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5 Resources for Earth Day

My Earth is pretty important to me! 

It's my home, and it's the home for my kids (both biological and students) and their children. If we make the effort, we can make our Earth and its resources last!
 
5 Resources for Earth Day - books, videos, freebies and resources to celebrate Earth Day in the primary classroom.

I plan to make the whole week all about protecting our Earth and its resources.  Here are some of my plans:

1.  Literature! I always use plenty of literature whenever I teach a concept.  Here are some great books that tell what happens if we don't take care of our Earth: (Click image for a link to Amazon for more information about these books.)
     

Here are some more books to bring Earth Day awareness:
 
         

2. Resources! Here's what I'll be using next week to tie Earth Day into reading, writing and math in my second grade classroom: Earth Day No Prep

5 Resources for Earth Day - books, videos, and resources to celebrate Earth Day in the primary classroom.


These Earth Day Math Story Problems are a favorite! 

5 Resources for Earth Day - books, videos, and resources to celebrate Earth Day in the primary classroom.
 
The above resources as well as a few others are included in this bundle at a HUGE discount!  Earth Day Collection

5 Resources for Earth Day - books, videos, and resources to celebrate Earth Day in the primary classroom.


3. Videos!  Speaking of Youtube, there is a wealth of information out there, and some of it is pretty good!  Here are a few I've found that are great for Earth Day:







4. Be a Role Model! If you want the kids to do what they can to protect our Earth, you need to show them how! Let them see you reduce, reuse, and recycle! I always warn my students not to use more than their share of paper, not to waste materials, and not to let the water run. They see me being careful about using paper. I even print on both sides whenever I can! If a paper has print on one side, I save it and put it upside down in my printer to use again. We have a recycling box in our class for paper, and save paper scraps, especially construction paper that can be used again on other projects! I also make a point to mention when I see a child being conservative with materials.

5. Dollar Deals! Here are a couple more Earth Day bargains!

Here's a Dollar Deal for students to write about their Earth Day plans: EarthDay Writing Paper

5 Resources for Earth Day - books, videos, and resources to celebrate Earth Day in the primary classroom.
 
This Dollar Deal is a song to the tune of Take Me Out to the Ballgame! Reduce, Reuse, and Recycle
 
5 Resources for Earth Day - books, videos, and resources to celebrate Earth Day in the primary classroom.

Can you tell Earth Day is important to me? 

Happy Earth Week!


5 Resources for Earth Day - books, videos, freebies and resources to celebrate Earth Day in the primary classroom.



Signs of Spring Resources

It has been one long cold winter here in New Hampshire!

From what I understand, it's been a long cold winter all over the US!
Signs of Spring Resources - Are you and your students ready for spring? Here are several ideas and resources to make sure that fun learning is happening!

Spring in New England shows up in mid-April, but as I was driving to my hair appointment this morning, I saw a couple of signs of Spring!

I saw buckets on maple trees!
 
Signs of Spring Resources - Are you and your students ready for spring? Here are several ideas and resources to make sure that fun learning is happening!
I know Vermont is the big state for maple syrup, but we do it here in New Hampshire, too! The maple syrup tapping is actually late this year, because the weather's been so cold. They need cold nights and warm days for the sap to flow. We've had plenty of cold nights, but today, we had a warm day. The temp actually went up to 50! I actually took my coat off in the car, and didn't even button it when I was outside! It was fabulous!

Here's the other sign of spring I saw... 
a little something green:
Signs of Spring Resources - Are you and your students ready for spring? Here are several ideas and resources to make sure that fun learning is happening!

Yep, McDonald's Shamrock Shakes are definitely a sign that spring is coming!

I have a few things about spring up my sleeve. I always make sure I have plenty of books about the subject.  Here are a few of my favorites:


I always make sure I read a few to the kids, but I also make sure I've got them in the book tubs so the kiddos will explore them.

