Using Printable Magnetic Paper In Your Classroom

Hello, and welcome to the October Bright Ideas Link-Up! If this is your first time on my website, welcome!  I am so glad you stopped by!
My Bright Idea is fairly simple, and something I was able to implement into my classroom very easily.  I recently discovered printable magnetic paper. Because most teachers already have lots of printable resources, I thought it would be a great idea to use the magnetic paper for some of those printables!  This works as a great strategy to get the kids excited about the content you are presenting.  It would also save you money because you are not constantly having to purchase magnetic activities from the teacher store.  

You will see some letters below.  These were made for a sight word activity for one of my centers.  Since I don't want to spend the money to buy multiple sets of plastic letters, I just printed some off, right onto the magnetic paper.  I will be able to use these right away in my small groups.  You can let your students use your white board, an old cookie sheet, or even an oil drip pan for your magnetic activities. 

I hope you enjoyed this month's Bright Ideas blog post!  If you would like more ideas from me, be sure to follow me on TeachersPayTeachers, Pinterest, and Facebook to stay posted on fabulous freebies and ideas! 
Be sure to check out the directory below for more Bright Ideas from bloggers all over the world!

Cultivating a Culture of Success in Your Classroom

The curriculum is mapped out, your standards are printed, your lessons are made, your materials are prepped.  Now if your students would only be as enthusiastic as you are about the content it would be a perfect world right?  Cultivating a culture of success does come with time and experience, but if you need some quick tips on how to start cultivating this culture, you have come to the right place.  

1.  Provide structure.  I can not stress this enough.  By now, you have probably realized that you do need structure, but you don't exactly how you are going to get it.   When you know what you want the kids to do, they will be more sure of themselves, and it helps them to feel safe.  Always be prepared for that transition and think ahead so the kids know what materials they will need.

2.  Really listen to what a child has to say when they come up to you or ask you a question.  I found myself saying, "Okay, go sit down please." after they finish telling me what they want to tell me.  If you take a split second and ask a question or add to what they are telling you, it speaks volumes!  It let's them know that you care, and that you want to learn more about him/her.

3.  Do not accept negative facial/body expressions.  This includes rolling eyes, stomping off, smirking, etc.  Never ever let a child get away with that.  That is the perfect time for you to address the behavior and think of an alternative.  Sometimes, children do not know better.  It is hard to believe, but you could be their greatest role model, so take advantage of these situations.

4.  Do not accept negative tone and or words.  For me, this type of language happens all the time at the beginning of the year.  It is the hardest thing to conquer, but it is possible.  When I hear something that is negative, or said in a snarky way, I will give the students a better way to say what they need to phrase.  I will literally tell them exactly what I want them to say in the tone I want them to say it.  Sure, they are a little uncomfortable at first, because it is almost like a foreign language.  By October, all my kids are able to use their words in an appropriate way when dealing with conflict.  (Most of the time.)  Sure there will be days when I have to remind a particular student, but they are kids and they need reminders.

5.  Never just say good job.  Children will not remember "good job."  Find something specific you like about what they did. Celebrate it and take a couple of extra seconds to communicate that to them.  This is not easy.  But with practice, it gets better.  Sometimes, I get stuck.  But when I get stuck, that is a perfect opportunity to ask a question.  It all goes back to having genuine conversations with your kids.

6.  Let all your students celebrate each other's success.  I always have a few kids that struggle.  They are the ones that need those celebrations the most.  Kids are resilient, and they have the ability to understand that different people have different needs.  They know when to celebrate a success of another student.  For example, if a student is having a hard time answering a question, my kids will encourage them, give them helpful hints, and when they answer correctly they tell them how great they are or how proud they are.  If you set the tone in the beginning, they will be able to do this without prompting.

7.  Give brain breaks, and give them often.  Sometimes we forget that time goes by slowly for children, and they need to get up and do something else in order to continue with the day.  This really helps with managing behavior issues that might have come up.

8.  Never let kids talk about groups or levels being high or low.  I have separate groups for all my kids.  I tell my kids that my groups are designed for different skills.  Everybody has different skills they need.  I tell them that it is impossible to know everything, and that we can all improve and learn new skills.  It is just understood in my classroom that each group has a purpose, and none of them are higher or lower than the other.

9.  Make learning "cool."  I struggled with this because I was working so hard to try to make it cool without letting my kids see my enthusiasm.  If your kids can see your enthusiasm towards learning, they will think learning is awesome too!  You have a powerful influence on them, so use it to your advantage!

10.  Accept your kids for who they are.   Each child is unique in your classroom, and you need to let them know that you care about them no matter what.  I always try to find something they are great at, and then talk about it every once in a while.  For example, Bobby, who is an artist.  Or Jane, who is a caring friend no matter what.  Or John, who can name every Pokemon character.  Draw on their strengths, and they value them.

