Monday, February 20, 2012

Safety Fair!

Whew!  I am LOOOVING this 3 day weekend!  It is just what I needed to feel rejuvenated again.  My boyfriend's sister and her boyfriend were in town this weekend and took the EARLY flight out this morning (5 am- yikes!).  Luckily the airport is super close to our house.  But an early morning wake up call would normally mean a long day at school- but not this day!  Happy President's Day!!  I have been up and am already looking forward to a mid-afternoon nap sometime today :)  I hope your President's Day is just as relaxing and enjoyable.

This past week, the 2nd graders and 4th graders at my school went to the Safety Fair.  I was a little hesitant at first... Why do 4th graders need the safety fair?!  But the district was providing the buses and so who can say no to a free field trip?

It actually turned out to be pretty awesome!  The booths were relevant and kid-friendly.  My largest concern, the fair being too crowded and busy to hear or do anything, was completely unnecessary because everything was timed so well.  We had every booth pretty much to ourselves and the kids had a lot of fun!  We all even got "hard hats" at the end.  Who doesn't love a good hard hat?

 Yes that is a parrot eating a sucker! (One of my kiddos gave it to him- ahhh!)
 Practice throwing our life preservers to a swimmer
And a little electricity experiment to model power lines.  They were completely focused and interested!

I hope you're enjoying the long weekend and have a wonderful week!

-Kelly Anne

Sunday, February 12, 2012

About, Above, Across & Amid {Prepositions}

Okay, I can't lie.  I set out to teach prepositions this week and had NO IDEA how to do it.  I didn't do anyyyything, and I mean anything, last year to teach them.  All I could remember about them is memorizing them in 7th grade.  And literally, that's all I could remember.  I still have the capability to recite the first 30 or so off the top of my head.  But I couldn't tell you anymore.  And that's when I decided I needed to do them some justice for my own fourth graders.  How could I teach them without making them memorize a list? 

Well, I did some googling, some thinking, and some creating, and came up with this Preposition Mini Lesson!  I broke it into two lessons this week and love how it turned out.  I will finish it off with at least one more lesson this week, but it could easily be up to 4 quick (30 minute-ish) lessons.  It made my class think about the purpose of prepositions and have a little fun at the same time (especially during Preposition Charades!).  This lesson is designed with 4th grade in mind, but could easily be differentiated for any grade level.

In other news, we are in full TCAP (Colorado's state test) mode.  When it comes to tests like this, it is hard for me not to stress.  There is so much riding on it these days, and while I know that my students have learned all they can and will only do as best as they can, I still can't help but try and hype them up with some positives!  One way I'm doing that this year, is sending home a letter to parents asking them to write a note of encouragement to their child.  Pick up your own copy of the letter by clicking on the picture below and support your students.  (Just a note, make sure you have back-up letters just in case a parent is unable to return you a letter in time!).

Hope this helps! 
- Kelly Anne

Saturday, February 11, 2012

Morning Math

Let the pre-test taking adventures begin!  While I despise prepping my little learners for our yearly state test, I do want them to feel confident going into it all.  There are several ways to do this, and I have a hard time embracing the "Quality Writing on Demand" unit or filling in multiple choice bubbles as Readers. 

One thing I have been embracing, however, are some early morning (and I'm talking 40 minutes before school starts- YIKES!) math groups.  I have been meeting with some of my lower mathematicians about twice a week before our school day, to do some interventions.  Why, you ask?  Well, there just aren't enough hours in the day to teach it all!  That's why!  And while what we're doing sure isn't complex, it seems to be helping.  And why shouldn't it be, with 80 extra minutes spent on math each week?!  It definitely makes all the early mornings worth it when I see them growing and their confidence boosting!! 

One of the activities we have been doing is as simple as filling in a 120's chart!  Each morning, when my little mathematicians arrive, they grab a dry erase 120's chart, a baggie full of word number cards, and get to work flipping through word cards, reading the number, and filling the number into the 120's chart.  I purposely leave out some of the cards, so they end up filling in a good portion of the 120's chart on their own, without using the cards.  Once they have done this, everyone is there, their minds are rolling, and they can use their 120's charts to help them in the addition and subtraction activities we do.  It's a win-win!!
Pick up your own 120's chart and word number cards HERE (for FREEEEEE!)  And enjoy doing a little math intervention (or teaching, if you're a 1st or 2nd grade teacher!!) of your own.  :)

Happy Friday!!  I hope everyone enjoys their Valentine weekend!!

-Kelly Anne