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A Few Summer Freebies!

Ah, summer! Isn't it a wonderful time of year? 

Summer is the time of year most people enjoy going to the beach, going camping, or maybe just hanging out with friends. It's a great time to be outside!

A Few Summer Freebies! This post shares 6 different freebies that can be used at the end of the school year, during summer school, or in the early days of autumn!

If you're still in school, or if you're working with kids during the summer, you're probably looking for things to do with the kids that also allows you to enjoy the summer! 

Well, I've got a few resources for you, and guess what... they're all free!

If you're into the beach, here are a couple of resources related to the seashore:

Because sometimes you just need to write about the ocean!

A Science Activity with a Seashore Theme!
A Few Summer Freebies! This post shares 6 different freebies that can be used at the end of the school year, during summer school, or in the early days of autumn!

 For those who enjoy camping, here are a couple of freebies for you:

Learn about the life cycle of the frog!
A Few Summer Freebies! This post shares 6 different freebies that can be used at the end of the school year, during summer school, or in the early days of autumn!

Practice Mapping Skills at "Happy Days Campground!"
A Few Summer Freebies! This post shares 6 different freebies that can be used at the end of the school year, during summer school, or in the early days of autumn!

Here's a fun way to get the kids excited about learning during a time of year when they all want to play:

Team Building along with learning fun!
A Few Summer Freebies! This post shares 6 different freebies that can be used at the end of the school year, during summer school, or in the early days of autumn!

Speaking of Team Building, here's a freebie that's all about learning to work together!

6 different games with a "work together" theme!
A Few Summer Freebies! This post shares 6 different freebies that can be used at the end of the school year, during summer school, or in the early days of autumn!

I hope these freebies give you a little more time to enjoy the summer weather!

A Few Summer Freebies! This post shares 6 different freebies that can be used at the end of the school year, during summer school, or in the early days of autumn!



Communication With Parents

Communicating with parents can be a challenge, for many reasons! 

Communication With Parents: Here are 7 ideas for opening and maintaining positive communication between teachers and parents.

It’s important to keep that communication open, but you don’t want parents to feel inadequate or make them feel inferior. The last thing you want to do is make them feel like you don’t believe in their competence as parents!

I have seven suggestions for maintaining positive communication with parents:

Communication With Parents: Here are 7 ideas for opening and maintaining positive communication between teachers and parents.
Start your communication routine at the beginning of the school year. You might write weekly or monthly newsletters. You might call or text a few parents each week, or you might do individual notes or messages. Whatever it is you choose to do, make sure the parents will expect what's coming and when it's coming. That way, they'll anticipate the communication and be ready for it.

Here's a link to a blog post going into more detail about a routine for communication: Getting Parents to Read Your Notes!

 
http://bit.ly/ReadYourNotes

Communication With Parents: Here are 7 ideas for opening and maintaining positive communication between teachers and parents.

Be sure to mention how hard it is to be a parent, and how busy they must be! Be sure to ask basic family questions about siblings, jobs, pets and hobbies. The more you know about them, the more you'll have to talk about! If you show an interest in who they are, it helps keep the communication open!

Communication With Parents: Here are 7 ideas for opening and maintaining positive communication between teachers and parents.
This works with notes, texts, phone calls and face to face conversations! No matter what the context or purpose of the communication might be, there's got to be something the child is doing well. It might be as simple as... "I really enjoy working with Johnny." or "Mary always walks into the classroom with a smile." 

It's not a bad idea to end the communication the same way, along with a "Thank you" of course!

Communication With Parents: Here are 7 ideas for opening and maintaining positive communication between teachers and parents.
 Parents are mostly interested in what their child is doing, but also are interested in what the class is studying! 

Here's a piece of advice I got when I was a beginning teacher, a very long ago. If a child isn't doing well on a skill, they are "working on it." Rather than, "Mark is struggling with his math facts," or "Jenny doesn't remember her short vowel sounds," I'd say, "Mark is working on his math facts," and "Jenny is working on remembering the different vowel sounds." 

And of course: "Brian really enjoyed our unit on Earth Changes."

Communication With Parents: Here are 7 ideas for opening and maintaining positive communication between teachers and parents.
Children enjoy being part of the communication. Of course they love their parents and want their parents to know their successes in school.  Quite often I'll send home a quick note asking the parents to ask their child about a situation. It might sound like this: "Ask Emma about how she helped her classmate today." or "Be sure to ask Randy about his thoughts on South America."

Communication With Parents: Here are 7 ideas for opening and maintaining positive communication between teachers and parents.
Communicating with parents is a two way street. They are the experts on their child, and know things the child might hide from their teacher.

