Mystery Puzzles Make You Think

Mystery puzzles gets kids asking questions

I first gave the 3 mystery puzzles below to my students in the Talented and Gifted program over 20 years ago. Prior to sharing the mysteries with the class, I had to review and review them again to make sure that I REALLY understood them.

The students tried all different ways of figuring out the answers. They talked it out, they drew pictures, they labeled their pictures and they asked questions. Finally, I shared the answers (thankfully, I had an answer key). But the answers did not come easy to most of us and we still had some non-believers in the group.

These are great activities for group work or challenge problems. They certainly will get people thinking.  Have fun friends!

Mystery Puzzles

  1. Soup for All – GG made a big pot of chicken soup and wanted to share it with her neighbors. She filled 3 flowered bowls and gave them to her neighbors– a family of two fathers and two sons.  They all loved the soup!  How could 3 bowls of soup be divided equally and fairly between two fathers and two sons?
  2. Floating Family – Mom and Dad and two kids must cross a lake.  They find a 2-person kayak, but it is not big enough for them all to go over at the same time.  Luckily both kids are good rowers but how can the whole family get across the river? How many times does the kayak cross the lake? (HINT:  Might find it easier to label the kids Kid #1 and Kid #2 to avoid confusion)
  3. The Wolf, the Goat, and the Cabbage – You are traveling through the woods with a wolf, a goat, and a cabbage.  The wolf wants to eat the goat and the goat wants to eat the cabbage and you must keep everyone apart to prevent a disaster.  You come to a river and find a small boat that you can only fit 1 other person. You must get everyone across the river, but you cannot leave the wolf alone with the goat, nor the goat alone with the cabbage.  What is your plan? How many times did you have to cross the river to be successful?

Mystery Story Answers

  1. The neighbors were a grandfather, son, and grandson, so they each got a bowl of soup.
  2. The two kids row across. Kid #1 stays on the other side of the lake alone and Kid #2 brings the kayak back. Kid #2 and mom cross back over the lake.  Mom stays behind and Kid #2 goes back to get dad.  Dad and Kid #2 go back across the lake. Answer: they kayak crosses the lake 5 times.
  3. Take the goat across, go back; and take the wolf across. Then take the goat back with you.  Take just the cabbage back with you and leave it with the wolf.  Go back alone and bring back the goat. It took 7 trips across the river, but the goat was never alone with the wolf or the cabbage.

Learning occurs in day to day activities. So, look for and create learning opportunities throughout your day. Stay safe and be well.

Isn’t education All about reaching the kids in the classroom and at home?

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Environmental Print Activities

Environmental Print Activities help kids learn to read

A couple of years ago I wrote a post about teaching my granddaughters Environmental Print. Environmental Print is the name given to the print that appears in signs, labels, and logos you see in everyday life. Learning to “read” Environmental Print is an important step in learning to read print. This type of learning helps young children build confidence and transition into the world of reading more easily.

Today, while driving in the car I started pointing out Environmental Print to another granddaughter. Although our trip was filled with signs and logos that she undoubtedly was aware of, it did not engage her interest. Her only focus was when she was going to get to my house.  So, “reading around our town” we will attempt on another day and try some of the ideas listed below. 

11 Environmental Print Activities

  • Grocery Ads – Ask children to read the print in grocery store ads to make a shopping list.
  • Add Real boxes/Labels to Play – Encourage your child to play with real empty boxes and labels.
  • Create a Menu Book – Using any type of notebook or paper create a menu of items your child recognizes by gluing fronts of boxes or labels. Into the menu book.  At mealtime ask your child to choose from the menu to choose what they want to eat.
  • Shopping Helper – Kids can bring their Environmental Print book to the store and try to locate the items on the shelves.
  • Shop your Pantry – Ask your child to get items from your pantry using the brand name or a type of food.  Be sure to show when where the words are on the boxes to help them “read” the words.
  • Cooking in the Kitchen – Using their Environmental Print book they can collect items needed to prepare their meal.
  • Create Environmental Print Book – Print out or cut out logos, box tops, names of stores, school items that are familiar to your child.  If you are printing the items, be sure to use large print and proper coloring.
  • Shopping Photos – Allow kids to take pictures using your phone of items in the store they like.  They can then review the photos and name the products.
  • Road signs – Print out copies of road signs and place around house or an outside space.  Ask kids to pretend they are driving and obey the traffic signs.  A great way to make them “SLOW DOWN” on a busy day!
  • Puzzle Boxes – Cut up the front of boxes (ex. cereal) to make a puzzle and ask kids to put them together. Start with 2 pieces and work up to more pieces depending on the child’s age and skill level.
  • Match Game – Make 2 copies of the word or label and ask kids to find 2 of the same thing.  Variations can be a card game or a memory game.

