January 24, 2017

What's Your Superpower?

Sometimes, you’ve got to force a kid to describe why they are awesome. This little boy was feeling down, so I forced him to think of why he should pump himself back up.


He was feeling self-conscience, so I did it too. Quick and easy way to give a kid a confidence boost. We could all use one once in a while! J

Download your own copy HERE!

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Respect vs. Disrespect

Some classes have occasional bouts of disrespect for one another. This can cause drama and distract from their ability to learn. When a teacher told me she had quite a few students who were guilty of disrespect towards one another, I knew exactly how to take action.

I only had twenty minutes so I did a condensed version of my Respect vs. Disrespect lesson. I started by asking the class what respect and disrespect each mean. It led to a really open discussion, I made sure that no names or identifying information was given in front of everyone. This gave me really great insight into some of the classroom issues they are dealing with and students I should probably pull into a small group for some individualized attention on the subject.

After a great discussion, I put this poster up on the overhead projector and we talked about what it means to make people feel like they can fly or to rain on their parade.
I then passed out a situation card to each of the students. 
We then utilized the stand up, hands up, pair up method to get them to find a partner and talk about what was written on each of their cards. 

We did four or five partner switch rotations and then I sent them back to their seats. 
We shared as a group what we learned during the card switch activity and then they completed an activity sheet in pairs. 
Overall, I think it was a pretty productive twenty minutes J

Download your own copy of the complete activity pack HERE!

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January 21, 2017

Out of This World Goals

I like challenging students to think about their future. What better way to do that than to set some out of this world goals!!! For January guidance lessons with third grade we set realistic and obtainable goals in a fun crafty way! 
Students at this level hardly ever get to cut, paste and color. They were over the moon excited and incredibly engaged.
After a brief discussion of what goals are and why we set them, we went through the activity sheet as a class, one question at a time. We skipped the self-portrait drawing in the beginning and saved it for the end, some kids get really into it and we run into the risk of not accomplishing much else.  Once our “bodies” were complete, I passed out the alien parts and let them get their craft on!
It was a blast watching them get creative and have some fun as they set new goals for the New Year. 
Suggestions for this activity:
Let the teacher know ahead of time that students will need scissors and glue and make sure you have at least 25-30 minutes with each class. 
It is really such a fun activity that kids love. 
They also love to put their spin on it. This kid made his alien "dab"
Download your own copy of the New Year New Goals Activity Pack HERE 
Check out with I did with my fourth and fifth graders HERE

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Giraffes Can't Dance

Have you ever had a lesson work just like you wanted and planned for it to? One of those lessons you seriously nailed. The kids got it. They were engaged. They were making deep learning connections and you felt like such a BOSS.

It doesn’t happen often and it’s the stuff that dreams are made of, so I’m going to pat myself on the back that it happened today.

Have I mentioned that I really have grown to enjoy teaching kindergarten? I’ve come a long way since my first disaster of a kinder guidance lesson. I mean I was kind of setting myself up for disaster taking on kinder with limited teaching experience for 50 long minutes right after recess and right before lunch. I am now a confident kinder presenter at this point in the school year. I’ve gained control and know how to reign all of their energy and excitement back in. With this new found confidence, I decided to tackle the ultimate in kinder activities, the craftivity.
We read the book “Giraffes can’t dance” together and talked about how sometimes it seems like we can’t do something but really it just takes time and practice. We broke off into a discussion of how everyone is different, just like the giraffe and his wobbly legs. Just because we’re different doesn’t mean we aren’t all awesome! He was able to dance once he found the right music for him. They were fascinated by this wobbly giraffe who figured out how to dance in the moonlight.

We then made our own wobbly legged dancing giraffes. I found a free template online by googling "giraffe cut and glue" and I have to tell you, the kids loved it. We did it step by step together as a group. It took forever, which is perfect because I seriously have a forever amount of time to fill with these babies.
We took advantage of every learning opportunity possible and these kids nailed the concepts I was trying to teach.

