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Memorial Day: A Day To Remember

Memorial Day in America is a day to remember those who gave their lives for our freedom. Many people also enjoy the day with a long weekend, parades, cook outs, and the beginning of summer.

Memorial Day: A Day to Remember - Ideas, Resources, and 3 different freebies for honoring Memorial Day in the Primary Classroom
When I grew up, Patriotism was strong in this country. Most of our parents remembered World War II, and it was clear how lucky we are to be Americans. Our parents taught us the importance of being Americans. We learned all the words to all the patriotic songs, and sang them proudly. We knew how to care for our flag, and we knew we were lucky to be born Americans.


It seem that many Americans have forgotten the joys, privileges, and responsibilities of living in a free country. So many Americans are angry, and are blaming our government. Many Americans don't even know the words to The Star Spangled Banner, or even how to show respect for the American flag. I try to teach my own students to be proud of their country. I teach them what freedom means, and how they live in a land where they can choose what they want to be! I read Patriotic books and I cry.

       

       

Especially with this one.
patriotic book

Although I'd say we are definitely due for a long, relaxing weekend, you'll bet I'll be reading these books and showing videos like this one I found which explains Memorial Day to children, with pictures of American Memorials and just enough history for little ones to understand.

 

I'll also be singing Patriotic Songs with the children, as I do on most holidays. I found this great website that has lyrics and background music for most of the favorites, and it's all free!

I found some great ideas for celebrating patriotic holidays on the Scholastic Website. These ideas would work for any of the patriotic holidays, not just Memorial Day. 

Since my little ones sometimes struggle to remember the differences in many patriotic holidays, I made up these lists to help remember the importance of each occasion as well as some ideas for celebrating each. See the image or HERE for your freebie.

https://www.teacherspayteachers.com/Product/Patriotic-Holidays-A-Freebie-248327?utm_source=blog%20post%2048b&utm_campaign=Patriotic%20Holidays

Planning on doing some patriotic writing this Memorial Day? You can download this writing paper freebie HERE!

https://drive.google.com/file/d/0B0KBPcFG6hwLVC0tT3MxMUU4c28/view?usp=sharing

Here's one more freebie that can be used for any patriotic holiday: Patriotic Brain Breaks!

https://www.teacherspayteachers.com/Product/Patriotic-Brain-Breaks-5159995?utm_source=blog%20post%2048b&utm_campaign=USA%20Brain%20Breaks


I also have a "Reading Comprehension for Active Learners" Resource which is perfect for Memorial Day. It has informational text, text questions, sketching, and brain breaks, all related to the USA. Check it out here: Freedom Isn't Free: Learning About the USA for Active Learners.

Here's a little video to help you see this resource.

Want a resource with plenty of ideas for patriotic holidays? Try this bundle with 7 different resources PLUS 7 different freebies: Learning About the USA!


Enjoy your Memorial Day weekend, have a steak, or a hot dog, or even a veggie burger, but don't forget to remember the reason for the holiday, and that FREEDOM ISN'T FREE!


Memorial Day: A Day to Remember - Ideas, Resources, and 3 different freebies for honoring Memorial Day in the Primary Classroom

10 Strategies for Surviving Until Summer

We have 21 school days left.  I'm trying not to get stressed out about all the work I have to complete in 21 days.  I much prefer to spend the 21 days enjoying my days with my students. 

Ten Strategies for Surviving Until Summer: None of these ideas will cost you a thing, but they'll keep your students interested and engaged for the last few weeks or days!


But then again.... these kids are "cooked".  They've taken in as much information as they can, and they're starting to get real cranky.  These little angels who have worked hard all year are struggling!



I need to complete the next couple of weeks of our reading program, then the unit test, then the end of the year test!


Ten Strategies for Surviving Until Summer: None of these ideas will cost you a thing, but they'll keep your students interested and engaged for the last few weeks or days!
Here's what I really want to happen the next couple of weeks:  I want to read all my very favorite books and leave the kids with a desire to read this summer!



I also want to finish the curriculum and all the tests, I want to make the end of the year memory books.  I want the children to have pleasant memories of their second grade year.



I want to be ready for my summer vacation!



But we do have to get through the next 21 days.  Somehow!



So, here are some things I plan to do:

1. Play a lot of music-  I do like a variety... soft music for concentration, lively music to get them moving, rowdy music to burn off steam...

2. Bring them outside- Work in opportunities to bring the children outside wherever I can.

3. Loving books- Celebrate books in every way possible!

4. Make 'em laugh- Find plenty of opportunities for laughter.  Laughter is good, and healing as well!

5. Fun- Work plenty of games and fun learning into the day.

6. Move- Get them out of their seats whenever I can.  Get their blood moving to bring oxygen to their brains.

7. Shake it up- Rearrange things... move desks, change the schedule, do something completely different.

8. Pair them up for projects- Being social increases learning and productivity.  Plus, it's fun!

9. Have a contest- Get their pulses moving!

10.Visuals- Find some good educational videos.
These are all things the brain needs for learning.  I try to do this stuff anyway.  I suspect they need it even more than usual this time of year.  It's a hard time of year for all of us, but it's even harder on the kids.  

