If you have ever worried about your kids suffering from summer brain drain, then there are some easy things you can do to keep them motivated to learn all summer.
Here is a list of things to tell children’s parents to do with your child at home:
1.Crack open a dictionary. Ask them to find a hard word like, “integrity” in the dictionary. Then, have them explain the meaning to you.
2. Teach your child how to do the laundry.
3. Play a board game with your child.
4. Teach your child to set the table. Have them count all the silverware. Reinforce the “game” by offering desert for the right answer. Continue with teaching them how to make a special dinner.
5. Children at any age love to paint! Give them water colors and paper outside. Let them go crazy with splattering/flicking paint on the paper. If they have an outdoor playhouse, let them paint it with water colors. When it rains, it come right off.
6. Encourage your child to tell you a prediction to an ending to a movie or story.
7. Tell your child they can only watch TV or play a video game if they can tell you the time on the clock. (not digital…)
8. Encourage your child to do a garage sale with you or open a lemonade stand to earn a little extra money. Tell family members to come visit so they can not only participate, but test them on giving change for items.
9. Father’s Day is often overlooked during the school year, so let your child make a project or go shopping for dad and give them a budget.
10. Ask your child to come up with words that rhyme and challenge them to make a rap using the rhyming words.
11. At bed time, ask your child to sequence the events of their day.
12. Create a new dance move or hand shake with your child.
13. Do some wood working with your child, but letting them use a hammer and nails to build something like a birdhouse with your supervision.
14. Ask your child to show you a Jumping Jack, Push Up, or Skipping.
You would be surprised how many kids can’t do these tasks.
15. Use chalk outside to make Hopscotch.
Teach them how to play.
16. Teach your child figure out how to play frisbee or tennis.
Summer Practice for Kids
Sending home summer practice packets for kids is a great way to keep kids actively learning all summer too!
I had someone once try to make me feel bad about having fun while teaching in my kindergarten classroom. They even said I should use the word “engaging” instead of fun.
Never mistake smiles and laughter in the classroom as not learning. It is the way to build rapport and capture interest. It is a tool to open the door to learning! Don’t ever let anyone make you feel guilty about having fun in your classroom! Open that DOOR!
Not every lesson is going to be a Disney experience. We want students to value learning even if it’s not always fun. Plus, teachers would be exhausted planning lessons. That is a great reason to used Teachers Pay Teachers to find “FUN” lessons. Rigorous learning entails deep thought and reflecting on those thoughts. You should also run a very tight ship when giving instructions or it will lead to repeat instructions and misunderstandings.
We are competing with technology now in a new way. Today’s technology is a game changer in education! One great way to ensure engagement is to integrate technology into your lessons. I try to make every educational resource have some kind of fun hook or exciting end of the unit review to capture a moment that students will be inspired to learn. Most of them include technology.
I want children to wake up excited to come to school. FUN lessons are a perfect tool to increase student engagement, to retain information, and to build a rapport with your students. We should strive for creating fun memorable moments with students regularly. Research shows that engaging students in the learning process, including technology, movement, comedy and collaboration increases learning.
🍏👉 Share your ways you build rapport with your students.
Hi, everybody! I promised you last week that I would share with you my secret tips for goal setting, making sure you feel successful at the end of the day, and ways that you actually will follow through with your goals. Time got away from me last week, but I am here now!
I want to let you know that making goals in today’s world is a MUST! You have got to set goals or you are just going to spin your wheel’s and not get anywhere. So let me share with you some of my goal setting secrets.
First of all, you have to know what your big mission is whether that be doing something great in your business, losing weight, or wanting more family time.
What is it that you want?
This is going to help you decide what your goals are in the morning. I want you to do these first thing when you wake up. You could do these at night, but I believe that it is important to do this first thing in the morning!
Write Down Your Goals
So when you wake up, before you grab your phone, I want you to write down three goals. These are doable or fairly simple goals. I want you to physically write these down. Even though you may believe that you can just say them in your head and memorize them, studies show that when you write something down (like these goals) you are fives times more likely to follow through with your goals.
My three goals for today:
Do a Facebook video about goals! (DONE!)
Write a Blog. (In the Process!)
Workout for 30 minutes. (DONE!)
Visualize Your Goal
Now this next part is very important! Don’t skip this! Right after I write that down, I close my eyes for about 30 seconds, and I visualize myself doing each one of my goals. I will also try to attach some sort of feeling with it. How will I feel after I am done with the workout or how will it feel to do my Facebook Live, and to follow through with something I told everybody I was going to do? I put a feeling with each goal by visualizing it.
These goals can be little things, but they are all leading up to the big mission or mission statement that you are wanting to work up to completing or accomplishing. Harvard studies actually show that if you are doing little things that are of some importance to you, and you finish them in a short period of time you will go to sleep feeling successful, accomplished, and satisfied.
