Wednesday, September 28, 2011

Conference Reminders

Before I talk about my post topic I want to give a shout out to Rebecca from The Teacher's Chatterbox. She gave me the I Heart Your Blog Award! Thank you so much Rebecca. Part of getting the award is to award it to others. I will definitely do that soon in an upcoming post.

Now onto today's topic: conferences. How many times have you scheduled parents for conferences and then wait and wait and wait for them arrive only to find out they won't be coming? I used to take offense and figured that when I scheduled a conference it was up to the parent to write it down and remember to show up. But then I got to thinking that when I have a doctor's appointment I like to get the reminder phone call the day before. So why not do the same with conferences? Instead of phone calls though, I started sending home these conference reminders. I printed them out on bright orange paper and staple them into the student's planners. That way the parents are sure to see them and I get more show ups to conferences. How do you help parents remember their appointments with you? I'd love to hear your ideas!

                                     Conference Reminders

Tuesday, September 20, 2011

Map Skills

We started map skills this week and its one of my favorite units to teach. I have always loved geography. I started the unit by showing a maps video from Discovery's United Streaming. Then the kids colored a compass rose and we wrote out all of the cardinal directions. Next we started working on our Where in the World packet. I got this great idea from the awesome Beth Newingham and you can find her packet here. I sent it to pdftoword.com (Love that tool!) so I could customize it for our city. I had to do cut and paste for a couple of pages so I wasn't able to just have a hard copy on my computer. Once we are finished going through the packet the kids will be completing an activity where they have to use the compass rose. I will be putting them in groups of 3's and they will follow the directions on the sheet and fill in the places they end up at. To avoid everyone following the whole group, I will be sending them in intervals. (This of course will take place after lots of discussion of what they should look like and sound like walking through the school.) Click on the title below to see a copy of the sheet we will use. Of course this one is customized for my school but maybe it will give you ideas for your own.

                                           Exploring Our School


Wednesday, September 7, 2011

September 11th

It's hard to believe that it has been 10 years since that dreadful day. Every year I try and figure out how to teach about September 11th in a way that is appropriate for 8 and 9 year olds. A couple of years ago I discovered the book Fireboat. It's about a group of friends that restore the John J. Harvey which was later used to aide in the fires of 9/11. On day one of my lesson I usually use this book as a spring board for talking with my students about the events that occured that day. This year Weekly Reader has a great article about September 11th which I plan to use in place of the book. On day two, I am going to have my students write about what it means to be an American and put them together to make a class book. Click on the title if you'd like a copy of the writing paper.

                                       America Writing Paper