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Whole Brain Teaching Super Improver Wall

July 01, 2018




After using the clipchart system in my classroom for several years, I wanted a change.  I often felt that it were the same students who clipped up every day and the same students who clipped down every day.  For the students who clipped down every day, it stressed them out, and it also got to the point where I felt like I was constantly having to contact parents about these negative behaviors. 



Several years ago I read the Whole Brain Teaching book by Chris Biffle.  I loved his idea of a Super Improver Wall but, at the time, it felt overwhelming trying to implement this system in my classroom.  When you are moving classrooms, decorating classrooms, switching grade levels, etc. there is just so much that consumes your time, and I just didn't have the time to research, think about, and implement The Super Improver Wall.


Camp Learned A Lot - End of School Year Class Transformation

May 27, 2018


On the last full week of school, I transform my classroom into a camping scene called Camp Learned A Lot.  This is truly the BEST week of First Grade!  We spend the week reviewing curriculum, spending time with friends, making crafts, singing songs, and just plain having fun!

If you would like to read about each day of Camp Learned A Lot, please click on the individual links below:


Happy Camping!

Camp Learned A Lot - Day 5

May 26, 2018

Sadly, Camp Learned A Lot comes to a close today but it has been a wonderful week full of review and memories!

As with our previous days, we began with our Morning Meeting at the campfire.  I call students to the carpet during Camp Learned A Lot week by playing camp trumpets.  Then, we recited our Camp Motto.  This is just a fun chant we recite each day at the beginning and end of camp.

The motto I use:
Everywhere we go
People who want to know
Who We Are
So We Tell Them
We are Camp Learned A Lot
The Mighty, Mighty First Graders!  

Then, we went around the campfire and shared our favorite memory from Camp Learned A Lot.  

This morning I read Amelia Bedelia Goes Camping.  I loved Amelia Bedelia as a child and always read the books to my classes.  The books provide many opportunities to discuss figures of speech.  

After our read aloud, it was time for Flashlight Reading!  I asked students to bring in a flashlight today.  I paired students up and they were able to spread around the room with their book bins and read in the dark.  I also played a river scene on my Promethean Board for effect.  Some students even asked me if they could tell their own stories (just like they had seen me model during campfire stories) to their partner!  It was so much fun to watch them create their own "scary' stories.

Camp Learned A Lot - Day 4

May 25, 2018

Day 4 of Camp Learned A Lot contains just as much fun and surprises as the other days!  As always, we began with our Morning Meeting at the campfire.  I call students to the carpet during Camp Learned A Lot week by playing camp bugles.  Then, we recite our Camp Motto.  This is just a fun chant we recite each day at the beginning and end of camp.

The motto I use:
Everywhere we go
People who want to know
Who We Are
So We Tell Them
We are Camp Learned A Lot
The Mighty, Mighty First Graders!  

Then, we went around the campfire and shared our favorite subject from this school year.  

I read the book Froggy Goes to Camp, and we discussed how Froggy changes throughout the story.  The students love this book because we do a whole week on the Froggy series earlier in the school year.  After reading the book, I explain that at camp you make lots of memories and always want to remember your friends.  Today is Craft Day!  We will be making popsicle stick frames!  

I worked with students in small groups to make a popsicle stick frame and glue it together with Elmer Glue Bottles.  After they dried, I called students back to write Camp at the top and the year on the bottom.  Then, my assistant and I worked to glue the pictures to the frame.  The frames weren't perfect but it's kid art! That's part of the charm.

(I have edited out the class picture.)

After the popsicle stick frames were made, we came back to the campfire for another camp poem/song! Today's song was A Camping We Will Go!  After we learned this song and the motions, students added the poem to their red fluency folder.


We also completed another camping listening to/following instructions activity from A Burst of First.  Students also played a 100 chart math game with a bear theme and completed a camping survey with their classmates and answered questions about the data.  Of course, Camp Learned A Lot would not be complete without mail call and a campfire story at the end of the day!

Stay tuned tomorrow the final day of Camp Learned A Lot.  To read about the previous days, please click below:

Camp Learned A Lot - Day 3

May 24, 2018

Camp Learned A Lot continued today with a focus on STEM for Day 3!

Once again, we began with our Morning Meeting at the campfire.  I call students to the carpet during Camp Learned A Lot week by playing camp trumpets.  Then, we recited our Camp Motto.  This is just a fun chant we recite each day at the beginning and end of camp.

The motto I use:
Everywhere we go
People who want to know
Who We Are
So We Tell Them
We are Camp Learned A Lot
The Mighty, Mighty First Graders!  

Then, we went around the campfire and shared our favorite special class from this school year.

Afterward, I read Scaredy Squirrel Goes Camping.  We loved making predictions throughout the story, discussing how Scaredy really didn't need to worry about certain things, and laughing throughout the whole story!

Today's big Camp Learned A Lot event was a tent STEM activity!  For this activity, I gave each student a Zip Loc baggie with 9 toothpicks, 6 small marshmallows, and a piece of felt/cloth.  Students had to use the materials to make a tent.  

Camp Learned A Lot - Day 2

May 15, 2018

Today was Day 2 of Camp Learned A Lot!  The students were so excited to see what surprises laid in store today.


Camp Learned A Lot - Day 1

May 14, 2018

On the last full week of school, I transform my classroom into a camping scene called Camp Learned A Lot.  This is truly the BEST week of First Grade!  We spend the week reviewing curriculum, spending time with friends, making crafts, singing songs, and just plain having fun!

On Thursday, the week before Camp Learned A Lot, I secretly email my parents to give them a heads-up about Camp Learned A Lot.  Depending on my plans for Camp Learned A Lot, I may ask for materials I will need throughout the week.  The most important details of the email are to keep it a secret from their kiddo and to send in mail for their child.  I ask that parents write a letter to their child pretending that they are away at camp, tell them what is going on at home, and to praise them for their hard work during the school year.  Parents may send in one letter or one for every day of camp.

Like I mentioned, the students have NO idea this is happening!  After school on Friday, I transform the classroom into a camp scene.  I decorate outside our classroom, put up a tent, add a campfire, tablecloths, lanterns, and more.  Here is a look at what students see when they arrive at the classroom door on Monday:

Camp Sign came from Deanna Jump's Camping Unit

Mother's Day Freebies

May 07, 2018


Mother's Day is this Sunday. Today I want to share with you what I always do for Mother's Day in my classroom.  Best of all, these are completely free!  The gifts that we make for Mother's Day are one of my favorite throughout the entire year.  I just love creating special keepsakes that I know moms will appreciate and keep.

Math Fact Clip Cards: Addition and Subtraction to 10

January 28, 2018

As I mentioned in my previous post, addition and subtraction fact fluency is a skill my First Grade students must master by the end of the school year.  I am always researching and implementing new methods of teaching math facts.  Mastery always boils down to practice.  The more practice and exposure a student has to math facts, they better they will become.  



Shake and Roll Addition Fact Fluency Games

January 21, 2018

As a First Grade teacher, addition and subtraction fact fluency is a skill my students must master by the end of the school year.  I am always researching for and implementing new methods of teaching math facts and math fact activities.  Mastery always boils down to practice.  The more practice and exposure a student has to math facts, they better they will become.  

One way I make sure my students have ample practice to math facts is to include math fact games in my Daily 5 Math rotations.  Shake and Roll is an addition game that does just that!  I introduce this game to my students at the beginning of the year and just simply change out the game board and pieces every month.  This way students are familiar with the game and rules (and I don't have to spend time teaching a new game) but the change in the graphics and game pieces keeps things fresh and fun!



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