Sunday, June 18, 2017

Food and Learning Activities for July 4th

Do you love the crafts, food, and reading that goes with July 4th?  Here's some great suggestions for getting your holiday started early!


Patriotic Books
These book suggestions by No Time for Flash Cards are perfect for:
  • Teaching the meaning of Independence Day
  • Teaching the meaning of 9/11
  • Learning about the 50 states
  • The National Anthem
  • Several of the book selections are A-Z, so it's a great opportunity to learn or review the alphabet
 



Patriotic Crafts
Art is a great way to sneak in education:
  • Talk about mixing primary colors to make secondary colors
  • If children are old enough, have them practice their scissor/cutting skills to prepare the toilet paper tubes
  • Talk about recycling the toilet paper tubes by first using them as a brush and then recycling the paper after the craft is finished

This Fireworks Painting activity by Happiness is Homemade is fun for all ages. 

 




Patriotic Food
There are several benefits to making food together:
  • It helps children become more interested in trying different foods when they are part of the preparation. 
  • It teaches counting when you read the recipe and count out the ingredients 
  • Children practice colors when they identify the different colors in the ingredients 

These Watermelon Blueberry Sparklers by Tastes Better From Scratch are super easy to make. 

 


Do you have any other favorites to add to the festivities?  I'd love to hear about them!


 

Sunday, June 11, 2017

Ways to Decrease Your Lesson Planning Time and a FREEBIE

Even seasoned teachers are constantly looking for ways to decrease their lesson planning time. Here are some ways you can do just that, regardless of how long you've been teaching.


How to decrease your lesson planning time.


1.  Start with the end in mind. 
Look at the state standards you'll be assessing.  See if you can find key words that repeat throughout the standards. Write these down. 


2.  Create your assessments based off of your key words and main concepts in your state standards. 
These assessments should include daily (formative) and final (summative) assessments.

3.  Use key words within the standards to see what chapters or pages in your textbook cover that information. 
Once you have your textbook pages selected, here are some general comprehension activities you can do with the information: BONUS: Many can be done during your Language Arts block:



How to decrease your lesson planning time.



How to decrease your lesson planning time. 



How to decrease your lesson planning time. 



3.  Use key words within the standards to do searches on the internet, Teachers pay Teachers, or Pinterest to find lessons or activities that teach those keyword concepts. 
One word of caution concerning internet browsing:  Don't start window shopping or you'll waste more time than if you created the lesson or activity from scratch. My advice is to set a timer. If you haven't found exactly what you're looking for in 15 minutes, you probably need to create the lesson or activities yourself. 

4.  Plan review activities to do before the final assessment for those students needing extra practice. 
Here are some of my favorites:

How to decrease your lesson planning time.






How to decrease your lesson planning time.



5.  Plan remediation activities for students who do not pass assessments. 

I often have students do test corrections using their textbook and notes. Sometimes I have them work in pairs or in a small group with me to make the corrections, depending on their level of independence. 


And that's it!  Once you have a your units put together with this basic format, you can easily add items each year to customize your lessons for individual students. 

Do you have any tips for making lesson planning quicker?  I'm always trying to streamline this part of my day. I'd love to hear your ideas!


 

Sunday, June 4, 2017

Teacher Self-Care Routines That Take Five Minutes or Less

We NEED to take care of ourselves, perhaps this time of year more than ever.  Here are some self-care practices that you can do almost anywhere with 5 minutes or less.


1. Diffuse a Calming/Motivating Blend of Essential Oils: Peppermint and Wild Orange




I love this little portable diffuser.  It has a USB cord and is small enough to fit in a cup holder in your car.  That means you can easily take it from your car to classroom.  Just a drop or two of oil, and this bad boy will diffuse for a few hours.  I love that it will not make the whole classroom smell of essential oil, just my desk area.

If you can't diffuse at work, put a couple of drops of essential oils in the palms of your hands, rub together, and inhale. 


2.  Drink more water!

A drop or two of lemon oil encourages me to drink more water and detoxes my system.





3.  Make yourself a cup of tea.

Magnesium tea is AMAZING, and super-easy to make.  The magnesium is the ingredient that makes it extra calming. Plus, it presents more ways to hydrate!




4.  Stretch at your desk. 

Even though most of us don't sit at our desk much st all, it is handy to help you stretch out those tired muscles. Bonus:  This routine can be done during state testing!


 

5. Listen to an audiobook on your way to school and home

6.  Write down at least one thing that went well each day and keep it to read when you need a reminder of how you are doing a great job and YOU MATTER!

7.  If you can, do a couple of laps around the hallways of your school at a brisk pace to get your blood flowing.  FEEL-GOOD BONUS:  Do this with a favorite teacher friend.

8. For days when all else fails, during your planning period:
~Shut the door, turn the overhead lights down, draw the shades, turn on soft lighting, play your favorite music or put an uplifting/funny YouTube video on in the background while you work.  I swear this one works!


Please help me add to my list of ways to stay happy and healthy. I'd love to hear how you de-stress!



