Friday, December 28, 2012

Happy Holidays!!

Lesson Lady and I would like to wish you and your families a very happy holidays.  Whether you celebrated Christmas, Hanukkah, or just a few days off, we hope it was filled with peace and joy.  We look forward to 2013 and all it brings, and wish you much happiness in the coming year.  

As we ring in 2013 in with our families, we are taking a short reprieve from blogging, but will resume our regular schedule on January 4th, with more Fabulous Friday Freebies.

Friday, December 21, 2012

Fabulous Friday Freebies! New Years Lessons

To help you with your lesson planning over the break, here are some great and FREE New Years lessons you can use with your students in January. There is something fun for each age group!

This free set of New Years Resolutions includes some goal setting graphic organizers perfect for K-2. I like that they include areas where students come up with ways to help meet their goals. Writing goals down is one of the best ways to help them be met.

This New Years Resolutions & Reflections set contains a variety of fun freebies including a New Years scavenger hunt and a graphic organizer web. The activities are easy to print and are recommended for grades 2-5.

This set of Top 10 lists contains some fun ways for older students to sum up the year. There are a variety of lists included and these lists can be great starters for writing or just a fun way to get to know your students.

This set of 2012 Activities is perfect for older students to reflect on the New Year. Included are some activities for writing about the New Year, listing resolutions and favorite things, and even a scavenger hunt!

Enjoy these freebies! This is our last Fabulous Friday Freebies of 2012. Happy New Year and best wishes to you and your family.

Thursday, December 20, 2012

15 Ideas for Building Community/Family Interactions

1. Interactive Homework-This is a great way to engage parents in the learning process.  While you need to make sure the assignment you're sending home is something the parent can assist them with, the options are wide open.  I've had students conduct interviews, teach their parent the new vocabulary in Spanish, discuses quotes to get their response, have their parents fill out feedback forms on short narratives, etc.

2. Surveys-This is something that my students enjoy doing.  I have them conduct opinion polls in their families and communities.  They record the demographics and responses to 5 one word answer questions.  Then they bring back the results and use their math skills to analyze the data and trends across genders and ages.

3. Interviews-This can be done in or out of class with someone who has experience in the topic they are studying.  It provides the student with a one-on-one dialogue about their area of investigation and often helps to spur curiosity.

4. Skype-Their community is now global.  Have students Skype with people around the globe.

5. Letters-Have students write letters to politicians and newspapers about current events.  You might be surprised by the response.

6. Volunteering-Add a service learning component to your units.  This allows students to connect what they are learning to the community in a meaningful way.

7. Honor program-My high school used to run an honors program that rewarded students with good grades at the end of each semester.  The community supported the efforts by offering bonuses at local businesses for honor students.  I've run similar programs at schools where I've worked since.  It is a great way to encourage local businesses to support the students' education.

8. Panels-Have community members participate in a panel discussion about a topic you're studying in class.

9.  Job interviews-I have had community members come in to conduct mock job interviews with students in the past.  This is a great skill to teach students.  Having outsiders come in makes it more real.

10. Art shows around town-Ask local businesses if you can display students' artwork there.

11. Speakers-This is a variation on the panel.  Any college or organizations around town with an outreach component is ready and willing to provide presenters.

12. Call the news-Host a fair and call in the local news.  It gives them an opportunity to present something positive going on in the community.

13. Community services day-There are service providers throughout most communities.  Host a fair where they come in and present the services they provide.

14. College day-Host a fair where local colleges can come in and present their programs to the students.  This works especially well if you live in a large city with a variety of institutions.

15. Field trips-No need to expound.  If you haven't done one recently, think about it.

Monday, December 17, 2012

Deepest Condolences

Our deepest condolences go out to the families of Newtown, CT. Our thoughts are with you. If you would like to send your or your students' words of support to the victims of this terrible tragedy, send them to:

Sandy Hook Elementary
12 Dickenson Drive
Newtown, CT 06482

Any donations can be made to the Sandy Hook School Support Fund:

Sandy Hook School Support Fund
c/o Newtown Savings Bank
39 Main St.
Newtown, CT 06470

- One Less Headache

Friday, December 14, 2012

Fabulous Friday Freebies: Cool Activities for Middle and High School English and Social Studies

Here are a few of my new favorite freebies for high school English and social studies...

#1: Click the picture link above to access a site with a plethora of online interactive activities to use when teaching text structures.  There are puzzles, quizzes and more.  It teaches students to analyze the wording in texts to help them unlock the structure and author's purpose.

#2: The picture link above will take you to a free interactive online game where students can go through a poverty simulation activity.  They will take on the role of a third world farmer.  They will be confronted with ethical questions and tight budgets that will make them think critically about the difficulties of life in third world countries.

#3: Click on the lorax to go a site that explains how to use children's books to analyze societal ideals and ethics.

Wednesday, December 12, 2012

Mixing Math With Fabulous 3-D Snowflake Making - Tutorial

 Each year my school has a special Christmas/winter party and celebrates the upcoming break with a big meal and talent show. My art room is charged with a special duty during this time which is to decorate for the big event. One request for decorations is always snowflakes. There is a lot of learning you can incorporate while having fun with your students making snowflakes, including some math!

Here is one of my favorite 3-D snowflake patterns with a how to step by step instructions. Below each photo and instructions are some suggestions of ways you can incorporate math into the snowflake making. I have made these snowflakes with elementary, middle, and high school age students and all are always impressed with the result. Have fun making these with students!

Materials needed:

- 6 or 8 sheets of white paper per student. I usually use 6 sheets of plain white copy paper per student.
- 1 pair of scissors per student. If you have the fancy edge scissors, those can be a bonus!
- Scotch tape
- Stapler - you can also make this with all tape but I find it easier to finish with a stapler.

1. Give each student 6 sheets of paper or have them work with a partner and give each student three. Choose one piece of paper to start with. Fold the bottom of the paper to meet the right or left side as you prepare to cut the paper into a square.

What shape did you just fold? 
What type of triangle did you make?
What are the angles on the triangles?

2. Using scissors, cut off the extra flap of paper.

What shape did you make after cutting off the extra flap of paper?
What angles are in a square?
What two shapes make up the square paper?

3. Leave the paper folded in half into a triangle. You will need to make six incisions on your paper starting from the folded edge of the triangle. Those incisions are marked in red on the paper below. Make sure your cuts do not touch each other or your snowflake piece will fall apart!

Identify the parallel lines on your snowflake piece.
How many parallel lines do you see total?
Measure the lines and record your findings from smallest to largest.
Are the shapes you created considered triangles? Why or why not?

4. Open your triangle into a square. It should look like this.

What angles do the lines make?
Where are the lines intersected?

5. Using your fingers, pull the two innermost square corners together. Use a small piece of tape to secure these.

6. Turn your paper over. Pull the next two smallest square corners together and secure them to this side of the paper.

7. Turn your paper over again and repeat this process with the third smallest square corners.

8. Flip your paper over a final time and secure the last two corners. Your piece should look like this. Repeat steps 1-8 with the remaining sheets of paper.

Is this figure symmetrical? Why or why not?
Does this figure still have symmetrical lines?

9. After you have 6 pieces completed, you can begin to assemble your snowflake. Line two of your pieces up together. You will staple these pieces in two areas marked with the red X below to secure them. Staple the two middle sides and the top corners together.

10. Add a third piece to the two you have already stapled and secure it in the same areas as the previous two. Your piece should look like this.

11. Staple the remaining three snowflake pieces in the same manner so you have two halves to your snowflake. After the two halves are complete, attach the two halves stapling at the same points on each side until your snowflake is secure. Enjoy your fabulous 3-D snowflake!

If you have any suggestions on extra ways to incorporate math into this lesson, please share your ideas below!

Sunday, December 9, 2012

Spanish Lessons

Check out Excellence in Teaching and Learning.  There you'll find a number of printable Spanish activities at reasonable prices to use for centers, exams, quizzes, homework, class work, sub plans, etc.  Five of the top ten sellers in the store are Spanish activities.  With a 4.0 rating, you can expect quality resources.    

The activities include Spanish Centers: Introductory Unit, Spanish Centers: Greetings, Spanish Centers: Los Numeros, an 80 page compilation of activities, and much, much more (including 5 brand new activities).

Everything comes with answer keys and/or rubrics.   Don't reinvent the wheel, creating activities.  Check it out today!

Friday, December 7, 2012

Fabulous Friday Freebies: Winter Holidays Around the World

The winter holidays provide a perfect opportunity to learn about other cultures.  Check out these activities and bring a bit of multiculturalism into your classroom.

#1: Have your students read about how different cultures celebrate the winter holidays.  There are several online collections including: a) The North, The Holiday,  and Santa' can provide you with short readings about countries around the world. ETC's Winter Holiday write up describes various celebrations within the U.S.

#2: Bring in a differentiated vocabulary pack of terms associated with various winter holidays. It's perfect for the class with second language learners.  The packets teaches them about various holidays.  The activities are ideal for students in middle to upper elementary, but can parts of it can even be used to introduce holidays to middle school students.

