Hello Everyone! I am so happy to be visiting today from over at Whimsy Workshop Teaching. I teach grade 1 and 2, and today I'm sharing with you some strategies for engaging students in daily work.
My regular readers will remember that I had the most challenging class in 20 years last year! Oh my - they were so sweet, but simply had no self-regulation skills whatsoever, and as a result 14 out of 23 were not meeting reading levels. The simply could not focus on a book long enough to learn and implement any strategies.
However, out of great challenges (or sheer desperation, depending on how you look at it!) comes new understandings. Last year (along with several different management systems) I found one of the most effective things I could do with daily work was to make everything as hands-on as possible. Not a new idea, I know...but last year almost everything got a make-over! I converted almost all of my seat work into manipulative, tactile, and active projects. Here are a few examples:
For my tactile learners, I brought the word wall right down to their level so they could touch and hold the words. I covered the words with clear glue to make the letters raised and bumpy; students loved the tactile feeling of running their fingers over the letters as they said the letter sound.
Another must: lots of word and sentence building materials. This includes letter and word tiles, word family cards, pull-through word and sentence builders, letter beads...I even wrote words on all of my unifex building cubes so they could make sentences using one cube of each color. I also wrote them on stacking cups so they could build towers with each cup they "read".
The beauty of this kind of work is the emphasis on collaboration and discussion in small groups - this made their learning experiential and meaningful as they shared ideas and explored collaboratively.
Of course they do have to write and record their sentences afterwards, but it was the hands-on stuff that got them engaged. We gradually increased their written output to several sentences by the end of the year, and they were all reading at grade level by June.
One of the most popular games was called "Hop Across The Pond". Students made a path across the room with their sight word cards, and tried to hop on each word as they read it aloud with a partner. If they didn't know the word, they picked it up and continued on. Once they got to the end of the path, they had a handful of words that needed more practice!
I've included this idea, along with 24 others, in a freebie to share with you today. I hope you find some ideas to use in your classroom.
Math Centers and Activities:
Thank goodness for math and how it so naturally lends itself to hands-on activities. The blocks, the dice, the game boards, the counting beans - these were every day materials last year.
Lots of dice games (love the dice inside dice for differentiation!)
Lots of blocks for building and patterning
And when I had to think of something quick, my motto was "Make It Bigger or Cut It Apart". So, our number charts were huge!
...and sometimes they got cut up and put back together again!
I'm also sharing a fun math freebie with you today - it's called Build A Monster. Just roll the dice and build a monster with the body part you land on (starting with the head, then eyes, nose, etc). My students play this - and the more challenging version I made with addition - for hours! Great fun to share the monsters with the class afterwards, too. Enjoy!
Even our art lessons got our hands involved. Here is the poster we made for color mixing!
Thanks for reading, and I hope you've grabbed a few ideas to use next time you have a class full of jumping beans!
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Thank you to Whimsy Workshop for sharing such fun and interactive learning ideas!
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