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!




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.


Saturday, January 7, 2017

Speed Chatting!

Speed Chatting: some children just need to talk, and here's a chance to let them talk without wasting class time. Perfect for Morning Meeting!


Do you have a talkative group like I do? 


Do you have kiddos that have so much to say they have trouble holding it in? 
Isn't it tough to find class time to let them get out what they want to say!


So I decided to try Speed Chatting. It works sort of like speed dating, without the dating part. 



I have the children make 2 circles. They partner off, and get a couple of minutes to talk! Then one of the circles shifts, and they have a new partner for chatting. They'll shift a few more times until they've had a several chances to talk.



Sometimes I give them a topic, and sometimes I let them choose whatever they want to talk about. Topics could be: 
  • Tell about the book you're reading.
  • Why do we need to regroup to subtract?
  • What did you do this weekend?
  • Talk about your favorite thing to do.
  • Tell what you know about _________.
  • Tell about a place you'd love to visit someday.
  • What pet do you wish you could have?
  • If you had plenty of money, what would you buy?
  • What is your favorite subject in school?
  • What do you wish you could have for homework?
  • What do you like to do after school?
  • What makes someone a good friend?
  • What is something you wish more people knew about you?
I'm sure you can think of plenty more!

Right after the holidays, the kiddos were busting at the seams, wanting to tell about their vacations, staying up until midnight on New Year's Eve, and their new toys.  

We did Speed Chatting. We had to... there was no option, they were going to talk about their vacations no matter what. They needed to get it out. Either they'd be sneaking it in all day, or I'd let them get it out of their systems first thing in the morning. 

I chose to put Speed Chatting into Morning Meeting that day. 
Then they were ready to get back to work!

Honestly, I don't think kids get enough time to speak their minds these days. We're incredibly busy between testing as well as teaching an overloaded curriculum. This is a nice way to get them talking without missing much class time.

Enjoy Speed Chatting with your students! 
You'll hear some amazing stories!
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