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It's Time to Let Go of Summer, But Hooray for Autumn!

Summer is almost over. 

I hate to let go of summer, but...

Hooray for Autumn!
 
It's time to let go of summer, but hooray for Autumn: It's a great time of year! Here is a freebie, some book ideas, and resources to help your students enjoy the season!
 

Don't you love this time of year? The kids are settled into their classroom routines and are really in "learning mode!"

The weather is perfect: cool nights for sleeping, warm days for playing outside. Perfect for football, apple picking, carving pumpkins, and jumping into those beautiful leaves!

I'll be focusing on the change of seasons in my classroom this week.

This will be our writing focus this week:

 
It's time to let go of summer, but hooray for Autumn: It's a great time of year! Here is a freebie, some book ideas, and resources to help your students enjoy the season!

See the image or see here for this freebie: Summer or Fall Opinion Writing.

This freebie is part of my Fall Printables Collection, which I'll be using a lot these next couple of weeks!
 
https://www.teacherspayteachers.com/Product/Fall-No-Prep-Math-and-Literacy-Worksheets-and-Activities-for-Second-Grade--1446400?utm_source=fall%20blog%20post&utm_campaign=fall%20no%20prep

Click the image or click here for more information about this collection of fall printables: Fall No Prep Printables

I will be reading a couple of my favorite books for the season:


It's time to let go of summer, but hooray for Autumn: It's a great time of year! Here is a freebie, some book ideas, and resources to help your students enjoy the season!     It's time to let go of summer, but hooray for Autumn: It's a great time of year! Here is a freebie, some book ideas, and resources to help your students enjoy the season!     It's time to let go of summer, but hooray for Autumn: It's a great time of year! Here is a freebie, some book ideas, and resources to help your students enjoy the season!     It's time to let go of summer, but hooray for Autumn: It's a great time of year! Here is a freebie, some book ideas, and resources to help your students enjoy the season!     It's time to let go of summer, but hooray for Autumn: It's a great time of year! Here is a freebie, some book ideas, and resources to help your students enjoy the season!     It's time to let go of summer, but hooray for Autumn: It's a great time of year! Here is a freebie, some book ideas, and resources to help your students enjoy the season!     

Aren't books a great way to bring out science and social studies concepts?

What are your favorite fall books for kids?

What will you be doing to celebrate autumn?


It's time to let go of summer, but hooray for Autumn: It's a great time of year! Here is a freebie, some book ideas, and resources to help your students enjoy the season!

A Quick Exit Slip Procedure

My students have Independent Reading time daily. I try to make it a special time for the kiddos by letting them choose a cozy spot and giving them a comfy pillow. I also make sure I have plenty of fun books. It is often their favorite time of the day!
Looking for a quick way to assess what the children are reading? This post suggests a very simple exit slip procedure using post its!

But reading really is pretty important, and I have a fun, quick way for the children respond to their books. Are you ready for a bright idea? 


Looking for a quick way to assess what the children are reading? This post suggests a very simple exit slip procedure using post its!

Although I have several strategies for checking for understanding in response to Independent Reading time, this is a quick one I use often. It doesn't replace the need for deep book conversations or detailed Book Reviews. It's just a quick response.

It starts with a Post It.

Looking for a quick way to assess what the children are reading? This post suggests a very simple exit slip procedure using post its!

My kiddos each have a Post it pad in their book boxes just for this purpose! Many kids struggle using Post its, so I make it as easy as possible for them.
 
Looking for a quick way to assess what the children are reading? This post suggests a very simple exit slip procedure using post its!

I replace the backing with a red square as a reminder: don't use that side. (It also helps them find their own!)

I have them write on the Post it while it's still on the pad. (To avoid them writing on the sticky side!)

What they write depends on the prompt. I'll ask them a variety of questions, depending on what we're studying. 

  • They might draw the setting. 
  • They might write 3 adjectives to describe the main character. 
  • They might write a general statement about the story. 
  • They could be asked about the Author's purpose. 


I'm sure you can think of many more responses that would fit on a Post it!

Sometimes I tell them the topic before we read. 
Sometimes I don't tell them until after we read. 

