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Whole Brain Teaching

Have you guys heard of Whole Brain Teaching?  I've read some about it, watched a few videos, and checked out the Whole Brain Teaching site {here}.  I've done a little bit with it this year, but I was kinda going blind since I've never seen it in action.  

Well, it just so happens that 2 of the triplets are so fortunate to be in the 1st grade teacher who belongs to this room.

And not only does she have a super cute monkey room, she also does Whole Brain Teaching!  I'm so thrilled with all the stuff they're learning.  What's even better is that my daughter Kylie wants to be a teacher when she grows up, and I have no doubts that she will be an amazing one!  I think it might be her calling.  Her and her brothers get the privilege (haha) of hanging out in my room every afternoon while I try to work.  Kylie uses the afternoons to recreate her day and teach to some of my stuffed animals.

Do you see what she drew in the corner right over her head?  A happy and frownie chart!  How cute.  Can't you just see her teaching one day?

Well, last Friday our school was lucky enough to get Whole Brain Teaching training from my kiddos' awesome teacher.  I was really excited about the training.  Let me tell you, I'm excited to go to work on Monday and implement some of the stuff we learned.  What I like most is that Whole Brain Teaching can be implemented immediately and it doesn't cost anything.  It's just something you do.  

Here are some of the things I'm most excited about implementing:

1.  Bodies and Chairs - This is where you say bodies and chairs.  The students then stand up, push their chairs in, and say bodies and chairs three times.  You can also use this for line (to line up), seats (to sit in their seats, carpet (to go to the carpet), etc.  I have one student specifically that needs a lot of reminders.  She has some processing delays and motor planning issues and always seems to be 2 or more steps behind everyone else.  I'm hoping that the repetition of saying it and hearing everyone else saying it will help her be more with the group.

2.  Teaching vocabulary through the use of gestures.  I have been doing this some with my students but now see how I can do it better.  

3.  Using "air boards" to write in the air.  When the teacher says air boards, the students make a rectangle in the air while saying "zip, zip, zip."  They then write in the air.  After they're done, they erase their air board while saying "eek, eek, eek."  

4.  Class, yes and Teach, ok.  You can read about that on the Whole Brain Teaching site I linked above.

So when I got home last night, I had my kiddos show me how they've learned one of their vocabulary words.  It was soooo cute!  Here's a little video I took.  Please don't mind any baskets of laundry that might possibly be in the background.  Let's just pretend like they're not even there.

Time Machine Addition and Subtraction Freebie

Our district uses Go Math for our math curriculum.  This is our 3rd year since textbook adoption.  The curriculum is aligned with FL's Next Generation Sunshine State standards (NGSS); although, we are in the process of adopting the Common Core Standards.  One of the NGSS standards for 2nd grade is:

Well, I don't see anything similar to that in Common Core Standards, but it's still in our textbook.  So I will be muddling through this part of the chapter next week.  It's a tricky one.  My kids have a tough time with things that aren't concrete.  They also have a hard time consistently adding and subtracting.  We've also been struggling with remembering the signs to add and subtract.  I'm not exactly looking forward to this week's instruction, because I remember the past years of doing this part of the chapter.

I decided that this year I needed to create something to make it easier for my students to understand the concepts and hopefully the week won't be too painful for us all.

I made this cute Time Machine Addition and Subtraction mini-unit for my kids and I'm offering it as a freebie in my TPT store.  You can click on the pic to download it.

Basically it works like this, you give the students a rule (use a highlighter to write on your mat if you're at home) and some counters (or pennies if at home).  Then tell them how many counters they need to put in the machine.  They then record how many went in and how many would come out.

If your students need it to be even more concrete, you can use counters for the number going in and the rule.  

You can also use this for subtraction.

Is anyone else required to teach this?  Do you think this would be useful to you?  The Time Machine Addition and Subtraction mini-unit comes with the work mat, the in/out recording sheet, 32 task cards with recording sheet and answer key, and 2 worksheets with answer key that could be used for assessment or practice.  If you can use this in your classroom, I'd love if you would leave some feedback! 

