Tuesday, May 26, 2015


In kindergarten our last lesson of the year was on mindfulness.  I started by asking students if they know what mindfulness means.  Many students hit it spot on!  Mindfulness is all about being aware of your self and your emotions, being present.  When students are feeling big emotions, it's important for them to recognize what is happening in their body in order to take control.  I found this great, kid-friendly video that helps students recognize what happens to their body and uses a smart analogy of a bottle of sparkles being shaken up inside their brains.

After the video we discussed how their bodies feel when they are having a big emotion and what tips the video told us on how to regain control.  Then we practiced these strategies using two great videos on GoNoodle.  Both "Flow" and "Safe & Calm" guides students through the relaxation process.  Students enjoyed getting to lay down and close their eyes on the carpet!

Parents!  You can create a free, all access account on GoNoodle to do at home over the summer!  Check out the following information:

Tuesday, May 12, 2015

Career Videos

During the month of May we are focusing on careers.  I thought it would be a fun idea to have parents share their careers, but organizing schedules for speakers would disrupt our normal classroom routines and sounded a little overwhelming.  Then a lightbulb inside me went off!  What if I used our emphasis on technology to help share our parent's careers???

I created a private youtube channel and invited parents to upload short 2-3 minute videos using the criteria below.  Then I had students log in and peruse the videos, increasing both engagement and differentiation for their unique interests.  I sent home the following letter to parents to enlist their help:

Since not all careers are represented, I supplemented with additional careers using Kidsgov's TeacherTube channel.  Here you can watch additional kid friendly videos on a variety of careers.

Animal Keeper:

Marine Pilot:

Marine Biologist:

Army Dentist:


Biologist & Chemist:

White House Chef:


Friday, May 8, 2015

Careers Taboo

In third grade we played Careers Taboo (you can download the cards here) to introduce the topic of careers! I split the class into 2 teams and had them sit in a line.  The student at the front of the line would draw a card and try to describe the career on the card without saying any of the "hush" words.  Their team had 30 seconds to guess the name of the career.  While they were describing the career, the student at the front of the line on the opposing team would look over their should to make sure they weren't saying any of the off-limit words.  Teams were awarded points by guessing correctly in the time limit.  If a team was not able to guess the career, the other team had an opportunity to steal.  Each team took turns describing and guessing.  We had a great time and there were lots of laughs to the difficulty of not saying the hush words!

Thursday, May 7, 2015

Career Bingo

To continue our emphasis on careers, we played bingo in kindergarten!  I began by going over a variety of careers that would appear on their bingo boards.  We discussed the title of the job, responsibilities and their interest level with each using these posters:

Then I introduced how to play bingo and we were off!  I read aloud descriptions of different careers and they searched their bingo board for the accurate match.  I created the boards using pictures from the Career Day Activity Packet.

Wednesday, May 6, 2015

Exploring Colleges: Monsters University

During the month of May our focus is on our future.  In 4th grade we began discussing colleges as a way to further our education and open more doorways to careers.  Using our downstairs bulletin board as a springboard, we discussed the importance of selecting a college that matches our interests.  Real college websites are a great resource, but I thought I'd increase their engagement by having them explore Monsters University!

Students explored the site looking for the requirements to get in, classes available and clubs they could join.  They filled out reflection sheets to take home and convince their parents that they wanted to apply.  You can download a copy of it here.

Friday, May 1, 2015

Lee Olympics: A Social Story

On Friday, May 1st we had our annual Lee Olympics.  Students rotate through different events and earn ribbons for participation and athletic achievement.  Since this is an all-day event, many students that are new to Lee or prone to anxiety might have some worries about Lee Olympics.  To ease their nerves, I create social story books for them to know what they expect.  I only include events that I know will happen in order to set them up for success.  Here's a sample of one book I made for a new kindergartener:

Lee's Pathways to Success

To kickoff our month on careers and college, I created a staff bulletin board to highlight our unique pathways that brought us to Lee Elementary.  I collected high school and college information from each staff member to proudly display.  I included all of our staff members, including teachers, office staff, administration, special areas, nurses, custodians, and our childcare helpers.  I added graduation caps to everyone!

Here are some close ups: