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October 12, 2021

Veterans Day Activities

 There are many ways for students to acknowledge our veterans!

1. Have small groups create giant cards for the local VFW.

2. Students could create thank you cards for a local VA hospital.

3. Have a veteran come out to speak to your class. 

Students can prepare questions in advance so that you can make sure they are appropriate. Young students can inquire about the differences in military branches, places stationed, type of food and shelter, uniforms, transportation, and other nonviolent topics. 

4. Organize or participate in a care package collection for troops.

5. Decorate the halls.

This craftivity is easy to make and includes writing organizers!

Click HERE to see more Veterans Day ideas!

September 22, 2021

Resources For Teaching Geography

Check out some ideas to add fun and engagement to your geography unit!

1. Explore maps and globes. 

Students may benefit from some hands-on experience with various maps and globes. Try looking for maps and globes at yard sales or ask friends, family, and your local library for donations. Give students time to casually explore.

Have students learn about different types of maps here:

2. Make paper mache globes. 

Form groups and have students cover a round balloon with paper mache. Use a whisk to mix 1 part flour with 2 parts water. Tear strips of newspaper or paper bags. Dip the strips one at a time into the mixture, smooth out, and wrap around balloon. Continue until balloon is covered. Allow to dry.

Once dry, have students draw and paint the continents. Dry again and have them paint the oceans. Once dry again, label the continents and oceans.

3. Play this Compass Rose Game.

4. Have students work on cardinal and ordinal directions.

5. Play pin the place on the map.

Draw a basic outline of your state on large bulletin board paper and hang it up. Write the name of important places in your state on index cards and place tape on the back. One at a time, have students close eyes, spin around, and try to get the place correctly on your state map. No peeking! Blindfolds could be used if you have enough fabric for students to have their own. Students love this game and it helps them form a mental mapping of their state!

6. Play secret longitude and latitude.

Each student uses an index card to secretly record the latitude and longitude of a favorite place or place they wish to visit. You can make this as general (as in a state or country)  or specific (such as Disney World or the Washington Monument) as desired. Students switch index cards and use a globe or world map to determine their classmate's secret location.

7. Help students learn key geography vocabulary.

7. Make pumpkin globes!

Students will love learning about geography!

August 19, 2021

Week of Respect Ideas

Many schools participate in Week of Respect. It's a week for accepting and celebrating differences while discovering common interests.  Check out some ways to incorporate a little R-E-S-P-E-C-T into your lessons!

1. Use morning announcements to make suggestions for showing respect.

These ideas could be separated into categories such as respect for family, respect for friends, respect for animals, respect in public places, respect for the environment, etc. 

2. Create kindness rocks.

Students paint rocks with inspirational messages and hide them around the community for others to find. You never know who you may inspire! 

3. Make a new friend.

Challenge students to play with someone new during recess.

4. Write messages about respect on the sidewalks.

Students could research quotes and use sidewalk chalk to motivate others.

5. Have a respect your elders day. 

Have students make cards or pictures for nursing home and assisted living residents.

6. Have a theme week. 

Examples to include:  

Have a Mismatch Clothes Day to remind us that we may be different but we can all get along.

Another day could be Team Jersey Day to show that we may belong to different teams but we all enjoy the game.

7.  Have students complete a choice board:

The benefits of Week of Respect activities just may continue throughout the school year!  

July 13, 2021

Teaching Descriptive Writing

Descriptive writing is fun to teach!

1. Start with a concrete object such as chewing gum. 

Hold up a pack of gum and have students help you tell a little story about the pack of gum without using the word gum. Guide students in using their 5 senses for this task. Ask students what they see, hear, smell, feel, and taste. Together, you may come up with something like this:

I tore open the small pink pack and removed one of the pieces. The sweet smell got to my nose before it reached my mouth. After chewing for a minute, I blew a bubble as big as my face! Pop! I peeled the sticky mess off my face and began chewing again.

2. Play a guessing game!

Divide the class into small groups of about 4 students. Distribute bags with familiar objects such as sunglasses, umbrella, hair brush, baseball, football, mittens, etc. to each group. Each group keeps their object a secret and writes a descriptive paragraph about it.  Have each group read their paragraph while the rest of the class tries to determine what the hidden object is by the description. 

You may want to explain that non-food items won't have a taste or possibly not a smell, but parts of the story may contain taste or smell. For example, if a group had mittens, the story could include hot chocolate which could have a taste and smell. The umbrella story could include the smell of rain, and the baseball story could include the taste of a ballpark hotdog. 