With a little bit of effort and creativity we can create opportunities for kids to see print and learn to read it.  Sharing Environmental Print with our kids is just one more way we can show how important reading and writing are for life. Happy Reading!

Learning occurs in day to day activities. So, look for and create learning opportunities throughout your day. Stay safe and be well.

Isn’t education All about reaching the kids in the classroom and at home?

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Environmental Print is ALL AROUND!

Stories with Holes Challenge

Stories with Holes make kids ask good questions

Kids love to try to figure out “Stories with Holes”. Sometimes referred to as “one minute mysteries” or “red herring stories, they were one of the favorite activities for my students when I was teaching in the Talented and Gifted programThe stories contain 1 or more “red herrings” which are facts that are “not as they seem”.  Asking questions about facts in the story leads to the evidence needed to solve the mystery.

Take a look at the following stories I found while cleaning out old files. After our 4-6th graders got stumped a few times, they learned to ask the “right” questions. They enjoyed solving the mysteries in group setting and LOVED the competition. To get you started, I underlined the word in the first 2 examples to give you a hint to the solution. No hint for the last 3 stories.  You are on your own. Have fun!

Stories with Holes

  1. If a plane lands on the border of the US and Canada, where are the survivors buried?
  2. An airplane landed in the middle of a school playground. Children were playing all over the playground when it landed but no one got hurt.  How come?
  3. There was a tornado in Oklahoma.  The power went out and the woman went to her basement for cover.  As she was carrying the candles down the old, creaky, wooden stairs, she tripped, and the candles dropped on the stairs.  Why didn’t the stairs catch fire?
  4. Two identical twins (biologically and physically identical) go into a restaurant and each order a cup of coffee.  The contents of the cup are identical. Each twin drinks the coffee and finishes it.  One twin lives and one twin dies.  Why?
  5. A man is in the desert.  In the distance he sees a refreshment stand.  He walks in and says to the attendant, “Please, please, a glass of water.”  The attendant takes out a gun and fires three shots in the air.  The man said, “Thank you,” and left satisfied.  Why did he leave satisfied?

Answers

  1. Survivors are NOT buried.
  2. It was a paper airplane.
  3. The candles were not lit.
  4. The twins are identical twins NOT TO EACH OTHER but to two other people.
  5. The man was satisfied because he had hiccups and the gunshot scared them away.  He was not thirsty.

Learning occurs in day to day activities. So, look for and create learning opportunities throughout your day. Stay safe and be well.

Isn’t education All about reaching the kids in the classroom and at home?

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Easter Jokes to Make You “HOPPY “

Easter jokes to make you laugh!

With Easter right around the corner, you know it is time to start some Easter Joke fun. Now, what are Easter jokes without certain words included in the punchline. 

Challenge older kids to think of the 2 categories that will have many of common words in the category to answer some of the jokes. IF they can name the 2 categories of words and some examples, they are bound to figure out some of the jokes below.  For our younger kiddos, I have underlined the “hint” word to get the fun started.

Be ready for some “eye rolling” either yours or theirs!  Have fun!

