Thursday, March 30, 2017

Save Your Sanity Using Only Animal Noises

Still Planning your Living Things Unit? Originally Published 2011
I'm CONSTANTLY changing what I do, every year. I know there are not enough hours in the day to do it justice when I ALSO have to focus on Language Arts and Math.

Incorporating Science into Language Arts
This is not a new idea. We will all be doing it for the rest of our careers.

How?
I like to READ books that touch on or are connected to my outcomes to my class as part of a language arts lesson.

This morning I read to the class the story "Too Much Noise". 

Do you know this one? It's about an old man Peter who decided his house was making too much noise, so he went to a wise man for advice. The wise man suggests one animal after another for Peter to bring home. All this means that with each page turn his house is getting noisier instead of more quiet. In the end, the wise man says to get rid of the animals, so Peter obediently does. As a result, Peter is pleased to notice how quiet his house really is.



Where's the Science?
Like me, have your students list all the animals, and do their best to ID the sounds made by each animal.

Writing
In our class version, my class had ME complaining to our Principal that my classroom was too noisy.


With each new page, the principal says to get a different animal.



I think this was a pretty successful morning, the kids enjoyed drawing their animals and making the sounds (repeatedly) that their chosen animals make.

If you don't have this book, you can get a copy through my Amazon Affiliate link


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Interested in more results from the survey? Make sure you subscribe to make sure you don't miss the rest of the series!

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Today's featured resource: 

10 Sight Word Centers Using Recycled Coffee Pods




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Saturday, March 25, 2017

15 Old and New Ways to Teach Cursive

How do You Teach Cursive?

You have AWESOME IDEAS!

This series:
SURVEY
Part One: Why Teachers Hate Cursive
Part Two: Why Teachers Love Cursive
Part Three: Old and New Ways to Teach Cursive


(Some of You shared your ideas for teaching Cursive as part of your survey results!)

On March 5th I posted a Survey asking what other teachers thought about cursive writing. I received an OVERWHELMING response from you.
I was expecting maybe 25 or 50 responses, but I received WELL over the 100 responses you can access as part of your free membership to surveymonkey.

SO the results I will be sharing with you represent ONLY those first 100 responses. So I'm sorry if you do not see your responses shared.

This final post in the series Shares the ways you find time to teach cursive in your day.


Here's a sampling of the responses from where you were asked to provide more information:



15 Old and New Ways to Teach Cursive

1.  We give it as homework and teach it the first two weeks.

2. We require every student to hand in work with their name written in cursive. I expect my kids to hand in name and date in cursive. The goal is to help them develop a signature.

3. We have a program called ABC boom that helps with printing and can be used to teach kindergarten students cursive.

4. The librarian teaches it to 4th grade

5. I record our assignments on the assignment board in cursive so they have practice reading it.

6. We have begun practicing it as daily work, mostly for early finishers.

7. One 5\6 teacher created video lessons through Google classroom for students to watch at their own pace.

8. We use it as a motivator. If your printing is legible, spacing is correct, letter size and formation are adequate ......we teach the class your name.

9.  Sometimes if my class has worked really hard, I do teach it at the very end of the year but if we still aren't at grade level, I don't.

10. I teach third and one of my literacy centers is cursive. I don't teach it, but they do practice a letter a week.

11. I use Handwriting Without Tears curriculum, which I was trained in. My student's writing is beautiful! Even the worst printers, have beautiful cursive.

12. I teach 4th -6th grade and at the beginning of the year, I review the cursive alphabet as their morning warm up, one lower and one uppercase letter a day.

13. The rest of the year, the morning writing prompt is in cursive and they must respond in cursive.

14.  They also must practice spelling words in cursive as one activity.

15. I have the cursive alphabet up in the room and require some things to be written in cursive.


To summarize:
Teachers Find a LOT of ways to incorporate cursive writing if they want or need to teach it.

Did you find a new idea?
Did I miss your FANTASTIC idea? Please share in the comments and I will edit this post!

How do you teach Cursive Writing?
Please comment below!







***********************************************************
Interested in more results from the survey? Make sure you subscribe to make sure you don't miss the rest of the series!

Want to find awesome resources for your Early Childhood Education classroom? Visit Reading With Mrs. D on Teachers Pay Teachers.
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Today's featured resource: 


220 Dolch Sight Words Hands On Grid Copying



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Friday, March 24, 2017

14 Reasons Teachers LOVE Cursive

Do Teachers LOVE Cursive?


