Posts tagged Substitute Teaching

[extra] time saver: categories

seriously. love. this.

why? because it is flexible, educational, and quite fun (if I do say so myself).

oh, and the set up is easy.

= a great [extra] time saver!

need: chalkboard/whiteboard/smartboard
topic word
creative thinkers
thats it!

categories

1. Think of a topical word pertinent to season, holiday, class content

2. make sure above word does not have a lot of repeat letters
(Instead of using Steelers, use Superbowl)

3. Write that word, leaving spaces between each letter at the top of what will become your grid:
Since it’s almost the holiday of love, I’ll use HEART as my word
or, if teaching in an intermediate setting, VALENTINE would be great!

4. On the left side, vertically write your categories: noun, verb, adjective, pronoun, flower, food, sports team, city/country, color, historical figure, etc.
You can choose as many or as few categories as you want — based on time & grade level!

 

it should look like this:


you can also add grid lines to help separate spaces

5. Now, how you play this “game” is up to you. Usually, I call on students one by one to come up and fill in a square with a word. I usually do not give points or make it a race, just a fun brain stretching activity.

6. As always, it is incredibly important that you go over the guidelines: only school appropriate words, good behavior is rewarded with a turn, poor behavior is not, etc.

7. Once students get the hang of it, they can even make their own for a partner (graph paper aids this activity immensely!)

Woo hoo! And there you have it — a quick game that supports Language Arts skills, creative thinking, writing, & spelling.

enjoy creating these categories,

miss miller

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Resource Round-up: Spelling City!

This might be one of my favorite tools to use. I know it might not be something a day-to-day sub will use frequently, but trust me — this site will come in handy.

Spelling City allows teachers to upload weekly spelling lists — Awesome, I know! — for free!!!

1. this allows parents/students quick access to words at home
2. this creates a wonderful opportunity for independent practice
3. this website can be used for a center activity
4. this gives no excuses for students who “forgot their list at school”
5. this provides games at your fingertips (which you did not have to create!)
6. this gives substitutes an easy way to create a spelling/language arts center

Let me explain:

Once you have registered at Spelling City’s site, simply upload the words into a list — easy!

Then students have the ability to access this list using your username that you provide. (My students could search under the username missnmiller)

[[Your homepage not only includes the list of words, but can link to fun sites to practice math skills, learn language arts skills, & practice writing! It also provides you with space to write a message to students & parents]]

SS TIP: I found that labeling the list by week is the most helpful!

Students then have opportunities to learn, practice, & take a test! *audio required. The learn tab reads the word & spells it aloud for the student, including it in a sentence for understanding. The practice tab provides cool games, such as hang mouse [like hang man] & unscrambling games to help students retain the spellings.

Below is a nice instructional video for a quick overview & howtos for SpellingCity. Some of the features included [vocabulary & print outs are available only with the premium membership]

So if you’re caught in a bind & need a quick activity or center, the list only takes minutes to type [but I would suggest signing up now —  it’s free] OR if you’re in a more permanent teaching position & are looking to spice up spelling, this site is perfect for just that!

happy spelling!

miss miller

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a hello & an [extra] time saver: swat it

Hello & a warm welcome to friends from
The Bus Stop Blog!

It is so good to have you here. I would encourage you to take a look around, leave a comment or two & join this fabulous community of substitutes surviving this crazy adventure together!

[[feel free to subscribe to my blog & find me on twitter @missnmiller!]]

I have been updating with some [extra] time savers & fabulous finds — sure to help you out in your day to day activities.

Since I have some special visitors, I thought it would be fitting to share one of my favorite fillers!

swat it.

Yep. That’s right. Fly swatters + chalk board = a sweet [extra] time saver

Plus! Fly swatters + decorative flowers = an even sweeter [extra] time saver. [[just hot glue flowers to one side of swatter]]

Ok, I know what your thinking — “How can this be used in the classroom?”

