It is hard to believe that it is almost time for the winter games to begin again. Every time I think about them I remember the excitement we felt when they were held in Vancouver in 2010. It was such a special time for those of us who live in British Columbia.
My students were so engaged and felt connected to the athletes and their accomplishments. We would listen to the theme song I Believe and this became our song in class. As some of you may know, "believe" is my power word and it comes up often as I am constantly coming across things with the word on them.
It is times like this that I miss having my own class. There are so many things I would love to do with my students. During the last winter games, I created some activities that could be used to make writing and Math time winter game focused. I would certainly be doing some of them in the next few weeks if I had the opportunity.
Here are some task card templates that can be used to create your own questions, games, or activities. I hope you find them helpful as we watch the athletes compete to represent the various countries.
I know this will be an exciting time for people all around the world as they cheer on their athletes. It is a time when we focus on the good in the world. It is a time to unite instead of divide. I hope for more caring and kindness towards one another, not just during the games but everyday.
I just love the characters from Winnie the Pooh. The stories are whimsical but they are full of truths. I was looking at my stuffed characters that I have for my grandchildren and I decided I had to create some posters to share some of the well-known quotes that are part of the stories.
Piglet warms my heart with all that he shares and the wonder he sees in life. He may be small, but he definitely fills the heart with love.
What a boring world it would be if everyone was the same. Different doesn't mean bad, and it is important that we see the value in our uniqueness. Eeyore would not be Eeyore if he didn't see the other side of things first.
Tigger is so bouncy he is hard to miss. He has a big presence and he is able to add energy to every situation.
This is one of my favorites. Pooh says it best: "You are braver than you believe, stronger than you seem, and smarter than you think."
What a powerful thing to share with others.
Click here or on the image above to get all 16 free posters. I hope you enjoy them and that they bring you smiles and happy thoughts.
Reading strategies are very important for developing good reading skills. They help children to make meaning out of unfamiliar words and ideas in a variety of ways. Many children get stuck when they rely on only one or two strategies. Introducing these 8 strategies and practicing them will give them the tools to better understand the material they are reading.
About 3 years ago, I was introduced to these cute animals and their uses as reading strategies. I loved how the children engaged with them. I had to get my own stuffies so that they could actually hold them and interact with them. I use them all the time now in my guided reading groups.
I created a set of bookmarks and posters to go with these strategies. If you would like to get a copy of these bookmarks and posters, click the image below.
I hope you find these tools helpful with your young readers. I would love to hear how you use strategies in reading.
Using games and activities that are fun will help to engage children and they will learn skills without realizing that they are learning. It is wonderful to see them taking risks and challenges and enjoying learning.
I have always tried to include games in my guided reading lessons and my literacy blocks. Children can often get frustrated if they are working hard at learning to decode or make meaning of what they are reading. Using games to focus on some of the skills relieves some of that stress and allows them to practice the skills in a fun environment.
I use lots of different boxed games, but I also use task cards and other games that I have created. The ones that I have made are specific for what I might be covering in groups. I have many different themes for my sight words so that they are always fun to use because they are linked to different holidays, or special times.
Here are some other types of activities that I have used with my students. Depending on the abilities and the needs, I have made the materials simple for learning letter sounds and names and more difficult for learning about figurative language and parts of speech. I have also created activities for the interactive whiteboard. Bingo games that go with various topics are also fun to create.
If you are interested in checking out some of these products or other literacy activities that I have created, click here.
I volunteer at school and work with several guided reading groups. I create games and activities for them. Another retired teacher volunteers as well. She asked me to make up some game boards for her. You can check them out here.
Here is a free sample from the set of game boards. Click the image below to get your copy.
I have fun creating games and I love seeing the children react when a new game is presented to them. But more importantly, I am excited to see them learning skills that they were struggling with. It is so thrilling to see them applying the skills to their reading and writing lessons.
I would love to hear how you use games in your classroom to teach skills.
This video has been floating around on Facebook for some time now. It really makes you stop and think about how confusing the English language can be to those learning English as a second language.
