Saturday, January 14, 2017

Work It, Work OUT!

I read some terrifying research by the Journal of Medicine and Sport that found that “the more time kids in Grade 1 spent sitting and the less time they spent being physically active, the fewer gains they made in reading in the two following years. In first grade, a lot of sedentary time and no running around also had a negative impact on their ability to do math.” Not on my watch!  I decided to come up with a fun way for students to take ownership of their learning AND get their bodies moving!

Click any image to purchase! 

On Fridays, I try to do something fun. I also LOVE empowering students and showing them ways to take charge of their own learning. This resource does both of those things! Whatever I’ve had out for practice that week is open for extra practice. I ask them to think about the stations or activities that they felt that they hadn’t mastered. Then, they fill out their boards, practice, reflect, and WORK OUT! I love this because some students are practicing math, some are practicing spelling, and some are reading...but ALL are having fun!

A few ideas for implementation:

There are 15 boards. You could do 1 board a week and then cycle back through. Print one for each child and cover the exercise with a sticky note (optional, but fun!) Pass them out and have them select the skills that they need to work on (OR- students can keep them in a folder throughout the week and record stations/centers that were difficult along the way!). I like to have them reflect on their learning as well. There is a sheet included for this! When they finish, they may grab a timer (sand timers, hand timers, iPad timers- all great ideas!) and complete their workout task. You can decide how much time you give students to get through the board. You might even signal every 10-15 mins to tell them to move on to the next circle so that they move along! You could also put your students into groups and print a different board for each group. They could work on their skills individually but workout together!

Also- I’ve provided two versions of the board- one with 4 skills circles and one with 2 because some need more practice than others. . I teach kindergarten, so I allow my students to pick their board. You might decide that your class all needs one or the other! I will also sit down with my struggling learners and help them select their activities based on my noticings from the week. I hope your students enjoy this!

Saturday, December 31, 2016

Social Studies for February!

 We, LaNesha Tabb and Naomi O'Brien, are SUPER excited that we decided to team up and work on these units together! Our January Unit is complete and ready to purchase now. There's a FREEBIE to check out, that really shows a sample of what you can expect from these monthly units. We recently completed our February Unit and wanted show you guys what you have to look forward to with this resource.
 It is our overall goal with these units to teach young students about different cultures, people, parts of the world, and about our country. We hope to inspire them to be compassionate, empathetic, and knowledgeable about the world around them.

If you take a look at the "At-A-Glance" images below, you will see that February is packed full of awesome for your and your students!

There are 5 subjects with Social Studies that we will focus on each month, but only 4 at a time. They will change each month.
 This month we decided to focus on:

Sociology: What is World Hijab Day?
Geography: The Geography of the Super Bowl
History: Celebrating Black History
Civics: Who Chooses our Holidays?

(A teacher guide is included to give you plenty of ideas of how to teach these topics to your children. Quizzes are included in the guide as well.)

You guys, we really wanted to make sure we covered all bases with all of the grade levels we hoped to reach. There is truly something for everyone. We included workbooks with longer reading passages, more vocabulary words, and writing prompts for the older grader. There are also eBooks and Mini Books for the lower grade levels to have access to the same content. Print them out or project them of the entire class to see!
Even if your students are using the 2-3 workbooks (pictured above), the eBooks can still be used as a hook or discussion starter for each new topic!

Each subject has a craft or interactive activity included. We really want your students to be familiar with the topics they are learning about. We want them to go home excited to tell their families and friends what they learned about in school that day! When we think about the impact those discussion can have, our hearts are so full!

Image Map
We hope your students and you have fun learning and teaching each other! Be on the look out for the March Unit which is coming soon!

LaNesha and Naomi

Tuesday, December 13, 2016

Social Studies: Because Knowing Stuff About Our World Matters

Despite the negative reports posted on the hour, despite the comments sections on most websites, despite the ever-growing notion that we are more divided now than we've ever been before...

We still have hope. 

We, LaNesha Tabb and Naomi O'Brien, have joined together to write what we like to call our "love letter" to students all over America- and even beyond. We seek to heal, enlighten, and promote curiosity about our world, it's past, and the present people in it.  This resource is for you. 

