Friday, 27 May 2016

Using Dot-to-Dot to enhance Creativity!

How often has your child/student been able to identify the dot-to-dot pattern on a page before actually connecting the dots?  This activity is great for fine motor but so not great for developing creativity!

My version of dot-to-dot can be used with children right up to 6th grade and helps them to tap into their creative side.  What’s nice about this activity too, is that students are limited in their drawings by the position of the dots, so no one can complain that they are ‘not good at drawing’ as everyone is at the same 'disadvantage.' 

This activity is not about being able to draw.  It is about being able to group the dots in such a way that they resemble something.

Try giving each student a page covered in random dots (you can make one version and then photocopy it).

Then group your students and give each group a category or topic.  For example, transport, garden, space, sports, sweet treats etc.  Students then work individually to connect the dots to create a picture of their given category.  Allow them to plan their picture with a pencil first:

Then they fill in the picture with color and some extra details:

Happy creating :)

Sunday, 15 May 2016

CVC Fun!

Wow, this post has taken me nearly nine months to publish!  It has been sitting waiting, and waiting and now finally, it can be published  (can I admit at this point that I forgot all about it?)

For Adam's second birthday, I included little color puzzles in the party packs for all the two year old friends.

Knowing that Megan would be there as well as some siblings ranging between the ages of 4 and 5, another option needed to be considered for them as the color puzzles were way too easy for them.

This Short A Flip Booklet has been a great hit for Megan.  She has been working with it sounding out the words, reading them and then searching for the image to go with it with enthusiasm.

I used a ring to bind them together and placed sticky velcro on the backs of the images as well as the word cards.  This made it easy for Megan to attach the pictures next to the words. It also ensured that pieces would not go missing one they were all in the 'book'.

In the meantime I made the other Short Vowel booklets and we are working on those now.  I also made some worksheets to go along with the booklets to use as reinforcement.  As you can see, they involve cutting the pictures out at the bottom and sorting out the sounds needed, then pasting them in the correct spot and writing the words.

Here you can see an example of one of the worksheets:

Click here to view this activity in my store or here to see my other CVC activities.

Thursday, 12 May 2016

Tips For: A Child who is Oppositional

Oppositional Disorder is reflected in a situation where a student refuses to comply with everyday requests, such as , to line up.  This child will refuse and remain where they are.  If an attempt is made to assist them toward the line up spot, they will hang on to furniture to make it as difficult as possible to move them there.

These situations can cause a disturbance in the class.  The teacher is often caught in a power struggle with a child who refuses to comply.

Why do children display Oppositional tendencies?

  • Serious emotional problems stemming from home life.
  • Social communication problems:  Does this child have trouble communicating in a social setting?
  • Cultural differences:  Does this child come from a different culture were expectations are different?  (This takes me back to a child whom I taught.  He refused to look the teachers in the eyes while being spoken to.  This reflected as being disrespectful and showing disinterest in what was being said.  But the reality was that he had been taught, in his culture, to show respect by not making eye contact!  Talk about confusing for a child!)
  • Language difficulties:  Are there underlying language comprehension difficulties and/or language and speech problems?
  • Social group problems: Has this child had experience in a social group with many other children? Has this child been exposed to routine and a structured day?

Tips to Handle an Oppositional Child:

  • Arrange for a speech and language assessment as well as a possible hearing assessment.
  • Introduce a buddy system.  Align the child with someone who is confident to steer him/her in the right direction and set a good example.
  • Give the child a choice where possible, for example, "Which puzzle would you like to build?"
  • Warn when activities are about to end or the situation is going to change, for example, "The bell will ring in 3 minutes and then we are going to move to the mat."
  • Display a visual timetable/daily program, to help the child establish routine and daily structure.
  • Determine the child's interest and touch on it at school.
  • Seek professional assistance if behavior continues.

Do you have any suggestions to add to this list?  I'd love to read about them in the comments sections :)

Wednesday, 4 May 2016

Tips For: How to Handle a Child who Refuses to Speak

Selective Mutism is an anxiety disorder where a child will refrain from speaking at all.  When spoken to, this child will react in a way that is clear they understand and will participate in the activity, but will not speak to anyone in the school setting.  However, he/she will be very verbal at home.

