Teaching Your Students About Civics and Government

Civics and government is a very important part of your kindergarten and first grade students’ education. Understanding the basics including rules and laws is going to be vital as they grow up and enter the world. Unfortunately, it can seem a little dry trying to teach it in a way that your students will find fun and interesting. 

To do this, you want to find engaging lesson plans for your students so they will not only learn the material, but really understand and retain it. The key is to make your lessons fun! This is especially important with any lessons you do for kindergarten and first graders. The more fun the lessons are, the more interested they will be, the more they will learn! 

I have you covered with my Civics and Government bundle!

This extensive resource includes nine full weeks of detailed lesson plans and everything you need for the entire unit. You’ll also get a home connection parent letter, American History Journal with a wordbank, a rubric for the journal, 9 interactive notebook pages, and posters for your classroom, 

This Civics and Government resource will cover:

  • Primary Sources
  • Sequencing events
  • Calendar Skills
  • Being a GOOD Citizen
  • Rules and Laws
  • Conflicts and Fair Decisions

Extras included for centers: primary source activity, months of the year (what comes next), sort the pictures activity (rules vs laws),  Tattle Tale Officer Activity (to teach your students the difference between being helpful and hurtful), big problem, medium problem, and small problem posters, and a Write the Room Activity (a great way to incorporate writing into your social studies lessons). 

I created this resource to make your life easier and take the stress out of lesson planning! My goal is that this resource will cover all standards and truly engage your students so that they learn and retain the lessons. 

Check out my tips for for social distancing while teaching here! 

civics and government
civics and government

 

Do you have any tips for making civics and government fun? Let me know in the comments below! 

civics and government

 

Back to School Teacher Giveaway

BACK TO SCHOOL FOR TEACHERS

The crucial role by teachers is magnified during these uncertain times. YOU are the unsung heroes! We have teamed up with other amazing teacher-authors to show you how much we appreciate and respect your hard work and dedications to students!
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Enter the raffle HERE:

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Teacher Tips for Returning Back to School Safely

Returning back to school safely is going to take teachers a lot of patience, tips and tricks this year! There are so many unknowns but I know for sure that being organized and clean are going to be play a big role in our Back to School routine.

Here are some ideas for you to think about this school year while planning!

Tips for Teachers Returning Back to School Safely

1. This hand sanitizer holder is pretty neat to place outside of the door.  Students use their foot to squirt their hands.  I have seen some great motion detected dispensers on Amazon too.

(Photo: Stephanie Deal)

2. This teacher is using individual yoga mats, plastic serving trays and individual bins for supplies to keep her students learning at a distance from each other.

(Photo: Kaycie Huffman)

3. Individual book bins are a MUST this year. Plan on using paper printable books or after a week, place the books on quarantine for a couple weeks before rotating them to the next student.

 

(Photo: Teaching Little Leaders)

4. If you are meeting students in person this year, teaching Distant Greetings are going to be important to teach that first week back to school.  Make a poster or sign to hang at the door for students to easily remember and choose their greeting and goodbye each day from a distance.

(Photo: Teacher’s Brain – Cindy Martin)

5. I love this idea! These are pillowcases turned inside out with individual supply bins inside.

(Photo: Mrs. Classroom Craziness)

6. If you are teaching virtual or in person this year, a virtual Meet the Teacher or Open House will make it easier for you to introduce yourself, the classroom and to get students to get to know each other virtually. Google Slides are perfect for personalizing and sharing with families.

7. Social Distance Posters are perfect for in the classroom to remind students of the new safety rules and procedures for the school year.

Also Check Out:

Social Studies Activities for Kindergarten or First Grade

Planning a fun and engaging social studies lesson for kindergarten or first grade doesn’t have to be hard or stressful. Finding the right resources that are fun for your students, low prep, and easy for teachers can be a game changer. 

That is why I created this year long social studies curriculum bundle to help make your life a little easier. It can be used in school or at home for distance learning. It is made up of four nine week long units to engage and excite your students to learn more about social studies. 

