Thursday, February 21, 2013

Bee Police - Teacher Tip Thursday

Ahhhhh news - it is one of those 'necessary evils' in K-2. We want to encourage them to talk, express themselves, build confidence.....the list of skills goes on. However, news can be a painful experience at times if you don't have any guidelines (as I learned the very very hard way in my first year of Year 2).

Enter the tools of news :)

1. Timer
We have a IWB and I usually select a timer. I put a count down clock on the board and show the kids how to set it for 1min 30sec (I think thats pretty generous). It counts down and the timer usually choose a fun sound effect to indicate that time is up. The students know that as soon as the noise goes off, it is their cue to ask Any questions?

2. Limit of 2 questions.
That's it. No discussion.

3. Bee Police
Our behaviour system is based on our rules Be Kind Be Safe Be Fair and the students get bees for being a great student/trying hard/giving me presents etc etc. In order to promote good listening during news, I have a Bee Police who watches for listeners during news and gets to award those students bees at the end. This year they also get to wear a cool badge that I made and also a set of bee antennae that I bought at Woolies (sorry no pic of the headband-yet!!!).

What are your tips for news time?


  1. The Bee Police sounds so adorable! What a cute way to encourage good behavior!

    The Lower Elementary Cottage

  2. I love your little Bee Police lanyard too.. so cute! I bet they're popular with the kids! I agree with you about News - not my favourite time of day!

    I also have a topic for each week, so that the kids aren't always talking about what they did on the weekend or their fav toy... makes it a bit more interesting!

    We haven't started doing news this year (I have brand new Receptions) but another way I have done it in the past is running news in groups. The kids are split into groups of 5 and each day, one person shares their news to that group. Makes it a lot quicker and more manageable I think! Sometimes I also ask one person from each group to recount the news to the whole class... just to check for listening!

  3. Hey Brooke,

    Great ideas for managing news telling. I also use news circles (like Jess) along with a timer. That way more students get to share their news.

  4. This is a great post! I am all about structure and this sounds super manageable. Thanks for the tip!

    Savvy in Second

  5. How do you do modify this for children who are non-verbal?

    1. To be honest, I have never encountered a non verbal child in my classroom. Maybe others who read this post might be able to respond to your comment with some tips.

  6. I am not a fan of show and tell - I am sure there must be a better way to build oral language! We have 5 kids a day and it such a long process and we haven't been able to finish before lunch once! There's always tears because someone has to wait until after lunch - I like the idea of having a timer to keep things moving. I must go find one this weekend!

    I want to start news circles next term once we have the routines set in place. I am starting a tiny mystery box next week. The child will place a small object inside and the class will ask the child questions to try and work out what's inside. I've also seen teachers have the student give three clues as well.

    1. I've used the mystery box before with preps and they loved it! The first three questions were always 'Where did you get it from?', 'What is it made of?' and 'How do you use it?', which gave the children some sort of idea, and then every few questions, I popped in with a clue. It worked a treat for developing adjective knowledge and explanatory skills too :)

      Another way I've seen oral skills built with Preps and Grade 1s was poetry and rhyme reading. The students all picked a rhyme/poem to take home with their reader to practice for a week, and then the next week (over a few sessions), they each stand up and read their poem to the class. The rest of the class gave feedback, always starting with two compliments (eg You used lots of expression; I like the way you spoke clearly, etc), and then one piece of constructive criticism (eg Try and speak louder next time; I think that poem was too easy/hard for you, etc). Then two or three students who did their very best were chosen to read their poems to a grade 5/6 class, and they got a special sticker, which they loved!

  7. Brooke, I agree that news/show and tell definitely needs some rules, or it gets VERY tedious! I also have only two questions, and I have in the past had a 'topic of the week', like Jess mentioned... that just seems to get them thinking a little bit more. I've never used a timer before, but I'm definitely filing that tip away!

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