There is no denying that the easiest way to keep students engaged is to have themed days in your classroom. Typical days I participate in are Polar Express Days, Snowed-In Days, May the 4th Be With You, The Ocean Festivals,The Thankful Festivals, and a Fall Festivals. The Fall Festival is where our team teaches the same fall lesson with a craftivity to the entire kindergarten as they rotate to each room. Another great day which involves math, science, reading, writing and critical thinking skills is a SPY Day. This themed day motivates and rewards your students while sneaking in learning. Students dress up like secret agents, are given a mission to find a stolen object, walk through lasers, learn how to lift fingerprints, make memorize a new alias and work as a team to discover clues to solve the mystery. Allowing the kids to dress like secret agents, really gets them engaged. I keep the lights off and have them do their work with flashlights. I also invite parents to participate in the fun. When students see their parents having fun, they can’t help but be more positive about learning. Of course, it doesn’t hurt to have extra help these days too! I’ve never had one themed day where there was a child not participating. It’s a lot of prep work for the teacher, but well worth the work. So, if you want your students engaged in learning, try to make learning fun by introducing a themed day. Click the picture below to find the printables for this themed day. Read more
Teachers, you have so much on your plate during the school year, I just don’t know how we all do it! I know we do it for the love of learning and seeing kids grow, but sometimes it is hard to do everything that we are required to do during the school day. This is why I have teamed up with some fantastic teacher authors to give one of you lucky teachers a $100.00 Amazon Gift Card! The giveaway will run February 1-5. You can enter below:
Happy Holidays and Merry Christmas to all of you! You all deserve this winter break to relax and spend time with your family. To make your holiday sparkle a little more, we are offering a couple $25.00 TpT Gift Cards to some lucky winners. In addition to the gift cards, we are having sales in some TpT stores taking place on December 25-26. Follow this link to see the store link ups – APPLETASTIC LEARNING
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Click here to find the raffle to WIN the gift cards.
Thanksgiving break is just around the corner, and it’s safe to say most of us are ready for a break with some great family time! Several of my Teacher Author Friends have teamed up to bring you a chance to win $50.00 in Christmas CASH! The Give Away is HUGE! Just click the link below to have up to 50 chances to enter the raffle. You may enter Sunday, November 13th through midnight on Tuesday, November 15th. Prizes will be awarded on Wednesday, November 16th. Please share this on all your social media sites with you teacher friends. There are plenty of chances to win! 11 winners will get $50.00 in Gift Cards. Good Luck! I hope it is one of you!
Primary students learn when best using all their senses. I always like to provide a hook for each math lesson. The hook can be a simple two minute video, a short puppet show, a physical object that connects the learner to the lesson and much more. Then, I like to get them moving before they have to sit and do an activity. Counting jumping jacks or hops supports the skill of counting while getting their blood pumping. In kindergarten, it is so important for students to have a strong foundation of numbers in order to prepare them for many life skills and their school future. Here are some fun and cute printables to help guide your students to understanding counting and cardinality.
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Making a great Open House for parents is actually pretty easy with all the tools and technology today. I like to use simple scavenger hunts for students to help show their parents around the room. Taking pictures of families helps keep you busy and not be too available for any “parent conference” type of conversations. I direct parents to the conference sign up sheets. I also don’t let volunteers come in the room until after Open House. In kindergarten, this helps the kids learn the routine without relying on parents. Some teachers create easy slideshows to show rules, routines or student’s pictures. I usually have a few All About Me items out, including an All About Me Journal where the parents are encouraged to sit and write a note to their child at the end of the night. Students make Mini Me Persons that I tape to their chairs that help the room look adorable! Smile a lot, and show off what you have helped their children learn in the short amount of time they have been with you.
Are you still displaying a dull word wall that just stays glued to the wall all year, adding words, and hoping the kids look at it during their literacy time? Time to step up your game. Students need to touch, feel and interact with a Word Wall. This has been one of the best tools to teach reading and writing in my room since I changed my old way of using a Word Wall. Just print, laminate and hang letter squares in an area that is easy to grab it from the wall, take it to their learning area, and then they can put it back on the wall. Oh no, the words erased? That’s okay! If they do, ask a helper to put the words back on the board. It may look a little messy, but it is in use, exciting, and empowering them to use those sight words. I keep a small print out of the words next to the word wall for them to use, if they erase, so they can easily rewrite it correctly. They could even ask a friend. You can always fix it at the end of the week, if you worry about neatness. Here are some tips for using an interactive Word Wall:
I like to play games with the squares. Sometimes I mix the letters up, and see if the students catch the mix up. Then, I offer them a little award for being a good “Letter Detective.”
Another game I play is called, Swat the Sight Word. This is where I group students in two lines, give fly swatters and call out a word on the Word Wall. They both try to “Swat” the word and whoever gets there first wins a point for the team.
I highlight the vowels on the Word Wall, so students can easily identify them.
After laminating, make sure you leave a small portion around the paper when cutting to ensure moisture never gets into our paper.
Use Cardstock or glue to poster board to make it last longer.
We make up songs to go with each letter sound. “A, /a/ /a/ /a/ Apple, B….
“Box Up” the words, by drawing lines to show (low, high and medium) letters. We say the word. Then spell it with body movement. (squat down for low letters (like g), hands by your sides for medium letters (like e), and hands up high for tall letters (like t).
Find word families.
Don’t stick just to sight words. Students love to learn ROBUST VOCABULARY WORDS! (For example, hysterical or words from their interest areas like Survival or Creeper.) You will be surprised at how often they use them even in kindergarten!
So last week when I went to the Teachers Pay Teachers Conference in Orlando, I was able to meet Kayse Morris. She makes the most adorable high energy videos for teachers. I watched all of her videos while I was learning how to set up my own TpT store. Kayse had all the people who attended her workshop (LEARNshop, as I like to call them), make their first Facebook Live video right then and there. It was fun, but I quickly realized I better have something to say, no gum in my mouth and to pan the room much slower when I make future videos. I didn’t say much in my video and when I did, I mispronounced Kayse’s name… EMBARRASSING! So this week not only did I build a NEW blog, but I’m working on my first PLANNED video packed with teacher tips! Keep following my blog to see if it turns out helpful or hurtful.
Hello World! I attended my first TpT conference in Orlando, Florida last week. It was more than I expected. I was a little nervous about going to a conference all by myself. It didn’t take long until I met a lot of nice like-minded educators. I’ve blogged for years under RockingEducation, but after attending this powerful motivating conference, I realize it’s time to commit to TEACHER’S BRAIN as a blog spot! The work