August 18, 2016

Parent Communication - Your Key To A Successful Year!

Hi! This is Heather from Campfire Curriculum with Helpful Heather.  Research says that good communication between teachers and parents contributes to a student's educational success.  We all hope to have a fantastic school year with great parent communication.  This post, along with this cutting edge (and FREE) application, will pave your way to a wonderful year!!!



Parent Communication - Your Key To A Successful Year!

Research says that good communication between teachers and parents contributes to a student's educational success.  We all wish for a great year with open and easy communication.  This post, along with this cutting edge (and FREE) application, will pave your way to a wonderful year!!!  

How I Got Started!

I didn't believe it myself!  A free app that was going to change the way I communicate with parents?  All I knew is that it had to be easier and less time consuming than what I was doing before!  When my students were at lunch I was frantically writing notes to parents.  If I wanted to keep student tests on file I had to make photo copies so that I could send them home.  If there were special moments in class that I wanted to share I was making a trip to the local corner store to get photos made.  All of this nonsense stopped the moment I downloaded the Remind App! (Remind: Safe Classroom Communication   formerly remind101)

The Set Up:
Research says that good communication between teachers and parents contributes to a student's educational success.  We all wish for a great year with open and easy communication.  This post, along with this cutting edge (and FREE) application, will pave your way to a wonderful year!!!

I was amazed at how easy remind was to implement.  After downloading the app onto my phone I received a message from remind.  The message gave me instructions on how to have parents join my "class".  They simply text a class code to a certain number, fill in basic information (like their name so I know who they are), and they are done!  Their information stays private and so does mine!  Within one day all of my parents were signed up!  I sent home the letter that you see below.  Please feel free to use it to help you!

Research says that good communication between teachers and parents contributes to a student's educational success.  We all hope to have a fantastic school year with great parent communication.  This post, along with this cutting edge (and FREE) application, will pave your way to a wonderful year!!!

Research says that good communication between teachers and parents contributes to a student's educational success.  We all wish for a great year with open and easy communication.  This post, along with this cutting edge (and FREE) application, will pave your way to a wonderful year!!! Woah.... I Never Thought of That!

These are the reasons why you should use remind:

*most everyone has a phone
*communication through text message is easy and private
*you can type or dictate your message
*you can follow classes for ideas on how others use remind
*you get immediate responses! (No waiting for the folder to be returned)
*you choose if you want an email, text, remind message or a combination
*business hours can be set so that you won't be contacted before or after certain times (the parent is notified about this via friendly message)
*when you go to send a message the app will ask you if you really want to send a message (if outside of business hours)
*you can send individual and/or group messages
*group messages can include information on field trips, snow days, report cards, test days, assignments due etc.
*individual messages can include pictures of activities, test results, encouraging messages etc.

What It Can Do For You!

This application can be used to keep in contact with parents and it can also be used to remind students that have the application downloaded.  I am a primary school teacher and I have enjoyed how easy it has been to communicate with parents.  If you teach upper grades you can communicate with students on this app and remind gives you and the student user guidelines to keep communication safe and appropriate.  

The parents that I worked with last year immediately responded with messages of, "I love this app!"  They started communicating with me on a more regular basis too.  It made it so easy for them to get on their phone and send me a quick message on their way out the door.

Here are some examples of actual correspondence in my classroom:

Research says that good communication between teachers and parents contributes to a student's educational success.  We all hope to have a fantastic school year with great parent communication.  This post, along with this cutting edge (and FREE) application, will pave your way to a wonderful year!!!






Using the remind app I could quickly take a picture of a student test and send it to their parents.  No need to make photo copies to keep in a file.  The parents were so thankful to have quick feedback. I could take the picture and send it from school or home!




Research says that good communication between teachers and parents contributes to a student's educational success.  We all hope to have a fantastic school year with great parent communication.  This post, along with this cutting edge (and FREE) application, will pave your way to a wonderful year!!!




My class was fortunate enough to watch the life cycle of butterflies!  Of course my students would go home and tell their parents all about the changes they were seeing in our butterfly house but the pictures I would send brought their stories to life!  This picture is from our butterfly release day.  All of my friends were waving goodbye to the butterflies.  I loved that I was able to share this moment with the parents on remind.







