Friday, 21 April 2017

It's been a while--Phonics Games & Smartboard Activities!

I think I have started a blogging about 25 times in the past few months. I have tons of "mini-blog posts" on the go, and a handful of curriculum supplement packs started, as well. 

But I need a swift kick in the butt. 

So here we go.

So what's new on my end?

I am still teaching 1/2 time. Not in love with my position of LSST (Learning Support Services Teacher), but I am a loving being home with my daughter 1/2 of the day. I am less stressed and "busy". I find myself a lot more present as a wife and mother because I am not in "school mode" ALL THE TIME (which I feel like I was in the past).

Every day I teach a phonics based program to JK/SK's and provide remedial support (grade 6 math). It's a good mix.

So my goal is to post a few of the activities I have been doing with my kiddos. Maybe to spark inspiration or to peruse at your leisure or to ignore LOL.

Here are some additional phonics games and Smart Board Lesson I have loved to use:

All of these games can be found for free on "Smart Exchange". 

This first SMART activity I use as a competition. Each team needs to read the sight words (using the strategies we have learned in class) and bring it to the space ship that it belongs to (middle sound). 

In this activity, students need to pop their coloured jewels as fast as they can, saying the sound each letter makes before it pops! This helps students with their letter-sound fluency.

Students need to press the correct digraph button as soon as the picture comes onto the screen. 

This activity uses the magic eraser. Students need to erase pictures that match the beginning or ending sound, indicated. 

This game I use as a review of sounds and words. It is a white plastic table cloth from the Dollar Store. I used black marker to write letters and the sight words we have been working on. Each side has the same letters and words. I break the class into teams and the team that swats or stomps on the word first, receives a point for their team. 

This idea can be used whenever, but I used it right before Easter weekend. I put letters, words and clues in each of the eggs and hid them around the room. The students again were in teams. I would call one member of each team at a time. They had to find an egg and crack it to pull out the clue. If they answer the clue, they received a point for their team. 

As for some resources on the go..... I am trying my best to get them done in the next 2 weeks. 
I am currently working on a grade 6 (Ontario) pack for Heritage & Identity: Communities in Canada. The curriculum for this is as painful as it comes, and encompasses a smorgasbord of ideas, so it's been a doozey to work on. Stay tuned. 

The other grade 6 Social Studies pack is already up in our store, if you're interested. 

Alright, that's all for tonight. 
It won't be months and months until I blog again! HA!

Thank you to those who do read these:)

Thursday, 26 January 2017

Family Literacy Day- Friday January 27th

Family Literacy Day in Canada is this coming Friday.

Although I am working in the realm of Special Education this year, I can't help but think what I would do with my kiddos and their families if I was in the classroom this year.

Family Literacy Day® is a national awareness initiative created by ABC Life Literacy Canada in 1999 and held annually on January 27 to raise awareness of the importance of reading and engaging in other literacy-related activities as a family.
Taking time every day to read or do a learning activity with children is crucial to a child’s development, improving a child’s literacy skills dramatically, and can help a parent improve their skills as well.

15 minutes Friday and every day, to make literacy fun!

Parents often ask me how they can get their kiddos to read. I think the easiest way (especially when they are young), is to make it fun. And to make kids unaware that they are reading. 

In my Monday to Monday folders/ Monthly newsletters home, I would often give parents websites or ideas on how to get their children to read more. I found this great little idea list a few years ago. You can grab it HERE.

In the classroom, fun is the only way. 
Reading can seem so mundane to students. It's our job to make it fun, make it engaging and make it worthwhile. 

Christine and I have posted a few ideas in the past about how to engage kids in reading tasks.
Here are a few of my favourites.

Digital Book Reviews (HERE) and HERE

or Digital Info Videos

Main Character Gallery Walk 

Reading Coffee House (HERE)
and HERE

Sometimes just giving students choice is more than enough. For example, using Reading Response Cards (found in our Independent Reading Boxes)
Allows students choice on how they would like to respond to a reading/book/magazine etc. I often allow them to read what they would like to read, oppose to forcing them to read a chapter book (for example) that they dread. I often receive better written responses when they are interested in the material. 

For more ideas for older kiddos, please see this blog post about interactive learning (HERE).

Whatever you choose to do to celebrate literacy tomorrow or every day, make it fun. Life's too short for photocopied worksheets and a silent classroom ;)

Happy Literacy Day!


Sunday, 30 October 2016

Halloween- Last Minute Ideas!

Ok, so tomorrow is Halloween. It's a nutty day and unfortunately has landed itself on a Monday. Meaning, cuckoo children Monday and Zombies on Tuesday, followed by candy high and lows for the rest of the week. 


But tomorrow is the focus. And if you haven't already completed your planning, here are a few ideas to add to your day.

For The Littles.....

Christine and I created this a few years back. And the kids LOVED it! Seriously were so excited. In our province, we had a "preposition of place" curriculum expectation, so this played very well into that :)

Grab a FREE copy of it HERE.

This year, I am also doing a scavenger hunt with my kiddos. I teach a phonics program, daily, so here are some skeleton pieces I picked up at Target a few years ago. 
Each student will need to find a bone. Behind each bone is a letter/sound. In order to pass inspection, the students must tell me the sound the letters makes and a 1-2 words that begin with that sound. Then they are to bring their bone over to the graveyard, to put the skeleton back together. 

There are two sets of bones, so I may even separate the class into two groups.

Brain Break, needed?

For Upper Grades....

How about this writing idea!? 

 Free Story Writing Templates HERE
Step by Step instructions, too! Love this!

