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Resources to Celebrate Mexico!


Contrary to popular belief, Cinco de Mayo is not Mexico's Independence Day. 



 (That is celebrated on September 16th.)  Cinco de Mayo does celebrate a Mexican battle.  It dates back to May 5, 1862, and I imagine if I were Mexican, I'd know more about it.  I've shown this video in the past. The content is a little above the heads of my second graders, but it gives the kids a taste Mexican history with a cute sombrero wearing chile character and a catchy tune.








Those of us who live in the USA think of Mexico as our "neighbors to the south." It's also a lovely place to visit when the winter is cold and bitter. (It sure gets nasty here in New Hampshire!)




Many of us like to think of Cinco de Mayo as a day to celebrate our Mexican neighbors.




Here's another Youtube video that gives the kids a taste of Mexico. It's filled with Mariachi music and pictures that are classically Mexican!



A couple more You Tube videos that give kids a "taste" of Mexico:







Or... it's not too late to order some of your own Mariachi music. Check out these CDs available on Amazon. (Just click the image for a link to Amazon!)

   
     
I prefer to have loads of literature when I teach about anything, particularly another country. Here are some of my favorite informational books about Mexico!
  
  
Of course, after learning about Mexico through books and videos, I'd have my kids write about the country. Here's some paper with a Mexico theme, and it's free! You can find it here: Mexico Themed Writing Paper Freebie


https://www.teacherspayteachers.com/Product/Mexico-Themed-Paper-679832?utm_source=Mexico%20resources%20blog%20post&utm_campaign=Mexico%20paper
What good is a celebration of Mexico without a little Mexican food and a craft?  Tortilla chips with salsa are easy and popular, so I imagine they'll make an appearance. If you're daring, bring in some hot salsa!

Here are a couple more Mexico resources your students might enjoy:



HERE is a whole Pinterest page of cinco de mayo crafts for kids.  Take your pick or make up your own!


Strengthen Math Skills

Looking for some ways to strengthen math skills? 
Well, I have the answer: games!

Strengthen Math Skills - Some information about how games strengthen math skills, and ideas for games, including 2 freebies!
 
Brain research proves that getting the emotions involved helps the memory. (Think back to those very emotional times of your own life... the bring back strong memories, don't they? Think: weddings, babies, holidays)

It's also important that children spend some time in conversation. Brain research proves that, and as classroom teachers, we know we need to let them talk... sometimes!

For those reasons, I make sure my kids play plenty of math games. There are so many math skills that need to be repeated to be strengthened, and games can be played again and again! 
  




The game above is a freebie version of a game my students have played for more than 20 years. The kids love it, and it's a great way to practice 2 digit addition, with a little bit of luck and strategy involved.

https://www.teacherspayteachers.com/Product/Adding-3-Addends-Golf-Themed-BINGO-Game-Freebie-277171?utm_source=95b&utm_campaign=Par%203%20freebie



Here's another Math Game Freebie. I made this game one summer when I was helping out my friend with his golf camp and got inspired. (Some teachers just can't let go, can we?)

Over the years, as I've been blogging, I keep coming back to games. Here are a few other posts that might interest you about games:






What math games do you play with your students?  


Strengthen Math Skills - Some information about how games strengthen math skills, and ideas for games, including a freebie!


The Brain, Baseball, and Geography

I read a lot about how the brain learns and remembers. Why? Because I find it absolutely fascinating. I also want my students to learn, so I'm always searching for ways to help them remember what I've taught.

The Brain, Baseball and Geography! Do you want to teach some geography skills in a way children will remember? Here are some brain based ideas to help!

I've found that kids learn best when they get a little bit at a time, frequently, rather than one big lesson all at once, then never to see it again. (Unfortunately, our present Math program does the latter.)

There's plenty of evidence out there to prove that frequent review and practice is the best way for children to remember what they're learning.

There's also plenty of evidence to prove that connecting the learning to the passions of the children help the learning process as well.

So, what does this have to do with baseball?  That's the passion that I connect to learning geography!

I write a letter every morning to the children, letting them know of anything special happening that day. I also post the learning targets of the day. Then I usually put in some fun little question and/ or graphics:  you know, to motivate the kids to read the letter!

The Brain, Baseball and Geography! Do you want to teach some geography skills in a way children will remember? Here are some brain based ideas to help!
This movie shows the
insane loyalty of Red Sox fans!

Here in New Hampshire, we are die hard Red Sox fans.  Those of us who grew up in the Boston area have developed a loyalty that we just can't shake. Since the official start of  baseball season a couple of weeks ago, I've been writing a little "Red Sox Geography" question in the morning letter, complete with a map and labels.



It might look like this:
The Brain, Baseball and Geography! Do you want to teach some geography skills in a way children will remember? Here are some brain based ideas to help!

or like this:

The Brain, Baseball and Geography! Do you want to teach some geography skills in a way children will remember? Here are some brain based ideas to help!

I admit, I'm as almost as passionate about geography as I am about the Red Sox. If the little ones aren't baseball fans when they come into my class, they certainly are by the time they leave!


I make sure we have plenty of maps around, and the children scramble to be the first one with the answer! It's just a little bit every day, but they become familiar with the names of the states, the bodies of water, and the cardinal directions. 

The timing is good, since their reading skills and their mapping skills are strong enough for these activities by April, and since we won't get out until the last week of June, they'll be getting almost daily practice!

Want to know more about brain based learning? See Ten Brain Based Learning Strategies or 10 Key Brainy Points.