Don't let the fact that this child is choosing not to speak, frustrate you.  Let's look at reasons why they may do so.

Why are they refusing to speak?

  • Control:  This could be a controlling mechanism.  A school is a place where someone other than the primary caregiver makes the rules.  This child may use his/her refusal to speak as a way to be in control.  In their mind, no one can make them speak.  
  • Intimidation:  This child may feel intimidated by other students.  His/her social and emotional skills may not be developed enough to deal with a school environment or the coping strategies may not have been put in place.  A history of bullying may also be a cause.
  • Fear of Failure:  He/she could feel it safer not to talk due a a fear of failing (saying the wrong thing, pronouncing words incorrectly or speaking with an accent). 
  • Social setting:  Is the child new to the school or of a different language group?

Tips to handle children who refuse to speak:

  • Use puppets or toys as a form of communicating:  Giving  the child another character may encourage him/her to speak as the character.  Role-play may have the same effect.
  • Be patient
  • Do not try to force the child to participate:  Increasing the child's anxiety will only worsen the situation and give him/her less reason to display trust towards you.
  • Do not draw attention to the behavior.
  • Suggest a family member (or someone the child is comfortable with) come to school for a period during the school day.  This will give the child an opportunity to communicate with someone in the school setting.  It also shows the child how the trusted family member engages with his/her peers.
  • Seek professional assistance.  Specifically selected therapies may be needed to assist in reducing anxiety and improving/correcting a speech impairment if one is present.  Early intervention is key!

Do you have any tried and tested tips to add to this list?  Please share them in the comments section!

Happy teaching!

Monday, 2 May 2016

Get your Wishlist Ready! It's Sale Time!

The Teacher Appreciation Week Sale (3rd - 4th May) at TeacherPayTeachers has us all in a fit of excitement! These sales don't come around very often, and to tell you the truth, I am ready to clear out (or maybe make a dent) in my wishlist.

To try to narrow down the task of tackling the huge number of resources and products on TeachersPayTeachers, a few of us have linked up with Jen from Teaching in the Tongass, to bring you our most wishlisted products.

You can check out this Active and Passive board game here.

Grab this fun math activity here.  You can even try it before you buy it here.

View this Prepositions board game here.

Don't forget to pop back to Teaching in the Tongass to find some more 'wishlist worthy' products!

Sunday, 1 May 2016

Grammar is more than just a worksheet!

When teaching, I was always looking for activities which incorporated more than one outcome.  Our school year was not nearly long enough to include all the work which was set out for us to do, so I needed to improvise ;)

I would try to include grammar where ever I could as technically we were only allocated 1 hour a week (Yes, you read correctly - 1 hour a week) to teach grammar.  As a result, I got creative and started integrating grammar into everything else I taught.  Not a full on grammar lesson, but rather a touch on what had already been covered throughout the year.

Identifying Grammar in Texts

As an example, while reading texts, students would point out various punctuation marks and grammar concepts as we went along.   As a reward, I would link my laptop to the projector and display an online book.  Students would then take turns to read passages out loud (as this was a reward, no one was forced to read, but rather volunteer to read).

After each passage, I would ask students to identify parts of speech, punctuation marks, figurative language - whatever I spotted in the paragraph.  Students would then walk up to the board, select a color marker and underline it on the board for others to see.  -It was like a grammar/punctuation/figurative language scavenger hunt.  And they LOVED it!  We often used

Grammar in Games

In many of my lessons, I tried to use he first 5-10 minutes for a recap on the Grammar that had previously been covered.  I had a huge shelf at the front of my classroom and it was stacked with containers of language and math board games which I had created.  I would write on the board, which game would be played during this time.  When students entered the class, they each knew their role and would collect the games and start to play.  They knew there was limited time, so they would waste none.  You can view my upper elementary / middle school games here.

Listening for Grammar

I am now also in the process of compiling listening activities which require students to listen for certain parts of speech.  So often our worksheets require students to look for the part of speech.  Now they can apply what they have learnt, use/develop their listening skills to identify the part of speech - it adds an extra challenge.

So far Nouns, Verbs and Adjectives have been uploaded to my Teachers Pay Teachers store.  If you are interested, you can check it out here.

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