Monday, January 21, 2013

     So looking forward to this week in the classroom.  We will be celebrating the 100th Day of School and honestly, it is one of my favorite days.  So much fun, and then to think about all the learning and exploring we will be doing!  It doesn't get much better than that.  I have plans for Zero the Hero to come and visit with his sidekick.  The students will cut up colorful pieces of card stock and write numbers on them 1 to 100 and then tape them to their clothing.  We will color crowns, and then sing a 100th Day song as we march along with instruments at the end of the day for a parade.  We only do this at the very end of the day so we won't be disturbing classes and we ask teachers to leave their doors open if they want us to march through their classrooms or they can leave the doors shut and we will do our best to go by very quietly.  We also make cereal necklaces by counting by 10's and we will have a number scavenger hunt with chocolate kisses.  I do that every year.  We will count licks to see how many it takes to get to the center of a Tootsie Roll pop.  Remember the owl on the commercial so many years ago?  I feel just like him. :) We will write about being 100 years old and find 100 sight words.  Make 100th Day Posters.  We will see how long 100 cubes are compared to 100 paperclips, etc.  Fun, fun, fun!!!
     Next I want to quickly talk about something that has really helped my students over the past two years.  I heard some teachers talking about some students they were concerned about, and let's face it with the middle of January being here, our time is quickly coming about to make academic changes.  I am not a teacher who will usually promote a program, I really feel like it is every teacher who makes the difference in his or her classroom with student achievement.  However, there is one that I have to say good things about just because I've seen wonderful results with my students, and that is why we are all teachers.  We want to help our students and I want to help you help your students. This is a super program and it has worked wonders in my classroom and it is PALS:  Peer Assisted Learning Strategies.  They have a manual for reading and math.  Reading is where I see the biggest success with my students.  With each lesson there is a teacher directed part and then it is followed up with a peer mediated part.  We do this for 30 minutes every other day.  We alternate our 30 minutes of morning between PALS reading and PALS math.  I had several who had to leave for interventions while the rest of the class did PALS, but then when they came back we would be doing Centers. I used Center time for them to make sure they too, got their daily dose of PALS (in reading) and all but one has now tested completely out of interventions.  So very exciting!!  To check out the program you can find it at  With PALS the children practice letter-sound correspondence, decoding, sight words, and phonological awareness.  Maybe you can get your school to purchase it for you. Hope it works for you too!  
Happy Teaching!!

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