Kid #1: “My giraffe doesn’t look like hers!”
Kid #2: “That’s good! How boring would it all be if we were the same?”
Other kid #1: “I messed up and cut off his ear!”
Other kid #2: “That’s okay! He can be a little different and have one ear!”

I don’t think I’ve ever been prouder. 

I found this cut and glue activity (I adapted it a bit) for free here!


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January 12, 2017

New Year, New Goals Foldable

New Year Foldable Activity

I seriously love using this with fourth and fifth grade during guidance lessons. I start by asking them “what is a new year’s resolution?” I have found in all the classes I’ve taught this in that I get such a wide range of answers!  I would have thought that this age group would have no issues answering this, to my surprise some really struggled.

Once we defined a resolution and make the connection between a resolution and a goal, we talk about the #1 goal in Americalosing weight. We talk about how people set the goal of no sugar, no carbs, no junk food, no fast food just lettuce and water for them! Then a week later they’re shoving face with something delicious. Why doesn’t this goal work? It’s because it isn’t realistic to think that you are only going to eat rabbit food and keep everything tasty off your plate. It really makes the fifth graders understand that goals need to be realistic and obtainable.

As a table, they then talk about some realistic and obtainable goals that a fifth grader may set for themselves. 

After a few minutes, I pass out the foldable activity. They pick up the piece of paper, fold it in half with “Goals, 2017” facing outward. They then cut four slits on the dotted lines on the paper making five flaps.
We go through each flap one by one as a group making sure that everyone understands what is being asked and how to respond. The activity calls for them to set three goals. I told them the goals could be anything from academics, school, home, personal or life goals. We talked about a wide variety of examples and then students were able to set goals for themselves.

I was surprised by how few students knew what the word “accountable” meant.  I like to explain to them that setting goals is great. However if there aren’t actions and the accountability to follow through with those goals, then it’s not really a goal it’s just a dream. Dreams are great too but they don’t get you very far unless you work hard to achieve them.

Not only are the students learning to set goals for the year, they were learning some new vocab and how to hold themselves accountable to those goals. I love giving students the opportunity to make new learning connections and grow their knowledge base.

After we were done and all students had set three goals, I asked for volunteers to put their foldable on the School Counseling bulletin board. The rest of the students put this somewhere safe where they could refer back to their goals whenever they felt necessary.

Here is the start of my bulletin board, I'll be adding more as I finish this lesson with more classes.

I warms my heart seeing teachers and students stop by to read about the awesome goals in fifth grade. 

Download your own copy of the New Year New Goals Activity Pack HERE
Check out with I did with my third graders HERE

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January 11, 2017

Friendship Chain (Kindergarten)

I really like getting our littlest of students to realize they are part of a something bigger than themselves. I like when it clicks for them that it isn’t all about them as an individual and that what they do can affect the great majority. They have the power to connect with and either help or hurt their fellow classmates. That’s a big concept for a five year old to understand! Letting them know that they are part of a team and have responsibilities they must uphold as a responsible team member is really rewarding to me.

To help the students understand that they are all connected and that what they do affects and connects to others in the class, we made a friendship chain throughout all of kindergarten. We started by reading the book “Spaghetti in a Hotdog Bun.” We did quite a few activities surrounding this book and build on the idea that we are all unique and have special likes and dislikes, but we also have many things that connect us. The kids absolutely loved this book. The thought of putting spaghetti inside a hotdog bun was so hilarious to their little imaginations.

At the end of the lesson, we created the friendship chain aka the connection chain. After everyone had a chance to color their friendship link, I had each student come up one at a time and blow the class’s minds as I connected all of the links. I stapled the links together because it was quick and easy. At the end of the lesson I hung the chain high in their classroom for the rest of our time together.

At the end, I took the friendship chain with me and at the end of my kinder rotation I attached all the chains together and hung the full chain at the front of the kinder wing. The teachers told me the kiddos were so excited to see their creation and to see how their class fit within their grade level and mixed seamlessly with all the other classes.


It was seriously so much fun.  
Download your own FREE template of the Friendship Chain HERE! 

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