Pronunciation is not the only thing that is difficult. Many words are spelled the same way but have different meanings depending on how they are used. Here is a small sampling of some words in our language that have different meanings and pronunciations for the same spellings.
lead, content, row, sow, live, wind, present, minute
People also use words in ways that are very confusing for second language learners. My daughter-in-law is Korean, and she often asks me what I mean when I use an expression or idiom. We are unaware of how much of our language usage is not literal.
I love the Amelia Bedelia books because they show just how literally some of the sayings are interpreted by someone who doesn't know the current jargon or expression.
A couple of weeks ago, my reading group was reading a story from the Frog and Toad series that talked about spring being around the corner. Afterwards, I gave them some different idioms and a list of the meanings in a mixed up order and asked them to match them up. It was very interesting to see what choices they made. Most of the sayings were familiar, but there were some that were not.
I then read them the book Amelia Bedelia by Peggy Parish. They found it to be very funny and asked if we could read some more during our reading group time. These books are perfect for showing the difference between figurative language and literal language.
We just finished reading Good Work, Amelia Bedelia. I created some activities to go along with the story. We will be doing them this week. Click the image at the bottom of the page to get your own copy to try out.
A couple of years ago I did a guest post about Amelia Bedelia and figurative language. At that time, I had a student who was very literal. He really did not understand that we used expressions which had different meanings. Here are some excerpts from my post from back then.
Have you ever found an activity or unit that you try that just takes off on it's own path? I have had this happen many times. It always amazes me when an idea that starts out as a teachable moment or a small idea takes on a mind of its own and blossoms into a larger study.
Our current bloom is idioms. What started as an introduction to Amelia Bedelia for a couple of literal learners, has turned into a fantastic learning experience. It has become rich with language and writing opportunities. It has so engaged my students, that they are driving their families nuts by catching every idiom or figurative expression that is spoken. Sometimes I have to call for a time out so that we can actually focus on the topics being studied. Not that I mind, though. It is always rewarding to see the kids having fun with something that they are studying.
I teach a grade 2/3 class and I wanted to find some books that would capture their interest and be appropriate for reading groups. I scored with Amelia Bedelia. There are some I Can Read versions that are great for my struggling readers, some of the regular editions that are suitable for my stronger grade 2s and my weaker grade 3s, and now the new chapter books that work with my stronger readers. Right now, everyone is reading about Amelia Bedelia. This is a first!
What I enjoy most about having the same characters, is that we can really look closely at them as we meet them in different stories. Everyone is familiar with Amelia Bedelia and Mr. and Mrs. Rogers.
Now they are meeting Amelia Bedelia's parents in the chapter books because they are stories about her when she was a little girl. They love making connections as they read about her adventures.
Herman Parish (nephew of Peggy Parish) has done a wonderful job with these books. He also has some new I Can Read books about Amelia Bedelia as a young child. They are sure to be a hit as well.
Did you catch the idioms and figurative language used in the above excerpts?
I had so much teaching about idioms, that I decided to create my own activities. Check them out below.
Click the image to get your free copy of activities for Good Work, Amelia Bedelia. I hope you enjoy using them.
As Christmas time quickly approaches, the children get more and more excited. It is hard for them to sometimes realize the passage of time until Christmas arrives. Here is a countdown poster that can be used to help them visualize when Christmas Eve will come. Click here or on the image to get your free copy.
Cross off the ornament that matches each day in December as it arrives. This can be used as a math activity as well by counting how many days have passed or how many days are left until Christmas.
Here is a booklet that can be created as a class booklet or individual student booklets. It is based on the song the 12 Days of Christmas. It is a great way to be creative about gifts to share or activities to do for 12 days at Christmas time.
I would love to see pictures of your booklets if you decide to do this activity. If you have any other suggestions for ways to use it, please let me know in the comments. Happy creating.
Classroom management is something that everyone needs to focus on when starting a new year. There are many different ideas and approaches being used now, so it is important to find what works for you and your students.
Three years ago, I was introduced to Whole Brain Teaching. I saw a few blog posts about its use in the classroom and I decided to find out more about it. I read the book Whole Brain Teaching For Challenging Kids during that summer and I decided to begin implementing some of the components in my classroom.
