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Five for Friday-Ways To Beat The Winter Classroom Blahs!


FEBRUARY.

The month that is full of 100th Day celebrations, candy hearts, American flags, and indoor recesses because of unpredictable weather.  The month that despite being short in days seems to pass by 
ever-so-slowly.  The month that has teachers everywhere asking.....

HOW MANY MORE DAYS UNTIL SPRING BREAK?!?!?!?

If your classroom is anything like mine these days, it is suffering from an extreme case of the WINTER BLAHS, a time when both teacher and student behavior and attitudes definitely need an adjustment.  When morale is low, and spirits need a boost.... 







With that in mind, I decided that this week's Five for Friday (....or in my case...Five for Saturday) would be a list of ways to improve your student's mood and help you push through bravely until March!  I hope you find something on my list of step "out-of-the-box" and "put-the-pencil-and-papers away" ideas that you can use!















I saw this idea for a STACKING CUP CHALLENGE over at Proud to be Primary and included it in my Hooray for the 100th Day post over at The Primary Pack last month.  I gave seven groups of four students each 100 dixie cups and these directions....

  • Work together
  • Build anything you want.
  • Be creative
  • Use inside voices.
I was just amazed at the ingenuity and problem-solving skills that I witnessed, as well as the difference in each team's approach to their task.  After thirty minutes of stacking, unstacking, and celebrating success, they all did not want to stop building!  We had to go to Computer Lab that afternoon, or else I would have complied with their request.  I had to promise another Cup Challenge SOON in order to get them to clean up!








Every time my class receives a positive behavior report in Art, Gym, Music, or Library, they earn a "Rock Star" for our group chart.  Once they've collected twelve, they vote on a privilege to enjoy. This past Friday, the majority wanted to enjoy a GAME DAY.  I sent home a flyer asking parents to help their child select a non-electronic game that would fit in their backpack.  It was very interesting to watch the group dynamic as they set-up, decided who would go first, practiced taking turns, and worked on being good sports.  Most groups were able to self-monitor their behavior so that I was able to join in the came of "Tip It" featured in the photo above!  Uno, Sorry, Candy Land, Memory, and Apples to Apples were just a few of the other favorites enjoyed by all!









Partner Reading is a piece of our Daily 5 block that often focuses on practicing fluency passages or poems that are teacher-selected.  Pairings are also usually decided by me, and our purpose is to build sight word knowledge, reading with expression, and reading rate.  On Valentine's Day, I decided to "change things up a bit" and asked the students to find a partner, favorite February book, and a quiet spot to just take turns reading and discussing their chosen texts.  IT WAS HEAVENLY.  As they all sat "elbow-elbow, knee-knee" and used whisper voices to take turns reading every-other-page, I just wandered from duo to duo.....listening, smiling, and complimenting as I went.  When we were done, more than one child exclaimed, "Mrs. R.!  We need to do partner reading like that more often!  That was fun!"








Room #2 has had more "terrible, horrible, no good, very bad days" than I like to admit this winter.  I often look at my class at dismissal time and say....."I think I am going to move to Australia."  As a way of tipping my negative thoughts back to the positive side, I've started including a "Love List" brainstorming activity in our Morning Meeting.  The one above helped remind us all of the GOOD parts of each and every school day, and provided reasons for us to come back the next day!









As an advocate of using music and movement to provide children with brain and body breaks, I cue up GO NOODLE at least twice a day!    My two student assistants get to choose the "upbeat" channel and activities we do, and then I choose the "calming" one that will bring us back down and get us ready to focus on our work.  You can learn more about how other educators use this awesome and FREE website by joining the Go Noodle Community on Facebook!  Go Noodle is also a lifesaver on those days when inclement weather forces your children to be stuck indoors for recess!  There are pre-made 10-15 minute "dance mixes" available that will get them moving and grooving!


As always, thanks for stopping by to share my story and songs!  If you are new here, welcome! Make sure you sign-up for my monthly newsletter using the "e-mail" icon on the right sidebar!  If you are a loyal follower, know that your continued loyalty and support this year has been "the wind beneath my wings!"  Your comments on my posts and feedback on my Teachers Pay Teachers resources often turn days that have been full of lemons into evenings full of lemonade!  

Continue to keep calm and teach your children well!




Jennifer Reynolds
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7 comments:

  1. Great ideas! So funny - I just wrote in my Five for Friday post that February seems like the longest month! I just have to try the stacking cup challenge and the love list. I also use GoNoodle. Some days it is a lifesaver!

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    1. I hear you about Go Noodle being a lifesaver, Theresa! Today it just gave me 10 minutes to "breathe" between subjects as my student assistants led the dances!
      ~Jennifer

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  2. The winter blues are definitely here. I love partner reading! So good for fluency. Thank you for the ideas.
    SimplyTeachSewGrow

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    Replies
    1. Partner reading is such a pleasure, isn't it! I love using poems the most!
      Thanks for stopping by!
      ~Jennifer

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  3. These are some great ideas! February is definitely the worst part of the winter blues and cabin fever. We did cup stacking with red solo cups for our 100th day celebration but I love the idea of using Dixie cups. I think it would make it easier to do multiple stacking stations. Thanks for the ideas!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. The Dixie-size cups are for sure easier to store and manage! My students have even started asking to get them out during indoor recess!
      ~Jennifer

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