It turns out, a lot of us do!

This series:
SURVEY
Part One: Why Teachers Hate Cursive
Part Two: Why Teachers Love Cursive
Part Three: Old and New Ways to Teach Cursive


On March 5th I posted a Survey asking what other teachers thought about cursive writing. I received an OVERWHELMING response from you.
I was expecting maybe 25 or 50 responses, but I received WELL over the 100 responses you can access as part of your free membership to surveymonkey.

SO the results I will be sharing with you represent ONLY those first 100 responses. So I'm sorry if you do you see your responses shared.

This second post in the series shares the reasons you gave me for why you like cursive or feel it needs to be taught in our schools.

Here are the results of the next THREE questions (for questions 1 and 2, see Part One linked above)

50% of teachers say teaching cursive is not required in their schools.
 69% of teachers say cursive is taught in grade 3 in their school.

25% of teachers say there is a teacher in their school teaching cursive who is not required to.


Here's a sampling of the responses from where you were asked to provide more information:


14 Reasons Teachers LOVE Cursive Writing (or why they do)

1.  To help them develop a signature.

2. I decided to teach it because no other grade was teaching it.

3. There are a few teachers who highly value it, therefore make time to teach it.

4. Enough people still use it that it will be helpful for kids to be able to read it.

5. Research has shared that teaching cursive can help students with dyslexia, dysgraphia, and other disabilities.

6. I find that for those students that have horrible print writing in cursive makes their writing more legible.

7. I feel that it is important to teach cursive, not necessarily so they can write in cursive, but so they can read it. Most of the important documents from our nations found, as well as historical documents around the world, were written in cursive. I think that if our students get through their basic education and find themselves unable to read the Bill of Rights in its original format, we've done them a disservice.

8. I encounter more and more adults with poor handwriting now than I have ever seen before. Good penmanship is a skill that is vital to our students when they begin applying for jobs.

9. Our school strives to provide opportunities that are not given at other schools. Cursive writing is one of those opportunities.

10. We use it as a motivator. If your printing is legible, spacing is correct, letter size and formation are adequate ......we teach the class your name.

11. The OT in my building encourages us to teach cursive for fine motor development.

12. Cursive was just mandated in my district because high school teachers were complaining that their students could not read it or write fast enough notes.

13. Here's what I tell my students: *It's a lost art *How are you going to sign a check, mortgage papers, or any other legal document if you're never taught? *How are you going to read documents like the Constitution? Or a letter from Grandmother?

14. I think cursive is a lifesaver for kids with fine motor skill issues. They struggle less because they don't have to lift their pencil as much. Most of.my kids with sloppy print have beautiful cursive and it is a huge confidence builder.



I think the PRO Cursive Writing Camp Wins this debate!

Do you LOVE Cursive Writing?
Please comment below!







***********************************************************
Interested in more results from the survey? Make sure you subscribe to make sure you don't miss the rest of the series!

Want to find awesome resources for your Early Childhood Education classroom? Visit Reading With Mrs. D on Teachers Pay Teachers.
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Today's featured resource: 


220 Dolch Sight Words Hands On Grid Copying



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Thursday, March 23, 2017

5 Reasons Teachers Hate Cursive Writing

Do Teachers Hate Cursive?


It turns out, some of us do!


This series:
SURVEY
Part One: Why Teachers Hate Cursive
Part Two: Why Teachers Love Cursive
Part Three: Old and New Ways to Teach Cursive


On March 5th I posted a Survey asking what other teachers thought about cursive writing. I received an OVERWHELMING response from you.
I was expecting maybe 25 or 50 responses, but I received WELL over the 100 responses you can access as part of your free membership to surveymonkey.

SO the results I will be sharing with you represent ONLY those first 100 responses. So I'm sorry if you do you see your responses shared.

This series of posts starts will the reasons you gave me for why you don't like cursive or don't feel it needs to be taught in our schools.