Well, I’m happy to share that this activity can be multi-purpose! Just read & see:

GENERIC SWAT IT RULES:

1. Select a subject: math, spelling, vocabulary, etc.

2. Write correct & incorrect answers all over chalk/white board
(ie: If you are practicing spelling words, write every word from your list spelled correctly & then each word spelled incorrectly randomly, in no order, all over your chalk board)

3. Divide students into 2 teams. Have one representative from each team come to the board & face the students. (Have their back to the board.)

4. Give each student a fly swatter & instruct them to listen to the question, wait for your call of “go!” Then, students must turn around and try to “swat” the correct answer.

5. The first to swat the correct answer wins a point (or two, your choice!)

Consequences: To avoid noise, chatting, shouting out answers, provide a consequence such as a loss of a point.

Adaptations: I know that you are most likely not going to carry around fly swatters. Hands work just as well!

Word to the wise: Make sure that you explicitly state the rules so that there is no swatting of others.

Variations:
– Math:
Put up answers (numerical) to multiplication & division questions & hold up flash cards
History: Write terms & give students definitions
Spelling: Write words correctly & incorrectly, give definitions to find
Geography: Write states abbreviations, capitals, etc & have students find the correct match to what you state. (ie: Pennsylvania – PA or Harrisburg – PA)
– You name it, it can be incorporated into a swat it game.

Have fun & happy swatting!

missnmiller

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Do you know about Rosa’s Law?

Better late than never! Thought I’d pass along an important name change that is occurring on the national level, but in turn affects the vast world of teaching students with exceptionalities.

Rosa’s Law is named after 8-year-old Rosa Marcellino, who has Down Syndrome. After starting elementary school, the Marcellino family was shocked to find her labeled as “retarded” in school documents.  Their push to have this changed ended in a new law signed by President Obama, changing the way all people with exceptionalities will be addressed. Read the statement issued to educators below:

TO:       School District Superintendents
School District Special Education Directors
Charter School Chief Executive Officers
Intermediate Unit Executive Directors
Intermediate Unit Special Education Directors
[[I’m including you, too!]]


FROM:     John J. Tommasini
Director
Bureau of Special Education

On October 5, 2010, President Obama signed into law Senate Bill 2781 (S.2781), referred to as Rosa’s Law.  Rosa’s Law (S. 2781) amends the provisions of Federal law to substitute the term “intellectual disability” for “mental retardation” and “individuals with intellectual disabilities” for “mentally retarded” or “individuals who are mentally retarded.”  At this time, Rosa’s Law (S. 2781) does not require states to change terminology in state regulations for individuals covered by a provision amended by this Act.

Changes in Federal regulations will occur as they are reauthorized. Changes to both the Federal data reporting categories and Federal regulatory language is anticipated to occur with the reauthorization of the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA).  Subsequent to the reauthorization of IDEA, Pennsylvania will make the required changes in terminology in state regulations.  This change in terminology reflects the belief that language plays a crucial role in how individuals with disabilities are perceived and treated in society. No changes have been made in the process of determination of disability categories.

President Obama hugs Rosa after signing the law

I love the statement about the impact of language. So I hope you can begin to include this change  in your everyday vocabulary! Read more about Rosa’s Law here.

miss miller

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[extra] time savers

So you find yourself with extra time to fill…what to do?

Before the kids get antsy & the chatter begins, make sure you are prepared:

Aside from picking up a favorite book (or a Choose Your Own Adventure novel), it is important to have some “back-ups” ready to go when you’re in a pinch.

 

extra time FILLERS FOR SPELLING
[free printout, examples, & grade levels included]