I think videos are great to help the children understand concepts, especially things like how seasons work.  Here are a couple I've found!
 
What Causes Earth's Seasons: (10:48 min)

How Seasons Work (58 seconds)
 

How Equinox's Work: Beyond Our Earth (2:24 minutes)

Try them all and see which one you like best!

As most teachers know, squeezing in science and social studies topics is tough, since most of our time is dedicated to reading, writing, and math! In my attempt to keep some of the fun stuff in the classroom, I've included signs of spring in with important literacy and math concepts in this set of No Prep Printables: Signs of Spring Printables: Literacy and Math. I've got some math story problems, popular fact games, word work, writing, and comprehension work, all somehow connected to Signs of Spring. 

Explore this image for a link to this time saving resource.

Spring is a great time to teach about life cycles! Here's a bundle of crafts and activities for the life cycles of 9 different plants and animals, at a huge discount! Spring Life Cycle Bundle

Explore this image for a link to this money and time saving resource.


Here are some other games and activities with a spring theme:

Some of my students are struggling to remember the +9 and -9 Facts, so I made this game to make practicing fun: Adding and Subtracting Nines: Spring Flower Theme

Explore this image for a link to this helpful resource.


My kids are working on using mental math for adding and subtracting. This game board has a set of cards for addition mental math, and a set of cards for subtraction mental math. Plus, it's got built-in brain breaks! It's a favorite in my classroom: Mental Math Addition and Subtraction: Spring Board Game.
Explore this image for a link to this popular resource.

Finally, this is a collection of 6 different games that are related to spring. It has word work, grammar, and plenty of math games, all made for second graders, but are also appropriate for high firsts or review for third graders. See the image to take a closer look at Literacy and Math Games Spring Bundle.


Happy Spring!

Signs of Spring Resources - Are you and your students ready for spring? Here are several ideas and resources to make sure that fun learning is happening!

The Importance of Failure

Today's post is something to think about. 


It's not a cute strategy or a brilliant organizational idea. 
It's just a little something teachers and parents need to think about.
The Importance of Failure - It's a sticky subject, but failure is an important part of learning. See why!
 
Yes, that says failure, and it's an important part of learning!

Sometimes children just need to go beyond their comfort zone.
 
Sometimes, it's important for children to fail.

I know what you're thinking...


Isn't it easier to help them along, so they can succeed?
 
What about their self-esteem? They'll have loads of failures through life, just like we have: disappointing grades, failed friendships, sports disappointments, college rejections, career failures, and the dreaded failed romance. People that they have loved will die. 
 
 Experiencing failure actually helps the children develop coping skills, resilience, and even creative thinking! 
 
By learning from their mistakes, they actually build self-esteem! Knowing how to cope with little failures will help them cope with the bigger failures that come later in life.

I have a little story from my parenting experience that I share with the parents of my students:

When my daughter was little, I took her ice skating. I'd always loved ice skating, so I'd hoped she'd be successful. She and I stepped out onto the ice holding hands, and we started to skate! She was doing great. There were a couple of times she started to lose her balance, but I was right there to help her, and she got back to skating right away.


After a while, I'll bet you can guess what happened... she stopped trying to stay up on her own.

Then I realized what I needed to do... I needed to let her fall. I let go of her hand and let her go on her own. (It wasn't easy to let go, but I knew it was necessary!)

She fell a few times. She was fine, of course, but that was when she really figured it all out. She started skating, and I learned a valuable lesson.

Kids need failure in order to learn. 


She never would have learned to skate if I kept catching her every time she fell.

Sometimes it's easier on us to do things for our children, like tie their shoes, pack their bags, or make their lunches. But just remember:
The Importance of Failure - It's a sticky subject, but failure is an important part of learning. See why!
 
There are many famous people who have experienced various degrees of failure. Here are some people who brushed it off, then had great success: J.K. Rowling, Thomas Edison, Michael Jordan, Albert Einstein, Mozart, and Walt Disney.

