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Day 100 is Soon!

Day 100 is only a week away in my school district.  Some of you have already celebrated, and some will be celebrating in the next week or so. 

We do a number of things to celebrate the 100th day of school, most of them have something to do with internalizing the number 100.  I've got a game of 4 digit numbers, where the children will be adding or subtracting 100 from the 4 digit number.  We'll be making sets of 100, using the base 10 blocks, skip counting to 100 and by 100s.  We'll brainstorm 100 things we love, 100 things we learn, and 100 things to do.

My favorite part of the day is a little tradition I've started in my school.  We go "Day 100 Caroling".  I have several songs that have to do with Day 100 that we sing.  We visit as many classrooms that will have us, and sing a song to each room.  It's a great treat for the kids, since they typically rarely go into other classrooms.  I see many of my former students, who remember the songs and sometimes get up and sing with us.  The office staff and the kitchen staff wait for these moments all year.  Most of the songs I can't share because I didn't write them, but this one I wrote myself, and I'm sure you know the tune... Yankee Doodle.  Enjoy!


Writing Warm Up

I was struggling with my Writer's Workshop time, thinking about how I had children with fantastic ideas, yet their writing wasn't flowing. I knew they had it in them, but I was struggling to get them past that hesitation... the fear of it not being "just right". A lot of writer's workshop time is being wasted because their writing isn't fluent. 

Writing Warm Up: When my students were struggling with writing fluency, I came up with this freebie.

After much thought, I remembered a writing exercise I'd done in the past at Seminars and training on writing. I also thought about how I believe in a need for a warm up in all areas... reading, math, even singing and sports! 



I've used discussion as well as graphic organizers for a writing warm up, but they didn't quite do the trick, so I made these booklets. They use these booklets, and write anything they can think of for two minutes. The only rules: No erasing and they have to keep the pencil moving. If they can't think of anything, they simply write "I can't think of anything". The purpose is to get the thoughts flowing from their brain, through their fingers, onto the paper.


Writing Warm Up: When my students were struggling with writing fluency, I came up with this freebie.

Here's a bonus: we have been finding that these booklets are helping the children come up with new ideas for writing!



Click here: Writer's Workshop Warm Up Booklet or click the image to download the freebie or design your own booklet!



I've been noticing a difference in their writing fluency!




Lessons Learned

This is a story I often repeat to parents of my students. It's about my daughter's ice skating experience. 

Lesson Learned: I had a valuable lesson when I brought my daughter ice skating for the first time. This is a story I share often with parents.


When my daughter was 6 years old, we went ice skating with a couple of friends. My daughter had never skated before, so I was a little nervous about how she'd take to it.  We both laced up our skates, I took her by the hand and we both stepped onto the ice.



She started skating right away! A couple of times she started to lose her balance a little bit, but I was right by her side and helped her find her balance every time.

Lesson Learned: I had a valuable lesson when I brought my daughter ice skating for the first time. This is a story I share often with parents.
After a while I noticed something odd: she was no longer trying to keep her balance. That's when I realized I was doing exactly what I frequently advised parents not to do. I was catching her every time she lost her balance! I knew what I had to do.


Lesson Learned: I had a valuable lesson when I brought my daughter ice skating for the first time. This is a story I share often with parents.
Of course, I backed off. She fell a few times. She got right back up and skated. By the end of the day, she'd gotten her balance and had a nice rhythm in her skating stride.  She was a skater!



It was a nice reminder how parents sometimes need to let their children fall. It's definitely not easy, but it's not in the child's best interest to constantly be there to catch them. Sometimes we have to let them fall.



Lesson Learned: I had a valuable lesson when I brought my daughter ice skating for the first time. This is a story I share often with parents.

How do we know when to step back and let them fall?

Martin Luther King Jr. Books, Videos, and Reources

I love teaching my students about Martin Luther King Jr.  
He was an incredible man, and stood for peace.  


Martin Luther King Jr. Resources: This great man represented solving conflicts in a peaceful manner. Here are several books and video suggestions to help your students learn about Dr. King.