Research says that good communication between teachers and parents contributes to a student's educational success.  We all hope to have a fantastic school year with great parent communication.  This post, along with this cutting edge (and FREE) application, will pave your way to a wonderful year!!!






Our School has a sock hop every year.  At one point my class took a break from dancing to have a picture taken.  I was able to share this fun photo with all of the parents!










Research says that good communication between teachers and parents contributes to a student's educational success.  We all hope to have a fantastic school year with great parent communication.  This post, along with this cutting edge (and FREE) application, will pave your way to a wonderful year!!!





During indoor recess this little friend was so proud of herself after she used Lincoln Logs to build this amazing little house!  She said, "I wish my mom could see this!"  I thought for a moment and remembered..... I CAN SHARE IT WITH YOUR MOM!  I took this picture and sent it off right away. 





 What Will You Do?

Have you ever heard of Remind?  Do you know anyone who uses the app?  What are the things that you love about it?  What challenges have you come across?  Will you download the app after reading this post?  Please let me know what you think about it!  I can't wait to hear!!!



 Pin For Later:
Research says that good communication between teachers and parents contributes to a student's educational success.  We all wish for a great year with open and easy communication.  This post, along with this cutting edge (and FREE) application, will pave your way to a wonderful year!!!



August 15, 2016

Easy, Last Minute, Sight Word Crafts

Hi! This is Heather from Campfire Curriculum with Helpful Heather.  Studies say that sight word acquisition through fun, hands-on activities will lead to student engagement and  build strong fluency. With very little time and effort, you can create simple and captivating activities for your students!  This post will give you 5 specific ideas to get those creative juices flowing!  Have fun!!!

Studies say that sight word acquisition through fun, hands-on activities will lead to student engagement and  build strong fluency. With very little time and effort, you can create simple and captivating activities for your students!  This post will give you 5 specific ideas to get those creative juices flowing!  Have fun!!!



Easy, Last Minute, Sight Word Crafts

It Doesn't Have To Be Difficult 

How many times have you put off doing some wonderful classroom craft because you simply don't have the time?  It happens to me all of the time.  Another issue is the cost!  Everyone who teaches knows that this is not a career...... it's an expensive hobby!  We use our own money all of the time in our own classrooms.  The following ideas for sight word engagement in your classroom can be differentiated to suit different levels, they are easy to create, and they are inexpensive!  Have fun and get a pedicure with the money you have saved.... you deserve it!!!


Studies say that sight word acquisition through fun, hands-on activities will lead to student engagement and  build strong fluency. With very little time and effort, you can create simple and captivating activities for your students!  This post will give you 5 specific ideas to get those creative juices flowing!  Have fun!!!

 Building Blocks

These adorable building blocks are $3 at Target!  They come in a clear zipper closing container.  Students can build using different sized blocks and wheels.  I used calendar labels that I had left over from last year's calendar to differentiate.  The container is labeled so that students and helpers in the classroom know what "color" labels to look for.  My blocks cover all preprimer, primer, 1st, and 2nd Dolch sight words.  The student must be able to read his word (you could even have them put that word into a sentence or ask a question using that word) before they can build with it.  I have 2 sets of these and the students beg me to use them! You can also find these at garage sales and save even more money!

Studies say that sight word acquisition through fun, hands-on activities will lead to student engagement and  build strong fluency. With very little time and effort, you can create simple and captivating activities for your students!  This post will give you 5 specific ideas to get those creative juices flowing!  Have fun!!!

 Fluency Sentences

Using colorful sentence strips I made these fluency sentences.  Each color strip represents a different level of Dolch sight word.  The levels are endless but I have preprimer - 3rd grade sight words.  On the back of each piece I have a number.  If students mix up the sentences they are easily reorganized.  I was fortunate and I didn't have to pay for the sentence strips but Lakeshore sells 100 of these colorful strips for under $5.  A sharpie and a pair of scissors and my project was complete.  This has helped my students with sentence structure, reading, and writing.  You can even have your student write the sentence once they have put it together.  My students love to grab a set of fluency sentences for morning work.

Studies say that sight word acquisition through fun, hands-on activities will lead to student engagement and  build strong fluency. With very little time and effort, you can create simple and captivating activities for your students!  This post will give you 5 specific ideas to get those creative juices flowing!  Have fun!!!

