Thursday, July 16, 2015

Using Facebook to Strengthen Home-School Connections

After reading this post, I decided to try using Facebook as a classroom communication tool.  It was super easy and successful.  Here is how I did it:

  1. I used my personal Facebook page to create a closed group.  Don't worry!  Families will only be able to see what the rest of the public can see on your page.  Just make sure to secure your privacy settings.  
  2. To create a closed group:  Look in the left hand column of your home page.  Under "Groups" click "Create Group".  Choose a name.  It will ask you to choose members.  I was not "friends" with any of my students' parents, so I just chose my husband.  You could also choose a teacher "friend".   Under "Privacy" choose "Closed".  Hit the "Create" button.  Then choose an icon.  Now your group is created and you can personalize the page.
  3. Now go to your group's page. Go to settings.  Make sure that under "Privacy" "Closed" is selected. Under "Membership Approval", I selected "Any member can add members, but an admin must approve them".  Under "Web and Email Address" create custom names that you can share with families.  Under "Posting Permissions" I selected "Only admins can post to group" because I did not want member to be able to post. I also selected "all group comments must be approved by admin".
  4. Then I created an informational letter and a picture release form to share with families.  I explained these at our Meet the Teacher night.
  5. When I got back the picture releases, I made a master list for myself. 

At the beginning of the school year, I initiated a discussion about Facebook with my students.  I explained that our class would have their own Facebook page.  The kids LOVED the idea and were super excited to get started. 
I explained to them that when we do things in class that they would like their families to see, then they can ask me to to take pictures/videos.  Whenever we did this, I would ask the children what they would like me to post about them.  I really tried to just use their words when posting.  
In addition to posting about our daily happenings, I also posted the same information that I included in our weekly print newsletter.  
The families truly appreciated this form of communication.  They liked that it was easy to access. They also loved seeing the pictures of their children.  When parents were unable to attend class and school events, they could see the pictures/videos on the group page.  This seemed to help them feel connected, if though they could not be there in person.  Many parent even commented that they hope their child's next teacher will use FB, as well.  
I had a great experience using FB to connect with the families of my students.  I will definitely be using it again this school year.

Tuesday, July 14, 2015

It's That Time of Year!

I saw them...the school supplies.  They are already out.  I want to scream, "Its' too early!  Where did the summer go?"  But, on the other hand, I do love new school supplies.  Especially that "new box of crayons" smell.

I am determined to get my classroom ready a little earlier this year.  I want to get it done, so that I can start getting myself organized.  I am determined to clean out my filing cabinets and create a new organizational system for myself.

I will also be hanging up some new signs and displays in my classroom.   I will be using these to designate the different learning areas in my classroom.

And I am going to use these as headers for my Word Wall.

This cute bookworm will hang in my calendar area.

And so will this ice cream color display.

Click on the images to download your own copy!

If you are interested in some additional organizational printables, visit this page!

Sunday, July 5, 2015

Shark Week

There have been so many shark attacks lately, that "Shark" is almost a bad word around here. However, I know many people will still be tuned in to Shark Week on the Discovery Channel next week.  Apparently it has become so popular that there is even an official countdown.

To participate in the celebration of this intriguing ocean animal, here are some FREE printables.

Story Props for 

For more literature-based ocean fun, check out our mini-units:

Five Little Sharks Swimming in the Sea

Over in the Ocean and The Three Little Fish and the Big, Bad Shark

Saturday, March 21, 2015

Defining Moments

I began reading Savorlast week.  Simply beautiful.

It is a book of daily devotionals.  At the end of each devotion, Shauna offers a few questions for the reader to ponder.  This morning the questions were "What are the events in your life that have shaped you in defining ways?  Who have you become as a result?"

As I though about this question, I realized that there are events that have defined my personality and core values, as well as events that have defined me as a wife, mother, and teacher. Sometimes these events are big moments like the death of a loved one, a birth, a betrayal, or an amazing friendship. And sometimes these events are small moments like reading a particular passage in a book, a thank you card, or a discouraging word.

Last school year I experienced many moments that helped define me as a teacher.  Some of these events were big and some were small.  Ironically, what most would consider the small moments, were those that had the most impact.

An end-of-the-year hug from the mother of one of my autistic students.

The words "Thank you for allowing my daughter to dance."

An email sent to me describing how one of my most difficult students still wears a button with a "B" on it, so that she will "never forget Broman".  I never could get her to say "Mrs", so we just went with my last name alone. I miss that.  I miss her.

So, I am curious, what are the events that have defined you as a teacher?

Sunday, March 15, 2015

S is for St. Patrick's Day and Shamrocks

This is a little late, but for those who have not finished planning for next week, here are a few St. Patty's Day printables.

Capital Letter Shamrocks

Lowercase Letter Shamrocks

These alphabet shamrocks could be used to play matching games:  match capital to lowercase or print two copies of each set and match capitals to capitals and lowercase to lowercase.

You could also fill your sensory table/tub with scraps of green construction or tissue paper and hide the shamrocks in it.  When the children find one they try to identify the letter on it.  

Hide the shamrocks in your classroom or home and go on a shamrock hunt.

St. Patty's Day Name Plates

Use these name plates as labels ~ or ~ laminate and have the children use dry erase markers to practice printing their names on them.

Felt Board Activity

Print out this poem and clipart.  Attach felt or velcro pieces to the back of the clipart pieces.  As you recite the poem, invite the children to put up the corresponding pieces. 

Have the children match the rhyming words.

Wear Green! Have Fun!

Monday, August 4, 2014

Back to School Sale

250 × 120
TPT is having a Back to School Sale today and tomorrow only!  I am offering 20% off any unit in my store.  Go stock up!  To get to my store:  Click on the banner.  Type "Itty-Bitty Bookworm" into the search box.  Super easy.  Now go shop!  :)

Wednesday, July 23, 2014

Selecting Books and a GIVEAWAY!

The IBBW will be writing some new pre-k/k literature-based units this school year.  I am in the process of selecting the books.  I know I want to do one of the Pioneer Woman's Children's Books.  I love basset hounds, and I think children will love the adorable illustrations (by Diane deGroat)!  Look how cute!

Charlie Goes to School!
I would love for you to help me brainstorm a list of titles that teachers would appreciate.  In exchange for your help, I am giving away a year of curriculum on CD.  You can visit this page of our website to learn more about each year.
To enter the giveaway simply comment with a book title and then share this post on FB or pin it (and leave a comment with link)  That's it!  Super easy!  I will choose a winner Wednesday, July 30, 2014.  You may enter once a day.  The winner will be contacted by email.  If the winner does not respond within 48 hours, a new winner will be selected.
a Rafflecopter giveaway
THANK YOU for your help!  I can't wait to get started!