Wednesday, July 1, 2015

Public Speaking Skills Practice for the Primary Classroom ~ The Power of Sharing Pages

We believe public speaking skills should be taught early on in the primary classroom. Giving students multiple opportunities to speak in front of their peers sets the foundation for lifelong literacy learning.  Plus, it hopefully helps them steer clear of the, "Just pretend everyone is naked!" public speaking technique. :D
We have never done the traditional “sharing” in our class. Instead, we use our sharing time each week to practice and develop beginning public speaking skills with our students through our Sharing Pages Program. This gives them opportunities to become comfortable when speaking in front of their peers. The pages are also a great way to practice writing components throughout the year.
  We have been using these pages in our class for over 15 years as a weekly homework writing assignment. These pages can also simply be used in class as a single writing assignment, center work, small groups, independent work, etc. 
Each student is assigned a sharing day, which stays the same for the entire school year. We usually assign sharing days within the first few weeks of school, paying close attention to those who can handle sharing on a Tuesday and those who perhaps would do best with a little more time to complete their assignment and need a Friday share day. Our class takes their weekly sharing page home with their homework packet each Monday and we run sharing time Tuesday-Friday each week, with the exception of holidays, school events, etc. We divide our class among the sharing days, which for us is usually no more than 5 or 6 kids per day. Our sharing time takes 10 minutes tops once they get the routine down. We typically run sharing time immediately following our last recess at the end of the school day...We love it as a calm down and regroup from recess activity.  :)
On their assigned class sharing day, they return their sharing page to be read and shared in front of the class. We have a turn-in basket right inside our classroom door and train them to turn everything into the black tray when they come in each morning. When it's sharing time, we fan the day's sharing pages out on the table nearest to the front of the classroom. We call the first sharer and then they are to call the next sharer from the top of the pile (no skipping around just to pick favorites!) up to the front of the classroom. So, it becomes a student led activity very quickly in our classroom! We usually stand in the back of the classroom and play Volume Controller, letting them know gently when we can't hear them and encouraging them to pump up the jam raise their voices please. 
Once the week is over, we print our book covers, mount them on colored construction paper, laminate, and bind all of the week's class sharing pages together to make class books that grow throughout the school year in our class library. The kids love sitting together and looking through their sharing books! They are giddy when they find their own pages and love seeing their friends' work up close and personal.
We use binding combs and a binding machine for our books, but you could easily staple, put a binder ring in the top corner, punch 2 or 3 holes along the spine and tie ribbons...It's really up to you!
Here's our favorite part!
One of our absolute favorite activities is on the last day of school and it's our Sharing Page Book Raffle. We usually end up with enough sharing books for each student to take home 2 to keep. We throw them out on the classroom rug and let the raffle begin! You can read all about how we run our raffle on the last day of school {here}.
Our Writing Prompts for Class Share Time Bundle provides writing prompts for the entire year. We send them home for homework and use the rest in class during our Workshop time which they share with their small group or in front of the class as time allows. 
Each month includes...
Directions on how to use Sharing Pages
•Direction on how to use Cover Pages
•Family Introduction Letter
•Class Sharing Schedule
•8 Sharing Writing Pages (k-1)
•8 Sharing Writing Pages (2-3)
•8 Colored Book Covers
•8 Printer Friendly Book Covers
 You can see all of our units, and download monthly previews
We also created a back to school sharing page sampler so you can give them a try! You can follow our TpT Shop and download these back to school writing prompts for free {here}.
We're excited to introduce something new to our students this coming school year! We just created these Public Speaking Skills Posters to hang up in our classroom and help our students get ready and willing to speak in our classroom.
Using visual reminders for our class helps build their confidence and independence as they gain a greater understanding and comfort ability while speaking in front of others. These Public Speaking Posters were designed to provide concrete reminders and visual support for our students as they share their weekly Sharing Pages in our classroom. 
We used the acronym SPEAK to teach our class what public speakers look and sound like when they are sharing. We created a one page poster and individual posters with each component on it's own page...What can we say? We like choices! You can download a set of our Ready, Set...Speak! Public Speaking Posters for free from our TpT Shop {here}...Because honestly, the "Just pretend everyone is naked." technique has got to stop STAT. :)

Monday, May 4, 2015

Thank You Teachers! Teachers Pay Teachers Appreciation Sale

We don't do it for the money. 
We don't do it for the thanks. 
But it's nice to feel appreciated while saving money in our banks. 

Teachers Pay Teachers is thanking teachers all across the land with a 
2 day 
Teacher Appreciation Sale!

Save up to 28%  by entering coupon code THANK YOU at checkout. 

Whether you're finishing up the school year or looking ahead to next, now's the time to stock up and save because teachers are the BEST!

