Monday, March 31, 2014

Fun spring lessons for math, literacy and art!

If you are in the mood for fun spring lessons you may want to check out these packets that feature math, literacy and/or art. They all have a variety of fun and colorful graphics that will make you and your students in the mood for spring and are good for late elementary students.

If all of these packets interest you you can purchase my Spring Math, Literacy and Art Bundle that combines all subject areas for a discount. 

My Spring Literacy Centers focus on writing, synonyms/antonyms and suffixes/prefixes. Individual centers are also sold separately if you plan on focusing one skill in particular.

My Spring Math Centers include 10 spring centers that focus on multiplication, division, rounding, simple decimals, money, addition, subtraction, and place value skills. See more by downloading my preview.

For a fun art activity for the fast finishers in your classroom or for a quick sub activity check out my Fast Finishers Art for Spring. Included are a pack of drawing pages that encourage creative thinking that are based on spring and my best selling Fast Finishers Art Pack.

Have fun and enjoy spring in your classroom!

Saturday, March 29, 2014

Fabulous Freebies: Spring Things

Here are some more spring freebies that can help you celebrate warmer weather with your students:

#1: Here is a great idea for having students create a mural while learning about nouns and verbs, all with a spring theme.  It is meant for the younger grades, but could be adapted to many other lessons.

#2: Weather Graphing Activity  is a fun activity that has your students track weather and graph it over time.  This activity is perfect for the younger grades and so appropriate for this time of year as the snow turns to rain and the temperatures continue to fight to stay above freezing throughout the country.

#3: April Showers Bring May Flowers Clipart  is an eight page packet with spring clipart.

#4: Weather Whiz Kids is a website on how to conduct close to forty weather related experiments.  It is definitely worth checking out.

#5: The Weather Channel also has a ton of free lesson plans to check out.    

#6: A packet of puns is a great way to follow up April Fool's Day.   

Thursday, March 27, 2014

Five Egg Experiments

With the spring and Easter coming up, I thought I would share some egg-citing ways to use eggs as teaching devices in your classroom. Here are five egg related experiments you could try!

1. Make a naked egg! 

Learn how to remove the shell of the egg following these instructions. A naked egg has such an unusual shape that students have never seen before!

2. Make an egg geode.

Mimic a geode using the shell of an egg and other simple ingredients such as salt. The process looks easy and the results look great!

3. Learn about air pressure using eggs.

See how air pressure reacts with eggs as an egg gets sucked through a small hole. This would be a fun activity to have kids make predictions before seeing what actually happens and learning why.

4. Teach dental health! 

Eberhert's Explorers has a great experiment that teaches dental health using eggs by soaking them in soda. This is a great lesson for those reluctant tooth brushing students and a great way to practice dental hygiene.

 5.  Practice problem solving skills.

This Spangler Science video has a great idea that could be used to build creative problem solving and critical thinking skills. This video asks the question of how to separate the yolk from the white without touching it. Providing students with a lot of different materials to use and experiment with could be a fun problem solving activity! The video of course does show an easy solution.

Have fun if you decide to try any of these ideas!

Sunday, March 23, 2014

Fabulous Freebies: Writing Prompts

Here are some fabulous freebies to help you get writing prompt ideas for your students!

If you haven't seen this post yet, check it out! It contains 15 spring themed writing prompts. I tried to include a variety of reasons to write with the selection of these prompts.

Here is a huge list of 501 writing prompts! They are divided into four categories including persuasive, expository, narrative and literary response. They are in general less 'fun' type prompts and more practical prompts but still useful.

This Writing Prompt Task Card Pack is geared towards students in grades 1-5 and has some creative and interesting prompts! I think these prompts would definitely motivate students to write.

Daily Teaching Tools has a huge list of 180 journal writing prompts divided into the four quarters of the year. It looked like many could be used for a wide range of students from elementary through high school level.

With this list you now have more than 700 prompts to pick from for your students! Wow!

Wednesday, March 19, 2014

Teaching Kinesthetic Learners

Newton's laws of motion state that "an object in motion tends to stay in motion..."  This is especially true of kids.  We've all had students--some of us entire classes--that seemed to always be wiggling and jiggling around.  The young ones need to be able to move.  Why not give them some guidance and direction to make it a productive part of your class?  The older ones need to be shaken up a bit before their bodily inertia travels to their brains.  Why not get their blood flowing every now and again?

Movement seems to really help students, especially the kinesthetic learners.  Below are a few ideas to use in your classroom...

1) In Spanish, I always make my students play human bingo.  This gets them moving around and dialoguing in Spanish (something for which the extra blood flow is very helpful).  Obviously games shouldn't be restricted to certain classes.  Playing games that allow for movement is a great way to engage kinesthetic learners.

2) Gallery walks are great ways to get students moving around.  One way I've used them recently is to post giant chart sheets around the room with a different character's name from the novel we are reading on each one.  Students pair up and go to a chart sheet.  They have a few minutes to write down a detail and or quote about the character along with the page reference.  Then everyone rotates to the right or left.  They look at what is written and add one or two new quotes/details about the character.  Students proceed like this until they are all the way back to where they started.

