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Showing posts with label pinterest. Show all posts
Showing posts with label pinterest. Show all posts

Maple Weekend

It's the end of winter here in New England, and we're enjoying a New England tradition:  Maple sugaring!

Maple Weekend: Facts, videos, and books to help children learn about how Maple Syrup is made!

Over the last couple of weeks, we've seen many a maple tree with buckets attached!  Yep, when the days get warm but the nights are still cold, that's the right conditions for getting that sap flowing! They collect that sap and boil away!

  • Did you know it takes 40 - 50 gallons of sap to make one gallon of maple syrup?

I love to use children's literature to teach science and social studies concepts.  
This topic includes both, a little history of the New England area, plus the science of trees and sap, as well as states of matter and evaporation!

Want to learn more about how maple syrup is made?  Here are a couple of informational books for kids about the process.  

Here are a few realistic fiction books that share the experience of maple sugaring:
It's truly a fascinating process!  There are several "Sugar Houses" in my area, and a true hint that winter is nearing an end.  The State of New Hampshire officially declared this "Maple Weekend" and many Sugar Houses are opened to the public this weekend!

Here's a little video I found on Youtube that demonstrates the process.

Doesn't it make you wonder how people figured out that draining trees of sap and boiling it like crazy would make a yummy liquid?  Did they try oak trees and pine trees?  How did they know to drill a hole in the tree and put a bucket underneath?  

Here's one fiction book that suggests how it might have happened, back in the days when Native Americans lived peacefully with the earth in the New England area:
Don't you just love books that put you in a totally different time and place? Historical fiction is one of my very favorite genres, how about you?

Do you have maple sugar farms where you live?

Maple Weekend: Facts, videos, and books to help children learn about how Maple Syrup is made!

Happy Presidents Day!

Wow, I just survived Day 100 and Valentine's Day on the same day. (We had a blast, but boy, am I run down!)

Happy Presidents Day! Here are several resources and ideas for primary classrooms to learn about our presidents.

Monday is Presidents Day! I plan on spending most of next week celebrating our presidents as well as our country! 

If you've been following my blog, you know I have a strong sense of patriotism, and feel children should take pride in their country. I also LOVE teaching social studies and mapping skills.

Here's a fun resource that I made that includes 3 fact mini-books. One is on George Washington, another is on Abraham Lincoln. Plus, it's been updated to include President Joe Biden! It also has a mapping activity, finding places related to these presidents. Click the image for the resource.

Explore this image for a link to these fun mini-books.

Here's another resource to review the difference between most of the patriotic holidays we have throughout the year: Presidents Day, Memorial Day, Flag Day, Independence Day, Constitution Day, and Veterans Day.  I don't know about you, but my little second-graders struggle to remember which one is which! 

Explore this image for a link to this helpful resource!

Of course, you'll be needing brain breaks! Here's one more fun resource!

Explore this image for a link to this fun (free) resource!

Looking for some books to read?  Here are some fun ones! (These are Amazon affiliate links, which means you'll help me earn credit at Amazon, but at no cost to you!)

Here's a fun collection of Presidents Day Activities. It includes a compare and contrast activity comparing the 2 different presidents. There is also a game to practice syllables, a graphing activity, a mapping activity, and an opinion writing activity. Click the image or click here for the link!


If you're looking for more, I do have a whole USA Bundle that includes the above items and several others here (at a HUGE discount, of course!

Here are a couple of related blog posts that might interest you:

If you have the day off, have a great one!  (Be sure to thank George, Abe, and the rest for the day off!)

Happy Presidents Day! Here are several resources and ideas for primary classrooms to learn about our presidents.

For the 35th Time, Ending on a Monday

This post shares last day of school ideas and resources.I just finished my 35th year of teaching, and I am proud to say I enjoyed another year.  I not only survived, but I'm happy about how it went!

I'm kind of glad our last day turned out to be on a Monday. I know it seems silly to come back to school for just a Monday (especially since it's a half day) but I really liked the way it turned out.

The week before school got out was crazy.  My report cards were due for inspection at the beginning of the week, so I worked all the previous weekend on those.  (The report cards we use are quite complicated, and really do take that long!)  Then I spent my afternoons planning my End of Year Academic Olympics activities, and tried to find some time to get ahead on end-of-the-year packing. At home, in the evenings, I was typing up this year's Memory book.

I was determined to stay Friday evening until the custodians kicked me out at 11:00.  I had dreams of having the whole room completely packed up except for the few things I'd need on Monday.  My "gentleman friend" (I'm far too old to have a "boyfriend") came to help at about 4:45, and I was pretty wiped out by then.  Most of the school supplies were in boxes, and I had set aside the few things I'd need for the last day, but the place was a mess, with a lot to be done.  He was amazing, piling boxes, carrying stuff to my car, and keeping my spirits up.  We finally called it quits at 6:15, when I was pretty much a vegetable.  But my room was in good shape.

