Wednesday, June 11, 2008

Classroom PE activities

Now that the state has required students to have a certain amount of PE time each week, classroom teachers are having to come up with their own ideas and activities to do with students on a daily basis. This past year we had a designated 20 minutes each day where we did "PE" activities with our homeroom class. It was hard coming up with our own activities on top of regular lesson plans so we usually just let our students jump rope or play tag. I decided once my internship was over that many days letting over 100 first graders run around for 20 minutes however they wanted to was not the best idea for the state mandated PE time. I found a few great sites that gives ideas of a variety of activities to do with elementary school students. Some of the activities require equipment, but many don't. A number of these lessons are great for team and community building. Jumping rope is a great activity, but if you can imagine with a bunch of first graders, can quickly become chaotic!


This is the calendar area of the first grade classroom where I did my internship. Calendar was a large part of our math class each day. The students sat on the carpet in front of the calendar and all participated in the lesson. We went over the month, date, days of the week, all 12 months of the year and seasons. We also did place value with counting how many days we had been in school. Some days we used a graph to ask a "question of the day." Learning about the calendar is a very important part of first grade. They are tested on it on their standardized test at the end of the year, as well as it being an important life skill. Towards the end of the year we incorporated "telling time" into the calendar time. We tried to do things that let the students be involved such as Velcroing the date on the calendar or standing up and saying the entire date for the whole class.
* Photos can also be viewed as a slide show:

Tuesday, June 10, 2008

Classroom Management Ideas

Part of my internship this year was to create some type of classroom management idea to implement during my 5 weeks of teaching. The thing that we did in my classroom as well as a couple of other first grade classrooms was the "stoplight." This is a simple stoplight that I made out of construction paper, Velcro, and then laminated at the end. Each color is stuck onto the light by Velcro. There is only one color up at a time. Red means that it is quite work time, yellow means that they must stay in their seats and whisper and then finally as I am sure everyone could guess, green means they are free to talk in inside voices. This was hard to implement in my classroom during my weeks of teaching because it was not established on the first day of school or during those crucial first couple of weeks. It did work for my students most of the time, but could have been much more effective if done earlier in the year. I really recommend this idea with the younger grades but have even heard of some teachers using this idea in their fourth grade classes. I am really interested in different classroom management ideas that other teachers have used or have heard of so I thought that this would be a good one to share with others. It worked most of the time for me, and could have been more effective so I hope that it will be of some use to others.

Monday, June 9, 2008

Amazing and addicting book club

I have found the best website!! I am sure some of you have already discovered it, but it is new to me and I feel that it is so amazing that I should share it with everyone. It is called Paperback Swap. You can trade old books that you have and you can purchase books on this site. Basically, every book you buy is about $3.99. If you trade a book of your own then you get to pick one out for free. They have any book you could possibly imagine. The great thing about it is that you can make "wish lists," and tags. Sometimes you have to be put on a waiting list for certain books, but you can monitor where you are on the waiting list, edit etc. I have spent hours upon hours searching through the site for award winning books, books to make class sets and even books for my own reading pleasure. There is also a great feature that lets tells you the condition of the book you are viewing. Some of the books are a little more "used" than others, but everything that they sell is in at least "good" condition. I highly recommend this site for everyone to at least browse through and see the wonderful selections that they offer and if you are in the market to get rid of any of your own books, then this is a great way to do it!

Monday, June 2, 2008

Improving Reading Comprehension

This is a video that I found that incorporates technology in the classroom. It gives teaching tips on how to improve students' reading comprehension through the use of video clips on the comupter. This YouTube Video states over and over how important it is to make sure that students are interested in what they are learning. Through this video teachers gain great insight for a new website to use in their classroom. The speaker in the video goes step by step through the website and gives ideas and different options teachers can use to help improve reading comprehension. I have gone to the website from the YouTube video and played around with it to see how I would use it in my classroom. It seems like a really great idea if you have a specific subject in mind or area of interest. This would especially be great for older elementary, middle and even some high school students.