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Showing posts with label working together. Show all posts
Showing posts with label working together. Show all posts

But My Students Don't Know This Stuff!

Sometimes I'll lead my students to some activities where they are expected to answer questions where they haven't been taught the content. How can this be valuable?

But My Students Don't Know This Stuff!

I've been doing some reading, and I've found some research that proves children really do learn from an activity that requires guessing. In fact, these challenges are good for them, and enhance learning! The key? Making sure they get immediate feedback.
 
Sometimes my students do activities where they are expected to answer questions, but they haven't been taught the content. How can this be valuable?
 
If the children are doing an activity where they have to guess at something, it gets them thinking. Once they've thought about it, they'll take a guess. If they get immediate feedback, they'll learn!  

Sometimes my students do activities where they are expected to answer questions, but they haven't been taught the content. How can this be valuable?
 
It's just like watching Jeopardy! Every time I watch, I learn more facts, even when I didn't know them before I watched! Guessing helps the brain learn! (Thanks, Alex!)
 
Sometimes my students do activities where they are expected to answer questions, but they haven't been taught the content. How can this be valuable?
 
This sort of activity can be repeated over and over. Each time it's repeated, they'll remember more. As they repeat the activity, there will be less guessing and more remembering! 

Sometimes my students do activities where they are expected to answer questions, but they haven't been taught the content. How can this be valuable?
 
This is a perfect type of activity for students to work on while you're working with individuals or small groups.
 
Sometimes my students do activities where they are expected to answer questions, but they haven't been taught the content. How can this be valuable?
 
These are perfect for your "fast finishers" or children that need a little extra challenge after their work is complete.
 
Sometimes my students do activities where they are expected to answer questions, but they haven't been taught the content. How can this be valuable?

Plus, reading random questions counts as reading practice. They do need to be reading every day, right?


Sometimes my students do activities where they are expected to answer questions, but they haven't been taught the content. How can this be valuable?

They can work alone, but working with a friend brings valuable conversation! You know, the conversations that help them think through and remember information!
 
Sometimes my students do activities where they are expected to answer questions, but they haven't been taught the content. How can this be valuable?
 
Did I mention how much the children love this stuff? Seriously, they love learning new material!

Sometimes my students do activities where they are expected to answer questions, but they haven't been taught the content. How can this be valuable?
 
I know what you're thinking... but I'm having enough trouble fitting in everything I have to teach already! Yes, I know, but this isn't just "another thing to do." It's something to enhance what's already happening!
 
Sometimes my students do activities where they are expected to answer questions, but they haven't been taught the content. How can this be valuable?
 
But what about the standards? Yeah, I thought you might be concerned about that one. I'll tell you a little secret:

Teaching isn't all about the standards. 
Teaching is about enriching the lives of the kids.
 
Shocking, I know. Can you imagine if administrators heard me say that? Well, I'll tell you another little secret:

I'm not here to impress the administrators. 
I'm here to make a difference in the lives of children.
 
Well, I'm not really that much of a rebel, but I really do want to make a difference in the lives of the children. (And yes, the standards DO matter, but there's so much more to kids!)

Now I suppose you're wondering where to find these activities that keep kids guessing!

Well, here's a freebie to get you started:
 
Sometimes my students do activities where they are expected to answer questions, but they haven't been taught the content. How can this be valuable?
 
Looking for more? Well, here's a fun one:
Here are a few more:
Facts About Space (Boom Cards)
 
Most of these activities will enhance the children's knowledge with very little work on the teacher's part. Plus, teachers can see their results easily for all those Boom Cards! 

Here are some links to articles about how guessing help students learn.
  

How do you challenge your students beyond what they already know?

Sometimes my students do activities where they are expected to answer questions, but they haven't been taught the content. How can this be valuable?


Celebrating Kwanzaa

What do you know about Kwanzaa?

Celebrate Kwanzaa: This blog post shares information, traditions, and resources to learn about how Kwanzaa is celebrated.

Kwanzaa was first celebrated in 1966 as a way for African Americans to celebrate their African heritage.

