Wednesday, March 19, 2014

Toddler Activity: Learning Colors in Their Environment

I wanted to share this quick and easy activity that you can do at home with your toddler. You don't need much...just a piece of paper, a magazine, scissors, and glue. Simple enough right?

Colors are everywhere so it's one of the first things your toddler will learn. I'm always asking my daughter about colors.....

 "What color is your shirt today?" 

"What color was that car?"

What color is your banana?"

Simple questions that you can ask at anytime to get your toddler to observe their surroundings.

So I thought of this quick activity where my gal could create a little collage of environmental objects and also record their colors.

Just start with a regular sized piece of paper...I used computer paper and folded it "hot-dog" style...long way :)

Then cut only the top half of the paper to divide it into 3 sections.

Then label the top with the colors you want to focus on.

Start searching in your magazine for objects that have that color. Cut them out and glue them underneath that color so it creates a little collage.

I added some color to the headings but you can decorate anyway you want. 

Simple, quick, and fun!!! Three MUST HAVES when you're doing activities with a toddler :)

You'll be surprised at how much your toddler knows:) It's a great vocabulary builder too as you'll find yourself talking about new words as they observe new things!

Thanks for stopping by today!

Wednesday, March 12, 2014

How to Celebrate National Reading Month!

I have a guest blogger today that's going to share some amazing ideas on how you can celebrate National Reading Month in your classroom! 

How to Celebrate National Reading Month in Your Classroom

National Reading Month takes place each year in March and provides an excellent opportunity for teachers to share their love of reading with students. There are numerous ways to celebrate books throughout the month. With just a little bit of planning, you can help your students get excited about reading.

Celebrate Dr. Seuss

National Reading Month just so happens to coincide with the birthday of one of the world’s most famous authors. Theodore Seuss Geisel, better known as Dr. Seuss, was born on March 2, 1904. His birthday provides a great excuse to add some fun into your daily routine. Dress up as the Cat in the Hat and read your favorite Dr. Seuss books to your students.

Set a Classroom Reading Goal

Get all of your students involved by setting a classroom reading goal, such as reading a total of 50 books during the month. Create a visual representation to let the students know how close they are to reaching the goal. For example, you can create a bare tree trunk with branches and let your students earn a leaf with their name on it for each book they read. They will love watching the tree fill up with leaves.

Organize a Book Exchange

Plan a book exchange for your classroom. Have students bring used books from home to exchange with their classmates. There are a number of ways to organize the book exchange. Students can pass books around a circle while the teacher reads a story; they keep whichever book they are holding when the story ends. You could also wrap the books and have students select them at random.

Dress as a Favorite Character

Designate a day for your students to dress as their favorite character from a book. You can combine this dress-up day with a number of different activities. Students can read parts of the book to the class and explain to their classmates why the character is their favorite. Alternatively, you can have your class vote on their favorite book and have them dress up as their favorite characters from that story. Students can act out the story and perform a play in front of students from other classrooms.

Decorate Your Classroom

Adorn your classroom with reading-themed artwork. Display motivational posters that remind students that reading is fun. Pick a book with vivid imagery and have your students recreate the pictures in their own style. You can have them draw, paint, make collages or create costumes. Throughout the month, display your students’ book-related arts and crafts throughout your classroom.

Recruit Readers from the Community

Ask parents and other community members to visit your class and read their favorite book to students. Have them talk to students about the importance of reading and why they find it enjoyable. If they have an interesting job, they can pick a book related to their profession and use the opportunity to talk to students about their work.

Provide Incentives

Set up a system for your students to keep track of the number of books they read during the month. Make a chart, offer prizes or provide other incentives to encourage individual students to read more books. Set aside some time each week for them to read in class.

Shared Reading Time

Bring your students to another classroom to share reading time with students from a different grade level. Pairing older students with emerging readers is a fun way for students to share their love of books.

Have a Pajama Party

Let your students celebrate the love of reading by dressing in pajamas and bringing a plush toy to class. Encourage them to spend some time lounging comfortably around the classroom, reading independently with their stuffed animals.

