Sunday, March 29, 2015

What Does a Non-Athletic Girl Learn From a Football Coach?

It hardly seems there is much of anything that a non-sports type like me might learn from a football coach, but I'm living proof that a football coach can teach plenty that has nothing to do with the gridiron.
I've been thinking a lot about my dad today. He would be 97 today if he were still alive.

My dad was a football coach. I never had much luck with sports, although I was expected to participate back then. (It was very frustrating, since I was downright awful!) 

However, I learned a whole lot about life from my dad! So did his players!

Optimism! My dad taught his players to believe in successful outcomes. "I can, and I will!"

Empathy! My father taught his players to show empathy for the losing team, and on rare occasions the winning team. (Our team rarely lost!)

Creativity! Although football players learn drills and plays, there are plenty of times on the field they need to think for themselves and create their own path. 

Grit! Playing football involves courage and strength of character. He taught them to work hard to attain their goals. "When the going gets tough, the tough get going!"

Self-Control! Football players need the control and discipline to perform as a team. It takes willpower to push personal emotions and impulses to the side and focus on the task at hand!


Resilience! No matter how many times they were tackled, they got up and tried again!

Wait... those qualities: optimism, empathy, creativity, grit, self control and resilience, aren't those important skills for all kids to learn?

Although they're not actually part of the curriculum, don't you think these are important for children to learn?



Friday, March 27, 2015

The Last Friday in March!


March is always the longest month! Not only is it report card month, but it's the end of winter, and a dreary time when we're ready for warmer, sunnier days.  Here in New Hampshire we still have a snow cover, and some very large snowbanks from all the snow we had this winter. However, the snow is melting and little patches of real ground are starting to peek through. It's brown grass and spongy wet, but it's ground... something we haven't seen in a long time around here!

But we made it through another week, and managed to have a lot of fun in the process!

This was Spirit Week in our school! We had 4 fun spirit days, and enjoyed them thoroughly! Monday was dress alike. (Twin Day) I suggested to my kids that they all wear dark pants and a light top, and some of them remembered. Tuesday was Switch Day. That means the kids dress like teachers and the teachers dress like kids. I actually wore my hair in 2 ponytails, which was quite comfortable, but it seemed to emphasize my gray roots. Oh well, it was all for the kids. (They looked mighty cute dressed as adults!) Thursday was Wacky Day. I saw some pretty wacky kids!
I didn't participate in wacky day, since I had an important meeting on that day. Plus, I figured, I'm wacky enough! 

I can't believe I didn't get any pictures of those awesome costumes!
You may notice there was no Spirit Day on Wednesday. That's because it was a Professional Development day. We had a full day of inspiration, starting with an excellent Keynote by Dedra Stafford (See HERE for her webpage.) I went to a workshop about ipads, then I taught 2 workshops on Organizing Guided Reading. I shared ideas from my own classroom and many others and even shared photos of my reading area!
It's not Pinterest worthy by any means, but it's clean! I haven't seen that reading table that clean in a VERY long time! My students were all impressed when I tidied up the area so I could photograph it!

We've started our unit on Geometry! It's been such a nice break from the three digit addition and subtraction we've been working on! Today they were having a blast using Pattern Blocks. We realized, it doesn't even seem like work!
Friday was "Dress Like a Fictional Character" Day, and all the characters came out to play! I was Fancy Nancy, dressed in an old leotard of my daughter's (I felt like I was going to explode all day!) 
These were some of the characters: Captain America, the Queen of Hearts, Godzilla, Cookie Monster, and a two headed snake. One little cherub dressed as a character in a story she was writing herself: The Fire Princess, which I thought was charming! My favorite "fictional" character: Tom Brady! This little guy was totally committed to his character, and had his football with him at all times. I love teaching second grade... it didn't phase any of them that Tom Brady was an actual person, not a fictional character. This guy made it work!

I can't believe how tired I get by the end of the week! TGIF! 

Have a great weekend!

Be sure to stop by Doodle Bugs Teaching for more Five for Friday!












Saturday, March 21, 2015

Relax and Read!

For most of us, one of our goals as teachers is to instill a love of reading. I find much of that is in the way it's presented! I never tell my students they "have to" read. I never, ever let it sound like a chore. I tell them it's time to...

Independent Reading time in my classroom is pretty special. I have a collection of pillows that I ONLY allow to be used during independent reading time.

Plus, I make sure there are plenty of good books available for the kiddos. They typically go to the school library once a week, and I have loads of great books in the classroom as well.

Although I typically insist on their reading "Just Right Books", I make an exception on Fridays... they can read an "Easy Sneezy" book.  Who doesn't love revisiting an old friend? This is the "summer beach read" for the kids.

One more thing I do to instill a love of reading: model a love of reading!

Much of this comes from my read alouds, which is my favorite part of the day! Read alouds are a great time to model many reading skills, but modeling that love of reading is at the top of the list.

I choose books for my read alouds that are worthy of loving... books I've loved in the past, books I know children enjoy, topics I know the children enjoy, and authors we love. 

