Saturday, 17 October 2015

Tricks & Treats: A Halloween Blog Hop and Giveaway!

Happy (almost) Halloween! I am so excited to link up with some fellow Canadian bloggers for a blog hop and GIVEAWAY.
At Halloween the kids are off the walls CRAZY, and it seems near impossible to get them unstuck from the roof. To keep the day under control, I have them complete curriculum related centers that have them too busy having fun and learning to think about ALL the candy they will be getting very soon. Here is a little Halloween treat for you, an engaging center using the five senses.
Another little treat for you, a TPT giveaway, just enter below using the form.
Check out this amazing Canadian blogger for more freebies and a chance to win.

Finally, if you are looking for all my centers, have a peek at this resource.

Thursday, 30 July 2015

Teacher, I've never been to recess before!!!

The first days back at school are all about routines, schedule and new experiences. For Kindergarten and Grade One students, one of the most exciting, and potentially overwhelming new experiences, is, that's right, the dreaded R word...RECESS!!!
The school I was at a few years ago had full day Kindergarten, so when the students entered grade one they were recess pros. They already had a year of practice with the routines. It was also a smaller school, only one of each grade, so there weren't an overwhelming amount of students outside during recess time.
The school I am at now has half day Kindergarten, and the students don't have recess with the rest of the students when they go outside. The school is also quite large, about 4 of each grade. When the students enter grade one they have never experienced recess.
This was new to me, and so on the first few days during recess I had students who were terrified of being outside, who wanted me to be with them during every recess for the entire month of September, and who were generally not ready to be with 600 other students and play. 

Sound familiar? I felt terrible that I didn't do a great job of preparing them and vowed to change things for the next year. Here are my top five ideas for making this an easier transition.

1. Practice, Practice, Practice- expectations MUST be very clear, don't leave anything out. Things such as which washroom to use, who to ask if you need help, where to play, which shoes to wear, where to go when the bell rings and the list goes on! I think it's important to go through these expectations, role play them, read stories and most importantly be a role model. Go out with your students and show them where to go, what to do and how to play. This foundation with set them up for success during recess time for the rest of the year. 

2. Building Relationships- Of course it is always important to build relationships with students, but knowing your students well can also help with this recess transition. Sensitive students may need an extra buddy, or a visit from you when they are playing to feel safe. It is also important that classmates have relationships with each other as they are each others lifeline when they are outside. Make sure to set this up before, and especially look out for students who are new to the school and may need an extra buddy or two.

3. Comfort- These kids are still so little! It must be incredibly overwhelming to see kids EVERYWHERE with no structure and the person that they are supposed to trust (their teacher) may not be with them outside. They may need a heart sticker, a hug, a picture or a stuffed buddy to take out with them to make the transition a little more easy.

4. Distraction- Give them a job, something important to do while they are outside. Some equipment to play a game, a scavengar hunt, finding a supervisor and saying hello, figuring out where the park is, and any other ways to take their mind off feeling scared, nervous or worried.

5. Positive Attitude- A little "I'm so proud of you", and "I see a big improvement"; a little encouragement goes a long way. It is baby steps in those first days. You know that student that cried for the entire first recess, well celebrate that the second day they only cried for half of it. Looking at things in a positive way can help students feel better about.

Using all of these ideas, I made a resource to use in those first days of school. Included is a scavenger hunt, getting ready sheets, King and Queen puppets, certificates, a story, recess rules, a chant, and scenarios to practice. You can find this entire resource here:
Recess Jungle
I hope that your students are easily able to transition into the recess routine, good luck on the first days back!

Wednesday, 1 July 2015

The Clothespin Pinterest fail- and win!

So I did this long ago, and was going to blog about it but just never got around to it! So finally it is summer and I have time to catch up. I tried this idea from Pinterest and for me, it was a FAIL. (from Middle School For Life). The clothespins broke, the pins fell off and it was a hot mess for me in my room.
So instead I tried this with much better results. I bought plastic clothespins from Walmart that look something like this. They have to be flat at the top. I then pushed the pin THROUGH the plastic and pushed it into the wall. Well, it lasted the rest of the year and is still going strong.
Here is what it looked like, I use this board to put up my students math work activities and it works GREAT!

Saturday, 9 May 2015

Happy Mother's Day!

This year my hubby and little one were full of so much sweetness, flowers, brunch and LOTS of love. Of course my little guy was up a good chunk of the night with a cold, but looking on the bright side we did lots of snuggling, even if a sniffly nose was involved!!!

At school the kids made these cute canvas paintings, they were so excited to give them to 'that special lady in their life'.

I always have a hard time with mother's day as I think it must bring up some pretty sad feelings with some of our littles, and I carefully dance around the topic as best as I can. I can only imagine that it must be like rubbing salt in a wound for some kids. How do you address this in your classroom? It is something I have always been conscious of and I want to be considerate of all my students.

These paintings could be given to any special person in their life, and I think they turned out really great!

Mrs. Dunn

Thursday, 30 April 2015

Math Centres... Numbers 1-100 and Skip Counting

This year I have been trying a WHOLE new approach to math because in the past...well...let's just say that math wasn't my most favourite thing to teach ;)
And let me tell you, what a difference, my kids love it and I look forward to teaching it, nothing better than that.
So basically it revolves around a weekly system of teaching and centre based practice of outcomes.

Monday- I complete a full lesson on the outcomes, we practice as a class and then the students practice in groups, partners or on their own.
Tuesday- I complete a mini lesson on the outcome and then go through the centre activities. Students complete one centre.
Wednesday- I complete a mini lesson on the outcome and then students complete two centres.
Thursday- I complete a mini lesson on the outcome and then students complete two centres.
Friday- We review what we have learned over the week and complete any unfinished centres.

How I set up rotations:
I have a bulletin board with each of the centres
Computers, Alone, Manipulatives, Problem Solve, and Partner
Each group is listed underneath of the title card, and when they complete a centre then I just move the groups to the next space. I have three bins with binders to contain paperwork. The students complete all activities in their math interactive notebook.

Here are some sample centre activities from this unit. They especially love the partner games and playing on the computer. At the alone centre I get a chance to work with small groups on areas that they need improvement. The centres really allow for differentiation as I can put different manipulatives and activities into the bins as the groups work through them.

You can find my entire unit HERE.

Mrs. Dunn

Monday, 27 April 2015

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