fbq('track', 'ViewContent');

### The laughter of children is one of my very favorite sounds!

That's why I go out of my way to hear it on April Fool's Day in my classroom!

These are my plans for April Fool's Day!

This set has more than enough to spend the day on fun, silly activities, yet still squeeze in a little learning and skill work!

For math, there are story problems (with silly situations, of course!), three-digit mental math (adding hundreds) math fact review, and balancing equations-second grade style!

For word work, there's a great list of April Fool's day words, sentence writing, alphabetical order, compound words, and spelling practice.

There's an April Fool's themed writing practice.

For reading, there's prediction and visualizing.

This should keep those little guys busy, and happy, too! You'll be hearing that delightful laughter!

Just see the image for the link!

See this link, for this math resource, too! This is a sample of the larger resource above... just the math stories!

This resource is good for the whole year, but it's particularly enjoyable around April Fool's Day!

Looking for more April Fool's Day learning fun?

Check out these other blog posts.

### What Does a Non-Athletic Girl Learn From a Football Coach?

It hardly seems there is much of anything that a non-sports type like me might learn from a football coach, but I'm living proof that a football coach can teach plenty that has nothing to do with the gridiron.
I've been thinking a lot about my dad today. He would be 97 today if he were still alive.

My dad was a football coach. I never had much luck with sports, although I was expected to participate back then. (It was very frustrating, since I was downright awful!)

However, I learned a whole lot about life from my dad! So did his players!

Optimism! My dad taught his players to believe in successful outcomes. "I can, and I will!"

Empathy! My father taught his players to show empathy for the losing team, and on rare occasions the winning team. (Our team rarely lost!)

Creativity! Although football players learn drills and plays, there are plenty of times on the field they need to think for themselves and create their own path.

Grit! Playing football involves courage and strength of character. He taught them to work hard to attain their goals. "When the going gets tough, the tough get going!"

Self-Control! Football players need the control and discipline to perform as a team. It takes willpower to push personal emotions and impulses to the side and focus on the task at hand!

Resilience! No matter how many times they were tackled, they got up and tried again!

Wait... those qualities: optimism, empathy, creativity, grit, self control and resilience, aren't those important skills for all kids to learn?

Although they're not actually part of the curriculum, don't you think these are important for children to learn?

For most of us, one of our goals as teachers is to instill a love of reading. I find much of that is in the way it's presented! I never tell my students they "have to" read. I never, ever let it sound like a chore. I tell them it's time to...

Independent Reading time in my classroom is pretty special. I have a collection of pillows that I ONLY allow to be used during independent reading time.

Plus, I make sure there are plenty of good books available for the kiddos. They typically go to the school library once a week, and I have loads of great books in the classroom as well.

Although I typically insist on their reading "Just Right Books", I make an exception on Fridays... they can read an "Easy Sneezy" book. Who doesn't love revisiting an old friend? This is the "summer beach read" for the kids.

One more thing I do to instill a love of reading: model a love of reading!

Much of this comes from my read alouds, which is my favorite part of the day! Read alouds are a great time to model many reading skills, but modeling that love of reading is at the top of the list.

I choose books for my read alouds that are worthy of loving... books I've loved in the past, books I know children enjoy, topics I know the children enjoy, and authors we love.

I've actually been known to pick up a book and caress the cover.  Ok, maybe it's a little bit of overacting, but it really isn't.

## A long time ago, long before I started working where I am now, I substituted.

One day when I was subbing in a third grade classroom, I had a very interesting conversation with one of the children.

The classroom was situated right near the driveway, so the children could see the buses drive up at the end of the day.

Here was the conversation:

Boy: Yes!!! The good bus driver is back!
Me: That's great! What makes him such a good bus driver?
Boy: Well one day after I'd been out sick for a few days, when I came back, he asked me if I was feeling better.

## I've thought about that conversation many times.

Clearly, the boy liked that bus driver because the bus driver paid special attention to the boy. The bus driver showed an interest.

## That's all it takes!

Since that day, I've made an extra effort to let the children know I am interested in what they do. I find ways to let them know I'm glad they came to school that day. I think it makes a difference to say things like:

After an absence:

One of my favorites:

The more you make your students feel welcome, the more they will want to perform!

No matter how I say it, I make sure I am there for my students, making sure they know they are an important member of my class, and give them each a special greeting as they enter my classroom each day!

## What are your favorite greetings?

### Six Ways to Help Kids Beat the Winter Blues

The Winter Blues
A medical diagnosis might be Seasonal Affective Disorder.

