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Looking at November

I'm looking at the calendar, and I just can't believe we're approaching November already!

 
There's a lot going on in November, but no need to fear, I've got your teaching needs covered!
 
November Resources: Suggestions and resources for Election Day, Veterans Day, and Thanksgiving Day, including 5 freebies!

Here are a couple of resources to start off November:
 
https://www.teacherspayteachers.com/Product/November-Morning-Meeting-Greeting-Activities-4111596?utm_source=blog%20post&utm_campaign=Nov%20calendar%20questions
 

https://www.teacherspayteachers.com/Product/Parent-Communication-Brochure-November-Edition-4113299?utm_source=November%20blog%20post&utm_campaign=November%20brochures

Here is one of my favorite November resources: Science and Social Studies Activities for November!
 
https://www.teacherspayteachers.com/Product/November-Science-and-Social-Studies-Activities-2182527?utm_source=blog%20post&utm_campaign=nov%20s%20and%20ss

Don't forget Election Day!

I'm sure I'll be having the kiddos vote for something, but they won't be voting for president... far too controversial! This one's a freebie! Election Day Graphing Option for Little Kids
 
November Resources: Suggestions and resources for Election Day, Veterans Day, and Thanksgiving Day, including 5 freebies!

  Veteran's Day is November 11th! 

Here's a fun activity to help the children understand what a Veteran really is! This will spark some great conversations! See the image for the link! Veterans True or False
 
November Resources: Suggestions and resources for Election Day, Veterans Day, and Thanksgiving Day, including 5 freebies!


Once they figure out what Veterans are, they can write thank you notes to Veterans using this freebie! See the image for the link. Thank You Veterans!
 
November Resources: Suggestions and resources for Election Day, Veterans Day, and Thanksgiving Day, including 5 freebies!

Since Election Day and Veterans Day are both Patriotic holidays, enjoy these Patriotic Brain Breaks! See the image for the link to this freebie! Patriotic Brain Breaks
 
November Resources: Suggestions and resources for Election Day, Veterans Day, and Thanksgiving Day, including 5 freebies!

Of course, everyone's favorite November holiday is Thanksgiving! Check out these Printables!
 
November Resources: Suggestions and resources for Election Day, Veterans Day, and Thanksgiving Day, including 5 freebies!


Here's a math game to practice +9s! Turkey Nines  (Oh my goodness, they LOVE this game! It works like "Old Maid")
November Resources: Suggestions and resources for Election Day, Veterans Day, and Thanksgiving Day, including 5 freebies!

And guess what... there's a freebie version!  Turkey Nines Freebie!
 
November Resources: Suggestions and resources for Election Day, Veterans Day, and Thanksgiving Day, including 5 freebies!


Just one more: The Thanksgiving Story: an informational text for children to illustrate. This has a primary level recount of the Pilgrims from all those years ago. The children can visualize the story, then draw their images. See the image for the link! 

 
November Resources: Suggestions and resources for Election Day, Veterans Day, and Thanksgiving Day, including 5 freebies!

I hope you find something your students will love for the month of November!


November Resources: Suggestions and resources for Election Day, Veterans Day, and Thanksgiving Day, including 5 freebies!


Five Reasons NOT to Reward Students

Many teachers love to reward their students for doing a good job on their classwork. 
 
Five Reasons NOT to Reward Students - Rewarding students MAY do more harm than good. Here are some reasons.
 


I have mixed feelings about this, and here are some reason why.



Rewards can make behavior and work habits worse in the long run. Simple rewards can certainly motivate children to work harder, but once the reward is gone, the motivation stops. Behaviors and work habits go downhill fast once the children have been rewarded. "Why should I read if I'm not earning a prize?"



Rewards cost money. Teachers don't have a lot of money. 



Rewards give the wrong impression. Good behavior is what's expected. Giving rewards makes good behavior an extra effort worth of a prize. It's almost like turning good behavior into a job, with a paycheck as the prize. 



Rewards lead to entitlement. Children develop a sense of entitlement for simply doing what is expected. Unfortunately, this leads to adults who feel entitled simply for showing up at work. 


Learning is its own reward. Students need to be developing a sense of pride in what they do. That is the true reward! Feeling good about working hard for something is a wonderful feeling! Taking pride in a project done well, or a successful test is a prize within itself. 

Despite all these reasons, I won't say that rewards should never be used. There are some children that need that extra motivation in order to be successful. Some children have behavioral challenges or educational challenges that make school very hard. In these cases, rewards should be used carefully.

Five Reasons NOT to Reward Students - Rewarding students MAY do more harm than good. Here are some reasons.

