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Five Ways to Get Them Learning OUTSIDE!

Here in the northern hemisphere, we are enjoying the spring weather!


Five Ways to Get Them Learning OUTSIDE!  There's something special about being outside, and it's a great place to practice important skills.

We still have to teach. but we might as well teach while enjoying the beautiful weather and getting those kiddos outside! Here are some of my ideas!

Five Ways to Get Them Learning OUTSIDE!  There's something special about being outside, and it's a great place to practice important skills.

This one is pretty obvious! They have to read every day.  Why not bring it outside? If you want to go all out, have them bring in towels to sit or lie on while reading. Other options: partner reading, or teacher read alouds!

I do find sometimes a little bribery motivation is necessary. "If you don't stay focused on your books, we will have to bring them back inside."

Five Ways to Get Them Learning OUTSIDE!  There's something special about being outside, and it's a great place to practice important skills.

There are loads of engineering projects that can be done outside!  Children can use sand, grass, rocks or sticks to create all sorts of things! Here are a few ideas:

1. Create a sundial.
2. Make a tall rock tower.
3. Make a shadow creature.
4. Take tubs of water outside and maybe a few classroom materials to create "boats" that float!

This is only the beginning. If you search "Outdoor S.T.E.M." on Pinterest or google it, I'll bet you find a TON of ideas!

Five Ways to Get Them Learning OUTSIDE!  There's something special about being outside, and it's a great place to practice important skills.

You'll need some sidewalk chalk for this. 



Have equal teams, and a list of math facts or math problems they can solve. 



One team member at a time takes the chalk, runs to the other end of the defined area, write the problem with the correct answer, and run back. (It's a good idea to have another adult at the other end to check their math!) 



When they get back, the next person gets the chalk and a new problem.


I suggest making the running area on grass or "soft top," and the writing area on the hard top.

They'll be so busy having fun and burning off steam, they won't even know they're practicing important facts!


Five Ways to Get Them Learning OUTSIDE!  There's something special about being outside, and it's a great place to practice important skills.

Sketching is an important science skill!


Scientists need to notice details, and look for differences!


Direct students to pick a specific spot to sketch. (One with some sort of vegetation is best!)  A week later, they can go back to the same spot. As they re-sketch, hopefully they will notice differences.

Five Ways to Get Them Learning OUTSIDE!  There's something special about being outside, and it's a great place to practice important skills.
3 Seasons of our class tree!
Notice the winter tree was photographed from inside the screened window!


I've had my groups choose a "class tree" in the fall, and we will often go out to sketch the tree. As the year progresses, they re-sketch, and definitely notice differences!
One little secret, I've been very good at convincing the children to choose the tree right outside our class window. That way, they can sketch from inside in the winter! (No one wants to sit in snow and sketch!)

Five Ways to Get Them Learning OUTSIDE!  There's something special about being outside, and it's a great place to practice important skills.

Just like reading, story writing can be brought outdoors easily! They can continue stories they were working on, make up a story about what they see, or write nature poetry. Again, reminding the children this is a privilege helps them stay focused!


If you're interested in a little outdoor Science or Social Studies with reading and writing skills thrown in, check out this: Science and Social Studies for Summer

Most of these activities are designed for the outdoors, and you definitely don't have to wait for summer!

Five Ways to Get Them Learning OUTSIDE!  There's something special about being outside, and it's a great place to practice important skills.

Looking for ways to make it until Summer?

Looking for ways to make it until Summer? Here are some suggestions, including an exclusive freebie and some fantastic bargains!

I know most of you are getting mighty close to the end of the school year. I want to make your life a bit easier!

Here are some fun activities that will keep your students engaged in reading and writing while doing some fun Science and Social Studies activities!

Looking for ways to make it until Summer? Here are some suggestions, including an exclusive freebie and some fantastic bargains!

Click HERE for the freebie!

This freebie has 2 of the 10 activities from the full collection that you can find here: Science and Social Studies Activities for the Summer.

