fbq('track', 'ViewContent');

### I read a lot of articles on the internet, most of them have something to do with how the brain learns and holds information. We are lucky to be teaching in the 21st century where research is published daily about the brain.  I find this absolutely fascinating, and follow several brain related publications.

Recently I read this article, Want to hold onto a Memory?  Make a Fist. It tells about a study about clenching fists to help the memory. First, a learner should clench the right fist for 45 seconds to activate the encoding part on the left side of the brain. (Left handed people do the opposite.)

Then, clenching the left fist will help recall the information.

Although there is a lot of research to be done on this area, I've been suggesting to my students to clench their "writing hand" fist while saying a series of facts, for example: the "plus 3s". It would sound like this:

3+0=3 3+1=4 3+2=5 3=3+6 3+4=7
3+5=8 3+6=9 3+7=10 3+8=11 3+9=12

Then, they can sit down and write them while clenching their non-writing hand.
Of course, they might need some fun help with the clenching.

For the sports fans:

For geography enthusiasts: (These are my favorite!)

I started using the term "punch out the facts" to remind the children to make a fist!

Even if this recent research doesn't pan out, there are plenty of brain strategies that will help the children learn their facts:

1. Talking! Saying the fact out loud helps!

2. Visuals! As they read the facts, they are using visuals to help the memory!

3. Movement! As they clench each fist, they are physically engaged!

4. Repetition! As they repeat each fact, they are making more connections in the brain!

Here's a freebie that lists all the addition and subtraction facts the children need to learn.

Here's a freebie that lists all the addition and subtraction facts the children need to learn.

Most other math skills depend upon this basic knowledge!

Good luck to you and your students punching out those facts!

### Camping for a Week in the Classroom!

It's been another fun week in second grade!  This week was Camping Week (see THIS blog post), and boy oh boy, did we have fun!

played learning games

did loads of writing,  played "camping math" scoot, and had a wonderful week!

I'm so glad I did camping week!  Here are some pictures:

1.  I brought in the little pink tent my daughter had when she was little.  It became a great place for reading books about camping!

2.  I brought in my little travel camping table.  The kids used it for reading as well as playing games!

3.  So many kids brought in sleeping bags, it looked like a big pajama party!

4.  After Friday afternoon's special, there was a little treat waiting for the children.

5.  Yes, that's my REAL camping tent in the classroom.  We found out we could squeeze the whole class in my tent!

The s'mores and the tent made their day!  And, honestly, the smiles on their faces made my day!
It was a great week!

It also inspired me to make a new resource, based on most of the activities we enjoyed this week.

Somehow I have to make it through 8 more school days and one more teacher workshop day.  After a week at the beach and a week camping, next week's theme will be "fun at home".

We'll be spending most of the week remembering all the fun stuff we did this year and planning fun stuff to do this summer.

What do you do during those challenging last few weeks when the kids struggle to pay attention to anything?

## I've been having another great week with my students! We are celebrating camping this week, and it's been grand fun!

As with any unit of study, I start with plenty of good literature:

I happen to own some camping gear, so I brought that in to show the kids. I also encouraged the children to bring in flashlights and sleeping bags. They are having a blast during reading time. They crawl right into the sleeping bags and read with their flashlights. Don't you love working with kids with imaginations?

Another thing I found in my cellar: one of these little tents from when my daughter was little.  (Yes, I know, I really need to clean out the little kid toys from my cellar, she's 20!)

It's super easy to set up, and the kids absolutely love it! It set the scene for our camping theme, and it a great place for reading or playing a learning game!

Of course, most of our classwork at this point is review work, so we're working on writing camping stories, squeezing in camping ideas in math, reading, and even science and social studies!

We're learning camping safety and loads about the animals in the woods!

Here's one of my most popular resources, the Buggy Syllables game, which my students absolutely love!  I love it because it's great practice for decoding multiple syllable words!

The above resource is included in my Camping Learning Bundle! I'm real proud of this one! It has a ton of activities to practice literacy and math skills, and since it has the camping theme, it makes everything more fun!

Looking for digital resources? Here are a few camping themed Boom Learning cards for some fun review!

And last, but not least, here's a nice warm fire for roasting marshmallows!

Yep, the kids love this!

See THIS POST for more pictures of Camping Week!

Do you have any other great camping ideas?

### Five Fun Ideas for a Seashore Week!

In many ways, this has been one of the most fun weeks I've had as a teacher in ages!  Why? Because we're done with most of the "have tos" and I get to teach what I truly feel the children need, and will enjoy.

I chose to go with a Seacoast Theme for this week, and I'm not sure who had more fun, me or the kids!

We were totally busy, and squeezed in the seacoast theme every chance we could!

Here are a few of the things we did:

1.  Towels!  We brought in beach towels, and the children sat on them every time we had stories on lessons on the rug. Each day, there were more beach towels and paraphernalia, it really looked like the beach! We even had a couple of "boogie boards" and a child sized beach chair! These came in handy during Independent Reading time, as well. Yes, you guessed it, we read loads of books with the Beach theme!

2.  Games!  I managed to dig up several games with the beach theme that reviewed important skills we studied this year. Of course, instead of the usual tubs, I picked up some pails and buckets at the dollar store to store the beach themed games. Great stuff!

3. Books, books, and more books!  Our wonderful librarian found some great books for us to share! Here are some of my favorites:

4. Floating Boats!  This was a huge hit this week, and something I managed to bribe motivate the children with as they're getting into their "summer mode". We made sailboats out of milk cartons, then today we floated our boats. First, they put their boats in the water, then we added "people" (balls of clay) It was interesting to see how many people they put into their boats without disaster. They were thrilled to bring their boats as well as the "people" home at the end of the day today. We called our bodies of water The Atlantic Ocean, The Pacific Ocean, and the Indian Ocean. We figured the Arctic Ocean was mostly ice and probably wouldn't have sailboats. (Yes, I'm always finding excuses to squeeze in a bit of geography review as well!)

5.  "Beach Day" Theme Unit: We did manage to squeeze in some real learning, mostly in the form of centers. This set has plenty of review materials for my second graders! You can see this unit by clicking the link below or click here: Seashore Bundle