Here are the subjects included in the social studies curriculum bundle

American History: In this unit, you can set up the lesson plan activities as an American History Journal or hand them out individually. This unit covers past, present, holidays, presidents, American symbols, and more. 

Geography: This unit includes a fun Geography Journal. Some of the lessons included cover positional words, personal information, landforms, bodies of water, and cardinal directions. An interactive notebook is included along with a write the room activity where students can label the classroom using cardinal directions. 

Civics and Government: This 9 week lesson plan includes a Civics and Government Journal and interactive notebook pages for each day of the week. Topics cover primary source, chronology, citizenship, rules, laws, conflict, and fair decisions. 

Community Helpers: This unit includes detailed plans for nine weeks. You’ll get a Community Helpers Journal, interactive notebook pages, 12 posters, songs, crafts, and more. Activities to keep your students interested include cut and label poems, hat or headband crafts, and handprint gifts. It even includes an invitation for parents to be guest speakers in class!

Bonus Content

Along with a full year of social studies curriculum for kindergarten and first grade, you also get some bonus content too. These bonuses are designed to supplement your lessons and increase student success.

Money: One week plan for teaching students all about money. Includes a Money Journal, lesson plans, posters, and a rubric. 

Needs & Wants: A one week plan to teach your students about the difference between needs and wants. Included are posters, interactive notebook pages, and a Needs and Wants Journal. 

This year’s long social studies bundle was designed to take the stress out of lesson planning for you. Check it out here! 

What are your favorite ways for engaging students during their social studies lessons? Let me know in the comments below!

social studies activities

 

Check out some first day of school icebreaker ideas here! 

 

 

First Day Of School Activities

The first day of school is exciting for both teachers and students. The anticipation of starting a brand new school year is so fun but let’s admit it, it can be a little nerve-racking sometimes! It can feel like planning for a huge event for a room full of elementary aged kids. It is so important to make a good impression on your students and get started off on the right foot, so you want to plan it out just right. You want your students to really get to know you and your personality so they can trust you and enjoy learning in your class. However, you also want to establish rules and guidelines so your expectations are clear. Laying it all out at the beginning will set you all up for success from the very start. 

 

Your perfect first day of school should include a couple of crucial components.

 

  •  Start the day by introducing yourself and getting to know your students. You can try a fun ice breaker game or activity to help get your students relaxed and comfortable. It can be hard for some students to come to school on the first day in an environment that they are not familiar with. Get to know you activities will help them feel comfortable in their new classroom. 
  • Explain your rules and expectations clearly. It is so important for students to know what is expected of them, what is acceptable behavior in class, and what isn’t. Come up with a way that you will reinforce good classroom behavior and what methods you will use when there is misbehavior. 
  • Share a schedule. It helps students to know what to expect each day. Establishing a routine can help greatly increase their comfort and confidence level. 
  • Create a classroom community. Helping your students feel a sense of belonging and acceptance in your classroom will be so important to their success. Along with helping them academically, it can also help them when it comes to developing their social skills and making new friends. 

 

To help you make a good first impression on your students and make the first day of school a memorable one, I created this fun back to school resource that is perfect for kindergarten teachers.

 

I included a FULL day of detailed lesson plans with printables, links, editable plans, suggested plans, ideas and activities to make prepping as easy as possible. 

First day

 

What do you do to make your first day of school special for your students? Let me know in the comments!

Want more information on getting ready for kindergarten? Click here!

 

Will Education Change After The Coronavirus?

There are so many unknowns right now because of the spread of the coronavirus and it has turned everyone’s world upside down. Especially those in the education field. Our plans were all put on pause and we were sent home to start learning from a distance. It was a hard adjustment to say the least. 

Many teachers are wondering how we can possibly plan for a new school year with all of the unknowns. How is education going to change after coronavirus? Will things ever go back to normal? 

