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Showing posts with label singing. Show all posts
Showing posts with label singing. Show all posts

Shh... We Had Fun!

I have a confession to make. 
I strayed. 
On purpose.
Two days in a row!
 
Shh, we had fun! I took a couple of days off from the required curriculum to enjoy learning about Groundhog Day and Day 100! This post offers resource ideas and has a freebie!
 
Yes, folks, rather than sticking to my assigned programs, I strayed and did activities that I knew the children would enjoy.

Did they still learn? Yes! Honestly, there was more learning going on than the typical textbook learning.

Tuesday was Groundhog Day. I had to change my schedule because of another teacher being absent, so I ran with it!

First, I pulled out these Groundhog information stories and questions from my Science and Social Studies for February set.


Shh, we had fun! I took a couple of days off from the required curriculum to enjoy learning about Groundhog Day and Day 100! This post offers resource ideas and has a freebie!

I always try to have some comprehension question that can be answered directly from the text, at least one "word work" question, and one or two "beyond the text" questions. (These are my favorite!)
 
Since this reading was challenging for some, we first read as a group. After a discussion, I broke the children into pairs, and they re-read, then answered the questions. I love to have them work in pairs, since they have valuable conversations, especially on the "beyond the text" questions!
 
I told them I'd pay particular attention to question #4. (How would you keep a groundhog from eating things in your garden?) This reflects a problem I had as a gardener: 
The hungry groundhog actually learned to climb the fence I put up!

Their answers were delightful! Although they weren't all realistic, they showed an understanding of the problem, and creativity in their solution! (Plus, almost all kids solved the problem in a non-violent way!)
 
Once they learned about groundhogs, I had them make groundhog puppets and settings, and they created their own skits for Groundhog Day.
Shh, we had fun! I took a couple of days off from the required curriculum to enjoy learning about Groundhog Day and Day 100! This post offers resource ideas and has a freebie!
 
This guy put a couple of things to frighten the groundhog: the shadow AND a fox! 

Shh, we had fun! I took a couple of days off from the required curriculum to enjoy learning about Groundhog Day and Day 100! This post offers resource ideas and has a freebie!
 
The kiddos were so clever when creating their burrows! Some even designed the inside of the burrow on the other side! (In their reading, they learned a lot about the design of the burrows!)

Shh, we had fun! I took a couple of days off from the required curriculum to enjoy learning about Groundhog Day and Day 100! This post offers resource ideas and has a freebie!
 
 
As they performed their skits, they showed creativity, a sense of humor, AND knowledge of groundhogs! You can't get this on a computer test!

The next day was Day 100. 

I've had a little tradition going on that I started about 20 years ago. We go from classroom to classroom singing Day 100 songs!

We have 4 songs we sing. Here's one of them:

Shh, we had fun! I took a couple of days off from the required curriculum to enjoy learning about Groundhog Day and Day 100! This post offers resource ideas and has a freebie!

Sorry, the other 3 aren't mine to give you! 
 They kept them in their book boxes and practiced them during reading time. (It was hard to keep them SILENT during independent reading!)

Shh, we had fun! I took a couple of days off from the required curriculum to enjoy learning about Groundhog Day and Day 100! This post offers resource ideas and has a freebie!
It was loads of fun going from class to class. They rarely get to go into the other classrooms, and they got to go into almost ALL the classrooms! They saw younger siblings, older siblings, former teachers, neighborhood friends, and loads of other people they know. The teachers, students, and staff were amazing audiences! They welcomed us into their classrooms, listened to the lyrics, and applauded for the children. 
Shh, we had fun! I took a couple of days off from the required curriculum to enjoy learning about Groundhog Day and Day 100! This post offers resource ideas and has a freebie!

My favorite part is seeing the smiles on the faces of my former students as they remember Day 100 caroling in past years!

Later that day, we played a couple of games and activities, including Mental Math 100. Up until now the children had only worked with 2 digit numbers, but I had them adding and subtracting 3 digit numbers, and with this game, they were even dealing with 4 digit numbers! And, of course, they were successful!
Shh, we had fun! I took a couple of days off from the required curriculum to enjoy learning about Groundhog Day and Day 100! This post offers resource ideas and has a freebie!

Shh, we had fun! I took a couple of days off from the required curriculum to enjoy learning about Groundhog Day and Day 100! This post offers resource ideas and has a freebie!


It was a huge boost on their mathematics self esteem, and a whole lot of fun!

It's not actually what the manual told me to do, but it was truly a great learning day. 

Hopefully, I can sneak in a few more of these!

Shh, we had fun! I took a couple of days off from the required curriculum to enjoy learning about Groundhog Day and Day 100! This post offers resource ideas and has a freebie!

Music, the Brain, Memory, and the Seven Continents


Did you ever find yourself singing along to the radio to a song you've never really liked, yet somehow you know all the words? Or perhaps you caught yourself singing along to a commercial on TV? Doesn't that kind of point out the connection between music and the brain? Yep, without even trying, you've memorized the words to hundreds of songs, right? 
 
Music, the Brain, and the Seven Continents: This post makes the connection between music and memory, and has a song to help the children remember the names of the seven continents.
 
I use that often in the classroom. If there's something I want the children to know by heart, I'll whip up a little song for them. I typically pick a tune that is familiar to all, squeeze in some words in a similar rhythm, and there you go! Sometimes I'll even make it rhyme, but that's not all that important. Nor is it important for the words to fit perfectly in the rhythm.