Our hope is that this resource widens perspectives, encourages conversation, and promotes the idea that different isn't "bad" or "weird." We believe this can be done at even the youngest ages. We realized that we were both guilty of only teaching Black History in our classrooms and that that wouldn't cut it when we live in a nation full of diverse people. In this resource, you'll find just about every heritage month that is recognized nationally. Our goal was to create a unit that has something for everyone inside. Why?

Because knowing stuff about our world matters. 

We have created a resource that covers Social Studies subjects for primary grades. In these monthly thematic units, we cover fresh and interesting topics in the areas of civics, history, sociology, geography, and economics. There's a little bit of everything in here- differentiated reading passages, activities, crafts, mini-books, e-books, assessments...the works! It can be adapted anywhere from grades K-3. LaNesha is currently teaching the modified version in kindergarten and Naomi teaches her gifted and talented students- all from the same resource!  

Here is a snapshot of the January Resource! 

Lastly, we wanted to make sure that you could see the big picture for where we are headed, so we'd love to present the overview for the year! Are you ready? Annnnnd scroll! 

See? We weren't kiddin'! Our goal was to recognize as many cultural groups and interesting topics as we could! We are so excited to expose our youngest students to our rich history, sociology, civics, geography, and economics! Little kids can do big things and think big thoughts and we hope this resource encourages just that! 

Monday, November 28, 2016

Personal Narratives: Writing Stories that Matter

I have a confession: 

I’m sort of the meanest narrative-writing teacher ever. I just couldn’t read another story about birthday parties adorned with hearts and rainbows. And it’s my fault, really. My expectations were too low- I own that! It was hard enough to get my writers who were used to writing about sparkle princesses and Jurassic Park to make the shift to a real story- and I think I settled at that. 

One day we went to the fair. We rode the rides. We ate popcorn. It was so fun. The end. 

23 more. Rinse and repeat. 

This year I decided to make the shift. I couldn't settle for just a "true" story anymore. I needed more.   I was determined to make my writers tell stories that matter! So...

Step 1: Figure out what a true personal narrative is. 
So, genres are sort of divas! I looked up the qualifications for personal narratives because I thought my idea of them was correct- but I quickly found that that wasn't true. A lot of the books on personal narrative lists are actually memoirs, for example. Picky, picky! I wanted to find books that were the in the truest form. I read a lot of qualifying lists and the common threads that I found were that personal narratives need to be 1) in first person 2) true 3) vivid and clear 4) emotions/feelings evoked. 

Step 2: Identify real texts that meet those qualifications. 
I used to use the go-to books to teach narratives. Like Keats. But most of his stories are told in 3rd person. Sad day. I really wanted to stay true to the list and provide my students with a concrete example of what they would be writing. The books that I ended going with were Owl Moon, Big Red Lollipop, A Chair For My Mother, and Come On, Rain.  Below you can see the 4 qualifications that I drilled down for kindergarten. 

Step 3: Create my own version of a personal narrative to share with my students. 
They need to see both published works and unpublished versions of this genre- even better: student versions from years past.

When I sat down to make my version of a story that was worthy of telling,  it was HARD! Like I said before, if we are honest, no one really and truly is moved by my "birthday party" story. It's nice and maybe you'd be glad that I had fun buttttttt.... I'm sure it wouldn't stir your emotions. So, I took to my camera roll on my phone. I started scrolling through my pictures until I landed on a photo that I sent to my husband of a really bad morning where I spilled my coffee everywhere. I remembered the rest of the events from that day and a personal narrative came forth! 

I made this version as bare as possible because I wanted to be able to grow it with my writers as the unit progressed. I made a smaller version and stick it in a sheet protector in my conferring mini-binder. Then when I'm conferring with writers, I can model strategies by writing and drawing with a wipe-off marker. 

Step 4: Provide tools that will support them in finding their tiny truths. 
I remembered how I found my story by using my camera roll. I thought it would be fun to ask students to create  camera roll memories that they could use throughout the unit.  In kindergarten, I actually sent the camera roll home so that their parents could help their children recall times in their lives that were meaningful to them. 
I also wanted my students to understand the concept of "turning up" the emotions/feelings in their books. I made them a "feelings-o-meter" to use while they are writing. I have them read their story out loud and then we talk about how their reading felt. They turn their arrow to the appropriate slot. Then, we talk about what we could add to make sure their feelings show through as much as possible. 

Click the Image Below to check this resource out!