Monday, September 24, 2012

Expo Feedback

My youngest had a fever this morning, and I didn't realize until 8am, at which point I called into work to tell I wasn't coming in!!! Oh, how that made me feel like a loser. School started at 8.30!! Oh, well, things happen, right? And I'm sure my firsties managed.

While little one was watching Alvin and the Chipmunks, I had a chance to sit on the couch next to her and relax. I took this time to finish up the video presentations from the Back to School Expo, and did some knitting while listening.

From these presentations, I really enjoyed the technology videos by Cara from Teaching...My Calling, reading videos by Annie Moffatt at The Moffatt Girls and classroom decorating videos by Melanie at Schoolgirl Style. The last one was math journals, but I can honestly say I wasn't interested in watching the videos. I only have 3 math lessons a week, and I rather be doing something hands on than journals. I will probably go back and watch them later, just to see what was presented.

I had not previously heard of or seen the website Schoolgirl Style, and enjoyed the tips for the classroom decorating. I would highly recommend going to Melanie's website and seeing all the beautiful ideas out there. I'm not going to rip down my current decorations (not that crazy), but I know from now on in which direction I need to go. One big tip was to keep all your bulletin boards one color, to make it easier on the eyes. Totally makes sense. But oh well, that's for the future.

Melanie also mentioned a bulletin boarder product called Boardette. I'm sooo out of the loop, over here in Finland. They just don't get classroom decoration. I was able to find some (a very limited supply) of these products from Amazon UK. I will ponder the possibilities.

Speaking of bulletin boards, I use flat bed sheets for my bulletin boards, because, again, there are no long rolls of colored paper available. I think this is a very ECO way to decorate your boards. I wash them at the end of the year, and then put them back up in the autumn. Now I need to think of one single color for future decorating.

That's it for now!

Saturday, September 22, 2012

Blind Folded

I had a two day training this week about visually impaired children, since I have a student this year that is visually impaired. This training was very informative and gave me many things to think about.

The first day we had to try on different safety glasses that had been modified to make our vision difficult. Later we had to go to a dark cafe, which was very intense in my opinion. There was simulated noise and you had to really concentrate on what you were doing when getting your coffee. By the time I got to the table, I was exhausted. Our final task of the day was when we were led to a room blindfolded. We had to first get to know the room by walking next to the walls and feeling our way around. When we were done we were led to a table and tried some activities with children's toys in the same room. At the end we had all assumed we were in a playroom (hence the toys), but when we took off our blindfolds, we were in a room that was used for meetings.

The second day we had to help lead our blind folded partner around the building. I turned out to be a poor guide, since my partner never went through door ways without bumping into the side. Oops! Later we had to go do a obstacle course blindfolded. The teacher led us one by one through the course, and the theme was 'We are going on a lion hunt'. The music had been playing earlier, and the teacher asked us if we remembered what came first, next and so on as we went through the course.

On most of these blindfolded activities, I always had an excellent visual in my mind, how everything looked. Always when I took off my blindfold, I was a bit disappointed it wasn't as great!

Here is a pic of the obstacle course.

After all of this I have thought about doing a blind obstacle course with my students. I think it would be really interesting for students to experience. Also, we could make some modified safety glasses for the classroom, so that students can get an idea how our visually impaired student experiences life.

I am grateful to have had these experiences!

Tuesday, September 18, 2012

Fun Friday link up

Today is technically Tuesday, but I am giving myself some slack, since school has been totally crazy!
I really wanted to share the 2 fun things we did last week. I'm linking up with Teaching Fourth for Fun Friday.

First off, we went on a nature walk to the near by protected forest. Here we are walking, all 34 students, 2 teachers and 2 assistants. We were identify leaves in the forest.

Then we made some apple art using crayon resist. The students had to draw and color two apples with crayon. They also were allowed to add some fairies or goblins into the pictures. Then we used water colors for the background. Oh boy, I forgot what a whole class art lesson is like! I was tired afterwards. 

Just on a side note, I have to do list in my binder. I printed it Sunday night, and it was full in 24hours......really??? I guess I will use the back side to finish up this week :(

Sunday, September 16, 2012

Check out Primary Possibilities

Hey folks!
Over at Primary Possibilities, they are trying to reach 500 followers by tomorrow! They are super close, just 9 more to go. And if that isn't exciting enough, they will be having a huge giveaway when it's all said and done!

Primary Possibilities blog is run by 3 primary teaches. They have great ideas and some great freebies!
Go take a look.

Thursday, September 13, 2012

Currently September

Yeah, it's Currently time! Which is awesome. It's one of the ways I am able to link up with other teachers and feel connected with others in blogging.

Make sure to link up with Farley over at Oh' Boy Fourth Grade.

As you can see, my favorites are about food and my current need for the weekend.

Tuesday, September 11, 2012


Yeah, the crazy 5 weeks of flexible start is coming to an end! I love that we have been able to split up our students into 6 groups with 6 teachers and teach about 6 kids each time. Totally awesome, but it still has been totally confusing for the kids (and us teachers are tired). Plus now I still have to teach all my classroom routines to them. HELLO!

So it still feels like the first days of school, now that we are in a big group and students still have no idea how to act as first graders. If you didn't know, Finnish kids don't start any formal school until age 7 in first grade. It's cute and sad when they keep saying "I want to go outside and play".

Most importantly we have still been talking very much about rules and cooperation. Last week we had groups of students make posters together. Yesterday we did an activity that is super cute and the kids think is fun.

You need a large space to make a circle with your students (we went outside) and a ball of yarn. Once in your circle, the teachers starts by explaining the activity rules. You ask students to think of one thing about them, give them some ideas first (favorites, hobbies, etc.) and then explain that they will throw the yarn to each other and make a spider web. Did she say spider web? Yep, and the kids think that is SO COOL :P

The teacher then starts. Mine was "My name is Mrs. Pope and my favorite food is tomatoes". Then I threw the yarn skein to another child, while I held tightly to the end of the beginning end of the yarn. Each child then did the same. At the end, I asked them to put down their spider web. You could go then backwards still, if you think the students can handle it. They could then tell one more thing about themselves.

One trick though, is to make sure that the next person always throws all the way across, and keeps the yarn on top of the spider web. It makes going in reverse much easier at the end. 

We have been studying Jolly Phonics, and we're only onto the 6th letter. But regardless we have started 
-at, -an, -it and -ip word families. I have been using word sorting, making words with clay, stamping and writing on the chalkboard for extra practice of word families. And let's not forget Starfall!! Great free online resource for English, which the kids totally love.