Sunday, October 22, 2017

Don't Let Little Things Bug You!

This week I had the most fun teaching my first graders how to use a Bug and a Wish statement when someone or something is "bugging" them. First I read them the story A Bug and A Wish by Karen Scheuer.

It's a really cute book. When Tyler is teased by the other boys, his good friend, Danae, encourages him to give the boys A Bug and a Wish. When Tyler finds a ladybug and a dandelion seed, he is convinced that this is what Danae means. As his friend helps him learn the true meaning of her advice, Tyler soon discovers the solution to his problem. You can buy it at all the major book selling sites for a very reasonable price.

We practiced as a class how to say Bug and Wish statements and then chose which statement would help the situation.

After practicing several thought provoking buggy situations, I allowed individual students who were comfortable making Bug and Wish statements to come to the front and select a bug to hear a buggy situation. After reading them the situation, they would tell their class a Bug and a Wish statement that would work to help solve the problem.

Next I had the students break into groups of three. I have cards with bug body parts on them. The students have to find the other students with the matching body part. Once they had found their group of three, I had them show me by standing quietly with the bug antennas up (Pointer fingers pointing up on top of their head.) Then I gave each group a picture and asked the groups to look at the picture and decide what may be happening. What buggy feelings does the child have? Come up with a Bug and a Wish statement for the child with buggy feelings. 

When the groups were ready to share, I clicked on the board and a bug body part appeared. As the bug body appeared, I had the group with the matching bug body part share their situation and their Bug and Wish statement. By the end, we had built a butterfly! 

Finally, students were able to color a bookmark to remember how to use their Bug and Wish statements whenever something or someone is bugging them!

If you are interested  in this lesson, I sell a ready to go, no planning necessary packet on Teachers Pay Teachers. You can purchase Solving Conflicts with A Bug and a Wish here.

Sunday, September 24, 2017

Be a Mon"star" Student - Use Your Whole Body to Listen

This past week I had the best time teaching my firsties! We were learning about how to use your whole body to listen. It is not easy to listen with all the stimulation these kids experience. We started with a short discussion about listening such as, "How can the speaker/teacher tell you are listening?" (Funny side note - when I used the word speaker, one of my students thought I was talking about the microphone speaker!)
We watched a Sesame Street video called The Biscotti Kid. Discussion about how the Cookie Monster finally earned his cookie belt led to discussion of each body part and what we can do with it to help us focus on listening. I had a cute monster slideshow. As we discussed each body part, we reviewed with hand movements to help remember: Goggle eyes, finger in front of mouth, hands by open ears, hands by side, body calm and facing front, feet on floor, pat your brain, make a heart with two hands.

At the end of the slideshow, to asses for understanding, I asked them rhyming riddles to build our Mon"star" listening student. Here's an example of some of the riddles.
1. I keep this part facing front. It’s not time to do a stunt. Nor do I practice my karate. I stay calm with my?
2. I keep these on the person in sight. When listening, I know this is right. It shows that I am very wise to always listen with my?
3. I use this part to communicate. But when I am listening, I have to wait. I wouldn’t want the conversation to go south. I am talking about using my?

As they answered the riddle, I would click on the slide and the body part would appear. The kids loved it! We ended the lesson with the students drawing their own Mon"star" student. Here are some examples of their drawings:

I also sell this lesson. Be a Mon"star" Student Using Whole Body Listening. If you are interested in purchasing this lesson,
You can find it here on Teachers Pay Teachers.

Monday, September 18, 2017

The Real Treasure is the School Counselor!

I'm always looking for a fun way to present my role as a school counselor to the students. This year I went with a pirate theme. I know, that probably does not surprise you if you have read my other posts on this Blog. So this year I made a Virtual Treasure Hunt for the students. To explain my role, I would read a riddle, the students would choose the picture on the map. I would select that picture and it would lead to the next clue. At the end, the students learn that their school counselor is the real treasure! Then we reviewed a pirate labeled with all the parts and discussed how I help. Finally, students got to play a game called Cannon Ball Catch. I would start by tossing the ball (our cannon ball) to a student. They would catch it and tell me something special about them and then gently toss it to another student. With my 5th graders, I made it a tad bit harder. I told them they had to come up with something I don't know about them already. Since I have been with them for the past 3 years, I am amazed how many times I had to say, "I knew that already!"