Here are the results of the first TWO questions
31% of respondents did not teach Cursive
 More importantly, 19% Did not believe that we should be teaching Cursive

So, why didn't those 19/100 teachers not think we should be teaching cursive?
Here's a sampling of their responses from where they were asked to give more information:

5 Reasons Teachers Hate Cursive Writing (or why they don't)

1.  I myself do not use it.

2. a) I honestly feel like technology has helped make cursive writing a somewhat useless skill.
b) Typing skills and computer literacy have taken over the time we use to teach cursive. As it should.

3. As soon as my students can enter fourth grade reading in grade level or the government decides that testing isn't tied to my pay/ evaluation then I will teach cursive.

4. The whole world is in print now with the computer.

5. It's irrelevant!

Do you Hate Cursive Writing?
Please comment below!







***********************************************************
Interested in more results from the survey? Make sure you subscribe to make sure you don't miss the rest of the series!

Want to find awesome resources for your Early Childhood Education classroom? Visit Reading With Mrs. D on Teachers Pay Teachers.
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Today's featured resource: 

Spring Growing Bundle




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Wednesday, March 22, 2017

Why Hugs are the Secret Ingredient

Do you like getting hugs?

Take a minute and really think about it.
Did you have to think about it?
No. I didn't.

For some of us, the topic is complicated. Like me.
I like. No LOVE getting hugs from close family and friends like my husband and daughter.

People I know less who hug you on first greeting?
Not so much. It makes my introvert self crawl deeper into her shell.

Hugs given unconditionally by my child or another are the best kind!
If my daughter feels the need to throw her arms around my neck or waist and hold me tight, I wrap my arms around her and hold on until she is ready to let go.

Image may contain: text
Posted on Facebook

Do you Hug your students?

For most of us, hugging our students is a complicated question. So many of us teach or taught students who are given little to no affection at home, and come to school silently begging for the love they desperately need. I have taught MANY whose smiles light up the room when you show them the love they need.

But hugging?
We were all taught in teachers college or our university programs that we cannot hug our students because it is not right. We wouldn't want to be accused of wrongdoing.

What about the Students who hug us?

Are you like me and desperately want to hug them back when they desperately want to hug you?
What can you do?

I say, "Thank you, I LOVE hugs,"and then I pat their head or back so they get the physical touch they crave, without me overstepping the teacher-student boundary.

Are there times we can hug back?

Probably on a case by case basis. Or maybe your school isn't as strict.

Situations I feel are okay to take the risk?
Was their a death in the family?
That's about it.

But like I said, on a case by case basis.

Are Hugs a Secret Ingredient?
Of course they are! Who doesn't feel better when someone gives you a hug when they can see you're feeling down? I know I do! My hubby is away for work most of the time, and so our daughter can see that I get a little sad, and she gives me hugs and I SWEAR I can feel her love pouring into me. And at bedtime when she misses her daddy the most and gets weepy, I give her the longest hug she needs and she feels a little better and ready for her bedtime stories.

What to Read?

I take our daughter to the library weekly.
Last week we started this series on my blog together.

I blogged about one of her book choices from last week, RED IS BEST.

This week one of her Selections was Hug Me by Patti Stren


affiliate link


What makes this book awesome?

This Canadian classic, published about 40 years ago, is TIMELESS. Who among us hasn't felt left out, or that our needs weren't being met? Who hasn't felt bullied? Sad? Depressed? Friendless?

In Hug Me, Elliot is a lonely Porcupine. All the other porcupines are perfectly happy to keep others at a distance and avoid physical contact. But not Elliot. There's one thing in the world he wants more than anything else to experience, and that is a HUG. But none of the animals he asks are willing to hug him. You can see how sad he is, and feel his desperation when he dresses up as two things others love to try and convince them to hug him. Eventually he gives up and goes to the woods to be alone, but that is when and where everything changes for him.


Who should read this book?
This book is not for emergent readers to read on their own, but like my own preschooler, it has an engaging story with a wonderful message that they can enjoy when read to them. This would be perfect for first and second graders reading at grade level. The pattern of the story is perfect for practice in guided reading because it has some very clear parts, which makes it perfect for summarizing the story when retelling.

I use the Shape Go Map below for retelling. Do you?
The kids can see the image as a visual reminder of what the need to tell the teacher when retelling. The triangle in Who, when, where. Some stories only have a who.
The rectangle is the four major things that happen in the story. This is why HUG ME is perfect for Guided Reading practice or extra help, because the events in the story are so distinct.