Although I'm giving away my age, I remember when he was shot.  I was a little too young to understand the impact at the time. (I was far more interested in the boys than the politics of the day.) Today I can't watch his speech without tears rushing down my face.  It disturbs me to think that a peaceful man who worked so hard for non-violence was killed in such a violent way.

I find literature to be a valuable part of my teaching.  I've read many books about Dr. King, and they always keep the children engaged.  He was clearly a powerful man.  Here are some good ones: (Each image is a link to Amazon.)



                                   
Click each image for a link to Amazon to learn more about that book!



A video also grabs the attention of the children.  Check out this one from Brain Pop.






Or this one from YouTube:




Although his speech is kind of long for the little ones, this is the last part of that famous speech, and it's worth showing at least part of it to the children.  This video from Youtube is the last part of his speech, and I think the children will understand Dr. King's passion:


Dr.  King taught the world about peace.  Here are some children's books that help with the concept of peace. 
           

I also recommend this video:

It certainly tells the story of peace that I want children to learn, and I suspect it's the peaceful world Dr. King dreamed of. Plus, the lyrics are right on the screen for the kids to sing along... over and over!

Here's one more video, a song that warms my heart! It goes right along with the teachings of Dr. King, and something children will understand:

Finally, here's one my own products - it's a freebie sorting activity that's sure to get the kids talking! And their conversations defending their opinions are amazing! Click the image for the activity Just or Unjust?

Martin Luther King Jr. Resources: This great man represented solving conflicts in a peaceful manner. Here are several books and video suggestions to help your students learn about Dr. King.

Speaking of activities, I have a couple of MLK activities in THIS resource:
Martin Luther King Jr. Resources: This great man represented solving conflicts in a peaceful manner. Here are several books and video suggestions to help your students learn about Dr. King.

It includes a close read about Dr. King.
Martin Luther King Jr. Resources: This great man represented solving conflicts in a peaceful manner. Here are several books and video suggestions to help your students learn about Dr. King.

A mapping activity, based on important places in Dr. King's life.

Martin Luther King Jr. Resources: This great man represented solving conflicts in a peaceful manner. Here are several books and video suggestions to help your students learn about Dr. King.

And making timelines based on Dr. King's life.
Martin Luther King Jr. Resources: This great man represented solving conflicts in a peaceful manner. Here are several books and video suggestions to help your students learn about Dr. King.

Click any of the images above to see Science and Social Studies Printables for January! (There is other fun stuff in there, too!)

I'd love to see your ideas for MLK too!

Writer's Workshop

Have I mentioned I'm a big fan of Writer's Workshop?  I've been doing Writer's Workshop in my classroom for probably more than 30 years, and have seen a great amount of growth in the children's writing skills.
Writer's Workshop: Help them learn to love writing by writing about what they love!



I've been very lucky to have worked with several wonderful mentors who have helped me learn how the Writing Process works, and how to set it up in my classroom. I've watched some fantastic examples of writing conferences and mini lessons. I've used many materials, and have tweeked them to fit my personal style and the levels I teach. I've learned about 6 Traits as well as the Writing Process and have combined it all to fit my needs. 


In case you're not familiar with Writer's Workshop, it's about children writing what is in their hearts. It includes free writing time, conferencing with friends, conferencing with teachers, revising, proofreading, and publishing their written work.


I've been working on some materials to share with you that I've developed for Writer's Workshop in my classroom.


Click the image to see my Writer's Workshop Collection:
Writer's Workshop: Help them learn to love writing by writing about what they love!

Writer's Workshop: Help them learn to love writing by writing about what they love!

Writer's Workshop: Help them learn to love writing by writing about what they love!

Writer's Workshop: Help them learn to love writing by writing about what they love!

Writer's Workshop: Help them learn to love writing by writing about what they love!

Click the image to see my Writer's Workshop Horizontal Paper.

Writer's Workshop: Help them learn to love writing by writing about what they love!

Click the image to see my very favorite book on Writer's Workshop. (It's a link to Amazon.)

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