I also sell this lesson. School Counselor Virtual Treasure Hunt: Introducing the Role Guidance Orientation. If you are interested in purchasing this lesson,you can find it here on Teachers Pay Teachers.

Monday, September 4, 2017

Chalk One Up for Tiny Working Spaces

So this year I was given the opportunity to embrace a tiny office. At first I was not happy that I was losing my big, beautiful classroom with windows and moving to a small 10' x 12' office. Now I realize that isn't the tiniest, but it was a quarter of the size that I am used to and it has no windows! But I had to move past the fact that I had to downsize and needed to embrace tiny working. I still wanted to have small groups, but I no longer have a table with chairs to sit at or a walk-in closet to store all my supplies. Instead I was given 6 cabinets :( I have always been a fan of the Tiny Living Movement so I thought to myself, "This is your opportunity to go tiny." And so I did. If you are interested in seeing my big classroom that I moved from, click here.
Below are the pictures of the transformation to my Tiny Working Office.

I needed to make my office a place that students would enjoy visiting. So I started with making this sterile room into a visually inviting room. I bought chalk-paper contact paper from Walmart and covered the doors on my cabinets. Then I hand drew all the posters with chalk markers. 

Next, I was gifted a file cabinet that has to be older than my first born. It was rusty and dented. No problem! I covered it with the same chalk-board contact paper and added some spray painted 8 x 10 frames from the Dollar Tree. For fun I labeled each of my drawers with a little reminder to Smile, Laugh, Inspire , and Relax.

For my bulletin board, I plan on adding pictures that I take throughout the year to my board.

Finally, the overhead fluorescent lighting was just too much. So I added garden lighting to soften the look.

To take care of my storage and seating for small group challenges, I purchased lots of dual use items. Notice the stools. The lids come off to reveal all the supplies needed for small groups. Decorative cloth boxes fill the bookshelves to hold more supplies. So far, I have been able to hold groups as large as 6 so I think I will be ok!

Saturday, August 26, 2017

I.B. Caught Showing Learner Profile Attributes!

This year we are updating our Student Recognition Program. On the end of year survey last year, we received a request to recognize more students. Since we are an IB candidate school, we decided to highlight more students who use the IB Learner Profiles. I was able to use Google Forms to create a form for each month's emphasis. Teacher's submit 2-3 names each month. In the younger grades, the teacher usually selects the students, but in the older grades, the classes usually vote.

Each month those students selected get to go on the news show to receive their certificate and shake the Principal's hand. Since we are going to be recognizing more students than we have in the past, we are going to have to recognize K-2 students on Tuesdays and 3-5 students on Thursdays.

 In addition to the big monthly recognition, I have created "Caught" cards for all of our staff to catch students exhibiting our IB Learner Profile traits. If a student receives a "caught" card, they can enter it into the monthly drawing to attend a snow cone party.

I am really excited about this added recognition because it will give students who may not normally get recognized an opportunity to shine! But this will be a HUGE undertaking in my school. We have 700 students and I want to make enough cards for each child to get recognized at least once during the year for each Learner Profile. That's right folks! And if you are doing the math...10 Learner Profile cards for each student...that's 7000 cards to print and cut!!! Needless to say, I have enlisted the help of some awesome parent volunteers:)

If you like this idea and do not want to do the work of creating your own cards, you can purchase a set of my I.B Caught Using Learner Profile Attributes Cards here for $5.00

Monday, August 21, 2017

Surviving being a New Student

It's a new year and I have over 50 new students to my school! That's not including the Kindergartners. I wanted to welcome my students and help them remember who I am and what I do. I love to give students something to keep, but with so many new students, I had to go cheap. So I created New Student Survival Kits.

They are a perfect little gift that you can give your new students when meeting them for the first time. I printed a list of items that i was going to place in the Survival Kit. I made sure to include a description of why I put that item in the kit.

I placed the list in a zip-lock bag along with the items. The best part of this...I was able to purchase all items including the bags for $14 at the Dollar Tree to make 50 bags.

My kids enjoyed these so much, I decided to put them on my TPT site. If you are interested in printing these, you can purchase my New Student Survival Kit here for $2. There are 4 Kit Lists to the page. Enjoy meeting new students, talking to them about your role as a school counselor and how you can help!!!