From my guided reading table two years ago
Who else should read this book?
It is perfect as part of an anti-bullying lesson plan, especially in the early years as they can really put their feet in Elliots shoes, so to speak.
I find talking about bullying issues and character education can be helped by using books where the protagonist is nonhuman.

My daughter has also adorably reviewed this book for you.

Wait until you see her adorable conclusion to the story.
Check out her second review video below.


How can I use this book to teach?
This book is awesome as mentioned above for character education and bullying lesson plans.
I have a few ideas you can use without much prep:
First: Discuss how Elliot was feeling throughout the story.
Second: Think of a time you felt how Elliot was feeling and what made you feel better.
Third: What can you do to help someone who is sad?
Fourth: Make a card for someone who could use some cheering up, or some elderly folks at a nursing home, or somewhere else you feel the class could cheer people up.
ACTIVITY: Talk about FREE Hug day, and how we could hug other students. Is there a hugging project we could design?


Game: Hug Tag! When someone gets tagged by it, you have to hug them to get them unfrozen!
And of course you should have a talk about how it's OK to not hug someone and ask/offer a high five instead. Our students own their bodies!


Want to make this into an anti-bullying lesson? Check out my Pink Shirt Day Bundle in the footnotes below as today's featured resource.

Do You Love Hugs?
Will you read this book?
Please comment below!







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If you would like me to review other books for kids please leave a comment. It must be useful to either teachers or parents of children age 4 to grade 2.

Want to find awesome resources for your Early Childhood Education classroom? Visit Reading With Mrs. D on Teachers Pay Teachers.
Reading with Mrs D


Today's featured resource: 

Pink Shirt Day Anti-bullying activities and more




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Friday, March 17, 2017

YouTube video of the Week #3: Wants vs Needs

Check out this video from Teachmeaboutmoney for an awesome tutorial about wants and needs!



There is an overwhelming number of videos for this first grade concept on Youtube. I love the visual of the two boys saving for a bike, and one wasting his money on junk and the other being able to afford the bike when summer finally comes around again.

My daughter has her own debit card and knows she can buy whatever she wants with her money, but if it's something expensive, then she needs to save. Saving is hard when you're only 5, but I'm sure she'll catch on soon, She would REALLY like an American Doll. And it  is too much for Mommy and Daddy to afford.

She always wants to buy candy or dresses for her dolls, but if she WANTS to buy an American Doll, then she NEEDS to save and stop spending he allowance on silly things that clutter her room.


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If you would like to suggest YOUR video to be our new featured video of the week, please leave a link in the comments. It must be useful to either teachers or parents of children age 4 to grade 2.

Want to find awesome resources for your Early Childhood Education classroom? Visit Reading With Mrs. D on Teachers Pay Teachers.
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Today's featured resource:
Easter 11-20 Number Match Puzzle Center Game 

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Monday, March 13, 2017

Is Red the Best Colour?

What's your favourite colour?

Take a minute and really think about it.
Did you have to think about it?
No. I didn't.
I've known my favourite colour was pink since I was a little girl.
Sure, I played with the idea of Jade as my favourite colour for a year or two in junior high, but I ALWAYS come back to pink.

It's my first love. For colour, that is.

For my daughter, she's known since she was three that her favourite colour is purple. I think it's because my mother, her grandma, also prefers purple. We'll see if purple is still her favourite when she starts school in September. If she's anything like me, she'll stubbornly hold onto her colour for a long time.


A Library of Choices

Colours are like books in the library, there is one for every reader.
Every week I take my daughter to the library, Every week we come back with a huge assortment of books in a variety of genres. Some are new to us both, some I remember reading.

I'm always pleased when she picks a book I remember from my childhood.

This week one of her Selections was RED IS BEST by Kathy Stinson.

 Red is Best



What makes this book awesome?
The child in the story, Kelly, is like all of us. She knows her own mind, and is stubborn in her preferences, trying very hard to win the argument with her mother over what colour items she should be wearing. Looking at the illustrations, it's clear the only argument her mother wins is the one over her jacket, possibly because it's winter and you must be warm, lol. She may have also won the socks argument, but none of the other five. Kelly likes red best, and will use and wear red as much as she possibly can.


Who should read this book?
This book has a very predictive text. Each of the Seven things Kelly prefers to be red have four sentences. With this pattern, emergent readers can figure out the text with ease. My preschooler was chiming in on the repeated sentence "I like my red _______ the best" by the end of the book. On our second read through the next night she was predicting the entire book. A week later she could "read" it on her own.

