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Martin Luther King Jr. Books, Videos, and Resources


I love teaching my students about Martin Luther King Jr.  

He was an incredible man, and stood for peace.


Martin Luther King Jr. Resources: This great man represented solving conflicts in a peaceful manner. Here are several books and video suggestions to help your students learn about Dr. King.


Although I'm giving away my age, I remember when he was shot. I was a little too young to understand the impact at the time. (I was far more interested in the boys than the politics of the day.) Today I can't watch his speech without tears rushing down my face.  It disturbs me to think that a peaceful man who worked so hard for non-violence was killed in such a violent way.

I find literature to be a valuable part of my teaching. I've read many books about Dr. King, and they always keep the children engaged.  He was clearly a powerful man.  Here are some good ones: (Each image is a link to Amazon.)
                                    
Explore each image for a link to Amazon to learn more about that book!  A video also grabs the attention of the children. Check out this one from Brain Pop.





Or this one from YouTube:




Although his speech is kind of long for the little ones, this is the last part of that famous speech, and it's worth showing at least part of it to the children. This video from Youtube is the last part of his speech, and I think the children will understand Dr. King's passion:


Dr.  King taught the world about peace.  Here are some children's books that help with the concept of peace. 




 Martin Luther King Jr. Resources: This great man represented solving conflicts in a peaceful manner. Here are several books and video suggestions to help your students learn about Dr. King. 


I also recommend this video:

It certainly tells the story of peace that I want children to learn, and I suspect it's the peaceful world Dr. King dreamed of. Plus, the lyrics are right on the screen for the kids to sing along... over and over!

Here's one more video, a song that warms my heart! It goes right along with the teachings of Dr. King, and something children will understand:

Finally, here's one my own resources - it's a freebie sorting activity that's sure to get the kids talking! And their conversations defending their opinions are amazing! See the image for the activity Just or Unjust?

https://www.teacherspayteachers.com/Product/Just-or-Unjust-a-Civics-Sorting-Activity-190743?utm_source=blog%20post&utm_campaign=Just%20or%20Unjust


Speaking of activities, I have a couple of MLK activities in this resource: Science and Social Studies Activities for January




It includes a close read about Dr. King.
Martin Luther King Jr. Resources: This great man represented solving conflicts in a peaceful manner. Here are several books and video suggestions to help your students learn about Dr. King.

A mapping activity, based on important places in Dr. King's life.

Martin Luther King Jr. Resources: This great man represented solving conflicts in a peaceful manner. Here are several books and video suggestions to help your students learn about Dr. King.

And making timelines based on Dr. King's life.
Martin Luther King Jr. Resources: This great man represented solving conflicts in a peaceful manner. Here are several books and video suggestions to help your students learn about Dr. King.

See any of the images above to see Science and Social Studies Printables for January! (There is other fun stuff in there, too!)

I'd love to see your ideas for MLK too!


Martin Luther King Jr. Resources: This great man represented solving conflicts in a peaceful manner. Here are several books and video suggestions to help your students learn about Dr. King.

Writer's Workshop

Have I mentioned I'm a big fan of Writer's Workshop?  I've been doing Writer's Workshop in my classroom for probably more than 30 years, and have seen a great amount of growth in the children's writing skills.

Writer's Workshop: Help them learn to love writing by writing about what they love!


I've been very lucky to have worked with several wonderful mentors who have helped me learn how the Writing Process works, and how to set it up in my classroom. I've watched some fantastic examples of writing conferences and mini lessons. I've used many materials, and have tweeked them to fit my personal style and the levels I teach. I've learned about 6 Traits as well as the Writing Process and have combined it all to fit my needs. 



In case you're not familiar with Writer's Workshop, it's about children writing what is in their hearts. It includes free writing time, conferencing with friends, conferencing with teachers, revising, proofreading, and publishing their written work.


I've been working on some materials to share with you that I've developed for Writer's Workshop in my classroom.


