Mental Health Week

Mental Health is unseen and as a result often ignored or not dealt with in the best way. This week Buzzfeed has been making its readers aware of mental health. Many of the posts have been comical but truthful. They are about the challenges that individuals who’s brains process in this way struggle with things others may take for granted. The video seen above might seem a little silly but it is powerful. Have you ever heard the term “spoonie”? If you have it’s probably because you know someone who defines them self as one or you are one. If not here is an article about what being a “spoonie” means.

Mental health is something that is easy to talk about abstractly. However, it is not as easy to talk about in common terms. I wanted to bring this topic to light because for me a students mental and emotional health (or unseen illnesses) are just as valid and important as the ones that can be seen. It is never easy to know what to say to someone struggling with mental health. Sometimes there is no right thing to say other than: I’m here for you, I’m not going to judge you, Do you want to talk?

Many students or parents will be struggling with these unseen illnesses. Here and here are links to the Buzzfeed mental health week opening post and NAMI (National Alliance on Mental Illness).

Remember just like something that can be seen physically a student struggling with something going on that’s unseen needs help too. Here are some ways you can get started in helping.

 

#Breakthestigma

-Miss.Moriah-

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Parent Teacher Conferences

Parent teacher conference nights can be a challenge to set up but they are very rewarding if everything goes smoothly! They don’t have to occur just once a semester either. If something is going great, or well… not so great you can call or set up a meeting during the year too. Here are some articles and forms to help you have the best parent-teacher meetings you can!

Share and Grow,

-Miss. Moriah-

 

This teacher gives some great tips and easy to use forms for parent teacher reminders. There is also a nice one to use the night of the meeting.

-What should my room look like? How soon do I notify parents? What if I think I will need extra time for one conference? This teacher made an easy to read post with some forms for lower/upper elementary.

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Classroom Call backs

If you don’t know what a classroom call back is you will soon! They are wonderful tools to quiet own a noisy classroom or group of students. I use callbacks everyday at my after school program to get 45 excited kids to listen. If you have ever heard of African call and response songs? This is sort of what you are doing with the students in your room when you grab their attention with a class call back.

Here are some ideas for fun class callbacks to use in your room. What is your favorite call back?

-Check out this article of 50 call-and response ideas.

Buzzfeed asked  teachers what their favorites were. Check them out.

-We use a clap pattern at work. The kids know the end of it to fill in so we don’t have to talk and they can see/hear when it is time to clean up and listen.

What do you do in your room?

Share and Grow,

-Miss. Moriah-

Exit Tickets

Exit Slips

Exit Slips are great way for you to get feedback from your students about how a lesson or the whole day went. They take less than 5 minutes and can be anonymous if you choose. These are informal assessments and can be a nice way to see what students are still confused  or what they really got. Included here are some exit slip examples and ideas. What’s your favorite out the door assessment?

Learn and Grow,

-Miss. Moriah-

– Check out this article and learn about ideas for online exit slips!

-Want some ideas for exit slip questions? This article has 53.

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Quotes and Inspiration

Quotes and Inspiration

Grades due, gotcha blue? IEPs, 504’s, the acronyms in meetings I can’t take one more!

Sometimes, ok many times, in the year being a teacher can be stressful. You may wonder why the heck did I get myself into this?! I love quotes as little pick me ups of inspiration. They work great not only for me but sometimes for students too (depending on how old the student is). If your students are working on ELA skills like, decoding a digging into meaning, starting the day off with one may not be a bad idea. They are nice discussion points and can be community building.

Since the holidays, grades, and first snow are all fast approaching I think we could all use some words of inspiration to keep us going right now!

 

Keep Calm, Grow On,

-Miss. Moriah-

 

“I cannot teach anybody anything, I can only make them think.”Socrates

“Teach the children so it will not be necessary to teach the adults.”Abraham Lincoln

“Every child deserves a champion – an adult who will never give up on them, who understands the power of connection and insists that they become the best that they can possibly be.”Rita Pierson

“The best way to predict your future is to create it.”Abraham Lincoln

“The secret in education lies in respecting the student.”Ralph Waldo Emerson

*I saw this one recently and it’s a good one for the class wall 🙂

“There’s an old saying: Erasers are for people who make errors. But a better saying: Erasers are for people willing to correct their mistakes.”

