Saturday, February 24, 2018

NATIONAL DAY OF UNPLUGGING

I'm telling you about this a few days early because it's going to take some planning to get "unplugged" for the day.

From sundown to sundown, beginning Friday (March 1), some are putting down their cellphones, shutting off computers, and ignoring the Internet in celebration of the fourth annual National Day of Unplugging.

https://www.today.com/money/national-day-unplugging-here-will-you-power-down-24-hours-1C8636742


                             
There are many things we do in schools that don’t have an impact on children, but I bet if you “unplugged” for one day it would leave a lasting impression. It could also lead to some great learning opportunities. Students could write opinions, do a T-Chart of things to do with a screen and without a screen, graph preferences, make a book about what to do without technology, do a Venn diagram...

Have you read BLACKOUT by John Rocco. It’s a delightful tale about what happens when a family in a big city loses power. I won’t tell you what happens, but I bet you can guess. I was talking to some children recently about the “olden days” before televisions, video games, cell phones, and computers. They were stunned and said, “What did you do?” I smiled and replied, “You know what? We played outside and had lots of fun!”

                                        
Several years ago a teacher told me that they asked the families at her school to record the amount of screen time their child had for a week. The next week they asked the parents to turn off all devices and spend the same amount of time interacting with their child by reading, playing games, doing chores around the house, going for walks, etc. Do you think most families could survive this? It certainly would be a meaningful challenge!

Friday, February 23, 2018

WOOF! WOOF!

Bet you didn't know that February 23rd was International Dog Biscuit Day!  Let's see how we can recycle a box of dog biscuits in our classroom.

Woof!  Woof!
Make a “Woof! Woof” game. Cut out dog bones and write sight words, math facts, letters, etc. on them. On a few write “Woof! Woof!” Pass the box around and let each child pull out a bone and identify the information. If they select “Woof! Woof!” they have to get down on the floor on all fours and bark like a dog. (They love it!) 

                             


Dog Biscuit Math
Use the dog biscuits for math activities. Add, subtract, make sets, sort… This dog dish with two sections is perfect for tens and ones.


Who Let the Letters Out?

Place letters in a dog dish or empty box of dog biscuits. Children reach in
and pull out one letter at a time as you chant:
Who let the D out?
/d/ /d/ /d/ /d/ /d/

                                                                  

Our Pets

Make a book about pets. Cut the front and back off the box and cut paper the size of the box. Give each child a sheet of paper so they can draw a picture of their pet and write or dictate a sentence about it. (If they don’t have a pet they can draw a picture of a pet they would like to have.) Put their pictures between the covers of the box, hole punch, and you’re ready to read. 

                                 

Dog Food (O.K.  I know this isn't healthy, but its such fun!!!)
You will need:
12 oz. bag chocolate chips
1 cup peanut butter
1 stick butter
10-12 oz. box Multi-Bran Chex Cereal
powdered sugar

Directions:
1. Wash your hands.
2. Melt the first three ingredients in a pan over low heat.
3. Pour the mixture over the Chex cereal and mix until coated.
4. Put 2 paper grocery sacks together, one inside the other.
Pour ½ cup powdered sugar into the bottom of the bag.
Pour in the cereal mixture, close the bag, and shake.
Keep checking and adding powdered sugar until the mixture
looks like dog food.

For fun, serve in a clean dog food bowl!

Thursday, February 22, 2018

BRAIN HOOK UPS

This is an easy strategy that you can integrate to wake up those little brains - and maybe your brain, too!  Draw a line from your forehead down the middle of your body. That’s called your midline. The brain is made up of two hemispheres and when you cross that midline it helps both hemispheres of the brain work together. Here are some exercises for crossing the midline that are perfect for a brain break or between content areas.

Hint! Place a piece of painter's tape down the children's midline so they can visually see how they cross it as you exercise and learn.

                       

Turn on Your Brain
Use this idea to start each morning.
     Turn on the right side of your brain. (Left hand touches right side of head.)
     Turn on the left side of your brain. (Right hand touches left side of head.)
     Turn on your right ear.  (Touch right ear with left hand.)
     Turn on your left ear.  (Touch left ear with right hand.)
     Turn on your right eye.  (Point to right eye with left hand.)
     Turn on your left eye.  (Point to left eye with right hand.)
     You don't have to turn on your mouth because it's always "on."
     Now you're ready to learn!!

