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My Teacher Always Says...

Tammy from Forever in First is having a fun linky party!  This one is very timely because one of the things I was getting together for my end of the year slide show was a collection of my most famous words.  Here are a few of my favorites:

This is the deal I make with the kids on the first day of school every year:
This is what I ask them whenever they complete their work.  S.P.U.N.C. stands for Spelling, Punctuation, Use of words, Neatness, and Capitalization.

I love when the children take risks!

This is one my dad, the football coach, used to say all the time!

Shhhh!  Don't tell the kids, but this page will be appearing in my end of year slideshow the children will get next Wednesday, the last day of school!

What do you say all the time?

Chapter 3: Drawing

If you haven't bought your book yet, it's not too late!  Click the image below for a link to Amazon, so you can read along with this book study!

This week is about Chapter 3: Drawing.

The authors spend a good part of this chapter emphasizing the importance of letting children draw, after all, children naturally know how to draw, and to the little ones, drawing is their way of writing.

The authors go into details on how to teach the children how to sketch people using ovals.  Much of this chapter models a lesson on sketching for the little ones.

Drawing is an important part of the writing process, even for older children.  It is important that we support the drawing part of the writing process.  Here are some ways to support drawing:

  1. Model the process of drawing for your students.  Dedicate some of your mini-lessons to just drawing.
  2. Make sure there are plenty of supplies - sketchpads, colored pencils (including multicultural colors), crayons, pencils and erasers.
  3. Give children opportunities to sketch throughout the day.
  4. Have children bring familiar objects from home to draw.
  5. Enlist the help of other adults in your building who know about drawing.
  6. Keep a few tools such as these books for references:



Don't forget to stop by Teaching with Grace and see the linky for Chapter 3:  Drawing.

Punch Out Those Facts, Thanks to Brain Research!

I read a lot of articles on the internet, most of them have something to do with how the brain learns and holds information. We are lucky to be teaching in the 21st century where research is published daily about the brain.  I find this absolutely fascinating, and follow several brain related publications.

Punch out those facts! This blog post has several suggestions (research based) to help children learn facts, such as math facts.

Recently I read this article, Want to hold onto a Memory?  Make a Fist.  It tells about a study about clenching fists to help the memory.  First, a learner should clench the right fist for 45 seconds to activate the encoding part on the left side of the brain. (Left handed people do the opposite.)

Then, clenching the left fist will help recall the information.

Although there is a lot of research to be done on this idea, I've been suggesting to my students to clench their "writing hand" fist while saying a series of facts, for example:  the "plus 3s".  It would sound like this:

"3+0=3     3+1=4     3+2=5     3+3=6     3+4=7     
3+5=8     3+6=9     3+7=10   3+8=11     3+9=12"

Then, they can sit down and write them while clenching their non-writing hand.

Of course, they might need some fun help with the clenching.

Click on the images for a link to Amazon for more information!

The crowd pleaser collection

For the sports fans:

For geography enthusiasts: (These are my favorite!)

Punch out those facts! This blog post has several suggestions (research based) to help children learn facts, such as math facts.

I started using the term "punch out the facts" to remind the children to make a fist!

Even if the recent research doesn't help, there are plenty of brain strategies that will help the children learn their facts:

1.  Talking!  Saying the fact out loud helps!

2.  Visuals!  As they read the facts, they are using visuals to help the memory!

3.  Movement!  As they clench each fist, they are physically engaged!

4.  Repetition!  As they repeat each fact, they are making more connections in the brain!

Here's a freebie that lists all the addition and subtraction facts the children need to learn.

Most other math skills depend upon this basic knowledge!

Plus, it is related to this Common Core Standard:
 2OA 2b Fluently add and subtract within 20 using mental strategies.  
By end of Grade 2 know from memory all sums of two one-digit numbers.
Punch out those facts! This blog post has several suggestions (research based) to help children learn facts, such as math facts.

For more on brain based research see my Pinterest Brain Research Board.

See my collection of articles on The Brain and Learning.
Punch out those facts! This blog post has several suggestions (research based) to help children learn facts, such as math facts.
Good luck to you and your students punching out those facts!

Punch out those facts! This blog post has several suggestions (research based) to help children learn facts, such as math facts.

Camping Friday

It's been another fun week in second grade!  This week was Camping Week (see THIS blog post), and boy oh boy, did we have fun!

The children read loads of camping books, listened to nature sounds,

played learning games

did loads of writing,  played "camping math" scoot, and had a wonderful week!

I'm so glad I did camping week!  Here are some pictures:

1.  I brought in the little pink tent my daughter had when she was little.  It became a great place for reading books about camping!

2.  I brought in my little travel camping table.  The kids used it for reading as well as playing games!  

3.  So many kids brought in sleeping bags, it looked like a big pajama party!

4.  After Friday afternoon's special, there was a little treat waiting for the children.

5.  Yes, that's my REAL camping tent in the classroom.  We found out we could squeeze the whole class in my tent!

The s'mores and the tent made their day!  And, honestly, the smiles on their faces made my day!
It was a great week!

It also inspired me to make a new product, based on most of the activities we enjoyed this week.  Click image for more information.

Somehow I have to make it through 8 more school days and one more teacher workshop day.  After a week at the beach and a week camping, next week's theme will be "fun at home".  

We'll be spending most of the week remembering all the fun stuff we did this year and planning fun stuff to do this summer.  

What do you do during those challenging last few weeks when the kids struggle to pay attention to anything?

Camping Theme Week

end of year
I've been having another great week with my students! We are celebrating camping this week, and it's been grand fun!

As with any unit of study, I start with plenty of good literature:


I happen to own some camping gear, so I brought that in to show the kids. I also encouraged the children to bring in flashlights and sleeping bags. They are having a blast during reading time. They crawl right into the sleeping bags and read with their flashlights.  Don't you love working with kids with imaginations?

Another thing I found in my cellar: one of these little tents from when my daughter was little.  (Yes, I know, I really need to clean out the little kid toys from my cellar, she's 20!)

It's super easy to set up, and the kids absolutely love it! It set the scene for our camping theme, and it a great place for reading or playing a learning game!

Of course, most of our classwork at this point is review work, so we're working on writing camping stories, squeezing in camping ideas in math, reading, and even science and social studies!  We're learning camping safety and loads about the animals in the woods!

Here's one of my most recent products, the Buggy Syllables game, which my students absolutely love!  I love it because it's great practice for decoding multiple syllable words! Click image to see more.

Nonsense words

The above products is included in my latest...Camping Theme Unit.  I'm real proud of this one! It has a ton of activities to practice literacy and math skills, and since it has the camping theme, it makes everything more fun! Click image to see more!

And last, but not least, here's a nice warm fire for roasting marshmallows!

Yep, the kids love this!  

See THIS POST for more pictures of Camping Week!

Do you have any other great camping ideas?

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