Hi Readers! Happy SEPTEMBER!
Just an FYI. I check all my links to make sure that they are "hot" and correct. Sometimes Internet Explorer will give me a window "Can't find that site." Just click my link again and you will zoom to my link. It has never failed me, the 2nd time is the charm. Honestly, nothing like being cranky! If you continue to have a problem, please e-mail me and I will check it out. I want to keep things current.
I'm so excited and hope you'll be too with some of the new ideas. RED PLATES are something that I've been reading about, that seem to be extremely successful for some elementary teachers. They celebrate a student's accomplishments.
Waechtersbach is the company that makes them. They state: " It was a time honored tradition among early American families that when someone deserved special praise or attention they were served dinner on the red plate. Today this custom, so dear to early American families, returns to remind us that a simple reward can mean so much. The Red Plate is the perfect way to acknowledge a family member's special triumphs...celebrate a birthday...praise a job well done...reward a goal achieved...or simply say "You Are Special Today." When the Red Plate is used, any meal becomes a celebration honoring that special person, event or deed. It is a visible reminder of love and esteem. A way of showing someone dear to you that they are appreciated and remembered."
I think that something that makes a person feel extra special and is a simple as eating off a plate is terrific. The fact that a teacher can incorporate it in the classroom to build self-esteem and celebrate a child's accomplishments is wonderful, for there has been some controversy about various reward systems for children. I've had a "trip to the treasure box" for the last 10 years and it's worked extremely well for my Y5's.
However, the RED PLATE program seems to build self-esteem and celebrate a child's achievements in a unique manner that a trinket does not. I plan to start out with plastic red plates. When it's a student's birthday they get to eat their snack off a red plate. When they have improved on something that they have been working especially hard on, they get to eat their snack on a red plate. If they show wonderful effort, are especially kind, improve behavior etc. they will find a red plate at their desk. I plan to share the red plate idea with parents and perhaps they'll get on board and buy an extra special "real one" for home and start their own tradition. When everyone has passed a particular standard on the report card, we'll all celebrate and have a red plate day! It will be a trip to the Dollar Store for red paper plates that night.
A teacher who has been doing this for several years, has an adorable poem, a bit of history, and an explanation on her site. Click on the link above and scroll all the way to the bottom and you'll see a picture of a red plate. I love her "Easy button" idea too. The "You Are Special." red plate has many websites. This one is devoted totally to the sale of only red plates and really caught my eye! Click on the link to go there. I also found a blog site dedicated to red plate stories so they've obviously had an impact on people. If you've implemented this celebration in your classroom we'd enjoy hearing how you use it and how effective it's been, so please comment!
More Helpful Stuff!
Here's a link of what some other teachers are doing. I loveTeachingHeart.net's 4 B's as well as her "Walking through the hallways on marshmallow toes." I plan on passing out marshmallows to my Y5's and doing her technique to get children to walk quietly in the hallway. What a great illustration for them to have tip-toe whisper-soft feet.
Clean Up Your Desk!
Do your 1st graders have messy desks? When I taught 1st grade Neat Freak Nellie would pop in unexpectedly while my kids were out at recess. She'd leave a neat treat and surprise inspection note. Ya just never knew when Nellie might show up. It was a nice motivation for my students to keep their desks clean. I'd periodically give them some time to "clean house." Nellie sometimes brought her friend Lu Lu to check out the lockers! Click here for her NOTE.
Feet aching? Back hurt? So were mine until my daughter hauled me to the mall and I bought a decent pair of sandals (Ecco's) and a great pair of shoes (Dansko). Unbelievable! Do you have a favorite shoe? Or a tip that helps keep you comfortable all day? Please share with us!
Please follow the directions.
Do you have to repeat directions all the time because your students don't listen or can't remember what to do when they get to their seat work? My solution? Picture Icons on the white board to go above the paper. Click on the link for a set of your own.
What day is it?
Are you tired of your students asking you when the party, fieldtrip, picture day, or when they get to wear their costume is? My solution: A monthly paperchain! Click on the link to get the details.
What shape is this?
Are you teaching SHAPES? Use your students' bodies. Have them lay on the floor in the various shapes. Stand on the table and take their photograph. Print them off at Sam's Club in 8x10 size, type in sentence captions, laminate, and then bind the pages and you have a class book to read that your students will love! I had my Y5's pose for this one so that their faces didn't show so that I could put it on the website. Make sure you involve all of your students so that everyone is featured in the book.
What season are we in?