Click the images to see my Writer's Workshop Starter Kit:

https://www.teacherspayteachers.com/Product/Writers-Workshop-Starter-Collection-180055?utm_source=Elementary%20Matters%20Blog&utm_campaign=Writer%27s%20workshop%20Packet


https://www.teacherspayteachers.com/Product/Writers-Workshop-Starter-Collection-180055?utm_source=Elementary%20Matters%20Blog&utm_campaign=Writer%27s%20workshop%20Packet 

https://www.teacherspayteachers.com/Product/Writers-Workshop-Starter-Collection-180055?utm_source=Elementary%20Matters%20Blog&utm_campaign=Writer%27s%20workshop%20Packet

 
https://www.teacherspayteachers.com/Product/Writers-Workshop-Starter-Collection-180055?utm_source=Elementary%20Matters%20Blog&utm_campaign=Writer%27s%20workshop%20Packet

Click the image to see my Writer's Workshop Horizontal Paper.

https://www.teacherspayteachers.com/Product/Writers-Workshop-Horizontal-Paper-180061?utm_source=elementarymatters%20blog&utm_campaign=Horizontal%20Paper

Click the image to see my Writer's Workshop Vertical Paper.

https://www.teacherspayteachers.com/Product/Vertical-Paper-180067?utm_source=Elementary%20Matters%20Blog&utm_campaign=Vertical%20Paper



Click the image to see my very favorite book on Writer's Workshop. (It's a link to Amazon.)




Writer's Workshop: Help them learn to love writing by writing about what they love!

Band aid or Lasso?

Do you have students who use apostrophes for everything that ends in s?

Band aid or Lasso? Do your students put an apostrophe in every word that ends in s? Here are a couple of cute tricks to help the kiddos remember when to use apostrophes and when NOT to!

I remind my kids to think: does the apostrophe works as a band-aid or a lasso. If it doesn't, it's not needed. 

I don't claim the band aid story. My students gave it to me, but it sure is clever! They told me the apostrophe is like the band aid in contractions. Since the two words were squashed into one, some of the letters popped out, and the band aid is needed to heal the spot where the letters popped out. Of course, this story has evolved, and now I tell them certain letters were "surgically removed." They really enjoy saying "surgically removed," so I enhance the story to keep their attention. I also mention that the surgery doesn't hurt at all, in fact, it tickles! If you listen closely, you can hear the letters giggling.


I do claim the lasso story as my own. When teaching possessives, I make sure the kids know the word "possess" means to own or have something. I'll get into stories of rodeos, telling them how cowboys throw their lasso and claim their cattle. I show them pictures I've googled of cowboys and lassos. In a possessive, the noun with the 's owns the following item. (or nearby, in the case of an adjective) I even get into turning the apostrophe into a lasso and circling the next word.  They practice this on their whiteboards (I'm a whiteboard fanatic!) and love to draw the lassos. 


Naturally, if the word they're thinking about doesn't need a band aid or a lasso, they shouldn't be using an apostrophe. 

We know how these little stories help the children remember. After 35+ years of teaching, I have lots of little stories and "tricks up my sleeve." Recent brain research shows us these little stories help make the connections in the brain so the children can build their knowledge. Plus, it's fun! 

One of my favorite resources has this Band-Aid/ Lasso theme. It has these two stories to help the children remember when to use apostrophes, and has 4 activities to practice contractions, plurals, and possessives.

Explore the image or here: 

Band-Aid or Lasso?

 

 How do you help your students remember when to use the apostrophe and when NOT to use it?


Band aid or Lasso? Do your students put an apostrophe in every word that ends in s? Here are a couple of cute tricks to help the kiddos remember when to use apostrophes and when NOT to!

Dabbling in DIBELS

Last week I went to a two day training period for DIBELS Next.  DIBELS Next is an assessment program for early readers.  It stands for Dynamic Indicators of Basic Early Literacy Skills. 

We learned how to deliver every part of the test for every level.  Typically the assessment is given 3 times a year:  the beginning, the middle, and the end.  Different levels are given different parts of the test.   Teachers are able to Progress Monitor children who don't meet benchmarks.  The best part?  All the materials are available online for free.

The tough part?  It takes about 10 minutes per child at my level.  The tests are given individually.  The tricky part is finding time to do this while keeping up with all our classroom responsibilities. 