  • rainbow writing: have students trace spelling words several times using a different color each time. (k-2) view my Rainbow Spell Example!
  • bye-bye cherry pie: a twist on the ever popular, sparkle. have students pass the cherry pie while spelling out the word one letter at a time. students sit down when sharing an incorrect letter. the last person to correctly spell the last letter passes the pie, that child then says (and waves) “bye bye cherry pie” and the next student sits down. repeat until one child remains. (1-6) print, color, & laminate your own Bye Bye Cherry Pie
  • speed spelling: have a board race between teams where they have to spell one word or the whole list — get creative! (2-6)
  • synonym search: have students have a spelling test (using white boards, as a board race, independently) by giving synonym clues for the spelling word (3-6)
  • spell benders: have wiki sticks or pipe cleaners? students can bend simple spelling words at their desk (k-2)
  • body spelling: teach children to stand tall for tall letters (b, d, f, h, etc.) sit in their chair for short letters (c, e, i, etc.) and touch their toes for letters that dip down (j, p, q, etc.). once students know how to use their body, give them spelling words to spell out loud & with motions (k-2)
  • basketball: have a hoop in the classroom, a trashcan, or bucket? then you are all set for basketball. divide students into teams, correct spelling = 2 points, a basket = 1 point. (1-6)
  • invisible man: a modern twist on hangman. draw a body (or have it relate to a unit: dinosaur, animal, house) and erase one part as team members spells a word correctly. first team to have an invisible man, wins! (1-6)

This is just the start of a list of things you can do to when you find an extra few minutes here & there. Being prepared & ready with fun fillers is a excellent management technique!

I’ll be updating shortly on more [extra] time savers.
Feel free to comment with your favorite, go to filler!

miss miller


 

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Choosing Your Own Adventure

Hello & Happy twenty- eleven! My apologies for the extreme hiatus.  Much has happened in the last few month & I’m excited to continue my blogging about the ups, downs, & all around adventures of substitute teaching.

A new year, a fresh start ~ It’s the perfect time to readjust your thinking & get excited about the journey you are on in the great, ever-dynamic world of teaching. I couldn’t help but start this post with some encouragement. January can be quite a stagnant month for educators, so why not take this time to find a mantra & cling to it for the new calendar year & the duration of the current school year. 

It makes me think about one of my favorite childhood series, Choose Your Own Adventure. When reading these books, you would get transported to a world with abominal snowmen or deep sea creatures. At the peak of the adventure, you would be left to choose how you would respond, altering the path of the main characters and ultimately the ending of the book.

We have the same choice, too, in our lives to decide our attitude towards our current situation. I encourage you to choose your own adventure — find a motto & stick to it, set a goal & take small steps to achieve it, steal a moment to reflect on the past year & choose the path you will take this year to make a difference in the lives of others.

Not only can this book be a great reminder for us daily, but it can also be a super time-filler for substitute teachers. Need a transition activity? Have extra time at the end of a class? Trying to find a way to get children settled before dismissal? Sounds like you need a copy of Choose Your Own Adventure! Check one out at the local library or snag your own copy & keep with you at all times.

It is perfect for the elementary child. After a few pages of reading, the class is left to decide between two options — take a vote, call on a child, or roll a dice to decide the next step! This keeps students engaged and is perfect for reinforcing habits of good readers: predicting, making inferences, drawing conclusions, summarizing…& the list continues!

Just another idea to keep stashed in your bag of tricks. I hope that these stories can come in handy ~ especially during the sluggishly slow month of january!

Do you have a book of choice that you pick up to read as a filler? Comment & let me know!

happy 2011,
miss miller

  

  

 

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“Having a sub is fun!”

I had two stand-out moments today that renewed my love for teaching, yes even substitute teaching. As students were packing up for dismissal, one little boy exclaimed, “Having a sub is fun!” and then he proceeded to melt my heart even  more by saying, “I love you.”

Now as heartwarming as that moment was, it made me stop and think about how much of an impact we can truly make on students — even when we are just a day-to-day sub.

And to affirm that enlightened thought, I ran into one of my students that I had taught last year [during a one-month long-term substitute position]. His smile grew large as he saw me and he began running down the hall, arms open, bracing for a big hug. “MISS MEEEEELER! [He has the cutest way of pronouncing my name.] I MISS YOU!”

Wow, it is true — I am really making an impact on these kids — even as a sub.

So my challenge is this:

we may not be able to change our circumstances,
but we can certainly change our attitude.

Subbing may not be the most rewarding job, but it does come with a wealth to gain and to give. You do not always realize the impact that are making, the life you are changing — even in the smallest smile or encouraging word you give. Make the most of each day by searching for the positive and realizing that as small as it may be, you have the capacity to make a difference in the life of a child!

Happy Monday!

miss miller

 

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