Ten Strategies for Surviving Until Summer: None of these ideas will cost you a thing, but they'll keep your students interested and engaged for the last few weeks or days!
Ten Strategies for Surviving Until Summer: None of these ideas will cost you a thing, but they'll keep your students interested and engaged for the last few weeks or days!
We WILL make it!  
Summer vacation, here we come!


What are your ideas for the end of the year?

Ten Strategies for Surviving Until Summer: None of these ideas will cost you a thing, but they'll keep your students interested and engaged for the last few weeks or days!

Everything You Ever Wanted to Know About Syllables... and Then Some

Did you know there were 6 kinds of syllables?

Some: This post discusses the 6 syllable types and why these are important in learning to read. It includes a multi-syllable freebie!


Knowing the different kinds of syllables will help the children move as readers from reading basic single syllable words to multi-syllabic words like watermelon and helicopter.


However, children shouldn't be trying to decode multi syllabic words until they have mastered single syllable words with blends, digraphs, short vowels, long vowel patterns, r controlled vowels,  diphthongs and other vowel pairs, prefixes and suffixes.


In my second grade class, I'm still working on fluency with short vowels with several of my students, but my top readers are very much able to decode multi syllabic words, as well as spell them!



Here are the six kinds of syllables:

  • Closed Syllable - These are short vowels followed by a consonant, such as  num in number, or vel in velvet
  • Vowel Consonant e Syllable - This is your classic long vowel/ silent e pattern such as ade in parade or cide in decide.
 
  • Open Syllable - These are long vowel syllables that end with the vowel such as ta in table and spi in spider.
 
  • Consonant l e Syllable - These are at the ends of words like ble in table and tle in little.
 
  • R- Controlled Syllable - These have an r controlled vowel such as gar in garden and der in under
 
  • Vowel Digraph/ Diphthong "D" Syllable - These contain a diphthong or a vowel diagraph. (Sometimes called "vowel teams") Examples are thou as in thousand and poi as in poison.
Why is it important to teach syllables?  When readers break unfamiliar words into syllables, the words become easier to decode. Learning about syllables also help students remember spelling patterns. Knowing how to decode syllables will help children become more fluent readers, and studies show that fluency helps comprehension. And that's our goal, isn't it?  

Many teachers teach syllables by having the children clap the beat of the syllables. This works for most children. 

A more tactile way is to teach the children to place their hand under their jaw as they say the words. As the mouth will open for every vowel sound (and each syllable represents a vowel sound) the jaw will tap the hand for each syllable.  

Want to read more about syllables?


  • Six Syllable Types on Reading Rockets was co-written by my instructor of the LETRS training, so it's got to be quality information!  (And interesting, too!)
  • Vocabulary.co.il has a couple of syllable games and videos for the kids.

I've put together a freebie with a couple of lists that can be used for practicing with syllables. There are a few options for using my syllables lists. They could be used simply as lists for children to practice reading. They could also be cut out and shuffled, for the kids to sort. They could sort by syllable type, or simply how many syllables are in the words. Find your freebie here: Reading 2 and 3 Syllable Words.

Enjoy your freebie and your 6 kinds of syllables!
 https://www.teacherspayteachers.com/Product/Reading-Two-and-Three-Syllable-Words-245510?utm_source=blog%20post%2046b&utm_campaign=multisyllable%20words


Want some more work on syllables? 

Check out Buggy Syllables 

and 


Plus, here's a blog post that explains more about why children should practice nonsense words:

 https://www.elementarymatters.com/2013/09/why-do-we-practice-nonsense-words_25.html 



Some: This post discusses the 6 syllable types and why these are important in learning to read. It includes a multi-syllable freebie!

Learning Math Facts With Cuisenaire Rods

Brain Research tells us that being physically involved with the learning process helps learning. 

It also suggests that use of color helps make connections. 

Teachers know that kids (and adults) tend to key into color, and children love to use manipulatives!


Learning Math Facts with Cuisenaire Rods and a Freebie - Cuisenaire Rods are fun for the kids and helpful for learning valuable math concepts. Here are some ideas!
 Learning Math Facts with Cuisenaire Rods and a Freebie - Cuisenaire Rods are fun for the kids and helpful for learning valuable math concepts. Here are some ideas!


With Cuisenaire Rods (see picture) the white rod, the smallest, is one cubic centimeter.(This is the same size as a standard base ten block.) The longest rod is orange. When the children put the rods by length, they make a colorful "staircase". (See picture.)
 
