Announcing a pregnancy in the classroom is exciting. You have this special secret on your mind for several weeks, before you are actually able to share it. Therefore, you want to share it in a big way. I thought and thought about how to announce my pregnancy to my first grade class. When it hit me...use a breakout.edu box!
I found out I was pregnant in July. Therefore, I started the school year at about 8 weeks pregnant. It was my second pregnancy, so I felt like I looked pregnant pretty instantly.
I did a lot to hide the pregnancy, because I did not want to announce until after our 12 week ultrasound. It was not fun hiding. As the time to announce grew closer - I knew I wanted to announce it in a fun way to celebrate letting the secret out.
My school had recently been introduced to breakout.edu boxes. I was itching to try it out with my first graders. This was the perfect opportunity!
I searched the site for activities that might fit mine. I knew I would need to adapt one in some way. I started adapting one, and then just decided to create my own. It was a lot easier then I realized.
The basis of breakout.edu is that you have something hidden inside a box for the students. In my case, it was the answer to a secret. The students have to work together to physically open the box. The box usually includes a variety of locks that are opened by the students working together to solve them.
My students are young and this was their first time with a box. So, I kept it simple.
I started by telling my class I had a big secret to share, but they needed to work to find it out. The secret was hidden inside the box. I told them they needed to look for clues to help them open it.
I then read to them The Day the Babies Crawled Away. On the last page I had taped a key. Luckily as soon as we got there my kids figured out that they could use the key on one of the locks.
The key took one lock off the box, but I still had another on there. One of my kids saw the QR code I had taped on the bottom and thought to scan it. We did, and it led us to the Google Doc below. My kids had to solve the math problem (hint - it is the due date of our baby!) This led them to knowing the code to take off the other lock.
When they opened the large box they saw a poem, a small box, and a flashlight. This stumped them for a bit, but not long. They ultimately figured out that the flash light was a blacklight and found that I had highlighted the word "blue" with a blacklight pen. They used this clue to figure out that they had to change the colored lock to all blue to open the small box!
I hid the ultimate secret in a little black box. Once they opened it, they read the note. They were a little confused at first...but ultimately got it!
Announcement - Vimeo
Have you tried a breakout.edu box? How have you announced your pregnancy in a fun way? Let me know!
Having good and healthy food options for kids is SO important. I feel this way about both my school kids and my own child. That is why I love the Hooray 4 Healthycurriculum being provided by the Life Time Foundation. Read on to learn about this FREE resource!
Disclosure: This is a sponsored post. However, all thoughts and opinions are my own.
Physical activity and healthy food options are important for kids.
As a first grade teacher, I strive to set an example for developing good life-long habits. I do this by talking about my own healthy eating habits and how I move my body daily. I also hope to be a life long example for my son.
Life Time Foundation's non-profit hooray4healthy.org is dedicated to fixing the biggest problems with school food - processed, artificial, and unhealthy foods being served to kids every day. Their focus is on removing "The Harmful 7" and empowering schools, teachers, and parents to make it happen on their local community campuses.
The Harmful 7 are the ingredients in school lunches most associated with inadequate nutrition and harmful food items. Life Time Foundation hopes that by removing these 7, schools can make big improvements. The Harmful 7 are:
Trans Fats & Hydrogenated Oils
High-Fructose Corn Syrup
Hormones & Antibiotics
Processed & Artificial Sweeteners
Artificial Colors & Flavors
How do we teach children to stay away from these?
Through the Life Time Foundation's Hooray 4 Healthy FREE program, schools can help students in first through fourth grade learn about staying healthy. In order to accomplish this, Life Time Foundation has created four videos to learn about the following topics:
Fruits & Vegetables
This free program includes a two minute physical activity video and a teacher guide "checklist" to assist the instructor in leading the lesson. It also has a parent support guide to extend learning to the home with each lesson. Plus other free resources! You can find all of these at hooray4healthy.org.
My favorite lesson is the fruits and veggies one. It is perfect for my first graders and explains the importance of them so simply. I even watched the video with my toddler! (We added in our own fruits and veggies!)
I know change in schools can be difficult, but teachers can and should make a difference. When we start children in the right direction of health and wellness we help them to create habits for success for the rest of their lives.
Thankfully we don't have to try to coordinate that totally on our own.
Download the free materials for teaching this nutrition series at hooray4healthy.org and get started changing the health of your schools and community today!
I have been using iPads with my young students for several years now. We do a lot on our iPads, but it is mainly through various apps. Until now. I finally figured out how to create my own activity for something my first graders were struggling with - addition and subtraction fact fluency. Read on to learn what I did and how we use it!
My students obviously love using their iPads. They especially love when they get the chance to use them during our math workplace time. This is when I have various centers out and I pull small groups or work with individual students. They use their iPads to play around on some apps that I like, but it is hard to find one that is working on exactly what they need.
