Tuesday, September 29, 2015

Fall with Community Helpers

It's almost October and Fall is officially in the air.  Children will begin telling you about what they are going to be for Halloween or what pumpkin patch they will be visiting.  You might have kids going on hayrides and drinking cider.  But before all of that, we have fire safety week, and with that, community helpers.

We cannot tell you enough about how great this bundle has been in the classroom.  It provides books, games, a song, puppets, and more fun resources for helping kiddos learn about community helpers.  Each activity is designed to further imprint the idea of community helpers on your students' brains.

Click below to get this great resource for 50% off in our Educents store!

There are a few printables like this one.  The sheet pictured below matches each community helper to his or her tool.

One of the sheets includes these adorable finger puppets that children can use while they are listening to the song.

A group of Pam's Summer School students came up with the idea to cut off the book match pages and use them as scenery for a puppet show.  

One little girl came up with the idea of creating a popup page for her community helpers.  She created environments for each community helper, then cut slits for her puppets to fit through.  You could take this one step further by having kiddos draw a map of their community.  They could include the places where each community helper works and then cut slits for their puppets.

Below is a video that talks more about our Community Helpers Bundle and offers you a FREE community helpers sheet.  Check it out!

Have an awesome week!!

Friday, September 25, 2015

Class Mascots

Hey all,

On Tuesday you got to meet Quentin, our class mascot.  As a class mascot, he gives the students an example to follow for good behavior and gives them an extra push to follow the rules.  We combine Quentin with the Baldridge program, teaching kids that being a Quality Student is the best way to work and behave in the classroom.  We have found that this holistic approach, combining behavior and performance, really encourages the students to do their best.  Having a class mascot is a fun way to emphasize whatever it is you want to emphasize in the classroom.

Minds in Bloom has a great article that reflects the same ideas we use in the classroom.  Creating a culture that includes the class mascot is a fun, low-pressure way to have a positive environment.

Scholastic has a fantastic article about how a class mascot can even motivate kiddos to write.  When Quentin goes home with a Quality Student, they write about him in his journal.  They get excited about their interactions with the class mascot and want to write about them, or at least draw them.

Eduplace has an activity on how to involve the kiddos in creating a class mascot.  This involves creativity and critical thinking.  It would be an awesome way to make the experience more fun for older kiddos!

2care2teach4kids shows you how to use a class mascot in a preschool classroom.

All of these articles support the same idea, that a class mascot is a great way to create a fun environment and motivate your students.  The one cool thing about Quentin, as you can read in our other post, is that we have done all the work for you.  Quentin has 2 songs, 2 books, and other materials.  The idea of quality is strongly encouraged within the Baldridge program and it's a great jumping point for you.  We have seen Quentin work wonders with students who had very strong behavior difficulties and firmly believe in the presence of a class mascot to make your life easier.  As you can see in our previous post, we do have a stuffed Quentin.

He's not for sale in our store, but we would be happy to send him to you if you want to do this in your classroom.  We would be willing to give you his books, songs, Quality Quentin dollars, along with him and other supporting materials for a discount bundle price.  If you're interested or have any questions, email us at soltrain.learning@gmail.com.  We believe he can make a real difference in your classroom.

If not Quentin, at least try a class mascot.  We guarantee you'll see a difference in your kiddos.  Share your successes below!

Have an awesome weekend and best of luck!

Wednesday, September 23, 2015

Our Awesome Class Mascot

My name is Quentin.  I am a "quality" penguin, and I want to show your kiddos how to be quality students!  There is a song my mother taught me in the book Quentin's First Day, where I learn what a quality student is.  I was nervous about my first day of school and mom made me feel better.  I taught it to my new friend, Mandy, to make her feel better too. Grab it for Free!

The students meet me at the beginning of the year and sing the "Quality Students" song every day.  They talk with their teacher about what a quality student is and earn Quality Quentin Dollars for being quality students.  Along with earning Quality Quentin Dollars and going to the prize box, one very lucky student gets to take me home each night for being the MOST quality student.

 Students like to give me presents.

The teacher asks me to hold the word of the day.

In my second book, Quentin's Quality PumpkinI remember the part of the "Quality Students" song that says "we take turns to be kind."  I learn that it's not as important for me to get the best pumpkin as it is for me to share with Mandy.

I like to hide in different S.O.L. Train Learning materials so I can remind kids how to be quality students.  I have a whole category just for me.  Click below to check it out:

You will be getting to know me more throughout the year as I tell more stories about my experiences in the classroom.  Have a great week!

Tuesday, September 15, 2015

Games in the Classroom

Hey out there!

Wanted to reach out this week and share some game ideas for your classroom.  Pam and I are always looking for ways to add excitement to learning and games are a great way to accomplish this.  As our fans know, we LOVE incorporating games in the classroom.  We have several categories in our store devoted just to games including, Brain Bounce Games, Scoot Games, and Other Games!  We are all about some games ;-).

The best part about incorporating games in your classroom is that kiddos are focused more on the fun than they are on the "obligation" to learn and succeed.  It takes the pressure off.  Not to mention it's fun and easy and makes us look good when our children do succeed.

This is fun and simple and can be differentiated in many ways.  You can use vocabulary like we have in our Word of the Day products, your own spelling words, or sight words.  For older kiddos, you can use math facts, Brain Bounce cards, or other quiz bowl type cards.  Don't have Connect 4?  No problem!  You can use these rules to add to any game that involves kids taking turns; Checkers, Chess, Tic Tac Toe.  You can add this extra piece to any game.  Just tell the kiddos if they don't know the word, they skip their turn.  Click above to read more!

Another fun and simple way to practice English Language Arts, Math, or other skills.  Differentiation possibilities are endless!  Click above to read more.