#3: Check out this poster with ways to say Merry Christmas around the world.

#4: Bake cookie recipes from around the world.  Check out recipes and have students make the cookies with you if you have access to a kitchen.  Or, have students take the recipes home, make them there, and return to class for a taste test.  Baking will help students with their reading of process charts and fractions in math.

Wednesday, December 5, 2012

An Advent Calendar of Giving

I used to love opening up Advent calendars with my brothers.  My holiday flavored narcissism was thrilled to receive a chocolate goodie for 25 days straight leading up to the big Christmas extravaganza at my house.  Christmas is really about giving, though, as so many of my students whose family's budgets can't afford extravagance this year know better than I did at their tender age.  So, why not create a classroom Advent calendar of giving?  Each day have the students open up an envelope with an idea of how to give that day.  Or, since most of you will only see your students for 12 more days before the break, pick out your favorite and use them in a count down to break.

1) Give a smile--say something nice to someone.  Encourage them.
2) Make a Christmas card for someone in a nursing home.
3) Make a Christmas tree and deliver it to someone who doesn't have one.
4) Make coupons for the students' families that give away special chores, hugs, back rubs, etc to loved ones.
5) Go read books to a younger group of students in the school.
6) Leave a plate of cookies for the janitor when he/she comes in to clean up at night.
7) Write letters to soldier and mail them overseas.
8) Collect canned goods for a food pantry.
9) Have students bring in new stuffed animals.  Write a note that goes with each animal and deliver them to the pediatrics ward of a hospital just before Christmas.
10) Assign students to commit a random act of kindness for someone, journal about it and report back with the class.
11) Go caroling through the school.
12) Create Christmas decorations and decorate the school to spread a little cheer.
13) Make bake-less cookies as a class and deliver goodie bags to the staff.
14) Bring in change and put it in a jar.  Donate it to a local shelter.
15) Have your students make an ornament, wrap it up and bring the ornament home as an early Christmas present for their parents.
16) Take your class outside to clean up the school grounds, weather permitting.
17) Have students create flyers for a local animal shelter and put them up around town to promote animal adoption.
18) Have students organize a special after school activity for students who stay late.
19) Have students sign up to tutor younger students.
20) Have students make friendship bracelets and exchange them.
21) Have students bring in supplies to help stock up for 2013 (tissue, snacks, etc.)
22) Have students write a pledge for how they can help make the school a better place.
23) Collect used but clean scarves, jackets, hats and mittens to donate to a local shelter.
24) Throw a party for the staff in the teacher's lounge.  Have students bring/make sweet treats.

Sunday, December 2, 2012

Giving More Christmas Freebies

Since we are so thankful for our readers, we want to give you more this holiday season. Here are links to our holiday freebies to help you have holiday learning fun in your classroom.

Have fun making bake-less Christmas cookies with your students with these fun Christmas Cookie recipes!  Recipes are also a great way to incorporate math into a fun lesson.

Enjoy three free Christmas Sudoku 4x4 puzzles at my store! There are two types of puzzles for your students to enjoy. Sudoku puzzles using words and some using cut & paste images.

Enjoy five Christmas puzzles with my Christmas Puzzles & More pack! Included are puzzles like Christmas trivia, a word search puzzle, a word detective sheet, a holiday traditions scramble and more. Five Christmas coloring pages are also included.

Have fun with these freebies & stay posted to see more ways to give this holiday season!

Saturday, December 1, 2012

Fabulous Friday Freebies! 150 Free Holiday Teaching Products & Holiday Teaching Tips!!

Welcome to a huge edition of Fabulous Friday Freebies. With just a few short weeks until the winter holiday season & school breaks, this week's freebies feature an enormous amount of freebies, 150 free teaching products & seasonal holiday tips for school for all grade levels!

This week's freebies are put into four holiday e-books that are divided by grade level. Each page in the book contains at least one holiday educational freebie and one holiday teaching tip. Books were put together generously by contributions from teachers at Teachers Pay Teachers and assembled by fellow TPT sellers. Please download and enjoy these helpful holiday e-books loaded with freebies!

2012 Winter Holidays Tips and Freebies: PK-K Edition

2012 Winter Holidays Tips and Freebies: 1-2 Grade Edition

2012 Winter Holidays Tips and Freebies: Grades 3-6 Edition

2012 Winter Holidays Tips and Freebies: Grades 7-12 Edition

Two of my free Christmas products are featured in the Grade 3-6 edition of the Winter Holidays E-book!

Thanks for checking out these fabulous free products filled with teaching resources & classroom tips!




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