Sunday, February 12, 2017

Three Words About Your Weekend!

Three Words About Your Weekend: Here's a morning meeting ritual we do every Monday. The kids love it, and they're learning something about words and language!

Every Monday, we have a special topic for our Morning Meeting Share. Every Monday we share 3 words about our weekend!

Believe it or not, it's harder for my second graders than it seems! 

Some have trouble limiting it to 3 words. They try to sum up their weekend into phrases and sentences. (I wish they'd apply this skill in their writing and speaking!)

Some actually have trouble remembering their weekend! They really can't remember what they did for the last couple of days! I've had weekends like that where everything blended in together.

Then I have others who start planning their 3 words on Friday, and are all excited when it's sharing time!

Then there are others who are so interested in the 3 words others share they can't remember what they planned to say themselves.  I admit, I've done that more than once.

One of the best benefits: it helps the children when it comes to note taking. It gives them practice choosing the important words and distinguishing them from those "little middle" words that aren't essential.

Example: "I went to Applebee's with my family. I had chicken. "
"Applebees, family, chicken"

"I played in the snow with my sisters. We built a fort."
"Snow, sisters, fort"

As the year goes on, they're getting better at it, and just in time! We're starting our big library research project!

Another advantage to this sharing?
It gives me lots of information about my students, and what is important in their lives.

What are 3 words about your weekend?

Monday, January 30, 2017

Will the Groundhog Predict Spring?

Will the Groundhog Predict Spring?  Who knows, but here are several ideas and resources for learning, thanks to the groundhog!

Do you think Punxsutawny Phil will see his shadow? 

It's a tough call, but I'm thinking we might just have 6 more weeks of winter. 

But even so, Groundhog Day is a fun day at the beginning of a dreary month to scramble up some fun excuses to learn!

Let's start with books! I'm a big fan of Gail Gibbons, and this one is perfect for groundhog learning. I love her books because she puts information in a way it's interesting for children. 
These two books are fiction, but with a lot of learning to happen!

Speaking of reading skills, I have a close read about Groundhogs in this resource: Science and Social Studies Printables for February.

Plus, there's an activity sorting animals that hibernate in the winter.

Then there's video! 

Look what I found! This is a reading of Gail Gibbon's book Groundhog Day!

I also found an informational video that tells about Groundhog Day.  I like this one because it has real groundhogs for the kids to see!

Besides the science of groundhogs, kids really take to this topic, so I've got a few resources to help you out!

Here's some groundhog themed word work, and it's a freebie! Perfect for grades 2-3!

Speaking of word work, Here's a fun game to practice prefixes and suffixes!

What student doesn't love story problems a little bit more when they have a fun theme! This is my plan for this week! It combines groundhogs AND Super Bowl themes!

Here's to hoping that groundhog doesn't see his shadow! 

We could use a little spring!

Friday, January 20, 2017

How Can We Help Them Learn Kindness?

How Can We Help Them Learn Kindness? This post shares three different strategies for helping children learn to be kind to one another. It includes a Readers Theater freebie and links to several other freebies. #kindnessnation, #weholdthesetruths
There is a whole lot of hate in our world. 

It's very concerning when we work with little ones and we want them to be successful. 

Although I'm not going to delve into politics, I'm sure you're aware that political changes here in the USA are pretty uncomfortable for many right now, and people are angry. Yes, BOTH sides of the political system are angry, and it's not helping our children. 

How can we help them learn about kindness? 

Well, here are three ideas!
How Can We Help Them Learn Kindness? This post shares three different strategies for helping children learn to be kind to one another. It includes a Readers Theater freebie and links to several other freebies. #kindnessnation, #weholdthesetruths

There are tons of great books with the theme of kindness! I've linked some of my favorites below. (Each image is a link to Amazon.)


I have a special softness for Somebody Loves You, Mr. Hatch and The Invisible Boy

Be sure to read the books and let the children have plenty of conversations. 

Bring up the topic of kindness and let the children talk about how the characters showed kindness in the stories. 

How Can We Help Them Learn Kindness? This post shares three different strategies for helping children learn to be kind to one another. It includes a Readers Theater freebie and links to several other freebies. #kindnessnation, #weholdthesetruths

We know as educators that children are more likely to do what they see than what they're told to do. That means we need to let them see us showing respect and kindness to them, and the people they see us interact with. Let them see you performing little acts of kindness for children as well as adults!

Let them see you writing fun little notes for them and their classmates.

Let them see you leave a treat for the teacher next door.

Let them see you bring flowers to the nurse for Nurse's Day.

Let them see you go out of your way to tidy up to make things easier for the custodians.

Bring the whole class to the Library to sing Happy Birthday on the librarian's birthday.

I'm sure you can think of more examples of showing kindness, and I'm sure your students can think of plenty more!

How Can We Help Them Learn Kindness? This post shares three different strategies for helping children learn to be kind to one another. It includes a Readers Theater freebie and links to several other freebies. #kindnessnation, #weholdthesetruths

When problems occur in the classroom, which we know happen often, be sure to address the group with the question, "How can we solve this problem with kindness?"

To help you out, I've got a Reader's Theater freebie that does exactly that! It's a little play for 4 people with a problem children can relate to. Here's the twist: after a discussion on how to solve the problem with kindness, the performers get to make up the ending!

It doesn't stop here. Many of my teacher friends are also creating freebies with themes such as kindness, empathy and civics.

Our top priority is keeping children kind and caring, and we're sharing these freebies with you forever.  All you have to do is go to Teachers Pay Teachers and search #kindnessnation or #weholdthesetruths. 
You can click HERE for #kindnessnation or HERE for #weholdthesetruths.

