Stacey Barbeaus

Recent Posts

The Importance of Reading To a Child

Posted by Stacey Barbeaus on May 24, 2017 11:11:00 AM

Did you know that 93% of adults in the United States read at or below the basic level needed to successfully navigate in our society! Yikes! For those of them who have children, they are responsible for their earliest language. Sadly, by the age of 3, a 30 million word gap has already been created. Reading to children, all children, regardless of socioeconomic status, is crucial. Reading aloud stimulates children’s imaginations, it expands their understanding of the world not to mention it develops their language and listening skills.

There is no such thing as reading too early to your child. The sooner the better and what better way to bond then sharing the pictures and the words of a book. At just a few months of age, an infant can look at pictures, listen to your voice, and point to objects on cardboard pages. By drawing attention to pictures and associating words with both pictures and real-world objects, your child will learn the importance of language.
Taking care of a family is a very busy job in and of itself, however, finding ten minutes in your day to sit and share a book with your child is a must. 34 percent of children entering kindergarten lack the basic language skills needed to learn how to read. Finding time within a hectic day shows your child that reading is important.

Having access to books of different genres (don’t forget nonfiction) will help expand your child’s interests and their imagination! If your child is anything like mine were, they have a favorite book that they want to hear or read over and over and over again.  Ugh, it can drive a parent crazy! Be patient though, make a deal to read their book first and then read another selection. Eventually, they will move on as their interests change.

Even after children learn to read by themselves, it's still important for you to read aloud together. A child’s reading level doesn’t catch up to his listening level until eighth grade. You can and should be reading seventh grade books to fifth grade kids. They’ll get excited about the plot and this will be a motivation to keep reading. A fifth grader can enjoy a more complicated plot than she can read herself, and reading aloud is really going to hook her, because when you get to chapter books, you’re getting into the real meat of print — there is really complicated, serious stuff going on that kids are ready to hear and understand, even if they can’t read at that level yet.
Introducing your children to a love of learning and reading will produce a literate adult who will read for learning, knowledge,  and pleasure. What better gift can a parent give to their child?

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Topics: Personal Experiences, Reading Lists, Literacy

Take Learning Outdoors

Posted by Stacey Barbeaus on May 17, 2017 11:30:00 AM

Who says that learning has to do be done inside a classroom?! There’s no reason learning the ABCs needs to be learned inside. In fact, there are lots of ways to encourage a love of reading and writing by spending time outdoors! Listed below are some of the ways that I have found to get kids outdoors and learning, some of which I have used with my own 10 and 7 year old kiddos.

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Topics: Classroom Ideas, Personal Experiences, Differentiation

Show Your Appreciation!

Posted by Stacey Barbeaus on May 10, 2017 11:59:00 AM

2,4,6,8 Who do we appreciate?! Well, lots of people and it’s about time we said so! Teacher Appreciation week is a great time to reflect upon all those people who have made a difference in our lives and help others to recognize them too. We all have heroes who have helped to shape us and guide us to where we are and who we are now. As a class (teacher included), pause and find a way to show your appreciation for the difference they made in your life.  There are many ways of doing this, here a few:

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Topics: Classroom Ideas, Personal Experiences

The Benefits Of Using Nursery Rhymes

Posted by Stacey Barbeaus on May 3, 2017 11:38:00 AM

Teaching nursery rhymes have been a part of my primary classroom for many years now, it is how I begin each school year! Reciting nursery rhymes help to bring us closer together as a class in the beginning of the year, to share in the fun of reciting rhymes and singing together. Nursery rhymes are not just for toddlers, they can be used for children of all ages! They are important for young children because they can help to develop their language base. The rhyme and rhythm found in nursery rhymes help kids hear the sounds and syllables in words, this will help lead to stronger readers!      

The language benefits of using nursery rhymes in the classroom are many. When children hear nursery rhymes, they are hearing the sounds that vowels and consonants make and how to put these together to create meaning. They learn to use rhythm, pitch, volume, inflection and animated voice. In nursery rhymes, children hear new words that they would not hear in everyday language (like fetch and pail in “Jack and Jill went up the hill to fetch a pail of water”).

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Topics: Classroom Ideas, Personal Experiences, Literacy

