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Vacation at Last!

The rest of the real world has already had their spring break. Now my spring break has finally arrived when everyone else is winding down the year. I'm sooooooo ready for this vacation!

I thought I'd link up with Doodle Bugs for Five for Friday... and it's still Friday!

Here are a few things from my week:

1. Easter!  I got to see my favorite person for Easter!
Six of us went out to eat at a local restaurant and had a great time. 

Yes, there are only 5 in the picture, so here's the second picture, also with 5.

 Maybe we should have asked someone to take the picture, so all 6 of us could be in the same photo!

2. Progress Reports! Yes, my Easter weekend was also filled with Progress Reports. It seems we just did report cards, so these came fast. But they're done, and they went out on Wednesday.  Whew!

3. Earth Day! My students were able to participate in a Distance Learning Earth Day program which was great fun! 

They made these great little pins to represent the 5 Rs: Reduce, Reuse, Recycle, Replenish, and Repair!

Plus, they learned some sign language, too! They loved it, plus they wore their pins for the rest of the week!

4. Academic Fair! Thursday night was the night the children bring their parents to school to show them all they've been learning all year. We spent the day cleaning and finishing up some Earth Day Persuasive Writing pieces, complete with a model of themselves holding globes. (Why didn't I take pictures, they're adorable!) I showed a video of my kids reading poetry that we'd worked on, plus a Power Point of pictures that I'd been collecting on the kids all year. They had their favorite books on display, and I had a couple of games out. It was a grand success. I was so tired after my 14 hour day, I came home, had a bowl of ice cream, and went to bed. The exciting life of a teacher!

5. Finally! I was still exhausted when I got up this morning, and really struggled to make it through the day today. My feet hurt, my back hurt, and, well, I was cranky tired. But we made it through! Plus, I promised them if they were good, we could have an easy day... and play my favorite game!
We had a great time playing Apples to Apples, it's always good for some giggles!

Have a great weekend!

A Bittersweet Easter

I've been reflecting on Easters past, and there is some sadness this year.  We have always celebrated Easter at my stepmother's house. We can't do that this year, since she passed away in July. Pat was a bundle of energy and always fun to be around.  She was filled with stories and one very classy lady.  It's particularly tough on the holidays to be without her.

Plus, I miss my dad every day. He was very important at most of my Easters.

I find myself still blessed, especially lately with my beautiful and talented daughter.  Just recently she was given a huge award at her college: 

Yes, that's right!  That says Outstanding Student of the Year! Isn't she amazing?

A few more pictures:

Here's her acceptance speech:  it's like the Oscars!

Plus, the apple doesn't fall far from the tree. Here she is teaching a seminar about social media to a group of student leaders.

Yes, I have many things to be thankful for this Easter.  Plus, if I survive the next week, I get a week off! That's just enough to help me last those last 40 days of school!

Happy Easter or Happy Passover... or just plain Happy Spring to everyone! 

5 Resources for Earth Day

5 Resources for Earth Day - books, videos, freebies and resources to celebrate Earth Day in the primary classroom.

My Earth is pretty important to me! It's my home, and it's the home for my kids (both biological and students) and their children. If we make the effort, we can make our Earth and its resources last!

I plan to make the whole week all about protecting our Earth and its resources.  Here are some of my plans:

1.  Literature! I always use literature whenever I teach a concept.  Here are some great books that tell what happens if we don't take care of our Earth: (Click image for a link to Amazon for more information about these books.)

Here are some more books to bring Earth Day awareness:

2. Freebies!  Flapjack Education has an awesome video and linky party going on for Earth Day! 
Here's the video of many great freebies:

Here's a link to the Earth Day Freebie Linky Party: (Just click the image!)

3. Videos!  Speaking of Youtube, there is a wealth of information out there, and some of it is pretty good!  Here are a few I've found that are great for Earth Day:

4. Be a Role Model! If you want the kids to do what they can to protect our Earth, you need to show them how!  Let them see you reduce, reuse, and recycle! I always warn my students not to use more than their share of paper, not to waste materials, and not to let the water run. They see me being careful about using paper. I even print on both sides whenever I can! If a paper has print on one side, I save it and put it upside down in my printer to use again. We have a recycling box in our class for paper, and save paper scraps, especially construction paper that can be used again on other projects! I also make a point to mention when I see a child being conservative with materials.

5. More ideas!  I have a whole bunch of videos, freebies, valuable products and ideas on my April Pinterest Page!  Here's what I'll be using next week to tie Earth Day into reading, writing and math in my second grade classroom: (Click the image.)

 Here are a couple more Earth Day products of my own, including a freebie!

These Math Story Problems are a favorite! (Click the image.)

This freebie is a song to the tune of Take me Out to the Ballgame! (Click the image.)

Can you tell Earth Day is important to me? 

Happy Earth Week!

Baseball Geography

Baseball Geography! This post has several suggestions for squeezing in a little Geography practice in your morning letter, along with a favorite topic to grab their interest: baseball!
Experts say that in order for the children to learn, it needs to be meaningful.

What's more meaningful to many of our students this time of year (especially our little boys) than baseball?

Experts also say that skills will develop and knowledge will deepen with "a little bit every day" rather than one big lesson, than never touching on it again. It's important for us to keep coming back to a skill in order for it to "stick"!

Therefore, I give my kids a "Baseball Geography" question each day for them to figure out each morning. I put the question in my morning letter, and make sure the maps are where the children can find them.

Around here, it's all about the Red Sox. I keep track of the Red Sox schedule, and come up with something related to put in the morning letter.

Since they play the same team for 3 days in a row, I have to think of 3 different questions to ask.  That's not too tough!

I've also asked these questions about Texas:

Of course, as the season progresses, the teams come back together.
There are always more questions to be asked, such as:

Yes, my second graders can do this! I have taught the children that the weather gets warmer as they get closer to the equator and cooler as they get closer to the poles.  Once they know that, they can draw some conclusions about weather patterns!

I have found that the kiddos love this!  They can't wait for the next question, and want to spend extra time looking at the maps! Sometimes, they even make up the questions for the next day!
That's my favorite part... when they really start thinking about maps and places!

In a few weeks, I'll add some baseball math :)

Don't you love my little baseball smiley guys by Zip-a-dee-doo-dah Designs?

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