Yes, it's true. No matter how loving or nurturing a teacher might be, the child holds back information.

There's an easy explanation for this: the parent gives unconditional love, and the child lets the parent know when they're upset. Often the same child will see the teacher's love as conditional, so they hide their feelings, afraid the teacher won't like them anymore. I've experienced this many times, both as a parent and as a teacher. 

I've learned many things about my students that I never would have known without those conversations with the parents. It's definitely worth the time to understand your students better!

Communication With Parents: Here are 7 ideas for opening and maintaining positive communication between teachers and parents.
It's tough to give parents advice on parenting, isn't it? (Especially if you're not a parent yourself!) I find it best to "pass the buck" and refer them to links, books, or research that was developed by someone else. 

https://www.teacherspayteachers.com/Product/Parent-Communication-Month-by-Month-Brochures-for-the-Whole-Year-4210810?utm_source=blog%20post%20Parent%20communication&utm_campaign=Parent%20Communication%20Bundle

Each month has researched based information that parents can use to help guide their child, and make your life a little bit easier. Each brochure contains links to articles, ideas, suggestions, seasonal quotes and jokes, and even tips for family fun!

If you're interested, here are links to more blog posts about parent-teacher communication:

http://bit.ly/OpenHouseSuccess

http://bit.ly/ConferenceQuestionaire

http://bit.ly/HelpingParentsHelp

Communication With Parents: Here are 7 ideas for opening and maintaining positive communication between teachers and parents.

The Bulgaria Game

 Brain research tells us that getting students engaged physically will help learning happen!

This game is a great "filler" that will get the kiddos thinking about communication without words.

The Bulgaria Game: This game is a great filler that will get the kiddos thinking of communication without words. Plus, you can connect it to the curriculum, too!

The game's title only works well if you don't have anyone in your group that speaks Bulgarian. If you do have someone who speaks Bulgarian, you'll have to change the name of the game to some language that no one knows, since the game depends on broken lines of communication.

Here's the scenario: you happen to be traveling through Bulgaria. You need something, so you pull over into a convenience store.

Unfortunately, the people working in the store only speak Bulgarian, which you don't speak. 

Therefore, you have to "act out" what you'll need!



There are a couple of ways to proceed once they know the story:

1. Let individuals think of things to act out.
2. Let groups think of things to act out.
3. Have slips written up with things to act out.

Of course, #3 can be done with individuals or teams.

If you go with #3, you can find ways to use content vocabulary and make it count as academic! 

Yes, it's not very likely that they'll have to pull into a convenience store in Bulgaria for landforms or geometric shapes, but they are usually having so much fun acting out vocabulary words, they don't mind!

 A word of caution: some children are VERY competitive, and try to make it difficult for others to guess their word. Or, they're disappointed if their audience figures it out right away. 

I have to remind them that the goal of the game is to communicate enough information so that their audience understands what they're acting out. If the audience gets it right away, they have communicated successfully!

I know, it's kind of a silly scenario just to get children to act things out, but it's a fun story, and the children enjoy it!

After all, if it motivates the students to engage, it's successful!

The Bulgaria Game: This game is a great filler that will get the kiddos thinking of communication without words. Plus, you can connect it to the curriculum, too!

Put on Your Own Oxygen Mask First

I'm sure you've heard this phrase before:
Put on Your Own Oxygen Mask First: Teachers tend to ignore the need for self-care. Here are some ideas to help teachers keep their strength so they can do their jobs.
Have you thought about what this means for teachers?
Like moms, teachers tend to put the needs of the children first.

Yes, I am guilty as a teacher AND as a mom.

I've been known to hold stress in, and just keep going. This is NOT healthy, and your body will eventually stop working properly. Stress is a killer.

So what can we do about self-care?
Most teachers I know don't have a whole lot of time for self-care (especially if they are moms as well!) 

But taking care of ourselves is essential. After all, if we don't put on our own oxygen masks, how can we help our students with their masks?

I like to put self-care into 3 categories:
Put on Your Own Oxygen Mask First: Teachers tend to ignore the need for self-care. Here are some ideas to help teachers keep their strength so they can do their jobs.

Letting off some steam is a great way to take care of oneself! These are some great ways to "burn off" some of that tension:
1. Dance! This can include every kind of dancing from dancing at a club, dancing in your living room, or even taking tap dancing lessons!
2. Sing! You can sing in the shower, or just sing out anywhere! My favorite singing location is in the car!
3. Scream! Yes, that says scream, but be careful where  you do it, and who is watching. My favorite "socially acceptable" place to scream is on roller coasters! 
4. Exercise! Go for a run, do some jumping jacks, or take an exercise class. 