Take an “Imagination Vacation”

Have students bring in books related to a certain destination, such as Hawaii, the North Pole or the Wild West. Pick a day to take your “imagination vacation” and have your students pack items they would need if they were to visit the location. Set aside time to let your students read in their Hawaiian shirts, parkas or cowboy boots and let their imaginations run wild.

Zoe Luderitz is the Content Manager of Alibris, an online retailer of new, used, rare and out-of-print books. A true bibliophile, Zoe’s favorite past time is to tuck herself away in a coffee shop with a good book, bagel and hot coffee in front of her.   

Sunday, March 9, 2014

March Bright Ideas Hop: Parent Communication

Welcome to another Bright Ideas Blog Hop!!! 

Last month was so amazing and I wrote down so many ideas for myself to use for the future that I'm looking forward to writing MORE ideas down!!! There are some fantastic bloggers participating in this hop and their teaching strategies for TOP-NOTCH so it's so worth sitting down with your cup of coffee...or whatever your choice of beverage is, and take some relaxing time reading all of these amazing posts for their BRIGHT ideas :)

So for my BRIGHT idea this month, I'm going to be sharing with you an idea I came up with when preparing for speaking to parents. It's one of the most important parts of teaching...keeping the line of communication VERY clear and open with your students' parents....and making sure you have all your documentation organized and available at all times. It's a lesson that every teacher learns pretty quickly. 

I create a binder labeled "Teacher/Parent Contact Logs"...simple enough right :)

Inside I have a created a tab for each one of my students. 

In that student section, I have a communication log but the bright idea comes at the very bottom of that log.

I love color coding everything in my I did the same thing with this. It's a simple code to help you keep track of why you contacted the parent in the first place instead of having to read completely through your notes again.

You can quickly see whether you've contacted enough for good reasons or if it continues to be behavior reason...trying to find ways to fix it. This was great for conferences, end of the year evaluations, and report card time. There's no second guessing yourself and asking "when was that conversation? why did I call them?" and it also shows the parent that you are organized and YOU have the facts straight when sometimes they may think the other way. 

I have memorized the colors because I have been using it for so long that I all I need to do is use a marker that color and draw a line...but starting can definitely use the abbreviations too. 

I hope you've enjoyed this BRIGHT idea!

For another bright idea, hop on over to Kindergarten Lifestyle.......

where she is going to share how to make and use a hand-made abacus.

Thanks for stopping by!!!!!

Saturday, February 22, 2014

Making Addition Fun! with a FREEBIE!

So yesterday I shared with you some activities I did with my little gal at home. If you missed that post, you can find it here. She worked on counting to 5, sorting colors, and strengthening her fine motor skills all with these little beads....

So while I was sitting with her yesterday, I thought about a way I could use the same materials with my kinder guy. It's always great to be able to use the same manipulative for different concepts...this way, you're not having to break your budget going out and buying these hands-on treats for every single thing you want to teach. 

My little guy has been learning his addition and subtraction facts. The goal is for him to become fluent with these facts (0-5) by the end of the year. We've been working with flash cards that his school has sent home, which is great! But I wanted to make it a little more hands-on for him because....

 1)He's a boy! If you get him working with his hands, he has WAY more fun! and.....

2) Being able to see what math/addition means will really help him understand the concept better and ultimately help with his fluency and memorization.

So I turned these pipe cleaners into "number sentence holders". Just twist the pipe cleaner so it's creates somewhat of a knot in the middle to make 2 sections. 

Then by placing the star beads on each side of the pipe cleaner, he created his own number sentence.

So I created this sheet to take it one step further where he could record the number sentences and picture. Don't worry...if you're interested in having this sheet..there is a link at the bottom of this post :)

If you look back up at the top picture, he matched the color of the bead as well:) What a smart little guy I have :)

He really enjoyed doing this activity. I know your students will enjoy it too! It's such a great way to get them thinking about and working with math!

As you can see in the background little gal was eager to play with these too! She loved the activity from yesterday so it was some great family time and learning time together :)

Thanks for stopping by today!! 

Here is the link to the Addition Fun Sheet if you're interested. Just download from Google Docs.

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