See also this resource with Geography Baseball Task Cards!

The Brain, Baseball and Geography! Do you want to teach some geography skills in a way children will remember? Here are some brain based ideas to help!

Celebrate Spring With Games!

I am so ready for Spring!  Here in New Hampshire, the temperature seems to have trouble getting past the 40s, and there are still patches of snow everywhere, including my garden!

Celebrate Spring with Games! Spring is here and the children are feeling the excitement of the season! Here are some spring games and activities to help keep that spring excitement focused!

But Spring is in my heart, as well as my classroom.  
Here are some of my Spring Products that you'll find my students using!  


Earth Day Vocabulary Match is a fun way to review words related to Earth Day and protecting the environment.  There are several variations of play!

Celebrate Spring with Games! Spring is here and the children are feeling the excitement of the season! Here are some spring games and activities to help keep that spring excitement focused!



Spring Flower "Go Fish" Game is a great way to practice the prefixes un-, dis-, re-, and pre- as well as the meanings of these prefixes.

Celebrate Spring with Games! Spring is here and the children are feeling the excitement of the season! Here are some spring games and activities to help keep that spring excitement focused!


Here's another game with prefixes, with suffix practice as well!
April Showers Prefixes and Suffixes gives the children practice finding the base word of words with prefixes and suffixes.  The children can focus on just prefixes, just suffixes, or combine the two!
Celebrate Spring with Games! Spring is here and the children are feeling the excitement of the season! Here are some spring games and activities to help keep that spring excitement focused!



Two Rainbow Games:  Nouns and Adjectives, Verbs and Adverbs is a great opportunity to practice making up adjectives to go with nouns, and making up adverbs to go with verbs.  


Celebrate Spring with Games! Spring is here and the children are feeling the excitement of the season! Here are some spring games and activities to help keep that spring excitement focused!



Mental Math Addition and Subtraction Game With a Spring Theme gives the students the opportunity to add or subtract multiples of ten mentally.  
Celebrate Spring with Games! Spring is here and the children are feeling the excitement of the season! Here are some spring games and activities to help keep that spring excitement focused!

I have a whole lot of sports related products, and baseball season is upon us!  Here are a few baseball themed games:

Baseball Antonyms is a simple matching game for antonyms.  It can also be played as a "Old Maid" game, which the kids love!

Celebrate Spring with Games! Spring is here and the children are feeling the excitement of the season! Here are some spring games and activities to help keep that spring excitement focused!


Home Run Two Digit Addition is a BINGO type of game to practice two digit addition skills (with or without regrouping).


Celebrate Spring with Games! Spring is here and the children are feeling the excitement of the season! Here are some spring games and activities to help keep that spring excitement focused!


Home Run Two Syllable Words is a similar BINGO type game that practices reading two syllable words.  The kids love this!


Celebrate Spring with Games! Spring is here and the children are feeling the excitement of the season! Here are some spring games and activities to help keep that spring excitement focused!



Celebrate Spring with Games! Spring is here and the children are feeling the excitement of the season! Here are some spring games and activities to help keep that spring excitement focused!


Earth Day Resources and Freebies

I'm a big fan of Earth Day.  

Earth Day Resources and Freebies Looking for ideas to help your children think about Earth Day? Here are several ideas as well as 2 freebies!
I think looking out for our world is VERY important and it needs to happen now. 

Each and every one of us needs to do what we can to help this place be around for our grandchildren and our grandchildren's grandchildren.


As most special days, I always celebrate every Earth Day with plenty of good literature.  
Here are some of my favorite children's books with an Earth Day theme:


     

Earth Day is an ABC book, and makes a great introduction to the concept of protecting the environment.

The Lorax, is classic Seuss!  He tells about a mystical land of fantasy, which, in true Seuss fashion, is a much deeper real story.  Even my second graders understand this valuable lesson.

The Wump World is a fun book to read to the children and NOT show the illustrations (even the cover) until the children have had a chance to show the Wumps and Pollutians that they visualized while listening to the story.  Another great story about a fantasy world with very real lessons!

This one is a new discovery to me, and my new Earth Day Favorite

A River Ran Wild is a story that dates back to the days the Native Americans ruled this area, and respected the earth. It continues through European settlers, the industrial age, and attempts to clean up the river. This book is based on a local river, which makes it near and dear to my heart, but it's got a valuable message about protecting our world. My students became very upset when they saw what happened to the beautiful river. See THIS BLOG POST for more about this book, and an art activity to go with it.

After reading, I intend to have the children do some opinion writing and/ or explanatory/ informational writing based on what they have learned about protecting the environment.

Here's a collection of writing paper with the Earth Day theme that I'll be using.  

https://www.teacherspayteachers.com/Product/Earth-Day-Themed-Creative-Writing-Paper-5462544?utm_source=EarthDay%20blog%20post&utm_campaign=earth%20day%20paper%20freebie
Click here to download this freebie: Earth Day Writing Paper

Plus, here's a little song to encourage Recycling! Click the image to download Reduce, Reuse, and Recycle!

https://www.teacherspayteachers.com/Product/Reduce-Reuse-and-Recycle-Song-for-Earth-Day-235776?utm_source=Earth%20Day%20Blog%20Post&utm_campaign=Earth%20Day%20song

How are you honoring Earth Day this year?

Earth Day Resources and Freebies Looking for ideas to help your children think about Earth Day? Here are several ideas as well as 2 freebies!


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