To Ask Or Not To Ask? That's A Good Question.
I say, Ask away, With a Question Of The Day.
How To Do Question Of The Day:
I use Question Of The Day as a way to introduce simple graphing to my students.
All of these questions are YES or NO questions. I make two columns by running a piece of colored tape down the center of my metal closet door. Click on the link for 450 Yes or No Questions Of The Day.
Question of the Day is also a great way to help my Y5’s learn to recognize their name.I make up a sheet of address labels with my students’ names typed on them, and then stick them on a sheet of construction paper that I laminate.
After I cut them out, I put a magnet strip on the back.
You can use a portion of your white board, or the back of a cookie sheet.
Laminate a sentence strip and write the Question of the Day on it with a dry erase marker or write up permanent questions of the day, laminate them and store them in a long flower box.
Color co-ordinate your sentence strips with the season.
I put the sentence strip at the top of the door. Underneath, I have a thumbs up for yes, next to a thumbs down for no.
Click on the link to print/view thumbs up and thumbs down yes or no Question of the Day symbols
The first thing my students do when they walk in the room, is find their name magnet and sit quietly on the carpet in front of the door.
When everyone is ready, I read the question and call on a student who gives their answer and then puts their magnet in the correct column.
You could also write the Question of the Day on a dry erase board, chalk board or paper easel and let students write their name under the appropriate answer. You could also use a pocket chart.
Whatever you use, I think it’s extremely important to implement, as a variety of skills can be covered in just a matter of minutes.
Computer Question Of The Day:
If you have a PC that is viewable by your students, you can also see if you have “scrolling marquee” as a screen saver.
If you do, right click on properties, click on “scrolling marquee” type in your Question of the Day, and set the time for the shortest amount, so it will change to the Question of the day quickly.
You can read the Question of the Day here, as well as on the board or wherever else you have it posted.
Tally Mark Interview Question Of The Day:
You can also make Question of the Day a Tally job on one special day of the week for a boy and a girl.Print a copy of my Question of the Day TALLY sheets. Attach to a clipboard.
Students copy the Question of the Day from the board.
The girl goes around the room after she has completed her work, and interviews the girls, asking them the Question of the Day and recording their answers and then counting up the results.
The boy does the same thing with the boys. During Show & Tell time they give the results.
Doing this activity helps children feel special and reinforces a variety of report card skills and standards.
Why Do Question Of The Day?
Graphs make counting and comparing meaningful to students and provide opportunities to bring a variety of skills to a child’s attention.
A Question of the Day helps a teacher and the students learn about each other.
It’s an easy and fun way for even young children to learn how to collect, organize, analyze and understand data in a graphic representation.
It is ideal for counting practice and gives teachers a chance to teach math vocabulary such as: more than, less than, and equal to.
Question of the Day also supports literacy development because students are recognizing their names in print, understanding that print has meaning, learning to identify words, learning that words make up sentences and learning to track print in a sentence.
I also believe that it makes children feel special, because we are asking their opinion. They are learning to think about their answer and give in-put so that we can collect data and analyze the results.
Yes or No Opinions During Story Time:
I will often ask my students’ opinion about the stories I have read to them.
Thumbs up if you enjoyed the story; thumbs down if you did not. Or… Thumbs up if you liked the ending or thumbs down if you did not, or did you like the character or the illustrations, or whatever else I can think of to get my students thinking.
I glued my thumbs up and down symbols to a large Popsicle stick. Click on the link to view/print a copy and make a Yes/ No Question Paddle of your own.
You can graph the results as well. Click on the link to view/print a Yes /No Question Graph
So…I ask you this question? Have you asked your students a Question of the Day today, so they can have some fun learning about each other and how to graph at the same time?
I hope these ideas have helped you endeavor to enjoy doing that!
Hooray For Constitution Day!
Here are some easy and fun activities to do with your children/students.
Constitution Activities for younger citizens:
I kept things very simple for the Y5's. An easy definition of what the constitution is, followed up with everyone signing their name to our classroom constitution works well.
One of our standards is learning to write our name so this is a nice overlap of that standard.
I also made tea-stained paper and explained to the children that during that time period people wrote on parchment paper with feather pens called quills.
I collect seagull and goose feathers all summer, from area beaches so I have enough for each child to write their name with a quill dipped in black paint. They can then take it home with their parchment-paper signature.
I was amazed at how excited they got over keeping a feather!
They really enjoyed this activity and wondered how in the world anyone wrote anything of any length with a feather! "Hands on!" definitely helped them understand that time period a bit more.
These ideas and templates can be found in the 10-page Activities For Constitution Day packet. Click on the link to zoom there and view/or print a copy.
I've also made a "Happy Constitution Day!" Trace & Write skill sheet. To view/print it, click on the link. Constitution Day activity sheet.
The Constitution delegates responsibility. Even younger students can understand this, if you break it down for them and give specific real-world examples.
A perfect way to do this is by making a class book entitled We're Responsible. A sample booklet is included in my Activities For Constitution Day.
