Friday, 28 June 2013

A Bittersweet Ending

Well, the last day of school has come and gone. It is such a bittersweet day. Sweet- that summer and a much needed rest, has arrived. Bitter- to say goodbye to so many students, parents, staff and friends. Leaving this school yesterday was extremely difficult. There are no exact words to express the feeling, but bittersweet seems to be close. I will take with me some of the best memories from this year. I will leave with a new view on my teaching practises and ideas. Oh, what a year!!

A few things I did this week that I will definitely do again....

I have used Monday to Monday Folders in my room. You can see what these are HERE and pick them up for Free HERE. This week I packed the folder with a summer reading log & a reading challenge, a summer reading note to parents and a list of websites for kids. We had our end of the year field trip on Wednesday and some parents were telling me that some of their kids have already started using their reading log and filling our their reading challenge. So awesome to hear!

The last day was busy.....
I held a red carpet event in my room, awarding each student with a special award.
Here is a peak at some of them. You can pick these up HERE.
Love them!!!!

I used the red paper from my bulletin boards and made a red carpet from it.
I lined the students chairs along the red carpet. They were so pumped! The kids high-fived each other as they walked done the carpet to accept their awards. Adorable!

Each student also went home with a goodie bag. Inside was a DVD of the year, their Amazing Race Review Cards on a ring and their paper bag memory books with a little individual note from me.

 A wonderful day.....a sad farewell..... and empty classroom marks the end of a great year!

Sunday, 23 June 2013

Only 4 Days Left..... :(

Well folks.... We have four more days left here in Southwestern Ontario! Can you even believe how fast the year went. I know I say that every year, but WOW!
This week we kept in routine! We will be in routine for the next two days and then a field trip and fun day.
Here's how a little of this week went down.
We worked on editing summer sentences. I purchased this unit that last summer and am just using pieces of it now.

The kids cut out mixed up sentences and rewrote them below with a partner. Very effective and definitely showed me how much they have learned this year (i.e. adding uppercase letters, past and present tense and punctuation).

 We also wrote letters to next years grade one and two students. We are delivering them this week. Simple, yet a wonderful writing/memory activity.

 Tried to change up math this week and head outside for some CHALK MATH. Skip counting, basic times tables and a visual arts challenge (earning 2 groups a delicious ice cream sandwich) hehe.

This weekend Christine and I met to take down the remainder of my classroom :( and to get our end of the year awards ready..... They are darn cute!

On tap this week...... We're going to try a Math Relay outdoors or indoors (depending on the weather).

We will also be creating persuasive lists and commercials.... convincing next years teacher that they would make great students in their class and to choose them!

I think this will be cute to see.

Have a great MONDAY! :)
It'll fly by... make the days memorable ones.


Thursday, 20 June 2013

Throwback Thursday!

I am linkin' up with Carol for Blast from the Past Thursday.  An awesome way to reflect on a past practice and improve, make it better or get new ideas.
Blast from the Past.... This is one of my posts from September 2012.
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So this year I have made a few goals. One goal is that I don't get so STUCK in teaching ONE thing for a brief snapshot in time. For instance-- things like Text to Self/Text etc., the weather, graphing... you get the drift. 

This year (so far) I have introduced many topics/themes that we will come in contact with in much more detail at a later time, but want to give the students tid-bits of exposure to.

Here are some examples below--It's definitely going to be a re-vamp/learning year.

Here is a text to text comparison. Both grades nailed the comparison and couldn't believe that there were so many connections between a little girl and fish under the sea! I paralleled this lesson with Fully Alive (being unique) and voila! Fun little activity-- little stress and prep.

My morning message taps in many mini-lessons. Every day we discuss upper and lowercase letters, punctuation, ordinal numbers and whatever lesson is coming soon (i.e. graphing, weather, new words).

Making Connections is usually one of the writing ideas used in September. With a combo of grade 1's and 2's I decided to make a few class books to go along with a read aloud. Each student has their own page in each classroom book, which becomes a NEW book in the classroom library. The students were very excited to be AUTHORS and ILLUSTRATORS!

At this time, I have begun to send home easy-reads home with many students inside of their Monday to Monday Homework Folder. I use a plain old binder to sign these books out, to keep track of who has what.
 Here is the inside.

Assessment..... Grrrr.... So I have vowed to become better at assessing this year. Here is my attempt.

Each student has their own card holder for anecdotal notes etc.

I am not tracking their Monday to Monday reading log minutes-- Super easy to collect each Monday. I can do my part at school, but come parent/teacher time, I want parents to be able to see what work still needs to be put in at home-- (ie. reading and comprehension)

 Grade One beginning of the year assessments.
Recognizing  and writing upper and lower case letters.

Basic sight words.

Letter recognition and sounds.


I can't say how much the "don't teach too specific" idea really helped me this year. I really tried to blend the strands. For instance, with a combined class, you have double the expectations and it's a lovely thought thinking you will get EVERYTHING done, but impossible. When it came time to study Animals in grade two, I blended it with informational writing. See that post HERE. Many of our read aloud this year coincided with a certain strand, and had a language goal and a goal from another strand. It was a like a two for one combo all year long! :)

The Morning Messages worked out great! This is where I taught a lot of my every day word work (ie. capitalizations, punctuations, editing, revising etc).

The anecdotal binder (with different coloured pockets for each student) worked out GREAT! Would do that again next year, for sure. It also helped during report card time to pull out the card and refer to specific examples.

The library sign out--- won't do that again. Way too much work! Just ended up putting a check mark next to the students name if they brought home a book in their Monday to Monday Folders.

Monday to Monday Folders--- I would use those again next year!!! Loved it!!!! You can pick those up for FREE HERE.

All the pre-assessments, I would also do again. I got a lot of my pre-assessments from this book by Miriam Trehearne. I also pulled my monthly phonic focus from this book:
Even though reports are done.... we are still groovin' in grade 1/2. The kids are busy bees! I will post this weekend to show you how the week has gone down ("survival mode").



Thursday, 13 June 2013

June.... A Busy Finale!

Ohhhhh June! {I think I started the last post like this too!}
Nevertheless..... OH JUNE!
This week we finished our good copies of our letters to Farmer Brown. The kids took on a voice of a farm animal and wrote a short letter to Farmer Brown, convincing him to give them something. For example, one of the boys was a "duck" and requested a bigger pond, as the other ducks were hogging it and it wasn't fair. All of them turned out very unique and cute!

In computers, my class worked on "Playground Politeness" comics on "Bitstrips". Check out: to create your own class account.

This week we also started our Paper Bag Memory Books. Very cute and simple.

And finally..... FATHER'S DAY FUN!!!!
After a trip to Michael's for some t-shirts and fabric paint.....

My kiddos designed a t-shirt for Dad. Last week we made draft copies of the "TOP TEN REASONS WHY MY DAD IS SO AWESOME", as well as draft designs. This week was PAINT TIME!!!

 I also had each student add their hand print and we wrote the year inside of it.

Finally, we made "King of the Grill" Cards.

Tomorrow we will roll them up with some ribbon and bring them home to celebrate, Dad!
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9 more days of school, here in Ontario.... and we all have summer on the brain! Almost there, friends! And for those of you already done.... I hope you are relaxing and soaking it all in! ;)