Pumpkin Word Parts for some quick word study fun!
Click HERE for the freebie.

Opinion Writing Prompts
Click HERE for a few freebies :)

Whatever you choose to do, make it fun :)
These are the days kids remember.

Happy Halloween!


Wednesday, 26 October 2016

Two Months In....

It has been a few months since the 2016/17 school year began. It's been a whirlwind! 

I realize this year how much I miss having my own classroom since having my daughter, but making the choice stay working 1/2 time has been a huge blessing, allowing me to be home part of the day with her. It's made me a better mum, wife and teacher. 

My role this year is once again, LSST (Learning Support Teacher), specifically working with JK/SK students. I work with students needing remedial support (specifically with ELL students and students needing a little extra). The majority of my morning is working with 3, 4 & 5 year olds, teaching them a phonics program called PALS (Peer Assisted Learning Strategies). It is a scripted program that teaches students. My goal every year (not matter what grade I teach), is to make it FUN!

PALS- I move the students around often, having them sit down and stand up many times! Their attention spans are ultra small in the early months, so I pack my classes with the scripted program, as well as various supporting activities.

Here are a few ideas on how I get my kiddos to stay focused and to stay on task:

I always start my classes with a copy cat game or a roll and catch question and answer game. The students love to tell me new things (i.e. what they did last night, what they had for dinner, what they are being for Halloween, that they have a cat, or that they have cheese in their lunch pails). You name it, they want to tell me. So this is my way of getting to know them better, and honouring their excitement of wanting to share something they deem important or interesting. 

I ask them questions about their field trip or favourite season or favourite snack foods. They answer in complete sentences and they expand their thought. It's a fast warm up to get on the same page, yet get to know each other better. 

Found these cute "would you rather" for kids, cards. You can grab them here.
Even lining up is a game of some sort. I always play a quick game of "Can you hear Mrs. Edmunds?" As they get into line, they are to listen for my instructions. Whether it's saying "Yehaw" or "jumping 4 times", their actions tell me very quickly who is "on the train" and who is not.  

I then take my kids to a media room. When they enter they need to find their name card (in a different place every day). Eventually their name cards will come with a game card or puzzle piece, linking to my lesson. Stay tuned.

Once we find our names and settle in, I do a recap of the lesson from the day before. I try to make this interactive. I am super lucky to have access to a Smartboard. I have created a few games that allow me to 'check in' with certain students individually, or as a group. I have also found some great freebies on Smart Exchange.

I then have them move around. I sometimes stick with a phonics based song/dance or mix it up with something they are into (like the Gummy Bear song). Ha!

Then we sit back down and get to a lesson from the PALS program. We'll have competitions on which group sounded like a choir, say our sounds in wacky voices or just keep it simple. Either way, it has got to be engaging or they're done. And really, so am I. 

As of now, I am teaching in a whole group setting. Eventually, I would like to get my kiddos into some small groups. But that'll take some time. Until then, each day is a new adventure. 

A few months ago I would have said "Junior and Senior Kindergarten is not in my wheelhouse". But now, I can't imagine spending my morning any where else. It's tiring, but definitely rewarding and hilarious, all at the same time. 

Lots planned for this year. Hopefully I will get around to blogging about it, often. 


Thursday, 15 September 2016

2016-2017 Grade 1/2 Classroom

Setting up the classroom

Welcome back to school! I hope everyone had a great summer.  

I wanted to share the new things in my classroom with our followers. I have a split 1/2 class this year, which means I have quite a few students from last year coming back into my room. So I commandeered my children and their friends and girlfriends/boyfriends to come and help. It turned out fantastic. I get so excited each year with a fresh new start but this one feels the best so far. 

I tried to create separate areas, and independent activities throughout the classroom, because there will be times when I need students to work independently when I am working with the opposite grade. 

Here is what it looks like, starting with the outside of my classroom and door. 

Here is inside the classroom.  

My daughter Jocelyn felt that I needed a desk fairy this year.
 This is how her little desk fairy turned out. 

I should have taken a close up.  I will take one this weekend and post it with the new writing centre I just finished tonight. 

I would like to shout out a thank you to all the wonderful people who helped with my room, including my friends two sweet children, 
Abbey and Ella!  

Hope everyone is having a good start to the new year. 


Monday, 5 September 2016

2016/17 School Year! Here--We--Go!

It's that time!!! Say it isn't so!!!

Are you ready?

I took the summer off from all things teaching (well, for the most part) and enjoyed every-last-drop!

I have loved being home with my daughter all summer and watching her change and grow. Nothing beats quality time. Nothing.

I hope you all had a great summer and are ready to hit the ground running, as we meet our new kiddos for the year!

This year I have moved schools once again (insert shocked face). HAHA! I was the second lowest in seniority at my last school and was redudant. I have decided to return to teaching half-time again this year, in order to be home half a day with my daughter. 

My position this year is 'LSST' (Learning Support Services Teacher). I provide support to students with needs in the classroom and implement the PALS program (an early reading program) to JK/SK students. Like always, I try to add my own spin into everything I do in the classroom, so I will try to blog some new ideas I have throughout the year on the blog. 

If you don't already follow us on FACEBOOK, please do. That way you'll be able to keep track of new blog posts and new materials that we create. 

I need to meet my littlest learners and see where they are at. Some may be only 3 (turning 4) and others are close to 5, so I love to see what they are familiar with, as they begin the school year. We have a few sound tests we do with them, but I like to make it fun, too. 

Stay tuned for a few new ideas...

Wishing you a great start to the school year!