Sunday, September 24, 2017

TEN THINGS ADMINISTRATORS NEED TO KNOW!

I'm getting on my soap box today.  It breaks my heart to hear stories from teachers about how frustrated they are.  I thought I might help you by giving administrators a little advice.  What do you think about my list?  Would you like to add something to it?  How can we "hold hands" and make your job more enjoyable and satisfying?
                                                                                     
O.K. I admit that I’ve never been an administrator. I know that the expectations of the job are beyond what any person is capable of doing. However, I’ve been at this rodeo a long time and administrators and educational decision makers need to realize that there is a CRISIS now! Teachers are the heart and soul of our schools and they are stressed, burned out, frustrated, and depressed. In other words, TEACHERS ARE GETTING BEAT UP! Beat up with paperwork, assessments, evaluations, criticism, and lack of support.

It makes me sad as I travel across the country and listen to classroom teachers. Teaching used to be a lot more fun. We got our class list, shut our door, and did our best to help our children learn. I enjoyed going to work and one of my major goals was to have happy students who loved coming to school. If teachers aren’t happy, how are children going to be happy. And, at the end of the day, isn’t that what life is all about?

Based on teachers’ comments, here are some suggestions I’d like to offer administrators and educational decision makers.

Ten things administrators need to know!

1. Let your teachers TEACH. Give them autonomy to do their jobs and TRUST them to do what’s best for their students.

2. If you’ve never taught the grade level, you should NOT make skill lists or set expectations.

3. Support your teachers. Be careful not to let a single parent’s request sway what’s best for their child and the other children in the classroom.

4. Believe in the WHOLE child. A test score is a number. “You can’t see the forest for the trees.” And, sometimes, you can’t see that wonderful little person because of “data.”

5. The word “rigor” is not appropriate when talking about instruction for young children. The world keeps changing, but children are still children. They don’t all grow up in the same way at the same time, and they should not be expected to accomplish skills according to some master plan.

6. Please don’t give teachers any more paperwork. Assessment and reports are driving instruction and consuming their day.

7. Teaching is a video not a snap shot. Is it fair to walk in a classroom, observe for 10 minutes, and then make negative comments to the teacher? Compliment teachers for what they are doing well. Give positive suggestions instead of critical remarks.

8. Be a real person and a good model for your teachers. Visit each classroom and do something FUN by reading a book, teaching a song, telling a joke, or doing a magic trick.

9. Don’t take away their JOY! If the children are engaged and enjoying an activity, do you have to ruin it by requiring “observable evidence”? Let it be! It’s O.K. to read a book without dissecting it with questions about the author’s purpose. It’s O.K. to take a walk outside to enjoy the peace and beauty of nature. It’s fine to sing a song or use a brain break to make children smile.

10. Remember that for some of your students “school” is as good as it’s going to get for them. You never know what’s going on at home, and school should be a wonderful world where they feel accepted, successful, and excited about learning.


TEACHERS WHO LOVE TEACHING MAKE CHILDREN WHO LOVE LEARNING!

WHAT CAN YOU DO TO HELP YOUR TEACHERS LOVE THEIR JOBS?

Saturday, September 23, 2017

THE DOT

I was thrilled with the book my friends shared with me in Bowling Green last week. If you’ve never read THE DOT by Peter Reynolds you can find out more about it by visiting www.thedotclub.org.

                               
I think we’ve all had experiences similar to Vashti where we think, “I can’t draw.” “I can’t sing.” “I can’t dance.” “I can’t do statistics.” “I’ll never be able to cook.” Etcetera, etcetera. The book is a beautiful lesson for children about just getting started and TRYING!

THE DOT also reminded me of some simple art activities we can do with our students.  These activities are open-ended and can be used with any age or integrated with a unit of study.

Sticky Dot
Materials: sticky dots, paper, crayons or markers
Directions: Give each child a sheet of paper and a sticky dot. Ask them to place the dot anywhere they’d like on the paper. Next, challenge them to create something out of the dot.
           

Dot to Dot
Materials: 2 dice, paper, crayons
Directions: Children roll the dice and add up the dots. They take a black crayon and make that number of dots randomly on a sheet of paper. Can they connect the dots and create something out of it?

                         
*Have children make dots and then exchange papers with a friend.