Hopefully that gets your kiddos off on the right foot with learning through games.  Also, these are a GREAT assessment tool.  Easy, low-pressure way to see what your kiddos know.  

Here are some more fun tips:

For Math

For English Language Arts

There are also many other game ideas on our Kids Games Pinterest board.

Happy gaming!

Friday, September 11, 2015

Back to School September Memory Game

Hey All,

The Word of the Day saga continues with our September Word of the Day Memory Game!

Click below to get it in our store

Pam used it with her kiddos to further reinforce our September vocabulary and had great results.  This is another way for you to put important vocabulary in front of your kiddos, exposing them to it without the pressure of learning it.  This game is so much fun and as many of you know it's a great tool for critical thinking as well.  We are offering it exclusively to our followers for FREE today only.  Be sure you check it out and let us know how your kids do with it.

Here are a few pictures of some of her kiddos enjoying this game! To provide further reinforcement of the words, they turned the cards over and said the words out loud. Pam just used the first set of 10 words that they have used in class. She will add to the game as she introduces more words.

Pam has been so excited about our newly revised student calendar and our September Word of the Day books. You can get the bundle for 50% off in our store this weekend!  I'm going to let her tell y'all more about that:

Hey everybody! I hope you are having a great year! I know y'all are as busy as I am trying to get your kiddos into a routine! I have had the greatest success with using this word of the day student calendar with the new books that Brittany has written for us. I love that the books can be sung to familiar piggy back songs and my kiddos are so cute singing these songs as they read their own books!

Well, on Thursday I gave them the page of lyrics from the first book and told them to highlight the words that I have introduced on our word of the day calendar.  I was so happy to see how well they did this. Some of the kiddos used their books to help them find the words.

 Some of the kiddos used their calendars to help them find the words.
 Some of them actually just remembered the words:) 

I want to

show you what my students are already doing in their calendar notebooks with these words. This is so exciting for me!

This was written after I encouraged my kiddos to try to use some of the words that we already had from the calendar.  Just think how this student will be writing by the end of first grade:)

Sorry, just one more. It was one of my favorites! Yay!!

Next on the horizon are our October ELA Books and Memory Game.  Follow us on the blog or in our store for updates! We would love to hear how this bundle is helping your students, so if you decide to give it a try-please send us an email or comment here. 


We Will Never Forget

Our community helpers...more like community HEROES.  We will never forget.  Honor the men and women you know who serve and protect us every day.

Tuesday, September 8, 2015

Behavior in the Classroom: Token Systems

Hello Teachers!

Welcome back from your Labor Day weekend.  I hope all of you enjoyed the long weekend.  By now most of you are one week or more into your school year, and some of you are just starting.  Regardless, I think we would all agree that a peaceful classroom is a happy classroom.  I would like to encourage my color system people to take a look at the potential of a token system with your kiddos.  This is good for 2 reasons:

1) Less work for you keeping track of who is on what color
2) Children taking more personal responsibility for their behavior

The beauty of using a token system is that you have multiple options for giving or taking away.  Students in Pam's class have to receive 10 Quality Quentin dollars in order to visit her prize bin.

This is a free download in our store

Students have to keep track of these dollars on their own and do not get replacements if they are lost.  This gives your kiddos a first look into the world of personal finances.  Also, when a child has to give up a Quentin Dollar for bad behavior, the experience has a more concrete effect.  Children also get to explore early math concepts because they will count to see how many more Quentin Dollars they need to go to the prize box.
There was one girl who wanted to get something for her brother's birthday and it was the end of the week.  Pam offered to give the girl a loan until she could earn the rest of her dollars.  She was able to explain to this girl how the bank gives loans thst people have to pay back.

The kids love having "money" and it teaches them a lot about basic economics.  

Hope King does a really cute token system involving keys.  You may not be able to do trips with your kiddos, but you could modify the system to include prizes or privledges.

This article from The Autism Helper talks more in depth about token systems and how to apply them effectively.

So, what do you think?  Do you agree with the token system, or disagree?  What works in your classroom?  

Have a great rest of your week!

Saturday, September 5, 2015

Labor Day SALE! New Word of the Day books!

We have many teacher friends that are starting back to school next week with their kiddos so we wanted to put our store on SALE to grab those last minute resources! We have back to school activities, units with songs, scoot games and so much more:) 

This is our newest product and I have to tell y'all that I love these books! My daughter Brittany wrote them to the tune of familiar piggy back songs. I tried them for the first time this week because it was our first week back to school and my kiddos loved them! 

One buyer likes them for her ELL students:

"Great for ESOL and other students who need to strengthen vocabulary and reading skills. The real life photos are wonderful for making connections. Thank you!"
Click on picture to purchase or read more.
We want y'all to try these books out so we are offering them for 50% off Sept.5!

 I made the sheet with the lyrics into a poster and laminated it so the students could see the words as we sang the song and then circle the words that come from our Word of the Day Sept. calendar.
 Then they go back to their seats and highlight the word of the day in their books.
 They also love sharing, singing and reading the books together.

These back to school books are based on words from our Sept. Calendar:

 After we do the group calendar and introduce the word of the day, the students go back to their seats and complete their calendars and their books.
 They keep them in a pocket folder so they can keep themselves organized. We will hole punch the completed Sept.calendar at the end of September so they can collect the words and be able to review them throughout the year! These words have really helped my kiddos with vocabulary as well as writing skills:)

One buyer said: "It is a great way to add fun and learning right to our calendar time! Best part is no extra work for me. It was a great purchase!"

We hope that y'all will check our store out and please let us know if you would like to see something else we can create for you:)
Enjoy your Labor Day Weekend!