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Diversity Matters: Celebrating Our Differences


We are all different. We are all the same.

Diversity Matters: Celebrating Our Differences!  We have a few big celebrations of diversity in our calendar, but seriously, we should be celebrating diversity and embracing our differences every single day!

It's tough for a lot of people to understand this!  

Right now, there are a whole lot of angry people out there bullying each other... and it isn't just kids. 

But the kids are watching, and learning from what they see around them.
Diversity Matters: Celebrating Our Differences!  We have a few big celebrations of diversity in our calendar, but seriously, we should be celebrating diversity and embracing our differences every single day!
How can we help children learn to appreciate the differences in others? 


The most important thing we can do is be role models: show them to appreciate and celebrate the good in others. 

Diversity Matters: Celebrating Our Differences!  We have a few big celebrations of diversity in our calendar, but seriously, we should be celebrating diversity and embracing our differences every single day!
Talk to them. 
Let them see you talking to others... all kinds of people!

Read to them. Read books about different kinds of people!

Whether it's Black History month (February) or Women's History Month (March) or Asian Pacific American Heritage Month (May) or National Hispanic Heritage Month (September 15 - October 15) or even National Disability Employment Awareness Month (October), there's plenty of books to share with children that show the importance of different kinds of people. Here are a few to help you out with Black History Month: (These books are Amazon affiliate links, which means I get credit for sending you to Amazon, but it doesn't cost you a cent!)


Diversity Matters: Celebrating Our Differences!  We have a few big celebrations of diversity in our calendar, but seriously, we should be celebrating diversity and embracing our differences every single day!  Diversity Matters: Celebrating Our Differences!  We have a few big celebrations of diversity in our calendar, but seriously, we should be celebrating diversity and embracing our differences every single day! Diversity Matters: Celebrating Our Differences!  We have a few big celebrations of diversity in our calendar, but seriously, we should be celebrating diversity and embracing our differences every single day!


Diversity Matters: Celebrating Our Differences!  We have a few big celebrations of diversity in our calendar, but seriously, we should be celebrating diversity and embracing our differences every single day! 

A couple of books for Women's History Month:

Diversity Matters: Celebrating Our Differences!  We have a few big celebrations of diversity in our calendar, but seriously, we should be celebrating diversity and embracing our differences every single day!Diversity Matters: Celebrating Our Differences!  We have a few big celebrations of diversity in our calendar, but seriously, we should be celebrating diversity and embracing our differences every single day! 





Diversity Matters: Celebrating Our Differences!  We have a few big celebrations of diversity in our calendar, but seriously, we should be celebrating diversity and embracing our differences every single day!


And here are a few books to celebrate the best in everyone!

Diversity Matters: Celebrating Our Differences!  We have a few big celebrations of diversity in our calendar, but seriously, we should be celebrating diversity and embracing our differences every single day!   


Here's a little activity that you can use with your students to get their minds thinking about what is fair. It's perfect for sharing about Dr. Martin Luther King Jr, Black History Month, Women's History Month, or anytime you want the children thinking about respecting others! Just or Unjust?
https://www.teacherspayteachers.com/Product/Just-or-Unjust-a-Civics-Sorting-Activity-190743?utm_source=diversity%20blog%20post&utm_campaign=Just%20or%20Unjust


More than anything, please model kindness!  Here's a great video that touches my heart that says everything I want to say about modeling kindness.



Honestly, I firmly believe embracing and modeling diversity is just as important as reading and writing!

Diversity Matters: Celebrating Our Differences!  We have a few big celebrations of diversity in our calendar, but seriously, we should be celebrating diversity and embracing our differences every single day!

These topics are great for research, as you can see from Enjoy Teaching!

Have you been wondering how to differentiate your biography research project? Just add a higher level of complexity for high learners. It's perfect for third grade, fourth grade, and fifth grade students.

Some ideas about celebrating Black History Month from  Those Who Love Teaching.

Five tips to help you plan your African American history month unit. Teach facts for kids and avoid misconceptions.  Black history month is a time to learn about heroes of the abolitionist and civil rights movements.  From Harriet Tubman, Frederick Dougla 
 Here's a great way to combine Dr. King's life with Google maps from Two Boys and a Dad!
Diversity Matters: Celebrating Our Differences!  We have a few big celebrations of diversity in our calendar, but seriously, we should be celebrating diversity and embracing our differences every single day! 

