Primary Chalkboard: character education
Showing posts with label character education. Show all posts
Showing posts with label character education. Show all posts

Miss DeCarbo's Read Aloud Round-Up: February 2016

Hi everyone! Christina here from Miss DeCarbo's Sugar and Spice! I am SO excited to announce a new monthly series I am sharing with you here on The Elementary Chalkboard: Read Aloud Round-Up!
Do you ever find yourself reading the SAME picture books year after year? Each month, I'm going to feature a few picture books and ideas for read aloud books in your classroom.  Each month's "read aloud round-up" will feature a couple seasonal selections, a notable nonfiction book, and a character education book that I have picked out.  I will try my best to include a one page freebie printable for each of the character books I choose to share with you! To grab the books from Amazon, just use the links underneath each picture. 
Fun, right?! Let's take a look at this month's picks! 

I know Arthur's Valentine is not a NEW picture book, but I LOVE reading this book to my class every February - and here's why! The book lends itself to a really FUN writing activity you can use with your students.  In this book, Arthur receives secret admirer letters from a classmate.  In my own classroom, we tie this book in with learning about inferences.  The students all write secret admirer letters to ME without signing their name at the bottom. They have to give me clues about themselves. The following day, we read each letter aloud and we use the clues from each student's text AND what we know about one another to infer who the letters are from. There are always lots of giggles and squeals. It's adorable to see how well the kids know each other as friends both inside and outside the classroom. 

What Do You Do With An Idea? by Kobi Yamanda is an AMAZING book that just arrived in my mailbox this week. I have some BIG plans for this book that I can't wait to share with you - soon! This is the story of a little boy who gets an idea, but doesn't think it is good enough. As he begins to grow in his confidence, the little boy's idea starts to come to life. What an incredible, necessary life lesson for us to teach our children! Use this book as a discussion starter for your class, stressing the importance that everyone's ideas matter and are important. 

Recess at 20 Below by Cindy Aillaud - I know that not everyone lives in cold, icy Ohio in the winter - but even if you do not live where it is cold, this is a fabulous and very interesting book for children.  My love of this book stems from the fact that children can RELATE to the book so well. All children understand the joys and difficulties of outdoor and indoor recess, so this book is exceptional for the many text to self and text to text connections students can make. The book discusses a classroom who lives in Alaska. The children go outside for recess even when it is 20 degrees below zero! (No thank you!!) This is a fabulous book that we use for reflection, questioning, and interesting inferences and information in our reading journals.  The photographs are beautiful and really launch your students into deeper level thinking. If you don't have this book, go buy it! You won't regret it!

Character education is so important in our classrooms. So often, we tend to push these lessons aside because we are so busy with standards, testing, and the ins and outs of classroom routines. Each month, I will pick out a character education book and try to provide a one page printable that you can use to have your students reflect and discuss the month's book. 

This month, I chose Spoon by Amy Krause. It's an adorable book about a spoon who thinks all of his friends (chopsticks, fork, knife) are all more interesting and better than he is. He learns that he is very special and unique. He also learns to love himself! Spoon is a great book to teach your students how to celebrate themselves and appreciate their individuality. 
To help your students reflect on how special they are, you can grab this free printable to use after you read the book together. :) Just click HERE or click on the picture below to download the page!
I hope you all loved this new blog series on Elementary Chalkboard, and I hope it gave you so me new titles or new ideas and purposes for read aloud books in February! I can't wait to bring you next month's "picture book picks" for March! I'll be back on the last day of every month with a new list for you.  

Have a wonderful week,

MVP - Most Valuable Partnership

Hi, friends! It's Blair from One Lesson at a Time, here with an easy little strategy I use to make the most of student partnerships!

I think building a strong classroom community is just about the most important thing you can invest your time in during the school year. Obviously, the ability to work well with others is not only a critical skill in the classroom, but in life. I use TONS of grouping and partnership strategies to help my students maximize their learning potential. 

I think partner work is particularly powerful because each student has an equal opportunity to contribute to the team. Everybody brings certain skills and strengths to the table, and I love seeing students working together in ways that complement one another. 

Here's my TOTALLY blog-worthy partner work display. I KNOW. Contain yourselves. It's PRETTY FANCY. 


I write each student's name on a piece of colored card stock and slap it on a business card magnet. (Side note: If you have not yet discovered the beauty of business card magnets, allow me to introduce you to your new best friend. They are the jam.)

I love using the business card magnets because it allows me to easily change up partnerships often. Knowing how often to change 'em up is probably a whole different blog post in and of itself, but I like to give students opportunities to work with different partners as much as possible. Again, life skills and all that. 

At the top of that BEAUTIFUL picture (again, I apologize for how stunningly amazing my half-erased, crooked lettering is - I know it must be pretty intimidating to try to recreate such a fab-o setup), you can see I have a little spot for "Today's MVP". 

In this case, MVP stands for "Most Valuable Partnership". Each day, I am on the lookout for two students who really demonstrate WHY collaborative work can be so powerful. I am looking for more than just the students who are quietly working, behaving, etc. I am looking for partners who contribute equally, listen intently, and push each other to achieve at a higher level than each individual could reach on his or her own. 

Being the MVP means....

• Speaking respectfully
• Listening critically
• Sharing work equally
• Staying on task
• Being responsible to one another
• Valuing each other's perspective

I LOVE this system for a bunch of different reasons. For one thing, it is so, so easy on my end. It's a great way to recognize and reward students in a meaningful way. It encourages teamwork and allows students to share their success with one another. And it's an easy way to recognize each student in due time. I've found that it is very motivating for ALL my students...even the ones who may not always *love* working with a partner. I've seen students who normally butt heads really making an effort to work well together because they are more tuned in to what the expectations are. 