Simple Tap
Touch right hand to left knee and left hand to right knee. 
*Say letters of the alphabet, count, read sight words, etc. as you tap.

Bend and Stretch
Lift left knee and touch with right elbow. Lift right knee and touch with left elbow. 
                                                                      
Backwards Touch
Lift left foot behind you and stretch back with right hand and touch. Reverse for the right foot and left hand. 

Catch a Star
Reach with right hand up in the air to your left and pretend to catch a star. Then reach with your left hand up in the air to your right and catch a star. 

Pat on the Back 
Alternate patting the back of your left shoulder with your right hand and your right shoulder with your left hand. 

Brain Hug 
Thumbs up. Thumbs down. Cross your arms. Clasp your fingers. 
Bring your hands under and into your chest. Give yourself a hug. 

Karate Chops 

Spread your feet apart and bend your knees. Alternate hands making karate chops as you skip count by ones, fives, tens, etc.
*Spell the letters in words and then fold hands and bow as you say the word.  

                      

PVC Rhythm and Dance Wands
Bobby Verostko shared these PVC rhythm and dance wands she made which are perfect for crossing the midline. She used colorful duct tape, PVC scraps and some tulle her aunt gave her. For dance wands she used 4” PVC pipes and for rhythm sticks she used 9 ½” pipes. She used hot glue to insert the 1” tulle streamers in the pipes. (Although Bobby said you could use any size or number you wanted.) These are perfect for a school program or just following along to favorite songs. She said her children love them. One child said, “They are like the wind!”


                                          

Wednesday, February 21, 2018

WHISPER AND RELEASE!

Some children need more “thinking time” than others. When students blurt out the answer, it deprives some students of that time. These strategies will also develop self-regulation and encourage your students to think of divergent answers.

Whisper and Release
Have children hold up their hand and whisper their answer in their fist. When most children have responded say, "1, 2, 3, release!" Children open their fist and whisper their answer.

Thumbs Up Thinking
Explain that you are going to ask a question. If they know the answer they can put their thumb up next to their chest.

                                  

*If they know more than one answer, they can put up a finger for each additional thing they know.

Pop Up Q & A
To review information, divide children into partners. Ask the question or give a math problem. Students discuss the answer with their partner and then stoop to the ground. When all the groups are squatting down, the teacher says, “One, two, three!” Children pop up and say the answer. If they arrived at different answers, let the class evaluate the correct response.

Tuesday, February 20, 2018

DO YOU RECALL?

Have you ever heard the saying:  "Work smarter, not harder."  That's what I like so much about the brain research.  There are some very simple strategies that you can easily integrate into your day that can improve learning in powerful ways.  

According to brain research children need to recall information throughout the day. (Think of it as that extra pat on the back or a second helping of dessert.)  Here are a few tips for having children recall information after you’ve read a story, taught a lesson, or at the end of the day.

Thumbs Up Thinking – If you’ve learned something new you can stick up your thumb. If you’ve learned more than one new thing you can stick up a finger for each additional thing.

Right Now! Right Now! - Stop at random times in the day and shout, “Right now, right now, right now, right now! Who can raise their hand and tell me something they know right now that they didn’t know when they came in the classroom this morning?”

Partner Share – Have children turn to a friend and share something new they learned.

Toss and Tell – Take a bean bag or wadded up paper ball. Ask a review question and then toss the ball to a student. The student answers the question or says something they learned and then tosses the ball back to you. Continue as time permits.

                          

Draw – Let children make “thinking pads” by cutting scrap paper into fourths. Staple about 10 sheets together. Use thinking pads to have children illustrate what they’ve learned after a lesson or after reading a book.

Visualize – Have children close their eyes and reflect on what they did well and what they learned.

Microphone – Pass around a play microphone or telephone for children to state what they’ve learned.
*Let children pretend they are a news reporter and state facts about the day.