The Lucky One!

Have you ever had to have one or two items that were slightly different from the others, and were concerned the children might feel "cheated" if their item was different?
 
The Lucky One: This is a little trick I learned from the cafeteria ladies in my school. Different is lucky!
 

Here's a little trick I found from the cafeteria workers at my school. There was one tray that was slightly different from the others. Rather than letting the kids feel left out when they got that tray, the "different" tray became known as the LUCKY tray!

Here are my math counters for Monday. I was short one ziplock and had to use a "regular" ziplock bag. Which set would be the "special" one?
 
The Lucky One: This is a little trick I learned from the cafeteria ladies in my school. Different is lucky!

It's all a matter of attitude, isn't it?


Just be careful. When our math program didn't send enough work books, I had to run off one extra copy until the new workbook arrived. They didn't consider the one black and white page the "lucky" one, when all the other copies were colorful!
 
The Lucky One: This is a little trick I learned from the cafeteria ladies in my school. Different is lucky!



October Resources

It feels like we just started school, and already we're looking at October in the not-so-far distance. 


October Resources: Here are several resources, including a few freebies to help your students learn with seasonal fun! (Fire Safety week, football, and Columbus Day!)

October brings fall, Fire Safety Week, football, Columbus Day, and, of course, Halloween!

Brain research tells us if the children can make a connection with their learning, then learning will happen. I find most children can easily make a connection with special days and sports, which makes them more enthusiastic about learning! In face, I'm banking on their enthusiasm, and have plenty of resources to celebrate learning and building skills, in a fun way!


Teachers can project these questions as the children arrive in the morning in order to get them thinking about the day. These also can be used for daily writing prompts.

https://www.teacherspayteachers.com/Product/October-Morning-Meeting-Greeting-Activities-hellofall-4034538?utm_source=October%20Resources%20post&utm_campaign=October%20Calendar%20Questions

Here's a little something to maintain positive communication with parents: October Parent Communication Brochure

https://www.teacherspayteachers.com/Product/Parent-Communication-Brochure-October-Edition-4036607?utm_source=october%20resources%20post&utm_campaign=October%20Brochure

In an attempt to "fit in" more Science and Social Studies concepts, I've looked over my grade level College and Career Ready Science and Social Studies Standards, and found ways to squeeze these concepts into my day. Most of the work is done, all you have to do is print and go! I even have a S.T.E.M. activity with an October theme! Check out this resource here: Science and Social Studies Activities for October.

https://www.teacherspayteachers.com/Product/October-Science-and-Social-Studies-Activities-2094195?utm_source=october%20resources%20post&utm_campaign=October%20S%20and%20SS




Check out this freebie sample here: Bats Informational Mini-Book
https://www.teacherspayteachers.com/Product/Bats-Informational-Text-Mini-book-2092614?utm_source=october%20resources%20post&utm_campaign=Bats%20Mini%20book

Here's a freebie to get the kiddos thinking about Fire Safety: Fire Safety What If task cards.

https://www.teacherspayteachers.com/Product/Fire-Safety-What-ifs-159688?utm_source=October%20Blog%20Post&utm_campaign=Fire%20What%20Ifs



Here's a Columbus Day Informational booklet:  I realize the whole Columbus thing is quite controversial, with good reason! I left my opinion out, and kept just the facts. Feel free to include your opinion when you present it.  :)

https://www.teacherspayteachers.com/Product/Christopher-Columbus-Informational-Text-for-Visualization-and-Illustration-159469?utm_source=october%20resources%20post&utm_campaign=Columbus%20book%20for%20illustrating


Here's one to get them thinking and practicing reading skills: Christopher Columbus- Common Sense for Active Learners

https://www.teacherspayteachers.com/Product/Christopher-Columbus-Common-Sense-for-Active-Learners-3398400?utm_source=october%20resources%20post&utm_campaign=Columbus%20for%20Active%20Learners

It's fall in New England! There are so many beautiful changes here that make it one of my favorite seasons:  warm days, crisp nights, football, and the beautiful fall colors on the trees.  To make your life (and mine) easier, I've combined important concepts with fall ideas in these Fall No Prep Activities!

https://www.teacherspayteachers.com/Product/Fall-No-Prep-Math-and-Literacy-Activities-for-Second-Grade-1446400?utm_source=october%20resources%20post&utm_campaign=Fall%20no%20prep


One of the best parts about Fall in New England?  Football! I've got plenty of Football Resources! Just click the images for each link!