As you may know, there's a sale going on at Teachers Pay Teachers right now!  I often put new resources at 50% off for the first couple of days, but I'm keeping this one discounted through the sale, so you can catch a HUGE bargain on it!

Plus, I've bundled this new resource with 9 others for a year round set of Science and Social Studies fun integrated into reading and writing activities!

Looking for ways to make it until Summer? Here are some suggestions, including an exclusive freebie and some fantastic bargains!

Take a look at the discount on this baby here. Grab it while it's on sale!

Don't forget to add THANKYOU18 on checkout for an additional 5% off!

In case you missed my last post, here's a link to Seven Steps to a Happy Last Day of School.
(Each step has a freebie!)

 Looking for ways to make it until Summer? Here are some suggestions, including an exclusive freebie and some fantastic bargains!
Here's to a happy last few weeks of school!

Seven Steps to a Happy Last Day of School

We all know those last couple of weeks of school are insane: antsy students, report cards, packing the room, etc.  It's all overwhelming, isn't it?

Seven Steps to a Happy Last Day of School: This is a summary of all seven steps, including a freebie for each step!

Despite it all, I refuse to let the craziness destroy my last day with my students. For the last 7 days, I've been posting about 7 steps for a Happy Last Day of School. Here are links to the seven steps. (Each link has a freebie!)


Seven Steps to a Happy Last Day of School: This is a summary of all seven steps, including a freebie for each step!

Read about this strategy here: Read Your Favorite Book

Seven Steps to a Happy Last Day of School: This is a summary of all seven steps, including a freebie for each step!

Read about Step 2 here: Leave Out a Few Favorite Games.

Seven Steps to a Happy Last Day of School: This is a summary of all seven steps, including a freebie for each step!

Read about Step 3 here: Keep Out a Few Decks of Playing Cards.

Seven Steps to a Happy Last Day of School: This is a summary of all seven steps, including a freebie for each step!

Seven Steps to a Happy Last Day of School: This is a summary of all seven steps, including a freebie for each step!
Read about Step 5 here: Make Sure They Have Something to Read.

Seven Steps to a Happy Last Day of School: This is a summary of all seven steps, including a freebie for each step!
Read about this strategy here: Find One-on-One Time With Each Student.

Seven Steps to a Happy Last Day of School: This is a summary of all seven steps, including a freebie for each step!

Read more about this final step here: Take Time to ENJOY Them!

Hopefully, these 7 steps will help you enjoy that last day, no matter how crazy things get!

When you're all done, you should only have a few things left to tuck away before you begin your summer vacation.

What do you plan to do first during vacation?

Seven Steps to a Happy Last Day of School: This is a summary of all seven steps, including a freebie for each step!

Seven Steps to a Happy Last Day of School - Part 7: Enjoy them

You may not be getting much sleep, trying to fit in all those end-of-the-year expectations, but hang in there, there's a light at the end of the tunnel!

Seven Steps to a Happy Last Day of School - Part 7: Enjoy them!

For the past 6 days, I've been sharing ideas to have a Happy Last Day of School. 


You can read about Step One here:  Read Your Favorite Book

You can read about Step Two here:Leave Out a Few Favorite Games

You can read about the third strategy here: Keep Out a Few Decks of Playing Cards.


You can read about Step Four here: Keep Out a Handful of Whiteboards, Markers, and Erasers.

Read Step Five here: Make Sure They Have Something to Read!

Read about Step Six here: Find One-On-One Time With Each Student.

Now, here is Step Seven!
Seven Steps to a Happy Last Day of School - Part 7: Enjoy them!

That's really what it's all about, isn't it?

Push away all the thoughts of what still needs to be done such as packing, test scores, end of the year meetings, end of the year record keeping, and all the rest.  

Take the time to enjoy the kids. 

I'll admit, I've never had a "last day" where I didn't get choked up saying goodbye to the children. (And I've been teaching forever!) 

They are the ones that matter after all the craziness of everything else!

It's really all about the kids. 
Remember that. 
Enjoy them!

