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Election Day Options for Little Learners

I'm tired of watching the attack ads all over the TV, my phone ringing constantly, getting flyer after flyer in the mail, and the signs all over town. Luckily, this campaign season is almost over, thank goodness!
 
 Election Day Options for Little Learners: The REAL election is far too grusome to share with little ones, so here are a few alternatives that will help the kiddos learn in a way they can understand

 I also think it's important to teach the importance of the election to the little ones. But in a gentler, kinder fashion.

Election Day Options for Little Learners: The REAL election is far too grusome to share with little ones, so here are a few alternatives that will help the kiddos learn in a way they can understand

We vote for our favorite indoor recess game! See the above image or see HERE for this freebie for Election Day. It includes ballots, graphs, and suggestions for the day.

We've been working on common and proper nouns, so I've cooked up this matching game with an election theme. I find ANY special day makes learning more fun, doesn't it? This set has several options, including a board game. You can learn more about this set HERE, or by see the image.

Election Day Options for Little Learners: The REAL election is far too grusome to share with little ones, so here are a few alternatives that will help the kiddos learn in a way they can understand

There's a smaller, freebie version of this activity, which can be found here: Election Freebie

Election Day Options for Little Learners: The REAL election is far too grusome to share with little ones, so here are a few alternatives that will help the kiddos learn in a way they can understand


Kids always need brain breaks, and squeezing in a little patriotism doesn't hurt! See the image or see HERE to download this freebie!

Election Day Options for Little Learners: The REAL election is far too grusome to share with little ones, so here are a few alternatives that will help the kiddos learn in a way they can understand

Here are a few books I've found with an election theme.




Don't forget the Patriotic Music!



How do you honor election day with your little ones?

Election Day Options for Little Learners: The REAL election is far too grusome to share with little ones, so here are a few alternatives that will help the kiddos learn in a way they can understand

Seven Strategies to Help Children Remember Spelling Words

Some children remember sight words easily, but there are others who have a hard time remembering the spelling of words that don't follow the rules. 

Seven Strategies to help children remember spelling words - based on brain research, this blog post shares seven strategies to help those kiddos who struggle to remember spelling!
 

Here are a few strategies, based on research, that will help kiddos remember spelling words.


Seven Strategies to help children remember spelling words - based on brain research, this blog post shares seven strategies to help those kiddos who struggle to remember spelling!
1.  Spell it aloud! The act of saying the letters along with hearing the letters helps the pathways form in the brain.


Seven Strategies to help children remember spelling words - based on brain research, this blog post shares seven strategies to help those kiddos who struggle to remember spelling!
2. Get them moving! Studies show a connection between movement and memory. Students can bounce a basketball while spelling, jump while spelling, or even do interpretive dance while spelling the words. 


Seven Strategies to help children remember spelling words - based on brain research, this blog post shares seven strategies to help those kiddos who struggle to remember spelling!
 3. Integrate Music! Ever notice how you can remember song lyrics from years ago that you never even tried to memorize? Music is closely connected to memory! Make up a little tune to the spelling of the words, or have the children make it up!
 

Seven Strategies to help children remember spelling words - based on brain research, this blog post shares seven strategies to help those kiddos who struggle to remember spelling!

4. Integrate the Arts! Have the children write the spelling words, then make up a design around them. Or, you could have them paint their words! Don't forget the performing arts: they could dance their words or act out their words!

Seven Strategies to help children remember spelling words - based on brain research, this blog post shares seven strategies to help those kiddos who struggle to remember spelling!
5. Color code! Brains really connect to colors! Have the children write the words using one color for vowels, and one color for consonants.

Seven Strategies to help children remember spelling words - based on brain research, this blog post shares seven strategies to help those kiddos who struggle to remember spelling!
6. Hands on! Use blocks, toothpicks, pipe cleaners or other manipulatives to create the words.