 https://www.teacherspayteachers.com/Product/Football-Phonics-and-Counting-326949?utm_source=october%20resources%20post&utm_campaign=football%20games
Here's a freebie from the set above: 

https://www.teacherspayteachers.com/Product/Counting-to-1000-Football-Freebie-199093?utm_source=october%20resources%20post&utm_campaign=football%20freebie
 



https://www.teacherspayteachers.com/Product/Adding-and-Subtracting-Ten-Football-Themed-BINGO-Game-301248?utm_source=october%20resources%20post&utm_campaign=Touchdown%20add%20and%20subtract


https://www.teacherspayteachers.com/Product/R-Controlled-Vowels-Football-Themed-BINGO-Game-295619?utm_source=october%20resources%20post&utm_campaign=Touchdown%20r%20controlled

And, of course, there's a Football bundle, combining all the resources above!!

https://www.teacherspayteachers.com/Product/Football-Learning-Fun-Bundle-4322284?utm_source=October%20Blog%20Post&utm_campaign=Football%20bundle

If you're really looking to make your life easier, at a huge discount, check out this October Bundle!

https://www.teacherspayteachers.com/Product/October-Morning-Meeting-Greeting-Activities-hellofall-4034538?utm_source=October%20resources%20post&utm_campaign=October%20bundle

Enjoy these October Resources!


October Resources: Here are several resources, including a few freebies to help your students learn with seasonal fun! (Fire Safety week, football, and Columbus Day!)



My Secret Ingredient to Open House Success

I've been through lots of Open Houses.  The purpose of the Open House is usually to let parents know what's going on in school. There are loads of blog posts about setting up your classroom, scavenger hunts, parent stations, brochures, and presentations.
 
My Secret Ingredient for a Successful Open House: There are plenty of great Open House ideas out there, but this one will have everyone feeling great!
 
I do all those things, leave plenty of things for parents to take with them and get to know my classroom and my procedures.
 
But I do something else that seems to be an added extra that makes a difference: 

I play happy music!


You know, that kind of music that just makes people feel good. 

I got this idea years ago when I went to an all day conference, and was walking into my "mid afternoon" seminar with dread: it's a tough time of day, and I was feeling like I'd prefer to take a nap.

When I walked into the room, the presenter was playing "happy music". I don't remember the specific song, but I remember it made me feel like moving.

I immediately felt a smile on my face, and I looked around the room and everyone else was smiling and moving to the music. 

Research tells us music can affect our feelings. 
So I play "happy music" to help people feel good about my classroom.


THIS POST has a freebie list of song ideas to download!

It works!

What music makes you feel happy?


My Secret Ingredient for a Successful Open House: There are plenty of great Open House ideas out there, but this one will have everyone feeling great!

Ten Freebies for Back to School!

Yes, you read that right, that's a full ten back to school freebies!

 
 Ten Freebies for Back to School - These include parent communication, brain breaks, Science, Social Studies, literacy, and math freebies for second grade.

These are  some of the things that will help me through those first busy of weeks of school!


https://www.teacherspayteachers.com/Product/Literacy-Center-Organization-4715661?utm_source=Blog%20Post%20back%20to%20school%20freebies&utm_campaign=Literacy%20Center%20Cards 
Here's a freebie to help organize your literacy centers, including what the children do when they're not with you!


https://www.teacherspayteachers.com/Product/Research-Based-Sight-Word-Task-Cards-Freebie-4697727?utm_source=Blog%20Post%20back%20to%20school%20freebies&utm_campaign=Spelling%20Fun%20Freebie 
We all know those children who struggle to learn sight words. This Research Based Freebie will help!



https://www.teacherspayteachers.com/Product/Addition-and-Subtraction-Fact-Fluency-Freebie-940781?utm_source=Blog%20Post%20back%20to%20school%20freebies&utm_campaign=add%20and%20subtract%20fluency%20freebie 

This system has helped many children master their basic math facts. This freebie is the first of 8 research based, brain friendly levels toward math fact fluency.


https://www.teacherspayteachers.com/Product/Parent-Communication-Brochure-Back-to-School-OR-September-Edition-4009883?utm_source=Blog%20Post%20back%20to%20school%20freebies&utm_campaign=Parent%20Communication%20freebie 
 
Here's a great way to keep communication open with parents, and give them some information that will help their children be successful!



https://www.teacherspayteachers.com/Product/Fact-Fluency-System-Level-One-X1-Fact-Families-4407806?utm_source=Blog%20Post%20back%20to%20school%20freebies&utm_campaign=Mult%20and%20Div%20Fluency%20Freebie#show-price-update 
Have your students mastered addition and subtraction facts? Move them on to multiplication and division! As with the addition and subtraction facts above, these are research based and brain friendly. This freebie is the first of 8 levels toward multiplication and division fact fluency!
 