As Ellen would say, be kind to one another. Here's my last freebie from the seven days: Starring Kindness

Seven Steps to a Happy Last Day of School - Part 7: Enjoy them!

Which is your favorite of the Seven Steps to a Happy Last Day of School?

Seven Steps to a Happy Last Day of School - Part 7: Enjoy them!

Seven Steps to a Happy Last Day of School - Part 6: Meet with each child

Hopefully, you're getting report cards done and getting packed up with minimal stress, since that last day is coming soon.

Seven Steps to a Happy Last Day of School Part 5: Find one-on-one time with every child. This post suggests how to organize the last day, and has a freebie!

It's all crazy, I know, but the kids make it all worth it, and that last day should be all about them!

You can read about Step One here:  Read Your Favorite Book

You can read about Step Two here:Leave Out a Few Favorite Games

You can read about the third strategy here: Keep Out a Few Decks of Playing Cards.


Seven Steps to a Happy Last Day of School Part 5: Find one-on-one time with every child. This post suggests how to organize the last day, and has a freebie!

I know, that's not easy when there are a whole bunch of them, and they all want attention! But there are ways to do it! 

I like to use as much routine as I can on that last day.  Although I don't do any Guided Reading groups during the last few days, I organize my day the same way.

This blog post tells how I organize my groups during Guided Reading time:

Seven Steps to a Happy Last Day of School Part 5: Find one-on-one time with every child. This post suggests how to organize the last day, and has a freebie!

Although some of the options just don't work on the last day of school, I do use my literacy center cards to help organize things. You can find those as a freebie here: Literacy Center Cards Freebie.
Seven Steps to a Happy Last Day of School Part 5: Find one-on-one time with every child. This post suggests how to organize the last day, and has a freebie!

I might set up a few stations to go with the things I've kept out for the kiddos: (The freebie doesn't have cards for all these, but you can use the blank cards.)

Reading 
Whiteboards
Games
Playing Cards
Work With Teacher

At the reading station, they can read any picture books I've kept out, or memory books. (See Step 5.)

At the Whiteboards station, they can play hangman or dictate sentences to one another. (See Step 4.)

At the games station, they can play the games I've left out. (See Step 2.)

At the Playing Cards station, they can play Salute, or Twenty-One. (See Step 3.)

What happens at the Work with Teacher Station? This is where you can give them individualized time! I've been known to play Apples to Apples with the children and laugh a lot. It's a great way to spend our last day together!

Another option?  Have no "Work With Teacher" station, and circulate throughout the classroom meeting with the children one at a time. I always make sure I ask questions about summer plans and make sure they know I'll be thinking about them!

This is your last crack at them... make it count!

Tomorrow we'll have the last of 7 Steps to a Happy Last Day of School!

Seven Steps to a Happy Last Day of School Part 5: Find one-on-one time with every child. This post suggests how to organize the last day, and has a freebie!

Seven Steps to a Happy Last Day of School - Part 5: Reading

Hang in there, there's a light at the end of the tunnel!

Seven Steps to a Happy Last Day of School-Part 5: Make sure they have something to read!

Don't let the craziness get you down. You can always enjoy the last day!

This is the 5th step of 7 strategies to a Happy Last Day of School. 



You can read about Step One here:  Read Your Favorite Book.

You can read about Step Two here:Leave Out a Few Favorite Games

You can read about the third strategy here: Keep Out a Few Decks of Playing Cards.


You can read about Step Four here: Keep Out a Handful of Whiteboards, Markers, and Erasers.

Seven Steps to a Happy Last Day of School-Part 5: Make sure they have something to read!
I've always felt that reading is the most important thing we do in school, and I make it very clear that each student do some reading each and every day. Step one was all about reading to the children, but this step is all about having the children do the reading. Here are some ideas:

1. Leave out a few of their favorite books. I know, you've packed most of them, but let them enjoy their favorites for the last time. I pack my chapter books up about a week before the end of the year, since they won't have time to finish them. But I keep out those favorites. Here's another advantage: those favorites might just be the first ones you unpack in the fall!