Put on Your Own Oxygen Mask First: Teachers tend to ignore the need for self-care. Here are some ideas to help teachers keep their strength so they can do their jobs.

Sometimes going wild just doesn't do the job. Sometimes the opposite is what is needed. Here are some self care ideas for going mellow:
1. Take a nap! You can take a nap on the couch, or a big time nap in your bed!
2. Take a bath! Get yourself some essential oils or a "bath bomb" and treat yourself to a nice hot bath!
3. Sit outside and watch the clouds! Doesn't this sound delightful?
4. Meditate! Just let your head clear. Put on some very quiet music to help relax.
5. Read a book! Personally, I like historical fiction or mystery, but anything will do!
6. Write in a journal! Get lost in your own thoughts as you write.
7. Cuddle your pet! There is scientific evidence that this will lower your blood pressure!

Put on Your Own Oxygen Mask First: Teachers tend to ignore the need for self-care. Here are some ideas to help teachers keep their strength so they can do their jobs.
Although a vacation is always a delight, most teachers don't make enough money to make a habit of going away all the time! But a simple escape from the usual routine can help bring peace.
1. Go for a walk! It doesn't matter to where. I'm lucky to live close to the ocean, so that's my favorite escape spot, but it could be a park, a block away from your home, or even a mall!
2. Take a class! Learn something you never knew before, but were always curious about! You might even make some new friends!
3. Watch a movie! Try one you've never seen, or maybe one you've seen over and over! (My favorite is The Notebook!)
4. Read poetry! I'm sure your local library has plenty of choices!
5. Look through an old photo album! What a nice way to escape to your own past!
6. Go to a comedy club! They say laughter is the best medicine!


Put on Your Own Oxygen Mask First: Teachers tend to ignore the need for self-care. Here are some ideas to help teachers keep their strength so they can do their jobs.

Developing Multiplilcation and Division Fact Fluency

Developing Fact Fluency can be quite a challenge. 
In fact it can be overwhelming for students!

Developing Multiplication and Division Fact Fluency: Fact fluency is essential for success in mathematics. Here are 6 strategies to help the children develop fluency with multiplication and division facts. There's a freebie, too!

Why? Well, to start with, there are 100 multiplication facts, and 100 division facts!
That's a whole lot of facts to learn! Take a look at this:

Developing Multiplication and Division Fact Fluency: Fact fluency is essential for success in mathematics. Here are 6 strategies to help the children develop fluency with multiplication and division facts. There's a freebie, too!

There they are, all 100 multiplication facts.

Developing Multiplication and Division Fact Fluency: Fact fluency is essential for success in mathematics. Here are 6 strategies to help the children develop fluency with multiplication and division facts. There's a freebie, too!

And the 100 division facts.

It just doesn't work to just hand these lists to the kiddos and tell them to learn them all! 

Here are some ideas to help ease this heavy load!

Developing Multiplication and Division Fact Fluency: Fact fluency is essential for success in mathematics. Here are 6 strategies to help the children develop fluency with multiplication and division facts. There's a freebie, too!

Before the children get to work on memorizing facts, it's essential they understand what multiplication and division are! I like to spend plenty of time with manipulatives, as well as making and drawing arrays. I make sure they understand that 6 x 5 means 6 sets of 5. They use manipulatives to show six groups of 5 (as in the picture: 6 rows of cups, with 5 cups in each row), and draw an array with 6 sets of 5. When they have done a whole lot of this, and have a deep understanding of what it all means, then they can move on to fact fluency.

Developing Multiplication and Division Fact Fluency: Fact fluency is essential for success in mathematics. Here are 6 strategies to help the children develop fluency with multiplication and division facts. There's a freebie, too!

As you can see from the list of all the facts, it's just too much to assign them all at once! It's best to break them down into smaller groups, and best to create those groups by patterns.  I recommend starting with the "x1 facts," which would be anything with 1 as a factor, and the related division fact. 

Developing Multiplication and Division Fact Fluency: Fact fluency is essential for success in mathematics. Here are 6 strategies to help the children develop fluency with multiplication and division facts. There's a freebie, too!

Research on learning has taught us that this is how the brain learn best. 

Each family has a total of 4 facts that can be created with the same combination of manipulatives. (Doubles only have 2 per family.)
This can be seen in the visual below:

Developing Multiplication and Division Fact Fluency: Fact fluency is essential for success in mathematics. Here are 6 strategies to help the children develop fluency with multiplication and division facts. There's a freebie, too!