Seven Strategies to help children remember spelling words - based on brain research, this blog post shares seven strategies to help those kiddos who struggle to remember spelling!
7. Get social! Get the kiddos to have conversations about their words. They can talk about the letters that follow the rules, and the letters that DON'T follow the rules. (Add color coding to this one, and that doubles the chance they'll remember the spelling!)

Want more ideas?  


Seven Strategies to help children remember spelling words - based on brain research, this blog post shares seven strategies to help those kiddos who struggle to remember spelling!

This is a set of task cards with 48 color and 48 black and white task cards that can be used with any spelling list!

These cards contain activities based on brain research that include integrating the arts, multi-modality, and multiple intelligences. This set of sight word practice task cards is perfect for a word work center, homework, or extra practice in any setting. 

For more information, see: Brain Friendly Spelling Task Cards.


https://www.teacherspayteachers.com/Product/Spelling-Fun-Task-Cards-Research-Based-Sight-Word-Practice-Fun-for-ANY-Words-2821443?utm_source=blog%20post%20seven%20spelling%20strategies&utm_campaign=Spelling%20Fun%20Research%20Based

In case you want to see how these Spelling Task Cards work, here's a sample freebie: Spelling Fun Task Cards Sampler

 
Seven Strategies to help children remember spelling words - based on brain research, this blog post shares seven strategies to help those kiddos who struggle to remember spelling! 
 

How do you help children remember Spelling words?


Seven Strategies to help children remember spelling words - based on brain research, this blog post shares seven strategies to help those kiddos who struggle to remember spelling!


Even or Odd? A Game for Two Students

I played a game with my students this week, since we were studying even and odd numbers. 


I remember doing this activity as a child.
I don't remember what we called it.

I don't remember much about it at all, so I shared with my students what I remembered, and made up the rest.
 
Even or Odd: A Game for two students.  This game requires nothing but fingers, but it's a great way to practice even and odd numbers.
 

It worked.

Here's how we did it.


1 .Children chose partners.
2. The partners decided who would represent even, and who would represent odd.
3. Players stood facing each other with one hand behind their back.
4. One partner said, "One, two, three, shoot!"
5. On "shoot," each player shoots out 0, 1, or 2 fingers. 
6. Both players determine if the total fingers is even or odd, and that player gets a point for that round.
7. Play continues until time runs out, with players keeping track of how many points for "even" or "odd."
A more advanced version: use up to 5 fingers for each draw.
Another way: use dice, add them, odd or even gets a point. They can keep tallies on a whiteboard to keep score.  Playing cards would work, too!

All my games end with a handshake and the words, "good game!"


I had all my students playing with partners at the same time. Of course, I had to join in the fun since I have an odd number of students. We now play this game often as part of our Morning Meeting or as a Math warm up!

Even or Odd: A Game for two students.  This game requires nothing but fingers, but it's a great way to practice even and odd numbers.

The Importance of Read Alouds!

I am committed to reading aloud to my students daily. 

 
The Importance of Read Alouds: Reading aloud has many benefits. Here are 15!
 

Not only is it my very favorite time of day, but there are so many benefits of reading aloud to kids.

Here are some advantages of reading aloud to children:


1. It's a shared literacy experience within the classroom community.
2. It's a great way to model important reading concepts like understanding characters, using inference skills, predicting, and more!
3. It's a great way to model phrasing and fluent reading.
4. Read Alouds are like an advertisement for books! Ever notice how the kids want to read a book right after you read it to them? Or perhaps another book in the series?
5. Read Alouds develop a child's vocabulary.
6. Shared books are a great way to model writing skills!
7. Shared books are a great way to spark discussion about sensitive subjects.
8. Children learn language patterns and figurative language through Read Alouds.
9. When you have multiple reading levels in your classroom (which most of us do!) it "evens the playing field."
10. Reading aloud helps build attention spans.
11. It's a chance to "think aloud" to model decoding new words using context clues.
12. It's a great opportunity to bring literature into other subjects like Science, Social Studies, Mathematics, and even Music, Art, and Phys. Ed!
13. Reading aloud encourages thinking and using imagination.
14. Reading aloud helps children learn about the world. Not just their own world, but other places, cultures, time periods, and even fictional worlds.
15. It's fun!