Sometimes life happens. I will make 3 simple goals that I think will get done within one hour, and I do not even get them completed that day! That’s okay, because I will just add them on to the next day. I put them on my list for tomorrow, no big deal. I still feel successful the next day if I get them done, and I will still feel accomplished. Chances are if you can not visualize it when you are trying to think about your goals, you are not going to do it. So if you come up with something too big and you can not picture yourself doing it in that 30 second time frame, you will most likely not follow through.
Final Goal Setting Secrets
Those are all my goal setting secrets that actually have been working for me that I wanted to share with you. Make sure that you know what your end game is or your end mission. If you don’t know where you are going, how are you going to get there?
Go ahead and start tomorrow!
Create 3 simple goals that are doable, write them down, visualize it, and FOLLOW THROUGH! Now go be a great goal setter!
Black History Month presents a great opportunity, not only to celebrate the achievements of African-Americans who have helped shape our culture, but also time to reflect on where we are as a nation. We need to continue to grow together. Above all, it is a time to rise-up to remember that the only race that defines us is the human race.
In the Classroom
Teaching Black History to children helps build a connection with history, so they can better understand the past, and develop compassion for other people. Furthermore, engaging children in activities such as reading books, listening to music, making meals, or watching video footage of actual events are great ways to teach kids about the African-American experience. These are activities that can be explored all year, not just in February. Almost every new teacher asks for ideas on how to teach Black History in the classroom, so here are some ideas to consider.
I like to find a parent or a teacher who can talk about their choice of an African-American who made an impact in our cultural. They can read a book or do a speech. This should be approved by an administrator.
Write about your favorite African American Hero.
Finally, here is a list of African-Americans who are influential for students to write about: •Oprah •Elijah McCoy •Harriet Tubman •Frederick Douglass •George Washington Carver •Booker T. Washington •Samuel Morris •Dred Scott •Matthew Henson •Garrett A. Morgan •James Weldon Johnson •Colin Powell •Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. •Barack Obama •Mary Mcleod Bethune •Ruby Bridges •Mahalia Jackson •Marian Anderson: singer •Maya Angelou: singer, actress, activist, writer, poet •Lil Hardin Armstrong: jazz musician •Pearl Bailey: singer, performer, stage, film, special ambassador •Marian Anderson: singer •Regina Anderson: librarian, playwright •Josephine Baker: entertainer •Willie B. Barrow: minister, civil rights activist •Daisy Bates: journalist, civil rights activist
Just in time to start the new year off right…. A TEACHER TpT Gift Card GIVEAWAY!
Just click the links, follow a teacher store, write the follow number in the area provided and click enter. The more stores you follow, the better your chance are to win. Good LUCK! I hope YOU get to enjoy a Teachers Pay Teachers Shopping Spree! Happy New Year!
The best way to teach students how to compare numbers is to provide hands-on learning opportunities for them to get engaged while practicing math skills. Using games with other students provided activities for my students to learn about greater than, less than, and equal to math concepts. Here are some simple ways to get students to compare numbers.
1.FLIP IT – Using playing cards (pull out the Jacks, Kings, Queens and Aces), have students flip over one card each. The person with the greatest number gets a point. When the cards are gone, count the points. The one with the most points wins.
2. Greatest Domino – Use Dominoes to have each student flip the domino over to see who has the greatest number. The person with the most points after 20 times, wins.
3. CUPS – Write numbers on cups. (one number on each cup) Stack the cups. Each child pulls a cup off the stack. Put the cups in order from least to greatest. Give a point to the student with he greatest number.
4. Rock It! – Have students collect rocks or leaves outside. They bring in theirs and compare them to other students, or groups. Discuss who has more, less or equal amounts.
5. Number Whisper – Have partners think of a secret number. They write it down (keeping it hidden). Then, give clues. For example, mine is greater than one, but less than 10. They keep giving clues until the number is solved. Students switch roles.
Christmas time for teachers in the classroom can equal crazy time in the classroom.
So, on my Instagram story if you go look, you will see that I shared a couple ways to get kid’s attention simply by saying something like “Watch me Whip” and the kids would say, “Watch me Nae Nae!” They would have to be silent afterwards. No talking. This is a way to grab their attention.
My son and his friends, who I drive home everyday from school watched it. They said that that was a really old song, and it was really not cool of me. So, they came up with some of their own. They said, “How about “Frosty!” and then the kids would say “The Snowman”. I thought it was cute! Another one that they said was “Up on the Housetop” and the kids would say “Reindeer Paws”. And then the students would be silent.
Then, one that a lot of you should know and one a lot of young kids would know would be “Kiki, do you love me?”, they can make a the little heart with their fingers, and of course, silent afterward.
