fbq('track', 'ViewContent');

### Thank You Teachers!

There are so many teachers in my school that work with my little ones, I like to make sure they feel appreciated all year, but especially Teacher Appreciation Week!

I recently updated my set of Thank You Notes to include cards for Teacher Appreciation!

There are plenty of choices, some in color, and plenty in grayscale for easy printing. These will work well for Mother's Day, as well as the end of the school year. I encourage my kiddos to make them for all those other teachers that work with them.

If you hang onto this set, there are some you can use at Christmas as well!

If  you're interested in a sampling, see this image or see HERE.

## Happy Teacher Appreciation Week!

### What to do with Leftover Jellybeans?

Do you have left over Jellybeans?
If you don't, I'll bet you can get some real cheap!

My students and I have been having some fun observing jellybeans that have been soaking in different solutions.

We started by recording our predictions on what might happen.

Then we poured the solutions in and watched.

A day later, we recorded our observations.

The conversations between the groups were priceless! They were drawing conclusions and making logical comparisons. What an awesome group of scientists I have!

We have a couple of days before the final observation at the end of a week. It should be interesting to see their final conclusions!

This experiment is part of my Science and Social Studies for April.

I've have one of these for each month in an effort to squeeze in Science and Social Studies topics into my second grade. We have so much focus on with literacy and math it's tough to squeeze in the subjects that the children love the most! These collections are my attempt to make the life of a primary teacher just a bit easier!

With these Science and Social Studies activities, I can find the time to do some fun stuff, without wasting much class time or prep time.

Besides the jellybean experiment, there's another experiment on how to make an egg float, the lifecycle of a frog, a close read on Earth Day, and a mapping activity based on major league baseball teams. (The latter is a mini-version of Baseball Geography, which you can see more about HERE.)

You can save by purchasing bundles:

### What to do with All Those Papers!

No matter how we go about it, there are always papers at the end of the day. Once they're all corrected, what do you do with them all?

I used to give them back at the end of the day, but I found they'd get lost in backpacks. The kids wouldn't even look at them, and they'd never get home to be seen by families.

Then I decided to file them, and send the paperwork home in an envelope once a week.

The work got home successfully! The parents got to see it and anticipated the work coming home every Wednesday!

But then, the kids never got to see their own work!
That means they never got feedback on their written work!

We all know feedback is what feeds learning.

If the children don't know if they've done well, how do they know to keep doing it?

If the children don't know they've made mistakes, how do they know to stop doing that?

## Here's how it's organized:

1.  I write notes on the children's papers, letting them know what they're doing well, or what they need to fix. (Gently, of course!)

2. They find the previous day's papers on their desk in the morning. They take a few minutes to look them over and see their feedback.

3. They file their own papers to be saved for the week.

4. Those papers are sent home weekly in an envelope for the parents to see.

## I'm so excited that baseball season is finally here! Baseball means spring!

After a tough winter, anything that means spring is OK by me!

I've been doing a lot of baseball reading this week, in honor of the opening of baseball season. Here are some favorites:

Baseball and April brings another opportunity: It's National Poetry month! What a great opportunity to write Diamantes!

Why Diamantes?  Because they are shaped like diamonds! (Get it? baseball diamonds?)

To add to the fun, I've found a great website where the kids can make their own diamantes online! (HERE!)

Or check out this resource, with plenty of examples and options!

Speaking of shapes... a baseball diamond could be called a square or a rhombus, but did you realize home plate is shaped like a pentagon?

Have you noticed, when we connect learning to sports, all those little boys perk up?  (Many of the little girls do, too!)

I have a resource I'm VERY excited about called Baseball Geography

These are all task cards based on the locations of major league baseball teams! I had such a blast putting this together, and so far my students can't get enough! Plus, they're really getting to know the locations on the US maps!

Here are a couple of other baseball themed games I've got:

Baseball Antonyms combines a couple of popular games with antonym practice.

Plus, I have a couple of BINGO games with a baseball theme:

Home Run Two Digit Addition gives the children practice adding 2 two digit numbers, along with a little strategy.

Home Run Two Syllable Words is a similar BINGO game, but this one gives the children practice reading two syllable words.

The students LOVE these BINGO games!

Come to think of it, they love anytime I combine learning with sports!

## How do you include sports in the learning process?

### My Plans for April Fool's Day

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 a 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 freebie, too!

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.