Are you teaching the SEASONS to your students? Click on the link for another adorable class book that you can make, about your students' favorite seasons. After your school has their pictures taken scan them into your computer then make copies. Students can cut them out if they are older. I trim mine into ovals for my Y5's because it's September and they haven't mastered the art of not chopping up their faces yet. You could give them a go at one so they get some practice in. Have them glue their faces to the bodies, circle their favorite season, then write their name in the blank space at the bottom of the page. Laminate and bind them together for your first class book. I made this page from a cute site with all sorts of paper cut outs. Click here to check it out. The site's called "Making Friends." She has lots of darling designs. Perhaps you can think of more ways to incorporate them in your class. As a math extension, graph your student's favorite seasons.
Here's the chant I taught my Y5's to help them learn the seasons:
4 seasons and
I Love Them All!
I have my students learn the sign language for the bolded words. Learn how in my article "Sign Language in the Classroom." It's a great fine motor skill!
I used to buy birthday crowns 'til they went up to almost $10. Now I use birthday bulletin board border and put a star, or cake, or whatever suits my fancy, die cut in the middle with the child's name on it. TIP: When you're putting crowns on children, make sure the staples are on the OUTSIDE so that you do not scratch their foreheads or get their hair caught in them.
Birthday Gift and Card:
Because this is my 11th year of teaching Y5's and buying books is my nemesis, I have a nice selection of Scholastic Bonus Books that I give to my students as a birthday gift.
Keeping it organized:
More helpful information on birthdays:
"Birthday Buddy Book Bags" to get your students reading and writing!
Teachers have opposing veiws on nametags. With all the things we have to write a young child's name on, why spend another 1/2 hour making name tags and writing on them too? Here's why I do it.
The things that I require my students to bring for Y5's:
Back To School Ideas
Seeing little ones all dressed up in their brand new clothes, wearing their brand new backpacks, all excited and filled with the anticipation of the first day of school, don't ya just LOVE it? I do! I catch the bug about August 1st when the stores are decorated to the hilt with their displays of supplies. Some people are groaning.
I'm in the ready-get-set-GO! mode. I have to be. I teach Y5's and there's a zillion things I HAVE to do, and ya know what? If you do a few a day, it's FUN, at least it is for me.
In this blog article I'll give you a few tips that I hope will help you have some fun while you get ready to go back.. Next year I'll start earlier, for I know some of you have already started, and I wish you all the best!
Little Giraffes is another of my favorite teaching sites. She has an entire theme for back-to-school. I especially love her "Magic Playdough" idea and plan to do this activity with my Y5's. I also want to try melting a red Solo cup to make an adorable apple name tag! Check out these cute ideas by clicking on the link.
Teaching The 5 Senses Teddy Bear:
If you teach the 5 sesnses as we do at the kindergarten and Y5 level, you'll want to make this adorable tactile bear. Click on the teddy bear link to check him out. What a wonderful idea!
I plan to make him with these changes: Cut a pair of bib overhauls out of an old pair of blue jeans. and glue him to your sandpaper bear. Hot glue the pocket of the jeans to the middle of the bear. Hot glue two brightly colored big buttons to each strap.
Hobby Lobby and most craft stores sell those mini ziplock bags that are only 3 inches tall. You'll need 3.
Soak a cotton ball in tangerine oil, or another fragrance you think your students will like, and zip it up in the little baggie, put a medium size jingle bell with a yarn string on it, so that you can jingle it, in the 2nd baggie, put a gummi bear in the 3rd. Place them in the big pocket.
I'm also going to hot glue another pocket on the back of my bear where I'll keep a medium size baggie filled with enough gummi's for all of my students to have a taste.
I plan to read the story Will I Have A Friend? by Miriam Cohen and then introduce them to one of my stuffed bears and tell them: "Here is one of your very 1st kindergarten friends." Then I'll say: "Give Me 5!" and choose a child who is modeling that. (EYES looking at me, EARS listening, MOUTH shut, HANDS folded in lap, FEET on the floor, or criss-cross applesauce.) I'll hand them the bear and a gummi. I've just reviewed the 5 senses!
She'll say: "Hi I'm Kelli and I'm your new friend." She'll give the bear a hug and pass him to the child next to her, and I'll give them a gummi and away we go!
At the conclusion we can review where the bear's 5 senses are, and everyone can take a turn touching the sandpaper.
If this is one of your science units having each one of your students make their own bear would be an easy and inexpensive thing to do!
I'd pre-cut the bears for them using a Dollar Store scissors, because it will be dull by the time you get done cutting out 30 bears!
Want to make a few cute gifts for your teacher friends or the secretary? I could never do her job! I so appreciate our Sandy! Click here.
My favorite is the Orange. I say that to my students during October when we have that as the color of the month. I make it a knock-knock joke and then give them each an orange slice. "Knock-Knock...Who's there? Orange. Orange who? Orange you glad you're in my class?"