Easter Jokes

Q. How did the soggy Easter Bunny dry himself?
A. With a hare dryer!

Q. What kind of beans never grow in a garden?
A. Jellybeans!

Q. What kind of bunny cannot hop?

A. A chocolate bunny.

Q. How does Easter end?

A. With an “R”!

Q. What do you get if you give an Easter Bunny a pair of socks?

A. A sock hop!

Q. What happened when the Easter Bunny met the rabbit of his dreams?
A. They lived hoppily ever after!

Q. What do you call a rabbit who tells jokes?
A. A funny bunny.

Q. What is a rabbit’s favorite dance?
A. The Bunny Hop.

Q. What happens if you tell a joke to an Easter egg?

A. It cracks up.

Q. How does the Easter Bunny stay in shape?

A. Eggs -ercise

Q. What proof is there that carrots are good for the eyes?

A. You don’t see rabbits wearing eyeglasses.

Q.  What road did the Easter Bunny take from New York to South Carolina that he arrived so quickly?   

A. He used the Eggs-press lane!

Q. What does the Easter Bunny plant next to the green beans in his garden?

A. Jellybeans

Q. How does Easter end?

A. With an “R”!

Q. What happens if Winnie the Pooh drops his dinner on the Easter Bunny?

A. A honey bunny

Q. What do you call a rabbit with fleas?

A. Bugs Bunny.

Q. What do you call a rabbit that tells good jokes?

A. A funny bunny.

Q. What do you call a rabbit with the sniffles?

A. A runny bunny.

Q. What is Easter Bunny’s favorite kind of music?

A. Hip-hop!

Q. Why did the Easter Bunny have on a hat?

A. Because he was having a bad hare day.

Q. What do you call a mischievous Easter egg?

A. A practical yolker.

Q. Where did the Easter Bunny learn how to ski?

A. The bunny hill.

Q. How does the Easter Bunny travel on vacation?

A. On hare planes.

Q. What compliment did the Easter Bunny give about the Easter parade?

A. It was eggs-cellent.

Q. What did one Easter egg say to the other?

A. Heard any good yolks today?

Q. What do you call an Easter egg from outer space?

A. An egg-straterrestrial!

Q. What do you say to the Easter Bunny on his birthday?

A. Hoppy birthday.

Q. What’s an Easter egg’s least favorite day?

A. Fry-day.

Q. Which side of the Easter Bunny has the most fur?

A. The outside.

Did you figure out the 2 popular categories in many Easter jokes? 

  1. Rabbit words/actions – hare, hop, bunny, carrots
  2. Chicks words/actions – eggs

These jokes were hilHAREous weren’t they?  An EGGS-cellent challenge, huh?

Learning occurs in day to day activities. So, look for and create learning opportunities throughout your day. Stay safe and be well.

Isn’t education All about reaching the kids in the classroom and at home?

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April Dates for Classroom Fun

April Dates for Classroom Fun

April dates are sure to bring lots of fun to classrooms. Calendar dates can help to make days special and opportunities to learn. Special days and observances can be everything from silly to serious and everything in between.

These special days don’t have to be only celebrated at home.  Knowing the days can extend to homes and family activities too.  Aren’t we all looking for ways to make learning at fun everywhere?  After a year of being in the midst of a pandemic aren’t we all ready for some FUN?  

I know I have NOT included every celebration in the list below.  But the list below should get you started with some “hours of fun!”  ENJOY! If you are ready for even more fun, check out the websites below that list additional holidays and celebrations.  Along with basic information you will find classroom resources and lesson ideas.  ALL FREE!

April Dates: Daily Celebrations

April 1: April Fools’ Day

April 2: World Autism Awareness Day, International Children’s Book Day (first Thursday)

April 4: National School Librarian Day

April 11: National Pet Day

April 15: World Art Day

April 16: Wear Pajamas to Work Day

April 20: Volunteer Recognition Day

April 22 Earth Day, Administrative Professionals Day (Wednesday of last full week)

April 23: Take Your Daughter and Son to Work Day (fourth Thursday)

April 24: National Arbor Day (last Friday)

April Weekly Observances

Laugh at Work Week (first week)

National Library Week (April 19-25)

National Volunteer Week (third week)

April Monthly Observances

Autism Awareness Month

National Garden Month

National Poetry Month

FREE Celebration Resources

The Teacher’s Corner

Education World

Calendar at a Glance- National Day Calendar

Learning occurs in day to day activities. So, look for and create learning opportunities throughout your day. Stay safe and be well.

Isn’t education All about reaching the kids in the classroom and at home?

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Reading Websites (FREE) for Kids

Reading websites keep kids reading

Who does not like the word FREE?  I am always looking for new FREE reading websites for parents and teachers and I have found a few more to share with you. With so many kids learning at home, many parents are looking for additional learning activities for their kids. The sites below are ideal for review, reinforcement and FUN! These websites are not only FREE they are also kid and parent friendly.

5 New Reading Websites

Oxford Owl – After registering for a FREE account as a parent or a teacher you have access to over 250 children’s audio books. The free eBook library has been created to help children aged 3-11 develop their reading skills.

ABCya! – Children can listen to short stories read alound to them as they follow allong with the highlighted text.  There are a variety of educational games that are categorized by grade levels too   Resources focus on grades K through 5. There is a premium service available for a cost but there are many FREE resources available.

Storynory – A great collection of classic, fairytales and original stories.  Students can follow text while the story is read to them. Some of the stories are also translated into different languages.  Great resource for ENL students.