Negative Space
Materials: paper, scissors, markers or crayons
Directions: Cut a hole out of the middle of each sheet of paper. Ask children to look at the hole and then create an object out of it.
                                       
*Extend the activity by having children write about their pictures.

Wiggles and Squiggles
Materials: crayons, paper
Directions: Have the children close their eyes and make a design on their paper with a black crayon. When they open their eyes, have them turn their paper all around and try to create something out of their design.

                                                            
*Have children exchange papers of wiggles and squiggles with a friend.

Friday, September 22, 2017

SOCK SOUP

My friend Pat Gusoff sent this idea that she did last week. Talk about WIN/WIN!! Children learned math, developed small motor skills, had fun, and helped others!
I purchased about 40+ pairs of children's socks - Batman, Spider-Man, Paw Patrol, hearts, unicorns, pink, purple, striped, polka dotted, etc. for my class to sort and match. I put the socks in two bowls that I named "Sock Soup." What a great way to reinforce the number 2 and pairs! We did all sorts of matching activities and the children had to use their fine motor skills to clip their pairs with clothespins. After 3 days of fun (including a sock hunt in the hall with a clothesline to hang up the pairs) we went to our Temple office and delivered our socks to the large pile of other donations for the hurricane victims - our mitzvah of the month!  (Temple Trager ECEC in Louisville, KY) 
            
I'm only sharing this with you as an idea of what small hands and big hearts can accomplish!

Thanks for being there so I can share with someone who continues to care!


And thanks to all of you for visiting my blog so we can keep sharing as we pass on the torch to other teachers!!!

Thursday, September 21, 2017

THE HURRICANE STORY

Someone recently asked if anyone had a book about a hurricane. I wasn’t familiar with a book about a hurricane, but I decided to adapt my “Rainhat Story” to make a positive twist on a frightening experience for children. Hope you’ll enjoy sharing it with your class.
                              
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bAH8x6ULVeE&feature=em-upload_owner#action=share


Here’s a link to the original “Rainhat Story” so you can learn how to tell it. It’s one your children will want to hear over and over again.
                            
https://drive.google.com/file/d/0B1SnEagA4jljM1VPUU1RLXh2X2s/view?usp=sharing

Wednesday, September 20, 2017

ALLITERATION

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It's Facebook Wednesday.
See you at Five this afternoon!

Which One Doesn't Belong?
Say a series of words that begin with the same sound. Say one word that does not begin like the others. Children listen and identify the word that does not belong. 
 For example: sun, sand, top, see (top); boy, house, big, ball (house)

Bappy Birthday
Sing the birthday song by inserting the first sound in the child’s name for each word. For example, Beth’s birthday song would be:
          Bappy birthday bo bou…

*You can also insert the sound that the child’s name begins with in “Tooty Ta” and “Batman.”

Hint! If their first name begins with a vowel, use the first sound of their last name or middle name.

Hand Phone
Have children cup one hand around their ear and the other hand in front of their mouth. The teacher says a series of words that begin with the same sound as the children repeat.

Marvelous Monday
Think of adjectives for the days of the week and months of the year. 
For example: Thrilling Thursday or Marvelous May.

Songs
Sing “Pepperoni Pizza”, “Bubble Gum”, and other songs where alliteration is emphasized.
          Pepperoni Pizza
          I like to eat, eat, eat,
          Pepperoni pizza.
          I like to eat, eat, eat,
          Pepperoni pizza.
          Bi bike bo beat, beat, beat
          Bepperoni bizza...
          Mi mike mo meat, meat, meat
          Mepperoni mizza…
          Li like lo leat, leat, leat,
          Lepperoni lizza…
          Ri rike ro reat, reat, reat,
          Repperoni rizza...
          Zi zike zo zeat, zeat, zeat,
          Zepperoni zizza...
          Yi yike yo yeat, yeat, yeat,
          Yepperoni yizza...

*Use this song for other consonants and vowels.

          Gumball
          I put a penny in the gum slot.
          I watched the gum roll down.
          I get the gum and you get the wrapper,
          Cause I put the penny in the gum slot.

Sing substituting the initial consonant sound of each word with “B,” “N,” “P,” “G,” “L,” and “F.”
                                
                       
Activities: Cut out paper gumball machines and write different letters from the song on 
them. Substitute other consonants, blends, and diagraphs in this song.







