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Showing posts with label enjoying teaching. Show all posts
Showing posts with label enjoying teaching. Show all posts

Seven Steps to a Happy Last Day of School - Part 7: Enjoy them

You may not be getting much sleep, trying to fit in all those end-of-the-year expectations, but hang in there, there's a light at the end of the tunnel!
Seven Steps to a Happy Last Day of School - Part 7: Enjoy them! This post includes a Reader's theater freebie about kindness!


For the past 6 days, I've been sharing ideas to have a Happy Last Day of School. 


You can read about Step One here:  Read Your Favorite Book

You can read about Step Two here:Leave Out a Few Favorite Games

You can read about the third strategy here: Keep Out a Few Decks of Playing Cards.


You can read about Step Four here: Keep Out a Handful of Whiteboards, Markers, and Erasers.

Read Step Five here: Make Sure They Have Something to Read!

Read about Step Six here: Find One-On-One Time With Each Student.

Now, here is Step Seven!
Seven Steps to a Happy Last Day of School - Part 7: Enjoy them! This post includes a Reader's theater freebie about kindness!

That's really what it's all about, isn't it?

Push away all the thoughts of what still needs to be done such as packing, test scores, end of the year meetings, end of the year record keeping, and all the rest.  

Take the time to enjoy the kids. 

I'll admit, I've never had a "last day" where I didn't get choked up saying goodbye to the children. (And I've been teaching forever!) 

They are the ones that matter after all the craziness of everything else!

It's really all about the kids. 
Remember that. 
Enjoy them!

As Ellen would say, be kind to one another. Here's my last freebie from the seven days: Starring Kindness

Seven Steps to a Happy Last Day of School - Part 7: Enjoy them! This post includes a Reader's theater freebie about kindness!

Which is your favorite of the Seven Steps to a Happy Last Day of School?

Seven Steps to a Happy Last Day of School - Part 7: Enjoy them! This post includes a Reader's theater freebie about kindness!

Take Time to Enjoy Them!

Teaching can be crazy busy! 
In fact, it's easy to get discouraged by all the extra meetings and expectations for teachers these days.
Teaching can be crazy busy! In fact, it's easy to get discouraged by all the extra meetings and expectations for teachers these days. Here's my best advice: Take time to enjoy them! Here's how!

Here's my best advice:

If you're anything like me, the kids are the reason you went into teaching to begin with. 
It wasn't to go to meetings. 
It wasn't to analyze test data. 
It wasn't to impress the administration. 
It was the kids.
It's always been about the kids.

Once in a while, I have a "game day." 
I kind of sneak it in, pretending it's a reward for being good, but it's really giving them a way to appreciate the skills they have learned and my way of enjoying the kiddos. 

As I'm sure you're aware, most board games practice many academic skills and social skills the children need to work on: counting, reading, taking turns, listening to directions, showing kindness, and plenty more! I have a few favorites I'd like to share with you. 

Teaching can be crazy busy! In fact, it's easy to get discouraged by all the extra meetings and expectations for teachers these days. Here's my best advice: Take time to enjoy them! Here's how!
On a typical game day, I'll have a number of stations for the children, including a "work with teacher" station. That's when I pull out "Apples to Apples." (Click link to see game at Amazon. It's an affiliate link. Don't worry, it doesn't cost you a thing. Promise!) Apples to Apples brings in important skills such as reading, categorizing, and respecting another's opinion. (If you know the game, the judge's opinion is law!)
Another reason I love this? It always includes loads of giggles! (I'll never forget the time one of my little guys put down the "my teacher" card for the category, "ugly." I knew something was up when he couldn't stop laughing as he put down the card... he promised me it wasn't really true!)

Here are a few more recommendations: (Also links to Amazon, I promise it doesn't cost you a thing!)

Teaching can be crazy busy! In fact, it's easy to get discouraged by all the extra meetings and expectations for teachers these days. Here's my best advice: Take time to enjoy them! Here's how!

Teaching can be crazy busy! In fact, it's easy to get discouraged by all the extra meetings and expectations for teachers these days. Here's my best advice: Take time to enjoy them! Here's how!
Teaching can be crazy busy! In fact, it's easy to get discouraged by all the extra meetings and expectations for teachers these days. Here's my best advice: Take time to enjoy them! Here's how!
Teaching can be crazy busy! In fact, it's easy to get discouraged by all the extra meetings and expectations for teachers these days. Here's my best advice: Take time to enjoy them! Here's how!

Teaching can be crazy busy! In fact, it's easy to get discouraged by all the extra meetings and expectations for teachers these days. Here's my best advice: Take time to enjoy them! Here's how!
A couple of games are great for practicing specific math skills. Yahtzee is a classic, plus it's addicting, so they'll play it again and again!
Teaching can be crazy busy! In fact, it's easy to get discouraged by all the extra meetings and expectations for teachers these days. Here's my best advice: Take time to enjoy them! Here's how!

There are a gazillion games that can be played with a regular deck of playing cards! I often give the children a deck of their own as a gift, or I'll buy a bunch for the whole class to share.

Teaching can be crazy busy! In fact, it's easy to get discouraged by all the extra meetings and expectations for teachers these days. Here's my best advice: Take time to enjoy them! Here's how!
I'm sure you know plenty of card games to teach the kiddos, and you don't, make some up! Even just putting the cards in order is great for those little minds developing Number sense!

Here's a game I absolutely LOVE. I didn't make it up, I found it on Shelley Gray's blog. It's called Salute. (That's NOT an affiliate link, it's just a link to Shelley's blog.)

The children work in groups of three. Two of the children place a card on their forehead, facing out so that everyone can see it but them. (The move is almost like a "salute," hence the name.)