Here's another blog post I've written about Sharing Kindness
 Diversity Matters: Celebrating Our Differences!  We have a few big celebrations of diversity in our calendar, but seriously, we should be celebrating diversity and embracing our differences every single day!

Diversity Matters: Celebrating Our Differences!  We have a few big celebrations of diversity in our calendar, but seriously, we should be celebrating diversity and embracing our differences every single day!

Share the "Thank You" Wave!

There are a lot of angry people in this world, have you noticed?
Share the "Thank You" Wave! A simple act of kindness is the best example you can give children! 

 I'm not so sure we can change all the anger in the world, but I truly believe, if we do our part, we can help people be kinder.

I suggest by starting with the Thank You wave.

You know that wave people give when a car stops to let a pedestrian pass?

Or when a car lets a person into a line of traffic?

A Thank You wave is called for! 

It's a simple gesture, yet it makes people feel good!

So, why don't people do it more often?

Here's my challenge for you: see how many opportunities you can find to do that Thank You wave! See if you can make someone smile, and hopefully, that will make you smile as well!

Now, I know what you're wondering, what does a blog for elementary teachers have to do with a Thank You wave? Well, the only way we're going to teach children about kindness is through example! Be a good example for kindness!

And by the way, when that car stops to let you cross the street? Besides doing the Thank You wave, hustle! They're waiting for you, show kindness back to them by not making them wait!

Share the "Thank You" Wave! A simple act of kindness is the best example you can give children!

November Freebies

Somehow, it got to be November already! 
Here are a few free resources to help get you through this busy month!

November Freebies: It's already November, so here are some free resources to get you going!


We start the month with a couple of Patriotic Holidays: Election Day and Veterans Day! Here are a couple of freebies to help you out with these special days: 
(Click each image for the link!)

Write some thank you letters to our Veterans!

https://www.teacherspayteachers.com/Product/Thank-you-Veterans-Writing-Paper-Freebie-166059?utm_source=November%20blog%20post&utm_campaign=Thank%20You%20Veterans 

 Celebrate Election Day the way children should!
 https://www.teacherspayteachers.com/Product/Election-Day-Graphing-for-Little-Kids-2853951?utm_source=November%20blog%20post&utm_campaign=Election%20Day%20graphing

 Take breaks and learn about the country at the same time!
https://drive.google.com/file/d/0B0KBPcFG6hwLVUgzTVJNOGxQQmM/view?usp=sharing

Help children distinguish between these 6 tricky Patriotic Holidays!
https://www.teacherspayteachers.com/Product/Patriotic-Holidays-A-Freebie-248327?utm_source=November%20blog%20post&utm_campaign=Patriotic%20holidays


Of course, it's football season! Here's a football themed game to practice counting to 1,000!
https://www.teacherspayteachers.com/Product/Counting-to-1000-Football-Freebie-199093?utm_source=November%20blog%20post&utm_campaign=Football%20freebie

 Here are some printables to help you through those very busy times, where you need something the children can do independently, but also fun and educational!
https://drive.google.com/file/d/13dxMDk5DQTpzauGQzkV6Y7N9_WFdppuO/view?usp=sharing

 This game is a true favorite with my kiddos! It's played like "Old Maid", and is guaranteed to get them giggling! (Don't tell them they're practicing an important skill!)
https://www.teacherspayteachers.com/Product/Turkey-Adding-Nines-Freebie-409094?utm_source=November%20blog%20post&utm_campaign=Turkey%20Nines%20Freebie

Enjoy this busy month... don't blink, it goes by fast!
November Freebies: It's already November, so here are some free resources to get you going!


No Bathroom Comments!

Bathroom comments can mean "potty talk." 
Yes, I definitely discourage that sort of talk in the classroom, but this post is about something completely different!
 No Bathroom Comments! It's a silly expression, but it helps the children listen and ask better questions when classmates share!
 The "bathroom comments" I'm discussing today have nothing to do with potty talk! 

But you know how the mere mention of the bathroom grabs the hearts of the little ones? This gives is a whole new meaning to the words "bathroom comments" that helps children become better listeners and better report givers!