Some years, all I did was move the MVP magnets into the "special" spot on the board. For some groups, that was all the recognition they needed. For other classes, I printed out some simple MVP awards to distribute each day. 

If you want to download the awards to use with your own students, you can grab them for free by clicking {HERE}. I've included several different versions in both color and black and white because making choices is not my strong suit. :D 

For more ideas, here's where you can find me:

Thanks so much for stopping by today! 

Blair Turner

Morning Meeting Ideas

Friends~Do you host a morning meeting with your class?  I do, and it is one of my most favorite parts of the day.  It truly sets the tone for how our day will unfold.  It helps to build a strong classroom community all year long.  I am so lucky that at my new school we have time set aside in grades K-4 to have morning meeting each and every day! 

Today, I am going to share with you some ideas to get your own morning meeting time started!

I was so lucky this year to be working with a morning meeting master!  I got to observe one of our 2nd grade teachers this year that has been doing morning meeting forever. Mrs. Poling has the best format and her's is so directed towards character education.  She starts each week off with a word of the week.  Like this week was COOPERATION.  She reads a book at each morning meeting that goes along with the word of the week.  She even has a song for each word!  So AWESOME! She introduced me to these great CDs by Red Grammar.  They are perfect for morning meeting.  We use the Just Say Hi as our signal to begin MM.  Student head up to the front and sit in a circle and sing along!

Some ideas for Words of the Week are: 
Compassion, Active Listening, and Self Control

I highly recommend you get yourself a squeaky     hammer! I use a squeaky hammer to call the meeting to order and my students get a huge kick out of it. I always welcome them in a fun way.  You can see some ideas below.  After I call the meeting to order, we count off to check our attendance.  

We also welcome each other with a fist bump, hand shake, or a high five! 
Next, we get to our shares.  The students love this time because they get to share their exciting news with the class.    
I love this book for keeping my morning meeting on track.  It has awesome ideas and tips!

 I use our stuffed hedgehog Henrietta to choose students to share.  I pass the Henrietta around and the students hold her in their laps as they share.  (This really helps in the beginning when the students are a bit nervous.) After each share, I say THINK and the students put their heads down and think of a comment or question about the share.  The student who shared chooses two students to call on.  During this time we are working on eye contact and listening skills.  

We also say our class pledge and work some brain gym to We Are the Champions by Queen! 
I love to get them up and moving as much as possible.  Check them out below activating both sides of their brains and pledging to show courage!

We also review our ABC sounds and read our word wall at the end of every morning meeting.  Starting in January, I began having a student lead morning meeting.  At my school, we work on special goals for presenting like voice level and poise.  Morning Meeting is a perfect time for my kiddos to practice this! 
Grab some FREE information about our ENRICH goals and how my morning meeting leader is assessed by clicking HERE!
I am always amazed at how much we accomplish during this time! 
We then meet again up front for calendar time and also to focus on our word of the week.  Sometimes, like Mrs. Poling we will read a story that goes along with our word or we may do some role playing.  I like to mix it up a bit.  The cool thing is grades K-4 all have the same word of the week so we are all focusing on the same skill.  

You can check out more of my morning meeting ideas by clicking the picture below.  My Morning Meeting Manual will get you started on your way to a successful morning meeting!
You can also see how I lead morning meeting in a much tighter schedule at my old school.  Still one of my 2nd graders favorite parts of the day!  Just click my blog button below to get started!

Have You Filled a Bucket Today??

Hey everyone! It's Leslie from First Grade and Flip Flops and I'm here to share with you some character... character education! I'll admit... I'm old school. May not look old school but I am a believer in some well behaved children! 

Can I get an amen???

I mean aren't we all??? Have you ever been out in public and you see and hear some children acting foolishly or saying something you know is totally inappropriate  (hoping and praying and knowing, it better not be yours! ha!) and you want to give them the evil teacher stink eye?? 

Let's face it... as teachers, parents, people of a community, we all want to raise a village of nice kids! 

Every year I love to read this book:

It's a great book that talks about these "buckets" that we all carry. When we use nice words or kind gestures, we fill each other's buckets. However, when we use unkind words or gestures, our bucket's get spilled over and are empty. 

The kids were so silent as I read this book and you can see them start to think of their buckets (and their pets! Pets have buckets, too!) and they begin to relate to the kids in the story.

It is really well written and I encourage all teachers to read this for the beginning of the year to help build a strong community in the classroom. There is even a song that goes along with it:

My class loved it. We talked about how to be bucket fillers at home, in school, and in our community. I did a gallery walk and placed posters around the room and had them write how they were bucket fillers:

Their ideas were so thoughtful and heartfelt! I liked the one for their community where they said 'hi" and "bye" to their neighbors! We will use these to help us write our bucket filler slips for each other. 
I have a hanging shoe rack (sorry, I forgot to take a picture) and each student has a bucket (really, it's a cup with their name on it) where they can fill a slip with a bucket filler form when they notice someone doing something kind or saying a kind word, for example. 

Click to download this FREEBIE!!! 

The kids LOVE going to their buckets and reading what others have to say about them. They gush to the other child how they loved reading their note! Plus, it gets them writing!!! I encourage them to write a bucket filler for someone at least once a day and not the same person in the same week. You know how BFF's are! They'd write one every hour. 

I hope that you will incorporate this into your classroom this year if you haven't done it already. It's a great read! And if I may fill your bucket today..... Thank you for being part of our Primary Chalkboard blog! We so appreciate your support and kindness! We strive to bring the best teaching practices, tips, and tricks to you! Hope you all are having a great school year so far!!!

Lots of love to you!