Sunday, 17 April 2016

10 Products you NEED for your classroom from five Below!

If you have a five Below in your neck of the woods, you MUST add stops there to your teacher "To Do" List!  Really!  Let me show you why!  (These pictures are all taken by me.  And yes, I did endure several funny looks as I walked around taking pictures.  But we teachers are used to this!)

1.  Huge foam number cubes.  The uses for these are ENDLESS!!  We use them every. single. day. in my Kindergarten classroom.  We use them in both math and language arts.  I'm sure I could find more uses for them just by polling my teachers friends as well.  Do you have a favorite way you use dice in your classroom?  Leave a comment below and share for us inquiring minds :)

{You can check out our favorite dice activities here}

2.  Smellies!!  Do you dab a scented chapstick on the hand or wrist of your kiddos as a reward?  I have never heard of this until a year or so ago but my Kinders LOVE it!!  Check out the great variety of scented chapsticks at five Below!  It's so easy to stock up during a quick trip to the store!

3.   Fun stools!!  These are perfect for so many things!  Alternative seating?  Check!  Guided Reading table? Check!  Teacher stool that travels to student tables?  Check!

4.  Hula Hoops!  My kiddos love to use hula hoops for both indoor and outdoor recess so I buy several for that purpose.  

{I also LOVE to use hula hoops for academic reasons as well.  Here's a picture of my Kinders using hula hoops as an interactive Venn diagram.}

5.  Make a cozy reading corner using a bed canopy!  You can buy cute lights to put in the top of the canopy as well!

6.  Cozy reading corners and classrooms NEED fun pillows!  There is always an abundance of them at five Below!

7.  I have never seen cards this size locally before finding them at five Below- they are HUGE playing cards!  We use them for all kinds of math fun- addition, subtraction, comparing numbers...  The kiddos LOVE them and I love the sturdiness and the price!

8.  School supplies!!  What teacher isn't also a school supply addict?  five Below has every Ink Joy pen and Sharpie one could ever want!  They also have some cute original things- like push pins with a googly eye on the end..."Teachers have eyes everywhere..."  :)

9.  Take the learning outside with some great products that can be used for math and language arts, and even double as recess toys!

Jumbo Bowling!?  I grabbed a few sets and will be using them for subtraction practice in the sunshine next week!

Sidewalk chalk?  The possibilities are endless!  

10.  And when it comes to outdoor recess, there is never a shortage of unusual balls and toys at five Below!  These HUGE tennis balls are my new favorite!

One might think that I wrote this post as an advertisement for the store, but I assure you, I did not.  Nope, because if I was writing it as an advertisement, I would have saved myself the embarrassment of taking pics while the store was open!  ;)  

Truly though, if you are a teacher with a five Below in your neck of the woods, head on over.  
Your classroom will thank you!

Sunday, 10 April 2016

5 Benefits of Collaborative Class Books!!

I have a confession to make.  I have a little BIG obsession with collaborative class books!

The benefits of class books are ENDLESS, but include:
1.  Purpose!  Kiddos are writing for an authentic purpose and then are reading with purpose as well!
2. Along with purpose, kiddos feel a huge sense of pride in their work!
3. Shared language experiences help grow kiddos as readers!
4. Students learn about the role of the author, the illustrator, and the reader!
5. Repetitive text is perfect for emergent readers!

I could go on and on about the benefits, but let's talk logistics...

How does one create a collaborative class book?

For starters, you need a topic!  I aim to make one book each week, so our book topics align with what we are learning and what holidays are going on. Find, or create, a template and cover that go along with your topic.  Here is what I created for one of our St. Patrick's Day writing projects.

5 Benefits of Collaborative Class Books

5 Benefits of Collaborative Class Books!

We read several fiction books during the week and talked about the ways we were lucky, so I didn't tie this class book to a specific piece of literature like I often do.  We gathered on our meeting carpet and I modeled the writing.  More often than not the students illustrate their pictures for class books.  However, we had been having fun taking silly pictures and they asked if those could go in our book.  Student requests that will lead to deeper engagement?  Of course I said "yes"!

And there is no denying how adorable they turned out!
5 Benefits of Collaborative Class Books

Once you have all of the student writing, you'll need to decide how to bind them.  In the case of this book, I used page protectors and paper rings.  (I use several different methods to put our books together.  I will show all of them soon!) 

5 Benefits of Collaborative Class Books!

I always put a piece of cardstock behind the cover and on the last page when I put the books together like this. 
5 Benefits of Collaborative Class Books!

Before the collaborative class books get put in our classroom library, they go home for one night with each member of our class.  To keep track of the books travels, I tuck a class list into the book somewhere and simply mark off who has taken the book home.

At the end of the school year, I take each student's pages out of each book and add them to their end of the year memory books.  Win-win!  Kiddos enjoy them all year long, and parents enjoy their child's writing for a lifetime!

Check out some of our favorite class books on Teachers Pay Teachers by clicking here.