But it's a wealth of information!  This is the first time in years our school district has used any kind of assessment that is standardized.  The older children have the state mandated tests, starting in third grade, and we've had the unit tests from the reading program we use.  DIBELS will be giving us specific information concerning what our students know (or don't know) about reading.

Why is this good?  Because it tells us specifically what we need to teach the children!  (I suspect you already knew this!)  With all the testing we've been forced to do over the past few years, it's a pleasure to have an assessment tool that helps us figure out what we need to do. 

DIBELS doesn't necessarily tell us what to do to raise the scores, but there are tons of resources,  many of which we explored through the 2 day training. 

So, I've started Dabbling in DIBELS.  During the last couple of days, I've Dibbled 4 of my students.  It's a little late for the beginning of the year baseline, and a little early for the midyear assessment, but I'm just practicing giving the test.  (And getting information about my kids!)  Honestly, there's not really anything I didn't already know about these kids, but it's valid information that I can bring up at meetings and share with parents. 


So far I'm happy dabbling in DIBELS!  Whatever keeps them reading!

Reflecting Upon the Brain Workshop

I'm a naturally reflective person.  As a teacher, I reflect upon every lesson I teach, constantly thinking about how it could have gone better.  That's usually a good thing, but sometimes I make myself crazy thinking about things.  And I do tend to be hard on myself.  That's one of the harder things about being a perfectionist. 

I presented a workshop yesterday on Brain Based Learning to other teachers in my district. It was kind of a rushed day, since I was at DIBELS training at another school in the district earlier in the day. We got out with plenty of time, but I didn't want to get back too early since I din't want to interrupt the substitute. Since the workshop was due to start in my classroom at 3:30, I needed to be in my classroom by 3:10 to set up on time. Unfortunately, several kids are still there at that time, waiting for their bus, so I had no choice but to enter the classroom with all my workshop stuff. 


Of course, the kids that were left gave me a wonderful greeting.  (You'd think I hadn't seen them in years!) Then I needed to chat with the sub, who was also going to be there the next day while I went to the rest of the training. (I was glad about that, she's great!) Needless to say, I was barely ready when the other teachers arrived. 

It was a small group, just 5 teachers. Most of them I knew, and they were from all levels. I had snacks, water bottles, handouts, a selection of books about brain research, and, of course, several copies of my Elementary Matters business cards.


The presentation went very well. The other teachers liked the material (who wouldn't, it's fascinating stuff!) and particularly seemed to like my "Brain Jeopardy". (Based on THIS fascinating article!)


Of course, being a reflective person, there are a few things I'd do to make it better:

  1. I like to have music on when people enter. (I do this for my students often, too.) The kind of music that makes you feel good. Upbeat, with a bounce to it. I had planned to have one of my bouncy Christmas CDs on, but just didn't get to it.
  2. I had snacks, but didn't have anything to put the snacks in. I dug up some cups in the classroom, so they could put Cheese Its into plastic cups. Next time I'll have nice bowls or containers for the snacks, and napkins!
  3. As I do often in class, I had too much material, and didn't finish it all. Of course, it's such a wide topic, and there's so much I want to share. Next time, I'll just pick the most important parts and go into more detail. 
But, all in all, it went well. I got this email this afternoon:


This afternoon a HS teacher came into my office to tell me what an excellent workshop you ran yesterday. She wished more teachers (especially from the HS) had come. She used some of what she learned already today in her classes. Great job!

So, I guess I'm happy about that!

    10 Key Points About the Brain

    As I've mentioned on previous blogs, I'm fascinated by how the brain works, and have done a lot of reading about brain based learning. 
    10 Key Points About the Brain: Here are ten key points from my research on brain based learning that have helped me as a teacher in the classroom.



    I'm giving  a workshop to my peers on Thursday, and I'm going over my notes. These are some of my key points:


    1. Students can only take in 2 - 4 chunks of information per sitting. These sittings should never last more than 4 - 8 minutes.