 Popcorn Game

I have seen many versions of this game but this one is my favorite!  I printed out popcorn shaped clip art onto card stock to create this game.  The bucket is only $1 at the Dollar Tree store.  I found the card stock (250 pack) for approximately $6 at Walmart.  I had plenty of card stock to make multiple levels of Dolch words for leveled game play!  You can also differentiate by adding directional game cards.  On my preprimer cards a student may pick a popcorn that says, "POP".  This means that they have to put all of their popcorn back in the bucket.  For the 2nd grade level it may say, "Give your popcorn to the player to your right." 

Studies say that sight word acquisition through fun, hands-on activities will lead to student engagement and  build strong fluency. With very little time and effort, you can create simple and captivating activities for your students!  This post will give you 5 specific ideas to get those creative juices flowing!  Have fun!!!

  Dice Roll

To create my sight word dice roll I use my story retell cube.  I received this one from a friend (the best way to get new resources) but you can find this at Oriental Trading for under $7.  I like to put our sight words of the week in the cube.  The student then can have a choice to roll and write three sentences using that word.  Illustrate and write a story using that word.  Sing a song using that word.  Do jumping jacks while saying and spelling the word.  They can also do a combination of the above choices.  To save money I have also made cubes like this using a simple box that is wrapped with wrapping paper and covered with clear, packing tape.  The I use packing tape to create pockets!  It's fun and quiet when it rolls on the table!

Studies say that sight word acquisition through fun, hands-on activities will lead to student engagement and  build strong fluency. With very little time and effort, you can create simple and captivating activities for your students!  This post will give you 5 specific ideas to get those creative juices flowing!  Have fun!!!Cup Stacking

Using Dixie cups I made these stacking cups.  I have also seen teachers call them "Towers of Power".  You can store them in washed out Pringle containersI bought 200 cups for under $4 at Walmart.  The students must be able to read the word and have their partner check it before they can build with it.  If their tower falls they have to start all over again.  This keeps them working quietly and carefully.  I have the sight words written in different colors to keep them organized.  If they get mixed up with another level of Dolch word they are easily noticed and put back into their proper place.  Before the students can take their tower down they read the words again.

Share Your Great Ideas:

Do you have some fun games in mind that have helped your students flourish as readers?  We want to hear it!!!  Please share here!  Let us know how much it cost, the time it took, and how it was implemented into your classroom.  As always, I am so excited to hear your amazing ideas!









Pin For Later:
Studies say that sight word acquisition through fun, hands-on activities will lead to student engagement and  build strong fluency. With very little time and effort, you can create simple and captivating activities for your students!  This post will give you 5 specific ideas to get those creative juices flowing!  Have fun!!!


August 9, 2016

Brain Balance Makes Sense For Disconnected Kids!

Hi! This is Heather from Campfire Curriculum with Helpful HeatherBrain Balance® has done extensive research (through their founder Dr. Robert Melillo) and found that "disconnected students" often have imbalanced communication between the left and right brain hemispheres.  Wouldn't you like to have an answer for those students that have behavioral, academic, emotional and social struggles in your classroom/school?  Well, learning about Brain Balance® may be the answer you've been looking for!  

Brain Balance® has done extensive research (through their founder Dr. Robert Melillo) and found that "disconnected students" often have imbalanced communication between the left and right brain hemispheres.  Wouldn't you like to have an answer for those students that have behavioral, academic, emotional and social struggles in your classroom/school?  Well, learning about Brain Balance® may be the answer you've been looking for!


Brain Balance® makes sense for Disconnected Kids!

 

