Monday, June 27, 2016

Dear First Graders......

Dear First Grader,

In first grade you will learn Social Studies that's when you learn about people, places and presidents.  You will also learn about religion.  That's when you learn about God, Jesus and saints.  Handwriting is

another thing we do in first grade.  In math we solve hard problems.  You will learn about responsibility.  A responsibility is something you have to do by yourself.

From, Ellie

At the end of each school year one of my last writing assignments is to write a letter to the incoming first graders.  We go back over the pictures from our school year time line as talk about the different things we learned throughout the year. Throughout the discussion we also include things that are the same about kindergarten so that we know what not to repeat in our letters, for example gym class or lunch. In addition I remind the students to use their class dictionary to look up the hard words and sound out the new words and give it a try in their dictionaries.  

Above is just one letter from this year.  There were several cute letters.  However, I liked this one because we discussed a lot this year about what it means to be responsible, apparently it home with Ellie.  

Friday, June 10, 2016

Thank You Notes

I am sure most of you are familiar with the Flat Stanley project. It is a fun activity I have my first graders do toward the end of the school year.  We send out our Stanleys and wait patiently for our family members and friends to send them back.  While we are waiting we read a variety of Flat Stanley chapter books.  

After all the Flat Stanleys are returned it is time to write to our family members and friends a thank you note.  Thanking them them for all their efforts in writing back about Stanleys' adventures. 

I think is a good chance to teach the importance of writing a thank you note as well as teaching how to write a letter.  

Friday, May 13, 2016

First Grade Prayer Book

Each year I have my first graders write prayers towards the end of the year in their journals.  Five of the prayers are picked to read over the morning announcements.  All the prayers are typed and illustrated in black and white outlines.  Then I make a copy for each student to create a prayer book for all the students.  Then they color it for a keepsake.  

They also color a copy for me as well.  I make a class book with that copy.  It is a favorite in our classroom.  

Wednesday, May 11, 2016

Retirement Gift

What do you give as a gift to a retiring teacher???  I know what to give to a new teacher, however a retiring teacher is a little bit harder.  Retiring teachers are trying to get rid of stuff so you don't want to give more unnecessary stuff.  

I was searching through Pinterest.  I was looking for something that acknowledged her teaching profession but also said...Retirement.  I found a cute subway art idea.  There were several different versions however I wanted it to be super cute and colorful.  

So I put together the subway art above with the ideas from the different pins I saw.  I used graphics from KPM Doodles and Graphics from the Pond. I am excited to give it to her.     

Thursday, March 24, 2016

Notes about Ipads

I am taking an ipad course and the first assignment is how do you use ipads in your classroom and in your school.  I thought it would be nice to share this information with you as well.

I love having ipads in my classroom.  I have two school ipads and two personal ipads that I have synced with the school account.  For the most part I use the ipads for enrichment type activities because I do not have enough for everyone.   I set up the apps or qr lessons for the students and they just use the ipads to complete the directions I give them.

I prefer teaching in small groups so generally I have a group of five to six children sharing the four ipads.  My students have been pretty good about sharing however generally one student tends to do most of the work.  I manage my own ipads and have had to learn how to trouble shoot the best I can.  I don’t have much of a storage place for them.  I use some magazine containers between my computers and the end of the day I lock them in my teacher locker.

I read the blog post by Jayne Clare, 17 Pros and Cons of Using Ipads in the Classroom.  I agreed with a lot of what the author was saying.  Ipads are great for elementary classrooms because they have a good battery life, there are so many apps out there, it is super user friendly for young children, it is lightweight and easy for them to carry and best of all it is fast.  I also like the students can plug in their headphones and not disturb the rest of the class.  

An issue my school needs to think about is accountability.  Not all homerooms have ipads, I think several of the elementary teachers had them on a wish list one year.  So the middle school teachers are constantly borrowing them, needless to say, the ipads are coming back scratched and the protective covers are starting to stretch off.   Who is responsible for them? 

I would also like to see my school offer more training for the teachers and some type of lessons of internet safety for the students. 
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