Tuesday, September 19, 2017

SYLLABICATION

You'll find reading skills today,
but PLAY ideas on Wednesday.
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Move It! 
Clap, hop, walk, or nod the syllables in children’s names and classroom objects. Disco, hula, swim, or march to syllables in rhymes and songs.

Hickety Pickety
Slowly clap hands to the beat as you say the chant below.
          Hickety, pickety bumblebee
          Who can say their name for me? Child’s name.
          Clap it. (Clap out syllables as you say the name.)
          Snap it. (Snap syllables in name.)
          Whisper it. (Whisper name.)
          No sound. (Lip sinc name.)

Instruments 

Have children beat out syllables with instruments. You could also use cardboard rollers, straws, pencils, etc. like drum sticks to tap out rhythms and syllables.

Syllable Show 
Slowly say a word. Children hold up the number of syllables they hear on their fingers.
                                 
*You could also let them show the number of syllables by placing the appropriate number of poker chips or popsicle sticks on their desk.

Mouth It

Have children gently place their palm under their chin and ask them repeat to words. Surprise! The mouth opens on each syllable (all syllables have vowels and the mouth opens).

Sound Sack
Take a small sack and fill it with common objects or small toys. Engage children’s attention with this song to the tune of “I’m a Little Teapot.”
What’s in the sound sack, who can tell?
Maybe it’s a book or maybe it’s a shell?
What’s in the sound sack, who can say?
Blend the sounds, you’ll know right away!
            
Choose an object and stretch out the sounds. When children can blend the sounds and say the word, remove it from the sack and place it on the floor. Before putting each item back in the bag, segment the sounds again.
*Start with compound words. When children are successful with that, use objects with two syllables. Finally, children will be able to blend individual phonemes.

Finger Tap 
Bend in your fingers and extend your thumb. Going from the left tap a finger for each sound with your thumb.
For example: /j/ /e/ /t/. Run your thumb over your fingers as you blend the sounds and say the word.

*You can do a similar activity by extending your left arm in front of you. Make the first sound as you touch your shoulder, the second sound as you touch the elbow, and the third sound as you touch the hand. Then quickly sweep the right hand down your left arm as you blend the sounds and say the word.


Monday, September 18, 2017

IT'S PHONOLOGICAL AWARENESS WEEK!

Phonological awareness is the ability to recognize sounds in oral language (rhyme, alliteration, syllables, etc.). Children must first hear the sounds before they can relate them to letters (phonics). Let's start today with rhyming. Learning to rhyme doesn't happen it one lesson...it takes a lot of oral language (nursery rhymes, finger plays), songs, books, and games to help children develop this skill.

Rhyme Detectives

Tell the children that they will get to be detectives andlisten for words that rhyme. You say a word, and they put their pinkies up if they hear a word that rhymes with it. Pinkies down if it doesn’t rhyme.
For example: Cat - hat (pinkies up), run - dog (pinkies down).
      
Handy Rhymes 
Have children extend their arms as they say pairs of words that rhyme. For example: sun (extend right hand) - fun (extend left hand). As they progress, the teacher says a word as children extend their right hand.

Rhyming Song 
Do this activity to the tune of “Skip to My Lou.”
          Cat (hold out right hand)
          Hat (hold out left hand)
          Those words rhyme.
          Cat (hold out right hand)
          Hat (hold out left hand)
          Those words rhyme.
          Cat (hold out right hand)
          Hat (hold out left hand)
          Those words rhyme.
          They all end with “at.” (Roll hands around as you say this.)



Rhyme Puzzles 
Cut paper plates in half using puzzle designs similar to those shown. Glue pictures that rhyme on each half. Mix up the pieces. Children say the words and match up the plates that rhyme. The game is self-checking because the pieces will fit if they match the correct pictures. 
*You can also use season shapes to make a rhyming game.
                                                    
Rhyme Ball
You will need a ball, beanbag, or other object to toss for this game. Children sit or stand in a circle. The teacher says a word and then tosses the ball to a child. As the child catches the ball, she must say a word that rhymes.

Riddle Rhyme Game 
Let children make up their own rhymes in this game. First, they choose an object in the room. Next, they say a word that it rhymes, along with another clue. For example: “This rhymes with hair and it is something you sit on.” “This rhymes with look and it is something you read.”

Rhyme Bag
Give each child a lunch bag and for homework ask them to bring two objects that rhyme.  As they take turns sharing their items encourage classmates to think of other words that rhyme with their objects.
                                  

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