This post is about encouraging students to ask appropriate questions or give appropriate comments when another student is sharing or reporting!

I encourage my students to ask questions or give comments when a child shares a story. My only rule is: No "Bathroom Comments."

The question or comment needs to prove they were actually in the classroom listening to the story, not in the bathroom while the story was read.

Here's how it works: 

Seth proudly gets up and reads his tree story. 
Afterward, he asks for questions or comments.

Questions like these are encouraged:

No Bathroom Comments! It's a silly expression, but it helps the children listen and ask better questions when classmates share!

Comments like these are encouraged:


These questions and comments could have been given, 
even if the student had been in the bathroom when the story was read.
 
No Bathroom Comments! It's a silly expression, but it helps the children listen and ask better questions when classmates share!

These have been my expectations for years, and the children can recognize a "bathroom comment" instantly! You don't have to use that terminology, but it does get their attention... and makes them giggle! 

Why is it important to get the kiddos asking questions and giving comments? 

Well, first of all, we always want the children thinking!

It's also important that the children learn to listen to each other.

A third reason is that it helps the reader (speaker/ presenter) think about what kind of information their audience wants to hear. As the year goes on, their stories become more complete and more interesting for their audience. They anticipate what the questions will be, and put that information into the stories and reports.

As a teacher, it's important to model the proper ways to ask questions and give comments.

In Seth's story above, I might ask how tall the tree was (with prompting... as big as a ____?) or what kind of tree it was. I might comment that I could picture him playing in the leaves. I might also comment how he engaged his reader by asking a question at the end. I avoid giving opinions, since the positive feedback comes from the quality of the questions and comments, plus these make better writers as well!


No Bathroom Comments! It's a silly expression, but it helps the children listen and ask better questions when classmates share!

Drill and Kill? Do Students Still Need to Memorize?

The words "Drill and Kill" refer to rote learning. 
They imply that rote learning will kill a student's motivation to learn.
Drill and Kill? Do Students Still Need to Memorize? This post lists some instances where rote learning is still needed, and has some suggestions on how to do this successfully in the classroom.

With today's technology and all the improvements in the world, do we really still need to include rote learning in education. Don't we want to get the children thinking beyond the basic information?

Well, yes, we certainly do want them to think above the basic information! We want children to learn how to learn, and think beyond that learning! In fact, here's a little reminder of Bloom's Taxonomy:


Of course, we want our students to get to those upper levels of the triangle, but before they get there, they have to do some remembering and understanding. 

The remembering part is where rote learning comes into play. These are the building blocks for our learners.

Here are some examples of things that primary students need to learn by rote:
  • the alphabet
  • letter sounds
  • numbers
  • math facts
  • sight words

Here are some example of things older learners need to learn by rote:
  • A football players needs to learn the plays and drills.
  • A musician needs to learn the notes and chords.
  • An actor needs to learn his lines and movements.
  • An airplane pilot needs to learn the purpose of all those buttons.
  • A grocery store manager needs to learn what products are sold and where they are located.
  • A pharmacist needs to know the names of the prescriptions and dosages.
  • A physical therapist needs to know the muscles of the body.
  • A member of the clergy needs to know the Bible.

I'm sure you can think of plenty more! 
But memorization doesn't have to be painful or miserable for the learner!
Here are some ideas that will help learning basic information be a little more valuable, as well as more fun and  motivating:
Drill and Kill? Do Students Still Need to Memorize? This post lists some instances where rote learning is still needed, and has some suggestions on how to do this successfully in the classroom.
Five minutes each day is much better than a half hour a week! Research shows a little bit each day is best!

Drill and Kill? Do Students Still Need to Memorize? This post lists some instances where rote learning is still needed, and has some suggestions on how to do this successfully in the classroom.
Saying it out loud really helps the memory! If it's a math fact, recite the entire fact, not just the answer. Remember when we learned spelling words we were told to "Say it, spell it, say it?" They were right on track! I've often told my students to say it "out soft." It's not a real expression, but my students know it means, "loud enough to hear yourself, but not loud enough to disturb others!"

