Saturday, January 17, 2015

Bright Idea {Sit, stand...what's YOUR plan?}

Welcome to the very 1st Bright Idea Hop of the new year! How are ya?


We returned to school from Christmas break just two short weeks ago. The first thing we did was review routines and procedures, so I thought I’d share a quick classroom management tip! Have kids that struggle to sit in their chairs? Ants in their pants? Just can’t sit still….need to move? Then this is the bright idea for YOU!


Ever get that question from any of your students? I do….all.the.time! My answer? YES!!! If standing is more comfortable for you, then by all means… yourself! Not every kid is comfortable sitting in a hard chair or even wants to sit at all, lol! Rather than fight kid energy, I try to incorporate it into learning as much as humanly possible. My kids have a great deal of choice in their learning and being able to decide how they can best work comfortably is one of them. Sit, stand, lay on your tummy….as long as you’re being productive and not infringing upon another friend’s space, you’re free to decide how you’ll position your body for independent learning.

Side note: Adults entering the classroom should be forewarned to watch their step, there will be kids hard at work…..EVERYWHERE! LOL! =)


Having more than one type of seating also offers options. We have several different types of seating in our classroom too! Our ‘Read to Self’ chairs are GREAT for students who need to bounce and move while learning! I’ll take them bouncing and learning anytime over interrupting the lesson because of behavior. When we need to spread out, I split the class between the tables and the floor. Students understand that working away from a traditional seat does not equal play time. It’s designed to provide comfort in order to do quality work.


…and if you were to walk into our classroom and actually find us working at tables, students also have the freedom to choose where they will sit, depending upon what we’re working on. The choice gives them the feeling of being in control of their learning. It also makes for a happy teacher, because they’re busily going about the business of becoming independent learners in the way they’re most comfortable. Win. Win!

Students need to stand? Let them! Need to wiggle? Consider novelty chairs that will allow them to do so. Love the cool of the floor? Enjoy! Choice leads to engagement. Comfort leads to focus….=)

If you liked this bright idea consider following here, on the blog, or join me on Facebook or Instagram for more ideas to spark creativity and imagination.  For more bright ideas from a variety of awesome bloggers, please browse through the link-up below and choose a topic/grade level that interests you. Thanks for visiting!

Sunday, January 11, 2015

Five for Friday {First Week Back}

Hi Friends! How are ya? Did you have a great first week back at school? My kiddos and I had a busy week of review and catch up! We were all a hot.sick.mess during the weeks leading up to Christmas… we had to use our first week back to and CATCH UP! And by golly, I think we’ve done it!


I’m linking up with Kacey at Doodle Bugs Teaching to share our faves from this past week.

We skip counted through the week in math! Notice the typo on the 5’s chart? Ugh! Not sure what we were thinking…thank goodness for my eagle-eyed team mate! It’s all fixed scribbled over to say in instead of is now. When you teach syllabication in the morning, and skip counting in the afternoon…..BEWARE….you may end up with big words on your math anchor chart! =)

Simply [rote] skip counting is of days past. Now, our standards call for skip counting sets of objects….the day we worked on counting by 5’s we each traced our hands and lined them up across the carpet to count sets of 5 little fingers! Kiddos loved how long the line was and were utterly amazed when they discovered how many fingers there are in our classroom! After we counted them, 3 students worked together to label each of the hands in order beginning with 5 before I hung them up to use as a reference.


This week, Smart Art began on Thursday. What we were going to do, would take some time….so it just couldn’t wait all the way until Friday.

I absolutely LOVE using the book The Apple Pie Tree by Zoe Hall to teach how the changing seasons effect plants. After reading it and discussing what happened to the apple pie tree during each season, we worked to illustrate what we had learned. As much as I love sharing an awesome book, I love tying in art even more…

On Thursday we worked to cut, glue, and draw details to illustrate winter and spring. On Friday, we flipped our little foldable over to illustrate summer and autumn.


The wonkiness of kids’ work adds character. No patterns were provided. I like seeing their personalities shine through their work. Each kiddo started with a blank sheet of paper and a model projected on the whiteboard as a guide to get started. Though we were all illustrating the seasons, each and every tree, leaf, and apple are unique because they were given creative control of the work they’d produce. Lots of happy smiles were seen among the mess of clips and snips of paper all over the room!


Wanna peek inside? After giving summer and autumn a little time to dry, we opened them up to prep for next week. One of our performance assessments is to observe and record the weather over the course of a week. Last week….seasons. Next week….weather. We’ll use our little foldable to record the weather and relative temperature each morning. On Thursday, during our normal science lesson, we’ll read Gail Gibbons’ Weather Words and illustrate the vocabulary. Lastly, students will illustrate their favorite type of weather!

Creating a display type foldable added a little novelty to our work. Foldables shouldn’t have to always be flat! I love using them, BUT I don’t want my kiddos to get bored with them by continuously using the same kind all the time. They watched me prep this one for them and absolutely couldn’t wait to get their hands on it!

Will your little meteorologists be making observations about the weather soon? Click HERE to grab the mini-pages we’ll be using. Check out some of the books and resources we’ll be using below!

Happy weather watching!


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