So, I thought why don’t we have some fun and you guys think of any attention grabbers that you can think of, put it in the comment section below. One that I always used was “Hey Hey!” and the kids would say “Ho Ho!” Another one is “Flat Tire” and the kids would go “Shhhhh.”
So let’s have some fun and you guys share Attention Grabbers you have and use in the classroom by putting them in the comment section below. By the end of the week, I’ll take all of your comments that you all can come up with for attention grabbers, and I’ll put them in a document for you to download so you have them because we don’t want all you guys to lose your mind during Christmas time!
Check back in about a week and I’ll type them all up for you and you can download them for free! Have a great one!
I am so thankful for everything that is part of my life right now including you! My life is drastically different than it was a couple years ago! I’ve never talked about it openly because I was fearful, insecure, and riddled with anxiety.
A couple years ago, it was my 20th year of teaching. My son was in 5th grade at our school. For me, it was a year of H-E (double hockey sticks!) For the first time in my career, I had a principal who hated me. Still not sure why. Not only did she hate me, but she got the rest of the staff, who I considered my family for 18 years, to pretty much dislike and/or avoid me too. I was threatened with my evaluation, lied to, challenged with impossible tasks, given 5 MAJOR behavior problem students who physically hurt me and the other children regularly, and faced life-threatening health problems because of the stress. Prior to the last year, I had been a well-liked and highly effective teacher who loved her career path.
Without going into a lot of detail, I suffered from depression, high blood pressure, and anxiety/panic attacks. For the first time, I had been broken. My mind, my spirit, and my body were broken! I consider myself lucky that prior to that difficult year, I had never been on any kind of prescription drugs. But I knew after waking up in fetal position next to my husband, crying that I didn’t want to go to school, and losing 16 lbs. in one week due to stress, that I had to give in to what my Dr. suggested… A good therapist and drugs. I was on anti-depressants, blood pressure medicine, cholesterol medication, and XANAX! So basically, I was drugging myself to go to work. I even developed an eye twitch. If I wasn’t at work, I was fine, but the thought of going every morning would begin a cycle that was dangerous to my health. I fought it because I wanted to stay in the classroom. I loved the students and figured I could transfer the next school year. It was important to me to be there for my own son who was in 5th grade. But, even on the medication, I continued to be harassed.
After getting beat with a chair again, punched in the stomach, calling the front office for help, and realizing no one was coming to help me, I knew I had to leave the classroom. Seeing the scared faces and hearing the ear-piercing screams of the other kindergarten students as they watched their teacher get hit repeatedly, shook me to the core. I knew the only reason they were in this situation was because the principal didn’t like me. So, I had to remove myself. Now, if you question, why didn’t you report it? Why didn’t you collect data on the principal? etc.… Let me tell you, I did. On doctors orders, I left two months before the school year was over. I still had to pick up my son at school, so Xanax to the rescue. I dealt with a staff who wanted to know what was wrong with me, and because I wasn’t ready to tell them, they made up their own inaccurate stories of why I left my dream career.
My husband planned several mini vacations because I was told to relax. I know he was thinking this was the end of the wife he knew when we married. These getaways were frowned upon by staff (according to the county investigator’s report) because I was on sick leave. Little did everyone know the pain I was suffered from because WHY would I post that on Facebook? In hindsight, I should have never posted pictures of me relaxing on social media. But, in my defense, at the time I was on medication. Maybe it was also the need to let people know that I wasn’t completely broken too.
The LAST STRAW
It wasn’t until my son’s 5th grade graduation where his Certificate of Completion was conveniently removed from the pile that I pushed for a harassment investigation with the school board. Seeing her smirking face as my son sat alone in a row as his friends got their certificate knowing she was behind it as my son signaled to us that he was okay was a total mind-blowing experience. I had to beg my husband to leave before he made a scene as anger filled his “un-Xanaxed” body. Other parents were stunned, taking video and making noises to get staff’s attention that a student was forgotten. I had to stand up to tell them they forgot my son. Anyway, an investigation was done which amounted to nothing even though 9 other teachers came forward with their painful stories of harassment they endured from the principal.
The New Chapter
After that experience, even though I was offered other jobs, I decided I could not go back to teaching in this district. I took me about 6 months to wane by body off all the medication that was mandatory for my survival. Crazy how stress can mess up your entire body! I tell you this story for two reasons. One is if you are experiencing anything like this, you can know that you can come out of it stronger than you were prior to the experience. That you can find confidence, security, and begin a new beautiful chapter to your life. I found a love and passion for making educational resources that I didn’t know existed. Through this experience, I developed strategies to build my confidence back up and to become healthy again. Keep up with this blog in the future, and I will share some of the strategies that helped me. I would have never left the classroom to discover this passion without that crazy experience. The second reason is I want you to know that YOU are part of my new chapter. I love making teaching resources and helping teachers like you save time and money. This is one reason why I offer freebies and discounts regularly. Thank you for being there for me and for your students! My heart will always be in education. I value you!