How I Was Enlightened

Have you ever been somewhere and met someone and you knew that there was a greater meaning and purpose for this meeting?  This happened to me!  A few years ago I was in a Barnes & Noble children's section with a small friend who was searching for a book.  She was attracted to a woman face painting and soon was being beautifully accessorized with paint!  Brain Balance® was there and they were packing up and getting ready to leave yet they gave us 100% of their attention.  That's when I started a conversation with Tom Shenk.  Tom was an educator in the Hampton Roads area for 22 years.  Some of his experience was as a Physical Education instructor.  His work with students academically and their physical ability in P.E. classes influenced his studies on how physical activity can effect brain function.  These studies led to him being honored as Teacher of the Year in Region II of the entire state of Virginia!  He has an immense amount of knowledge but speaks like a caring educator with terminology that is understandable.  It is immediately apparent that he cares about struggling students, their worried parents, and concerned teachers.  I hope someday you can meet him too!
Brain Balance® has done extensive research (through their founder Dr. Robert Melillo) and found that "disconnected students" often have imbalanced communication between the left and right brain hemispheres.  Wouldn't you like to have an answer for those students that have behavioral, academic, emotional and social struggles in your classroom/school?  Well, learning about Brain Balance® may be the answer you've been looking for!
Tom Shenk is the Center Director for the
 Virginia Beach, Virginia Brain Balance Center


Brain Balance® has done extensive research (through their founder Dr. Robert Melillo) and found that "disconnected students" often have imbalanced communication between the left and right brain hemispheres.  Wouldn't you like to have an answer for those students that have behavioral, academic, emotional and social struggles in your classroom/school?  Well, learning about Brain Balance® may be the answer you've been looking for!

A Great Read!

The book Disconnected Kids is a great read and it also explains in depth the idea of treating children with using Brain Balance® instead of prescriptions.  If you have time this book is a must read!  Tom Shenk gave me the last copy he had that day I met him and the book changed the way I think about autism, ADHD, Dyslexia, and other neurobehavioral disorders.  

Think About It

Imagine that your left leg is not as strong as your right leg.  This effects the way you walk, it's not comfortable for you, and you feel different..... and maybe less than.  You go to your physical therapist and they look at your leg, ask you questions, and test the strength of your weaker leg.  After this initial appointment the physical therapist helps you strengthen that leg with specific exercises, stretches, and challenges to balance the weight that you carry onto both legs comfortably.  This is common and everyone can agree that it's the smartest solution to get back to feeling "normal" again.  So... why is the brain any different?  If there is a right and left hemisphere they can have an imbalance and the same care needs to be implemented.  That is where Brain Balance® comes in.  The same kind of appointment can be set up for students being challenged with behavioral, academic, emotional, and social issues.  The first step is to make an appointment.  At that appointment questions are asked and the student completes a 2-3 hour Comprehensive Assessment that tests the child's sensory, motor, and cognitive functions.  Once the testing is complete an individualized plan of action is created and discussed.  Each appointment is specific to the needs of the student, and as they complete fun movement, sensory, and cognitive activities that stimulate only the weaker hemisphere, it's processing speed improves.  As the two hemispheres begin communicating properly, the symptoms reduce naturally, without medication, so that the child's TRUE POTENTIAL emerges!


Brain Balance® has done extensive research (through their founder Dr. Robert Melillo) and found that "disconnected students" often have imbalanced communication between the left and right brain hemispheres.  Wouldn't you like to have an answer for those students that have behavioral, academic, emotional and social struggles in your classroom/school?  Well, learning about Brain Balance® may be the answer you've been looking for!  Community Outreach

Tom Shenk honored Chesapeake Reading Council by offering a free educational learning session about Brain Balance® at their yearly Reading Teacher of the Year celebration.  He had educators up and moving and expanding their knowledge about how the brain works.  Everyone who was present was astounded that more isn't done to help struggling students with these behavioral, academic, emotional, and social issues.  When planning professional development time into the new school year consider inviting Tom Shenk and learning about Brain Balance®.  He knows what you are dealing with and wants to help (remember he 


Don't Just Take My Word For It!  

Please visit the website for Brain Balance® and read all about it.  Read impressive success stories and learn about free community events happening in your area.  My hope is that in the future the idea of balancing the hemispheres of the brain can be implemented in public schools to help our students!  


Tell Me! 

Have you ever heard about Brain Balance® before?  Have you read the book Disconnected Kids by Dr. Robert Melillo?  Would you like an answer for those students who are struggling?  What questions do you have?  I look forward to hearing from you!






Pin For Later
Brain Balance® has done extensive research (through their founder Dr. Robert Melillo) and found that "disconnected students" often have imbalanced communication between the left and right brain hemispheres.  Wouldn't you like to have an answer for those students that have behavioral, academic, emotional and social struggles in your classroom/school?  Well, learning about Brain Balance® may be the answer you've been looking for!