Here comes the really easy part:

 

Looking for a quick way to assess what the children are reading? This post suggests a very simple exit slip procedure using post its!

They just put the post it on their class number!


That's it! I've had these same charts for years, and I just keep using them for exit slips! It's easy to see who wrote what, and who hasn't responded yet!

Looking for a quick way to assess what the children are reading? This post suggests a very simple exit slip procedure using post its!

Sometimes I have the children share with the whole class what they wrote. Sometimes I have them share with a small group, and sometimes they don't share at all!

It's quick and easy, and there are plenty of possibilities.


How do you assess Independent Reading?


Looking for a quick way to assess what the children are reading? This post suggests a very simple exit slip procedure using post its!

Sometimes You Just Have to Cry

My typical style is to turn the title of my post into something funny, but I'm actually serious.

Sometimes you really just have to cry!

Sometimes You Just Have to Cry! This post has some ideas for those times when you need a "good cry," but the tears won't come.

I guess it's been since my divorce, but sometimes I have a hard time crying. I suspect it comes from trying so hard to be strong all the time. I have a hard time letting go.

But crying can be good. It's cleansing. 
It helps to get the bad feelings out. 

It doesn't make things better, but sometimes it's part of healing.

A couple of weeks ago, I lost a friend, suddenly, in a plane crash. He was a member of my singing group. I've known him for close to 20 years.

I didn't cry.

I found myself thinking I was a horrible person. 
Why wouldn't I cry?

I think part of it was that I was still in shock. 

My singing group will be singing at his memorial service tomorrow. 

When I heard the music we'd be singing, then the floods started. 

You can listen to recordings of these songs HERE and HERE.

The second one is the killer... if you need a good cry, that should do it!

Throughout my life, whenever I needed that beautiful release that only a "good cry" will bring, this is the song I'd listen to: 


As I've mentioned here on my blog, I'm a huge theatre fan!

That's Lea Salonga in Miss Saigon. I saw this show in London (starring Lea Salonga!) in 1990, before it came to the U.S. 

I admit, I did cry through a good portion of the show, but this song in particular had a strong connection for me.
   
It's interesting. This was years before I had a child, but I knew even then how much I would love that child. 
 
This post has more ideas on the benefits of a "good cry," and how music will help! A Good "Ugly" Cry! It's Good for You!
 
Sometimes You Just Have to Cry! This post has some ideas for those times when you need a "good cry," but the tears won't come.

Music is magical. What songs make you cry?

 
Sometimes You Just Have to Cry! This post has some ideas for those times when you need a "good cry," but the tears won't come.

Lessons from a Grocery Store Chain


This blog post really doesn't have anything to do with education, but it's a hot topic in my area, and there's definitely a lesson or two to be learned!

We have a local grocery store chain that's been in the news a lot lately for the last few weeks. 

Several weeks ago, the CEO, Arthur T. Demoulas was fired by the Board of Directors. They hired some other people. The employees of Market Basket were horrified by this decision, and let the Board know their opinions by protesting. They stood outside their stores with signs, demanding Artie T reinstated as their CEO.


Why? 

Artie T. cared about his employees. He went out of his way to know who they were and show interest in them. He also cared about his customers. He worked hard to keep prices low, despite pressure from the Board of Directors. 

The protests and boycotts lasted 6 weeks. Most of the shelves in the stores were empty, especially produce, meat, and dairy. Loyal customers boycotted, and did their shopping at other grocery stories. The other grocery stores were over priced and over crowded. It affected not only store employees, but customers, suppliers, even stores and services adjacent to the stores felt the loss. The business lost millions of dollars during those 6 weeks.

Late last Wednesday, the Board of Directors finally accepted Artie T's offer pay $1.5 billion dollars for 50.5% of the company.



There were plenty of celebrations! Managers went to their stores in the early hours of the morning to prepare their stores, and sure enough, customers returned! Stores had welcome back signs, smiling employees, balloons, and everyone was just plain happy to be there! (I even saw a facebook post of a conga line of customers, complete with their shopping carts!)


People were buying whatever they could! (Not all the shelves were re-stocked yet, but there were plenty of choices!) 