3) Word sorts are a quick, easy review.  I write vocabulary on post it notes and divy them up among the students. Then I write headings on the board and have them get up and put their post its under the heading they think it belongs to.  Finally, the class goes over what is on the board to check for understanding and correct any misunderstandings.

4) Have students work on projects so that the lessons are hands on.  Having students construct, type, bake, glue, paint, manipulate, build, present, act, photograph or do anything that goes beyond just listening and seeing are stimulating.

5) Use role plays.  One of my favorite units to teach is one on how to land a job.  I have students participate in mock interviews with community members.  This is a great way to get students fully engaged in learning with a real world application.

There are so many ways to get moving.  If you have any great ideas, add a comment with a tip.

Saturday, March 15, 2014

Fabulous Freebies-April Fool's Day

This long, brutal winter has wiped the smiles off of many faces.  The sun seems to shine just long enough to melt a few inches of snow and ice.  Temps above freezing tease us for a day or two before plummeting back down and turning would-be spring rain into another layer of snow.  So, with April fast approaching, now is the perfect time to start collecting some April Fool's Day freebies and put smiles back on students' and colleagues' faces.

#1: This April Fool's Day Packet has a variety of activities appropriate for grammar school.  There are writing prompts, poetry prompts, drawing activities, a brief history of the day, and much more.  This is sold as a product for 1-4 grade, but could probably be used as stations or fast finisher activities for 5 or 6th, as well.

#2: Have a little fun with your class.  Send a prank letter to your students and parents.

#3: Want to do some silly math problems? This freebie is a packet of simple math problems that students can complete.  Most of the word problems are two digit addition and subtraction, but there are a few multiplication problems thrown in.

#4: Have some fun with your colleagues.  One of the best sites I've found is April Fool Zone.  There are pages of ideas of pranks to try.

Wednesday, March 12, 2014

15 Spring Writing Prompts

Since we had a few nice days of weather before our next predicted storm, it reminded me that spring will (eventually) show up. Here are some spring themed writing prompt ideas to get you and your students in the mood for warmer weather!

1. During spring, trees grow leaves again on their branches. Imagine what this would be like and write a story from the perspective of the tree about what spring feels like.

2. If you could be any flower, what flower would you be and why?

3. Earth Day is in the spring. Describe what you do to help take care of the earth.

4. May is National Pet Month. If you could have one unusual pet, what would you have and why?

5. Write a list of interview questions you would like to ask the Easter Bunny.

6. In April there is Read a Road Map Week. Describe where you would like to go on a road trip and what you would see.

7. Plan a celebration for National Peanut Butter & Jelly Day.

8.  During the spring you can wear different clothes than during the winter. How are your outfits changing and what are you looking forward to wearing?

9. List ten things you would like to grow in a garden in the spring.

10. Many baby animals are born in the spring. Write a story about a baby bird coming out of an egg and living in a nest with his or her bird parents.

11. Many people do spring cleaning. Think of an invention that could help you do all of your spring cleaning. Write an ad to help sell your spring cleaning invention to others.

12. What would you like to do over spring break? Write a persuasive essay to your family to try to convince them to follow along with your ideas.

13. Imagine a farmer would plant a magical seed in his garden in the spring. Write a story about what would happen and what would grow from the seed.

14. The sun stays out for longer and longer in the spring. What do you like to do with all of this extra daylight?

15. Teacher Appreciation Week is in the spring. Write a list of ways you could show your teacher you appreciate him or her.

For more spring activities, check out my Spring Math, Literacy and Art Packet!

Sunday, March 9, 2014

Spanish Stations

One of the easiest ways to differentiate in the classroom is to use centers/stations.  I use them regularly in my Spanish classes to review the objectives from each unit.  I have students do a self assessment to determine where they are strong and what they need to work on.  Then I introduce anywhere between 8 and 12 stations, making it clear what each station covers.  They can then determine which stations they want to do.  They can move at their own pace, working on the objectives they choose to review.  I help them to pace themselves and circulate to answer questions and provide individual direct instruction where necessary.  Here are some of the stations I have for sale on Teachers Pay Teachers.

#1: Here is a collection of 8 stations covering introductory vocabulary.  At just $2, it is one of my best sellers and best deals!

#2: For just $1.00 you can purchase a set of activities that focuses on the vocabulary for greetings.

#3: Also, for $2.50 you can purchase a set of activities that focuses on just the number vocabulary.

Friday, March 7, 2014

Fabulous Freebies: St. Patrick's Day

I can hardly believe St. Patrick's Day is almost here! That must mean that spring is around the corner. Here are some fabulous freebies to help you celebrate the luck of the Irish in your classroom! If you missed last year's post, check out all the freebies here and visit this Pinterest board for more St. Patrick's Day ideas.

If you want to do some origami, check out this website for these three St. Patrick's day themed instructions. I love origami and my students always have as well - from elementary to high school! Origami is also a great way to use math in the classroom and ask math questions while folding your creations. I have some suggestions on ways to do that in this article.