I decided to begin with the classroom rules. I created a set of posters to use in my room. I made some changes to rule 1 because I found that my students were able to follow directions quickly, but they sometimes didn't focus on following them correctly. I also changed rule 3 for my students because I didn't require them to raise their hands to leave their seats.
I decided to make a variety of different themes for the rules so they could fit in with the seasons, sports, and classroom decor. One bundle uses a cursive font as well. The rules didn't change, just the themes. Click on the images to get a copy for yourself.
I also introduced the concepts of Class/Yes and Teach/Okay. I was amazed at how quickly my students responded to these ideas and began to model them. It was interesting to see how I was able to break information into small chunks for them to teach each other. I didn't think I would be able to do this! I am so glad that I tried. The kids liked being the teacher and everyone was accountable.
I did create a scoreboard, but I found that I didn't use it very much. My class didn't have very many challenging behaviors, so they followed the rules most of the time without the board.
There are so many other elements to Whole Brain Teaching that I didn't get a chance to try out, but if I hadn't recently retired, I would definitely incorporate them into my teaching.
Head on over to the whole brain teaching website for more information. I would strongly recommend checking it out and reading the book. Even if you add just some of the elements into your teaching, it does make a difference.
Using a scaffold or framework for creating poems helps get beginning writers going. It is always fun to do some brainstorming as a group to get the imaginative juices flowing. I love being able to spin a story or a poem with my kids.
One rule I have, is that they can't use my examples in their poems. However, they can do a slight variation of an idea. I try to make sure that I don't choose the most obvious ideas so that they have some options that are not too difficult to select from.
After giving some examples, I usually get the students to brainstorm ideas on a thinking page. Once they have several to choose from, I get them to add descriptive language and juicy details to their ideas. Then they choose the ones they will use in their framework. They create a draft on plain lined paper, edit it, and then do the final copy. They love having the fancy paper to display the finished poems on the bulletin board.
Here are some samples of scaffold poems from my Teachers Pay Teachers store. Click on the images to get your free copies.
There are many more topics that can be used. It might be fun to generate a list of topics with your students. Hopefully you will find this format works well.
Fall is a great time for preparing for special days and activities. School is back in session and the routines are getting established. Now it is time to get down to the academics. Math is tough for some students, but by using games and activities, they often get engaged and learn without realizing it. This allows for more enjoyment and better retention as well.
Here are some task cards and glyph activities that have been successful in my classes. The addition task cards are great for practice and review.
The glyphs are fun to do and it is interesting to see what the comparisons are when they are done. I always make sure that the names are not seen so that we can make the comparisons using just what we see in the glyphs. The pumpkin glyphs require coloring, and the turkey glyphs require cutting and pasting. I often would make a bulletin board display in the hallway later so that other classes could try to do some of the questions.
Probability games are always a hit in my class. This is a great way to teach probability and also to reinforce the concept of odd and even.
Give dice and tally sheets to each student. Roll the dice and keep a tally of each roll. Check the results after 10, 20, 30, 40, and 50 rolls. The students will be amazed at how the results change as the number of rolls gets higher.
When they get good at using 6 sided dice, increase the difficulty by using 10 or 20 sided dice.This is a collection of odd and even tallies that can be used for fall or during the Halloween season. All that is needed is some dice and a tally sheet. There are different themes to choose from.
Click on the image to get your free copy.
We are in the middle of summer, and sports are happening all around us. It is fun to use a sports theme when learning as well. I have created these activities to provide opportunities for children to have fun while they are learning. You can check them out by clicking here or on the image. Each activity is available individually as well.
Here is a free template for you to use so you can personalize your cards to meet whatever curriculum you would like to focus on. Just click on the image to get your copy.
I created these activities because they represent being team players. I believe that it is important to focus on being good team players, so I wrote a blog about it. You can check it out here.
About Me Charlene Sequeira
I am a wife, mother of 4, grandmother of 8, and a retired primary and music teacher. I love working with kids and continue to volunteer at school and teach ukulele.
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