Wednesday, December 18, 2013

Need a Holiday Present for Parents?

Problem: Don't have a lot of money to spend? Want something useful? Want the students to do the work? Want something really cute that will get saved?

Solution: Make a directed drawing 12 month calendar!
1. Pick a picture to draw. I choose Rhinos who Surf since it matches our Southern California vibe and is a good picture to keep up all year. I use 9x12 white construction paper.
2. Do a directed drawing with kids. If you are not comfortable drawing on the fly then pre-draw it with yellow colored pencil so kids think you are drawing it off the cuff. I always draw with no pre-drawing because I want the kids to know that mistakes are ok. I use black Sharpies and colored pencils. In this drawing I drew the rhino first, then parking meter, then car, then fence and last the waves. I never let students draw with pencil, we always use Sharpies. It's good for the spatial part of the brain.
3. I teach them to do "color power" and demo coloring a nice solid layer.
4. Print a 12 month calendar off of Microsoft templates.
5. Glue onto a 12 x 18 black construction paper background.
6. Laminate.

Results: Parents love them and I hear about them years later. They are easy to store when you are done with the year. Students are really proud of their work! I haven't spent any money and everyone is happy!

Sunday, December 15, 2013

What to Get Your Students for Christmas

Problem: What to give to your students as a holiday gift that is meaningful yet won’t break the bank?

Solution: Each year I make coupons for my students. These twelve coupons attached to a candy cane are a huge hit with my 4th graders.  You choose, use some or all.

Result: The students love them! I haven’t spent a ton of money, and I still have shown my students that I care about them with a thoughtful gift!

Saturday, December 14, 2013

Freebie How to Annotate Bookmarks

Problem: Annotating text is a key part of Common Core and a skill that needs to be developed with my students. They don't always remember all the annotating "tools" in their "toolbox." I needed a helpful reminder that is close at hand for kids to refer to while reading the text.

Solution: Bookmarks are a fast and easy way to keep annotation tips right where they are needed-near the text! These reinforce and remind students of skills they are learning.  

Results:  My students love them. They want several! I've found that fiction and non-fiction annotation tips may vary, so included are two sets.