Kwanzaa starts on December 26th and continues until January 1st. Each of the 7 days is dedicated to a principle:
 
Day 1: unity
Day 2: self-determination
Day 3: collective work or responsibility
Day 4: cooperative economics
Day 5: purpose
Day 6: creativity
Day 7: faith

On each of the 7 days, those celebrating Kwanzaa light a candle on a special wooden candelabra called a Kinara. (Image is a link to Amazon.)

Celebrate Kwanzaa: This blog post shares information, traditions, and resources to learn about how Kwanzaa is celebrated.
Here are some books to help your students learn more about the celebration of Kwanzaa: (Each image is a link to Amazon for more information.)

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Since Kwanzaa is a cultural celebration, it's important to include music as part of the celebration! Here are some examples of music that celebrate the culture of Kwanzaa! 

Explore this image for an affiliate link to Amazon!      Explore this image for an affiliate link to Amazon!     Explore this image for an affiliate link to Amazon!      Explore this image for an affiliate link to Amazon!      

Families celebrating Kwanzaa decorate their homes with homemade arts and crafts, and focus on the three colors of Kwanzaa: red, green, and black.

Food is also an important component of any cultural celebration! Typically a feast happens on the sixth evening of Kwanzaa. Typical foods served might include collard greens, corn, sweet potato pie, fried okra, catfish, jerk chicken, yams, and bananas.
Celebrate Kwanzaa: This blog post shares information, traditions, and resources to learn about how Kwanzaa is celebrated.
Another tradition that comes with Kwanzaa is the passing of the unity cup. Celebrants each take a sip from the cup and wish for unity and togetherness.

Although the holiday was created for African Americans to celebrate their African culture, one does not have to be African American to celebrate the concepts of unity and togetherness!

 
Here's a fun digital resource that includes Kwanzaa and several other December holidays!
 
 

 


Celebrate Kwanzaa: This blog post shares information, traditions, and resources to learn about how Kwanzaa is celebrated.

Partner Standing Challenge: Learning to Work Together!

Here's a fun way to encourage children (or adults) to work together!

Partner Standing Challenge: Learning to work together! Here's a fun challenge that won't take up too much time, but will help children or adults learn to work together.


This is a relatively quick one, but it really emphasizes the need for each partner to do his/ her part!

Participants will need a partner.

Some group members may choose not to participate, if they are uncomfortable with touching others. That's OK. Our goal is NOT to make anyone feel uncomfortable. They can work as "coaches."

The job of each partnership: Partners sit back to back with arms interlocked.  While pushing gently against each other, they help each other stand up.

The job of the coaches: It's important for coaches to observe first, without saying anything. The coaches should notice what the partnerships are doing that's working, and notice what's not working. If a partnership is successful, the coach needs to point that out. If a partnership is not successful, the coach needs to be kind, point out what they're doing correctly, and if needed, give hints.

When a partnership has completed the challenge: Try it again with a different partner!

Extra challenge: Try with groups of 4!

Don't forget: The most important part of a challenge like this is the discussion afterward. Be sure to ask questions such as... What did you and your partner do that worked? What did you and your partner do that didn't work? What did you learn about working together?

Partner Standing Challenge: Learning to work together! Here's a fun challenge that won't take up too much time, but will help children or adults learn to work together.

Pass the Clap - A Fun Game for Team Building!

A couple of years ago, I learned a fun circle game called "Pass the Clap". My kiddos really love it, and it's got many benefits!
 
Pass the Clap - A Fun Game for all ages! This is a great game for team building. with many benefits in the classroom, and plenty of giggles, too!
 
1. It's a nice break from the regular routine.
2. It helps the children learn to work together.
3. It forces them to focus and concentrate on each other, and the game.
4. It's been known to create giggling children. 
5. It works well with all ages, preschool through adult!

If you don't believe #4 is a benefit, you'll have to read THIS post about how laughter is healthy!

So here's how to play:

To pass the clap, you must make eye contact with the "clap receiver", then clap.
That person passes the clap to the next person, and so on. 

There are a few varieties. We start simple.