The third person, whom I call the captain, tells the other two the sum of their 2 cards. Then they figure out what their own card is. (It's like missing addends, isn't it?)

Salute can also be played to practice multiplication skills. The "captain" tells the product of the two cards, otherwise, it works the same way!

What things do you do to enjoy them?


Five "MUST DOs" on the First Day of School

  Starting a new school year?

Five "Must Dos" on the first day of school: There are a whole lot of fun things to do on that first day, but these are 5 things I'll make sure happen every first day!

A few years ago, I posted THIS

Six Things to remember on the first day of school: for novices and experienced teachers, some helpful reminders for that big day!

I listed six things that are important for that first day, but I want to mention some specifics that I make sure I do every year on the first day of school.

Five "Must Dos" on the first day of school: There are a whole lot of fun things to do on that first day, but these are 5 things I'll make sure happen every first day!

1. Start with something that holds their interest, yet needs no instruction!

If your school is anything like mine, the kiddos stroll in bit by bit on the first day. 

As each child comes in, of course you'll need to greet them and tell them how glad you are to see them, where to put their belongings, and help them find their seats. 

Therefore the others need to be doing something that doesn't need your help.  Here are some examples:

1. Draw a picture/ write a sentence about themselves. (Depending on their abilities, of course!)
2. Clay or Play Dough
3. Explore manipulatives like Pattern Blocks or Cuisenaire Rods.
4. Puzzles. (at their level, of course!) 

I'm sure you can think of more!
Five "Must Dos" on the first day of school: There are a whole lot of fun things to do on that first day, but these are 5 things I'll make sure happen every first day!

2. Bathroom Procedure!

They do tend to get nervous about this, don't they? As soon as everyone is in place, I tell them what they need to do if they need to use the bathroom. 

Of course, I try to remind them about bathroom etiquette without being too "parent-like" about it..."Since you're second graders, you don't need to be reminded to wash your hands when you finish, do you?"

We have a bathroom in our classroom, so I show them how to lock the door for privacy, how the door unlocks automatically from the inside when you turn the handle, what do if the bathroom is in use (Knock!) what to say if you're in there and someone knocks, ("just a minute") and where to wait if someone is in there. (NOT near the door, since many are self-conscious about someone listening when they're in there.)

Five "Must Dos" on the first day of school: There are a whole lot of fun things to do on that first day, but these are 5 things I'll make sure happen every first day!

3. Read to them!

I truly believe the most important thing we can teach children is the value of reading. Since in the younger grades, the kiddos are still learning to read, the most important thing is to teach them a love for books. There are a whole lot of fabulous "first day of school" books, but I always choose to read one of my very favorites.

Five "Must Dos" on the first day of school: There are a whole lot of fun things to do on that first day, but these are 5 things I'll make sure happen every first day!

Five "Must Dos" on the first day of school: There are a whole lot of fun things to do on that first day, but these are 5 things I'll make sure happen every first day! 

Five "Must Dos" on the first day of school: There are a whole lot of fun things to do on that first day, but these are 5 things I'll make sure happen every first day!

Why do I choose one of my favorites?  Because it's important that the children see my passion for books. The above book images represent 3 of my very favorites. Every time I've read these, the children have LOVED the books, talked about the books, and looked for the books to read again themselves. I'm sure you have your favorites, too! Those would be the ones to read the first day.

Just be sure to keep it short. Remember, the children haven't had to sit still for a long time!

Five "Must Dos" on the first day of school: There are a whole lot of fun things to do on that first day, but these are 5 things I'll make sure happen every first day!

4. Today's Math Lesson: Make a graph!

 
There are several children who worry about dismissal time. Will they find their bus? Will they know where to go? Will they find their way home? 

I try to settle those worries long before the end of the day by making a graph as our very first math lesson. 
Five "Must Dos" on the first day of school: There are a whole lot of fun things to do on that first day, but these are 5 things I'll make sure happen every first day!
This is the form I use that is specific to my school and my music theme in the classroom. You may notice we have no walkers, That's because it's a very rural community and there are no sidewalks!

One by one, I'll ask each student where they go after school, check it with my master list, then put their name on the list. (I already have a list, but I want to make sure THEY know!) The children can follow along on their own copy if they want, but I'll keep a master list. 

When we're done, the list might look something like this:
Five "Must Dos" on the first day of school: There are a whole lot of fun things to do on that first day, but these are 5 things I'll make sure happen every first day!


Just to get their brains going, I'll ask a few questions (Which bus group has the most children?  Which bus group has exactly 3 children?) Then I'll encourage them to ask each other questions that can be answered by the graph.

Then we'll practice for the end of the day. I'll assign each group a "waiting spot" for the end of the day. I make it clear to each member of the group that they need to work as a team, and make sure all team members make it to the bus safely.

I know in some schools, teachers walk their children to the bus. In our school, the buses are called as each one arrives, and the teacher stays in the classroom while the others wait for their bus. Since I can't go with them, I count on them looking out for each other. 

What about Evan and Michael, who are the only ones from our class who ride those buses? I make it the responsibility of the whole class to make sure these guys leave on time, and I usually look to the nearby classes so they'll see someone they know is on their bus.  

Team work matters! Let's get them all home safely!

Five "Must Dos" on the first day of school: There are a whole lot of fun things to do on that first day, but these are 5 things I'll make sure happen every first day!

5. Enjoy!

If you're anything  like most teachers I know (including myself) you've wanted to be a teacher all your life. This is what you've always wanted to do! It's a very difficult job, but the rewards are totally worth it. Enjoy those children. Let them see how much you enjoy them. It's a win-win!

Five "Must Dos" on the first day of school: There are a whole lot of fun things to do on that first day, but these are 5 things I'll make sure happen every first day!
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