Thursday, May 30, 2013

Seashore Week!

Since we have 19 days left of school, I have officially declared next week Seashore Week!  

No, we're not going to the seashore, I'm just trying to think of fun ways to get them working and learning these last few weeks.  

Here's what we're going to do during Seashore Week:

1. Literature! First of all, there will be plenty of literature!  Here are some books I've found with a seashore or beach theme: (Click the image for a link to Amazon to find more about the book!                       

I have a feeling I'll find more great books as I go through my classroom library as well as my school library.  I like to read several examples of fiction as well as nonfiction to give the children a real feel for what we're studying. 

2. Music and Sounds! Next, to set the mood: (Click image!)





Here is a Youtube video of ocean waves and sounds: very peaceful! Great background sounds!

Or try this one! I'll be playing this one when they're painting or creating!

2. Writing! After all this seashore learning, We're going to have to do some writing!  I made up some paper with a seashore theme (see image at top of page!)  For this freebie, click HERE.

4. Beach Towels! Of course, I really have to get the kids into the feel of the ocean.  I'll be inviting them to bring beach towels next week.  My plan is to let them take out their towels during Independent Reading time.  I'll play my ocean sound CD, and they can pretend to do my very favorite summer activity... reading at the beach!

5. Beach Themed Centers!  Here's my Seashore Theme Unit Literacy and Math Centers: click the image for the link!

What ideas do you have for Seashore Week?  I'd love to hear your ideas!

Wednesday, May 29, 2013

Three Years and Counting - Many Thanks!

Three years ago today I had a stroke.  It wasn't a crippling stroke, but it certainly changed my life, in many ways.

The stroke happened in the right side of my brain, and it affected the muscles on the left side of my body.  Some of the muscles have stopped working completely.  Some just don't work as well.  Most of my left side is super sensitive and tingles all day and night.  You know that "my leg fell asleep" feeling?  That's what I have on most of my left side all the time.

I need a whole lot more sleep than I used to.  I lose my balance a lot.  I  cringe if people touch my left side.  (It's hard not to scream sometimes!)  I need help opening bottles and jars.  I can't lift heavy objects or climb ladders.  I have a lot of trouble at the drive through.  I can walk easily on flat surfaces (like hallways), but struggle on uneven surfaces (like grass).

It has definitely changed my life.  Several doors have closed for me, especially as far as my hobbies go.  I used to tap dance.  That's over, as is skiing and hiking, or even walking outside.  Working out at the gym is still possible, but is done quite differently now, and far less frequently!

But there are good things about having had a stroke. Since I spend so much more time sitting now, I started a blog! Blogging has definitely been a very positive thing in my life.  I've met some wonderful teacher blogger friends, shared loads of great ideas, and improved my teaching through blogging.  For that I am forever grateful.

So I have reason to celebrate.  And I want to share my celebration with you.  How?

With a 2 for 1 sale on my Teachers Pay Teachers store!

Here's how it works:  Buy something from my Teachers pay Teachers store.  Email me at elementarymatters@gmail.com with the subject line Two for One.  Tell me what you bought, and what item you'd like for free.  (Of same or less value as purchased item.)  I'll email you the free product.

This offer is only good through June 3 of this year.

Thanks for being there and making blogging worthwhile for me.

Monday, May 27, 2013

We're in the Money!

We started working on money this week in second grade!  Money is all about skip counting, so if the kids don't know how to skip count, it's going to be tough.  Counting by 5s and by 10s is pretty easy for the kids, but I use a little trick from my past to count by 25s.

Brain research tells us that adding movement, as well as repetition helps the memory.

Did I mention that I was once a cheerleader?

This one dates back to the early 70s, but I think I remember my mother saying this one, so I'm guessing it dates back to about the 40s.  Some of my girls volunteered to pose for the photographs.  I usually call it a chant, not a cheer, so it doesn't scare away my little guys!  These movements can be done in quite a manly manner, despite the daintiness you see in these lovely ladies.

A Chant for Quarters!


Twenty five! (punch arms up and left.)

Fifty! (punch arms down and left.)

Seventy-five! (punch arms up and right.)
A dollar! (Punch arms down and right.)
Everyone for money, (Arms out to sides.)
Stand up, (bend forward, roll arms)

and holler!  (Put arms up high.)










The kids absolutely love it! (Yes, even the boys!)  It makes a nice brain break, or just a warm up for math class.  The kids get to move around and practice their skip counting by 25s as well.

Instead of saying "Everyone for money", we usually insert the name of our school.

With my musical theatre background, every time we get ready for math when we're working with money, I break out into the song We're in the Money from the musical 42nd Street.  I have a couple of kids in my class that are musically inclined, so last Friday at snack time, I showed them this video:


Every single kid was absolutely mesmerized!  They even asked to see it again.  (A couple of kids watched it a third time, while waiting for buses!) Then, when it was time to get ready for science, they all started tap dancing.  Of course I let them tap dance their way to get their science materials.  You can't discourage a desire for musical theatre!

Sunday, May 19, 2013

Music for the Classroom

Brain research teaches us that music helps make connections in the brain.
Music for the Classroom: Here are some suggestions for music to play in the elementary classroom, and some reasons to play different kinds of music.

I play music in my classroom all the time.  Sometimes I play slow, classical music to help the children focus.  Other times, I play upbeat music to get the children involved.  I also play seasonal music to help the children "feel the season".  Here are some of my favorites:  (All pictures have a link to Amazon for more information!)

 
Music for Concentration is one of my staples.  It's magical background music for when the children are a little too chatty and a little less focused.  I turn on this CD and they settle in and get going on their work!  This series has several titles, and my goal is to own them all.  I haven't tried one that didn't keep up with its promises!  Here are a few others in the series:
      

                    
     
I have these except the Music for Thinking, which is on my wishlist.

Other great background music:
      
   
I also play a good deal of upbeat music, particularly when the children arrive in the morning.  It gives them the feel that the classroom is a happy place.  This is some of the music I play:
                   
Of course, kids aren't limited to music designed for kids.  They get a kick out of some of this timeless music: 
     
    
Then of course, here are a couple of my personal favorites:  


     
And to think I haven't even mentioned showtunes! (My very favorite music!)

Here are some previous posts with suggestions for certain holidays:

St. Patrick's Day
Cinco de Mayo
Any Patriotic Holiday

I'm always looking for new resources.  What music do you listen to in your classroom?

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