She also has dreams of being a YouTube star, as most kids her age these days.
She constantly takes my cell phone and makes videos of herself changing her "babies" clothes, lol.
Since she was getting upset that I wouldn't post any of those videos for her, we talked about it, and I agreed we would work together to make videos. so now she will be reviewing kids books for me!

Check out her first video below.


How can I use this book to teach?
This book is awesome for opinion writing.
First have your child/students discuss Kellys love for all things red.
Second list all the colours you can think of.
Third have them each decide what is their very favourite colour.
Fourth have each child write sentences about that colour being best using the same format as the book.

Below is a sample page from my Color unit on TPT. The unit should be used with The book.
Resource is listed below as today's featured resource.

Is Red the Best Colour? 
Or does another reign supreme in your house? 
Please comment below!

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If you would like me to review other books for kids please leave a comment. It must be useful to either teachers or parents of children age 4 to grade 2.

Want to find awesome resources for your Early Childhood Education classroom? Visit Reading With Mrs. D on Teachers Pay Teachers.
Reading with Mrs D


Today's featured resource: 
(only $5 on TPT, to use all activities will need a copy of Red is Best)
Colors Activity Pack: Featuring Activities for Red is Best




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Friday, March 10, 2017

10 Amazing Science Tricks Using Liquid! Youtube Video of the week #2

Do you like Cool Science Tricks?

Of course you do! It's one of the best parts of being a teacher, parent or both.
Do I?
Of course I do, I found you this video, didn't I?


Check out this video from brusspup for some awesome water science!

Here's an AWESOME video of TEN science experiments you can do with your kids. Some will fit in perfectly with things you are studying this year in science, while others will just be a cool diversion at the end of the day.



How is this useful to you?

Maybe you could reward your class with being able to try out a few of these at the end of the week?

How cool is the dancing liquid? (Didn't I see that an old episode of Big Bang Theory?)

What about taking a poll to see how many pencils your students think you can push through the bag before it springs a major leak?

I want to try that with my daughter this weekend! Better get sharpening, we tend to only have one sharpened pencil at a time, unless I use some coloured pencils instead....

Or maybe we'll try the coloured hot and water barrier. I;ve never seen that before, that's kinda neat!

Which will be the first one you try?



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If you would like to suggest YOUR video to be our new featured video of the week, please leave a link in the comments. It must be useful to either teachers or parents of children age 4 to grade 2.

Want to find awesome resources for your Early Childhood Education classroom? Visit Reading With Mrs. D on Teachers Pay Teachers.
Reading with Mrs D

Today's featured resource:
Saint Patrick's Day ABC Letter Match


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Thursday, March 9, 2017

How to Cheat at Bookmarks and Get away with it!

These are totally a CHEAT, and I promise your kids will let you get away with it.

Do you need a craft for this Friday?
Are you short on cash and just need something FREE?

Try these beautiful bookmarks!

I think next year I'll adjust the plan so that the back has rules for "just right reading" on them to encourage my students to challenge themselves. I'll also make sure I have enough packing tape! these would have turned out much nicer if I did.

This was based on a craft in Crafts for all Seasons by Kathy Ross

What you need:
Construction Paper cut to your preferred size (we did ours pretty wide, but I will suggest not as wide next time)
Last Month's extra Scholastic Book Orders
Scissors
Glue
Packing Tape or Press and Seal Laminate

Here's how we did it:

I wrote their names on green construction paper and handed them out. Depending on when in the year you do this project and the age of your kids, you will probably let them print their own names.

Then, the students went through extra copies of the book orders to find pictures of books they wanted to read or have read to glue to the bookmarks. We first talked about how we should carefully go through the book orders and take our time so we only cut out the books we will want to glue to your bookmarks.

After they were glued together I taped (first with packing tape and then unfortunately with scotch tape) to seal so they would hopefully last the rest of the school year. A very successful art lesson.

WHAT'S YOUR FAVOURITE FREE CRAFT?
(originally published 2011)
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Is there a topic I should post next? Leave a comment!

Want to find awesome resources for your Early Childhood Education classroom? Visit Reading With Mrs. D on Teachers Pay Teachers.
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