1. Pass the clap, one by one, all the way around the circle.
2. Pass it around the circle, then reverse and bring the clap back to the starting point.

My students like to time how fast it takes for the clap to get around the circle. Then we time it again and see if we beat our previous time. (Which usually brings a celebration!)

A couple more variations:

3. Anyone can change the direction! This certainly livens things up!
4. The clap can be passed across the circle.

This last variation really requires focus and concentration, and plenty of team work! The children do rise for the occasion, and it's totally amazing!
 
Side note: some people don't care for the name of this game. Feel free to change it. Since I work with little ones, the name is not offensive and it's very clear.

If you like this team building game, try some of these: 60 Team Building Games and Activities.

Pass the Clap - A Fun Game! This is a game with many benefits in the classroom, and plenty of giggles, too!




Six Strategies for Success in School!

I had a very challenging class a year ago. I admit, I loved each and every one of them, but the combination of kiddos really was exhausting. I had behavior challenges, learning challenges, and a whole lot of kiddos who needed to talk and who needed to move a whole lot!
6 Strategies for Success in School: after a difficult year, I developed these strategies to share with my new students to help build a classroom community!

I've had all these challenges before, but I never had so many challenges all in one group!

After that year, I made sure I enjoyed these luxuries during the summer:

-extra cups of coffee - while they're still warm
-relaxed conversations with grown ups
-reading books written for adults
-eating breakfast in my jammies
-going to the gym, with energy to work out
and most of all... 
-peeing when I need to!

But I also spent a lot of time thinking about that group, and trying to come up with ideas that I could start at the beginning of the year that could prevent some of the issues I had.


My dad always taught me: 

When the going gets tough, the tough get going!

and that's just what I plan to do!

After much thought, I decided on the most important strategies I wanted to focus on in my classroom.


Strategies for Success: Be Safe, Be Respectful, Be Responsible, Be a Team Player, Be Mindful, and Be an Active Learner

I decided to spend a whole lot of time at the beginning of the school year teaching these strategies for success!



I made posters with an explanation for each strategy.


https://www.teacherspayteachers.com/Product/Strategies-for-Success-in-School-ActivitiesBooklets-and-Posters-2694185?utm_source=Strategies%20for%20Success%20Post&utm_campaign=Strategies%20for%20Success

I also made these in black and white/ line art for easy printing and opportunities for the kids to color and think about them.

https://www.teacherspayteachers.com/Product/Strategies-for-Success-in-School-ActivitiesBooklets-and-Posters-2694185?utm_source=Strategies%20for%20Success%20Post&utm_campaign=Strategies%20for%20Success

 
Plus, I made mini-posters of each!
Plus, I made some student response booklets.
https://www.teacherspayteachers.com/Product/Strategies-for-Success-in-School-ActivitiesBooklets-and-Posters-2694185?utm_source=Strategies%20for%20Success%20Post&utm_campaign=Strategies%20for%20Success

These pages could also be used in interactive notebooks.

My plan was to take a day or two discussing the meaning of each strategy, listing the children's ideas, giving examples and non examples, and making sure the children really understood what each strategy meant before they completed that page in their strategy response booklets. 

The Mindfulness strategy took a little longer, especially those who came from classes that didn't do any mindfulness activities in the past.

I did manage to find a few websites with some awesome explanations and activities for helping children understand and practice Mindfulness.






I also made some bookmarks for the children to use and remember their strategies.

And I made some self assessments that they were given at a few points through the school year. 

https://www.teacherspayteachers.com/Product/Strategies-for-Success-in-School-ActivitiesBooklets-and-Posters-2694185?utm_source=Strategies%20for%20Success%20Post&utm_campaign=Strategies%20for%20Success


What Happened Next?

After much discussion, we decided on a gesture for each strategy. Every morning, after the Pledge of Allegiance and the school chant, my students would recite the 6 Strategies for Success, complete with the gestures we created together.  My plan definitely had a strong influence on the classroom community!

Feel free to explore this resource more HERE.


6 Strategies for Success in School: after a difficult year, I developed these strategies to share with my new students to help build a classroom community!




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