What day is it Today????

Tuesday, September 30, 2008

More information coming soon

“Primary English, Sharing Good Practices”, 8th of November, Évora

Saturday, September 06, 2008

think about this

1. Is your room ready?
You should have up a few things on bulletin boards, but save lots of space for student work to be added the first day or two, to personalize the room.

2. Do you have nametags for the students and for their desks?
Be sure to have extras, because some kids on your list probably won't show up, and you'll get new students enrolling for the first week or two.

3. Do you have soft music to play in the background?

4. Do you have a sign-in sheet for the parents who come with their children the first day, where they can leave you personal notes if they don't have time to talk?

5. Do you have a paper for parents to indicate how their child gets home from school?
This is *very* important, because the first week is very hectic and you have to be sure kids go where they're supposed to go. Few things in life are as scary as "losing" someone's child, especially before you've even matched faces to all the names.

6. Do you have some games, puzzles, books and magazines, math manipulatives, etc., out and ready for the students to use as they arrive in class?
You'll need these ready so that you're free to talk with parents and handle paperwork.

7. Do you have a Beary Good Work folder made up for each child?
This folder will have coloring pages, games, mazes, blank writing paper, and other fun learning activities to use during quiet times the first week or two of school. Mine is about 20 pages long, run on the ditto machine to save my copies for later in the year. Make 5 extra folders, and don't put names on any of them until a child begins using them.

8. Do you have stickers, Skittles or M&M's, or some other form of reward to give out several times each day for the first week or two?
Reinforcing good behavior is extremely important. Decide what your reward system will be and be generous with it while getting classroom routines established.

9. Do you have a project or two for your students to complete and take home the first day?

10. Have you selected what stories and poems you will read? Do you have follow up activities ready to go?

11. Do you have a packet of materials to send home about yourself, your rules and expectations, and your classroom routine and schedule? I'll be adding my first day packet to the website sometime soon.

12. Do you have the following items on your desk? * a picture of your family or pets * a daily inspiritional calendar of some sort * notepaper, pens, and pencils * hall passes, if your school uses them * referral forms, if your school uses them * a jar of colored markers * your reward/candy/sticker jar

OK, that's quite a bit already :o) Here are a few more things to think about before the first day of school.

1. How and where do your students spend their time before school? If they come directly to the classroom, what activities/procedures will you use until the bell rings and it's time for class to begin?

2. What will you use as your signal to get the children's attention? Flashing the lights, ringing a bell, singing a song, raising your hand and expecting them to do the same, etc.?

3. How will you choose a student helper the first day of school, to do things like lead the flag salute, take the attendance and lunch count folders to the office, help pass out papers, etc.?

4. What is your policy about excusing children to go to the restroom during instructional time? (5 and 6 year olds *all* need to go to the bathroom as soon as you let the first child leave, so be sure you've decided how to handle this :)

5. What activities have you chosen for the first week of school, when teachers are often busy with tons of paperwork and are frequently interrupted by the arrival of new students, parents, and notes/phone calls from the office?

8. What type of behavior reinforcement/positive discipline plan are you going to use? You will probably need a pocket chart to keep track of color changes if you are going to use that type of system (I use a calendar pocket chart with 4 colors of apples).

9. What other class rules and procedures are you going to have? Be sure to have them in writing before the first day of school, and spend time the first day explaining them to your students. Realistically, you'll have to go over class rules and procedures every day for at least a week, to help your students learn your expectations.

10. What type of letter will you send home with students the first day of school? Your letter should introduce you, tell them a bit about you and your goals for the year, and explain your rules, procedures, and behavior management plan.


hints for the first day

The following is a list of ways that I feel you can help students feel
comfortable on the first day and throughout the year.

1) Let students know that you are a "real" person. Tell
them about yourself through pictures and stories.

2) If you want students to know that you care about them show them
by greeting them at the door, use eye contact when speaking with
them, show compassion and always be honest.

3) Establish procedures in the beginning. Let them know what is
expected of them. Do not make a list of rules telling them what
they can't do. Instead make a student created list of what is
expected. For instance, do not say

"Don't run in the hall,"
"Walk calmly and quietly in the hall."

Review the procedures often at the beginning of the year and
as needed later.

Most of all be consistant.

4) Create an atmosphere in the classroom that makes the students feel
comfortable. The colors blue, green and purple are most calming.
Natural lighting and plants are also good ideas for a comfortable classroom.

TEACHER'S NOTE: This point hit home when the instuctor at the seminar I attended asked us to think about the places we go to feel relaxed and what colors were there. Try it.

5) Be realistic in your expectations. Don't expect the students to do
more than they are capable of, this causes anxiety. At the same
time don't make things so easy that they become bored.