Storyline Online – I love this site.  Developed by The Screen Actors Guild Foundation the site features actors and actresses reading some of their favorite children’s books.  Each story comes with a free Activity Guide and can be viewed on Vimeo, YouTube or SchoolTube.

Read to Me – Similar to Storyline Online, Read to Me features popular children’s books being read by famous performers.  There are activity guides with hands-on ideas, discussion questions, and lesson plans that can easily be adapted for classrooms. The site has been updated to include the Read to Me International Workshop Recordings and Materials. 

Encore Mention

  • Starfall – I have listed this one before, but it is certainly worth an encore mention.  It is used quite often in schools and homes. A premium service is also offered but there are many early reader stories available for FREE. The site is highly engaging and is a favorite of young readers. Activities are available from PreK through Grade 3.

Great resources that allow kids to access pages on their own. 

Happy Reading!

Learning occurs in day to day activities. So, look for and create learning opportunities throughout your day. Stay safe and be well.

Isn’t education All about reaching the kids in the classroom and at home?

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Virtual Aquariums Are Fun

Virtual aquariums are amazing!

I have been a fan of aquariums for years. But getting to all the great ones throughout the country is impossible.  The next best thing is taking virtual aquarium tours. It is so much fun to see things that you probably will not ever see in face to face. If your are ready to take a deep dive without leaving your chair, check out some of the virtual aquariums below.

Many of the experiences allow you to click and drag images to navigate your way around and use arrows, the maps, or scenes to explore various exhibits. Many of the aquariums have webcams of small and big sea animals.  The Aquarium of the Pacific will even take you into the world of sharks.  Happy exploring!

6 Virtual Aquariums to Explore

These aquarium resources are accessible 24-7 and FREE.  Can’t beat that!  Check back again to see upcoming posts on resources for virtual trips to zoos, museums, and National Parks.

Learning occurs in day to day activities. So, look for and create learning opportunities throughout your day. Stay safe and be well.

Isn’t education All about reaching the kids in the classroom and at home?

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St. Patrick’s Day Jokes to Make You Smile

St. Patrick’s Day Jokes to Make You Smile

St. Patrick’s Day jokes can make us all laugh! But, there is nothing like it when a child realizes the value of jokes and riddles.  For little ones, after they hear someone tell a joke and watch people laugh, they start “silly joke telling”. Those are the jokes that make no sense, and they wait for you to laugh. Of course, we do, and we will try once again, to explain all about jokes!  For older kids, we enjoy it when we see the look in their eyes, when they “get” the inferences in the jokes. Or the roll of their eyes when they realize you just told them a silly joke!

Jokes are a great way to bond with your kids or grandkids or just to add a little silliness into our lives.  Check out some of the St. Patrick’s Day jokes I dug up from my Principal Files.

After the last year of COVID-19, don’t we all need a few laughs?

St. Patrick’s Day Jokes

  1. What happens when a leprechaun falls into a river?
  2. What’s a leprechaun’s favorite cereal?
  3. What do they call the Irish jig at McDonald’s?
  4. Why do leprechauns recycle?
  5. What does it mean if you find a horseshoe in Ireland?
  6. What did the leprechaun say when the video game ended?
  7. Why do frogs like St. Patrick’s Day?
  8. What type of bow cannot be tied?
  9. When does a leprechaun cross the road?
  10. How is a best friend like a 4-leaf clover?
  11. They are both hard to find and lucky to have.

And the punchline is…..

  1. He gets wet!
  2. Lucky Charms
  3. A Shamrock Shake
  4. They like to go green!
  5. A horse lost its shoe.
  6. Game clover!
  7. Because they are already wearing green
  8. They like to go green!
  9. A rain-bow
  10. When the light turns green
  11. They are both hard to find and lucky to have.

Happy St. Patrick’s Day Friends!

Learning occurs in day to day activities. So, look for and create learning opportunities throughout your day. Stay safe and be well.

Isn’t education All about reaching the kids in the classroom and at home?

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Resources for Remote Teaching

Remote Teaching Resources

The NYS Education Department has an extensive list of remote teaching resources. The links are specifically intended for teachers to provide ideas and inspiration as they plan and implement remote and/or online learning during extended closures.  Although NYS has provided the information, most of the links will be beneficial for all teachers.  