3. Once students have this concrete experience, proceed with some prompts like these:

Students will love descriptive writing!

May 9, 2021

5 End of School Year Ideas

As you wrap up the school year, consider these fun activities for your class!

1. Plan a reading picnic. 

Have students bring beach towels to school and head outside with a few favorite books and some snacks!

2. Allow the fidgets to come to school.

The fidgets can stay in backpacks until a time near the end of the day. Then let them play and show their favorites. Whether it's the newest pop-it type fidget or a craze from a previous year, students are sure to have fun!

Extend the idea to Fidget Spinner Day and make it a bit more educational with this resource:

3. Have a Board Game Day.

Students love to bring in their favorite board games to play with their classmates! Consider having a chat about taking good care of classmates' games and keeping track of parts and pieces prior to the start of play.

4. Write letters to next year's class.

Have students write letters to the students who will be in your class next year. They can start with Dear friend, and write about all the fun times to look forward to and survival tips!

5. Have a program for parents and guardians.

Consider inviting parents and guardians into class for a celebration of accomplishments. Each student could be recognized with an end-of-year award. 

Follow with a slide show of students holding a chalkboard sign indicating what they would like to be when they grow up. Use background music such as "My Wish" by The Rascal Flatts. End the event with light refreshments. 

The end of the school year is sure to be memorable for students!

April 20, 2021

3 Easy Mother's Day Gift Ideas

The tradition of creating Mother's Day gifts in school can continue even with varying family structures. As Mother's Day approaches, you can explain that students can make a gift for a very special grown-up in their lives. Some students may make a gift for their mom while others may make a gift for a different special grown-up who takes care of them. This explanation tends to put students at ease as they can decide individually who to make a gift for. 

The 3 gifts that follow are relatively inexpensive and easy to create.

1. Real Flower in a Terracotta Flower Pot

Materials needed include terracotta flower pots, potting soil, spoons for filling the pots with soil, gloves, and a flat of flowers to plant. Students could sponge paint the flower pot before planting if desired. This gift gets bonus points for doubling as a mini science lesson! 

2. Photo Holder

This photo holder is made with a mini glass flower pot, layers of clay, and fine green wire. These materials can be purchased at your local craft supply store. Add a school photo of students for an easy project that parents and guardians love!

3. Chore Coupons

Coupon books can be made with construction paper and tied together with a ribbon. Another option is to have students make this card:

Students will have fun making a gift for their very special grown-up! 

April 5, 2021

Jackie Robinson Day and Baseball Lesson Plans

Jackie Robinson is a legend who can be celebrated for his contribution to the All American Game and for his role in civil rights. Jackie Robinson Day is celebrated on April 15th each year.

If you need to refresh your own background of Jackie Robinson, you could start at the Baseball Hall of Fame site for a brief history. Consider sharing the plaque in 3D with your students. 

Jackie Robinson Exhibit

Although there is no shortage of information on Jackie Robinson, the age group and maturity of your students will be something you want to consider. The Duckster's content appears to be kid-friendly, but preview for yourself, of course! The kids may find it surprising that Jackie excelled at many sports!

Jackie Robinson Biography on Ducksters

Once your kiddos have studied Jackie Robinson and his amazing contribution to not only baseball but to society as well, they may enjoy some more baseball-themed content.

1. Classroom, Bulletin Board, and Hallway Displays

These crafts with writing would be a great addition to your spring displays:

Baseball Craftivity

2. Theme Days

  • If you are celebrating your hometown Opening Day, consider having a sports theme jersey day. Students could wear their own team jerseys from any sport or wear a shirt that shows their favorite team.
  • Baseball cap day could be another fun theme!

3. Snacks and Treats

  • You could cook hotdogs in a crockpot to serve the kids. Prepare a few extra because you'll have fellow staff members stopping by as the smell of the ballpark whiffs down the hall! 
  • Another fun treat would be bubble gum!

4. Fun Worksheets and Printables

  • Check out these free downloads from the Baseball Hall of Fame:

Baseball Hall of Fame Free Downloads

  • Students love the variety of these sports theme exit tickets:

Sports Theme Exit Tickets

5. Class Rewards

  • Consider a class prize of extra recess during baseball season...to play whiffle ball, obviously!
  • Finally, if time allows, watch a baseball movie. Although my all-time favorite is The Sandlot, a lesser-known film called Everyone's Hero is well-liked by students and it's rated G!

Students are sure to enjoy learning about Jackie Robinson and a bit about baseball this spring...

Play ball!