Sunday, March 26, 2017

3 Ways to Use Individual Whiteboards for Quick Practice

3 Ways to Use Individual Whiteboards for Quick Practice: There are plenty of ways to use individual whiteboards in the classroom each day. Here are three ways I use them!

Individual Whiteboards are incredibly handy for many purposes! I find them very handy to practice a number of skills. 

I have a good supply of individual whiteboards in my classroom, and the children have their own whiteboard markers. I have enough erasers so that each pair can share an eraser. 

I've also seen children bring an old sock to class to use as an eraser. They love to "wear" the sock on their non-writing hand, which makes it very quick and easy for erasing. These socks are also very handy for holding extra markers! 

One of my favorite thing about the individual white boards is that they are VERY forgiving! The children can practice a skill, get it wrong a few times, and no one will ever know! 

Another thing I like about them? The kids love using them! 

Here are a few ways I use whiteboards in my second grade classroom:

1. Practice spelling words - Often I'll have the kiddos warm up for their word work by practicing their words on the white boards. The kiddos love to use the boards, and end  up writing their words over and over again! Here's a tip: have the children say the letters aloud while they write - it helps the memory! Quite often, after a warm up, I'll have them put a star beside their best handwriting, or a heart beside their favorite word, or maybe an exclamation point next to the toughest word to remember.  All these strategies are great for getting the children to self-evaluate, which leads to more learning!

2. Practice sentences from dictation - Writing sentences from dictation is one step away from writing sentences the children create themselves. Dictation models good grammar, vocabulary, and spelling skills. The sentences themselves can be models for the children to use in their own writing. Dictation helps the children develop the ability to hold some words in their heads while writing words. It is practice with spelling, handwriting, punctuation, and memory. Plus, the whiteboards are very forgiving when they make a mistake!

3. Practicing important math skills - Some skills just need to be practiced over and over again, and white boards are the perfect place to do it! The picture above shows my students adding three digit numbers using a couple of different strategies. To make it a little more fun, we use dice to choose our numbers, and they earn tiles for accurate answers. (When we're done, I give them a couple of minutes to create a design with their tiles. All that hard work deserves a little fun, doesn't it?)

What skills do you practice on whiteboards?
How do you make this practice fun?

Thursday, March 2, 2017

Top O' the Morning! St. Patrick's Day Resources

Top O' the Morning! St. Patrick's Day Resources: Here are videos, books, ideas, and 3 freebies to help your students learn about the Irish

Do you have the luck of the Irish? St. Patrick's Day will be here before you know it, and here are some resources to get you ready!

Here are a couple of videos to help your students learn about Ireland!

This is a great video to have on in the background when students are arriving in the morning, when they're packing to leave, or during independent work like writing. It plays about 50 minutes of Irish music, along with beautiful Irish scenery.

And, of course, a nice sample of one of those things Ireland is famous for: Irish Step Dancing!

Plus, I have 3 freebies for you! Check them out!

I always make sure the children recognize the Irish Flag.
And listen to Irish music.

And, of course, books!
And books by some favorite authors:

There's a whole lot more ideas on my March Pinterest Board.  Click HERE to see it!

I'll be celebrating St. Patrick's Week right after Read Across America Week!  I  just can't spend a day on any of these great holidays! There is too much fun learning to be had!

Wednesday, March 1, 2017

I'm Ready for March! Are you?

I'm ready for March, are you? Ideas, links, and an exclusive freebie to help you get ready for the new month!

Somehow it got to be March already! How did that happen?  

March includes plenty of activity, including Read Across America Day, St. Patrick's Day, the return of Daylight Savings Time, maple syrup season, and the first day of spring!

It just so happens I have an exclusive freebie to help you out with Read Across America! Just click THIS link, or click the image below.

Looking for more ideas for March?  Here are a few links for you!

Celebrate the King of Nonsense: Links for celebrating Dr. Seuss!

Top O' the Morning: St. Patrick's Day Resources

Maple Weekend: Resources for teaching how maple syrup is made.

Spring Resources: Videos, books, and resources for teaching about spring

Still want more? Here's my March Pinterest board!

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.

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