Monday, 22 September 2014

If Everybody Did with a FREEBIE

If Everyone Did by Jo Ann Stover was one of my favourite book finds last year. I read it to my grade two class in September and they howled with laughter at the outrageous consequences when everyone breaks the rules. 

Rhyming text and hilarious illustrations engage the book's audience and make it fun to read aloud. 
If one person walks inside with muddy shoes footprints are left behind, but:

If one person squeezes the cat: 

The book provides excellent opportunities to make text-to-self connections and is a perfect lead-in for a discussion about personal and community responsibility. 

The best part, though, is that Stover ends What If Everybody Did with examples what happens when good choices are made. 

After reading the book I had the class draw pictures of one situation where kids at school all do something they shouldn't and the consequences (an example was everyone left their things out on the floor instead of putting them away in their lockers). Then they did a second drawing of something they could do to make the school or our classroom a better place. 

Looking back, I think I should have read this book at least 2 or 3 times to my class last year!
I made an Incentive tag to give to students who help others. 
If you'd like it you can get it free at my TpT store by clicking here.

For more books that foster responsibility click to visit Emily at The Reading Tutor/OG for Mentor Monday.

Friday, 19 September 2014

Back to School AT LAST!!!!!
Back to work AT LAST The longest teachers' strike in B.C. history is finally OVER!  We're able to get back into our hastily-abandoned classrooms this morning. Three days to put things in some kind of order for kids' arrival Monday. Not much chance of classroom makeovers here this year.....
We learned in mid-June after we were at school that it would be our last day on the job until an agreement was reached. I'm SO happy to get back to work!
Here's what my calendar looked like when I walked into my classroom after 3 months. 
It was like the education clock had stopped cold. And I guess it actually did. 

Here's my classroom looked like.

 This needed tidying, but THIS is a bigger problem:

While we were off I made a few things to use this year at school. I posted about Incentive tags here. Last week I finished up a bundle with tags for every month of the year. 
I also made a mini bundle of Fall tags:

Click  here to go to TpT if you'd like them.

Loving my laminating machine. It's getting quite a work out the last few days as I get things ready to go back. 

This is what my classroom looked like after a few hours of work today. It's surprising what you can do in a few hours.

It's much better, but I think I'll have some weekend time.  My so-called desk area still needs quite a bit of organization.  I got rid of my desk last year in a bid to save room. I was totally disconbobulated for a few months, but eventually came to love it. 

Tuesday, 16 September 2014

Ten Red Apples

Ten Red Apples by Pat Hutchins is a fun, simple countdown book. Bright illustrations and repetitive rhyme make this book engaging.

At the beginning of the story the tree has ten apples, but animals arrive and eat them one by one.  The horse is first: Ten red apples hanging on the tree./ Yippee, fiddle-dee-fee!/ Horse came and ate one,/ chomp, chomp, chomp./ Neigh, neigh, fiddle-dee-fee./ "Horse!" cried the farmer./ "Save some for me!" 

Finally there's only one remaining apple. But the farmer's wife has been planning to make a pie. 

I often stop reading the book at this point and ask for predictions about how the story will end. There are always lots of entertaining ideas. Sometimes I read the end (The farmer spots another tree with ten apples), but sometimes I give them this sheet to complete first.

If you'd like a copy click here.  (There's a second page with plain lines)

There are oodles of possibilities for activities to go with this book. I find that having a picture book read to them is a real treat for older students, and this one is good for them to use as a template for writing their own countdown booklets. Change the farmer to a soccer player, change the apples to soccer balls.........let their imaginations run!  If you use this idea and have a younger "buddy class" these booklets are great for sharing with their little buddies. I have also done them as a joint project with older and younger buddies.

This book is available from Amazon here.  There is a good "peek inside'. 

I also found this video on  YouTube
Amazingly I think that I am actually going to be able to imbed it into my blog!!!

I'm linking up with at The Reading Tutor OG for Mentor Monday today. Click here  to find more good book ideas to use with your class. This week it's all about apples!

