Flexible seating is a great way to help students get their wiggles out while staying focused on the task at hand. I have implemented flexible seating for one full school year, and it has now become the norm in my classroom instead of the exception. I wanted to write a blog post about it for a while, but time has always seemed to get in the way. Luckily, as a GoNoodle Ambassador, I was given the opportunity to share my flexible seating experience on GoNoodle's Instagram stories. As I started planning and recording my thoughts, recommendations, and experiences, it evolved into a pretty detailed description of flexible seating. A few followers also asked if these videos could be saved, so I thought I would save all of the stories together, and share them with you all. (Since Instagram stories are only a few seconds at a time, the video may seem a bit choppy for that reason.) If you are interested in flexible seating, be sure to watch this video!
One of my favorite parts of the school day is when I read aloud with my kids. It is one of the purest moments you and your students can share. Not only can books take you to fantastical places, I truly value their ability to put you in the shoes of others, transform your thoughts, and change your viewpoints. It is for this reason that I love using children's literature to teach empathy and respect for others to promote classroom community.
One of my new favorite books is Red by Michael Hall. It is about a crayon who is labeled red, but he actually colors blue. Instead of accepting that he is blue, everyone is stuck on the label and tries to provide many interventions to try and get him to be red. It isn’t until a new crayon friend sees him for who he truly is and asks him to draw a blue ocean. Others realize they have been judging him all wrong and finally recognize that he is blue.
This book could truly be read to students of all ages. I have had a few different people read this story, and each person has made different connections and felt it to not only be powerful for themselves, but also for a wide range of audiences. This book is the perfect story to open up a dialogue about judging others solely on their outward appearance. It shows us the importance of seeing and accepting a person for who they truly are, seeing their inner beauty. Once we feel accepted, we feel like we belong, we have a place, we fit in.
I knew I wanted to share Red with my students, but I also wanted them to make a more personal connection with the book; to share a part of themselves with the class, that others may not know. I came up with a simple idea of having them share a quality that they believe people see about them from the outside, and then share a more personal quality that their peers would not know until they really got to know them. Students can also color their crayon to represent their outside and inside qualities. My hope is for students to embrace each other's hidden qualities, likes, and differences. Teachers of older students could also ask their class to keep their crayon anonymous to ensure privacy. Students may be more willing to share personal thoughts if they know there is more of an "unknown factor."
I hope you find these resources to be of great value for your classroom! After all, acceptance, empathy, and caring are qualities all teachers and parents wish for their children to bestow upon others and have others bestow onto them.
Does your school have a no food or no candy policy? My elementary school does. As a mom of a little boy who seems to get cavities after every piece of candy he eats (despite relentless toothbrushing and flossing), I can appreciate this rule. However, it can sometimes make it tricky for us teachers when we want to provide a holiday treat for our students. So, it was time to get creative!
One of my favorite student gifts for Halloween is the witch fingers. I like to have my students keep them in their toolbox to use when reading. Not only do we use them for tracking when reading, but we also use them when we are pointing to labels, captions, and other non-fiction text features, as well as when we point to illustrations and text to cite evidence when responding to questions. As silly as they are, they give the students magical powers that help them direct their eyes to the text! I found these witch pointer fingers in the Halloween section at Target. (24 witch fingers for $3)
We all love the mini erasers you can find in Target's Dollar Spot. But let's be honest, I like to keep them for the classroom because they are the perfect size for manipulatives! So, when I found these pumpkin erasers that are about twice the size of the dollar spot erasers, I knew these would be just the thing to gift to my kiddos! These were also found in Target's Halloween section. (60 erasers for $3.)
If you happen to pick up these festive items on one of your many trips to Target, be sure to grab my Halloween Gift Tag Freebie to go along with them! If you teach in a district/school where you do not celebrate Halloween, I did include a "Happy Fall" option to go along with the pumpkin erasers. Your kiddos will love how fun they are, you will love that they can be used in the classroom, and your parents will thank you for not sending home another piece of sugar. (They will get plenty on Halloween night!)
Enjoy, and Happy Halloween!
Mr. & Mrs.
We are Becky and Greg from York, PA. Becky just started her 13th year of teaching first grade. Greg is a high school social studies teacher. We love teaching and this blog is a peek into our world.
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