Remote Teaching Links

  • Remote Education Resource Center, SUNY Albany – Resources for teaching online, from “Where to Start,” to content resources and suggested tools.
  • Tips for Distance Learning with PBS Learning Media – In this one-hour virtual learning seminar, PBS master trainers and educators share tips and techniques to support engaging, effective distance learning. Educators of children of all ages are introduced to virtual learning technologies, tools, and hacks to set up a digital classroom with confidence.
  • NYSUT Webinar Series: Teaching in Blended & Hybrid Models – In this two-part webinar series hosted by NYSUT, educators discuss practical strategies for teachers to confront the challenges of working with blended/hybrid classes split between in-person and remote environments.

Get the Latest Updates!

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Learning occurs in day to day activities. So, look for and create learning opportunities throughout your day. Stay safe and be well.

Isn’t education All about reaching the kids in the classroom and at home?

Dr. Seuss Day 2021 is March 2nd

Dr. Seuss Day: March 2, 2021

Dr. Seuss Day 2021 is also known as Read Across America Day. It is a yearly observance in the USA inaugurated by the NEA (National Education Association) that is held on the school day that is nearest to 2 March, Dr Seuss birthday. Theodor Seuss Geisel was an American artist, book publisher, animator, poet, a political cartoonist as well as an author. He is best known for authoring over 60 children’s books.

The Read Across America initiative began in 1997 to encourage children to read more and get excited about reading. The holiday mainly focuses on motivating children to read as it improves their performance in school. On this day, hospitals, bookstores, community centers, churches, libraries as well as schools host many events. So, it’s time to grab your Dr. Seuss hat get reading!    

Happy Birthday, Dr. Seuss!

Learning occurs in day to day activities. So, look for and create learning opportunities throughout your day. Stay safe and be well.

Isn’t education All about reaching the kids in the classroom and at home?

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Knowing Key Words Will Unlock Math Problems

Knowing Key Words Will Unlock Math Problems

Knowing key words in problem solving is critical for all students. Word problems require students to read and comprehend the question, identify what is being asked and then solve an equation.  Making it more difficult for students is that there are multiple terms that mean the same things when solving math word problems.

For early readers, ENL students or struggling readers the task can be daunting. For those kids their inability to comprehend the question may make them unable to solve the problem.  They may have math understanding but they are not able to decipher what they are being asked. Teaching them key math terminology will help them tackle math problems.

Addition

addadded toall togetherandcombined
bothhow manyin all increaseincreased
increased bymore thanjoinperimeterplus
sumtogethertotaltotal of addition

Subtraction

are notdeductdetractsubtactremove
decreased (by)differenceexceedfewerfewer than
how many morehow many leftleftleft overless
minusmore thanreduce
remaining
or remains
take away

Multiplication

areaas muchbyeachfactor
equal groupsgroups of in all lots of multiple
multiplymultiplied byperproductproduct of
ratetimestripletwice multiplied

Division

averagecut updistributedivide, divided,
divided by,
divident
split
divisoreachequal parts
equal group
evenly
separateshared equally
every halfhow many eachinto out of
per, percent,
percent (divided by 100)
quotient, quotient of quarterratio,
ratio of
same

Equal

balancedequal equivalentevengives
identicalismatchessameyields

Word problems can be tricky. Remember to look for the key words that tell you it’s the same operation.

Learning occurs in day to day activities. So, look for and create learning opportunities throughout your day. Stay safe and be well.


Isn’t education All about reaching the kids in the classroom and at home?

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Encourage Math Learning

Vocabulary Strategies to Help Kids Read

Teaching Vocabulary Helps Kids Read

Vocabulary is one of five core components of reading instruction that are essential to successfully teach children how to read. Vocabulary knowledge is important because it encompasses all the words, we must know to access our background knowledge, express our ideas, and communicate effectively, and learn about new concepts. Since students’ word knowledge is linked strongly to academic success it makes sense for teachers to implement effective strategies to strengthen student vocabulary.  

6 Easy Vocabulary Strategies

Vocabulary Drawings -Vocabulary drawings link a rhyming word with a visual in the form of a student drawing.  Ex. house/mouse.  A student can draw a picture of a house with a mouse on it.

Pre and Post Concept Checks – If your lesson is heavy on vocabulary, this strategy is easy to prepare and works great.

  • Ahead of time, pull out the terms that are most important.
  • Have students rate their understanding of the terms using a rating scale. (know it well, not sure, no idea)
  • By checking the answers by collecting the assignment or circulating through the room, you can adapt lesson accordingly.
  • After the lesson, have students re-rate their understanding by writing an explanation or drawing a picture.

