Sunday, May 30

Activities for the End of the School Year

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How is it possible that we are here already? Is it just me teacher friend, or does the end of the school year creep up on you too? It feels like yesterday was September and we were welcoming a new group of kiddos, and now Summer vacation is right around the corner! But what do you do with your kiddos in those final days before Summer vacation? What lessons or activities for the end of the school year will leave a lasting impression on your student? As the end of the school year bounds towards us, I thought I would share some of my favorite activities for the end of the school year. 




Activities for the End of the School Year: End of the Year Read Alouds


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Read-aloud time is something that's near and dear to my heart. As the school year winds to a close, there are so many emotions for our students to process; stress, anxiety, excitement, loss, joy, worry, and happiness just to name a few. One way to help students make sense of the crazy emotion stew that’s brewing inside of them is to share and discuss these emotions in a story. Below I have linked some of my favorite end of the year read aloud stories. These read alouds and a hearty discussion after, are great activities for the end of the school year. 





Activities for the End of the School Year: End of the Year Awards

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I love doing student awards at the end of the year. We host a little class party and each child gets a chance to be recognized for something wonderful. Core values and character education are a big part of my teachings each year, so I use end of the year awards that reflect that importance. Instead of giving my kiddos silly end of the year awards, I recognize each student for a character trait we learned during the year. For example, students in my room may receive an Integrity award or an award for showing great Compassion. I love this end of the year activity because my students are so proud when they receive their awards. Click HERE to check out the class awards I use.



Activities for the End of the School Year: End of the Year Countdown Calendar 

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I love countdown calendars and so do my students! I take the number of students I have and count backward from our school closing date. On all of those days in between, we celebrate specific students! On their special day in the countdown, the chosen student will sit at our VIP desk and everyone else will write them compliments on our whiteboard to start the day. I teach students all about giving compliments and celebrating one another. You can do many creative visuals for countdown calendars. From balloon pops to spinners, there are so many fun ways to countdown and celebrate your students in this fun end of the year activity. Check out the VIP student resource I use, click HERE. If you are distance learning, do a video countdown calendar! Record little videos each day that help students count down to the last day of school. This is what I will be going this year, along with mailing my kiddos their VIP badge and end of the year awards.



Activities for the End of the School Year: End of the Year Student Gifts

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In the year that we spend together, my students and I become a little family. At the end of each year, I like to get them a little parting gift to say thank you for the time we spent together and the memories that were made. How is a student gift an activity for the end of the school year you may be wondering? Well, I like to give my kiddos gifts that they can play with. For example, I might give them a colorful chalk pack then take them outside to make a giant mural together, or coloring books that we can go outside and color together on the last day of school. If you’re looking for student gift ideas that you can also use for activities to end the school year, CLICK HERE to check out my student gift tags for some inspiration and ready to go gift tags!




Activities for the End of the School Year: End of the Year Student Memory Books

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One of my all-time favorite activities for the end of the school year is a student memory book! At the end of each year, I make memory books for my students. This is similar to a yearbook. Memory books are a fun way for students to reflect, write/ draw about their year, and gather friends’ autographs. Memory books are always a fan favorite in my classroom and one of my favorite end of the year activities as well! Click HERE to check out the memory books I use.


There are so many activities for the end of the school year, but the most important are the activities that build memories for you and your students. So soak it all in teacher friend, because you have conquered another year and now it is time to celebrate and have fun with your kiddos!

 


Wednesday, February 24

Increasing Student Writing Skills with 4th Grade Writing Prompts

 

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Let’s chat about writing skills. Increasing and maintaining your students' writing skills can be tricky. There is so much to teach and reach mastery on. Then, how do you maintain those precious writing skills? Maintaining writing skill mastery is all about practice. I had a dance instructor who would always tell us, “practice makes permanent.” This quote has stuck with me as a person and a teacher. I know what you’re thinking, daily practice sounds great, but that’s more resources to hunt for and more to prep, and when do I find the time! I’m here to tell you not to fret! Seriously, take a deep breath teacher friend, because I’ve got your back and I can’t wait to share all the easy ways that you can increase your student's writing skills through the use of 4th grade writing prompts.

 

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Using 4th Grade Writing Prompts for Warm Up Activities:

 

Warm up activities are a fabulous way to use 4th grade writing prompts to help your kiddos grow. I set a timer at the beginning of each writing class and I pass out my 4th grade writing prompts face down. I allow my students to free draw on the back of their paper until the timer begins. Once the timer begins, my kiddos flip over their 4th grade writing prompt paper of the day and begin writing. I call this time “lightning write time”. My kiddos know that their pencil must be moving this entire time. During this time, students are working to increase their writing stamina and get their brains fired up for class. As a teacher, I love using 4th grade writing prompts for warm up activities to help my students grow.