“A hundred mistakes are an education if you learn something from each one.”

“We learn wisdom from failure much more than from success.”-Smiles

“Form good habits. They’re as hard to break as bad ones.”

“All things are difficult before they are easy.”-Thomas Fuller

 

Array City

If you’re like me, the term array as applied to math may be fairly new. However, once I began to understand them I could see how they could be useful learning tools for students. If an array is something that is a new term to you or it is a little confusing I recommend this page. I like the visuals and explanations.

I am  currently placed with 3rd grade students in a city setting. They have been working to learn multiplication with arrays. Some students are behind  academically and others have behavioral needs in the room. When the teacher asked if I wanted to create a lesson, I jumped at the chance to integrate my love of art into the lesson! Many of the students in the room love superheros too so I thought about this when creating part of the lesson.

*Note- there are a lot of steps but we gave them a check list on the board.

In the lesson students review arrays as a group.  Then they were  asked to solve six multiplication problems from a worksheet and draw the arrays (this group needs that extra scaffolding). After they have solved and drawn, students had to check for correctness with an elbow partner. Once the arrays were checked, students got construction paper and turned the arrays into a city scene like the one shown here.

array city

But, the fun didn’t end quiet yet! I really wanted to know what happened in the city. So students were given graphic organizers to write 3-5 sentence stories in. Many students in this class struggle with where to place capitals, punctuation, or just don’t like to write. I told them if they want to write four perfect ( Capital, !.?, best spelling) sentences about how Batman saves their city from evil that was ok with me. Many students told me about Trick-or-Treating but I did get a lot of superhero stories too!

Here is the Pokemon story from one student.

array city

Do you like the idea for this lesson? Great let me know! It aligned with common core grade 3 ELA and Math standards. They kids enjoyed it and it would make for a great bulletin board. I can’t take all the credit though. I borrowed the idea from this page.

Learn and Grow!

-Miss. Moriah-

Technology

“My… won’t load!” The smartboard is broken again…. “This link doesn’t work what do I do now?” “The computer ate my homework.”

Technology is great, when it works. However, there is still something to be said for a book or pencil. They can’t get corrupted (well maybe by a puddle) and they take a lot longer to become obsolete. Having witnessed teachers using programs to teach for them and others who use technology to assist in the learning process, I can see pros and cons in it’s daily use.

Children are not designed to sit and be on a computer for half the day. They are movers and shakers.  This isn’t to say adults are supposed to sit all day either, we just have more patience. Helping students to connect their learning in their brain and body, through the mind and music, or other multiple connections can help with recollection of information. Muscle memory is a powerful thing!

This being said I wanted to post a piece in technology since it is so prevalent in our classrooms. Included are some useful infographics of educational apps and websites for the classroom.

Learn and Grow,

-Miss. Moriah-

 

-Do you remember using geoboards? They took up a lot of space in the room for storage and could be challenging for some students to use. With this online version you always will have the colors of bands you need and no one will get poked with the geo-pins!

-This site is cute for students just learning fractions who may need a little more practice at home. The site talks to you and guides you through a pizza fraction adventure. I like it because if mom and dad don’t remember fractions well either the student can still learn independently. The information is read and written plus there are images.

-This educator compiled a bunch on resources for fractions on her blog. Check them out! Many are games or classroom tools.

-Again, depending on your students you will have different needs for technology. I found some of the items on this list more useful than others. But I liked the compilation overall. This list includes lesson planning sites, social learning, and useful tools. With 50 links on the page its worth a click.

-Of course no list of resources would be complete with out this tidbit! So my students are all on their tablets, now how do I make sure they are doing what they should be doing…. Don’t worry I don’t an article to help you out! I hated being hovered over as a student , I’m sure I was not the only one. This article includes tips from teachers on how they handle technology in the classroom. Here are FREE downloadable posters to remind students of some technology rules for the classroom too.

-I have to say I’m not Google Classroom savvy. However, many schools are starting to use this new system. I found this website with  a slideshow telling you all these cool things you can use the online tool for as well as a book (about $20 on Amazon). So if you are new to the product and your school heavily uses it it might be with a glance.

 

-What else can you look for that may not be on this list? Take a virtual field trip, listen to an audio book, play a book on youtube aloud and save your voice, use an app and text about a good day, us the tablets and record the skits your class did for parents to see at conference night. What else can you think of?