This post shares last day of school ideas and resources.
Our last story for the year!
I had no schoolwork to do all weekend... that was a very strange feeling!  My report cards were done, printed, folded, and packed.  My cumulative folders were stuffed and marked.  I was all planned for Monday, and my only paperwork - the Memory books - was run off and waiting.

By the time Monday came, I was rested! I wasn't stressed about finishing the packing, since I really got a lot done on Friday.  So I got to enjoy the last day with my students!!!!  I honestly don't remember a "last day" where I wasn't overtired and stressed about finishing.

It's a quick day, so I didn't want to waste any time with the children.  As they came in, I had them work with partners on individual whiteboards.  Some played hangman, some played Tic-tac-toe.  As long as they were thinking, I was fine!

We had our morning meeting, and I read them one last story, then showed them their Memory books.  After choosing a gel pen color of their choice (I bought a selection of 24 colors) I gave them 15 minutes of Independent Reading time. I insisted they spend some time alone reading the memory book before the conversations/ autographing began. They were fun to watch when it came to autographing each Memory book.  I also got to autograph most of them, which I was glad to do.

What's in the memory books? A couple of weeks ago, I asked the children to write a comment about each of their classmates.  I also asked them for their favorite things about second grade, favorite things about the school, and ideas for things to do during summer vacation.  Since not all children were allowed to be photographed, I took the photo for the cover of their hands (idea from Pinterest!) And I took a picture of each child holding their favorite book... in front of their face.  I wasn't about to have all the children's pictures except one!  Here's my picture from the Memory book, with their comments for me beside it.

This post shares last day of school ideas and resources.
This is my "picture", and what the children had to say about me.

At 10:00, our PTA has a tradition for the last day of school:  ice cream sundaes!  We lined up for the last day of school tradition (Thank you PTA!) and enjoyed our last recess together.  I gave the children some time for centers when we got back.  I had a few books still out so they could have partner reading time.  I kept out the math cards so they could play math games, and the whiteboards were still out for playing Hangman.  No brilliant skills were discovered on this last day, but they were involved in activities to practice the skills they've learned, and I got to enjoy them for one last day.  At 11:45, we all lined up for our 5th graders' final walk, then they went off on their buses for the last time this school year.

It was completely a fabulous day.  I eventually finished packing my room, and checked out for the school year.  I've done a lot of sleeping since, and I'm starting to catch up on the housework I haven't done in months.  But it was a very good day.

This post shares last day of school ideas and resources.

I thought you'd like a little resource from my kids.  Here's a copy of their "Things to do during summer vacation so the TV won't suck out your brain" list!  Enjoy!

Seven Brain Based Learning Principles

I've been fascinated by Brain Based Learning. 

I've made a point to learn a lot about how the brain works. Here are some of the important points:

Seven Brain Based Learning Principles: Here are seven of the important points I've learned about the brain, and how we can help brains learn!

1.  The brain needs to make patterns and associations in order for new material to make sense.

2.  Humor decreases stress and  increases learning speed.

3.  The working memory can hold 2 to 4 chunks of information at a time, usually in about 4 - 8 minutes.  After that, the brain needs time to process, reflect and review in order for those chunks to move to the long term memory.

Seven Brain Based Learning Principles: Here are seven of the important points I've learned about the brain, and how we can help brains learn!
4.  Music boosts brain organization and ability.  It affects our moods and emotions.  Music goes hand in hand with math.

5.  The brain is a parallel processor.  It needs to activate more than one process at a time. This is why lecture-type teaching doesn't work.  Try combinations, such as listening and moving or watching and listening.

Seven Brain Based Learning Principles: Here are seven of the important points I've learned about the brain, and how we can help brains learn!
6.  Practice does NOT make "perfect".  Practice with appropriate feedback makes "better".  Feedback should be honest and immediate, if possible.

7. If children are engaged cognitively, physically, emotionally and socially, learning will happen.

The more I learn about how the brain works, the more fascinated I am!

Want some resources?

Seven Brain Based Learning Principles: Here are seven of the important points I've learned about the brain, and how we can help brains learn!
Click the blue "learn more" button for a link to a previous post on Brain Based Learning Strategies.

Click the orange button for a link to Eric Jensen's blog.

Click the Pinterest logo to see my Pinterest board on Brain Research.

Enjoy your reading about Brain Based Learning!

Seven Brain Based Learning Principles: Here are seven of the important points I've learned about the brain, and how we can help brains learn!

Ten Ways I Have Grown as a Teacher from Blogging

This will be my tenth set of ten!

If you haven't been following my blog, I decided to celebrate my 100th blog post by making ten lists of ten.  I've written about lots of things lately including blogs that inspire me, great children's books, brain based learning strategies,  motivating students, picture prompts,  things for students to work on during reading groups, learning games, things to do with a list of 1,000 numbers, and test taking ideas and strategies.  I have to say, it's been an adventure and an inspiration.  I've had no problems coming up with ideas, and I'm feeling pretty good about these blog posts!  I hope you have liked them as well.

Being a reflective person, I decided I want my tenth set of ten to be a reflection on the blogging experience so far.  Here are my Ten Ways I Have Grown as a Teacher from Blogging!