I've actually been known to pick up a book and caress the cover.  Ok, maybe it's a little bit of overacting, but it really isn't. 

I really do love these books!

And I make sure the kids know it!


Hope you enjoyed this edition of the Bright Ideas Blog Hop!

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Friday, March 13, 2015

I Blame the Time Change

I am NOT a fan of Daylight Saving, and this week is why! (Yes, that says Daylight Saving, not Daylight Savings. I found out I'd been saying it wrong all these years!) 

This was a very challenging week.  Why?



There were some other factors at play, but it's mostly about the time change.

I couldn't believe how tired those kiddos were this week! They were dragging their little bodies around, slumped on their desks, grouchy, yawning, and having a very tired old time.

The teachers were just as bad. I blame the time change.

Plus, it got worse:


There were tears. 
Too many tears. 
Kids that weren't even sure why they were crying. 
They were breaking my heart!

I was close to tears myself!
Besides the frustrating days, I was up late each night trying to get those report cards finished. 
I'm just about done. 
I do have to go back and do some proofreading, but I'm done.
Now I have to do all the things I didn't have time to do because I was consumed by report cards.
Like taxes!

But we did manage to squeeze in some fun. 
We were working on leprechaun opinion writing with an emphasis on revision.

Yes, I can honestly say they were actually having some fun with revision. 

We did some St. Patrick's day word work and math work, too. Plus we made Leprechaun Pudding!
See THIS POST from Fern Smith's Classroom Ideas for more about Leprechaun Pudding. It's a very simple activity, but it totally is worth it. I've done it a couple of years now, and the children absolutely LOVE it! It's actually pistachio pudding, and a nice little science experiment to observe chemical changes. You can't really tell from the photos, but it turns a delightful shade of bright green when you add the "magic juice" to the instant pudding. 


Fun stuff!
Somehow, we made it through the week, and Friday happened. 

Boy am I glad!

Be sure to stop over at Doodle Bugs Teaching for the latest Five for Friday!







Thursday, March 12, 2015

The Smell of Math?


Smells help the memory. 
Science has proven this. 
Many of us already knew this. 

A conversation came up the other day about how teachers can use this information to help children remember what they learn when they take those big tests like Smarter Balanced or PARCC.

It's a great concept... but how do we make it work?

Wear certain perfumes while teaching adjectives... then wear that same perfume during the test on parts of speech?

Have a Math lesson on fractions using slices of watermelon, then let them chew watermelon gum during the test on fractions?

Use an essential oil diffuser scented with vanilla oil while teaching about fact and opinion, then serve cupcakes with vanilla frosting during the reading test?

It could be tricky, but who knows, maybe use of scents is a new teaching strategy!

Saturday, March 7, 2015

Five Things I HATE about Daylight Savings


I typically never use the H word, but once a year I need to get this out of my system. 

Yes, I absolutely HATE the whole Daylight Savings Thing, and here's why:
I HATE getting up in the dark!


Getting up in the morning is the hardest part of my day.
It just started being semi-light when I get up, and now it will be dark again.
I HATE losing an hour of my weekend!

Well, don't you?

I HATE what the time change does to my little ones!

Some adapt easily, but it's tough on most of them. It takes a couple of weeks before they're no longer cranky in the mornings.


I HATE that people think it saves electricity. 

Studies show it doesn't. People also think it was originally created because of farmers. The farmers didn't want it. They get up with the roosters anyway.


I HATE that not everyone follows Daylight Savings Time.

I think I'll move to Arizona.


Thanks for letting me get it out of my system. That's the extent of my using the H word until next year at this time.







Friday, March 6, 2015

A Peek at My Week


Our first week back after vacation was a fun filled week! Plus, it was the first FULL week we've had since the beginning of January! No snow days, no holidays, no delayed openings... and to top it off, there was a full moon! No wonder I'm so tired!

Here's my week:

Nope, not a distraction... (can you hear the sarcasm?) Earlier in the week, there was a big ladder right outside my window, just as the kids came into class in the morning. They were there to watch to men climb the ladder, then they listened to footsteps on the roof for quite a while. They had already shoveled the snow off the roof, so I'm not sure what they were doing up there, but it was a very distracted morning!
We had a lot of fun with Dr. Seuss this week! 

We read about his life.
We read several of his books.
We discussed his writing style.
Then, we made hats and put quotes from Dr. Seuss on them.

We even had a couple of third graders come in and read one of my favorite Dr. Seuss books to the kiddos! These two were such cuties, I wish I could show their faces!

We also had some fun with maps!
These maps are part of this set. Click the image for the link.

I found out that one of our favorite authors, Patricia Polacco had a pipe burst in her house and her kitchen was ruined. Her assistant was asked how her fans could help, and suggested replacing her collection of tea. This week the kiddos brought in teabags and wrote her notes. They were very enthusiastic about helping out, and their notes were sweet as could be! 


Here's a little freebie for you! It's a sampling of THIS SET.

Be sure to wander over to Doodle Bugs Teaching for more Five for Friday!





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