Sunday, May 3, 2015

That's a Wrap! End of School Activities

We're going with the Field of Dreams, "If you build blog it, they it will come." mentality at the moment. 29 days and counting left in the school year for us, which we are sure may seem like a lot to some of you who are ending this school year much, much sooner, but we will get our payback time come July. ;)

We really don't know what it is about the end of the school year, but we absolutely love it! Perhaps it's because the pressure is off. The learning is learned. The books are read. Homework is dead. Whatever the reason, we just love enjoying time with our class, letting them be kids and winding down our amazing school year together.  

Here are a few of our favorite class activities for the end of the school year.
Given our end of school humor, the book "No More Pencils, No More Books, No More Teacher's Dirty Looks!" is our favorite read aloud based solely on the title alone. So, of course we created some Booktivities to go along with the story! These fill in our centers time while we're assessing for report cards throughout the last weeks of school.

Somewhere between Open House, report cards and end of school we usually find ourselves winding down, but we can't ever let the kids know we are winding down. Sometimes we are so wound down we feel like we don't have a lot left to do with them, and truth be told, sometimes it's hard to keep their summer squirreliness under control! Right? So last year, we decided to create activities that kept our learning geared up while our brains and lesson planning abilities wound down. Last Day Hooray keeps them busy, independent, engaged and enthusiastic about school ending and summer beginning! 
We use summer vocabulary words to have them create their own summer bingo cards which we play over and over throughout the last week of school. 
We know our students learn a lot from us all year, so the end of the school year is the perfect time for us to learn a little from them too. We love giving them our End of School Year Exit Interview. They interview their friends and tell us what they liked, didn't like and will always remember, or rather forget, about our school year together. 
We love giving them opportunities to write their own thoughts and ideas...We've come a long way since the first day of school! We enlarge our Summer Survey onto 11"x17" copy paper (enlarging to 185% usually does the trick on our copy machines) and let them tell us all about their summer hopes and dreams. Then, we share them in small groups and they take them home to share too. 
We also have an ice cream sundae party at the very end of our last day. We post this sign up sheet outside our door beforehand and ask for donations. This sign up sheet is included in our Last Day Hooray preview in our TpT Shop for free. Download the preview and print your own Last Day Ice Cream Party Sign Up sheet.  
Each of our students gets a personalized bucket on the last day of school. We grab them at Micheals when they go on clearance, around 50 cents a piece, at their lowest price! 
Inside, we include their Monthly Memories book, our class DVD with photographs set to music from our school year, a copy of our Sliding Through Summer Skills Review Booklet, a deflated beach ball from the Dollar Tree, and a summer journal that they create during the last week of school (tutorial and download below). Sometimes we throw other leftovers in there like stickers, crazy straws, or anything else we want to purge give. :) 
We get the kids excited about continuing their writing skills over the summer by having them create their own summer journals. It's easy as 1-2-3.

We give them two choices of covers, which you can grab for free {here}. They can add stamps, stickers, doodles, really whatever you have time for. 
One of our absolute favorite activites on the last day of school is our Sharing Page raffle. You can read about how we run share time in our classroom {here} and {here}. We usually end up with enough sharing books for each student to take 2. We throw them out on the classroom rug and let the raffle begin!
Nothing fancy...We just have them write their names on a piece of scrap paper and throw them into a bucket. 
We pick, they pic...Simple as that! 
Once they're done picking, they take their new sharing books back to their desks and read them while the other kids are picking. We know what you're thinking...Stinks if you're last! Not really...We only let them pick one at a time and then we put all the names back into the bucket for round 2. We also give a few minutes of trading time at the very end. Anyone who wants to swap, comes to the rug for a quick trade. Those who don't want to trade, stay in their seats. 
One last science lesson before we swagger into summer... 
We have the kids inflate their own beach balls for last day of school classmate autographs. No worries...We do have a few air pumps on hand to help them out if they need it. :) We estimate how many puffs it will take and place our bets on whose arm will tired first using the air pumps (usually ours). But between breaths and pumps, we get these inflated fast! As they finish, they set them in their chairs and head to recess. We do a double check when they're gone. 
 When we get back from recess, the real fun begins! We have tried this multiple ways, but here's how signing our last day of school beach balls works best for us. 
1. Give each student a permanent marker
2. Have them write their name on the end of the beach ball, all in the same spot so we know whose is whose.
3. Give them each their own class list with all of their classmates names. 
4. Ready, set, go! Let them roam around the classroom, gathering signatures and crossing off the names on their class list as they go. We never worry if they miss one or two, we just say, 
"Check your list!". 
Of course we sign them too...

One year, we must have eaten one too many cafeteria lunches or something because we had the crazy, last minute idea to let them go outside and celebrate the last day of school by throwing their beach balls, like graduation caps high into the air. Remember how we had them write all their names in the same spot on the end of the beach ball? This is why...Trust us. 
Ok, how can you say no to these faces! We know they're blurred, but trust us...Pure joy...Summer Bliss! It quickly became a last day tradition for us. Now, we always throw our balls into the air on the last day of school! Errr...You know what we mean. :)
And that's a school year wrap folks! 
Close the homework. Start the fun. School is over. 
Summer's begun! 
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