There are a lot of changes in education that will likely be happening soon

  • There will likely be a surge in innovations like live broadcasts and online learning. Our online learning system now was rushed and imperfect. Now that there is such a huge need for this, it will likely lead to more streamlined and easy ways for us to connect with our students from a distance.  
  • Private education may grow. There are many who won’t agree with the way that public schools are handling social distancing guidelines and that could lead to a surge in parents enrolling their kids in private schools. This means we might be seeing smaller class sizes. 
  • This experience will build resilience. This pandemic has forced us all to be adaptable and go with the punches whether we liked it or not. This will encourage more people to be creative problem solvers and work together more to reach our objectives. 
  • Budgets will change. School districts rely on state money which comes from taxes and income. Both of these sources took a hit with the economic downturn because of the coronavirus shutdown. This means that budgets for schools will be getting cut which could impact many facets of education. 
  • Everything will be more digital. People are already weary of any cough or sneeze so extra precautions will be taken wherever possible, including the way we teach. The use of distance learning and digital classes will likely increase in the months to come. 

Students are living history right now with the Coronavirus of 2020. It is a difficult time for them because of all the major changes in their life. Students can take responsibility to help protect the world by washing their hands, staying home when they are sick or using social distancing.

I created this 22 page memory journal to help them document their experience and focus on things they can control. 

education after coronavirus

For more information on how journaling in times of stress and uncertainty, check out my post here.

How do you think education will change? Let me know in the comments below!

Reading Comprehension Strategies

Learning to read is a huge accomplishment for students. Going from needing help with books to being able to read it by themselves is a big deal! Sometimes, however, actually comprehending what they are reading can be a little more challenging. 

It is important to know how to read, but it is even more important for them to understand what they are reading. It is not only an absolutely necessary  life skill, but it can open up a whole new world and encourage a love of reading. 

Here are some strategies that you can use to help your students achieve reading comprehension and fluency. 

  • Find books your students will love. Finding the right book can make all the difference when students are learning to read. Books that they will enjoy will inspire them to put in the work and understand the words they are reading. 
  • Read aloud. Encouraging students to read out loud can get them plenty of practice reading and it can also help you identify where they might be struggling. 
  • Use metacognitive strategies. These can be great for increasing reading comprehension. For instance, pausing while reading aloud to ask the student to vocalize their thoughts can help them to understand what they are trying to comprehend. 
  • Reread sections that are confusing. Making sure to revisit difficult sections until they understand is important. It can help better identify where they are struggling and work together to understand. 
  • Use a ruler or finger to follow along. Helping students stay on track while reading can help them follow along with the story and decrease the risk of confusion. 
  • Write down words you don’t know. Writing it down and working on it will help them better remember it in the future. 
  • Discuss what the child has just read. Having a discussion can help the student think through what they just read and also help you point out areas they might be struggling in. 
  • Recap and summarize the main points. This will be great practice for students working on their comprehension. 
  • Reading passages and answering questions. Find some fun and engaging reading comprehension activities for your students to practice with. 

Great news, I created some fun activities to help with this!

These reading comprehension activities are perfect for helping students get more practice and achieve fluency. They are set up through Google Classroom so they are distance learning friendly. These include written instructions, listening options, drag to complete the sentence activities, word families, and 20 reading comprehension passages and questions. 

This option is perfect for Kindergarten and 1st grade. 

This option is perfect for 1st and 2nd grade.

 

Reading Comprehension Activities

 

Want more information on reading comprehension? Check out my post here to learn more about my strategies. 

 

Do you have any strategies for helping your students with reading comprehension? I would love to hear in the comments!

 

How Journaling Can Help Students With Stress

Thinking about journaling with your students? Due to the effect of the pandemic, it is no surprise that stress levels are running high for everyone, including our students. Their school year was abruptly cut short, their schedules and routines were turned upside down, and  they have been cooped up at home away from their friends. They may also be feeling stress from the struggles their parents may be facing as a result of the stay at home orders across the country. 

