Itz o-FISH-al

I’ve spent this past week preparing my classroom for the upcoming school year (and, as always, planning and making time for my workouts!).  As many of you know, this summer I taught a healthy living class for summer school.  During that time, I taught them about healthy eating, yoga, and getting active.  The students seemed to truly enjoy it, and I loved teaching them about the topics I’m so passionate about.

While this school year will be jam-packed with curriculum (3rd grade is a BIG year!), I still hope to be able to incorporate many little lessons regarding healthy living.  Last year, we were fortunate enough to receive exercise balls for all of our students to replace the chairs.  This year, we will continue to use them.  Here’s a glimpse into my classroom before Meet The Teacher last night.

Parents and children alike were ecstatic to see the green balls.  Some parents are very curious as to if the balls really “work,” or if they’re more distracting.  During the few months we used them, they were incredible effective.  It is crucial to set the ground rules during the first few days of school to ensure the students’ safety.  Some of my rules I implement:

  • Bottoms on the balls, both feet on the floor
  • Small bounces (again: bottoms on the balls)
  • Balls stay on the floor (no throwing)
  • Bottoms, hands, desks, and floor are the only things that touch the balls (no pencils, scissors, markers, etc.)

If a child has trouble abiding by these rules, then they simply get a stool or chair for the remainder of the day.  The following day, they have the option to try a ball again.  We also discuss the importance of respecting property and maintaining safety (all of the rules stem from respect and safety which we talk about a lot).  Last year, I think I only had a couple of instances where kids needed to put their ball away for the day.  It works and is an easy way for kids to develop their their core strength, and work on their stability and balance throughout the day.

(Note: Kids don’t spend an extraordinary time at their desks.  Large group lessons are taught on the carpet, and independent work is completed in a variety of places including the floor, their desk, or a larger table.)

I’ve used the fish theme every year I’ve taught.  I love it, and each year I add new things whenever a fresh idea presents itself.  Thanks to Pinterest, I’ve had several new ideas this year.  The students completed a short scavenger hunt in the room last night, and when they finished, they brought me their paper for a “3rd grade only!” treat.

Fruit snacks certainly are not a nutritional superstar (or nutritional whatsoever), but every so often a sweet treat is just fine.  (Plus, how perfect is Nemo for my classroom?  And I use goldfish during my Open House with a “Your child is quite a catch!” note attached, so I didn’t want to overuse the goldfish idea.)

Switching gears, let’s talk High Five Friday with A Dash of Meg.

This week’s high five goes to my younger brother, Justin.  Justin recently accepted a new job in Phoenix, Arizona.  While I’m sad he’ll be leaving San Diego (it was SUCH a fun place to visit!), I know he’ll totally rock his new job (like everything else he does in his life).  Plus, Arizona is not too shabby, and makes for a great vacation spot.  And Jonny’s brother lives there, so we’ll get to visit both of our brothers at the same time!

Dana & Justin in Cancun – Photo by Stephanie Cotta Photography

Congrats, Boy!  You know I’m always so proud of you.

I’m off to finish up my classroom, then enjoy my last weekend before school o-FISH-ally begins on Tuesday.

What are some other fish-themed snack ideas?  Who does your high five go to today?  Weekend plans?

40 thoughts on “Itz o-FISH-al

  1. Love your classroom. You should check out the book called “Spark” by Dr. John Ratey. It will totally support your usage of the balance balls in class.It’s all about the science behind exercise and what it can do for your body (focus, learning, increasing test marks for students etc). I’ve written about it on my blog a while back.
    Link to his website: http://www.johnratey.com/site/spark.aspx
    Cheers, Anna @ Piper’s Run

  2. We had a “Dive into Reading” theme for my church’s reading theme this summer. Here is my post that includes two ideas: http://eating4balance.wordpress.com/2012/07/10/wiaw-oatless-oats-recipe/ We also froze grapes for “fish eggs” and made “sushi” with banana slices/fruit roll ups.

    My high-five goes to my Mom. She is currently helping out with high school sports pictures. Totally brave. I wouldn’t go back into that shark tank even if I was paid (Okay… 1 million would probably change my mind. PROBABLY).

  3. What a sweet idea for your students. I can’t wait to start teaching! I know I won’t be able to do cute things like this for middle school students but with Pinterest – I’m sure I’ll find something fun 🙂

  4. Ahhhh, such great ideas! I really love the ball idea, I recently got one for work and I think it’s great that you trust the little ones enough to handle it, sounds like you’re teaching them some really good lessons early! I think sometimes we underestimate children’s ability to grasp lessons and Ideas that we think are above them. All is takes is some patience, creativity and the right teacher…way to go Linz, your class is lucky to have you!

    • Thanks, Kristin! I do hope I’m instilling some healthy habits and at least imparting some knowlege that will stick with them in their many years to come!

  5. Oh my goodness! You are so creative, love!!!!!!!! I love that theme! And the balls!? I wish I had those when I was in school! Oh my gosh. I said it before and I will say it again, you = best teacher ever. EVER.

    Anyways, thanks for the hff love 🙂 you are amazing

  6. I use yoga balls in my room too! I started 3 years ago with fourth graders! It is awesome to find someone else that uses this amazing tool as well 🙂

  7. Pingback: 5 A Day | Itz Linz

    • It was a few years ago, so I’m sorry that I don’t remember. They did tuck perfectly into the desks – not under completely, but enough so they wouldn’t roll away. Our OT recommended the ball and size for us, maybe ask yours?

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