Thursday, February 16, 2017
It's time to up the game. BUT, that doesn't mean changing the game. You know I'm a "process center" girl. I believe in centers where we can teach a process and then change the product. That's exactly what we do half-way through the year. We don't throw out the baby with the bathwater, but we do have to raise the expectations.
This is certainly a great process center, especially at the beginning of the year. It helps with reading, writing, and ordering the words. It is also great for making connections with illustrations and meaning. However, this is way too easy now...and it will take them two minutes to do it. How can we up it? Require more than one sentence. Require they write a new sentence. Require the illustrations be more detailed. There are lots of ways to up the game. I love this illustration. The cookie is on the fox's back and we know that won't end well.
This is another process center where the expectations can be increased. Students can be asked to write more sentences, label additional items, and more. They can be asked to add an new picture to the paper and label the new object.
I LOVE CVC boards. I believe in this center. Students must be able to stretch and slide their way through words as they read and write. This center helps with encoding and decoding. As students get quicker with this skill, up the game. Choose a word and write about it. Choose two words and write about both in each in one sentence. You can also increase the word choice adding blends and digraphs to the center.
This is a "throw away" center. I call it that because my students did this center as a final center. It was "just a fun" center. Students have to trace the stencil with a pencil and add details, then they have to write sentences. They can use more stencils, but they have to write more sentences.
Don't forget the 4 Square Center, Squiggle Center, and Listening Center should also be upped. Each of these centers could demand 4 or 5 sentences at this time of the year.
If you would like to have a sample of Raising the Expectations, click the link or the picture below.
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Sunday, February 12, 2017
Organized for SuccessI'm not saying EVERYTHING in your life needs to be completely organized and scheduled. Life is messy and unorganized and, well, life. BUT small steps in keeping your child organized can help them become independent. The bookbag always goes on the table. The shoes always go by the front door. A friend told me, "The weekly homework goes on the front of the refrigerator under a certain magnet until Friday. When we work on it, it comes off. When we're done, it goes back in the folder. Everyone knows where it is and what we do. We all know the routine and no one gets upset." This is a great plan. Children are upset when they don't have what they need, but organizing things like homework helps them be independent. When my boys were young, we bought a 5-drawer plastic cabinet for their rooms. Sunday night, we picked our clothes for the week. They had to put socks and underwear in each drawer. Then, they had to make 5 piles on their beds with shirts and pants. My husband and I would double-check their choices, then one outfit went in each drawer. This was a life-saver for mornings. We didn't have to debate what to wear, but more importantly, they could dress themselves without my help. Teaching small steps in independence, encourages larger ones.
Children can do so much more independently than they think and sometimes, more than we think. Let them help you make list of what they are in charge of independently. When we let them make the list, they will be more apt to do it. Look at small parts of your day to make the list. When it is breakfast, ask them what they can do for themselves. Let them help you decide. Don't do everything for them. It will work against everybody in the end.
Have AccountabilityIf you are making an Independent Chart...make them do it. You can't expect them to be independent when YOU want them to be. They need to be held accountable. Here's a biggie: there isn't necessarily an award for doing what you are supposed to do. It's just what you are supposed to do. You can compliment them and brag about them. BUT allow that to be the reward. Help them take pride in their work. Here's the other part: Don't make excuses for them either. Sometimes, they need a consequence to build a need for independence. We tend to want to protect our children from consequences, but we're teaching them how NOT to be independent.
Give ChoicesAnother part of being independent is not always "getting your way." The world isn't that way, so creating a world that is will be doing you and your child a great disservice. Giving choices is a perfect way to allow them input, without allowing them to "rule the roost."
"Would you like to pick up your clothes before or after your both?"
"Would you like to help with cleaning the kitchen today or tomorrow?
Build StaminaYou can't expect independence all at once, but you also can't expect to go from relying on you to completing large tasks independently over night. Start small and build on success. Tell them to write their name on their homework while you are out of the room, and expect it done when you go back. "You complete the first row of math problems, then we'll check it." Another idea for reading time, is giving your child time to preview a book before you read it. When your nighttime reading begins, ask them to predict what will happen or ask if they have any questions before your start. A fun way to start the story is with an "I wonder..." statement. "I wonder what will happen to Jack and Annie tonight." They need to have time to themselves to become independent.
Now, parent-to-parent, this is harder on you than it will be them. I understand the mom-thinking or the dad-thinking, "This is my baby. I don't want to rush him/her to grow up." This is sabotaging talk - for you and them. If you do everything for them, they won't build problem solving skills, won't need to be self-reliable, and they won't become independent...and that should be your goal.
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Monday, February 6, 2017
Labeling and Coding
We're getting there.
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Sunday, January 29, 2017
I've been spending the last few days in a small school district in our state. We got the idea to do a Classroom Makeover for a teacher while I was visiting. Evidently, there was a lottery for all interested teachers and Jessica Watts was the winner. She was excited and I was, too.
BeforeShe was excited and so was I. I was in her classroom Thursday to lead small group instruction and demonstrate whole group writing. She was more than open with what she wanted from her classroom. Jessica and I met in her classroom at 9:30 yesterday morning and walked around the room and talked about what areas in the room were working and what areas were not. She doesn't spend a lot of time in the whole group area, but wished it was better organized. She wanted each desk to face the front of the room, so seeing the Smart Board wasn't a issue. She also wanted a writing center that the students could use.
Small Group Area
Center Storage Area
A New Look
She loved it.
If you would like the Journeys(C) Word Wall Words for First Grade, click the link or the picture below.
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Thursday, January 26, 2017
Her life and death are interesting, but I'm not sure I'd share with kindergartners exactly how she died. (She fell out of a plane during a practice run for an air show.)
Enjoy this free 4 square about this amazing lady. Click the picture above or this link: Bessie Coleman 4 Square.
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