https://www.teacherspayteachers.com/Product/August-and-September-Science-and-Social-Studies-Freebie-1977769?utm_source=Blog%20Post%20back%20to%20school%20freebies&utm_campaign=S%20and%20SS%20august%20freebie
This freebie is a great way to start the year in Science and Social Studies.
 

https://www.teacherspayteachers.com/Product/6-Team-Building-Games-and-Activies-3873797?utm_source=Blog%20Post%20back%20to%20school%20freebies&utm_campaign=Team%20Building%20Freebie 
Looking for some fun ways to get the children comfortable with each other and learn to work together? These Team Building Games are very popular!



https://www.teacherspayteachers.com/Product/Dolch-Warm-Up-Phrases-Pre-primer-level-264900?utm_source=Blog%20Post%20back%20to%20school%20freebies&utm_campaign=Dolch%20Freebie 
 
I use these phrases to help the kiddos warm up for reading groups. These help build fluency!
 

https://www.teacherspayteachers.com/Product/Dolch-Warm-Up-Phrases-Pre-primer-level-264900?utm_source=Blog%20Post%20back%20to%20school%20freebies&utm_campaign=Dolch%20Freebie 
Here's a fun way to get the kiddos thinking about their learning and how they can take charge of their learning.



https://www.teacherspayteachers.com/Product/Back-to-School-Brain-Breaks-Freebie-1343253?utm_source=Blog%20Post%20back%20to%20school%20freebies&utm_campaign=Back%20to%20School%20Brain%20Breaks



This one will help the kiddos get all those summertime wiggles out!


If you find these freebies useful, I'd love if you left some feedback!


I hope these freebies make your teaching life a bit easier!


Ten Freebies for Back to School - These include parent communication, brain breaks, Science, Social Studies, literacy, and math freebies for second grade.


My First Day of School Promise

Every year, I sit down with my brand new class and have a little chat about why we come to school. My second graders figure it out right away: we come to school to learn.
 
My First Day of School Promise: Ever since I can remember, I've made this promise to my students on the first day of school. It's a win-win!
 

That's when I make my yearly promise. 


I'm very dramatic when I make the promise. I include dramatic pauses, and I make the same gestures whenever I say it. 

I move my right hand outward as I say the first part, then I move my left hand outward as I say the second part. It goes like this:
My First Day of School Promise: Ever since I can remember, I've made this promise to my students on the first day of school. It's a win-win!

These phrases are used all year long, and I repeat the gestures each time. After a while, I don't even have to say the words, I just do the gestures, and the kiddos realize they need to put the effort into their learning.


Of course, I make a point to keep that promise!


My First Day of School Promise: Ever since I can remember, I've made this promise to my students on the first day of school. It's a win-win!


Science and Engineering Practices

After spending time studying the Next Generation Science Standards, I wanted to share the Science and Engineering Practices.
 
Science and Engineering Practices: These are part of the Next Generation Science Standards (NGSS). This post explains what they are and how we can interpret them in relation to STEM.
 
After several years with Common Core, I'm sure you'll remember the Standards of Mathematics Practices. If you recall, these practices apply to all grade levels, and all math learning. 

The Science and Engineering Practices are straight from the Next Generation Science Standards. The whole appendix dedicated to these practices can be found HERE. As with the math practices, these Science and Engineering Practices apply to all grade levels. Here they are:
Science and Engineering Practices from the Next Generation Science Standards (NGSS).

HERE's a nice article I found that discusses each of these practices from the science and engineering point of view, for the different levels from Kindergarten to Grade Twelve. 

As I discussed these practices with my STEM Innovation Network, we came to the same conclusion: 

These aren't just Science and Engineering Skills, they are LIFE Skills!


These are the skills we should be teaching our students.

Even if it's not on the test!

These practices can be embedded in many activities across the curriculum, can't they? 

As a second grade teacher, our priorities are building the foundation: teaching the important skills of reading, writing and math. (As they say: K-2 Learn to Read, Grades 3 and up, Read to Learn!)

Science and Engineering aren't a priority in the classroom yet, but it's a strong area of interest for the kids! These practices are something we should be sharing regularly when we can fit them into our day.

How do you embed these Science and Engineering Practices into your school day?  

Science and Engineering Practices: These are part of the Next Generation Science Standards (NGSS). This post explains what they are and how we can interpret them in relation to STEM.

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