Sunday, October 30, 2016

Halloween Lessons

There was an Old Lady Who Wasn't Afraid of Anything at All 

What a cool song! I used a video on youtube and my students and I acted the story out.
I tell the students that we are going to act out a story today through movement.  I press play and we walk around the room to the steady beat.  On "she heard a sound so she turned around" we stop and turn suddenly.  As for the different things she see's they are pretty self explanatory but just in case here is what I did.  
Shoes- Stomp
Pants- Wiggle 
Shirt- Shake 
Gloves- Clap
Hat- Nod
Pumpkin Head- Say Boo
When the little old lady goes home we act like we lock the door and dive into bed with the covers over us. Then we peek outside and then laugh at the final surprise of the book. 

A Spooky Cup Game  

I have seen this everywhere but just in case you haven't, this is a pretty golden lesson.  Thank you Addams Family for making the triplet so accessible! 

Pumpkin Stew

A student learned this song from another teacher and asked me about it this year.  I am so glad she did!  What an adorable song.  I did a little research and I found this smart board file by Just a Little More blog.  Click the picture to check it out!  I used it to introduce the song then we made up our own ideas of what we could put in the stew just like her video below.  Finally, we added a B section using various instruments and a word chain of cooking verbs.  Such as "choopity chop! plop plop plop."  "Choppity Chop" we played on guiros and "plop, plop, plop" on wood blocks. Such a cute lesson enjoyed by my first and second graders.  Thanks Cherie!

Thursday, October 6, 2016

My Planning Process

I am taking a moment today to reflect on my planning process.  My sequence is always changing and I am sure will evolve again but here is the steps I go through to plan from month to month.

I am working on having a year round plan but in my third year of teaching I am still not there yet. Half of what I did my first year I threw out and my second year stuff is a little better but needs to be reworked into my new sequence. I definitely have an idea of what concepts I would like to teach that year per grade level just the process changes.  Can't stay stagnate and got to keep it fresh! 

I first start by making a outline.  I try to have a new learning goal monthly.  I think that is just about enough time to cover one area. Sometimes though it does take a little bit longer.  How I decide what I want to teach that month is from a series of different resources.  Of course, I look at the national standards, Arizona state standards, and the blueprints set up by my school district.  

Another way I stream line what I want to teach is by looking at plans from other seasoned teachers.  For example, I used Lindsay Jervis's "Ready, Set, Plan!" This has a wonderful year long, Kodaly aligned plan.  Once I look through all of this, it helps guide me to what I want to do for the month and I create my document.  Here is my plan from September if you are curious.  September Plan

Once you know what concepts you want to teach you need to actually figure out what activities you are going to do in order to help your students achieve this! Sometimes, if I am lucky, I fill out a simple month calendar filling in everything I want to do in a single document.  

If I am not so lucky, I plan as I go and that is okay too!  For every rotation of lessons (for me its every three days) I make a lessons at a glance sheet.  I use one from Organized Chaos's "Rotational Schedule Lesson Planner".  This little layout saves me so much!  My lesson plans are wonderful but they tend to be too many pages to flip through so before this I would write the main points on a post it note and put it on my desk to glance at it.  Now I put into one page and viola!  I have the main ideas for each lesson k-6 on one page to reference through out teaching. 

Finally, the lesson plan itself!  I have used quite a few formats but this is a simple one that seems to work out well for me.  Here is an example of the first lesson this year with first grade.

That was a lot and I could go on, but I think I will stop here!  Perhaps a planning process part two will appear soon but for now I will leave you with this. 

Happy Fall :)