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Showing posts with label teaching and tapas. Show all posts
Showing posts with label teaching and tapas. Show all posts
Alyssha here, from Teaching and Tapas. Hi!

I am shy.

Yep, it's a part of me that I feel like is so obvious when you are around me in person. I feel my cheeks warm up and heart racing when talking to new people. So much of that shyness is internal. I say this because I have had people tell me they would never describe me as shy. That's me covering up a lot of my weird nervousness :)

As teachers, we are all trying to tune into our students. I remember 3rd grade clearly and at the end of the year I realized I had never once raised my hand to talk in front of my class. Yikes!

I've had teachers who tried forcing me to talk in front of groups. Some of my teachers were helpful and could coach me in a gentle way. Other teachers made me feel humiliated and where I wanted to hide deeper in my shell. Both of those models helped shape the way I interact with my students today. Here are a few tips to keep in mind with your own students...

1. Don't tell the student they are shy. 
When someone would point it out to me, I always felt more embarrassed and like everyone was staring at me waiting for me to speak. Yuck. The feelings of sitting there, anxiously worrying that everyone is going to notice me feeling super uncomfortable. Bad feeling. It's better to just acknowledge the shy student when the speak up just as you would acknowledge every other student. Make it seem like no big deal. Of every student/teacher relationship is different and if you have an open line of communication with a shy student, your judgement is the best.

2. Give your students plenty of options to interact with silent signals.
This does not have to be a special trick reserved only for some students. Re: Tip#1, when you point it out, shyness and anxiety may become worse. So just give ALL of your students the options to use silent signals such as sign language (thumbs up, thumbs down, "I understand" signals, etc.). Not only does this get more of your students interacting in your lessons, but you are able to check the understanding of even your quietest students.

My signal for "I agree"
My signal for "I made a connection"
3. Give a silent sign before calling on a student.
If you are confident that one of your shy students has something to add, give a little warning such as place a finger on the corner of their desk or give them a wink beforehand. It can take away that deer in the headlights feeling :) With a little warning, the student may be able to find their words and think of what they want to say. This means giving them plenty of wait time.

4. Strategic buddies.
Be sure the student is sitting near someone they can relate to and feel comfortable with. This can make such a huge difference when it comes to partnership activities, turn & talks, etc.

5. Assign special jobs.
Do you have a classroom job that requires someone to interact with individuals, but not in front of everyone? In my classroom, I had a job for someone to check book bins and make sure everyone had between 3-5 books. If they had too many or too little, this person would go remind the student to adjust their book bin. A job like this is perfect for a shy student if they are willing to talk to classmates.

So there you go! I hope my perspective gives you some more tools for your toolbox when it comes to doing all the great work you are doing with your students!

I am such a sucker for Valentine's Day stuff. The colors. The candy. The memories of trying to figure out what the choice of Garbage Pail Kids card meant from the boy I was crushing on... In my classroom, I definitely DOWNPLAY the love stuff with the holiday. I try to make it more of a friendship holiday - with pink, red, and hearts of course!

Just in case you are still looking for a quick Valentine's Day math activity, I made a short FREEBIE that includes 8 task cards for one step and two step word problems. It is perfectly aligned to the 2nd grade standards but could easily be used with some 1st graders and as a review for 3rd grade. You can pick it up for FREE by clicking here.


Let's Play! Active, free, FUN math facts game...

This math game is exactly what the teacher wants:
1. Fun
2. Effective
3. Easy
4. Free

The purpose of the game is to help your students learn their math facts fluently. I always start my 2nd graders out memorizing their doubles (sums to 20) with this game and then it morphs easily into doubles plus one facts, and then onto the real toughies (7+9, 8+6, etc.).

Directions:1. Use masking tape to make a 3x4 box with the sums of problems you want them to memorize. This picture above shows the students working on their doubles facts.2. Make a set of flashcards with the problems you want them to practice.3. All students should sit in a line around the box (not shown here because of privacy issues).4. Choose two students to be "it". They stand on the number 0.5. Call out a math fact. The students hop to the correct answer.6. The first student to hop to the fact with their completely within in the lines stays in. The other student sits back down in exactly their same place. Keep it light-hearted and take away the competitive nature. To do this, I emphasize how much luck plays into it (i.e. "ooh, you had good luck being right by the six").6. Then the next student in line is in against the last rounds winner. Luck really does take a big part of this and you will see that one student will rarely last more than three rounds before someone else bumps them out. 7. We play this as a group for a few days. After that, I leave the cards and box out and let the students play if they ever have a free moment in class. After while, I change the numbers to more challenging problems. I have had my "game board" set up since September and they STILL are going crazy to play!

