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It's Leap Year Day!

Leap Year Day Activities
Not only is it leap year day, but it's the first day back after our winter vacation! I'm working on getting myself psyched up to have some fun with those kiddos I haven't seen in a week.

So I made these...
Fun activities for leap year day

There are 5 different activities just LEAPING for Leap Year day! Just click the image and download!

While you're visiting my store, please notice my Leap Year Sale! Everything is 20% off through March 1st!

Illustrating Homographs to Internalize Learning

Illustrating Homophones: Children internalize learning by integrating the arts into their daily learning. This post tells about visualizing and illustrating to remember homographs
 Brain Research tells us that when children illustrate as part of the learning process, it deepens the learning. In fact, integrating any of the arts has this affect on learning!

My students did this activity on homographs this week: 

My kids were so excited about the double meanings of words, they had a blast!  Plus, they created some awesome illustrations to prove their understanding!  Here are some of them:
double meaning of change
Change can mean the money that you get back. Or Change can mean if you get your clothes dirty, you could change them!
double meaning of tip
Tip can mean a tip of a pencil or the tip at a restaurant.

double meaning of foot
Foot can mean football or foot can mean a foot.

double meaning of broke
Broke can mean I broke up or broke can mean no money.

double meaning of bat
Bat can mean a baseball bat or a bat who flies.

double meaning of key
Key can mean a house key or key can mean a computer key.

double meaning of rose
Rose can mean a flower or Rose can mean a girl's name.

double meaning of well
Well can mean a wishing well or well can mean getting better when you're sick.

double meaning of march
March can mean they are marching or March can mean the month of March.

Aren't their drawings amazing? 

They actually thought of meanings of these words that I hadn't come up with! I love when they think of things I don't, in fact, I always love when the kiddos are thinking!

This is a perfect activity to keep in the "sub tub". It requires little preparation (just run off the papers), the kids enjoy it, and it's easy to leave directions for another teacher! 

Plus, these kiddos really know their homographs!

Shh... We Had Fun!

Having fun in school

I have a confession to make. 
I strayed. 
On purpose.
Two days in a row!

Yes, folks, rather than sticking to my assigned programs, I strayed and did activities that I knew the children would enjoy.

Did they still learn? Yes! Honestly, there was more learning going on than the typical textbook learning.

Tuesday was Groundhog Day. I had to change my schedule because of another teacher being absent, so I ran with it!

First, I pulled out these Groundhog information stories and questions from my Science and Social Studies for February set.

reading comprehension

I always try to have some comprehension question that can be answered directly from the text, at least one "word work" question, and one or two "beyond the text" questions. (These are my favorite!)
Since this reading was challenging for some, we first read as a group. After a discussion, I broke the children into pairs, and they re-read, then answered the questions. I love to have them work in pairs, since they have valuable conversations, especially on the "beyond the text" questions!

I told them I'd pay particular attention to question #4. (How would you keep a groundhog from eating things in your garden?) This reflects a problem I had as a gardener: 
The hungry groundhog actually learned to climb the fence I put up!

Their answers were delightful! Although they weren't all realistic, they showed an understanding of the problem, and creativity in their solution! (Plus, almost all kids solved the problem in a non-violent way!)

Once they learned about groundhogs, I had them make groundhog puppets and settings, and they created their own skits for Groundhog Day.
Groundhog Day
This guy put a couple of things to frighten the groundhog: the shadow AND a fox! 

Groundhog Day
The kiddos were so clever when creating their burrows! Some even designed the inside of the burrow on the other side! (In their reading, they learned a lot about the design of the burrows!)

Groundhog Day
As they performed their skits, they showed creativity, a sense of humor, AND knowledge of groundhogs! You can't get this on a computer test!

The next day was Day 100. 

I've had a little tradition going on that I started about 20 years ago. We go from classroom to classroom singing Day 100 songs!

We have 4 songs we sing. Here's one of them:
100 Days Smarter

Sorry, the other 3 aren't mine to give you! 
 They kept them in their book boxes and practiced them during reading time. (It was hard to keep them SILENT during independent reading!)

Day 100
It was loads of fun going from class to class. They rarely get to go into the other classrooms, and they got to go into almost ALL the classrooms! They saw younger siblings, older siblings, former teachers, neighborhood friends, and loads of other people they know. The teachers, students, and staff were amazing audiences! They welcomed us into their classrooms, listened to the lyrics, and applauded for the children. 
Day 100

My favorite part is seeing the smiles on the faces of my former students as they remember Day 100 caroling in past years!

Later that day, we played a couple of games and activities, including Mental Math 100. Up until now the children had only worked with 2 digit numbers, but I had them adding and subtracting 3 digit numbers, and with this game, they were even dealing with 4 digit numbers! And, of course, they were successful!

Day 100

It was a huge boost on their mathematics self esteem, and a whole lot of fun!

It's not actually what the manual told me to do, but it was truly a great learning day. 

Hopefully, I can sneak in a few more of these!

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