I don’t know if you like or LOVE themed days in your classroom, but I LIVED for them! Themes get kids excited, which can be exhausting, BUT, they get them engaged. Don’t get upset when your kids are loud and jumping with excitement. When they are excited to learn, especially when they are having so much fun they don’t even know your academic objectives, is when you can pat yourself on the back knowing you are Teacher OF THE YEAR! My favorite theme that I used most of my career was The Polar Express. The story is perfect for squashing any “non-Santa believer’s” verbal language with other students who want the magic still. I’ve also used a Winter Frozen theme and a Movie Theater themed day.
The Polar Express
I’ll walk you through my typical Polar Express day. Parents are asked to send in hot chocolate, marshmallows, and dress the kiddos in their school appropriate PJs. (Make sure you get your principal’s permission first.) In the morning, students arrive to a chalk or taped train track on the floor leading to my classroom door. At the door, they are greeted by a crazy conductor (ME), who wants to collect money or items in exchange for a golden ticket. This is really fun! It is also the time I tell parents to come and take photos. I joke around telling kids to get some money from their parents, and then settle for a shoe or pencil in exchange for a ticket.
Polar Express Ideas
When the students enter the room, they hear train sounds, see the chairs in rows (like a train), smell hot chocolate in the air, and are instructed to stay on in their train seats with their
golden ticket. After they settle, we review rules for the day. I take out a hole punch to ask for each person’s golden ticket. I pretend to punch holes in the ticket by excitedly putting the tickets under my let, over my head or behind my back making the clicking sound. You can either collect the tickets and reuse them every year, or allow them to take them home for a keepsake.
We read the book first. I tell them that the movie came out after the book. Students are encouraged to find differences when they watch the movie. We talk about characters, settings, problem and solutions. We talk about the author’s purpose. During the week they do various writing activities, but the main themed day is about keeping the excitement all day, so focus on the fun. I tell students they are going on the imagination express to take their seats on the train. After beginning the movie, I have a little cart that I keep the hot cocoa on that has wheels. When the part of the movie comes on where the kids get cocoa, I roll out the cart, I DANCE, yes, DANCE around like crazy. Before I got to old, I did cartwheels! This is always the part of the day that the kids go home telling their parents about. I have a hot cocoa maker that I use every year that makes a whole pot of cocoa. I make it really strong and then, mix it with water so it is not too hot.
After The Movie
After the kids watch the movie, we do a Venn Diagram to compare the book and the movie. I hold a bell up and ring it. I pretend like I can’t hear it, because I must be too old or not a believer. (Sniff Sniff) The rest of the day we make crafts, sing holiday songs, and usually write a letter to Santa. This way I can send the letters home to help the parents out with some gift ideas. If you are looking for a fun themes holiday day, The Polar Express just may be your ticket!
If you struggle with figuring out how to teach science to young students when you have little time in the classroom, I have some strategies to help you achieve a positive learning experience for your students. I know for me, finding time to squeeze in science and social studies in my jam-packed plans was a struggle. The first thing I do to alleviate the stress is to integrate my reading, writing or math into a science lesson. By utilizing the other subjects during science lessons, it is a real time-saver.
If having students being engaged in your lessons is a problem, integrating science into a boring math lesson can help to produce 100% engagement with the students. For example, if you are teaching addition in math and matter in science. Why not have students collect types of matter, write about the properties of matter and then create addition problems with the matter they collected. Which brings me to the most important way to teach science. Kids need to have their hands actually on physical items in order to help retain information, especially after a long morning of learning. Encourage students to set up experiments or participate in science discussions to help boost their confidence and critical thinking skills.
Providing a Science Data Notebook helps student develop writing skills while exploring science concepts. Encourage them to collect information and drawings about their observations. Have students record steps they need to take to create a science experiment. Have them think of a burning question they want answered. Then, develop a safe plan to test something in order to answer the question. You can pick one out of all of them to actually do with the whole group. This will help them understand the scientific method.
I like to always refer to my students as scientists during science class. I want them to know that everyone can be a scientist. On Fridays, I would have Science Investigation Stations. Students could wear their father’s white button up shirt, and goggles to feel more like a scientist. Then, they get to explore at different stations. I incorporate reading and writing in the lessons to ensure I’m hitting all my academic targets. Each station has posters with vocabulary words that go with the unit we are focusing on that week. Learning science vocabulary is essential for helping students to think and communicate in future science lessons.
Make It FUN!
Most importantly, be excited for science. Students feed off of your energy. Making learning fun is simple when you use science lessons!
Here is a FREE Energy Sample for Kindergarten and 1st Grade, if you are looking for some ideas.