Also included in this packet is a My Constitution Fact Booklet that students can easily read as they cut and glue a matching picture for the text. It's an easy way for young children to learn about the basic facts of the Constitution, while practicing the skills of cutting, matching, tracing, reading and writing.
Plus students have a nice booklet to take home at the end of Constitution Day, that they can share with their families, to once again review what they have learned.
The packet also includes Constitution picture cards as a fun way to review. Print the cards twice and turn them into a Memory Match game that can be used as an independent center activity. Encourage students to say the names of the picture to increase their new "Constitutional vocabulary".
There's also a set for the original 13 states which helps students understand that things were different during the time the Constitution was written.
Click on the link to view/download this fun-filled 36-page Constitution Day activity packet.
Another helpful packet is Constitution Day Stuff. Click on the link to view/download that packet.
So that I could answer any questions my students might have, I researched basic facts about the Constitution. Click on the link to view/print my fact sheet for some great background information on the Constitution. Basic Facts About The Constitution
I show my students a poster I made of the 3 parts of our government. Click on the link to view/print a copy, perfect for helping explain the Constitution. Constitution Day poster
You can turn the poster into a labeling lesson for older students. Click on the link to view/print this Constitution Day activity.
Gross Motor and Story Time:
To get the wiggles out we march around to some Sousa music and I settle them down by reading several America-themed books including We The Kids. It’s the perfect book for explaining the constitution in kid-friendly language.
Author: David Catrow
Amazon Price: $6.99
Offers - Buy New From: $2.97 Used From: $2.50
Show & Share:
I was fortunate to visit Washington D.C. and able to purchase a parchment copy of the Constitution. It's a nice "Show & Share" item for my students. "Fat Brain" sells nice reproductions for only $2.95. Click on the link to check them out. Parchment Copy of the Constitution
Reinforcing learning by taking just 5-minutes to play a game, is a fun way to culminate your Constitution Day lessons.
To review the 3 parts of the Constitution as well as the 3 branches of our government play my 123 dice game. Click on the link to view/print a copy. Constitution Day Dice Game
I also made up a Constitution Day tic tac toe game. To save paper, simply glue 4 large Popsicle sticks together to make permanent playing boards.
Use flag erasers, red, white and blue flat marbles, or my Constitution Day game pieces. Print off the page, laminate and then cut out the individual pieces. Store in Snack Baggies to use each year.
Click on the link to view/print a page. Constitution Day Tic Tac Toe
A math game for older students would be for them to find out how many years ago the Constitution was signed. Write today's year on the board. To find the answer, subtract 1787 from it. Give a flag sticker to the student who finds out the correct answer first.
Apples4Teachers offers 14 Constitution Day coloring pages. I use these to make bingo-dot-a-pattern center sheets, toppers for mazes, dot-to-dots, and headers for my word finds. My students also enjoy practice writing their name and tracing Constitution Day themed words that I write under these pictures.
A nice culmination to the days activities is to graph your students feelings about the Constitution and Constitution Day. Click on the link to view/print some graphs. Constitution Day Graphs
Related Constitution Day Activities: Our Flag
Because this is such a patriotic day, I also review a few geography related things with my students, such as: the city where they go to school, the state they live in, the country they live in, as well as facts about our flag including The Pledge of Allegiance.
The easy reader booklet “My Flag” is a nice way to transition from story time to an independent writing activity.
Finish the day off by giving everyone a few pretzels during snack time, to review the 3 branches of the government and the 3 things that the Constitution creates. See how many students remember. Take a bite out of each pretzel section as you say a word!
Thanks for visiting today. Feel free to PIN anything you think others might find helpful.
"A truly happy person is one who can enjoy the scenery on a detour." -Unknown
Does anyone else besides me, feel there isn't enough time in the day for everything? Then the government comes along and mandates a lesson on the Constitution...
Don't get me wrong, I'm a very proud citizen and love my country, but I'm often in a dilemma at how to explain this rather complicated document to my 4-year-old students.
Only a handful can tell me who the President is, and when I asked them, "Who is the president's wife?" I got the answer: "Mrs. America."
If some of you are feeling that same pressure, perhaps you'll find a few of these ideas at the following websites helpful, as well as my bibliography of interesting books you can read on Constitution Day.
Books To Read:
I've compiled a list of my favorite books that are appropriate for Constitution Day. Some of them I use as a teacher resource for information for myself, others I read and some I use as a picture source to share with my students.
Click on the link to view/print a copy. Constitution Day Bibliography
Interesting Constitution Websites:
Constitutionfacts.com will send you a FREE pocket guide to the constitution for the price of shipping and handling. It’s a nice reference tool and also contains some interesting facts. Click on the link to check it out.Bill Of Rights Game: The Scenario: The National Computer has crashed, so students help restore the Bill of Rights by rebuilding the Constitution. Children move their cursor around "Freeville" to find the 8 missing rights and freedoms. This is a nice independent computer center for Constitution Day. This is also a great activity to play as a whole group on a Smart Board.
Congress For Kids is a great interactive site with lots of options including an entire section about the Constitution. Their Online Learning Module has a great tutorial about the 3 branches of the government. Perfect for a Smart Board activity.