The upper left shows 5 sets of 6. (5 x 6 = 30) The upper right shows 6 sets of 5 (6 x 5 = 30) The lower left shows 30 sorted into 5 equal sets (30 ÷ 5 = 6) and the lower right shows 30 items sorted into 6 equal sets (30 ÷ 6 = 5).

Studying the fact families really makes the whole thing easier! If they learn one combination, they've got 4 facts!

Just for fun, here's how the doubles work. 

Developing Multiplication and Division Fact Fluency: Fact fluency is essential for success in mathematics. Here are 6 strategies to help the children develop fluency with multiplication and division facts. There's a freebie, too!

No matter how you turn the sets, it's still 5 sets of 5, so there's really only 2 possible combinations!

Developing Multiplication and Division Fact Fluency: Fact fluency is essential for success in mathematics. Here are 6 strategies to help the children develop fluency with multiplication and division facts. There's a freebie, too!

Research tells us that repeating the complete information orally helps the memory. They don't necessarily like to do this, but they'll admit it really helps them remember the facts!

Developing Multiplication and Division Fact Fluency: Fact fluency is essential for success in mathematics. Here are 6 strategies to help the children develop fluency with multiplication and division facts. There's a freebie, too!

If you've ever had to learn a new skill, I'm sure you've seen the value of practicing a little bit every day. Five minutes a day for 5 days will have more value than 30 minutes of practice once a week! Less time, more value! I work my fact practice into my math rotations in a variety ways: games, practice alone, practice with a partner, or practice with an adult.

Developing Multiplication and Division Fact Fluency: Fact fluency is essential for success in mathematics. Here are 6 strategies to help the children develop fluency with multiplication and division facts. There's a freebie, too!

Children develop their own tricks to help remember basic facts, and when they talk, they share those tricks! That makes everyone smarter!

Here's a trick I learned from my students! They've got plenty of ideas like this, that are worthy of conversation!

Developing Multiplication and Division Fact Fluency: Fact fluency is essential for success in mathematics. Here are 6 strategies to help the children develop fluency with multiplication and division facts. There's a freebie, too!


Developing Multiplication and Division Fact Fluency: Fact fluency is essential for success in mathematics. Here are 6 strategies to help the children develop fluency with multiplication and division facts. There's a freebie, too!

Most of the children will have a good deal of success with the above 6 strategies, but if they don't, don't let them fall through the cracks. I suggest doing some sort of assessment once a week, and keeping a record of how they do. Even when they don't show mastery, they should be showing growth each week. If they don't, something needs to be done. 

Here are some suggestions:
1. Limit the amount of fact families. One or two fact families is enough for some children.
2. Work one on one with that student: 5 minutes a day.
3. Assign an adult to work one on one with that student.
4. Send home a set of facts to be practiced with a parent.

The above would be in addition to your regular routine. 

Here's a freebie set of practice and assessments for the x1 Fact Families:

Developing Multiplication and Division Fact Fluency: Fact fluency is essential for success in mathematics. Here are 6 strategies to help the children develop fluency with multiplication and division facts. There's a freebie, too!

It contains practice cards (with the answers to be printed on the back) 2 assessments, and access to Boom Learning Digital Task cards, which the children absolutely LOVE! And it's free!

If your students have success with this freebie, here's a link to the whole bundle: Fact Fluency System for Multiplication and Division: The Bundle


Here's a link to a similar bundle for addition and subtraction facts: Fact Fluency System for Addition and Subtraction: The Bundle

Plus, a chance to try out this system with this freebie: Fact Fluency System for Addition and Subtraction: Freebie

Want to read more about fact fluency and the brain? 
Here are a couple more blog posts with more information!

Developing Multiplication and Division Fact Fluency: Fact fluency is essential for success in mathematics. Here are 6 strategies to help the children develop fluency with multiplication and division facts. There's a freebie, too!

What Do You Love About Yourself?

What do you love about yourself?

What do you love about yourself? This blog post suggests asking children what they love about themselves, and gives some suggestions.

We often ask children what they love about people in their lives. What about themselves?

This is a fun idea for a morning meeting discussion topic, a writing prompt, a homework assignment, or just a casual question. It's a great idea to get the kids to search their own personalities and build some self esteem.

It's a good idea to start of by giving a good example. Get them to think about specific personality traits, and encourage the children to celebrate themselves!

What do I love about myself? Here are a few things:

1. I am a team player.
2. I always do my very best.
3. I am loyal and caring.
4. I am sensitive to the needs of others.
5. I am a survivor.

Want some more things I love about myself? See THIS POST!

What do you love about yourself?


What do you love about yourself? This blog post suggests asking children what they love about themselves, and gives some suggestions.
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