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Reading Pictures

If you teach the Primary grade levels K-3 please, please, please start the year teaching students that they can read books by reading the pictures too. Kids are still learning how to read. According to the book Teaching With the Brain in Mind, children learn to read between the ages of 4-8, not all kids will/should be reading on grade level by 3rd grade. That's unrealistic. However if you want to make sure to encourage all of your students to…

Just Right!

When the students come in on the first day of school, I always have a bag of books sitting on their desk. I look at their data from the previous year and give them books that are at their reading level, just below their reading level, and just above their reading level. This is the only time I choose books for my students. During the first two weeks of school I teach them what it means to find just right…

Growth Mindset, Frustration, and Trying

Another important lesson at the beginning of the year is to teach students how to take chances and how to deal with frustration and failures. Most students today want instant satisfaction and success. They need to be taught that failure is Ok and how to learn from it. They need to be put in situations in which they might fail and practice how to deal with it. They need to learn how to problem solve and try again. These lessons…

Acceptance!

When kids are at school they want to be accepted. they don't want to be the outsider, they don't want to feel alone, they want to be noticed a positive way. I have a 13 year old who is on the spectrum. He wants to have friends, he wants to be accepted, even if it's only kids sitting next to him and saying Hi. Simple actions that let him know that he has friends. I was extremely worried about him…

Emotions!

It's almost time to start school again! Some are excited and some are not ready. This includes teachers, students, and parents. Everyone is feeling something about the new school year. I am excited because I am tackling a new subject ( for me) and I am excited to grow, fail, learn, succeed, and learn some more. I have already done a lot of research and have a new found understanding of how important the arts are to students learning and…

Rhythm and Fluency

Over in the Meadow books or poems easy to use in order to teach fluency and rhythm. I have been using them in my music classes to teach the students rhythms. I gave each group one of the books and had them come up with a rhythm that they could play on rhythm sticks while they read the book.

Rock What Ya Got!

The Book Rock What Ya Got by Samantha Berger is a great book to teach students about being happy with what they have and not always focusing on what they don’t have or what they can’t do. The artist in the story keeps trying to change the character that she has drawn, but eventually she learns to let her character rock what she’s got!I used this in my art class to let my students know that their drawing is good…

Mystery Words!

This post was inspired by my good friend Art With Jenny K's Words of Positive Affirmation Collaboration Poster. I love this poster. Instead of having all of my classes (K-3 = 30 classes) complete the poster, I completed the first section of each word and then hung them up. This lead to some great discussions across all the grade levels. They were curious as to what the words were, when they were going to find out, and who colored them.…

Be Kind Projects…Project #4

We read Say Something by Peter Reynolds. We discussed the importance of saying something, even if its quietly. I gave them examples of my experiences, and those of my own two children. I told them about situations my children found themselves in and how they handled it. I also told them about my son who is on the Autism Spectrum and my worries about him everyday he goes to school. I showed them the list of ideas I had as…

Be Kind Projects….Project #3

I read We’re All Wonders by R.J.Palacio to my 2nd graders. We talked about all of the things that make us different. We discussed looking at what people are like on the inside and not just the outside. For the planning phase I had each student write down the names of the kids in their classes. I then displayed a list of good characteristics that they might observe in each other. I had them pick a word from the list…