2. Provide an End-Of-Year Memory Book. I know, who has time for this during this crazy time of year? Well, I always make the time for this, since it's something they'll keep forever. (I hope!) A couple of weeks before the end, I'll have the children write down some words about their classmates (and teachers) and their special memories from the year. I type these up and put them into a book. Yes, it's extra work, but it sure is fun to give them those books on the last day of school!

3. Give them a little something to read and take home! My students and I developed this list a couple of years ago, and I thought it was great! You can find this freebie here: Summer Vacation List... So Tablets and Screens Don't Suck Out Your Brain!

I'm sure you have more ideas for making sure they do some reading on the last day!

Come on by tomorrow for the 6th Step to a Happy Last Day of School!


Seven Steps to a Happy Last Day of School-Part 5: Make sure they have something to read!

Seven Steps to a Happy Last Day of School - Part 4 Whiteboards

The focus this time of year is getting it all done: packing up, report cards, and all those end-of-the-year necessities.

Seven Steps to a Happy Last Day of School-Part 4: Keep out a few whiteboards, markers, and erasers.

My goal on the last day has always been to try to relax and help the kids enjoy that last day. Today I'll share the 4th of my 7 Steps.

You can read about Step One here:  Read Your Favorite Book

You can read about Step Two here: Leave Out a Few Favorite Games

You can read the third strategy here: Keep Out a Few Decks of Playing Cards.

Today's strategy:

Seven Steps to a Happy Last Day of School-Part 4: Keep out a few whiteboards, markers, and erasers.

Don't kids love using whiteboards?  Mine sure do! I always leave some out on the last day. 

Here are a few "educational" things they can do with the whiteboards:
1. Hangman (They can use spelling words or content words from the year!)

2. Dictate sentences for each other using something you've studied or a book you've read!

3. Tic-tac-toe (it involves strategy!)

4. Make up math problems for partners to solve.

5. Keep out a set of task cards for the children to answer on the whiteboards. Here's a free set that's perfect for end of the year review: Geography Review Task Cards.


Here's a blog post I wrote last year with a few whiteboard ideas: 3 Ways to Use Individual Whiteboards

Seven Steps to a Happy Last Day of School-Part 4: Keep out a few whiteboards, markers, and erasers.

What are your ideas for using whiteboards on the last day of school?

See you tomorrow for Step 5!

Seven Steps to a Happy Last Day of School-Part 4: Keep out a few whiteboards, markers, and erasers.

Seven Steps to a Happy Last Day of School - Part 3: Playing Cards

Are you going crazy trying to get it all done?

Seven Steps to a Happy Last Day of School - Part 3: Keep Out a Few Decks of Playing Cards

If you're like me, you want to enjoy that last day with the students. I've got 7 steps I take on that last day. Today is about Step 3.

You can read about Step One here:  Read Your Favorite Book.

You can read about Step Two here: Leave Out a Few Favorite Games

Here is the third Strategy:

Seven Steps to a Happy Last Day of School - Part 3: Keep Out a Few Decks of Playing Cards
If you're anything like me, you have a TON of math games, but it's ok to pack those up, since there are several games that can be played with a simple deck of cards!

Here are some easy card games they can play to review important math skills:

1. Addition War (Like regular war, but with 2 cards added together.)

2. Multiplication War (Like Addition War, but with the cards multiplied together.)

3. Salute This is one of my favorite games (and the kids, too!) I learned about it HERE. You can download a freebie with directions to the addition version as well as the multiplication version on this website.

4. Twenty-One Some people know this game as Blackjack, but this is the "non-gambling" version. This game requires addition skills as well as some strategy and thinking about probability. The children absolutely love this one! You can download directions for playing the game here: Twenty-One.

5. Solitaire I know, this doesn't have a specific math skill, but it sure does strengthen their Number Sense!

I'd love if you shared your ideas for more educational ideas for playing cards!

Be sure to come by tomorrow for Step 4 of Seven Steps to a Happy Last Day of School!


Seven Steps to a Happy Last Day of School - Part 3: Keep Out a Few Decks of Playing Cards
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