I didn't get a chance to visit until Saturday. (It was the first week of school, and we all know that teachers are too tired for grocery stores after the first few days!) When I finally visited, I was greeted by balloons, smiling workers, "Welcome Home" signs, and a big crowd of Saturday shoppers. I knew the shelves wouldn't be completely stocked, but I was surprised at how much was available after only being back in business for a couple of days. I really only needed cat food, but I bought several items, especially the store brands... those purchases will help the stores build back those millions of dollars lost in the protest. 

Despite the loss, plus Artie T's $1.5 billion purchase, the low prices are still there! Yes, that's $4.99 for K-cups... they were $7.99 at the "other" store!


The whole purpose of this protest was that employees wanted to work for the good guy. They were protesting the "corporate greed" that had replaced their beloved CPO.

Many people these days are just out to make as much money as they can, and are "in it" only for themselves. Here, we had a person who truly cared about his employees and his customers. They trusted him, and they stood by him.

Loyalty like this is rare in 2014. 

I remember my dad was loyal to certain companies and brands back in the 50s and 60s. He trusted them, and kept returning. That sort of product loyalty doesn't exist any more. 

Perhaps it's because these companies and brands don't work at earning our trust. Perhaps it's because they're just trying to get our money. 

Perhaps employers and companies should work a little harder at earning our trust and our loyalty.

What do you think?



Tips for Teaching Procedures

The beginning of the school year is all about procedures. 

Tips for Teaching Procedures: Here are three tips to help set expectations for procedures at the beginning of the school year!

  The kiddos learn procedures for lining up, choosing books, signing out to the Library, how to pass in work, what to do when work is finished. We teach them the procedure for fire drills, procedures for lock down, procedures for evacuation drills. We teach them the procedure for going to lunch, going to recess, and going to Phys. Ed. class. We teach them the procedure for reading groups, playing learning games, math time, and using materials in the classroom.

And so on. 


Here are some things to think about when teaching procedures!



Tips for Teaching Procedures: Here are three tips to help set expectations for procedures at the beginning of the school year!

When addressing a new procedure, I'll get right up and act out different scenarios. I find the kids really pay attention if I act out what NOT to do! (Adding a little humor helps the memory!)

For example, when acting out how to get into line, I might:
  1. neglect picking up my materials
  2. forget to push in my chair
  3. run, flailing my arms
  4. cut in line
  5. get into an argument about who got in line first
Isn't it amazing how they'll always notice what's done wrong when the adult is doing it? 

And they're not shy about pointing out what I did wrong!


Tips for Teaching Procedures: Here are three tips to help set expectations for procedures at the beginning of the school year!

Once they've had a good discussion on what NOT to do, it's time to have someone model what to do. Have a few volunteers act out the right thing to do. Be sure to comment on each thing the child does right! This is a good chance to give positive attention to some of those kids who REALLY need attention!

"Notice how John pushed in the chair as he walked by." 
"I like the way Bobby walks at a good pace." 
"Did you notice how Marie let Anna go first?"
"I noticed Bradley kept his arms by his sides when he was walking."
"Of course Theresa put her math tools away properly before walking to the line."

Tips for Teaching Procedures: Here are three tips to help set expectations for procedures at the beginning of the school year!


The old saying goes "Practice Makes Perfect", but I think "Practice Makes Permanent" is more accurate. (I'm sure you know the difficulty of trying to break a bad habit, or "unlearn" something you learned incorrectly!)

After having several children acting out the right way for the procedure, it's not over. Find time later in the day for more children to model it again. Every time they go through that procedure for the next couple of days, have them stop and think about what they've learned.

"Before we line up, turn and tell your partner what we've learned about the right way to line up."
"Close your eyes and picture yourself lining up the way we practiced."
"After you share with a partner, take a deep breath before you line up."
"Put your hands on your head if you know the right way to line up."
"Name something your partner won't think of that's important to remember when lining up."

You know, it's amazing we ever finish going over the procedures and get on to the real learning!  But seriously, if you take the time to teach the procedures properly, the rest of the year goes smoothly. 

