Saturday, July 12, 2014

A mid-summer day's post

After a bit of a blogging hiatus, I thought I would check in with an update. I can't believe how long it's been since I last posted... but I'm sure other teachers can relate, the end of the school year can be an all-consuming and exhausting blur! Finishing up assessments, working on report cards, and getting my classroom ready for the summer took up allllll of my time, and I'm really only now starting to recover :)

I have to say that teaching grade 2 was a fantastic experience and I LOVED those kids. And the grade. It's such a great age, and there is so much you can do with the curriculum. I loved how they blossomed into fluent readers over the course of the school year... and the WRITING, ohmygoodness. Coming from a kindie background, these kids blew me away with their progression into writing. I can honestly say that by the end of the year, I had read stories that were funny, clever, suspenseful, engaging, and exciting... all from 7 and 8 year olds! 

That being said, as much as I've loved grade 2, in September I will be returning to another awesome grade-- grade 1. I've taught grade 1 for three years in the past, and it's right up there as one of my most-loved grades to teach. I'm excited to return to grade 1 and build on what I already know, making it the best year yet. 

For any of you who follow me on Teachers Pay Teachers, this will mean a slight shift in focus in my store. You'll see new worksheets that are applicable to grade 1, but also units that are multi-level (suitable for all Primary grades)... not to mention a lot more center-based activities. I hope that you continue to find my products useful in your classroom!

Tuesday, April 8, 2014

Van Gogh artist study

Bonjour! I can't believe it is already April!!! I don't know about the weather where you live, but it has only just begun to feel like spring here in Ottawa within the past few days. Finally!! I am SO ready for sunshine and flowers :)

I wanted to share a really fun art project I did with my class that they absolutely loved, and that makes a really gorgeous display of art in the hallways.

First, we spent some time looking at several paintings by Vincent Van Gogh and discussing the lines, colour, and sense of movement in his pieces. After we had spent time becoming familiar with his style, the students then began to recreate a piece of his art using pastels on black construction paper.


They sketched their drawing in pencil and then filled it in with either oil pastels or chalk pastels. I was so impressed with their focus and attention to detail!

Many students opted to attempt a second piece after they were finished their first, and some even did multiple. Interestingly, while many of my students were keen to try reproducing different pieces of Van Gogh, I had a couple of kids who became determined to recreate the same painting over and over, and you could really see the style and attention to detail developing in their work as they made it their own :)

In all, we spent 4 art classes studying Van Gogh over a period of about two weeks.

The finished works of art are on display in the hallway outside my classroom. They are absolutely beautiful! I really encourage you to try this activity in your class, and leave a comment or share pictures if you do! :)

Friday, March 28, 2014

Earth Hour

Since Earth Hour falls this Saturday, we have been talking a lot (even more than usual) about the environment and what we can to to reduce our carbon footprint.

I like to take the opportunity to also encourage my students' families to participate in Earth Hour, not only because it's good for awareness, but also because it can be a really enjoyable experience for families. Several years ago, I started marking Earth Hour with my family as a time to turn off the lights, light some nice candles, and pull out a board game or a puzzle. It's calmer, lots of fun, and it soon turned into something that I look forward to each year!

So, I wanted to share a list with you that I send out to parents of students in my class, in hopes that they also take the time to have some good old fashioned fun together!

Fun, family activities to do during Earth Hour:

- play a board game by candlelight
- go for a neighbourhood walk (incorporate math by counting & graphing the houses that have their lights off!)
- read together by candlelight
- build a puzzle
- play cards by candlelight
- colour together
- play charades
- go stargazing
- do yoga
- build a blanket fort
- make a domino maze... and then knock it over!
- build a city out of lego
- build a house of cards
- act out your family's favourite movie or book

Most of all, have fun! :)

~ B