September 25, 2016

Making Bible Stories Come Alive

I want my students to fall in love with Jesus.  That is always my number one goal each year.  Sure, I want them to meet and exceed government standards, and become confident and capable citizens... but top priority is to see my students live and thrive in their relationship with Christ.

I think that one of the most important ways to do this is through a knowledge of the  'stories' in the Bible.  All of the Bible is God's love letter to us, His children, and ultimately paints an amazing picture of grace and redemption.

I can remember my first year teaching.  I casually said something along the lines of...

"Wow! It is really raining outside!  This must be what Noah felt like on the Ark."

Only 2/3 of my class understood what I was talking about.  Two-thirds of my class of third-graders in a Christian school.  I investigated further.  At least seven of my precious little kiddos were unfamiliar with the story of Noah's Ark.  Or Joseph and the Coat of Many Colors.  Or Jonah and the Whale.  Or Daniel in the Lion's Den.   You get the idea.

I learned an important lesson that day - we just cannot assume that all of our students in Christian schools (or Sunday School) have basic Biblical background knowledge.  

I got to work right away making Bible plans to help fill in some of these 'gaps' to use during lunchtime with a group of students who were keen to learn more stories than I could fit during our regular lesson time.  Students wanted to spend their lunchtimes learning more about The Word, and I was more than happy to oblige.

We created books to go along with each story...

Garden of Eden - student reader mini-book

Noah's Ark - student readers, Bible verses, and quick worksheets for easy lesson planning

learned new story-specific vocabulary...

Noah's Ark - vocabulary cards

made crafts...
The Creation Story - spinning storyteller craft

Garden of Eden - retell the story puzzle activity

...and deepened our knowledge of God's word.

Through our Bible Story Small Group it was amazing to watch some of my students learn these stories for the first time, and watch others make deeper connections with stories they already knew and loved.

All of my Bible Story units are designed to be useful for a K-5 classroom in Christian School, homeschool, or Sunday School classroom.  These following units are currently available (more available every 2nd month!): 

How does your class, Sunday School class, or children, like to study the Bible?  What inspires you to learn more about Jesus? Share your best ideas in the comments below!

Garden of Eden - crafts, worksheets, and two 'dig deeper' lessons on sin and forgiveness

September 05, 2016

Back to School Butterflies

In British Columbia we head back to school tomorrow morning.  Where has the time gone?  Although this summer was full of ups and downs, and not all that restful, it is time to hit the ground running tomorrow morning.    I snuck into my class one more time this morning (on a holiday... gasp!)  to tie up any loose ends and make sure I was fully prepared to welcome my 24 brand new kiddos into my room tomorrow morning.

I think that even after four years of teaching in my 'own room' I still get the nervous butterflies before the first day of school.  A part of me misses the group that inhabited the room the year before, and another part of me is nervous about what is coming next.

I have to keep reminding myself of Philippians 4:6-7:  "Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything by prayer and petition, and with thanksgiving, present your requests to God.  And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus."   So I'm giving this year up to the One who holds forever in His hands.  I know that there will be more 'bumps' ahead, but I'm not in it alone.

Thank goodness!

Take a look at my classroom for the 2016/2017 school year:

My teacher desk - love this new print from Hobby Lobby! 

I do all of my read-alouds from my IKEA chair, and we start each carpet time with a reminder how to do  Whole Body Listening (from Especially Education)

Reading Corner - the book bins and storage may not match, but I love how many play-based learning option I have! 

Hand-In Buckets - I separate hand-in and classroom work storage by subject and project.  

View from the back of the classroom - check out my new crate seats!

Permanent whiteboard set-up.  I write my schedule up on the board so it can be specific, and kids help to assign a weekly classroom job rotation.  I love accountability in a primary classroom! 

I'm starting to feel ready for the year ahead.  How about you, is your classroom ready ? Or if you've been back for a while, how are you settling in?

September 03, 2016

I Love Target

I am Canadian.  Once upon a time we had Target, and it was glorious.  But only a few short years later our Targets closed, and I was once again left to venture down to the States for all of my Target purchases.

Luckily, I live in Vancouver, BC, so there is a Target Dollar Spot less than an hour away.  Phew!

This year I have made more than a few quick trips across the border to decorate my classroom and find budget-friendly teaching supplies.

One of the things I loved was my new target calendar.  It was a total winner. However, upon closer inspection, it had a problem.

The calendar started on Monday.

@the.traveling.teacher noticed the same problem!

When teaching students to chant, say, and count the days of the week we always start on Sunday.

Sunday, Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday, Friday, Saturday

We were totally thrown off by this design.

So I had to make new labels:

New labels for my Target Calendar - print, laminate, and go! (click here

I tried to design complementary labels.  If you'd like them, they are available for free by clicking HERE.

In the comments below, let me know where your Target Calendar is located in your classroom.

Happy September, All!