fbq('track', 'ViewContent');

Dictation and Round Robin Proofreading!

Writing sentences from dictation is a very valuable skill!  

Dictation and Round Robin Proofreading: Writing sentences from dictation is a very valuable skill! Here are a few reasons why, and some suggestions on how!

It helps children practice writing sentences and helps them become more fluent writers. It models good grammar for them. It's a great way to catch common errors, and give immediate feedback. (Kids need that, according to brain research!)  It makes a great review for spelling, punctuation, capitalization, and even handwriting! It helps develop short term memory. Plus, kids love the challenge!

Dictation and Round Robin Proofreading: Writing sentences from dictation is a very valuable skill! Here are a few reasons why, and some suggestions on how!

I often give dictation sentences when practicing the spelling patterns each week. At the beginning of the year, the children can barely remember a simple sentence, but by the end of the year, they are writing complex sentences from dictation. I usually use white boards, that are much more forgiving than paper, although on occasion I use paper.
Dictation and Round Robin Proofreading: Writing sentences from dictation is a very valuable skill! Here are a few reasons why, and some suggestions on how!

Last week, I noticed the kids were getting a little lazy about checking their work for simple things like capitals and punctuation, and weren't even catching if they left out a word. I decided it was time to increase the challenge.  

Dictation and Round Robin Proofreading: Writing sentences from dictation is a very valuable skill! Here are a few reasons why, and some suggestions on how!

I made sure each child at each table had a different color white board marker. After dictating the sentence, and having them repeat it back to me twice (that's our routine), I gave them a couple of minutes to write their sentences.  Then I had them pass their whiteboards around the table and see if they could find anything to correct on the new board. I let them check each board around the table until their boards came back to them with all the corrections.

The next sentence I dictated was amazingly more accurate for every child. As they passed their boards, they were finding fewer and fewer of those silly mistakes.

Of course, if there were children struggling, I'd never do this activity. I'd go to those students privately and give them a hand. But knowing that their classmates were going to see their work made them a whole lot more focused to do it right to begin with! It gave them some accountability. After our final round, instead of correcting mistakes, the children were enhancing the sentences by adding quotations or phrases to make it more interesting.

I'm not big on "peer pressure", but sometimes that's just what they need!


Dictation and Round Robin Proofreading: Writing sentences from dictation is a very valuable skill! Here are a few reasons why, and some suggestions on how!

Beach Week!

Kids love themes, and what is a better theme for the classroom than going to the beach?
Beach Week! Kids love a fun theme. It's motivating for them and holds their interest. Here are some ideas for spending a week at the "beach!"


No, we're not going to the ocean, I'm just trying to think of fun ways to get them working and learning these last few weeks.  

Here's what we're going to do during Beach Week:


1. Literature! First of all, there will be plenty of literature!  Here are some books I've found with a seashore or beach theme: (Click the title for an affiliate link to Amazon to find more about the book!)


I have a feeling I'll find more great books as I go through my classroom library as well as my school library.  I like to read several examples of fiction as well as nonfiction to give the children a real feel for what we're studying. 

2. Music and Sounds! Next, to set the mood:





Here is a Youtube video of ocean waves and sounds: very peaceful! Great background sounds!

Or try this one! I'll be playing this one when they're painting or creating!

2. Writing! After all this seashore learning, We're going to have to do some writing!  I made up some paper with a seashore theme (see image at top of page!)  For this freebie, click HERE.
 
Beach Week! Kids love a fun theme. It's motivating for them and holds their interest. Here are some ideas for spending a week at the "beach!"


4. Beach Towels! Of course, I really have to get the kids into the feel of the ocean. I'll be inviting them to bring beach towels next week. My plan is to let them take out their towels during Independent Reading time. I'll play my ocean sound CD, and they can pretend to do my very favorite summer activity... reading at the beach!

5. Beach Themed Centers!  Here's my Seashore Learning Collection Literacy and Math Centers: click the image for the link!
 
Beach Week! Kids love a fun theme. It's motivating for them and holds their interest. Here are some ideas for spending a week at the "beach!"


  Want a little more ocean fun? Here's some Science and Social Studies activities, many of which focus on water! Science and Social Studies Activities for Summer

Beach Week! Kids love a fun theme. It's motivating for them and holds their interest. Here are some ideas for spending a week at the "beach!"

What ideas do you have for Seashore Week?  I'd love to hear your ideas!

Beach Week! Kids love a fun theme. It's motivating for them and holds their interest. Here are some ideas for spending a week at the "beach!"

We're in the Money!

We started working on money this week in second grade! 

We're in the money! Counting money is all about skip counting. Here's a little trick to help them remember counting quarters!

 Money is all about skip counting, so if the kids don't know how to skip count, it's going to be tough. Counting by 5s and by 10s is pretty easy for the kids, but I use a little trick from my past to count by 25s.



Brain research tells us that adding movement, as well as repetition helps the memory.



Did I mention that I was once a cheerleader?



