and sharing what they did.  Many students are quick to recognize other students and get excited to add their friend's name to the chart.

I highly encourage trying this in your classroom.  It did take lots of modeling and guiding my students in the beginning, but now they do it all on their own!

Tuesday, December 6, 2016

Classroom Substitute

This is one of my new classrooms jobs this school year.  I LOVE it, and so do the children.  Basically, one of my students is the classroom substitute.  Instead of subbing for other students when they are absent, the student is MY substitute. 

Each time we transition from centers or lessons to the next activity, the kids usually gather on the rug.  This is when my classroom substitute comes forward and does sight word flashcards with the students or points to the number grid to practice counting.  
The substitute picks two students and shows them a flashcard and whoever says the word first wins!

This is SO helpful for me because I can spend this time helping students finish their activity or prepare my things for the next lesson. 

What are some of your favorite classroom jobs? 

Monday, November 28, 2016

Classroom Faith Buddies

Our school brings the older students together with the younger students.  One way we do that is by having what we call faith buddies.  If you are in a non-religious school, you could call them classroom buddies, reading buddies, buddy (insert school mascot), etc.

You can see my kids working with their faith buddies.  They LOVE getting to see them. 
Here my kids are making thankful turkeys with their faith buddies. 

It's a great way for my kids to practice conversation skills and get to know the older kids.

My kids feel so special when they see their faith buddies.  They really enjoy seeing them in the hallways.

Here is a list of things we do with our faith buddies:
1.  Read together.
2.  Celebrate our reading or writing units.
3.  Play math games.
4.  Make a craft for the holidays.
5.  Go to mass together.
6.  Eat lunch together.
7.  Go on a field trip together.
8. Share a snack and tell stories.
9.  Play a game together.
10.  Make gifts for each other.

Do you have faith buddies at school?  If so, what do you call them and what types of things do you do together? 

Monday, November 21, 2016

Writing Resource Folders

During writing, I have taught my students to use various resources in the classroom to help them write.  They have an orange folder they can grab that has letters, pictures, words, etc. on it.  They also each have their writing folder where they keep their stories.  

Here is a student using the orange resource folder. 

Here is a page that I have placed in their writing folder using a page protector.  Each student has a three prong folder where I can add page protectors.  Then, I slip in pages that go along with our writing unit.  This unit we learned how to write true stories.  This page reminded the students to use all of these pieces in their story. 

I also place this revising and editing page in the back to help remind them what goes in their writing. They can use a dry erase marker to mark off each time they check for a piece in their writing. 

My kids love these resources and they are so much more independent when they write.  I also love how they don't have a huge binder filled with pages, and students can grab what they need to help their writing. 

Wednesday, November 16, 2016

Classroom Reading Celebration

At the end of our first reading unit, I have my students celebrate our accomplishments.  One way we do that is by having a reading parade! 

I had the first grade class stand in the hallway with balloons and streamers.  They cheered for my students as they walked down the hallway holding their emergent storybook that they had been practicing.  My kids LOVED the attention and were so proud that they could read their book.

Once we completed our reading parade and we felt like complete celebrities, my kids gathered in the cafeteria and read their book to a first grader.

Tuesday, November 15, 2016

Class Thank You Note

Every so often I need my class to write a thank you note.  Sometimes I have each student write a note, but other times I find it more efficient if we write one as a whole class!  That is when I came up with this idea.

I have each student help me write the thank  you note, and then I have each student draw a self-portrait and add it to the note.  I think it turns out so cute!

You still get a touch of each student on the note, and we can write a nice thank you for the whole class. 

Monday, November 14, 2016

November Family Project

I LOVE how our November Family Projects turned out.  Each student was sent home with a turkey body, and the students then disguised their turkeys.  They were asked to also write a story to match their turkey.  I found this idea on TpT.  

Monday, November 7, 2016

Classroom Goals and Tracking

Throughout the school year, my students and I work to set classroom goals that we track.  We also track them in their leadership binders so they can see their individual growth.  We begin by finding a personal goal and an academic goal to focus on.  

Personal goals:  A goal that has to do with you as a person, to make yourself better, something nonacademic.

Academic goals: A goal that allows you to focus on something academic in the classroom, a goal centered around the standards

Once we establish one personal and one academic goal, we then vote on a way to celebrate it if we achieve our goal.

I typically give my students options and they vote on them.  It is much more productive and then I am in control of the amount of money I spend. :]

Once we vote, then I make a classroom tracking display that we work towards filling in to reach our goal, and I also make individual tracking pages for their leadership binders. 

We also establish an appropriate deadline to reach our goals.  I find using holidays to set our goals much easier.  The students are able to understand when the holiday is coming and it helps us have a focus.  

Each week, each student is pulled to practice/review their goals for the week.  We also assess once a week and record the outcome in their binder.  If students reach either of the goals, I add their name to the classroom display.

I send home activities to help my kids practice at home, and I also provide extra support at school so that we can all reach the goal. 

Above, you can see our first goal for the year.  We wanted everyone to learn their letters and sounds by Halloween.  That was their academic goal.  The personal goal was to learn their personal mission statement that they recite every morning.  Once we all reached both goals, we got to chew gum for a day!  There was one piece of gum placed in the gumball machine for each goal. 

Here is our most current goal.  We want everyone to be in the 100's club and put first things first by Christmas.  The 100's club consists of counting to 100 by 1's, 5's, and 10's.  We put first things first by getting to school on time, coming to the classroom ALONE, and putting our things away before starting our morning routine.  I have had a big issue this year with students being late and students' parents walking them to the classroom and unpacking their child's backpack for them.  This is a very important goal that we are tracking each day!  Once students are able to achieve both, they get to put their names in the pizza and we will then have a pizza party!

I hope this is useful for you!  I have found it to be a fun way to track our classroom goals and to help us stay motivated. :]