Frontload Difficult Vocabulary -Present the words prior to the lesson and ask students to brainstorm various meanings.  If need be, simply give them the meaning. This is especially successful for students with limited background knowledge and/or ENL students.

Classifying and Categorizing -Classifying and categorizing vocabulary words are important skills for comprehension and application.  One variation is to sort terms with meanings. Another is to give students all the terms and ask them to create categories for groups they created.

Interactive Word Wall -As students learn new vocabulary words, add them to a Word Wall. The Word Wall can then be used to connect learning, using a magnetized board with magnets on the back of the vocabulary words allows for easy movement. See some of the examples below:

  • Choose a word and ask students to use it in a sentence.
  • Choose a word and ask student to name a rhyming word.
  • Find the word that begins with the letter D.
  • Give a definition and have students choose which word you describe.
  • Find all the words that begin with a letter.
  • Find all the words with 3 letters.
  • Ask them to alphabetize a small group of words.

Word Hunt -Prior to reading a passage, ask partnered students to preview the pages and identify any vocabulary words that may be confusing.  This engages them in discussion and teams them to find out the new meanings. 

Expanding a child’s vocabulary helps increase their background knowledge and helps them express their ideas more effectively.

Learning occurs in day to day activities. So, look for and create learning opportunities throughout your day. Stay safe and be well.

Isn’t education All about reaching the kids in the classroom and at home?

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Valentine’s Day Jokes for 2021

Valentine’s Day jokes will make us all smile

Valentine’s Day is always in the middle of winter but this year, it is in the middle of a pandemic too!  Many kids across America will miss their classroom Valentine’s Day parties. For some, they have not even seen many of their family and friends in the last year.  IF there was ever a year to send some love and make someone smile; it is this year!  Check out the Valentine’s Day jokes!

Valentine’s Day Jokes 2021

  • What did one whale say to the other on Valentine’s Day? 
    • “Whale” you be mine?
  • What did one squirrel say to the other on Valentine’s Day? 
    • I am “nuts” about you.
  • What did the ghost say to his girlfriend? 
    • You look “boo”-tiful!
  • Why did the girl put candy under her pillow? 
    • Because she wanted “sweet” dreams
  • What did the rabbit say to his girlfriend? 
    • Some “bunny” loves you.
  • Do you have a date for Valentine’s day? 
    • Yes, February 14th
  • What did the stamp say to the envelope on Valentine’s Day? 
    • I am “stuck” on you.
  • What did one sheep say to the other on Valentine’s Day? 
    • I love “ewe!”
  • Why did the Valentine get arrested? 
    • For “stealing” someone’s heart.
  • What did the blueberry say to his Valentine? 
    • I love you “berry” much.
  • What did one volcano say to the other on Valentine’s Day? 
    • I “lava” you a lot!” 
  • What did one cat say to the other on Valentine’s Day? 
    • I think you are “puurrr-fect”.

Come on…. you had to at least smile with some of those jokes?  

Happy Valentine’s Day Friends! 

Learning occurs in day to day activities. So, look for and create learning opportunities throughout your day. Stay safe and be well.

Isn’t education All about reaching the kids in the classroom and at home?

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Happy Valentine’s Day!

Happy Valentine’s Day 2020

 

March Dates for Classroom Fun

March dates are sure to bring lots of fun to classrooms.

March dates are sure to bring lots of fun to classrooms. Calendar dates can help to make days special and opportunities to learn. Special days and observances can be everything from silly to serious and everything in between.

These special days don’t have to be only celebrated at home.  Knowing the days can extend to homes and family activities too.  Aren’t we all looking for ways to make learning at fun everywhere?  After a year of being in the midst of a pandemic aren’t we all ready for some FUN?  

I know I have NOT included every celebration in the list below.  But the list below should get you started with some “hours of fun!”  ENJOY! If you are ready for even more fun, check out the websites below that list additional holidays and celebrations.  Along with basic information you will find classroom resources and lesson ideas.  ALL FREE!

March Dates: Daily Celebrations

March 2: Dr. Seuss’s Birthday, National Read Across America Day

March 4: World Book Day

March 8: International Women’s Day

March 11: Johnny Appleseed Day

March 12: Plant a Flower Day

March 14: National Pi Day, Learn About Butterflies Day

March 17: St. Patrick’s Day

March 20: First Day of Spring, International Day of Happiness

March 21: World Poetry Day

March Weekly Observances

National Bubble Week (March 14-20)

Act Happy Week (starts on the third Monday)

March Monthly Observances

Women’s History Month

National Nutrition Month

FREE Celebration Resources

The Teacher’s Corner

Education World

Calendar at a Glance- National Day Calendar

 

Isn’t education All about reaching the kids in the classroom and at home?