1.  Blogging has reminded me of the need for teachers to share.  I've been lucky to become acquainted with lots of other teacher bloggers.  (Much of this is due to Charity Preston's Teaching Blog Traffic School, which has given me most of the inspiration and knowledge that I have about this blogging stuff!)  Chatting with other teachers and exchanging ideas and strategies makes teaching so much easier as well as so much more fun.  Within the blogging community, there are incredible teachers who are more than willing to share ideas.  It's always been my philosophy in teaching to share ideas with anyone who asks.  Unfortunately not all teachers feel this way, but I'm always honored when others like my ideas.  I'm also enthusiastic about helping ALL children learn, not just my own class.  I've never been in this for the personal glory, I'm in this for the kids.

2.  I've made teacher friends around the world, at many different grade levels.  As I mentioned, there are plenty of teacher bloggers in this teacher blog community.  Now although I've never met many of these people, I know a lot about them!  Between reading their blogs, and following their tweets, facebook pages, and Pinterest pages, I feel they are friends.  Yikes, that almost sounds like I'm a stalker!  I'm really just a person who enjoys getting to know people, especially teachers!  We share a common bond.  As a lover of social studies, when a place comes up in conversation or in a book, I can tell the kids... I know a teacher from ... and the kids are thrilled!  (Brain research teaches us the importance of making those connections!)

3.  I learn from teachers at completely different grade levels.  I come from a family of teachers, and I always find it interesting to see how much I have in common with my brother, who teaches at the college level, and my sister who teaches at the high school level.  In fact, I'm always amazed at how much I had in common with my Dad, who was a high school football coach!  The size of the student really doesn't matter that much.  Teachers are caring people and have many of the same strategies and concerns no matter how big the student is, or what they are teaching. Since I've been blogging, I do tend to visit mostly blogs of teachers who are in the primary years, like myself, but I visit a lot of other teacher blogs where the content is far from beginning readers and writers.  Yes, I even learn from physics teachers and algebra teachers!

4.  I've learned more computer tricks.  I certainly haven't mastered HTML yet, but I understand it better, and have become acquainted with lots of little tricks and websites since I've been blogging.  There are things I do regularly now that I never would have tried a couple of years ago.  I certainly have a long way to go, but I've really learned a lot, and plan to continue learning!  (The way technology keeps changing, continuing to learn really isn't an option anyway!)

5.  I'm more focused on how children learn.  One of the topics that always catches my attention is brain based learning.  I've found lots of wonderful resources on this topic, and I'm developing an understanding of how the brain works.  In fact, I like to think I'm becoming an expert on brain based learning.  (Although I admit, putting that in writing makes me nervous, as I also know how much more there is to learn, that even scientists don't know yet!)

6.  Putting myself in the place of the learner forces me to think about learning.  As a teacher, I know what it's like to want the learner to learn.  As a learner, I can remember the challenges, frustrations, and successes of the learning process.  Since blogging involves a lot of learning, it gives me a stronger connection with my students:  I know what it's like to be them!

7.  I've been making better materials for my own students.  I've always made things for my students.  Of course, all teachers do this.  But now I find myself making things with a little more care, thinking that there must be other teachers out there who could also use this.  I find myself thinking, how could I make this so that more levels could use it, or so that larger groups could participate, or how could a teacher differentiate for lower/ higher students.  So I make it a little more detailed, with a little more thought, and I put it up on Teachers Pay Teachers as a freebie for anyone who might be able to use it.  Then I find myself looking at other materials on the same topic, looking for ways to improve upon it even more!

8.  I have plenty of free teaching materials at my fingertips.  Sites such as Teachers Pay Teachers, Classroom Freebies, several Pinterest boards and several teacher blogs I visit (see The Cornerstone for Teachers) are constantly giving out freebies.  I'm always amazed by how many games and activities teachers make that practice and develop the same skills my kids are working toward.  There's a whole lot of great stuff out there, and most of it is free!  The more I explore teacher blogs, the more I know exactly where to find just what my kids need!  (If I can't find it, I'll make it, and share it with someone else!)

9.  I've learned about Whole Brain Teaching  With all my reading on how the brain works, I've discovered Whole Brain Teaching!  Visit their site, check out a few of their free videos and free materials, and see how they've taken research on the brain and put it into classrooms for optimum learning.  I'm totally hooked!  I even attend their weekly live Webinars every Tuesday at 8 pm!  (But they can be watched anytime!)  I use many of the Whole Brain Teaching techniques in my classroom, and I couldn't be happier.

10.  I do more reflecting on my own teaching.  I've always been a naturally reflective person, but now that I'm a teacher blogger, I am even more reflective.  My own experiences in the classroom are what inspires my blog posts.  As I go through the day, I'm always thinking... would this be interesting to blog about..?  Would other teachers benefit from reading a discussion on what happened in reading today..?  I'll bet other teachers would love to hear how my students reacted to this book...  and so on.  I'm constantly reflecting on how I can make my classroom the best it can be, and how I can share it with other teachers.

How has blogging or blog hopping affected your teaching?

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