Friday, March 9, 2018

Let's Show a Little Compassion

Boo boos are the perfect opportunity to teach compassion. How will children ever learn to care for you or others if we don’t teach them by our example? When your child or student gets hurt, hug them, acknowledge their pain, and assure them it will get better. Their pain is real! Show you care instead of saying SHAKE IT OFF or YOU'LL BE OK, THAT DIDN'T HURT, or BE TOUGH, BE A BIG BOY / GIRL. Just a simple short moment of caring will teach them to be compassionate toward others. I'm not saying go crazy over it, but acknowledge it. I love to see my students show compassion for their classmates.  Just this week a student tripped going up the stairs in the mad dash to get to class in the morning.  He hit the step with his stomach and it knocked the breath out of him.  Another student, only one  in 100, stopped to make sure he was ok.  We need more Elijah's in the world.  He obviously has the right name.  And just think YOUR KIDS, or THESE KIDS may have to acknowledge YOUR pain one day when you are old. You don’t want them to tell you to SHAKE IT OFF, YOU’ll BE OK, but hold your hand and kiss it instead.

Watch this.

Friday, March 2, 2018

Teachers or Data Collectors?

I just finished reading an article from the Washington Post entitled, "Kindergarten teacher: My job is now about test and data - not children.  I quit." Read it if you haven't.  Now.............
Can anybody relate to this?  Teachers all know kinders and first graders need to play to develop their thinking, but we are being monitored, by visitors with a checklist, as to which Alabama state standard we are teaching in everything we do. Playing, making crafts, making t-shirts, all the things in the past that motivated children to love school, love books, and love learning are sadly not one of the standards we are supposed to be teaching. I’m so sad for my grands. I don't see them loving school the way kids used to.  They will be missing out on so many things my own children experienced in their early childhood days.  How many of you remember the teddy bear picnic? All the students brought their teddy bears to school and we weighed and measured them.  We took them on a parade.  The bears were our buddies during buddy reading.  We had an actual picnic with beary juice, teddy bear gummies and teddy grahams. It was a FULL DAY of learning with teddy bears. Now instead I have to tie everything to a standard.  If only the gods of testing and data knew what teachers know--when kids are having fun while they are learning-- they will learn more and love all things related to school. Just today as I was attaching blue hair to a sentence strip for all of my THINGS, I had the feeling I was doing something wrong. I wish I could be a cheerleader for my school system like I was when I first began teaching! I actually pretend to go with the flow, then shut my classroom door, and do what is best for my kids--and guess what? Our test scores improved 20 percent.  (But don't get me started on that psychological child abuse we call  SCANTRON. That's the name of our current computerized test. With TEN number passwords.  Looks like I got MYSELF started.) Happy Suessy Springtime!  

If you are interested, you can read the full article as well as the letter from this teacher.

Thursday, March 1, 2018

Guest Reader

Our students LOVE guest readers, especially our local officers! Our special guest today was Officer Byron Williams of the Decatur City Police Department. He took time out of his busy day to read, talk, and answer LOTS of questions from my little firsties as we kick off our month long Seussical Adventure in conjunction with Read Across America.  We appreciate everything he and all of our officers do daily to protect us. We love seeing them walking our halls and making connections with our kids!  It looks like I took a nap for a sec.  I ALWAYS, ALWAYS blink.  

Image may contain: 1 person, sitting and child  Image may contain: 16 people, people smiling, people sitting and indoor Image may contain: 11 people, people smiling, people sitting and child Image may contain: 2 people, people standing

Tuesday, February 6, 2018

Pete the Cat Valentine's Day is Cool - Book Extension

Pete is about the coolest cat in town.  He's just not sure he likes Valentine's Day! After a little encouragement from his friend Callie, he quickly sees how much fun it can be and joins in the celebration. This is a cheerful read for your kids and one more book to add to your Pete collection. (The book even comes with a poster and 12 valentines!) 
We love Pete, the groovy, cool, fun-loving cat. 
Image result for pete the cat valentine's day is cool

In our book extension, we included valentines for your kids to make for each other, as well as some comprehension graphic organizers, fun sheets, crafty things like a Pete valentines bags, and more.  Your students will be making connections and comparisons with their own Valentine's Day experiences as they listen to this COOL story.  
Pete the Cat Valentine's Day is Cool Book Extension K-1
Click here to get this Book Extension.

Friday, February 2, 2018

Click Clack Moo I Love You

LOVE is in the air this month, and there is nothing more fun to read about than this barnyard crew getting ready for a Valentine's Day dance. This book is a must have with BEAUTIFUL glittery pages your kids will love and HAVE to touch. Honestly, I can't wait to share this one with my three granddaughters!!!  Did I mention GLITTER?!?!

Image result for click clack moo i love you book

This book extension is filled with activities to teach skills and fun stuff too that go right along with the book. We included graphic organizers, activities for comprehension like sequencing, retelling, and making connections, as well as some "just for fun activities" too. Your students will be making connections and comparisons with their own Valentine's Day experiences as they listen to this cute story.  
Click,Clack,Moo I Love You Book Extension 1-2
Click here to get this!

Love Letters - A Writing Unit

Love Letters are something that we have done with our first graders for years and decided to share it with the world. We start them in February, or whenever you start talking about Valentine's Day. We talk about what we love about each other in our classroom. It creates a great sense of community when children have to look for the positive traits in all of their classmates. After discussing the "How to's" of writing a friendly letter, we put it in a center with a class list and highlighter. Children have to choose a classmate from the list, highlight their name, then write them a letter telling them all the things they like (OR LOVE) about them. Then we put it in their classroom mailbox and they open it and take it home at the end of the day. You can also add some cute Valentine's Day stickers or smiley face stickers to use to seal the letters together. Watching the children beam with pride as they read their letters is PRICE.LESS! We keep it out long after Valentine's Day is over because it is such a success.
Love Letters for Valentine's Day (or any day)
Click here to purchase Love Letters.

Monday, January 8, 2018

The Adventures of Marco and Polo

If you are looking for a way to get your children excited about reading, try this book extension for January, or any month. We like it in January when we are talking about the frigid Arctic and Antarctic regions and making snowmen and having fun being cool. Ha! This book is about two animals from polar opposite parts of the world who meet up and compare how OPPOSITE they really are. There are anchor charts for the genre fiction and purpose. There are also many engaging activities for reading such as comprehension involving rereading to match opposite words, labeling, letter writing activities, coloring pages to practice our artistic ability and work on fine motor skills. There is also a fun animal sort. 
The Adventures of Marco and Polo Book Extension 1-2
Click here for this book extension.