Looking to get families involved? Enjoy this freebie!


https://www.teacherspayteachers.com/Product/Tips-for-Helping-Children-at-Home-With-Literacy-Skills-Parent-Communication-5851913?utm_source=blog%20post%20on%20read%20alouds&utm_campaign=Tips%20for%20Reading%20With%20Children

Want some more reasons to Read Aloud to students?  Here are a few references! (Click each image for a link to Amazon.)

             

What books do you like to read aloud to children?

What other advantages to reading aloud can you name?

 
The Importance of Read Alouds: Reading aloud has many benefits. Here are 15!

 

Pass the Clap - A Fun Game!


A couple of years ago, I learned a fun circle game called "Pass the Clap". My kiddos really love it, and it's got many benefits!
Pass the Clap - A Fun Game for all ages! This is a great game for team building. with many benefits in the classroom, and plenty of giggles, too!
 
1. It's a nice break from the regular routine.
2. It helps the children learn to work together.
3. It forces them to focus and concentrate on each other, and the game.
4. It's been known to create giggling children. 
5. It works well with all ages, preschool through adult!

If you don't believe #4 is a benefit, you'll have to read THIS post about how laughter is healthy!

So here's how to play:

To pass the clap, you must make eye contact with the "clap receiver", then clap.
That person passes the clap to the next person, and so on. 

There are a few varieties. We start simple.

1. Pass the clap, one by one, all the way around the circle.
2. Pass it around the circle, then reverse and bring the clap back to the starting point.

My students like to time how fast it takes for the clap to get around the circle. Then we time it again and see if we beat our previous time. (Which usually brings a celebration!)

A couple more variations:

3. Anyone can change the direction! This certainly livens things up!
4. The clap can be passed across the circle.

This last variation really requires focus and concentration, and plenty of team work! The children do rise for the occasion, and it's totally amazing!

If you like this team building game, try some of these: 60 Team Building Games and Activities.

Pass the Clap - A Fun Game! This is a game with many benefits in the classroom, and plenty of giggles, too!




Building Social Skills and Academics with Morning Meeting!

I am so thrilled with my schedule this year! Last year my students had RTI first thing in the morning, so I was never able to spend mornings with them. They came in, dropped off their stuff, and ran off to their Tier 2 assigned groups. This made it tough to build relationships with my students, and build community within my group.
 
Build Social Skills and Academics with Morning Meeting: morning meetings have numerous benefits for children and classrooms, including building social skills, emotional skills, community, focus, and productivity.
 

This year, the children stay in the classroom in the morning, and we are encouraged to start our day with Morning Meeting!

Most typical Morning Meetings have these parts:


1. Greeting
2. Sharing
3. Group Activity
4. Morning Message

There are many ways to do each part, and hundreds of references for ideas, but here are a couple: 

     

Why do Morning Meeting?


Morning Meeting helps build social and emotional skills. It builds community and helps children learn to work as a team. It helps children develop a positive tone to their day, and affects their focus and productivity for the rest of the school day. Morning Meeting helps establish a climate of trust and motivates students to feel significant. It builds relationships with classmates and teachers.

Looking for some ideas for the group activity? Try these:60 Team Building Games and Activities for Classrooms.

I did Morning Meetings ages ago (I'd estimate 20+ years!) but I haven't been able to do it recently, so it's like starting over. I'd love to hear what other teachers do during their morning meetings!


Build Social Skills and Academics with Morning Meeting: morning meetings have numerous benefits for children and classrooms, including building social skills, emotional skills, community, focus, and productivity.

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