Have you unlocked Dance Party?

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You guys know I love GoNoodle.

(I’ve talked about them a lot!)

I’m very proud to be a 2016-2017 GoNoodle Ambassador and share the wonderful resources offered by the website with all of you (and my class… and everyone else)!

This last week, GoNoodle unlocked a really awesome new feature on their site: Dance Party.

What is Dance Party, you ask?

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Well, it’s a great activity that pairs some funky music with fun dance moves… but that’s not even the best part! The best part is that your students can now connect their Champs from their home accounts (via a unique class code) with your class account via Dance Party.

Which means, they get to see their awesome Champs in their classroom, and share them with their friends!

Needless to say, my class are very excited by this. So far, we have 14 out of 22 Champs connected and there’s been a lot of talk about how they know which Champ belongs to which student.

It’s also helped introduce GoNoodle to families, who’ve been sending in some wonderful feedback about how much they’re enjoying joining in at home and sharing with siblings, cousins and family friends.

So, if you haven’t already unlocked Dance Party, you definitely need to check it out! Just log in to GoNoodle, click on Dance Party and print your class code!

What is your class’ favourite GoNoodle activity?

Five for Friday | March 11, 2016

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I barely took any photos this week and was worried I wouldn’t even have 5 different activities from my classroom and/or teaching life this week, but amazingly I did. This makes me super happy, because it has been a very, very long week this week!

#1
This week, one of our Investigations science/art activities was salt paintings. This is was the first time I’ve tried this activity with the kids in Investigations (thanks to my lovely team member, Jacinta, for suggesting it!). The kiddos absolutely adore it and came up with some great random glue patterns and had a ball dropping food colouring on to it!

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#2
Tuesday’s weather was horrible. (Horrible as in waaaay too hot.) Very unpleasant. Looking forward to cooler weather in the coming months.

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#3
Because of the hot weather and planning week we’ve had a bit of quiet developmental play in the afternoons after pack-up. I’m so pleased my kiddos are choosing to explore with maths materials and manipulatives. On Tuesday, the only materials they requested were from the maths supplies – teddies, pattern blocks, Unifix cubes, and MAB. They came up with some very creative ways to use them, too!
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#4
We’ve been scheduling in some directed drawing tasks to our writing program. I have a lot of reluctant writers and drawers so this has been a great way to engage them in some drawing and also shared pen writing, too. This week we drew our friend, Pete the Cat. (Although not everyone remembered that Pete was blue. But as Pete would say, it’s all good.)

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#5
This morning I woke up to find out that (at least) 5 people have signed up to GoNoodle through my referral links, which is so great! You all know I’m such a fan of the site and the fun, short activities to break up the day, and I’m so pleased some of you are trying it out for the first time! I hope you love it!

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And that’s it from me for this week. If you haven’t already, go check out this week’s Tuesday Tip – 5 Ways to End the Day and let me know your tips for the end of the day!

We have a long weekend here in Melbourne, so I’m keen to take a moment to chill out and relax and regroup for the last two weeks before our Autumn break. I hope everyone else has a fabulous weekend, too!

5 Ways to Calm Down After Play

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At my school, we have two main play breaks for students – a 30 minute morning recess and a 50 minute lunch time break. The students go outside, run around and play with their friends.

Then the bell rings and they have to come inside and  it can be a challenge to settle the little ones after they’ve had so much time to do as they please. So today I thought I would share 5 of my favourite ways to settle my class after recess.

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#1 – GoNoodle

If you’ve followed my blog for a while, you won’t be surprised to see this on my list. I use GoNoodle daily to provide quick brain breaks for my students. During the day when we need to get the wiggles out we do some high energy activities, but after lunch, I prefer the more calming activities on offer, like Flow and Airtime. My class this year (and last year) are obsessed with Airtime Space.

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During Airtime Space, students breath in and out in time to the glowing orb travelling through the solar system. Each break is about two minutes long and it really calms them down. They’re also very fascinated by the space facts we learn each afternoon. I use Airtime Space exclusively in the afternoon for that reason. It’s our way to regroup for our afternoon learning.

