1) Hey Science Teachers -- Make it Fun
2) Math Class Needs a Makeover
3) How to Fix a Broken School? Lead Fearlessly, Love Hard
What did you take from the Ted talks?
Here are some inspiring Ted talks for teachers :)
1) Hey Science Teachers -- Make it Fun
The first video is from a wonderful science teacher who understands that even reading about science can and should be engaging. Everyone loves a story and young learners are especially captivated by a story. I personally loved his story of bacteria virus espionage and I can imagine students listening intently and learning from it. So I love the idea of making science into stories. I appreciate that he says, I'm paraphrasing, that it's not dumbing it down it's just making it more understandable. I have used dance to explain scientific concepts to my students, but I will have to add this science story telling to my bag of tricks.
2) Math Class Needs a Makeover
I love that this math teacher wants to fight "impatient problem solving". Creating "patient problem solving" seems so key in a society that is all about having everything right now and a society that gets impatient when a webpage takes a few extra SECONDS to load. I will admit I am one of these impatient people. I love how he broke the slope problem down into those smaller parts, to really get students to think and use math reasoning. The grocery line question he talks about (I found his blog version of it here) really got me thinking about which I would choose and why.
3) How to Fix a Broken School? Lead Fearlessly, Love Hard
This principal knows what's important. I love her "So what, now what? What are we going to do about it?" slogan to stop with the excuses and figure out what to do. Her "If nobody told you they loved you today, you remember I do, and I always will" is sooooo important because every needs to know they are loved and relationships are at the core of teaching.
What did you take from the Ted talks?
I hope you have been enjoying my "Promoting Reading" Series. If you missed any of my tips, click the links below:
Missed a post? Check them out here:
Check out today's tip below.
I didn't want students to stop reading when summer holidays came. So the last week of school I took my students on a tour of one of our city's public libraries. Before going I gave students library card applications to those interested. Then I dropped off the completed forms a week before our tour, so that their library cards would be ready to pick up during our tour.
When we got to the library the librarian told the students about different reading contests they had during the summer. Then she showed them around the library and explained procedures for the library. After she was done I put my students into groups and gave each group a clipboard, paper and pencil. Then I challenged them to find at least 5 books they would be interested in reading this summer. They excitedly searched the library, discovering numerous books to include on their lists. A couple of the librarians also helped students who applied for library cards finish up their library cards, by choosing pins and signing their names on their cards. They were so excited to sign their names. When we got back to the school I photocopied their list of books and and gave a copy to each group member.
Have you taken students to the library?
What do you love most about your public library?
I'm linking up today with 4th Grade Frolics for Monday Made It and Primary Inspiration for What's New in K-2 Today I will be sharing something I am really proud of that I made for my classroom to promote reading.
Over the past few days I have been sharing tips for promoting reading in the classroom. If you missed my previous tips click the links below:
Check out today's tip and read how you can get a promoting reading FREEBIE. Enjoy :)
I first saw this idea when I saw some March Madness book tournaments on Pinterest. I didn't get a chance to try it out in March, so I thought it would be perfect for the last couple months of school. I decided to make my own classroom book tournament to expose students to a variety of authors and series.
There were three main stages for my book tournament. During the first stage, I ran one or two mini battles every week or two, depending on the length of the books. I had a total of 6 mini battles for the first stage. During a mini battle an author/book series battles against another author/book series to see which comes out on top as the class favourite. In order to vote, students had to read a book by one of the authors and fill out a reading ballot with their choice. The reading ballots included a retell portion and another comprehension strategy we had learned. The more books they read, the more ballots they got. After each battle was over I counted the ballots and crossed out the "loser" and added the "winner" to the next stage of the battle. In stage two there were three mini battles. Then in stage three I had three author's/series battling head to head...to head I guess to be the ultimate champion.
Contenders for the "Wiley Book Tournament" were based on many factors. I choose authors I thought would interest students and be at their reading levels. It was also important that our school library or my classroom library had lots of these books available. For some of my higher level author's/series I borrowed audio books from the public library so that all of my students could participate. They LOVED listening to the audio books and even some of my high readers wanted to join in and listen too.
Here's how I set up the mini battles for stage one of the tournament:
Students had so much fun during the tournament that I will definitely be doing this again next year. They enjoyed watching our bulletin board update each week. I too found it interesting to see which authors/book series won each mini battle, and a few even surprised me.
Want a copy of my reading ballots? Check out my Facebook page "Wiley Teaching". Please like my page and then click on my Fan FREEBIES tab to get your FREEBIE.
