Thursday, December 22, 2016

Start 2017 with a Bang

A great start is all about being ready! Take a few hours from your vacation-but only a few-and plan the first week down to the smallest detail! Here are some of the ways that I plan to get and engage my students.

Engaging the class starts at the beginning of the day and for us, that is worship. Spend a little time to find a worship story that is more than words from a book. Give them something that your kids will watch and think about at the same time. Interactive worships are also a great way to start the day. I have had students beg their parents to get them to school on time because they did not want to miss worship!

Here is one of the worships I have planned for when I get back to school:

The first one is called "One Sin" and is found at a website called Mad About Jesus. You will need three air-filled balloons and one water-filled balloon. You will also need a candle, match and fire extinguisher or bucket of water. Light the candle when you are ready to start.

Ask the kids to define the word 'perfect' and come to the conclusion that only God is perfect Talk about how sin separates us from God. Ask three kids to name a sin. Put an air-filled balloon over the fire each time a sin is named and let the balloon pop. Ask the kids ask you to help them "fix" the balloons. Once they come to the conclusion that there is nothing they can do, bring out the last balloon.

Talk about how this balloon is just like the others but it has a relationship with Jesus and is filled with His spirit. Talk about how God takes care of those who have a close relationship with Him. Ask a fourth child to name a sin. Hold the balloon over the candle. It should not break.

Discuss why the first three balloons broke but the fourth one did not. Remind them that the balloons represent God's children and that a relationship with God will keep them strong.

Review and practice procedures and rules. Face it, Remembering things from the beginning of the day to the endis hard enough.They have been on vacation for two or three weeks. Remind them about the things that are important in your room.

Start the year with a fun challenge. During math class, we are going to review estimation. Once we have finished the review, I will present them with a large glass jar filled with candy. Students will have one week to try to estimate how many candies are in the jar. (I shall count them as I fill it.) The student that comes closest to the right number without going over will get the jar and everything in it! I mentioned it before break after I brought the dollar store jar to the classroom, so they are primed and ready.

Turn your students into teachers. On the first day back, I am continuing a Greek and Latin root word unit, but with a twist. This time, I am using a lesson I found on Cinnamon Classroom about word superheros. I have chosen "rupt" as an example I will do with my class. Together, we will define it, list words that include it and create a superhero for it using the words from our list.

The next day, after a quick review, each student will be assigned a word to learn that they will define and make a word list for the words. 

They will create a superhero to be shared with the class the following week. They will create their own costume that they will wear when they teach the rest of the class about their own superhero. As they listen to each teacher, they will have to write the meanings of each root and list a few words for it. This is a great activity for any class because so many English words come from the roots. On the Cinnamon Classroom page, you will find free downloads if you want to try it in your room.

There are so many ways you can have your students teach each other. Don't forget about the possibilities of technology, music, skits or booklets. I am choosing to start the second half of the year out with the above activity because it is guaranteed to capture their attention. I can almost hear the buzz in my room already.

Kids love to work together and creating a game is a great team project. One of the things my students will be doing will help us cover more of Africa with more involvement and more fun than we could have reading about them from our book. My first step will be to divide the kids into groups of two-my choice this time.

Students will be devising a lesson about their African country. Then they will create a game that they will be played after the lessons. Teams are required to come up with 35 questions about their country for each game. They will also make up their own rules and game pieces. Once they are done, two days will be spent on lessons and games. Then students will review the games they played using a rubric.

Teach your students a new skill for physical education. We are starting the year off with track and field-I am in a warm state. We will spend four days a week on the new skill. On Fridays, we will play a group game.

I haven't finished all my plans yet, but I hope this will give you a few ideas. Please share ideas you have used in your room. 

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