Wednesday, February 1, 2017

SNAIL MAIL: Creating a positive classroom environment

Raise your hand if you like getting mail!  
There is something special about getting a letter, a handwritten note, a birthday card, a catalog, or a package in the mail.  Now that I pay all of my bills online, checking the mail is even better than it used to be.  The mailman is basically a superhero to my kids at home.  They are obsessed with him, and they fight over getting the mail.  Using the simple joy of "snail mail" is a fun and easy way to build a positive classroom environment.  
I found this felt envelope in the Dollar Spot at Target.  
Recognize a student that may need a little extra love or a pat on the back for a job well done.  
Maybe they've met their reading goal for the month?
Maybe they have been a good friend?
Maybe they have shown improvement in behavior?
Maybe they have mastered their math facts?
A handwritten note from their teacher will be treasured by any students. 
You could leave the "snail mail envelope" on a different student's desk each day, or you could add some stationary to your writing center and have students recognize one another by sending their friend a note.  
The Clean Desk Award is something I like to give out a few times a month.  When you start noticing that your students' desks are getting messy, put a Clean Desk Award on top of the desk of the student in your classroom who has the neatest desk.  When the kids walk in to the classroom in the morning, they will immediately see that one of their classmates got the Clean Desk Award.  Without ever having to say anything, all of your students will be tidying up their space because they will want to win the Clean Desk Award the next morning! 
Don't give out the Clean Desk Award every day or it will lose it's appeal!  Maybe give out 2 or 3 one week and then wait a few weeks.  It's like magic! 
I saw this meme about getting mail and it made me laugh.  I just had to share it.  :)
Happy February! 




Sunday, January 29, 2017

100th Day of School Celebration

The 100th Day of School is a momentous occasion, and the students look forward to it every year!  I'll never forget my first year of teaching... One of my students said "Miss Campbell- I'm going to miss you tomorrow when I go to first grade."  Bless his heart.  He thought the 100th Day of School was the LAST day of school, and he would be leaving my class.  Today I want to share with you a few ideas for making the 100th Day of School a special day in your classroom.  

100 Exercises
In the morning, we brainstorm a list of 100 exercises we can do.  We make a list on the board and throughout the day, we complete 5 or 10 exercises at a time until we've done all 100.  It makes for the perfect Brain Break on a crazy, busy day.  It also gives the opportunity to count by 5's or 10's.

100th Day Hopscotch
At recess, we bring out the sidewalk chalk, and I challenge the kids to work with a friend or two to create a 100th Day Hopscotch.  Some sweet children will count by 1's and their hopscotch will be gigantic.  Other groups will count by 5's or 10's to create their hopscotch.  So fun & so easy!

100 Snacks
I know some schools don't allow teachers to give out snacks or treats, but that's just wrong!  The 100th Day Snack Bag is a classic.  I always use brown paper bags and the students create a list of what's going inside their snack bag.  They count by 10's until they have 100 snacks.  Suggestions for treats: mini marshmallows, M&Ms, pretzel sticks, raisins, candy hearts, chocolate chips, Chex cereal, yogurt raisins, Fruit Loops, Skittles, jelly beans, etc.
Download this {free} note to ask parents to send in goodies!
100 Math Manipulatives
Get some new math manipulatives or find some in your storage closet that you don't use very often and the kiddos count to 100.  Depending on the manipulative, encourage students to create patterns and skip count using a variety of colors.  I love these colorful stacker blocks from Oriental Trading because you can make towers.  They are similar to Unifix Cubes but something fun and different.  The kids always enjoy using the oval counting links to make chains as well.  
Write 100 Words.
Create a class list of 100 words or have students create a list in their journals.  If you want to do a class list, number a piece of chart paper or butcher paper from 1-100.  During center time or when students finish with their work, they can come to the list and add words that they know how to spell (sight words, color words, spelling words, etc.)  If students are writing individual lists, give them word family cubes to help inspire their lists.  
Mosaic Art 
The 100th Day usually falls pretty close to Valentine's Day, so have students tear 100 pieces of red, pink, white, purple construction paper and create a mosaic heart.  If your 100th Day is earlier or later, you could do a torn paper rainbow, shamrock, Easter egg, or abstract mosaic!  Isn't tearing paper therapeutic?  Love this idea for mosaic hearts from Teach with Kate.  
STEM Challenge
Have students build a structure using 100 blocks, pipes, Legos, MegaBloks, or whatever you have in your classroom/kids' closets!  These Jumbo Pipe Connectors from Oriental Trading are super fun with endless possibilities.  
Ready to begin...
Working towards 100 connected pipes!  
Ring Toss
Using a wooden ring toss game and a whiteboard, have students race to 100.  Players will keep track of their points on the white board.  The player to get to 100 in the least amount of throws is the winner.  Check Pinterest for DIY ring toss games.  :)
Who doesn't love ring toss!?!?!  
Oriental Trading has some great 100th Day of School goodies: pencils, stickers, buttons, necklaces, and more.  My favorite has to be the 100th Day of School slap bracelets though!  #90sbaby!
Oriental Trading has such a variety of teacher supplies, classroom decorations, manipulatives, games, and rewards/incentives/prizes.  You can't beat their prices and deals!  Love me some Oriental Trading!

Disclosure: TheHappyTeacher & Oriental Trading partnered for the purpose of this post. I received free samples of Oriental Trading products, but all opinions are my own and 100% honest.
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