This one dates back to the early 70s, but I think I remember my mother saying this one, so I'm guessing it dates back to about the 40s. Some of my girls volunteered to pose for the photographs. I usually call it a chant, not a cheer, so it doesn't scare away my little guys! These movements can be done in quite a manly manner, despite the daintiness you see in these lovely ladies.


A Chant for Quarters!


We're in the money! Counting money is all about skip counting. Here's a little trick to help them remember counting quarters!
Twenty five! (punch arms up and left.)

We're in the money! Counting money is all about skip counting. Here's a little trick to help them remember counting quarters!Fifty! (punch arms down and left.)

We're in the money! Counting money is all about skip counting. Here's a little trick to help them remember counting quarters!Seventy-five! (punch arms up and right.)
We're in the money! Counting money is all about skip counting. Here's a little trick to help them remember counting quarters!A dollar! (Punch arms down and right.)
We're in the money! Counting money is all about skip counting. Here's a little trick to help them remember counting quarters!Everyone for money, (Arms out to sides.)
We're in the money! Counting money is all about skip counting. Here's a little trick to help them remember counting quarters!Stand up, (bend forward, roll arms)

We're in the money! Counting money is all about skip counting. Here's a little trick to help them remember counting quarters!
and holler!  (Put arms up high.)














The kids absolutely love it! (Yes, even the boys!) It makes a nice brain break, or just a warm up for math class. The kids get to move around and practice their skip counting by 25s as well.



Instead of saying "Everyone for money", we usually insert the name of our school.



With my musical theatre background, every time we get ready for math when we're working with money, I break out into the song We're in the Money from the musical 42nd Street. I have a couple of kids in my class that are musically inclined, so last Friday at snack time, I showed them this video:



Every single kid was absolutely mesmerized! They even asked to see it again. (A couple of kids watched it a third time, while waiting for buses!) Then, when it was time to get ready for science, they all started tap dancing. Of course I let them tap dance their way to get their science materials. You can't discourage a desire for musical theatre!

Once they understand counting money, here's a fun game to practice the skill: Coin Trading Game
We're in the money! Counting money is all about skip counting. Here's a little trick to help them remember counting quarters!

Music for the Classroom

Brain research teaches us that music helps make connections in the brain.




Music for the Classroom: Here are some suggestions for music to play in the elementary classroom, and some reasons to play different kinds of music.



I play music in my classroom all the time.  Sometimes I play slow, classical music to help the children focus.  Other times, I play upbeat music to get the children involved.  I also play seasonal music to help the children "feel the season".  Here are some of my favorites:

  
Music for Concentration is one of my staples.  It's magical background music for when the children are a little too chatty and a little less focused.  I turn on this CD and they settle in and get going on their work!  This series has several titles, and my goal is to own them all.  I haven't tried one that didn't keep up with its promises!  Here are a few others in the series:
     
I have these except the Music for Thinking, which is on my wishlist.
  
I also play a good deal of upbeat music, particularly when the children arrive in the morning. It gives them the feel that the classroom is a happy place. 

Of course, kids aren't limited to music designed for kids.  They get a kick out of some timeless music. Try playing music from your childhood. Or even your grandparent's childhood!

    
Then of course, here are a couple of my personal favorites:  



And to think I haven't even mentioned showtunes! (My very favorite music!)

Here are some previous posts with suggestions for certain holidays:

St. Patrick's Day

Cinco de Mayo
Any Patriotic Holiday

I'm always looking for new resources. 

What music do you listen to in your classroom?

Music for the Classroom: Here are some suggestions for music to play in the elementary classroom, and some reasons to play different kinds of music.



Hooray for the USA!

We have three patriotic holidays coming up! Yep, that's 3!  

We have Memorial Day at the end of May.
Hooray for the USA! This post has ideas, book suggestions, videos, and resources to help you celebrate patriotic holidays in the classroom!


We have Flag Day on June 14th. We have Independence Day on July 4th.


I know there are some teachers out there who will be out of school by Memorial Day. My district gets out just a short week before Independence Day. 

But it's a great opportunity to teach our kids something about our country!


I find literature, the arts, and music are a great way for children to learn any subject, especially social studies!  Here are some of the books I use. (Click any title for an affiliate link to Amazon!)


Coming to America by Betsy Maestro is a great book to show how most Americans came from other countries.  (I often read this one around St. Patrick's Day, as this holiday celebrates Irish-Americans, and gets conversations started about our ancestry.)

How Many Days to America by Eve Bunting tells the story of people escaping a harsh life and coming to America for freedom.  It's done with Eve Bunting's child-friendly language, but also touches their hearts, as many of Eve Bunting's stories do.  Although it's subtitled "A Thanksgiving Story,"  it's very appropriate for any day you want to show the children the risks people take to live in America.  It's a great conversation starter to remind children (and ourselves) of the freedoms we have in our country, that people don't have in others.

