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My Secret Ingredient to Open House Success

I've been through lots of Open Houses.  The purpose of the Open House is usually to let parents know what's going on in school. There are loads of blog posts about setting up your classroom, scavenger hunts, parent stations, brochures, and presentations.
My Secret Ingredient for a Successful Open House: There are plenty of great Open House ideas out there, but this one will have everyone feeling great!

I do all those things, leave plenty of things for parents to take with them and get to know my classroom and my procedures.
But I do something else that seems to be an added extra that makes a difference: 

I play happy music!

You know, that kind of music that just makes people feel good. 

I got this idea years ago when I went to an all day conference, and was walking into my "mid afternoon" seminar with dread: it's a tough time of day, and I was feeling like I'd prefer to take a nap.

When I walked into the room, the presenter was playing "happy music". I don't remember the specific song, but I remember it made me feel like moving.

I immediately felt a smile on my face, and I looked around the room and everyone else was smiling and moving to the music. 

Research tells us music can affect our feelings. 
So I play "happy music" to help people feel good about my classroom.

It works!

What music makes you feel happy?

THIS POST has a freebie list of song ideas to download!
My Secret Ingredient for a Successful Open House: There are plenty of great Open House ideas out there, but this one will have everyone feeling great!

Six Freebies for Back to School!

This post used to have 5 Freebies for Back to School. Guess what, I've added one, so now there are six freebies!

These are  some of the things that will help me through those first few of weeks of school!
Six Freebies for Back to School - This includes parent communication, brain breaks, Science, Social Studies, literacy, and math freebies for second grade.


Here's a great way to keep communication open with parents, and give them some information that will help their children be successful!

Six Freebies for Back to School - This includes parent communication, brain breaks, Science, Social Studies, literacy, and math freebies for second grade.


This freebie is a great way to start the year in Science and Social Studies:
Six Freebies for Back to School - This includes parent communication, brain breaks, Science, Social Studies, literacy, and math freebies for second grade.

This one will help the kiddos get all those summertime wiggles out!
Here's a freebie to help start working on math fact fluency!

Six Freebies for Back to School - This includes parent communication, brain breaks, Science, Social Studies, literacy, and math freebies for second grade.
I use these phrases to help the kiddos warm up for reading groups. These help build fluency!
Here's some more Social Studies and Science fun for those leftover summertime wiggles
 Six Freebies for Back to School - This includes parent communication, brain breaks, Science, Social Studies, literacy, and math freebies for second grade.

Have a wonderful school year!

ix Freebies for Back to School - This includes parent communication, brain breaks, Science, Social Studies, literacy, and math freebies for second grade.


My First Day of School Promise

My First Day of School Promise: Ever since I can remember, I've made this promise to my students on the first day of school. It's a win-win!

Every year, I sit down with my brand new class and have a little chat about why we come to school. My second graders figure it out right away: we come to school to learn.

That's when I make my yearly promise. 

I'm very dramatic when I make the promise. I include dramatic pauses, and I make the same gestures whenever I say it. 

I move my right hand outward as I say the first part, then I move my left hand outward as I say the second part. It goes like this:

These phrases are used all year long, and I repeat the gestures each time. After a while, I don't even have to say the words, I just do the gestures, and the kiddos realize they need to put the effort into their learning.

Of course, I make a point to keep that promise!

My First Day of School Promise: Ever since I can remember, I've made this promise to my students on the first day of school. It's a win-win!


Science and Engineering Practices

 After spending time studying the Next Generation Science Standards, I wanted to share the Science and Engineering Practices.
Science and Engineering Practices: These are part of the Next Generation Science Standards (NGSS). This post explains what they are and how we can interpret them in relation to STEM.

After several years with Common Core, I'm sure you'll remember the Standards of Mathematics Practices.  See HERE to jump start your memory. If you recall, these practices apply to all grade levels, and all math learning. 

The Science and Engineering Practices are straight from the Next Generation Science Standards. The whole appendix dedicated to these practices can be found HERE. As with the math practices, these Science and Engineering Practices apply to all grade levels. Here they are:
Science and Engineering Practices from the Next Generation Science Standards (NGSS).

HERE's a nice article I found that discusses each of these practices from the science and engineering point of view, for the different levels from Kindergarten to Grade Twelve. 

As I discussed these practices with my STEM Innovation Network, we came to the same conclusion: 

These aren't just Science and Engineering Skills, they are LIFE Skills!

These are the skills we should be teaching our students.

Even if it's not on the test!

These practices can be embedded in many activities across the curriculum, can't they? 

As a second grade teacher, our priorities are building the foundation: teaching the important skills of reading, writing and math. (As they say: K-2 Learn to Read, Grades 3 and up, Read to Learn!)

Science and Engineering aren't a priority in the classroom yet, but it's a strong area of interest for the kids! These practices are something we should be sharing regularly when we can fit them into our day.

How do you embed these Science and Engineering Practices into your school day?  
Science and Engineering Practices: These are part of the Next Generation Science Standards (NGSS). This post explains what they are and how we can interpret them in relation to STEM.

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