The Importance of Failure - It's a sticky subject, but failure is an important part of learning. See why!


It's not so easy for us, but it's also not easy for the kids. Do you have children in your classroom who are afraid to answer questions because they fear being wrong?

Do you have children who are afraid to complete work because they're not sure they'll get the right answer?

Do you have students who cheat when they play games because they're afraid of losing?

We need to get these kids past that fear of failure!

The Importance of Failure - It's a sticky subject, but failure is an important part of learning. See why!

How can we do that?

1. by making them feel safe.
2. by making them feel confident.
3. by praising their efforts.
4. by continuing to encourage them.
5. by being a role model: let them see you make mistakes and model appropriate ways to cope with failure.

The Importance of Failure - It's a sticky subject, but failure is an important part of learning. See why!

Yes, praise their efforts. I often thank my students for making mistakes.

It might sound like this: "Thanks for pointing that out. You just made us all smarter!"

One last story about my daughter:

She's a perfectionist, and takes pride in her good grades. When she was in 8th grade, she got a C in Algebra. My comment? "Good! Now you know you won't die."

Seriously, it relieved a lot of stress for her. And she turned out to be fine. Plus, it motivated her to work harder in Algebra, and she ended up on the Math Honor Society in High School!

There are loads of studies on the benefits of failure, and how it can be successful. 
 
Give it a google!

I have this poster hanging in my classroom. I refer to it often.

The Importance of Failure - It's a sticky subject, but failure is an important part of learning. See why!

If you look back on your life, can you think of a time when a failure motivated you?

Don't our children deserve that?

The Importance of Failure - It's a sticky subject, but failure is an important part of learning. See why!

A Fun Way to Review Basic Information

If you're not familiar with the game of Scoot, it's time you learned! It can be played with any type of task card that would have a quick answer,  

(There are other awesome types of task cards for skills that require more time and thinking, but that's not what Scoot is about!)  


A Fun Way to Review Basic Information: This is a great end-of-the-year, beginning of the year, or anytime game, with suggestions on how to use it.


Brain research suggests that including movement will help the brain function more efficiently. Scoot has the children moving from place to place, which not only gets the brain going, but it makes the whole thing more fun for the kids! Individual cards are placed throughout the classroom, and the children move from spot to spot, performing the task, recording the answer on their answer sheet, then moving onto the next card in the next part of the room when the teacher calls "Scoot"! After much scooting, the children return to their starting spot.

For more about how Scoot works, see THIS BLOG POST.


I've used these with small groups and large groups. Sometimes you can take a few cards, have a handful of kids scoot through those, and save the rest of the cards in the series for another day.

The kids love Scoot! It's a great way to add fun to a review that can be rather mundane, like parts of speech or vowel sounds.  Yet, these things need to be practiced so these skills are strengthened.

A couple of years ago, I spent some time making several sets of Task Cards that are perfect for Scoot playing. I've spent the last couple of days updating these sets.

Social Studies Review: Scoot or Task Cards is a collection of questions on mapping and general Social Studies knowledge.  It can be played as a Scoot game, or just individual task cards. I made it to review end-of-the-year second-grade skills, but have heard that it's great review for older children as well!  See the image below to download this freebie.
A Fun Way to Review Basic Information: This is a great end-of-the-year, beginning of the year, or anytime game, with suggestions on how to use it.

Another product in this series, Vocabulary Review: Scoot or Task Cards gives the children vocabulary practice and review with prefixes, suffixes, antonyms and synonyms. (See image for link.)

A Fun Way to Review Basic Information: This is a great end-of-the-year, beginning of the year, or anytime game, with suggestions on how to use it.


Mathematics Review: Scoot orTask Cards reviews time, money, place value, measurement, story problems and fact families. (See image for link.)
A Fun Way to Review Basic Information: This is a great end-of-the-year, beginning of the year, or anytime game, with suggestions on how to use it.

