Monthly Archives: May 2011

Year End Class Party

Year End Class Party

& So it’s that time of year again …. it’s time for our Year End Class Party.

If you were a fly on my classroom wall you would see me planning for this very special day: for a picnic lunch and afternoon in the park.

This year I have decided to record my thoughts and ideas in the form of a post on my blog. In doing so not only will I be able to share what I have “found” & have the information saved for years to come  … but I will hopefully be read by & acquire ideas from the many fabulous teachers and party planners out there.

The Party

When we arrive at the park my students will enjoy some free time while I set up for our lunch and games. I have invited the students to bring picnic blankets, soccer balls, basketballs, baseballs, bats, hula hoops,  skipping ropes, whatever they like!

At noon we will have lunch. This year the students have opted for McDonald’s Happy Meals … fine by me! They are a meal in a box!
Parents have already offered to bring/donated water, fruit, popcorn, cookies and ice cream bars … all nut safe of course.

After lunch it’s time to play some games! Some games include prizes bought at The Dollar Store …. I love The Dollar Store!

(Most of these games are familiar to us all … I have not included some related sites.)

(A) Individual &/or Relay Games:

1. Egg and Spoon Race 

2. Crab walk with a shoe placed on the child’s tummy

3. Whistling Cracker Game (

4. Blow the Biggest Bubble Gum Bubble

5. How many socks you can put on in 60 seconds? (I have never had enough socks to do this … but I have included it because I think that it looks like fun!!!!!)

6. Two man race with a balloon held between their shoulders (no hands allowed)

7. Straw Lifesaver Race (

8. Barnyard Animal Game (find all the other children in the group making the same animal sound that you are)

9. Move the Hula Hoop (

10. Bucket & Sponge Relay Race (

11. Duck-Duck-Goose

& now ….  Before anyone argues that McDonald’s is an unhealthy option … well, please consider the following:
First, we are not eating McDonald’s every day. Secondly, Happy Meals are convenient (literally a meal in a box … plus a toy 😉 and everyone in my class likes them. Lastly, please consider the following:
“Canadian Milestones”:

“·  1977 McDonald’s first [ ]McHappy Day raised more than $460,000 for local children’s charities.”

“·  1981 The first Ronald McDonald House opened in Toronto, providing a home-away-from-home for families with children undergoing treatment for cancer or other life-threatening illnesses. Today, there are 12 Ronald McDonald Houses in cities across Canada.”

“1987 McDonald’s Restaurants of Canada Limited marked its 20th Anniversary, and with the generous support of its customers, raised $1.5 million for Rick Hansen’s Man in Motion World Tour.”

“·  2004 McDonald’s launches the Balanced Lifestyles Initiative- a national consumer wellness campaign aimed at Canadians of all ages focusing on three key areas: additional menu choice, consumer education and the promotion of physical activity. “

“·  2004 McDonald’s introduces the 10 Cent Happy Meal program, in which 10 cents from every Happy Meal purchased is donated to [ ]Ronald McDonald House Charities.”
([ ]

– Check out “Sports Sponsorships” at [ ]

– Check out what McDonald’s is doing to help the environment at and the company’s policy about protecting the rain forest at [ ] “


A Traveling Suitcase in the Classroom

The Traveling Suitcase

A few years ago now — when I taught Grade One — I had a Math Suitcase, a Writing Suitcase and a Science Suitcase in the classroom. Within each suitcase were games and activities relating to certain areas of study. Students took turns bringing the suitcases home. Once home they played the games, engaged in the activities and conducted the experiments found therein with family and friends. They loved them!

Well, one day I was sharing this idea/activity with a colleague of mine and I thought to myself, “Hey! This was so successful in Grade One … why not try it with my Grade Fives?!”

… So now,  if you were a fly on my classroom wall, you would notice a small, well-used suitcase in the corner of our room. It was donated to our class by a parent. The suitcase goes home with a different student twice a week … It is both loved and well used.

& Just in case you are interested in doing this same type of activity in your classroom I have included some information below!

Have fun!


The Traveling Suitcase

1. Students take turns bringing The Traveling Suitcase home. The suitcase goes home twice a week: Monday afternoons (to be returned Thursday mornings) and Thursdays (to be returned Monday mornings).
Please be sure to bring the suitcase back to school so that everyone has an opportunity to engage in the activities enclosed.

2. In The Traveling Suitcase you will find fun, educational activities that relate to our units of study. You may find books to read, experiments to conduct, or puzzles and games to play.Please note that as your teacher, I will be asking you, the students for suggested activities (e.g. What is it that you like to do? Readings? Experiments? Puzzles? Word searches?) on a regular basis and will do my best to include them in The Traveling Suitcase.

3. Once you have The Traveling Suitcase at home take some time to explore its contents. Please choose two or three activities to complete. Some activities must be done with an adult so read the instructions carefully.

4. Be prepared to discuss the activities with the class when you bring the suitcase back. If you have an opportunity please consider taking picture of you engaged in any of the activities. If you email the picture to email I can put it up on the Smart Board the next day!

5. Please take good care of our suitcase. Take care of the books, papers, pencils and items found inside. We have a place for everything so keep everything in its place. Finally, should you notice that anything needs replacing please let me know so that I can have The Traveling Suitcase ready for the next student.

Best regards,

Here are some sites & ideas that I have used in order to “pack my suitcase”:

1. Math:

2. Social Studies:
Word searches
Colouring pages
Easy crafts

3. Science Experiments:
Word searches
Colouring pages

4. For Fun:
Magic tricks:

5. Books:
Library books based on a topic of study or general class interest

Developing Listening Skills in the Classroom

Developing Listening Skills in the Classroom

If you were a fly on my classroom wall you would see that we often stop to discuss what good listeners do. Developing good listening skills is of very real importance, and we should never assume that students know what to do in order to be successful in this area.

When discussing what good listeners do I break the overall concept down for students in this way:

  • We discuss what good listeners do before, during and after a discussion/lesson.
  • We have open and honest discussions; that is we discuss, play with and develop ideas and concepts together … and it looks something like this:


(A) Before “listening” students:

– accept that listening is an “active” (vs. a “passive”) undertaking
– are introduced to the concept & we find out what we already know as well as what they want to know
– understand the activity
– predict what’s going to happen during and after a lesson/activity
– know what they are listening for
– are preloaded with an understanding of the necessary vocabulary

B)  While “listening” (during) students:

– give their full attention; demonstrate interest
– are aware of purpose; know what they are listening for
– know whether they are listening for the main idea, for details, for emotions, for opinions, to infer, to predict, to follow instructions, to evaluate, to emphasize, etc.
– search for meaning; try to make connections; try to relate in some way to what is being said/heard
– are encouraged to listen with and not ahead of the speaker/text
– are encouraged to listen optimistically be open minded – work hard, work smart, work “happy”
– stop and check their understanding; the goal is for students to learn to self-monitor

C) After “listening” students:

– discuss what they heard/understood
– ask questions
– summarize, analyze, evaluate; share facts & form opinions
– build on the ideas presented as well as on the ideas of others