In the end, it is all about making students feel safe, special, and important.  Cultivating a culture of success is dependent on the actions and decisions you make each day.  Understand that to have great culture takes time and experience, but you can take actionable steps now to improve how your students feel in the classroom.

I hope you enjoyed this blog post! If you would like more ideas from me, be sure to follow me on Teachers Pay Teachers, Pinterest, and Facebook to stay posted with fabulous freebies and ideas!

Follow Education to the Core: Emily Liscom's board Free Educational Resources on Pinterest.

10 Things Teachers Wish We Could Say

Let's be honest, we have to maintain a pretty good filter during the school day.  But we have so many things that we are thinking that we wish we could say out loud.  That is why I made a list of all the things Teachers Wish We Could Say.  Now, of course mine are all in good fun, and believe me I am not afraid to speak up.  Feel free to comment to add more! I would love to hear what you would say if you could.

1.  I have not finished my coffee yet. You can talk to me until I am finished.
2.  That's the bell.  I think I will run to the restroom first.
3.  I am going to go to the restroom.
4.  Would you like to go out for lunch?
5.  I am going to have to miss that PLC today.
6.  You need me to come in on Saturday?  I can't.
7.  Duty is not my favorite thing.
8.  May I please get my carpets shampooed?
9.  Go out to dinner?  On a school night?  Sure!
10.  I think I'll go home and relax.

I hope you enjoyed this blog post! If you would like more ideas from me, be sure to follow me on Teachers Pay Teachers, Pinterest, and Facebook to stay posted with fabulous freebies and ideas!

Follow Education to the Core: Emily Liscom's board Free Educational Resources on Pinterest.

Ten Literacy Ideas for Emergent Readers

Thinking of fun and engaging centers can be hard sometimes!  I have surfed the internet, and it is hard to find great DIY centers.  That is why I rounded up some of the ideas from fabulous sites in this post so you can create fun centers in your classroom or at home with your kids.  Be sure to click on the links to learn how you can implement each center! 

If you are an upper elementary school teacher, be sure to head over To An Educator's Life for some great ideas on Read Alouds!  

Hopefully after seeing all these great ideas, you can think of how you will use them with your students or children!  If you would like more ideas from me, be sure to follow me on Teachers Pay Teachers, Pinterest, and Facebook to stay posted with fabulous freebies and ideas!

Follow Education to the Core: Emily Liscom's board Free Educational Resources on Pinterest.

10 October Centers for Math and Literacy!

Hi there!  Just wanted to let you all know what my class will be doing for centers during the month of October!  I have created my "October Centers for Literacy and Math" to save you some time with your October centers.  Be sure to click on any of the pictures, or the link to my store to learn more about this product.

Since I have a large need for letter naming order and fluency, I made a game called "Pumpkin Letter Matching."  In my classroom, I like to keep the names simple and not overcomplicate them so I can work with my small groups.  This allows my kids the time to work independently, and me the time to read with my kids.  

The next center is called "Black Cat Number Matching."  This is a similar center for math that focuses on number sense from 1-20.  My students are to take turns and match the quantity with the number.

I also created a sight word game called, "Help Wanda Find Her Cauldron."  The students roll the dice, and read a word.  If they read correctly, they can move the amount of spaces they rolled.  I leveled my sight words by color so that any of my students are able to play with each other.  They just know which level they can work with.  I have an entire blog post I did a while that explains how I level my sight words by color.    

I will also be using the same game, but with math facts as my playing cards.  This is very nice because my kids already get the concept of taking turns, and they just trade out the cards.  I printed my math facts on orange card stock to keep everything festive.

The next game I have is called "CVC word builder".  I have my students take a card and say the picture word.  They are to break the word down, and to bring it up another notch, they have to build the word.

"Shape Monster Builder" is probably one of my students favorite activities year after year.  This is such great way to get your little ones familiar with the characteristics of the different shapes.  They also like choosing the multicolored eyeballs!

Next up, I have "Make 10."  And that is exactly what the students are going to do.  They grab a 10 frame card, and use the frog manipulatives to make 10.  Then, they use their recording sheet to write an equation.

I made my "Pumpkin Patch Rhyming Game" because my kids love to make rhymes, and rhyming is such an important skill that helps build phonemic awareness.

I have two bonus centers included in the pack but I also made them free so you could try one literacy and one math center.  Be sure to grab my Race to Twenty" and my "Letter Matching Memory" Freebie

I hope you enjoyed this blog post! If you would like more ideas from me, be sure to follow me on Teachers Pay Teachers, Pinterest, and Facebook to stay posted with fabulous freebies and ideas!

Follow Education to the Core: Emily Liscom's board Free Educational Resources on Pinterest.

Dear Policymakers and Administrators: Let Us TEACH!

