Sunday, April 3, 2016

Three tips for making the most of the last months!

It is the last day of Spring Break!  If your district is like ours, this was the last break we have before the end of the year.  In the last months we have so much to get done, so it is so important to keep them engaged and learning till the end!  Here are 3 of my strategies that I use to keep them learning until that last day!

I live by this all year for first grade, but even more so the last couple of months!  Spring around here means kids starting baseball, soccer, and playing outside The only thing worse for a child to be stuck inside all day, is to be stuck sitting inside all day!  These last few months, we do some kind of 5 minute movement at least every 45 minutes.  It might seem like a lot of time wasted, but it helps students stay focused and more engaged during instructional time. We use GoNoodle! The students love the variety of the fun activities they can do!  We love it because we know there will not be commercials like YouTube or anything inappropriate popping up!
GoNoodleWarning: they have many songs tend to continually go through your head! #kittyhighfive
 The last months we make sure that we pick themes that are engaging and fun too!  We get to explore the world of frogs and toads while we read the books from the Frog and Toad series, we have a 2 week LEGO unit complete with LEGO robotics, and the last 2 weeks we do some camping and picnicking!  Integrating our learning into these themes helps students get excited about being in school and keeps them engaged until the end! 
Who doesn't love to have choices!  To keep my students engaged, I try to provide lots of choices so that they have no choice but to learn!  My students get choices of if they sit, where they sit, and who they want to sit by.  They know as long as they are working, they can do it however they want!  I have flexible seating in my room, so my students can stand, sit on the futon, in a bean bag, on a wobble stool, on a cushion, at a low table on the floor, or even at a regular table.  I also make sure to provide activities for practice that accommodate any learning style.  Hands on learners may be using manipulatives,  social learners might be playing a game, and kids who just need to move might be doing a write the room activity all at the same time.  It takes a little more time, but it sure makes a difference in classroom engagement and management.  Kids are almost always 100% engaged when they have activities that fit their learning style!

I am so excited for these next couple of months because we have so much yet to accomplish, yet so sad because I just ADORE this group of kids and I really don't want to pass them along to someone else!  (occupational hazard!)   Hope your week is full of sunshine and fun!