Math Journaling

Posted by Stacey Barbeaus on Apr 27, 2017 12:11:00 PM

Math journaling is a great way to get insight into your students’ thoughts and problem solving strategies about math K-12!  Learning how to do math is only one piece of the problem, they also must know how to articulate what they learning. Providing them with as many opportunities to do this as they have to learn the math, the better.  This is where math journaling comes into play. Math journals are not the same as a math worksheet. Journals provide the student’s the ability to organize their thoughts, explain their reasoning and reflect on what they did correctly or what they would change next time. If this is your student’s first experience with math journaling, don’t get bent out of shape if they are not knocking your socks off. Give them time and encouragement, scaffold for them. The benefits of sticking with it will pay off.  Math journaling provides children with:
Differentiation. They are able to work at their own ability level. For the younger children, some may still be at drawing pictures to explain their thinking while others may be writing out their thoughts.
It will allow for broader student learning while also allowing teachers to know what approach kids are taking to solve the problem and intervene if necessary.
Requires more than just remembering a sequence of steps.
Angela Watson of TheCornerstoneForTeachers had some great recommendations for math journal prompting. Here are some great places to begin.
-Prompts That Assess Attitudes: Students write about their personal thoughts and feelings about math. Examples: When it comes to math, I find it difficult to…, I love math because…, People who are good at math…, and When I study for a math test, I….
-Prompts That Assess Learning: Students write about what they’ve learned and reflect on what they know (and don’t know). Examples: The most important thing I learned today is…, I could use today’s skill in my real life when I…, Today I used math when…, At the end of this unit, I want to be able to…, and Some good test questions for this skill are….
-Prompts That Assess Process: Students explain how to solve problems or discuss a particular skill or strategy. Examples: Two ways to solve this problem are…, I knew my answer was right when…, Another strategy I could have used to solve this problem is…, If I missed a step in this problem, I could have…, and The most important part of solving this problem is to remember….Good luck getting started!

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Topics: Classroom Ideas, Personal Experiences, Common Core

Organizing Your Classroom Library

Posted by Stacey Barbeaus on Apr 19, 2017 12:06:00 PM

A must in every elementary classroom is a library! I have spent years building mine and I continue to scour garage sales, retired teacher sales, donation piles and of course purchasing books for my library. The one thing I dread about my library is the organization of it. I have tried genre, reading level and author. I just can’t seem to win. I believe I have done an awesome job of explaining it to my first grade students; I show them, I model how to put books back, I have even used bookmarks like in the school’s library to mark where they took their book from. All for nothing.  The first couple weeks are great and it’s a downhill slide from there. I currently have books on my shelf in no particular order and it is driving me crazy!  So, I searched and came up with some ways that teachers can organize their classroom library and keep it organized. I am determined to find one that works for me as well!

One idea that I really like was placing the books in baskets. On the front of the basket is a tag, ex. Animals and it is marked with a picture. Then, each of the books in that basket have a label on the cover that says “animals” and they have the corresponding picture. This makes it so quick and easy for the books to be identified as to where they belong with no confusion on which basket they came from! Even the kids could organize them if given the task! I love it!

An idea very similar to the one above, is to again use baskets and place a number on the outside. Then all of the books in that basket would be marked with the number 5. This would allow for organizing by level, genre, author, A.R. level. Again, this is easy for children to find the box that corresponds to the number on the book.

Another idea that really struck me was using cloth bins to place books into. The child would have a clip with their name on it. Every time they took a book from the bin, they would clip their name to the cloth handle so they could remember where to put their book back. This is a fun and unique way to organize the books and help kids keep them that way! You could take photos of each of the kids, laminate them and use those for their book clips. It would be easy to come up with other variations of this idea.

A couple other ideas that caught my attention was a bin with the teacher’s name on it filled with their favorite books. Another was a “Book Hospital”. I can’t even begin to count how many times my reading group has been interrupted over a damaged book that a child found (even though they know better than to interrupt reading groups for that)! Now they can place them in the hospital bin and you can get to those books when you have time. Overtime, these books will be well "loved" and no longer available.  Eventually, my classroom will be all digital. Until then, I hope my students enjoy reading regardless of the format.

I’m excited to get my library organized and would love to hear any suggestions that you have! Happy reading!

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Topics: Classroom Ideas, Personal Experiences

Communication Disorders In The Classroom

Posted by Stacey Barbeaus on Apr 11, 2017 11:54:00 AM

This is my eleventh year teaching first grade and it has brought with it one of my most challenging students. Not a behavioral challenge, but rather a communication challenge. She has such severe speech impairments that those around her, including myself, do not know what she is saying; despite the hard work of her speech pathologist. It came to my attention that disorders affecting speech and language rank as the second most common reason students receive special education. As I write this blog, yes, she is being tested for special education services. These struggling children often perform poorly or insufficiently in school, they struggle with reading, have difficulty understanding and expressing language, they misunderstand social cues, miss school frequently, show poor judgement, and struggle with tests. As primary classroom teachers, it is often present in the classrooms, with the severity ranging. So, how can regular classroom teachers help these students achieve success not only academically but socially as well?

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Topics: Classroom Ideas, Personal Experiences, Differentiation, Literacy

Asperger's In The Classroom

Posted by Stacey Barbeaus on Apr 4, 2017 11:53:00 AM

There is a saying that,”if you have met one child with autism, then you have met one child with autism.” As classroom teachers, we know this to be spot on. Many of the students we have in our mainstream classrooms are high functioning autistic children also known as Asperger’s Syndrome. These kiddos don’t have the same academic struggles as other children with disabilities, hence it is known as an “invisible” syndrome. These are children who can read with ease, many times at a very young age and often without any reading instruction. It is in their inability to fit in socially and sometimes with impairments to their language and auditory processing skills that they are recognized with a disability.

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Topics: Classroom Ideas, Differentiation

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