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My Plans for April Fool's Day

My Plans for a Productive (and fun) April Fool's Day! Here are a couple of resources to help learning happen on April Fool's Day!

These are my plans for April Fool's Day!

This set has more than enough to spend the day on fun, silly activities, yet still squeeze in a little learning and skill work!
For math there are story problems (with silly situations, of course!), three digit mental math (adding hundreds) math fact review, and balancing equations-second grade style!

For word work, there's a great list of April Fool's day words, sentence writing, alphabetical order, compound words, and spelling practice.
There's a April Fool's themed writing practice.
For reading, there's prediction and visualizing.

This should keep those little guys busy, and happy, too! Just click the image for the link!

Click this link, for this math freebie, too!

What Does a Non-Athletic Girl Learn From a Football Coach?

It hardly seems there is much of anything that a non-sports type like me might learn from a football coach, but I'm living proof that a football coach can teach plenty that has nothing to do with the gridiron.
I've been thinking a lot about my dad today. He would be 97 today if he were still alive.

My dad was a football coach. I never had much luck with sports, although I was expected to participate back then. (It was very frustrating, since I was downright awful!) 

However, I learned a whole lot about life from my dad! So did his players!

Optimism! My dad taught his players to believe in successful outcomes. "I can, and I will!"

Empathy! My father taught his players to show empathy for the losing team, and on rare occasions the winning team. (Our team rarely lost!)

Creativity! Although football players learn drills and plays, there are plenty of times on the field they need to think for themselves and create their own path. 

Grit! Playing football involves courage and strength of character. He taught them to work hard to attain their goals. "When the going gets tough, the tough get going!"

Self-Control! Football players need the control and discipline to perform as a team. It takes willpower to push personal emotions and impulses to the side and focus on the task at hand!

Resilience! No matter how many times they were tackled, they got up and tried again!

Wait... those qualities: optimism, empathy, creativity, grit, self control and resilience, aren't those important skills for all kids to learn?

Although they're not actually part of the curriculum, don't you think these are important for children to learn?

Relax and Read!

For most of us, one of our goals as teachers is to instill a love of reading. I find much of that is in the way it's presented! I never tell my students they "have to" read. I never, ever let it sound like a chore. I tell them it's time to...
Relax and Read: Here's a simple suggestion that could help your students learn to love reading. It's all in the approach!

Independent Reading time in my classroom is pretty special. I have a collection of pillows that I ONLY allow to be used during independent reading time.
Relax and Read: Here's a simple suggestion that could help your students learn to love reading. It's all in the approach!

Plus, I make sure there are plenty of good books available for the kiddos. They typically go to the school library once a week, and I have loads of great books in the classroom as well.

Although I typically insist on their reading "Just Right Books", I make an exception on Fridays... they can read an "Easy Sneezy" book.  Who doesn't love revisiting an old friend? This is the "summer beach read" for the kids.
Relax and Read: Here's a simple suggestion that could help your students learn to love reading. It's all in the approach!

One more thing I do to instill a love of reading: model a love of reading!

Much of this comes from my read alouds, which is my favorite part of the day! Read alouds are a great time to model many reading skills, but modeling that love of reading is at the top of the list.

I choose books for my read alouds that are worthy of loving... books I've loved in the past, books I know children enjoy, topics I know the children enjoy, and authors we love. 

I've actually been known to pick up a book and caress the cover.  Ok, maybe it's a little bit of overacting, but it really isn't. 

I really do love these books!

And I make sure the kids know it!

Hope you find some time to Relax and Read!
Relax and Read: Here's a simple suggestion that could help your students learn to love reading. It's all in the approach!

I Blame the Time Change

I am NOT a fan of Daylight Saving, and this week is why! (Yes, that says Daylight Saving, not Daylight Savings. I found out I'd been saying it wrong all these years!) 

This was a very challenging week.  Why?

There were some other factors at play, but it's mostly about the time change.

I couldn't believe how tired those kiddos were this week! They were dragging their little bodies around, slumped on their desks, grouchy, yawning, and having a very tired old time.

The teachers were just as bad. I blame the time change.

Plus, it got worse:

There were tears. 
Too many tears. 
Kids that weren't even sure why they were crying. 
They were breaking my heart!

I was close to tears myself!
Besides the frustrating days, I was up late each night trying to get those report cards finished. 
I'm just about done. 
I do have to go back and do some proofreading, but I'm done.
Now I have to do all the things I didn't have time to do because I was consumed by report cards.
Like taxes!

But we did manage to squeeze in some fun. 
We were working on leprechaun opinion writing with an emphasis on revision.

Yes, I can honestly say they were actually having some fun with revision. 

We did some St. Patrick's day word work and math work, too. Plus we made Leprechaun Pudding!
See THIS POST from Fern Smith's Classroom Ideas for more about Leprechaun Pudding. It's a very simple activity, but it totally is worth it. I've done it a couple of years now, and the children absolutely LOVE it! It's actually pistachio pudding, and a nice little science experiment to observe chemical changes. You can't really tell from the photos, but it turns a delightful shade of bright green when you add the "magic juice" to the instant pudding. 

Fun stuff!
Somehow, we made it through the week, and Friday happened. 

Boy am I glad!

Be sure to stop over at Doodle Bugs Teaching for the latest Five for Friday!

The Smell of Math?

Smells help the memory. 
Science has proven this. 
Many of us already knew this. 

A conversation came up the other day about how teachers can use this information to help children remember what they learn when they take those big tests like Smarter Balanced or PARCC.

It's a great concept... but how do we make it work?

Wear certain perfumes while teaching adjectives... then wear that same perfume during the test on parts of speech?

Have a Math lesson on fractions using slices of watermelon, then let them chew watermelon gum during the test on fractions?

Use an essential oil diffuser scented with vanilla oil while teaching about fact and opinion, then serve cupcakes with vanilla frosting during the reading test?

It could be tricky, but who knows, maybe use of scents is a new teaching strategy!

Five Things I HATE about Daylight Savings

I typically never use the H word, but once a year I need to get this out of my system. 

Yes, I absolutely HATE the whole Daylight Savings Thing, and here's why:
I HATE getting up in the dark!

Getting up in the morning is the hardest part of my day.
It just started being semi-light when I get up, and now it will be dark again.
I HATE losing an hour of my weekend!

Well, don't you?

I HATE what the time change does to my little ones!

Some adapt easily, but it's tough on most of them. It takes a couple of weeks before they're no longer cranky in the mornings.

I HATE that people think it saves electricity. 

Studies show it doesn't. People also think it was originally created because of farmers. The farmers didn't want it. They get up with the roosters anyway.

I HATE that not everyone follows Daylight Savings Time.

I think I'll move to Arizona.

Thanks for letting me get it out of my system. That's the extent of my using the H word until next year at this time.

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