Back-To School Check List:
Do you feel a bit frantic when August rolls around, and a little worried if you'll have enough time to get everything done? Or that nagging feeling of "I know I'm forgetting something!" I did after my first year and I said I HATE feeling like this! It robs me of the joy and excitement that I so enjoy.
So I decided to sit down and make a back-to-school check list of everything I needed to do. Click here for a copy of mine. Then cross off things and add some to make it your own, and you'll have one that's perfect for you to use year after year. It truly will bring you peace of mind. Then, stick it on a clipboard, do things a few at a time-daily and have FUN doing them.
I've learned the JOY should not come at getting the list DONE, but in DOING the list! Life is so much better that way! I try to finish EVERTHING at least 3 to 4 days before school starts so I don’t feel like I just ran a marathon.
It’s nice if you can treat yourself to a manicure or pedicure or simply a bubble bath and do those things for yourself. I also like to go through my wardrobe and figure out what I’m going to wear for the 1st week of school and put those outfits in one section of my closet.
I like to cut some flowers from my garden or pick up a few plants from the store and put them in my room. It just perks me up. Whatever your list, you need to enjoy the journey through it. The more time you allow yourself the more fun you’ll have.
Have last year's kids help you get ready for next year's students!
Try to accomplish a few things BEFORE you leave school and enlist the help of your students.
I let mine have one last fling with playing with shaving cream to get the “gunk” off the desks. If you haven't tried shaving cream for "instant writing boards" you need to hop aboard! Simply squirt a blob in front of a student on their desk/table. Let them flatten it out to make a "white board". They then write on it with their index finger making shapes, letters, numbers etc. The shaving cream softens their hands, makes the room smell great, and gets ink, crayon marks, and glue gunk off the surface. Plus kids LOVE it!
Anyway... Afterwards my kids wash down all of the tables and chairs. They enjoy splashing away with a rag. I don’t clean anything else, because over the summer it just gets dusty all over again and was a waste of time.
Instead the children help SORT all of the tubbies so that everything is neat and organized for the children in the fall. This would have been a huge job for me alone, and with a team of 20 kids it’s a breeze and reviews a report card standard for them.
They make my "Welcome Back To School" bulletin boards!
I also have them create the two in-class bulletin boards. I then have “Kid-Art” up and I didn’t have to do anything. My current Y5’s think it''s “way cool” that they were getting to make a b. board for the in-coming kids, and the new kids think it's exciting to look around the cafeteria to see if they can find a kindergarten friend! And…I didn’t have to dream up and make 2 in-class b. boards. What a wonderful win-win!
During the first week of school they get to make an apple that replaces this bulletin board. As soon as they finish their apple project they go pick an apple off the board and that is their new kindergarten friend that they look for in the cafeteria.
I have parent helpers help me with this activity and I make sure that these children are still here and that everyone will have a new buddy. This works out perfect because the K's and the Y5's have the same lunch and recess.
The K's feel proud because they "know the ropes" and can show them around and share their experiences with them that they had as a Y5.
My other bulletin board is"We Wish You A Dino-mite Year!" I have searched hi & lo for this pix and could only find my sample. They have to find the matching photo to their apple. They enjoy taking two friend "cards" home.
Should it ever happen that I don't have enough K's for my kids, I'd make some apples/dinosaurs and use pix from our year book from K's that I knew from last year, then call them and ask if they'd like to be a friend to a new Y5. I'm sure they'd be thrilled.
Great site for templates:
If you're looking for some templates to make everything from name tags and newsletters to assessments and certificates look no further. Click here for one of my favorite teacher sites.
Do you have an Info Sheet?
I have an Emergency Contact Information Sheet that I like to have my parents fill out for me. I explain to them that I know they've already filled out all sorts of forms for the office, but I like to have my own forms handy. They are kind enough to oblige. Click here for a copy.
If you'd like a copy of my "Getting to Know Your Child" handout click on the link. I like a "head's up" about my students. This sheet gives me valuable information so that I can engage my Y5's in conversation and show them that I'm interested in their world and care about them.
More Helpful Stuff:
To wish you a HAPPY back-to-school year, I designed a little door knobber that you can print off and laminate. Hang it on your doorknob. Take a minute to have your Helper of the Day move a large paperclip down the side to where you're going,. It's my way of saying "Thanks much for stopping! I appreciate you, and I wish you a WONDERFUL year!" Click on the link to print one. :
I run my Open House as a Treasure Hunt which I mentioned in the Welcome Blog, but if you need an invitation, I've made you one here. Just click on the link. Well that's it. I hope this helped.
I will see you in September with lots more EXCITING things for you to do with your students! It's going to be a supercalafragalisticexpialadocious year for all of us! Gotta run, I'm still not done with my list, but....
Let the adventure begin!