You know that week in December when you’re constantly called down to the auditorium for concert rehearsals, some of your students are away sick, some have left for vacation early and you have to keep a classroom full of excited kids busy? Christmas is fun and all, but it’s so hard to keep kids interested in learning and it’s a challenging time to introduce new concepts with all those interruptions. What’s a teacher to do? Continue Reading
Holidays and Seasonal
Here’s a great reason to eat potato chips. Have your students collect Pringles cans and upcycle them into a great holiday activity. This activity will work with other types of cans that made of cardboard with a metal base and plastic lid.
We made our cans into snowmen, penguins, Santas, elves and reindeer. Continue Reading
Looking for a new twist on a Christmas tree art project. We’ve searched high and low to find and test out some of our favourites and here they are just for you!
When composing pieces like these we often encourage students to use an odd number of objects. We also ask them to have part of their drawing go off the page. Students have a page to use to practice the steps or skills before trying out their “good copy.” Give students direct instruction on how to use pastels, paint brushes or how to complete specific strokes. Don’t forget to teach students how to look after the different materials and resources.
Let’s get started. Continue Reading
As we were growing up, many of us had family members who had served in World War II. It was easier to understand the purpose of Remembrance Day when Grandpa would wear his medals to our school service. Our current students are a few generations removed from that war, though some have had family members serve in Korea, Afghanistan or with the United Nations Peacekeepers. It is difficult for some of them to understand the abstractness of war, so it is even more important for us to give them a realistic view of those events. Continue Reading
The year has started. Things are starting to settle and it’s time to count your blessings in the classroom. We call the start of year through Thanksgiving (well, Canadian Thanksgiving on the second Monday of October) the beta period. It’s the time of year to try things out, get to know the students, build relationships and set up the year for success.
The beta period is not the time of year we spend getting deep into content. We review. We read. We talk about what is coming next. We check out our skills and show what we can or can’t do.
It’s the perfect time to take a look at what’s working, what’s starting to work and what needs to be scrapped. It’s time to count our blessings and make a list of all the things we are thankful for in our classroom. So, here is a little checklist we use to decide how are things working so far. Continue Reading
Imagine a classroom where the students monitored themselves-and not in that “hall pass police officer” type of way. Imagine a classroom where students encouraged each other to keep the room tidy, put things way and treat each other with respect.
It’s possible, because each year we turn out a classroom full of polite and respectful students, but it takes work. Creating a sense of agency is just as important as all the math and reading skills.
What is a sense of agency? It is a student-centered approach to classroom management.
Here are some ways we create a sense of agency.
It’s the first day we’ve been allowed to reenter the school after a major renovation. It’s a disaster. Nothing we carefully packed up and labeled before summer break has been returned to the rooms they once belonged and school starts in ONE day! Yup! You heard that right.
What a nightmare! But fortunately we worked with the most amazing staff on the planet and came up with a solution to bring everyone’s anxiety level down to a manageable level. We hosted a walking set-up bus.
Here’s what we did. Continue Reading
At the beginning of the school year we work hard to teach students some basic courtesies to make everyone happier and keep students responsible for their learning space. these are five basic things we teach repeatedly during the first month of school to our upper elementary students. We also want to stress that just because this is how we do things, doesn’t mean these procedures will work ‘as is’ in your classroom. Feel free to solve the issues in your own way. Continue Reading
Teachers out there know that smell…the new crayon. It’s still perfect. It still has all its paper wrapping and is perfectly pointy. It hasn’t rubbed up against other crayons and gotten dirty. It hasn’t been dropped on the floor, or broken in half or left in the lost and found bin with a bunch of broken crayons. And if you close your eyes and take a whiff of that new crayon, you can still transport yourself back to your childhood. For teachers, the crayon smell is a high. For students, not so much.
Do you like a lighthearted and fun prank? Do you have students that enjoy a good laugh? Are you looking for a way to celebrate April Fool’s Day? Continue Reading