Tuesday, June 8, 2010

Birthday Recognition

I always felt bad that I never found a way to recognize birthday's my first year of teaching (mainly because I was so overwhelmed). I fixed that the next year with my birthday wall.

One of the "getting to know you" activities I have students do at the beginning of the year is put their name and birthday on an index card (the month goes on the back). They decorate it to reflect their personality and then they put it on my birthday wall under the month labels I have up (moving other cards around until they get them in date order). This gives students a chance to see who shares a birth date or month with them (and serves as a visual reminder of who has birthdays coming up for me).

Last year I "celebrated" the monthly birthdays on the first day of the month and gave each birthday student an Oreo Cakester (this is when I was on a two man team). This year we decided that each homeroom teacher would take care of their birthday students with an Oreo Cakester so as to not overwhelm one teacher with purchasing all the treats. It worked out great.

I just gave out the June/July Cakesters for the month (picture above).

I chose Chocolate Oreo Cakesters because I made the mistake of offering two many choices that first year and I was stuck with a lot of one type of treat and not enough of another. The Cakesters seemed to be popular, affordable, they keep well, and come two in a packet (which the students love). I let them eat it right on the spot (usually in the morning...and it is the high point of our first school day of the month).
I am in the process of switching classroom and I wanted to take a picture of my birthday wall for future setup reference...hence the post :)

Safety Posters

I always start the year talking about safety. One of my first right hand assignments is a safety poster. This past year I also had students make safety posters for the classroom. They turned out great and stayed up the whole year (you can never go wrong with safety posters in the classroom :)
I like student work much better then store bought posters and whenever I am observed one of the expectations is that we have student work posted. Having these posters up serves as both a reminder to "be safe" and as a check off on my teacher observation forms.
Don't have room? See if you can hang them from the ceiling. Use a large sheet of construction paper and glue one child's poster on one side and another child's on the other....that way if they start to "spin" you always have a safety poster showing. You can also tape them on cabinets or use them as a boarder high up on the wall (just have students write/draw big so that it can be read from ground level).
The funniest poster this year (and remember I teach fourth grade) was a No Drinking in the Lab poster where the child featured a Miller Light beer bottle. It had me laughing so hard that it was featured in the center of all my posters.

Take Home Project

This was a project I did with my Girl Scout troop when we worked on our weather badge. I liked the idea and filed it away for possible use in the classroom next year.
Basically we took card stock and cut it into a perfect square. We folded all the corners into the middle and wrote the most common severe weather we have in this area on three of the tabs and "emergency numbers" on the first tab.
The girl scouts wrote down safety tips, associated with the various severe weather, under the tabs and listed their families emergency phone numbers. We used velcro dots to hold the tabs shut and put magnet strips on the back so it could be placed on the fridge.
The Girl Scouts enjoyed doing this project.
The only draw back is if you teach A LOT of students this might get expensive with the supplies but if you have one or two classes this would be a doable project.
Another thing I did along the same lines is have children sketch out the interior of their home and put a giant X on the safest places to go in a Tornado (I made this a homework assignment). We backed it in colored paper and laminated it so they could put it someplace the family would see it at home (or at the very least put it in their bedroom). You could easily (without the laminating) make it a fold out map in the notebook.

Friday, June 4, 2010

End of Year Video

This is an end of year video I made for the fourth grade using Animoto.com. I bought a subscription for $30 for the year and have made several school (field trips, field day) and personal videos. I've created links on my website and you can easily embedd codes (like I did above). You can also download your videos and purchase a high resolution copy. This year I learned how to "stitch" together several songs, using movie maker and a converter (but apparently you can use audacity as well...a free download) so the program can take more pictures in it (I used just over 220 in the video above...it can't take more then 10 minutes of music and mine above clocked in at 9 min. 30 seconds).

At one time educators could get a free account so if you are interested you might want to check that out. I decided not to go that route since I knew I was going to be making a fair share of personal videos and the cost was relatively inexpensive.

These are great to show at open houses, awards ceremonies, graduation, etc.

While this is not strictly a post about "notebooking" I do have a lot of notebooking pictures in the video :)