Bat Lesson Plans & Resources (freebie)

Well, I can tell you guys that this year has been pretty stressful for me.  I spent the best part of the school year feeling really overwhelmed with many of my students being very low and having a lot of individual needs.  Honestly, I felt like I was differentiating so much that I wasn't doing anything effectively.  I had basically differentiated myself into so much work that I couldn't keep up and was just overwhelmed.  Last week, I decided that I needed to change things up to give myself a break.  So I gave myself permission to change up what I was doing and teach something I knew I would enjoy and my kids would enjoy.

Since it's almost Halloween and I haven't spent much time on nonfiction texts, I decided that we would do a unit on bats.  I spent the weekend scouring the web for stuff about bats and MAN are there some FABULOUS units about bats.  I did end up purchasing one unit from Teachers Pay Teachers but I found TONS of free stuff. 

We started yesterday and some of the students from the other self-contained class have joined my class. I'm really excited about it, and the kids seem to be really excited about the bat stuff.  It's been a nice change of pace!  :)

I thought I would share with you guys the lesson plans I came up with and links to stuff we're using.  Maybe some of you can use the same links.  I'll definitely be posting pics as we get further into the unit.  I'm having problems with getting clickable links on my PDF (errr......Mountain Lion update for Mac) so you'll have to copy and paste the links from the last page.  Click on the lesson plans to download yours.

 I made this cute freebie graph using graphics from Scrappin Doodles.  Click on the picture to download your free copy.

Have you seen this AWESOME free sign made by The Teacher Wife?  Click on the picture to go to her blog and download your own.
Unfortunately, this has been a problem in my class this year and this sign came at the perfect time!  So as of yesterday, my classroom was a no nose-picking zone!  Surprisingly, I've only seen one student doing it since then.  But I realized my lesson about germs and getting a tissue has only gone so far.

As we were walking out to the bus, one of my students said to me that when she gets home she could pick her nose.  I didn't catch the whole sentence, so I reminded here that school was a no-nose picking zone.  Then she clarified that it was ok for her to pick her nose once she's at home which is apparently NOT a no nose-picking zone.  Sighhh.......I guess I just have to be glad she's got the hint in my classroom.

I'm thinking next up will be teach a unit on the presidential election that is coming up.  Has anyone came across any great units that would work well for primary students?  Several of my students are basically nonreaders and have trouble with comprehension, memory, and abstract thinking so I need something that will be fairly easy for them to understand.

I've also made some 1st and 2nd grade level literacy centers and activities for Halloween that you might want to check out on TPT.  Click on the picture to see more!

Once I saw these cute turkey graphics, I couldn't help but make a new CVC game.

B and D Confusion or Reversals (freebie)

I don't know about you guys, but I spend a lot of time telling my students to look at that letter again.  Is it a B or a D?  Check your b's and d's.  Not only does it interfere with their writing ability, but it really interferes with their reading.  Reading "I rode in a bus." just doesn't have the same meaning as "I rode in a dus."

Since I teach special ed, a lot of my students have B and D reversal or confusion.  I decided we needed some practice with reading these 2 letters.  So I made some activities this week to help my students practice identifying their B's and D's.

The first one is a FREEBIE for you guys and it's this simple B and D Zap! game.  Click on the picture to download yours for free!  I'd love if you would leave some feedback if you find this game useful or it helps yours students.

I also made this set of activities that I've started using with my students as an independent center to practice.  Click on the picture to check it out in my Teachers Pay Teachers store.

There's also some other great freebies out there that can help.

Mrs. Wills Kindergarten has a cute Baby Diapers poster.
Make, Take, and Teach has a cute baseball and drum cue card.
The First Grade Parade has another cute poster that I love.  She also has a great list of other posters out there.

And the first 3 people to leave a comment with their email address will get my B and D confusion activities for free!

Magical Product Swap

I'm so excited to participate in Mrs. Stanford's Product Swap.


I got to the lucky blogger who was paired up with Mrs. Lirette's Learning Detectives.  She teaches Kindergarten and has such a cute blog with some awesome freebies on it.  You'll definitely want to check out her Decomposing Numbers and her I Moustache You a Question freebies.