Drill and Kill? Do Students Still Need to Memorize? This post lists some instances where rote learning is still needed, and has some suggestions on how to do this successfully in the classroom.
Humans need socialization. Learning information tends to "stick" better when students are talking about what they're learning! Quite often, they share tricks that help the learning! 
Drill and Kill? Do Students Still Need to Memorize? This post lists some instances where rote learning is still needed, and has some suggestions on how to do this successfully in the classroom.
If I want my students to remember something, I'll repeat the phrase over and over in a rhythm the children will remember. Most often, they will join in with me. The next time it comes up, I'll repeat the phrase with the same rhythm, and they'll remember it. If necessary, I'll add some movement as well. It never fails!

Drill and Kill? Do Students Still Need to Memorize? This post lists some instances where rote learning is still needed, and has some suggestions on how to do this successfully in the classroom.
How many of you know all the words to The Brady Bunch theme song? Probably most of you! Now how many of you worked hard to learn those words? Probably none of you! Music is magical! If you put important information to a tune, it helps the memory! (Remember Schoolhouse Rock? it works!)

Drill and Kill? Do Students Still Need to Memorize? This post lists some instances where rote learning is still needed, and has some suggestions on how to do this successfully in the classroom.
Working with information over and over until it is remembered isn't a whole lot of fun, but teachers know how to make it fun! I'm a big believer in playing games! 

Drill and Kill? Do Students Still Need to Memorize? This post lists some instances where rote learning is still needed, and has some suggestions on how to do this successfully in the classroom.
Did you realize there are 200 basic addition and subtraction facts to be learned? You can't just give all 200 to the kiddos at once! Give a few at a time, then when those are learned, add a few more. We want them to have success, not be overwhelmed! 

Rote learning, or memorization, is an important part of learning, but please remember it is only the beginning. These are the building blocks. Once the basic information is learned, children need to  grow from that knowledge and develop a deeper understanding with motivation to learn more and process that information. Rote learning only covers the bottom step of Bloom's Taxonomy. It is our job to bring the children much further!
Here are a few resources to help with  some of that information that needs to be memorized:  






or you can get the whole bundle at a huge discount:

Drill and Kill? Do Students Still Need to Memorize? This post lists some instances where rote learning is still needed, and has some suggestions on how to do this successfully in the classroom.


Ideas to Help Get the New School Year Started

Looking for ideas to start the new year? 

Every year, when the calendar turns to August, I start thinking about how I want to make the new school year the very best one yet! (Apologies to those who have already started this year... I'm sure you went through this in July, when people around here were just starting their vacation!)

I have a feeling I'm not alone in trying to "beat" last year's opening!

I have plenty of ideas to share, some are my own blog posts, and some are from my teacher/ blogger friends!

Here is a fun Math icebreaker by Brenda of Enjoy Teaching with Brenda Kovich!


Here are some great suggestions for Back to School Night from Two Boys and a Dad!
 https://www.twoboysandadad.com/2018/08/mistakes-avoid-back-to-school-night.html 


Building community is essential at the beginning of the school year. Here are some great ideas from Michelle of
 https://www.teachingideasforthosewholoveteaching.com/2014/07/five-great-ways-to-build-community-and.html 

I've spent 40 years in the classroom, and have built up a whole lot of "tricks" up my sleeve! Here are some of my favorite blog posts from "Back to School" in years past:

https://www.elementarymatters.com/2017/08/five-must-dos-on-first-day-of-school.html


Another favorite, having experienced plenty of "back to school" first days!


For those of you who AREN'T interior decorators in your spare time:
https://www.elementarymatters.com/2016/08/my-not-so-cute-classroom.html 

I've made this promise as far back as I can recall. It helps them understand why they're there, and what they can do to make school a positive experience: My First Day of School Promise


https://www.elementarymatters.com/2015/08/my-first-day-of-school-promise.html


This is a fabulous book to read on the first day, plus there's a freebie!


https://www.elementarymatters.com/2015/07/your-fantastic-elastic-brain.html 

 There's a freebie with this post as well!
https://www.elementarymatters.com/2018/08/helping-parents-help-their-children-be.html

Speaking of freebies, here are ten, that will hopefully help you get started for the year:

https://www.elementarymatters.com/2015/08/ten-freebies-for-back-to-school.html


 I hope these links help you get organized and awesome! 

If they do, please pin for your friends to see!

Ideas to Help Get the New School Year Started: After many "first days of school", here are several "back to school" ideas to make this year the best year ever!

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