Sunday, February 2, 2014

Bright Ideas Blog Hop

Hey everyone! Today I'm participating in a super fun blog hop! A bunch of teacher bloggers are sharing their best "bright ideas" for the classroom. Be sure to join in on the fun by following the hop!

My bright idea for this week actually is literally "bright"! :)
You know those tap lights that people put in closets or other places? Well they are also great for classroom use!

My coworker, Megan, uses them at her guided reading groups. When she is meeting with a group, she taps the light "on" to tell other students that she is busy and cannot be interrupted. It's a great visual and really teaches the kids that their time in reading group is very important and sacred.

A while back I started using mine during Daily 5 for Read to Someone. I noticed that some of my kiddos had a hard time Checking for Understanding, a simple comprehension strategy where they retell what they just read. In came the tap lights. Each pair that does Read to Someone during a round of Daily 5 gets a tap light. They place the light on the floor in front of them. One partner reads a page of the book. The other partner then taps the light on and says "I just heard you read" and tells the who and the what. I've had the little check bookmarks that Daily 5 recommends but I've found that the tap lights add an element of fun!

I did some searching during my long snow break this week and found more adorable tap lights at Dollar Tree. How cute are star and heart shaped ones?

Here are a few other ideas I've heard of or thought of using tap lights:

Create A Caring Classroom - Use the heart shaped tap light at morning meeting to allow students to share what's on their heart. A great way to create a positive classroom atmosphere where students feel safe and loved.

Phonemic Awareness - Use multiple tap lights for students to show the sounds in words - tap a light for each sound you hear.

Shining Student - Stick a light to your whiteboard/chalkboard/wall. When you're teaching a lesson and a student has a well thought out answer or goes above and beyond in their thinking, have them tap the light on as a special reward.

Math - Students can practice math facts using flashcards. The partner who is flashing the cards and can see the answer turns the light on each time their partner says the correct answer.

Story Retelling - Have different shaped/colored tap lights represent story elements - character, setting, problem, solution, author's message, etc. When reading aloud to your class ask students to raise their hands when they hear about each story element. That student then gets to go push that light on. We've been studying authors as mentors for our writing lately and doing this with post-its but I think my kiddos would love using our lights!

Do you have any other awesome ideas of how to use tap lights in the classroom? Please, please, please share in the comments! I'd love to hear what ideas you have!

If you are looking for more great ideas, continue on to Horizons & Dreams. Have fun finding more bright ideas for your classroom!

Saturday, February 1, 2014

Currently: February

It's February? What?!!! I'm a bit confused since I've been off school for the past 4 days due to snow. Here's my currently for this month:

Listening: I'm currently still relaxing in bed and am enjoying the quiet. :)

Loving: Since I've been off school since Tuesday, I have sincerely enjoyed sleeping in. I can't sleep in much these days - 8:00 is about the latest, but it is nice to wake up and not have to rush to be anywhere. Most mornings I've enjoyed some reading or watching TV.

Thinking: My mom's birthday was this week and we are celebrating tonight. My family has a little surprise for her and I can't wait to give it to her. I'll let you in on it later.

Wanting: Mmmmm pancakes. I've been eating healthier lately and working out tons but a girl's still got to indulge. I found the AMAZING recipe for chocolate chip protein pancakes and I've been making it every Saturday and every snow day so far. I love that it has lots of protein as I've found that it helps be eat better for the rest of the day if I eat protein at breakfast. And chocolate chips? Yum! Here's a link to the recipe from teachers_get_fit on instragram. The only unusual ingredient you need is protein powder. I LOVE Jay Robb's brand - it's super yummy and you can find it in the natural section at Kroger. It should be noted that I usually put in about 1/2 cup of almond milk to make the batter thinner.

Needing: I need to catch up on a few school things to get ready for February. I also want to get my students valentines done early so I'm not stressing last minute. I found cute Valentine's pencils in the Target dollar section and am putting a little tag on them that says "you're just write for me". Simple, easy and involves giving the littles any kind of sugar! Score!

2 Truths and a Fib:

TRUTH - I do hold my scissors upside down. I put my fingers in the thumb hole and thumb in the fingers hole. Why? That's still unknown. When I was little my family lived in Germany and I went to a German speaking preschool. We think that I just picked up scissors like that and the nice German teachers thought it was a funny American thing and never corrected me. Ooops! I'm pretty accurate cutting that way though. I can hold scissors the correct way and do in front of my students but it's much easier my way.

TRUTH - I am doing a sprint triathlon in May. 5 lap swim, 9 mile bike, 2 mile run. Why? I'm still figuring out why I'm doing this but mainly as I get healthier I wanted to set some fitness goals for myself. I figured this was a good way to get started and give me an end goal. It's a women only race and is sponsored by the local YMCA where I work out. I'll do a training program in April with certified race coaches. Right now I'm doing the couch to 5k app on the treadmill to train myself to run and I'm biking on the spin bikes at the gym. I'll add the swimming in soon. 

FIB - I don't have a dog but I sure want one! My current living situation doesn't allow pets but someday I know I'll have a doggie of my own!

Go on over and link up your currently with Farley! Have a great Saturday!