Think Aloud Checklist Teaches Kids to THINK

Using a Think Aloud Checklist will help you focus your instruction

Think alouds are one of the best instructional practices to improve student comprehension.  By allowing students to listen to YOU think, they will be able to understand their own thinking.  But, sometimes, you lose track of the number of times you use, or don’t use each strategy.  The Think Aloud Checklist below will help you track and target each strategy.

Think Aloud Checklist

Strategy Think Aloud

Tally Mark for Each Time Strategy Used 

            Cue Words

Predicting

 
  • I predict… 
  • In the next part I think…  I think this is…

Questioning

 
  • Why did…   What did…  
  • How did…  
  • Where was… 
  • Should there…

Visualizing

 
  • I see…  
  • I picture…

Personal Response

 
  • I feel…
  • My favorite part…
  • I liked/disliked…

Clarifying

 
  • I got confused when…
  • I’m not sure of…
  • I didn’t expect…

Summarizing

 
  • I think this is mainly about…
  • The most important idea is…

Reflecting

 
  • I think I’ll… next time. Maybe I’ll need to… next time.
  • I realized that…
  • I wonder if…

Making Connections

  • Text-to-Self
  • Text-to-Text 
  • Text-to-World
 
  • This is like…
  • This reminds me of…
  • This is similar to…
  • If it were me…

Print out the chart above and put in your plan book to track your Think aloud usage.  You will be surprised how many times throughout the day you model for you students good thinking.

Learning occurs in day to day activities. So, look for and create learning opportunities throughout your day. Stay safe and be well.

Isn’t education All about reaching the kids in the classroom and at home?

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Encourage Math Learning

Encouraging math learning builds a child’s confidence.

It has always bothered me to encounter people that avoid math because “math learning” was not their thing in school.  However, math in the 60’s and 70’s very often the answer was either right or wrong. Very often it was thought you either got it or you did not.  So, how could you NOT have bad feelings about math?

Today’s math teaching encourages trial and error, math explanations and problem solving.  It encourages kids to give math a try and a good math teacher has high expectations for math learning. Parents can encourage their child’s interest in math.  Check out the ideas below and watch your child’s interest and confidence grow.

9 Ways to Make Math Learning Easier

  • Expect some confusion to be part of the learning process but emphasize that effort, not ability, is what counts. Math is understandable and can be figured out.
  • Ask your child what he or she did in math class today.  Ask him or her to give details and to explain.
  • Avoid conveying negative attitudes towards math.  Never tell children not to worry about certain kinds of math because it will never be used.
  • Let kids know that occupations require a sound based in mathematics. Careers in carpentry, landscaping, medicine, pharmacy, aeronautics, and meteorology all require strong math skills.
  • Give your child meaningful problems that use numbers or shapes while you are going about everyday life.  Ask the child to explain what he or she did.
  • Spend time with kids on simple board games, puzzles, and activities that encourage better attitudes and stronger math skills.
  • Point out ways that people use math every day to pay bills, balance their checkbooks, figure out their net earnings, making change and tips at restaurants. 
  • Involve older children in projects that incorporate geometric and algebraic concepts like planting a garden, building a bookshelf, or figuring our how long it will take to drive to your family destination. 
  • Encourage children to solve problems by helping them but allow them to try to figure it out themselves.    

Children’s math achievement is shaped- and- limited by what is expected of them. It is up to us to help them be successful.

Learning occurs in day to day activities. So, look for and create learning opportunities throughout your day. Stay safe and be well.

Isn’t education All about reaching the kids in the classroom and at home?

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Presidential and Inauguration Trivia

This year’s inauguration coverage will surely bring up presidential and inaugural trivia.  Try out the trivia below and see how many you can answer.  Then be ready for the commentators, who always seem to know all the answers!  Have fun!

Questions

  1. What President is associated with creating the US Forest Service?
  2. Who was the youngest elected President of the United States?
  3. As of Wednesday, January 20th, who will be the oldest president to be inaugurated?  (HINT: future tense)
  4. Which president had a dog named King Tut?
  5. Whose inauguration was the first to be televised?
  6. Who was the youngest President of the United States?
  7. Which President never got married?
  8. Who was the first left-handed President? 
  9. Which President holds the record for the shortest time served? 
  10. Whose inauguration was attended by the largest amount of people?
  11. What has been the most common first name of an American First Lady?
  12. How many US Presidents have been assassinated?
  13. Who was the tallest president?