I am not a medical professional, but I have seen these symptoms in many of my students:

• change of moods
• increased crying
• difficulty concentrating
• fatigue or loss of energy
• lack of motivation
• feeling sluggish or agitated
• problems getting along with others
• changes in appetite

Honestly, with the incredible amount of snow here in the northeast, we've been stuck inside way too much, and it's not just the kids struggling with these symptoms!

As I'm sure you know, teaching can be tough under normal conditions.

It's even tougher when the kids just want to nap at their desks!

## But what can we do about it?

Here are a few things I've tried:

1. Exercise!  Get those kids out of their seats and moving! They may not feel like getting up at all, but that's a sign they really need to!  It's important to do some exercises that will get their blood pumping, like jogging in place, jumping jacks, or Go Noodle! (If you haven't discovered Go Noodle, it's time to check it out! It's free, and the kids love these Brain Breaks!)

2. Rest and Relaxation! They need some quiet time, too! There are yoga moves that are perfect for kids, and simplified forms of meditation. (Many studies show the need for meditation!) In my classroom, we have "silent seconds". That's when the kids sit with their hands on their knees, trying to clear their minds of all the clutter. They love it, and seriously need to clear their minds. (We all do!) Another form of relaxation? Bring out the watercolor paints! They are suddenly VERY quiet when those come out!

## Here are some book ideas if you want to find out more about yoga with kids!

3. Happy Music! There is much research that proves music affects our moods. When the children are acting tired and dragging themselves around, it's time to put on some happy music! It's OK to let them dance! HERE is a post I did years ago that has several suggestions for Happy Music for the classroom. HERE is another link to a post that gives suggestions for a variety of kinds of music, and when to use it in the classroom.

4. Get Outside! I realize sometimes this isn't possible, but it's important for those kids to breathe fresh air and get away from the stale air in the classroom. Plus, they need that Vitamin D from the sun! (Did you realize many symptoms of Vitamin D deficiency are similar to those of seasonal affective disorder?) What learning activities can be done in the snow? Measuring? Science? I'm sure you can come up with something!

5. Shake it Up! Kids need to look at things differently. This can be as simple as rearranging the furniture or having a backwards schedule day. It might mean changing the routine or doing something totally different one day. It's amazing how one crazy day can put them in a better mood. Plus, when they get back to the routine, they appreciate it more!

6. Plan Something Special! Kids (and adults) need something to look forward to. It gives them motivation. Luckily, February has plenty of opportunities for special activities! We're planning a Valentine's Day party, and I'll go out of my way to make it super fun. They need it! We also have Day 100 (which will be whenever we get back to school after this recent snowstorm!), Presidents Day, Mardi Gras, and Chinese New Year. (Which brings me back to #2: rest and relaxation!) But with the winter we've had, I may have to bring back something I haven't done in years:

## Virtual Trip to Mexico!

Yes, we actually go on a virtual trip to Mexico. We get in our virtual airplane, put on our seat belts and fly to Mexico. We get out of our seats, and exit the plane to the warmth of the Mexican beaches. We bring our beach towels, have tortilla chips and salsa while enjoying our books. We see virtual animals and feel the virtual warm breeze.  I might even sneak in some mapping skills and a handful of Spanish words to keep it interesting.

Of course, I might have to bring out some resources like this one:

or this one

or perhaps this one:

## Do you find it difficult to fit everything in?

I sure do! The toughest things to fit in are Science and Social Studies.

Once we're done with reading, writing, spelling, handwriting, grammar, and math, there's no time left for these two subjects!

The really sad part is that these are typically the most popular subjects, and the ones where everyone can have success!

I've been working at making it easier to squeeze these fun subjects in, and came up with this: Science and Social Studies Activities for February

It's got printables to make your life easier, yet it still provides learning opportunities in Science and Social Studies, along with February themes and engaged children!

For Super Bowl Sunday, it's got a science exploration that includes rolling balls down a ramp, predictions and revisions.

For Groundhog Day, there's a nonfiction science text and questions about groundhogs, and a "hibernating animal" classification.

For Valentine's Day, there's a fact sheet about the heart, and an exploration on exercise and heart rate.

For Presidents Day, there's a nonfiction text and questions about Abraham Lincoln, a timeline on Abraham Lincoln's life, and a mapping activity identifying states in which presidents were born.

I hope this makes your life easier, and a little more fun for your kiddos! You can see this product here: Science and Social Studies Activities for February.
I hope this makes your teaching life a bit easier!