Today was my last day with students. I am CRAZY tired, but I really wanted to quickly write about a fun activity that I do every year to get my desks cleans. It is a student favorite and very effective on that last day! My kids blow sloap bubbles on their desks! You will need a few ingredients: a dish tub or other small plastic container dish soap (Dawn works best.) straws a plastic cup dish rags (I ask my students to bring them from home.) Fill the dish tub with water and a generous amount of dish soap. Use the plastic cup to put a puddle of soap water on each student's desk. Students use straws to blow bubbles. My kids love to see who can blow the biggest bubble. Or who can blow the most bubbles connected to each other. They have a blast for 15-20 minutes! (I do give them extra soap water from time to time.) After lots of time to experiment, students use their dish rags to scrub their desks and chairs. I encourage my kids to really use their muscles!...
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This was my first year of using Whole Brain Teaching in the classroom. It was such an amazing change in classroom management and student collaboration. I loved teaching the classroom rules . Each rule has a hand gesture and the kids practiced teaching each other. When I noticed that the class was a little chatty, I would just say "Rule #2!" The class would says, "Rule #2: Raise your hand for permission to speak." While they said it, they did the hand gesture. This is much more effective and fun than saying "Shhhh!" I had to do it A LOT at the start of the year and very rarely after that. The part of Whole Brain Teaching that I loved the most was Teach-Okay . Basically, the teacher says something (only a sentence or two), then claps and says "Teach." The students clap and say "Okay." They turn to the person closest to them and teach their partner what the teacher said. I only gave a few seconds and then called them back with...
I love to read. I am a book nerd. I always have been. I was THAT kid who sat on the wall and read during recess. In high school, I had a job at the local library. In college, I shelved books for Barnes and Noble. Now, I have an Amazon Prime membership just so I can get books delivered within two days. When I finish a book, I get sad because I feel like I am saying goodbye to good friends. Yup, I'm a book nerd! As a teacher, I strive to inspire life-long readers! I want to have a room full of book nerds. At the end of the year I will judge my effectiveness as a reading teacher, not on standardized test scores, but on the desire and excitement that my students show towards reading. I will chant this to myself repeatedly as I analyze the test data. Here are some ways that I inspire kids to LOVE reading! If you want your students to love reading, it is imperative that you have a fantastic library. You need to fill your class library with current books, popular authors and se...
Two years ago, I made a professional goal to increase parent communication. My school requires a weekly class newsletter. Yes, I said weekly. I keep mine short and sweet, but I estimate that only half of my parents ever read them. My students complete an agenda every day with their "I can" statements for the day. Again, parents do NOT read. And then the idea for Friday journals came to mind. They won't read what I write, but they love to read what their child writes! (Especially when their child is begging and pleading!) I LOVE, LOVE my Friday journals! All of my students have a notebook. I use composition books, but spiral notebooks are fine.  During the last 10 minutes every Friday, my students write a letter to their parents. They write about the activities that we did during the week, new facts or skills that they have learned, their goals and their proud moments. I spent some time at the beginning of the year teaching the friendly letter format. Since I...