Thursday, August 26, 2010

Monarch of the Week

Congratulations to Daniel our very first Monarch of the Week!

Each student will get to be Monarch of the Week during the school year. The Monarch of the Week has  fun activities they get to do each day of their special week.

  • Monday- The student brings in pictures that they get to share on the ELMO (document camera) and 3 show and tells to share with the class.
  • Tuesday- At the beginning of the year each student made an All About Me poster that they will share on the Tuesday that they are Monarch of the Week. The pictures and poster go on the bulletin board.
  • Wednesday- The student's family members or friends come to school to eat lunch with him/her.
  • Thursday- The student gets to switch seats so that they can sit by a friend all day.
  • Friday- the rest of the class makes the student a special Monarch of the Week book. 
  • All week- The student is line leader, gives hand sanitizer before lunch, and is the special teacher helper. 
Students are chosen to be the Monarch in a random drawing. If a student completed their work neatly, followed class rules, and went above and beyond to be a good citizen, I put his/her name in the drawing. This is just one more way that I encourage kids to be the best that they can be. I believe that all children can and will behave if placed in an environment where they are valued and encouraged in a positive way. All kids love to be the center of attention and Monarch of the Week gives them the opportunity to shine!

Wednesday, August 25, 2010

Picture Day!

Today was picture day. For teachers that means that although pictures only take 30 minutes or so, the whole morning is thrown off.

My morning was nothing short of crazy. Kids come in looking spiffy in their nice duds and perfect hair, but, they spend all morning worrying and complaining. "My shoes are to small", "My headband won't stay up", " I can't find my picture money!", are just a few of the comments that I heard by 8:10 this morning.

After 2 phone calls home for missing money, a shoe change, and a fixed headband (thank goodness I have a daughter!), we were back in business.

In honor of picture day and in my teacher attempt to try and add some curriculum into our morning, we read the book Picture Perfect.
This is a hilarious book written by a class of second graders whom very cleverly depict their school photo mishap. Basically each students explains why their school photo did not turn out. Answers range from "My brother gave me a black eye", to "I got into my mom's makeup".

The reading of this book led to a lively discussion with my own kiddos about other things that could ruin a school picture. We then wrote and illustrated our own book using the ideas they came up with. I will be uploading our book this weekend so you'll have to check back! Let's just say it's a good thing we did this project after we had our pictures taken!

Tuesday, August 24, 2010

Great Thinkers Wanted

This year I decided to use the space on the wall to extend my teaching. The Think Tank board is one example of an interactive bulletin board in my room. Each week I will place a different task on the board. The students have the whole week to solve the task and write their answer on the back of one of the blue fish that you see in the little container on the bottom left of the board. After they write their answer down, they write their name on the front of the fish and staple it to the board. On Friday, I take all of the fish off of the board and check the answers. The fish that are correct go into the fish bowl that you see on the blue shelf. Once every couple of weeks I draw out 5 fish and those students will get to eat lunch with me in the classroom. The board also serves as a quick assessment tool so that I can see who is understanding a particular concept and who will need a little reteaching.

The Think Tank tasks can cover grammar skills, math, reading strategies, or anything that I want to review. My goal is to put up tasks that require students to use problem solving skills. I find that word problems in math are especially challenging for second graders. For some reason they shut down whenever they have to "think" past basic computation. Hopefully the Think Tank will help turn my students into fearless problem solvers!

Monday, August 23, 2010

It's a Bird, It's a Plane, It's a..... Bracelet?

These strange little bands that you see your student coming home with are actually bracelets. I like to use these cute little pieces of plastic goodness as rewards for good behavior. They are fun and cheap (which is a big plus for my pocketbook) and the students love them.

These are the go to reward that students choose when they are the "Mystery Walker" or if they save their bathroom passes for the week. If we're having a particularly "chatty" day, I keep a bunch of these in my pocket and randomly give them to the kiddos who are on task. It's amazing how fast a room can get quiet when I'm passing these babies out. I don't like to do that often because honestly, I think that kids should behave without a reward; but, it's a nice little thank you to the kids who are seldom off task and a reminder to the rest.

For my teacher friends, I purchased these "fun bands" from Oriental Trading before school started. Right now they have them for $4.99 for 50 or, $29.99 for 500. The quality is decent as long as the kids don't pull on them. I have had a few break. If you know of a place to get them that is cheaper or a higher quality, please let me know!