#2 – Smiling Minds

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If you’re not familiar with Smiling Minds, it’s a great online resource for guided meditation for different age groups (both young and old). This is something you can put on for students to follow along to when they need to regain some focus.

#3 – Circle Time

Sometimes all you need to regroup at the end of the day is a brief circle time session with students sharing things that happened during their outdoor play time. It could be that they’ve come into the classroom with unresolved issues from the yard that a simple conversation as a class can fix, ready for everyone to move on for a productive afternoon.

#4 – Responding With Wonderment and Awe

At my school we use Habits of Mind, and a few years ago I found some amazing time-lapse videos used to demonstrate Responding With Wonderment and Awe. These are simply nature at it’s finest set to some very beautiful, calming music and often playing these short clips gave students time to calm down, settle and think about the wonderful world we live in. (They’re also great talking points, too.) My little ones have always been transfixed by these videos. I’ve shared one below, but you can find others here on Vimeo.

The Mountain from TSO Photography on Vimeo.

#5 – Quiet Music Time

You’ll notice a trend with some of these suggestions – music. Music is powerful for little people. Sometimes, we just need to take away the visual stimulus, lie down, close our eyes and just listen, particularly at the start of the school year when their little minds are overwhelmed with what’s going on around them.

Often, when we need a bit of down-time – and this is usually 2-3 minutes (that’s all you need!) – I jump on Youtube and search ‘kids meditation music.’ There are plenty to choose from.

I also discovered this gem – Disney Piano Collection – that’s just perfect for a short break: 

What are your favourite calm down tips? Leave them in the comments – we would love to hear them!

Do You GoNoodle?

There’s been lots of hype in recent months over the website GoNoodle.

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I’m always game to try new things, so at the end of last term (10 weeks ago) I signed up, had a bit of a play at home, created a class account and road-tested it with my Prep/Ones in the last week of term.

Boy, was it a hit.

Since then, we’ve graduated 3 Champs, are on to our fourth, and a day without at least one GoNoodle break is a sad day indeed!

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This is my home screen – with my Demo Class (where I road test new activities!) and my class. Squatchy Berger is our fourth Champ, and well on his/her way at the moment.

What is GoNoodle?

It’s a brain break website. Which means it hosts a variety of activities that allow students to move and recoup themselves after periods of focused learning.

How often do you use GoNoodle?

Usually 2-3 times a day. We run 6 sessions a day, each in double 50-min blocks. Each block is separated by recess and lunch, giving us 3 double-sessions a day. I try to incorporate a brain break at the end of each 50min block to break it up and give the kids a chance to wiggle and move!

We also like to use an activity called Airtime (deep breathing) straight after lunch time. This activity is great because the kids take deep breaths in and our for 90 seconds. They particularly like learning about different places in the U.S. (because it’s so far from here!).

What are your favourite activities?

SO many!

Honestly, my class’ favourite activities are anything that involves a lot of movement. We love Shake Break and Dino Stomp. The newest favourite is Ninja Training (of course!). Dancing around to Happy makes everyone… HAPPY! And singing along to Let It Go gives the singers in my class a chance to do something they love. (Incidentally, this has also let to a lot of discussions on tolerance of other people’s preferences!)

Why do you love GoNoodle?

For one… it’s brought my class together. We had a lot of issues for the first term and bit about getting along and functioning as a class. (Which, to be honest, is a natural issue in a Prep/One classroom.) This has really helped them to develop tolerance and acceptance of others, helped to encourage them to praise and encourage one another and to negotiate which activities we’ll do.

It’s fun. It doesn’t take long – we try to pick activities that take between 1-5 minutes.

It’s bright and colourful and there are incentives for the kids. They WANT their Champs to grow and Graduate.

How do you know it’s been effective?

About half my class went home and had their parents sign up. They keep us informed of their Champs progress and any new brain breaks that have been added.

GoNoodle was also requested to be added to our classroom coupons as a prize – so whoever holds a GoNoodle coupon now gets to choose the brain breaks for the day. (Boy, has this one been popular!)

What next?

I’ve been singing it’s praises to other colleagues at work and so far we have a Grade 3/4 and a Grade 5/6 having a go. (I sense a bit of friendly competition about to occur!)

What about you, do you GoNoodle, too?

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