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Saturday, October 27, 2012

Pumpkin TIcket Picks!

Happy Trails Teacher Friends,

It is a rainy Saturday here and the tinkling of the raindrops on the roof is making me want to curl up with a warm blanket and drink a hot cup of coffee!

As we enter the official week of  Halloween, I have been planting the seed of how to keep my kids motivated and engaged while also maintaining routines and structure for learning! As we all know, this week can make the kiddos bonkers (and teachers too). So here is a tip that I have been doing every year in October to help keep my kiddos on-task, listening and following to optimize learning!

Classroom Management Tip: Pumpkin Ticket Pick!

Pumpkin Ticket Picks is an October only theme that I use every year to reinforce the behaviors that I want to see in my classroom. At this time of the year in first grade, we are working on raising our hands and not blurting, self control, whole body listening and eyes on the speaker. I must say it has always worked for me to use tickets to positively reinforce the behaviors I would like to see!

This year instead of using an orange plastic pumpkin, I found this neat blue plastic pumpkin (yes, I said "blue"). I have been using blue tickets so this was a great visual match. Again, depending on the my kiddos, I choose only one or two behaviors that I want to reinforce for my class. This year I have been giving out tickets for  raising our hands (not blurting) and whole body listening behaviors. When I catch students doing these behaviors, I hand out a ticket. Students write their names on the back of the ticket (using best handwriting because if it is written poorly I throw it out). They then  drop it into the pumpkin. At the end of the day (about three times a week), I announce with a big cheer, “What time is it?” and the kiddos say, “It’s pumpkin pick time.”  I build the suspense and make it really dramatic and my ticket picker (yes it is a student job) comes and pulls out a lucky winner. The winner earns quiet free choice the following day. QFC only lasts about 10-15 minutes and exactly what it says...a time for those students to choose an educational game, activity or read a book quietly the room in a place of their choice. It is a great motivator and students work all week to earn this quiet free choice. Students also quickly learn that the more tickets they earn the more chances they have to get picked! A great exposure to probability!

Monday, October 22, 2012

Number Corner


Day 31:
Number corner is going really well. I don't know about you but by middle of the year I am burned out on calendar time. It happens every year for me! This year I am determined to find ways to keep it fresh and increase engagement! I added a money bank with those really cool giant money coin magnets from Lakeshore Learning. The kids love them and they are big so everyone can see them! We keep track of days of the school year and a running money total. My students already can't wait for the 100th day of school when we get to bring in the giant dollar magnet!

Sunday, October 14, 2012

Clean Desk! How to motivate first graders to be organized!

Well, I am dusting off the "Clean Desk Fairy" and inviting her to visit my classroom this week. I love to tap into my students' imagination and have her visit once a week as a way to motivate students to be responsible for organizing and keeping track of their materials, folders and papers. This year is a little trickier as my students don't have "desks". However, they do have table baskets and file containers where their materials are stored. I left on Friday thinking..."It is time to have a visit from the TCDF! I have found that just the recognition and note seem to do the trick. However, I might leave a holiday pencil the first few times she visits.

Check out the FREEBIE link for the downloadable notes I use and a letter written from TCDF! I have learned not to type up all notes to help keep them from doubting the validity of the fairy!! 

Happy Monday and here is to a great week!

Beth

Thursday, October 11, 2012

Halloween! Counting down....

It is a spooky time of year in my first grade classroom! Pumpkins, ghosts and bats OH MY! We just finished learning about Acrostic Poems and made acrostic GHOSTS that are hanging in our room.  We will start a Stellaluna unit next week which means that it will be all about bats! Check out our ghosts! They turned out super cute!

Saturday, October 6, 2012

FREEBIE Rainforest Book using sightword "SEE"

Check out my first little book for emergent readers called, I SEE! A Walk through the Amazon Rainforest!

I plan on using this book to teach rainforest vocabulary and the sight word "see"! Kids are always fascinated with "real" photographs of animals. All photos are original photographs taken from the Amazon Rainforest! I would love to hear feedback and ideas on how to improve this or other ideas on how to use all my photos that I have taken over the last decade! I have lots of stories to tell! 

Beth

I SEE! A Walk through the Amazon-Rainforest!

Friday, October 5, 2012

Today marks my my official "kick off" day for my first blog ever! It has been a busy beginning of the year for me and after 23 days of school, I am finally getting this checked off my "To Do List" and making this happen! Please bare with me as I learn the ins and outs of this process.

Soon, we will be planning and writing a unit of study for our school's Global Studies program. We will be studying South America and I am hoping to share the lessons and units that I write with other teachers through TpT. Since I have spent twelve years traveling on and off to Peru, I figured that I have some cool stuff to share with others such as photos, artifacts and first hand experiences with my first graders! 

Here's to a great start to October.

 Happy Trails!

Beth 

Halloween Poems

Halloween Poems
Perfect for Fluency Practice

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