Our school wanted our students to be more computer savvy so I designed "Web Walkers" last year. All of the children who had computers at home enjoyed it. It was basically a contest to get children interested in doing more educational things on the computer. We had planned to run it all year, but enthusiasm died out about the end of December so we informed our parents with our Christmas newsletter that our "contest" would end then. In a nutshell it's simply sending your kids on safe "Web Quests!" sort of like a treasure hunt through the Internet.
My co-teacher and I would spend some time checking out kidsites on the net and finding fun, but educational things for them to do that would relate to our standards and give them several options to do. The child with the most things done would be our Web Master for the month.
This is a picture of our hallway bulletin board display where we set it all up. We would tape up the children's work as they handed it in. Passer's by were very interested, and parents really supported the project.
We also had a competition going between my class and the other Y5 class to see who had the most Web Quests each month. The posters hanging from the ceiling displayed the photo of the Web Walkers of the Month from each of our classes. The students' work hung around the display. The board in the middle posted what the Web Quests were. This was the internet sites that we sent home to the parents at the beginning of each month. We even had other teachers and parents of children not in our class ask us for copies so they could do it with their children! As you know you can really waste a lot of time surfing the net for safe and educational sites for your students.
The rectangle on the bottom is a key board. The posters on either side are graphs of each of our classes. The graphs were a great math extension.
I added a "Do you have a computer at home?" and "Does your child know how to use it? " questions on my "getting to know your child"question form that I handed out at the beginning of the year. Click on the link for a copy. So that parents who did not have a computer at home, but wanted to participate, didn't feel left out, we let them know that we would be going to the computer lab and that they could come before or after school and work with their child. No one opted for this in either of our classes. We also gave the assignment sheet to our computer teacher but he didn't have time to visit the sites either.
If there is an interest in this, let me know and I will post November and December Web Quests. Also check My Favorite Kid Links on our home page. Click on the link to go there. HOME Are your schools pushing you to do more computer work with your students too? Take a moment to comment!
We discovered that a webquest was a wonderful way to get parents involved and our students more computer saavy!
CONSTITUTION DAY is coming up September 17th. Click on the link for my lesson that I do with my Y5's. Centers and song are below.
Making Parchment Paper
Writing with a QUILL
Quill Pattern Pens
Constitution Autograph Scrolls
Why buy a unit?
Have you ever bought a book of lessons because it contained a few items you wanted, but had many other items that you didn’t want or never used? My units incorporate multiple subjects and are available for purchase “a la carte” allowing teachers to buy only what they need, at an affordable price. From our home page, click on a season, and the units can be found under each month. Click on the link: Home Page There are currently 43 themes!
There are plenty of lessons for you to choose something that fits your students' level. The beauty of the variety is that you have easier skill sheets for those who are struggling and more difficult ones for children who have mastered a concept.
Unit Skill Sheets…
Unit Skill Sheets are great if you need something
However you use them, I know that my Y5’s have excelled with this program. I truly believe that one reason is that units empower students to work independently and build their self-esteem to such a level that they realize they CAN do the lesson before they even start!
They are ready for workbooks in the next grade because they have practiced with a skill sheet booklet every day for "Table Top Time". For example, by March they are doing a 15 -18 page booklet that takes them about 10 minutes, and they ENJOY it! They are also doing 6-8 centers independently and transitioning with no problem.
My life is made easier because I’m not constantly planning the next day’s centers and I can incorporate art with confidence because I know that it is standards based, and best of all my students are learning and having FUN at the same time.
Read the article, "How to Get Students to Follow Directions" and see how to further empower your students through my "following direction icons" They really work! Your life will be so much easier, AND your discipline problems fewer!
Getting Kids To Clean Up!
"If I've told my kids once, I've told them a hundred times, to clean up their rooms." STOP! There's your first mistake. Tell them once, let them know you will only tell them once, and then if they don't clean up, let them know there WILL be a consequence, one that you have decided on before hand, and one that's fair. Then you MUST be consistent and follow through. If you don't, you are reinforcing their negative behavior and telling them that they don't have to pick up, that nothing will happen if they don't, or that you may even do it for them! You are training them to NOT listen to you, or to do the exact opposite of what you really want them to do.
This is not going to happen in my classroom. In some cases, I have to break those bad habits to the shock and dismay of my students. Picture this: My students are absolutely thrilled when Mrs. Henderson shows them the mini Toys R Us™ she has tucked away neatly in various colored tubs. They anxiously await the time when they can FINALLY play with all these wonderful treasures. They can hardly contain their excitement. They agree that the rules are very simple.
Consequences: Children repeat them twice!
Why then, EVERY year, on the very first day of school, do I have a zillion tubbies out? Mr. Nobody has taken them out, no body has put them away, no body has stopped playing when the timer has rung, so that when timer #2 goes off we have a huge mess. I get the children’s attention and they repeat the consequences for me. Some of them don’t even look too sad. I think they truly don’t think I’ll follow through with the consequences.
I set a third timer and let them know that because they are now having to clean up, they have wasted 5 minutes that I had planned for a really fun game that they won’t get to play. I had planned the really fun game for them. Whose fault is it that they don’t get the really fun game? “Yes. Theirs.” What have they learned from this? Yes. To clean up when the timer rings and to not take out more than one tubby. Thank you. I know you’ll remember that next time.
The next day, when it is Free Play Time, I say: “Oh I have some really fun new tubbies for you. I’m so excited. You’re just going to love these! ” Then I pause as I remember. “Oh dear, I forgot we don’t get toy tubbies today.” “Who can tell me why we don’t get toy tubbies today?” Someone will remember.
I set the timer for 15 minutes. I tell them they can look at books or lay on mats. It’s a very long 15 minutes. Do you think that the next day when we have toy tubbies and the timer rings they are stopping and picking things up? Yes. And the ones who aren’t, are actually scolded by children who are, and reminded of the consequences! They are also more careful about taking one tub out. The children are more vigilant with each other too. It’s quite amazing.
They aren’t perfect; and some of them need to be singled out for their own personal re-learning, but for the most part this initial lesson and then being consistent for the entire year works wonders.
Try it at home. Set the oven timer. Give each of your children their own laundry hamper. Any toys that aren’t picked up go in mommy’s hamper. One of the reasons that I put things in tubs is that it’s easy for children to pick up, dump out, and put away. Everything stays neat and organized and it’s a breeze to sort if things get messy.
I give my students 20 to 25 minutes to play and 5 to 10 minutes to clean up depending on the day and the tubbies that I’m allowing them to have out.
During report card or conference weeks, I’ll often do assessments when children are doing free play. It’s a great time to observe children too, but it’s also a wonderful time to just sit on the floor and play with them.
I have two clean up songs: I’ve done them so long I don’t know where I got them from so I don’t know who to give credit to.
Clean up! Clean up! Everybody every where.
Clean up! Clean up! Everybody do their share.
To the tune of Twinkle Twinkle Little Star
Pick up, pick up, pick up toys.
All my little girls and boys,
Look around and you will see,
Stuff here and there that shouldn’t be. (Point at the stuff that you spy still not picked up.)
Pick up, pick up, pick up toys.
All my good girls and boys! (Point to the ones picking up)
Click on the link for a great poem about play being an important part of learning.
Click on the link for pictures of how I organize my toys in the tubs.
Are you tired of hearing, “What are we supposed to do?” and repeating directions?
Whether you’re a beginning teacher or a seasoned veteran you’ll want to check this out. Hopefully it will help make your life easier and your students more independent.