If you click the link up below, you'll find links to several other ideas and free resources by many of my teacher/ blogger friends! Let's overwhelm these kids with kindness! 

One last thought: my singing group sang this song years ago, and it helps me deal with many difficult situations. Although this isn't my singing group, the song is just as beautiful.

Saturday, January 7, 2017

Speed Chatting!

Speed Chatting: some children just need to talk, and here's a chance to let them talk without wasting class time. Perfect for Morning Meeting!

Do you have a talkative group like I do? 

Do you have kiddos that have so much to say they have trouble holding it in? 
Isn't it tough to find class time to let them get out what they want to say!

So I decided to try Speed Chatting. It works sort of like speed dating, without the dating part. 

I have the children make 2 circles. They partner off, and get a couple of minutes to talk! Then one of the circles shifts, and they have a new partner for chatting. They'll shift a few more times until they've had a several chances to talk.

Sometimes I give them a topic, and sometimes I let them choose whatever they want to talk about. Topics could be: 
  • Tell about the book you're reading.
  • Why do we need to regroup to subtract?
  • What did you do this weekend?
  • Talk about your favorite thing to do.
  • Tell what you know about _________.
  • Tell about a place you'd love to visit someday.
  • What pet do you wish you could have?
  • If you had plenty of money, what would you buy?
  • What is your favorite subject in school?
  • What do you wish you could have for homework?
  • What do you like to do after school?
  • What makes someone a good friend?
  • What is something you wish more people knew about you?
I'm sure you can think of plenty more!

Right after the holidays, the kiddos were busting at the seams, wanting to tell about their vacations, staying up until midnight on New Year's Eve, and their new toys.  

We did Speed Chatting. We had to... there was no option, they were going to talk about their vacations no matter what. They needed to get it out. Either they'd be sneaking it in all day, or I'd let them get it out of their systems first thing in the morning. 

I chose to put Speed Chatting into Morning Meeting that day. 
Then they were ready to get back to work!

Honestly, I don't think kids get enough time to speak their minds these days. We're incredibly busy between testing as well as teaching an overloaded curriculum. This is a nice way to get them talking without missing much class time.

Enjoy Speed Chatting with your students! 
You'll hear some amazing stories!

Saturday, December 31, 2016

Happy New Year! 17 for 17!

Happy New Year! 17 fir 17! I want to start off the new year on a good note, so these 17 top sellers are 50% off! Enjoy!

I'm pretty happy that 2016 is coming to a close. It's been a rough one for many of us. But there have been some fabulous things that have happened in 2016, and I am grateful.

But I'm looking forward to 2017, and I want to start it right! I've decided to put my top 17 items from this year on sale at half off!

They will stay half off until I'm back in school on January 3, 2017. (I might even let them go until the end of the day.)

Here are the items I've got in the mix:

Brain Friendly Addition and Subtraction Fact Practice and Assessent: 

This resource contains everything I use to help my students master basic addition and subtraction facts. It has all 200 basic facts split into 8 different categories for easier learning. (200 at once is too many!) It contains fact cards, brain breaks, assessments, graphs, hints for practice, and an easily differentiated game!

Plus, I have a resource for building multiplication and division facts built on the same principles!

This set uses those Cuisenaire Rods that the kiddos LOVE to practice important math concepts.

This collection has 30 different sentences with a variety of figurative language phrases. Brain Research tells us that connecting the arts deepens understanding, and figurative language is a perfect place to include illustration! This collection is perfect for reviewing concepts, excellent for the "sub tub" and makes great class books!

Do you have students who can't remember when to use an apostrophe and when not to use it? This set will help fix that! It has 4 different games and 2 stories that will help them remember to use the apostrophe correctly!

This is one of my newest products and it has made learning spelling words so much more fun for my students! It has 48 different ways to practice spelling words, which include plenty of "brain friendly" ways including kinesthetic, musical, auditory, and visual learning.

I created this resource at the beginning of the school year because I wanted my own students to start the year off on the right foot. It includes posters (colored and black and white), bookmarks (colored and black and white), student response booklets, suggestions for implementation and self assessments.

Although I started using this at the beginning of the school year, it would be a perfect way to start the new year with a positive attitude and a desire to learn!

For more information about the 17 items that are half off, see HERE.

Saturday, December 17, 2016

Wondering what will keep them engaged the last week before Christmas?

Wondering what will keep them engaged the last week before Christmas? Here are some ideas and resources that will keep even the most rambunctious children engaged!
If you are already on vacation, congratulations for surviving! If you're still going, like I am, you'll be needing something extra special to keep those restless, overtired children engaged!

This week we did some STEM activities from THIS set:

The children had a great time creating face warmers for Santa!

And designing workshops for elves!

Every student was engaged, plus there was learning going on! Their reflections really showed they were learning about the Engineering Process, as well as learning to work as part of a team. I was proud of their achievements!

There's a lot going on this coming week. (Yes, we go through Friday afternoon at 3:30!) I'll be pulling out all the stops with some of my favorite holiday activities. 

We'll be painting, illustrating, and reading some of my favorite holiday stories. We'll also bring in a little Science and Social Studies with THIS resource: 

They'll be reading informational text about the North Pole and about the Aurora Borealis, practicing their mapping skills with a map of the North Pole, sorting Christmas scents, and learning about laws by sorting elf laws.

Besides all this fun, I'll be pulled out of class on Thursday for an IEP meeting, so I'll be assigning some of the pages from THIS resource. 
I can be sure the children will be getting fun practice on important reading, writing, and math skills with these! 

If all else fails, it's time to pull out the glitter! (Yes, I plan to!) Click the image for a link to Amazon. 
Of course, I hate to leave for vacation without being ready for that first week back! Here are a couple of resources I'll be pulling out at the beginning of January! (Click images for links!)

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