11 D.E.A.R. Day Essentials

ReadAloud
Teacher read aloud
Discuss
Students discuss their reading
ReadToSelf
Students reading to self (silent reading)
ReadwithFriend
Read with a friend
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Getting comfy with jammies and stuffed animals

By Tim Bedley


Many teachers have a D.E.A.R. Day on occasion. Drop Everything And Read. Here are 11 keys to D.E.A.R. Day success in the elementary school classroom.

  1. Schedule the day. Break the day up into 15-20 minute segments. Doing what? Read on.
  2. Rotate types of activities. Yes, it’s an ALL reading day, but that doesn’t mean you want little kids trying to read by themselves all day long. That is a recipe for disaster. Four possible activities include reading to self (silent reading), teacher read aloud, book talks, and read with a friend.
  3. Discipline using an on/off switch. Are the kids allowed to talk or not? Make that perfectly clear and enforce it to a T! If voices are off, not a single student is allowed to say one single word. If it’s time to share, let ’em loose. Don’t tolerate a middle ground, occasional chatting when it’s supposed to be silent.
  4. Maintain your classroom rules. The atmosphere should be relaxed but don’t throw your standards out the window.
  5. Allow soft stuff. Encourage your students to wear their jammies, bring their giant pillows, and cuddle with their favorite stuffed animals. It’s a special day!
  6. Move the furniture. Open up the room so the kids can lounge around on the floor. Join them on the floor (with professional discretion.)
  7. Don’t allow movement. When it’s time to read silently, find a place and stay there until the timer goes off.
  8. Read with the kids. Pull out your favorite book and read it while the kids read silently.
  9. Get the kids talking about their reading. At the end of each silent reading block, ask the students to turn and talk about what they just read. Listen into their conversations.
  10. Take pictures. Pictures send this message to your kids: What you are doing is newsworthy. Reading is a big deal.
  11. Don’t ruin the fun. Stay away from quizzing the kids or giving them “assignments.” Make the day all about the love of reading.

 

 

16 Tips for Clean Slide Presentations

By Tim Bedley


One AWFUL slide!
One AWFUL slide!

 

I have been assigning slide presentations to my elementary students for many years. I found myself repeating the same critiques to group after group. Now, I don’t leave “PowerPoint” style to chance. Here are a few of the tips I give my students.

 

 

Text Tips

  1. Use VERY small amount of text. A few words that give the main idea for each slide is good. The big NO-NO: Reading your slides to your audience.
  2. Choose one font style for the main points and one for the sub-points. Use these styles throughout your entire presentation. This includes font name, color, and size.
  3. Be careful with overlap. Text that is barely touching a photo is awkward. Text that sits right next to the edge of the slide is awkward.
  4. Dark text on light background or light text on dark background. Contrast! Make it POP!
  5. No bullet points. Duplicate your slides and put your sub-points on separate slides.

Graphics Tips

  1. Try to fill your slide with one large image.
  2. Faces are better. We all like to see closeups of the human face.
  3. Be careful not to distort your pictures. Grab the photo in the corner, not the edge, to change the size.
  4. Be careful with image size. If you use a small image and resize it to make it large, the image gets very blurry.
  5. Photos are better than clipart. Better yet, make your own pictures by taking photos or drawing pictures.
  6. Cite your source. Always give credit for the images you use.

Overall Design Tips

  1. Avoid using templates. They are cheesy and show little creativity.
  2. Avoid slide transitions. You want your audience focused on the slides, not the switching between slides. NO transition is wonderful!
  3. Simple! Keep your slides clutter free. A nice big clear picture with 3 words to focus the audience is great!
  4. Avoid creating a “The End” slide. If you have a conclusion, great. Otherwise, just make a main topic slide as your last slide. Don’t make a slide that says, “Thanks for watching,” or something similar.
  5. Advanced Tip: Use the rule of thirds. Draw a tic-tac-toe board on your slide. Place items where the lines cross. It’s a bit more complicated than this, but the main thing: try to avoid centering things on the slide.

Note: These tips definitely limit creativity, but my purpose is to teach my students to first create a good clean slide show. Once that is accomplished, then I encourage the students to break the rules…with purpose. It’s similar to learning a new instrument. We first need to learn our scales and copy the masters. Later, we develop our own style and can artfully break the rules.

Screencast Instructional Video: 12 PowerPoint Tips for Kids

Watch here if you are blocked from YouTube

My Unusual Elementary Classroom

By Tim Bedley


In 2007, I set out to transform my classroom into something special.

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Tim Bedley teaches 4th/5th GATE students in Southern California.

No more butcher paper covering the walls.

No more cold hard desks and plastic chairs.

I wanted my classroom to be more like Starbucks than a hospital;

more like a model home than a waiting room.

laci486
So first I painted the walls dark blue and red.
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I painted white ceiling tiles all black.
eagle001a
At Back-to-School Night I asked if any parents could paint murals.
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One parent was a high school art teacher.
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The finished mural is stunning!

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Another parent was just plain artistic. [White House]
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A third parent was an art major in college. [Capitol Building]

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Capitol almost finished. The detail is amazing.
The artists worked for many hours after school to complete the murals.
The artists worked for many hours after school to complete the murals.
Statue of Liberty
Statue of Liberty
MtRushmore
Mt. Rushmore
The parents stayed after I left one evening and I returned to a mural of me on the wall. Ugh! I painted over it, but it was a funny stunt.
The parents stayed after I left one evening and I returned to a mural of me on the wall. Ugh! I painted over it, but it was a funny stunt.
The crown of the room contains the words to the Preamble to the Constitution.
The crown of the room contains the words to the Preamble to the Constitution. Framed student artwork adorns the room.
The results: A warm, professional, friendly environment with very few distractions.
The results: A warm, professional, welcoming environment with very few distractions.
IMG_0760
Slowly but surely, I received couch donations to replace the desks.

Students work on their binders while sitting on the comfy couches. Student personal items are stored in plastic drawers purchased from Wal-mart.
Students work on their binders while sitting on the comfy couches. Student personal items are stored in plastic drawers purchased from Wal-mart.

 

A short video walking through my classroom.

I welcome your questions and comments.