Do you give your students a welcome back to school gift? I decided to this year and I think it was a hit!
Open house is always so awkward – the students are shy and don’t really want to talk to anyone but their parents. This year I was able to show the kiddos around the room a little, stopping by the ever so popular turtle, and ending at my guided reading table where I had a surprise waiting for everyone!
I’ve used these little fellas during guided reading in the past and they are so much fun! I was in Target the other day…shocker, right?...and found these little guys again. They were in the party section, just begging to be picked up. So, I did.
I whipped up a little phrase to put with the eye finger puppet when I got home. Super cheesy, but I do teach first grade. Cheese is definitely called for. All the time.
(Y'all - please excuse my fingernails. It's back to school time - you know how it is. Ha!)
Once I printed and cut the cards out, I just hot glued the eyeballs onto the card and was ready to go!
I hope you can use this free card with your finger puppets!
I’d love to see your pictures on Instagram – tag me at @mirandalarayne!
What do you do for your students’ birthdays?
I love to give my students birthday balloons! These are such a easy gift to put together before school starts and have them ready to go. It only takes me a few minutes to cut out the circles and tape them to the straws. I put them in a basket and then forget about them.
I’m the worst at remembering and planning for student birthdays, so it is fantastic to have these ready to pass out when the announcement comes on. Anyone else have too many other things in your mind? Nah – you’re a teacher. You’re a super star.
My kiddos love the silly straws so much! I let them choose their color, which thrills them!
I’d love to share these editable birthday balloons with you! Just click on the document below and download!
When you open it in Adobe, just click below "Happy Birthday!" and you should be able to type in your name.
I’d love to see pictures of you using “birthday balloons” in your classroom! Please tag me on Instagram @mirandalarayne!
Does this statistic frighten anyone else? How in the world are we supposed to bridge that gap? We have students coming into our classroom with all different backgrounds, yet we are supposed to grow them all academically one year. Seem like a daunting task? IT IS!
What do you do to help close this gap? Of course we all read aloud to our students, but what else can we do?
Vocabulary is the key! The more words we know, the better we understand the world around us.
I was fortunate enough to stumble across a really cool program called Big Word Club last fall. I immediately signed up because I am always on the hunt for new and better ways to teach my firsties.
What is Big Word Club? I’m so glad you asked! Big Word Club (now being referenced in this post as BWC) is an awesome online explicit vocabulary instruction. The program is divided into different grade level bands, so it meets the needs of your students! Each week there is a new digital book that is read aloud, a song to go with the book, and dance along version of the song. There are daily videos that explicitly teach a vocabulary word that is found in the weekly book.
The books cover some really cool topics! Our favorite books were any that dealt with dinosaurs, the rain forest, and the Galapagos Islands! I loved how we could experience different places just sitting on our classroom rug. Our conversations that sprung from these videos were much more rich than our normal talks. Seriously – having my students using the word symbiotic correctly blew my mind!
One of the reasons I love this program is because it helps not only our vocabulary grow, but also our schema. I would have NEVER thought about teaching my students about the Galapagos Islands, but we certainly did have fun looking up more information and imaging a field trip there!
Another reason my firsties and I love BWC is the fact that it is multimodal – you listen, see the video with context, see how it is spelled, dance along, and discuss it as a class. You reach all kids by hitting all of these areas. I may or may not have dance along sometimes.
It is very easy to use, too! I would pull up the website on my interactive board while my students were doing student-led calendar time. I had the link bookmarked in my browser, so I could easily click on the link and find the week and day we were ready for. We would watch the day’s videos and then take turns going around the room using our new word.
This past spring we went through BWC’s content one week at a time, starting at week one, then moving to week two, etc. Now that I know the different themes, I may go “out of order” and do some weeks when they better line up with my curriculum. Either way works, I just think I can extend the learning a little better if I do it this way. Do you already do a rainforest or dinosaur unit? These videos will fit right along with your current content!
Have you used Big Word Club? Comment below - I want to hear about your experience with it!