Friday, September 25, 2015

Math on the Move

This week we worked on composing the numbers 6-9. Each day, I came up with a word problem to make the math applicable to my firsties. To give you a better idea of what I mean, here is one of the problems we did: Sam (changing the name for confidentiality of course) has nine dinosaurs. Some of his dinosaurs are Tyrannosaurus rex and some are Pterodactyls. How many could be Tyrannosaurus and how many could be Pterodactyls?  (I put my students' names in the problems because they LOVE it!) The boy I used for this problem LOVES dinosaurs, so you better believe the moment he heard his name, he was enthralled!

Before we started the lesson, I had set up white butcher paper on all four sides of the room. Then, after we read the problem, I divided my students up into four groups. I put one student from each group in charge. The person in charge helped guide the conversations and wrote what the group advised them to. Each group started by one piece of butcher paper. I gave the students about three minutes to talk about what they thought they should write or draw and why. When the three minutes were up, the leader was to write the group's ideas on the paper. Then the groups rotated to the next piece of butcher paper and repeated this process. Each time the students came to a new piece of paper, they would look at what was already written. This guided their conversation to what was missing and how they knew. The students rotated about ten times.

We then came together and discussed what was written and how the groups came to their answers. I loved how talkative my kiddos were and how students who rarely speak, were anxious to share their ideas. My students were all engaged and loved the changed pace of our math lesson. I love when my kids discover the answers for themselves! If you're wondering what I was doing during all this, no I wasn't sitting back sipping Diet DP, I was walking around observing and asking the students questions to guide their thinking.  When they teach each other and have valuable conversations, I feel that the concepts really stick! We call this a walk-a-bout and it could be done with any concepts. Get your kiddos moving by incorporating this idea.

Sunday, September 20, 2015

This teacher LOVES tieks!

At the beginning of every school year I start shopping for the most comfortable teacher shoes. This year, instead of going to every store I can think of, I took my question to my teacher friends on facebook. I had many responses, but I am picky about what my "comfortable" shoes look like. I was looking for something cute, comfy, and durable. So, after careful consideration and some research, I decided to try out tieks. Now you're probably thinking, "Are you crazy? That's a lot of money for shoes!" Well, you would be right, but finding shoes that are cute, comfortable, and come in every color imaginable sold me!

The first day I wore my tieks to school my feet didn't hurt and neither did my back. I have had back problems from fracturing my tail bone when I was younger, and my arches have fallen too. So I am VERY particular about my comfort level when it comes to shoes. I am also big on having flats that don't make my feet hurt or leave me with back spasms by the end of the day. This has been my experience with many brands in the past, so I was a bit skeptical.

I'm ecstatic to say these shoes are like walking on a cloud! Whatever technology went into making the tremendous turquoise bottoms and bendable leather structure, have sold me for life! Not to mention, they come in the prettiest turquoise box with a bag to carry your shoes.

When I get home from school the first thing I want to do is throw off my shoes, but I left them on the entire day. That is saying something about these beauties! I want to wear them every day and get them in every single color! (Don't tell my husband ;))

If you are in the market for some new "teacher" shoes, I would suggest taking the plunge, and splurging on a new pair of tieks! You won't be sorry! AND just so you know how much I love this company and their fabulous shoes, I'm giving away a $50 gift card! The giveaway starts tomorrow and ends the following Monday. Enter below for a chance to win! Happy feet make for a happy teacher!
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Sunday, September 6, 2015

Kinesthetic Spelling

Before I began teaching, I worked at a Title One School as the Title One Aide. Part of my responsibilities included helping a fabulous first grade teacher with an after school program. From her, I learned a way to get the kiddos up and moving while spelling their sight words. Before I describe to you what I'm talking about, I will tell you, this could really be used for any words. I use this for high frequency words, spelling words, sight words, or any word my students may be struggling to spell.

I start by drawing lines on the board, or bringing up digital lined paper. I write the word we are working on, on this. I say the word and we read the word together. Then, I spell the word modeling this "spelling with our bodies," as I like to call it. I show the students that if a letter touches the top line, like the letter h, then we jump up and pretend to shoot a basket while saying the letter. Then, I tell them that if a letter touches the middle line, like the letter i, we touch our waists as we say the letter. If a letter goes below the bottom line, like the letter y, then we touch our toes as we say the letter. Overall, this gets my students moving and learning! You can't beat that double whammy! Try it with your class and let me know how it goes! Have a fabulous three day weekend!