What are your favourites from the mini battles?
Which author/series do you think won?
Over the past few days I have been sharing some of the ways I have promoted reading in my classroom.
Check all of my posts here:
Now on to today's promoting reading tip...
As our AR (Accelerated Reader) reading was drawing to a close for the year, my principal gave each classroom teacher $1.50/student for reading rewards. My students worked very hard this year on their reading, so I really wanted to get them a few goodies. So I searched for things that I could get in bulk. I was able to get them each a mustache pencil, mustache eraser, reading tattoo, bookmark, glow-in-the-dark bracelet, and peanut free freezie all for just under $1.50/student. They loved their reading goodies and I felt it was a nice way to reward them for their hard work.
What kinds of reading goodies do you give your students?
As part of my "Promoting Reading Series" I have been sharing ideas to foster a community of readers. If you missed my previous tips check them out here:
Here's today's idea:
This idea has been all over Pinterest. I'm not sure whose idea it was originally, if you know I would love to give them credit.
Any who, my class was working their way up to reading for 10 minutes straight. I think we were at about 6 minutes of reading stamina. So I told them that when we reached 10 minutes we would have a "Flashlight Friday". They responded with curious faces and questions. I responded back by telling them that when they reached it, they learn what this surprise activity was. This helped them get excited to increase their reading stamina and work even harder.
The Friday after we reached those sweet ten minutes, I handed out a finger flashlight, a great Dollar Store find, to each student. I told them to get comfy with a great book and turn on their flashlights. Then I closed the blinds and shut the lights off and we read by the light of our finger flashlights. It was so much fun. Once we did it once, my students begged to do it again. So throughout the year as long as students worked hard on their reading during the week we would celebrate with Flashlight Friday.
Have you ever tried Flashlight Friday?
Check back tomorrow for my next promoting reading tip.
I love reading and have tried to foster a community of reading in my classroom. Missed yesterday's tip? Click the link below to check it out:
Check out today's tip for promoting reading.
I love giving books as presents. The look on students’ faces when they realize that the new book they have belongs to them is priceless. Some of the children I work with do not own a lot of books. So to help them grow their personal libraries and their love of reading I like to give out books.
Scholastics book orders has always been one of my favourite things, even as a child. It was always exciting getting that new book order and scouring through it to circle all of the books I wanted. I had a wonderful mother who, even though wasn’t an avid reader herself, wanted to help my love of books to grow. So each she let me get many books through Scholastics book orders over the years. That anticipation of waiting for the book order to arrive and then finally getting that brand new book in my hands was such a joy.
Knowing how much I loved getting books from the Scholastics book orders I decided that as a teacher I would most definitely give out the book orders. After noticing the Scholastics book certificates, each certificate worth $4.99, in the book orders I decided that was a must buy. So as a Christmas gift I gave students the gift of choosing their own book from the book orders. Their eyes lit up when they realized that not only would they get a book, but they would get to choose it. The only stipulation was that if they wanted a book that was more expensive then the certificate, they were responsible for bringing in the extra money.
This year scholastics was even more incredible, because on a couple of the book orders if you ordered a certain amount, I think $35 dollars’ worth, then they would send you a class set of books or bookmarks FREE. Yes you read that right, FREE!!!!!! So for Valentines each student received their own mini copy of “The School from the Black Lagoon” by Mike Thaler and a Minecraft bookmark. They dove right in and started reading the books as soon as they found it waiting for them on their desks.
My last book gift is one that students receive on the last day of school. I have been doing this since my first year of teaching. Every year I keep my eye out for the 25 books for $25 dollar deals and for books that are $2.99 or less in the book orders. So by the end of the year I have a good collection of wonderful and cheap books. During the last or second last week of school I tell students that for their year-end present each of them will get a book to take home. I spread out all of the books I have been saving onto tables and carpets. I randomly pick students, using popsicle sticks with their names on them, and allow each child to come and choose their book. Then I take the books home and write a personal message to each of them in their book. I also create bookmarks with a lovely end of the school year poem I found. Then on the last day of school I give them their books and watch their faces lit up.
What kinds of reading gifts do you love to give?
Over the next few day I will be sharing with you some of the ways that I have tried to foster a community of readers in my classroom.
Now for idea #1...
I first heard of this idea from one of my university professors, but have since seen this tip floating around Pinterest and many teacher blogs. My university professor had a passion for reading. She made a suggestion that we provide students with fun tools to help get students excited to read. She told us to keep our eyes out during Halloween for some witches fingers as these could be used to help students track during reading.