While we may not be able to see our students in person, we can still try our best to help them cope with these strange times however we can. Studies show that journaling could be a great way to do that. 

Here are the ways that journaling can help your students cope with stress. 

  • Having your students write down how they are feeling can be a great way to clear their mind
  • It can boost their mood
  • It can offer a great distraction from the fear and stress many of them are facing 

You can find more information on how journaling helps kids here.

With this in mind, I created these journaling products that you can give to your students to help them through these difficult times. 

My Yearlong Writing Prompts Bundle for students in kindergarten to 3rd grade includes: 

  • 12 themed monthly journals
  • 365 writing prompts for every day of the year
  • Word bank for each journal
  • Writing rubrics 

My Coronavirus Living History Journal is designed to help students write about what is happening now during the pandemic. This includes: 

  • Pick and choose pages to print out and color 
  • 36 pages of activities and prompts to help students cope

Journaling To Help with Stress

You can find more information on journaling during coronavirus here.

These are unprecedented times which makes it a great time to start journaling with your students. It is a great way to help them face their fears while dealing with all of the uncertainty and ultimately improve their mental health. 

What stress relieving activities do you like to do with your students? Let me know in the comments!

Journaling To Help With Stress

Reasons To Keep Learning Through Summer Break

Kindergarten is such an important part of a child’s education. It introduces them to so many vital lessons and sets them up for success throughout their elementary school education. They learn important concepts like letters, writing, and basic math. Many students progress so much through the year that summer break can seem like it is halting the momentum. Therefore, I think it is so important to keep the learning going through the summer!

Summer learning helps students retain the information they learned throughout the school year. Summer learning loss can cause a lag at the beginning of the next school year because students take time to adjust and remember what they learned months before.  If students continue to practice and learn through the summer months, their minds are kept sharp and they are better prepared for the next school year. This is because the information is still fresh in their minds and they have had plenty of time to practice and master what they learned.

To help improve summer learning for students, I created Summer Learning Packets for Kindergarten and other grade levels. You can assign them at the end of the year for a fun way for your students to continue to practice the extremely important information they learned throughout the school year. This way, the information they learned is better retained and they can go into 1st grade with their head held high because they know their stuff and they feel confident that they can continue to learn and thrive. 

In these packets you will find

  • Weekly Summer Journal with a word bank
  • Math worksheets including a 100 chart, adding and subtraction
  • Reading and writing practice worksheets
  • Summer Reading Log
  • Progress tracker sheet
  • and much more!

If you are looking for learning packets for other grades as well, I have a bundle of Summer Learning Packets for all elementary levels!

This bundle includes:

  • Pre-K to Kindergarten Packet
  • Kindergarten to 1st Grade Packet
  • 1st to 2nd Grade Packet
  • 2nd to 3rd Grade Packet
  • 3rd to 4th Grade Packet
  • 4th to 5th Grade Packet

Each packet is packed full of grade level appropriate worksheets, journals, activities, progress logs, and more.  Summer practice for kids can enhance summer learning for students!

Do you have other ways to keep your students’ minds sharp in the summer? Leave a comment below, I would love to hear your thoughts! 

Summer Learning Pin (1)

Journaling During the Coronavirus

Writing Journal during the Coronavirus for kids

Journaling to Keep Kids Calm

NOW is the time to be journaling! We are all living history right now.  Even though this is a time of uncertainty, there is a lot to learn, feelings to explore, thoughts to organize and people coming together to turn lemons into lemonade.  We didn’t ask for this Coronavirus. Everyday is like living in a strange movie.  One moment you are fine and the next moment the sky is falling.  Journaling is a great way to organize your thoughts.  Students right now should be taking notes of news headlines, observing the stock market fluctuate, and learning about healthy habits.

Should Adults Keep a Journal?

Writing is a great way to confront your emotions during difficult times.  It helps you face your fears.  Taking notes of what is going on in your world, your mind and your home can help you stay mentally healthy.  Journaling serves as a great tool for people at any age!  Start journaling today.