Tuesday, June 5, 2012

Put Those Parenting Magazines to Good Use!

Wait! Don't throw away that pile of parenting magazines you were "going to read someday" but never got around to doing it and now can't stand them laying around your house.  I've got something else for you to do with them!
Just a small selection of my all too massive pile.
As I mentioned in my first post, this blog will be a random mix of teaching ideas...this one comes from my desire for more "reading" material for my son with real people, not cartoons.  I've been reading in parenting magazines (sort of ironic) that baby/toddlers should "read" books with real images, in particular images of people, real people.  You may have read this also and wondered, "Ok, so where do I get a book like that?"  I love how parenting magazines will throw out tidbits like this but totally leave you hanging.  There are a *few* books out there that fit the bill, my son is particularly a fan of the Babyfaces Pack by Roberta Intrater.
Other than this series - which I bought using my Scholastic teacher points by the way :)  - there really isn't much else out there.  In fact, I could only find one of the Babyface books on Amazon, you have to buy them through Scholastic. 

While cleaning (trying to clean) the house today I glanced at my rather large pile of parenting magazines that I've promised myself I will get around to reading (some day) and I realized jackpot!! I have a whole collection of real people images right under my nose.  I thought about my sons like, er obsession, for magazines (ok so all he does it rip them to shreds but he loves every minute of it) and realized  I could kill two birds with one stone.  I'd cut out a ton of images from my stored up parenting magazines and create a book (magazine) for my little love bug.

After searching the house for some scissors, I got to cutting.  While flipping through just one magazine I realized you really only need one to complete the project.  There are so many photos in each magazine. I never realized how stinkin cute the kids are on those pages!!

Before making a book, I made some "flashcards" to test out my son's reaction. 
I love the baby reading the book!!
He was pretty excited:
I loved the one he is holding because it reminds me of him:
You can see my trusty laminator in the background (I had to dust it off before using it, poor thing has been all couped up since I stopped teaching). After cutting out the pictures, I placed them on cardstock and ran them through, viola! I LOVE my laminator.

Next, I made a little book.  Cut the cardstock in half, laminated, whole punched, and put on some rings.  It was that easy. A few of the pages:
 Seriously, how adorable is that little guy?  He even made my love bug smile!
 Speaking of my love bug, how do you think he liked his new book?
We took it in the car with us on the way to Gymboree and there was no fussing!  I'm thinking I may just keep it in the car for now on...

Don't have a laminator?  Not a problem!  You can just use sheet protectors:
I especially like the shots on the second page because they show lots of different emotions.  It's a great way to talk to your toddler about how the child is feeling and why they might be feeling that way.  Giving a word to the child's expression/feeling is also important so that your child can start to label his or her own emotions.  Stay tuned for more on that topic in an upcoming post - I'm just finishing up a fabulous book, Brain Rules for Baby by John Medina, and I can't wait to share what I've learned.

Monday, June 4, 2012

Getting Started

My first teacher blog post!  I've been playing around with blogging the past year with a personal blog I created to keep family and friends up to speed with the going ons of my sweet little family but I never thought about creating a teacher blog till now. To be honest, I didn't even realize there was a whole world out there of awesome teacher blogs and now that I've found them...I want to join the club. I just finished my first school year...at home.  I recently realized I spent less time in a school this year then I have since I was two years old.  So what have I been doing at home the past year?  Caring for my love bug born last July 16 (on my birthday!). 
 He hasn't been much of a sleeper and has kept me so busy the past year I rarely thought of what I left behind when deciding to become a stay-at-home-mom. To help me get out of the house and get some of my teacher energy out, I did some volunteering at my previous school, organizing and running a Math Competition.  I was content with this until about two weeks ago.  Just as my friends are counting down the days till the end of the school year I am longing to be back in the classroom.  So why don't I just go back?  It's just not as easy as that.  Although I miss teaching, I've grown to love spending so much time with my little man and can not imagine being away from him so much if I were working full-time. In addition, my husband is in the military and away often.  He is about to leave us for six months and then again for a few months at the beginning of next year.  We live far away from all of our family and close friends so I wouldn't have that support system if I went back to work.  I also want to be able to go visit our family when my husband is gone and be available when he is home. So here I am...looking for a way to get out all my pent up teacher ideas. 

This blog will be a mix of things I've done and created during my five years teaching, new activities and lessons I make for my friends and family who are teachers, and some fun things I do with my number one dude.

I'll start with an oldie but goodie.  Since it's the end of the school year, I'll share one of my favorite end of the year activities.

My ____________ ABC Book

While this activity can be done any time throughout the year and for any subject, I prefer to keep it till the end of the year and have student title it My "Third" Grade ABC Book.  This way students can pick words from all subjects and any topic we learned that year.

Instead of writing the definition for each word, I had students use the word in a sentence that would allow the reader to infer the definition.  For example, adaptation - An adaptation that a cheetah has is that it can run really fast so it can catch its prey. Or, circumference - I measured around the circle to figure out the circumference. This took some modeling and guided practice but the students got it and it was a lot more meaningful then simply writing a definition.

I wish I had taken a few pictures of the work my students did this year.  They really turned out great.  To snatch a copy of the book for yourself click on the image below:

I hope you'll travel with me on this journey of learning to be a stay-at-home-teacher whether you are a teacher who teaches in the classroom, a teacher who now teaches at home (like me!), a teacher who does both (rock on!!), or a mom who is just looking for some ideas to do with her children.  Thank you for stopping by!