This website is my absolute favorite website to learn new origami since the instructions are very clear and shown in photo step by step and many also include a video you can pause after each step. I have always had success with instructions from this site.

Rachel over at Minds in Bloom has a great list of St. Patrick's Day writing prompts. I thought the prompts were really creative and thought that most students would enjoy answering them!

The American Chemical Society has a list of fun St. Patrick's day related science experiments! My favorites include making blarney beads, frying green eggs or turning pennies gold. These activities are geared towards older students.

Find lots of information about St. Patrick's Day at the Holiday Zone including discussion questions, puzzles, quizzes, recipes and more. There is a big variety of items available.

If you have a St. Patrick's Day freebie, share it with us in the comments and we would love to feature you next week for fabulous freebies!

Thursday, March 6, 2014

A Test Everyone Can Pass

Verbal, logical and intrapersonal.  Those were the three categories where I scored the highest on the Multiple Intelligences Test.  When I gave the same test to my students, their strengths as a class only overlapped in one area.  

If you are like me, you've taken the test and even given it out a few times, but maybe not in awhile.  There are two main reasons to do so, though:

#1: Your students should know that while school targets and rewards certain intelligences over others, everyone has strengths that should be pursued, appreciated and recognized.  Students want to feel successful and be seen as capable.  Giving them this test recognizes that they are capable.

#2: Knowing what your students' strengths are helps us teach better.  Once we know our students' strengths we can create and pursue opportunities where students can shine and show that we appreciate all of our students for the diverse set of strengths they bring to the classroom.  

A couple years ago I attended a workshop with Jeffrey Wilhelm, who has written extensively about literacy, including how to engage the disengaged.  He shared a story about a young boy who would not do a bit of work in the classroom.  During an interview, he told Mr. Wilhelm that if the teacher ever showed a bit of interest in the things that were important to him, that he would return the favor. 

Getting to know our students' multiple intelligences now will interrupt core lessons during crunch time in many of our school year,.  Perhaps this blog post is ill timed coming so late in the school year.  Nonetheless, I feel it is so important, that I decided to write it anyway.  Maybe it will serve as a welcome reminder to some teacher out there of how important it is to take time to see the best in our students.  Take time to enjoy your students.  If this blog entry doesn’t speak to you right now, tuck it away until August when you are planning for 2014-2015.

Tuesday, March 4, 2014

Art Criticism for Kids Pack

If you enjoyed last week's post about my Art Writing Prompts packet, you might also enjoy my Art Criticism for Kids pack. This pack contains materials that can help your students write and talk about artwork using appropriate terms.

The packet gives helpful terms that are divided into the four steps of art criticism and suggests four different activities you can do with this pack including playing a game, writing about art and discussing artwork.

I know that sometimes art criticism can feel like pulling teeth to your students and sometimes they just want to make art without discussing it. This packet should make it easy and entertaining so you can easily incorporate it into your classroom.

 Artwork is also included in case you choose to use it with your classroom.

This packet is a great introduction to art criticism and makes it easy for your students to learn about it. To see more and download a preview, check it out here.

Saturday, March 1, 2014

10 Fabulous Freebies By the Authors of One Less Headache


#1: Lesson Lady's ACT Test Taking Skills Grammar will help your students learn and practice basic grammar tested on the ACT with this worksheet.  Grammar tested on this sheet include commas, semicolons, colons, and dashes. An answer key is also included.

#2: ETC has a handout for analyzing sources that students complete when they are researching. They must submit one for every source they find. It requires them to put the source's information in MLA format, review the reliability of the source, analyze the type of information, take notes and compare that source to others on the same topic.

#3: In Lesson Lady's Andy Warhol Style Hand Prints Lesson students will create prints using their hands in the style of Andy Warhol.

Students will learn about patterns and printmaking while creating prints of their hands in this fun lesson. Included in this lesson are:
- Step by step directions with a completed example.
- Andy Warhol sheet with simulated Warhol examples and a self portrait of Andy Warhol.
- Pattern practice worksheet.

#4:  Check out this free one page handout for brainstorming ideas to write about and a brief outline for how to format a formal letter.

#5: Lesson Lady has a free Zoo Animal Math Game! You choose if students use multiplication, addition, or subtraction to play this fun game.  Students will add animals to their zoo as they use addition, multiplication, or subtraction to calculate the answers on a pair of dice. The student with the most animals in his or her zoo wins!  All you will need to play this game is a pair of dice. 

#6: Any foreign language teachers out there like to play games?  Check out this game that turns dialoguing in a foreign language into a game of king of the hill.

#7: The Lesson Lady has a FREE how to PowerPoint to help your students learn how to draw basic boxes in two point perspective. This lesson is perfect for introducing your students to two point perspective and helping them learn the basics of drawing this way.

#8: Here is a simple crossword puzzle with Spanish numbers. The clues are riddles and use Spanish numbers.

#9: The Lesson Lady presents Art Bucks! Art Bucks are dollars you can use in your classroom to reward positive behavior and attitudes.

#10:  ETC's most popular product is a bundle of three easy, bakeless cookie recipes to make with students for the holidays or just because chocolate tastes so good. :)
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