    2. Students need frequent review and reflection time for these chunks to become part of the long term memory.

    3. The brain is a parallel processor. That means the brain needs to have more than one process happening at a time, such as seeing and hearing, or talking and moving. If only one thing is happening, the brain becomes bored and seeks other stimulation, such as daydreaming.

    4. The brain needs to make associations and find patterns. We need to help students use prior knowledge in order to remember what they are learning.

    5. Engaging emotions will help learning along. Emotions are key to memory.

    6. Engaging the students socially will also help the brain. There should be a variety of large group, small group, and pairs. Independent work should take up less than 50% of the child's time in school.

    7. Engaging students physically is another hook to learning. Finding ways to connect the learning to moving will ensure learning.

    8. Music is magical. It connects us emotionally and helps the memory.

    9. Practice does not make perfect, but good practice makes better. Practice can make learning harder if the practice is inaccurate.  Feedback is essential. The best feedback is real, honest feedback.

    10. Exercise and movement are essential to learning. Phys Ed, recess, and other forms of exercise ensure the brain will get sufficient oxygen.   

    Thanks for helping me organize my thoughts! Wish me luck on Thursday!
    10 Key Points About the Brain: Here are ten key points from my research on brain based learning that have helped me as a teacher in the classroom.






    Thank you. Veterans!

    Wow, I am so grateful for out veterans!  



    They preserve our freedom and protect our country.  I've been looking for the perfect activity to help the children appreciate those brave men and women.

     


      I've spent the afternoon searching videos, and have several I want to show!  I've narrowed it down to a couple:


    The one above gives a nice collection of pictures of various soldiers performing various duties, accompanied by a powerful song.


    This one is a good one, as it uses voices of children.  It has good visuals, and lyrics on the screen so the children can sing along.


    The lyrics are in a language the children can understand.  Very child friendly!



    If I can get through this song without crying, this video gives a nice connection of visuals of soldiers and the USA.




    Speaking of "can't get through it without crying," I thought I'd read my favorite book for Veterans Day.  I've read this every year, and I am amazed every year by the look on the children's faces as I read.  It definitely touches their emotions!

    https://amzn.to/3hJC54f

    This freebie is a chance for the children to write to veterans they know ans thank them for all they do. You can find it HERE.

    https://www.teacherspayteachers.com/Product/Thank-you-Veterans-Writing-Paper-Freebie-166059?utm_source=blog%20post%20thank%20you%20veterans&utm_campaign=Thank%20you%20veterans%20writing%20paper 

    Here's a fun activity to help the children figure out who could be a veteran. Don't tell the kids, but ALL these describe what a veteran could be! 
     
    hank you Veterans! This blog post has several videos, resources, and ideas for teaching the importance of Veterans Day, including a freebie!
     
    Boom Learning is popular with students as well as teachers! This Boom Learning resource gives the children information about the different Armed Services of the USA!
     
    Thank you Veterans! This blog post has several videos, resources, and ideas for teaching the importance of Veterans Day, including a freebie!

    Americans, what are your plans to celebrate our Veterans?


    Thank you Veterans! This blog post has several videos, resources, and ideas for teaching the importance of Veterans Day, including a freebie!

    Brain Facts

    I just love learning about the brain!  

    Here are a few interesting facts I've learned about the brain!
    Brain Facts: here are several interesting facts about the brain, including some ideas on how to keep the brain healthy.


    The brain weighs about 3 pounds. 



    Reading aloud to a child promotes brain development.



    The capacity for many emotions is present at birth.



    The brain uses 20% of the body's oxygen.



    Stress has been known to alter brain cells and brain function.



    Memory is formed by associations, so if you want help remembering things, create associations for yourself.



    Lack of sleep may hurt your ability to make memories.



    Music lessons have shown to considerably boost brain organization and ability in both children and adults.



    Isn't this stuff fascinating?  



    What does all this mean to us as teachers?  Well, it means that children need enough sleep and plenty of oxygen. (That means exercise!) It means we may need to work at creating associations for the children to remember what we're teaching them. It means that music lessons help the children learn. 



    We probably already knew most of this, but it sure is great stuff!
    Brain Facts: here are several interesting facts about the brain, including some ideas on how to keep the brain healthy.


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