Click on the links to check out some fun ways to incorporate these things into your Constitution Day activities.
The National Constitution Center is a great interactive site. You can search the constitution by keywords or phrases. Explore the Constitution by topic, or search the Constitution by court cases. Click on the link to check out this helpful site.
One of the best things at this site is their webcast about Constitution Day. It’s narrated by Sandra Day O’Connor, and is perfect for Smart Boards. Click on the link to check it out and see an interesting tour of Signers’ Hall that will help your class celebrate and learn about Constitution Day. (The 42 statues are life size! Awesome.)
Junior Achievement offers a lesson on personal property and a person’s rights. This is easily understood by even a young child. Click on the link to check out this Constitution Day activity.
Constitution Day: This site has a plethora of additional educational sites and an explanation of what each one offers. Click on the link if you’re searching for specific information and additional age-appropriate links for Constitution Day.
Ben’s Guide To The Government: Is a nice site with a variety of activities for various ages including K-2.
Thanks for visiting today! Be sure and check back tomorrow when I'll give you some more ideas and activities of how you can celebrate and learn about Constitution Day.
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"Don't be afraid to give up the good to go for the great!" -Kenny Rogers
How To Make Writing Easier!
Every few years the core standards seem to get more difficult. It’s hard to believe that our kindergartners are now required to write a simple sentence using a subject and action word with proper capitalization and punctuation.
Most of my Y5’s come to me not even knowing how to write their name, some of them can’t even hold a writing utensil properly, yet onward we must go…
Henry Ford said:
“Nothing is particularly hard if you break it down into small jobs.”
I live by that philosophy when I teach, for it really does work.
One of the things I just developed, to help teachers “break down” writing this simple sentence standard, is a picture-driven writing prompt. If “A picture is worth a 1,000 words!” then certainly we can muster a few of them to write a simple sentence and hopefully have a little fun doing it.
I’ve compiled over 50 in Picture-Driven Writing Prompts For Fall and give you a list of directions of how you can explain the concept to your students by modeling it at the white board.
Basically, students brainstorm with the teacher to make a list of what is going on in the picture. The list is divided into subject and action words.
Students can then choose the two words they will use in their sentence and write them on their mini-dry erase boards or the lines provided on the picture-prompt paper.
They then go back to their desk and write a simple sentence using other word-wall words that the teacher has reviewed, along with appropriate capitalization and punctuation.
These writing prompts are great for your Literacy Center, Daily 5-writing block, or for practicing this report card standard in a whole-group writing activity.
Click on the link to zoom to the Fall Picture-Driven Writing Prompts so you can view or print them.
I’m in the process of making a set for winter and spring as well.
Spacie The Space Alien
When writing a sentence, my Y5's have difficulty remembering to put an appropriate space between each word. When I taught kindergarten and even first grade, this was still a problem for many of my students.
So that they would have enough space, I told students to simply put their pinkie finger after the word, and then begin the next word beside their finger.
This helped a few students, but it wasn't until I made "Spacie" that making a space between words with an object, became a "fun" thing to do, easy to remember and helped show them the correct space needed between words in an encouraging way.
My students simply choose a "space alien" named Spacie when they are writing a sentence, and place it between their words.
You can make a class set to be used every year, or you can make each of your students one as a special "writing gift" when you begin teaching that lesson.
- Use 3 3/4 length wooden clothespins that are flat and pre-painted.
- Using a toothpick and Elmer's Wood Glue put 2 dots of glue where you want to place 2 tiny wiggle eyes.
- Put the wiggle eyes on the drops of glue.
- Draw on a big smile with a black, fine-point Sharpie and you're done.
- If you want to give one to each of your students, write their name on the back with the Sharpie.
- Use a silver Sharpie for the purple clothespins.
- If you can't find pre-painted clothespins, you may want to opt for your students to make and paint their own Spacie, as a fun center activity.
- Painting just the top-front of the clothespin will expedite things.
- Spacie looks OK as plain wood if you don't want to hassle with painting.
Remind your students not to pick at the eyes, as they will come off.
I think the wiggle eyes really make "Spacie" look like a goofy little alien space creature, but you can also expedite things by simply using a Sharpie and drawing on the eyes.
Kingbridge International is a large wholesale company in California. They provide stores with "Dollar Day Deals".
I found the pack pictured at Staples Office Supply, (there's 12 in a pack), but Target, JoAnn Fabrics, and Michaels Crafts all offer Dollar Deals from some company or another.
I've also found clothespins at The Dollar Store, Big Lots, and the Dollar & More stores.
Click on the link for a large clothespin site that lists a variety of companies you can buy the flat clothespins from; however, they are not painted.
A down side to ordering Online is paying for shipping.
You could get together with other teachers if they want to make Spacies for their students too, and then split the cost of freight.
I hope you have enjoyed this series of back-to-school articles. Here in Michigan, we start public school the Tuesday after Labor Day.
I wish everyone a safe and relaxing weekend and a super new school year!
As always, if you have a tip you'd like to share with us, I'd enjoy hearing from you!