My students this year have needed a lot of help with their fact fluency. It can not be fun to practice though - especially if it is just flash cards. However, they need consistent exposure to the equations with immediate feedback if their answer is right or wrong.
This can be tough to provide in a classroom with just one teacher.
Insert digital addition and subtraction practice!
I created a PDF resource that can be played like a game. You just open it up on a computer or a device like an iPad.
You can use this if you have a class set of devices - or just one!
On a computer, it can be played through the PDF viewer - like Adobe Acrobat.
Or - on the SMART board!
On a device such as an iPad, it is best played through iBooks. It is super simple to get the pdf over to there. I have instructions included.
I have created addition and subtraction practice through 20. I broke it down into addition 0-10, addition 11-20, subtraction 0-10, and subtraction 11-20 to make it easier for my students.
My students all started with addition 0-10. At first, they went through the various fact groupings at their leisure. There is a table of contents where they can choose what to work on. When I knew a student was ready, I had them fill out a recording sheet "quiz" for me so I could check their progress. You can also use the recording sheets as just that - recording sheets.
When my students have completed all of the levels, they receive a certificate and move on to the next set of equations.
To say they love it is an understatement. They basically think that I am a rockstar and made my own app...
Want to try it with your class? You can grab my free version (addition 0-5) here! Or, you can click below to check out the full bundle.
What digital activities have you created for your students? I would love to hear about them!
I have taught young students to read for thirteen years now. The practices I have used to do this have been ever evolving. I have taught the workshop model for the past three years. I love it. Although, I have *finally* mastered the art of conferring which is SO important within the model (and many other models.) Want to know my secret? Read on!
As I have taught reading over the years, I have moved from guided reading to one on one conferring. It works really well for me.
However, learning how to structure the conference has been challenging for me. At times I felt like I was just winging it. Until this year.
Okay, so maybe I wasn't winging it. I felt like a mess though. I had several books with suggestions for guided reading levels. Random papers I had collected through the years. A huge binder that collected dust. I ended up just talking with my kids and hoped that worked.
They made progress, but never remembered what we talked about. They also didn't know what they should be working on. My process needed to be improved.
I thought and thought about how I could improve this practice this summer. I came up with so many drafts, but finally figured out the perfect one.
I needed it to be simple. I needed it to be meaningful. I needed it to be aligned with guided reading standards. I needed it to be goal orientated. I needed my kids to understand what their goal was. I needed it to be easy.
I bound all of the reading level sheets in a notebook. There is one sheet per guided reading level. I have DRA sheets also.
I flip to the ONE SHEET while conferring with my students. The sheet has everything I need to coach them through before reading, while reading, after reading. Plus scaffolding and prompts to support comprehension, scaffolding and prompts to support fluency, and scaffolding and prompts to support decoding. I have broken this down for each guided reading / DRA level through O / 34.
I would love to eventually add on. I do not have a lot of experience beyond O though, and wanted to make sure this resource was from tried and true practice.
While I am conferring with students, I keep notes on a google doc that I have set up for each of them. It's beyond easy to make and looks like below. I start each conference by going over what we talked about last time.
At the end of our conference. I give my students a goal for the week. I get it from my reading level sheet. I put it on a sticky note and stick it on their student tracker page. They put the page in a page protector and keep it in their book box.
This process WORKS! I have been doing it from the start of school and have never felt more confident with my conferring.
Plus, the student tracker pages have been an added bonus. My kids take them so seriously.
It has helped them tremendously with setting their own goals for their independent reading time, and for making sure they read a good mix of fiction and nonfiction.
Want to try it for yourself? Click the picture below to be taken to my store.
How do you hold your reading conferences? I would love to hear more!
The end of the school year sneaks up on me and leaves me with SO much to accomplish. Please tell me I'm not alone... I always feel like I should pass out awards to my students, but can never find ones I like in my last minute rush. This year I decided to be on top of my game. I made awards that look like iPads for my technology loving class! (and now I will be using them year after, year after, year...)
As the school year comes to a close it is important to recognize the students in your class. Each one of your friends has a personality that has inevitably shown through. They also play an important role in your daily classroom life. Your classroom has become a family and closing the year with an award ceremony recognizes that is memorable to them.
Most of you know already that my class loves having iPads. So, obviously the best awards for us would have iPads on them!
I had so much fun creating these awards that I literally couldn't stop. I ended up creating 55!(you can see a list of the awards by heading to my TpT store here) I thought about the students I currently have and the ones I have had in the past. I tried to cover all of the personality traits that I have seen in them.
After I finished creating them, I wanted to make them easy to you! I don't like it when I purchase a product and then add my messy handwriting onto it. I think it looks better typed. So, I made these EDITABLE for you!