Catch a Star
Ask children to think of something new they learned or something they did that made them feel proud. Tell them to reach up and grab a star and then put it in their hearts.

Close Your Eyes and Smile
Have children close their eyes. If they can see something new they learned they can open their eyes and smile at you.

Fist List
Children make a fist and then hold up a finger for each new thing they learned that day. 

                                              

Kiss Your Brain – Write “Kiss Your Brain!” on a poster and tape it to your door. Before children leave for the day they must say something they learned and then kiss their brains.


Chant – Start a beat for this chant by slapping thighs and clapping hands. Go around the room as you say the chant and children respond:
     Hey, Hey, what do you say?  
     What did you learn in school today?

So, what do you RECALL from reading my blog today? Can you use one of these ideas in your classroom this year?

Monday, February 19, 2018

SHHHH! DON'T WAKE UP THE BIRDIES!


SHHHH!  DON'T WAKE UP THE BIRDIES!!!

 


https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XfZuGmjlyPM

Here's another short video I made with a silly song that the kids adore. I'll also attach the directions for the story because I bet your children will want to hear it again and again.

Birdies
Way up in the sky
The big birdies fly.
Way down in the nest
The little birds rest.
With a wing on the left,
And a wing on the right.
The little birds sleep
All through the night.


SHHHHHH!
DON’T WAKE UP THE BIRDIES!

Then up comes the sun,
The dew falls away.
Good morning! Good morning!
The little birds say.

                             

Here's the link for the story.


https://drive.google.com/open?id=0B1SnEagA4jljOGhrSnJKWVVfekU

Sunday, February 18, 2018

ALPHAGATOR

Nothing motivates me like a compliment! Someone said her students enjoyed the videos that I made "just for kids," and so I have a new one for you. "Alligator" is an engaging chant where children echo the words. I also tell my "Alphagator" story on this video.



http://bit.ly/drjean_AlphaGator

Here are the words, as well as the pattern for the story.

Alligator
Chorus:
Alligator. (Extend arms and open and close like a mouth.)
Alligator.
Alligator.
Can be your friend, can be your friend,
Can be your friend, too! (Point finger.)

The alligator is my friend, (Point to self.)
And he can be your friend, too. (Point to a friend.)
If only you could understand, (Hold up palms.)
Don’t wear him as a show! (Chorus)

The alligator is my friend. (Point to self.)
He likes to dance and flirt. (Shuffle feet and fluff hair.)
If only you could understand, (Hold up palms.)
Don’t wear him as a skirt. (Chorus)

The alligator is my friend. (Point to self.)
He likes to sing and dance. (Snap fingers and dance.)
If only you could understand, (Hold palms up.)
Don’t wear him as your pants. (Chorus) (Point to pants or legs.)

Alphagator
Directions: Use the link to download the alligator pattern. Cut it out of the front of a file folder. Insert 10 sheets of green paper and print the underlined letters in his stomach so they are displayed as the Alphagator eats them. Glue a copy of the story to the back of the file folder so you can read it as you remove one sheet at a time.

 
https://drive.google.com/file/d/0B1SnEagA4jljUW9BT0JIN1p0UkE/view?usp=sharing

I love letters! How many of you boys and girls love letters? When you learn letters and their sounds you can put them together and make words, and then you can read! Well, once there was an Alphagator and he absolutely adored the letters of the alphabet! He’d eat letters and dream sweet dreams all night long.

On Monday he ate the letters A B C D E F,
But the pointy part of the “A” kept poking his tummy,
And he couldn’t sleep a wink all night long.

On Tuesday he ate the letters G H I J K,
But “H” and “I” made a word and said over and over, “Hi! Hi! Hi!”
And he couldn’t sleep a wink all night long.

On Wednesday he ate the letters L M N O P,
But “O” kept rolling back and forth in his tummy,
And he couldn’t sleep a wink all night long.

On Thursday he ate the letters Q R S T U V,
But “S” kept playing snake in his tummy and going, “Ssssssss!”
And he couldn’t sleep a wink all night long.

On Friday he ate the letters W X Y Z.
Then he closed his eyes and dreamed sweet “Zzzzzzz’s” all night long.
See you later Alphagator!