Sunday, July 30, 2017

Back to School Sale and $25 TPT Gift Card!

Teachers Pay Teachers have announced the date of the annual Back to School Sale! On August 1 and 2nd you will enjoy 20% off your TPT purchases and if you use the discount code B2S2017 you will get an additional percentage off of your purchase at checkout! This is the perfect time to stock up on your back to school essentials such as: 

Teacher Binder

Student Portfolios

Formative Assessment Strategies

Nutrition and Healthy Living Resource Package

Social and Emotional Learning Strategies

In celebration of the Annual Back to School Sale I am having a $25 TPT Gift Card giveaway! In order to enter all you need to do is follow The Third Grade Zoo's TPT Store, Facebook, or Pinterest or comment on this post with a Back to School Tip to share with others! 

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Good Luck everyone! 

Monday, July 17, 2017

Teaching kids about Resiliency

We all want the best for the kids we teach, and we all want each student to be able to reach their full potential. For the most part we as teachers have control over the lessons we teach and the classroom environment. We do not have control over what happens when the kids go home and issues such as poverty, trauma, and other factors in our student’s home lives. So what can we do? In my classroom I place a huge emphasis on teaching resiliency. Resiliency is the ability to recover, heal, or cope with trauma in our lives. We can teach resiliency in our classroom by using picture books! 

 My favourite picture books are: 

The Invisible String by Patrice Karst
-My mouth is a Volcano by Julia Cook 
-Have you filled Your Bucket Today?: A Guide for Daily Happiness for Kids by Carol McCloud
-Enemy Pie by Derek Munson
-When My Worries Get Too Big! A Relaxation Book for Children who live with Anxiety by Kari Dunn Buron
-You’ve got Dragons by Kathryn Cave 

When using picture books in my classroom I tend to use a place mat strategy where I give each student a piece of white paper and while I’m reading the story, I stop periodically and ask the students to write or draw their connections, predictions, questions, or observations based their learning and their personal experiences. 

Another strategy I sometimes use with picture books is to give the students play dough and have them create their connections to the story using the play dough.

Art is another medium that can be easily integrated into this heavy subject area, and it might be easier for students who have had traumatic experiences in their lives to express themselves more freely with art verses with writing. 

In my classroom I also explicitly teach students about emotions. We learn about the different emotions and different times that we may feel these emotions. We list emotion words, we write stories that include emotion words, and analyze different situations on emotion cards and how each person in the situation might feel and why based their body
language, facial expression, and other questions, we then role play and act out appropriate ways to react in different situations. I place a big emphasis on how it is okay to have emotions, and it is okay to talk about our emotions. Each of the resources mentioned can be found in my Social and Emotional Learning Unit. 

Another unit perfect for teaching about resiliency is my Friendship Unit. This unit is really an anti bullying unit, but instead of focusing on the bully, I believe it is best to focus on the positive and focus on how we can be better friends to ourselves and others. There are many activities includes in this unit including a kindness chain. This activity promotes kindness in the classroom by having students find ways to be kind to one another and writing down their kind deeds. This kind of
activity generates on ongoing culture of kindness in the classroom, is great for classroom meetings, and is a positive way for students to earn attention. Whats in my heart collage allows students to think about the people and things that they love and encourages students to be friends with themselves. The friendship bingo game has students talk to their classmates, ask them questions, find out commonalities. This unit is full of practical lesson ideas great for helping students be friends with themselves and others. 

Thursday, July 6, 2017

Insect Creations

This super fun activity was inspired by an craft  found on the Elmer's Glue website.  I found this craft was low key, but hands on, and it was the perfect activity for the second to last day of school for my class. I had my students plan and build their insects independently, but this activity would make a great group or partner activity, so feel free to adapt and use this activity to meet the needs of your group! 

My group is used to STEM activities and I always set up my STEM activities in the same way, and although this is really an arts and crafts activity, not a true STEM activity, I set this activity up with my group like I do with STEM activities. 

First, I let students know the goal of the activity. I let them know that this was a timed challenge and the goal was to invent and create an insect. We went over what an insect is and I placed an emphasis on the fact that insects all have 6 legs. Next, I showed the students the building materials that they had to work with which included:
styrofoam balls, straws, toothpicks, pipe cleaners, goggly eyes, pom poms, and glue. I had my students plan out their insect’s design on a piece of paper, and then they were given 15 minutes of building time.

 As you can see from the pictures provided my students were quite creative with their insects and they put lots of effort into their designs.