Then, to make things even easier, I added a clickable table of contents. What does this mean? You do not need to scroll over and over through my 116 page document. Instead, look at the table of contents for the color choice you would like (did I mention there are two color choices?) and click the award when you think of a student to fit it. Add their details and print!
Want to check them out for yourself? Click the picture below to be taken to my store!
I received this product for free to provide an honest review. All opinions expressed within this post are genuine and impartial.
Have you heard of Paperless Post? It is a company that designs customizable online and printed stationary. It proves that communication can be personal and well-designed - regardless of the medium. They have partnered with several word-famous designers and lifestyle brands. Including two of my favorites, Kate Spade and Jonathan Adler. They have delivered OVER 85 million cards to date! When they asked if I wanted to try out their site and app to use with my class - of course I said yes!
There are many various options of cards to send. They range from online invitations and cards to even weddings! I decided to try out the birthday cards with my students and co-workers.
Within the birthday cards section you have several to choose from. You can choose from a general selection. Or, you can get more specific with for her, for him, or belated.
You can send the cards via e-mail or purchase a print out card to be sent.
My students happen to have their own email addresses through the school. If your students do not have email addresses, you can send the cards to their parents email.
There are a large number of cards to choose from. You could easily send a different card to each of your students throughout the year. There is also a huge variety. I happened to find a unicorn card that I knew my unicorn-loving student with a birthday coming up would love.
You can personalize the background and add a personal note. You can change the formatting, font, color, spacing, height, and text effect. You even get to pick an envelope liner...check out these rainbows!
Lastly, you can pick a stamp and postmark. After you have finished, you just enter the e-mail address where you would like it to go...and voila!
I hope this smile conveys the excitement of receiving a special card from your teacher!
Once sent, you can keep track if your card has been opened by the reader. I love this feature for sending various cards to both students and adults. You never know if a card has been lost...this helps a lot!
Speaking of sending to adults...wouldn't your co-workers love a stylish card for their birthday too?
Below are just some of my favorites to send out to my co-workers at my school.
Are you itching to get started on your own cards? Head to Paperless Post to do so. I would love to hear about what you send!
*I received free credits to Paperless Post in exchange for this honest review.
So many classrooms have an ABC Countdown for the end of the year. You can read about ours here. It is fun for the kids to celebrate the last days of school together with something to look forward to each day. Why does it have to be just for the kids though? Why can't the teachers have their own countdown?
My friend Diana from My Day In K and I had so much fun coming up with an ABC Countdown for teachers. We tried to include all of our favorite things, which are hopefully yours too! Keep an eye out on our social media for the days "S" and "T" for an extra special treat from us!
To celebrate with us, just click the picture below to download the PDF. You can fill in the date that each day falls on for your school. Hang up the countdown in the teachers lounge, email it out to your friends, or just keep it to yourself. Either way - have some fun with your last 26 days. YOU HAVE EARNED IT!
In my classroom I am always having to "switch up" my behavior plans and incentives. I love using my two big management strategies of individual pad pics and a classroom BINGO game. However, I always need to add in one other thing to help on a day to day basis. I recently tried something that worked so well. I do not forsee the need to "switch it up" for a long time. Read on to learn about it and grab it as a freebie for yourself!
Have you heard of having a secret student?
I have had secret students several ways.
I have had names on popsicle sticks that I put in my pocket all day. I reminded my friends that I have secret students when behavior reminders where needed. If my secret students were not following expectations, they would have to go back in the cup and new students were picked (obviously I did not say the names of the students that I put back in.)
I've also had a secret student sign on my whiteboard where I hid names under. This worked better because being able to see the sign was a good reminder for my class. Still, I never knew how to reward the secret student and was inconsistent with my prizes.
This is when it hit me, I needed to be more specific.
I thought of prizes that my kids love to earn in my classroom and put the titles of them on squares. I hung the squares on my whiteboard by putting a piece of tape at the top so that I could still lift them. I then put one students name under each flap using a random name picker app (stick pick) from my iPad.
I told my students I had put names under the flaps. We talked about how at the end of the day I would lift the flaps. I would only fully lift the flap to reveal the name if the friend under the flap had earned the prize.
We talked about what a consequence would be for looking under the flap. They decided that person could not be under a flap for one week. Needless to say, we have never had to enforce that!
I change the names under the flaps daily. I remind my students daily (especially at tricky times...) that there are names under the flaps that could be theirs. Most days we have everyone earn their prize!
The prizes I picked are simple for me to pass out in my class. The two kids who earn VIP get our VIP bucket, the pad pic gets to pick any pad pic, treasure box is self-explanatory, BINGO piece gets to pick a card for our class chart, and the last flap is pencil patrol so they get an extra card from our pencil challenge.
Want to try this with your class?
I added a few flaps that I thought teachers may use with their classrooms.
Just click the picture below to download!
What type of classroom management do you use in your classroom? I would love to hear about it!
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