Speaking of Eve Bunting, The Wall is one of my very favorite books for children. Although I do have trouble getting through this story without tears, it's a nice book to read around Memorial Day or Veterans Day, when we are thinking about those who fight for our freedom, and those that don't come home. (I think this one really gets to me because of the time period... I was "coming of age" during the Vietnam War. Yes, I went to demonstrations and everything, I'm THAT old!)

Don't forget patriotic music! 

Here's a nice You tube video to America the Beautiful.

Of course, after all that learning about America, the children will need to do some writing.  Check out this dollar deal! Click the image or click here: USA-Themed Writing Paper.

Hooray for the USA! This post has ideas, book suggestions, videos, and resources to help you celebrate patriotic holidays in the classroom!


Here's a reading activity that can be used for Memorial Day, Veterans Day, or any patriotic holiday: Freedom Isn't Free - About the USA for Active Learners!

Hooray for the USA! This post has ideas, book suggestions, videos, and resources to help you celebrate patriotic holidays in the classroom!



Still looking for ideas to celebrate the USA?  Check out this blog post from Memorial Day last year: Memorial Day: A Day to Remember
Hooray for the USA! This post has ideas, book suggestions, videos, and resources to help you celebrate patriotic holidays in the classroom!


Want a resource with plenty of ideas for patriotic holidays? Try this bundle with several different resources! Learning About the USA!

Hooray for the USA! This post has ideas, book suggestions, videos, and resources to help you celebrate patriotic holidays in the classroom!



Team Building Activities

I use a whole lot of games in my classroom to practice skills. 


In order for game playing to be successful in the classroom, children need to be able to stay focused on an activity, take turns, and play fairly. In a second-grade classroom, this isn't always the case.

Team Building Activities - This post has several ideas to help children (or adults) work together as a team.


I often start the year with some team-building activities, then come back to team-building activities at the end of the year. I'm thinking I really need to sprinkle these activities throughout the school year.

Maybe it's because my dad was a football coach, or maybe it's simply because it's important, but I'm often looking for excuses to build teamwork. (My classroom theme this year has been sports!)

I've been looking around the internet for ideas for team-building activities, and came up with a few!

HERE is a long list of team-building exercises from a place in the UK called Venture Team Building.  I've tried the "Human Knot" and "Minefield". It's fun to watch the "aha" look in the eyes of the kids when they realize the whole team has to go back if someone steps on a minefield. That's when they realize it's not just about them personally!

HERE is another link I found. From this link, there are several more links to specific team-building activities such as "Easy Team Building Activities for Kids", "Team Building Activities for Kids That Are Selfish", and "Team Building Activities for Kids to Build Self-Esteem".  This one is definitely worth a peek! Most of these are simple things that can be done in the classroom, and fun for the kids.

As with any lesson, it's important to spend time at the end of the lesson "debriefing" and discussing what was learned. 

Still looking for more Team Building? Try these: 60 Team Building Games and Activities for Classrooms.

Do you know any other Team Building activities?



Team Building Activities - This post has several ideas to help children (or adults) work together as a team.


Resources to Celebrate Mexico!

Contrary to popular belief, Cinco de Mayo is not Mexico's Independence Day. 

Whether you're celebrating cinco de mayo or just learning about Mexico, you'll find something here for your primary classroom including books, videos, and fun resources!


(That is celebrated on September 16th.) Cinco de Mayo does celebrate a Mexican battle. It dates back to May 5, 1862, and I imagine if I were Mexican, I'd know more about it. I've shown this video in the past. The content is a little above the heads of my second graders, but it gives the kids a taste of Mexican history with a cute sombrero-wearing chili character and a catchy tune.


Those of us who live in the USA think of Mexico as our "neighbors to the south." It's also a lovely place to visit when the winter is cold and bitter. (Winter sure gets nasty here in New Hampshire!)


Many of us like to think of Cinco de Mayo as a day to celebrate our Mexican neighbors.


Here's another Youtube video that gives the kids a taste of Mexico. It's filled with Mariachi music and pictures that are classically Mexican!




A couple more You Tube videos that give kids a "taste" of Mexico:






Or... it's not too late to order some of your own Mariachi music. Check out these CDs available on Amazon. (These are affiliate links, which means I get a few cents from a sale, but it doesn't change your cost at all!)
I prefer to have loads of literature when I teach about anything, particularly another country. Here are some of my favorite informational books about Mexico!
Of course, after learning about Mexico through books and videos, I'd have my kids write about the country. Here's some paper with a Mexico theme, and it's only $2! You can find it here: Mexico Themed Writing Paper

Explore this image for a link to this fun collection of writing paper.

What good is a celebration of Mexico without a little Mexican food and a craft?  Tortilla chips with salsa are easy and popular, so I imagine they'll make an appearance. If you're daring, bring in some hot salsa!

Here are a couple more Mexico resources your students might enjoy:



Whether you're celebrating cinco de mayo or just learning about Mexico, you'll find something here for your primary classroom including books, videos, and fun resources!
Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...