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Your Fantastic Elastic Brain!

This is an awesome read for the first day of school!

 
Your Fantastic Elastic Brain! This is a great book for starting the school yea! Plus, there's a freebie to accompany the book and get to know your students at the start of the school year!

Your Fantastic Elastic Brain by JoAnn Deak, Ph.D is appropriate for kids K-3.


If you've ever read my blog before, you'll know that I am absolutely fascinated by the brain and how it works. This book explains how the brain works in kid-friendly language! 

It tells the specific parts of the brain and the specific jobs they have, and how each brain is different, which makes us all uniquely different. 

I particularly love the part that discusses things that kids have learned, such as playing soccer, that were hard at first, but with practice, got easier! They might have even made mistakes, but the mistakes helped them learn!

If that's all it were about, this book could be used any time of year. The reason this makes a great beginning of the year book is because it tells the reader they can stretch their own brain

Who wouldn't want to stretch their brain? 


Isn't that our job as teachers? To stretch their brains?
(I refuse to believe that our job is to have the kiddos score well on tests!)

I feel it's our job as teachers to teach the children to be better learners,  and to stretch their brains as much as they can!  

That leads me to this freebie, based on this awesome book.

https://www.teacherspayteachers.com/Product/I-Can-Stretch-My-Brain-1990743?utm_source=Your%20Fantastic%20Elastic%20Brain%20Blog%20Post&utm_campaign=I%20Can%20Use%20My%20Brain


It has some activities to let the children tell what's already in their brain, a chance to challenge their brains a bit more, and a few coloring pages to give them a chance to think about their brains! See the image or see HERE for the link to the freebie! Enjoy! I Can Stretch My Brain!

Your Fantastic Elastic Brain! This is a great book for starting the school yea! Plus, there's a freebie to accompany the book and get to know your students at the start of the school year!

How to Squeeze in Social Studies and Science

Teaching is harder than ever these days!


How to Squeeze in Science and Social Studies: Suggestions for primary grades to fit these important (and fun) subjects into the day with an overscheduled classroom.

I'm about to start my 39th year teaching. Honestly, it's a lot harder now than it was back in the 70s when I started! Luckily, experience has taught me a whole lot, and I have a repertoire of tricks up my sleeve.

Nowadays we have to individualize everything! We have to keep evidence folders, and post learning targets based on Common Core or College and Career Ready standards.  We have to pre-test, post test, follow a prescribed program, teach specific subjects at specific times, and somehow get these kids to learn! We need to make sure we are on the same page (literally!) as the others who teach our grade, and now somehow,we are evaluated based on the tests, no matter what kids we get or what subjects we teach! Many of us lack support from administration, parents, and the government! Phys. Ed, Music, and recess are being taken out of the day, and more kids than ever have learning problems and behavioral challenges.

Yet, believe it or not, there are many of us who still choose to teach.

I find Social Studies and Science are the toughest areas to find time to teach. Finding time to squeeze it in is difficult, and finding time to prepare materials is close to impossible. 

I'm here to make your job a tiny bit easier!

If you follow my blog, you know that I've studied brain research, and l have become very focused on how the brain learns. 

Here are some fun ways to "sneak in" those subjects that the children love, but hardly get to participate in because of the demands of the beginning of the year:

1. Morning Meeting! Squeeze in a social studies topic into Morning Meeting. "On your turn, name something you'd see in an urban community." or "Name one of the planets."

2. Lining Up! Line them up with a fact.  "Before you get into line for lunch, stop and tell a friend the 4 stages in the life cycle of a honeybee." or "Tell a friend the name of one of the oceans."

3. Brain Breaks! Take a brain break with a purpose. "You are a Coastguards man guarding our border along the Atlantic Ocean and need to check out an incoming boat. Speed your ship over and greet the visitors." or "Imagine you are a honeybee in the pupa stage, trying to get out of your cell."

4. Connect to Something Bigger! When developing the rules for your classroom: "The Constitution of the United States is a set of rules developed by citizens of the country. You are citizens of this classroom. What rules should we have for our citizens?" (Of course, when you decide on rules, you can make a copy for the class and have them sign it with a fancy pen!) or "I wonder if farmers measure their plant growth like we do."

5. Calendar Time! Mention upcoming Social Studies or Science days during calendar time. "How many days until the Autumnal Equinox?" or "On what day of the week is Constitution Day?"

6. Read Aloud! Read books about your Science and Social Studies topics (fiction and non-fiction), then stop and chat about them! "Do all spiders have an egg sack like Charlotte did?" or "In what sort of community does Noel live? What were your clues?"

7. Keep maps and globes handy! Whenever any place is mentioned in a book, video, or just in passing, I'll grab the map or globe and find it! "Your dad is on business in Singapore? Let's find it on the globe. Wow, that's on the other side of the earth! They must be sleeping now!" As the year progresses, whenever a place is mentioned, the kids will call out, "Get the globe!" (It's also a good idea to leave maps and globes available for the kids to browse. I've heard some awesome conversations about places around the world while kids are waiting for the bus at the end of the day!)

I've got a little freebie for you here, to make science and social studies a bit easier for you at the beginning of the school year! Just see the image or see HERE!

bit.ly/BackToSchoolSandSSFREE
For a more complete set, see: Science and Social Studies Activities for August and September
 
 

What are your ideas to find time for these valuable subjects?



How to Squeeze in Science and Social Studies: Suggestions for primary grades to fit these important (and fun) subjects into the day with an overscheduled classroom.

Getting Parents to Read Your Notes

I'm sure we've all been there: a note gets sent home, and it's never seen!
 
Getting Parents to Read Your Notes: Here are some hints on how to get your parents to actually READ the notes you send home about their child.
 


Parents are incredibly busy. It's a tough job. But somehow we've got to get them to read those notes!

Here are a few tricks:


Getting Parents to Read Your Notes: Here are some hints on how to get your parents to actually READ the notes you send home about their child.

I send home a newsletter once a week in my classroom. I always write a personal note to each parent on each newsletter. It goes home on Friday, and I ask them to sign them and return them on Monday.

Sound crazy? They are quick notes, and it's a definite investment in time: it pays off... it establishes a line of communication!  

How do I entice them to get in the habit of reading those weekly notes?

Getting Parents to Read Your Notes: Here are some hints on how to get your parents to actually READ the notes you send home about their child.

How to get the kids involved? 

I make sure I write a positive note about that child, and make sure the child knows about it! They'll go home and beg their parents to read it!

Here are a few examples:
Getting Parents to Read Your Notes: Here are some hints on how to get your parents to actually READ the notes you send home about their child.
Once you get the parents in the habit of checking the newsletter each week, they'll look forward to the notes. 

Of course, the notes are ALMOST always positive, but if something comes up during the week, you can be reasonably sure that note will be noticed, because you established the routine right away!

Getting Parents to Read Your Notes: Here are some hints on how to get your parents to actually READ the notes you send home about their child.

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