Sunday, 14 September 2014

More incentive tags and an October freebie

I'm going to talk more about these wonderful tags that work so well in my classroom. They have so many different names - Brag Tags, Behavior Tags, Behavior beads. Whatever they're called, I've found they are great for student motivation. This year I've decided to call them Incentive Tags because it sounds more positive than Behaviour Tags (which I used to call them).

I blogged about how I use them for Math and a freebie Math tag here.  

I used the tags last year together with my clip chart. Students got ONE point if they finished on GOOD CHOICES, TWO points for finishing on WAY TO GO, and THREE points if they ended on STAR STUDENT (I didn't dock them points for being in the red because I thought that might be too discouraging and have the opposite effect than I wanted).

I kept track of their points each day and a couple of times a month I'd give them chances to use their points to buy tags. I saw a great idea a couple of weeks ago from Elementary AMC that you can see here. She made classroom money to give out for the points. I am going to try giving out the money at the end of each day instead of juggling their points on a sheet, which was time consuming and could become confusing at times. This way each student can keep their own "money" and they'll know exactly how much they have to spend. With my tally system they were constantly asking how many points they had. 

I had some tags that were suitable for them to get for their points, but I needed more. I didn't want them to buy the reward tags that were for specific behaviours or accomplishments, so I decided to make monthly tags that they could buy. I couldn't believe how popular these became. The kids liked them so much that several months I ended up making two different tags. Here's a look at the October tags.
I made them in sheets of 20 tags. I'm going to put them in my TpT store soon, but if you'd like to get them free they're available  here for a short time. Just print, laminate, cut apart and hole punch and they're ready to distribute. 

I checked out the chains that I'd seen other teachers were using to hold the tags, but they're pretty expensive in Canada. So I made lanyards from parachute cord that I got from Michael's. 

Tie a loop in one end and tie a clip like this to the other and you're ready to go. 

I'm linking up with Joanne from at Head Over Heels for Teaching for 

To see more ideas for inspiring your students check out other blogs on this topic here.

Tuesday, 9 September 2014

Summer Book Finds - Arthur Writes a Story

There's hardly anything that I like as much as books.  Any other teachers out there feel the same way?
When I go to visit my parents on Vancouver Island my mum and I always do one of her favourite things:  go to second-hand stores.  At 84 she can still outshop me any day of the year!  There is a new ValuVillage there and it is usually the first place we head for.  She keeps me interested in going up and down the aisles for a while - you never know what good stuff you can get in the stationary section or housewares, but eventually I give her the slip and sneak off to the books.
Kids books are usually $1.49 each (although sometimes they're 99 cents), but if you buy 4 you get a 5th for free.  I generally stock up for my class, and this year they had shelves and shelves and shelves of picture books.
Here's what I got:

I was particularly pleased to get the two Robert Munsch books because my kiddos love listening him to read them during our morning Language Arts time.  I have lots of Munsch books, but not these two.
I blogged about how we do Listen to Reading in my class here.  There's a two page freebie of the sheets that I have the kids fill out when they're finished listening.  The first sheet is for making connection, and the second is a book recommendation.  You can grab them here.
I love to use Arthur Writes a Story with my class, so I was very pleased to get it - in hardcover, too!  Usually I borrow it from the library.
In the book Arthur's teacher asks them to write a story for homework.  The topic is "Something that is important to you".
Arthur goes home and quickly writes "How I Got My Puppy Pal".

He shares it with DW who tells him it is boring.  She suggests that getting an elephant would be more exciting.  So Arthur rewrites his story using elephants instead, but then is influenced by his friends who have written about outer space, that include scientific research, jokes, and songs.  Arthur attempts to introduce all these to his story, which becomes rambling and confusing.

After he performs it for his family and his class he finally reverts to his original version, which meets with approval by all.

I use this story in my classroom as an example of how simple stories that tell about ONE thing that you know about are the best.