Here's a social studies song to the tune of This Old Man (also known as The Barney Song.) 

The Continents Song
North America, South America, 
Europe, Asia, Africa,
Australia and Antarctica.
There are seven continents. 

North America, South America, 
Europe, Asia, Africa,
Australia and Antarctica.
Now we all can cha, cha, cha!
 
I'll admit, the kids made up the second verse. 
I figured, if my second graders can name the 7 continents, they deserve to dance! 
Years later, kids come back to me and sing the song to me!


Want printable copies? See this freebie:

 
https://www.teacherspayteachers.com/Product/Seven-Continents-Song-for-Learning-About-Our-World-5308695?utm_source=blog%20post%20seven%20continents&utm_campaign=Seven%20Continents%20Song


 Music helps the memory.
Music is magical.


Music, the Brain, and the Seven Continents: This post makes the connection between music and memory, and has a song to help the children remember the names of the seven continents.





What Do They Really Remember?

Years after they leave your class, what do your students remember?

What do they really remember? This post explores my Day 100 tradition and discusses why the children remember it years later.

One of the things my kids always remember is when we go from class to class, singing Day 100 songs.

Yesterday was Day 100 in our school, and we carried on my little tradition. Many of the teachers look forward to our visits every year, and it's a real treat to go into the other classrooms in the school. (We NEVER go into each others' rooms, it's such a treat!)

What do they really remember? This post explores my Day 100 tradition and discusses why the children remember it years later.

Today at Morning Meeting, I asked my class to share how they truly felt about singing in front of all the different classes. I was thrilled with their honesty. Some said they felt nervous, excited, scared, embarrassed, or shy. When I asked each child, "But did you like it?" Every single child nodded an enthusiastic, "Yes!" 

What do they really remember? This post explores my Day 100 tradition and discusses why the children remember it years later.

I could tell most of the children absolutely loved it.  There were a couple of kids that I knew singing just wasn't their "thing", but I was hoping it would be a positive experience.  They said they loved it!

As someone who is fascinated by how the brain works, I find myself pondering what it is about this experience that puts it permanently into the memory. Here's my theory:
  •  Singing in front of other classes uses strong emotions, which are directly connected to the memory.  
  • It's something they never have done before. Novelty is directly connected to the memory.
  • It's music!  Music is amazing when it come to the brain.
  • It involves social interaction. Again, connections with memory and learning.

What do your students remember about your class?



What do they really remember? This post explores my Day 100 tradition and discusses why the children remember it years later.

Five Tips for Teaching Reading Using Recent Brain Research

Five Tips for Teaching Reading Using Recent Brain Research - This post connects recent brain research to learning to read with some helpful tips.
I've read so much about the brain based learning lately, I thought I'd share some tips that connect the two.
  1. Move:  Kids need to move.  The moving helps the brain build dendrites.  Dendrites help the parts of the brain connect, which helps the memory.  If the children involve moving as part of the learning, it helps the learning to stick.  I find the more movement, the better.  I use a lot of Brain Gym in my classroom, as well as lots of other types of movements, just to keep the dendrites flowing.  Little tasks such as "take a walk around your desk", or "touch each wall" are great for the little ones.  If combined with a skill ("say a short e word as you touch each wall") will help even more!
  2. Work together:  Social Interactions are important in learning.  In reading, it's important that these pairings are done at similar levels, if possible.  Sometimes I let the children choose partners, but more often than not, I assign partners.  (I do a lot of team building exercises the first few weeks so they are comfortable with each other, and understand their responsibilities as a partner.)  Children can read in pairs, or practice spelling words in pairs, or use new vocabulary words in pairs.  Sometimes I'll have the pairs teach each other something I just taught.  (Teach your partner what sequencing is.)
  3. Coping with stress: 
    Teach children to deal with stress.  Stress is unavoidable, it happens, even to children.  But it prevents learning, so we need to help the children cope with stress in acceptable ways.  I've done several yoga, guided imagery, and deep breathing exercises with the children.  One of my favorites with children is The Tree.  The children stand straight with their hands at their sides, and imagine they are a tree.  First, the children take a deep breath in, while raising their head, imagining they are facing the sun.  (I have to tell them, if I can hear the breath, it's too loud.)  Their hands should stay at their sides, focusing on the sun shining on their "leaves" as they take in the sun's energies.  Then they lower their heads and exhale slowly while they imagine the energy going out through their roots (toes) into the soil.  A few inhales and exhales and they are good to go!
  4. The Arts:  I've always been a fan of arts in the classroom, and the research supports this.  Arts help attention span as well as working memory.  I'm not just talking about visual arts (although I encourage these).  Arts also includes performing arts:  singing, dancing & movement, and acting.  Reader's Theatre, drawing or painting pictures to reflect parts of a story, or making up a song about the setting of a story are some ways to connect the arts to reading.
  5. Make 'em Laugh: 
    Emotions play a huge role in memory, especially happy emotions.  I've always been a big fan of humor in the classroom.  (I doubt I would have survived this long without it!)  As long as the children are happy, there's a better chance for learning to be happening.  I make sure many of my Read Alouds are humorous books.  There are plenty out there!  Robert Munsch is a favorite of mine, as well as many children.  (I LOVE The Paper Bag Princess!)  Here's another list to start: funny-read-alouds .
All in all, keep them happy, keep them busy, and keep reading to them.  Reading to children is the very best way to help children learn to read.
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