This game can be set up and implemented ANY time of year! Have fun!

End of the School Year Tips (to be SUPER prepared for next year!)

Every June, I lock up my classroom for summer and FEEL like I have left everything ready to go when August rolls around. Yet, every August, I unlock those doors and realize how much work I have on my plate to get my stuff together for another school year. THIS year, I will set myself up for success for the next school year. I need to repeat that...


My schedule is just about to hit the crazy fan, but here in my tenth year of teaching, I have learned that my August self will be much happier if I can stick to the following five goals:

1. {I will} Keep some student work for my August bulletin boards.

I learned this tip while student teaching but there have been many "doh!" years where I forgot to keep something that can decorate the bulletin boards. My mentor teacher suggested that I have my students write letters to the future students. They are cute, not to mention easy! I created the following FREEBIE letter writing paper for you to use in your own classroom. The download includes letter templates for grades K-5. Click here to get in on the goodness! (P.S. it is a google doc so no registration needed. Yay!)

2. {I will} REFLECT on what worked and what did not.

This year I have had a goal that I have {mostly} kept up with, which is keeping better records of what I taught and how it went. I have an awesome grade level team and we have all been on each other's tails about maintaining our reflection notes. But now when things are crazy, this is when we need good records to keep us straight for next year. Now, most of my notes are simply a scribble fest on a yellow pad. But this system seems to be working. Even as I move into my last four weeks of school, I am stickin' with the goal of writing down my steps for planning stuff like:
  • Last day of school
  • Cleaning schedule
  • Celebration of Learning (parents visit the classroom and reflect on learning with students)
  • End of the year party
  • My final teaching units

I will be a happy camper to not have to make up these plans in busy May 2015.

3. {I will} Clean out the junk and stuff I don't use.

I have a whole shelf in my tiny classroom closet dedicated to the olden style geoboards, even though I have a new set. Not needed. Neither I, nor my students, have touched them in two years. This year they will find a new home. What about that box of old fabric scraps that we seriously do not touch. Oy vey. GONE. Little hands love helping on projects like this. I have a group of girls that would BEG to do this during their lunch hour!

4. {I will} Be ready to start student work portfolios on the first day of school. 

Student growth portfolios are a huge part of our classroom and school. The students each create a book with work samples and reflections on their growth. Even though this is supposed to be a year-round project, the bulk of the work happens in our last trimester. I always push the reflections and organizing of the book until the month before the end of the year. BUT, next year everything is changing. I am keeping a sample of a portfolio that is perfectly organized and put together based on what I used as an example this year. This will help me when I know that in October, we need to reflect on our Small Moment writing samples or our math journals, or in December we are checking in on our reading progress. Everything is fresh in my mind now which is the perfect time to write down what I have re-figured out in terms of organizing these bad boys.

There you have it! Even with only four tasks, this is a lofty goal. But if followed, hopefully our return to school is a little smoother. What do you think? Are some of these goals attainable for you this year?


Informational Mentor Text List (for every 2nd Grade CCSS)

Wanna know what is funny? EVERY grade in our K-5 school is in the middle of an informational text unit RIGHT NOW. Totally by coincidence or teacher think-alike? Not sure. All I know is that our library is cleared out!

Thankfully, I thought ahead! At this time last year I started searching for copies of books that I was certain would be perfect for a mentor text book cart. I stocked up and found about 35 excellent books that are my go-to books for "Everything Informational Reading Related".

I am happy to share my suggestions for awesome texts that go with each Common Core standard. This list is specifically for 2nd grade, but it could also be used with most 1st grade standards as well.

(If you would like to download the list in a neat, easy pdf format, click here.)

Having these books on the ready has saved my butt this year! Here we were today comparing two books presented on the same topic.

I feel like they are learning a ton right now! Now, let me back up and say that we do work with informational texts ALL year long. But this is the time we REALLY delve in! How about you? Do you just mix them in throughout the year or do you have a unit specifically focused like me?


Woohoo! October FREEBIE and MONSTROUS Giveaway!

l can't tell you how excited I am to be in October! You know those people who put up Christmas decorations at the beginning of November? Well, that is what I am like for Halloween! I have way too much fun with this holiday :)

If you have not already entered the awesome MONSTEROUS giveaway, you better get in on that. There are only a few days left and this one's a good one!

I also have a little Halloweeny freebie for all of the 1st and 2nd grade teachers out there. It is pack of math task cards focused on 1 and 2 step problems (2.OA.1). Your kids will love it! Enjoy :)

Like what you see? You can download the whole pack for free by clicking here.

- Alyssha from Teaching and Tapas