Chicka Chicka Boom Boom has to go down in history as one of the best primary books! My students enjoyed listening to the song, reading the story, adding letters to our stuffed coconut tree, making their own themed name trees, and seeing their support teacher dressed up as the famous tree for Halloween!
My students have been learning about growth mindset and self-regulation. For Bell Let’s Talk Day on January 30th, we focused on gratitude. We discussed the things in our lives that we take for granted but are thankful for and in some instances, couldn’t or wouldn’t want to live without. The questions to guide our discussion included:
- What are you grateful to have learned or be learning about?
- What are you challenged by?
- What is something that you use everyday and couldn’t live without? What toys are your favourite?
- What person or thing makes you smile?
- What do you like to smell, taste, touch, hear, see?
- What do you appreciate in nature/outside?
- What are you thankful for in your community, at home, at school, etc.?
- What do you appreciate about yourself? About your friends?
I’m pretty proud with what they came up with and the kind things they said to each other during the discussion. We learned that we can use words and a listening ear to brighten someone’s day – truly a lifelong lesson!
As per our school’s Learning Improvement Plan (LIP) focusing on student writing growth, I am embedding different modalities of letter formation into our phonics lessons. The students are enjoying a multi-sensory approach to writing: play-dough, chalkboards, whiteboard tables, wiki sticks, letter magnets, wooden pieces, etc. A new favorite is writing our letters with paint brushes in shaving cream. It is a really simple lesson that warrants student engagement.
Shaving Cream Letters Lesson:
- Hold up letter cards and get students to state the letter name, sound, and action.
- Students copy the letter, starting at the top, with paint brushes in shaving cream. They form the lowercase and the uppercase for each letter.
- Students “erase” their letter with their brushes and repeat the process for the rest of the target letters.
But What About the Mess?
I find that it is not as messy as it may seem. Each student needs to roll up their sleeves and be reminded not to eat, fling, or touch the shaving cream with their hands. We talk about how it smells good but would not taste good (you may want to note that it is NOT whipped cream). I get students to wipe off any excess shaving cream on the side of their tin (get baking pan tins with higher edges rather than baking sheet tins with lower edges) and then at the end of the lesson we use paper towel to clean the brushes before putting them in water.
The best part of shaving cream letters is that students do not feel pressure to form their letters perfectly. If they make a mistake, they simply can “erase” and try again! The teacher can observe the letter formation and remind students to hold brushes appropriately and start from the top during the lesson so the practice is meaningful. All students, especially those who dislike pencil-to-paper work, seem to buy-in to the novelty of shaving cream letters. No tears, busy minds at work, and smiling faces… seems like a win to me!
Here are some classroom Book Teaching Resources that I am fortunate to be able to share with my learners. I have found that having a categorized system ensures that no book gets left behind!
What are some books that you love to use in the primary grades? What organizational system works for you!? Happy reading!
Great things are happening at Westmount!
Spent a lot of time creating an inviting environment for my primary learners. All the time was well worth it after the first comment: “Wow Ms. Gorham, you’re room is beautiful like you and your boots.” (AKA how to get an A+ part 1).
Thanks to a colleage, I get to walk by this every day. Nice reminder for the students and staff at our school that we are all here for a reason. Kids are often running up to the wall trying to find their prints! #educationweek
We are lucky to have a wonderful SCC at Westmount! It means a lot to have individuals dedicated to the education of our children! Creating inviting environments like this take time but really is appreciated! Great things happen when we work as a team! #weremember #remembrance2015
Circle of Courage in the office to reinforce our LIP goals/teachings. Looks great!
Celebrating the Holidays!