I had the opportunity to browse through her TPT store and check out some of her great products.  I picked out her Ring Masters Sight Word Practice.

The majority of my students need A LOT  of sight word practice.  This is perfect to not only assess sight word mastery but provide a home/school connection.  There's a lot of reasons why I love this pack.

1.  There are 10 sets of words with 12 words each (120 words in all).
2.  The font isn't confusing and can be easily read by students.
3.  It's the cards are black and white so they look great printed on colored cardstock (cheaper for me!).
4.  There are assessment tracking forms.
5.  There are cute little certificates for when students pass a set of cards or need extra practice on certain words.
6.  She also has a Level 2 set of Ring Masters for when your students pass all of Level 1.  You can check that out {here}.  Even better you can get both in a combo pack {here}.
7.  Right now, she has all of her Ring Masters on sale in her TPT store {here}.

It was super easy to assemble, too.  I printed off the cards on colored card stock, cut out, hole punched the corner and put on a book ring.  Viola!  10 sets of sight word flash cards in no time.

I can't take pictures of my students at school, but luckily I have eager helpers at home that like to model for me!  

Remember to stop by Mrs. Lirette's blog today.  She's going to be reviewing some of my fall products!  In honor of the product swap, I'm putting all of my fall, Halloween, and Thanksgiving items on sale for  15% off today and Sunday!

Click on the pictures to check them out.    

October Currently, Made it {some}day, & Other Stuff!

Well, that's one heck of a title, huh?  Since school started, the blogging has obviously dropped!  Just too much to do and not enough time.  That's why I'm loving October's Currently from Oh' Boy 4th Grade.  She's gotten me motivated to make a post!

So I'm super excited about the changes in my body since I started going to boot camp in July.  It's a GOOD problem that I need new clothes.  It's not good that I feel kinda dumpy and like I have a saggy rear end all day.  I think a shopping trip needs to happen ASAP!

Can you believe our district doesn't give us Columbus Day off?  Ughhh!  My husband (a Marine) even has the day off.  I'm going to try and see if I can find a sub and maybe take Monday off, too.  Anyone else have to work on federal holidays?  Double ugh!

I know I'm breaking the rules with my book......but it was just released at the end of September.  So that sorta makes it almost an Octoberish book, right?  I LOVE J.R. Ward and this is her latest in the Fallen Angels series.  I've just started reading it and so far so good!

I've also been meaning to do a Made it Monday post hosted by 4th Grade Frolics.  But I can never seem to get it together to actually make the post.  So today, I'm having a Made it {some}day post!

At the beginning of the school year, the art teacher sent out a school-wide email saying she had some free easels to give out.  I was ALL over that.  I've been needing an easel to use during whole group and to put my chart paper on.  Well, this is what she had to give away for free!

 Well, I knew I could make it into something great!  I took the paint covered chalkboard and white boards off.  I went to Home Depot and bought some new whiteboard (it was like $13 for a sheet).  They'll even cut it for you for free!  I then sanded the frame down, primed it, and painted it white.  I bought the cute polka dot duct tape from Wal-Mart and put it around the edges.  Then my husband helped me screw the new whiteboard onto the frame.  And now VIOLA!  I have an awesome chart that I can write on as a white board or use for my chart paper.  Which is great because I use the heck out of some chart paper everyday!  This is the new and improved easel!

 Another thing on my to-do list FOREVER was to make these Making Words folders, which I saw on Pinterest.  Teacher Bits and Bobs has the template for the letters for FREE!  I used these today in one of my small groups and it was so much easier than finding/counting out the letters that everyone needed.

I know it's sideways, but you get the idea.  I made the front cover and you can download it for free by clicking on the picture.

I've also been working on some Halloween and Thanksgiving stuff for my classroom.

I made this super cute Hocus Pocus sight word game.  It has words that are typically taught in 1st grade.  One of my dear followers requested I made some games with harder sight words.

I also used the same words to make this Gobble, Gobble sight word game that I just finished today.

And I'm really excited about these Common Core aligned Candy, Candy, Candy math centers.

And wow, I should really post more often!  That was a WHOLE lot in one post!  I hope everyone is hanging in there this school year!