Sunday, May 7, 2017

3 Kingdoms and 6 Domains Differentiated Foldable

Are you looking for an interactive, differentiated way to teach the 3 scientific domains and 6 kingdoms?  Then you need to read on to see how I make a taxonomic foldable for students' notebooks!

I created differentiated pages for students of various learning needs. The one shown below is the fill-in-the-blank version I distribute to most students.  
I differentiate in the following ways:
For students needing a challenge: I have them copy the notes by hand and/or give them copy of the foldable that doesn't have the kingdoms/domains written in.  They must use their resources to find the answers and fill in the blanks independently.  
For students needing extra assistance: I provide them with a completed copy (the answer key) to either copy the answers into the blanks, or to keep and highlight as we go over the answers as a class.


We start by folding a piece of paper in half vertically and hold-punching it (so it will go in our 3-ring binder).  The picture below shows how we cut, arrange, and glue the 3 domains information on the outside cover of the foldable.  


3 scientific domains and 6 kingdoms interactive notebook foldable.  Differentiated fill-in-the-blank.


After the domain pieces are in place, students use their textbooks or online resources to write the appropriate domain in the blanks


3 scientific domains and 6 kingdoms interactive notebook foldable.  Differentiated fill-in-the-blank.


Next, we work on the inside flaps.  
First, students glue the 6 kingdoms on the right.  Then, I have students rewrite the domains on the left and draw arrows from the domain to the kingdom under which it is classified.  


3 scientific domains and 6 kingdoms interactive notebook foldable.  Differentiated fill-in-the-blank.



Finally, students write the correct kingdoms in the blanks on the right side of the paper.


3 scientific domains and 6 kingdoms interactive notebook foldable.  Differentiated fill-in-the-blank.



This packet includes:
~Suggestions for how to use the foldable in differentiated instruction
~Step-by-Step directions for completing the foldable
~Pictures for completing each step of the foldable
~Answers written on the picture guide to serve as an answer key

If you'd like to pick up a copy, click here.

Do you teach classification?  Do you have any foldables or interactives you would recommend?  I'd love to hear about what you're using!



Sunday, April 30, 2017

Teacher Savior: A Rice Cooker

Would you like a quick, healthy meal to keep up your energy for this crazy time of year?  Then check out how I use a rice cooker to make a quinoa, veggies, and rice bowl!



Rice Cooker meals, healthy home-cooked meals, 5 ingredients or less, meals in less than 30 minutes.



Sometimes we get so focused on finding ways to be productive at work that we forget to try to find ways to be productive at home as well.  You've heard it before, "You can't pour from an empty cup".  So, make yourself a healthy, filling meal that will be ready in no time!


Makes 1 serving

Ingredients:
1 cup Quinoa
1 1/2 cups water
3/4 cup Shrimp (I used frozen)
2 cups Normandy-Style Veggies (broccoli, squash, carrots, cauliflower)
1/2-1 tablespoon Butter or Ghee
McCormick Perfect Pinch seasoning to taste


Directions:

1.  Put quinoa and water in bottom of rice cooker.
2. Put steamer basket above quinoa and water mixture.  Add veggies and shrimp.
3.  Use the "quick cook" setting on your rice cooker.  This should be done in approximately 20                minutes.
4.  When the cooker is done, put 1/2-1 cup of the quinoa with the veggies and shrimp in a bowl and stir in the Perfect Pinch and Ghee.



Presto!  You have a healthy meal + leftover quinoa for another time!



Do you use a rice cooker to make your meals?  I'd love to hear how!



Sunday, April 23, 2017

Addition, Subtraction, Multiplication, and Division Equality or Inequality Sort

Would you like to teach/review addition, subtraction, multiplication, and division equations?  How about differentiating between equalities and inequalities?  Then check out this post on my Addition, Subtraction, Multiplication, and Division Equality or Inequality Sort!


Addition, Subtraction, Multiplication, and Division Equality or Inequality Sort



Students first solve the equations, which helps them practice the basic functions (addition, subtraction, multiplication, and division).  They then decide whether the equation is equal on both sides of the equal sign or an inequality.


Addition, Subtraction, Multiplication, and Division Equality or Inequality Sort


Addition, Subtraction, Multiplication, and Division Equality or Inequality Sort


You can let the activity by self-checking by providing students with the answer key or reserve the answer key and make the activity a formal assessment.


Addition, Subtraction, Multiplication, and Division Equality or Inequality Sort


If you'd like to pick up this packet, click here.


How do you teach/review equations and basic algebra?  I'd love to hear your ideas!






Sunday, April 16, 2017

Plastic Eggs and STEAM

Do you have a ton of plastic eggs left over from Easter?  Would you like to put them to good educational use?  Then read this post about how I use them in STEAM activities!


Math & Science Activities

Activity 1:  Play-Doh and Egg Towers
Skills:  Angles, height, measurement
Believe it or not, there's so many different angles and ways to build an egg tower.  Challenge your students to build the highest tower and use a ruler or meter stick to measure and make it official.


Easter Plastic Egg STEAM activities.


Easter Plastic Egg STEAM activities.