 And I truly believe that's worth it!

Tips for Teaching Procedures: Here are three tips to help set expectations for procedures at the beginning of the school year!




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.





Ten Brain Tricks for Learning Math Facts

I've been fascinated by the brain for years now. I've read about how the brain works, and the best ways to help children learn. I've applied this knowledge into my teaching and have had fabulous results!

 Ten Brain Tricks for Learning Math Facts: These strategies are backed by science, and will help the kiddos with basic math facts!
 These are some of the things I've learned about the brain!
 Let's see how they relate to learning Math Facts!

Ten Brain Tricks for Learning Math Facts: These strategies are backed by science, and will help the kiddos with basic math facts!
   We know that “Practice Makes Perfect” is a fallacy since we know if a child practices something incorrectly, he learns it incorrectly.  Whatever they practice needs to be accurate so the child learns it correctly.  (I’m sure you know how hard it is to break a bad habit!)  When practicing facts, it's important that the child practices the correct answer. Either have the correct answer on the back of flashcards, or have the child practice with someone who knows the answers!

Ten Brain Tricks for Learning Math Facts: These strategies are backed by science, and will help the kiddos with basic math facts!
    This goes with the first idea: the kiddos need to know if they're getting the answer correct. If they are not, they need to know right away so they will practice it correctly.


Ten Brain Tricks for Learning Math Facts: These strategies are backed by science, and will help the kiddos with basic math facts!
   Brains are much more likely to remember something if the learner uses more than one process. If the children are looking at the fact, saying the fact out loud, and moving manipulatives on the tens frame, they are more likely to remember the information than if they just looked at it. Another idea, stating the fact while jumping on one foot, or while doing jumping jacks.

Ten Brain Tricks for Learning Math Facts: These strategies are backed by science, and will help the kiddos with basic math facts!
    When children work together, they are keeping the brain happy. Social interaction is HUGE when it comes to learning! This is one reason why games are great for learning math facts!


Ten Brain Tricks for Learning Math Facts: These strategies are backed by science, and will help the kiddos with basic math facts!
    A little healthy competition gets the blood moving, bringing oxygen to the brain and helping the memory do its thing. This is another reason why games are great for practicing facts!


Ten Brain Tricks for Learning Math Facts: These strategies are backed by science, and will help the kiddos with basic math facts!
   When the kids practice facts, it's a good idea to put fact families together: 4+7=11   7+4=11   11-4=7   11-7=4   or  3x6=18  6x3=18  18÷6=3  18÷3=6 This really helps the kiddos make the connections in the brain!


Ten Brain Tricks for Learning Math Facts: These strategies are backed by science, and will help the kiddos with basic math facts!
    If it's possible color code copies of facts by fact families.
The brain really focuses on color, and helps make those connections!



Ten Brain Tricks for Learning Math Facts: These strategies are backed by science, and will help the kiddos with basic math facts!
   This is why it's not a good idea to give the kiddos too many facts to study at a time. Start with just a couple of families, and build from there!


Ten Brain Tricks for Learning Math Facts: These strategies are backed by science, and will help the kiddos with basic math facts!
    It is suggested that children spend 5 minutes a day, every day, rather than a half hour once a week. It's actually less time, but it's more productive!

Ten Brain Tricks for Learning Math Facts: These strategies are backed by science, and will help the kiddos with basic math facts!
     It is recommended that background music is played during practice times. This is a good time for a piece of classic music, not rock music or anything with lyrics. 

Hope this list helps your kiddos learn their facts!

THIS FREEBIE makes it clear just how many facts the children need to master!
Ten Brain Tricks for Learning Math Facts: These strategies are backed by science, and will help the kiddos with basic math facts!

It just so happens I have a set of addition and subtraction facts to practice that follow almost all these brain rules, (you have to supply your own music) and even has a few brain breaks worked in! See here if you're interested:  

Update: Due to popular demand and success with the above set of addition and subtraction facts, I'm made a new version to practice and assess multiplication and division, which you can find here:  

Ten Brain Tricks for Learning Math Facts: These strategies are backed by science, and will help the kiddos with basic math facts!

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