Answers

  1. Theodore Roosevelt
  2. John F. Kennedy
  3. Joseph Biden
  4. Herbert Hoover -31st President
  5. Harry S. Truman
  6. Theodore Roosevelt
  7. James Buchanan – 15th President
  8. James Garfield the 20th President
  9. William Henry Harrison – 9th president was less than 1 month
  10. Barack Obama – 44th President
  11. Elizabeth (although some used nicknames like Betty or Bess)
  12. 4:  Lincoln, Garfield, McKinley, and Kennedy Lincoln at 6ft. 4in.

Learning occurs in day to day activities. So, look for and create learning opportunities throughout your day. Stay safe and be well.

 

Isn’t education All about reaching the kids in the classroom and at home?

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  • Inauguration Day for Kids

Inauguration Day for Kids

Inauguration Day is an important historical moment.

Joe Biden and Kamala Harris’ inauguration on Wednesday is an historic moment.  However, the recent political unrest has made some parents questioning how to share this moment with their children. I recently learned that the Presidential Inaugural Committee (PIC) announced a lineup of television programming specifically aimed at getting kids and families involved in the inauguration and the process of it all.  Since most of the events surrounding the swearing-in will be virtually focused due to the ongoing coronavirus pandemic, this may be the answer for parents.

On Tuesday’s Discovery Education program “I Do Solemnly Swear: The U.S. Presidential Inauguration” at 12 p.m. EST will aim to teach students about the history of the inauguration. The first lady elect, Jill Biden will also appear in the program.

On Wednesday, actress Keke Palmer is set to host an inaugural first: a curated livestream for youth titled “Our White House: An Inaugural Celebration for Young Americans” which will take place before and during the inauguration ceremony starting at 10 a.m. EST. Along with the livestream there will be a message from First Lady, Jill Biden, and a segment on presidential pets.

All programs can be watched live on the PIC social media channels YouTube,  Facebook, Twitter and Twitch. 

Regardless of our political affiliation, our kids will one day ask where they were when the 46th president of the United States took the oath of office. This is an opportunity to teach our kids about the United States of America.

Learning occurs in day to day activities. So, look for and create learning opportunities throughout your day. Stay safe and be well.

Isn’t education All about reaching the kids in the classroom and at home?

Leveled Texts: Same Text at Different Levels

Using leveled texts are important to student success. 

Reading levels in classrooms can vary which makes it difficult for teachers to find resources to meet the needs of all their students.  It is important to give students information at reading levels that they can understand and build confidence. Using leveled texts are important to student success. 

Finding materials at a student’s “just right” level is beneficial for struggling readers, English Language Learners (ELLS) and students with high abilities. The Good News is you do not have to create your own different versions.  Check out the resources below for assistance.  

6 FREE Leveled Texts Resources

  • Newsela – I have shared this resource before and I think it still is one of the best sites.  The free site provides several “levels” of the same newspaper article, along with online quizzes. Spanish translations are also available for some of the articles. Additionally, for a small fee, teachers can also create a virtual classroom, assign articles, and monitor student progress. Spanish translations are also available for some of the articles.  
  • Tweentribune- Classroom teachers can register for a FREE membership.  Each weekday, the site posts age-appropriate news stories to interest students in Grades 1-12.  Each story is edited multiple times for different reading levels. The stories also have self-scoring quizzes and students can post comments. Quiz scores are delivered automatically to teachers and all comments are approved by their teachers before they are published.
  • For the TeachersFREE teacher resources for effective instruction.  Leveled articles are available for download. 
  • CommonLit is a FREE online reading program in English and Spanish that helps students develop comprehension and writing skills.  Teachers can access a collection of over 2,0000 high-quality, high-interest reading passages that are created for different reading levels.  Articles cover a range of subject matter and include assessment questions to evaluate comprehension.  100% FREE for teachers, students, and parents.
  • ReadWorks – Offers FREE content, curriculum, and tools to power teaching and learning from Kindergarten to 12th grade.  ReadWorks is continuing to offer expanded support for educators and families facing interrupted learning during the 2020-2021 school year.  Check out the educator and family resources.
  • Learn with News provides FREE English learning material on news stories.  Stories are written in 3 versions at different Lexile levels.  (Levels 1,2,3)

Isn’t education All about reaching the kids in the classroom and at home?

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