 

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Using 4th Grade Writing Prompts for Targeted Skills Practice:

 

The next way I use 4th grade writing prompts in my classroom is to do targeted skills practice. This work can be done both in class or as homework. I do this by instructing my students on a target specific writing skill (for example, using dialogue). Then, I will give them a 4th grade writing prompt (either printed or digitally) and have them display the skill they were instructed on. For example, there is a 4th grade writing prompt called, “Critter Conversation”. This prompt is all about two animals chatting with each other and what they might say if they could speak. I love using this 4th grade writing prompt for my kiddos to demonstrate their understanding of dialogue writing!

 

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Using 4th Grade Writing Prompts for Exit Tickets:

 

What teacher doesn’t love another data point? Teachers are famous for our amazing data tracking skills! One easy way I like to gather additional writing data points is through the use of exit tickets. I will ask my students to complete a 4th grade writing prompt and demonstrate their understanding of the skill taught that day. They will complete their writing prompt at the end of class and drop it in my turn-in bin. A bonus is that my kiddos really enjoy the writing prompt topics, so it ends up being a fun way to end class. Using 4th grade writing prompts as an exit ticket allows me to quickly do a formative assessment on my student's understanding each day.

 
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Using 4th Grade Writing Prompts for Morning Meeting


Why not start each day by increasing your student's writing skills? Another way you can easily use 4th grade writing prompts to improve your student's writing abilities, is to use these in your morning meetings. Before students come in, quickly print and place a 4th grade writing prompt paper on their desk (or assign a digital one in Google Classroom). Build a routine that each morning, students will take a few minutes before the day begins to answer the 4th grade writing prompt on their desk. Once the day begins, you can incorporate this writing practice into your Morning Meeting through the “share” component. Many “would you rather,” 4th grade writing prompts make fantastic shares/ discussions and creates easy planning for you too. Talk about a win-win!

 
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Using 4th Grade Writing Prompts for Small Group Instruction

 

Did you know you can also incorporate 4th grade writing prompts into your small group instruction? Because you absolutely can! Personally, I use 4th grade writing prompts in my writing small group instruction to help aid my instruction. For example, if I am teaching opinion or argumentative essays, I will pull a “would you rather,” 4th grade writing prompt, something my kiddos will have to take a stance on and use that pre-made prompt to teach and practice a specific skill we are working on for our essay writing (example, writing hooks or body paragraphs).

 
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4th grade writing prompts can easily be incorporated into your classroom routine. Remember, “practice makes permanent”. I want my kiddos to maintain their writing skills that they have learned, so we practice constantly. We practice for our morning meeting share, as writing warm-ups, and so much more! If you want to explore an entire year worth of 4the grade writing prompts (digital and print) that I use with my own students, you can click right HERE.



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Saturday, January 30

Valentine's Day Activities for Elementary Students

 

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Are you ready for the next holiday? I love Valentine’s Day and doing Valentine’s Day activities with my elementary students! From the hearts and sweets to the themed activities, there is so much fun to be had in the classroom. Read more to learn about my absolute favorite Valentine’s Day activities to do with my elementary students.

 

Valentine’s Day Spelling Activities

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The first set of Valentine’s Day activities that I love to do with my elementary students, are Valentine’s Day themed spelling activities!  I teach my kiddos a new spelling pattern each week. These patterns are wicked fun to practice through the use of my themed monthly spelling activities. This month is all about hearts, Cupid, sweets, and valentines. My kiddos love the spin and write activities the most. I love these Valentine’s Day activities for elementary students because my kiddos get good spelling practice and they are basically no prep for me as a teacher. Talk about a win-win! If you want to explore the Valentine's Day spelling activities that I do with my students, click THIS LINK now.

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Valentine’s Day Read Alouds

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If you have been around here a hot minute, you know I’m a sucker for all the read alouds. I love any reason to gather my students on the carpet and share the joy of reading, and a deep story discussion with them. Check out the list below of my favorite Valentine’s Day read aloud books for elementary students.

 

 

Digital Writing Prompts

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Digital writing prompts are my jam! Ever since distance learning took place last March, digital writing prompts have become a favorite of mine. I love the bright colors and engaging prompts for my kiddos, and I love the no prep for me! My favorite way to use digital writing prompts is to assign a prompt to my students and ask them to demonstrate their knowledge of a new skill I have taught them within the prompt (ex. similes, personification, etc.…). These cute and no prep themed prompts are definitely on my list for top Valentine’s Day activities for elementary students. If you want to check out the digital Valentine's Day writing prompts that I use with my students, click THIS LINK now.


Valentine’s Day Math Freebie

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Did someone say Valentine’s Day FREEBIE? Guys, my list of Valentine’s Day activities for elementary students just wouldn’t be complete with an epic freebie. I created this Valentine’s Day math freebie to help my students practice their measurement conversion skills while still having fun. If you have been inside my classroom before, then you know that fun is a key factor in room 204. In this Common Core aligned freebie, your students can match and practice with eleven pages of math fun. I’ve also included a list of my favorite measurement read aloud mentor texts because I can’t help myself when it comes to read alouds. This FREEBIE is ideal for students in grades 3-4. If you think your kiddos would love this Valentine’s Day math activity, then what are you waiting for? Click the button below to download it now!   

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