Language Review: Scoot or Task Cards practices parts of speech:  nouns, proper nouns, verbs, adjectives, and adverbs. (See image for link.)

A Fun Way to Review Basic Information: This is a great end-of-the-year, beginning of the year, or anytime game, with suggestions on how to use it.


Phonics Review: Scoot or Task Cards practice vowel sounds: short vowels, long vowels, r-controlled vowels, and vowel teams. (See image for link.)

A Fun Way to Review Basic Information: This is a great end-of-the-year, beginning of the year, or anytime game, with suggestions on how to use it.

Science Review: Scoot or Task Cards reviews all sorts of beginning science concepts: five senses, basic biology, chemistry, astronomy, plants, and weather.

A Fun Way to Review Basic Information: This is a great end-of-the-year, beginning of the year, or anytime game, with suggestions on how to use it.

Plus, I have a set that bundles all 6 sets!  Combined Review- Word Work, Math, Science and Social Studies: Scoot or Task Cards gives you weeks worth of review activities for all subjects! This is a fun way to spend those last few weeks when the children just can't sit still and have lost their attention spans, or a great way to start the year, making sure they have the background knowledge they need.
A Fun Way to Review Basic Information: This is a great end-of-the-year, beginning of the year, or anytime game, with suggestions on how to use it.


But there's even more good news: All these items are available digitally with Boom Learning!

A Fun Way to Review Basic Information: This is a great end-of-the-year, beginning of the year, or anytime game, with suggestions on how to use it.

 These are perfect for end-of-the-year review, summer practice, or back-to-school reviewing basic concepts. They're appropriate for grades 2, 3, or 4!


A Fun Way to Review Basic Information: This is a great end-of-the-year, beginning of the year, or anytime game, with suggestions on how to use it.

The Scoreboard!


Where would I be without my scoreboard?  

 

If you're familiar with Whole Brain Teaching, you know exactly what the scoreboard is, and why it is so important!  Although I certainly have a lot to learn about Whole Brain Teaching, I've been using the scoreboard for a few years now, and know I couldn't survive without it!

Lately, my students have been rather rambunctious.  Between snow days and early dismissals, and Invention Convention, and just being totally due for vacation (starts this Friday), these little guys are really struggling to stay focused and get anything done at all. 

How do I keep them going?  The scoreboard!
 
The Scoreboard! Thanks to Whole Brain Teaching, I have found the perfect tool for classroom management. It's a win-win!

Here's how it works. If the children do something that makes the teacher happy, the teacher puts a tally on the happy side. If the children do something that make the teacher sad, a tally goes on the sad side. This is all "whole group" behavior. (Individual issues are on the classroom clip chart.) If the children are engaged during a lesson, they get a happy tally. If the noise level is too much, a sad tally. If I see cooperation, a happy tally. If I see fooling around during work time, a sad tally.

Interesting, when the kids are as antsy as they've been this week, that's when the scoreboard is busiest! As I write each tally, I tell what they did to earn it, and the children do a celebratory "one second party" or a disappointed "mighty groan".

Of course, all those tallies need to add up to something! Well, each day that "happy" beats "sad", I add 5 minutes. After they've earned enough time, they can spend those minutes on an activity of their choice. They might work for painting time:

The Scoreboard! Thanks to Whole Brain Teaching, I have found the perfect tool for classroom management. It's a win-win!
 
Block time:

The Scoreboard! Thanks to Whole Brain Teaching, I have found the perfect tool for classroom management. It's a win-win!

or perhaps a seasonal craft!

The Scoreboard! Thanks to Whole Brain Teaching, I have found the perfect tool for classroom management. It's a win-win!

To learn more about the scoreboard and Whole Brain Learning, click HERE. You can also click the image below to find out more about their book! 



For the upcoming Invention Convention, one of my students is creating a scoreboard that teachers won't keep leaving on the opposite side of the classroom, that we'll be able to attach to our waists!

Don't you love kids?
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