Dear Policymakers and Administrators: 

It's time we face it, things are changing in the world of education.  Whether you are on board or not, there is no denying that the boat has been rocked.   Since 2010, teacher turnover has been reported at 20%.  Perhaps you think it is a good thing, because you are weeding out all the lazy ineffective teachers.  But in my world, I have seen highly effective and well trained educators leave the profession.  Teachers that care and still maintain high test scores.  Teachers that have mentored me when I was a new teacher, and guided me every step of the way.  Teachers that will ROCK your socks off.  The teachers that are leaving represent much of the value and experience in education.  At some point, you have to realize this affects everybody.

Teachers need to be treated with respect and we have to be trusted in order for things to move forward.  We are forced to attend Professional Learning Communities (PLC'S) to talk about things on a set agenda that have little to no impact on kids.  Of course we have real things that are pushed to the side so we can talk about whatever is already set on an agenda for us.  Although data is an important part of our job, let us meet about other things!  We need to talk about the safety of our children, discipline, and other logistical things that help run the school.

And let's talk about those district quarterly standardized assessments.  Not only do we waste taxpayer dollars on them, but we have to take away learning to administer those tests.  I bet the taxpayers wouldn't be so thrilled if they knew that.  I know of a district that administered 28 tests throughout  the year.  That is 28 days of instruction taken away from the 180 day school year.  That equates to about 16% of the school year spent taking tests.  

I have taught everywhere in the K-2 range.  In my experience with administering these types of tests, I would watch the kids as they guessed on the answers.  I couldn't help but notice them "check out" right in front of me.  (And I am not the type of teacher that lets kids "check out")  They can only take so much.  For something that is already developmentally inappropriate, you can not blame them.  So, is the loss of their educational days lost worth it?  

Teachers are forced to look at this assessment data in so many different ways. They are forced to read the data until their eyes dry up. Kids are labeled according to their test scores, and their names are put on data wall.  Sorry to burst your bubble, but teachers do not need a data wall to tell them which kids are not up to grade level. We know.  

Teachers are also expected to post four or more objectives for each subject every day.  And their lesson plan requirements?  Just see the wall!  Everything on the wall is expected to be in the lesson plan.  And then some!  We don't look at them.  Because they aren't for us, they are for you.  And although you have no idea what it is like to be with your students forty hours a week, and then go home and write these ridiculous things, they will be posted and ready for you whenever you decide to "drop by." This is not the best use of a teacher's time.   You are taking not only time away from our families during our non-contractual time but you are also taking away from our real lesson planning.  

Please give us the respect we deserve, and listen to us when we say, "You are going the wrong way!"  We are in the classroom, and you are not.  Sure you do your drive by's, but come into my classroom and teach!  And I don't want you to teach for a week, teach for a DAY! That is all it takes to realize that we are masters of our craft and we desperately need you to trust us as professionals.  Please don't lose your most valuable asset in education:  Teachers.
Respectfully yours,

I am not a veteran teacher, but I have been teaching long enough to know the difference between right  and wrong.  I refuse to be a player in this game.  I urge all teachers to think about what is really best for kids.  You have a brain, use it! Stick up for yourself when you feel something is not right.  Teachers are carefully being silenced, and we must speak up before our voices are no longer heard.  Be a leader.  Change the game. 

Get Your Students to Produce Quality "How To" Writing

Hello and welcome to my blog!  This month's Bright Ideas post will find you a few quick tips for producing quality "How To" writing from your students.  Be sure to check the linky directory below to read over 100 other "Bright Ideas" from other fantastic teacher bloggers!

"How To" writing can be very challenging for children if they are not able to connect it to real life.  If they are unable to identify it's purpose, they will struggle.  One way to divert this problem is to create a "real life" situation and let kids actually explain what happened.  This allows them to think through the process, talk about it, and finally write about it.  

For my Firsties, I brought the kitchen to the classroom with simple recipe all kids can understand.  We made trail mix.  It is easy enough to write about, yet still requires step-by-step directions.  We used M&M's, raisins, and peanuts.  I did not want to use too many ingredients because we just wanted to get the concept of a "How To" writing. 

In the above picture, you will see an excellent graphic organizer for the "How To" writing.  I had my students draw detailed pictures first.  When they were done drawing the pictures, I let them write their sentences.  Before their sentence, I have them "write it out loud."  This really helps them with their complete sentences.  I also emphasize using the correct verbs and materials/ingredients.

My kids loved using this real life experience and writing about it.  When you are able to create meaning for your students, they have more motivation and they show ownership of their writing.

Be sure to visit the Bright Ideas Link-Up below to see more posts from over 80 fantastic bloggers.  

I hope you enjoyed this blog post! If you would like more ideas from me, be sure to follow me on Teachers Pay Teachers, Pinterest, and Facebook to stay posted with fabulous freebies and ideas!

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...