Easter Plastic Egg STEAM activities.


Easter Plastic Egg STEAM activities.





Activity 2:  Half-Shell Egg Towers
Skills:  Measurement, stacking, balancing
It's more challenging than you might think to balance the half shells of the eggs!  Have students make the highest tower possible and measure with a ruler or meter stick to measure the height.


Easter Plastic Egg STEAM activities.




Easter Plastic Egg STEAM activities.




Art & Science Activities


Activity 1:  Drip Painting
Skills:  Gravity, color-mixing

This painting activity from Learn, Play, Imagine is inspiring!  You can talk about the reason the paint falls through the egg (gravity).  You can mix colors and talk about primary, secondary, and tertiary colors.


Easter Plastic Egg STEAM activities.


Activity 2: Stamping Letter and Words
Skills: Spelling, Circumference, color-mixing

In this stamping activity from I Can Teach My Child,  you can have students cut out large letters or words out of plain paper (or cut it out for them if they don't have the proper skills).  Then have them use half the egg to mix colors and stamp all over the paper. You can measure the circumference of the stamp circles and talk about the different primary, secondary, and tertiary colors.



Easter Plastic Egg STEAM activities.




Technology. Engineering & Science Activities

Activity 1: Egg Catapults
Skills: Angles, building using simple machines, angles

This egg catapult activity from Science Buddies is great for older students.  The project guide gives step-by-step directions on how to build the catapult and launch the eggs.  You can measure the angle of the catapult and measure the distance the eggs fly.  What a fun activity!





How do you upcycle your plastic eggs?  I'd love to hear how!



Sunday, April 9, 2017

Try Two-Voice Poetry and Figurative Language in Song Lyrics for National Poetry Month

April is National Poetry Month!  Are you ready to do something fresh with your poetry unit?  Then my Two-Voice Poetry Packet and my Figurative Language Using Song Lyrics packet !


Two-Voice poetry is so inviting for students of all ages.  There's something so inviting about working with a partner to create poetry.  This Two-Voice Poetry Packet can be used at a poetry station or to help the whole class write a two-voice poem.  It includes:

Teacher instructions including:
~Book suggestions

Student instructions including:
~Graphic organizer
~Suggested Topics
~Example Two-Voice poems



April is Poetry Month: Two-Voice Poetry and Figurative Language in Song Lyrics.


April is Poetry Month: Two-Voice Poetry and Figurative Language in Song Lyrics.



Upper Elementary Two-Voice Poetry book suggestions:









Upper Elementary or Middle School Two-Voice Poetry book suggestions:














If you or your students like songs and lyrics, try my Figurative Language Using Song Lyrics packet!


April is Poetry Month: Two-Voice Poetry and Figurative Language in Song Lyrics.



This packet includes:
~A teacher direction page
~A student direction page
~A lyric sorting page
~5 pages of lyrics
~A color-coded answer key

This is an activity in which students are looking for similes, metaphors, hyperbole, and personification in various song lyrics.  They sort the lyrics according to what type of figurative language they represent and then draw a representation of their favorite lyric.


April is Poetry Month: Two-Voice Poetry and Figurative Language in Song Lyrics.



Do you have any mentor text suggestions for two-voice or figurative language in poetry?  I'm always looking for more ideas!







Sunday, April 2, 2017

The Miraculous Journey of Edward Toulane-Velveteen Rabbit Reading Comprehension

Are you ready bunnies, read-alouds, and reading comprehension?  Then read on to see how I incorporate them in my The Miraculous Journey of Edward Tulane/Velveteen Rabbit Packet!





The Miraculous Journey of Edward Tulane-Velveteen Rabbit Reading Comprehension Packet; Novel Study; Easter Reading




I love, love, love Kate DiCamillo!  One of my favorite books by her is The Miraculous Journey of Edward Tulane. Upper elementary students love this book just as much as I do.  In case you're not familiar with the book, it's a fantasy book about a stuffed rabbit that becomes lost at sea and journeys around trying to find his way home.  It's a great book to talk about perseverance and the fantasy genre. I always like to read this book just before spring break because it ties in nicely with the season. 




The Miraculous Journey of Edward Tulane-Velveteen Rabbit Reading Comprehension Packet; Novel Study; Easter Reading






Another of my favorite rabbit books: The Velveteen Rabbit. While these two books have completely different plots, they are similar in many ways. They both are of the fantasy genre, have a rabbit as the main character, and involve the loss of a favorite toy.



The Miraculous Journey of Edward Tulane-Velveteen Rabbit Reading Comprehension Packet; Novel Study; Easter Reading




I like to read Edward Tulane as a class, and then split into pairs/small groups to read The Velveteen Rabbit.  

I created a  comprehension packet  for use with the books that incorporates the following skills/subjects:  

~Compare and contrast 
~Science (habitats/ecosystems) 
~Research (online and print resources) 
~Writing (conventions/editing/adjectives/creating mental images) 
~Comparing fiction/fantasy to nonfiction texts 
~Making inferences  


Do you love these books or similar titles?  I'd love to hear about your favorite rabbit books!