6) Make an effort to create a community in your classroom. Use
activities that help the class get to know each other as well as developing a sense of trust.

Remember to continue doing these activities throughout the school
year, not just the first few days.

TEACHER'S NOTE: The book Tribes by Jeanne Gibbs is loaded with
activities that promote these things in the classroom.

7) Teach to all learning styles beginning on day one. Remember
that all students do not learn the same way. Give choices whenever

8) Learn the students names quickly and use their names when talking
to them.


ideas for the first days

Silly Name Game
On the first day, I gather the children in a circle. We go around the circle and have each child pick a word to go with his or her name (either rhyming or beginning with the same letter as the name). Each child must say his or her name and repeat the names that came before ("I am Marshmallow Megan and that was Willowy Wendy and Soccer Sally and Jumping Jimmy..."). It's a fun way to get to know one another and learn everybody's names.

Class-Created Puzzles
Using a large piece of tagboard, I draw as many puzzle pieces as I have students, plus one for myself. I number them on the back and cut them out. I have students decorate their pieces with their names, pictures, and words. We share these as a group and then reassemble the puzzle on a bulletin board to symbolize the importance of each individual's contribution to the class as a whole.

Time capsule activity

1) Give each student an empty Pringles can to decorate as a "Time

2) Each child will fill out a short interest inventory:
a handwriting sample, a tracing of their hand,
a self-portrait, and a few other things.
(You can get creative here -- make the task fit your
grade level)

3) They will place their sheets into their time capsule and have a
little ceremony to put them away until the end of the year.

(I'm planning to cheat and open the time capsules that night
in order to learn a little more about each student's interests
and abilities)

4) At the end of the year have the kids complete the same sheets
and then open their time capsule to compare how they have changed
during the school year.

"All About Me" activity
1) Hand out an 8.5" X 14" piece of paper (let the kids choose a colour)
2) Ask them to write their name in large colourful letters (fancy, bubble, etc.) in the middle of the page. TEACHER'S NOTE: I do a sample on the board while they are working on paper.
3) In the top left corner, have students finish the sentence "My family......".
4) In the top right corner, have students finish the sentence "My favourite thing to do is....". 5) In the bottom left corner, have students finish the sentence "I really don't like....".
6) In the bottom right corner, have students finish the sentence "Other people find me....". 7) In the top middle, have students finish the sentence "One day I'd love to.....".
8) In the bottom middle, have students finish the sentenceand "I'd love to meet....". TEACHER'S NOTE: We do these one by one, and it takes quite a while for everyone to finish. When finished: a) explain that they are going to stand up, hold their paper in from of them facing out b) quietly walk around and read other people's papers.

TEACHER'S NOTE: No talking is involved. This takes about 5 minutes, then I have the kids sit down. One by one I go around the room and introduce each child to the class and ask "Who can tell me something interesting about this person?". Hands fly up as kids are eager to prove that they read what was on the student's paper. I collect these papers after the exercise and post them in the room - kids enjoy reading them in the weeks to come and parents enjoy them on the Meet the Teacher night.

HANDS in class decorations

Just wanted to share this...it's easy and quick...of course, you can make it as detailed as you want, too. It's definitely NOT my idea---I think it was in a Bulletin Board book years ago...For a Welcome Board (or anyplace in your classroom for that matter)"Meet our HANDSome Class" Most Ellison Press collections have a handprint... OR have the kiddos trace their own hand on different colored construction paper and write their name on the hand. You could put their picture on the hand, too

First Day Bulletin Board

It works really well for your opening bulletin board to have your kids names on it....like a tree with apples or fall leaves with their names. You could add photos you take on the first day. I have a rocket ship with a few astronauts (for me an my assistant) and shooting stars for their names. I found it at the Teachers store on sale. I also like using the Chicka Chicka Boom Boom tree, with the letters of their first name and their photo. We do CCBB the first week. I've also used leaping frogs ("Welcome to our Pad") and scoops of ice cream ("A New Scoop of Grade Ones") on brown paper cones.
Would a rainbow work? Crayons? Balloons? ("Up Up and Away") Colored handprints? Drawings of yellow pencils ("One Sharp Bunch") with their names on? School busses, bugs, dinosaurs (A Roaring...

Open House - "Treasure Hunt"
Give the kids a list of things to show their parents in the room (class pet, their desk, etc...). The last thing on there is for them to find the treasure chest and it has a goody bag for each child (a few small things in it - piece of candy, pencil, eraser, homework pass, etc...).

Friday, September 05, 2008

songs in the classroom


Be quiet

Clean up

halloween song