So being the nerdy teacher I am, that next Halloween I found some at the Dollar Store and bought a class set. I ended up teaching grade 5/6 my first year so I didn't end up using them. When I got to teach grade 3/4 my second year I gave them to my students at Halloween as part of their treat from me and have been doing this ever since.
This year we used these to help us during read to self and even read to someone. When my class got them this year they couldn't wait to use them. I also like to use reading fingers during guided reading so I keep a set ready in my guided reading tool bin.
What kind of reading tools do you use in your classroom?
Reflecting on this past school year, I feel very pleased with how many ways I have promoted reading in my classroom. I thought that it would be nice to share some of the things I did. Stay tuned over the next few days for ways to try and foster the love of reading. Can you guess what my ideas are? Look at my Sneak Peak and take a guess.
I'm linking up with PAWSivietly Teaching and Inspired Owl's Corner for the Pick 3 Pinterest Party.
My first Pinterest pick is all about CUBES awesomeness. I have been using the CUBES strategy for problem solving for the past three years. I'm sure you have seen this fantastic strategy floating all over Pinterest, like the great one above.
I noticed one that had changed the "e" to equation and thought that's so perfect and simple. Sadly though I can't seem to find where it was from. (If you know let me know and I can give them credit.) So I decided to change my CUBES into:
C - circle the numbers
U - underline the question
B - box the math action words
E - equation
S - solve, check, and sentence
I decided that I also was going to make it more interactive. So with the help of my students, we came up with some actions to go with our steps. I have found that integrating actions and poems into math has really helped my students this year. We came up with the following actions:
C - make a circle motion with your arm and say "Circle the numbers"
U - make a horizontal line with forearm and move from left to right saying "Underline the question"
B - make an L and backwards L with fingers, combine the Ls to make a box and say "Box the math action words"
E - with left and right arm horizontal, make an equals sign and say "Eeeeequation"
S - keep the equals signs arms and say "Solve", put thumb and pointer finger up and turn sideways to make a checkmark saying "check", and then pretend to write in the air, punching for the period at the end of the sentence saying "sentence".
We just started this today and already so many of my students are really getting problem solving. We also created a list of math action words together. First we talked about how addition is getting more of something and brainstormed ways that we can get more. This list included buy, borrow, find, and take. Then we discussed how subtraction is getting less of something and brainstormed ways to get less. This list included: sell, lend, give, throw out, and destroy/break. Then I provided them with some math action words that they might find in the questions. For addition we came up with: in all, altogether, sum, together, and both. Our subtraction list for questions included: left, "how many more", and remain.
I love my second Pinterst pick, which is this editing checklist from TeachMaddeness. This is the first year that I have started using this idea and I am loving it. You can add things to the students editing checklist as you teach about them.
My third pick is this rounding game from Adventures in Third Grade. I have integrated so many games this year into my math program and this is one that has really helped my students with their rounding. It's like war, except that the students have to round their number first and then the highest rounded number wins.
I'm linking up with Primary Powers to share our classroom loves. Now for the sake of my classroom loves to make sense I am going to go a bit out of order.
Since I have 26 kids in my room, I had them all make one and I sent two Valentines to a few lucky classrooms. We also sent a note to each classroom telling them about our class. Each student made a love creature, like the one above, and on their own or with a partner completed the note.
In return, we received a bunch of cute Valentines and notes from classrooms across Canada. My students were so engaged sitting on our carpet, discovering what was in each envelope. They loved looking at the Valentines and learning about the different classes across Canada.
I loved making this bulletin so that we could share the Valentines with our school. Getting so many new Valentines ideas for next year was also great. * I smudged the notes on the picture with SumoPaint to keep the classroom's info private.
My class loved the Valentines I gave them. They each got:
-a mini copy of The School From The Black Lagoon
-a Minecraft bookmark that changes when you wiggle it
-ah-MAZE-ing valentine that I found for free from Balancing Home
For ordering so much from Scholastic's book club they sent me a class set of the mini books and bookmarks for FREE!!!! Since all three were free I guess technically this is a "we love", since I love FREEBIES!
Hope you enjoyed our Valentines classroom loves and had a great Valentines yourself :)
I am teacher from Saskatchewan, Canada. I have taught grades 2-6 and currently I am teaching grade 3/4. Teaching often makes me smile and think, "I can't believe I get paid to do this!"