Thursday, January 15, 2015

Stability Balls In Our Classroom

Hello Parents,

     I know you have come to our site looking for information about the "balls" your children will be sitting upon soon in our room.  I am sure they came home today excited to share this news.  

     The balls were given to us by RESA 5. RESA 5  is the Regional Education Service Agencies.  "RESA 5 is a constantly evolving vision of 21st century learning, driven by goals to continue a positive, on-going transformation of education in West Virginia’s county schools, with outcomes that influence the success of students, teachers, and school administrators." 
 Here is a excerpt from RESA 5's newsletter about the stability balls.
"At the beginning of the 2014-2015 school year, the
School Wellness Program at RESA 5 offered stability
balls for teachers to test in their classrooms as a re-
placement for traditional classroom chairs. Numerous
research studies have shown using the balls helps
improve student concentration, focus, core strength,
posture and a variety of other cognitive and behavioral
 According to Ms. Michele Smyth from New Adventures in First Grade
"There are 3 main purposes for using the ball chairs and incorporating movement into the classroom:

  1. Movement increases blood flow to the brain, which is better for brain function (and learning!).
  2. Movement helps children "get the wiggles out" which aides their natural need to move.  This helps them focus by expending the excess energy they build up throughout the day.
  3. Sitting on a stability ball supports and builds their core muscles.  Pediatricians are finding that children in the last 10 years are suffering from poor core strength due to the practices that are used while they are infants and small children (swings, back to sleep, car seats/ carriers, strollers, activity rings).  They are not developing the same strength as previous generations.  This also helps develop large motor muscles, which support small motor muscles (think writing and hand strength)."
     In our classroom we use many research based instructions, strategies, interventions, and  best practices to create an environment for optimal learning to occur.  I feel that these stability balls will enhance this even more.  
     I will be inflating them this weekend and we will begin using them on Monday! I will keep you updated and post pictures later this month.
 Here they are uninflated.  I will be busy this weekend!
Mrs. Wood from RESA 5 telling us how to effectively use the stability balls in our classroom.
Finished filling them and they are set up and ready to go!  Can't wait for the class to get to use these for the rest of the year.
 Here are some links to articles if you want to learn more about using stability balls in the classroom.




Sunday, January 11, 2015

Icicle Ball and Repeated Reading

We are doing repeated readings on the song called the Icicle Ball by Karen Rupprecht and Pam Minor. 
 ( Click the following link to see or print the text and hear a sample of the song. .
 Right click to open it in a new tab and keep this page open, too.)
  Repeated readings help students with fluency, accuracy, and sight words.
 I create a movie for the students with the music so we can read the lyrics and sing the song as we learn it together. 
I use the same video with pictures of  the vocabulary we will cover as I read the text. (See below.)  Students can follow along, as this has been proven to support struggling readers, too. 
Movie with me reading the lyrics as text.
I also have created a QR code for the students to listen to me read the lyrics later in the week as they track the text or read along with me during "Listen to Reading" workstation.

Wednesday, January 7, 2015

Snuggle Buddy Reading Club

We had 2 days to celebrate reading in our class. The students came in their pajamas so they could be extra comfortable to relax and enjoy our reading time together. We had items donated by the Daughters of the American Revolution and Delta Kappa Gamma Society to increase our desire to read.  They donated flashlights, covers, and book bags to our first grade classes this year.  Some of our Title 1 money was used to purchase books for the students.  The students got to choose what they wanted of each of the listed above.  What a delight it was for them.  We turned off the lights and they got to read snuggled up with a good book by flashlight.  The students were enthralled.

I also invited parents to come and read to their child in our classroom.  They got to go to the cafeteria and eat lunch with them after our reading time together.  It was a nice cuddle time for the students! Thank you parents for coming.  This is something your child will never forget!

December Odds and Ins

Lots of pictures from the month of December.  I wanted to get them posted for you to enjoy!
We had our principal, Mr. Jones, come in and give us an art lesson.  It was from Snowmen at Night.

I gave each student a math tool kit for a Christmas gift.  We added 10 dots to our sticks so they could use them when counting my tens, adding 10 to the place value mat, etc.

This math kit included a 120 chart, place value chart, 2 ten frames, 20 connecting counting cubes, 20 beans, 20 pennies, a ruler, page protector to act as a white board, dry-erase marker, whiteboard eraser, 10 popsicle sticks with 10 dots each on them, a pipe cleaner to make a < symbol for number problems, and 2 die.

Ben's mother and sister brought in a craft for the class to make.  It was a Rudolph from the song we learned to read.  The class loved their finished clip.  Thank you Mrs. Morris and Rachel!

 Mr. Jones had his friend, David Wells come in and play for our school.  He plays the trumpet and the flugelhorn.  He had some of the teachers and students try to play the trumpet.  He said it is one of the more difficult instruments to learn how to play.