Learning Math Facts with Cuisenaire Rods and a Freebie - Cuisenaire Rods are fun for the kids and helpful for learning valuable math concepts. Here are some ideas!

The children can then assign values to each rod by color based upon the relationship of the other rods.
Learning Math Facts with Cuisenaire Rods and a Freebie - Cuisenaire Rods are fun for the kids and helpful for learning valuable math concepts. Here are some ideas!
I like to start with sets of ten, since our number system is based on ten.  It's good for them to know those combinations of ten!

Learning Math Facts with Cuisenaire Rods and a Freebie - Cuisenaire Rods are fun for the kids and helpful for learning valuable math concepts. Here are some ideas! 



Since the orange rod has a value of 10, this
picture shows 9+1=10. It also shows 1+9=10.  
It also shows 10-1=9 as well as 10-9=1.

Learning Math Facts with Cuisenaire Rods and a Freebie - Cuisenaire Rods are fun for the kids and helpful for learning valuable math concepts. Here are some ideas! 





What fact family do these blocks show?  6+4=10, 4+6=10, 10-6=4, and 10-4=6.  

Learning Math Facts with Cuisenaire Rods and a Freebie - Cuisenaire Rods are fun for the kids and helpful for learning valuable math concepts. Here are some ideas!



 








This one shows 6+6=12 and 12-6=6


Learning Math Facts with Cuisenaire Rods and a Freebie - Cuisenaire Rods are fun for the kids and helpful for learning valuable math concepts. Here are some ideas! 



 The Cuisenaire Rods can also be used for multiple addends or even multiplication.  This could be 3+3+3+3=12 or 3x4=12.

When it comes to storage, the containers the rods come in are tricky for the kids to put away.  I put my Cuisenaire Rods into a container much easier for little hands.

Learning Math Facts with Cuisenaire Rods and a Freebie - Cuisenaire Rods are fun for the kids and helpful for learning valuable math concepts. Here are some ideas!


I made these center sheets for the students. I prefer the children work with partners on activities like this since the conversations they have help the learning.  If you run these off back to back, you can make two sided, half size papers.

Click the image or click here for the freebie: Fact Families with Cuisenaire Rods Freebie!

https://drive.google.com/file/d/1hiHZso85dk7auMXt9_JM8D7uTucjgK_E/view
For more sheets like this, click here: Fact Families with Cuisenaire Rods

https://www.teacherspayteachers.com/Product/Fact-Families-With-Cuisenaire-Rods-242952?utm_source=blog%20post%2045b&utm_campaign=Fact%20Family%20Cuilsenaire
I also have a resource to develop Number Sense with Cuisenaire Rods that can be found HERE.

Plus, a chance to build with the rods and add up the sums with multiple addends HERE. (This one is a favorite... they LOVE building with the rods!)

All three resources can be found as a bundled set HERE.
For a more advanced bundle of place value activities see: HERE.

Learning Math Facts with Cuisenaire Rods and a Freebie - Cuisenaire Rods are fun for the kids and helpful for learning valuable math concepts. Here are some ideas!

A Few Thoughts About Fluency and a Freebie

Fluency is a big buzz word these days. I've seen it used for reading stories, decoding, and even math facts!

A Few Thoughts About Fluency and a Freebie: After extensive training on helping children read, we've narrowed fluency down to these 4 parts.

Since I attended my second session of the LETRS (Language Essentials for Teachers of Reading and Spelling) training a few weeks ago, I've thought a lot about reading fluency.

A Few Thoughts About Fluency and a Freebie: After extensive training on helping children read, we've narrowed fluency down to these 4 parts.
LETRS training was one of the best PD training ever!







Studies indicate a direct relation between fluency and comprehension.



No surprises there, it makes sense that struggling readers would struggle with comprehension.  If they have a hard time figuring out the words, it's not very likely they will put together the meaning easily.

The experts define reading fluency with 4 phrases:

1. automaticity in word recognition
2. accurate word recognition
3. rate (speed) of reading
4. prosody, or expression

So, how do we build fluency?


https://drive.google.com/file/d/0B0KBPcFG6hwLVEVYYWJ2eXRYUk0/view?usp=sharing
  • Practice both phonetic patterns as well as sight words. Feel free to download my short a/ long a practice freebie by clicking the graphic above or click here: Vowel Word Work Freebie

  • Practice reading phrases and sentences a few words at a time. (Phrasing)

  • Practice reading simple paragraphs with expression.  

  • Oral Reading with a partner.  (using text of appropriate difficulty... "just right" text! 95 - 100% accuracy) 

  • Monitored Independent Reading
 

This full resource has all 5 vowels patterns: long and short vowels, with real words as well as nonsense words. Vowel Word Work: Word Sort and Fluency Practice


What do you do to build fluency?
A Few Thoughts About Fluency and a Freebie: After extensive training on helping children read, we've narrowed fluency down to these 4 parts.
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